Saturday, January 30, 2021 – 2:15 p.m.
Jill Ross is the Acting District Attorney for Yoknapatawpha County since Spenser Brooks's murder.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy visited her in her office.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jillian Ross
Detective Murphy: Thanks for making time to see us today, Jill. I know you must be busy right now.
Jill Ross: I'm busy every day, but I want to see Spenser Brooks's killer caught sooner rather than later. What can you tell me about where we are with the investigation?
Detective Armstrong: We're making some good progress. We're feeling good about being ready to make an arrest in the coming days.
Jill Ross: I saw you arrested that park ranger. Nice work. Is that connected to the Brooks investigation?
Detective Murphy: We encountered him in the course of our investigation into Spenser's murder, but it's not clear whether the drug charges have anything to do with the shooting.
Jill Ross: Is this Roy Cook part of Kyle Ferguson's drug operation?
Detective Armstrong: It's possible, but we don't have any evidence of that at this stage. They do know each other. We've established that much. But the narcotics detectives are taking the lead on that investigation now, so they can update you on the latest information.
Jill Ross: So is Ferguson involved in the Brooks murder?
Detective Armstrong: It's not clear. He has a motive, and he certainly has the criminal history for it, but there are others with stronger motives.
Jill Ross: Like me, you mean. I presume that's why you've got crime scene techs looking at my car tires.
Detective Murphy: We would like to rule you out if we can.
Jill Ross: You can't seriously believe I shot him, do you?
Detective Armstrong: There are a lot of people who believe you could have.
Jill Ross: Don't try to bluff me, Ted.
Detective Armstrong: It's not a bluff. If you're planning to run in the special election to get this job permanently, you may have some work to do to win the hearts and minds, as they say.
Jill Ross: I am unquestionably qualified to be the district attorney.
Detective Murphy: No one is disputing that, Jill.
Jill Ross: But?
Detective Murphy: But there's more to the job than being a talented prosecutor. What is it they say? People―voters―want to feel like they'd enjoy having a beer with you. No offense intended.
Jill Ross: No. … I … thank you for the feedback. It's helpful, even if it's not pleasant to hear.
Detective Murphy: We also need to ask you about Louis Watson.
Jill Ross: Again?
Detective Murphy: There are some theories flying around that the two of you were in cahoots to get rid of Spenser.
Jill Ross: I don't even know what to say to that.
Detective Murphy: Did you and Louis come to any kind of understanding about how the underage drinking crackdown was being applied to his liquor store?
Jill Ross: He came to me and said he thought his store and he personally were being unfairly targeted.
Detective Armstrong: He came to your home to talk to you about this?
Jill Ross: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Why didn't he come to your office?
Jill Ross: I imagine he didn't want to risk running into Spenser.
Detective Murphy: So, he told you he thought he was being unfairly targeted. What did you say?
Jill Ross: I asked him if he knew why they would focus on him specifically, and he said Spenser didn't like him.
Detective Murphy: There would have to be more to it than that.
Jill Ross: That's what I said, but I told Louis I would look into it. It turned out his store was getting more scrutiny, but it was because of its proximity to the university, and all the liquor stores within a two-mile radius of the campus were getting the same level of scrutiny.
Detective Armstrong: Did you tell him that?
Jill Ross: I told him he was not being personally targeted, and if he just kept following the law, he'd be fine.
Detective Armstrong: Was he satisfied with that?
Jill Ross: I think he accepted it. I don't know that he was happy about it.
Detective Armstrong: Has anything changed since Spenser was killed?
Jill Ross: With the underage drinking crackdown? No, everything is continuing as before.
Detective Armstrong: Any plans to change in the future?
Jill Ross: At some point, I hope we can declare the effort a success and free up some resources to devote elsewhere, but that's not something that will happen in the short term.
Detective Murphy: What about Gene Collins? Is that investigation still moving forward?
Jill Ross: You know I can't talk about any ongoing inquiries.
Detective Murphy: So, hypothetically, if there were an active investigation into a sitting alderman before Spenser died, would that investigation be continuing now?
Jill Ross: None of the inquiries or prosecutions that were active when Spenser was the DA have been dropped or suspended at this time.
Detective Armstrong: But you might drop one or more of them down the line?
Jill Ross: I can't predict the future, Ted, but I have no reason to believe any of our active cases and inquiries are unfounded or unwarranted.
Detective Armstrong: Message received.
Jill Ross: Is there anything else I can do for you two today? I've still got a pile of work to get through.
Detective Armstrong: I think that'll do it for now.
Detective Murphy: We'll be in touch as the investigation moves forward.
Interview ended – 2:38 p.m.