Monday, February 29, 2016 – 10:07 a.m.
Gary Rayburn was Robert Pruitt's law partner. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him in his office at 1109 Van Buren Avenue in Oxford. The interview was recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Gary Rayburn
Detective Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?
Gary Rayburn: My name is Gary Rayburn and I live at 11 Country Road 302.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for agreeing to talk with us again. There are just a few details we want to clear up.
Gary Rayburn: Any way I can help bring Robert's killer to justice.
Detective Armstrong: Good. You told us that Robert didn't have any enemies, but other people have had no difficulty providing us with a list.
Gary Rayburn: Perhaps I meant passionate enemies. Ones that would kill.
Detective Armstrong: Jackie Woodruff? Rick Gill? Gloria Bell?
Gary Rayburn: Gloria would never hurt Robert.
Detective Murphy: And the others?
Gary Rayburn: I doubt Jackie has it in her to do much of anything too aggressive.
Detective Murphy: She assaulted a police officer.
Gary Rayburn: That was just a misunderstanding.
Detective Armstrong: And Rick Gill?
Gary Rayburn: The only person Gill ever wanted to kill was his ex-wife.
Detective Murphy: Why do you think your name might appear on a list of people who wanted Robert dead?
Gary Rayburn: My name? You must have misunderstood.
Detective Armstrong: We're very careful.
Gary Rayburn: The person who gave you the list must have been mistaken then.
Detective Murphy: And how might that have happened?
Gary Rayburn: I don't have a clue. Perhaps someone jealous of me wants to make trouble.
Detective Armstrong: And who might that be?
Gary Rayburn: Whoever fed you my name.
Detective Murphy: Counselor, our investigation is ongoing, but we have not been able to eliminate you as a suspect. Tell us why it could not have been you?
Gary Rayburn: Tell you as a suspect or as a lawyer?
Detective Armstrong: Just tell us the truth.
Gary Rayburn: The truth depends on who you ask, but as a witness, I couldn't have killed Robert because I wasn't there that night, didn't do it, don't own a gun, and didn't have a reason to want him hurt, much less dead.
Detective Murphy: And as a lawyer?
Gary Rayburn: You can't prove motive, means, or opportunity and have nothing that demonstrates a connection with the crime.
Detective Murphy: If you had to think of likely or possible suspects, would you suspect someone in particular or know for sure who did it?
Gary Rayburn: I would think the most likely suspect would be someone associated with the other man you found in Robert's house.
Detective Armstrong: What would make you say that?
Gary Rayburn: Since I don't know anyone associated with Robert who would have done it, someone associated with that other fellow is the next most likely.
Detective Murphy: During the period 2014-2016, did you plan to use deceptive or manipulative measures to gain an advantage or get something you wanted?
Gary Rayburn: Really, Detective. I'm an attorney and an officer of the court. Next question.
Detective Armstrong: Did you commit this crime, Gary?
Gary Rayburn: Absolutely not!
Detective Armstrong: What would you say if later it was proved that you did this?
Gary Rayburn: I'd say it would be an incredible frame up, because I had no role in this. None at all.
Detective Murphy: What reasons would there be for incriminating evidence to surface that showed you were involved?
Gary Rayburn: No reasons. There's no evidence of any such involvement.
Detective Armstrong: Why's that?
Gary Rayburn: Because I wasn't involved.
Detective Murphy: What's your relationship to Wayne Fisher?
Gary Rayburn: I never met the man.
Detective Murphy: Never defended him? Cross-examined him? Bought him a beer?
Gary Rayburn: No.
Detective Armstrong: Gloria ever mention him?
Gary Rayburn: Not to me. Look, I'm not sure what all you're implying, but you're barking up the wrong tree.
Detective Armstrong: What tree is that?
Gary Rayburn: I had nothing to do with Robert's death, and I'm sure that Gloria didn't either.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about your trip to the Chevron Food Mart.
Gary Rayburn: I'm not aware of making one.
Detective Murphy: The night Robert was killed?
Gary Rayburn: Oh, yes. I ran out of snacks, and I had a craving for chicken-on-a-stick. Only place in town to get that.
Detective Armstrong: You were watching the Ole Miss vs FIU game.
Detective Murphy:And later the Grizzlies.
Gary Rayburn: An interesting night.
Detective Armstrong: Couldn't have been too interesting, if you left for chicken-on-a-stick.
Gary Rayburn: I do like to eat in front of the television.
Detective Murphy: Were you drinking as well?
Gary Rayburn: Moderately. I certainly didn't drive to the convenience store under the influence.
Detective Armstrong: Where did you go after you left?
Gary Rayburn: The Chevron? I went back home.
Detective Murphy: You didn't swing by Tyler Avenue?
Gary Rayburn: I drove straight home.
Detective Armstrong: Did you stop by your partner's house on the way to the Chevron, maybe talk about the games that were unfolding, make a few side bets?
Gary Rayburn: No.
Detective Murphy: Then our canvass of the route shouldn't turn up any witnesses who can identify your car. About how much money did you owe your partner?
Gary Rayburn: I'm sure neither of us kept track of our friendly wagers.
Detective Armstrong: We heard differently. Did you bet with Robert on either of the two games you were watching that night?
Gary Rayburn: In conversation, I might have mentioned that I thought FIU would score first.
Detective Murphy: Did you mention it or not?
Gary Rayburn: I'm sure I did because we talked sports all the time. We were always under a lot of pressure—
Detective Armstrong: What kind of pressure were you under? Money troubles?
Gary Rayburn: The law is a harsh mistress.
Detective Murphy: How about Gloria? Why was she involved with her ex-husband's partner?
Gary Rayburn: There's no explaining romance.
Detective Armstrong: Do you own a gun, Gary?
Gary Rayburn: No, I don't like those things.
Detective Murphy: Does anyone you know own a gun?
Gary Rayburn: I don't keep track of my friends' or clients' firearms. I wasn't even sure Robert had one.
Detective Armstrong: Did you know Robert was going to be home alone that night?
Gary Rayburn: The last I heard, he was going away with Vanessa.
Detective Murphy: So you thought the house was going to be empty.
Gary Rayburn: If I'd bothered to think about it, I would have assumed so, yes.
Detective Murphy: Did you happen to share that information with anybody?
Gary Rayburn: I'd have no cause to.
Detective Armstrong: You didn't mention it to Gloria?
Gary Rayburn: No.
Detective Murphy: Wayne Fisher?
Gary Rayburn: As I already told you, to the best of my knowledge, I never spoke to the man. Yes, you've shown me that picture before and, no, I do not recognize him.
Detective Armstrong: So you didn't tell anyone that Robert would be home.
Gary Rayburn: I didn't know.
Detective Murphy: You expect us to believe that Robert planned to skip a family reunion to prepare for an important case and this never came up in conversation? Why would he keep his plans a secret from his law partner and good friend?
Gary Rayburn: He must have had his reasons.
Detective Murphy: Maybe he was testing you.
Gary Rayburn: I wouldn't know.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for your time today. We'll be in touch.
Interview ends – 10:44 AM