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Witness Interview: JP Wallace, victim's boyfriend

Monday, January 29, 2001 - 3:45 p.m.

Det. Sam Murphy and Det. Ted Armstrong interviewed this witness, identified as Missy Hammond's boyfriend, at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. The interview was recorded on a portable audio tape recorder and on video tape with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
JW = JP Wallace

TA: Would you please state your name and address for the record?

JW: Man, you know who I am.

SM: Come on, Mr. Wallace. You know how this game is played.

JW: Fine. My name is JP Wallace. I live at 1657 Jefferson .

SM: What does the JP stand for?

JW: James Peter, not that it matters. Everyone has always called me JP.

SM: Are you employed, sir?

JW: Yeah.

TA: Where do you work?

JW: Over at the Emerson Plant in the warehouse

TA: How much money you make over there?

JW: I don't see how that's any of your business.

SM: It's easy enough for us to find out from your employer, so you might as well tell us. Unless you relish the idea of having a couple of Sheriff's Detectives nosing around at your workplace, asking questions about you.

JW: You don't have to be like that. I make about eight dollars an hour over there.

TA: You work there full time?

JW: Nope.

TA: How often do you work then?

JW: Only part time. I work a few second shifts every week.

SM: How many shifts?

JW: Depends.

SM: Give us an estimate.

JW: Sometimes three. Sometimes four. Sometimes more or less. Depends.

TA: So that must bring you, what? Two hundred bucks a week, maybe two-fifty?

JW: Something like that.

TA: You must be pretty good with a budget to get by on that.

JW: Must be.

TA: You have a second job? Something that brings in a little extra cash to supplement your income?

JW: I got a lot of interests.

SM: Money-making interests?

JW: Some.

TA: You know a woman named Missy Hammond?

JW: Yeah.

TA: How do you know her?

JW: We hung out some.

TA: How long have you known her?

JW: I don't know. A couple months?

TA: When did you meet her?

JW: If I knew that, I could tell you how long we'd been hanging out, couldn't I?

TA: Where did you meet her?

JW: Don't remember.

TA: Think.

JW: Might've been at Forrester's Bar.

TA: What were you doing there?

JW: Just hangin' out, passin' the time.

TA: Uh-huh. And what was Missy Hammond doing there?

JW: I think she was having one of those, what do they call it? Girls night out? Some kind of chick thing, you know what I'm saying? She was there with a bunch of her friends.

SM: So, how did you get the opportunity to meet her if she was with her girlfriends?

JW: I've got my ways with the ladies. I can really turn it on when there's a hot babe at stake. And Missy's one hot babe.

SM: Yes, I can see what a charmer you are. Did you and Ms. Hammond start, how did you phrase it? Hanging out? Did the two of you start hanging out that night?

JW: Pretty much. I didn't close the deal that night, but it didn't take too long.

SM: And you have been hanging out with her ever since?

JW: Yeah. Normally, I don't stick with one woman that long, but Missy was great in bed when she was in the mood. Enough to keep any man comin' back, at least for a while.

SM: Were you hanging out with anyone else while you were hanging out with Ms. Hammond?

JW: Naw. I can only put up with one woman's BS at a time.

TA: Was Missy Hammond involved in any of your money-making interests that you referred to a minute ago?

JW: Missy? Ha! Now that's funny.

SM: Why is it funny?

JW: Missy's not much of a... risk-taker, let's say.

TA: Is that right?

JW: Yeah. Just not her thing.

SM: So how would you characterize your relationship with her?

JW: We just liked to get together and have a good time.

SM: Sounds like you were Missy's boyfriend.

JW: Some people might call it that.

SM: You wouldn't?

JW: Makes it sound like more than it was.

TA: Then what was it?

JW: Look, Missy was a great piece and a lot of fun when she wanted to be. We had a good time, but it's not like we were in love or anything. It wasn't even about that.

SM: What was it about?

JW: Having a good time.

TA: From what we hear, you two weren't having such a good time Friday afternoon.

JW: Like I said, Missy could be a lot of fun when she wanted to. Other times...

SM: Other times, what?

JW: Other times, she could be a huge pain in the ass.

SM: How so?

JW: The woman had a lot of rules, okay? And she'd get all bent out of shape if you didn't do like she liked.

SM: What kind of rules?

JW: Lots of 'em. Like, she didn't like it if you had a few drinks or whatever before you saw her. You always had to call her before you came over. You had to act a certain way if her kid was around. On and on like that.

TA: How did you have to act around her daughter?

JW: I don't know. Sort of... she always wanted to set a good example for her kid and she expected you to act like some kind of role model whenever the kid was there.

SM: That was a problem for you?

JW: Not my job to raise her kid. I am who I am. I shouldn't have to act like someone else just because some rugrat is around.

SM: I see. So how much time did you actually spend with Missy and Liddie together?

JW: What do you think? Not much. My interest was in Missy, not some other guy's kid.

TA: Uh-huh. So was that what you and Missy were arguing about on Friday?

JW: Naw. Kid wasn't even there.

TA: What were you arguing about then?

JW: I don't see how that matters now.

TA: Humor me.

JW: Whatever, man. It's your nickel. She was pissed because I had a few before I came over.

SM: Had a few?

JW: A few... drinks.

SM: How many is a few?

JW: I don't know. I wasn't exactly keeping track.

SM: Where did you have these drinks?

JW: Over at Murff's.

SM: Alone?

JW: Only losers drink alone, lady.

SM: So, since you are clearly not a loser, you were drinking with someone?

JW: Several people. I have lots of friends.

SM: I'm sure you do. Which of your friends were you drinking with on Friday?

JW: I don't remember.

SM: Try.

JW: Well... let me see... I think Bobby was there... and Jack. Maybe Mike... Jimbo? Maybe some other people. I don't know. It's not like I was taking notes. And it's not like that's the only time I've been there since then.

TA: You got last names on the folks you mentioned?

JW: Who did I say? I forgot.

TA: Bobby.

JW: That's Bobby Franklin.

TA: Jack.

JW: Jack Swanson.

TA: Kevin.

JW: What're you talking about? I never said Kevin.

TA: So Kevin wasn't there?

JW: Kevin who?

TA: I don't know. Must be my mistake. Maybe it was Mike you said. What's Mike's last name?

JW: Mike... I don't know Mike's last name.

TA: Must be a good friend, huh?

JW: Good enough. That it?

TA: No. How about Jimbo?

JW: Tatum.

TA: Roger.

JW: Nice try. I never said Roger.

TA: You know Roger?

JW: Roger who?

TA: Any Roger.

JW: I know a couple.

TA: Name one.

JW: I know Missy's ex is named Roger. That's what you're getting at, isn't it?

TA: Do you know Missy's ex-husband?

JW: Heard Missy talk about him.

TA: But you don't know him personally?

JW: Not that I can recall.

SM: What did you hear Ms. Hammond say about her ex-husband?

JW: Nothin' good.

SM: What, specifically?

JW: Look, I didn't memorize the woman's every word. She'd get to bitchin' and I'd just tune her out. Her problems are not my problems, you know what I'm saying?

TA: So getting back to Friday afternoon, you had a few drinks at Murff's and then went over to Missy's, right?

JW: Right.

SM: Did you call before you went?

JW: Yeah. Had to. One of her stupid rules.

SM: So you arrived at her house around what time?

JW: I don't know. Probably around 3:30 or so. That's what time I usually went over. Coulda been a little earlier or a little later. It's not like I was punching a clock or anything.

SM: And what happened when you got there?

JW: Nothin'. I went inside. She was wearing this great nightgown kind of thing. Real hot. I figured we were in for a fun afternoon.

TA: What happened?

JW: I guess I tried to kiss her 'cause the next thing I know she was pushin' me away and yelling about liquor on my breath and how she'd told me before not to come over if I'd been drinking and stuff like that.

TA: What did you do?

JW: I yelled back. I don't have to take that kind of crap off any woman. If I want to have a drink, then I'm damn well gonna have a drink. If I want to have six drinks or ten drinks or more, then I will. She got no right to try to tell me what to do.

TA: So Missy didn't drink, huh?

JW: No! That was the thing of it. She liked to have a glass of wine or two sometimes, like anybody else. I don't know where she got off telling me not to drink when she drank sometimes too.

TA: Was Missy a heavy drinker?

JW: Naw. Just one or two glasses of wine, like I said. I never saw her have more than that. Never saw her drunk or anything. But that didn't give her the right to judge my drinking habits. That's my business, not hers.

TA: So you and Missy were yelling at each other about the drinking. Then what happened?

JW: I don't know. She's yelling at me and I'm yelling back and then she's screaming at me to get out. Well, I'll tell you, by that time, I got no problem with getting outta there 'cause I'd had just about enough of her crap. So I walked out, but she followed me on out in the front yard, still yelling. Well, I can't let her bawl me out in front of God and everyone and not put her in her place, so I yelled back at her some more. I told her where she could go and what she could do. Then I got in my truck and took off.

TA: Did you maybe give her a little smack to put her in her place?

JW: No.

TA: You sure about that?

JW: Yes.

SM: Did you notice anyone else outside who saw you two arguing?

JW: Hell, yes. Why do you think it pissed me off so bad? Those five kids from across the street were watching and I know that gay dude was listening to every word I said.

SM: Who next door?

JW: That guy Kevin who was always following Missy around, hanging on her every word, like she was the greatest thing since canned beer. It was disgusting. What a punk!

SM: Sounds like you were jealous of the attention he paid to Ms. Hammond.

JW: Not hardly. That guy was just a pain in the ass. He's the kind of guy chicks call sensitive, which really means he's a big pussy. I mean, he even told Missy to stop hanging out with me. Like she would have hooked up with him after she'd been with me.

SM: Really? Why not? You don't think Ms. Hammond could have been attracted to him?

JW: No way. I don't see how he could've satisfied her. Not after she'd been with me.

SM: Why is that?

JW: I keep a woman happy, no doubt about it. Can't see that wuss bein' able to match up. Besides, I think Missy was already linin' someone else up for when we called it quits.

TA: You and Missy were about to break up?

JW: I don't know. Probably. She was getting to be more trouble than she was worth, you know what I'm saying. And she probably felt the same way about me.

TA: You weren't upset about that?

JW: Naw. It was getting time for me to be movin' on anyway. Can't hang out with a woman too long. They start expecting stuff, wanting a commitment, crap like that.

TA: And you don't do that? Make a commitment to a woman?

JW: Nope. Not my thing. I'm more of a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy.

SM: Do you know who the person was that she was lining up to take your place?

JW: No. Some guy named Steve, I think.

SM: But you don't know him?

JW: Don't think so.

SM: How do you know his name is Steve?

JW: I heard her talking on the phone to him a couple times, but she always got off real quick when she saw me standing there. Like she didn't want me to hear, you know?

SM: Did you ever ask her about those calls?

JW: Nope. Why would I? Her business is her business, just like mine. I didn't want to get involved in her personal life.

SM: Weren't you already involved in her personal life?

JW: No. What makes you think that?

SM: You were sleeping with her, weren't you?

JW: Yeah. So?

SM: You wouldn't call that being involved in her personal life?

JW: No.

TA: Okay, let's get back to Friday. You and Missy had a fight and you left. Then what did you do?

JW: I went to the 24/7 store, down the road to make a call.

TA: Who did you call?

JW: Why does that matter?

TA: Just answer the question, would you?

JW: I called Murff's.

TA: Why?

JW: I wanted to see if any of my friends were still there.

TA: Were they?

JW: Yeah.

TA: Did you talk to any of them?

JW: I talked to Bobby.

TA: What did you talk about?

JW: Mostly, I was just telling him about what just went down with Missy. Blowin' off some steam, I guess you could say.

TA: And what did he say?

JW: He said she had no right to treat me that way and wanted to know if I was gonna let her get away with it.

TA: Really? And what did you tell him?

JW: Told him he was right. I couldn't let her think she could pull that kind of crap with me.

TA: What were you going to do about it?

JW: I decided to go back over there and set her straight.

TA: Is that what you did?

JW: You bet your ass, I did.

SM: Did you call her before you went over that second time?

JW: No. I was too pissed. I didn't even think about it.

TA: So what happened when you got to Missy's house the second time?

JW: I went up to her door, started pounding on it. I told her I knew she was in there and I wasn't gonna leave 'til she let me in and we had a little talk.

TA: Did she let you in?

JW: No! That wuss from next door came gliding out of his house like he was gonna do something. So I walked over to him and asked him if he had a problem.

TA: Did he? Have a problem?

JW: He was saying all kind of crap about disturbing the peace and making threats and crap like that. Told me Missy deserved to be treated better than that. Said he was gonna call the cops if I didn't leave right then.

TA: What did you say?

JW: I told him if he was a real man, he'd settle it right there, just the two of us.

TA: Did he take you up on that?

JW: Of course not, the big wuss. He just said something about he wasn't going to sink to my level and get into a physical confrontation. Fancy talk, but it all amounts to he was too much of a wimp to take me on.

TA: So what did happen?

JW: All of a sudden, I just realized how sick I was of all that. Sick of Missy's crap. Sick of putting up with this wimp from next door. Sick of the whole thing. I decided to get out of there and go have a drink with my buddies. At least they don't give me a lot of crap every minute.

TA: You weren't worried that Kevin Travers really would call the cops?

JW: No. Why would I worry about that?

SM: You had already been arrested before at Missy's house, hadn't you? On January 5th of this year?

JW: Oh, that. It was no big deal.

SM: Really? What was it then?

JW: Just a misunderstanding.

SM: You know, the Sheriff's Department doesn't usually get called in on misunderstandings.

JW: Well, there's a first time for everything.

SM: Why don't you just tell us what happened that day?

JW: It was no big deal. Missy'd got her panties in a wad over some stupid thing like she always did.

SM: What was she upset about?

JW: I don't remember. She was always getting upset about some little thing or another. It happened so often, I don't really remember what that particular fight was about.

SM: Had you been drinking that day too?

JW: I don't know. Could be. More than likely.

SM: Is that what the argument was about?

JW: Like I said, I don't remember.

SM: So how did the police happen to be called then?

JW: How do you think? Old Nosy Nellie next door called them. Told 'em he thought I was gonna hit her or something.

SM: Did you? Hit her?

JW: No. He was just being his wussy, paranoid self.

SM: But you were arrested, weren't you?

JW: Yeah.

SM: How do you explain that?

JW: Look, I was already pissed at Missy and then I just got even more pissed when that wimp called the cops. Maybe I got up in one of the cops' faces, but it wasn't my fault. If that wuss hadn't butted in, it never would have happened.

SM: So, if Kevin Travers hadn't intervened, the argument would have ended peacefully. Is that what you're saying?

JW: That's right.

SM: Mr. Wallace, did you kill Missy Hammond?

JW: Hell, no! Why would I? Sure, she could be a pain in the ass, but she had her good qualities too. Plus, I didn't have any reason to kill her.

SM: You did say she was about to break up with you.

JW: No. I said we were probably about to break up. It would have been a mutual thing. We just didn't have a chance to do it before she got herself killed.

TA: Why do you think she got herself killed?

JW: Missy was the kind of woman who could really piss a guy off, you know what I'm saying? I'm sure there were plenty of guys who felt like killing her at one time or another. You ask me, you should look at her ex. They had a lot of problems. She had a restraining order against him, you know. Besides, I hear the guy is cracking up.

TA: What do you mean he's cracking up?

JW: You know what I mean. And if it's not him, it could've been that overprotective father of hers. Or her so-called uncle. I guess it could have been that wuss next door, but I doubt he has the balls to do something like that.

TA: Do you know Missy's father?

JW: Met him once. I could tell he didn't like me. Not that I gave him any reason to not like me, but he still acted like I was some kind of lowlife.

TA: Hard to imagine. What about this uncle you mentioned? Who is that?

JW: Never met him, but Missy talked about him a lot like he was some wise old man who knew everything about everything. Sounded like a crock to me. He's not even really her uncle. He's some cousin or something.

TA: You know his name?

JW: Johnny.

TA: You know his last name?

JW: Nope. Never cared.

TA: Is there anyone else you can think of who might have wanted to kill her?

JW: How would I know? Like I said, I didn't get involved in her personal life. There coulda been somebody else she pissed off and there's no way I would know about it.

SM: You said before that after you left Missy's the second time, you went to Murff's. Is that right?

JW: Yeah.

SM: What time did you get there?

JW: I don't know. Must've been around 4:30. When I got back, somebody made a crack about how I hadn't even been gone an hour and that I must've given Missy the short end of the stick. Wise ass. Point is, that's why I think it must've been 4:30 or so.

SM: How long did you stay there?

JW: I think I must've hung around 'til about closing.

SM: Really? That's a long time to spend in a bar.

JW: Maybe for some people. Me, I like to hang out there. Better than sittin' at home.

SM: You didn't have to work that day?

JW: At the warehouse? Nope.

SM: You work somewhere else?

JW: No. I already told you that.

SM: You just said "at the warehouse" like I could have been referring to some other place where you'd have to be at work.

JW: Didn't mean it that way.

SM: Okay, if you say so. Is there anything else you can tell us about Missy Hammond or her murder?

JW: I don't think so.

SM: All right. Thank you for coming in, Mr. Wallace, and we'd appreciate it if you'd continue to make yourself available to us in the future when we want to talk to you again.

JW: Yeah. That it? Can I go now?

TA: Yes. You can get outta here, but JP?

JW: Yeah?

TA: Don't go too far.

JW: Yeah, right.

End interview 4:51 p.m.

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