Interview: Follow-up with Mason York

Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 11:53 a.m.

Mason York is an adult friend and mentor of RJ Brandt. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness' knowledge and consent.


Detective Armstrong: Please state your name and address for the record.

Mason York: Mason York, 814 Lincoln Avenue.

Detective Murphy: Mr. York, I know we've talked to you before, but we'd appreciate your help clearing up a few things for us.

Mason York: Sure, anything I can do.

Detective Murphy: According to your previous statement, you said RJ had not been to church since he found the skull and took it to school.

Mason York: Yes, that is correct.

Detective Murphy: Has he tried to contact you or have you tried to contact him since?

Mason York: I called him a few times. I left a message twice, but he never called back. When I called again, he answered the phone but he said he couldn't talk.

Detective Murphy: When you talked to him, how was he acting?

Mason York: The same as before. Edgy. He didn't want to talk. But he seemed a little scared, too.

Detective Murphy: What do you mean?

Mason York: I got the impression he wasn't alone. I asked if his parents were there, but he never answered. He just said he had to go and hung up real fast. I think they didn't want him to talk to me.

Detective Armstrong: Why do you think that is?

Mason York: Beats me.

Detective Armstrong: Was there a reason why you kept calling him?

Mason York: A reason? I just wanted to make sure he was OK. The kid seemed pretty shook up, which is understandable. I know I'd be in such a situation.

Detective Armstrong: Sure. Now we wanted to talk a little more about what you said about foster parenting. Your wife, Marianna, said she preferred to take in younger children. You never really said what age children you liked to foster.

Mason York: Me? Like I said before, all these children want is love. I guess we both have our own style of dealing with kids. I try to reach the kids through activities, especially the older ones, like taking RJ to wrestling matches. Marianna would rather be home with the small ones. She can get them to listen.

Detective Armstrong: You said before and I quote, "one troubled teen is twice the work of sixteen preschoolers." It sounds like you'd much rather work with the older kids, like RJ?

Mason York: I guess. I'll be honest. I really don't have the patience for the crying or changing diapers.

Detective Murphy: You mentioned activities. Do you take the younger ones out?

Mason York: No, not really. Marianna is better with them. She's strict. They listen to her. She says it's easier to keep an eye on them at home. That's why I put up a swing set and built the sandbox in the back yard. It's easier for her, and she won't get mad at me.

Detective Murphy: How would you describe your relationship with your wife?

Mason York: Our relationship? What's that have to do with anything?

Detective Armstrong: We're just covering all bases, Mr. York. Have you and your wife been having problems?

Mason York: Hey, we've had some rough spots. Like any other married couple, we have our spats. But things have been OK.

Detective Murphy: You said that Marianna didn't seem to like or trust RJ. Has your interest in RJ caused problems at home?

Mason York: No, things have been OK. We don't talk about RJ. She said it's a waste of time.

Detective Armstrong: Why is that?

Mason York: I don't know. She doesn't want to talk about him.

Detective Murphy: When did the two of you talk about him last?

Mason York: We talked about RJ and what happened after our interviews with you. We haven't talked about it since.

Detective Murphy: So you haven't told your wife that you called RJ or talked to him since?

Mason York: No. I didn't tell her.

Detective Armstrong: Why is that?

Mason York: Like I said, things have been OK at home. She didn't want to hear anymore about him and I didn't want to start an argument, so I kept it to myself.

Detective Murphy: How do you think your wife would react if we asked about your calls to RJ?

Mason York: Sheesh. I really wish you wouldn't. I don't want to get in a big blow-up with her over nothing. All I did was call the kid. She'll make a big deal about it. That's why I didn't want to tell her. I hope you won't mention it to her.

Detective Armstrong: We can't say what will happen if we talk to her again. You understand, we're just doing our job. Thanks for talking with us. We'll be in touch.

Interview ends: 12:14 p.m.