Will Sands is the bartender at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
Monday, July 13, 2020 – 11:01 a.m.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Will Sands
Detective Armstrong: It's good to see you again. Been a while. For the record, could you please state your name and address?
Will Sands: My name is Will Sands, and I live at 1002 College Hill Road, here in Oxford. And it has been too long.
Detective Armstrong: How's business, Will?
Will Sands: Oh, it's— you know what they say. When times are good, people drink. And when times are bad, people drink.
Detective Armstrong: That's a good one.
Will Sands: Yeah. Tell Will that— you can tell folks that Will told you that one, okay? But business has been real good, real good. Real happy with that. You folks are looking for information on that Fontaine murder, aren't you? Do you have any leads?
Detective Murphy: We're working on it. What do you know?
Will Sands: Well, I may not know as much as you think. I mean, I just listen to what people are saying. And I can tell you this much, that they're not talking about anything else. No, not at all. But now, you people come to me whenever you want information, so you tell me.
Detective Armstrong: We're just pursuing a few leads. You've helped us out in the past. We're hoping you'd help us out again.
Will Sands: Yes, well, just don't go making it public record. Nobody wants to buy a drink from a blabbermouth bartender now.
Detective Armstrong: We're the very souls of discretion, Will.
Detective Murphy: So, Will, you were working the Friday night that Fontaine was killed?
Will Sands: Yes, I came on about quarter to 7:00 and— Friday and closed up Saturday morning at 2:00.
Detective Murphy: You worked the whole time? Didn't leave to take a break?
Will Sands: Now, I listen. I got 20 plus people that can prove that I was at The Roadhouse that night, all night long, okay? Besides, I didn't have any kind of quarrel with Philip Fontaine.
Detective Armstrong: We're not looking at you for this, Will.
Detective Murphy: You remember that night pretty well, Will?
Will Sands: Yeah, I do. It was real busy. Lot of crazy action too.
Detective Murphy: You know Philip Fontaine? Was he ever at the bar?
Will Sands: Yeah, of course, I know Philip Fontaine. Everybody knows Philip Fontaine, but I can tell you for a fact he wasn't at The Roadhouse that Friday night.
Detective Murphy: But he'd been in before?
Will Sands: Well, quite a number of times.
Detective Murphy: Who was he with?
Will Sands: Well, I've seen him buy drinks for some of his clients from time to time.
Detective Armstrong: We hear Fontaine may have had a girlfriend.
Will Sands: Yeah, he got around, all right. In between wives, he used to bring women in, have a couple drinks quite often.
Detective Armstrong: And recently?
Will Sands: Well, recently, I have seen him three, maybe four times this last year with a girl. The same girl. Real cute. Dawn's her name.
Detective Armstrong: Girlfriend?
Will Sands: I don't know if they're girlfriends, but they were mighty friendly, you know? They weren't slobbering on each other or anything like that.
Detective Murphy: You know anything else about her? Like a last name?
Will Sands: No, no last name. But you might want to check on over at the Health Club. She's got one of them aerobics instructor's bodies.
Detective Armstrong: How about Philip's boy, Grant?
Will Sands: There's a real piece of work, huh?
Detective Murphy: He ever come in the bar?
Will Sands: Well, I've seen him buy sandwiches from the takeout side of the bar.
Detective Murphy: Did he get anything else there?
Will Sands: I can't serve him, and you know that.
Detective Armstrong: But you've seen him around?
Will Sands: Maybe out in the parking lot.
Detective Murphy: Doing what?
Will Sands: Now, look. Mr. Fontaine had a lot of money, and his wife still does. And money has a funny way of making somebody fire an otherwise fine employee, and I need to hold onto this job.
Detective Armstrong: We'll keep it quiet, Will.
Will Sands: Okay, good. Well, now, Grant has been known to hang out in the parking lot of The Roadhouse in his car. And first, I thought he was, you know, just out there trying to scam people for drinks or a bottle or something. I've seen him out there like a half dozen times, but then after the second or third time, I caught on. And I took down all the numbers of his buddies' cars, and I called those plate numbers in. That pretty much took care of that.
Detective Murphy: You ever see any of those dealers in the bar?
Will Sands: Yes. Matter of fact, one came in that night. Kind of a weird guy, you know? I feel sorry for Grant. I mean, he's not my problem. I think the boy never had enough discipline or enough love. You know, I'm sure glad that Ashley has a soft spot for him. You know she's the only one that can keep him in line.
Detective Murphy: Was Grant in there that Friday night?
Will Sands: Nope.
Detective Armstrong: You sure he couldn't have been hanging out in the lot, and you just didn't see him?
Will Sands: No. Now, I stand right by the cash register, and I can look right out that window and see the parking lot. And I wanted to make sure that there was no problems out there. Now, if Grant would've been at that nuthouse that night, I would have certainly seen him, but he wasn't there. I remember that night very, very clearly.
Detective Murphy: What about Ashley Fontaine?
Will Sands: Well, she's been in a few times. She's a real generous woman.
Detective Armstrong: Big tipper, huh?
Will Sands: Yeah, she even gave me a Christmas card one time.
Detective Murphy: Was she there that Friday night?
Will Sands: Well, I'm not sure. She might have been, but you know, it's hard to tell.
Detective Armstrong: You just said you remember the night really well.
Will Sands: Well, I also said that it was real crazy, and there was a lot of busyness going on.
Detective Armstrong: Come on, Will. Was she there or not?
Will Sands: Look, I don't want any problems with the Fontaines.
Detective Armstrong: You've got my word, Will. We'll keep it quiet.
Will Sands: okay. All right. Well, look, Mrs. Fontaine tips me pretty well to cover for her when she's someplace else with a certain guy. You know, to kind of bend the truth.
Detective Armstrong: Why would she need you to cover for her?
Will Sands: She was a good customer.
Detective Murphy: Do it before?
Will Sands: Oh, yeah. Maybe two, three, four times. But I was real lucky because Mr. Fontaine never did call, so I didn't have to cover or anything like that.
Detective Armstrong: What about the night of the murder? Was she there all night?
Will Sands: Nope. She must've been someplace else because she wasn't there.
Detective Armstrong: Those must have been extra-large tips, Will.
Will Sands: Well, there's no law against accepting real big tips, now is there?
Detective Murphy: So neither Grant nor Ashley Fontaine was at the bar that night?
Will Sands: Uh-uh, no.
Detective Murphy: Grant says he was.
Will Sands: I don't really care much what Grant says. I doubt that that boy knows what planet he's on, more or less where he's at any given moment, you know?
Detective Murphy: Where was Mrs. Fontaine if she wasn't at the bar?
Will Sands: I don't know, and I don't care.
Detective Armstrong: Will, of all the people to claim they don't know the dirt.
Will Sands: I listen to the trash, but I don't spread it. Okay, but you didn't hear it from me, okay? Will the bartender would never tell you that Mrs. Fontaine was seeing a younger guy on the side. Oh yeah. And Will would never tell you that this young guy's name was Kyle. And certainly Will the bartender would never whisper into your ear that the biggest joke with the Fontaines is that they're both stepping out on each other with people that work at the same gym.
Detective Murphy: This Kyle works there too?
Will Sands: Oh, yeah. I've seen him come in with a sweatshirt from the gym, and he's a bodybuilder too. But you didn't hear it from me. I'm not spreading any rumors.
Detective Armstrong: You said there was a lot of crazy action there that night?
Will Sands: Yeah, there was. I mean, there was a lot of people coming and going, some people two or three times. There was this one guy that came in around 7:00 and had one shot of tequila, and then he left. It was the same guy that was hanging out with Grant. And then he came back a few hours later, had four shots of tequila, headed straight to the men's room. And he was in there for a long time. Now, when he first came in, he was pretty messed up, but he must've gotten himself cleaned up in the men's room.
Detective Armstrong: What else can you tell us about this guy?
Will Sands: Oh, he had a big wad of cash, all C-notes. Now, and I ask myself, now where does a guy like that get money like that?
Detective Murphy: Didn't you say he was a drug dealer?
Will Sands: I didn't say he was a drug dealer. I said I thought he was a drug dealer.
Detective Murphy: That's basically a cash business. He never had that kind of money before?
Will Sands: Nope, he didn't. No, the first time he had fives and tens and twenties, but never a C-note like that.
Detective Armstrong: So this guy went to the men's room. Then what?
Will Sands: Stayed in the bathroom so long, I almost went in to check on him. Guys don't take long to do their business. This guy was in the bathroom for a while, so something seemed strange.
Detective Murphy: Okay, Will. Who else was there that night? Anybody else with a connection with the Fontaines?
Will Sands: Oh, Joey Beecher was there. Yeah, he's a friend of the Fontaine family, works for them. He came in a little bit before 7:00, like 6:30, 6:45, but he didn't talk much, and he didn't stay.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone else?
Will Sands: No, but Joey Beecher came back again at 9:00 that night.
Detective Murphy: How long did he stay that time?
Will Sands: I'd say a little bit after midnight or so. I didn't get really a chance to talk to him. He was kind of by himself. It seemed like he had something on his mind, you know. Maybe his wife was yelling at him again about money problems. I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: They have money issues?
Will Sands: Oh, yeah. She's hungry. Real hungry.
Detective Armstrong: For what?
Will Sands: Money. Fontaine had the money, and Joey worked for Fontaine, so Joey's wife was always after him to wrangle more money out of Fontaine.
Detective Murphy: So you know Bruno Coleman?
Will Sands: Boy, I know Bruno Coleman, all right. He's a real piece of work, isn't he?
Detective Armstrong: How so?
Will Sands: Well, you see, Bruno Coleman is always spouting off, bad-mouthing the Fontaines. They got a lot of bad blood between them for a long time. Rumor is that Mr. Fontaine sold a very, very lucrative, expensive piece of property, real estate, right from under Bruno Coleman's nose. So Bruno was always going around saying he was going to bring the Fontaines down, whatever it took.
Detective Armstrong: Not on good terms, you'd say.
Will Sands: Now that you can say you heard from Will.
Detective Armstrong: Let's get back to Joey. Did he like working for Fontaine?
Will Sands: He told me once it was the best job he'd ever had. Easy money, he said. He didn't get his nose into any business that wasn't his. He just did what Fontaine told him. That made Fontaine happy, and Joey was more than happy to get that kind of money.
Detective Armstrong: You've been really helpful, Will. Thanks for the information.
Detective Murphy: Yeah, Will. Thanks. Let us know if you hear anything else you think we'd be interested in.
Will Sands: Well, it's my pleasure, Detectives. And if you're ever around The Roadhouse at lunchtime, come on in. I got some really nice lunch specials for you both.
Interview ended – 11:23 a.m.