Wednesday, July 26, 2012 - 10:32 a.m.
Shannon Bower's ongoing feud with Ambrose Garrett was well-known to everyone in the Whitehall neighborhood. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her in her office at the hospice where she works as a physical therapist. The interview was recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Shannon Bower
Detective Armstrong: Good morning, Ms. Bower. Thanks for seeing us this morning.
Shannon Bower: You're welcome, Detective. Thank you for coming to me this morning. I'm pretty booked today.
Detective Murphy: Before we begin, will you please state your name and address for the record?
Shannon Bower: Of course. I'm Shannon Bower. I live at 12 Bonnie Blue Drive.
Detective Murphy: You are a neighbor of the Garretts?
Shannon Bower: Sort of. We live in the same neighborhood, but on opposite sides of CR 102. But the way Ambrose carried on, you'd think I camped on his front lawn.
Detective Armstrong: I take it you and Mr. Garrett didn't get along too well.
Shannon Bower: It was certainly no secret, Detective. I'd say it was more like I hated his guts and he reciprocated.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for being honest, Ms. Bower.
Shannon Bower: Look, that man had it in for me for some reason. I couldn't step out my front door without him getting his shorts in a twist, always raving and ranting that I'd broken some rule. Then trying to get the association to pass some idiotic new rule just to get back at me .I don't know how he knew every move I made or every time I had a guest, but it got damned tiresome.
Detective Armstrong: So you two disagreed about the rules, and‒
Shannon Bower: And the letters! He'd leave letters in my mailbox saying I owed such and such in fines for breaking some ridiculous rule. Then when I didn't pay it, he'd threaten me with a bigger fine. It was never-ending. He even called the cops a couple of times when he decided we were too noisy. He was the one always stirring up trouble, and he had the gall to call me a troublemaker?
Detective Murphy: Did you hate him enough to want to see him dead?
Shannon Bower: Hey, wait a minute. I thought he died of a stroke or heart attack or something. I didn't want him dead ‒ just out of my hair. I know I have a mouth, but I'd never resort to murder or whatever you're insinuating. Do I need a lawyer here?
Detective Murphy: If we should find out his death wasn't from natural causes, who would you suggest we look at?
Shannon Bower: Well, don't look my way. I'll admit I couldn't stand the S.O.B. He was an overbearing, arrogant megalomaniac. There must be plenty of others whose toes he stepped on. I never could understand how that sweet Delilah stood him, but to each his own, I guess. But I'm not the only one who didn't like his tactics.
Detective Murphy: Who besides you didn't like his tactics?
Shannon Bower: Why don't you talk to Warren Edwards? Warren was always going around with a clipboard, making a record of who broke what rules. I'm sure he'd know if Ambrose was targeting anyone else. Come to think of it, I heard that Warren and Ambrose went at it recently. Seems Warren caught Ambrose breaking his own rules. Ironic, huh? But this is just penny-ante neighborhood bickering. I can't imagine anyone physically harming someone else over silly stuff like unwatered lawns or too many cars on the street.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone else you can think of who didn't care for Ambrose as the president of the association?
Shannon Bower: He had his following, but there were always those others who ran for president. Like Patrick Taylor, he always had something to say about Ambrose's policies and procedures. You might check the association's minutes. That might give you a clue. Or better yet, talk to Mary Wallace. She's the secretary and keeps notes on all the discussions at the meetings, I think. At least, she was always on her computer during meetings. She could've been on Facebook, for all I know.
Detective Murphy: What about Julie Arbuckle? How did she get along with Mr. Garrett?
Shannon Bower: Julie? She gets along with everyone. She would never confront anybody. She's a perpetual conciliator ‒ a wimp, actually.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about the last meeting. Did anything unusual happen?
Shannon Bower: More like the usual than unusual. Ambrose spouted, and everyone else was expected to listen. I thought he cut it a bit short though. He acted like he'd had more than usual to drink and couldn't keep awake.
Detective Murphy: Did he usually drink at the meetings?
Shannon Bower: Are you kidding me? He drank everywhere. Always had that little flask filled. Sneaked a slurp or poured some in his drink whenever he thought no one was paying attention. But he either had a head start that Sunday night, or there was something more potent in his flask than usual because he seemed to poop out sooner than normal.
Detective Armstrong: What time did you leave the meeting?
Shannon Bower: Oh, I stayed until the bitter end. I didn't trust him. If I left the meeting early, he'd trump up something new to screw me.
Detective Murphy: He, meaning Mr. Garrett?
Shannon Bower: Who else? I get along great with everyone else in the neighborhood.
Detective Armstrong: What time did you leave the community center?
Shannon Bower: It was a few minutes after the meeting. There's always someone around afterwards who wants to rehash. Ambrose managed to stir up a lot of discussion. I probably stayed around 10 minutes, more or less, talking to a couple of people out front.
Detective Armstrong: Did you go directly to your car?
Shannon Bower: No, Detective. I rode my bike. You know conserve gas, save money, get exercise. It wasn't dark yet.
Detective Murphy: Did you go directly home?
Shannon Bower: Sure did. Marti was waiting to hear about the meeting. Ambrose made her life miserable too. She just handles things quieter than I do.
Detective Armstrong: Marti?
Shannon Bower: Yeah, Marti Scarr, my partner. We bought the house together.
Detective Murphy: How long did it take you to walk home?
Shannon Bower: Probably around 10 minutes.
Detective Armstrong: So you arrived home at?
Shannon Bower: Probably about 7:30. Marti had steaks ready to put on the grill as soon as I walked in the door.
Detective Murphy: We'll be conducting a thorough investigation including interviews and possibly forensic tests depending on the autopsy results. How do you think the investigation will come out concerning you?
Shannon Bower: Oh, you'll be hearing a lot about Ambrose and my so-called feud, I'm sure. But I'll tell you right now, if someone killed that bastard, you won't find anything pointing to me!
Detective Armstrong: We'll see. We may want to talk with you again. Would you have any problem with that?
Shannon Bower: Not really. But then I can always have my lawyer present, can't I? If you'll excuse me now, I need to get ready for my next patient.
Detective Murphy: Of course. Thank you, Ms. Bower
Interview ends - 10:47 a.m.