Leo Ingram interview

Leo Ingram is the associate pastor at the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church and found the body of his colleague, Wendell Martinson.

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


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Leo Ingram

Sunday, March 31, 2024 – 12:00 p.m.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in today. Would you officially tell us your name and address for the record?

Leo Ingram: My name is Leo Ingram. My address is 1503 Jefferson Avenue.

Detective Parker: Have some water, Mr. Ingram.

Leo Ingram: Thank you.

Detective Parker: Could you tell us how you spent Saturday night?

Leo Ingram: Saturday? I woke up. I went to the gym. I visited with some members of the church because I knew they wasn't going to be able to attend Easter service. I finished up at Mrs. Chin's. We actually— she actually asked me for supper. I stayed, and we had some good lamb. After I left there, I called Pastor Martinson, and we went over Sunday's information. And then, I went back to the church to double-check the programs.

Detective Parker: Was anyone else at the church?

Leo Ingram: No, just me. A year ago, we had some typos on the programs, so that Easter, we didn't get a chance to actually catch the typos, so we didn't have enough time to rewrite over all the fixes.

Detective Parker: So, how long were you there for?

Leo Ingram: A half hour? I got there around 7:00, and it was past that on the car stereo when I drove off.

Detective Murphy: Did you see Pastor Martinson at the church?

Leo Ingram: No, he prefers to work on his message at home.

Detective Murphy: Well, you went to the church. With such an important service coming up, why wouldn't he do the same thing?

Leo Ingram: Well, the pastor believes a lot— he leaves a lot of trust in his people.

Detective Parker: How did you spend that night?

Leo Ingram: Saturday night, I watched Ben-Hur. I actually— it's just a tradition I have. Every night before Easter, I watch it.

Detective Murphy: Charlton Heston. If I remember correctly, the story revolves around a power struggle.

Leo Ingram: Yes, that is the theme, as well as loyalty and forgiveness.

Detective Parker: So, what time did you get up Sunday morning?

Leo Ingram: Sunday morning, I got up at 5:00. I took a shower. I prayed, ate, and then I left for church.

Detective Murphy: Did anyone see you leave that morning?

Leo Ingram: No, it was pretty dark out.

Detective Murphy: What about the time when you went home to watch your movie? Is there anyone that can corroborate that story?

Leo Ingram: I waved at Mr. and Mrs. Henderson. They were walking their greyhound.

Detective Parker: What time did you reach church this morning?

Leo Ingram: 6:00?

Detective Parker: Did you pass any vehicles heading from the church?

Leo Ingram: Not that I remember.

Detective Parker: How many cars were in the parking lot?

Leo Ingram: Just one, Pastor Martinson's.

Detective Parker: Did you see anything unusual?

Leo Ingram: Nothing. Nothing that prepared me for what I saw inside.

Detective Parker: Before you entered the church, you parked your car. Now, if you could do me a favor, just close your eyes and try to remember what you heard when you crossed the lot.

Leo Ingram: The rain. The distant thunder. The crackling of pebbles under my soles.

Detective Parker: Do you hear a vehicle accelerating away from the church?

Leo Ingram: No.

Detective Parker: Anyone running?

Leo Ingram: No, nothing like that.

Detective Parker: What do you smell?

Leo Ingram: Spring.

Detective Murphy: How uplifting. How long have you been associate pastor?

Leo Ingram: Seven years in July.

Detective Murphy: Really? That's a long time without a promotion.

Leo Ingram: Well, when you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, you don't really have to believe in promotions.

Detective Murphy: Still, aren't you interested sometime in being a senior pastor?

Leo Ingram: Well, yes, I believe one day, hopefully, I'll be able to run my own church.

Detective Murphy: How did Pastor Martinson feel about that?

Leo Ingram: He believed in me. He's helped me along the way.

Detective Murphy: In what way?

Leo Ingram: He wrote me recommendations.

Detective Murphy: So you were trying to find a way out then?

Leo Ingram: Well, I applied at two other churches that were looking for leadership.

Detective Murphy: How did that work out for you?

Leo Ingram: They decided to go in a different direction.

Detective Murphy: Hm. Did you ever read any of the letters that Pastor Martinson wrote for you?

Leo Ingram: No.

Detective Parker: When you entered the church in the morning, what did you do first?

Leo Ingram: I went and checked the bathrooms because of the plumbing. You don't want to be going into the bathrooms right after the people when service is over.

Detective Parker: How was the plumbing?

Leo Ingram: It was okay.

Detective Murphy: No bloody paper towels in the toilets?

Leo Ingram: No, no. No. I checked the men's room for soap. I cleaned up the soap that was leaking, and then I threw the paper towels in the garbage.

Detective Parker: After you left the bathrooms, then what did you do?

Leo Ingram: I went to the vestry, and that's where we put all our Easter items away. And I saw the pastor just laying there in blood. I immediately called 911 and asked for an ambulance.

Detective Parker: What do you think could've happened?

Leo Ingram: I don't know. I just knew the pastor needed some medical assistance. So I was on the phone with the people. They asked me to check for his pulse. I checked for his pulse. There was no pulse. So they asked me did— was there anybody else inside. I said, "I don't know," and I thought to myself, "Hey, if the killer could still be inside," so I asked them, "What should I do?" They said, "Wait outside."

Detective Parker: Did you touch anything before or after discovering the body?

Leo Ingram: My cell phone.

Detective Murphy: You didn't touch any doorknobs?

Leo Ingram: Well, yeah, but that doesn't count.

Detective Parker: What did you do after you left the building?

Leo Ingram: I waited outside. I waited for the church members to attend, and I had warned them about the plumbing.

Detective Parker: How did they respond?

Leo Ingram: Actually, the church members responded naturally. A little ribbing with the buildings committee, but other than that, it went smoothly.

Detective Murphy: Did anybody ask for Pastor Martinson?

Leo Ingram: Well, yes, but I informed them that Pastor Martinson was actually on the phone with the plumbing company so that they wouldn't go in there and rush and try to touch him.

Detective Murphy: We appreciate that. Can you be certain that no one else was in the building at that time?

Leo Ingram: Well, the pastor usually has me open up the rear doors, but I didn't get the opportunity to.

Detective Murphy: Did you check to see if it was locked?

Leo Ingram: No, because I saw Pastor Martinson there, and I called you guys, so I figured you guys would check it.

Detective Murphy: How well would you say you got along with Pastor Martinson?

Leo Ingram: He was a good man.

Detective Murphy: That doesn't answer my question.

Leo Ingram: Well, we had our disagreements, but we still believed in the same Lord.

Detective Parker: Who do you imagine could have done this?

Leo Ingram: Maybe the pastor saw someone breaking in?

Detective Murphy: Out here? Who among the church members wanted to see Pastor Martinson dead?

Leo Ingram: Someone from the church?

Detective Murphy: The church. His family. His friends. Considering where and how he was killed, we have to consider the possibility that some member of the church is the most likely suspect.

Leo Ingram: I'm going to have to pray about this before I go any further.

Detective Parker: Do that. We'll be in touch.

Interview ended – 12:30 p.m.


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