This witness's photo is withheld for his protection

Emanuel Martinson interview

Friday, April 26, 2019 – 4:00 p.m.

Emanuel Martinson is Pastor Martinson's 17-year-old son.

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


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Emanuel Martinson

Detective Parker: Good afternoon, Emanuel. Thank you for coming in to talk to us. This is Detective Murphy, and I'm Detective Parker. Can you please state your name and address for the record?

Emanuel Martinson: My name is Emanuel Martinson. I live at 122 McRae Drive. Did you find out who killed Dad? Is that why you called me in?

Detective Parker: Unfortunately, not yet. We're still working very hard to find the person who killed your father, which is why we need all the help we can get from you today to keep the investigation moving.

Emanuel Martinson: Does it usually take this long to catch a murderer? What if they leave the country? This dirtbag killed my dad!

Detective Murphy: I can assure you that we're doing everything we can to make sure the killer doesn't get away. Do you know anyone who might have wanted to harm your father?

Emanuel Martinson: No, I really don't. Dad was a pastor. People at church loved him. He got along with everyone. Who the hell kills a pastor anyway?

Detective Murphy: Why don't you take a moment to calm down, Emanuel? We need you to be able to think clearly for each question, and you can't do that unless you're calm.

Emanuel Martinson: I know. I'm sorry. I just—I miss Dad a lot.

Detective Parker: How is your family holding up, Emanuel?

Emanuel Martinson: Not so good. Mom cries herself to sleep every night. She tries to hide it, but I can still hear her when I pass by her bedroom.

Detective Parker: I understand that your parents had a long and successful marriage. Can you tell us a bit about the relationship between your mom and dad?

Emanuel Martinson: Mom and Dad had a lot in common. They loved each other. They loved God. They loved watching Jeopardy. It's been that way for as long as I can remember.

Detective Parker: And you have one sibling?

Emanuel Martinson: Yeah, David. We came here together. I guess you're going to talk to him after me?

Detective Parker: Is David older or younger than you?

Emanuel Martinson: He's two years younger than me. I think losing Dad has turned him more toward God, which doesn't make any sense to me.

Detective Murphy: Why do you say that?

Emanuel Martinson: Dad was a pastor, a man of God. I thought God was supposed to protect his servants.

Detective Murphy: Did your father teach you that from scripture?

Emanuel Martinson: Yeah, Dad taught me and David all about believing in God and serving God. God this, God that. David's always been more into it than I was.

Detective Murphy: So you disagreed with your father's beliefs?

Emanuel Martinson: I went along with it because it made Mom and Dad happy. But now, I don't think I can trust a God that would let my dad get murdered and do nothing.

Detective Murphy: Maybe God's just biding his time.

Emanuel Martinson: Or He's a heartless bastard.

Detective Parker: Emanuel, what can you tell us about your father's relationship with the congregation at the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit? Did he ever have disagreements with any of the members?

Emanuel Martinson: I know that cat lady, Zina, liked to argue with Dad about how he ran the church. She thinks she has a say in everything just because she gives the church money.

Detective Parker: What about the Church Committee? How would you characterize the relationship between Pastor Martinson and the Committee members?

Emanuel Martinson: You mean like Pastor Ingram?

Detective Parker: Sure.

Emanuel Martinson: Well, Pastor Ingram was sort of Dad's understudy. He's a good family friend. I remember he used to babysit me and David when our parents were both at work.

Detective Parker: Is Pastor Ingram still on good terms with your family?

Emanuel Martinson: He doesn't come over as much nowadays since David and I are old enough to take care of ourselves. We still see him every Sunday at church, though.

Detective Murphy: Did your father ever discuss church business at home?

Emanuel Martinson: Like, committee stuff?

Detective Murphy: That's right.

Emanuel Martinson: Mom and Dad were both on the committee, so I'd hear them talking about it every once in a while. Mostly plans for church events, fundraisers, charities, stuff like that.

Detective Murphy: Did they mention the names of anyone in particular?

Emanuel Martinson: Lately, I heard them bring up Mr. Kemp quite a bit. He's the church treasurer. Also, Ms. Nutt, the secretary. They're both on the committee.

Detective Parker: Why do you think they brought up Mr. Kemp and Ms. Nutt? Were they planning some big event for the church?

Emanuel Martinson: No, the Easter Service was the only major church event they were working on that I know of. I think Dad was concerned about the church's money.

Detective Parker: Why do you say that? Was the church in some kind of financial trouble?

Emanuel Martinson: They don't tell me stuff like that, but I doubt it, not with Zina's donations. I overheard Dad talking on the phone a couple of weeks ago about some books and missing money.

Detective Parker: Do you know who he was talking to?

Emanuel Martinson: No. Might've been Mr. Kemp since he's the church treasurer. But it sounded serious because Dad was asking if he should press charges.

Detective Murphy: Press charges against whom?

Emanuel Martinson: I didn't catch that either. Do you think that phone call could've had something to do with … with Dad's murder?

Detective Murphy: That's what we're trying to find out. Emanuel, are you familiar with the bible verse: "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and repents finds mercy"?

Emanuel Martinson: I don't read the Bible as much as everybody thinks I do. It sounds like something Dad would write on the back of one of his business cards and hand out to people.

Detective Parker: Did your dad often hand out cards like that?

Emanuel Martinson: Yeah, to people who come to him asking for advice.

Detective Parker: Was anyone ever dissatisfied with his advice?

Emanuel Martinson: Not that I know of. Dad kept all that stuff on the down-low. He never talked to us about his counseling sessions.

Detective Parker: Thank you for your time, Emanuel. You've been very helpful.

Emanuel Martinson: Do you think you know who the killer is now?

Detective Parker: We'll be in touch as soon as there's something we can tell you.

Interview ended: 4:27 p.m.


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