Chapter 8 - April 2, 2003 - Episode 1Listen to podcast
Initial Interview by NYPD Detective Mark Cohen 4/2/2003
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Louise Lazard (9:15 A.M.)
Q: Ms. Lazard, I know this is a hard time for you. I would like to express my condolences on the death of your husband.
A: Thank you.
Q: Unfortunately, we must conduct these interviews quickly in order to get the most information from them; otherwise I assure you that I would not have disturbed you at this time.
A: I understand.
Q: This is an informal interview. However, you do have the right to an attorney of your choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, the City will provide one for you. Moreover, any statements you make to me today could be used against you in a court of law. This interview is being taped. Do you understand and agree to these conditions?
A: Yes, although I’m not sure I should.
Q: Do you wish to be represented by an attorney?
A: No, although I probably should.
Q: Ms. Lazard, you are absolutely entitled to be represented by an attorney. If you think you should, we will postpone this interview to allow you reasonable time to obtain representation. If you cannot afford an attorney, the City will provide one for you.
A: I can afford an attorney; that is not the issue.
Q: Do you wish to be represented by an attorney at this time?
A: I guess not.
Q: If, at any time during this interview, you wish to be represented by an attorney, please make that known and the interview will cease until representation has been arranged. Is that understood?
Q: I am now handing you a consent form in which you acknowledge that I have advised you of your right to be represented by an attorney and that you have elected to proceed without an attorney at this time. Are you comfortable signing this form?
A: I’ll sign it. I do want to help.
Q: The transcript of this interview will show that you reviewed the consent form, signed it and handed it to me. What is your full name?
A: Louise Levine Lazard.
Q: Was Levine your maiden name?
Q: Was your marriage to the deceased your first marriage?
A: Yes. I would prefer that you refer to him as Larry, not “the deceased”.
Q: Yes, ma’am. Have you ever used any other names?
Q: Where and when were you born?
A: I was born on November 1st, 1971 in Hempstead.
Q: Is that Hempstead, Long Island?
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I attended a private Jewish school in Great Neck from preschool through third grade. From fourth grade through high school I went to a different Jewish school in Cedarhurst.
Q: Is Cedarhurst also on Long Island? Did you move?
A: Yes, Long Island. It’s one of the five towns. We lived in Inwood — that’s another of the five towns — the whole time. I changed schools because my father decided that the school in Great Neck was too liberal; the one in Inwood was Conservative.
Q: Did you attend college?
A: Yes, I went to BU.
Q: In Boston?
A: That’s right, Boston University.
Q: Did you graduate from BU?
A: Yes, in 1992.
Q: What was your major?
A: How is this relevant?
Q: I don’t know. I never know whether the answers to questions are relevant until I hear them and maybe not even then. I do know this is a hard time for you and do appreciate your putting up with my questions.
A: Okay. My major was Middle Eastern History.
Q: Did you continue that in graduate school?
A: I didn’t go to graduate school; I married Larry right after I graduated from college.
Q: Where did you meet the de— uh, Larry?
A: I met him at a party at the Harvard B-School.
Q: When was that?
A: In 1990, my junior year.
Q: Did you start dating then?
A: No. He was with Donna Reynolds — Donna Langhorne now. They were a thing then. Have you talked to her?
Q: I’m sorry; I’m not allowed to disclose anything about other interviews I may or may not have done. I don’t mean to be rude but I have to follow those rules.
A: No problem; we all have rules.
Q: Thank you for understanding. When did you start dating ... Larry?
A: About three months after we met. I heard they broke up and I called him and invited him to dinner. We dated on and off for the rest of that year. Then Larry graduated and went to New York City to work at the bank and I went home to Inwood for the summer.
Q: Did you see each other that summer?
A: Not until I started living with him in August.
Q: I’m sorry to ask personal questions, but I know that you understand that I have to. How is it that you went from not seeing each other to suddenly living together?
A: I had a fight with my father. He was very controlling and I used to give in all the time. One day I didn’t give in and he ordered me out of the house. I could have apologized and come back but, instead, I called Larry just to have someone to talk to, went to his place for a drink, and never left. I mean, I did leave to go back for my last year of college, but we couldn’t stand being apart. Larry would take the train or the shuttle or even the miserable bus up almost every weekend or I’d come down. I never moved back to my father’s house.
Q: How did your father feel about that?
A: You know, at first he was very angry. But he really liked Larry; he thought he had a great future, and he liked the way he treated me. So he put up with the living together; he could never bring himself to visit us until we were married but he and my mom and Larry and I would get together for dinner in the City or we’d go out to Inwood for the day and all get along great.
Then, once we were engaged, he was ecstatic, couldn’t do enough for us.
Q: Why did you get engaged?
A: Because we were going to get married. It seemed a reasonable thing to do. What do you mean?
Q: I mean, why did you decide to get married? During those times people your age didn’t usually marry unless they were about to have children and you didn’t do that. Did you plan to have children right away?
A: No. We didn’t plan to have children ever. We can’t; we share a recessive gene that would make that much too dangerous for the kid. We decided to get married because we wanted to be together. Our friends asked us the same question. My mother even managed to ask if I were pregnant after a lot of hemming and hawing. But I wasn’t. We liked surprising people. We liked surprising ourselves. And we loved each other. So we got engaged and we got married.
Who do you think killed my husband, detective? And why?
Q: I’m sorry; I can’t answer that, Ms. Lazard.
A: Because of your rules?
Q: Because I don’t know the answer. Most people think Larry killed himself; do you not think that?
A: I know he didn’t.
Q: How do you know?
A: It’s impossible; he wouldn’t. He loved himself and he wouldn’t kill himself is one reason for one thing.
Q: Did anything happen lately to depress him?
A: Yeah, a lot of things. It’s a pretty depressing time. But he wouldn’t have killed himself over any of them. He’s too stubborn.
Q: What are some of the things that were depressing him lately?
A: Well, one is I threw him out of the house. We’ve been separated for the last month. I hope that depressed him; it sure as hell depressed me.
Q: What was the reason for your separation?
A: I assume you know by now about his recent thing with the bitch from Barcourt & Brotherson.
Q: I can’t talk about what-
A: Right. Anyway, that’s why I threw him out. I thought he was over being a tom cat. He isn’t ... he wasn’t. I guess he is now. Oh, Jesus...
Q: I’m sorry but I do have to ask more questions.
A: Sure, go ahead.
Q: We’ll come back to the subject of the woman from Barcourt & Brotherson another time.
A: How tactful. Thanks.