Monday, November 9, 2020 – 1:15 p.m.
Paul Bragg's son, Jimmy, is a YHS student and archery team member, and Paul's wife, Stephanie, is a volunteer at the high school and at Faith and Glory Community Church.
Mr. Bragg contacted the detectives and asked to speak with them at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Paul Bragg
Detective Murphy: Okay, Mr. Bragg, before we start, we need you to state your name and address for the record.
Paul Bragg: My name is Paul Bragg. My address is 310 Longest Road.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. So when you called, you said you may have some new information for us?
Paul Bragg: Well, sort of. I’m just— I’m not sure what to think. I don’t know what to do. I’m concerned that Stephanie may have been involved in some way with Mr. Miller’s death. Oh, my God. I’m sorry. I just can’t believe I’m here right now.
Detective Armstrong: It’s okay, Mr. Bragg. Take your time. Would you like some water?
Paul Bragg: No, no, that’s okay. I just need to get this out. First of all, I know that my wife isn’t capable of murder, and I truly don’t believe that she is the person who killed Frederick. But it would be unethical for me to hold back information that might help you find the person that did, even if that means finding out that Stephanie was somehow involved.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. What makes you think she may have been involved?
Paul Bragg: Well, I wrote this all down last night. Seeing it all on paper is what ultimately convinced me that I needed to come in today. Is it okay if I read from my notes?
Detective Murphy: Of course, go ahead.
Paul Bragg: Okay. So the week leading up to Frederick’s death, I noticed some changes in Stephanie’s behavior. For instance, her schedule was more erratic than usual, and it seemed to me that she was making up excuses for why she had to go somewhere.
Detective Murphy: Can you elaborate on that for us?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, for example, one day, I came home for lunch, and she wasn’t there, which I wouldn’t have thought much of except that that was the second day in a row that she wasn’t there.
Detective Murphy: Is it strange for her to be gone during the day?
Paul Bragg: Well, no. It’s just that we’ve always had a thing about having lunch together. Back when Stephanie was working full time, we started making a point of taking our lunch breaks at the same time. It’s just become a habit that she’s usually home around lunchtime in case I’m able to get away from the office.
Detective Murphy: I see. Go on.
Paul Bragg: Well, that day, she pulled into the driveway right as I was leaving to go back to work. When I asked her what she’d been up to the last couple days, she got kind of defensive and said she had to go grocery shopping. So I just shrugged it off and told her I’d be home for dinner. But as I was getting in my car, I realized that she wasn’t carrying any groceries.
Detective Murphy: Could they have been in her car? Maybe she was going to come back out for them?
Paul Bragg: It’s possible, but I know my wife’s routines pretty well, and she wouldn’t have wasted a trip inside without taking some of the groceries with her. She’s very efficient that way.
Detective Murphy: I see. Go on.
Paul Bragg: It’s also just odd because she usually goes grocery shopping on Sundays after church. If she gets any groceries during the week, it’s just a few things, and she doesn’t bother putting the bags in the trunk. She would have just carried them in with her.
Detective Murphy: So if she wasn’t at the grocery store, where do you think she was?
Paul Bragg: I really don’t know. I have no idea.
Detective Armstrong: Wasn't she getting ready for the Sewcial Compassion event that week?
Paul Bragg: Well, yes.
Detective Armstrong: So she could've been unusually busy because of that?
Paul Bragg: I guess so. I hadn't thought about that.
Detective Armstrong: Could the groceries she bought have been for that event?
Paul Bragg: I don't know. I suppose so.
Detective Murphy: Okay. So other than those anomalous shopping trips, were there any other odd behaviors?
Paul Bragg: Yeah. This is just— Okay. About three or four days before Frederick’s death, I found a large shopping bag from the Happy Hunter in our closet. Out of curiosity, I peeked inside and saw that it was a new bow.
Detective Murphy: And did that seem strange to you?
Paul Bragg: Well, I figured it was for Jimmy, but it didn't look like the bow he uses for the school team.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ask Stephanie about it?
Paul Bragg: Yeah, and she just said she was doing some early birthday shopping for Jimmy.
Detective Armstrong: Remind me when his birthday is again?
Paul Bragg: April 4th.
Detective Armstrong: That's right.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what kind of bow it was?
Paul Bragg: Well, I know it was a compound bow, but I’m not exactly an expert, so that’s about all I noticed.
Detective Murphy: Do you think that maybe Stephanie just wanted to take up a new hobby?
Paul Bragg: She might've decided to take up archery again, but if she did, why wouldn't she tell me?
Detective Murphy: Could she have bought the bow as a surprise for you?
Paul Bragg: Me? No, I'm all thumbs with things like that. When Jimmy took up archery, Stephanie had to help him practice because I was a disaster at it.
Detective Armstrong: But he's gotten pretty good at it, hasn't he? Lettered in the sport and everything?
Paul Bragg: Yes, he did. We're very proud of him.
Detective Armstrong: When I was in school back in the Dark Ages, having a letter jacket was a big deal for a guy, like a badge of honor. Is it still like that?
Paul Bragg: Oh, yes. Jimmy was thrilled when he got his. Stephanie has to persuade him to hand it over anytime she wants to send it to the cleaners.
Detective Armstrong: Does she do that often?
Paul Bragg: It seems like every couple of months, but I don't really know. You'd have to ask her.
Detective Murphy: If we could go back to the bow for a moment, do you know if it's still in the closet where you saw it?
Paul Bragg: I don't. I should've looked before I came over here today, shouldn't I? I'm sorry.
Detective Murphy: It's no problem. Maybe we could just pop over to your house right now and take a look? Put all of our minds at ease.
Paul Bragg: I don't know. I don't think Stephanie would like that.
Detective Murphy: I understand. She can be a formidable woman when she wants to be. I can see why you wouldn't want to upset her. Detective Armstrong and I can get a search warrant if that would make it easier for you. We don't want to upset your home life.
Paul Bragg: Oh, no. That's not necessary. It'll be fine. I can handle Stephanie.
Detective Murphy: Okay, then.
Detective Armstrong: Before we head out, just one more thing. You said earlier that you thought she might've been involved, but she isn't capable of murder. I'm just curious if you have any idea who else might've been involved?
Paul Bragg: I— I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: That's okay. It's our job to figure that out. I just wondered if you had a theory.
Detective Murphy: Do you need to make any calls before we go to your house? Let your wife know or anything?
Paul Bragg: No, she's at school right now. She's a classroom volunteer, you know.
Detective Murphy: Yes, a lot of people have mentioned her volunteer work. Are you ready to go then?
Paul Bragg: I'm ready, but I just need to say something first. If she gets arrested because of something I said, and then it turns out I was wrong, and she's completely innocent, I will hate myself forever.
Detective Murphy: Don’t worry, Mr. Bragg. The criminal justice system isn’t perfect, but we'll do everything we can to get to the truth.
Paul Bragg: Thank you.
Interview ended – 1:36 p.m.