Interview 3: Christine Faye Arnold, clerk of the court
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 – 12:03 p.m.
Christine Arnold, the victim’s coworker, previously declined to be interviewed further without an attorney present. Her fingerprints were found in the victim’s vehicle and at the crime scene. The interview was conducted at the Yoknapatawpha Sheriff’s Department and recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness’s knowledge and consent.
- Ted Armstrong
- Samantha Murphy
- Christy Arnold
Detective Murphy: This is a surprise.
Christine Arnold: I need to talk. I want it to be official.
Detective Armstrong: Is your attorney joining us?
Christine Arnold: No. I don’t care.
Detective Murphy: Okay, calm down. State your name and address again for the record.
Christine Arnold: Christine Faye Arnold. 701 South 19th Street. I have to confess.
Detective Murphy: Go on.
Christine Arnold: I’ve been lying all along. I had to tell you that. I mean, not the way you think – not about what happened to Spenser. My lawyer said not to, but I had to come in. You have to see I would never hurt him.
Detective Murphy: Why do you say that?
Christine Arnold: I loved him. He and I – we were together. You know.
Detective Murphy: You were having an affair?
Christine Arnold: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: For how long?
Christine Arnold: Five months. No, six.
Detective Murphy: Why are you telling us this now?
Christine Arnold: The first time you asked me, you know, about the phone call, I thought, no big deal. Spense was so careful, we both were – I was sure no one would be able to prove anything. The other girls might say something, but that would just be speculation, right? But then the fingerprints in the car – I panicked. I didn’t know what all you knew. Maybe there was something we missed. I was so scared, because I knew it would look bad, and I started lying. I mean, I talked with a lawyer and he said I didn’t have to talk with you ever again. But I couldn’t let you think – if you wasted time thinking it was me, then maybe whoever did it was going to get away with it. I had to tell you.
Detective Armstrong: Very noble of you.
Detective Murphy: So when you said you and Mr. Brooks went out to lunch –
Christine Arnold: No. That was all true. Everything about the office.
Detective Murphy: So then when did you see each other?
Christine Arnold: After work sometimes. He would tell Virginia he was pulling an all-nighter on a case. We would go out there. To the cabin.
Detective Murphy: At Wall Doxey Park.
Christine Arnold: Yeah. The ranger, what’s his name? Roy, I think. He let Spense use it whenever he wanted. Number eleven was the most private.
Detective Murphy: How often did you go out there?
Christine Arnold: Oh, maybe once a month, every few weeks. It couldn’t be too often.
Detective Murphy: That’s it?
Christine Arnold: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: You ever go to a motel somewhere?
Christine Arnold: No. Although last fall, the D.A.’s convention down in Biloxi – I went with him. I mean, not with him with him, but I met him down there. Separate cars, everything.
Detective Murphy: This was overnight?
Christine Arnold: Yeah, three days. But it was just so – oh, I don’t know, stupid. I had to sneak up to his room. And then stay there, no room service, no nothing. When I got hungry I had to put on this stupid wig and sunglasses and go to some other casino and use the restaurant there. Or buy snacks at the 7-11 and bring them back. I could only pay cash. No using the Internet or my cell phone – he was worried about being tracked. We hardly saw each other at all, and we had a fight. I can’t believe I wasted time like that.
Detective Murphy: What did you fight about?
Christine Arnold: I was just frustrated, you know? I wanted it to be over. All the sneaking around.
Detective Armstrong: Hold on. You thought he was going to leave his wife?
Christine Arnold: No. I knew, for sure.
Detective Murphy: Christy, you slept with him, what, ten times in six months?
Christine Arnold: No. I mean, yeah, we couldn’t risk more than that. But I wasn’t lying before. About the office, you know. All the stuff about his cases and the advice he gave me about my career. That was real. We really were friends.
Detective Armstrong: Or “friends with benefits.”
Christine Arnold: No, oh no. It wasn’t cheap like that.
Detective Murphy: Did he ever tell you he wanted to leave his wife?
Christine Arnold: He said he loved me. Sometimes, like when he had a bad day, we’d talk about running away. But he felt responsible. I loved him for that, you know? Even though it sucked. We talked a lot about his family. He loved them, too. Especially Wes. I got to meet him, once. At the office. Spense worried about him. He would ask my advice. Tease me – he would say, you’re closer in age, you could be his girlfriend. Like I cared about any of that.
Detective Murphy: What did he say about Virginia?
Christine Arnold: Not much. Or, I guess, one time he complained she was cold to him. This was at the cabin. But then Monday he called me into his office and said he felt bad about that. Dishonorable. He didn’t think it was right to talk about her to me. That was it.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever meet her?
Christine Arnold: No.
Detective Armstrong: Did he ever talk about his brother?
Christine Arnold: You mean Byron? Yeah, sometimes. More like memories growing up. He was worried about his mother, mostly. Didn’t know what to do. He felt ashamed – like he couldn’t face her.
Detective Murphy: Because of you?
Christine Arnold: Oh – no, I mean, I don’t think so. He never said that. More just he didn’t do enough for her and his father. Before, you know, it was too late.
Detective Murphy: Did he say anything about meeting Byron when you talked with him on the 30th? Christine Arnold: No. Detective Murphy: What was that call about?
Christine Arnold: What I said. He was excited about the note. Alderman Collins.
Detective Armstrong: It’s some coincidence that the person who left the note picked cabin number eleven. Did you ever tell anyone else that’s where you and Mr. Brooks shacked up?
Christine Arnold: No. It wasn’t shacking up. I told you.
Detective Murphy: You never told your roommate about him?
Christine Arnold: No. No, no. Never.
Detective Murphy: How would you explain staying overnight at the cabin?
Christine Arnold: I told her I went to my parents’ in Tupelo. She didn’t know them and we didn’t have a land line, so it’s not like they would call looking for me and get talking to her instead. I even let her set me up on a couple dates. Nothing serious. Mostly I pretended my standards were too high. Which they were. No one can live up to Spense. I can’t believe he’s gone.
Detective Armstrong: Do you need a minute?
Christine Arnold: No. Keep going.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever go to Wall Doxey with Mr. Brooks to play poker?
Christine Arnold: No.
Detective Armstrong: What about his brother?
Christine Arnold: No. I never met him.
Detective Murphy: In all this talking you did about work, what did Mr. Brooks have to say about Jill Ross?
Christine Arnold: Nothing serious, like I said before. Now that she has his job she’s on top of the world. I can’t stand it – the way she acts like she owns the place. But he didn’t hit back, you know? He just took it in stride. Never put her down. I mean, they disagreed all the time – but he was always professional about it. I admired that about him. Whenever the other girls would tease me about Spense, I tried to act like he did with Jill and just let it go.
Detective Armstrong: Did he ever mention Kyle Ferguson?
Christine Arnold: No.
Detective Murphy: Did he ever talk about anyone he’d convicted threatening him?
Christine Arnold: No. Although I guess maybe that’s the kind of thing he wouldn’t tell me. He would want to protect me.
Detective Murphy: He didn’t mention any threats that morning?
Christine Arnold: No. I would have told you.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, then let’s talk about the morning of January 30 again. Where were you when he called?
Christine Arnold: I was telling the truth. You have to understand that now. I would never hurt him.
Detective Murphy: We hear you. But for the record, once again, please just tell us where you were.
Christine Arnold: At home. I was hung over and I was asleep in bed. After he called I went back to sleep. When Keisha got home I woke up.
Detective Murphy: So she was gone that morning.
Christine Arnold: Yeah. I think so. She always goes to church.
Detective Murphy: You heard her come in?
Christine Arnold: I don’t remember. I was asleep. Tired. Hung over in a major way. You know?
Detective Murphy: Why do you say she got home?
Christine Arnold: I don’t know. No. Oh, I guess I don’t know for sure. She could have been there all along. It was because I woke up and heard her all of a sudden – I don’t remember. Maybe she turned on the TV? But I was there the whole time. I couldn’t even find my keys for, like, half the day. Couldn’t remember where I dropped them after the party.
Detective Armstrong: You’re sure you didn’t see Mr. Brooks that morning?
Christine Arnold: No. I mean, yes, I’m sure. No, I didn’t see him.
Detective Armstrong: You could have been with him at the park and called yourself with his phone. To make it seem like you were at home.
Christine Arnold: No. I couldn’t. You can talk to my friends – Charisse, she’s the one getting married. Have you talked to her? I was with her until three in the morning. I wasn’t at the park. I didn’t use his phone. Why would I?
Detective Armstrong: Did you shoot Mr. Brooks at Wall Doxey Park?
Christine Arnold: No. Never. Why can’t you believe me? That’s why I came right down here at lunch to tell you everything. Isn’t that enough? Why would I lie?
Detective Armstrong: I don’t know. Maybe because you think confessing to adultery will make us think you’re innocent of murder and throw us off the trail.
Christine Arnold: No. You’re wrong.
Detective Murphy: Christy, what else have you been hiding from us?
Christine Arnold: Nothing. That’s it. Just, I had to tell you I loved him. I thought you would understand.
Detective Murphy: Who do you think did this?
Christine Arnold: I don’t know. The thought of someone hurting Spense makes me sick. I can’t think about it. Please – can I go now? I told you everything.
Detective Murphy: Okay. Take as long as you want to pull yourself together. Ladies’ room is down the hall to the right.
Detective Armstrong: We might need you to pay us another visit.
Christine Arnold: Okay. Thank you.
Interview ended: 12:57 p.m.