Smiling man with thinning hair

Gary Rayburn interview #2

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 – 9:37 a.m.

Gary Rayburn was Robert Pruitt's law partner.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy went to his office at 1109 Van Buren Avenue in Oxford to speak with him again.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Gary Rayburn

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

Gary Rayburn: My name is Gary Rayburn, and I live at 11 Country Road 302.

Detective Armstrong: Thanks for agreeing to talk with us again. There are just a few details we want to clear up.

Gary Rayburn: Any way I can help bring Robert's killer to justice.

Detective Armstrong: Good. You told us that Robert didn't have any enemies, but other people have had no difficulty providing us with a list.

Gary Rayburn: Perhaps I meant passionate enemies. Ones that would kill.

Detective Armstrong: Jackie Woodruff? Rick Gill? Gloria Bell?

Gary Rayburn: Gloria would never hurt Robert.

Detective Murphy: And the others?

Gary Rayburn: I doubt Jackie has it in her to do much of anything too aggressive.

Detective Murphy: She assaulted a police officer.

Gary Rayburn: That was just a misunderstanding.

Detective Armstrong: And Rick Gill?

Gary Rayburn: The only person Gill ever wanted to kill was his ex-wife.

Detective Murphy: Why do you think your name might appear on a list of people who wanted Robert dead?

Gary Rayburn: My name? You must have misunderstood.

Detective Armstrong: We're very careful.

Gary Rayburn: The person who gave you the list must have been mistaken then.

Detective Murphy: And how might that have happened?

Gary Rayburn: I don't have a clue. Perhaps someone jealous of me wants to make trouble.

Detective Armstrong: And who might that be?

Gary Rayburn: Whoever fed you my name.

Detective Murphy: Counselor, our investigation is ongoing, but we haven't been able to eliminate you as a suspect. Tell us why it could not have been you?

Gary Rayburn: Tell you as a suspect or as a lawyer?

Detective Armstrong: Just tell us the truth.

Gary Rayburn: The truth depends on who you ask, but as a witness, I couldn't have killed Robert because I wasn't there that night, didn't do it, don't own a gun, and didn't have a reason to want him hurt, much less dead.

Detective Murphy: And as a lawyer?

Gary Rayburn: You can't prove motive, means, or opportunity and have nothing that demonstrates a connection with the crime.

Detective Murphy: If you had to think of likely or possible suspects, would you suspect someone in particular or know for sure who did it?

Gary Rayburn: I would think the most likely suspect would be someone associated with the other man you found in Robert's house.

Detective Armstrong: What would make you say that?

Gary Rayburn: Since I don't know anyone associated with Robert who would have done it, someone associated with that other fellow is the next most likely.

Detective Murphy: During the period 2019-2021, did you plan to use deceptive or manipulative measures to gain an advantage or get something you wanted?

Gary Rayburn: Really, Detective. I'm an attorney and an officer of the court. Next question.

Detective Armstrong: Did you commit this crime, Gary?

Gary Rayburn: Absolutely not!

Detective Armstrong: What would you say if later it was proved that you did this?

Gary Rayburn: I'd say it would be an incredible frame-up because I had no role in this. None at all.

Detective Murphy: What reasons would there be for incriminating evidence to surface that showed you were involved?

Gary Rayburn: No reasons. There's no evidence of any such involvement.

Detective Armstrong: Why's that?

Gary Rayburn: Because I wasn't involved.

Detective Murphy: What's your relationship with Wayne Fisher?

Gary Rayburn: I never met the man.

Detective Murphy: Never defended him? Cross-examined him? Bought him a beer?

Gary Rayburn: No.

Detective Armstrong: Gloria ever mention him?

Gary Rayburn: Not to me. Look, I'm not sure what all you're implying, but you're barking up the wrong tree.

Detective Armstrong: What tree is that?

Gary Rayburn: I had nothing to do with Robert's death, and I'm sure that Gloria didn't either.

Detective Murphy: Tell us about your trip to the Chevron Food Mart.

Gary Rayburn: I'm not aware of making one.

Detective Murphy: The night Robert was killed?

Gary Rayburn: Oh, yes. I ran out of snacks, and I had a craving for chicken-on-a-stick—only place in town to get that.

Detective Armstrong: You were watching the Cardinals-Cubs game.

Detective Murphy: And later the Pirates and Mets.

Gary Rayburn: An interesting night.

Detective Armstrong: Couldn't have been too interesting if you left for chicken-on-a-stick.

Gary Rayburn: I do like to eat in front of the television.

Detective Murphy: Were you drinking as well?

Gary Rayburn: Moderately. I certainly didn't drive to the convenience store under the influence.

Detective Armstrong: Where did you go after you left?

Gary Rayburn: The Chevron? I went back home.

Detective Murphy: You didn't swing by Tyler Avenue?

Gary Rayburn: I drove straight home.

Detective Armstrong: Did you stop by your partner's house on the way to the Chevron, maybe talk about the games that were unfolding, make a few side bets?

Gary Rayburn: No.

Detective Murphy: Then our canvass of the route shouldn't turn up any witnesses who can identify your car. About how much money did you owe your partner?

Gary Rayburn: I'm sure neither of us kept track of our friendly wagers.

Detective Armstrong: We heard differently. Did you bet with Robert on either of the two games you were watching that night?

Gary Rayburn: In conversation, I might have mentioned that I thought the Cardinals would score first.

Detective Murphy: Did you mention it or not?

Gary Rayburn: I'm sure I did because we talked sports all the time. We were always under a lot of pressure—

Detective Armstrong: What kind of pressure were you under? Money troubles?

Gary Rayburn: The law is a harsh mistress.

Detective Murphy: How about Gloria? Why was she involved with her ex-husband's partner?

Gary Rayburn: There's no explaining romance.

Detective Armstrong: Do you own a gun, Gary?

Gary Rayburn: No, I don't like those things.

Detective Murphy: Does anyone you know own a gun?

Gary Rayburn: I don't keep track of my friends' or clients' firearms. I wasn't even sure Robert had one.

Detective Armstrong: Did you know Robert was going to be home alone that night?

Gary Rayburn: The last I heard, he was going away with Vanessa.

Detective Murphy: So you thought the house was going to be empty.

Gary Rayburn: If I'd bothered to think about it, I would have assumed so, yes.

Detective Murphy: Did you happen to share that information with anybody?

Gary Rayburn: I'd have no cause to.

Detective Armstrong: You didn't mention it to Gloria?

Gary Rayburn: No.

Detective Murphy: Wayne Fisher?

Gary Rayburn: As I already told you, to the best of my knowledge, I never spoke to the man. Yes, you've shown me that picture before, and no, I do not recognize him.

Detective Armstrong: So you didn't tell anyone that Robert would be home?

Gary Rayburn: I didn't know.

Detective Murphy: You expect us to believe that Robert planned to skip a family reunion to prepare for an important case, and this never came up in conversation? Why would he keep his plans a secret from his law partner and good friend?

Gary Rayburn: He must have had his reasons.

Detective Murphy: Maybe he was testing you.

Gary Rayburn: I wouldn't know.

Detective Armstrong: Thanks for your time today. We'll be in touch.

Interview ended – 10:14 a.m.



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