Kenny Ross interview
Wednesday, October 18, 2023 – 7:35 p.m.
Kenny Ross works as a production assistant at Hoyt Biffle's Under Glass, the site of Biffle's murder.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee interviewed him at the Under Glass main house.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Kenny Ross
Detective Magee: Ken Ross? Detective Jo Allyn Magee. This is Detective Paul Beckwith. We'd like to get a statement from you.
Kenny Ross: Y'all homicide detectives?
Detective Magee: Yes.
Kenny Ross: So you know upfront, I didn't kill Hoyt. I just found him when I came in to work. That's all.
Detective Magee: We'll get to that in a bit. Let me get your full name and address.
Kenny Ross: Kenny Ross. I have an apartment on 805 College Hill Road.
Detective Beckwith: All right, you said you work here?
Kenny Ross: Yeah. I work the night shift. Under Glass is a 24-hour gig, so someone has to keep it going at night for the subscribers.
Detective Beckwith: I'm not a subscriber. You're going to have to give me details. What kind of operation are y'all running, Kenny?
Kenny Ross: Under Glass is just a houseful of college-aged kids doing what college-aged kids do, except that the house is rigged with 32 cameras that livestream their activities on our website. My job was to make sure the cameras were catching the action and beaming it to our subscribers.
Detective Magee: The action?
Kenny Ross: Calm down. Hoyt and I weren't porn directors, if that's what you're thinking. Our cameras shoot everything, so most of the time, the livestream is clean as a new pin. "The action" is wherever there isn't an empty room. But if a housemate happened to walk naked by the cameras on the way to the shower, the cameras don't blink, if you get my meaning.
Detective Beckwith: So you're saying Hoyt worked the day shift and you the night?
Kenny Ross: That's right.
Detective Magee: So the business was a two-man operation?
Kenny Ross: Uh, wait a minute. We weren't partners, if that's what you're getting at. I don't get anything from Under Glass with Hoyt dead except for walking papers. I was Hoyt's employee. Hoyt made certain of that from the get-go. I understood I was on a short leash.
Detective Magee: Why do you say that?
Kenny Ross: Cut the crap. You know why.
Detective Magee: Humor me.
Kenny Ross: ‘Cause y'all know I'm an ex-con. Yoknapatawpha County's been using me as a snitch for years now. Y'all didn't even let me get out of the joint before you started on me heavy.
Detective Beckwith: What does that have to do with your employment agreement with Hoyt Biffle?
Kenny Ross: He had me sign a contract with all these clauses in it, written by his fancy-ass lawyer, that protected him if he had to can me for something.
Detective Magee: Do you have a copy of the contract?
Kenny Ross: Nope, as far as I know, there wasn't a copy.
Detective Magee: And you took the job anyway?
Kenny Ross: Look, at the time, I was eating scraps of leftover food from the restaurants I was working at part-time. If I didn't take this gig, I'd have to go back to selling coke.
Detective Beckwith: I suppose naked co-eds and non-blinking cameras had nothing to do with it.
Kenny Ross: All jobs have their perks, detective.
Detective Magee: All right. How long have you worked for Hoyt?
Kenny Ross: About a year.
Detective Magee: What do you specifically do during a shift?
Kenny Ross: Mostly make sure the cameras are on "the action" and the livestream feeds and audio are operating correctly. We have the house wired to a control room out back … the shed where I found Hoyt's— where all your people are right now, checking for evidence or whatever it is you do.
Detective Beckwith: So when you're working, you're mainly out in the shed control room?
Kenny Ross: That's right.
Detective Beckwith: Is that true when Hoyt is working? Is he mainly out at the shed?
Kenny Ross: As far as I know. I sleep days.
Detective Magee: Well, is Hoyt usually here when you arrive for work?
Kenny Ross: Yeah.
Detective Magee: Did you see anyone around today as you were arriving for work?
Kenny Ross: Besides those scum-sucking protesters, no.
Detective Beckwith: Are the protesters often picketing Hoyt's business?
Kenny Ross: If your definition of "often" is "all the frickin' time," then yes.
Detective Magee: When was the last time you spoke to Hoyt?
Kenny Ross: This morning, when he came to work.
Detective Magee: What did you talk about?
Kenny Ross: The usual, I guess. He told me I wouldn't have to edit last weekend's footage for a compilation like I was planning because nothing of note happened during the day. He said if I had free time in my next shift to sweep out the shed—routine stuff like that.
Detective Beckwith: Did he say he was expecting anyone to come here today?
Kenny Ross: Not that he told me.
Detective Beckwith: Do you know what his plans were for after work today?
Kenny Ross: I told you before, man, we weren't drinking buddies. No one here at Under Glass did anything with Hoyt personally unless he wanted to be seen with them. That means I'm usually here working while Hoyt takes the ladies out on the town, especially Tanya.
Detective Magee: Tanya?
Kenny Ross: Tanya Ryder. She lives here in the house. She's upstairs, you can talk to her—
Detective Beckwith: We'll get to her. Did Hoyt have any enemies?
Kenny Ross: Are you serious? How did you miss the protesters outside? The rain don't even stop them.
Detective Beckwith: We'll get to them too. Did Hoyt have any other enemies?
Kenny Ross: Well, the city council didn't really care for him, given the trouble he stirred up in the community when he proposed Under Glass. I guess that also riled up some of the neighbors. I hear stuff from some of my old restaurant and bartender buddies that he likes to whoop it up on weekends, talking s**t and rubbing his money in the faces of those who don't have it and that sort of thing. He pisses people off, but I wouldn't have thought it was to the point of someone offing him.
Detective Magee: Where were you this afternoon, Kenny?
Kenny Ross: Uh, I got home after last night's shift at about 7:00 a.m. I ate supper—your breakfast. Then I went to sleep a half hour or so later. I got up at like 4:00 p.m. Ate breakfast—your supper—and then came out here for work about 5:40 p.m.
Detective Magee: So you've only been at your apartment when you weren't at Under Glass the last 12 hours?
Kenny Ross: Yeah.
Detective Beckwith: Can anyone corroborate that you were at your apartment? Anyone stop by? Anyone call?
Kenny Ross: Unfortunately, no. The few friends I got know I sleep during the day.
Detective Magee: Okay, Kenny, we're going to have you walk through how you found Hoyt's body this evening.
Kenny Ross: Out to the shed? In the rain?
Detective Beckwith: Come on, son, you won't melt.
[INTERVIEW SUSPENDED AT 7:53 PM]
[INTERVIEW RESUMED AT 7:59 PM]
Detective Magee: Okay, is this your vehicle?
Kenny Ross: No, that's Hoyt's truck. The rusty Honda Civic over there is mine.
Detective Magee: When did your shift start?
Kenny Ross: 6:00 p.m.
Detective Magee: Were you on time?
Kenny Ross: With bells on.
Detective Beckwith: Was it raining then?
Kenny Ross: A drizzle. It was dark for the hour 'cause of the clouds.
Detective Beckwith: Do you check in at the house first?
Kenny Ross: No, we don't usually do anything at the house so that we won't get caught on camera. I ran straight to the shed.
Detective Magee: Was the shed door closed?
Kenny Ross: Yeah.
Detective Magee: Locked?
Kenny Ross: Nope.
Detective Magee: Was it unusual for the door to be unlocked?
Kenny Ross: Nah, not if one of us is in there working.
Detective Beckwith: Who has keys to the shed door when it is locked?
Kenny Ross: Me. Hoyt. That's it, as far as I know.
Detective Beckwith: Do you have your key with you now?
Kenny Ross: Yeah, it's right here.
Detective Magee: Okay, when you got to the shed control room, did you go in right away?
Kenny Ross: Yeah, ‘cause of the rain.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, Kenny, walk beyond where Specialist Juzan is working here. When we all get inside, you tell us exactly what you saw.
Kenny Ross: All right. So when I get in the shed, it's darker than usual ‘cause the ceiling lights were dialed down and, as you can see, we usually shade the back windows so that if some nudie stuff shows up on the camera monitors over there on the big board, we don't show it off to any window peepers.
Detective Magee: So it was dark inside?
Kenny Ross: No, just darker than usual. All the monitors were on and rolling through the feeds like normal. I could see Hoyt.
Detective Beckwith: Where was he?
Kenny Ross: Over there in that high-backed chair in front of the monitors and mixing console. He used to call it his "throne" ‘cause he ruled Under Glass like a king from there. I could see that he was slumped over one of the arms of the throne. His right arm was hanging down, pointing at the floor, and his head was flopped over like he was sleeping or drunk.
Detective Magee: Or dead?
Kenny Ross: Yeah. I said, "Hey, man, you sick?" I thought maybe he'd done some day drinking or something. I went over to him, and that's when I saw he was bleeding from his neck. Blood was all over his clothes on his right side and in his lap, running down his right arm into a small puddle on the floor.
Detective Magee: Did it look to you like Hoyt fought back against an attacker?
Kenny Ross: No. Nothing was knocked down from the racks, and nothing was on the mixer. It was like someone cut his throat right there on his throne.
Detective Beckwith: Why did you think someone else did it?
Kenny Ross: You think the guy would slit his own throat? What the hell?
Detective Beckwith: I didn't say that he did. I asked you why you thought someone else did it.
Kenny Ross: Because I didn't see a knife or anything. Did you find one?
Detective Magee: If there is one, Specialist Juzan will find it. Does that worry you, Kenny?
Kenny Ross: No, ma'am. Why would it?
Detective Magee: Besides a weapon, did you notice anything missing from this room? Or added where it wasn't before?
Kenny Ross: No. Everything looked normal except for Hoyt dead on his throne. Oh, and his headphones were on the floor like they fell off his head or the mixer.
Detective Beckwith: After you saw Hoyt, did you attempt to help him in any way?
Kenny Ross: No. I called 911 on my cell phone.
Detective Beckwith: Did you move his body?
Kenny Ross: No. The 911 operator said that they were sending paramedics. I told them he didn't look like he was breathing. Actually, I can't really remember what I said. I've been around places where people got themselves killed, but I never came across a dead body, not even in Holly Springs.
Detective Beckwith: Did you shut down the livestream?
Kenny Ross: Yeah, as soon as I found Hoyt.
Detective Beckwith: Before calling 911?
Kenny Ross: I guess I panicked, okay?
Detective Magee: All right, Kenny, is there anything else you can think of that we need to know?
Kenny Ross: No, that's it. I came in, saw Hoyt, called 911. That's all.
Detective Beckwith: Given what you know about Hoyt, who do you think we should talk to next?
Kenny Ross: I don't know about you, but I'd start with those scum-suckers protesting out in the rain.
Detective Magee: All right. Kenny, let's go.
Kenny Ross: Wait. Where?
Detective Magee: Back to the house.
Kenny Ross: Why?
Detective Magee: Officer Arborogh is going to stay with you for a bit while we wrap things up here.
Kenny Ross: You mean I can't leave?
Detective Beckwith: You don't have a problem with that, do you, son?
Kenny Ross: It's just that—
Detective Magee: I gotta say your apprehension makes me worried now. Should I be worried about you, Kenny?
Kenny Ross: No… I mean, how long will I have to wait?
Detective Magee: As long as it takes to check your story.
Detective Beckwith: Out the door, Kenny.
Interview ended – 8:09 p.m.