Jordan Rodale interview
Friday, July 6, 2018 – 3:00 p.m.
Jordan Rodale was Devlin Beauchamp's half-brother. Investigators have been trying to reach him since the day his brother was found dead.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke to him at his residence.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jordan Rodale
Detective Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?
Jordan Rodale: My name is Jordan Lucius Rodale, and I reside at 910 Old Taylor Road.
Detective Murphy: You're aware of why we are talking to you today?
Jordan Rodale: I assume you're here because of the death of Devlin Beauchamp.
Detective Armstrong: What was your relationship with Mr. Beauchamp?
Jordan Rodale: He was my brother.
Detective Murphy: Why the different last name?
Jordan Rodale: Oh, my apologies. We were half-brothers.
Detective Armstrong: Your relationship to Devlin seems to be a pretty well-kept secret. Even his business partner didn't know who you are.
Jordan Rodale: Well, Devlin and I didn't get along, so I'm not surprised that he was reluctant to mention me.
Detective Murphy: What did you two fight about?
Jordan Rodale: The usual things.
Detective Armstrong: Like what usual things?
Jordan Rodale: In addition to the usual sibling rivalries, there was the issue of my choice of lifestyle. Devlin was not at all proud to have a homosexual for a brother.
Detective Murphy: That's what he told you?
Jordan Rodale: Some things don't need to be said out loud.
Detective Murphy: So your relationship has always been difficult?
Jordan Rodale: Off and on. At times, it was difficult, and at other times, you could just say it was distant. There were quite a few years where Devlin went his way, and I went mine. If we bumped into each other at Kroger, we might say hello, but that was the extent of things.
Detective Armstrong: How would you characterize the nature of your relationship at the time your brother was killed — difficult or distant?
Jordan Rodale: Probably difficult. You see, for all those years that we didn't really have any contact, it was easy. He did his thing, and I did mine. There was very little interaction, therefore, very little turmoil. However, when our mother passed away some years ago, we began to try to reconcile our differences. Naturally, that period of re-building got tense at times, but we were trying.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Rodale, we called you as soon as we learned you were Mr. Beauchamp's brother, but you didn't respond until today, almost a week after we called you. Why?
Jordan Rodale: My assistant took your message while I was in New York for a business trip. He must have assumed it wasn't that important and figured I would contact you when I returned to Oxford.
Detective Armstrong: So, a phone call from the Sheriff's Department doesn't seem important?
Jordan Rodale: You have to understand. My time in New York was very hectic, and the message didn't say what the nature of the phone call was. You didn't leave a great deal of information. But, mainly, I was just busy. Yes, very, very hectic. And I'm sure he felt he was doing the right thing not interrupting my business.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about this assistant.
Jordan Rodale: What about him? His name is Vincent Jones. I've employed him for several years now.
Detective Murphy: What kind of work does he do for you?
Jordan Rodale: He performs a variety of tasks. He helps with everything from researching my literary pursuits to going to the grocery store. He runs my office and waters my plants when I'm gone.
Detective Murphy: Has your relationship with Mr. Jones always been professional?
Jordan Rodale: Yes, Detective Murphy. He's very talented and can do just about anything I ask him whether it's balancing my checkbook or painting my deck. He helps me out, and I pay him as you would any professional.
Detective Armstrong: So what the hell? How professional is your office that you guys don't think messages from the Sheriff's Department are important? What kind of business trip was this anyway?
Jordan Rodale: As I said, Detective Armstrong, I was extremely busy with extremely important business of my own. I was meeting with my literary agent and my editor. There were meetings with the marketing people at my publishing company. Always something going on.
Detective Murphy: How did you find out about your brother's death?
Jordan Rodale: My assistant told me when he picked me up at the Memphis airport.
Detective Murphy: Pardon me for saying this, but you talk about grief, yet you don't seem upset.
Jordan Rodale: I've described the relationship my brother and I had. It's not as though we were close. You mentioned that none of his friends knew about me. Well, I had no knowledge of them either. I don't know who he associated with, what he did with his time. In many ways, he was a stranger to me.
Detective Murphy: So, when exactly was the last time that you saw your brother?
Jordan Rodale: It was actually the day he died. He and I met for a late lunch at Bouré.
Detective Murphy: How long were you at Bouré?
Jordan Rodale: I don't precisely recall. It was a couple of hours. After we ate, we had a couple of cups of coffee.
Detective Murphy: What did you talk about over lunch?
Jordan Rodale: Nothing in particular. Just catching up.
Detective Armstrong: Then what happened?
Jordan Rodale: I don't know where Devlin went. I met my boyfriend, and we went to Memphis.
Detective Murphy: What's your boyfriend's name?
Jordan Rodale: Bennett Estes Kauffman. He lives in Germantown
Detective Murphy: Germantown, Tennessee?
Jordan Rodale: Yes. He's an architect at a firm in Memphis.
Detective Murphy: Before we leave today, we'll need Mr. Kauffman's address and telephone number so we can get in touch with him.
Jordan Rodale: Of course.
Detective Armstrong: So did you meet your boyfriend that day here in Oxford or in Memphis?
Jordan Rodale: He was in town, so after I had lunch with Devlin, Bennett and I left for Memphis. My flight to New York City for my business trip was extremely early in the morning, so we decided to get a head start. We checked into The Peabody at about 6:00 p.m., went to dinner at Chez Philippe, saw a movie, and were back at the hotel by midnight.
Detective Murphy: Why did you stay at a hotel when Mr. Kauffman lives in Memphis?
Jordan Rodale: Well, he lives in Germantown, which is a lot further away from the airport. I'm not much of a morning person, so I wanted to be closer to the airport. And it is The Peabody, after all. Have you ever stayed there?
Detective Murphy: No, sir, I haven't had the opportunity.
Jordan Rodale: Well, it's marvelous. Really. You must try it.
Detective Armstrong: I'm sure that's true, Mr. Rodale. Do you have witnesses who can confirm your activities in Memphis on the night of June 30th?
Jordan Rodale: Obviously, my boyfriend can vouch for my whereabouts the entire night. When we returned to the Peabody, I called downstairs to have room service bring up some wine and dessert. The waiter who brought the food to the room talked to both me and my boyfriend. You could talk to the waiters at the restaurant, the desk clerks, anyone. Lots of people saw us.
Detective Armstrong: And then you left the next morning, Sunday morning, for this all-important business trip, right?
Jordan Rodale: Correct. I was on a flight to LaGuardia just after 7:00 a.m. I can get the flight number for you.
Detective Armstrong: Let me make sure I understand the timeline here. You say you were in Memphis when your brother was killed, then the next morning, you hopped a flight to New York where you stayed for almost a week on business, and returned to find out that your brother had been killed?
Jordan Rodale: Yes, that's correct.
Detective Murphy: When our investigators were searching your brother's house for evidence, we found three letters you wrote to him. I believe they were dated within the last few months, like April or May. Do you remember these letters?
Jordan Rodale: Uh, no. I don't believe I do. You see, I feel, you understand, that letter writing is a lost art. People just don't take the time anymore. But I correspond with a great many people, so that's why. Why I don't remember. Yes, there are so many letters.
Detective Armstrong: Well, in these letters, you seemed pretty determined. These didn't seem to be casual, "hi, how are you, I'm fine" letters.
Jordan Rodale: Oh, yes. Now I think I remember. Around that time, we were still dividing portions of our mother's estate. So, the letters were probably about that. Typical family dealings with property. It's unfortunate how these things can get, don't you think? But nothing out of the ordinary.
Detective Armstrong: Just the usual stuff, huh? Do you remember what you were trying to divide?
Jordan Rodale: I don't think there was anything in particular. Our mother lived in that huge house for so long, she accumulated so many possessions. For many years, we couldn't face going through her things. Then, finally, we got around to it, so it could have been any number of items: armoires, paintings, lamps. We fought over the dining table quite a bit. So, yes, it could have been any number of things.
Detective Armstrong: What about your mother's journals?
Jordan Rodale: That is a possibility, I suppose. Look, I don't mean to be rude here, but you have the letters. Why question me about the contents of documents you have? I told you that I write a great many letters and that I can't remember them all. If there's something in there you want to ask me about, ask me.
Detective Armstrong: You were very excited about your mother's journals, and Devlin wouldn't give them to you.
Jordan Rodale: Oh, yes. That was an issue between us, but it's no big deal really. My mother said in her will that her papers should be divided equally between us. However, Devlin snatched up her journals and wouldn't part with them. He feels like journals are his territory just because he scribbles down his trivial day in his little book, and no one else is allowed around journals. I'm the writer dammit, but his little hobby … well, it was irritating. But once again, just part of dividing up the estate. As I said, nothing out of the ordinary.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever get the journals, Mr. Rodale?
Jordan Rodale: No, I did not. As I said, it was just one of those give and take things amongst families. Finally, we agreed that he could keep the journals and I took a lovely antebellum portrait of a great-uncle.
Detective Murphy: And that's it.
Jordan Rodale: Yes, that's it. But since you brought the matter up, could I have the journals if you found them? I mean, that's something I meant to ask you. About my brother's property, that is. What about all the things that were in his house? Everything. I just mentioned the journals because we had been talking about them.
Detective Murphy: The house is a crime scene right now. It has been sealed, and all the contents are considered evidence. Once the investigation is over, then the executors can distribute Mr. Beauchamp's property.
Jordan Rodale: I see. Of course. You wouldn't happen to know who the executors are, would you?
Detective Murphy: You can take that up with your brother's attorney.
Jordan Rodale: Yes, thank you. I'll contact Mr. Douglas when I have a free moment.
Detective Armstrong: That's all we need, for now, Mr. Rodale. You're not planning any more business trips, are you?
Jordan Rodale: No, I'm not. And yes, officers, I will stay in town in case you need me in the future.
Detective Murphy: Thank you.
Interview ended – 3:30 p.m.