Gloria Bell interview
Wednesday, July 14, 2021 – 8:16 a.m.
Gloria Bell was once married to victim #1, Robert Pruitt.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy talked with her in her office at the Yoknapatawpha County District Attorney's Office.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Gloria Bell
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for seeing us.
Gloria Bell: I'm sorry I couldn't set something up sooner. I was out of town.
Detective Murphy: Do you know why we're here today?
Gloria Bell: I can only assume it's about Rob Pruitt.
Detective Armstrong: Correct.
Gloria Bell: What can I tell you?
Detective Murphy: We'll need the usual information for the record—name and address, please.
Gloria Bell: Gloria Louise Bell, 908 Old Taylor Rd.
Detective Armstrong: You were married to Mr. Pruitt at one point, is that right?
Gloria Bell: Yes. We separated in 2009 and haven't been in touch since then. I'm not sure I'll be of much help to you.
Detective Armstrong: But you know Gary Rayburn, Mr. Pruitt's partner, don't you?
Gloria Bell: Yes. Of course. I know almost all the lawyers in town.
Detective Armstrong: How often are you in touch with Mr. Rayburn?
Gloria Bell: I actually didn't see him much in court—apparently, he let Robert hog the limelight—but informally, I suppose we see each other occasionally. Not lately, though. I've been out of town a lot.
Detective Armstrong: You see him informally?
Gloria Bell: Yes. We're friends.
Detective Armstrong: We've heard it was more than that.
Gloria Bell: I don't care to comment.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Bell, we don't have to remind you, of all people, that refusing to reveal relevant information could be construed—
Gloria Bell: I just don't see how it's relevant, Detectives. Trust me on this one—there's nothing there. Next question.
Detective Armstrong: Back to Mr. Pruitt, then. Why did you get a divorce?
Gloria Bell: Well, a lot of reasons. He was shallow, manipulative, and materialistic, and I quickly realized it after the honeymoon was over. We were only married for eleven months. Let's call it irreconcilable differences.
Detective Armstrong: We found some of the divorce papers among Mr. Pruitt's effects. You managed to wring quite a settlement out of him.
Gloria Bell: It may surprise you, but I do know what I'm doing from time to time.
Detective Armstrong: You sued him for permanent damage to your mental and physical health. That seems to go beyond irreconcilable differences.
Gloria Bell: All right. Rob and I didn't want children at that stage of life. We were just getting started after law school, and frankly, I was leaning toward adoption. I had ideas about population growth and sustainability. I got pregnant, though. It shouldn't have happened. The birth control must have failed. It was stupid.
Detective Murphy: It happens. What did you do?
Gloria Bell: I didn't know what to do, and before I had a chance to tell Rob, I had a miscarriage. He didn't even wait for me to get out of the hospital before chewing me out, telling me I should have quit my job to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and take care of the fetus. That didn't go over too well, as you can imagine.
Detective Murphy: No, I should think not.
Gloria Bell: Then, when I came home, I took some time off. It was difficult. I didn't intend to be pregnant, but afterward, I really grieved. I was 30 at the time, and the miscarriage had complications. The doctors said I shouldn't try again.
Detective Murphy: That must've been hard to hear.
Gloria Bell: Rob basically told me to get over it and get on with life, and by the way, he wanted us to go into private practice so he could get a Lexus. Again, you both know me well enough to imagine that didn't go over too well either.
Detective Armstrong: Sounds like the wounds are still pretty fresh.
Gloria Bell: You don't ever get over something like that, not really. That's the thing about grief. It never really leaves you.
Detective Armstrong: And anger.
Gloria Bell: Yes, anger. I suppose I stayed angry with Rob. I did move on, though.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw him?
Gloria Bell: Well, we saw each other around the courthouse quite a bit. He was in our office with Calvin Dollarhide, haggling over the Harbison case. Disgusting—that guy is guilty as sin. Calvin was complaining to me about it.
Detective Murphy: And when was that?
Gloria Bell: That was just after the 4th of July. I can ask Calvin to check his calendar if you want the exact date.
Detective Murphy: So that was the week of his death.
Gloria Bell: Apparently so.
Detective Murphy: Did you see him or hear from him at all after that?
Gloria Bell: No.
Detective Murphy: What about Mr. Dollarhide?
Gloria Bell: I don't know. I didn't hear anything more about it.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever visit Mr. Pruitt at home to discuss case matters?
Gloria Bell: No. I don't even know where he lives—or lived.
Detective Armstrong: Now, wait. Mr. Rayburn said he went to Mr. Pruitt's house all the time. Are you sure Mr. Rayburn didn't tell you—
Gloria Bell: Why would he and I talk about Robert? That's the last topic on earth I care to discuss. No. Let me get this straight for you—what happened between Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Rayburn was their concern and their concern alone.
Detective Armstrong: What do you and Mr. Rayburn talk about, if not Mr. Pruitt?
Gloria Bell: Oh, just about anything. He shares my political sympathies, which is rare in this state. And he does a lot for Habitat for Humanity, and he asks me for advice on their fundraising. But I said I wasn't going to talk about this. You two are devious.
Detective Armstrong: I'll take that as a compliment.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Bell, when did you last see Mr. Rayburn before Mr. Pruitt's death?
Gloria Bell: I don't recall. I guess it was maybe the 8th? Thursday evening. We got together for a drink after work.
Detective Murphy: Can you look that up in your calendar?
Gloria Bell: I don't record my social life, Detectives. It would make for dull reading. So no, I didn't write it down.
Detective Murphy: What about since then?
Gloria Bell: I saw Gary yesterday after I got back into town—drinks after work again.
Detective Armstrong: Right. Ms. Bell, do you know Mr. Pruitt's second wife?
Gloria Bell: Vanessa or something, right?
Detective Murphy: Yeah.
Gloria Bell: No. Never met her. Didn't care to. I saw their wedding announcement a few years back. She's around town a lot. Isn't she a sales rep for the Eagle? That would fit Rob just right. Probably got his Lexus.
Detective Murphy: Were they planning to have kids?
Gloria Bell: How should I know?
Detective Murphy: Did you know Wayne Fisher?
Gloria Bell: The second guy? No. Never met him. I understand he had a record.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Bell, for the record, we need to ask where you were last Friday night.
Gloria Bell: Not a problem. I was in Jackson earlier in the day and then came back and went to The Juke Joint to see the movie F9. It was silly fluff just to take my mind off things. After that, I went home. I hope you won't tell anyone. It might ruin my reputation as an aesthete who's out of touch with popular culture.
Detective Murphy: Did you see anyone at any point during the day? Call anyone?
Gloria Bell: I don't know. The barmaids, I guess. I was on my cell phone all the way to and from Jackson. Oh, and I stopped at the store—Kroger—for milk on the way home. I'm sure someone spotted me.
Detective Murphy: Did you call anyone after you got home?
Gloria Bell: Afraid not. It was a little late, even for me.
Detective Murphy: You didn't see Mr. Rayburn?
Gloria Bell: No.
Detective Murphy: How might Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Fisher have known each other?
Gloria Bell: I have no idea.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Bell, who could have killed Mr. Pruitt?
Gloria Bell: Take your pick. If I were you, I'd start with the scum he couldn't manage to get a reduced sentence for. Or maybe the victims of their crimes. So many possibilities.
Detective Armstrong: What about Mr. Fisher?
Gloria Bell: Again, I have no idea.
Detective Armstrong: We may need to speak with you again. How do you feel about that?
Gloria Bell: Come back any time.
Interview ended – 8:58 a.m.