Jake Hemphill follow-up interview
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 – 3:15 p.m.
Multiple witnesses have described Jake Hemphill's relationship with Douglas Reed as contentious. Before this interview, investigators asked Mr. Hemphill to review the laptop computer taken into evidence at the crime scene.
Subsequently, Detectives Murphy and Parker re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Jake Hemphill
Detective Murphy: Good to see you again, Mr. Hemphill. Thanks for coming in. Please state your name and address for the record.
Jake Hemphill: Jake Hemphill, 153 Avent Street.
Detective Murphy: Why don't we start with the laptop? Just to verify for the record, Mr. Hemphill, was that the computer that you and Dr. Carlson were going to use for your presentation on the morning of July 10th?
Jake Hemphill: Yes, detective. I'm almost certain.
Detective Parker: Almost certain?
Jake Hemphill: Well, did the technician move around any of the files before we went through it earlier?
Detective Parker: Of course not. We call that tampering with evidence, which happens to be illegal. Why do you ask?
Jake Hemphill: Some of the contents on the laptop were different from what I remembered. Especially the slideshow presentation that Dr. Carlson and I were planning to use for our lecture.
Detective Murphy: Different how?
Jake Hemphill: For starters, the slides were all out of order. And on the first slide, which somehow wound up as the last one, there was a picture of Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy! Can you imagine?
Detective Parker: I assume that wasn't supposed to be part of the slideshow?
Jake Hemphill: This is the Faulkner conference. Our presentation is about Faulkner! How in the world a picture of Tolstoy got into our slideshow, I haven't the faintest idea.
Detective Parker: Mr. Hemphill, are you suggesting that someone tampered with the contents of the laptop before it was admitted as evidence?
Jake Hemphill: Unless some freak computer virus tried to sabotage our slideshow, then yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting.
Detective Murphy: Who do you think could have tampered with your slideshow?
Jake Hemphill: Well, the Tolstoy part suggests Laurence Bricker. Biggest Tolstoy fan out of anyone in the English department, but why would he…?
Detective Murphy: Mr. Hemphill, if there's something you want to say, now would be the time to say it.
Jake Hemphill: I think I know why Doug was in the meeting room so early that morning.
Detective Murphy: The morning of what day? Please try to be as specific as you can.
Jake Hemphill: The morning I found him, July 10th. Doug mixed up the slides and snuck in that picture of Tolstoy, didn't he?
Detective Parker: Why are you accusing Mr. Reed of altering the slides?
Jake Hemphill: Doug can— could be an insanely jealous person. Ever since Dr. Carlson and I began collaborating for this conference, I could practically feel Doug tracking our every move while seething from a dark corner somewhere. But messing up our presentation … I never thought he'd stoop so low.
Detective Parker: What was Mr. Reed so jealous about?
Jake Hemphill: I guess he felt entitled to the collaboration with Dr. Carlson. Doug was the one who initially reached out to Dr. Carlson and convinced him to attend the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference this year. He probably thought that getting to work with Dr. Carlson was part of the deal. And when things didn't go perfectly according to plan, Doug kinda flipped.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean by flipped?
Jake Hemphill: He started following Dr. Carlson around everywhere and blamed me for trying to undermine him. I mean, there's nothing wrong with friendly competition between colleagues, but Doug always took it too far.
Detective Parker: Like the time he received the tenure-track associate professorship that you were hoping to get?
Jake Hemphill: Well, yes. I mean, no. Of course, I was bitterly disappointed that I wasn't chosen. Tenure-track professorships come about once every ten years, and that's if someone retires.
Detective Parker: Or if someone dies. I assume I the tenure-track position formerly occupied by Mr. Reed is up for grabs once more?
Jake Hemphill: Yes.
Detective Parker: Well, it looks like you didn't have to wait ten years after all.
Jake Hemphill: Wait a minute. I didn't kill Doug if that's what you're implying.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Hemphill, by withholding this information about your relationship to Dr. Reed during your last interview, you realize how that makes you look, right?
Jake Hemphill: Look, detectives, I didn't kill Doug. The last time we spoke, I was still reeling from shock.
Detective Parker: If you would, please give us some more insight into the nature of your relationship with Mr. Reed.
Jake Hemphill: Sure, I might've hated his guts for the past four years, but I never wanted him dead. We were like Apple and Microsoft, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Our rivalry actually made me strive to better myself.
Detective Murphy: If that's the case, who else do you think might have had a motive to kill Mr. Reed?
Jake Hemphill: Did you talk to his girlfriend, Nora Percy? Or Yvonne Boyd? Pretty much everyone suspected that Doug had been cheating on Nora with Yvonne. They couldn't really expect the rest of us to believe that all those late nights spent at the conference center were purely work-related.
Detective Murphy: How did Ms. Boyd react when you told her you'd found Dr. Reed's body on the morning of July 10th?
Jake Hemphill: Yvonne didn't believe me at first. She thought I was trying to play some sick joke on her and told me as much. Said something along the lines of, just because I didn't approve of their affair, doesn't give me the right to act so cruel.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Hemphill, can you think of anyone else who has been especially affected by Dr. Reed's recent passing?
Jake Hemphill: Almost everyone in the English department or in the Faulkner conference committee. Monte Marcos, Doug's former TA, has been wandering around like a lost puppy. Even Carol Fitch and Jill Osborne have been tight-lipped about the whole affair.
Detective Parker: Is that unusual for them?
Jake Hemphill: Carol and Jill would normally jump at the chance to speak ill of Doug since he never really got along with them. Surprisingly enough, they've kept quiet, so I guess even they must be in mourning or at least trying to be respectful of those who are.
Detective Murphy: Let's talk about where you were the night before you found Doug Reed's body.
Jake Hemphill: I told you before, I was at Rowan Oak, and then I went home.
Detective Murphy: That is what you said, but there were a lot of people at Rowan Oak that night. How do we know you didn't slip out earlier than you said?
Jake Hemphill: I didn't! Ask Carol. I talked to her as the party was breaking up because I wanted to find out what time I could get into the meeting room the next morning.
Detective Murphy: Uh-huh. And what time was this?
Jake Hemphill: I don't know. 10:00? 10:30?
Detective Murphy: And where did you go after you left Rowan Oak?
Jake Hemphill: Like I said, I went home.
Detective Murphy: And if we told you none of your neighbors remember seeing your car at your residence at any time that night?
Jake Hemphill: They don't? I was there all night. I swear!
Detective Parker: I think that will be all for today, Mr. Hemphill. Thank you for your cooperation.
Jake Hemphill: No, wait. I didn't kill Doug. You have to believe me.
Detective Parker: Thank you, Mr. Hemphill. We'll be in touch if we need anything else.
Interview ended: 3:47 p.m.