Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 10:59 a.m.
Jill Osborne has been the Administrative Assistant in the English Department at Ole Miss since 2009. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Jill Osborne
Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in today, Ms. Osborne. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Jill Osborne: Yes ma'am. Jill Osborne. 418 North 15th Street, Oxford.
Detective Murphy: Are you nervous? Would you like some water?
Jill Osborne: Yes, ma'am.
Detective Murphy: Yes to which?
Jill Osborne: Sorry, ma'am. Yes to both, ma'am.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Osborne, may I call you Jill?
Jill Osborne: Yes, ma'am.
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Jill. You don't have to call me "ma'am."
Jill Osborne: Sorry, ma'am – I mean Detective Murphy. Habit. My father was a drill instructor at Parris Island. He was very keen on respecting authority.
Detective Parker: Gotcha. We're just gathering information, Jill. There's no need to be nervous. Unless you have something to hide.
Jill Osborne: No, nothing. No. Not from you, anyway.
Detective Parker: From who then?
Jill Osborne: No one. It was just a kind of joke.
Detective Parker: I don't get it.
Jill Osborne: I'm not very funny. That's why. I had a dirty little secret in the department, until Professor Reed found out. Then it was just a dirty little fact.
Detective Murphy: What was that?
Jill Osborne: I'm well-read, so I'm familiar with all the authors the academics loved. But my favorite author was considered to be… or rather not considered to be a writer of literature.
Detective Parker: Danielle Steele?
Jill Osborne: Oh my God, no!
Detective Parker: Well, it was just a guess.
Jill Osborne: Sorry, that was rude. See how our prejudices can be so offensive?
Detective Parker: Did Doug Reed chastise you for your taste in literature?
Jill Osborne: Yes. He was particularly offended.
Detective Parker: Did that bother you?
Jill Osborne: Yes, of course. He acted so elitist with everyone, but with support staff he was brutal.
Detective Murphy: How so?
Jill Osborne: Dr. Reed took any and every opportunity to publicly humiliate me.
Detective Murphy: That seems extreme. Is it possible it just seemed that way because he was higher ranking in the department than you are?
Jill Osborne: No. I'm comfortable in a subservient role.
Detective Parker: Did you observe him acting this way with others?
Jill Osborne: All the time. He was particularly mean to Carol Fitch and me in our roles as administrative staff, but he also treated his peers badly.
Detective Parker: Which peers specifically?
Jill Osborne: Jake Hemphill was a favorite target. Jake's very sweet. Dr. Reed was relentless in his attacks on him.
Detective Murphy: Do you think Mr. Hemphill is capable of murder?
Jill Osborne: No. Jake would never. He wouldn't even push back when Dr. Reed shoved him.
Detective Murphy: Literally shoved?
Jill Osborne: Yes. Dr. Reed would pass by Jake in the hallway and intentionally bump into him.
Detective Parker: Was Mr. Reed physically aggressive toward anyone else?
Jill Osborne: Not that I saw. Not like that. Although, he was sexually aggressive toward women. At least I think so.
Detective Parker: Toward you?
Jill Osborne: No, I was not in his league.
Detective Parker: Were you upset by his lack of sexual attention?
Jill Osborne: Not at all. Besides, I know his girlfriend, Nora Percy.
Detective Murphy: Why would that make a difference?
Jill Osborne: Because it's degrading and disrespectful to date someone who's in a relationship. I feel sorry for Nora. Everyone knew that he was sleeping around.
Detective Parker: Was Nora angry about it?
Jill Osborne: She just kind of accepted it.
Detective Murphy: Did you know for a fact that Mr. Reed was sleeping around?
Jill Osborne: Well, no, but recently when I was in his car, I saw a dress that Yvonne Boyd had been wearing the day before.
Detective Parker: Why were you in his car?
Jill Osborne: He told me to get it washed. When I get it washed, I'm supposed to look around and take any clothes he's left in it to the dry cleaners. If I don't check under the seats and in the trunk to be sure that I've got everything, I get yelled at.
Detective Parker: Is it in your job description to do personal errands for members of the department?
Jill Osborne: No, but I…
Detective Parker: Does Carol Fitch do personal errands for the professors?
Jill Osborne: No. She told me I didn't have to, but it was less humiliating than having him scream at me. Plus, he'd already written me up for incompetence.
Detective Murphy: Who did he report this to?
Jill Osborne: Professor Johnson. The department head.
Detective Murphy: What was Dr. Johnson's reaction?
Jill Osborne: I think he – Professor Johnson, I mean– kind of let it slide. I work closely with him, and he can see that I'm not incompetent.
Detective Murphy: Were there any issues between Dr. Johnson and Mr. Reed?
Jill Osborne: I never saw anything serious. They were tennis buddies, so I guess they liked each other.
Detective Parker: Not even when Dr. Johnson let your incompetence slide?
Jill Osborne: No. And I'm not incompetent. Just a little nervous, maybe, around Dr. Reed and Laurence Bricker.
Detective Parker: Were they friendly?
Jill Osborne: No, but Dr. Bricker isn't friendly with anyone.
Detective Parker: Did you witness any confrontations between Mr. Reed and Mr. Bricker?
Jill Osborne: Dr. Bricker didn't tolerate Dr. Reed's bullying, so yes. There were confrontations.
Detective Parker: Did these confrontations ever escalate into anything serious?
Jill Osborne: Not that I ever saw, but there was always tension between them.
Detective Murphy: What was Mr. Reed's relationship with Andrew Carlson?
Jill Osborne: Strained. Poor Dr. Carlson tried to avoid the drama, but Dr. Reed aggressively pursued him.
Detective Murphy: That's not the first time you've used the word "aggressive" to describe Mr. Reed. Are you sure it's a fair assessment?
Jill Osborne: Considering that Dr. Carlson took steps to keep Dr. Reed away from him, I'd say that "aggressive" is appropriate,
Detective Murphy: Would you say that Dr. Carlson felt threatened?
Jill Osborne: Yes, I believe he felt that way.
Detective Parker: Jill, we need to know where you were between approximately 7:00 p.m. on July 21st and 8:00 a.m. on July 22nd?
Jill Osborne: Um, let's see. I went to Rowan Oak for the buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. and stayed until 9:00 p.m. That's when I left with Carol to go to my house.
Detective Parker: Interesting.
Jill Osborne: How so?
Detective Parker: That's almost word for word what Carol told us.
Jill Osborne: Well, that's a good thing, right? Because that's what happened.
Detective Parker: Did anyone see you leave Rowan Oak?
Jill Osborne: I was talking to Monte Marcos just before we left. He was talking about taking a video of Dr. Reed at the conference center.
Detective Murphy: What video is that?
Jill Osborne: I'm not sure. I didn't see a video.
Detective Murphy: Did Mr. Marcos tell you he had recorded Mr. Reed at the conference center?
Jill Osborne: Oh, I see what you're saying. I wasn't sure what he was talking about. He may've been saying he planned to take a video when Dr. Reed was giving his presentation or whatever at the conference. Monte was Dr. Reed's assistant, so he would've been In charge of that.
Detective Parker: What time did you leave Rowan Oak?
Jill Osborne: Around 9:30.
Detective Parker: You said 9:00 before.
Jill Osborne: I did? Sorry. I'm not sure. It's whatever Carol said. I was upset at the time, which is why we left.
Detective Parker: Why were you upset?
Jill Osborne: Dr. Reed had yelled at me for not letting him see Jake and Dr. Carlson's presentation materials. I was upset and embarrassed and just wanted to go home. Carol came to my house and stayed until around midnight.
Detective Murphy: Did anyone see you arrive at your house?
Jill Osborne: Not that I know of.
Detective Murphy: What about the next morning?
Jill Osborne: I arrived at the conference center at around 7:40 a.m. I drove there straight from home.
Detective Parker: Can you think of anyone who might've wanted Doug Reed dead?
Jill Osborne: Dead? No. I can't believe anyone would've intentionally killed him. It's so awful.
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Jill. We'll contact you if we have any further questions.
Interview ended: 11:28 a.m.