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Witness Interview: Steve Kirby, victim's former boyfriend

Monday, February 12, 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. He was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. 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: Thank you for coming down to talk to us today.

SK: I'm glad to do anything I can.

SM: Please state your name and address.

SK: Steven Kirby. I live at 210 Sisk Avenue in Oxford.

SM: And where are you employed?

SK: I'm a co-owner of Complete Computing Specialists. Our offices are over at 309 East Jackson Avenue.

SM: You said you're a co-owner. There are other owners of the business?

SK: Yes, my partner, John Boudreau, and myself are the primary owners. My wife, Maureen, has a small share of the business too.

SM: Can you tell us how you knew the victim, Missy Hammond?

SK: Sure, we went to high school together. We dated for a couple of years back then.

SM: And when did you break up?

SK: It was late winter, early spring of our senior year.

SM: Why did you break up?

SK: Just dumb kid stuff, I guess. I went out with this other girl. Nothing really happened, but still, you could say I cheated on Missy. After that, she kept saying that she couldn't trust me.

TA: Did you two try to work things out?

SK: Sure. We got back together a couple of times that spring, but it never really lasted.

TA: How did you feel about that?

SK: I was crushed. I really cared about her. And to know that I screwed it up by just being stupid, that's hard to take. But, then again, I guess most kids at that age think that their relationships are a matter of life and death.

TA: What about you now? You married?

SK: Yeah, I married a local girl, Maureen in 1997. Maybe you know her, Maureen Kirby? Used to be Maureen Silver.

TA: The name sounds familiar. I might recognize her if I saw her. So you've been married for about four or five years now. Did you have any communications with Missy after you got married?

SK: Not for a while. But we had been talking a little bit lately.

SM: About what?

SK: Nothing much. Just catching up. It was really tough when we broke up. I'm afraid we didn't do it under the best circumstances. But all that was a long time ago. I didn't see any reason for us to hate each other anymore. And Oxford is such a small town, we were going to bump into each other sooner or later.

SM: How did this new phase of communication begin?

SK: I just called her up. After I heard that she got divorced, I called to say that I hoped she was doing well. And after that, we started chatting every now and then.

SM: Just chatting?

SK: Well, uh, yeah. What do you mean?

SM: What was the current nature of your relationship?

SK: We were friends.

TA: Did you ever try to get back together with Missy?

SK: No. I'm married. Why would I do something like that?

TA: I don't know. That's why I'm asking.

SK: No, it was nice talking to her again. But I wasn't trying to cheat on my wife, if that's what you're asking.

TA: How did your wife get along with Missy?

SK: I don't know that she did. I mean, I don't think they really knew each other.

TA: Didn't you all go to high school together?

SK: Yes, but Maureen and Missy weren't really friends. They probably knew each other to say hi, but they didn't run in the same circles, you know?

TA: Did your wife know that you'd been talking to Missy?

SK: I don't know whether she did or not.

TA: How can you not know? Did you hide it from her?

SK: What are you getting at? I wasn't... I didn't... Look, Maureen knows Missy and I used to go out back in high school. Would she be happy that I was talking to Missy? Maybe not. But I wasn't going out of my way to hide it from her. I just didn't make a big deal about it because it wasn't a big deal. I don't know why you're trying to make it more than it was.

SM: Let's leave that for now. So you were just friends with Missy. What did you two talk about?

SK: A lot of it was just catching up. She told me about her life in the years since I knew her and I told her about mine. We talked a lot about what different people were doing since we all went to college. That sort of thing. We talked about work and sports. Nothing in particular.

SM: You and Ms. Hammond were catching up for the last three years or so?

SK: Three years?

SM: You said you called her when you heard she was divorced. Her divorce was final in 1998.

SK: Well, I didn't find out right away. It was a while later when I heard.

SM: How long after the divorce did you hear about it?

SK: I don't remember. Not too long ago.

SM: How did you hear?

SK: I don't know. I guess someone mentioned it, but I don't remember now.

SM: On January 26, there was a phone call from Missy's house to your office. Do you know who at your office took this call?

SK: Yes, I believe I did.

SM: And the caller was Missy Hammond?

SK: Yes

TA: What did you talk about?

SK: Nothing much that I remember. I'm sure it just had something to do with their new computer. When Missy and her daughter got the computer, she often called me with questions about this or that.

TA: And that's what this call was? Computer advice?

SK: Well, I can't say that I remember for sure, but probably.

TA: You really can't remember? Think hard now.

SK: No. I'm sorry, but I just don't remember every small phone conversation that I have. It probably was about the computer though. I'm almost positive.

TA: Did you talk to Missy again after that call?

SK: No.

TA: Did you see her after that call?

SK: No.

TA: So this was your very last conversation with her ever, but you can't remember what you talked about?

SK: No, not really. At the time, I didn't know I would never get to talk to her again so I didn't memorize everything we said.

TA: If you had known, you would have memorized the conversation?

SK: Not necessarily, but I probably would have paid a lot more attention.

SM: After you took the call, where were you for the rest of the afternoon on the 26th?

SK: I was at work until about 6:30. Then I went home.

SM: Was anyone else in the office then?

SK: No. My partner was out of town and my wife runs her errands on Fridays. She goes by the accountants, the bank, the post office. That kind of stuff. So no one was there until she came back about 6:15. Then we left.

SM: Where did you go?

SK: Home.

SM: Just you?

SK: No, me and my wife, we both went home.

SM: Did anyone see you arrive home?

SK: Not that I know of.

SM: What kind of car do you drive, Mr. Kirby?

SK: A Honda Accord.

SM: What color is it?

SK: Green.

SM: Do you park it on the street?

SK: It just kind of depends. You know how parking can get on the Square, especially if it's a Friday or Saturday. If I can, I park on Jackson. But I just leave it where I can find a spot.

SM: Where did you park it on January 26th?

SK: I'm not sure. I think we got a spot on Jackson when we came in that morning, but Maureen went out that afternoon and I don't remember when she parked when she came back.

TA: You and your wife drive to work together?

SK: Most of the time. I mean, we're going to the same place, so why not?

TA: Do you have a second car?

SK: Yes. I have a '66 Mustang that I'm fixing up, but we usually leave it at home unless one of us has a meeting or something and our schedules are out of sync. Maureen doesn't like to drive it, so when we take separate cars, she takes the Honda and I drive the Mustang.

SM: All right, in your so-called friendly conversations with Missy, did she mention anything about scheduling a doctor's appointment for her daughter, Liddie?

SK: Well, no. I don't think so.

SM: She had an appointment for that following Monday morning. She didn't mention having to take Liddie to the doctor?

SK: No, I don't think I remember that.

SM: Mr. Kirby, I'm just going to ask you straight out. Are you the father of Missy's daughter?

SK: No! Why would you ask something like that?

TA: Because that doctor's appointment was almost certainly to get a paternity test for Liddie. If you do the math of when you two broke up, it's at least possible that you're her father. Let me ask you again, what was the nature of your relationship with Missy Hammond at the time of her death?

SK: I told you. We were just friends. How many times do I have to say that?

TA: I gotta level with you. We've been given information that says you were trying to get back together with her. We've been told that you were trying to get her back. And we've been told that you were beginning to think that you might be Liddie's father.

SK: Okay, look. We did talk about it. You said so yourself that it's mathematically possible that I'm the father. I had asked her about it. Sometimes she said that she didn't know, other times, she said maybe.

SM: Did you want to know? Did you push her to have a paternity test?

SK: Of course I'd like to know if I have a daughter out there. But, at the same time, Liddie recognizes Roger Hammond as her father. Whether that's a good thing or not, who knows? But I was apprehensive about doing anything that might hurt Liddie.

SM: Why the evasion? Why didn't you tell us this in the first place?

SK: It's pretty personal, you know. And I don't want anything getting out and being distorted and hurting my wife.

SM: Anything else you've told us that isn't true?

SK: I don't think so.

SM: What about trying to get back together with Missy?

SK: Look, we talked about it. You know? God, if Maureen finds out... but I don't know how much of it was real. It was nice talking to her again. We were really close once. We were each other's first loves, you know, and you always have some amount of affection for that person... But I don't know if now it was just being nostalgic or what.

SM: So you guys talked about getting back together, but never acted on anything?

SK: No! I've told you that. I'm married and I've done nothing wrong.

SM: Then you don't have anything to be concerned about. Thanks for your time. I'm sure we'll be talking again.

End interview 1:39 p.m.

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