Statement of Deborah Irene Forsythe, 11:25 am, November 3
Miss Forsythe, what are the differences between the will discovered this morning and the one you remember the deceased making?
The provisions are entirely different from those I discussed with Julia. I know for a fact that she intended to leave almost the entire estate to the drug rehabilitation center named in the residuary clause. This will leaves much larger cash legacies to the family, and to me, leaving almost nothing to the Rochester Rehab Center. I helped her organize her estate when she made the will, and I've kept her books since then, so I know what her net worth is. I estimate she had about six million dollars when she died. Taxes will eat up everything she meant to leave for the center! And this will leaves the South African ostrich farm to George Edward. Julia knew her nephew had no interest in ostrich farming, that he was opposed to it. She was saddened not to leave it to someone in her family, but she made arrangements so that its profits would go to the center and the farm would go on. I know she wouldn't alter that; she'd be more likely to leave the farm to me than to George Edward. It's not the same will, and it's not how she would ever have chosen to dispose of her property.
You are not on of the witnesses to the will. How can you be sure this will is not correct? She could easily have made this will after the other.
I was named her executrix, and she discussed the details with me at the time she made the will. I was practically her estate counselor! The date on this will exactly coincides with the time when we were working out the correct provisions; it's the contents that are wrong.
Well, let's leave that for now and return to the circumstances of Miss Rochester's death. How long were the birthday guests there?
Oh, everyone arrived a week ago yesterday. Beatrice and Simon live rather a long ways away, and Julia wanted to have a family gathering so they could all meet George Edward's wife, Maggie. Jake Lewis lives in the area, but Julia invited him to stay here because she wanted to discuss a new farm purchase with him. She took a strong liking to him when they met before; it was a treat for her to find someone as interested in ostriches as she was.
How familiar are the visitors with the house?
Well, only Maggie and Jake had never been here before. From what Julia has said, George Edward spent a fair amount of time here when he was a boy. Beatrice and Simon visited many times over the years.
And who, besides you, knows where that safe is?
Well, Julia, of course. I'm not sure about the others-Beatrice and Simon have certainly been here many times. I've never put anything in the safe for them, but it was installed long before I came. They might know about it.
How was the food for the party prepared?
Well, we had a small local caterer-Rosalie's-come in and serve dinner. They took care of all the preparations, except for the cake. It's a very reputable operation. We've used them before and been very satisfied with their work. They brought everything over just before we ate and served it themselves.
Who made the birthday cake?
A local bakery called Marzipan. It was delivered yesterday morning.
And where was it stored?
In the kitchen; where else would we put it?
What can you tell me about the fire at the motel?
It was horrible. The flames were through the wall when I made it to the door. I nearly died in that fire, and nobody from the family did a thing to help me. I know they say that they were in shock and befuddled with all of the other occupants milling about, but it makes me wonder if they think ill of me or think I killed Julia or something. Why didn't the Rochesters wake me? I don't understand.
Did you kill Julia?
Of course not. Don't be ridiculous. How could you ask that? It's best that you leave. Sorry.