Friday, March 12, 2021 – 10:30 a.m.
Gage Laughlin is Chas and JoAnna Laughlin's son and an employee of Laughlin Automotive & Body Shop.
Detectives Magee and Beckwith interviewed him at the Yoknaaptawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Gage Laughlin
Detective Magee: Thank you for coming in, Gage. You can have a seat across from us there.
Gage Laughlin: I don't get why I hafta answer any more questions. I told y'all that I don't know where Dan is.
Detective Magee: We want to make sure our bases are covered. It won't take long, I promise you.
Gage Laughlin: Well, all right. I gotta get back to work eventually. Otherwise, I'll catch hell from Dad.
Detective Beckwith: Okay. Let's have your name and address for the record.
Gage Laughlin: Gage Laughlin. 310 North 16th Street, Oxford.
Detective Magee: You live with your parents?
Gage Laughlin: Yeah, what of it?
Detective Magee: I didn't mean anything by it.
Gage Laughlin: I've been kicked in the balls by life the last couple of months, okay? I already got Ma up in my craw about livin' off'n her teat again. I don't need another missus ragging on me about it.
Detective Beckwith: No one's ragging on you about anything. Let's go on. Tell us about the weekly employee boxing matches that take place at the shop.
Gage Laughlin: Aw, y'all have been talking to Rush, right? There ain't no boxing matches at the shop. Sometimes the boys here rassle a bit for fun, but that's it. Ain't none of them do it if they don't wanna. That ain't against the law.
Detective Magee: Not unless you're taking bets.
Gage Laughlin: Who said that? Nobody's takin' bets on nuthin'!
Detective Magee: What about Daniel? Did Daniel ever "rassle" anyone?
Gage Laughlin: Nah, he was a pansy-and-a-half. He'd never mess up those pretty-boy hands.
Detective Beckwith: Did you ever try to get Daniel to fight you?
Gage Laughlin: Like that'd be a fair fight. I would've snapped him like a twig.
Detective Beckwith: You didn't answer the question. Did you ever try to get Daniel to fight you?
Gage Laughlin: Maybe. Again, ain't none of this against the law. Like it matters anyway, I never laid a finger on the guy. Then he quit.
Detective Magee: Did Daniel threaten you?
Gage Laughlin: Ha! He's like a hundred pounds soaking wet.
Detective Magee: I mean, were you jealous of Daniel?
Gage Laughlin: Why? 'Cuz the sumbitch could paint? Remember that one dude on public TV a buncha years back that use to draw all those "happy little trees" and s***? Well, I thought his pictures were pretty good, but that didn't make me wanna grow out his 'fro and start paintin' if you know what I mean?
Detective Beckwith: If you weren't jealous, why pick a fight with him?
Gage Laughlin: 'Cuz I could. He ain't special. I'll go rounds with anybody. He was just a little pissant loser who didn't belong with the rest of us in the shop. But, look, I didn't touch the guy. He quit, and that's the last I saw him.
Detective Beckwith: Where were you on January 2nd?
Gage Laughlin: What day was that?
Detective Magee: Saturday.
Gage Laughlin: I was at the shop, then.
Detective Magee: What were you doing at the shop?
Gage Laughlin: Office stuff. I hafta do the inventory, books, you know, that sorta stuff.
Detective Beckwith: What about parts runs? Did you do any of those?
Gage Laughlin: Nah, we have the rookies do that. I just book 'em when they come in.
Detective Magee: Where do you get your parts from?
Gage Laughlin: Factory. Some from scrap from our boys up north.
Detective Magee: Who are your "boys up north"?
Gage Laughlin: I dunno. You have to ask Dad about that. I jus' mark the parts off when they bring 'em in.
Detective Beckwith: What about that Saturday night?
Gage Laughlin: The 2nd, you say?
Detective Beckwith: Yeah, Saturday.
Gage Laughlin: Well, you ain't probably goin' to believe this, but I went over to the house of this girl I'd been seein'. I was going to surprise her 'cuz it was her birthday and all. So I snuck into her place, and I hear all these sex noises comin' out her bedroom. So I'm thinkin', "all right!" 'cuz she's watching porn, right?
Detective Magee: But she wasn't.
Gage Laughlin: So I go in, there she is naked as a jaybird, bangin' the hell out of her brother-in-law. So I'm pissed, right? I yell at them, and they don't stop. They don't stop! You'd think they'd at least bother to see who the hell I was.
Detective Magee: So what did you do next?
Gage Laughlin: I left. I went home to Ma's. I drank like a 12-pack of beers in the garage.
Detective Beckwith: You just went home? You just told us you're a quick-to-fightin' type of guy. Why should we believe you caught your girlfriend cheating and you didn't bother to challenge them?
Gage Laughlin: I yelled at 'em. Besides that, yeah, I was pissed at the guy, but what am I gonna do, fight a naked guy? I ain't gonna fight no naked guy.
Detective Magee: Did anyone see that you went home?
Gage Laughlin: I told Ma what happened. I don't know why I did 'cuz she spent the next hour laughin' her ass off.
Detective Magee: How about the rest of that weekend and the next week?
Gage Laughlin: Working like usual. Punching the clock. Other than that, I was at home. It's all I could do.
Detective Beckwith: What do you mean?
Gage Laughlin: That no-account ex-girlfriend of mine maxed out my credit card on a mess o' stuff for Christmas presents. I got some of the charges removed, but I still had to pay for a lot of it—damn tramp.
Detective Magee: What does that have to do with you being at your parents' place?
Gage Laughlin: I ain't got no money! Ain't you following along?
Detective Magee: Just because you don't have any money doesn't stop you from going out.
Gage Laughlin: Yeah, but we get paid on the 15th, so I thought I'd wait 'til then.
Detective Beckwith: You could have asked your father for an advance?
Gage Laughlin: Ha! That's funny, right there. Y'all forget who my old man is? Any of us are lucky to get paid on the 15th, the stingy bastard.
Detective Beckwith: But you're getting free room and board.
Gage Laughlin: Yeah, and I'm drinkin' all his beers too.
Detective Magee: So you're saying that you spent that whole weekend at your parents' place?
Gage Laughlin: If'n y'all don't believe me, you can ask my ma. She was on my ass about fixing something around the house … can't remember what it was. Obviously didn't get it fixed! Ha!
Detective Beckwith: What about your father? Was he around the house that week too?
Gage Laughlin: He never leaves the house on account of Ma. She is the only person that gets away with rippin' on him. He doesn't test her. She would make his life a livin' hell.
Detective Magee: You never really answered the question.
Gage Laughlin: He was home the whole time 'cept when he was at work. Ma lets him out to make money.
Detective Beckwith: All right, Gage, we're done here for now. You're free to go.
Gage Laughlin: 'Bout time.
Interview ended – 10:55 a.m.