Justine Osborne had an affair with Emmett Sanford that led to his divorce

Thursday, April 25, 2019 – 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Justine Osborne is a licensed naturopathic doctor who relocated to Oxford to care for her grandfather. Dr. Osborne reportedly had an affair with Emmett Sanford, whose divorce was a divisive issue in the victim's church.

Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Justine Osborne

Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in today, Ms. Osborne. This is Detective Parker, and I'm Detective Murphy. Would you please state your name and address for the record?

Justine Osborne: It's Doctor Justine Osborne. I'm currently living at 607 Berkeley Court, Oxford.

Detective Parker: When did you come to Oxford?

Justine Osborne: I attended undergraduate school here, and then I moved back here after I finished school.

Detective Parker: You didn't want to open your practice in a larger city with more potential patients?

Justine Osborne: My grandparents live here, and my grandfather has Parkinson's.

Detective Murphy: Dr. Osborne, are you acquainted with Pastor Wendell Martinson?

Justine Osborne: I never met him, but it's his murder you're investigating, correct?

Detective Murphy: So you didn't know him, but you know he was murdered?

Justine Osborne: It's been all over the news.

Detective Murphy: Are you familiar with the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church?

Justine Osborne: No.

Detective Murphy: Do you know of anyone that attends that church?

Justine Osborne: Not that I am aware.

Detective Parker: Do you know someone named Emmett Sanford?

Justine Osborne: Well, yes and no.

Detective Parker: What do you mean "yes and no?"

Justine Osborne: We dated very briefly in college. I thought I knew him, but…

Detective Parker: But what?

Justine Osborne: He turned out to be a disappointment.

Detective Murphy: How so?

Justine Osborne: Deceitful. And not too smart.

Detective Parker: Deceitful how?

Justine Osborne: Well, I think you must know, Detective, that we were seeing each other for a brief time and that he was a married man.

Detective Parker: Did you know he was married when you were seeing him?

Justine Osborne: No. Otherwise, I wouldn't have started seeing him.

Detective Murphy: You mentioned that you dated Mr. Sanford briefly in college. How did you get reacquainted with him?

Justine Osborne: I walked into the plumbing supply store where he worked. We recognized each other. He asked if I'd like to join him for a cup of coffee or something.

Detective Parker: Did you ask him if he was married?

Justine Osborne: No, Detective, I didn't. But he wasn't wearing a ring.

Detective Murphy: How did you find out he was married?

Justine Osborne: I stopped by the store to see him. He was speaking with the owner of the store, who, as it turned out, was his father-in-law. Anyway, Emmett nervously says to this man, "Hey, this is a friend of mine and Deirdre's from college. Small world, eh?" And he lifted his hands up in a kind of a shrug, and there on his left hand was a wedding ring.

Detective Parker: Did you know his wife when you were in college?

Justine Osborne: No, I didn't. I only knew Emmett. He was a football star, and I was studying pre-med physics. We didn't really hang with the same crowd.

Detective Parker: Do you recall when it was you discovered that he was married?

Justine Osborne: It was late summer of 2017. I don't remember the specific date.

Detective Parker: How long did the affair last?

Justine Osborne: It wasn't an affair. That implies knowledge on my part.

Detective Parker: Okay, how long did the relationship last?

Justine Osborne: We saw each other once or sometimes twice a week for a few months. There was no affair. As soon as I realized he was married, I stopped seeing him.

Detective Parker: How did he feel about that?

Justine Osborne: Well, he was very upset, but I think he was more afraid that his wife would find out than he was upset about us.

Detective Murphy: Have you had any contact with him since then?

Justine Osborne: We've been in touch off and on since his wife kicked him out.

Detective Murphy: He must've found a way to get back in your good graces then. How did that happen?

Justine Osborne: When I found out he was married, I ended our relationship, of course.

Detective Parker: So you said.

Justine Osborne: But after they separated, he started calling me again.

Detective Parker: And you took his calls?

Justine Osborne: Not at first, but he always left messages. The more of them I heard, the harder it was for me to stay mad at him.

Detective Parker: Did you happen to save any of those messages?

Justine Osborne: No.

Detective Parker: Do you recall what he said on those messages?

Justine Osborne: Basically just how his life was all chaos, and he needed a friend because he had done what others said was the right thing, but his life had gone into the toilet anyway.

Detective Murphy: Was he angry or accusatory toward anyone?

Justine Osborne: Yes, of course. He was angry and accusatory toward everyone. He was just lashing out because he felt helpless.

Detective Murphy: Did he mention anyone in these voicemail messages?

Justine Osborne: He railed about his wife, about their marriage counseling and about me, and he also cussed God a little as I recall.

Detective Parker: And that made you want to get back together with him?

Justine Osborne: I never said we were back together.

Detective Parker: All right then, how would you describe your relationship today?

Justine Osborne: I'd say we are friends.

Detective Parker: With benefits?

Justine Osborne: I don't see how that's relevant.

Detective Murphy: You said before that Emmett was deceitful, not too smart and a disappointment. Why would you be friends with a person like that?

Justine Osborne: I know how it sounds. Emmett is a weak man in some ways, but he's also sweet and funny and charming.

Detective Parker: When he's not ranting about the people he blames for what went wrong in his life.

Justine Osborne: All right, yes. Emmett has trouble taking responsibility for his own foolish choices and dealing with the consequences of his actions. That's true. But he has good qualities too, and he doesn't have anyone left in his life who sees them anymore.

Detective Parker: Except you.

Justine Osborne: Yes. I'm all too aware of his negative qualities, but I can still see the good in him. And he needs that, especially now. Even his own son hates him now.

Detective Murphy: What makes you say that?

Justine Osborne: That's what Emmett said. He says his ex-wife turned their son against him.

Detective Murphy: Is that true?

Justine Osborne: I only know what Emmett tells me. I don't know his ex-wife or his son.

Detective Parker: Did Emmett tell you how much your affair upset his church, the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit? The church you said you weren't familiar with?

Justine Osborne: He didn't have to. It was obvious how upset he was.

Detective Murphy: How so?

Justine Osborne: He wanted to keep his marriage together because of his son.

Detective Parker: Not because he loved his wife?

Justine Osborne: You'd have to ask him about that. All I know is he didn't want to upset his son. Emmett knew our relationship might hurt him. We both did.

Detective Parker: That didn't stop either of you from having the relationship in the first place.

Justine Osborne: I told you. I ended the relationship as soon as I found out.

Detective Murphy: So it wasn't until later that you found out how much your relationship had disrupted Emmett's church?

Justine Osborne: It isn't his church anymore. They ran him out, and he's still so bitter about the way they treated him that he won't go to any church.

Detective Murphy: He won't even go to church with you?

Justine Osborne: No, he won't. I've asked him. I thought it might help him, but he won't even consider it.

Detective Murphy: You said Emmett had done what other people told him was the right thing. What was this "right thing" they told him to do?

Justine Osborne: They said a marriage resting on lies couldn't survive, so he had to tell his ex-wife about our … friendship. He believed them, so he did, and it blew up in his face.

Detective Murphy: Is it possible they told him, "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy"?

Justine Osborne: I suppose it's possible. I really wouldn't know.

Detective Murphy: Do you know who told him he should tell his ex-wife about your friendship, whatever the specific words were?

Justine Osborne: It was someone he trusted. That's all he ever told me. Whoever it was, they either lied or were wrong.

Detective Murphy: And how did Emmett respond when that advice didn't work out?

Justine Osborne: I don't know, but I'm sure he was upset.

Detective Parker: Is he still upset?

Justine Osborne: He's upset that his relationship with his son is broken. That's what matters to him now.

Detective Parker: And whose fault is it that their relationship is broken?

Justine Osborne: What difference does it make whose fault it is? It is what it is. That's what matters.

Detective Parker: You're saying Emmett has never mentioned Pastor Martinson in any of your conversations about his son? Whose name is Liam, by the way. It's okay to say it.

Justine Osborne: I know his name.

Detective Parker: Let me ask again. Emmett has never mentioned Pastor Martinson to you?

Justine Osborne: What are you getting at? Are you trying to implicate Emmett in this murder because you can't find a real suspect and you're getting beaten up in the news every day?

Detective Murphy: We just want to find the person who killed Pastor Martinson. If that wasn't Emmett, then fine. Nothing you say can hurt him.

Justine Osborne: Well, I don't know anything about Emmett having a disagreement with Pastor Martinson, so I don't see how I can help you.

Detective Murphy: Fair enough. Can you tell us where you were on Easter Sunday morning?

Justine Osborne: What? Now you're trying to say I killed this man I didn't even know?

Detective Murphy: Not at all, Dr. Osborne. But we have to get your whereabouts on the record because it could come up later during the prosecution of the real killer.

Justine Osborne: Oh, sure. I believe you. But I'll tell you just the same. I was at church.

Detective Murphy: Thank you for telling us. What church was that, just for the record?

Justine Osborne: Trinity Church. That's my grandparents' church, and I've been going there since I moved here.

Detective Murphy: Of course. Reverend Horner is a nice man.

Justine Osborne: Yes, he is.

Detective Parker: Have you ever socialized with him outside of church services?

Justine Osborne: My grandparents are very fond of Reverend Horner, but my schedule doesn't leave me much time for socializing outside of work, caring for my grandfather, and Sunday church.

Detective Parker: But it does leave you time to run around with your married boyfriend.

Justine Osborne: All right. Here's the bottom line. I don't know anything about what happened to this Pastor Martinson, who I never met. Is there anything else or can I go? I have patients to see.

Detective Murphy: Just one more question. Was Emmett Sanford with you on Easter Sunday morning or the Saturday night before?

Justine Osborne: If you want to know where Emmett was, ask him. I'm not going to help you railroad him. He has enough problems.

Detective Parker: So he wasn't with you?

Justine Osborne: You can't seriously be trying to put this on Emmett. I told you. He has his good qualities, but at heart, Emmett is a weak man. He could never kill anyone. He just doesn't have it in him.

Detective Murphy: We'd like to take your word for it, but you see how we can't do that. You do seem to be biased in his favor.

Justine Osborne: Detective, I am a clinician. I'm not biased in favor of one result or another.

Detective Murphy: I'm sure that's true in your professional life, but Emmett Sanford isn't part of your professional life, is he?

Justine Osborne: I don't suddenly lose my objectivity or my mind when discussing my personal life, but if you don't believe me, talk to his roommate. He can tell you where Emmett was better than I can, and then you'll see how wrong you were to try to get me to say it was him.

Detective Parker: Emmett has a roommate?

Justine Osborne: Yes. Oh, don't look like that. It happens sometimes with divorced men, especially in a small town like this where their father-in-law can hurt their chances to get a new job. And their ex-wives want to suck every dime out of them.

Detective Parker: You don't like the former Mrs. Sanford very much, do you?

Justine Osborne: I don't like her or dislike her. I've never met her.

Detective Murphy: You said Emmett has a roommate. What's his roommate's name?

Justine Osborne: Clark Rhodes. He's divorced like Emmett. Neither one of them can afford to live alone. It was lucky they found each other.

Detective Parker: You're familiar with the details of both of their financial situations?

Justine Osborne: No. I'm barely familiar with the details of my own financial situation. But they both complain about not having any money since their divorce. If you want to know the details, you should ask them. Now, if there's nothing else?

Detective Murphy: Thank you for your time today, Dr. Osborne. If we have any further questions, we'll contact you.

Interview ended – 5:01 p.m.




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