Friday, February 3, 2012 - 9:01 a.m.
Bruno Coleman was a business associate of the victim. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Bruno Coleman
Detective Murphy: I'm Detective Murphy. This is Detective Armstrong.
Detective Armstrong: We're not going to keep you too long. Just got a few questions.
Detective Murphy: For the record, could you state your name and address?
Bruno Coleman: My name is Bruno Coleman and I live at 910 Lincoln Ave. I apologize for postponing this meeting. It was unavoidable. Business, you know.
Detective Armstrong: It happens.
Detective Murphy: Can you describe your relationship with Philip Fontaine?
Bruno Coleman: I'm in real estate development. He claimed to be and gave the business a bad name in doing so.
Detective Murphy: So how would you characterize your relationship?
Bruno Coleman: We tolerated the existence of each other.
Detective Armstrong: You were not friendly competitors?
Bruno Coleman: I thought you were interested in my theories about the burglary.
Detective Murphy: Well, at this stage of the investigation, we're looking down several avenues, and what we're trying to do is assemble a complete picture. We want to speak to all the important people who were significant in Mr. Fontaine's life.
Bruno Coleman: That shouldn't be difficult. The man was a moral degenerate who deserved what he got. Am I free to go now?
Detective Armstrong: Not quite yet. That new development project that Fontaine was working on, did you have any interest in that?
Bruno Coleman: No. That was typical Fontaine from beginning to end. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Detective Murphy: What exactly do you mean by typical Fontaine?
Bruno Coleman: Using state funds intended for economic recovery to coerce honest farmers into selling their land, all for the idle amusement of the wealthy and the influential. This community does not need another upscale development project. What we need is to attract new industry to the area to provide jobs for working people.
Detective Armstrong: Did you fight the project?
Bruno Coleman: I served on some committees.
Detective Armstrong: Did you donate money?
Bruno Coleman: I'm not sure how this relates to the burglary.
Detective Murphy: We're just asking questions.
Bruno Coleman: And I'm trying to be of assistance. It would help if I knew where we were headed.
Detective Armstrong: Is it true that you and Mr. Fontaine didn't get along?
Bruno Coleman: It's well-known we disliked each other.
Detective Murphy: How well did you get along with his wife?
Bruno Coleman: Which one? He had three. Some say he had four. Deceptive bastard. Hell, you can go to the County Clerk's office and look at the records, and then compare that to his driver's license. He's got two birthdates. That was Fontaine. Pay somebody to bend the truth or just lie, whatever he needed.
Detective Murphy: You had occasion to check Mr. Fontaine's records?
Bruno Coleman: I had my reasons. It pays to know the competition.
Detective Armstrong: And how did you get along with Ashley Fontaine?
Bruno Coleman: We were polite when we met at functions.
Detective Murphy: Was she happy in her marriage?
Bruno Coleman: I wouldn't know. But knowing her husband, I'd be surprised if she was. She might even be happier, now that he's not around to raise a hand to her.
Detective Murphy: He was violent towards her?
Bruno Coleman: I can't actually say that I ever saw him do anything, but it wouldn't be out of character for him to hit a woman.
Detective Murphy: How about his son? Was he violent towards him?
Bruno Coleman: Grant Fontaine is a perfect example of what happens when a boy has a crook for a father, and he has a brute enforcer for an employee and lets drug dealers work out of the back yard. Things would have been different if I had raised that boy, I'll tell you.
Detective Armstrong: Ashley was his third wife. How many times have you been married?
Bruno Coleman: I've never been married.
Detective Armstrong: Why not?
Bruno Coleman: I never found the right woman.
Detective Armstrong: Never stopped most men.
Bruno Coleman: I'm not most men.
Detective Murphy: Would you benefit from Mr. Fontaine's death at all?
Bruno Coleman: Financially? For a little while. Eventually, somebody will start up another development company. Competition is good.
Detective Armstrong: How did you feel when you heard the news of Fontaine's death?
Bruno Coleman: In some ways, I felt sorry for his family. I wondered how his mistress would afford her apartment. And of course since any crime is bad for the community, I immediately announced a reward for the burglar.
Detective Armstrong: To be given to the burglar?
Bruno Coleman: To be given to whoever provides information leading to his arrest and conviction.. I don't think I like what you're implying.
Detective Armstrong: I just misunderstood what you said.
Detective Murphy: You said Mr. Fontaine was cheating on his wife. Is that right?
Bruno Coleman: He cheated everybody. He was consistent about that. I wouldn't blame her if she was cheating back. What's good for the gander is good for the goose.
Detective Armstrong: How do you know so much about the Fontaines' personal life?
Bruno Coleman: People talk. I listen. As I said, it's good to know the competition.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Coleman, if this turns out not to be a burglary, who would you be least surprised to find out is responsible for Mr. Fontaine's death?
Bruno Coleman: A lot of people would be in first place.
Detective Murphy: Can you narrow down that number?
Bruno Coleman: Anybody who knew him.
Detective Murphy: Name three.
Bruno Coleman: I don't think that's possible. He made enemies everywhere he went.
Detective Armstrong: Would you count yourself among those enemies?
Bruno Coleman: Yes. It's no secret we had our differences.
Detective Armstrong: You both spent the night in jail.
Bruno Coleman: Not the same cell, I'm happy to report.
Detective Murphy: What's going to happen now to the property development?
Bruno Coleman: I assume it sits on the table untouched. Somebody might come along and pick up the ball and run with it, but I don't think so. Investors like to turn a profit. They want somebody else to do all the work.
Detective Murphy: The cancellation of this project will make a lot of people happy.
Bruno Coleman: Undoubtedly.
Detective Armstrong: You say you had some theories about the burglary.
Bruno Coleman: Fontaine has been in the news a lot lately. The stories ran all over the state, nationally even.
Detective Armstrong: And?
Bruno Coleman: I think somebody saw an easy mark, drove into Oxford hoping for a quick haul, and hightailed it as soon as the job was completed.
Detective Armstrong: That's an interesting theory.
Bruno Coleman: Nobody local would look twice at Fontaine. Any free cash he used, he sunk into his shady development schemes.
Detective Armstrong: Well, maybe we're just wasting our time here. According to you, the killer ‒ a virtual stranger ‒ he could be just clear out of state by now. Is that right?
Bruno Coleman: You asked my opinion.
Detective Murphy: And thank you for sharing it with us, Mr. Coleman. We are, in fact, in close working relationship with other law enforcement agencies.
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Coleman, where were you on the night of January 13th?
Bruno Coleman: I was at home.
Detective Armstrong: Alone?
Bruno Coleman: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: That's interesting.
Bruno Coleman: Am I a suspect?
Detective Murphy: At this point, we're just gathering information.
Bruno Coleman: Am I a suspect?
Detective Armstrong: Should you be?
Bruno Coleman: I want to talk to my lawyer.
Detective Murphy: That is your right, Mr. Coleman.
Detective Armstrong: You'll probably be hearing from us.
Bruno Coleman: Fine.
Interview ends: 9:21 AM