Monday, July 12, 2021 – 9:00 a.m.
Gary Rayburn had been Robert Pruitt's law partner for the last ten years.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him in his office at 1109 Van Buren Avenue in Oxford.
- 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 County Road 302.
Detective Armstrong: You have our condolences on the death of your partner and friend.
Gary Rayburn: Thank you. It still comes as quite a shock.
Detective Murphy: We appreciate your agreeing to talk to us, Mr. Rayburn. Many times, lawyers are less than cooperative.
Gary Rayburn: I want to help. I have nothing to hide.
Detective Murphy: Do you have any idea why someone might want to kill Mr. Pruitt?
Gary Rayburn: We lawyers aren't exactly a popular bunch. I mean, you don't often hear dead-roofer jokes.
Detective Murphy: Is there anyone in particular who had recent trouble with your partner, perhaps a disgruntled client?
Gary Rayburn: Not at all. Whatever people may think, lawyers are the good guys. We're the ones you go to when you're in trouble. We're often the only person on your side in a very confusing legal system.
Detective Armstrong: I don't think I've ever seen you in court.
Gary Rayburn: I basically handle the back-end stuff. There's a lot of complicated research in this business, and Robert is—was—better at the courtroom aspects of the law.
Detective Murphy: How did the two of you get along?
Gary Rayburn: Great. We don't go back far, but we clicked on so many levels. I always think of Robert not so much as an older brother but as me in twelve months' time. How often do you meet someone who has the same birthday?
Detective Armstrong: How did he get along with his wife?
Gary Rayburn: They had their moments.
Detective Murphy: We have to tell you, counselor, we've heard rumors.
Gary Rayburn: About Robert and Vanessa?
Detective Murphy: About you and Vanessa. I thought I heard something about you two sleeping together.
Gary Rayburn: Me and Vanessa? I don't know where you got your information, but you heard wrong. Laughable is the best word to describe the idea. Ludicrous maybe.
Detective Armstrong: Why do you say that?
Gary Rayburn: She's always been jealous of me, of how tight I am with Robert. I think she believes that Robert shouldn't need anyone except her. You know the drill.
Detective Armstrong: What about Gloria Bell?
Gary Rayburn: What about her?
Detective Armstrong: How do the two women get along?
Gary Rayburn: I wouldn't know.
Detective Murphy: I thought you were sleeping with Gloria Bell.
Gary Rayburn: I'd trade your impression of my sex life for the reality any day. Robert represented this law office in the love arena. He's been married twice, and I've never even popped the question.
Detective Murphy: Are you sleeping with Gloria Bell?
Gary Rayburn: I'd question the relevance of this line of questioning, Detective.
Detective Armstrong: Technically, everything is relevant in a homicide investigation.
Gary Rayburn: If you want to be technical about it, we do have a relationship.
Detective Murphy: Is it a sexual relationship?
Gary Rayburn: Yes.
Detective Murphy: Did Robert know?
Gary Rayburn: I don't think I ever had cause to mention the fact.
Detective Murphy: How do you think he would have responded?
Gary Rayburn: Probably he would have been happy for me. He always hoped I'd meet someone special.
Detective Murphy: Is Gloria special?
Gary Rayburn: I'm not sure we know yet what the future holds for us. I have to say, however, that I don't see how this relates.
Detective Armstrong: Robert could have found out, not been quite so happy as you imagine. The two of you could have had words. Fought. Maybe the situation escalated.
Gary Rayburn: No. Now you're dreaming. Besides, there was someone else in the house with him. There's your murderer.
Detective Murphy: Perhaps it was a contract killing.
Gary Rayburn: You've been talking crimes of passion, exactly the opposite of a contract killing.
Detective Armstrong: Where were you that night?
Gary Rayburn: At home, watching the Cardinals-Cubs game.
Detective Armstrong: Didn't that game start in the middle of the afternoon?
Gary Rayburn: I recorded it, started watching when I got home, fast-forward through the commercials, I was caught up by the end.
Detective Armstrong: What about your partner? Did he come over and watch with you?
Gary Rayburn: He didn't care much for baseball.
Detective Murphy: Did you leave your home at any time during the game?
Gary Rayburn: Not that game. After it was over, I started watching the Pirates–Mets game. I realized it was going to be a long night, so I went out for some snacks.
Detective Murphy: Oh yeah? Where'd you go?
Gary Rayburn: Just over to the Chevron. I had a craving for chicken-on-a-stick. Picked up a few other snacks. Went home.
Detective Murphy: No other stops?
Gary Rayburn: Nope. I wanted to get back and see the rest of the game.
Detective Armstrong: With Pruitt gone, are you the senior partner here now?
Gary Rayburn: Senior and only.
Detective Armstrong: I wondered if maybe some part of you was glad to finally be king of the roost.
Gary Rayburn: Not at all. This will always be Robert's firm. Ours.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking with us today. We'd like to follow up later.
Gary Rayburn: Not a problem, Detective, not a problem at all.
Interview ended – 9:36 a.m.