Bill Lamar interview #2
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 6:02 p.m.
Bill Lamar, who found the victim's body, was asked to come in for a second interview.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke with him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Bill Lamar
Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking to us again, Mr. Lamar. We really appreciate it.
Bill Lamar: Sure. I don't know how else I can help. I mean, I told you everything the first time we spoke, so I don't know why you would need me again. But yeah, I'll do what I can.
Detective Murphy: Please state your name and address.
Bill Lamar: I'm Bill Lamar. I'm staying with my mom at 638 North Lamar, here in Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Murphy: And your occupation?
Bill Lamar: I'm a student, and I also work for Lamar Cosmetics.
Detective Armstrong: You know, Bill, after we talked last time, I got to thinking about Europe. I've always wanted to go to England. What should I see there?
Bill Lamar: I'd start in London and just work my way out. It depends on the amount of time you have for your visit. Some things that I'd recommend require a bit of travel, like Stonehenge. It's great, and I love it, but it really takes an entire day to get out there. So start in London. Do the things there like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Then, as your time and budget allow, just expand out from there.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Lamar, why do you think we wanted to talk to you again?
Bill Lamar: I'm really clueless about that. I mean, I know you're investigating Barbara's murder. You took those samples and everything, so I don't know what more you want from me. We've already talked once.
Detective Armstrong: Do you think there's anything connected to you that we might have uncovered during our investigation?
Bill Lamar: What is that supposed to mean? I don't know what you might have found. Am I under arrest or something here?
Detective Murphy: No, you're not under arrest. We just wanted to talk to you again about some more information we've received.
Bill Lamar: Well, let's get on with it then.
Detective Murphy: Could you describe your relationship with Barbara Dubois?
Bill Lamar: I told you before. I didn't really have a relationship with her. We dated in high school, but that was it. We hadn't spoken in years. It was just kid stuff.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure about that? Just kid stuff?
Bill Lamar: Yes, I'm sure.
Detective Murphy: We've had some witnesses make it sound like there might be more than just kids dating between you and Barbara. Some people have described it as true love. Said people could see it in your eyes.
Bill Lamar: I'm not really interested in sitting here listening to small-town gossip. I mean, I want to help you guys. I really do. But this is starting to feel like you suspect me or something—
Detective Murphy: We're still investigating this case. We don't have an official suspect yet.
Bill Lamar: Either way, this is uncomfortable for me. And if the best you've come up with small-town rumors, then I'm worried if this case will be solved.
Detective Armstrong: Can you just answer the question? What was the true nature of your relationship with Barbara Dubois? I certainly dated girls in high school, and that was just kid stuff. But no one later said that it was true love and that people could sense our attraction when we gazed into each other's eyes.
Bill Lamar: That's really all there was. I mean, yeah, we had some serious chemistry. And to a degree, I don't guess that type of chemistry is found often in life. But that doesn't mean we had a relationship.
Detective Murphy: Had you talked to Barbara any in the recent past?
Bill Lamar: No. I hadn't. That's what's so infuriating about this whole thing. Now I remember exactly why I left this damn town. I live on another freaking continent! There's 5,000 miles between us, and we had not spoken in years, and yet people around here still have to run their mouths. That's all there is to it. You're wasting time investigating small-town, nosy, big mouths.
Detective Armstrong: How did you and Barbara end your relationship?
Bill Lamar: Barbara ended it. Mom had talked to some people, including Barbara's mother, and found out that Barbara didn't want to see me anymore. She said Barbara was going away to school.
Detective Murphy: That's an unusual way to break up. It must've been hard for you.
Bill Lamar: It wasn't easy. My mom offered to send me to Europe, and I took her up on it. I was hurt, but I understood. We weren't silly enough to try the long-distance thing. We were both practical people.
Detective Murphy: Did Barbara or anyone else ever tell you why she ended it?
Bill Lamar: No, but I assumed she just wanted to move on.
Detective Armstrong: So you never got closure.
Bill Lamar: No, but big deal. So we broke up. Did I cry a lot over that girl? Absolutely. Is that what you want to hear? It was hard, but it was the only way. Besides, how much of this was really some relationship defined by fate, and how much was just us making things up?
Detective Murphy: I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
Bill Lamar: Look, I'll agree that some relationships seem to have been pre-defined by fate or God or whatever. There are couples you see who are just meant to be together. I'll grant you that. But at the same time, isn't it a natural part of growing up to think all of your relationships are like that? Isn't that just part of being a teenager?
Detective Murphy: What's part of being a teenager?
Bill Lamar: Every girl you've ever seen becomes Juliet, and you're Romeo in some cosmic struggle. All the songs on the radio were written for you, and all the movies give you ideas on how to get the love of your life back. But as you grow up, don't you begin to look back and realize that it was just kid stuff? Does that make sense?
Detective Murphy: I see.
Bill Lamar: I mean, at the time? Hell, yeah, I thought our relationship was a matter of life and death. I probably acted all tormented and tortured and all that angsty stuff. But looking back, I realize it was just high school.
Detective Armstrong: Even though your business associates in Europe said you still carried her picture?
Detective Murphy: And even though your artist friends in Paris said you painted her picture?
Bill Lamar: How would they know? They never saw those!
Detective Murphy: But you did do those things, didn't you?
Bill Lamar: How did—
Detective Murphy: We're good guessers. It's our job.
Detective Armstrong: And the fact that the uniformed officers found you cradling Barbara's body and crying just convinces us even more. Your scream woke people at the other end of the floor. You know that, Bill? So let's quit lying, shall we?
Bill Lamar: I'm not—
Detective Murphy: Let's go back to the night of the murder.
Detective Armstrong: Do you have any problem talking about that night?
Bill Lamar: No. Look, I hope you don't take what I said earlier the wrong way. I'm not worried about anything. I want to help you guys. Let's find out whoever did this. I mean, grill me all you want. I've got nothing to hide, and if I have to go through some discomfort to help you find the killer, then so be it.
Detective Murphy: Let's just discuss some of the people that were around the hotel on the night of the murder. We'll throw out some names, and you tell us what you think or what interactions you had with them. How about Ingrid Freeman?
Bill Lamar: I bumped into her a couple of times. I was trying to avoid her, quite frankly. She's been pestering me to help her with some stupid business she's trying to get going. She's been after me for some time—
Detective Armstrong: After you in what way?
Bill Lamar: She likes me. We were friends for a bit, and a couple of times, we sort of went out back in high school, but I never really liked her that much. I mean, she was okay to hang out with on occasion, and she's certainly a good-looking girl, but I could never date her seriously. She used to send me all kinds of emails and stuff in Europe, but I never answered her.
Detective Murphy: Keep in mind that we're examining everyone right now, so you shouldn't take any of this to mean that any one person is a suspect. But hypothetically speaking, could Ingrid have had anything to do with Barbara's death?
Bill Lamar: That's awfully hard to answer. I can't imagine that she would, but she is often competitive to the point of obsession. And she really detested Barbara's success. I always thought that was one of the reasons she was so interested in me, just to try to beat Barbara somehow. Lord, I can't imagine her actually hurting Barbara, but you never know. The venom that came through her voice whenever she talked about Barbara … I just don't know.
Detective Murphy: What about Rachel Webb?
Bill Lamar: Rachel wants out. Plain and simple. She wants away from here. This is a small town, and most people remain around here. It's rare for someone to go as far away to school as I did. So I think, in a way, she looked up to me. She almost admired what I did by leaving. It would be hard for me to imagine her hurting Barbara simply because that would jeopardize her escape.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean?
Bill Lamar: I mean, on one hand, she desperately wanted to win the pageant and work her way up to Miss America. That was her ticket out. Listening to her was like listening to these kids who want to escape the projects by playing basketball. Winning the pageant was all she could think of because it was the only method of escaping Oxford and her mother. But hurting Barbara would certainly be a huge risk in that plan.
Detective Armstrong: You mentioned her mom. What about Erma Webb?
Bill Lamar: I don't really know that much about her except the fact that everyone hates her. She's just a b****. She would reach over right now and straighten your tie. She would tell a pageant judge how to count up their scores. She thinks she rules the world. But I haven't really had that many personal encounters with her.
Detective Murphy: Do you know Denny Buchanan?
Bill Lamar: Now there's a jerk you guys should talk to. He'd be at the top of my list. Punk.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see him the night of the murder?
Bill Lamar: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: I don't believe you mentioned that to us the first time we spoke.
Bill Lamar: Well, I'm sorry. I guess I was embarrassed by some things, maybe threatened and scared to be talking to cops and all. But I don't care now.
Detective Armstrong: So tell us what happened?
Bill Lamar: We ran into each other in the hotel around 11:30 p.m. that night. He had been eyeing me all night, and I didn't like it. I've never liked that jerk.
Detective Murphy: You'd met Denny Buchanan before the pageant weekend?
Bill Lamar: We have some acquaintances in common. I've … encountered him at a few parties when I was home on breaks over the years. He's basically a jackass.
Detective Murphy: You never saw Barbara at any of these parties, even when the two of them were dating?
Bill Lamar: No.
Detective Murphy: Okay. So you two ran into each other around 11:30 p.m. that night. Then what happened?
Bill Lamar: I was already on edge from all the hard looks he'd been giving me all night, so when I saw him, it didn't take much to set me off. We tussled in the hallway—
Detective Murphy: You guys were fighting?
Bill Lamar: Honest? I'd love to be all tough and cool and Clint Eastwood, but you know how it is in real life. There aren't any roundhouse punches to the jaw. Just goofy guys wrestling and rolling around. Nothing heroic about it.
Detective Armstrong: Who won?
Bill Lamar: I guess you could say I won. I did get in a couple of decent punches when we were on the ground. And Buchanan fights like a girl.
Detective Murphy: How did the fight end?
Bill Lamar: We finally broke it off, but he kept talking about how he and Barbara had plans. He just kept saying, "You'll see. You just wait. Me and Barbara are going to give you something to cry about."
Detective Murphy: What did you say to that?
Bill Lamar: He's always been a loudmouth, so I just laughed it off. I mean, he was pathetic, standing there ranting in the hallway. I had burned off all my energy, so I just turned around and left. I walked away.
Detective Murphy: Did you see him again the rest of the night?
Bill Lamar: No, but I don't remember too much of the rest of that night anyway. Like I told you, I adjourned to the bar and proceeded to get good and numb.
Detective Murphy: Over the loss of a girl you didn't love anymore?
Bill Lamar: Point taken, detective. Maybe partly that, but there were a lot of things. My mother can drive anyone to drink when she's wound up.
Detective Armstrong: And she was wound up that night?
Bill Lamar: You could say that.
Detective Armstrong: And what had her so wound up?
Bill Lamar: Anything. Everything. She was stressed out about the pageant, stressed out about business, just pretty much stressed out in general.
Detective Armstrong: You talked to her that night. You can't say more specifically than that?
Bill Lamar: To be honest, I've learned to pretty much tune her out when she gets like that. It's the only way to get through it without slugging her.
Detective Armstrong: You'd slug your own mother?
Bill Lamar: Metaphorically speaking, detective. Of course, I'd never hit my mother. I might want to, but I would never do it.
Detective Armstrong: What else have you conveniently forgotten to tell us?
Bill Lamar: Just wait a minute. I'm telling you the truth.
Detective Armstrong: How about the whole truth? Did you find Barbara later that night?
Bill Lamar: I told you, no.
Detective Armstrong: But you didn't tell us you tried to get her room number. The manager thought you would tear her apart if she said no. Was that because Barbara had no effect on you?
Bill Lamar: I don't know what I was thinking. I just wanted to talk to her. I wanted some answers.
Detective Murphy: As to why she was staring at you at the banquet? We talk to a lot of people, Mr. Lamar. They notice things.
Bill Lamar: I wanted to talk to her. I tried to get her number—
Detective Armstrong: Over the phone.
Bill Lamar: Yeah. Then I went to the desk and got it. Then I went to her room, but she didn't answer. That's when I ran into Buchanan, and we had our little altercation.
Detective Armstrong: Gotta say, Bill, this doesn't look good. Just too many lies and omissions.
Bill Lamar: I know, but I could never have hurt Barbara.
Detective Armstrong: Even for dumping you with no notice? For trashing your dream love?
Bill Lamar: Even for that.
Detective Murphy: Let's move on. Please don't take this the wrong way, but we have to ask this question—
Bill Lamar: I told you. I want to help. Ask anything.
Detective Murphy: What about your mother?
Bill Lamar: Surely you can't think she would want Barbara dead. That's ridiculous.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us again about when you saw your mother on the night of the murder?
Bill Lamar: Yeah, but I think that's a waste of your time. I'd spend more time researching other avenues. But anyway, as I told you the first time, Mom grabbed me after the photoshoot around 10:30 p.m. or so. We did some work until about 11:00 p.m., when I got a call from Paris. I went back to my room for the call. I ran into Mom around midnight or so. We chatted for a bit about my call and what time we were going to meet for breakfast. Then she went back to her room.
Detective Murphy: She went to her room by herself?
Bill Lamar: No, I walked with her back to her room, and then I headed to the lounge. I think she was probably in her room around ten after midnight.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see your mother the rest of the night?
Bill Lamar: No. I'm sure she went straight to sleep. She works a lot and has a lot of energy, but when she gets tired, you'd better stay out of the way. She's going to sleep, and she's going to sleep this minute, so I'm sure she crashed.
Detective Murphy: Your mother was a bit vague on why you came back for the pageant. What brought you back into town?
Bill Lamar: Well, I didn't say anything the first time we spoke, but … the fact is that I got this email. It wasn't an email address I recognized, and the sender name was just "A Friend." It just said that there was something important for me at the pageant, that it was imperative I be there. It was really weird. So I came home—
Detective Murphy: Do you still have this email?
Bill Lamar: Of course. I can forward it to you.
Detective Armstrong: Why didn't you tell us this before?
Bill Lamar: I don't know. Like I said, I was nervous. I was confused. You guys do this all the time, but it's not like I make it a habit to be interviewed by detectives in a homicide investigation—
Detective Armstrong: Still seems a little strange that you're admitting to a lot of stuff this late in the game, kid.
Bill Lamar: Look, you can try to intimidate me if you want—and I'll admit that you're doing a pretty good job—but I don't care. I want this murderer found!
Detective Murphy: You have to understand. We appreciate what you're telling us, but it doesn't look good when we find out that you've been withholding information all along.
Bill Lamar: I know, but I'm telling you the truth now.
Detective Murphy: I certainly hope so. We're going to want that email. Can you forward it to us now from your phone?
Bill Lamar: Absolutely.
Detective Murphy: Okay. We'll be talking again soon, Mr. Lamar.
Interview ended - 6:59 p.m.