Zina Jacinto interview

Zina Jacinto is an active member of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church, who reportedly argued with Pastor Martinson from time to time. She also lived across the street from recent murder victim Victor Jennings.

Detectives Armstrong and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Monday, April 1, 2024 – 3:00 p.m.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Zina Jacinto

Zina Jacinto: You're going to have to put me on your payroll if this keeps up. I'm becoming quite the valuable asset to you in helping you solve crimes around here.

Detective Parker: For the record, could you please state your full name and address?

Zina Jacinto: Oh, of course. My name is Zina Jacinto Skeleton. Of course, the Skeleton isn't legal. I live at 423 Turnberry Circle, Oxford, Mississippi, in the great U. S. of A.

Detective Armstrong: How are you today, Ms. Zina?

Zina Jacinto: Been better, been worse. How can I assist you?

Detective Armstrong: We'd like to ask you a few questions about the death of Pastor Martinson.

Zina Jacinto: Oh my, such a tragedy. I wish I had stepped up when that secretary job came open before Fay Nutt was hired. I would have notes and minutes on all the church happenings. But alas, I do not.

Detective Parker: Could you describe your relationship with the pastor?

Zina Jacinto: I knew him well. I had access to him whenever I needed or wanted it. I went to dinner at his home. He couldn't come to my house, though, because of his allergies to cats. He was a great man, a great pastor, but sometimes the good he possessed led him to be too trusting of people.

Detective Armstrong: Why was it that you had such access to him, Zina?

Zina Jacinto: Well, the pastor and I had a mutual respect for one another. I'm very involved in the church, and I make suggestions. Sometimes, Pastor Martinson agrees with me, but not always.

Detective Parker: Did you ever argue with him when he didn't agree with you?

Zina Jacinto: I would say that we butted heads a few times.

Detective Armstrong: Have you had any recent disagreements?

Zina Jacinto: Hm… well, I believe the most recent was over the Resurrection Eggs. You people call them Easter eggs. I wanted to dye them all yellow, but the pastor wanted them multi-colors. I folded. I made them all yellow, but then I half-dipped them in other colors. I can normally bring about a compromise.

Detective Armstrong: We're not interested in trivial disagreements, Zina. Have you had any personal disagreements with him or anyone in the congregation?

Zina Jacinto: Well, lately, he was asking a lot of questions about Joey and his trustworthiness. It was starting to irritate me. Joey is a good man. I trust him completely. He has always done his best for me and for the church.

Detective Parker: Who's Joey?

Zina Jacinto: Joey Kemp, he's my cousin and the church treasurer.

Detective Armstrong: Now, why did Pastor Martinson question whether Joey could be trusted?

Zina Jacinto: He had absolutely no reason to distrust Joey! Let us talk no further on this.

Detective Armstrong: That's quite a bit of anger you're harboring there, Zina. Did that ever cause a problem between you and the pastor?

Zina Jacinto: Yes, but I think I convinced him of the errors in his judgment.

Detective Armstrong: Were you still angry with the pastor on Easter Sunday?

Zina Jacinto: Hold on. Am I a suspect? I thought I was here to help you out. I'm a Christian. I would never take a life! Oh my goodness, I don't have the strength to kill a person, let alone the motivation to kill an upstanding and wonderful man of God. Surely you know this?

Detective Parker: Let's move on. Did you have any arguments with him over any of the other church members or the officers?

Zina Jacinto: Well, yes, we have. Over the years, Pastor Martinson had many errors in judgment about people. He was such a good man. He always tried to find the best in everyone, and I believe that led him to overlook certain things about people which were so obvious to me. I would say that he is— was quite naive.

Detective Armstrong: Well, don't stop there, Zina. Give us examples.

Zina Jacinto: Well, I mentioned Fay earlier, the secretary. She is a backbiter and a gossip. On many occasions, I asked Pastor to excommunicate her. She is just so into everyone else's business. I think she's jealous of Pastor agreeing with me and appreciating my advice.

Detective Armstrong: Did she have any conflicts with him as well?

Zina Jacinto: Oh, I'm sure she did. I can assure you, Pastor is no fan of gossip. I never heard them argue, but I did see her leave his office less than happy a time or two.

Detective Parker: Did you hear any raised voices before she left the office?

Zina Jacinto: Well, no… but I could tell that she was agitated by the look on her face. As I said, I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and I heard nothing.

Detective Armstrong: All right. Do you recall anyone else having conflicts with Pastor Martinson?

Zina Jacinto: The Sanford family. This was a while back, but I told him that they were causing division in the church. At that time, people were taking sides. It was a scandal that no church should have been a part of. On many occasions, I asked him over and over to encourage one of them to worship elsewhere. Eventually, they both stopped coming anyway, so it worked itself out.

Detective Armstrong: You know, it sounds like you were the one having conflicts, Zina. Did the pastor also think that the Sanfords should leave the church?

Zina Jacinto: Of course, he did, but Pastor said God would never turn away someone in need of guidance, and to send one away was just plain wrong. However, I've heard both of them—Emmett and Deirdre—exchanging angry words with the pastor. The pastor, of course, never raised his voice.

Detective Parker: Did you hear what they were upset about?

Zina Jacinto: It was almost always about forgiveness. I heard Deidre more than once yelling, "How do you expect me to forgive him?" And once, I heard Pastor telling Emmett that patience was a virtue that he needed to work on. Oh, Emmett got so angry. He yelled, "How long do you expect me to wait?"

Detective Parker: Why is it that you remember exactly what they said, but you didn't hear what Fay Nutt and the pastor were talking about?

Zina Jacinto: Well, the Sanfords weren't very discreet back when this was going on. Both of them talked to the pastor in and out of his office. I heard them mostly after church when we were leaving. Pastor Martinson would slip to the door of the sanctuary while Pastor Ingram gave the closing prayer. This way, Pastor could shake hands and talk to the people as they were exiting the church. Many times, one or the other Sanford would pull the pastor outside. That's usually when I heard them.

Detective Armstrong: In your opinion, who do you think we should talk to about the murder?

Zina Jacinto: Oh, Pastor Ingram.

Detective Armstrong: Why?

Zina Jacinto: He spent more time with Pastor Martinson than anyone else. I also think he was a little tired of being an assistant, not that that has any bearing on this case. I have to go. Mrs. Mittens has feline leukemia, and it's time for her meds.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you for your time, Zina. As usual, you have given us a lot to think about.

Zina Jacinto: Well, who knows what lies in the back corners of my mind? If I think of anything else, I will surely tell you. Oh, if you know anyone who would like a kitten, I have three beautiful little calicos who are ready to go to their forever homes.

Detective Parker: We appreciate that. Goodbye for now.

Interview ended – 3:26 p.m.



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