Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 3:10 p.m.
Will Sands is the bartender at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Will Sands
Will Sands: Thank you. Appreciate that.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for talking with us again, Will.
Will Sands: No problem.
Detective Murphy: We have a couple of more questions to ask you about the night Philip Fontaine was murdered.
Will Sands: All righty then. I mean, I've told you everything I know just about.
Detective Armstrong: Well, let's cover the "just about" part.
Will Sands: OK. Now, look. No offense, but a guy like me has to have some discretion, you know what I mean? I don't want to see my name plastered all over the Eagle tomorrow morning, all right?
Detective Armstrong: Take it easy, Will. Let's start with a simple one? You mentioned Fontaine came in with a girlfriend.
Will Sands: Yeah, he did. Dawn something or other. And, well, they came in quite often. Nobody ever really told me that they were intimate, but that's what it looked like. A lot of PDA, if you know what I mean, but nothing gross.
Detective Armstrong: Right. Did they come to the bar that night?
Will Sands: Not both of them. Not together.
Detective Armstrong: How about one of them?
Will Sands: Yeah. Dawn, the broad did. She sat at a table and ordered some chow and a beer.
Detective Murphy: When was that, would you say?
Will Sands: About 10:30.
Detective Murphy: And when did she leave?
Will Sands: Geez, I don't know. I mean, 11:30? 12:00? I mean, it was a real busy night, like I said. Forgive me if I didn't stand at the door with a clipboard and write down everybody's coming and going like I always do.
Detective Armstrong: Hold the sarcasm, Will. We're just trying to establish a timeline here.
Will Sands: OK
Detective Murphy: Did you notice anything unusual about her? Was she upset or angry about anything?
Will Sands: No. She was checking her cell phone a lot like she was waiting on a phone call or something, and she knocked down two beers real quick, but that was about it.
Detective Murphy: Did she say where she'd been before she came to the bar or did she say anything about Philip Fontaine?
Will Sands: Nope.
Detective Murphy: Did she talk with anyone else while she was there?
Will Sands: Nope.
Detective Murphy: How about in the parking lot?
Will Sands: I doubt it. The parking lot's not the best place for a young lady on her own. Most of the gals just go straight to their cars, and don't stop and talk to anybody.
Detective Armstrong: The parking lot's a dangerous place?
Will Sands: Yeah, it's pretty dangerous. You know, I called in all those license plate numbers of those scumbags' cars, and well, that took care of it for a while. But then, sooner or later, they came back. The same guys, night after night. You know, you'd think it'd be easy for you guys to round them scumbags up. No offense, but I think you know it's true.
Detective Armstrong: Who are the regulars?
Will Sands: In the parking lot?
Detective Armstrong: Yeah.
Will Sands: Well, I mean, I know them mostly by sight, and I don't want any trouble.
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean "trouble"?
Will Sands: Well, the guys in the parking lot are not out there for alcohol, if you know what I mean. You know, and I don't need to be bringing any heat down on old Will from some drug dealer, you know, because I blabbed.
Detective Armstrong: Not going to happen, Will. You've got my word.
Will Sands: All right.
Detective Murphy: We need to know more about the man you say you saw dealing drugs to Grant Fontaine.
Will Sands: Well, I really couldn't tell he was dealing drugs. I mean, it looked like it. But I mean, they were out in the parking lot, and I was in The Roadhouse bar. You know, my eyes could have been playing tricks on me.
Detective Armstrong: But it looked like it.
Will Sands: Yeah. I saw them passing the cash and that little plastic baggie.
Detective Murphy: OK. The man that you saw involved in that transaction, you said he came into the bar twice that night.
Will Sands: Yes. Yes, he did. He came in once earlier, before 7:00, and had one shot of tequila. And then later on, he locked himself in the bathroom.
Detective Murphy: What did he say to you?
Will Sands: Well, he didn't say a whole lot. I mean, he'd ask for a drink. He had a funny accent, you know, and I had to ask him to put his drink order in twice. He got all mad at me and called me a dumbass gringo.
Detective Armstrong: I take it the accent was Spanish?
Will Sands: Yeah, Mexican.
Detective Armstrong: You know his name?
Will Sands: No, he didn't tell me his name.
Detective Armstrong: Right. That's not what I asked. Do you know his name?
Will Sands: No. Well, I mean, yeah, I heard it. I think.
Detective Armstrong: Come on, Will.
Will Sands: It think it's Benito because there was a guy one time standing at the front door and he yelled, "Benito, hurry up! We've got to get going!" And this was the character that ran to him. But, I mean, that was a while ago. I can't be too sure.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever hear a last name?
Will Sands: No, not that I can recall.
Detective Armstrong: But you'd recognize the guy?
Will Sands: Oh, yeah. Yeah. he was a real snappy dresser, you know. You could tell where his drug money went.
Detective Murphy: The night Fontaine was killed, what was he wearing?
Will Sands: You know, that's interesting. He was wearing a suit that night when he came in the first time, a real flashy suit with a real hot pink shirt. That seemed to be the character's steady getup. You know what I mean? And then, he went into the bathroom, locked himself in there for a real long time. And when he came back out, he was wearing one of them handyman outfits. You know, like the type that you get at the hardware store. I think they're, like, coveralls. And then he just had a couple more drinks.
Detective Armstrong: Was this the guy before you said looked all messed up?
Will Sands: Yes, I was. And he was all messed up. He had a couple of busted knuckles, and I seen them when I gave him his drink. And he had a cut on his forehead, and a funny-looking smack across the side of his face.
Detective Murphy: So he'd been in a fight?
Will Sands: Well, he could've. I'm not sure. But definitely not at The Roadhouse, no. And then, after that, he just had a couple more drinks, and came back out of the bathroom and he had the suit back on. And maybe he had it underneath his handyman suit. I'm not sure. And then the back of his collar was all wet like he had dunked his head underneath the faucet.
Detective Murphy: So how long did he stay after that?
Will Sands: Didn't stay very long. Had one more for the road. The guy spent more time in the bathroom than he did in the bar.
Detective Armstrong: You mentioned he had a fat wad of cash.
Will Sands: He sure did. That was weird. It was a big wad of C-notes. Now, the first time he came in that night, he paid with ones and fives. But then the second time, he had a whole wad of C-notes. He even paid with a C-note and didn't even bother to pick up his change. Didn't Philip Fontaine get robbed? Did this guy steal the dough? Is that what this is all about?
Detective Armstrong: Will, you know we can't talk about that.
Detective Murphy: What else can you tell us about Benito the night‒ that night? Did you notice anything else about him at all?
Will Sands: No, not really. Not that I can recall.
Detective Murphy: Well, OK, now you said that Grant Fontaine was not in the bar that night. Are you sure?
Will Sands: I'm sure because I was keeping an eye on the parking lot, you know. And it just burns me up that those scumbags are still out there in my parking lot. But, no, Grant was not there.
Detective Murphy: And Benito never mentioned either Grant Fontaine or Philip Fontaine?
Will Sands: No, he did not.
Detective Armstrong: You still have that list of license plate numbers you drew up for your friends?
Will Sands: Yeah, sure, I got it somewhere.
Detective Armstrong: Get us a copy, would you?
Will Sands: Sure.
Detective Murphy: What else can you tell us about the night Mr. Fontaine was murdered?
Will Sands: Well, I think I pretty much told you all I know.
Detective Armstrong: All right then. Thanks for your time, Will.
Will Sands: No problem.
Interview ends: 3:29 p.m.