Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 9:45 a.m.
Terri Smith is a senior at the University of Mississippi. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Terri Smith
Detective Murphy: Good morning, Miss Smith. Thank you for coming. First off, we need your name and address for the record.
Terri Smith: It's OK, Detective, but I'm not sure why I'm here. My name is Terri Smith. I live on campus at 211 Sorority Row.
Detective Murphy: We got your name from Thomas Eldon. Do you know him?
Terri Smith: I don't think so.
Detective Parker: He's an attorney.
Terri Smith: Oh. I… I might know him.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about that.
Terri Smith: I– he's Victor's lawyer, isn't he?
Detective Murphy: Victor?
Terri Smith: Victor Jennings. I used to know him. Sort of.
Detective Parker: How did you meet him?
Terri Smith: Samantha Hawke told me and my roommate Kristin that we should contact him because he could probably help us with our modeling careers. She said he had a lot of contacts in the business.
Detective Parker: You know Samantha Hawke too?
Terri Smith: No, not really. I did a fashion show for the college drama club back in September, and Samantha and Michael Hawke were there as the celebrity guest hosts. She talked to me and Kristin for a few minutes, but she talked to a lot of people that day. She probably doesn't even remember us.
Detective Murphy: So did you contact Victor Jennings?
Terri Smith: Yes.
Detective Murphy: And did he help you with your modeling career?
Terri Smith: Yes.
Detective Murphy: How did he help you?
Terri Smith: He introduced us to some people from Memphis who hired us for some regional print gigs.
Detective Murphy: Both you and Kristin?
Terri Smith: Yes.
Detective Murphy: What's Kristin's last name?
Terri Smith: Colby.
Detective Parker: You know, Terri, you say Victor helped you, but you sound like you didn't like him.
Terri Smith: I thought he was a nice man, but … he wasn't.
Detective Parker: What changed your mind?
Terri Smith: I just found out what he was really like. That's all.
Detective Parker: What was he really like?
Terri Smith: He was a dirty sleazeball, OK? He was a liar and a– he was just a terrible person, OK? I don't want to talk about it.
Detective Parker: What did he lie to you about?
Terri Smith: He said he just wanted to give back, to help young, talented people get started in the business the way someone did for him once. But that wasn't what he wanted at all.
Detective Parker: What did he want, Terri?
Terri Smith: He wanted what guys always want. He said I owed him. He said I had no right to say no after everything he'd done for me.
Detective Parker: But you did say no?
Terri Smith: Of course I did! But it didn't matter. He just– it didn't matter.
Detective Murphy: I'm so sorry that happened to you. Here's some tissue. Did you report what he did to the campus police or to the sheriff's department?
Terri Smith: I couldn't. He said Carl had filmed us, and if I said anything to anyone, he would post the video all over the internet.
Detective Murphy: When did this happen?
Terri Smith: December first. At one of his stupid parties.
Detective Murphy: Where?
Terri Smith: At his house. They were always at his house.
Detective Murphy: You'd been to his parties before?
Terri Smith: We went to a bunch of them. It was where we met the modeling agency people. But nothing like that ever happened before!
Detective Parker: Who went to the party with you?
Terri Smith: Kristin. I looked for her after I got away from Victor, but I couldn't find her anywhere. All I wanted to do was get out of that house. Some people were leaving, and I got them to give me a ride back to campus.
Detective Parker: I know he told you not to, but did you tell anyone about what happened?
Terri Smith: I told Kristin. She said he tried the same thing with her that night, but she fought him off. She always was stronger than me.
Detective Parker: Did you see or talk to Victor after that?
Terri Smith: No. No, no. I never want to see him again ever. Now I don't have to.
Detective Parker: Do you know if Kristin had any contact with him after that night?
Terri Smith: I don't think so. She was pissed though. She wanted him to pay for what he'd done.
Detective Murphy: Pay money?
Terri Smith: No, like payback. She said Kyle was taking care of it.
Detective Murphy: Who's Kyle?
Terri Smith: Her brother.
Detective Murphy: And did he take care of it?
Terri Smith: I don't know. We don't really talk about it.
Detective Murphy: Do you think Victor's death could've been Kyle taking care of it?
Terri Smith: What? No! I thought his death was an accident.
Detective Murphy: Sometimes murder can look like an accident at first. That's why we have to investigate.
Terri Smith: Well, I don't care. Kyle would never kill anybody.
Detective Murphy: Even if Kristin asked him to?
Terri Smith: No, not even then. And Kristin would never ask him to do that. Victor was the savage, not us.
Detective Parker: You spent some time around Victor and his friends. Do you know of anyone who might've wanted to kill him?
Terri Smith: Probably a lot of people, but he always had that Carl guy around. He's huge and really creepy. Victor always said Carl was there to make sure no one at the party tried to take advantage of us girls. Ha!
Detective Parker: Take as many tissues as you need, Terri. So who is this Carl guy?
Terri Smith: I don't know his last name. I didn't want to know. Victor said he was his researcher or some bullshit like that, but he was more like Victor's bodyguard or whatever.
Detective Parker: And you think anyone who wanted to get to Victor would've needed to go through Carl?
Terri Smith: Yeah.
Detective Parker: And did any of Victor's associates you met seem like they might've wanted to kill him, even with Carl?
Terri Smith: I don't know. I don't know what you want me to say. I can't talk about him anymore. I just can't.
Detective Murphy: OK, Terri. We can stop now. I just want to ask you one more thing. Have you talked to anyone about what you went through? I mean a professional.
Terri Smith: No. I can't do that.
Detective Murphy: I think you should consider it. Remember that it'll be completely confidential, and it really can help. If you're not sure who to talk to, we can recommend some people who specialize in helping people who've been through the same kind of thing you went through. I'll give you my card, and Detective Parker will give you hers. You can call either one of us at any time.
Terri Smith: Thank you. I'll think about it. Goodbye.
Interview ends: 10:18 a.m.