Roger Hammond interview #2
Thursday, February 22, 2001 – 3:30 p.m.
Roger Hammond was Missy Hammond's ex-husband.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Roger Hammond
Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming back down to speak with us again. Just like last time, could you please state your name and address?
Roger Hammond: Roger Hammond. 4314 Mockingbird.
Detective Armstrong: First, we've got a few basic questions for you. Just standard information.
Roger Hammond: OK.
Detective Murphy: How tall are you?
Roger Hammond: About 5' 10". Maybe 5' 10" and a half.
Detective Murphy: How much do you weigh?
Roger Hammond: I'm not sure, but it's probably around 150 or so.
Detective Murphy: Are you right or left-handed?
Roger Hammond: Right.
Detective Murphy: Do you have a cell phone?
Roger Hammond: I do have one, but I leave it turned off most of the time. I hate those things.
Detective Armstrong: That's kind of weird, isn't it? I mean, you're the Sales Manager at the dealership. I figured you would need a cell phone with you all the time, in case they needed to reach you.
Roger Hammond: I work enough hours. If they can't find me at home or at work, then that's fine. I'm not about to keep a cell phone or a pager with me all the time where I can't even go to the bathroom without them tracking me down.
Detective Murphy: OK. Do you own a dark-colored jacket? With a hood?
Roger Hammond: No, I don't believe so.
Detective Armstrong: You're sure about that?
Roger Hammond: I might have an Ole Miss sweatshirt or windbreaker somewhere that's dark blue. You know, just the school colors. Heck, probably everybody in town has one of those. But I don't normally wear anything that fits that description.
Detective Murphy: All right. I think that about covers all the trivial details we needed to ask you about. Now, we need to talk about where you were on Friday, January 26th.
Roger Hammond: I told you. I was at work.
Detective Murphy: Well, we looked into that. And yeah, you were at work at different times during the day, but there are still some pretty big gaps.
Roger Hammond: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: We asked. A lot of people at the dealership remember that you disappeared for quite a while during that day.
Roger Hammond: I'm sure that's not entirely true. I probably ran some errands, but I don't see how you could say that I disappeared.
Detective Murphy: That does seem to be the prevailing opinion. So do you want to tell us where you went that afternoon?
Roger Hammond: Well, I don't know that I can remember every single stop I made. I probably went by the bank, got something to eat, did a little shopping.
Detective Armstrong: Then there shouldn't be anything to worry about right? If you went to the bank, then I'm sure they have the records of any deposits or withdrawals you made.
Roger Hammond: Well, I just said I can't remember every single stop I made. I might not have actually gone to the bank.
Detective Murphy: You said shopping. Where'd you go?
Roger Hammond: I don't know! Good lord, I don't see how you expect me to remember every little thing I did. Would you like me to tell you what red lights I stopped at?
Detective Murphy: OK then, maybe you can remember the car you drove.
Roger Hammond: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: It's a pretty simple question, Roger. What car were you driving?
Roger Hammond: Well, I don't think I drove my car. I probably just took one off the lot.
Detective Murphy: You know, I can't help but notice how shaky your memory has suddenly become.
Roger Hammond: Well, what do you expect? You're asking these ridiculous questions. Why would I remember such silly things?
Detective Armstrong: Here's what I'll do. I'll make it easy on you. How about multiple choice? We know you weren't much of a student, but you remember multiple-choice questions, right? So, was it a Mercedes, a Blazer, or a Chevy sedan you drove that day? That should be easy enough.
Roger Hammond: I don't remember.
Detective Murphy: How can you not remember?
Roger Hammond: I drive a lot of different cars all the time. When I need to run out for a minute, I just take whatever's parked nearby. There's no way I can remember what I drove each time.
Detective Murphy: And you're still not positive on where you went?
Roger Hammond: Look, I probably didn't go anywhere. A lot of times, I leave the dealership to run errands. But, other times, I just get out to drive around. To clear my head. Get some time to myself. I probably didn't make any stops, just rode around.
Detective Armstrong: And I bet you can't remember where you drove around to either. Think you drove through Missy's neighborhood by any chance?
Roger Hammond: I doubt it. Why would I want to go there?
Detective Armstrong: It certainly would make it easier for you to kill her if you went that way.
Roger Hammond: How many times do I have to tell you? I didn't kill her!
Detective Murphy: So you don't remember where you went that afternoon, but you do remember that you didn't go to her neighborhood?
Roger Hammond: That's right.
Detective Murphy: OK, if you say so. Let's just drop that for now. Tell us about your child support payments.
Roger Hammond: What about them?
Detective Murphy: Ever have any trouble making them?
Roger Hammond: From time to time. It's not a small amount of money, you know. But I never fell really far behind.
Detective Murphy: I see. Well, according to our records, you were increasingly late in your payments in recent months.
Roger Hammond: I just told you that I struggled with them. But, heck, it's not like I was some sort of deadbeat dad. My god, they wouldn't even let me see Liddie, but they expect me to fork over this huge amount of money each month. Of course, it was tough now and then.
Detective Armstrong: Money's tight, huh?
Roger Hammond: If you must know, yes, it is. Sales have been down at the dealership, so things have been difficult financially lately. The child support payments certainly didn't make it any easier.
Detective Armstrong: No, but that life insurance policy sure will make it easier, won't it?
Roger Hammond: I'm not sure what you mean.
Detective Armstrong: You're having a real tough time following along today. You keep forgetting things. You can't follow the conversation. You don't know what we mean. Tough day, Roger?
Roger Hammond: I'm fine. I just wish you would come right out and say things instead of this BS playing around.
Detective Murphy: Let's see if this is obvious enough for you. You're having money problems, but you've got a life insurance policy on Missy. And you complain about not being able to see your daughter because Missy won't allow it. So you kill Missy, get the money and your little girl, and everything is just cool.
Roger Hammond: You're outta your mind. That's nonsense!
Detective Armstrong: Then, why the policy?
Roger Hammond: It was for Liddie! In case anything happened, Liddie would be taken care of.
Detective Armstrong: And almost immediately after Missy's death, you filed a claim. I guess you're just trying to make sure that Liddie is taken care of.
Roger Hammond: Of course.
Detective Armstrong: So, then I guess you're going to put all that insurance money in a trust or something for your daughter? Where no one else can touch it?
Roger Hammond: My financial decisions are none of your business.
Detective Armstrong: That's what I thought.
Detective Murphy: When is the last time you were in Missy's house?
Roger Hammond: I don't remember. Quite some time ago.
Detective Armstrong: Another memory lapse there, Roger?
Roger Hammond: You have no right to badger me this way, Detective!
Detective Murphy: I'll be honest with you. We've got your prints on your daughter's My Family booklet that she made for school. We found it in Missy's house, and your hands have been all over it. Recent prints, too.
Roger Hammond: But I wasn't in her house! I've told you that.
Detective Armstrong: Look, pal. This is a tight one here. You say you hadn't seen your daughter in months because your visitation rights had been revoked, and you also say that you hadn't been in Missy's house. But we've got your prints on a book we took from that house! So something here ain't right.
Detective Murphy: If you've got something to confess, Roger, you should do it now.
Roger Hammond: OK, listen. I don't really want to tell you this because I know it could get me and some other people in some trouble, but I want to put my cards on the table here so you know I'm being straight with you. I don't want you to think I'm hiding anything.
Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh.
Roger Hammond: Look… I've still been seeing Liddie. I saw her on Fridays when my parents were with her. That was probably when I touched her book, when she brought it to show me.
Detective Murphy: That's it, huh?
Roger Hammond: Yes. I know I wasn't supposed to see her, but I couldn't stand it. I had to see my little girl. And how can that be wrong? A father seeing his daughter.
Detective Armstrong: You sure she's your daughter?
Roger Hammond: Of course she's my daughter! What kind of question is that?
Detective Murphy: Were you aware of the fact that Missy wanted to get a paternity test done on Liddie?
Roger Hammond: A paternity test? That's crazy! Of course, I'm her father. You're lying.
Detective Armstrong: 'Fraid not. It was going to be done.
Roger Hammond: That's just ridiculous. Everyone knows she's my little girl. There's no way. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
Detective Murphy: We'll see how dumb it is. We've obtained a court order that compels you to submit a blood sample so we can do our own paternity test.
Roger Hammond: What! That's outrageous! I won't do it. I won't!
Detective Murphy: Then you'll be in contempt of court, and we'll have to take you into custody, at which time we're just going to get the sample we need anyway.
Roger Hammond: I think I need to talk to a lawyer.
Detective Armstrong: You can if you want to, but it won't make any difference.
Roger Hammond: That's what you say. I think I'll just be going now. My attorney will contact you.
Detective Murphy: Just one more thing before you go, Roger.
Roger Hammond: Yeah? What?
Detective Murphy: Why didn't you tell us last time we talked that you had called Missy?
Roger Hammond: What? What are you talking about?
Detective Murphy: You called her on the evening of January 25th, didn't you?
Roger Hammond: No, why would I do that? I was legally prohibited from contacting her, wasn't I?
Detective Armstrong: That didn't seem to stop you where your daughter was concerned.
Roger Hammond: Well… that's true, but Missy was different. Why would I want to talk to her?
Detective Murphy: I don't know, but you did, didn't you?
Roger Hammond: I'm sure you have a list of who called her, don't you? Is my name on it?
Detective Murphy: No, it's not. But we know you talked to her. You called her from McPhail's Chevron, didn't you? I bet she hung up on you the first time. That's why you had to call her back. Isn't that right?
Roger Hammond: You can't prove I called her.
Detective Armstrong: You're just digging yourself in deeper, man. You might as well admit it. We know you did it.
Roger Hammond: Well, what if I did call her? So what?
Detective Armstrong: So what did you want?
Roger Hammond: The only thing I ever wanted — to see my daughter.
Detective Armstrong: But you were already seeing your daughter, or so you said.
Roger Hammond: Yeah, but I couldn't exactly let Missy find out about that, now could I? I wanted to be able to see Liddie without sneaking around. I thought if I could just talk to Missy, I could convince her. But it didn't work. She wouldn't listen.
Detective Armstrong: That's why you had to kill her, right?
Roger Hammond: You know, I've already told you a bunch of times that I did not kill her. I'm getting sick of answering the same question over and over. I'm out of here.
Detective Murphy: OK, but make sure either you or your attorney talks to us before the end of the day, Mr. Hammond. You understand?
Roger Hammond: Yeah, yeah.
Detective Murphy: Thanks for your time.
Detective Armstrong: Be seeing you around.
End interview – 4:11 p.m.