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Witness Interview: Thomas Hammond, victim's ex-father-in-law

Monday, February 26, 2001, 10:30 a.m.

The witness, identified as the victim's ex father-in-law, was re-interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was conducted by Det. Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

SM = Detective Sam Murphy
TH = Thomas Hammond

SM: Thank you for coming down today, Mr. Hammond.

TH: Certainly.

SM: Could you please state your name and address?

TH: My name is Thomas Hammond and I live at 934 Hayes, here in Oxford.

SM: As I said, I appreciate you coming down. You've certainly been more cooperative than your wife.

TH: You're far from being the first person to say that.

SM: Well, regardless of how cooperative you've been, you still lied to us.

TH: Oh, I know. But, Gloria was adamant that we not say anything. And besides, how wrong can it be for a man to see his daughter?

SM: Even a man that the courts have ruled is unfit to see his daughter?

TH: You make a good point, Detective. But even though I'll be the first to point out how worthless my son is a lot of the time, he's still my son. You've got to understand my position here.

SM: Just so the record is straight, did you just admit to me that you and Mrs. Hammond lied to us about Roger having contact with his daughter Liddie? In violation of the custody order.

TH: Yes, we're clear on that. I just admitted that we lied.

SM: Thank you for your honesty. I'm sure this has been very tough on you.

TH: It really has. All of Roger's problems, Gloria's bossing. But it's really poor Liddie that should be getting some sympathy. Not me.

SM: Okay, on January 26th, did Roger go with you to pick up Liddie?

TH: No, he joined us at The Skate Place.

SM: Do you remember the time?

TH: I'm not really sure. It was late afternoon, almost dinnertime. Maybe 5 or 5:30? I'm afraid that I really don't remember anything more specific.

SM: And how was he acting?

TH: He seemed kind of weird. Sort of distracted.

SM: Really? Distracted. You're sure of that?

TH: Well, I don't know that I can say for sure. But it seems like I remember him being a little nervous or something that day. But then again, he's been acting more and more flaky lately. So who knows?

SM: Roger's been acting "flaky" lately? Is your son abusing drugs again?

TH: I honestly can't say.

SM: Mr. Hammond, are you aware of any rumors circulating that Roger might not be Liddie's father?

TH: Sure. Those stories have been around since they graduated from high school.

SM: And what do you think of that?

TH: I don't really know. I know that Roger certainly loves the girl and that it's the only thing he's ever stuck with. Of course, he's made some pretty big mistakes with her too, but at least his effort hasn't wavered.

SM: How important is Liddie to Roger?

TH: Extremely important. I can't think of anything that might be more important to him. Liddie is really all he has.

SM: Are you and Mrs. Hammond helping him to try and regain custody?

TH: Yes. As I said, I don't know what he would do without Liddie. He screws up a lot of stuff, but he still needs her.

SM: Mrs. Hammond indicated that you have loaned Roger money over time.

TH: Oh yeah. That's never changed. Ever since that boy had a paper route, we've been bailing him out financially. Hell, that's no different now.

SM: Do you know what he was using that money for?

TH: No idea. He said it was for the child support payments.

SM: You didn't believe him?

TH: It's hard to know when to believe Roger.

SM: Did you know that he still had a life insurance policy on Missy?

TH: No. Can't say I did. I'm a little surprised, though. Surprised he'd be spending money on that. His lawyer must've told him to. Otherwise, I can't see him doing it.

SM: What do you think about Roger's girlfriend, Selena?

TH: Oh, I don't know. She's all right. Certainly likes Roger and helps him out a lot. But, she can be pretty abrasive and harsh. That kind of gets on my nerves.

SM: How did Selena feel about Missy?

TH: Oh, she hated her. That's another reason she kind of gets on my nerves. She's constantly badmouthing Missy. I mean, I guess it's natural that one woman might not like an ex-wife, but come on.

SM: I see. Do you know if there was any contact between Selena and Missy?

TH: No, I don't believe so.

SM: Okay, thanks for your time. I appreciate your honesty.

End interview 10:59 a.m.

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