Thursday, July 12, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.
The day after investigators searched the Dixon residence, Carl Dixon sat down with the detectives for another conversation.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke with him again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. Mr. Dixon's attorney, Jack Diamond, was also present.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Carl Dixon
- Jack Diamond, Esq.
Detective Murphy: For the record sir, could you please state your name and address?
Carl Dixon: My name is Carl Dean Dixon. I live at 818 Country Club Circle, Oxford.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Let the record reflect that Mr. Dixon also has counsel present, Attorney Jack Diamond.
Jack Diamond: Detective, for the record, I would like to state this is absolutely ridiculous. You don't honestly believe Mr. Dixon to be a suspect in Mr. Beauchamp's murder, do you?
Detective Murphy: Mr. Dixon is a witness in this case. The degree of his involvement, hopefully, will be determined in this interview.
Jack Diamond: Go ahead with your questions.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Dixon, we have some follow-up questions to cover first, and then we're going to discuss the evidence we collected from your residence yesterday. Do you understand?
Carl Dixon: Yes, ma'am.
Detective Murphy: On July 1st, you went to Devlin Beauchamp's home to find out why he had not arrived at the restaurant. When you got there, you went inside and discovered his body face down in the bathtub. Is that correct?
Carl Dixon: That is correct.
Detective Murphy: Given the condition and position of the body, Mr. Dixon, why do you claim to have checked the pulse of the victim?
Carl Dixon: I don't claim anything, Detective. I checked his pulse. Pure and simple.
Detective Murphy: Did he appear to be alive to you, sir?
Carl Dixon: No, ma'am, he did not… but neither did my own father when he was passed out drunk as a skunk when I was a child. The man appeared to be dead as a doornail, but he wasn't. I knew he was dead. Dev, I mean. I guess I knew in my heart, but I had to check. Why don't anybody think that makes any sense?
Jack Diamond: All right, Carl. No need to get worked up. He wanted to make sure. Got it, Detective?
Detective Murphy: I got it, Jack. And you claim that after you checked his pulse, you went downstairs, called 911, then went out back and vomited?
Carl Dixon: Yes, ma'am. Something wrong with that too?
Detective Armstrong: The events as you described them, sir, seem somewhat out of the ordinary. Most people might have run out of the room as soon as they saw the victim and "lost their lunch" as you put it. It seems unusual someone would have the presence of mind to check a pulse, find a phone, make a call and then neatly go outside and vomit, so's not to upset anything.
Carl Dixon: I don't know what to tell you, Detectives. I'm good under pressure I guess. When I was a child, I often found my mother beaten and unconscious with my father nowhere around. Who do you suppose called for help? My own wife died in our bedroom at the foot of our bed. I've seen many things that most people don't have to. I've learned to restrain myself long enough to get help. Once I did everything I thought I could for Dev, I went outside. Not so's I wouldn't mess things up, but to get some air. I didn't intend to vomit. That just happened.
Jack Diamond: Really, Murph, are you serious with these questions?
Detective Murphy: Who besides yourself, Mr. Beauchamp and the two cooks Joe Hampton and Tom Bridges have keys to the restaurant?
Carl Dixon: No one. Except possibly Mickie Webster. Yes, she probably does since she sometimes has to go to the restaurant when it isn't open during regular hours.
Detective Murphy: What type of circumstance would that be? As a for instance?
Carl Dixon: To rework the schedule if someone calls in sick or can't make it in to work their shift. If someone has forgotten their key or the cooks no-show for their shifts. Occasionally she'll pick up bakery deliveries and bring them in before anyone is there. Or fresh flowers, say if we're catering a party in the banquet room.
Detective Murphy: Anyone else?
Carl Dixon: No.
Detective Murphy: Your daughter, Kat, would she have keys? You or Mr. Beauchamp give her a set?
Carl Dixon: No, ma'am, there would be no plausible reason for her to have a set of keys. She's a part-time employee and is never required to be there during hours when the restaurant isn't open.
Detective Armstrong: Besides, she could borrow your keys if she needed to get in, couldn't she?
Carl Dixon: Not without me knowing about it.
Detective Armstrong: Noted.
Detective Murphy: You're aware that when we searched Home Plate, two baseball bats were found under the bar and taken into evidence?
Carl Dixon: I did hear about that. Odd, since we only ever had one under there as far as I know. Maybe somebody left it there after a game. Or Dev was always bringing stuff in….
Detective Murphy: The point is, Mr. Dixon, that one of those bats had traces of blood on it, sir. Can you offer an explanation?
Carl Dixon: No, ma'am, I can't. Like I said, we only ever have the one under the bar. I guess one of our employees could've cut themselves behind the bar. It does happen from time to time. Glasses get broken, knives slip… Generally speaking, the bat is kept there as a deterrent.
Detective Murphy: Deterrent to what?
Carl Dixon: People get rowdy when they drink sometimes, or even overly friendly with our female employees. Dev always thought a big ole baseball bat delivered the message pretty well. And so did I for that matter.
Detective Armstrong: The bat ever get used?
Carl Dixon: You mean to hit somebody? Hell no! If they had, you'd most likely have some sort of police report on it. It ain't funny neither, Detective. My partner was killed with one of these. I don't like the inference.
Detective Armstrong: I assure you, Mr. Dixon, I'm not laughing. My question is, there is blood on one of these bats, and there are two when there is only supposed to be one. Aside from an injured employee inadvertently bleeding on it, is there any other reason that you know of that there could be blood on it? Or why there are now two?
Carl Dixon: No, none that I know of. I don't know. I would only be guessing. I can tell you I didn't put it there if that's what you're asking.
Detective Murphy: Moving right along. We found a letter in your home, written to Mr. Beauchamp from Franklin Enterprises, discussing the possibility of franchising Home Plate. Mind telling us how you got possession of it?
Carl Dixon: I fished it out of the trash at the restaurant.
Detective Murphy: Is that what you and Mr. Beauchamp were arguing about before he died?
Carl Dixon: Yes, among other things.
Detective Murphy: Okay, let's take up the letter first. When did you find it?
Carl Dixon: I found it about a week and a half before he died. It just caught my eye for some reason. I wondered if he did it on purpose, you know, put it there so I would find it? Anyway, it pissed me off because we had gone over this before…
Detective Murphy: Gone over it before? This was the second time Mr. Beauchamp was considering an offer to franchise?
Carl Dixon: More like the fifth or sixth, ma'am. You have to understand, Detective. My partner loved money. He loved spending it and having it and being a big shot. He wanted to franchise the first year we were in business, but I didn't. I knew it would change things, that the restaurant wouldn't be as good as it was on its own. We argued about this sort of thing for years. I did start to see the sense in it after a while, but I thought we ought to wait it out and see if we really got a good offer.
Detective Murphy: Your daughter, Kat, does she know that you two had argued about this for years?
Carl Dixon: I don't see how. I never told her about it. It was business, and I wouldn't have discussed it with her. Even though she works for the restaurant part-time, she doesn't know a lick about the management or management decisions unless they directly affect her like if we changed the menu or the hours or something like that.
Detective Murphy: Okay, so if she had learned you two were arguing, would it have upset her?
Carl Dixon: It might have. I don't know. Are you saying she knew about it?
Detective Murphy: You must have been upset about this most recent letter since you obviously contacted Mr. Diamond and sought his legal opinion on your standing should Mr. Beauchamp decide to franchise.
Carl Dixon: And Mr. Diamond's legal opinion was that I was protected and Devlin could not go forward without my consent. I'm not a fool, Detective. I wasn't about to leave things to chance. So, when I got the answer to my question, yes, I did confront Dev. I couldn't believe he accepted money from them people.
Detective Murphy: Because he didn't give you any portion of the money?
Carl Dixon: No, ma'am, I'm not like my partner. I don't live for money. I was … I don't know, flabbergasted I guess you'd say. Legally he didn't have the right to make deals, and he knew it. He was bilking these people, thinking he would be able to keep the money without making a deal. He'd done it before and barely squeaked by without getting sued.
Detective Murphy: Where'd you leave the discussion?
Carl Dixon: He told me he was going to give the money back. I was skeptical, but I had to give him the chance to do the right thing.
Detective Murphy: But the argument did continue, didn't it, Mr. Dixon? Until Mr. Beauchamp ultimately stormed out of the restaurant that night. Correct?
Carl Dixon: Yes, you're right it continued. We moved on to more personal things…
Detective Armstrong: Your daughter and Devlin?
Carl Dixon: Uh huh. I know you found the bill from Pam Thompson. I had them followed. I wanted to know if he was having a… relationship with my daughter.
Detective Murphy: Why didn't you just ask your daughter?
Carl Dixon: Because on this topic, my daughter has not always been forthcoming. She thinks I'm overprotective… and I guess I am. I guess I didn't think she'd tell me the truth about it.
Detective Murphy: What was Mr. Beauchamp's response?
Carl Dixon: He insisted nothing was going on. He explained that they were just friends. I don't know why. I just believed him. I've known him too long. I can tell when he's lying. He said he was having woman troubles, and he wished it was as simple as Kat's crush on him, but it wasn't.
Detective Armstrong: What did he mean by that?
Carl Dixon: I don't know. I guess I figured he meant him and Mickie. They both took the break up pretty hard. And that Paulette woman from years ago, I don't think he ever really got over her. I suspect that had a lot to do with him and Mickie breaking up and why he was always surrounding himself with women. I don't know. Don't ask me to explain my partner's psychology because I just can't.
Detective Murphy: So, you believed him about your daughter, yet still you fought?
Carl Dixon: Yeah. I admit I was riled up about the Franklin outfit, and I just blew my top. Then he stormed out. A few minutes later, I cooled off. I called him to apologize for overreacting and to discuss the Franklin deal more, you know, how we were going to handle it… but he didn't answer the call. I figured he was pissed and wasn't answering on purpose.
Detective Murphy: So what did you do about it?
Carl Dixon: After work, I went to get smokes, and I drove around a little… I felt bad. I thought about going by his place, but it was late. I figured I'd talk to him the next day. I guess that's why I was feeling so bad and tired on Sunday. Frankly, I felt like an ass. Then when I got to the restaurant and found out he hadn't come in, I figured…
Detective Murphy: That he was still fuming over your argument? Pouting, if you will?
Carl Dixon: Yeah, something like that. I absolutely didn't expect what I found. That's the last thing… He was my friend… my closest friend. Do you understand what it's like to find your friend dead in his own home?
Jack Diamond: Carl, you need a minute? We can take a break.
Carl Dixon: I'm okay. Let's just keep going.
Detective Murphy: We're almost done here, sir. In brief, can you tell what you did the day Mr. Beauchamp was killed?
Carl Dixon: Mostly I did what I always do. I got up about 7:00, had some coffee, read the paper. Then about 9:00, I headed out to the restaurant.
Detective Murphy: Wasn't that earlier than you usually went in?
Carl Dixon: On Saturdays, we have deliveries, ordering, all kinds of things that make it a long day. That day I had to get a steam table from Memphis. Now, usually, we use Mickie's truck for that sort of thing. I guess someday we ought to just purchase one for the restaurant. Anyway, I called her up and asked her about using the truck, and she says, sorry lent it to a friend for the weekend so they could move.
Detective Murphy: Did she mention the friend's name? The person she loaned her truck to?
Carl Dixon: Not that I can recall. She might have, I don't know. All I know is that I had to go to the U-Haul and rent a truck and drive up to Memphis and get the steam table. I left Oxford about 10:00 or 10:30 a.m., and I guess I didn't get back until 2:00 or 3:00. It was a miserable day. Dev was still at lunch, we had a hell of a time getting the damn thing in the kitchen.
Detective Armstrong: One of those days?
Carl Dixon: In a word, yes. One of those days I just should have stayed in bed with the covers over my head. Everything I touched that day turned to mud if you know what I mean.
Detective Armstrong: I hear you. What did you do after you got back to town?
Carl Dixon: After we took care of that steam table, I went home to clean up. Then I took the rental truck back and went back to work. I was there the rest of the night like I told y'all before.
Detective Murphy: And your daughter was out of town that day?
Carl Dixon: Yeah, she went to Jackson to see her girlfriends. Left early Friday evening, about 4:30 I think.
Detective Murphy: But she was home Saturday night when you got back from work? That didn't surprise you?
Carl Dixon: No. She left me a message on my cell phone that she was coming home early, guess she didn't feel well.
Detective Murphy: And when you arrived home, and the light under her door came on, you were confident it was your daughter?
Carl Dixon: Yes, ma'am. Who else could it have been? She usually hears me when I get home late and turns on her light. It's sort of a routine with us.
Detective Armstrong: And you didn't hear her say good night?
Carl Dixon: No, but she could've. My little girl barely speaks above a whisper when she's tired. The door to her room was closed. How would I have heard her if she had whispered good night?
Jack Diamond: Is this really what we're here to discuss? Any other questions or are we finished?
Detective Murphy: Just one more question. Mr. Dixon, do you have any other children? By your late wife or anyone else?
Carl Dixon: Excuse me? Any other children? No ma'am, absolutely not.
Detective Armstrong: You sound pretty positive.
Carl Dixon: I am.
Detective Armstrong: How's that? I mean, it could be you had another child without knowing about it.
Carl Dixon: Detective, I'm an old-fashioned fellow. There was only ever one woman in my life, and that was Valentine. No one before, and no one since. You understand? On that subject, my partner and I were complete opposites. If Valentine had had another child, I certainly would've been aware of it. From the time we were married until the day she died, we were never apart more than a day or two. If she'd been carrying a child, I'd have known. I promise you, my only child is my daughter, Katherine.
Detective Murphy: Okay. Well, thank you for your cooperation Mr. Dixon, Jack. We're done here. But we…
Jack Diamond: We know the drill. Carl's not leaving town. He will be available for more questions if need be.
Detective Armstrong: Good, long as we're on the same page.
Jack Diamond: We are. Have no doubt.
Interview ended – 11:21 a.m.