Thursday April 21, 2011 -- 10:00 AM

The witness, the 37-year-old law partner of Robert Pruitt, was interviewed in his office at 1109 Van Buren Avenue in Oxford. 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
GR = Gary Rayburn

SM: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

GR: My name is Gary Rayburn and I live at 11 County Road 302.

TA: You have our condolences on the death of your partner and friend.

GR: Thank you. It still comes as quite a shock.

SM: We appreciate your agreeing to talk to us, Mr. Rayburn. Many times, lawyers are less than cooperative.

GR: I want to help. I have nothing to hide.

SM: Do you have any idea why someone might want to kill Mr. Pruitt?

GR: We lawyers aren't exactly a popular bunch. I mean you don't often hear dead-roofer jokes.

SM: Is there anyone in particular who had recent trouble with your partner, perhaps a disgruntled client?

GR: Not at all. Whatever people may think, lawyers are the good guys. We're the ones you go to when you're in trouble. We're often the only person on your side in a very confusing legal system.

TA: I don't think I've ever seen you in court.

GR: I basically handle the back-end stuff. There's a lot of complicated research in this business and Robert is -- was -- better at the courtroom aspects of law.

SM: How did the two of you get along?

GR: Great. We don't go back far, but we clicked on so many levels. I always think of Robert as not so much an older brother as me in twelve month's time. How often do you meet someone who has the same birthday?

TA: How did he get along with his wife?

GR: They had their moments.

SM: We have to tell you, Counselor, we've heard rumors.

GR: About Robert and Vanessa?

SM: About you and Vanessa. I thought I heard something about you two sleeping together.

GR: Me and Vanessa? I don't know where you got your information, but you heard wrong. Laughable is the best word to describe the idea. Ludicrous maybe.

TA: Why do you say that?

GR: She's always been jealous of me, of how tight I am with Robert. I think she believes that Robert shouldn't need anyone except her. You know the drill.

TA: What about Gloria Bell?

GR: What about her?

TA: How do the two women get along?

GR: I wouldn't know.

SM: I thought you were sleeping with Gloria Bell.

GR: I'd trade your impression of my sex life for the reality any day. Robert represented this law office in the love arena. He's been married twice and I've never even popped the question.

SM: Are you sleeping Gloria Bell?

GR: I'd question the relevance of this line of questioning, Detective.

TA: Technically, everything is relevant in a homicide investigation.

GR: If you want to be technical about it, we do have a relationship.

SM: Is it a sexual relationship?

GR: Yes.

SM: Did Robert know?

GR: I don't think I ever had cause to mention the fact.

SM: How do you think he would have responded?

GR: Probably he would have been happy for me. He always hoped I'd meet someone special.

SM: Is Gloria special?

GR: I'm not sure we know yet what the future holds for us. I have to say, however, that I don't see how this relates.

TA: Robert could have found out, not been quite so happy as you imagine. The two of you could have had words. Fought. Maybe the situation escalated.

GR: No. Now you're dreaming. Besides, there was someone else in the house with him. There's your murderer.

SM: Perhaps it was a contract killing.

GR: You've been talking crimes of passion, exactly the opposite of a contract killing.

TA: Where were you that night?

GR: At home, listening to the baseball game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

SM: Did you leave your home at any time during the game?

GR: I did. I was switching back and forth between Old Miss and the Yankees. I realized it was going to be a long night so I went out for some snacks.

SM: I thought the Yankees were going to win in four.

GR: I never liked that team, the way they swagger. I was glad to see them cut down to size.

TA: What about your partner?

GR: He didn't care much for baseball.

TA: I wondered if maybe some part of you was glad to finally be king of the roost.

GR: Not at all. This will always be Robert's firm. Ours.

SM: Thank you for agreeing to talk with us today. We'd like to follow up later.

GR: Not a problem, Detective, not a problem at all.

Interview ends -- 10:36 AM

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