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Witness Interview: Lydia "Liddie" Hammond, victim's daughter

Tuesday, March 6, 2001, 3:00 p.m.

This witness, Lydia "Liddie" Hammond, is the seven-year-old daughter of the victim. In accordance with regulations, the court appointed a psychologist and an attorney to represent the minor's interests. Both parties were present during this follow-up interview, which Detectives Armstrong and Murphy conducted at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office.

TA = Detective Ted Armstrong
SM = Detective Sam Murphy
NC = Nancy Carson, psychologist appointed to the minor, Lydia Hammond
AD = Andrew Drummond, Counsel appointed to the minor, Lydia Hammond
LH = Lydia "Liddie" Hammond, daughter of the victim

NC: Hi, Liddie. I'm glad you could come back and talk to us. Do you remember everyone? I'm Nancy. That's Mr. Drummond and Detective Armstrong and Detective Murphy. Do you remember all of us from before?

LH: Yes. I remember.

NC: Okay. Like we talked about before, these nice detectives need to ask you some more questions. I want you to be real brave and tell them everything you can remember, okay?

LH: Okay.

TA: Hi Liddie. I'm Detective Armstrong. You remember when we talked before?

LH: Yes.

TA: You've got a pretty good memory, huh?

LH: I guess so.

TA: Do you remember when your Grandpa came over to your house and put in some new locks on the doors?

LH: Yes. Mommy gave me a new key because she said my old one wouldn't work anymore.

TA: So you had a key to the old locks, before you got the new key?

LH: Yes.

TA: How long have you had your own key?

LH: Um... since school started?

TA: Do you keep your key with you all the time?

LH: No. Sometimes I leave it at home. Mommy said not to lose it.

TA: Have you ever let anyone borrow your key?

LH: Uh-uh! Mommy said it was just for me.

TA: Do you know why your Mommy got new locks with new keys?

LH: Um... Mommy and Grandpa didn't want me to know.

TA: Do you know why they didn't want you to know?

LH: I think Mommy thought I'd be scared, but I'm not. I'm not a baby.

TA: I can see that. So do you know why your Mommy got the new locks and keys?

LH: Somebody tried to get in our house when we weren't home and Grandpa said if we got new locks no one would be able to get in.

TA: How did you figure out that was the reason?

LH: I heard Mommy and Grandpa talking about it when they thought I couldn't hear them. But don't tell Grandpa, okay? I'm not supposed to listen to other people talking when they don't know it. I'll get in trouble if he finds out.

TA: Okay, Liddie. We won't tell him. You know, your Grandpa told us that you gave your Mommy a necklace for her birthday last year. Is that right?

LH: Yes, but I don't know where it is now.

TA: Can you tell me what it looks like?

LH: It's pretty. It's gold and shiny and it says "#1 Mom." I saved up my allowance and Grandpa helped me pick it out.

TA: Your Mommy must have really liked it.

LH: She did! She wore it every day after we gave it to her. She said it was her favorite gift she ever got.

TA: Do you remember whether she was wearing it the last time you saw her?

LH: You mean that bad day when...

TA: That day when Detective Murphy and me and a lot of other policemen were at your house?

LH: I... I don't know. I don't know if she was wearing it then.

TA: That's okay. It's okay if you don't remember. What about that morning when you went to school? Do you remember if your Mommy was wearing the necklace then?

LH: I don't know. I think so.

NC: Detective. I think it would be best to move on.

TA: Okay. Let's talk about something different, Liddie. You want to?

LH: Yes.

TA: Okay. Let's talk about your Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria. Have you seen them lately?

LH: No, not in a long time.

TA: Have you talked to them on the phone?

LH: No. Do you think they're mad at me?

TA: I don't think so. Why would they be mad at you?

LH: I don't know.

TA: What about your Daddy? Have you seen him or talked to him?

LH: No.

TA: You know, we saw those great pictures you drew of your family, the ones you made into a little book. Those were really good. You're a good draw-er.

LH: Thank you.

TA: Did you do those pictures for school?

LH: Yes.

TA: Your daddy must've liked them a lot too. Did he?

LH: Yeah.

TA: What did he say when you showed him the pictures?

LH: He said they were really good and he wanted me to make another one for him to keep at his house.

TA: Did you make another one for him?

LH: Yes.

TA: And it's at his house now?

LH: I guess so.

TA: Liddie, do you know what a secret is?

LH: Yes.

TA: Tell me.

LH: It's something that you know that other people don't know and you're not supposed to tell.

TA: Do you know any secrets right now?

LH: Yes.

TA: Like what?

LH: I can't tell you.

TA: Have you ever told a secret someone asked you to keep?

LH: Um... yes.

TA: Like what?

LH: I don't think I should tell.

TA: C'mon.

LH: Well... my friend Dina, she likes this boy in our class, Michael. And I told him. She was really mad at me.

TA: Is she still mad at you?

LH: No, not anymore.

TA: Why did you tell Michael Dina's secret?

LH: I don't know.

TA: Have you ever had a secret with someone else? Like did you and your Mommy have any secrets?

LH: Yes.

TA: Like what?

LH: Well... we have this secret code word so if someone says Mommy told them to give me a ride, if they don't know the code word, I run away as fast as I can.

TA: What's the code word?

LH: I can't tell you. It's a secret.

TA: That's good. That's a good kind of secret to have because it helps keep you safe. Right?

LH: Right.

TA: Do you think there are bad kinds of secrets too?

LH: I don't know.

TA: Sometimes it's hard to know whether a secret is good or bad, isn't it?

LH: Yeah.

TA: Because sometimes someone asks you to keep a secret but you don't like to do it, right? Because you don't really like hiding something from someone you care about like your Mommy or your Grandpa, right?

LH: Yeah.

TA: You know what? Sometimes I think, when you have a secret and you're not sure whether it's a good secret or a bad secret, you should tell someone else what the secret is and let them help you decide whether you should keep it or not. So if you had a secret like that, maybe you could tell an adult who could help you decide what to do about it. Someone like me because that's my job; I help people.

LH: I don't know.

TA: I tell you what. How about if I try to guess what your secret is and you tell me if I get it right. Okay?

LH: Okay.

TA: Is it... that you're really thirty years old?

LH: No.

TA: Is it... that you have jellybeans where your toes should be?

LH: No, silly.

TA: Is it... that sometimes you still see your Daddy even though your Mommy said not to?

NC: It's okay to say, Liddie.

TA: That's right. It is okay to tell us. We've already talked to your Daddy and your Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria and it's okay with them if you tell us.

LH: Are you sure?

TA: Yes, I'm sure.

LH: Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria made it so Daddy and me could still see each other sometimes.

TA: Why did they do that?

LH: Because it wasn't fair. Daddy didn't mean to be bad and he's sorry.

TA: When was Daddy bad?

LH: On Mommy's birthday.

TA: What did he do?

LH: He came over to our house and he was yelling at Mommy and stuff.

TA: Why did he do that?

LH: I don't know. He said he was just upset, but he didn't mean to do it.

TA: Were you scared?

LH: I was a little scared that day, but I'm not now.

TA: Did you think Daddy was going to hurt you or Mommy that day?

LH: No. I just didn't know why he was acting like that.

TA: But you know why now?

LH: He said he was just mad at Mommy, but not at me.

TA: Do you know why he was mad at Mommy?

LH: No.

TA: Okay. So Mama Gloria and Papa Thomas were helping you and Daddy see each other?

LH: Yes.

TA: How long have y'all been doing that?

LH: I don't know. For a while.

TA: Did you see your Daddy every Friday when you were with Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria?

LH: Not every time.

TA: Most times?

LH: I guess so.

TA: Was your Daddy with you the last time you saw your Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria?

LH: Yes.

TA: Was he with you the whole time?

LH: No, he was late. Daddy's late a lot.

TA: Did Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria stay with you during the whole visit that time?

LH: I think so.

TA: And after Daddy got there, did he stay with you the whole time?

LH: Yes, until Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria took me home. Daddy doesn't come with us then.

TA: Why not?

LH: Because... because we didn't want Mommy to see him.

TA: Did you decide by yourself not to tell Mommy that you were seeing Daddy or did someone else tell you not to tell her?

LH: Mama Gloria told me I should never tell Mommy or Grandpa or I wouldn't be able to see Daddy or them anymore.

TA: Was Mama Gloria the only one who told you not to tell?

LH: Daddy told me sometimes too.

TA: What about Papa Thomas? What did he say?

LH: He said he knew I didn't like keeping secrets from Mommy, but I should just do it this one time.

TA: So you never told Mommy?

LH: No.

TA: What about Grandpa? Did you ever tell him?

LH: No, but...

TA: But what?

LH: I think maybe he knew anyway.

TA: Why do you think that?

LH: He asked me one time.

TA: What did you tell him?

LH: Nothing. I didn't want to not see Daddy anymore.

TA: That's okay. I understand. We all understand.

LH: Am I in trouble now?

TA: No, Liddie. You're not. You've done the right thing by telling us.

LH: Are you sure? I can still see Daddy and Papa Thomas and Mama Gloria?

TA: Yes, I think so.

LH: When?

TA: I don't know when, but sometime soon, I hope.

LH: Okay.

TA: Liddie, are there any other secrets you know that you think maybe you should tell us so we can help you with them?

LH: No, I don't think so.

TA: Are you sure?

LH: Yeah.

TA: Okay. You've done a really good job talking to us today. You were very brave and you've been a big help. Thank you.

LH: You're welcome.

End interview 3:39 p.m.

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