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Douglas Talbot interview

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 10:00 a.m.

Douglas Talbot had a relationship with Courtney Morris and accepted the detectives invitation to discuss it with them. Mr. Talbot's attorney Benjamin Childs III accompanied him. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed Mr. Talbot at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witnesses' knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Douglas Talbot
  • Benjamin Childs III

Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in today, gentleman. I'm Detective Murphy. This is Detective Parker. Would you please state your names and addresses for the record?

Douglas Talbot: Good morning, ladies. I'm Doug Talbot, 114 St. Andrews Circle.

Benjamin Childs: Benjamin Childs III, Childs & Childs on the Square.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Childs, you represent Mr. Talbot?

Benjamin Childs: That's correct.

Detective Murphy: OK. Mr. Talbot, it's good to finally meet you. We've been looking for you, you know?

Douglas Talbot: I'm so sorry about that. We were out of town for the holiday weekend.

Detective Murphy: You're not curious why we want to talk to you?

Douglas Talbot: I assumed it was because of Courtney. Poor girl. I can't believe what happened to her. It's just awful.

Detective Murphy: So you did know Courtney Morris?

Douglas Talbot: Yes, I did.

Detective Murphy: And you know what happened to her?

Douglas Talbot: Only what I read in the paper. I know she's dead. That's all that matters.

Detective Murphy: Actually, that's not all that matters. It also matters how she got that way.

Douglas Talbot: Yes, of course. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

Detective Murphy: How would you characterize your relationship with Courtney?

Douglas Talbot: She was my mistress.

Detective Murphy: OK, then.

Benjamin Childs: We're willing to stipulate that Mr. Talbot had a sexual relationship with Ms. Morris.

Detective Murphy: So I see. How did you meet Courtney, Mr. Talbot?

Douglas Talbot: At an Ole Miss football game last year.

Detective Parker: You're a football fan?

Douglas Talbot: Isn't everyone? I go to every home game and as many away games as I can get to.

Detective Parker: Does your wife go with you?

Douglas Talbot: I'm afraid Clarissa isn't one for sports. She comes with me to the Homecoming game, but she usually has other plans on the weekends.

Detective Murphy: So you met Courtney at a football game, and then what happened?

Douglas Talbot: We hit it off, and we started seeing each other.

Detective Parker: Did Courtney know you were married?

Douglas Talbot: Of course.

Detective Murphy: How did your relationship with Courtney progress from there?

Douglas Talbot: You mean the apartment?

Detective Murphy: If you say so.

Douglas Talbot: Courtney was living in a dorm with a roommate when we started seeing each other. It was… inconvenient. It made sense for her to move to an apartment so we'd have more freedom.

Detective Murphy: So you helped her find an apartment?

Douglas Talbot: I paid for it. Courtney was still in school. She couldn't afford it on her own. I understood that.

Detective Murphy: OK. When did you last see Courtney?

Douglas Talbot: Last weekend.

Detective Parker: This past weekend? Labor Day weekend?

Douglas Talbot: No, of course not. The weekend before that.

Detective Parker: The weekend she was killed.

Douglas Talbot: Yes, I'm afraid so.

Detective Parker: Can you be more specific about when exactly you last saw her?

Benjamin Childs: If I may, we're willing to stipulate that Mr. Talbot saw Ms. Morris on the morning she died. However, we emphatically deny that he had anything whatsoever to do with her death.

Detective Murphy: Uh-huh. So you saw her on Sunday morning?

Douglas Talbot: Yes.

Detective Murphy: Tell us about that.

Douglas Talbot: I went to see her Sunday morning‒

Detective Parker: About what time?

Douglas Talbot: A little before 9:00.

Detective Murphy: And then?

Douglas Talbot: We spent some time together, and then I left.

Detective Murphy: What exactly did you do during your visit?

Douglas Talbot: We enjoyed each other's company.

Detective Murphy: Be more specific.

Douglas Talbot: We talked. We laughed. We‒

Detective Murphy: Did you have sex?

Douglas Talbot: Yes.

Detective Murphy: Consensual sex?

Douglas Talbot: Of course.

Detective Murphy: And then what?

Douglas Talbot: And then I left.

Detective Murphy: What time?

Douglas Talbot: Probably about 10:30. I'm not sure of the exact time.

Detective Parker: How would you describe Courtney's mood when you left?

Douglas Talbot: She was happy. Upbeat.

Detective Parker: She wasn't upset about anything?

Douglas Talbot: No.

Detective Parker: And she was alive?

Douglas Talbot: Of course.

Benjamin Childs: Detectives, we've already told you that Mr. Talbot had nothing whatsoever to do with Ms. Morris's death.

Detective Parker: Yes, you did.

Detective Murphy: Where did you go after you left Courtney's apartment?

Douglas Talbot: I went home. The kids were coming over for brunch.

Detective Murphy: Your children don't live with you?

Douglas Talbot: Just our youngest. He's still in high school. The other two are already out on their own.

Detective Parker: Your wife was there too?

Douglas Talbot: Of course.

Detective Murphy: So your wife and children will be able to corroborate your whereabouts that Sunday afternoon?

Douglas Talbot: They will, but I hope that won't be necessary. My children would find it upsetting to discuss the... eccentricities of my wife's and my relationship with outsiders.

Detective Parker: You think they don't know you cheat on your wife?

Benjamin Childs: There's no need for that kind of disrespectful talk.

Douglas Talbot: No, Ben, it's all right. It's difficult for most people of this young lady's age to understand the permutations of marriage over the years. Her reaction is understandable.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Talbot, Detective Parker is a detective with the Sheriff's Department, not some young coed you can charm with your smile and your silver tongue. You'd do well to keep that in mind.

Douglas Talbot: I apologize. I didn't mean to offend.

Detective Parker: Does your wife know about your relationship with Courtney?

Douglas Talbot: She does. Well, she doesn't know Courtney specifically, but she knows there's someone.

Detective Parker: And she has no problem with that?

Douglas Talbot: She doesn't. My wife has interests of her own that I don't trouble myself with. We reached an understanding long ago.

Detective Parker: So you cheat, your wife cheats, and neither of you minds?

Douglas Talbot: I wouldn't put it quite that way, but yes, I suppose that's accurate.

Detective Murphy: Did your wife mind that you got Courtney pregnant?

Douglas Talbot: I didn't do that.

Detective Murphy: You don't sound surprised. You knew she was pregnant?

Douglas Talbot: Of course. We had no secrets.

Detective Murphy: Then how can you be so sure that you're not the father?

Douglas Talbot: Because I had a vasectomy more than 15 years ago.

Detective Murphy: Do you have medical records to back that up?

Benjamin Childs: We believe that won't be necessary.

Detective Murphy: And if it is?

Benjamin Childs: Then we will comply with any lawful order.

Detective Parker: If you're not the father of Courtney's baby, Mr. Talbot, who is?

Douglas Talbot: Her boyfriend, I would think.

Detective Murphy: You know her boyfriend's name?

Douglas Talbot: Justin Landry.

Detective Parker: You knew she had a boyfriend?

Douglas Talbot: Yes.

Detective Parker: And that didn't bother you?

Douglas Talbot: I was hardly in a position to complain.

Detective Parker: Did Courtney tell him she was also seeing you?

Douglas Talbot: I don't know for sure, but I don't believe she did.

Detective Murphy: How did you find out Courtney was pregnant?

Douglas Talbot: She told me.

Detective Murphy: When?

Douglas Talbot: About a month ago now?

Detective Murphy: How did you respond?

Douglas Talbot: I told her I'd support whatever choice she made about what she wanted to do.

Detective Parker: Did she think you were the father?

Douglas Talbot: From what she knew then, it was possible, but I explained about the vasectomy and that it couldn't be mine.

Detective Parker: Did she believe you?

Douglas Talbot: She seemed to. She knew I never lied to her.

Detective Murphy: And what had she decided to do?

Douglas Talbot: I couldn't say.

Detective Murphy: Isn't there something about your visit with Courtney the day she died that you haven't told us?

Douglas Talbot: I don't know what you mean.

Detective Murphy: Did you bring anything with you that day?

Douglas Talbot: No... oh, is this about the roses?

Detective Murphy: Did you bring roses with you that day?

Douglas Talbot: No, I had them delivered. I often did.

Detective Murphy: Why?

Douglas Talbot: Why?

Detective Murphy: Yes, why? If you were already going to see her, why have the flowers delivered when you could've brought them in person?

Douglas Talbot: I wanted to make sure she was alone.

Detective Murphy: Can you explain that?

Douglas Talbot: It was a signal we worked out. If I wanted to drop by and we hadn't already scheduled something, I'd send her flowers. If she was home and alone, she'd bring the flowers inside. If she was home but someone was with her, she'd leave the flowers outside and I'd know she was busy.

Detective Murphy: That seems unnecessarily complicated. Why not just call her?

Douglas Talbot. Where's the excitement in that?

Detective Parker: Did you include a card with the flowers?

Douglas Talbot: Yes.

Detective Parker: What did it say?

Douglas Talbot: It said, "You made the right decision."

Detective Parker: Meaning?

Detective Murphy: Mr. Talbot? What did you mean by that?

Douglas Talbot: I meant that she'd made the right decision to bring the flowers inside and invite me in.

Detective Murphy: Mm, that doesn't sound right. What did you really mean?

Benjamin Childs: There's no call for that. Mr. Talbot has been honest with you. He's answered your questions. There's no need to question his truthfulness.

Detective Murphy: We'll just put that to the side for now. You mentioned Justin Landry earlier. Have you ever met him?

Douglas Talbot: No, I never met any of Courtney's friends. We agreed it was better that way.

Detective Murphy: Do you know if Justin knew about Courtney's pregnancy?

Benjamin Childs: Mr. Talbot can't be expected to know what another person did or did not know.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Childs, we're not in court. We're just talking here.

Douglas Talbot: Of course, I don't know for sure what Justin knew, but my understanding was that he did not know yet.

Detective Murphy: You said "yet." Was Courtney planning to tell him?

Douglas Talbot: Yes. I don't know when, but I got the impression she was going to do it soon. She was running out of time. Pretty soon, even Justin would've been able to tell she was pregnant without her saying a word.

Detective Parker: Do you know why Courtney hadn't told him yet?

Douglas Talbot: She was nervous about it. She didn't know if he was ready for that kind of change in his life.

Detective Parker: Change?

Douglas Talbot: Becoming a father.

Detective Parker: So as far as you know, she was planning to keep the baby? Not give it up for adoption or anything?

Douglas Talbot: Oh, yes. She was definitely excited about becoming a mother.

Detective Murphy: You don't sound that excited.

Douglas Talbot: Fortunately, it didn't have anything to do with me. To me, the whole prospect is exhausting. I've had my kids, and I wouldn't want to do that again now. But Courtney was young and full of energy. She would've been a wonderful mother.

Detective Murphy: Were you two going to keep seeing each other?

Douglas Talbot: We hadn't talked about it yet. Given the realities of the situation, probably not. Certainly not as much. She would've been busy with other things.

Detective Murphy: How did you feel about that change in your relationship?

Douglas Talbot: These things happen. It's how life is. We would've stopped seeing each other at some point anyway. Neither of us expected to be together for the long haul.

Detective Parker: Courtney never asked you to leave your wife?

Douglas Talbot: Absolutely not. She knew from the start that wasn't an option, and if she ever had a problem with that, she never told me.

Detective Murphy: Do you know if there was anyone who wanted to hurt Courtney or might've wanted to kill her?

Douglas Talbot: Apparently so.

Detective Murphy: Can you name anyone?

Douglas Talbot: No. If anyone was bothering her or scaring her, she never told me.

Detective Parker: If you were investigating this case, who would you talk to?

Douglas Talbot: I don't know. Justin, obviously. And her best friend, Mee-Yon. Other than that, I really don't know.

Detective Murphy: OK, Mr. Talbot. I think that's all we have for you today. We're going to check out your story, and we'll be in touch if we have any more questions.

Douglas Talbot: I understand. I hope you find whoever did this. Courtney shouldn't be dead now. She had so much life ahead of her.

Interview ends - 10:37 a.m.

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