Interview: Follow-up with Ronny Brandt
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 12:15 p.m.
Ronny Brandt is RJ Brandt's father. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective Ted Armstrong
- Detective Sam Murphy
- Ronny Brandt
Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in again, Mr. Brandt.
Ronny Brandt: Yeah, yeah. Let's get this over with. What do you want this time? Aren't you getting tired of hassling me and my family? Don't you have anything better to do?
Detective Armstrong: Before we get started, would you please state your name and address for the record?
Ronny Brandt: Ronald Brandt. 205 Brittany Drive. Now what the hell is going on?
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Mr. Brandt. We're sorry to inconvenience you, but there are still some questions we need answers to.
Ronny Brandt: Such as what? I've told you every thing I know about the stupid skull. It was just some old bone RJ found. Why can't you let it go?
Detective Armstrong: Take it easy. We just need some answers from you. Don't you want to know where RJ got that skull and who it was?
Ronny Brandt: I don't need to know. As far as I'm concerned, it's over.
Detective Murphy: You seem a bit hostile, Mr. Brandt. Are you hiding something?
Ronny Brandt: What? No, of course not! I got nothing to hide.
Detective Armstrong: Well, then what is bothering you?
Ronny Brandt: My family has gone through hell, starting back when poor Gracie died of SIDS. Can you believe they suspected us for a while? Then I was out of work and we were broke for a long time. If it hadn't been for Heather's job, I don't know what we would have done. Things were just getting back to normal when Katrina drove us out of our home and up here. And it wasn't easy getting set up here and finding jobs and all that. Now you're giving us flack about some old skull RJ dug up or found or whatever. When does it end?
Detective Murphy: Actually, we have some different questions for you.
Ronny Brandt: Huh? What now?
Detective Armstrong: Well, for starters, we have statements from some witnesses who think you've been beating up on RJ.
Ronny Brandt: No way. Who said that?
Detective Murphy: It doesn't matter. Have you ever hit RJ?
Ronny Brandt: Sure, I guess a couple of times, but you've got to teach your kids what's right. I don't believe in that touchy-feely crap. A boy's got to learn right from wrong. But I never hurt him much. That's one tough kid.
Detective Armstrong: Would you call black eyes and bruises not hurting much?
Ronny Brandt: I never did nothing like that. That kid is clumsy is all, always bumping into things and falling. Yeah, and practicing wrestling holds with that big kid, Tristan. I warned them about that. I told them to knock it off or somebody was going to get hurt.
Detective Murphy: So you're denying that you ever injured RJ?
Ronny Brandt: Yeah, I'm denying it.
Detective Armstrong: What about your other children?
Ronny Brandt: What other children?
Detective Murphy: Well, Gracie, for example. Did you ever shake her or anything like that?
Ronny Brandt: Hey! We went all through that investigation back in Biloxi, and they cleared us from anything. She died in her crib. She just stopped breathing. There was nothing we could've done.
Detective Armstrong: And what about the other Gracie?
Ronny Brandt: Other Gracie? What are you talking about?
Detective Murphy: The daughter you had after you moved here. Where is she?
Ronny Brandt: I don't know what you're talking about. Who told you this story about "another Gracie?" Whoever they are, they're lousy liars. The only child I have left is RJ. You know what? I'm not talking to you anymore. You're just making things up now, and I don't have to take that.
Detective Armstrong: One other thing, Brandt. What about this Ox character? Do you owe him money?
Ronny Brandt: Oh, him. He's been hassling me about money he says I owe him from a while back. Even if I did owe him, I got no money to pay anybody anything. I have enough trouble just keeping my head above water with my normal bills.
Detective Murphy: Did he ever threaten you or your family if you didn't pay him back?
Ronny Brandt: Sure, he threatens. I ignore him, and he never does nothing. He's just a big bag of wind.
Detective Armstrong: So you endanger your family by ignoring him?
Ronny Brandt: My family ain't threatened by anything or anyone except you. I'm done here.
Detective Murphy: You may be done, but we're continuing our investigation until we get to the bottom of what's going on.
Detective Armstrong: And if you ever lay a hand on RJ again, we'll know and things won't turn out well for you.
Ronny Brandt: Yeah, whatever. I'm out of here.
Interview ends: 12:33 p.m.