Interviews: Summary of Employees of the Yoknapatawpha District Attorney's Offices
On Wednesday morning, February 23, 2011, Deputy P.J. Watson canvassed the employees in District Attorney Spenser Brook's offices to determine if anyone who many have seen or heard anything that would point to information on the murder of D.A. Spenser Brooks on January 30, 2011. The interviews summarized below.
Brandon Finnegan, Investigator. Finnegan wanted to help with the investigation in the murder of D.A. Brooks, but the sitting D.A. wouldn't allow it. According to Mr. Finnegan, Jill Ross could care less if D.A. Brooks’ murderer was ever found. He said Ross never said so, but Finnegan could see she was happy to hear of Brooks’ demise. Finnegan said he didn't know Brooks very well, other than in the office. He said Brooks always greeted him with a smile but didn't want his personal life talked about all over the office. "D.A. Brooks didn't say it, but I knew that was why he shunned away from anything to do with his or anyone else's personal crap." Mr. Finnegan pointed to a stack of papers on his desk, "Are we done now? I need to get all these court papers written up." Mr. Finnegan informed the Deputy that he should speak with Joseph Rakes, the narcotics investigator because he noticed that the D.A. always stopped in Rakes’ office. Finnegan said he knew something was going on there because D.A. Brooks spent more time in there lately than anywhere other than his own office.
Conrad Rickens, Post Bar Graduate. When asked what he could tell us about Spenser Brooks, Rickens said that he knew the son better than the D.A. Mr. Rickens said Wesley was very friendly and he always asked questions about his, Rickens, job. Wesley seemed interested in law and was usually cheerful, but lately he seemed a little stressed. "I think it's Virginia that is giving him some grief. I don’t know that for sure, but when she comes in, both Wesley and his dad are on edge." When questioned if he knew of anyone or heard the name of anyone who might want D.A. Brooks out of the way, Rickens replied, “Jill Ross." Rickens said he had never heard of Byron Brooks or even knew the D.A. had a brother.
Ms. Voneta McKinney, Victim Assistance Coordinator. Ms. McKinney said that D.A. Brooks would be missed and that Jill Ross was a poor substitute for the former D.A. When asked if he knew if Brook's had any friends in the office, Ms. McKinney replied that the "D.A. was very talkative when we discussed the cases we were working on, but after the meetings were over, D.A. Brooks usually went into his own office and the only people who came to visit was his wife, Virginia, and son Wesley." Asked if she knew of anyone who had it in for the D.A., Ms. McKinney replied that she knew no one personally, but there were a lot of criminals that the D. A. had "put away."
Sharon Brittingham, Secretary. Ms. Brittingham noticed friction between the Assistant D. A. and Brooks, simply because Jill Ross made it so obvious. One of the big reasons was Ross's jealousy of D. A. Brooks’ job. She wanted it so badly the hatred in her eyes was there for all to see. Including the D. A. There was tension over the new liquor regulations that D. A. championed. Brittingham said she never talked with the D.A. about anything other than what work dictated. She wasn’t interested in personal discussions and neither was he.
After saying that she said, "I will tell you one thing I saw one afternoon when I was driving to Holly Springs, I saw the D.A. driving in the opposite direction and there was another woman in his car. Not his wife."
When asked how she knew it wasn't his wife and if she could she see the woman clearly, Ms. Brittingham replied, "No, I didn’t see her face; the woman was turned sideways talking to the D.A. What I saw was long blonde hair. It definitely wasn't Mrs. Brooks. She has black hair."
Joseph Rakes, Narcotics Agent. Mr. Rakes reported he had had some lengthy conversations with D.A. Brooks. He said Brooks always stopped by and questioned him about the narcotics trafficking that was becoming rampant in Oxford and surrounding areas. When asked if the D.A. asked about anyone in particular, Mr. Rakes replied that one of the meth dealers that he had seen convicted was out of prison and he told Rakes to keep an eye on him. When questioned about the name, Rakes said the ex-con was Kyle Ferguson, who went by the street name of "Big Man." He said he was watching him just like Brooks asked but he couldn't watch his every move. He had too many other investigations going on. When asked if he was watching Ferguson on Sunday morning, January 30, 2011, he said that he was in church every Sunday morning, so "no," he didn't watch anyone on Sunday mornings other than his pastor.
Rakes said there was tension between Jill Ross and D.A. Brooks over the D.A. pushing for and succeeding in getting the new liquor regulations passed. He said that there were probably a lot of young men and women who dislike the D.A. over the new laws. When asked if he ever discussed personal matters with D.A. Brooks, he replied, "No, but everyone knew that Jill Ross didn't like Brooks and hated him because she wanted the District Attorney’s position." He went on to say that personally he liked and admired the D.A.; he was never nasty or hateful like Ross was and Mr. Rakes thought Brooks worked hard and got results.