Detective Charles Tatum was found shot to death in suspicious circumstances at his home.
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The investigation began on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, and will run for about five weeks.
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Jamie Covington interview
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – 2:25 p.m.
James "Jamie" Covington lives in the Whitehall neighborhood. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jamie Covington
Detective Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?
Jamie Covington: Jamie. XXXXXXX at gmail dot com.
Detective Murphy: We need your full name and legal mailing address where you live.
Jamie Covington: My folks say I live online, but I get your drift. My full name is James Belvedere Covington, and my legal mailing address is 30 Wishing Tree Lane.
Detective Armstrong: You think you're pretty funny.
Jamie Covington: I prefer witty.
Detective Armstrong: I prefer you just answer our questions. Okay?
Jamie Covington: Sure.
Detective Murphy: Where were you the night Ambrose Garrett died?
Jamie Covington: I was home hosting a loud party in honor of the monthly HOA meeting. I like to give them something to discuss.
Detective Armstrong: Do you enjoy aggravating people?
Jamie Covington: I see it as my sacred duty to help people keep focused, in the moment. So many of them coast by in a blur.
Detective Murphy: What do you do for work?
Jamie Covington: This month? I'm scraping partially gummed food off of trays before loading up the cafeteria dishwasher.
Detective Murphy: What cafeteria is that?
Jamie Covington: Bramlett Elementary. Starts at the crack of dawn, but the day ends mid-afternoon.
Detective Armstrong: That cafeteria job help you focus, stay in the moment?
Jamie Covington: More like it helps me stay in the bedroom where I grew up. My folks want to see a weekly paycheck. They don't much care what it says.
Detective Armstrong: Your parents home the night of the meeting?
Jamie Covington: They were in Vegas, trying to double my eventual inheritance.
Detective Armstrong: Do they go out there often?
Jamie Covington: Every few months. They always seem surprised when they come home and find me in the house. Talk about unfocused.
Detective Murphy: How big was this party you hosted?
Jamie Covington: 15, maybe 20 people. You know, at the same time. There were probably as many as 50 people who passed through that night, but no more than 20 were there at once.
Detective Murphy: Were there any problems?
Jamie Covington: No, unfortunately. I must have done something wrong.
Detective Armstrong: Did you leave the party at all?
Jamie Covington: A time or two. I ran out of mixers and ice at one point. Then someone had the brilliant idea of throwing coconuts up into the air to see if they'd split open when they hit the driveway. I ran to the store for those as well.
Detective Armstrong: According to the meeting minutes, you were at the homeowners meeting that night. How do you explain that?
Jamie Covington: Sloppy record keeping?
Detective Armstrong: Try again.
Jamie Covington: So I stopped in. Once a host sets a party in motion, what else is there to do?
Detective Murphy: You expect us to believe that you left a party held in your own house to attend a homeowners meeting?
Jamie Covington: Those meetings have gotten to be quite fun actually. Used to be they were dull, dull, dull, and my attendance was required to give it any pizzazz at all, but lately, they've been so tense that my services are virtually unnecessary.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean?
Jamie Covington: Everybody is already in the moment, slinging mud at one another. There's no fun in stirring up trouble if the cauldron is already boiling over.
Detective Murphy: Why do you think the meetings changed?
Jamie Covington: Ambrose. He really polarized the residents with his latest suggestions. He was either the neighborhood's last great hope or the devil incarnate.
Detective Armstrong: Where do you stand?
Jamie Covington: I'm only interested in events to the extent that they provide interactive entertainment. You ever play games online?
Detective Armstrong: Not really. What did you think of Ambrose?
Jamie Covington: He's a sheep in wolf's clothing. Everyone is up in arms over his plans, but let's face it: nothing will ever be different. Nothing will change. Nothing will improve.
Detective Murphy: Ambrose Garrett thought things would.
Jamie Covington: He was a dreamer.
Detective Murphy: How did the two of you get along?
Jamie Covington: You already know my impression of him. He probably thought I was a spoiled kid who never bothered to grow up.
Detective Armstrong: Did he use those words?
Jamie Covington: By his attitude towards me, yes.
Detective Murphy: And are you a spoiled kid who never bothered to grow up?
Jamie Covington: Don't tell anyone, but Ambrose had me pegged.
Detective Murphy: How did you feel about that?
Jamie Covington: I never really thought about it before. But thinking about it now, I guess I appreciate that he bothered to even form an impression of me.
Detective Murphy: Did the two of you ever argue?
Jamie Covington: I didn't feel passionately enough about anything. Once I knew his position on any topic, I'd feed the people most likely to oppose him, but I didn't become involved myself.
Detective Armstrong: Who killed him?
Jamie Covington: I don't think anybody did. I think it was a case of mistaken identity, and the wrong person died.
Detective Murphy: Do you have a likelier victim in mind?
Jamie Covington: Take your pick. Ambrose had crossed swords with everybody.
Detective Armstrong: Are you saying you think Ambrose was responsible?
Jamie Covington: The theory is starting to grow on me. He asked someone to stay late after the meeting but then made some fatal mistake. Hoist with his own petard.
Detective Murphy: Do you have any reason to believe this scenario could have actually happened?
Jamie Covington: It strikes my fancy.
Detective Murphy: Anything else?
Jamie Covington: It beats the alternative.
Detective Murphy: Which is what?
Jamie Covington: That someone took one of his crazy schemes to heart and had him killed.
Detective Armstrong: Had him killed? Are you suggesting that someone not in attendance was responsible?
Jamie Covington: You have to excuse me, but I come to this from the gaming world. I'm accustomed to scripts full of twists and reversals. Life, unfortunately, is not really that way. It's rather dull.
Detective Murphy: So whoever killed Mr. Garrett saved him from a life of boredom?
Jamie Covington: He probably wouldn't think so.
Detective Armstrong: And you?
Jamie Covington: Let me tell you something. Ambrose was no more an adult than I am. He loved a good game. He just hid it well.
Detective Murphy: For example?
Jamie Covington: When you talk to Mary Wallace, ask about Memphis. That's all I'm going to say.
Detective Armstrong: Fair enough. For now.
Jamie Covington: I mean if I did your job for you, you'd lose out on the thrill of the chase.
Detective Murphy: Yeah, it's all about the thrill for us, so thanks for that. We appreciate your coming in. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 2:49 p.m.