Unsmiling young man with short dark hair

Hugh Shapiro interview

Monday, July 17, 2023 – 3:30 p.m.

Hugh Shapiro is the only male member of the cheer squad.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Hugh Shapiro

Detective Murphy: Would you please state your name and address for the record?

Hugh Shapiro: Sur,e my name is Hugh Shapiro, and I live at 311 Country Club Road in Oxford.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in to talk to us today.

Hugh Shapiro: I'm not sure what I can tell you, but I'll help if I can.

Detective Murphy: Tell us about the cheer squad. Are all of you friends off the field? Do you hang out together?

Hugh Shapiro: Well, some of us hang out together frequently. Others don't.

Detective Murphy: How about you, Hugh? Do you hang out with the girls?

Hugh Shapiro: Sometimes, yeah, but I don't go shopping or to sleepovers, things like that. Sometimes it's difficult being the only guy.

Detective Armstrong: I can understand that, but there's another guy on the squad, right? The mascot? Does he get to go to those things?

Hugh Shapiro: No. I mean, technically, he's part of the squad, but he's not really. And Cody's kind of … a goofball. Even though he's Kat's little brother, he still gets picked on a lot, pranks and stuff like that.

Detective Armstrong: Why is that?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. He's just so … clingy. It's weird.

Detective Armstrong: Maybe he's just being a little brother.

Hugh Shapiro: I'm a little brother, and I never followed my brothers and sisters around trying to be part of whatever they were doing all the time.

Detective Armstrong: Of course not.

Detective Murphy: You called her Kat. I don't think anyone else has done that. Are you the only one who calls her that?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. It's just a nickname I have for her, you know, in my head.

Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about relationships within the squad?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. The girls are competitive with each other, but we're all committed to doing what needs to be done to be the best.

Detective Armstrong: You're not competitive with anyone else on the squad?

Hugh Shapiro: No. I don't need to be. My role on the team is pretty well set, you know? But the girls all want to be the one who does the big stunts to show how good they are. And probably for the attention too. They can't all do it every time, so there's competition.

Detective Armstrong: Are we talking about friendly competition, or is it more serious than that?

Hugh Shapiro: Usually, it's fine. They talk a little sh— uh, trash to each other, but it's nothing serious. The only time things really got ugly was when Sherry got hurt. She blamed Katy, and some people took sides, but the whole thing was silly. Katy cares about them all. Sometimes too much.

Detective Murphy: How so?

Hugh Shapiro: She gets wrapped up in their life sometimes. I tell her she should let them be themselves, but she gets mad and stops talking to me. But eventually, she gets over it. That's her way. She cares, and that makes it hard.

Detective Murphy: Makes what hard?

Hugh Shapiro: Well, some of the girls, they smoke and party. Kat doesn't believe that's a good thing. She's into health and stuff like that. When she catches them smoking, she goes off big time. It causes a big rift between them.

Detective Murphy: She ride anyone especially hard?

Hugh Shapiro: Not since Sherry. Well, maybe Jennifer. They've had more fights than usual lately.

Detective Murphy: Why is that?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. Sometimes people just get sick of each other. It usually passes after a little while. 

Detective Murphy: Do any of the girls ever do more than just yell at each other?

Hugh Shapiro: Oh brother, that's priceless.

Detective Murphy: Why is that funny?

Hugh Shapiro: Because that's why I called her Kat. When she got angry, she was all claws and teeth, if you know what I mean. Ask Jen. She and Kat were experts at pushing each other's buttons.

Detective Armstrong: So Katy was violent?

Hugh Shapiro: Well, no, that's not what I said. I said when she got angry—it took a lot to make her go over the edge, but when she did—whoa, watch out.

Detective Armstrong: They got into physical fights with each other?

Hugh Shapiro: Well, not really. Maybe a little shoving, but no blood was drawn or anything.

Detective Armstrong: Did they—

Hugh Shapiro: There was one time—oh, sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt.

Detective Armstrong: No, please go ahead. There was one time?

Hugh Shapiro: There was one time when they were practicing one of the baton routines, and—

Detective Armstrong: What's a baton routine?

Hugh Shapiro: It's a cheerleading routine where they twirl batons.

Detective Armstrong: Like majorettes?

Hugh Shapiro: Sure. Okay. Anyway, they were practicing with the batons, and Kat and Jen got into it. That time, I had to step in because it looked like they were going to whack each other with the batons, and that can't happen. It would be bad for everyone.

Detective Armstrong: So what did you do?

Hugh Shapiro: I took the batons and let them argue it out. They eventually worked it out, like always.

Detective Armstrong: How long ago did this happen?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. A few weeks ago?

Detective Armstrong: Do you think Jennifer could be responsible for what happened to Katy?

Hugh Shapiro: No. She wouldn't— at least, I don't think she'd do anything like that.

Detective Armstrong: Do you have any idea who might have then?

Hugh Shapiro: I can't believe anyone who knew Katy would want to literally kill her. I heard that Wanda Martin told some people she was glad Katy was dead, but I don't think she really said that. I think people are just on edge. They're just looking for answers.

Detective Murphy: Tell us about Saturday morning. What time did you get to the Cheer Up event?

Hugh Shapiro: I don't know. Like 9:45 a.m., maybe?

Detective Murphy: Who else was there when you arrived?

Hugh Shapiro: Well, Coach was late, Jen got there later than usual, and of course, Kat. Everyone else was there, though.

Detective Armstrong: What was your schedule like that morning before you got to the middle school?

Hugh Shapiro: I woke up around 8:30 a.m., showered, and ate breakfast. I was going to head out around 9:00 a.m., but my parents called from Texas. They were in Houston for some function.

Detective Murphy: Sounds like you planned to leave pretty early. Wasn't Cheer Up scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m.?

Hugh Shapiro: Yeah, but I was— oh god. This is all my fault.

Detective Murphy: What do you mean?

Hugh Shapiro: I was going to drive by Kat's grandmother's house to give her a ride so we could talk about a stunt we've been working on. But then my stupid parents called, and by the time I got off the phone with them, it was too late.

Detective Murphy: Too late?

Hugh Shapiro: If I'd gone by, I would've been late, and Kat had probably already left anyway. If I'd just gotten off the phone sooner, maybe she'd still be alive.

Detective Murphy: There's no way you can know that, Hugh.

Detective Armstrong: You tried to call her that morning, didn't you?

Hugh Shapiro: Yeah. You know about that?

Detective Armstrong: Yes.

Hugh Shapiro: Yeah, I wanted to see where she was and if she wanted me to pick her up on the way, but she didn't answer. You think she was already…? Oh my god!

Detective Murphy: Do you need a moment, Hugh?

Hugh Shapiro: Yes. No. I don't know. Oh my god.

Detective Murphy: All right, Hugh. That's enough for today. We may want to talk to you again later, but you can go.

Hugh Shapiro: Okay. Thank you.

Interview ended – 4:12 p.m.


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