Canvass – Home Plate employees
YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 002547-21E-2023
Case Description: Devlin Beauchamp death investigation
On Monday, May 22, 2023, Detectives Sam Murphy and Ted Armstrong went to Home Plate to interview employees who may have information about the death of Devlin Beauchamp.
The following interview descriptions, provided in summary and not verbatim, are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
604 Saddle Creek Loop
Mr. Alvarez said he has only worked at Home Plate since mid-April, and he didn't know much since nobody really talks to the new guys. He said he heard the screaming match between the two partners on the night of May 20, 2023, but said he went to great lengths to stay away from the office as he didn't want to be involved. The office door was shut, and he couldn't hear anything clearly.
Mr. Alvarez did say that the argument seemed to come to a halt at approximately 10:00 p.m. when Mr. Beauchamp stormed through the dining room and out the restaurant's front door. Mr. Alvarez believed Mr. Beauchamp was pretty angry because he heard Mr. Beauchamp's tires squealing as he exited the parking lot.
Mr. Dixon came out to the dining room from the office shortly afterward and, according to Mr. Alvarez, looked a little pale. Mr. Alvarez said he offered Mr. Dixon a glass of water, but Mr. Dixon mumbled something about needing something "a mite stronger" and walked toward the bar.
When asked whether either partner had recently exhibited any odd or unusual behavior, Mr. Alvarez reiterated that he had only worked there a few weeks and didn't feel he would recognize behavior as being odd or unusual since he didn't know either partner well at all. Mr. Alvarez said he thought they were both pretty nice guys and were pretty easy to work for. He especially liked that Mr. Beauchamp organized team sports for the employees.
Mr. Alvarez did not work on May 21, 2023, but did attend the emergency meeting that Mr. Dixon called to inform the employees of Mr. Beauchamp's death. Mr. Alvarez said he felt sad about what happened to Mr. Beauchamp, as he seemed like somebody who didn't deserve that to happen to him.
454 Sisk Avenue
Mr. Bridges said he worked the night of May 20, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. until approximately midnight. He said he did hear an argument between Mr. Beauchamp and Mr. Dixon, but it was muffled, and he couldn't make out what was said. Mr. Bridges volunteered that the partners frequently disagreed, and it was usually about expenses. He said he didn't consider the May 20 fight any different.
Mr. Bridges said Mickie Webster left shortly after the dinner crowd died down on May 20, about 9:30 p.m. He said Mr. Beauchamp appeared angry when he left at about 10:00 p.m. Mr. Bridges said he too heard Mr. Beauchamp's squealing tires as he exited the parking lot. After Mr. Beauchamp left, Mr. Bridges said the night went on as it usually did. The restaurant was closed by 11:00 p.m., and by midnight he and Mr. Dixon walked out together, got in their respective cars, and drove home.
When asked about any odd or unusual behavior on the part of either or both partners, Mr. Bridges said that Mr. Beauchamp was less friendly than usual lately, as if he had something on his mind. Mr. Bridges could think of no one who would have had a grudge or beef with Beauchamp so severe that they would have killed him.
When asked about Mr. Beauchamp's personal relationships with employees and customers, Bridges replied that he tried to mind his own business and paid no attention to rumors and gossip. He added that Devlin was a very magnetic person, and maybe it wasn't his fault that people were drawn to him.
2314 Jefferson Avenue
Mr. Forbes said he worked the night of May 20, 2023, until closing. He said he didn't hear the partners' argument but saw Mr. Beauchamp rush out the front door at about 10:00 p.m. and heard the squealing tires as Mr. Beauchamp exited the parking lot.
Mr. Forbes said he had no knowledge of any personal relationships among or between Mr. Beauchamp and the female employees or customers. Mr. Forbes did mention the softball league, which he was looking forward to joining, but said he believed that probably wouldn't happen now that Mr. Beauchamp was dead.
He said he didn't notice any tension between Mr. Dixon and Mr. Beauchamp. They both seemed cheerful and friendly to Mr. Forbes, but he added he had worked there only a few months and didn't know them that well.
728 Shady Oaks Circle
Mr. Hampton said he came in to work on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at approximately 7:00 a.m. He possesses a key to the back door and the code for the alarm and requires no assistance gaining entry to the restaurant.
When Devlin Beauchamp did not arrive by 8:00 a.m., Mr. Hampton became concerned and placed a call to Mr. Beauchamp, but the voicemail picked up the call. Mr. Hampton said that, while this was not common, there had been a few occasions on which Devlin did not show up on time, and so at first, Mr. Hampton was not very concerned.
When Mr. Hampton did not hear back from Mr. Beauchamp by 9:00 a.m., he began to worry that something was wrong. He placed another call to Mr. Beauchamp, but again the call was picked up by the voicemail. Mr. Hampton said he decided to call the other owner, Carl Dixon, but he did not answer either, so Mr. Hampton assumed Mr. Dixon was on his way in. However, when Mr. Dixon did not arrive by 9:30 a.m., Mr. Hampton said he became even more alarmed.
By that time, the waitress Tina Morgan had arrived. She and Mr. Hampton took turns calling Mr. Beauchamp and Mr. Dixon to no avail. When Mr. Dixon finally arrived at approximately 10:35 a.m., Mr. Hampton explained the situation to him and his concern that they hadn't heard from Mr. Beauchamp. Mr. Hampton told Mr. Dixon that there was not enough sauce to last the day since Sunday is their busiest day of the week.
Mr. Dixon tried unsuccessfully to reach Mr. Beauchamp by phone, so he left the restaurant around 10:50 a.m. to drive over to the Beauchamp residence.
When asked if there had been any unusual activity or tension around the restaurant, Mr. Hampton said that he minded his own business and didn't know of anything. When asked if Mr. Dixon and Mr. Beauchamp argued, Mr. Hampton replied that partners always argued, and to him, it was nothing special.
203 Cotton Creek Drive
Ms. Hodges said she worked the night of May 20, 2023. When asked if there was any tension between the two partners, Ms. Hodges said they had quite a run-in the night of the 20th before Mr. Beauchamp apparently got fed up and stormed out around 10:00 p.m. She said she didn't know what the fight was about since they were in the office and the door was closed. Ms. Hodges said she thought she heard Mr. Beauchamp say, "There is no deal," and later, she thought she heard Mr. Dixon yelling about Mr. Beauchamp's "hot pants" but said she couldn't be positive.
When asked what she felt these comments referred to, she said the rumor around the restaurant was that there might be a franchising deal in the works, plus there was always talk about Mr. Beauchamp's escapades with women.
Ms. Hodges said Mr. Beauchamp had dated the head waitress, Mickie Webster, and after they broke up, it was tense around the restaurant. Ms. Hodges heard Mr. Dixon express more than once that Mr. Beauchamp should avoid personal relationships with his employees. When asked if there was still tension between Ms. Webster and Mr. Beauchamp, Ms. Hodges said she felt it had calmed down, and the two seemed to remain friends.
When asked if there was any unusual or odd behavior from either of the partners in the days before Mr. Beauchamp's death, Ms. Hodges said Mr. Beauchamp seemed preoccupied, as he frequently did, and that Mr. Dixon was less cheerful than usual, but nothing other than that.
3009 Davis Drive
Ms. Morgan said she arrived at work on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at approximately 9:25 a.m. When she arrived, Mr. Hampton told her Mr. Beauchamp had not yet arrived, and he was worried there was not enough sauce. According to Ms. Morgan, she and Mr. Hampton took turns calling Mr. Beauchamp and Mr. Dixon but did not succeed in reaching either one.
At about 10:30 a.m., Mr. Dixon arrived. Ms. Morgan said that after Mr. Dixon heard the circumstances, he tried to reach Mr. Beauchamp by phone, and when he could not, he left to drive over to Mr. Beauchamp's home. Ms. Morgan estimated Mr. Dixon left for Mr. Beauchamp's between 10:50 and 10:55 a.m.
When asked about Mr. Dixon's attitude upon learning the news about Mr. Beauchamp's absence, Ms. Morgan said he seemed a little peeved, but that was all. When asked about arguments between the partners, Ms. Morgan said they had had a couple of "good ones" she had witnessed, but the men always made up and were friends afterward. When asked what the arguments were about, she said she thought it was mostly about the usual, spending money versus saving money, paying too high a price for supplies, allowing too much overtime, that sort of thing.
When asked if she had witnessed any unusual behavior on either partner's part, she said that Mr. Beauchamp had seemed a little distracted the last few days, but she didn't know why, and he didn't say. Ms. Morgan was also asked if she knew anything about Mr. Beauchamp's journals, to which she replied that he frequently talked about the value of keeping journals and how it was a habit everyone should get into. Because of his enthusiasm, she attempted to start journaling herself but found she didn't enjoy it.
108 Twin Oaks Cove
Mr. Oliver said he started work at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, 2023. When he arrived just before the beginning of his shift, Ms. Morgan and Mr. Hampton were "all in a dither" about Mr. Beauchamp's failure to arrive and their inability to reach Mr. Dixon. Mr. Oliver said he shrugged it off, saying that both Mr. Beauchamp and Mr. Dixon were temperamental and often showed up when they felt like it. He saw no need for alarm.
Mr. Oliver said he felt Ms. Morgan and Mr. Hampton were "brown-nosers" and were making a big deal in an effort to be noticed by the bosses. When asked why he felt Ms. Morgan and Mr. Hampton would do such a thing, he replied that some people are just that way. He said, "You should just go to work, do your job, and go home, but some people just don't have a life."
When asked about what time Mr. Dixon arrived, he said he couldn't be sure since he was preparing the dining room and all the concern over Mr. Beauchamp and Mr. Dixon was going on in the kitchen, away from him. Though the employees managed to get the restaurant open on time and handle the brunch crowd, Mr. Oliver reported that Mr. Dixon closed the restaurant when he returned and announced Mr. Beauchamp's death at approximately 2:35 p.m. Mr. Oliver felt that everyone was shocked and saddened by the news.
When asked about any arguments or tension between the partners, Mr. Oliver said he just tuned that stuff out as it was none of his business. He said restaurants are notorious for rumor and gossip, and he tried to stay out of it. When asked what rumor and gossip he was referring to, Mr. Oliver said there was talk about Mr. Beauchamp and some of the waitresses, including Mickie Webster and Kat Dixon.
Mr. Oliver volunteered that he knew Mr. Beauchamp had dated Ms. Webster sometime in the past. However, he didn't believe Ms. Dixon had ever really dated Mr. Beauchamp, no matter how much she wanted to but added he wasn't positive. He further said there was also talk that Mr. Beauchamp frequently dated his customers, but Mr. Oliver hurried to add that it was just talk and gossip, and he couldn't prove it.
When asked if Mr. Beauchamp had displayed any unusual behavior in the few days before his death, Mr. Oliver said he thought Mr. Beauchamp seemed a little out of it, spent more time in the office than usual, and seemed to be getting more phone calls than usual.
3728 Lyles Drive
Mrs. Penner said she worked the night of May 20, 2023, but was unaware of any argument until she saw Mr. Beauchamp storm out the front door at about 10:00 p.m. When she inquired about what happened, she said Mr. Dixon gave her "the look" that meant she shouldn't ask and just leave it alone, which she did.
Mrs. Penner volunteered that she wondered if the argument was about Mr. Beauchamp's lunch date that day, from which he returned late. Mr. Beauchamp was gone for nearly three hours and returned at approximately 4:30 p.m. She further said that Mr. Beauchamp had seemed to be having a lot of "lunch dates" lately, and she wondered if there was a new woman in his life.
When asked if either Mr. Beauchamp or Mr. Dixon had exhibited any odd or unusual behavior of late, Mrs. Penner said she hadn't noticed anything to speak of. She said it seemed that Mr. Beauchamp had been spending more time away from the restaurant than usual, but she assumed it was because he needed a break. She said she had hoped that, after years of being there every moment, maybe Mr. Beauchamp was finally getting a bit of a break to have some personal time. "Maybe he was in love and wasn't ready to share the news with us?"
When asked if Mr. Dixon seemed to be taking the same opportunity, she said he seemed to thrive on work and had nothing else in his life to speak of besides his daughter. So even if he could, Mrs. Penner said she thought Mr. Dixon probably wouldn't spend time away from the place.
When asked if she knew anything about Mr. Beauchamp's personal relationships with employees or customers, Mrs. Penner said everyone found Mr. Beauchamp very charming, and women just "got stuck on him" whether he wanted them to or not. When asked if she ever had a personal relationship with Mr. Beauchamp, Mrs. Penner said she was married and a mother of two, and that offered plenty of excitement in her life.
3412 Benbow Circle
Ms. Webster said she worked on May 20, 2023, until about 9:30 p.m., when the dinner crowd died down. She said she clocked out and left, never witnessing any argument between Mr. Dixon and Mr. Beauchamp.
When asked if she had noticed any tension between the partners, particularly that night, Ms. Webster said she had been swamped and didn't have time to notice much of anything besides her customers, but the partners seemed fine to her.
When asked about her personal relationship with Mr. Beauchamp that other restaurant staff had mentioned, she said she and Mr. Beauchamp dated for several months but then broke up. She said the breakup was friendly, they had remained friends, and there were no hard feelings.
Ms. Webster mentioned that Kat Dixon seemed interested in Mr. Beauchamp recently, and Ms. Dixon had sought her advice on how to approach him. Ms. Webster said she declined to offer Ms. Dixon any advice, feeling it would be inappropriate for her to do so, given that Ms. Dixon was Mr. Dixon's daughter and the age difference between Ms. Dixon and Mr. Beauchamp.
When asked if she had noticed one or both partners doing anything odd or unusual recently, Ms. Webster said she felt something was bothering Mr. Beauchamp as he seemed quieter than usual. She also noticed he spent more time in his office while at the restaurant and, in general, more away from the restaurant altogether.
When asked about Mr. Beauchamp's journals, she said she knew of his habit since they had once dated, but she had never seen or read any of them. She believed he kept them locked away somewhere, but she had no idea where.
Asked if she knew of anyone who might have a grudge against Mr. Beauchamp, Ms. Webster said she didn't think so, as he was very well-liked. She said she knew Mr. Beauchamp was estranged from his brother over some family heirlooms, but she had never met Mr. Beauchamp's brother and so couldn't judge how severe the estrangement was.