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Warren Edwards follow-up interview

Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 2:00 p.m.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed Warren Edwards at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department to follow up on information uncovered since his last interview. The interview was recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Warren Edwards

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

Warren Edwards: My name is Warren Edwards and I live at 119 Cedar Hill Drive.

Detective Armstrong: Before we begin, is there anything you'd like to tell us?

Warren Edwards: Nothing leaps to mind.

Detective Armstrong: We have some reports here including a fingerprint analysis on evidence collected at the scene of the crime.

Warren Edwards: I'm glad to see the investigation moving forward.

Detective Armstrong: Would you be surprised to learn that your name was contained within that report?

Warren Edwards: I'd be surprised if it wasn't. I never said I wasn't at the meeting. Of course I was there. I'm not in the habit of wiping my prints wherever I go.

Detective Armstrong: That might have been an oversight this time.

Detective Murphy: We have reason to believe that you lied to us before.

Warren Edwards: I've done everything within my power to cooperate with this investigation.

Detective Murphy: But did you lie to us?

Warren Edwards: There are some things that I do not wish to discuss. Those topics are unrelated to incident in question and as such are off-limits.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Edwards, we make those kinds of determinations, not you. If we decide a topic is unrelated to our investigation, we certainly will respect your privacy on the matter. You must, however, be forthright with us so that we can make that determination without wondering if you're withholding the truth.

Warren Edwards: I understand.

Detective Murphy: What time did you leave the community center after the meeting on July 15th?

Warren Edwards: This is very difficult for me.

Detective Murphy: Take your time. We're not here to judge you.

Warren Edwards: Ambrose surprised me at the HOA meeting. He said that he was Block Captain for our area and as such had already started walking around people's houses and taking notes so that he would be certain if anything was out of the ordinary.

Detective Murphy: Go on.

Warren Edwards: I couldn't believe my ears.

Detective Murphy: Why?

Warren Edwards: Ambrose had lied to me earlier. He said he'd never stepped foot on my property and yet here he was, publicly boasting that he felt free to trespass. How many other times had the traipsed over the line? That's what I wanted to know.

Detective Murphy: Did you address this issue with Mr. Garrett?

Warren Edwards: I certainly did.

Detective Murphy: During the meeting?

Warren Edwards: Afterwards. It wouldn't have been proper to do otherwise.

Detective Murphy: What happened?

Warren Edwards: As people were leaving, I told Ambrose I wanted to talk with him, that I needed to go home for a few minutes, but I'd be back. He said he would wait.

Detective Murphy: And what did you do?

Warren Edwards: I went home and checked on my daughter. Then I returned to the community center.

Detective Murphy: Go on.

Warren Edwards: Ambrose was there as he promised and we talked.

Detective Murphy: What did you talk about?

Warren Edwards: That's none‒ I apologize. We talked about a very delicate situation.

Detective Armstrong: Mr. Edwards, we are not in the habit of revealing what we find out during our investigations unless it directly relates to the case when it's prosecuted in court. Did this delicate situation contribute to Mr. Garrett's death?

Warren Edwards: Of course not. And I understand what you're saying, but this is being recorded. I assume you'll have it transcribed, which means there will be an official document floating around the Sheriff's Department. Who has access to it? Does the prosecutor get a copy? The defense?

Detective Murphy: Mr. Edwards, I understand you have concerns, but you'll just have to rely on our integrity. Otherwise, we'll have to assume that you're hiding things because you were involved in Ambrose Garrett's death. Now, what did you talk about with Mr. Garrett?

Warren Edwards: I'll hold you to that. I asked Ambrose how many times he had already been on my property.

Detective Murphy: What did he say?

Warren Edwards: He didn't remember exactly.

Detective Murphy: What was your concern?

Warren Edwards: Ambrose had no right to be on my property unasked. He‒ I told you last time why I went right home after the meeting.

Detective Murphy: Yes. You wanted to check on someone who wasn't feeling well.

Warren Edwards: I was trying to discover if Ambrose was in any way responsible for her condition.

Detective Murphy: For her not feeling well?

Warren Edwards: No, for her other condition.

Detective Murphy: You thought Ambrose Garrett was responsible for your daughter's pregnancy?

Warren Edwards: I had to consider the possibility.

Detective Armstrong: Why?

Warren Edwards: I don't understand. Why what?

Detective Armstrong: Why did you have to consider the possibility? What made you think he was the father?

Warren Edwards: He openly admitted to coming onto my property without my knowledge or permission.

Detective Armstrong: So? How does that translate into him sleeping with your daughter?

Warren Edwards: I think that answer is obvious. He took liberties with my property and had no shame about it. It's certainly logical to conclude he would also be willing to take liberties with my daughter and have the same lack of shame about that.

Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh.

Warren Edwards: That's the reality of human nature, Detective. In your line of work, I'd expect you to know that. If a man demonstrates he is willing and capable of breaking one rule, he must be considered willing and capable of breaking any other rule.

Detective Armstrong: If you say so.

Warren Edwards: You must acknowledge that‒

Detective Murphy: Mr. Edwards. What did Mr. Garrett say when you asked him about it?

Warren Edwards: He said he'd take my question as a compliment but could assure me that my concern was unwarranted.

Detective Murphy: Did you believe him?

Warren Edwards: Yes.

Detective Armstrong: Why?

Warren Edwards: Ambrose had his faults. We all do. Given his personality, had he been responsible, I do not think he would have lied to hide the truth because he wouldn't have thought himself in the wrong. That's how he was.

Detective Murphy: How long did the two of you talk?

Warren Edwards: More than a minute. Less that an hour. A week passed between my question and his answer. My relief was profound.

Detective Murphy: Imagery aside, how long?

Warren Edwards: I'm not certain. 10 minutes, maybe 15.

Detective Armstrong: What happened after Ambrose said what he said?

Warren Edwards: I thanked him for his time, and I left. You must understand that I'd broached a difficult subject with him. I was relieved by his answer but uncomfortable from having asked, from airing my dirty laundry.

Detective Armstrong: So you just believed him, even though it would be in his best interest to lie? His reputation was on the line, his marriage. People lie to us all the time for a lot less reason.

Detective Murphy: Maybe Mr. Garrett was telling the truth, and he just didn't know he was the father. You must have considered that.

Warren Edwards: I was just glad the whole thing was over.

Detective Armstrong: How was it over, exactly?

Warren Edwards: I asked and he answered. End of story.

Detective Murphy: Your daughter was still pregnant, and the man potentially responsible was not doing the right thing. I can't imagine how you considered the situation resolved.

Warren Edwards: You don't understand.

Detective Murphy: Help me.

Warren Edwards: Talking to Ambrose about this subject was extremely unpleasant. He managed to make it less so, and for that I was grateful.

Detective Murphy: But by then it was too late.

Warren Edwards: For what?

Detective Armstrong: Your name is in this report because we found your fingerprints on a glass at the scene. Does that surprise you?

Warren Edwards: I always have a glass of water during the meeting in case my throat becomes dry.

Detective Murphy: What about after the meeting? Did you and Ambrose share a drink during your talk? Try to make things more comfortable?

Warren Edwards: No.

Detective Armstrong: The glass with your fingerprints contained alcohol.

Warren Edwards: There must be some mistake. I would never drink alcohol at an HOA meeting.

Detective Armstrong: This was afterwards. During an emotionally charged discussion. You yourself said approaching Ambrose was difficult. Who wouldn't try to settle his nerves?

Warren Edwards: I understand your point, but that didn't happen.

Detective Armstrong: Then how do you explain the alcohol in your glass?

Warren Edwards: I can't.

Detective Armstrong: If you leave that to me, you had a social drink to break the ice.

Warren Edwards: But I didn't.

Detective Murphy: When you talked to us the first time, you left something out. Are we going to have to bring you back a third time to hear the whole story or would you rather clear the air now?

Warren Edwards: I didn't drink with Ambrose.

Detective Armstrong: Are you in any way responsible for the death of Ambrose Garrett?

Warren Edwards: Of course not.

Detective Armstrong: So let me review and see if I understand what you're saying. Your story is, you went back to the community center after the meeting ‒ after everyone else was gone ‒ to talk to Ambrose. When you got there, he was fine, not appearing at all sleepy or intoxicated as other people have told us he was at the end of the meeting. Is that right so far?

Warren Edwards: I never said he wasn't intoxicated, but my experience with Ambrose was that he tended to be more honest when he was so afflicted, and therefore it wasn't a hindrance to me in that situation.

Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh. So even though his intoxication was useful to you, and even though Ambrose was drinking at the HOA meeting, and despite the fact that we found a glass with your fingerprints on it and alcohol inside it, the two of you did not drink together.

Warren Edwards: That is correct.

Detective Armstrong: Instead, you two had a calm, rational conversation about an extremely sensitive and potentially volatile subject, during which you accused this married man of impregnating your daughter, even though you had no actual proof of that. And rather than being offended or outraged by your allegation, Ambrose took it as a compliment while assuring you that you were mistaken.

Warren Edwards: Yes, that is correct.

Detective Armstrong: And you just believed his denial without any doubt or reservation, and then the two of you parted on good terms. Ambrose was perfectly OK when you left the community center for the second time, and you didn't do anything before you left that would cause or contribute to his death. Is that what you're telling us?

Warren Edwards: Precisely.

Detective Armstrong: And what reason do we have to believe you?

Warren Edwards: I've told the truth.

Detective Armstrong: Really? You lied to us before. By your own logic, we should assume you're lying now.

Warren Edwards: I did not kill Ambrose. That is simply not the sort of thing I would do.

Detective Armstrong: Yeah, OK. If you say so.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Edwards, it's pretty clear you have a credibility problem with us. You‒

Warren Edwards: Are you going to arrest me?

Detective Murphy: Not right now, but‒

Warren Edwards: Then I would like to leave. Immediately.

Detective Murphy: Fine. You can go. But you might want to try to come up with some way to convince us you're telling the truth.

Interview ends - 2:17 p.m.

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