JP Wallace interview
Saturday, February 16, 2019 – 2:00 p.m.
Lita Harrison named JP Wallace as the man she went to breakfast with the morning Rolf Warner was killed.
He came into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department to talk to Detectives Armstrong and Murphy at their request.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- JP Wallace
Detective Armstrong: Would you please state your name and address for the record?
JP Wallace: What do y'all want this time? I haven't done anything.
Detective Armstrong: JP, give us your name and address, and then we'll tell you why we brought you here.
JP Wallace: Yeah, yeah, yeah. My name is JP Wallace. My address is 1657 Jefferson Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi, United States of America, Northern Hemisphere, Earth.
Detective Murphy: A little less attitude, and you'll get out of here a lot faster.
JP Wallace: I didn't want y'all to be at all confused about my address. Since you keep asking me every damn time you haul me down here whenever any little thing goes wrong in this town, I gotta figure you don't know it yet.
Detective Murphy: It's going to be a long day.
Detective Armstrong: JP, you still working over at the Emerson Plant?
JP Wallace: Yes, sir, I am. I'm an excellent employee.
Detective Armstrong: You still managing to eke out an existence on $250 a week?
JP Wallace: You'd be amazed how far I can stretch a dollar.
Detective Murphy: Yeah, right. Now, JP, we just want to get a few answers from you, so if you can stay focused on what we're asking and keep the smart aleck answers to a minimum, maybe we can get through this in short order. Okay?
JP Wallace: You know me, Sam. Always willing to help out whenever I can.
Detective Armstrong: You know a woman named Lita Harrison?
JP Wallace: You better believe it.
Detective Armstrong: When did you meet her?
JP Wallace: A few days ago. She's one hot number, let me tell you.
Detective Murphy: Spare us the lurid details of your tawdry fantasies. How well do you know her, exactly?
JP Wallace: Well enough. Not as well as I'd like, but all in good time.
Detective Murphy: Did you see her at any time yesterday?
JP Wallace: Well, now, as a matter of fact… I believe I did see her that day.
Detective Murphy: When?
JP Wallace: We met for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had to drive over to her motel to see her that morning, instead of just rolling over.
Detective Murphy: Charming. So why did the two of you meet for breakfast?
JP Wallace: Why, to enjoy the pleasure of each other's company, of course. What other reason could there be?
Detective Murphy: Maybe you had a little business to transact?
JP Wallace: Well, I am a businessman, that's true, and I never turn down an opportunity to make a little cash. But what sort of business could I have with Lita?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe you had a little something to sell that she wanted to buy? Maybe a little pot? A little coke?
JP Wallace: You mean did I sell her something to keep a plant in or perhaps a beverage? Surely you're not saying I've indulged in any sort of illegal activity. What kind of man do you think I am?
Detective Murphy: I think the answer to that question is abundantly clear. Did you sell her anything that day?
JP Wallace: Well, sales of pottery or beverages might both be lucrative businesses, but unfortunately I'm not involved in either one.
Detective Murphy: What did the two of you do that day then?
JP Wallace: I picked her up at her motel. We took a leisurely drive over to the Huddle House, where we enjoyed a tasty breakfast and some excellent conversation. Later, I took her back to her motel.
Detective Murphy: Where was she staying?
JP Wallace: Same place she's staying now. At the Rebel Inn.
Detective Armstrong: What time did you pick her up?
JP Wallace: I don't remember.
Detective Armstrong: Think.
JP Wallace: It was early, probably around 9:00 a.m. or so, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: And what time did you get to the Huddle House?
JP Wallace: I don't know, maybe 9:30?
Detective Murphy: JP, it takes ten minutes—maybe—to get from the Rebel Inn to the Huddle House, but somehow it took you half an hour to travel that distance?
JP Wallace: I told you we took a leisurely drive. We weren't in a hurry.
Detective Murphy: Why not? What were you doing?
JP Wallace: Now Sam, that's just your problem. Not everything has to be rush, rush, rush. You have to take a little time to enjoy the scenery, to savor life, to live in the moment. You need to relax a little. You know, I could help you with that if you want me to.
Detective Murphy: No, thanks. I'd rather you just tell us why it took you so long to get to the Huddle House.
JP Wallace: Well… I don't know. I'm just guessing on the times. Maybe it wasn't that long after all.
Detective Murphy: Did you stop anywhere on the way to the Huddle House?
JP Wallace: Nope, not that I remember.
Detective Murphy: Did you go anywhere near Rowan Oak?
JP Wallace: No. Why would we want to go there?
Detective Armstrong: You tell us.
JP Wallace: Can't think of any reason to go there. Not during the day, at least.
Detective Murphy: What does that mean?
JP Wallace: Not a thing, not a thing. Just messin' with ya.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, I bet. Can you tell us what time you brought Lita back to the motel?
JP Wallace: Well, I'd just be guessing again, you understand?
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, yeah. So what time do you guess you brought her back?
JP Wallace: Maybe around 11:00, 11:30? Couldn't say for sure.
Detective Murphy: So you and Ms. Harrison spent two hours or more at the Huddle House?
JP Wallace: Why does she get to be "Ms. Harrison," but I'm "JP"?
Detective Murphy: Maybe it just seems like she deserves that extra respect.
JP Wallace: And I don't?
Detective Murphy: Do you think you do?
Detective Armstrong: Knock it off, JP. Did you spend two hours at the Huddle House with Lita or not?
JP Wallace: Yes, I guess I did.
Detective Armstrong: And then you took her directly back to the motel?
JP Wallace: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Did she invite you in or did you just drop her off?
JP Wallace: I hate to admit it…
Detective Murphy: Be brave.
JP Wallace: She didn't invite me in. Not that time anyway. She said she had to get some sleep in case she had to work later with those guys she came here with.
Detective Murphy: Did you meet these guys?
JP Wallace: When?
Detective Murphy: Ever.
JP Wallace: Well, the one guy, he's dead now.
Detective Murphy: Yes, we'd noticed that.
JP Wallace: I saw him around when I first met her, but I haven't seen him lately, obviously.
Detective Murphy: Obviously. Do you know his name?
JP Wallace: Lita said he was Ralph.
Detective Murphy: What about the other guy? You know his name?
JP Wallace: Gus, I think? I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: You seen him around too?
JP Wallace: He's around a lot. I don't think he likes me seeing Lita, not that he has anything to say about it.
Detective Armstrong: Why do you suppose that is?
JP Wallace: Probably jealous.
Detective Armstrong: Jealous of what?
JP Wallace: My relationship with Lita.
Detective Murphy: What has Ms. Harrison told you about her relationship with this man?
JP Wallace: Not a thing. None of my business. What she does on her own time is her own business. I don't tell her about any other women I might see.
Detective Murphy: How convenient for both of you. Did Ms. Harrison ever tell you anything about Ralph or Gus? About how she met them? How she got along with them? How they got along with each other?
JP Wallace: She said they were going to make her rich with some kind of video game. Sounded like a load of crap—pardon me, Sam—a load of nonsense to me, but what do I know about making video games?
Detective Murphy: You don't know anything about this game that was going to make Ms. Harrison rich?
JP Wallace: Not really. She said she was going to be the star of the game, whatever that means. Apparently, it means she's going to be rich. Or at least she was before this Ralph guy croaked. Now, who knows?
Detective Murphy: You don't seem too troubled by the fact that a close associate of hers was murdered.
JP Wallace: Why should I be? He was nothing to me. I didn't even know him.
Detective Armstrong: You already told us that you and Lita didn't talk about your other personal relationships. Does that mean she never told you anything about how she got along with Ralph or Gus?
JP Wallace: She said they were nice guys, but she didn't have a lot in common with them. I mean, they were really too old to enjoy the things she likes to do.
Detective Murphy: Like what?
JP Wallace: You know, Sam. Or maybe you don't. It has been a while since you were her age, hasn't it? Lita likes to have fun. She likes to go out, have a few drinks, listen to bands and dance. Things like that.
Detective Murphy: It's our understanding that Ralph and Gus did enjoy those sorts of activities.
JP Wallace: Maybe they did or do in that Gus' case, but not like Lita does. She doesn't get tired and want to go home before midnight. At least, if she does want to go home early, it's not because she's tired.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, well, we don't really need to hear about that. Did Lita ever say anything about how Ralph and Gus got along with each other?
JP Wallace: She said they argued a lot about stupid stuff. She said it was really annoying.
Detective Armstrong: Did she say what kind of stupid stuff?
JP Wallace: I don't know. I guess maybe money sometimes, that stupid computer game sometimes. Who knows? And who cares? Haven't you asked her about this stuff? Why are you asking me?
Detective Armstrong: Do you know Ben Moreland?
JP Wallace: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: How do you know him?
JP Wallace: We see each other around town sometimes.
Detective Murphy: Is he another one of your … clients?
JP Wallace: You mean do I sell him pottery or beverages? I couldn't say.
Detective Murphy: Why not?
JP Wallace: Well, if he was one of my clients, and I'm not saying he is or was or even that I have any clients. But if I did have clients and he was one of them, my guess would be that he's the type who'd be more interested in pottery than beverages. But of course, I don't really know anything for sure.
Detective Murphy: Of course not. Do you know whether Mr. Moreland knows Ms. Harrison, JP?
JP Wallace: You're just trying to twist the knife on that name and respect thing, aren't you? But don't worry. I'm not biting.
Detective Armstrong: Could you answer the question? Do you know whether Ben and Lita know each other?
JP Wallace: I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
Detective Murphy: Think they know each other as well as you know her? Or maybe they know each other even better?
JP Wallace: I really couldn't say. You'd have to ask them about that.
Detective Armstrong: So yesterday when you had breakfast with Lita, what time was it when you stopped by Rowan Oak?
JP Wallace: Ted … that's beneath you. You know I already said we didn't go there.
Detective Armstrong: Did you help Lita kill Ralph? Or did you just wait in your truck while she took care of it?
JP Wallace: Oh, Ted… here I'd been thinking you were such a good detective, but you disappoint me. I would never kill anyone. I'm not a violent person. Lita does have her good points, but I certainly wouldn't help her do something like that, and I don't sit in my truck waiting for any woman to do anything.
Detective Armstrong: Is that right?
JP Wallace: Besides, we never went anywhere near Rowan Oak that day. I hate to burst your bubble, but Lita did not kill that guy. Not while she was with me anyway. I hope you have a better suspect than her, or you're in big trouble.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for your concern. What about Gus? Anything in your interactions with him or anything that Lita's told you that would make you think maybe he killed Ralph?
JP Wallace: Man, I don't know. I really don't know anything about the guy. Maybe he did kill the other guy. Maybe he didn't. I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, JP. I can't begin to tell you what a help you've been today. If we have any more questions, I imagine we'll know where to find you.
JP Wallace: Sure thing, Ted. I'm happy to help you out any time you need me. See you later, Sam. It's been a thrill, as usual.
Detective Armstrong: Get out of here, JP. We'll be in touch.
JP Wallace: Y'all have a good day now.
Interview ended – 2:43 p.m.