Tuesday, December 17, 2019 – 11:30 a.m.
Gary Gibson works part-time at Santa's Toy Shoppe and knew the victim.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Gary Gibson
Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in, Mr. Gibson. Would you state your name and address for the record?
Gary Gibson: My name is Gary Michael Gibson, and I live at 123 Pearidge Road in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: That's just down the road from the Jordans, isn’t it?
Gary Gibson: That's right, ma'am. I read what happened. Carly and I sort of grew up together, and we worked together at the store. I can't believe it.
Detective Murphy: We're sorry for your loss.
Gary Gibson: I appreciate that. I've been praying about it. Letting God know I trust him. He always has a reason for what happens, but He does test me. I've seen a lot but nothing close to home like this. I mean, right down the street. I can't believe it.
Detective Armstrong: Gary, you were at Caroline's party with her last night. Is that correct?
Gary Gibson: Yes. I mean, no, I wasn't with her, like a date or anything. It was a work party for the staff to get everyone psyched for the final push through the busy season. It was Morgan's idea, and then Carly said she had the biggest house so the party should be there. She told me to come and not be a spoilsport.
Detective Armstrong: But you weren't on a date.
Gary Gibson: No, sir. Carly and I are just friends. We get along real well, but she's not my type. And she likes… well, don't women always like bad boys?
Detective Murphy: If I ever had a night off, I could find out.
Detective Armstrong: Did Caroline ever talk with you about who she was dating?
Gary Gibson: Yes, all the time. It's funny… when she dropped out of college, I thought, well, that's it. She wasn't real serious. I didn't think we had much in common.
Detective Murphy: But?
Gary Gibson: But we stayed in touch online, you know, acquaintances. And then, when I went overseas, she emailed me a lot. It was nice.
Detective Murphy: Nice, how?
Gary Gibson: I mean, you always hear from your family, and that's hard because they're so close to you, and every time you talk, it's serious. But sometimes it's just nice to hear about normal life.
Detective Murphy: Normal life?
Gary Gibson: Silly things like who's dating who or who had a party. She cheered me up a lot. And I guess maybe, I don't know, she thought because I was so far away, her secrets were safe with me. Not secrets, really — just gossip and who she wanted to date next. Nothing crazy. She was having fun.
Detective Armstrong: Who was she dating recently?
Gary Gibson: No one, for once. At least, not that I know. She would never talk about it, but her parents passing ... that really hurt her. Since then, she'd been thinking things over, not seeing anyone seriously. I mean, she still made fun of me for trying to get her to church, but I could tell she was looking for answers. She was taking some time for herself to figure things out.
Detective Armstrong: You're sure you two weren't dating?
Gary Gibson: No, sir. Absolutely nothing like that. I like Carly, but I wanted to help her more than anything else. The way she confided in me, lots of people are like that. They can talk to me. It made me think I had a calling. I'm planning to go into the ministry. Until then, I'm not focused on marriage.
Detective Armstrong: Did anyone else at work confide in you?
Gary Gibson: No. We all get along okay, but Carly was a friend.
Detective Murphy: You're positive she wasn't dating anyone at work?
Gary Gibson: Yes, ma'am. Everyone said Morgan was into her, but she wasn’t interested. I mean, he's engaged to a real nice girl. She works on campus. A secretary, I think.
Detective Armstrong: Is that what this note on this Christmas Wish List refers to?
Gary Gibson: What? Oh. Right. I guess. I knew that would be a bad idea when Morgan put it up. He had this idea of having a sales contest at work for the holidays, and the winner would get whatever they'd written on the list. I only wrote something because Carly was teasing me to do it.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know who wrote that? "3-way!"?
Gary Gibson: No.
Detective Armstrong: Does that refer to Caroline and Mr. Pierce?
Gary Gibson: I couldn't tell you. I guess that's someone's idea of a joke. Maybe one of the other guys. Eli or Billy. They were already pretty wasted when I left.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what "Sloan's herb" is?
Gary Gibson: No.
Detective Murphy: Did Caroline use drugs?
Gary Gibson: When we were in college, sometimes she said she'd smoked a joint before class. But she might have just been saying it as a joke because she knew I wouldn't approve.
Detective Armstrong: But she wrote this while you were standing right there?
Gary Gibson: Yes. She was trying to get me riled up. She liked to tease me like that. See if I reacted. Kind of like a kid sister, always joking. That's how I thought of her. I wanted to protect her.
Detective Armstrong: So how did you react when she wrote it?
Gary Gibson: I just shrugged it off. It's typical Carly.
Detective Murphy: When did you leave the party?
Gary Gibson: It had to be less than an hour after that. I was home by 9:30 p.m. I like to read to my mom before she goes to bed. And I need about an hour of silence before I turn in if I want to get any sleep.
Detective Murphy: When did you last see Caroline?
Gary Gibson: At the party. When I left, she was about to have another beer. She said the party was just getting started, and I joked I had to go home and pray for her soul. We laughed about that. I try not to take myself too seriously, and Carly appreciated that.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see or hear anything on the street after you left?
Gary Gibson: No. I heard cars coming and going, but I wasn't exactly watching out the window. I was in the den with my mom. Then in my room, I close the curtains, the whole nine yards. I need some peace and quiet.
Detective Armstrong: So your mother can vouch for your whereabouts?
Gary Gibson: Yes. Dad, too. I know you have to ask that question, but I'm the last person who would hurt Carly.
Detective Armstrong: What about the other people at the party? Was there anyone there who might have wanted to hurt her?
Gary Gibson: No. I can't imagine anyone doing something like that. Some of the guys can get wild — booze and all that — but I try not to judge. With everything I've seen, they were basically harmless.
Detective Murphy: Did Carly think they were harmless too?
Gary Gibson: She seemed to get along with them fine. The girls too. Carly always included everyone. I think that's why Morgan really gave her the job. Promoted her to full-time, I mean. Everyone said it was because he had a thing for her, but the truth is, she was good with customers. She really wanted to help them.
Detective Murphy: Had she mentioned or done anything out of the ordinary in the past few days? Anything you can think of?
Gary Gibson: No. Obviously, I've been over and over it in my head — trying to recall if there was a sign, praying I could help out in some way — but she seemed fine. She was happy at work. It gave her focus.
Detective Murphy: Did she ever mention being in danger?
Gary Gibson: No. Definitely not. I would have done something. Gotten her to report it. Protected her. Whatever I could. This literally came out of nowhere. I just don't understand it.
Detective Armstrong: All right, Mr. Gibson. That's all for now. You aren't planning to leave town anytime soon, are you?
Gary Gibson: No.
Detective Murphy: Give us a call if you think of anything.
Gary Gibson: Of course, I will.
Interview ended – 11:59 a.m.