The witness, Vanessa Pruitt, is the wife of victim Robert Pruitt and was interviewed at her workplace, the Oxford Eagle at 916 Jackson Avenue. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness' knowledge and consent.
- TA = Detective T. Armstrong
- SM = Detective S. Murphy
- VP = Vanessa Pruitt
SM: For the record, please tell us again your full name and home address.
VP: Vanessa Marie Pruitt, 604 Tyler Avenue.
SM: Thanks for meeting with us again.
VP: I sure hope I can be of help. I'm surprised you haven't found anyone.
TA: Why do you say that?
VP: I'm sorry -- I don't mean to be a pain. I'm just looking for closure. You know how it goes. I wish I understood what happened.
SM: That's why we're here.
TA: Mrs. Pruitt, you said you thought one of Mr. Pruitt's clients might have committed the crime. Do you know of any in particular?
TA: Why would you say that, then?
VP: Well, you know, it just seems like with all the sleazy defense-lawyer stuff Robbie did, he was bound to come across some weirdoes. I wanted him to get out of that line of work, I told you already.
SM: Mrs. Pruitt, do you know Gloria Bell?
VP: No. Robbie told me she was a real witch though.
TA: Were the two of them still in contact?
VP: Absolutely not.
TA: No chance the two of them were seeing each other? Rekindling the old flame, maybe?
VP: What the hell is wrong with you? No, there's no chance.
TA: This is a small town. Sometimes it seems like everyone knows everybody else's business. If she wasn't seeing your husband, have you heard who she is dating?
VP: I have no idea and I couldn't possibly care less.
SM: Who is Jackie Woodruff?
VP: I don't know. I've never heard of him -- or is it her?
SM: What about Richard Gill?
VP: No, I don't know him either.
TA: Earlier you said you were bad with names and met lots of people through work. What makes you so sure you never met these two?
VP: I'm sure. You must be asking me about Robbie's clients, and I never associate with that type of person. Trust me on that. Robbie's clients don't go around budgeting ad buys. I know lots of folks in town, but you know what I mean -- folks who matter. Local businessmen and the like. Not criminals.
TA: I see. Well then, what about Wayne Fisher?
VP: Sure. You remember I said he looked familiar. Now I know where -- when I saw his name in the paper I remembered he's the guy from Fisher Pest Control. He and his son run it. Or ran it, I guess. He came and fumigated our house a while back.
TA: When was this?
VP: Oh gosh, I guess two months ago now. Mr. Eubanks next door told us it looked like he had some termites in his wood pile, so we decided to get an inspection. Fisher Pest Control has a 12-month ad contract -- I like to make sure my money goes back to the folks spending ad dollars in our paper. So I called and made an appointment. Turns out we needed to tent and fumigate the whole darn house. It was really a pain.
TA: Anything unusual occur with that appointment?
VP: No. Nothing.
TA: How about afterwards?
VP: Nope. Wayne said we should do all kinds of follow-up work, but I wondered if we were being gypped. Robbie was all for it. He kept saying, we might as well be sure. But I didn't believe it. I told him we needed to get a second opinion.
TA: Did you?
VP: No. We just kept using Fisher Pest. I don't have time to shop around, and Robbie -- well, he was useless at that kind of thing. But I didn't do all the work they wanted. We had scheduled a check-up, but… well, I canceled. It was supposed to be that weekend.
TA: Which weekend?
VP: Well, the weekend Robbie -- the weekend of the reunion. That's why I canceled it. I mean the appointment. I thought we'd be gone.
SM: You're saying you had an appointment with Fisher Pest for April 15th?
VP: Well, the 14th. I think that was the date. Hold on -- I can look it up right here in Outlook. Yeah. Here it is. The 14th. I thought we were both going to be gone, so I asked them to come the next week.
SM: Did you see Mr. Fisher at any time before you left?
VP: No. I mean, not since the fumigation.
SM: What about the vehicle? Did they do any work in the neighborhood?
VP: I don't know. I don't think so, but honestly, I'm not home enough to be a good judge.
SM: What about since the crime was committed? Have you heard from Mr. Fisher's son?
VP: No. He left a message saying we'd have to reschedule the follow-up, and of course I never followed up. I don't have time to worry about bugs with everything that's happened.
SM: What is his name?
VP: Nate. No, Ned. Ned Fisher was the one.
SM: Do you know Joel Fisher?
VP: Joel? No. It wasn't Joel. It was Ned.
SM: Mrs. Pruitt, can you name anyone who could have committed this crime?
VP: No. I told you, my only guess would be one of those crazy clients.
SM: What if we told you other people thought you did it?
VP: That's crazy. Who said that?
TA: Why does that matter?
VP: I bet it was Gary. He knows I thought he was a bad influence. I even called him a loser to his face once. It wouldn't surprise me if he went around slandering my name in the community -- that would be just his style. He's such a mooch, he couldn't just come out and say it to my face. He probably thought I was a pill to Robbie. I mean, I did nag him a lot. Don't get me wrong, I've thought a lot about how things could have been better. But it wasn't any of Gary's business.
SM: Gary Rayburn isn't married, is he?
SM: Is he seeing anyone?
VP: I wouldn't be surprised.
SM: Any idea who?
VP: I'm sure I don't know.
SM: Care to take a guess?
VP: I wouldn't know where to begin. I try to have as little contact with Gary and his personal life as possible.
TA: Did you commit this crime?
VP: No. That's absolutely crazy.
TA: Mrs. Pruitt, you told us you came back home Saturday afternoon and that's when you found Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Fisher.
VP: That's right.
TA: You're saying that when you saw the bodies, that was the first sign you had something was wrong?
VP: Yes. I mean, I guess when I came in the house and it was so quiet -- that was scary. I knew something was different. But yes, of course I didn't know.
TA: You didn't attempt to call Mr. Pruitt from the reunion?
TA: Didn't phone him Friday night to say hello?
TA: Why not?
VP: Why would I? I'm sorry, Detectives. I don't mean to sound cold. But Robbie and I weren't honeymooners. We didn't check up on each other. And I already told you, that weekend-- well, we just weren't getting along.
SM: What if we told you someone saw your Lexus in the neighborhood Friday night?
VP: You'd be absolutely crazy. I was in Florence, and I have tons of relatives who can back me up.
SM: You told us you brought home leftovers, but we didn't see any.
TA: "I had a bunch of leftovers -- you know, in a bag. I dropped them. I screamed and ran up to call 911." That's what you said. But if they weren't at the scene –
VP: Gosh. Okay. You guys are really fishing, you know that? This is just crazy.
SM: If they weren't there, then where were they?
TA: Maybe they didn't exist because you never actually went to the reunion.
VP: No. After I called 911 -- well, I hardly remember. This is crazy. The bag -- I was upset. I wasn't thinking at all, I was just one hundred percent in shock. I put them away in the fridge. I mean, I couldn't just stand there. But this is crazy. You don't have a clue who did it, do you? I can't believe this. It's been a month now, you know that? Whoever did it is probably gone by now. You blew it, and instead of finding the real killer you're beating me up about damn leftovers.
SM: Mrs. Pruitt, were you having an affair?
SM: You told us you and Mr. Pruitt weren't getting along.
VP: No. I told you already, absolutely not. Robbie and I had our problems, but I wouldn't do that to him.
SM: But you were thinking of divorce.
VP: Yes. That doesn't mean I wanted to kill him. We were both adults. He was a lawyer, for Pete's sake. We would have handled it like decent people. We didn't hate each other, just-- we were on different paths, is all.
SM: Did Mr. Pruitt want to stay married?
VP: I don't know. We didn't talk about it. We didn't have the chance.
TA: Mrs. Pruitt, did you mention to anyone that Mr. Pruitt changed his plans and wasn't going to attend the reunion after all?
VP: No. I don't gossip. Robbie and I kept our disagreements to ourselves. Of course I told folks at the reunion, but if you mean here, no -- absolutely not.
TA: You didn't tell Gary Rayburn?
TA: What about Gloria Bell?
VP: I told you I never met her.
TA: What about Wayne Fisher?
VP: No. Obviously not. If I did, I would have told them to keep the appointment and gotten it taken care of.
SM: Did you know Mr. Pruitt would be working at home?
VP: No. I was trying to get him to stop. He worked too much, in my opinion. It wasn't healthy for him.
SM: Mrs. Pruitt, we won't take any more of your time today.
TA: We may need to talk again.
VP: That's fine.
Interview ends -- 2:18 PM