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Witness Interview: Vig Kessel

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 11:37 a.m.

The witness was identified as Vig Kessel, age 30. Detective Armstrong interviewed Kessel at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. The interview was recorded on a portable audio tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective Ted Armstrong
JS = Vig Kessel

TA: State your name and address for the record.

VK: Vig Kessel, 1229 Poplar Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee.

TA: Thank you for coming.

VK: No problem. Greg was cool. Anything to help. I heard his brother was up for Valerie's murder? What's up?

TA: Giblini's brother was charged initially, but things changed. He has other problems right now. We also have new information we're following up on.

VK: Ok friend, how can I help?

TA: You've already been helpful. Thank you for supplying a DNA sample for us.

VK: I told you, that's not my blood on the cat.

TA: Will you confirm for this record that you voluntarily gave a DNA sample to officer McDonald of the Knoxville police department on June 12, 2003?

VK: Yes. Are those the results there? I'm surprised you're still building a DNA comparison profile for the cats blood after all this time.

TA: Actually, we found some new DNA at the scene.

VK: Really, where?

TA: We'll get to that. How would you describe your relationship with the victim?

VK: I didn't have a relationship with her. I knew her to see her. Sometimes I hung out with Greg when he was in town and so we knew of each other through him. We had beers once and I had them over to my house once.

TA: So, you'd never been in her home?

VK: No, my friend, she never asked me in.

TA: You'd never been in there?

VK: That's what I said.

TA: OK then. Cool.

VK: Don't even go there. That doesn't sound right coming out of you.

TA: Right.

VK: Tell me about your relationship with Greg Giblini.

TA: We were pals. He knew that rm happens.

VK: Rm? What's that?

TA: Its geek speak. You wouldn't get it.

VK: Try me.

TA: Rm is the unix command to delete files. On a windows or mac you delete and the system says , "Are you sure?" on a unix machine it just deletes. If you're in the wrong place on your drive and you type, "rm *" you've hosed the files, the system, everything. Anyway, I was wearing my RM HAPPENS shirt and he laughed. That started the friendship.

TA: So, to be clear, you are a programmer?

VK: Yes, I write code, Perl and Java mostly. I do work with databases too.

TA: And Greg --did you ever code things with him?

VK: No, we never worked together. He and his brothers were working on some video codecs for interactive TV. He told me about that, but not any details. Good thing too, I might have stolen his ideas even though they were coding with C++ language, real old school stuff. You look confused, C++ is a programming language, like Perl and Java.

TA: Got it. You never saw the program he was working on?

VK: No my friend, never.

TA: Did you ever do drugs with Greg Giblini or Valerie Vilson.

VK: Not my thing friend. I like dark beer and loud music. I prefer the bar scene to sitting on the couch getting wasted.

TA: Tell you what. Stop calling me your friend and I'll cut to the chase.

VK: Yes officer?

TA: Where were you in the early morning hours of April 2, 1995, the morning of Valerie Vilson's murder?

VK: You know I was with my girlfriend. I spent the night.

TA: She'd no longer willing to support that statement.

VK: What?

TA: Perhaps if you'd have paid some child support she might have backed you up?

VK: Look, I was with some bar bimbo that night. Eight years later though, I don't know her name or where she is. You, my friend, are screwing me over.

TA: I am not your friend. Tell you what, why don't I just go ahead and believe your tale for now. I think you have other worries.

VK: Like the new DNA? What did you find after all this time?

TA: We'll get to that. Tell me more about you and Greg. You two were on the road for a long time. How did you come to travel with him?

VK: He showed up at my house that morning, the 2nd I guess. He freaked out when I told him Val was dead. He didn't know what to do. I agreed to go on a road trip with him to figure it out.

TA: And all that time he never told you about the project he was working on.

VK: Never.

TA: Let me sum up. You'd never been in the victim's home.

VK: That's right. You know, maybe I should call some representation.

TA: That's your right. And if you have something to hide, it'd be a good idea.

VK: Just so you know. I don't like the tone of this and I don't like what you're implying. lets get this over with. What else?

TA: What do you know about lock picking?

VK: Just what I see on TV.

TA: I'm told that making a working key for a lock is the same as decrypting a digital password. That with the right lock, a hacker can make a working key to a door in 3 tries.

VK: Its actually in less than 5 tries. You usually get lucky and get in within three tries though. The thing is, this doesn't work on regular locks. With a regular lock there are hundreds of possible key combinations and you'd have to try them all to make a working key. When there is a master key, we go from hundreds of possible combinations to maybe a dozen. We use a logic algorithm to determine the correct key combos and wham, you're in--but this information is on the Internet --check MIT's site. Anyone can do it and I never have done it in practice, just theory.

TA: But, you could make a key to an apartment door, like Valerie Vilson's, in how many tries?

VK: Three, if I was trying.

TA: So, let me sum this up. You have never been in the victim's home. She never invited you in. But, if you wanted, you could easily break in. Correct.

VK: You are gonna screw me. I can feel it coming. What's this Bull all about? I drive five hours to help you guys and then i find out its all some con game. Look, I gave you that DNA sample because I wanted to help. I drove here because I wanted to help. I no longer want to help. I'm done here.

TA: I thought you were curious about the DNA we found?

VK: If you're going to tell me, fine. If not...
DNA Test Results
Skin cells from stage make-up found at the scene were further processed using the DS180 locus (PCR) and compared to suspect samples.

L = Allele Ladders for comparison
A = Sample in make-up
B = Sample B
L = Allele Ladders for comparison
B = Sample C
C = Sample D
L = Allele Ladders for comparison

From the DS180 profiles sample C is a match. Sample C is from Vig Kessel.

TA: It was in the clown makeup. We found some flecks of skin in the makeup. In 1995 no one was able to test that small of a sample. A few months ago, the guys in the state lab were going through the Vilson evidence to store it and saw that no one had thought to get a sample from the makeup. Its been there all this time. It just wasn't on our radar.

TA: We took that sample and compared it to everyone remotely connected to the case. We told them all that it was to test against the blood on the cat. We collected over a dozen samples voluntarily before you offered yours. You, my friend, are the winner. You match the DNA sample we found in that makeup.

VK: I'm being screwed in here! I'm being screwed. I want you to call the Armenian Embassy. I want to speak with Tigran Seiranian. No more questions. I'm done.

TA: I've got a few more questions. I'll talk and you can sit there if you want. We'll call the embassy, don't worry. Did you break into Valerie Vilson's home in the months before her death to frighten her and to look for that computer program?

VK: Khmbo.

TA: What's that some Armenian cuss word? Same to you. Next question. Did you follow Vilson and Will Giblini the night of the murder and then break in after he left?

VK: Khmbo!

TA: Why did you have to kill Vilson? It's obvious you were trying to frame Will for the murder but why go to all the lengths to bathe and pose Vilson?

VK: Khmbo!

TA: Was it to get closer to Greg? Did it work? Did he have a breakdown? Did he share the code with you?

VK: That code was never his or his idiot brothers. Never. It was developed in Armenia and stolen away. I want my embassy. I have diplomatic immunity.

TA: You're in Mississippi now son. Some Armenian wearing a funny cap and living in New York won't do much good for you here. You're under arrest. Put your valuables in the basket and I'll log them in for you.

VK: Fine. I'll be suing you later my friend.

TA: Good, my attorney's name is Lionel Hutz. Hey, that's a nice watch. Rolex?

VK: Yes, it cost more than your crappy house I bet.

TA: I'm going to be real interested to get you booked and printed. One of the Giblini boys had a watch like this before he was killed and it was never found. And at that scene there was an unidentified print. Yes sir, this day is looking better all the time.

VK: I want to speak with Tigran Seiranian. Call him now. Now!

End interview 12:12 p.m.

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