Brandon Ebner interview #4
Thursday, March 18, 2021 – 10:00 a.m.
Brandon Ebner was Daniel Collier's best friend from high school.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee asked him to come back into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department to fill in some holes in his story.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Brandon Ebner
Detective Magee: Okay, Brandon, let's get your name and address for the record.
Brandon Ebner: My name is Brandon Ebner, and I live at 225 Eagles Nest Lane in Oxford.
Detective Magee: I'm sure you've heard the news. We're sorry for your loss.
Brandon Ebner: Yes, I am going to the prayer service later this afternoon.
Detective Magee: We're still looking to get justice for Daniel. We need you to be honest with us so we can do that.
Brandon Ebner: I know.
Detective Beckwith: Brandon, let's go back again to the New Year's Eve party. You knew before the party that Daniel had Laughlin's parts in the trunk didn't you?
Brandon Ebner: Yeah. So?
Detective Magee: We have a witness who says you and Daniel argued before the party.
Brandon Ebner: We didn't argue. Just before we left, he told me he still had some parts in his trunk, and he was gonna take them to New York with him.
Detective Beckwith: How come you didn't mention this earlier?
Brandon Ebner: I totally did. I told y'all that we argued about those parts and that Danny was gonna sell them by himself in New York. I didn't want him to go without me because I was afraid of what might happen to him … what did happen to him.
Detective Beckwith: You never mentioned that you knew about the parts before the party. It seems to me you're minimizing your role in stealing from Laughlin.
Brandon Ebner: I never wanted Danny to steal from Laughlin. I only wanted him to be safe. He was too confident that he would never get caught.
Detective Beckwith: Is that the reason that you went with him to sell the stolen parts last December?
Brandon Ebner: Um … yeah.
Detective Magee: Well, you didn't mention that at all, either, did you?
Brandon Ebner: None of the specifics of what Danny did to Laughlin matter. What matters is what Laughlin did to Danny. I didn't mention any of the details of Danny's scam because I knew y'all would concentrate on that and totally forget about Danny … which is what's happening.
Detective Beckwith: That, or maybe you don't want to be implicated in Danny's scam?
Brandon Ebner: I don't care about that one bit. Ask anything you want about the stolen parts. I'll tell you anything you want to know, right here, right now.
Detective Magee: All right, what was Daniel's scam?
Brandon Ebner: He ran car parts for Laughlin, but he always kept a few, re-selling them to other parts shops. Some of the parts he'd airbrush. A good many of those were in his trunk the night of the party.
Detective Beckwith: How long did you know that Daniel was doing this?
Brandon Ebner: I only found out what he was doing in late December.
Detective Beckwith: How many times did you go with him to sell stolen parts?
Brandon Ebner: Just once.
Detective Magee: Are you sure?
Brandon Ebner: Yes.
Detective Magee: When?
Brandon Ebner: After Christmas. The 28th.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, describe what happened.
Brandon Ebner: Danny had told me he had to go to Corinth to meet some guys to do a deal that wasn't above board, and he may need someone with him. He said I didn't need to ask questions.
Detective Magee: Did you anyway?
Brandon Ebner: Hell, yeah. I told him I had to know what I was getting into before I did it.
Detective Magee: Did he tell you?
Brandon Ebner: He said he had taken some parts from Laughlin and was selling them to several buyers in a parking lot in Corinth. He didn't think he'd get jumped, but he thought if I was there, someone would have his back if he did.
Detective Magee: Okay, so what happened next?
Brandon Ebner: We drove over to this guy's place, one of the guys Danny worked with at Laughlin.
Detective Beckwith: Do you know which one?
Brandon Ebner: No. Some old guy.
Detective Beckwith: How old?
Brandon Ebner: Like 50 or 60. He lives down from the Boys & Girls Club North, you know, across from the Intermediate School. If I had to guess who he was, I'd say it's that Doug guy my sister found on Danny's Facebook page.
Detective Beckwith: All right.
Brandon Ebner: He was freakin' out because Danny told me about the deal. Danny told him to relax, that I was his brother and wasn't going to squeal.
Detective Magee: Did that calm Doug down?
Brandon Ebner: Not really. He was pretty jumpy. He was all, "Laughlin's gonna kill us" or something like that. Danny was cool and calm. He told the old guy he could be out if he wanted to be.
Detective Magee: What did he say to that?
Brandon Ebner: The old guy said he wanted to stay in. He got more parts for us to take with us.
Detective Beckwith: And then what happened?
Brandon Ebner: Danny drove to the parking lot in Corinth. He'd been there before.
Detective Beckwith: What parking lot were you in?
Brandon Ebner: I don't know. It was like a small row apartment lot. I wasn't paying that much attention.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, did you meet the buyers then?
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, there were like five guys. They asked if Dan had what they were looking for. He said he did.
Detective Magee: Did you know any of these guys?
Brandon Ebner: I didn't know any of them. They all used one-word names that I figured were fake, like Kenseth and Waltrip.
Detective Magee: Could you recognize them if you saw them again?
Brandon Ebner: I might be able to recognize them if I had a picture of them. I don't know.
Detective Magee: What were they looking for?
Brandon Ebner: Geez, I ain't a car guy. Most of the stuff they bought was, like, engine stuff. The only thing I can remember was the cool 1950s Chevy hubcaps that Daniel was talking about on the ride up.
Detective Magee: How much money was Daniel paid?
Brandon Ebner: Like a grand, a little less maybe. He only sold about half of what we brought. The rest was still in the trunk.
Detective Beckwith: What did you do then?
Brandon Ebner: We went back to the old man's house in Oxford. Danny split the cash with him, and then we went home. Danny gave me $50 when he dropped me off.
Detective Beckwith: What was Daniel doing with the parts that he didn't sell?
Brandon Ebner: They were in his trunk.
Detective Beckwith: All of them?
Brandon Ebner: If they didn't fit, he put them in Vince's garage.
Detective Beckwith: Are you sure?
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, I personally saw some of the airbrushed ones in Vince's garage when I was there on New Year's Eve.
Detective Beckwith: Did Vince know about it?
Brandon Ebner: I don't know. You'd have to ask him.
Detective Magee: Let's change subjects here. Did you ever use the internet at Vince's house?
Brandon Ebner: I wasn't on his computer ever, if that's what you mean.
Detective Magee: Have you ever used their Wi-Fi?
Brandon Ebner: Probably. I know I've checked my phone there, and Vince never had a password on his internet.
Detective Magee: Have you used Vince's internet since Daniel's disappearance?
Brandon Ebner: No.
Detective Magee: Take some time to think about the question. Did you use it the day you broke into Vincent's house?
Brandon Ebner: No, I didn't. Not on purpose. I guess my phone could've connected to it automatically, but I wasn't using my phone while I was there. I was looking for proof that something happened to Daniel. Now you know I was right.
Detective Beckwith: Now, Brandon, you have a history of not leveling with us in your interviews. Before we let you go, is there anything else you know about this case that you haven't told us yet?
Brandon Ebner: No. I've told you everything I know.
Detective Beckwith: Are you sure? You know we're going to find out if that's not true.
Brandon Ebner: I don't know anything else that will help you prove who did this to Danny.
Detective Beckwith: For your sake, I hope that's true. You can go now. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 10:39 a.m.