Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 8:30 a.m.
Thomas Jefferson Eldon III was Victor Jennings' attorney. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness’s knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Thomas J. Eldon III
Detective Parker: Please state your name and address before we begin.
Thomas Eldon: My name is Thomas Eldon III, and my address is 25 David Street here in Oxford.
Detective Parker: Thank you. Let's get started. How long have you known Victor Jennings?
Thomas Eldon: Five years
Detective Murphy: Would you consider Victor a friend or just a client?
Thomas Eldon: He was a client.
Detective Parker: Five years, and you weren't friends?
Thomas Eldon: That's correct. Victor and I ran in different circles. We had nothing in common outside of the legal work he had me do for him.
Detective Murphy: Did you get along well with Mr. Jennings?
Thomas Eldon: As well as could be expected, I'd say.
Detective Murphy: You were representing Mr. Jennings in the criminal charges he was facing. Is that correct?
Thomas Eldon: Yes, I was.
Detective Parker: Was that the only case he was involved in at the time of his death?
Thomas Eldon: No, I was also working on settling a property dispute with his neighbor.
Detective Parker: That all?
Thomas Eldon: Well, there was another neighbor who was always threatening to sue Victor for disturbing the peace, but there's nothing pending right now. And Victor had recently informed me that a young man came to his doorstep with a baseball bat planning to use it on him.
Detective Murphy: Names?
Thomas Eldon: Zina Jacinto is the neighbor, and Kyle … can’t recall his last name. Sorry. Kyle something was the young man.
Detective Murphy: Any chance you might have his name in your notes back at your office?
Thomas Eldon: Very likely. … I suppose I could have my secretary look up that information for you.
Detective Murphy: That would be very helpful. Thank you. Did Victor say why this Kyle allegedly threatened him?
Thomas Eldon: Something about some girl crying rape. I don't know the details.
Detective Parker: Did he say who the girl was? Her name or how he knew her?
Thomas Eldon: I'm not sure. The name Terri Smith comes to mind for some reason, but I don't recall whether that was the girl or someone else. A lot of people made noises about causing trouble for Victor, but most of them never did.
Detective Parker: What did Victor want you to do about the situation with Kyle?
Thomas Eldon: Nothing. He said he didn't need to pay me to do anything because Carl had already handled it.
Detective Murphy: Carl?
Thomas Eldon: Carl Asher, Victor's researcher.
Detective Murphy: Did Victor say how Carl handled it?
Thomas Eldon: He did not.
Detective Parker: Are you sure Carl took care of it? We've been told that Victor paid you to cover up his … missteps. Is that correct?
Thomas Eldon: The term "cover up" implies something that might be not entirely above board, and to that I must say absolutely not. Everything Victor paid me to do was completely legal. Not every lawyer is crooked, believe it or not. I do my utmost to positively represent our legal system as well as my clients.
Detective Parker: Were you always paid for your services, Mr. Eldon?
Thomas Eldon: Of course. Some clients occasionally have cash flow problems that delay payment, but those delays never last for long.
Detective Murphy: Was Victor one of those who delayed payments?
Thomas Eldon: Sometimes, but I always knew he would pay me eventually. It always worked itself out.
Detective Parker: When was the last time you saw Victor?
Thomas Eldon: I saw him on the 16th. I took some legal papers over for his signature.
Detective Murphy: Oh? What time was that?
Thomas Eldon: I'm not sure. In the afternoon, after church. Maybe 1:00? 1:30? It could've been later. I just don't remember.
Detective Murphy: How did Victor seem to you that day? Did you notice anything unusual?
Thomas Eldon: He was agitated, perhaps anxious about something. I asked what was on his mind, and he promptly informed me that his mind was none of my business.
Detective Parker: Did he always talk to you like that?
Thomas Eldon: He talked to everyone like that. Victor could be a very angry, intolerant person. He wasn't an easy man.
Detective Parker: Did you happen to notice any suspicious people around Victor’s house when you were there on the 16th?
Thomas Eldon: Suspicious? Ha ha. Well, Carl was having coffee with Vic in the kitchen when I arrived. Some people think he's suspicious.
Detective Murphy: Would you say Carl and Victor were friends?
Thomas Eldon: I'm not privy to the details, but I suspect Carl was the closest thing to a friend that Victor had. On the other hand, I've seen them get very loud and belligerent with one another on a couple of occasions. So I couldn't say for sure. I don't have enough information to accurately characterize their relationship.
Detective Parker: I see. And did you notice any vehicles near the house that day?
Thomas Eldon: Funny, I do recall a black sedan going past the house when I arrived and then again as I was leaving.
Detective Parker: Did you notice the model or the driver?
Thomas Eldon: No, I didn’t pay it much attention. In fact, I forgot all about it until just this minute.
Detective Parker: What made you notice it at all?
Thomas Eldon: I'm not sure. Maybe because I saw it twice?
Detective Murphy: Were there any other legal matters that Victor had asked you to handle for him recently?
Thomas Eldon: He had mentioned that a woman – I believe her name was Daniels … yes, Barbara Daniels – who might be causing some problems for him in the near future. Before you ask, he didn't tell me any details about what type of trouble. He said he would tell me more if and when the time came, and apparently it never did. Is there anything else? I'm due in court in 20 minutes, and I really must be going.
Detective Murphy: All right. We’ll contact you if we need anything else.
Thomas Eldon: Thank you. Good day.
Interview ends: 9:10 a.m.