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Witness Interview: Steve Kirby, victim's former boyfriend

Thursday, March 8, 2001 - 1:00 p.m.

The witness, a twenty-five-year-old male, was identified as the high school boyfriend of the victim, Melissa Hammond. At the detectives' request, he came into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office for a follow-up interview. The interview was recorded on a portable audio tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective Ted Armstrong
SM = Detective Sam Murphy
SK = Steve Kirby

SM: Thanks for coming down, Steve.

SK: Sure.

SM: Name and address?

SK: Steve Kirby. 210 Sisk.

TA: So Steve, we understand you've taken to hanging out at Murff's. Is that right?

SK: I go there sometimes.

TA: 'Bout once a week, right?

SK: Yes, about that I guess.

TA: And you stay for a while, a couple hours. Right?

SK: I guess so. Sometimes.

TA: Drink a fair amount while you're there?

SK: A few beers, I guess.

SM: How does your wife feel about that, you going out to a bar and drinking without her?

SK: I don't know. She doesn't really like it.

SM: So why do it then?

SK: I don't need her permission for everything I want to do.

TA: Fair enough. Why'd you start going to Murff's?

SK: I don't know. I like it.

TA: Why not just have a couple beers at home in front of the TV?

SK: Sometimes I just need to get away, be by myself.

SM: By yourself? At a bar?

SK: You know what I mean. I wanted to be... not with anyone I know.

SM: How did you happen to pick Murff's out of all the places you could have gone?

SK: I don't know. I used to go there with my friends before I got married. We always had fun there. I guess I just felt comfortable there.

SM: It wasn't because Missy's boyfriend, JP Wallace, hangs out there?

SK: No.

TA: That's it. Just "no"?

SK: Yeah.

TA: Did you know he hung out there?

SK: I did when I saw him there.

SM: You know him well enough to recognize him?

SK: Yeah, sure. I knew who he was back in high school. He hasn't changed much.

SM: How did you know him in high school?

SK: I didn't know him. I knew who he was. He was one of those kids who was always getting in trouble. Everyone knew who he was.

TA: You ever talk to him at Murff's?

SK: No.

TA: Why not?

SK: Just didn't have anything to say to him, I guess.

SM: Really? Nothing to say to him?

SK: No.

SM: He was involved with Missy. You were involved with Missy. But you had nothing to say to him?

SK: Our relationships with Missy were completely different. I've already told you three times that I didn't talk to him. How many more times do you want me to say it?

SM: So, let's be honest here. You were having an affair with Missy Hammond, weren't you?

SK: No!

TA: Was that because she didn't want it?

SK: No, that's not it. We were just friends.

SM: Drop the charade, Steve. We've seen the pictures of you holding hands with Missy.

SK: Well, still. There was nothing going on.

TA: Just like there was nothing special about those do-it-yourself divorce kits you were checking out at Pitner's?

SK: Okay, look. The truth is--

TA: Oh, so now we get the truth.

SK: The truth is that Missy and I were talking. We were spending time together and we were talking about getting back together. But it was never serious. It was just kind of "what if." And those divorce packages, that was just a lark. Just curiosity.

SM: I bet Maureen didn't think you were just being curious.

SK: Well, you're probably right. But that's the truth.

TA: Did Missy turn you down, Steve? Is that why you killed her?

SK: I did not kill her!

TA: Maybe she told you she'd just been leading you on. About the two of you getting back together. Or about Liddie maybe being your kid. Or maybe she knew for a fact that Liddie is your kid and she admitted she'd been lying to you all these years. We're gonna find out the truth about that soon enough, so you might as well 'fess up now. Is that why you killed her? Because of the situation with Liddie?

SK: That's not true! Nothing you just said is true. I already told you, I did not kill Missy! How many times do I have to say it?

SM: Then why all the cover up? Why haven't you been straight with us from the beginning?

SK: I just didn't want it to get around, any of it. Maybe talking to Missy wasn't the right thing to do, but it's not murder.

TA: No. But it might have driven your wife to murder.

SK: That's gotta be a joke.

SM: I don't know, Steve. We've got a pretty good case against Maureen.

TA: Hell, you only have to talk to her for about five minutes to see how she'll do anything to keep her marriage intact.

SM: She hears about you catting around with another woman, checking out divorce kits. Who knows what she might do?

SK: Well...

SM: You think your wife could get violent?

SK: No. That's just silly. If you really knew Maureen, you wouldn't even say that.

TA: Okay then. If you didn't kill Missy and your wife didn't, then who did?

SK: I don't know. Isn't that your job?

TA: Oh, we'll find out. Don't worry about that.

SM: Thanks for your time, Steve. We'll talk again soon.

End interview 1:27 p.m.

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