Jolene Wright interview #3
Wednesday, April 26, 2023 – 11:07 a.m.
Jolene Wright, a waitress at The Rebel Yell, has been identified as the woman seen with Charles Tatum at Mugshots on the night of April 12, 2023.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Detention Center, where she is in custody on larceny charges.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jolene Wright
Detective Murphy: For the record, please tell us your name and address.
Jolene Wright: You know my name and address. I got something I want to talk to y'all about.
Detective Murphy: We have to have it for the recording. You know that.
Jolene Wright: Whatever! Jolene Wright. 805 College Hill. Now can we talk about what I want to talk about?
Detective Murphy: Go ahead.
Jolene Wright: I want to— I don't— Look, I need to tell y'all something.
Detective Murphy: Okay.
Jolene Wright: I… This isn't— I'm not sure what the right thing to do is.
Detective Armstrong: Listen, girl. You called and said you wanted to talk to us. We didn't ask for this conversation, so if you got something to say, spit it out. I don't want to spend all day here. We've wasted enough time on you already.
Jolene Wright: Okay, okay. You said you were going to put me in jail for the rest of my life.
Detective Armstrong: That's right. Right up until they stick that needle in your arm.
Jolene Wright: Stop saying that! I didn't do anything wrong.
Detective Murphy: You stole Detective Tatum's wallet and used his credit card.
Jolene Wright: Okay. I did that. And that was wrong. I know that now. But I didn't kill him. I swear!
Detective Murphy: But you know who did.
Jolene Wright: Maybe.
Detective Armstrong: That's it! We're done here. She just wants to jerk us around. Probably just wanted to get out of her cell for a while. Let's go, Sam.
Jolene Wright: No! I told you I got somethin' to say.
Detective Armstrong: Then say it! Sh*t or get off the pot, girl.
Jolene Wright: I didn't know anything bad was going to happen to that cop. I want y'all to know that.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, I bet. You're just an innocent victim, right?
Jolene Wright: Yes! I am. He tricked me. He didn't tell me what he was going to do.
Detective Murphy: Who?
Jolene Wright: It was Hank. I didn't want to do anything like that. I didn't want anyone to die! He said it wouldn't go that far. I didn't have anything to do with it. I couldn't help it. It's not my fault.
Detective Murphy: Calm down, Jolene. Just tell us what happened. When you say "Hank," who do you mean?
Jolene Wright: Hank Peterson, my boy— my boss. Duh!
Detective Murphy: And what did Hank do?
Jolene Wright: It wasn't supposed to happen… it was just supposed to be pictures.
Detective Armstrong: Pictures?
Jolene Wright: No one was supposed to die. I didn't even know what was happening—
Detective Murphy: Jolene, you have to slow down. What do you mean about pictures? What did Hank want with pictures?
Jolene Wright: He told me that I was supposed to pick up that cop. You know, seduce him. And we were going to make it so that Hank could take pictures of us, and then Hank was going to blackmail him. That was all. I didn't know anyone was going to die!
Detective Murphy: So you're saying Hank Peterson wanted to blackmail Detective Tatum? With explicit pictures of the two of you? Is that right?
Jolene Wright: Yes. Hank said he could get that cop to leave The Rebel Yell alone if we blackmailed him, so I went along with it. But the next thing I knew, Hank was in the apartment with a gun in his hand.
Detective Armstrong: Detective Tatum's gun?
Jolene Wright: I guess so. Maybe. I don't know where the gun came from. We were going at it pretty hot and heavy. Before we even got in the door, we were stripping each other's clothes off. That cop's gun belt just fell to the floor when I was taking his pants off. I didn't think anything about it. I left the apartment door open just a little so's Hank could get in. That's how he planned it.
Detective Murphy: Detective Tatum didn't notice you left the door open?
Jolene Wright: He wasn't exactly paying any attention to the door, if you know what I'm saying.
Detective Armstrong: All right, get on with it.
Jolene Wright: So him and me, we went into the bedroom. We were in bed, just like Hank planned, and we were going at it. I was expecting a flash to go off any second when Hank came in with the camera, but…
Detective Murphy: But what?
Jolene Wright: But then I heard this explosion. God, it was so loud! It was like a bomb going off. And Hank is standing there right next to the bed with the gun in his hand, and half of that cop's head is blown off, and I've got blood all over me. Oh my god!
Detective Murphy: Just so we're clear here, you're saying that Hank Peterson shot and killed Charles Tatum?
Jolene Wright: I never meant for this to happen. I didn't want anyone to die! It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
Detective Armstrong: Answer the damn question!
Jolene Wright: Yes! Yes! Hank Peterson murdered Charles Tatum.
Detective Armstrong: And you were just an innocent bystander?
Jolene Wright: Yes! I'm as much of a victim as Charlie.
Detective Armstrong: Are you seriously trying to—
Detective Murphy: Ted, just … no. Okay, Jolene, say we believe your story. You got anything to back it up?
Jolene Wright: What?
Detective Armstrong: It's your word against Hank's, Jolene.
Jolene Wright: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: If we arrested Hank Peterson based on your story alone, he could just say you were the murderer. It's your word against his. We need proof, and you better have something good.
Jolene Wright: I… like what? How can I prove to you I'm telling the truth?
Detective Murphy: Do you have any proof that Hank's the one who came up with the plan?
Jolene Wright: No. Like what? How could I have any proof of that?
Detective Murphy: If you don't have anything, maybe there's something you can do for us now to show your good faith and to help us make the case against Hank.
Jolene Wright: Like what?
Detective Murphy: You could wear a wire and get Hank to confess to murdering Detective Tatum.
Jolene Wright: No way. Forget it. I can't do that.
Detective Armstrong: You damn well better do that! If you don't work with us, then you're taking the fall for the murder by yourself. We already have a good case against you, and we got zero reasons to believe you're telling the truth now.
Detective Murphy: That's right. If you help us, maybe your charges get reduced. Maybe you get out of prison while you still have some of your life left to live.
Jolene Wright: I don't want to go to jail!
Detective Armstrong: You're already in jail, girl.
Jolene Wright: Well, I don't want to stay here.
Detective Murphy: That's not an option. You need to be thinking about how long, not if. You need to help yourself, Jolene.
Jolene Wright: I can't! You don't understand.
Detective Murphy: If you don't, we'll have to assume you're lying again, and you'll be prosecuted—all by yourself—for murdering a police officer. You'll be sitting on death row before you know it. Meanwhile, Hank will be free as a bird. How long do you think it'll take him to replace you in his bar and in his bed?
Jolene Wright: Look, if I help you, if I do what you say, I'll be dead. Hank said he would kill me if I ever told.
Detective Murphy: Jolene, if you help us, Hank won't be able to kill you because he'll be locked up for the rest of his life. If you don't help us, we can't make any promises. We won't be able to protect you, and Hank may decide to come after you anyway to make sure you can never tell anyone what he did.
Jolene Wright: What?
Detective Murphy: You help us, and we'll protect you. You don't, and you're on your own.
Jolene Wright: Okay, okay. What do I have to do?
Detective Murphy: We'll get it worked out. You just have to get Hank to come down here to the jail to visit you and then get him to talk about the murder.
Jolene Wright: Oh, sure! How the hell am I gonna do that?
Detective Armstrong: That's your problem.
Jolene Wright: Gee, thanks. It doesn't matter anyway because he's never going to say anything. He's too smart for that.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, he's a real Einstein. Look, you already know how this will play out if you don't make this happen. Whether it's you or Hank who ends up on that gurney with a needle in your arm makes no difference to me.
Jolene Wright: Oh my god! Why are you so mean?
Detective Armstrong: Why am I so—!
Detective Murphy: Jolene, this is it. Right now is your come‑to‑Jesus moment. Do you want to get Hank down here and maybe help yourself out a little? Or do you want to spend the rest of your life, however long or short that may be, behind bars?
Jolene Wright: But he hasn't come to see me this whole time I been here, even though— whatever. If he didn't come before, how am I gonna get him to come now?
Detective Murphy: You know, Jolene, you strike me as the kind of girl who can be pretty resourceful and creative when you need to be. You'll find a way. I have confidence in you.
Jolene Wright: Yeah, great.
Detective Armstrong: Let's get this girl to a phone so she can get in touch with good ole Hank. We're about to find out how big a liar you really are, Jolene.
Interview ended – 11:41 a.m.