Jessica Hamilton interview
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – 4:30 p.m.
Jessica Hamilton works part-time at Santa's Toy Shoppe and knew the victim.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jessica Hamilton
Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in. Please state your name and address for the record.
Jessica Hamilton: Jessica Hamilton, and I live at the Ice House Condos, 2154 South Lamar Boulevard.
Detective Murphy: You live there by yourself?
Jessica Hamilton: No. With a couple of other Tri-Delts. I mean, formerly. We were all in the same class, but we all graduated.
Detective Murphy: Got it. Nice place.
Jessica Hamilton: Jared — he's my boyfriend — he helps me with the rent. He wants me not to have to worry about living someplace nasty.
Detective Murphy: Nice boyfriend. So what are you doing working at Santa's Toy Shoppe?
Jessica Hamilton: You know how hard it is to get a decent job right now? It's what I could get. I'm also part-time at the Rue 21 in Batesville and J.C. Penney, but I wanted a few more hours.
Detective Murphy: Got it. So were you at the party on December 5th?
Jessica Hamilton: Yes. It was kind of mandatory. I mean, Morgan said it was just social and we weren't being paid or anything, but we obviously had to go or his feelings would have been hurt.
Detective Armstrong: What happened that night?
Jessica Hamilton: Nothing special. Or, like, it's just kind of hard to remember, now that— well, after what happened. That kind of overwhelms everything. I still can't believe Carly is dead, you know?
Detective Armstrong: You were friends?
Jessica Hamilton: Kind of. We didn't hang out much outside work or anything, but she was OK. Normal. Not like some of the others.
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean by that?
Jessica Hamilton: Well, like Gary, he's kind of a weird guy. I mean, being a soldier must be hard and I appreciate his service and all that — I wouldn't want to do that — but it's made him kind of intense. Carly was nice to him, though. I think she liked the attention or just— I don't know, she liked controlling her relationships. Does that sound mean?
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean "she liked controlling her relationships"?
Jessica Hamilton: I'm just saying she liked having the upper hand. Which isn't really bad. She ended up being nice to people so they'd look up to her. She could be really nice.
Detective Armstrong: Was Gary was at the party?
Jessica Hamilton: Sure. He only showed up because he had to, kind of like me I guess. Isn't that funny? Not ha ha funny but weird that we're alike on some level? He didn't want to be there because he doesn't drink or anything. He's real strict with his religion. I just thought the whole party thing was lame.
Detective Murphy: Got it. So who else was there?
Jessica Hamilton: Um, Billy was there. He's OK, too. He's Phi Beta Sigma, a junior, so I knew him already. He's going to be a doctor. Morgan, of course. He's our boss. He's, like, engaged, but he has a total crush on Carly. And at the party, he kept telling everyone he'd broken up with his girlfriend like Carly would fall for that. Everyone says that's why she got the full-time job.
Detective Armstrong: Is that what you think?
Jessica Hamilton: No. I mean, maybe that's why he gave it to her, but Carly deserved it. She was good with customer service. That's what I mean by controlling — it can be good sometimes.
Detective Armstrong: Like how?
Jessica Hamilton: Like, if someone was mad because they'd bought a toy and then saw it at Walmart for a lower price, and they wanted their money back. Carly was able to control the situation and ended up just giving them a coupon for a future purchase, not a refund, which is really good because, you know, maybe they'll actually come back and spend more money to use it, right?
Detective Armstrong: Sure.
Jessica Hamilton: And the customer left feeling happy about it. You have to know how to handle people to get away with that, and she did it. Everyone always thinks if you're pretty you must be dumb and you only get your way because of your looks, but it's not true. You know?
Detective Murphy: Sure, that happens to me all the time.
Detective Armstrong: Did you want the job?
Jessica Hamilton: I applied for it, sure. Why not? You have to try. It would have been nice to drop the job in Batesville. But I didn't really care. It's not like I want to live here forever like Carly did. She had a house. She was set.
Detective Murphy: Who else was at the party?
Jessica Hamilton: Well, Nancy. She's nice, I guess, but I feel sorry for her. She's pretty poor, I guess. Carly told me they hung out once at the Brass Monkey with Matt and ordered pizza and a pitcher of beer, and Nancy just said she would just have water — even though it was obvious she was totally hungry — because I guess she didn't want to have to pay her share.
Detective Murphy: Did Carly say that was the reason Nancy did that?
Jessica Hamilton: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: How did she know?
Jessica Hamilton: You know how when someone is watching you eat and you can tell they're starving, like if they're on a diet? That's what she was like. Carly said she and Matt finally got her to have some pizza by saying they were both full and telling Nancy she should have a slice, and Nancy totally wolfed it down.
Detective Armstrong: Did Nancy want the job?
Jessica Hamilton: Yeah. I mean, Morgan didn't tell us who all applied, but I assume she did. She's not as good as Carly was with the customers, though. She didn't deserve it.
Detective Armstrong: How did she take it when Carly got the job instead?
Jessica Hamilton: She was pissed. I mean, she didn't, like, yell at anybody or anything, but you could tell she was really mad.
Detective Armstrong: How?
Jessica Hamilton: You know, the way she talked, the way her face looked, stuff like that. She was a real pain to work with for days, but you can't really blame her. She was really counting on getting that job. I felt sorry for her.
Detective Armstrong: So would it be accurate to say that you, Carly and Nancy were the only ones who really wanted that full-time job?
Jessica Hamilton: I didn't really want it. I tried for it, but that doesn't mean I wanted it that bad.
Detective Armstrong: OK. But was there anyone else?
Jessica Hamilton: I don't know. Maybe Gary. He said he wasn't going on another tour anytime soon, and his mom is going blind. Maybe he needs money for her for, like, special glasses. But I wouldn't know.
Detective Murphy: Who else was at the party?
Jessica Hamilton: Oh, the rest of the guys. Matt is a friend of Morgan's. He's a total bullshitter, always pretending like he knows what he's talking about. But, like, if you're so smart, what are you doing working at the Toy Shoppe, you know?
Detective Murphy: Indeed.
Jessica Hamilton: Anyway, he liked Carly too. So did Billy, I guess. She was a flirt, kind of. The whole control thing, she liked having them wrapped around her finger. Eli and Danny were there too, but they're losers. They pretty much party for a living. Barely show up to work sober. It's, like, gross.
Detective Murphy: OK. So what happened at the party?
Jessica Hamilton: Mot much. We just stood around a talked. Morgan had a stupid wish list he was waving around. It was for a sales contest, he said. Whoever won would get what they put on the list, he claimed, but no one took it seriously. We were all drunk anyway and ended up making it into a joke.
Detective Murphy: I see you wrote "engagement ring."
Jessica Hamilton: Right. That's what I mean. It's not like I wanted Morgan to give me one. I was thinking of Jared. And then, the thing about the three-way? That was Eli, totally.
Detective Armstrong: What about this?
Jessica Hamilton: Sloan's herb. Yeah, another joke. Carly wrote it.
Detective Murphy: What does it mean?
Jessica Hamilton: Well, it's about drugs. You know that, right? And Sloan — do you know him?
Detective Armstrong: Who is he?
Jessica Hamilton: I don't know him. But a friend of a friend said — well, sometimes there was pot at parties on campus. I don't smoke, though. Neither did Carly. I mean, I think she said she tried it once or twice, but she didn't like it. The thing on the list was totally a joke.
Detective Murphy: Are you sure about that? It sounds like you know Sloan.
Jessica Hamilton: No way. I absolutely don't.
Detective Armstrong: Was he there? Was there pot at the party?
Jessica Hamilton: No.
Detective Armstrong: OK, so what else happened?
Jessica Hamilton: Carly was showing off all the gifts she'd already gotten. Some weird knife from a book club friend. A cute pair of earrings. I don't really remember. It was getting boring. I texted Jared and he said to come over, so I left.
Detective Armstrong: When was that?
Jessica Hamilton: I don't really remember. 10:00? 10:15?
Detective Armstrong: You had your car?
Jessica Hamilton: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: Who was still there?
Jessica Hamilton: I didn't really notice. Gary left early, so not him. When I said I was going, Billy said, "Me too," and put on his coat, but he was still talking to Matt when I left. Everyone else was still there, I guess.
Detective Murphy: Did you notice whose cars were still there?
Jessica Hamilton: Um, Billy's, I think, and Morgan's. Eli's truck. He and Danny probably came together, maybe Matt too. Why? Is that when it happened? At the party?
Detective Armstrong: Do you think anyone there wanted Carly dead?
Jessica Hamilton: Wow. No. That's just, you know, crazy. We all got along fine.
Detective Murphy: Did you kill her?
Jessica Hamilton: No. Absolutely not. Oh my god, what are you thinking? You think I did it?
Detective Armstrong: Where can we find your boyfriend?
Jessica Hamilton: What, so you can, like, check my story?
Detective Murphy: Exactly like that.
Jessica Hamilton: I don't believe this.
Detective Armstrong: Then would you care to suggest who we should talk to? Who might have killed her?
Jessica Hamilton: I have no idea. She didn't have a boyfriend or anything. Can I get out my phone? Jared's number's on my phone.
Detective Armstrong: Go ahead.
Jessica Hamilton: This isn't happening. He's a lawyer, you know.
Detective Murphy: We'll keep that in mind.
Jessica Hamilton: Actually, I want to go. I just— I want to leave now. You have to let me go, right?
Detective Armstrong: Fine. Don't go anywhere, though.
Jessica Hamilton: This is crazy. Of course, I want you to find who did it. But it wasn't me. OK?
Detective Murphy: We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 5:05 p.m.