W. Ronald Douglas interview
Tuesday, May 23, 2023 – 9:00 a.m.
W. Ronald Douglas was Devlin Beauchamp's attorney.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at his office, 1102 Van Buren Avenue, Oxford, MS.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective T. Armstrong
- W. Ronald Douglas
Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please state your name and your relationship to the victim?
W. Ronald Douglas: My name is William Ronald Douglas, and I was Devlin Beauchamp's attorney.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you spoke with your client before his death?
W. Ronald Douglas: He came by last Friday. I believe that was the 19th.
Detective Armstrong: And what was the meeting about?
W. Ronald Douglas: Now you know I can't go into details about our meeting since that's privileged information. I can tell you that it was a personal matter unrelated to the restaurant.
Detective Murphy: Within the bounds of attorney-client privilege, can you tell us about any problems Devlin Beauchamp might have been having?
W. Ronald Douglas: No, I can't think of anything. Financially, I believe he was doing well and had no money problems, although you'd have to talk to his accountant to get the details on that. And his personal life was in pretty good shape, from what I know.
Detective Armstrong: You mentioned his finances. Who stands to gain from his death?
W. Ronald Douglas: I'm not going to go about finding motives for you, Detective Armstrong, but if you're asking about Devlin's will, I don't think anyone would be surprised at its contents.
Detective Armstrong: So you can give us the basics?
W. Ronald Douglas: As with any limited liability partnership, Carl Dixon will receive all rights and clearances to the Home Plate restaurant and all its equipment, properties, et cetera. Most of Devlin's personal effects will eventually go to his half-brother, Jordan Rodale.
Detective Armstrong: That's it?
W. Ronald Douglas: There are various other stipulations in the will. Devlin wanted some money to be given to local charities: a little bit to the Yoknapatawpha High School baseball team and a little bit to the local softball leagues for new uniforms. Just the usual stuff in a will, really.
Detective Armstrong: So his brother gets all the personal stuff. Does he get any amount of money?
W. Ronald Douglas: I can't divulge the will's details until it's read. I gave you some general information, but dollar figures and specifics can't be mentioned unless you get a court order.
Detective Armstrong: But he gets some?
W. Ronald Douglas: Jordan gets most of Devlin's personal effects and, yes, some money.
Detective Murphy: How would you characterize Devlin and Jordan's relationship?
W. Ronald Douglas: Well, they certainly weren't close. Of course, the mother's will really destroyed any hope they had. When Margie Rodale left everything to Devlin, there was just no chance. Jordan sued for some of the estate, and we eventually gave him a few odds and ends, mainly just to get him to leave us alone.
Detective Murphy: And did that appease Jordan Rodale?
W. Ronald Douglas: To a degree. But there was always something new that he wanted. One time, he decided that he just had to have his mother's old armoire. Then, another time, he called up and wanted an old chifforobe. Lately, he's been asking about some diaries she kept. I'm sure that next month, it would have been something else.
Detective Armstrong: Diaries, you say?
W. Ronald Douglas: Yes. He'd been inquiring about getting some diaries or journals or something. Some papers of some sort. I'm not familiar with the details, but I know Devlin turned him down flat. Then, Jordan called me, thinking I could get them somehow.
Detective Armstrong: Why did Jordan want the diaries?
W. Ronald Douglas: I'm not going to speculate on Jordan's motives. You'd have to ask him that.
Detective Murphy: What about Mr. Beauchamp's partner, Carl Dixon?
W. Ronald Douglas: What about him? They argued from time to time, like all partners, but they seemed to get along. As I mentioned, the ownership of Home Plate was essentially a limited liability partnership, so Dixon will eventually receive everything from the business. It's what corporate law stipulates, and Devlin himself stipulated that in his will.
Detective Murphy: Was Devlin planning any new business ventures? New restaurants? Maybe selling that barbecue sauce in grocery stores or something?
W. Ronald Douglas: I can't go into any of that.
Detective Murphy: Will you tell us if Devlin had received any offers from outside investors or anything?
W. Ronald Douglas: No.
Detective Armstrong: No, he didn't get any offers, or no, you won't tell us.
W. Ronald Douglas: No, I can't tell you.
Detective Murphy: Okay, I guess that's about as far as we're going to get for now. Can you think of anyone who would want Devlin out of the way?
W. Ronald Douglas: No, I'm afraid I can't.
Detective Murphy: Well, thanks for your time then. The next time we talk, maybe you'll be able to give us some more information.
W. Ronald Douglas: I look forward to it, detective.
Interview ended – 9:20 a.m.