Wednesday, March 17, 2021 – 9:30 a.m.
Chas Laughlin owns Laughlin Automotive and Body Shop at 2522 University Avenue in Oxford. Daniel Collier was his employee in 2020.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee talked to him again in his office that overlooks the shop floor.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Chas Laughlin
- Brent Rush
Detective Beckwith: Hello again, Mr. Laughlin.
Chas Laughlin: Aw, Christ. Who let y'all in here?
Detective Magee: We let ourselves in.
Chas Laughlin: Yeah, yeah. Hey, Rush! … Rush! Quit with the weldin' already! Rush!
Brent Rush: Yeah?
Chas Laughlin: Didn't I tell ya that if cops came knocking—
Detective Magee: We're standing right here, Laughlin.
Chas Laughlin: —to tell them to wait outside and I'd be down?
Brent Rush: Yeah?
Chas Laughlin: Then what the hell are they doing up here?
Detective Magee: You know we can hear you, Laughlin.
Brent Rush: They let themselves in.
Chas Laughlin: They let themselves in? You lookin' to get yerself fired, boy? Damn, I don't care whose kid you are! If I tell ya somethin', you better damn right follow it! You hear me, down there?
Brent Rush: I hear you.
Detective Beckwith: Well, you seem a little sensitive about having detectives in your office, Laughlin. I wonder why that is?
Chas Laughlin: Maybe I don't like the smell of pigs, is all.
Detective Magee: This interview has gotten off on the wrong foot.
Chas Laughlin: Is that what this is? An interview? I told you on the phone that I ain't interested in doing no interviews.
Detective Beckwith: That's why we came down here- to give you a second chance. We thought that you might be interested after you hear about some of the evidence we've found.
Chas Laughlin: Well, that's bull****. You came down to get me to admit to something I ain't done. That's why you're here.
Detective Magee: No, what's bull**** is that a kid working for you—a kid that you've been worried is stealing from you—disappears, and now we've got a body.
Chas Laughlin: So y'all found Dan, eh? I never thought he was stealing from me. He was a good worker until he quit. He did what he was told, unlike some other good-for-nothin's I've had in the shop.
Detective Magee: You don't seem bothered that this good worker is probably dead.
Chas Laughlin: I ain't broken up about it if that's what you want. He worked here. He quit. If that's all you got, your evidence doesn't amount to squat. So long, detectives. Some of us have real work to do.
Detective Beckwith: You still don't know the important piece of evidence.
Chas Laughlin: Y'all still here?
Detective Beckwith: Do you know where we found that body?
Chas Laughlin: I don't do guessing games.
Detective Beckwith: We found it thirty minutes west of here at the bottom of a cypress swamp, strapped to a heavy cylinder head—like a chop shop's version of cement shoes. What do you think the odds are that that cylinder head came right out of your shop?
Chas Laughlin: Zero. And I don't run no chop shop.
Detective Magee: Is that what your employees are going to say when we ask them?
Chas Laughlin: Well, I ain't them, so how would I know? Most of them are a pack of liars anyhow. I'm sure y'all put the screws to them, have them sh****** their own britches, and then they'll cop to all kinds of nonsense. But none of it will have a bit to do with me.
Detective Magee: What if one of your employees said you had Daniel's car tracked to see if he's been ripping you off?
Chas Laughlin: My employees know better than to rip me off.
Detective Beckwith: Or else?
Chas Laughlin: There is no "or else." They just don't do it.
Detective Magee: Do you own any GPS trackers?
Chas Laughlin: No.
Detective Magee: If we got a warrant to search your shop, would any trackers show up?
Chas Laughlin: You're not getting a warrant, Magee. Stop wasting my time. Rush! These detectives are just leaving. How ‘bout you show them the door?
Detective Beckwith: This thing doesn't end here.
Chas Laughlin: Get out.
Interview ended – 9:47 a.m.