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Witness Interview: Roger Hammond, victim's ex-husband

Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 3:30 p.m.

The witness, a 26 year-old male identified as the victim's ex-husband, came into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office at the detectives' request for a follow-up interview. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective Ted Armstrong
SM = Detective Sam Murphy
RH = Roger Hammond

SM: Thanks for coming back down to speak with us again. Just like last time, could you please state your name and address?

RH: Roger Hammond. 4314 Mockingbird.

TA: First, we've got a few basic questions for you. Just standard information.

RH: Okay.

SM: How tall are you?

RH: About five-ten. Maybe five-ten and a half.

SM: How much do you weigh?

RH: I'm not sure, but it's probably around 150 or so.

SM: Are you right or left handed?

RH: Right.

SM: Do you have a cell phone?

RH: I do have one, but I leave it turned off most of the time. I hate those things.

TA: That's kind of weird, isn't it? I mean, you're the Sales Manager at the dealership. I figured you would need a cell phone with you all the time, in case they needed to reach you.

RH: I work enough hours. If they can't find me at home or at work, then that's fine. I'm not about to keep a cell phone or a pager with me all the time where I can't even go to the bathroom without them tracking me down.

SM: Okay. Do you own a dark colored jacket? With a hood?

RH: No, I don't believe so.

TA: You're sure about that?

RH: I might have an Ole Miss sweatshirt or windbreaker somewhere that is dark blue. You know, just the school colors. Hell, probably everybody in town has one of those. But I don't normally wear anything that fits that description.

SM: All right. I think that about covers all the trivial details we needed to ask you about. Now, we need to talk about where you were on Friday, January 26th.

RH: I told you. I was at work.

SM: Well, we looked into that. And yeah, you were at work at different times during the day. But there are still some pretty big gaps.

RH: What do you mean?

TA: We asked. A lot of people at the dealership remember that you disappeared for quite a while during that day.

RH: I'm sure that's not entirely true. I probably ran some errands, but I don't see how you could say that I disappeared.

SM: That does seem to be the prevailing opinion. So do you want to tell us where you went that afternoon?

RH: Well, I don't know that I can remember every single stop I made. I probably went by the bank, got something to eat, did a little shopping.

TA: Then there shouldn't be anything to worry about right? If you went to the bank, then I'm sure they have the records of any deposits or withdrawals you made.

RH: Well, I just said I can't remember every single stop I made. I might not have actually gone to the bank.

SM: You said shopping. Where'd you go?

RH: I don't know! Good lord, I don't see how you expect me to remember every little thing I did. Would you like me to tell you what red lights I stopped at?

SM: Okay then, maybe you can remember the car you drove.

RH: What do you mean?

TA: It's a pretty simple question, Roger. What car were you driving?

RH: Well, I don't think I drove my car. I probably just took one off the lot.

SM: You know, I can't help but notice how shaky your memory has suddenly become.

RH: Well, what do you expect? You're asking these ridiculous questions. Why would I remember such silly things?

TA: Here's what I'll do. I'll make it easy on you. How about multiple choice? We know you weren't much of a student, but you remember multiple choice questions, right? So, was it a Mercedes, a Blazer, or a Chevy sedan you drove that day? That should be easy enough.

RH: I don't remember.

SM: How can you not remember?

RH: I drive a lot of different cars all the time. When I need to run out for a minute, I just take whatever's parked nearby. There's no way I can remember what I drove each time.

SM: And you're still not positive on where you went?

RH: Look, I probably didn't go anywhere. A lot of times, I leave the dealership to run errands. But, other times, I just get out to drive around. To clear my head. Get some time to myself. I probably didn't make any stops, just rode around.

TA: And I bet you can't remember where you drove around to either. Think you drove through Missy's neighborhood by any chance?

RH: I doubt it. Why would I want to go there?

TA: It certainly would make it easier for you to kill her, if you went that way.

RH: How many times do I have to tell you? I didn't kill her!

SM: So you don't remember where you went that afternoon, but you do remember that you didn't go to her neighborhood?

RH: That's right.

SM: Okay, if you say so. Let's just drop that for now. Tell us about your child support payments.

RH: What about them?

SM: Ever have any trouble making them?

RH: From time to time. It's not a small amount of money, you know. But I never fell really far behind.

SM: I see. Well, according to our records, you were increasingly late in your payments in recent months.

RH: I just told you that I struggled with them. But, hell, it's not like I was some sort of deadbeat dad. My god, they wouldn't even let me see Liddie but they expect me to fork over this huge amount of money each month. Of course it was tough now and then.

TA: Money's tight, huh?

RH: If you must know, yes, it is. Sales have been down at the dealership, so things have been difficult financially lately. The child support payments certainly didn't make it any easier.

TA: No, but that life insurance policy sure will make it easier, won't it?

RH: I'm not sure what you mean.

TA: You're having a real tough time following along today. You keep forgetting things; you can't follow the conversation; you don't know what we mean. Tough day, Roger?

RH: I'm fine. I just wish you would come right out and say things instead of this BS playing around.

SM: Let's see if this is obvious enough for you. You're having money problems, but you've got a life insurance policy on Missy. And you complain about not being able to see your daughter because Missy won't allow it. So you kill Missy, get the money and your little girl, and everything is just cool.

RH: You're outta your mind. That's nonsense!

TA: Then, why the policy?

RH: It was for Liddie! In case anything happened, Liddie would be taken care of.

TA: And almost immediately after Missy's death, you filed a claim. I guess you're just trying to make sure that Liddie is taken care of.

RH: Of course.

TA: So, then I guess you're going to put all that insurance money in a trust or something for your daughter? Where no one else can touch it?

RH: My financial decisions are none of your business.

TA: That's what I thought.

SM: When is the last time you were in Missy's house?

RH: I don't remember. Quite some time ago.

TA: Another memory lapse there, Roger?

RH: You have no right to badger me this way, Detective!

SM: I'll be honest with you. We've got your prints on your daughter's My Family booklet that she made for school. We found it in Missy's house and your hands have been all over it. Recent prints, too.

RH: But I wasn't in her house! I've told you that.

TA: Look, pal. This is a tight one here. You say you hadn't seen your daughter in months because your custody had been revoked and you also say that you hadn't been in Missy's house. But we've got your prints on a book we took from that house! So, something here ain't right.

SM: If you've got something to confess, Roger, you should do it now.

RH: Okay, listen. I don't really want to tell you this because I know it could get me and some other people in some trouble, but I want to put my cards on the table here so you know I'm being straight with you. I don't want you to think I'm hiding anything.

TA: Uh-huh.

RH: Look... I've still been seeing Liddie. I saw her on Fridays when my parents were with her. That was probably when I touched her book, when she brought it to show me.

SM: That's it, huh?

RH: Yes. I know I wasn't supposed to see her, but I couldn't stand it. I had to see my little girl. And how can that be wrong? A father seeing his daughter.

TA: You sure she's your daughter?

RH: Of course she's my daughter! What the hell kind of question is that?

SM: Were you aware of the fact that Missy wanted to get a paternity test done on Liddie?

RH: A paternity test? That's crazy! Of course I'm her father. You're lying.

TA: 'Fraid not. It was going to be done.

RH: That's just ridiculous. Everyone knows she's my little girl. There's no way. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

SM: We'll see how dumb it is. We've obtained a court order that compels you to submit a blood sample so we can do our own paternity test.

RH: What! That's outrageous! I won't do it. I won't!

SM: Then you'll be in contempt of court and we'll have to take you into custody, at which time we're just going to get the sample we need anyway.

RH: I think I need to talk to a lawyer.

TA: You can if you want to, but it won't make any difference.

RH: That's what you say. I think I'll just be going now. My attorney will contact you.

SM: Just one more thing before you go, Roger.

RH: Yeah? What?

SM: Why didn't you tell us last time we talked that you had called Missy?

RH: What? What are you talking about?

SM: You called her on the evening of January 25th, didn't you?

RH: No, why would I do that? I was legally prohibited from contacting her, wasn't I?

TA: That didn't seem to stop you where your daughter was concerned.

RH: Well... that's true, but Missy was different. Why would I want to talk to her?

SM: I don't know, but you did, didn't you?

RH: I'm sure you have a list of who called her, don't you? Is my name on it?

SM: No, it's not. But we know you talked to her. You called her from McPhail's Chevron, didn't you? I bet she hung up on you the first time. That's why you had to call her back. Isn't that right?

RH: You can't prove I called her.

TA: You're just digging yourself in deeper, man. You might as well admit it. We know you did it.

RH: Well, what if I did call her? So what?

TA: So what did you want?

RH: The only thing I ever wanted - to see my daughter.

TA: But you were already seeing your daughter, or so you said.

RH: Yeah, but I couldn't exactly let Missy find out about that, now could I? I wanted to be able to see Liddie without sneaking around. I thought if I could just talk to Missy, I could convince her. But it didn't work. She wouldn't listen.

TA: That's why you had to kill her, right?

RH: You know, I've already told you a bunch of times that I did not kill her. I'm getting sick of answering the same question over and over. I'm out of here.

SM: Okay, but make sure either you or your attorney talks to us before the end of the day, Mr. Hammond. You understand?

RH: Yeah, yeah.

SM: Thanks for your time.

TA: Be seeing you around.

End interview 4:11 p.m.

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