The detectives asked Mr. Roberts to clarify his relationship with Katy

Thursday, August 30, 2018 – 10:02 a.m.

Vaughn Roberts is an assistant principal and coach at Yoknapatawpha High School.

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

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Vaughn Roberts

Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in again on such short notice, Mr. Roberts.

Vaughn Roberts: It's hard for me to get away during the school day, but you said it was important, so here I am. I hope this won't take too long.

Detective Murphy: We'll try not to keep you any longer than necessary. For the record, could you state your name and address for us?

Vaughn Roberts: Vaughn Roberts. 407 Lark Run.

Detective Murphy: Thanks. Now, what can you tell us about Sherry Guyton's cheerleading injury?

Vaughn Roberts: That was a terrible thing. It's never good when a student hurts themselves.

Detective Murphy: So Sherry injured herself?

Vaughn Roberts: My understanding is that it was a freak accident, and since all parents sign a release before their children can participate in athletic activities, the school isn't responsible for what happened.

Detective Armstrong: We aren't interested in legal liability for the purposes of this discussion.

Vaughn Roberts: Be that as it may, my answer is the same. It was an accident, and the school isn't responsible.

Detective Armstrong: Did the school consider discontinuing the cheerleading program given the seriousness of Sherry's injury?

Vaughn Roberts: No, of course not. We wouldn't cancel an entire program because of something like that. Sometimes students hurt themselves, but thankfully, it's rare.

Detective Armstrong: So what would cause you to eliminate a program?

Vaughn Roberts: If not enough students were participating or if there wasn't enough funding to sustain it.

Detective Murphy: We understand there were some cutbacks in the athletics budget for this school year.

Vaughn Roberts: That's correct.

Detective Murphy: And you had to eliminate some programs as a result?

Vaughn Roberts: That's right. We suspended some athletic programs for this academic year. We hope to find funding to bring some or all of them back next year.

Detective Murphy: Which programs were suspended?

Vaughn Roberts: Golf, volleyball, girls tennis, lacrosse, and softball.

Detective Murphy: Those are all girls' sports, aren't they?

Vaughn Roberts: Golf and lacrosse have both girls and boys teams, but what does this have to do with Katy's death?

Detective Murphy: We understand Katy wasn't happy about the suspension of the volleyball team. Did she ever talk to you about that?

Vaughn Roberts: She did. I explained that there was nothing I could do.

Detective Murphy: And she was okay with that?

Vaughn Roberts: No, I wouldn't say that. She thought some different programs could be suspended instead.

Detective Murphy: Which programs?

Vaughn Roberts: Wrestling, mainly. She thought it was barbaric and should be eliminated, but of course, we're not going to do that. The boys make it to the state finals almost every year.

Detective Murphy: Doesn't the volleyball team do the same?

Vaughn Roberts: More or less, but volleyball has a much lower level of participation.

Detective Armstrong: So how did Katy react when you told her you couldn't do anything about the volleyball team this year?

Vaughn Roberts: She was upset. Students frequently have a hard time when things happen that they see as unfair. We were as fair as we could be when selecting which programs to suspend, but the students don't have the maturity to see that.

Detective Armstrong: After you explained the situation, was Katy going to let it go even though she wasn't happy about it?

Vaughn Roberts: I don't know. She was upset at the time, and she accused me of being biased in favor of the boys' sports and being more lenient with the male athletes' academics and all sorts of things, none of which is true. She said she was going to go over my head to the principal and the school board, but I think it was just the heat of the moment.

Detective Armstrong: Were you concerned that she might actually do it?

Vaughn Roberts: Not really. Like I said, she was upset.

Detective Armstrong: How did you and Katy leave things?

Vaughn Roberts: I told her I was sorry there was nothing I could for this school year, but I would try to bring back as many of the programs as possible for next year. She said she couldn't accept that and stomped off.

Detective Murphy: What would happen if her accusations were made public?

Vaughn Roberts: Probably not much. She didn't have any proof. But in the current climate, it could've been a big hassle for the administration and maybe the county.

Detective Murphy: It probably wouldn't do you any favors either, would it?

Vaughn Roberts: No.

Detective Murphy: Did you take any steps to prevent her from going to the school board or to the media with her accusations?

Vaughn Roberts: No. What could I do to stop her?

Detective Murphy: Well, she's not going to accuse you of anything now, is she?

Vaughn Roberts: Are you suggesting that I killed her? That's outrageous!

Detective Murphy: If her allegations were proved, that could cost you your job and maybe even your career, couldn't it?

Vaughn Roberts: Her allegations can't be proved, so it's irrelevant. How dare you accuse me of killing a student?

Detective Murphy: You do have a motive, sir.

Vaughn Roberts: No, I do not. Are you just going to sit there and let her make these slanderous allegations against me?

Detective Armstrong: We want to find Katy's killer, so we have to explore every possible suspect.

Vaughn Roberts: Well, I'm not a possible suspect! How can you even suggest such a thing?

Detective Armstrong: Why didn't you mention this disagreement you had with Katy when we talked to you before?

Vaughn Roberts: Because it has nothing to do with what happened to her. Now, I have to get back to the high school. If you want to talk to me again, I'll give you my attorney's phone number.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for your cooperation, Mr. Roberts. We'll be in touch.

Interview ended – 10:23 a.m.

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