Friday, May 5, 2017 – 11:45 a.m.
Stephanie Bragg is a volunteer at Yoknapatawpha High School, a member of Faith and Glory Community Church, and the parent of an archery team member.
After reviewing the latest forensics report in light of the other evidence, Detectives Armstrong and Murphy brought Mrs. Bragg into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Stephanie Bragg
Detective Armstrong: We appreciate your taking the time to speak with us today, Mrs. Bragg.
Stephanie Bragg: You said you needed my help clearing some things up. I'm here for the greater good, detective, not necessarily for your benefit. I'm not sure I find you trustworthy after what you did to my son.
Detective Armstrong: Fair enough. Thank you for being straightforward. Before we start, I need to deal with a matter of protocol. So, if you'd please read this form, initial each of those boxes there, and sign the bottom.
Stephanie Bragg: Why am I being Mirandized? I'm not a suspect.
Detective Murphy: It's just routine paperwork, Mrs. Bragg.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, and the brass is leaning on us hard to get a form signed by everyone we speak to in this case.
Stephanie Bragg: Really? Then why didn't I get my Miranda warning last time we met?
Detective Armstrong: My bad. I missed the memo from the higher ups. I caught hell for it, let me tell you.
Stephanie Bragg: I'll thank you not to tell me, detective. I'm happy to sign and move on.
Detective Armstrong: Great. Thanks. We'll need you to state your name and address for the record.
Stephanie Bragg: My name is Stephanie Bragg. I live at 310 Longest Road.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you. Our last conversation with you ended before we could ask certain questions. So, to get it on record, please tell us where you were at the time Frederick Miller was killed?
Stephanie Bragg: Faith and Glory Community Church at the Sewcial Compassion event. I was there from before it started until whenever we were released by y'all after we were questioned. So from probably 6:45 in the evening until sometime after 10:00.
Detective Armstrong: We do have witnesses who confirmed that you were at the church on the night Frederick Miller was killed.
Stephanie Bragg: I'll bet you have about thirty of them, detective. I've told y'all everything I know. I didn't see or hear anything unusual that night. I was very busy helping host the event.
Detective Murphy: Yes, there are a number of witnesses who saw you there over the course of the evening, but none who can confirm where you were at the time Mr. Miller was killed.
Stephanie Bragg: Well, I'm not surprised. It was unnerving to find out about Frederick. I mean, I'm pretty sure several people were shocked out of remembering their own names, let alone whether or not I was standing in front of them at the time Frederick was killed.
Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anyone who might've seen you? Or were you speaking to anyone?
Stephanie Bragg: I was speaking to everyone, detective. I was in and out of the room, running from pillar to post, making sure everything went off without a hitch. I can't help you there.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Bragg, we got lab results back, and your fingerprints match those found on items collected at the crime scene. So it's critical that we find a witness who can corroborate your whereabouts at the time Mr. Miller was killed.
Stephanie Bragg: My fingerprints? That's not possible. It's not at all possible, detective.
Detective Armstrong: So help us help you. Where were you between 8:00 and 8:30 on the evening of April 20th.
Stephanie Bragg: Well, the choir folks joined us at around 8:00, and I was there for that. Getting them settled and helping them get started sewing. Then that Margie Davis woman hadn't solved her cake knife crisis, and I left the room to see if I could find a utensil. So I was gone for a few minutes then.
Detective Murphy: About how long do you think?
Stephanie Bragg: At least ten minutes, I'd say.
Detective Murphy: Where'd you go?
Stephanie Bragg: Just down the hall to the kitchen. I knew it'd be locked, and it was. So I was wracking my brain to come up with something else to cut with. I went to the supply closet and rummaged through it to see if I could find some thick thread. Like the stuff used to sew canvas.
Detective Armstrong: Did you find any?
Stephanie Bragg: No, I didn't. I was on my way back to the Fellowship Hall when Shelley Mitchell came out of the ladies room. We talked for a few minutes, she and I.
Detective Murphy: All right, thank you.
Stephanie Bragg: My thoughts were on creating a successful event, not on creating a tidy alibi.
Detective Armstrong: Of course.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Bragg, we have information that shortly before Frederick Miller's death, you were in the woods practicing archery. Is that true?
Stephanie Bragg: What? Who said such a thing?
Detective Murphy: Multiple witnesses made this claim. Is there any truth to it?
Stephanie Bragg: No. I haven't— this is outrageous!
Detective Murphy: These same witnesses claim that you were wearing a high school letter jacket like the one worn by the killer.
Stephanie Bragg: These witnesses are gravely mistaken, detective. I realize that I have rubbed some people the wrong way, but to tell such horrid, hurtful, damaging lies about me?
Detective Armstrong: We're trying to get at the truth, and we appreciate your candid responses, Mrs. Bragg. We just have a few more matters to address.
Stephanie Bragg: How can I defend myself against those lies, detective? It's all lies!
Detective Murphy: Okay. We'll move on from the witness statements for now.
Stephanie Bragg: Thank God.
Detective Murphy: However, I'm sorry to tell you that your hair matches hair collected at the crime scene.
Stephanie Bragg: Well, I can tell you that I and everyone else has had one of Marc Huddleston's slouchy hats on our heads, so I'm sure mine's not the only one.
Detective Armstrong: Why do you say that?
Stephanie Bragg: Look. Everyone knows that he leaves his stuff strewn hither and yon. I've plunked one of his hats onto my head, so has Coach Lancaster, so has Caroline Miller, and Lizzie too. We put them on our heads, so we don't forget to give them back to him!
Detective Murphy: What makes you think a hat belonging to Mr. Huddleston was found at the crime scene?
Stephanie Bragg: It's only logical, detective. He's the murderer! You had him in custody, and you let him go for who knows what reason. Now you're grabbing at straws, and I have spiteful, jealous enemies who are lying to destroy me.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Bragg, we have to explore every lead, no matter how seemingly remote the connection.
Stephanie Bragg: Remote? This is beyond remote!
Detective Armstrong: Your hair wasn't in or on a hat. It was caught in the fletching of the arrow protruding from Frederick Miller's body. Can you explain that?
Stephanie Bragg: How can you be sure it's my hair?
Detective Murphy: It's a visual match. Can you explain why it was caught—
Stephanie Bragg: A visual match is not a match. That's unacceptable! Have you brought in Lyle Nelson? Doesn't he have deadly skills with a crossbow? Frederick owed him money, right? That's motive enough right there, even before you add in the affair he's having with Caroline Miller.
Detective Murphy: You had motive.
Stephanie Bragg: What motive? What— that Frederick thought he'd caught my son cheating? What kind of motive is that? Do you hear yourself, detective?
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Bragg, please understand. You had motive, means and opportunity. Your fingerprints match those found on evidence collected at the crime scene. Your hair is a visual match to hair found at the crime scene. Your alibi is questionable.
Stephanie Bragg: This would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. I am not your suspect. Keep looking.
Detective Murphy: Well, if it's not you, Mrs. Bragg, there is one other possible suspect.
Stephanie Bragg: You have just— what a colossal waste of time, detective! I would suggest you immediately move on to that other possible suspect!
Detective Armstrong: Even if it's Jimmy?
Stephanie Bragg: What did you say?
Detective Armstrong: Jimmy is our other possible suspect.
Stephanie Miller: Have you lost your ever-loving mind?
Detective Murphy: He had motive, means and opportunity. His alibi remains questionable—
Stephanie Bragg: You'd best stop talking right now, detective.
Detective Murphy: Are you threatening me, Mrs. Bragg?
Stephanie Bragg: My son is innocent. Do you hear me?
Detective Armstrong: But he's not, though. He admits to cheating. He admits to a confrontation between Frederick Miller and himself—
Stephanie Bragg: I forbid you to speak about my son—
Detective Murphy: Your son has no proof of where he was at the time Frederick Miller was killed.
Stephanie Bragg: Yes, he does. He was with Paul. He and Paul were at home all evening!
Detective Armstrong: How do you know? You weren't there, and even if you were, Jimmy's alibi is the weakest of everyone's. Think about it, Mrs. Bragg. He told us he was at home, and no one but his daddy can corroborate. It's unfortunate, but as is stands, Jimmy is our strongest suspect.
Stephanie Bragg: How can that be? There's no evidence! You just said that the evidence was against me. That my fingerprints were on the murder weapon. My hair was in the fletching. You'd be stupid to pursue a case against my son. He is innocent!
Detective Armstrong: Well, then, it's back to you.
Stephanie Bragg: What? No. No. I don't have to listen to this.
Detective Murphy: We never said your fingerprints were on the murder weapon, but you are correct.
Stephanie Bragg: Yes, you certainly— you know what? It doesn't matter. I'm leaving. You'd best stop these insane accusations about me and my son.
Detective Armstrong: You know we can't let you leave, Mrs. Bragg.
Stephanie Bragg: Step aside, detective!
Detective Murphy: Stephanie Bragg, you are under arrest for the murder of Frederick Miller.
Stephanie Bragg: I demand a lawyer.
Interview ends – 12:18 p.m.