Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department
Investigating Officer(s): Detective Terry Nelson, Detective David Anderson
Case Description: Kevin Gilmore Death Investigation
On December 15 and 16, 1987, the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department conducted a canvass of the owner and the employees at The Juke Joint, where Kevin Gilmore was employed. The interviews summarized below are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: James Mason
Age / Position: 45 / Owner
Address: 515 Alexa Drive, Oxford MS 38655
Comments: Mr. Mason stated he last saw Kevin Gilmore on Thursday, December 10. Kevin was scheduled to work at 9:00 PM and he came to work on time. Mason said he was at home on Sunday, the day Kevin’s body was found. He took the day off on Sunday so he could spend time with his family. Mason said Kevin was a good worker who seldom missed work. If he did have to miss a shift, he’d always call. So when Kevin didn’t show up for work on Friday, Mason was concerned. Mason knew Kevin had a medical problem, but stated Kevin had never let it stop him before. Mason said he made a call to Kevin on Friday but got no answer. Mason said Kevin and his co-workers got along for the most part. He said Kevin could be cocky at times, but everyone seemed to like him. Mason did not know much about Kevin’s life away from The Juke Joint and--with the exception of the girlfriend, Carly, and another friend named Richie--did not know who Kevin hung out with. Both would occasionally stop by to grab a bite and see Kevin. When asked if he knew anyone that might want to harm Kevin, he stated he’s only heard Kevin mention one person with whom he had problems, a basketball player named Jason.
Name: Adam West
Age / Position: 27 / Cook
Address: 1803 Johnson Avenue, Oxford MS 38655
Comments: Mr. West stated the last time he spoke with Kevin was on Thursday, December 10 at the The Juke Joint. He said they talked about the Tulsa game on Saturday. He said Kevin was excited and ready to play. West noted that Kevin didn’t show up to work on Friday and that wasn’t like him because he didn’t like to miss any work. West said he didn’t think any more about it and figured he’d see him at the game on Saturday, but West never made it to the game because he was sick with a virus. He said when he found out Kevin was dead it was definitely a shock. West said he was home in bed when he got the news. West could not think of anyone who would hate Kevin enough to kill him. He said he saw Kevin occasionally at the basketball games, but did not see him much outside work. He said he’d met the girlfriend, Carly, and his friend, Richie. They seemed like nice people, but West didn’t socialize with them. It was West’s opinion that Kevin got along okay with everyone that worked at The Juke Joint. He said Kevin was a hard worker and wanted the job done right.
Name: Rhonda Pendergrass
Age / Position: 35 / Waitress
Address: 279 Warren Street, Oxford MS 38655
Comments: At the time of the interview, Mrs. Pendergrass was distraught over the death of Kevin Gilmore, but she agreed to speak with investigators. Pendergrass stated she last saw Kevin on Thursday the 10 as he came into work. She saw him just as she was getting ready to leave. They talked briefly and she gave him a hug, and that’s the last time she saw him. She said she worked the night shift both Friday and Saturday. Friday night Kevin hadn't shown up for work. Saturday night, some of Kevin's fans came to The Juke Joint and told her that he wasn't at the game. Since he didn't show up for work or the game, it concerned her, but she thought Kevin must have needed some time off and he took it. Sunday, the day Kevin's body was found, was her regular day off. She said she was home with her husband when she got the news. She said it was shocking because Kevin was like her son and at work, he called her his second mom. She said Kevin got along fine with his co-workers. She noted that, just like any other person, he might occasionally have a spat but never anything serious. She said she had met Kevin’s girlfriend, Carly, and occasionally sat with her at the ball games, and that Carly and Kevin's friend Richie would regularly drop by The Juke Joint. She described Carly as a sweet girl "but kind of clingy" when it came to Kevin. She said Carly complained some about not having a lot of time with him. Pendergrass stated she didn’t think Kevin had a lot of spare time what with his job, basket ball and schoolwork. She said she couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to harm Kevin.
Name: Laura Mason
Age / Position: 17 / Waitress/Ticket Sales
Address: 515 Alexa Drive, Oxford MS 38655
Comments: Miss Mason stated she was shocked at hearing that Kevin Gilmore was found dead. She said her father, who is The Juke Joint owner, was the one who told her of Kevin’s death. She said she was in her room watching TV when her dad came in and told her the news. She said, "I was so shocked, I began to cry" and admitted she had a crush on Kevin. Miss Mason was aware that Kevin had a girlfriend and that, at the age of 17, she was too young for him. She liked him because he "never treated me like a kid." Her only contact with him was when he was at work whenever she’d come in after school to help out for a few hours. She said they had fun at work, but when he had things to do or customers were in the diner, he was all business. She re-stated she never saw him much outside of work. She knew he went to school at Ole Miss and played on their basketball team. She had previously met his girlfriend, Carly, and his other friend, Richie, but didn’t know too much about them. She was not aware of anyone who would want to hurt Kevin and was sad that someone hated him enough to kill him.
Name: Derek Jones
Age / Position: 17 / Ticket Sales
Address: 1502 Madison Avenue, Oxford MS 38655
Comment: Mr. Jones stated that he works at the diner and helps sell tickets with Laura Mason for the seven o’clock movie. He and Laura go to the same school, and she helped him get the job. Jones said the last time he saw Kevin Gilmore was Thursday the 10th while they were both at work. His said his opinion of Kevin was that "he’s an okay guy." Jones said he didn’t talk to him a lot because he was busy doing his ticket-selling job. As far as he knew, Kevin got along with everyone. He said he didn’t socialize with him since he is only 17 and his parents wouldn’t allow it. He was surprised when he found out about Kevin’s death and hasn’t a clue who would want to kill him.
Name: Matthew Wright
Age / Position: 31 / Cook
Address: 58 County Road 230, Oxford MS 38655
Comment: Mr. Wright said he’s a cook at The Juke Joint. He last saw Kevin at work on Tuesday the 8th. He said they had a short conversation about the game coming up on Wednesday with Arkansas, but they got busy and Kevin was hustling. Wright said he was shoveling the food out as fast as he could, but Kevin yelled at him for not moving the meals out faster. He said they exchanged a few words, but once the rush was over, they weren’t angry anymore. He characterized Kevin as a good guy who just gets cocky every now and then, and found it hard to believe someone killed him. Wright said he was at his mother’s home on Sunday when his boss called him to pass the news. Everyone at The Juke Joint was shocked and has no idea who could have done it. He said he really didn’t know Kevin outside of work, but knew that work, school and basketball were all Kevin really had time for. Wright had met the girlfriend, Carly, before and said she seemed nice but not exactly the type that would date Kevin. He figured that "opposites attract." He felt that Kevin would be missed around The Juke Joint and closed by saying "I hope you find who did this to him and that you make sure they get what they deserve."