Arrestee interview

Emmett Sanford was taken into custody near 2013 University Avenue after a brief foot pursuit.

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

Saturday, April 13, 2024 – 10:45 a.m.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Emmett Sanford

Detective Murphy: There you go. Would you please state your name once again for the record?

Emmett Sanford: Emmett Sanford. 493 Sisk Avenue.

Detective Murphy: And you've been advised of your rights?

Emmett Sanford: Yeah.

Detective Murphy: Do you understand those rights?

Emmett Sanford: I do.

Detective Murphy: And you're still willing to talk to us without counsel?

Emmett Sanford: Counsel is kind of the reason I'm here, so I'll do without the counsel.

Detective Parker: Would you like to tell us what happened?

Emmett Sanford: Well, let's see. I was working. You busted in, arrested me, and probably cost me my job.

Detective Murphy: I'd say that was the least of your problems right now.

Emmett Sanford: Maybe.

Detective Parker: Why did you kill Pastor Martinson?

Detective Murphy: Don't just sit there. We know you did it. This is your chance to explain why.

Emmett Sanford: It was an accident.

Detective Parker: You accidentally hit Pastor Martinson with a cross?

Emmett Sanford: Yeah.

Detective Parker: Again and again and again?

Emmett Sanford: Yes.

Detective Murphy: You're going to have to do better than that.

Detective Parker: Why don't we try something easier? Would you mind explaining the business card?

Emmett Sanford: When you get something and it doesn't work, return it.

Detective Parker: Is that why you were at the church that morning? To return the card?

Emmett Sanford: Yeah, I figured I'd leave it someplace he could find it.

Detective Parker: Why?

Emmett Sanford: Like I already said, I did have a lot of respect for the man. And I think he really thought he was trying to help people. He was so convincing. I mean, it really makes it easy to believe somebody when they talk with such confidence, you know? But he was wrong. I mean, he was really, really wrong, and he hurt a lot of people.

Detective Murphy: So you wanted him to confess his sins and find mercy?

Emmett Sanford: I just wanted him to think about— you know, consider the consequences of his actions. I mean, he was so corrupted by the hypocrisy of the members of that church. If he had stayed true to his calling, he might have actually helped my marriage.

Detective Parker: And you thought a passage from Proverbs might set him back on the right track?

Emmett Sanford: Well, he thought it would help put me on the right track, but he was wrong. He needed to know that.

Detective Murphy: And what? You wanted him to apologize for breaking up your marriage?

Emmett Sanford: No. Deirdre is lost to me. But I didn't want him to make any more mistakes, you know? Hurt any more families.

Detective Parker: Why didn't you just leave the card like you had planned?

Emmett Sanford: I was going to. I mean, who would've thought he would've gotten there as early as he did? I mean, I didn't even have a chance to find a good place to put it when he found me.

Detective Parker: Did he seem happy to see you?

Emmett Sanford: He said he was. He asked me how I was and said he missed me at church and all that, you know. I think he wanted to help me.

Detective Parker: How did you answer him?

Emmett Sanford: What could I possibly have said? He's the reason that I lost my family. I mean, I cheated. I get that. I take responsibility. But it was his counsel that had me tell Deirdre. If I hadn't told her, if I hadn't gone to him in the first place, my marriage would still be together. He cost me my family.

Detective Parker: And did you tell him that?

Emmett Sanford: Nah. I told him I was fine, where I lived, where I was working, my faith was strong.

Detective Murphy: So you lied.

Emmett Sanford: It's church. It's what you do there.

Detective Parker: Why did you go to see Pastor Martinson that morning, Easter morning?

Emmett Sanford: It was supposed to be my weekend with Liam, but Deirdre wouldn't let me have him. I thought if I could talk to him, he'd be able to make her do the right thing.

Detective Parker: And did he agree to try?

Emmett Sanford: He didn't want to get involved. I mean, can you believe that? He didn't want to get involved. It was his involvement in the first place that— got us here.

Detective Murphy: You invited his involvement in the first place, didn't you?

Emmett Sanford: I thought he could help. I was wrong. I know that now.

Detective Parker: So that morning, the two of you were talking. Where?

Emmett Sanford: We were in one of the classrooms.

Detective Parker: Paint a picture for us. Were you two standing or sitting?

Emmett Sanford: He invited me to sit. No, I was too pent-up to sit down. There was a lot riding on that conversation. I needed— I needed him to listen to me. I needed his help.

Detective Murphy: And he declined. I don't imagine his refusal to help made you feel any more like relaxing now. Is that true?

Emmett Sanford: I could've put a fist through a wall.

Detective Murphy: That was probably a good idea, considering.

Detective Parker: So, Mr. Sanford, why did you pick up the cross?

Emmett Sanford: I suppose… it was symbolic. I just wanted him to hear me. I just wanted him to take me serious, you know, like swearing on a Bible. I needed him to help me.

Detective Murphy: I'm sure you managed to get his attention. Why hit the man?

Emmett Sanford: I told you. I needed to get his attention. I needed him to help me, my family. I thought maybe that this time he'd be there for me. And all my disappointment, it just got worse—more disappointment. I don't know. I snapped. I couldn't even tell you what happened next.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Sanford. Emmett. I am not buying this new version of your story any more than the others. We know you were stalking him.

Emmett Sanford: What are you talking about?

Detective Murphy: We know you drove past his house.

Emmett Sanford: So now I'm not allowed to go to my own church? I'm not allowed to drive past people's houses?

Detective Murphy: You admit you were stalking him?

Emmett Sanford: No. I don't know. I probably drove by his house on my way going somewhere.

Detective Murphy: Really. Well, where were you going that took you past his house?

Emmett Sanford: I don't know. I go lots of places.

Detective Murphy: Isn't it true that you went to church on that Sunday with the express purpose of killing Pastor Martinson for destroying your marriage?

Emmett Sanford: I didn't go to kill him. I went to talk. I never meant for any of this to happen.

Detective Murphy: Oh. You mean, when you were sleeping with Justine Osborne, you didn't think, "I'm going to have to kill someone over this." Is that what you mean? Or do you mean when you'd slept with her and betrayed your marriage vows and then went to Pastor Martinson for counsel the first time, you weren't lining him up to be a future victim? Because you certainly meant for this to happen when you swung that heavy cross at him when his back was turned. And you certainly meant for this to happen when you set your alarm so that you could get to the church and meet Pastor Martinson before anyone else got there. Didn't you?

Emmett Sanford: I didn't have to set an alarm. You don't sleep the night before you kill somebody, detective. I know it's wrong to kill, but what choice did I have? If I hadn't gone to Pastor Martinson, I wouldn't have told Deirdre. But if I had and I went through this again, you're damn right I'd kill him.

Interview ended – 11:17 a.m.


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