Monday, July 25, 2011 - 2:05 PM
* Given what she had to say, the YCSD has agreed not to use this witness's real name or likeness in public documents.
The witness was a teaching assistant for one of Kevin Gilmore's classes when he was a freshman at Ole Miss. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective Ted Armstrong
- Detective Samantha Murphy
- Jill Ferris*
Detective Murphy: Please state your name and address for the record before we begin.
Jill Ferris: My name is Jill Ferris* and I live at [REDACTED].
Detective Murphy: Where are you employed?
Jill Ferris: I am an assistant professor at [A UNIVERSITY].
Detective Murphy: Why is it that you wanted to talk with us today?
Jill Ferris: I saw in the news what happened to Kevin Gilmore all those years ago, and I remembered something that happened back then that… I don't know… it just might be helpful to the case.
Detective Armstrong: Did you know Kevin in '87?
Jill Ferris: Yes, I did. Well, not in '87. In 1986, I was a TA, and he was one of the students that I worked with.
Detective Murphy: And what's involved in being a TA?
Jill Ferris: A teaching assistant basically helps the professors in the department with grading papers, research, paperwork, teaching classes sometimes, things like that. Basically, TAs help out with whatever the professors need.
Detective Armstrong: And what led you to contact us about Kevin Gilmore?
Jill Ferris: All right. I'll start from the very first day I met Kevin Gilmore. I noticed right away that Kevin seemed to be wound pretty tight. It was obvious to me that he had too much on his plate. Eventually he came to me for help, but it wasn't truly help that he wanted.
Detective Armstrong: No?
Jill Ferris: He wanted someone to do the work for him. I told him that I would be happy to help, but he had to do the work himself. He didn't approach me again for a couple of weeks, and when he finally did, he offered to pay me to do his class work.
Detective Murphy: How much did he offer to pay you?
Jill Ferris: It never got that far. I didn't let it. But I can't imagine he was thinking $20 or anything like that. If I had to guess, I'd say it probably would have been in the hundreds of dollars maybe? I really don't know.
Detective Armstrong: Was it unusual for you to receive an offer like this?
Jill Ferris: Absolutely. In fact, he's the only one who ever did. That's why I remember him, I guess. I refused and told him if he approached me with anything like that again I would report him.
Detective Murphy: Why didn't you report him right away?
Jill Ferris: I realize now that my reasoning was illogical, but at the time I felt sorry for him. And he was kind of cute too.
Detective Murphy: Exactly how would you characterize your relationship with Kevin?
Jill Ferris: Oh, come on now. I thought he was cute, but we didn't have that type of relationship. We really didn't have any type of relationship. He didn't want anyone to help. He wanted to pay someone to do it all. I refused, so he never approached me again.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know if he made attempts to have similar arrangements with other TAs or professors?
Jill Ferris: No, I'm sorry. I do not. It's not the kind of thing anyone would talk about, especially if they didn't report him for whatever reason.
Detective Armstrong: Do you believe that this incident has something to do with his death?
Jill Ferris: Maybe. I know it was essential that he keep his GPA high in order to keep his scholarship and stay in school. If he was willing to risk all that, it made me wonder what else would he risk.
Detective Murphy: Why didn't you come forward during the original investigation?
Jill Ferris: I wasn't there when he died. I had already gotten my Master's and left Oxford. I don't remember even hearing about what happened to him back then.
Detective Armstrong: After all this time, what made you think that your coming forward now would be relevant to the case?
Jill Ferris: As I said, I don't know for sure if it is relevant or not, but I didn't want to take that chance. It has always kind of bothered me that I didn't take any action after he approached me, and now that I've told you, I feel as if a tremendous burden has been lifted.
Detective Armstrong: Looking back, can you think of anyone who wanted to hurt Kevin?
Jill Ferris: No. I didn't really have much contact with the undergrads outside of class. I was too busy with my own classes and work and everything. I did kind of wonder back then how he had the money to offer to pay me.
Detective Armstrong: Why's that?
Jill Ferris: He didn't look like one of the rich kids. In fact, he didn't strike me as someone who had much money at all. So maybe money was involved? I really don't know. I'm just speculating.
Detective Murphy: Is there anything else you know that might be related to Kevin Gilmore's death?
Jill Ferris: Not that I can think of.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking with us. We really appreciate your time.
Jill Ferris: You're welcome. I sure hope it helps.
Interview ends: 2:45 PM