REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE (Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
At 9:52 p.m., Dispatch received a 911 call reporting the discovery of a dead or dying person at the Whitehall Community Center at 144 Huntington Place. The caller identified herself as Julie Arbuckle, resident of the Whitehall community and neighbor of the community center. Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Unit 224 (Officer Steve Harding) was dispatched and arrived at the scene at 9:59 p.m. At 10:06 p.m., R/O contacted Dispatch and requested backup and medical assistance. Unit 305 (Deputy P. J. Watson) and Unit 202 (Officer A. L. Quinlan) were dispatched to provide backup and arrived at the scene at 10:14 p.m. and 10:16 p.m. respectively.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) Detectives T. Armstrong and S. Murphy were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. At R/Is' request, Coroner's Inspector L. Johnson and a CSU team were notified to respond to the scene. R/Is arrived at the scene at 10:30 p.m. Upon arrival, R/Is found that R/Os had secured the area. Environmental conditions at the scene upon arrival are as follows: Clear; Exterior Ambient Temperature 75° F / 24° C; Relative Humidity: 93%; Interior Ambient Temperature 77° F / 25° C; Interior Relative Humidity: 54%.
R/O Harding made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim. R/O responded to the location and was met at the entrance to the community center by a visibly agitated adult white female, who identified herself as Julie Arbuckle (Person 2). Person 2 directed R/O to a meeting room inside the facility.
R/O Harding noted the overhead lights were on in the room and observed an adult white male (Person 1) seated at and slumped onto a table. Person 2 identified Person 1 as Ambrose Garrett, president of the community's Homeowners' Association and nearby resident. R/O observed the man was unresponsive and exhibited no observable signs of life. R/O Harding secured the scene and contacted Dispatch to request backup and medical assistance.
R/O Harding said YCSD Unit 305 (Deputy P. J. Watson) arrived at approximately 10:14 p.m. and YCSD Unit 202 (Officer A. L. Quinlan) arrived at approximately 10:16 p.m. Both units provided backup and assistance in securing the scene. YCFD EMTs B. Harcourt and N. Keller arrived at 10:14 p.m. The EMTs leaned Person 1 back in his chair to an upright seated position. The EMTs unbuttoned Person 1's shirt to gain access to his neck and chest to check for life signs. After determining Person 1 was deceased, the EMTs withdrew from the crime scene.
R/O Harding indicated that Person 1's head and arms were on the table when he arrived, with the left side of Person 1's head resting on his folded arms consistent with a sleeping or resting position. After the EMTs checked out Person 1, Person 1's body would not stay in an upright position so his head was returned to the table with his arms at his side. R/O Harding said that no other items on the table had been disturbed.
R/O Harding further said that, to the best of his knowledge, the following personnel had occasion to enter the crime scene areas and should be excluded by CSU personnel: Julie Arbuckle, EMT Harcourt, EMT Keller, Officer Quinlan, Deputy Watson, and himself.
After receiving the report from R/O Harding, R/Is conducted a preliminary inspection of the scene. In the parking lot outside the community center, R/Is observed one vehicle, a late model green Ford Explorer, Mississippi license plate 748 AAR. R/Is observed no signs of forced entry into the community center facility or into the meeting room where the Person 1 was located. Entry to the meeting room was via a single door in the southwest corner of the room. There were no indications of disturbance or struggle in the room.
The center of the room was filled with armless chairs, all facing the east wall. A table was up against the the wall in northwest corner of the room. The surface of the table was clear of any items. A trash can was located on the west side of the table.
In the southeast corner of the room was a single door leading to a single-occupancy unisex restroom. The restroom contained one toilet, one sink, one wall-mounted toilet paper dispenser, one wall mounted paper towel dispenser, one wall-mounted soap dispenser and one trash can. The water in the toilet tank and bowl was clear. The sink basin was damp. The trash can contained multiple used paper towels.
In the northwest corner of the room was another single door leading to a small storage closet, which contained assorted office supplies, cleaning supplies and similar items.
R/Is observed Person 1 seated in an armless chair facing the room at a table centered along the east wall. A navy blue blazer was hanging on the back of the chair where Person 1 was seated. Person 1's head was resting on its left side on the table. Also on the table were assorted papers and two clear glass drinking glasses, each approximately 4 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter with a heavy base. The glass closest to Person 1 contained approximately 1/4-inch of clear liquid which smelled faintly of alcohol. The second glass contained approximately 2 inches of clear liquid which smelled strongly of alcohol.
R/Is left all items within the crime scene in place for documentation and collection by CSU.
Person 1 was wearing a short-sleeved blue button-down shirt with an abstract pattern, khaki trousers and brown loafer-style shoes. The shirt was unbuttoned to approximately mid-chest and the clothing appeared otherwise undisturbed. There were no visible indications of external injury to Person 1. R/Is delayed further inspection of the body until the arrival of the Coroner's Inspector.
Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson arrived at the scene at approximately 11:08 p.m. and joined R/Is at the crime scene. Inspector Johnson pronounced Person 1 deceased at 11:19 p.m. by visual observation that Person 1 was not breathing and by tactile observation that Person 1 did not have a palpable carotid pulse or any other indications of heartbeat or respiration.
Inspector Johnson noted early blanching lividity on the left side of the face and underside of the arms. Inspector Johnson further noted that rigor mortis was not yet observable. Inspector Johnson observed no signs of external injury on Person 1. While she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy, Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been dead approximately 1 to 3 hours but she could not offer an opinion at the scene as to cause of death. Inspector Johnson indicated that further details would be available in the official autopsy report.
After Inspector Johnson completed her initial inspection of the body, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure integrity of the body while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses, until the body could be removed from the scene without affecting other evidence.
CSU arrived at the scene at approximately 11:15 p.m. R/Is instructed CSU to take the two drinking glasses as well as the assorted papers into evidence for analysis and to process the entire scene including the restroom according to standard procedure.
At 11:21 p.m., R/O Harding reported a disturbance outside the Whitehall Community Center. R/Is proceeded outside the facility and found R/O Watson had detained an adult white male (Person 3), who was identified by R/O Quinlan as Chester Hawkins. Person 3 was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, which were covered in a reddish substance. In addition, Person 3 had reddish substance on his hands and arms. Person 3 was highly agitated and repeatedly confessed to the murder of the person inside the community center. Person 3 indicated he did not know the identity of the victim and said that the victim had been selected at random. Person 3 requested to be taken into custody and "held accountable for [his] crime."
R/O Quinlan indicated Person 3 was known to him as a member of the community who frequently exhibited unusual behavior but had no record of violence. Forensics Officer James McManus conducted a field test on the reddish substance on Person 3's clothing, hands and arms, and results were negative for human blood. R/O Quinlan transported Person 3 to Baptist Memorial Hospital for a physical and psychological evaluation. R/Is instructed R/O Quinlan to transport Person 3 to the Sheriff's Department for a comprehensive interview, if Person 3 was cleared by medical personnel.
At 11:30 p.m., R/Is conducted a preliminary interview with Person 2 at the scene (interview transcript in case file).
R/Is left the location at 12:05 a.m. to notify Person 1's next of kin, Delilah Garrett. Before leaving, R/I Murphy instructed CSU to seal the scene upon completion or end of shift suspension of processing. CSU to notify R/Is of progress by the end of this date. As of this filing, CSU is still actively processing at the scene.
The body was remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson and was removed from scene at 2:10 a.m. and transported to the coroner's office for autopsy.
Evidence remanded into the custody of Forensics Officer James McManus for transport to the State Crime Lab for routine analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within fourteen days of this report, with detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.