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Gloria Bell has no lingering affection for her former husband, Robert Pruitt

Saturday, February 27, 2016 – 10:16 a.m.

Gloria Bell was once married to victim #1, Robert Pruitt. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her in her office at the Yoknapatawpha County District Attorney's Office. The interview was recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Gloria Bell

Detective Armstrong: Thanks for seeing us.

Gloria Bell: I'm sorry I couldn't set something up sooner. I was out of town.

Detective Murphy: Do you know why we're here today?

Gloria Bell: I can only assume it's about Rob Pruitt.

Detective Armstrong: Correct.

Gloria Bell: What can I tell you?

Detective Murphy: We'll need the usual information for the record — name and address, please.

Gloria Bell: Gloria Louise Bell, 908 Old Taylor Rd.

Detective Armstrong: You were married to Mr. Pruitt at one point, is that right?

Gloria Bell: Yes. We separated in 2004 and haven't been in touch since then. I'm not sure I'll be of much help to you.

Detective Armstrong: But you know Gary Rayburn, Mr. Pruitt's partner, don't you?

Gloria Bell: Yes. Of course. I know almost all the lawyers in town.

Detective Armstrong: How often are you in touch with Mr. Rayburn?

Gloria Bell: I actually didn't see him much in court. Apparently, he let Robert hog the limelight. But informally I suppose we see each other occasionally. Not lately though — I've been out of town a lot.

Detective Armstrong: You see him informally?

Gloria Bell: Yes. We're friends.

Detective Armstrong: We've heard it went farther than that.

Gloria Bell: I don't care to comment.

Detective Armstrong: Ms. Bell, we don't have to remind you, of all people, that refusing to reveal relevant information could be construed—

Gloria Bell: I just don't see how it's relevant, Detectives. Trust me on this one — there's nothing there. Next question.

Detective Armstrong: Back to Mr. Pruitt, then. Why did you get a divorce?

Gloria Bell: Well, a lot of reasons. He was shallow, manipulative, and materialistic, and I quickly realized it after the honeymoon was over. We were only married for eleven months. Let's call it irreconcilable differences.

Detective Armstrong: We found some of the divorce papers among Mr. Pruitt's effects. You managed to wring quite a settlement out of him.

Gloria Bell: It may surprise you, but I do know what I'm doing from time to time.

Detective Armstrong: You sued him for permanent damage to your mental and physical health. That seems to go beyond irreconcilable differences.

Gloria Bell: All right. Rob and I didn't want children at that stage of life. We were just getting started after law school, and frankly I was leaning toward adoption. I had ideas about population growth and sustainability. I got pregnant though. It shouldn't have happened. The birth control must have failed. It was stupid.

Detective Murphy: It happens. What did you do?

Gloria Bell: I didn't know what to do, and before I had a chance to tell Rob, I had a miscarriage. He didn't even wait for me to get out of the hospital before chewing me out, telling me I should have quit my job to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and take care of the fetus. That didn't go over too well, as you can imagine.

Detective Murphy: No, I should think not.

Gloria Bell: Then when I came home, I took some time off. It was difficult. I didn't intend to be pregnant, but afterwards I really grieved. I was 30 at the time, and the miscarriage had complications — I wasn't supposed to try again.

Detective Murphy: That must've been hard to hear.

Gloria Bell: Rob basically told me to get over it and get on with life, and by the way, he wanted us to go into private practice so he could get a Lexus. Again, you both know me well enough to imagine that didn't go over too well either.

Detective Armstrong: Sounds like the wounds are still pretty fresh.

Gloria Bell: You don't get over something like that ever, not really. That's the thing about grief. It never really leaves you.

Detective Armstrong: And anger.

Gloria Bell: Yes — anger. I suppose I stayed angry with Rob. I did move on, though.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw him?

Gloria Bell: Well, we saw each other around the courts quite a bit. He was in our office with Calvin Dollarhide, haggling over the Brinkman case. Disgusting — that guy is guilty as sin. Calvin was complaining to me about it.

Detective Murphy: And when was that?

Gloria Bell: That was around the 16th, 17th of February. I can ask Calvin to check his calendar, if you want the exact date.

Detective Murphy: So that was the week of his death.

Gloria Bell: Apparently so.

Detective Murphy: Did you see him or hear from him at all after that?

Gloria Bell: No.

Detective Murphy: What about Mr. Dollarhide?

Gloria Bell: I don't know. I didn't hear anything more about it.

Detective Armstrong: Did you ever visit Mr. Pruitt at home to discuss case matters?

Gloria Bell: No. I don't even know where he lives — or lived.

Detective Armstrong: Now, wait. Mr. Rayburn said he went to Mr. Pruitt's house all the time. Are you sure Mr. Rayburn didn't tell you—

Gloria Bell: Why would he and I talk about Mr. Pruitt? That's the last topic on earth I care to discuss. No. Let me get this straight for you — what happened between Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Rayburn was their concern and their concern alone.

Detective Armstrong: What do you and Mr. Rayburn talk about, if not Mr. Pruitt?

Gloria Bell: Oh, just about anything. He shares my political sympathies, which is rare in this state. And he does a lot for Habitat for Humanity — he asks me for advice on their fund-raising. But I said I wasn't going to talk about this. You two are devious.

Detective Armstrong: I'll take that as a compliment.

Detective Murphy: Ms. Bell, when did you last see Mr. Rayburn before Mr. Pruitt's death?

Gloria Bell: I don't recall. I guess it was maybe the 18th. Thursday evening. We got together for a drink after work.

Detective Murphy: Can you look that up in your calendar?

Gloria Bell: I don't record my social life, Detectives. It would make for dull reading. So no, I didn't write it down.

Detective Murphy: What about since then?

Gloria Bell: I saw Gary yesterday after I got back into on.

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