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

Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 4:00 p.m.

The witness is a 26-year-old male who was once married to the victim. At the detectives' request, he came into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office for an additional interview. The witness was accompanied by his attorney, Glenn Jones. 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
GJ = Glenn Jones

SM: Thanks for coming back down to speak with us again.

TA: Getting a little nervous there, Roger? Bringing in your attorney and all.

GJ: With you in the picture, I wish Roger had included me earlier. I'm warning you, Armstrong, I'm not going to let you berate and badger my client.

SM: That's fine, Mr. Jones. Now, would the witness please state his name and address?

RH: I'm Roger Hammond and I live at 4314 Mockingbird in Oxford.

SM: Okay. This can be really easy if you let it. We'll just get right to it. Did you murder Missy Hammond?

RH: No!

TA: Positive?

RH: Of course.

GJ: Thirty seconds in and I'm already warning you, Detective.

TA: Go ahead and admit it, Roger. We've got more than enough evidence to convict you.

RH: What evidence do you have?

SM: Admit that you did it and we'll tell you.

GJ: He'll admit nothing of the sort. If you've got something to say or evidence to produce, then do so. But quit baiting my client.

TA: You know what, Jones? We'll make you a deal. If your client can give us an alibi for the time of Missy's murder, one that can actually be verified instead of this flimflam he's been feeding us so far, we'll drop the whole thing and we can all go home.

GJ: Roger has already told you where he was, and at some risk to himself may I point out, since it was in violation of the custody order.

TA: Well, there's a problem. We can't get anyone to corroborate exactly where he was from, oh say, 3:30, 3:45 until sometime around 4:30 or 5:00. His co-workers say he wasn't at Farrell Motors. His own parents say he wasn't with them. So where were you, Roger?

GJ: My client has already given you his alibi. If you can't verify it, that's your problem.

SM: Okay, how about this. You remember when we searched your house, right Roger? Well, one of the things we removed was a piece of rope. It was tied around a box in your storage room. Remember it? It's Evidence #000524-47 in case you're interested, Counselor. It just so happens that your rope is consistent with the ligature marks on Missy's neck.

RH: Well, I don't, uh, know. I don't see how that's possible.

GJ: There are any number of explanations. Common types of rope often leave similar markings. It's just bad luck that the rope he had in his house is similar to that used by the killer.

TA: And is it also just bad luck that same piece of rope found in Roger's house had a few links of gold in it? 14-carat gold that is consistent with a necklace Missy used to wear every day. The necklace that Missy's beloved daughter saved her allowance to buy. The necklace that has been missing since her death.

GJ: Well, nevertheless, that's still circumstantial evidence.

RH: Glenn, this is stupid. I don't have to sit here and listen to this, do I?

GJ: No, you don't. Detectives, I'm warning you both. You'd better behave yourselves or else this interview is over. If you think you've got enough to charge my client, then you should do it. As it stands right now, I don't see how you've got very much.

TA: How about the fact that Missy's fingernail fragment was found in a vacuum cleaner filter from the Farrell Motors car dealership?

RH: What?

SM: When Missy's body was examined, there were some fingernails missing. Like she had broken them off when she was struggling with her attacker. We found one of them in a filter from your dealership.

RH: That's impossible! Why I--

GJ: Once again, Detective, that could be simply a coincidence. Or it could be the killer is trying to frame Roger.

TA: He's doing a damn good job of it, if you ask me. You doing all right there, Roger? You're not looking so good.

RH: Can I have some water?

SM: Sure.

GJ: You wouldn't look so good either, Detective, if you were being treated this way.

RH: It's, it's just that I--

GJ: Had nothing to do with Missy's death. And that's all there is to it.

SM: Let's just have the truth, Roger. This can all be over with fairly quickly.

RH: I, uh, I just don't know--

GJ: Quit begging my client. He's not going to confess to something just so your workday can be a little shorter.

TA: Why don't you just clam up over there for a minute and let us get through this?

GJ: See that's just the kind of attitude that--

SM: Gentlemen! Now, Roger. You know what else we found out from Missy's fingernails? The DNA analysis of the trace amounts of skin under her nails didn't exclude you. It excluded Steve Kirby. And it excluded Kevin Travers. And it pretty well excluded JP Wallace. But not you. And there's other stuff--

GJ: This is all very interesting, but none of it--

SM: Why did we find your hair in Missy's house, Roger?

RH: What?

SM: It was in her living room. It was in her bed. How do you explain that?

RH: I--

GJ: He doesn't have to explain it.

SM: Roger, you know that we had paternity tests performed on Liddie.

RH: Yes. And if that damn Steve Kirby thinks he's going to take my daughter--

SM: Relax, Roger. You're the father. The tests reveal that you are, in fact, Liddie's father.

RH: I am? Thank god. I always knew she was my little girl.

TA: Yup. Too bad that you won't be able to see her from jail. Did we mention that stains on some your clothing that we took into evidence from your house matched the wine we found in Missy's house and the wine that was spilled on Missy's rug?

RH: Jail? Oh my god... Jesus, why do I always mess up?

TA: Mess up how? By killing Missy when you didn't have to?

GJ: Detectives, this interview is over--

RH: Why? I was her father all along--

GJ: Roger, shut up.

TA: Go ahead, Roger, just admit it.

RH: I could've waited. The tests--

SM: Waited for what?

GJ: Roger! Shut up!

RH: Ohhh. What is Mama going to say?

SM: Come on, Roger, quit babbling. Talk to us. Make some sense and we'll try to help you.

GJ: No, he will not talk to you! Roger, don't say another word.

RH: But, but, why did I--

GJ: Dammit Roger! This interview is over!

SM: That's okay, Glenn. We don't need any more. The officers will meet you outside to take your client into custody.

End interview 4:39 p.m.

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