Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 8:00 a.m.
Thomas Jefferson Eldon III was Victor Jennings' attorney. Detectives Murphy and Parker re-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 Eldon
Detective Parker: Please state your name and address for the record.
Thomas Eldon: Thomas Eldon. 25 David Street.
Detective Murphy: Good morning, Thomas. How's it going settling Victor's legal matters?
Thomas Eldon: Good morning to you. Actually, I have run into a few problems.
Detective Murphy: Such as?
Thomas Eldon: Bradford Jennings. You see, my grandfather has been his attorney for many years, since Brad's very first criminal offense. My grandfather tells me Brad is refusing to change his will. He originally left everything to Victor, and he will not amend it. Brad says he won't leave his money to his lying wife – his words, not mine – and he's already given Raymond way more than he deserves. Again, his words.
Detective Parker: Exactly how is this your problem?
Thomas Eldon: I'm still the attorney for Victor's estate, and if Brad doesn't name a different beneficiary– well, let's just say it would be a whole lot simpler if he'd just change his will.
Detective Parker: Did Victor have a will?
Thomas Eldon: He did.
Detective Parker: Who are his beneficiaries?
Thomas Eldon: Until recently, it had always been just Carl Asher.
Detective Murphy: Something changed?
Thomas Eldon: In January, he asked me to add another beneficiary. Now, half his estate goes to Carl and half to a Troy Daniels. Before you ask, I have no clue who Troy is. Victor wouldn't say.
Detective Parker: You didn't ask?
Thomas Eldon: I'm paid to represent my clients. When it comes to preparing wills, I just do what the client wishes. They're under no obligation to tell me why certain people inherit or others don't.
Detective Murphy: Thomas, let's go back to something you said earlier. We could look it up, but maybe you can save us some time. Would you happen to know what Brad's first criminal offense was?
Thomas Eldon: It was a misdemeanor domestic battery, but it was a long time ago, before my time.
Detective Murphy: Do you know anything about the circumstances surrounding that charge?
Thomas Eldon: Gramps said that when Margaret was in the maternity ward at the hospital, she and Brad had a marital spat. Apparently, Ray was only hours old when the nurses heard them arguing. One of them went to check on Margaret and saw Brad slap her. Margaret pressed charges, but Gramps convinced her to drop them.
Detective Murphy: Why did he do that?
Thomas Eldon: I don't know. Like I said, before my time.
Detective Parker: So this issue with Brad's will is the only problem you've run into related to Victor's estate?
Thomas Eldon: Not a problem necessarily, but Margaret did ask me if I could get my grandfather to use his influence with Brad to get him to make her his beneficiary now that Victor is dead. In a way, I was surprised she'd bring it up so soon after Victor's death, but I guess I can understand it.
Detective Parker: Why's that?
Thomas Eldon: Brad's not well. I don't know how much longer he has, to be honest. I'm just speculating, but maybe she didn't think she could wait.
Detective Murphy: Why would she ask you to talk to your grandfather on her behalf?
Thomas Eldon: She knows Brad usually listens to Gramps. I guess she thought Gramps would listen to me.
Detective Murphy: And did you talk to your grandfather for her?
Thomas Eldon: No. I warned her it might have the opposite effect of what she was hoping for. Gramps and Brad have been friends for a long time. I don't think he'd like it if he thought Margaret was using me to manipulate him into getting Brad to do something he didn't want to do. When I told her that, she asked me to forget it.
Detective Parker: Has she asked you to do anything else for her since Victor's death?
Thomas Eldon: Yes, but it has no relevance to this case.
Detective Parker: You never know. What did she want?
Thomas Eldon: She asked me to put her in contact with a good private investigator. She wanted to locate someone but didn't want him to know she was searching for him.
Detective Murphy: Did she mention a name for this mystery person?
Thomas Eldon: John Raymond.
Detective Parker: Did you hook her up with a PI?
Thomas Eldon: No, I did not. Before you ask, she didn't tell me her reasons for wanting to find the guy either.
Detective Parker: Why didn't you help her out with the PI?
Thomas Eldon: Because I didn't know what she was up to, and if it ended up being something that involved Brad or Victor's estate in a legal matter, we could be getting into conflict of interest territory. I couldn't risk it.
Detective Murphy. OK. Let's go back to Carl for a moment. Did he know he was named in Victor's will?
Thomas Eldon: I have no idea. He could have.
Detective Parker: In our last interview, you said Victor died owing you fees.
Thomas Eldon: Correct. As one of his creditors, the estate will pay my fees and the other debts before the balance is divided between Carl Asher and Troy Daniels.
Detective Murphy: You know where Troy Daniels lives?
Thomas Eldon: Somewhere in town. I don't have it on me, but Victor left a contact address and phone number, but I had strict instructions not to use either one while he was alive.
Detective Murphy: Have you contacted Troy since Victor died?
Thomas Eldon: Not yet. We're still compiling the details of his estate: creditors, assets, life insurance, and so on. I want to get a better sense of the size of the inheritance we're talking about before I get someone's hopes up.
Detective Parker: But you can give us the address and phone number?
Thomas Eldon: Sure, but you'll have to call me at my office because, like I said, I don't have it on me. I'll be back there later this afternoon.
Detective Murphy: We'll do that. Thanks for your cooperation, Thomas.
Thomas Eldon: Happy to help where I can. Let me know if you need anything else. Good day.
Interview ends: 8:25 a.m.