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Dwight Kramer interview

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Friday, May 25, 2012 - 1:00 p.m.

Dwight Kramer is an assistant administrator at Baptist Memorial Hospital where Dr. Veronica Smith sometimes performed procedures. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Dwight Kramer

Detective Murphy: Have a seat. Mr. Kramer. I’m Detective Murphy. This is Detective Parker, who’s sitting in with us for a while, while Detective Armstrong is running down some other leads.

Dwight Kramer: You asked for this meeting. What can I do for you?

Detective Parker: First, please state your name and address for the record.

Dwight Kramer. Dwight Kramer. 237 Sivley Street.

Detective Murphy: Can you tell us what you do for a living?

Dwight Kramer: I'm an assistant administrator at the hospital.

Detective Murphy: Which means what exactly?

Dwight Kramer: I keep the doctors and nurses from driving the hospital off the tracks.

Detective Parker: So you wouldn't be happy to see a malpractice suit brought against the hospital that you're keeping in line.

Dwight Kramer: Any day that brings news of a malpractice suit is a bad day.

Detective Murphy: So, Mr. Kramer, what is your professional opinion of Dr. Veronica Smith?

Dwight Kramer: She had a file. Thicker than many.

Detective Murphy: And what does that mean?

Dwight Kramer: Detectives, I do not air the hospital's dirty laundry in public or on the record.

Detective Parker: Do you consider Dr. Smith to be dirty laundry?

Dwight Kramer: She kept me busy. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.

Detective Murphy: I see you married a nurse.

Dwight Kramer: What of it? Angie no longer works at the hospital. There's no conflict of interest.

Detective Murphy: I’m not suggesting that there was. I just kind of find it interesting that someone who spends their time monitoring nurses should marry one.

Dwight Kramer: Nurses aren't the problem. Doctors, they think they're above SOP, believing that they can just do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. If it weren't for me, they'd all be sitting at home playing “Operation.”

Detective Parker: Did Dr. Smith appreciate your efforts?

Dwight Kramer: Don't make me laugh.

Detective Parker: What about the other personnel? Was Dr. Smith less or more appreciative than others?

Dwight Kramer: Don't take my word for how difficult Dr. Smith could be. Ask around. Talk to Ruthie Foreman, for example. She had the misfortune of working extensively with Dr. Smith.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Kramer, do you believe that Dr. Smith was responsible for the death of Danielle Lemmons?

Dwight Kramer: I would never make such a statement.

Detective Murphy: Would it be fair to say that you would not be surprised if the court ruled in favor of Mr. Lemmons?

Dwight Kramer: I have been instructed not to discuss ongoing litigation.

Detective Murphy: Fair enough.

Detective Parker: Mr. Kramer, did I see that you have children?

Dwight Kramer: Two. Daniel and Alice.

Detective Parker: Daniel was your father's name.

Dwight Kramer: And Alice was the name of my wife's mother.

Detective Parker: Do either of them know what they want to be when they grow up?

Dwight Kramer: Well, Daniel wants to be a firefighter, and Alice, she wants to be as little like her parents as possible.

Detective Murphy: Children can be just as unappreciative as doctors.

Dwight Kramer: It's a stage. Alice will grow out of it. She's still trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world.

Detective Parker: Now tell me. If your children were ill and you learned that Dr. Smith would be treating them, how would you feel about that?

Dwight Kramer: I'd find another physician.

Detective Parker: Was Dr. Smith that poor of a doctor?

Dwight Kramer: That's not the issue. I wouldn't have wanted to feel in her debt.

Detective Murphy: Why?

Dwight Kramer: Dr. Smith, she collected secrets. She used them to control people and to manipulate.

Detective Murphy: But her treating your children wouldn't be a secret.

Dwight Kramer: I know that. I'm just saying—

Detective Parker: Did Dr. Smith hold any secrets over your head?

Dwight Kramer: Dr. Smith is dead. I don't have to worry about her treating my children or anyone else.

Detective Murphy: Tell us something positive about Dr. Smith.

Dwight Kramer: Her handwriting was impeccable, a noteworthy quality in a physician. Her paperwork might not have been timely, but at least I could always read what she wrote.

Detective Parker: Between the computer and the typewriter, I do so much on a keyboard that sometimes I can't even read my own signature.

Dwight Kramer: For Dr. Smith, her handwriting was a matter of pride.

Detective Parker: She told you that?

Dwight Kramer: It was obvious.

Detective Murphy: Did she ever mention to you that she was receiving threats?

Dwight Kramer: No, but then she wouldn't.

Detective Murphy: Texts or vandalism or even a sense she was being stalked?

Dwight Kramer: She would have never admitted such a weakness to me.

Detective Parker: What if she suspected someone at the hospital was responsible?

Dwight Kramer: That's not something she would have brought to my attention.

Detective Parker: Who would she have told?

Dwight Kramer: Human resources, I suppose. Or security.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Kramer, when was the last time you saw Dr. Smith?

Dwight Kramer: I’m not sure. It could have been weeks, months since I last saw her in person.

Detective Murphy: How did you feel when you heard she was dead?

Dwight Kramer: I would’ve thought she would be more likely to drive someone else to commit suicide than to do it herself.

Detective Parker: So you think she was the type of person that would kill herself?

Dwight Kramer: Well, apparently so.

Detective Murphy: Where were you the night she died?

Dwight Kramer: That I know. I'm not sure what time I left the hospital, but I arrived home after dinner. I grabbed some leftovers and headed out back to my workshop.

Detective Parker: What do you work on?

Dwight Kramer: I make Tiffany-style stained glass lamps.

Detective Murphy: Wow. That sounds interesting. Is there anyone that can confirm that that's where you were?

Dwight Kramer: Well, my family knows better than to disturb me when I'm in the workshop, and I built it on the far end of the property. My family might have noticed the lights on, but I don't suppose there's any particular reason why they would have looked.

Detective Parker: Does Dr. Smith's death affect the Lemmons suit?

Dwight Kramer: I don't honestly know. I've asked the doctors’ lawyers or the hospital's lawyers for clarification on that, but haven't received a satisfactory answer yet. Although I hope Kenneth Lemmons drops the suit, I don’t think we can count on that happening.

Detective Murphy: You mentioned that Dr. Smith collected secrets. Whose secrets did she know?

Dwight Kramer: I couldn’t say.

Detective Murphy: Is there anyone specific that you suspect she was manipulating?

Dwight Kramer: No one in particular, no.

Detective Parker: But you believe she was using information to control someone.

Dwight Kramer: Are we just about done here?

Detective Murphy: We can be done for now, if you like. We'll be in touch.

Interview ended: 1:17 p.m.

 

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