JoAnna Laughlin interview
Friday, March 12, 2021 – 9:00 a.m.
JoAnna Laughlin is Chas Laughlin's wife and Gage Laughlin's mother.
Detectives Magee and Beckwith interviewed her at her residence.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- JoAnna Laughlin
Detective Magee: Hello, Mrs. Laughlin. I'm Detective Jo Magee, and this is Detective Paul Beckwith, and we're—
JoAnna Laughlin: We don't want any tickets to the policeman's ball.
Detective Beckwith: We're not selling any.
Detective Magee: We're here to ask you a few questions about your husband, but first, we'll need your name and address for the record.
JoAnna Laughlin: JoAnna Laughlin. Y'all know where I live already. Otherwise, y'all wouldn't be here.
Detective Magee: It's just routine.
JoAnna Laughlin: 310 North 16th Street, Oxford, Mississippi. What kinda detectives are y'all anyway?
Detective Beckwith: Homicide.
JoAnna Laughlin: Homicide? I never heard about nobody getting killed. Besides, I thought those other two—Murphy and Armstead or something—were the Yoknapatawpha homicide detectives.
Detective Magee: Detectives Murphy and Armstrong are working on other cases right now. We don't want to take too much of your time. Could we get started?
JoAnna Laughlin: Well, yer gonna do what yer gonna do. I'd rather get back to my shows personally. Y'all are gonna make me miss the jewelry internet coupon codes on QVC. If'n I just knew how to work this damn DVR … Would it speed things along if I just told you that Chas never killed nobody?
Detective Beckwith: But we didn't say Chas—
JoAnna Laughlin: Then Chas ain't never killed nobody.
Detective Beckwith: Listen, Mrs. Laughlin, we're going to have to ask you questions. Your QVC is gonna have to wait.
JoAnna Laughlin: For heaven's sake then, ask your questions.
Detective Beckwith: Can you account for Chas's whereabouts during the first week of January this year?
JoAnna Laughlin: Sure can. He was with me.
Detective Magee: The whole time?
JoAnna Laughlin: Yes, ma'am. The whole time, 'cept when he's at work.
Detective Beckwith: He never went down to The Roadhouse or somewhere with his friends?
JoAnna Laughlin: Nope, I'd have to give him permission to do something like that.
Detective Magee: When do you give him permission?
JoAnna Laughlin: Never. Honey, if'n you don't shorten your man's stake rope, he'll wander the field. Chas don't get in no trouble 'cause I don't let him wander the field.
Detective Beckwith: So you're with him all the time when he's not at work?
JoAnna Laughlin: Is there an echo in here? That's what I just said.
Detective Beckwith: I'm finding it hard to believe.
JoAnna Laughlin: Fine. Believe what you want. I'm telling y'all that he don't go nowhere but Kroger by himself. And that's only 'cause it's five minutes away.
Detective Magee: Do you remember if he left the house on or between January 2nd and January 6th?
JoAnna Laughlin: If he did, it weren't for long. Not long enough to kill anyone. He was where he always is—with me or out in his garage, smoking on one of his nasty cigars or flippin' through one of those girlie magazines he don't know I know about.
Detective Beckwith: What if he told you he was going out to the garage but actually left your residence?
JoAnna Laughlin: He knows that when he got back, I'd put him across the street into Oxford Memorial Cemetery myself.
Detective Beckwith: Is that a threat?
JoAnna Laughlin: Nah, I wouldn't kill him. He'd just wish he was dead.
Detective Magee: What about your son, Gage? Where was he on or between those two January dates?
JoAnna Laughlin: You ain't gonna pin no murders on my Gage. He's a good boy. He don't take after his daddy.
Detective Beckwith: That's not what we heard. People down at the shop say he likes to fight.
JoAnna Laughlin: Maybe those people have it coming. Maybe those people like to make up stories. How should I know about the goings-on at the shop?
Detective Magee: You didn't answer my question. Where was Gage on or between January 2nd and January 6th?
JoAnna Laughlin: He was at work or here like Chas.
Detective Beckwith: You have your son on a short leash like your husband?
JoAnna Laughlin: Nah. Actually, I wouldn't mind seein' Gage getting his own place.
Detective Magee: Gage still lives with you? He's like 30, isn't he?
JoAnna Laughlin: Yeah, he is. His problem is that he's got poor taste in women—if you can call the trash he brings home from the Oxford Ridge Apartments "women." He spends all his money on 'em like a durn fool and then can't seem to figure out why he don't have the money for his own place.
Detective Magee: Okay.
JoAnna Laughlin: At Christmas time, he was seein' this girl Trixie—hooker name, if you ask me. Gage wined and dined her pretty good. 'Round New Year's, he was set on moving in with her, then caught her sleeping with her sister's husband. She suckered Gage something fierce.
Detective Beckwith: So Gage was at your residence from January 2nd to the 6th?
JoAnna Laughlin: There goes that echo again.
Detective Beckwith: Specifically, Mrs. Laughlin, were you with your son that entire time?
JoAnna Laughlin: He was with Chas a bunch in the garage. They installed one of our big flat screens out there so they can watch football without interruptin' my shows. They were out there most of the time.
Detective Beckwith: So you weren't watching them the whole time, were you?
JoAnna Laughlin: No, I weren't watching them the whole time. Satisfied?
Detective Magee: Has Chas or Gage ever spoken about Daniel Collier around the house?
JoAnna Laughlin: Never heard the name. Who is this Collier supposed to be?
Detective Magee: He's a young man who used to work at the shop.
JoAnna Laughlin: Lots of those. I take it he's the dead kid. Why y'all hassle us if someone goes and gets hisself killed?
Detective Magee: Because an odd number of people that your husband hires end up hurt or dead.
JoAnna Laughlin: Blind luck. Besides, it's just this Collier kid and Andy Fine who got killed, so that's only two.
Detective Beckwith: We actually don't know if Daniel Collier is dead.
JoAnna Laughlin: See? There you go. Fine was the only one, then. Y'all just like to hassle us. The Collier kid probably just run off with Trixie, having a fun time in the backseat of a rental van down in Mexico for all we know. Damn it, y'all made me miss Obsessed with Shoes & Handbags with Dooney and Bourke.
Detective Magee: Okay, I think we have what we need. We won't take any more of your time.
JoAnna Laughlin: That's the best thing I've heard you say today.
Interview ended – 9:26 a.m.