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Julie Arbuckle follow-up interview

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 1:15 p.m.

The witness, neighbor of the victim, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness’ knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Julie Arbuckle

Detective Murphy: Thank you for joining us this afternoon, Ms. Arbuckle.

Julie Arbuckle: Yes, of course. I'll do whatever I can to help.

Detective Murphy: Can you please state your name?

Julie Arbuckle: Julie Arbuckle, and I live at 142 County Road 140.

Detective Murphy: And your occupation?

Julie Arbuckle: I'm an accountant.

Detective Armstrong: How did you know Ambrose Garrett?

Julie Arbuckle: We were both active in our neighborhood homeowners' association.

Detective Murphy: He was the president of the association, wasn't he?

Julie Arbuckle: Yes.

Detective Armstrong: Do you have any leadership positions in the association?

Julie Arbuckle: Not currently. I used to be the president.

Detective Murphy: When was that?

Julie Arbuckle: Just last term. I lost the election to Ambrose. It's been almost a year now that the new administration was in place.

Detective Armstrong: How did you feel about that?

Julie Arbuckle: About what?

Detective Armstrong: Losing the election?

Julie Arbuckle: I was disappointed, naturally. But it's actually worked out for the best. I've been able to devote more time to my business and I'm learning how to weave. I've been taking classes, and I'm even thinking about buying a loom.

Detective Murphy: So you're OK with the fact that you are no longer the president? No resentment?

Julie Arbuckle: Not enough to kill someone, I can assure you of that. If that's what you're getting at, Detective.

Detective Armstrong: How well did you know Ambrose?

Julie Arbuckle: Not very well. We only interacted with each other about association business. We weren't friends on social level.

Detective Murphy: On association matters, what was he like?

Julie Arbuckle: He was very committed. Usually, if someone had a complaint about Ambrose, it was because he was being too tough. Too committed. He was very stringent in his interpretations of the rules, and sometimes people chafed under that control.

Detective Armstrong: Did he have any enemies in the neighborhood?

Julie Arbuckle: For the most part, we all get along. It's hard to say anyone is an enemy per se when the biggest conflict is over someone not mowing their grass for a couple of weeks. These aren't drug dealers fighting over turf. These are people who want to leave a boat and trailer in their driveway. Maybe they want to paint their house pink. Nothing is life and death.

Detective Murphy: You'd be surprised how people can exaggerate the most trivial things when it comes to their homes.

Detective Armstrong: Was there anyone he really clashed with?

Julie Arbuckle: I suppose the most friction was with Shannon Bower. She felt he was singling her out for criticism. And he felt that she was flouting the neighborhood association rules, just to thumb her nose at him. They often argued at the association meetings.

Detective Armstrong: Did the two of them have an argument at last night's meeting?

Julie Arbuckle: Oh, sure. I think it was something about a fine Shannon was refusing to pay.

Detective Murphy: Do you think this Shannon could have had anything to do with his death?

Julie Arbuckle: I haven't a clue. I wouldn't think so, but I hardly know the woman.

Detective Murphy: So can you think of anyone who would want to harm Ambrose?

Julie Arbuckle: No. Why do you think someone would want to do something to him? More likely he just drank himself to death.

Detective Armstrong: What makes you say that?

Julie Arbuckle: I'm not opposed to a drink now and then, but there's a time and a place for everything.

Detective Armstrong: Could you elaborate on that?

Julie Arbuckle: Maybe the worst kept secret in the neighborhood was Ambrose's drinking habits.

Detective Armstrong: He was an alcoholic?

Julie Arbuckle: I wouldn't know about that. I didn't spend enough time with him to know.

Detective Armstrong: So what are you saying exactly?

Julie Arbuckle: I'm not saying anything. Maybe Ambrose did like to take a drink occasionally and maybe the time or the situation was sometimes inappropriate. But I can't imagine any of that has anything to do with… what happened. I don't know why I even mentioned it. All of this has just been very disturbing. I'm not myself. It's not every day I walk into a room and find one of my neighbors dead, you know.

Detective Armstrong: Was he drinking at the meeting Sunday night?

Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. I'm very uncomfortable talking about this. The man is‒ he's passed away, and it's not right to speak ill of the dead. Yes, he had a few faults, and who doesn't? But he always did what he thought was best for our neighborhood, and I shouldn't be saying anything negative about him. Can you just forget I said anything?

Detective Murphy: We understand what you're saying, ma'am. So if you were in charge of this investigation, where would you start? Who would you talk to?

Julie Arbuckle: I really don't know. I don't watch detective shows on TV, so I have no idea about how you do your jobs.

Detective Murphy: Have you remembered anything else about the events of Sunday night? Anything you saw or heard that you haven't already told us about?

Julie Arbuckle: No, but I've been trying not to think about it too much, to be honest.

Detective Murphy: I see. Well, would you mind talking to us again, if we need to?

Julie Arbuckle: That'll be fine.

Detective Murphy: OK, thank you for your time.

Interview ends - 1:37 p.m.

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