Jack Thomson interview
Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:02 a.m.
Jack Thomson is a nurse's aide working at the Yoknapatawpha Acres nursing home. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at Yoknapatawpha Acres. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jack Thomson
Detective Armstrong: Before we get started, give us your name and address.
Jack Thomson: I'm Jack Thomson. My address is 506 N. 15th Street, here in town.
Detective Armstrong: What do you do at Yoknapatawpha Acres?
Jack Thomson: I'm a nurse's aide. I basically take care of whatever I'm called on to do. I've done just about everything.
Detective Armstrong: You administer medications?
Jack Thomson: Oh, no. I don't do anything like that. I do whatever the nurses don't do or don't want to do like bathing, moving, feeding, cleaning up after their meals, and things like that.
Detective Armstrong: You do that for all the residents?
Jack Thomson: No, not all. Some of them can pretty much take care of themselves, except for what the nurse or their personal physician takes care of.
Detective Murphy: Do you enjoy your work, Mr. Thomson?
Jack Thomson: Most of the time. I like helping people who need it. The only thing I don't like about my job is seeing the old people cry because their families don't visit them. They feel totally lost and abandoned. That's hard to live with.
Detective Murphy: What do you do when that happens?
Jack Thomson: I comfort them as much as I can. I also try to bring them little gifts. Anything to lift their spirits and make them feel like they're cared for.
Detective Murphy: That's very nice of you.
Detective Armstrong: What about Jerry Shaw? Did he treat the patients like you do—with kindness and helping them as much as possible?
Jack Thomson: Are you kidding? Jerry only cared about Jerry. He wouldn't do a darn thing unless he got paid for it. I don't know why Landrigan hired him. Jerry wasn't the kind of person that those old people needed. He could be cruel.
Detective Armstrong: In what way?
Jack Thomson: He would ignore them for too long when they called him to come help with something they needed. Just simple things. Nothing that was going to put him out in any way.
Detective Armstrong: Can you give us an example?
Jack Thomson: OK. One morning, Mrs. Harbison felt sick to her stomach when breakfast was delivered, and she had to skip it.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Harbison has her meals in her room, not the dining room?
Jack Thomson: We try to get her to go to the dining room as often as we can. The interaction with other people is good for her. But it's painful for her when we move her from her bed to a wheelchair. Sometimes she just won't do it, so we bring her meals to her.
Detective Murphy: I see. Go ahead with your story. She skipped breakfast and?
Jack Thomson: Right. After a bit, when she was feeling better, she asked Jerry to please see about getting her a piece of toast that would carry her over until lunchtime. Do you think he did it? No! He ignored her, and I heard him laughing about it later.
Detective Murphy: Did you do anything about it?
Jack Thomson: I took her some toast and a cup of black coffee. She was so grateful for that little gesture. She keeps telling me when she goes home, she'll make me a nice dinner. Bless her heart. She won't be going home, but just hoping that she will be is all that keeps her going.
Detective Murphy: Did Jerry mind that you stepped in to help him out?
Jack Thomson: I didn't do it to help him. I did it to help her. But no, I don't think he did. He would've given me sh– uh, a hard time if he had, and he didn't.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know what happened to Jerry the day he died?
Jack Thomson: I've heard the talk, but I don't really understand what happened.. I don't feel sorry for him though. Sorry, but I just can't work up any sympathy for the man.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know anyone who would wish him dead or who would actually kill him?
Jack Thomson: I'd guess that any or all of the older people here might want him dead, but I can't imagine anyone doing it. Most of them aren't able to anyway.
Detective Armstrong: Maybe other people on staff had reason?
Jack Thomson: Well, if you dig deep enough, probably a lot of people had a reason. But for the most part, we're caregivers here. We help people the best we can. We don't hurt them, and we certainly don't kill them.
Detective Armstrong: What about you? It's obvious you don't feel any great loss over Jerry's death.
Jack Thomson: Me? I couldn't kill anyone.
Detective Armstrong: That's what everyone says.
Jack Thomson: Listen, after what happened to my sister, I thought I'd kill whoever was responsible. But then I realized that even if they had found the guilty person, I didn't have it in me to do it. There has to be something wrong with anyone who can just snuff out a life. That's not me.
Detective Murphy: Did the other employees feel the same way about Jerry? Maybe they considered him a friend.
Jack Thomson: I don't know if he had friends here or not, but I do know that some of the staff didn't care for him at all. He seemed argumentative with most everyone.
Detective Murphy: Like who?
Jack Thomson: I heard him argue with Matt about some kind of gambling debt. Matt was really upset. I thought they were going to end up on the floor, battling it out.
Detective Murphy: Matt who?
Jack Thomson: Matt Hooper, the oxygen guy.
Detective Murphy: He's a Yoknapatawpha Acres employee?
Jack Thomson: Well, no, but he's here a lot.
Detective Murphy: Is he generally argumentative?
Jack Thomson: Not that I know of. I can only speak for myself, but I've only seen him argue with Jerry.
Detective Murphy: You said Jerry and Matt were arguing about a gambling debt. How do you know?
Jack Thomson: I guess I just guessed from what they were saying.
Detective Murphy: Do you ever gamble?
Jack Thomson: What do you mean?
Detective Murphy: You ever go to the casinos?
Jack Thomson: No.
Detective Murphy: Ever participate in a friendly poker game or the office football or basketball pool?
Jack Thomson: I— no.
Detective Murphy: It's not strictly legal, but we're not looking to bust you for a harmless pastime.
Jack Thomson: Yeah, I wouldn't know anything about that.
Detective Murphy: Hm.
Detective Armstrong: Did you say anything to either Jerry or Matt when you saw them arguing?
Jack Thomson: No, it really wasn't any of my business.
Detective Murphy: Do you know if Matt is friendly with any of the other employees here?
Jack Thomson: I don't know. I guess so. He's nice enough usually.
Detective Murphy: Have you ever seen him talking with anyone other than Jerry?
Jack Thomson: Well, yeah. he talks to whoever's around when he's making his deliveries, I guess. I don't know what you mean.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever see Matt and Jerry get physical with each other?
Jack Thomson: Like a fistfight or something? No. They got close, but it was just words, as far as I know.
Detective Armstrong: Did either one of them ever get into it with anyone else?
Jack Thomson: No. What do you think goes on here? We don't go around beating the crap out of each other.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know if Jerry was close to anyone who works here?
Jack Thomson: Man, I don't know. Ask one of the girls. Ask Lillie Cain. She's the receptionist. Somehow, she knows everything that goes on around here, even though she hardly ever gets to leave the front desk.
Detective Armstrong: We'll do that.
Jack Thomson: Are we about done? I'm sorry to rush you, but I really need to go back to work. Mr. Landrigan sort of gave me a hard time about coming in here to talk to you instead of working. I don't want to get fired.
Detective Armstrong: Sure, you can go. But if you think of anything else, let us know.
Jack Thomson: Thanks. I will.
Interview ends - 10:51 a.m.