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Interview: Carla Brown, hotel manager

Friday, June 25, 2004 -- 9:45 AM

The witness, Carla Brown, is a 38-year-old African-American female and the manager of Best Western Downtown Oxford Inn & Suites. The interview took place in her office and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
CB = Carla Brown

SM: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

CB: My name is Carla Brown and I live at 1217 Jackson Avenue East.

TA: Thank you for agreeing to talk with us today on such short notice.

CB: I'll help however I can.

SM: We appreciate that. What we need is a list of guests who stayed here on four dates, all of them in May of this year.

CB: Corporate policy is for us to cooperate with law enforcement, but to require that you secure a warrant prior to releasing guests' private information.

SM: We understand your situation. At this point, we're not asking you to reveal any private information about your guests. We're asking for your assistance.  If, after our conversation today, we determine it would be appropriate for us to get a court order to get us access to your customer records, we'll do so at that time.  Okay?

CB: Yes, but I fail to see--

SM: The situation is this. A murder victim placed four calls to this hotel in the month prior to her death. We'd like your help in learning a bit more about those calls.

CB: I'm not sure I'll be able to help you, but I'll do what I can.

SM: There are four dates we're interested in -- May 3, May 7, May 12, and May 18. Can you tell us whether there was anyone who was here on all of those days?

CB: Does this have anything to do with the professor who was killed?

SM: Actually, it does.

CB: Well, I don't think I could give you any names without a warrant. How about I tell you just yes or no? Yes, there was someone here on all those days or no, there was not.

SM: That would be great.

CB: If you give me a few minutes, I'll see if there were any guests registered on all the dates in question.

SM: Take as much time as you need.

CB: I still won't be able to divulge any names without a warrant.

SM: We understand that. If there guests who were here on all those dates, we'll take care of the rest.

CB: The computer is checking.

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TA: The hotel has been updated since I last stayed here.

CB: We went through a total renovation, five million dollars.

TA: It shows.

CB: Here we are. I'm sorry, but there were no matches.

TA: Not even a John Smith?

CB: I'm afraid not.

SM: Thanks for trying.

TA: Could you tell us whether Kristi Waterson was a registered guest during the month of May?

CB: Not without a warrant.

TA: Of course, I can't speak for Kristi, but if I was murdered, I'd think that bringing my killer to justice would outweigh privacy concerns.

CB: Miss Waterson's family may disagree.

SM: We wouldn't want to get you in any trouble.

TA: Let's say a guest called the front desk. Unpacking at home after a long trip, the person discovered a ladies watch that didn't belong to them in their luggage. The watch looked expensive and was engraved with the initials KW. Now, it was a long trip. The person stayed at lots of hotels and can't be certain that this is the one where the watch was somehow dropped into the suitcase. Could the clerk at the front desk confirm whether anyone with the initials KW stayed here during May?

CB: The person at the front desk would probably part with that information in the interests of customer service.

TA: If you'll excuse me for a second, I have a sudden urge to call my wife.

SM: How long have you been in hotel management?

CB: Fourteen years. This is my third chain.

SM: Move sideways to move up?

CB: It's more a case of seeking preferred locations. I've always loved Oxford. A very vibrant community. And with the university next door, there's no shortage of job applicants.

SM: You think you'll stay here then?

CB: I wouldn't turn down a transfer to Belgium.

SM: You speak French?

CB: I speak chocolate.

TA: Sorry I had to step out for a minute. My wife has been trying to discover where she picked up this watch she found. Apparently, it wasn't at your hotel.

CB: Do you have any additional questions, Detectives?

SM: If we could have just a few more minutes of your time.

CB: Of course.

SM: If we gave you a list of names, could you determine whether any of the people were registered guests during the last month?

CB: Not without that warrant. And the clerk at the front desk is much too busy to track down any additional mystery watches.

TA: You've been very helpful.

CB: Sorry I couldn't help you more, but you understand. Good luck with your investigation.

SM: Thank you.

Interview ends -- 10:21 AM

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