Deirdre Littleton, a lapsed member of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church, reportedly called Pastor Martinson not long before he was murdered.
Detectives Armstrong and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
Monday, April 22, 2019 – 1:00 p.m.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective E. Parker
- Deirdre Littleton
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for coming on in today. I'm Detective Armstrong. This is Detective Parker. We just have a few questions for you today. For the record, could you state your name and address?
Deidre Littleton: Deirdre Littleton, 410 Thacker Loop.
Detective Armstrong: Now, we just wanted to ask you a few questions regarding the murder of Pastor Martinson. By now, I'm sure you're aware of that.
Deirdre Littleton: Yeah. I read all about it in the papers. It's such a terrible way to go.
Detective Armstrong: How so?
Deirdre Littleton: At the church on Easter Sunday. I can't think of anything worse, especially for a man like Pastor Martinson.
Detective Parker: Ms. Littleton, are you a religious woman?
Deirdre Littleton: Well, yes, I'm a Christian, if that's what you mean.
Detective Parker: So you would know the verse from the Bible. "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
Deirdre Littleton: Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that I had something to do with the pastor's death?
Detective Parker: Did you?
Deirdre Littleton: This is ridiculous. No, of course not. Look, detectives, I'm a single mother. Between work and taking care of my son, I do not have the time of day to go around murdering people.
Detective Armstrong: We're just trying to cover our bases, Ms. Littleton. Can you tell me where you were between the hours of Saturday evening and early Sunday morning?
Deirdre Littleton: Yeah, I worked at the motel until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. I picked up Liam from a friend's house and took him to dinner for a couple of burgers.
Detective Parker: Is Liam your boyfriend?
Deirdre Littleton: Don't be ridiculous. I don't have a boyfriend. Liam is my son.
Detective Parker: Of course. So after dinner?
Deirdre Littleton: We went straight home after that. I think we got back around 7:30 p.m. I went to bed around 11:00 p.m., got up at 7:00 a.m. for the regular Easter service, not the sunrise one. I figured it would be a good way to get back into the habit of attending church again. But by the time we got to the church, all I could see were police cars and the crime scene tape everywhere.
Detective Parker: And your son was with you the whole time?
Deirdre Littleton: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Littleton, when you say "get back into the habit of attending church," do you mean you were previously a member of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit?
Deirdre Littleton: Oh no, I'm still a member. I just haven't gone for a while, but I used to attend regularly.
Detective Armstrong: For how long?
Deirdre Littleton: About 15 years. My son was actually baptized as a baby by Pastor Martinson himself.
Detective Parker: When did you leave the church?
Deirdre Littleton: Last year, about this time.
Detective Parker: And what made you leave?
Deirdre Littleton: My reasons are complicated. It involved my ex-husband and my divorce and a lot of drama you don't want to hear.
Detective Parker: Try us.
Deirdre Littleton: Look, I liked the church. I liked the community. I liked the pastor. I was comfortable. I was settled there for 15 years, but after Emmett cheated, it just became harder and harder to keep going to church with him and pretending like we were still a family. So I stopped going.
Detective Parker: And was that the only reason?
Deirdre Littleton: Well, our church family had already started hearing the news about our … trouble, and I just didn't want them to see our divorce drag out and blow up in our faces. I mean, it's a small community. Word gets around fast. I don't think I could've handled the gossip on top of everything else.
Detective Armstrong: So why the sudden urge to go back to church now? Weren't you afraid of all the questions?
Deirdre Littleton: Yes, but I think I can handle it now. I mean, things between me and Emmett have pretty much calmed down. Besides, it's been a year since we separated. I'm sure the church women have found better things to talk about by now.
Detective Parker: Like the death of Pastor Martinson.
Deirdre Littleton: I guess so, Detective.
Detective Parker: What about your ex-husband? Did he stay with the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit?
Deirdre Littleton: No. He left when I did.
Detective Parker: Was he afraid of the gossip too?
Deirdre Littleton: We weren't exactly on speaking terms at the time, but I doubt that he would've stayed anyway.
Detective Parker: What do you mean?
Deirdre Littleton: Emmett always blamed Pastor Martinson for our divorce.
Detective Armstrong: Really. Why is that?
Deirdre Littleton: When Emmett had the affair two years ago, he confessed to Pastor Martinson and asked his advice. And the pastor told Emmett that the best thing to do would be to come clean with me. I think he had a little bit too much faith in our marriage. Actually, he set up counseling sessions for me and Emmett, but good intentions only go so far.
Detective Parker: How long did these counseling sessions go on?
Deirdre Littleton: We went, like, three or four times around the holidays of 2017. But I just— I could never bring myself to forgive Emmett.
Detective Parker: Did you blame the pastor for convincing Emmett to tell you about his affair?
Deirdre Littleton: Yeah, I did. I mean, at first. I was furious with both Emmett and Pastor Martinson. I mean, I thought it would've been better to never know. That way, Emmett and I just could've gone on just like we were. But I realize that a secret like that, you know, would've torn us apart and just left us in even worse shape.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Littleton, how well did you know Pastor Martinson?
Deirdre Littleton: Well, from going to his church for the last 15 years, I know he's a good and honest man, and apparently, good and honest men are dying out.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever have a personal relationship with him?
Deirdre Littleton: No. Well, when Emmett and I were still together, we invited him and his wife and sons over for dinner, but that's about as close as we've ever been. Emmett and Liam might know him a little better. He was actually their Sunday school teacher at one point.
Detective Parker: Did you have any desire to have a closer relationship with the pastor?
Deirdre Littleton: Honestly, I have no idea where you come up with these questions, Detective.
Detective Parker: Well, we understand you had called Pastor Martinson at home one evening and had a rather long conversation with him before he was killed. Would you mind telling us about the purpose and the nature of the call?
Deirdre Littleton: No, I don't mind. It's embarrassing, but I will tell you all about it. I was having a rough week at work, and Emmett was going through another one of his psycho stalker phases, calling me 50 times a day–
Detective Parker: I'm sorry. Didn't you say that things between you and your ex had calmed down a little bit?
Deirdre Littleton: Yes, for the most part. Just not right then.
Detective Parker: Okay. Go ahead. You had a hard day at work. You were being bugged by your ex. And?
Deirdre Littleton: And everything. I mean, Liam was asking for this $100 baseball glove that we could not afford, and apparently, all the other kids on the school team had one.
Detective Parker: So you called Pastor Martinson just to talk to him about all these things?
Deirdre Littleton: Yes. Kind of. I might've had a little bit too much to drink that night, and I just started wondering that my life might be better, somehow, if Pastor Martinson hadn't stuck his nose in my marriage. That's why I called him. We were on the phone for so long because I kept accusing him, and he was trying to console me, probably because he felt bad or it's just, you know, who he is. Was. Does that answer your question?
Detective Parker: That'll do. If you were investigating Pastor Martinson's murder, who would you talk to?
Deirdre Littleton: I have no idea. He was such a good man. I can't imagine anyone wanting to hurt him.
Detective Parker: But since somebody obviously did, who would you talk to?
Deirdre Littleton: I've been away from the church for so long, I really— I don't know. I mean, his wife? Pastor Ingram? Fay Nutt? I don't— is that who you mean?
Detective Armstrong: I think that's all the questions we have for today, Ms. Littleton. You can see yourself out.
Interview ended – 1:26 p.m.