Louis Watson interview #2
Friday, January 29, 2021 – 2:15 p.m.
Louis Watson is a local attorney who also owns Ole Miss Liquors.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy talked to him again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Louis Watson
Detective Armstrong: Have a seat, Mr. Watson.
Louis Watson: All right. Thank you, Ted. I know you're going to ask for my name and address again, so I'll just get that out of the way. My name is Louis Leyland Watson, and I live at 301 Williams Avenue.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you. Now, do you—
Louis Watson: I cannot imagine what else I could possibly tell you that would help you find out who killed Spenser Brooks.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, well, time will tell. Do you know Christine Arnold?
Louis Watson: You mean Christy Arnold, who works the courthouse?
Detective Armstrong: Yes.
Louis Watson: I don't know her personally, but I have dealt with her at the clerk's office many times—as does anyone who has business there. Don't tell me she's a suspect in the Brooks case?!
Detective Armstrong: We're just asking questions that may or may not be of help.
Louis Watson: Well, I can't understand why you would ask me about her.
Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about Ms. Arnold?
Louis Watson: She seems very friendly and helpful when I need anything from the clerk's office.
Detective Armstrong: Have you ever seen her outside of the courthouse for any reason?
Louis Watson: No. I just said I don't know her on a personal level. What's going on?
Detective Armstrong: Have you ever seen her with a man?
Louis Watson: No. Read my lips. I've never seen her anywhere other than the courthouse. Why in the world would it be important if I—? Ooh.
Detective Armstrong: Oh?
Louis Watson: So the rumors are true. She and Brooks were doing the nasty.
Detective Armstrong: Rumors?
Louis Watson: Don't play dumb with me, Ted. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
Detective Armstrong: Well, we're not here to talk about what I know. Tell us what you know.
Louis Watson: What I know? Nothing. But what I heard? That's a different story.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, then, what did you hear?
Louis Watson: I heard Brooks was fixin' to leave his wife for some sweet young thing, but I never believed it because it'd be political and professional suicide for him.
Detective Armstrong: Why's that?
Louis Watson: His wife's got a lot of clout in political circles. She could ruin him if she wanted to. He'd have to move somewhere else and start over. Can you see him doing that? I sure can't.
Detective Armstrong: No?
Louis Watson: He'd have to be an idiot, and Spenser Brooks was a lot of things, but he wasn't a fool. That's why I figured it was all just courthouse gossip run amok, but now you're asking about Christy, so maybe not. You think she killed him when she found out he wasn't going to leave his wife?
Detective Armstrong: I never said anything like that.
Louis Watson: I hear ya.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Watson, we know there was no love lost between you and Spenser Brooks, but was there any other reason you felt so strongly about him other than what you've already told us?
Louis Watson: Brooks was a thorn in my side. No two ways about it. He hurt my business, my livelihood.
Detective Murphy: How did he do that?
Louis Watson: He was forever sending in undercovers to try to trick one of my employees into selling to someone underage. It's made everyone in the store a nervous wreck, I don't mind telling you.
Detective Murphy: Isn't that just enforcing the law?
Louis Watson: It went way beyond random spot checks. He was sending people in wearing disguises, people clearly of age but with IDs that said they weren't, other people obviously underage but with high-quality fake IDs that said they weren't. My employees are just retail clerks. We train them, and they do the best they can, but they're not professional investigators. They can't be expected to catch every fake.
Detective Murphy: What makes you think Spenser Brooks was behind all of that and not someone from the sheriff's department?
Louis Watson: He told me so himself.
Detective Murphy: I see.
Louis Watson: That's right. He wasn't the good ol' boy you people make him out to be. Instead of harassing small business owners like me, he should've been cracking down on distracted driving. Have you seen how many people around here are texting and driving or talking on the phone and driving? They're endangering lives every time they do it, but does anyone do anything about it? Now, that would've been a worthwhile project for him.
Detective Armstrong: Louis, you said you own guns. Do you keep any at the liquor store?
Louis Watson: Of course. I believe everyone who runs a business has to have at least one weapon in the place. It's a necessity. No one wants to just set themselves up to be easy pickings for some unscrupulous scum. I've shown my employees where the gun is and instructed them on what to do if anyone tries to rob the store.
Detective Armstrong: What kind of gun is it?
Louis Watson: .38 special.
Detective Armstrong: Have you seen that gun lately?
Louis Watson: Fortunately, I haven't had a need for it.
Detective Armstrong: Do you mind if we send an officer over, just to check if it's still there?
Louis Watson: Why would you want to— no. You know what? Go ahead. I resent the insinuation, but I have nothing to hide.
Detective Armstrong: Glad to hear it. I understand the fees for your legal services are pretty steep. Have you ever taken a firearm as payment from a client?
Louis Watson: No. Strictly monetary. Let's face it. Some of my clients are not, shall we say, the most upstanding members of society. Taking a gun from one of them would be very risky, indeed.
Tell us again about your relationship with Jill Ross.
Louis Watson: What about it?
Detective Murphy: What's the nature of it?
Louis Watson: I am a happily married man. Just because your pal Brooks was sleeping around doesn't mean I am.
Detective Murphy: How wonderful for you. Did you and Jill come to any kind of agreement?
Louis Watson: What kind of agreement?
Detective Murphy: One that would solve both of your problems.
Louis Watson: Stop dancing around it. Ask what you want to ask.
Detective Murphy: Jill wanted to be the District Attorney. You wanted Spenser Brooks to leave you alone. When he died, you both got what you wanted.
Louis Watson: So?
Detective Murphy: So, did you two work together to make it happen?
Louis Watson: Meaning, did we conspire to kill Spenser Brooks?
Detective Murphy: Did you?
Louis Watson: Absolutely not. That is an insane and offensive suggestion, and if I hear it outside the confines of this room, it will be a libelous statement.
Detective Murphy: So Spenser's death was just a happy coincidence for the both of you?
Louis Watson: That's right.
Detective Murphy: Is there someone else you think we should be looking at then?
Louis Watson: You should be questioning all the people that Brooks railroaded. I mean, when you send someone to prison, you have to be aware that most of them won't be too happy about it. And if they were wrongly convicted? They might well come looking for a little payback when they get out.
Detective Murphy: Do you have anyone in mind?
Louis Watson: I can give you one name. Kyle Ferguson. I represented him when Brooks got him sent to prison, and Ferguson swore he'd get even.
Detective Murphy: Was he wrongly convicted?
Louis Watson: He thought so.
Detective Armstrong: Everyone knows Ferguson was guilty. Ferguson was madder than fire because he got caught, not because the D.A. railroaded him.
Louis Watson: If you say so.
Detective Armstrong: You lost that case, so you had as much reason to hate Spenser Brooks for that verdict as Ferguson did.
Louis Watson: Killing opposing counsel any time a verdict doesn't go my way wouldn't be a rational way to run a law practice, though, now would it?
Detective Armstrong: Murder is rarely rational.
Louis Watson: I think I've given you any and all information I possibly can, so unless you're arresting me, I'd like to leave now.
Detective Armstrong: You're free to go. We may call you again. You know the routine.
Interview ended – 2:46 p.m.