Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:12 PM
Jason Finnegan is a 44-year-old white male and former basketball teammate of Kevin Gilmore. The interview was conducted at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness’s knowledge and consent.
- Detective Ted Armstrong
- Jason Finnegan
Detective Armstrong: Before we begin, please state your name and address for the record.
Jason Finnegan: My name is Jason Finnegan and I live at 279 Warren Street.
Detective Armstrong: Where are you working right now, Jason?
Jason Finnegan: I'm a maintenance contractor for several restaurants here in town.
Detective Armstrong: Like where?
Jason Finnegan: Mostly Clive Destry's places.
Detective Armstrong: Anywhere else?
Jason Finnegan: Sometimes when somebody needs extra help or has an emergency or something.
Detective Armstrong: At least you don't have to worry about Destry selling out to one of the chain restaurants. That's one less thing to keep you up nights.
Detective Armstrong: Have you heard about the hidden room recently discovered at the university?
Jason Finnegan: It's kind of hard to miss the news with all the students working around the bars and drinking.
Detective Armstrong: The legal drinking age is twenty-one.
Jason Finnegan: Graduate students all.
Detective Armstrong: I'm sure you remember Kevin Gilmore.
Jason Finnegan: Yeah, he was the first person I ever knew to die. We played basketball together.
Detective Armstrong: How did you get along with him?
Jason Finnegan: That was so long ago. We were teammates.
Detective Armstrong: Not friends?
Jason Finnegan: All right. We didn't particularly get along. But, you know, I told you people all this before. It's not like we became friends since then, him being dead.
Detective Armstrong: So what kind of maintenance services do you provide?
Jason Finnegan: Upkeep, cleaning, general handyman stuff. Like one day I might be pulling up the mats behind the bar so they can mop; the next day I fix the ice machine; the day after, maybe I'm patching a leak.
Detective Armstrong: You must know what they say about Destry?
Jason Finnegan: What?
Detective Armstrong: That he uses the bars to distribute drugs.
Jason Finnegan: I wouldn't know anything about that. I don't touch drugs.
Detective Armstrong: Even when you were at Ole Miss?
Jason Finnegan: I think the coach would have thrown me through the hoop.
Detective Armstrong: How about after you dropped out?
Jason Finnegan: I left for financial reasons. I certainly didn't have extra money to throw around.
Detective Armstrong: You couldn't keep up with the student loans?
Jason Finnegan: My parents didn't like the idea of loans. We were holding out for scholarships, and when the scholarships dried up, I left.
Detective Armstrong: Kevin Gilmore was there on scholarship.
Jason Finnegan: That's right. My scholarship. Him getting that scholarship just about destroyed my family. My folks thought that scholarship was their last chance, not just mine. They never did recover from the shock of seeing it fade away. My father died the week I would have graduated.
Detective Armstrong: Sorry to hear that.
Jason Finnegan: My baby sister, as soon as she got old enough, she took off with a trucker. Haven't heard from her since. Broke my mother's heart, what was left of it. Kevin was lucky. He died quick.
Detective Armstrong: Who do you think killed Kevin Gilmore?
Jason Finnegan: Oh, the man with the scythe did. As long as I've been working where students congregate, I've heard the stories.
Detective Armstrong: What stories?
Jason Finnegan: The stories about what happens when somebody decides to take advantage of that pot farm. The man with the scythe gets them. Kevin was just the first. You know, whenever a student kind of disappears, drops out of nowhere, people say they tried to make a run at the pot farm.
Detective Armstrong: Is that what they say about you?
Jason Finnegan: I don't know. I don't ever see anybody I went to school with, and really who would care? It's like they all moved on, moved on to a better life, Just left me behind with the man with the scythe.
Detective Armstrong: Do you think Kevin made a run at the pot farm that night?
Jason Finnegan: Maybe. He would have found that easy money very attractive. He was always trying to borrow a little bit here, a little bit there.
Detective Armstrong: You know what strikes me is that you have your teammate Kevin going after the pot, he dies, and now you're working for Destry. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Jason Finnegan: You might have your facts right, but you're drawing the wrong conclusion. I do not and never have dealt drugs. I also had nothing to do with Kevin's death.
Detective Armstrong: Once Kevin died, wouldn't that have freed up his scholarship?
Jason Finnegan: I don't know. I didn't stick around long enough to find out.
Detective Armstrong: Why so quick to leave? Feeling the man with the scythe at your back?
Jason Finnegan: You accusing me of something?
Detective Armstrong: You said Kevin was always trying to borrow money. Did he borrow any from you?
Jason Finnegan: No, not me, all right. I didn't have any money then. Certainly don't now.
Detective Armstrong: Then who did he owe?
Jason Finnegan: He borrowed money from people on the team. And when he wasn't borrowing money outright, he was asking for people to cover for him. Never did hear of him paying anybody back.
Detective Armstrong: Do you remember anyone in particular that he owed a lot of money to?
Jason Finnegan: You know, I'm not – I wasn't his accountant, all right? I just played basketball with him. I seen how he worked.
Detective Armstrong: You said you didn't have much contact with the people you went to school with, is that right?
Jason Finnegan: Yeah, that's right.
Detective Armstrong: Even hanging around the bars?
Jason Finnegan: Even bars.
Detective Armstrong: We were wondering if anybody ever said anything to you about what happened in '87.
Jason Finnegan: You know, I wish I could help you, but no.
Detective Armstrong: What do you think happened to Kevin?
Jason Finnegan: I don't know. I just don't know. Wish I did. So can I go now?
Detective Armstrong: Sure. We might be in touch again, but you can go for now.
Interview ended: 3:27 PM