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.