Witness alibis

YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 003189-10G-2021
Case Description: Robert Pruitt-Wayne Fisher homicide investigation

Based on witness statements during interviews, investigators have put together the following summary of the witnesses' alibis for the window of time when the murder is believed to have been committed (approx. 8:00-10:00 p.m. on July 9, 2021), as well as for the remainder of the night.

Information on the results of attempts to verify the alibis is also included.

Confirmation types:

  • Yes = The alibi was confirmed for the entire time period
  • No = No part of the alibi could be corroborated.
  • Tentative = Corroboration for all or part of the witness's time comes from someone with a personal relationship with the witness or questionable reliability.
  • Partially = Part of the alibi was confirmed or tentatively confirmed, but one or more portions of the witness's time remain uncorroborated.

 

Bell

Description: Robert Pruitt's ex-wife

Stated Alibi: Gloria Bell said she was in Jackson all day of the murder, later went to The Juke Joint in Oxford to see a movie. On the way home, she stopped at Kroger to buy milk.

Possible Motive: Long-standing dislike of her ex and his career choices

Confirmed? Partially. John Frampton remembered seeing Bell at the movie and Bell was watching credits when he left.

Octavio Mendez said he talked to Ms. Bell when he was stocking dairy products at Kroger sometime between 8:30 and 10:00 p.m. on July 9th.

Gloria Bell's alibi

C Fisher

Description: Ex-wife of Wayne Fisher

Stated Alibi: Christine Fisher said she went to the grocery store then spent the evening at home.

Possible Motive: Years-long difficult relationship with her ex

Confirmed? Partially. Suzanne Toms, neighbor in Pontotoc, MS, saw Fisher leave home to go to the store 7:30-8:00 p.m.

Sarah Turnbull, grocery clerk at Piggly Wiggly store in Pontotoc, MS knows Ms. Fisher. Turnbill waited on her and they chatted not long before Turnbill completed her shift at 8:30 p.m.

Gerry Randolph, neighbor, saw Ms. Fisher go to her car a bit before 8:00 p.m. and when he returned home an hour later, she was also returning home.

Christine Fisher's alibi

J Fisher

Description: Wayne Fisher's estranged son

Stated Alibi: Joel Fisher said in his first interview that his wife and son went to the Rib Cage Street Party, he worked at Arts Council, then stayed home the rest of the evening.

Possible Motive: Long-standing hatred of his father

Confirmed? Partially. Debbie Kousopolis, a cashier at Newk's who knows Joel Fisher, said Fisher arrived at the restaurant between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Ms. Rocchioli, Arts Council Volunteer Coordinator, confirmed Joel Fisher arrived at the office at 4:00 p.m. and was still there at 7:10 p.m. when they left and she saw him walk toward his car.

Ms. Taege, neighbor, saw Joel Fisher's Civic hatchback in the driveway about 8:30 p.m. but did not see him.

Joel Fisher's alibi

N Fisher

Description: Wayne Fisher's son and business partner

Stated Alibi: Ned Fisher said he stayed home Friday evening and night, drinking beer.

Possible Motive: No known motive, but his and his father's criminal pasts raise possibilities of unknown activity they may have been involved in.

Confirmed? No. James Bettis, neighbor, remembers seeing Ned Fisher's pickup truck in the driveway early in the evening before dinnertime, but never saw Fisher himself.

Ned Fisher's alibi

Gill

Description: Robert Pruitt represented Rick Gill's ex-wife in their divorce

Stated Alibi: In his first interview, Rick Gill denied knowing where Pruitt lived or knowing either victim.

Claimed to have been with his children at home all night after eating at Pizza Den and renting a movie on Friday evening.

In his second interview, when confronted by detectives that he did yard work in the Pruitts' neighborhood, Gill reaffirmed he did not know where Pruitt lived but went to homes as assigned by work.

Possible Motive: May have wanted revenge against Pruitt for how the divorce settlement came out in Gill's ex-wife's favor.

Confirmed? Partially. Neighbors at the apartment complex saw children there Friday making a lot of noise.

Pizza Den cashier confirmed he recalled seeing a "little man with four rambunctious children" during the busy dinner hour and they were gone by 8:00 or 8:30 p.m.

Neighbor Ms. Thurston, saw Gill and the children leave the apartment around 6:30 p.m. and return around 8:00 p.m.

Rick Gill's alibi

Lee

Description: Secretary at Pruitt & Rayburn law offices

Stated Alibi: Mira Lee said she was at her parents' home with a nephew and niece who were visiting. She claimed she was there Friday evening and all night.

Possible Motive: No known motive

Confirmed? Partially. Mira Lee's father, Oliver Lee, confirms Mira was with them through dinner and watching TV, but she went to the store at 8:30 p.m. and returned at 9:30 p.m. and remained the entire night.

Mira Lee's alibi

V Pruitt

Description: Wife of Robert Pruitt

Stated Alibi: Vanessa Pruitt said she was at a family reunion in Florence from late afternoon Thursday, July 8 to Saturday, July 10 around 1:30 p.m.

Possible Motive: Admitted that her marriage was troubled and she was considering divorce

Confirmed? Tentatively. Parents Gerald and Dee Dee Hattin, confirmed she was with them or another family member the entire time from Thursday before dinner until Saturday after brunch, which ended about 1:30 p.m.

Vanessa Pruitt's alibi

Rayburn

Description: Robert Pruitt's law partner and friend

Stated Alibi: Gary Rayburn said he was home watching sports on TV. He claimed he went out briefly for snacks.

In his second interview, he admitted going to the Chevron Food Mart to get chicken-on-stick but said he drove directly there and directly home.

Possible Motive: Was secretly dating Robert Pruitt's ex-wife, Gloria Bell

Confirmed? No. Joe Fenton, convenience store clerk, remembered a man "not an old man and not a young kid" in the store, but could not identify him. Cash register receipts show cash purchase at 9:11 p.m. The security cameras were on and functional but had no tape in them.

Reeves Turner, store customer, purchased $24.50 at 9:14 p.m. as shown by credit card records, but could not definitely identify the "big, kinda fat, almost bald guy" who was ahead of him in line.

Gary Rayburn's alibi

Woodruff

Description: Former client of Robert Pruitt

Stated Alibi: Jackie Woodruff said she was trying to find a job on the evening of Friday, July 9, at hotels and bars.

Possible Motive: Angry at Robert Pruitt because he did not get her acquitted of assault charges, which led to her imprisonment. Further resented Pruitt for sending her a bill for legal services after she got out of jail.

Confirmed? No. Randy Johnson, assistant manager at The Blind Pig Pub, recognized Jackie Woodruff from a photo array, but he routinely discards applications when not hiring and could not confirm when she came in.

Sandy Riggs, assistant manager at Rooster Blues House, produced an application form signed by Jackie Woodruff dated July 9, but could not identify Woodruff from a photo array or confirm the date.

George Tennyson, The Library manager, identified Ms. Woodruff from a photo array and produced the application signed by her dated July 9, but could not otherwise confirm the date or time she was there.

Jackie Woodruff's alibi

 


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