Shawn Sharp follow-up interview
Shawn Sharp is the sports editor at the Oxford Eagle and was at the Eagle offices the night Monica Drum was killed. Detectives Murphy and Parker re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 5:00 p.m.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Shawn Sharp
Detective Parker: Mr. Sharp, thank you for coming in again. We just have some follow-up questions for you.
Shawn Sharp: Happy to do it. But I'd appreciate it if we could get through this as quick as possible. The Bengals are playing the Eagles in a little while.
Detective Parker: Well, we'll do what we can to accommodate you.
Shawn Sharp: I just don't want to miss the start of the game.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Sharp, before we get too far into the interview, I'm going to ask you to do your best to keep the sports references to a minimum. Just try to answer the questions as directly as you can. Do you understand?
Shawn Sharp: Of course, Detective. It's fourth and long, down by four and the clock's running out. No time to waste.
Detective Murphy: That's exactly what I'm talking about. Let's try to stay away from that kind of thing, OK?
Shawn Sharp: Right. Sorry.
Detective Murphy: Just for the record, would you state your name and address?
Shawn Sharp: Again? Fine. Shawn Sharp. 1414 Pierce Avenue.
Detective Murphy: Now, last time you told us that you left work at about 10:45 p.m. the night Monica Drum was murdered. Is that correct?
Shawn Sharp: If that's what I said then, it's probably right. I can't remember the exact time I left anymore.
Detective Parker: Who else was at the Eagle that night?
Shawn Sharp: Well, all the press guys were still there. And Kelly was wrapping up something. And Monica obviously. I don't know who all came by after I left. Sometimes people drop in late at night to meet up with folks who are working late.
Detective Parker: What people typically came by after hours?
Shawn Sharp: Well, my interns from Ole Miss would come by if they were working on something. And if Monica was working, which she usually was, Rick would come by or her friend Nicole and sometimes that miserable kid who used to work on the press. More often than not, whoever came to see Monica had been drinking, at least a little. Sort of like visiting Monica was an end-of-the-evening, stop-by-on-the-way-home kind of thing. Or at least that's how it seemed to me. If we were really lucky, that lovely little lady who used to work in Accounting would stop in.
Detective Parker: And did you see any of those people that night?
Shawn Sharp: Nah, but I left before the time that any of them usually came by.
Detective Murphy: Who is the miserable kid who used to work on the press?
Shawn Sharp: I don't know his name, just recognize the face.
Detective Parker: Where did you go when you left the Eagle that night?
Shawn Sharp: All over the place. I was covering the post-game celebrations, so I hit all the late night places.
Detective Parker: Did you drive to all those places?
Shawn Sharp: In that traffic? No way. I left my car at the paper. Picked it up the next day.
Detective Parker: Was anyone with you after you left the paper?
Shawn Sharp: Probably half the town at one time or another, but no one was making the rounds with me, if that's what you mean.
Detective Murphy: It would be good if you could remember the names of any of the people you talked to, especially between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.
Shawn Sharp: I was probably home in bed by then.
Detective Parker: Probably?
Shawn Sharp: I don't remember exactly when I got home. It could've been after 2:00, but it was definitely before 4:00.
Detective Parker: Were you alone once you got home?
Shawn Sharp: Unfortunately. Too bad I didn't run into you that night. You could've been my alibi.
Detective Parker: I was working a homicide.
Shawn Sharp: Right.
Detective Murphy: You said before that you spoke to Ms. Drum on your way out that night. Could you tell us about that conversation?
Shawn Sharp: Like I said before, it wasn't much of a conversation. I tried joking around with her some, but she didn't really answer me.
Detective Murphy: Why was that?
Shawn Sharp: I don't know. She was busy, preoccupied, whatever. She just didn't feel like talking, I guess.
Detective Murphy: How would you characterize your relationship with Ms. Drum?
Shawn Sharp: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: Now, Mr. Sharp, I think you know what I mean. What kind of relationship did you have with her?
Shawn Sharp: She was my boss. I worked for her. We were friendly, but we weren't close. You know what I mean?
Detective Murphy: Maybe you could tell me what you mean.
Shawn Sharp: Look, we got along fine. We joked around sometimes at work. She rode my– she rode me pretty hard sometimes. In general, we got along fine.
Detective Parker: What about outside of work?
Shawn Sharp: Outside of work? Monica wasn't really outside of work too much. If she was, I never really saw her.
Detective Parker: So you and Ms. Drum never had an intimate relationship of any kind?
Shawn Sharp: Are you kidding? Mama always told me to keep it in my boxers, especially at work. Not that there aren't a few sweet things down at the Eagle that I wouldn't mind huddling with. But I wouldn't do it because it's not worth it. Look at Monica and Rick. Not exactly a dream relationship. But Monica and I never saw each other that way, never even thought about it. She was too much of a ball buster for me.
Detective Murphy: What about when the two of you were in Cincinnati?
Shawn Sharp: We barely knew each other back then. I mean, we both worked for the Post, but that's a much bigger paper than the Eagle. I mean, I was in Sports and she worked in the City bureau. We weren't exactly covering the same things.
Detective Parker: Did you ever see her socially in Cincinnati?
Shawn Sharp: We probably saw each other sometimes at Post functions, but like I said, I didn't really know her too well back then. Plus, I think she was engaged to one of the big shots for a while. She always aimed high. She was never satisfied with getting to the playoffs. She had to have that Super Bowl ring.
Detective Parker: One of the big shots?
Shawn Sharp: Yeah, one of the Post editors or something. I don't really remember which one. It was a long time ago.
Detective Murphy: How did the two of you end up working at the Eagle together?
Shawn Sharp: Well, I was getting really burned out on covering the Cincinnati sports scene. I mean, how much can you talk about the Bengals and the Reds and all that before you're just sick of it? I'd heard through the grapevine that Monica had taken a job down here, so I sent her my resume and she invited me down to interview. Turned out, she didn't remember me from the Post, but she hired me anyway and I moved on down. I never really thought I was her first choice for the job, but Craig liked me, so that kind of helped the deal along.
Detective Parker: Craig Pegues?
Shawn Sharp: Yup. Helluva guy. When it's bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth, Craig's the go-to guy.
Detective Murphy: Don't forget our little agreement about the sports references...
Shawn Sharp: Did I do it again? Sorry.
Detective Parker: You said Ms. Drum rode you pretty hard. What was that about?
Shawn Sharp: Usually, she had a bug up her– uh, she was bent out of shape over some detail that wasn't exactly right in one of my articles. She always wanted everything to be perfect, even those obscure statistics that no one cares about.
Detective Parker: Uh-huh. Did Ms. Drum ever tell you she was unhappy about these things that weren't quite right?
Shawn Sharp: Only all the time. She was like a broken record on that stuff. Really got on my nerves.
Detective Parker: Did you know Ms. Drum wanted to fire you?
Shawn Sharp: You don't really believe that, do you? I mean, I heard rumors, sure. But I knew my man Craig wouldn't let her get rid of me.
Detective Parker: Why would Mr. Pegues save your job?
Shawn Sharp: I told you he's the go-to guy, right? Craig and me, we understand each other. He gets the way I work, and I get the way he works. Not matter how good she was, Monica would never have been able to get rid of me while Craig was around.
Detective Murphy: Did you know that Ms. Drum and Mr. Pegues were looking into your background at the time of her death?
Shawn Sharp: Where are you getting your information? That's nuts. Why would they do that?
Detective Murphy: You tell me. Why would they do that?
Shawn Sharp: I have no idea. I'm not sure I even believe they were. I mean, I don't have anything to hide. If they'd wanted to know something, they would have just asked me.
Detective Murphy: You know, Mr. Sharp, it wouldn't be out of line for us to think that you found out Ms. Drum was checking your background and wanted to fire you, so you killed her to save your job and your reputation.
Shawn Sharp: It damn well would be out of line! First of all, I wasn't going to lose my job. I'm still working at the Eagle, right? Second of all, I don't love this job enough to kill anyone for it, and certainly not Monica. Plus, I hate guns. I've never owned one and I never will. I tried to shoot one once and nearly took my foot off. The whole idea is outrageous!
Detective Murphy: Just calm down, Mr. Sharp. I'm not saying you killed Ms. Drum. I'm just saying it would be easy for us to think you did.
Shawn Sharp: It might be easy, but it's wrong. And I don't have to stay here and listen to false accusations. I'm out of here. I've got work to do.
Detective Murphy: I'm going to have to ask you not to leave yet. We still have a few more questions to ask you, and we don't want to have to place you in custody.
Shawn Sharp: Are you kidding me? I mean, are you seriously threatening to arrest me?
Detective Murphy: Let's be very clear here, Mr. Sharp. I am not threatening you in any way. I'm simply saying we have a few more questions. If you refuse to stay and answer them on your own, we have the option of placing you in custody. I'd prefer not to do that. Now, do you think you can stay a few more minutes?
Shawn Sharp: Fine. I've got five minutes before I have to leave so I can catch the kickoff.
Detective Murphy: Thank you.
Detective Parker: Do you know Melvin Roberts, Mr. Sharp?
Shawn Sharp: I've met him. I've been to his store. We aren't what you'd call friends.
Detective Parker: Were you aware of the animosity Mr. Roberts had towards Ms. Drum?
Shawn Sharp: Not really. Not until he confessed to killing her. Like I've said before, I pretty much just stick to sports and don't pay much attention to anything else.
Detective Parker: Do you know Congressman Edward Hagen?
Shawn Sharp: I know of him, but I've never met him personally. We don't exactly share the same interests.
Detective Parker: You've never gambled with him at the The Rebel Yell?
Shawn Sharp: Do I seem like a guy who parties with congressmen? No, I've never gambled with Edward Hagen at the The Rebel Yell or anywhere else.
Detective Parker: Do you ever gamble?
Shawn Sharp: Look, I hit the casinos every now and then, like anyone else. What does this have to do with anything?
Detective Parker: Do you know anyone who drives a blue and while Silverado pickup?
Shawn Sharp: Not that I know of.
Detective Parker: Did you happen to see one in the Eagle parking lot when you left that night?
Shawn Sharp: I didn't notice, but there were a lot of cars around everywhere that night.
Detective Parker: Was there a blue and white Silverado in the lot when you picked up your car the next day?
Shawn Sharp: No, I don't think so.
Detective Murphy: Well, I believe that's all we have for you today. Thank you for your time.
Shawn Sharp: Yeah, OK.
Detective Parker: And Mr. Sharp? Please don't leave town without letting us know, OK?
Shawn Sharp: Whatever. Fine.
Interview ends - 5:42 p.m.