Jimmy Barton interview
Tuesday, August 30, 2022 – 2:00 p.m.
Jimmy Barton is Elizabeth Barton's son and also attended the Marshall family reunion at Wall Doxey State Park.
Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Jimmy Barton
Detective Parker: For the record, please state your name and address.
Jimmy Barton: My name is Jimmy Barton, and I live at 1710 Anderson Road.
Detective Parker: All right, now that we have that out of the way, have you seen these posters around town or on the news?
Jimmy Barton: Sure.
Detective Parker: Good. So what can you tell us about Oscar Knight?
Jimmy Barton: Nothing. I wish I could help, but I didn't know the man.
Detective Parker: Really? Okay. Where were you on Saturday, August 20th?
Jimmy Barton: I was at the Marshall family reunion at Wall Doxey State Park. I go every year from as far back as I can remember. Mother and the Marshalls are close friends.
Detective Murphy: Who's your mother?
Jimmy Barton: Elizabeth Barton.
Detective Parker: Did you meet Oscar Knight at the reunion?
Jimmy Barton: No. I wasn't introduced to him, but I did see him and hear all the buzz about him being a jerk. I didn't really speak with him, so I know nothing concerning him.
Detective Parker: Does your mother know Mr. Knight?
Jimmy Barton: Yeah, she did once, but I didn't. As a matter of fact, I never even heard his name until that day at the reunion.
Detective Murphy: What did you hear about him?
Jimmy Barton: Only that he was a rotten excuse for a man. No one liked him, it seems. He must have had a very nasty disposition. I never heard one good word about him. That's pretty bad, wouldn't you agree?
Detective Murphy: Who told you that Mr. Knight was a rotten excuse for a man?
Jimmy Barton: Mother, for one. And Steve. And Pauline. And Albert, just to mention a few. They couldn't all be wrong.
Detective Murphy: What made them say that?
Jimmy Barton: I don't know. Because he was acting like a jerk to everyone at the reunion, I guess.
Detective Murphy: To you?
Jimmy Barton: No. I told you, I didn't even meet him. But he wasn't very nice to my mother.
Detective Parker: Really? Tell us about that.
Jimmy Barton: I told you. He was just being a real jerk, saying rude things. Mother didn't do anything to deserve that.
Detective Parker: What did Mr. Knight say to her?
Jimmy Barton: I don't think it was so much what he said as how he behaved.
Detective Parker: And how did he behave?
Jimmy Barton: Mother told me Oscar smelled of alcohol and was just being obnoxious. She said he made some comment about her looking old. Believe me, that's not something anyone should say to my mother. She prides herself on the fact that she doesn't look her age, so when he said that, she got riled up a little.
Detective Murphy: Is that what caused the fight?
Jimmy Barton: Fight? There was no fight. Are you kidding? I admit Mother is a little vain, but she isn't stupid. She tried to just walk away, and Oscar wouldn't leave it alone.
Detective Parker: What happened when she walked away?
Jimmy Barton: Nothing. She kept walking; he kept talking. I think someone else caught his attention, and that's when she got away from him.
Detective Parker: So Mr. Knight was drunk?
Jimmy Barton: I don't know if he was or not, but he reeked, according to what Mother said.
Detective Parker: How does your mother know Mr. Knight? Did she tell you?
Jimmy Barton: Sure. They were in the same grade in school. She said she thought he was a nice guy back then, but she saw through him one day and just stayed away from him after that.
Detective Murphy: You know a lot about what happened for not being there. When did you learn all this, Jimmy?
Jimmy Barton: I hadn't heard any of this until later in the day. Mother left the reunion early, and she usually stays until the end, so I stopped by the house to see if she was sick. Plus, I heard a little bit about Oscar insulting just about everyone that day, so I wanted to know if she was okay.
Detective Parker: And was she?
Jimmy Barton: Oh, sure. She just decided she didn't feel comfortable at the park any longer, with Oscar running around being such a creep. Hopefully, he won't be back next year. Anyway, we both just laughed a little about it, and then we sat down and had a big piece of her double chocolate cake. That's one of her specialties.
Detective Parker: Sounds delicious. Is that something your mother typically does? Leave when she's uncomfortable in a situation?
Jimmy Barton: What was she supposed to do? Stay there and put up with that?
Detective Murphy: You mentioned Pauline was one of the people who told you Oscar was a rotten excuse for a man. Who is that?
Jimmy Barton: She's my mother's best friend, Pauline Jones.
Detective Murphy: And she was at the reunion too?
Jimmy Barton: Yeah, and she had a little run-in with Oscar too. I think quite a few people at the reunion had a problem with him. I'm glad I wasn't around him. Steve told me that he never did like Oscar, but he didn't want to go so far as to ask him to leave. He said that would probably just make matters worse.
Detective Murphy: Who is Steve?
Jimmy Barton: Steve Marshall. He's Mother's other best friend. He sets up the reunion every year. Does a real good job too.
Detective Murphy: You mentioned one other name of someone who told you about Oscar being a jerk. Who was that again?
Jimmy Barton: Albert Plum. He's my boss, and my friend too. He was in that same class with Mother and Steve.
Detective Murphy: What did he tell you about Oscar?
Jimmy Barton: Not much, really. He just said the best thing I could do would be to stay as far away from Oscar as possible.
Detective Parker: How did you miss out on meeting Oscar when so many other people ran into him? Where were you? Did you leave the park?
Jimmy Barton: Oh no. I had walked over to the lake with Todd and Steve to do some fishing.
Detective Parker: Todd?
Jimmy Barton: Todd is a good friend of mine, and he's Steve's son.
Detective Murphy: All right, let's go back to Pauline. What did she tell you?
Jimmy Barton: Basically, the same thing I heard from everyone else. Oscar was a jerk, didn't smell good, and seemed to be on a mission.
Detective Murphy: A mission?
Jimmy Barton: Yes. I guess it was a mission to cause trouble because that's exactly what he did. Do you need anything else? I really need to get back to work.
Detective Parker: We're almost finished. Do you know of anyone who would want Mr. Knight dead?
Jimmy Barton: Probably anyone who knew him from what I hear. But if you mean do I know anyone personally who actually said they'd like to kill him, no.
Detective Parker: Okay, you can go. If we need to talk to you again, we'll contact you.
Jimmy Barton: Sure thing. Good luck.
Interview ended – 2:24 p.m.