What do 1987 patrons of The Juke Joint remember about Kevin?

The Juke Joint 1987 patron re-canvass (2011)

Investigators tracked down as many of The Juke Joint patrons who had been interviewed in 1987 as could be located to talk to them about what they remember about Kevin Gilmore.

The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.


Carole French

Age / Position: 71 / Patient
: Yoknapatawpha Acres Nursing Home, Oxford MS

Mrs. French was interviewed at the nursing home. She said she remembered Kevin Gilmore and that there was no way she could forget him.

She said there was a lot of hullabaloo about his death and that when she went back to The Juke Joint the evening after the discovery of Kevin's body made the papers, the place was buzzing with the news.

When asked what the talk was about, French said that everyone was trying to guess who did it and what had happened out on Hathorn Road. She said some of the folks were sad, but there were a few wise guys who kept popping off about the pot farm being so close and they were saying that he probably died happy.

When asked what she and Kevin talked about when he sat with her, she said that she remembered that he spoke mostly about being on the Ole Miss basketball team and how much he loved it.

She said it had been so long ago that she couldn't remember what he looked like, and she hated that. Then French said she didn’t want to talk anymore because it was time for her nap.

Earl Lamon

Age / Position: 50 / Teacher
: 707 Shady Oaks Circle, Oxford MS

Mr. Lamon said he remembered The Juke Joint very well but hadn't been there in a long time.

When asked if he still remembered Kevin Gilmore and if he’d mind going over what he had said in 1987, he replied, "No, I don’t mind at all. I wish I’d gotten to know him better. He seemed to me to be a very nice guy and everyone liked him."

When asked if he had heard any talk about who could have murdered Kevin Gilmore, Lamon said, "Talk is cheap, and there was a lot of it. Who knows if any of it is true? I heard that the kid was murdered by his best friend, over Kevin's girlfriend."

After being asked who he thought did it, he said, "I don’t know. That’s why I said I wish I’d known him better. Maybe he would have confided in me about his problems. The killer’s still out there. The police should’ve worked harder because he didn’t deserve to die like that."

Bethany Young Parker

Age / Position: 51 / Accountant
615 Meadowview Drive, Oxford MS

Mrs. Parker was more than happy to speak about the old days, which she called "the good times days."

She said it was rumored that Rhonda Pendergrass had bought The Juke Joint with drug money, and maybe Kevin Gilmore and other employees sold the drugs for her.

She also said that there were rumors that ghosts were seen at night in the field near where Kevin’s body was found. When asked if she had seen them, her response was "maybe."

When asked if she knew anything factual about business at The Juke Joint or Rhonda Pendergrass, she responded by saying, "No, just the rumors, but you know the old saying: where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But there was an older guy that I would see talking to Kevin a few times. He just looked and acted suspicious, you know? He was usually leaning over to talk, more like whispering to Kevin."

Parker was asked what the man looked liked. She replied that all she could remember was that the man looked sort of trashy.

When asked why she didn’t say that in 1987, she said she didn’t remember it until much later and by then she didn’t think it was important.

Omar Epperson

Age / Position: 54 / Unemployed
: Homeless, Oxford MS

Omar Epperson was located at Avent Park, fishing. He said he didn’t want to talk too long to avoid scaring the fish away.

He was asked if he had remembered anything about Kevin Gilmore in the years after he was killed. He responded by saying that he only talked with his brother, Raoul.

Epperson said he still went to The Juke Joint because he could watch people in there and that was his favorite thing.

Epperson was asked about what he had told the detectives in 1987 about seeing Kevin in a car on Friday, December 11, 1987, at 1:00 A.M, and if he remembered anything more.

Epperson replied, "When I think on that, I always wonder if Kevin was killed in the car I saw him in late that night as me and Raoul was leaving The Juke Joint. Do you think that car was his and if someone else was in the car and I just didn’t see him?"

"After Kevin was found dead," he continued, "I worried about that for a long time, thinking maybe whoever could've been in that car saw me and was coming after me."

When asked if he'd heard any rumors about Kevin's murder during the following months or years, Epperson said, "You hear a lot of tales about things like that. I always thought it was his girlfriend. That Brock girl. When she was in The Juke Joint with him, he seemed to be guarding her, you know?"

"And after Kevin died," Epperson added, "her and Kevin's friend, the Turner boy, started showing up around town together. That's a little strange, don't you think? People were saying them two had been sneaking around together a long time. Even before Kevin died. Maybe that's why Kevin watched her so closely."

Epperson then said that he was done talking and went back to fishing.


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