Friday, March 16, 2018 – 5:15 p.m.
Julie Arbuckle, one of Ambrose Garrett's neighbors, called 911 when she found him unresponsive at the Whitehall Community Center. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke with her again at her residence.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Julie Arbuckle
Detective Murphy: Thanks for letting us stop by to talk to you.
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, I was happy to do it. I want to help, of course, if I can. I didn't think there was anything else I could do. Do you need me to identify someone? Look at some photos? That's what they always do on TV.
Detective Armstrong: No, ma'am, but we may take you up on that later. Before we get into why we're here, could you just give us your name and address real quick for the record?
Julie Arbuckle: Of course. Julie Arbuckle. 142 County Road 140.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. We just wanted to ask you about some things we've found out since we talked last time.
Julie Arbuckle: If there's anything else I can tell you, I certainly will.
Detective Murphy: Great. Do you remember what time you got to the community center for the meeting?
Julie Arbuckle: I usually get there about 4:30, 4:45.
Detective Armstrong: Who else was there when you got there?
Julie Arbuckle: I'm not sure. I saw Ambrose, but then I went back to the kitchen to make some iced tea. When I came back to the meeting room, Mary and David and some other people were there too. I don't know. Mary might know.
Detective Murphy: Since it sounds like you watch crime shows on TV, you can probably guess that we checked the meeting room at the community center for fingerprints.
Julie Arbuckle: Of course.
Detective Armstrong: We found your prints on the table where Ambrose Garrett's body was found.
Julie Arbuckle: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us how they got there?
Julie Arbuckle: Well, we all sit there during the meetings. I'm sure I touched the table.
Detective Murphy: "We all" meaning who?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, Ambrose, Mary, David, me.
Detective Murphy: So even though you're not an officer anymore, you still sit at that table during meetings?
Julie Arbuckle: Well, yes. I'm the Past President. It's sort of like an emeritus position.
Detective Armstrong: Since you were right there at the table, maybe you can tell us whether you saw who was around the table at any time during the meeting.
Julie Arbuckle: Around the table? Well, the four of us, of course. And other people probably came up before or after the meeting or during the break. I'm really sorry. I just wasn't paying attention to that.
Detective Armstrong: Did anyone do anything unusual?
Julie Arbuckle: Unusual how?
Detective Armstrong: You tell us.
Julie Arbuckle: I don't think so.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever have any reason to touch Ambrose's chair, maybe to move it out of the way?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't think so.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see anyone else touch his chair or his jacket?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. They might have.
Detective Murphy: We also found fingerprints from Warren Edwards and Jamie Covington on that table. Do you remember them being anywhere near the table?
Julie Arbuckle: I'm sure they were. Warren and Ambrose always seemed to have something to discuss. Or argue about. And Jamie might have come over to the table during the break. I don't know. I wasn't there the whole time.
Detective Murphy: You left the table during the break?
Julie Arbuckle: Of course. I went to get a snack like everyone else and to make sure none of the drinks or snacks or supplies were running out.
Detective Murphy: Supplies?
Julie Arbuckle: Plates, napkins, glasses, things like that.
Detective Armstrong: Was anyone ever alone at the table during the break?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know. Maybe. We were all up and down.
Detective Armstrong: You told us before that Ambrose was drinking at the meeting.
Julie Arbuckle: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Was anyone drinking with him?
Julie Arbuckle: Not that I know of. Ambrose was never very fond of sharing.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what he was drinking?
Julie Arbuckle: What he was drinking?
Detective Murphy: Do you know what kind of alcohol he was drinking?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, no. I never asked.
Detective Murphy: Do you know where he was getting it?
Julie Arbuckle: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: If alcohol wasn't something you supplied at the meeting, then he had to be getting it from somewhere. Did he have a bottle stashed in the restroom or something?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, I see. No, he had it in his flask, I would think. He always acted like no one knew he carried a flask, but of course, everyone did.
Detective Armstrong: Was there ever a time during the meeting or the break that you could smell his breath?
Julie Arbuckle: Excuse me?
Detective Armstrong: Sometimes you can tell what a person has been eating or drinking by the way their breath smells.
Julie Arbuckle: No, I never smelled his breath.
Detective Armstrong: And when he was talking, you never smelled anything and thought, "He must be drinking whiskey," or "He must be drinking gin," or anything like that?
Julie Arbuckle: I didn't smell anything that I remember.
Detective Armstrong: So he was drinking something more like vodka?
Julie Arbuckle: I'm sorry. I really wouldn't know.
Detective Armstrong: We've heard he might've been interested in trying moonshine. Did you ever hear him talk about that?
Julie Arbuckle: Was he really? My granddaddy used to have a still way back when.
Detective Armstrong: So it was something you two had in common?
Julie Arbuckle: I wouldn't say that. I don't know if he even knew about my granddaddy, and it's not the kind of thing Ambrose and I would normally discuss.
Detective Armstrong: Who would he discuss it with?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, I really don't want to—
Detective Armstrong: It doesn't mean that person did anything wrong.
Julie Arbuckle: Really? Well, Jamie Covington always seems to know how to have a good time. Maybe he might be someone who could talk about that.
Detective Murphy: What do you know about the incident between Ambrose Garrett and Warren Edwards about a week before Mr. Garrett's death?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, that. That was just Warren being Warren and Ambrose being Ambrose. That time, it was Warren who went a little too far.
Detective Murphy: There were other occasions when Ambrose went too far?
Julie Arbuckle: Ambrose never called the police on Warren as far as I know. But the two of them were always bickering with each other one minute, then ganging up on someone else the next. It's just how they were. I'm surprised Warren got the police involved, but maybe Ambrose wasn't quite himself that night.
Detective Murphy: Meaning?
Julie Arbuckle: Well, you know about the drinking.
Detective Murphy: You think Ambrose was drunk that night?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, I wasn't there so I wouldn't know. All I'm saying is it's possible he wasn't quite himself.
Detective Murphy: Do you think Warren was angry enough about that to kill him?
Julie Arbuckle: Absolutely not. Even if he wanted to kill Ambrose, he wouldn't do it because it's against the law. And Warren never breaks the rules.
Detective Armstrong: What about Patrick Tyler? We found his fingerprint on that table too. Did you see him doing anything unusual around the table during the break or at any other time around the meeting?
Julie Arbuckle: Not that I remember.
Detective Armstrong: Some people have told us that Delilah Garrett and Patrick might be more than just friends. Do you know anything about that?
Julie Arbuckle: That's a terrible thing to say. Who told you that?
Detective Armstrong: You've never heard anyone say that?
Julie Arbuckle: Of course not.
Detective Armstrong: And you've never personally seen any evidence of the two of them having an affair?
Julie Arbuckle: No, I have not. And even if I had, I wouldn't go around talking about it. It's none of my business.
Detective Murphy: You've had some time to think about it now. Who do you think killed Mr. Garrett?
Julie Arbuckle: Are you sure someone did kill him? Maybe it was just an accident.
Detective Murphy: Let's say it wasn't an accident. Who do you think did it?
Julie Arbuckle: I can't believe anyone I know would do something like that. What about that Chester Hawkins? You arrested him that night, didn't you?
Detective Armstrong: Did Chester Hawkins have a grudge against Ambrose?
Julie Arbuckle: I don't know, but maybe Mr. Hawkins didn't know what he was doing. He's not a well man.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone else?
Julie Arbuckle: No. The people in this neighborhood might have little differences of opinion occasionally, but they're all good people. They would never kill anyone. Unless it was in self-defense or in a war, but I guess that doesn't apply to what you're talking about.
Detective Murphy: If you do think of anyone, you'll give us a call?
Julie Arbuckle: Oh, of course. If someone really did kill Ambrose, I want to be as helpful as I can.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 5:34 p.m.