Smiling man with short dark hair

John Brewer interview #2

Wednesday, September 6, 2023 – 1:30 p.m.

John Brewer is the department head at the University of Mississippi's business school.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • John Brewer

Detective Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

John Brewer: My name is Dr. John Brewer. You already have my address. For that matter, you already know my name.

Detective Murphy: This is a formality, standard operating procedure. The sooner you drop the attitude, the sooner we'll be done.

John Brewer: I live at 117 Hillside Drive. And unless you drag this case out indefinitely, I'll still live there the next time you bother me.

Detective Armstrong: Dr. Brewer, we're investigating a homicide. You can cooperate, or we can talk about obstruction of justice charges. It's your choice.

John Brewer: Family money slips the iron fist from beneath the velvet glove. Ask your questions.

Detective Murphy: According to your earlier statement, you spent the night of Kristi Waterson's death with Emily Peyton. Could you go over that again, please?

John Brewer: Did you lose the earlier recording?

Detective Armstrong: Ms. Peyton's version of the event differs from yours. We'd like to clear up any misunderstandings.

John Brewer: How did they differ?

Detective Murphy: Just tell us in your own words what happened that night.

John Brewer: We ate. We drank. We made merry.

Detective Armstrong: The Memphis detectives described you as helpful.

John Brewer: Ha! Their legal department must have coached them. A thorn in their side, that's what I was, and it still didn't generate any results. I'd solve the case myself, but I don't have any authority. All the books in the world won't give me that.

Detective Murphy: What would you do if you did solve your brother's murder and identified his killer?

John Brewer: I'm not sure, actually. I'd like to take a bat to him. Short, savage, and sweet. But then I remember forensic evidence, and I can't stand the idea of my brother's killer being avenged. He doesn't deserve justice. That's when I start to consider planning the perfect crime and leaving his blackened soul to wander the earth.

Detective Armstrong: You could call the Memphis PD, share whatever you learn.

John Brewer: I suppose that's an option. Since I'm being recorded.

Detective Murphy: Do you think Ms. Waterson's death might have been motivated by revenge?

John Brewer: Anything is possible, but frankly, I think she was a little too lazy to make that kind of enemy.

Detective Armstrong: And you, on the other hand?

John Brewer: If I ever die under mysterious circumstances, I think it's safe to say you'll have your work cut out for you.

Detective Murphy: Back to the night in question, Dr. Brewer. Where did you meet Ms. Peyton for dinner?

John Brewer: Venice Kitchen. Judging by the state of the silverware, you can probably still find some of my fingerprints.

Detective Murphy: And what time did you meet?

John Brewer: 6:00 p.m. We were there maybe two hours. If you need the exact time, you can check their credit card records.

Detective Murphy: And then what did you do?

John Brewer: We went back to my place.

Detective Murphy: Together?

John Brewer: We drove separately.

Detective Armstrong: Did Ms. Peyton know where you lived?

John Brewer: She followed me.

Detective Murphy: She says she arrived first and then had to wait for you.

John Brewer: I might have stopped for gas.

Detective Armstrong: Did you stop for gas, or didn't you?

John Brewer: This was over a week ago.

Detective Murphy: You remember the dirty silverware.

John Brewer: That was before the drinks with dinner. A woman of Emily's age is not impressed by a man who passes out as soon as he reaches the bedroom. The drive to my house is hazy, but I do remember I ran into Star Liquor and then stopped for a quick espresso to go at Square Books. I wanted to sober up a bit.

Detective Armstrong: We recommend that you sober up before you start driving around town.

John Brewer: Noted.

Detective Armstrong: You do realize that coffee doesn't actually make you any less inebriated?

John Brewer: It helps.

Detective Murphy: What time did Ms. Peyton leave?

John Brewer: A few minutes after 2:00 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Are you sure about the time?

John Brewer: She shook me awake because I was blocking her car.

Detective Murphy: So you were asleep some of the time she was there.

John Brewer: It had been a long day.

Detective Armstrong: Could she have left and returned without your knowing?

John Brewer: I was parked behind her.

Detective Armstrong: Someone might have picked her up.

John Brewer: She could have left.

Detective Murphy: How much of the evening would you say you slept?

John Brewer: I wasn't taking notes.

Detective Murphy: Ten percent? Fifty percent? Ninety percent?

John Brewer: Maybe fifty percent, all together.

Detective Armstrong: Dr. Brewer, our investigation is ongoing. However, we have not been able to eliminate you as a suspect. Tell me why it could not have been you.

John Brewer: Because I was with Emily, not in Ms. Waterson's apartment. And because I'm not stupid.

Detective Armstrong: How so?

John Brewer: Waterson will find out who did in his daughter, even if you don't. When he does, I wouldn't want to be within fifty miles. That man is going to suffer something awful.

Detective Murphy: That man?

John Brewer: No known cases in Mississippi of a woman killing another woman in this manner. Not that it couldn't be a first, but unlikely.

Detective Armstrong: You seem to know a lot about this case. I understand you discussed it with Ms. Peyton.

John Brewer: We did. Free speech is still legal in this country, for now.

Detective Murphy: You mentioned evidence—

John Brewer: I doubt the Yoknapatawpha County DA would charge someone on purely circumstantial evidence. Therefore, you had to have hard evidence. Too bad you interpreted it incorrectly.

Detective Murphy: Do you know who killed Ms. Waterson?

John Brewer: No.

Detective Armstrong: What are your theories about who did? Do you suspect someone in particular?

John Brewer: If I had enough information to construct a theory, then you'd wonder where I got that information, wouldn't you? Well, I don't. I don't have a theory, and I don't have a suspect.

Detective Murphy: If I told you that the crime scene was clean of all trace evidence and that the body had traces of bleach, then how do you think someone might have committed this murder?

John Brewer: If you told me that, I think someone probably was meticulous about making sure there were no traces of DNA or other evidence left behind. Might have used a drop cloth or tarp or even a bed sheet to catch anything he spilled. Sounds fastidious and premeditated.

Detective Armstrong: A perfect crime or a rehearsal for one?

John Brewer: No such thing as a perfect crime, detective, even if I wanted there to be one. The closest thing to a perfect crime is Old Man Waterson buying his daughter a position at the university, and you saw how that turned out.

Detective Murphy: But you had nothing to do with her death?

John Brewer: Absolutely nothing.

Detective Armstrong: Would there be any reason, Dr. Brewer, we might find evidence that somehow implicates you?

John Brewer: I'll be diplomatic and say no.

Detective Murphy: Diplomatic?

John Brewer: Yes, meaning that I have less than 100% confidence in law enforcement's ability to get anything right, as evidenced by my brother's murder investigation. But you won't find anything connecting me to Ms. Waterson's death. I wasn't there, I didn't kill her, I don't know who did, and I have no additional information. Are we done yet?

Detective Armstrong: How would you describe Ms. Peyton's demeanor when she woke you up to leave?

John Brewer: Polite. She showed none of the emotional agitation or complete and total detachment one might expect if she had run out while I was sleeping and murdered Kristi Waterson. I think you're barking up the wrong tree again, detectives.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you for your input.

Detective Murphy: I think that's it for now. Thank you for your time, Dr. Brewer. You can go.

Interview ended – 2:09 p.m.


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