Wednesday, July 14, 2021 – 1:37 p.m.
Vanessa Pruitt was married to victim #1, Robert Pruitt.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke to her again in her office at the Oxford Eagle, 916 Jackson Avenue.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Vanessa Pruitt
Detective Murphy: For the record, please tell us again your full name and home address.
Vanessa Pruitt: Vanessa Marie Pruitt, 604 Tyler Avenue.
Detective Murphy: Thanks for meeting with us again.
Vanessa Pruitt: I sure hope I can be of help. I'm surprised you haven't found anyone.
Detective Armstrong: Why do you say that?
Vanessa Pruitt: I'm sorry. I don't mean to be a pain. I'm just looking for closure. You know how it goes. I wish I understood what happened.
Detective Murphy: That's why we're here.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Pruitt, you said you thought one of your husband's clients might have done this. Do you know of anyone in particular?
Vanessa Pruitt: No.
Detective Armstrong: Why would you say that then?
Vanessa Pruitt: Well, you know, it just seems like with all the sleazy defense-lawyer stuff Robbie did, he was bound to come across some weirdos. I wanted him to get out of that line of work, I told you already.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Pruitt, do you know Gloria Bell?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. Robbie told me she was a real witch, though.
Detective Armstrong: Were the two of them still in contact?
Vanessa Pruitt: Absolutely not.
Detective Armstrong: No chance the two of them were seeing each other? Rekindling the old flame, maybe?
Vanessa Pruitt: What the hell is wrong with you? No, there's no chance.
Detective Armstrong: This is a small town. Sometimes it seems like everyone knows everybody else's business. If she wasn't seeing your husband, have you heard who she is dating?
Vanessa Pruitt: I have no idea, and I couldn't possibly care less.
Detective Murphy: Who is Jackie Woodruff?
Vanessa Pruitt: I don't know. I've never heard of him—or is it her?
Detective Murphy: What about Richard Gill?
Vanessa Pruitt: No, I don't know him either.
Detective Armstrong: Earlier, you said you were bad with names and met lots of people through work. What makes you so sure you never met these two?
Vanessa Pruitt: I'm sure. You must be asking me about Robbie's clients, and I never associate with that type of person. Trust me on that. Robbie's clients don't go around budgeting ad buys. I know lots of folks in town, but you know what I mean—folks who matter. Local business people and the like. Not criminals.
Detective Armstrong: I see. Well, then, what about Wayne Fisher?
Vanessa Pruitt: Sure. You remember I said he looked familiar. Now I know where. When I saw his name in the paper, I remembered he's the guy from Fisher Pest Control. He and his son run it. Or ran it, I guess. He came and fumigated our house a while back.
Detective Armstrong: When was this?
Vanessa Pruitt: Oh gosh, I guess two months ago now. Mr. Eubanks next door told us it looked like he had some termites in his woodpile, so we decided to get an inspection. Fisher Pest Control has a 12-month ad contract—I like to make sure my money goes back to the folks spending ad dollars in our paper—so I called and made an appointment. Turns out we needed to tent and fumigate the whole darn house. It was really a pain.
Detective Armstrong: Anything unusual occur with that appointment?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. Nothing.
Detective Armstrong: How about afterward?
Vanessa Pruitt: Nope. Wayne said we should do all kinds of follow-up work, but I wondered if we were being upsold a little too much. Robbie was all for it. He kept saying, we might as well be sure, but I didn't believe it. I told him we needed to get a second opinion.
Detective Armstrong: Did you?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. We just kept using Fisher Pest. I don't have time to shop around, and Robbie— well, he was useless at that kind of thing. But I didn't do all the work they wanted. We had scheduled a check-up, but … well, I canceled. It was supposed to be that weekend.
Detective Armstrong: Which weekend?
Vanessa Pruitt: Well, the weekend Robbie— the weekend of the reunion. That's why I canceled it. The appointment, I mean. I thought we'd be gone.
Detective Murphy: You're saying you had an appointment with Fisher Pest for July 9th?
Vanessa Pruitt: Well, the 8th. I think that was the date. Hold on. I can look it up right here in my phone. Yeah. Here it is—the 8th. I thought we were both going to be gone, so I asked them to come the next week.
Detective Murphy: Did you see Mr. Fisher at any time before you left?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. I mean, not since the fumigation.
Detective Murphy: What about the vehicle? Did they do any work in the neighborhood?
Vanessa Pruitt: I don't know. I don't think so, but honestly, I'm not home enough to be a good judge.
Detective Murphy: What about since your husband passed away? Have you heard from Mr. Fisher's son?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. He left a message saying we'd have to reschedule the follow-up, and of course, I never called him back. I don't have time to worry about bugs with everything that's happened.
Detective Murphy: What is his name?
Vanessa Pruitt: Nate. No, Ned. Ned Fisher was the one.
Detective Murphy: Do you know Joel Fisher?
Vanessa Pruitt: Joel? No. It wasn't Joel. It was Ned.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Pruitt, can you name anyone who could have committed this crime?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. I told you, my only guess would be one of those crazy clients.
Detective Murphy: What if we told you other people thought you did it?
Vanessa Pruitt: That's crazy. Who said that?
Detective Armstrong: Why does that matter?
Vanessa Pruitt: I bet it was Gary. He knows I thought he was a bad influence. I even called him a loser to his face once. He's such a mooch. It wouldn't surprise me if he went around slandering my name in the community. That would be just his style.
Detective Armstrong: How so?
Vanessa Pruitt: He couldn't just come out and say it to my face. He probably thought I was a pill to Robbie. I mean, I did nag him a lot. Don't get me wrong. I've thought a lot about how things could have been better. But it wasn't any of Gary's business.
Detective Murphy: Gary Rayburn isn't married, is he?
Vanessa Pruitt: No.
Detective Murphy: Is he seeing anyone?
Vanessa Pruitt: I wouldn't be surprised.
Detective Murphy: Any idea who?
Vanessa Pruitt: I'm sure I don't know.
Detective Murphy: Care to take a guess?
Vanessa Pruitt: I wouldn't know where to begin. I try to have as little contact with Gary and his personal life as possible.
Detective Armstrong: Did you kill your husband?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. That's absolutely crazy.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Pruitt, you told us you came back home Saturday afternoon, and that's when you found your husband and Mr. Fisher.
Vanessa Pruitt: That's right.
Detective Armstrong: You're saying that when you saw the bodies, that was the first sign you had something was wrong?
Vanessa Pruitt: Yes. I mean, I guess when I came in the house, and it was so quiet, that was scary. I knew something was different. But yes, of course, I didn't know.
Detective Armstrong: You didn't attempt to call your husband from the reunion?
Vanessa Pruitt: No.
Detective Armstrong: Didn't phone him Friday night to say hello?
Vanessa Pruitt: No.
Detective Armstrong: Why not?
Vanessa Pruitt: Why would I? I'm sorry, detectives. I don't mean to sound cold, but Robbie and I weren't honeymooners. We didn't check up on each other. And I already told you, that weekend— well, we just weren't getting along.
Detective Murphy: What if we told you someone saw your car in the neighborhood Friday night?
Vanessa Pruitt: You'd be absolutely crazy. I was in Florence, and I have tons of relatives who can back me up.
Detective Murphy: You told us you brought home leftovers, but we didn't see any.
Vanessa Pruitt: What?
Detective Armstrong: "I had a bunch of leftovers, you know, in a bag. I dropped them. I screamed and ran up to call 911." That's what you said. But if they weren't at the scene—
Vanessa Pruitt: Gosh. Okay. You guys are really fishing, you know that? This is just crazy.
Detective Murphy: If they weren't there, then where were they?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe they didn't exist because you never actually went to the reunion.
Vanessa Pruitt: No. After I called 911— well, I hardly remember. This is crazy. The bag— I was upset. I wasn't thinking at all. I was just one hundred percent in shock. I put them away in the fridge.
Detective Armstrong: You … put them away?
Vanessa Pruitt: I mean, I couldn't just stand there. This is crazy. You don't have a clue who did it, do you? I can't believe this. Whoever did it is probably gone by now. You blew it, and instead of finding the real killer, you're beating me up about damn leftovers.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Pruitt, were you having an affair?
Vanessa Pruitt: What?
Detective Murphy: You told us you and your husband weren't getting along.
Vanessa Pruitt: No. I told you already, absolutely not. Robbie and I had our problems, but I wouldn't do that to him.
Detective Murphy: But you were thinking of divorce.
Vanessa Pruitt: Yes. That doesn't mean I wanted to kill him. We were both adults. He was a lawyer, for Pete's sake. We would have handled it like decent people. We didn't hate each other, just— we were on different paths, is all.
Detective Murphy: Did Mr. Pruitt want to stay married?
Vanessa Pruitt: I don't know. We didn't talk about it. We didn't have the chance.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Pruitt, did you mention to anyone that your husband changed his plans and wasn't going to attend the reunion after all?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. I don't gossip. Robbie and I kept our disagreements to ourselves. Of course, I told folks at the reunion, but if you mean here, no, absolutely not.
Detective Armstrong: You didn't tell Gary Rayburn?
Vanessa Pruitt: No.
Detective Armstrong: What about Gloria Bell?
Vanessa Pruitt: I told you I never met her.
Detective Armstrong: What about Wayne Fisher?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. Obviously not. If I did, I would have told them to keep the appointment and gotten that taken care of.
Detective Murphy: Did you know Mr. Pruitt would be working at home?
Vanessa Pruitt: No. I was trying to get him to stop. He worked too much, in my opinion. It wasn't healthy for him.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Pruitt, we won't take any more of your time today.
Detective Armstrong: We may need to talk again.
Vanessa Pruitt: That's fine.
Interview ended – 2:18 p.m.