Paul Bragg interview
Thursday, November 5, 2020 – 4:05 p.m.
Paul Bragg's son, Jimmy, is a YHS student and archery team member, and Paul's wife, Stephanie, is a volunteer at the high school and at Faith and Glory Community Church.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke to him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Paul Bragg
Detective Murphy: Have a seat, Mr. Bragg. We appreciate you coming in. We just have a few questions for you.
Paul Bragg: Yeah, no problem. I'll help however I can.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Could you please state your name and address for the record?
Paul Bragg: My name's Paul Bragg. My address is 310 Longest Road, Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Murphy: We spoke with your wife a few days ago. I assume she told you about that?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, she was pretty upset about you guys talking to Jimmy without checking with us, but we talked about it, and she understands that you weren't trying to hurt him or scare him. You were just doing your job.
Detective Murphy: I guess we have you to thank for helping her understand? She had a pretty strong reaction when she was with us.
Paul Bragg: She's just been worried about Jimmy. Neither of us knows how to handle this situation. He's never had to deal with anyone dying before, let alone a murder. It's just horrible.
Detective Murphy: I see. Does Stephanie worry about Jimmy a lot?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, she's always been somewhat overprotective of him. Plus, we've been looking at colleges recently, so she's also been trying to accept that he'll be going off to college soon.
Detective Armstrong: Did Jimmy tell you what we talked about earlier?
Paul Bragg: He said you just had some more questions about Marc.
Detective Armstrong: There was a little more to it than that. Were you aware that Jimmy was cheating in Mr. Miller's class?
Paul Bragg: What?! Where did you hear that?
Detective Armstrong: Jimmy told us. Some people we've talked to said that Mr. Miller suspected one of his students of cheating. When we brought it up with Jimmy, he confessed that it was him.
Paul Bragg: Well, I don't know why he would say such a thing. Jimmy's a good student. He has no reason to cheat.
Detective Murphy: Students have to have a certain GPA to remain on the archery team, right?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, they have to maintain a 2.5. Jimmy is always above a 3.0. He may not be a genius, but he's a good student.
Detective Murphy: Do you think he felt any pressure to get better grades?
Paul Bragg: I don't think so. I've always told him that as long as he gave an honest effort to any task and as long as he found something he was passionate about to devote his time and energy to, then he would be successful in life.
Detective Murphy: What about Stephanie? Is it important to her that Jimmy gets high grades?
Paul Bragg: Of course, she wants him to do well. She encourages him, offers support, incentives, that kind of thing. But she just wants him to live up to his full potential. She volunteers at Jimmy's school and has always been very involved in his education.
Detective Armstrong: What about getting into college? Is he hoping to get into any particular school?
Paul Bragg: He's only considering public universities, not any that he'll have a hard time getting into. He's more interested in where the school is located. He really wants to get out of Mississippi, move to a big city.
Detective Armstrong: He told us that he was somehow able to get ahold of the test answers ahead of time. Do you have any idea how he might have done that?
Paul Bragg: I don't know. He probably got them online or something. Isn't that something kids can do these days?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe, if Mr. Miller posted the test answers online somewhere and then got hacked. But that doesn't really seem like his style.
Detective Murphy: You said that Stephanie is a volunteer at the school. Does she have access to the school's computer network, maybe like a staff intranet?
Paul Bragg: I doubt it. She's just a volunteer. She mostly just helps with little tasks like handing out textbooks, making copies, that kind of thing. But she doesn't even work with Mr. Miller's class.
Detective Murphy: Maybe Jimmy used her access to get the information? A key or a code she got as part of her volunteer job?
Paul Bragg: I wouldn't know anything about that.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, Mr. Bragg. Tell us about what you were doing when you found out about Mr. Miller's death.
Paul Bragg: We were at home, and one of Jimmy's friends called and told him.
Detective Murphy: Which friend?
Paul Bragg: I'm not sure. Someone from the team, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: What time was that?
Paul Bragg: It was pretty late, around 11:00, 11:30. I was getting worried because Stephanie wasn't home from that sewing thing yet. I had sent her a text and hadn't heard back yet, but she called right after that to tell us the same thing. I guess they were all being interviewed by the police.
Detective Murphy: How did Jimmy's friend find out about it so quickly?
Paul Bragg: I don't know. I assume his mom was at the sewing event too.
Detective Murphy: Do y'all normally stay up that late?
Paul Bragg: Sometimes. I was helping Jimmy study for a math test he had the next day and waiting for Stephanie to get home.
Detective Murphy: What time was she supposed to be home?
Paul Bragg: Well, the sewing event was supposed to end at 10:00, but since she was one of the event organizers, she had to stay after to help clean up and such. She had said she'd be home by 10:45 at the latest.
Detective Armstrong: Did anyone else come over that night? Or did you two go anywhere?
Paul Bragg: No, it was a pretty quiet night. We ordered some pizza for dinner and stayed in.
Detective Armstrong: You had pizza delivered?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, from Pizza Hut.
Detective Armstrong: What time was that?
Paul Bragg: Um, it was probably around 7:00 or 8:00.
Detective Armstrong: Who answered the door when the pizza arrived?
Paul Bragg: I did.
Detective Armstrong: And how did you pay for it?
Paul Bragg: I used my credit card. There must be a record of it or something that you can verify.
Detective Armstrong: Did you happen to hang on to a receipt?
Paul Bragg: I don't really remember, but I usually just throw them away.
Detective Armstrong: Could the delivery person confirm that Jimmy was there with you? Did they see him?
Paul Bragg: I don't know. I don't think so. Wait, you don't think Jimmy did this do you? I thought you already had the kid that killed Frederick?
Detective Armstrong: We're just covering all the bases, Mr. Bragg. But I think that's all the questions we have for you right now.
Detective Murphy: One more thing, Mr. Bragg. Are you willing to submit your fingerprints and a DNA sample?
Paul Bragg: Yes, of course.
Interview ended – 4:26 p.m.