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Follow-up Interview: Jessica Durham, friend of Mickie Webster

Saturday February 13, 2010 - 6:03 p.m.

The witness, Ms. Jessica Durham, was asked to come into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office for a second interview to answer a few follow up questions regarding the weekend of January 2, 2010. She gave consent for the Sheriff's Department Crime Lab to examine her vehicle for possible evidence related to the Beauchamp homicide and collect said evidence for testing.

Detective Sam Murphy
Jessica Durham

Detective Sam Murphy: Please state your name and address for the record.

Jessica Durham: Jessica Anne Durham, 116 Thacker Loop, Oxford.

Detective Sam Murphy: Ms. Durham, thank you for coming back for a second interview. There are only a few more questions, and I'll try to make it quick.

Jessica Durham:  It's all right, ma'am. I don't mind. Will you have my car very long?

Detective Sam Murphy:  Our technicians are pretty efficient. I am reasonably sure we can returned the car to you by Monday. I hope that doesn't inconvenience you too much?

Jessica Durham:  No, not too bad. Jed will drive me wherever I need to go this weekend I guess. But like I said, I just know you won't find anything more damning than some petrified McDonald's fries...

Detective Sam Murphy:  Let the record reflect that Ms. Durham has consented to have our criminalists examine her vehicle for possible evidence in the Beauchamp homicide and to gather and process same.

Jessica Durham:  You really think my car could have evidence?

Detective Sam Murphy:  Your vehicle matched the description of an eye witness. I would be remiss in my duty if I didn't have it examined - if only to dismiss it as a possibility.

Jessica Durham:  Oh, I see... so other vehicles are being checked...

Detective Sam Murphy:  Okay, moving right along... my records indicate that you spoke to Ms. Webster four times on January 2nd. I'd like to go over each call.

Jessica Durham:  Yes ma'am.

Detective Sam Murphy:  The first call you originated to Ms. Webster's home phone at 11:30 a.m., correct?

Jessica Durham:  Yes. I called her to see if I could borrow her truck to move. I told you all this the first time we talked...

Detective Sam Murphy:  According to the phone records you talked for 23 minutes. You must have talked about something other than borrowing Ms. Webster's truck. What else did you talk about?

Jessica Durham:  Oh I don't know. You know, chit chat. I asked how she was and all. She said a little depressed, you know over Dev - still carrying a torch for him I guess. She asked my advice about it.

Detective Sam Murphy:  What did she ask you, exactly?

Jessica Durham:  She asked if she should leave. "What would you do if you were me, Jess? Would you stick it out or would you just get the hell out?" That's how she put it.

Detective Sam Murphy:  And what was your answer?

Jessica Durham:  I think I said something like, "hang in there, it'll get better." I felt bad for her, you know, but I really didn't want to talk about that. I wasn't really comfortable talking about her and Dev personally. So, I think I told her a joke. Then I asked her if she'd been to the shoe sale down at JC Penny - they had a half off sale. Then I asked her, could I borrow the truck.

Detective Sam Murphy:  What do you think she meant? When she asked you if she should get the hell out?

Jessica Durham:  I don't know and I didn't ask either.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Why not?

Jessica Durham:  Like I said, I didn't feel comfortable discussing her and Dev - their relationship - with her. He was a friend of mine too, didn't like being put in the middle. Besides, that stuff is personal, you know what I mean?

Detective Sam Murphy:  Yes, I understand, but let me put it another way. Do you think when she said "get the hell out" do you think she meant her job, the restaurant, having any type of relationship with Mr. Beauchamp, or town? Did she mean, should she just leave town?

Jessica Durham:  Oh... That's a good point. I didn't really think of it. But it could be she meant getting out of town. When she and Dev first split, she talked a lot about just leaving Oxford and finding a new place. "Clean slate" is how she put it.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Okay. Good. Incidentally, do you remember the last time you had your car cleaned?

Jessica Durham:  No, I can't. I guess I ought to be ashamed to admit that. I keep meaning to get it down to the car wash...

Detective Sam Murphy:  Please don't apologize, in this case it may work in our favor. And really, I can't remember the last time I had my car washed either. I see there are vinyl floor mats in your car. Have you always had vinyl floor mats?

Jessica Durham:  Yes ma'am. I kept thinking I would get around to getting the nice ones, but you know how it is, always something more important to spend your money on.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Yes, I do. Okay, the next two calls you made to Ms. Webster on the 2nd were both 2 minutes long, one at approximately 8 p.m. and then again at about 9 p.m.

Jessica Durham:  Yes ma'am. See, at first we thought we would only need the truck for one day. Boy were we wrong! So I called her to ask if it was okay if we kept it another day, but I just left a message because I got the voice mail. Then about an hour later, I asked Jed to try her again and he got the voice mail and left another message.

Detective Sam Murphy:  So at about 10 p.m. Ms. Webster called you back?

Jessica Durham:  Exactly right. She asked how it was going and I told her we were just not making the progress we expected and so on. She was just a doll and said not to worry, that we could keep the truck as long as we needed.

Detective Sam Murphy: So that's why you didn't return the truck until Monday morning?

Jessica Durham:  Well, we didn't finish until about 2 a.m. Sunday night, I mean Monday morning... well you know what I mean. And we sure weren't going to go knocking on her door at that time. And of course, we didn't even know at that time what had happened to Dev and all... Anyway, I guess I didn't even hear about it until Monday late in the morning. I was so tired, I didn't bother with the paper or the morning news that day. Anyway...

Detective Sam Murphy:  Did Ms. Webster tell you where she had driven your car over that weekend?

Jessica Durham:  No. Like I said, Jed actually did the swap with her and he isn't one much for chit chat. He just took it over, found an envelope taped on the door with the keys inside, then got in my car and drove it to the shop.

Detective Sam Murphy:  Ms. Webster didn't answer the door?

Jessica Durham:  No. Well, the last time we talked, we said we didn't know just when we would be by, but probably Monday morning. She said she might just leave the keys for us because she might be sleeping...

Detective Sam Murphy:  I see.

Jessica Durham:  That's not so unusual, people do that all the time. Anyway, it made sense to us.

Detective Sam Murphy: Did you happen to notice how many miles Ms. Webster put on your car over that weekend?

Jessica Durham:  Jed said it was less than 20 miles. Less than we put on her truck.

Detective Sam Murphy:  When you got the car back, did you notice anything about it that was unusual? Any stains or smells that weren't there when you lent it to her?

Jessica Durham:  I don't think so.... well, just one little thing. I found a cigarette butt in the ashtray. But like I told you before, I found out later that she started smoking again. So I doubt it means anything... right?

Detective Sam Murphy:  Okay. Well, thank you very much for coming in again. My office will call you just as soon as we're finished with your vehicle. The Sheriff's Department really appreciates your cooperation, Ms. Durham.

Jessica Durham:  You're welcome, ma'am. Any time. Good bye.

Interview ends: 6:33 p.m.