Ed Harbison interview #2
Friday, January 17, 2020 – 3:10 p.m.
Ed Harbison is the son of Magnolia Harbison, a Yoknapatawpha Acres nursing home resident.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Ed Harbison
Detective Armstrong: Thank you for coming in, Mr. Harbison. Like before, we need your name and address for our records.
Ed Harbison: Anything to oblige the police. I heard old Jerry got himself killed off. My name's Ed Harbison, and I live at 1620 Garfield Avenue in Oxford.
Detective Armstrong: That's correct. He was murdered. We need to ask you some more questions about the day he died.
Ed Harbison: I told you all I knew the last time. I don't know what else I can say.
Detective Murphy: Maybe there are some things we didn't cover in our last conversation. For instance, you didn't mention that your mother's roommate, Rose Jenkins, accused Jerry Shaw of abusing her.
Ed Harbison: Listen, I have a hard enough time keeping up with all my mother's complaints. I'm sure not going to pay any attention to the complaints of her roommate.
Detective Murphy: Your mother has a lot of complaints?
Ed Harbison: I can't imagine anybody is too happy to find themselves in a place like Yoknapatawpha Acres. All your life, you have your own home, your own kitchen, and your own things. You're free to just get up and take a drive if you feel like it. Then one day, you're plopped into a nursing home where you're powerless. Wouldn't you complain?
Detective Armstrong: Did your mother have any complaints about Jerry Shaw in particular?
Ed Harbison: I'm sure she did. Whenever I stop in—and I try to stop in as much as possible—she complains about the last person who aggravated her, and that only serves to warm her up because then she goes through the staff one by one. It would be a miracle if my mother hadn't complained about Jerry.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever talk to him about her complaints?
Ed Harbison: I might have said something in passing. The thing is, she has to live in that facility. If I throw my weight around, who knows what could happen to my mother after I leave?
Detective Murphy: How did Jerry respond to what you said?
Ed Harbison: He didn't like it. He thought I was telling him what to do.
Detective Murphy: We've heard that Jerry sometimes got physical when he was unhappy, shoving the person he was upset with, things like that. Did he ever do that with you?
Ed Harbison: Did he ever shove me? No.
Detective Armstrong: Did your mother ever tell you that something happened to her after you spoke to the staff?
Ed Harbison: No, no, no. I was just speaking in general as to why I didn't do more about my mother's complaints. And with Rose, you can never be sure that what she says has any connection to reality. Has she said anything significant about Jerry?
Detective Murphy: We're still investigating Rose's statements.
Ed Harbison: Of course, I understand. I just wouldn't focus all my energies following up on anything she might say. Her mind is in a terrible state.
Detective Murphy: We'll take that under advisement. Did you ever talk to Richard Landrigan about your mother's concerns?
Ed Harbison: Sometimes. When my mother repeats the same complaint over and over, I have to think there's something to what she's saying. That's when I would talk with him. Fat lot of good that did. I guess now we know why.
Detective Murphy: What did he say when you complained?
Ed Harbison: He'd always spin whatever she said, claiming that whatever she wanted was outside the contracted services. He's just like Jerry, looking to make an extra buck off the people who live there.
Detective Armstrong: Did you pay?
Ed Harbison: I knew that if I ever paid either one of those two, the demands would never end. And what if one day they decided they wouldn't feed her unless I paid extra and I just happened to not come in that day? No, I knew I had to draw a line.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever do anything to try to put a stop to the nickel-and-diming?
Ed Harbison: What could I do?
Detective Armstrong: I don't know. Call someone at the corporate headquarters. Talk to the family members of other residents. Something like that?
Ed Harbison: No, I guess I never thought of that. Like I said, I didn't want to risk making things any worse for my mother by stirring the pot too much
Detective Murphy: Is your mother going to keep living there?
Ed Harbison: I hope so. They've already brought in new people at the top. They said they were going to straighten everything out, so maybe it'll all work out.
Detective Armstrong: The first time we talked, you said your mother complained that Jerry wouldn't hang her clock.
Ed Harbison: Did I? She probably did then.
Detective Armstrong: According to the timeline we've put together from the various witness statements, your mother spoke to him about it while you were in the room.
Ed Harbison: That was a while ago now in the timeline of my mother's complaints. They all sort of run together into one giant complaint. In one ear and out the other. If it's not the clock, it's the television or the curtains or the table or the color of the walls or the noise.
Detective Armstrong: So you were or weren't there when your mother talked to Jerry about the clock?
Ed Harbison: I couldn't tell you. I was there when she talked to Jerry a bunch of times, but when she spoke to him about a clock in particular? Could be. I didn't want to put my mother in a nursing home, you know. I just didn't have any choice.
Detective Murphy: It sounds like you visit her anyway.
Ed Harbison: I do. I visit her as much as possible.
Detective Murphy: In all the times you've been at Yoknapatawpha Acres, have you ever been in the kitchen?
Ed Harbison: No.
Detective Murphy: What about behind the building where the deliveries come and the dumpster is?
Ed Harbison: Why are you asking me this? What reason would I have to go out there?
Detective Murphy: Maybe a shortcut to your car?
Ed Harbison: No.
Detective Murphy: So you went out the front on the day Jerry was killed?
Ed Harbison: What other way would I go out?
Detective Murphy: And you said last time that you left around 3:15, 3:20 p.m., and the receptionist wasn't at her desk when you left. Is that right?
Ed Harbison: If that's what I said. I'm there so often, it's hard to remember who was where on what day.
Detective Murphy: I understand. How many times a week would you say you visit your mother?
Ed Harbison: I try to go every day if I can, but I also work a lot, so I can take care of my family and pay for her care. Speaking of paying for things, I need to get going if there's nothing else? I've got a karate class in about 20 minutes.
Detective Armstrong: You take karate?
Ed Harbison: I teach an after-school class for kids a couple days a week and one for adults on weekends.
Detective Murphy: That sounds like fun. You're free to go. Thanks for your time. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.
Interview ended – 3:38 p.m.