Monday, January 29, 2001 – 11:00 a.m.
Roger Hammond is the victim's ex-husband.
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 T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Roger Hammond
Detective Murphy: We appreciate you coming down to speak with us today. For the record, would you please state your name and address?
Roger Hammond: My name is Roger Hammond, and I live at 4314 Mockingbird, here in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: And your occupation?
Roger Hammond: I'm the Sales Manager at Farrell Motors.
Detective Murphy: Well, as I said, thanks for coming down today. I'm sure you must be very upset.
Roger Hammond: Yes. Missy and I certainly had our differences, but you know, she was still the mother of my beautiful daughter. This is all just terrible.
Detective Murphy: We'd like to start at the beginning of your relationship with your ex-wife. When did you first meet?
Roger Hammond: Back in high school. It's a small enough town. The kids all know each other, even out in the county. I don't really remember how we first hooked up. It was sometime during our senior year.
Detective Murphy: And how long did you date?
Roger Hammond: Well, we started going out in February or March or so of our senior year. Class of '93. We did the usual things, riding around town, going to parties. Just the basic stuff kids do. Since my parents have the dealership, I always had pretty decent cars. Missy and I'd always go sit at Sonic or something. Just hang out. I guess we only dated for a few months before we got married.
Detective Armstrong: A few? You said you started dating in February or March. When did you get married?
Roger Hammond: In June. So I guess that makes it four or five months.
Detective Armstrong: So you were married in June of 1993. Why so soon?
Roger Hammond: What do you expect? Missy was pregnant.
Detective Armstrong: OK. So then what happened?
Roger Hammond: I started working at the dealership and we started getting ready for the baby.
Detective Armstrong: And your daughter was born when?
Roger Hammond: December 12, 1993. Best thing that ever happened to me. I'll admit, when Missy first told me she was pregnant, I was nervous, scared, angry, everything. There were times I even thought about just running off somewhere. My dad pretty much forced me to marry Missy and take care of her and my child. And I thank God he did talk me into it because he was completely right. Now, I just can't imagine life without Liddie.
Detective Murphy: When did you and Missy get divorced?
Roger Hammond: Early 1997. We just weren't getting along. The usual stuff.
Detective Murphy: We understand that the divorce was fairly nasty.
Roger Hammond: You ever been divorced? Heck, any divorce is nasty. That's just part of the process.
Detective Murphy: We've been told that during the divorce, Missy accused you of being a womanizer and that you accused her of being a drug addict. That doesn't sound like run-of-the-mill stuff.
Roger Hammond: Lady, I'm telling you. You go through a divorce, fight for your child, your home, your name in town, and things get dirty. Names are called. Lies are spread. I wish it wasn't that way, and maybe I regret some of the stuff that went on then. I certainly wish Liddie didn't have to go through all that, but it happened.
Detective Armstrong: Speaking of your daughter, what was your visitation agreement?
Roger Hammond: Well, it started out being Missy having custody. Fathers get completely shortchanged in the whole divorce process. Everyone knows that. It doesn't matter how much you love your kid. If you're the dad, you're going to be doing weekend duty. So Missy got Liddie, and I got every other weekend and holiday. I was the typical Sunday father.
Detective Armstrong: And was that arrangement still in place at the time of Missy's death?
Roger Hammond: Heck no. I wasn't allowed to see Liddie at all. I'm technically still not, I guess. Missy did all that just to get at me.
Detective Murphy: We understand that Missy obtained an Order of Protection against you, and because of this order, all your visitation privileges were revoked. Is that correct?
Roger Hammond: You got it. There wasn't anything to all that. Missy was just trying to put the screws to me, so she and her lawyer made more out of it than it was. Heck, it's bad enough that I only got to see Liddie on weekends and stuff, but that wasn't enough for Missy. She had to make it so I couldn't see her at all.
Detective Murphy: What originally led Missy to seek this order?
Roger Hammond: It was nothing. Really. Just a heated argument that got blown out of proportion.
Detective Armstrong: Nothing to it, huh?
Roger Hammond: That's right. I'm planning on filing any day now to get custody or at least my visitation back.
Detective Armstrong: So, you haven't been allowed to see Liddie since… July of 2000. Right?
Roger Hammond: Yes. My parents see her every week, and they tell me things about how she's doing, what she was wearing, what her favorite subject at school is, things like that. It's a pretty sorry excuse for actually being able to see her, but at least it's something. My parents just adore Liddie and she really loves them as well. One thing that Missy did let us do was for my parents to take Liddie out to dinner and things. That meant a lot to them, meant a lot to me.
Detective Armstrong: Missy must have really liked your parents then, to extend that courtesy.
Roger Hammond: No way. She doesn't like them, and they don't like her, never did. But she recognizes that they love Liddie and how upset Liddie would be if she couldn't see them. So, she lets my mom and dad take Liddie out every week, which coincidentally gives Missy time alone with that lowlife she was seeing, not that it's any of my concern.
Detective Murphy: And you're referring to whom?
Roger Hammond: This guy, JP Wallace. He's just slime. If you want to talk to someone about what happened to Missy, you should talk to him.
Detective Murphy: You can be sure we'll interview everyone who might have insight into this case.
Roger Hammond: Good. That'd be the first person I'd talk to if I was you. Dang dope pusher.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Wallace sells drugs?
Roger Hammond: You better believe it!
Detective Murphy: How do you know?
Roger Hammond: It's no secret that I used to have a drug problem myself. I'm not proud of it by any stretch, but I am very proud that I was able to overcome it a few years ago.
Detective Murphy: But how do you know that Mr. Wallace sells drugs?
Roger Hammond: I'm not sure how to put this… let's say that once you've been a drug user, you can tell who the dealers are, even if you're not using anymore.
Detective Murphy: How can you tell?
Roger Hammond: I don't know how to explain it. Call it instinct.
Detective Murphy: So you know Mr. Wallace?
Roger Hammond: No, not really. I'd heard he was seeing Missy, and really, I couldn't believe it, what with the way she feels about drugs. But anyway, I knew they were seeing each other, and someone pointed him out to me one night when Selena and I were at Murff's.
Detective Murphy: Who pointed him out to you?
Roger Hammond: You know, I really don't remember.
Detective Murphy: Did you speak to him?
Roger Hammond: No way. I had no reason to, and I didn't want to risk the temptation if you know what I mean.
Detective Murphy: I understand. Can you tell me where you were on the afternoon before Missy's body was discovered? That was Friday, January 26th, if you don't remember the exact date.
Roger Hammond: Why are you asking me that? Why don't you talk to that JP! He's the one you should be asking.
Detective Murphy: Please just answer the question.
Roger Hammond: Well, I would've been at work all day. That was a workday for me, so I'm sure I would've been at the dealership.
Detective Armstrong: Can anyone verify that?
Roger Hammond: I'm sure everyone who was working that day can. Anyone there should be able to remember that.
Detective Armstrong: And what did you do that evening?
Roger Hammond: I'm not sure. Let me think… oh, I met Selena that night for dinner. We met at City Grocery, and then we went to a movie after, I think.
Detective Murphy: Selena?
Roger Hammond: Selena Crosscroft, my girlfriend.
Detective Murphy: What time did you meet her that night?
Roger Hammond: Around 8:00 or so?
Detective Armstrong: And you were at work until then?
Roger Hammond: I must've been.
Detective Murphy: What movie did you see?
Roger Hammond: Castaway. We went to the late showing, around 9:45. Good flick. Have you seen it?
Detective Murphy: No, I haven't had the opportunity yet.
Roger Hammond: You really should make time for it. I think you'd enjoy it.
Detective Murphy: Thanks for the recommendation. I'll keep that in mind. What did you do after the movie?
Roger Hammond: Selena and I went back to my house.
Detective Armstrong: Does your girlfriend live with you?
Roger Hammond: No, but she stays over a lot.
Detective Armstrong: And did she stay over that night?
Roger Hammond: Yes, I'm sure she did. It was the weekend.
Detective Armstrong: Did either of you go out again before morning?
Roger Hammond: No, we both stayed in until I went to work the next day.
Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Crosscroft remain at your home when you went to work?
Roger Hammond: No, she went home when I left for work around 8:00 Saturday morning.
Detective Murphy: How long were you at work Saturday?
Roger Hammond: All day, until 6:00.
Detective Armstrong: When did you hear that your ex-wife had been killed?
Roger Hammond: When I got home Saturday night. It was all over the news, as I'm sure you know.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, I do. What did you do when you found out?
Roger Hammond: Well… I called Jonah to see if Liddie was all right. Maybe I shouldn't have because of the protection order and the custody situation and all that, but I had to know if she was OK. She is my daughter, after all.
Detective Murphy: You're referring to Jonah Dale, Missy's father?
Roger Hammond: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: How did he react when you called?
Roger Hammond: I could tell he wasn't thrilled to talk to me, and he sounded pretty upset, which is to be expected, I guess. But he did tell me that Liddie was fine. I mean, he said she was upset and wasn't quite herself and so forth, but he said she didn't seem to be physically hurt. That's true, isn't it? He didn't lie to me about that?
Detective Armstrong: No, that's correct. She wasn't hurt. I spoke to Mr. Dale, and he told me that Johnny McPhail — do you know Mr. McPhail?
Roger Hammond: Missy's uncle? Yes, I know him.
Detective Armstrong: Well, he arranged for Liddie's pediatrician to take a look at her on Saturday afternoon, just to be sure. And the doctor confirmed that she hadn't been hurt in any way. So you can rest easy about that, Mr. Hammond.
Roger Hammond: Good. I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear it! Not that I didn't believe Jonah when he told me she was OK. It's just nice to know a doctor checked her out. I'd hate to think that maniac did anything to my little girl.
Detective Murphy: Maniac?
Roger Hammond: Whoever killed Missy. Had to be some kind of maniac, right? Probably that JP guy like I said, but I guess it could have been anyone. You just never know…
Detective Murphy: Can you think of anyone who might have wanted to kill Ms. Hammond?
Roger Hammond: I really don't know. I hadn't even spoken to her in six months or so.
Detective Murphy: We have to ask, Mr. Hammond. Did you kill your ex-wife?
Roger Hammond: Of course not! I wouldn't murder my daughter's mother, no matter how much I personally didn't like her. That would be too devastating for Liddie, and I wouldn't want to be the one responsible for putting her through that kind of pain.
Detective Armstrong: OK, Mr. Hammond. We'll check out your story, and we'll contact you if we have any more questions. I think that's about it for now. Thanks for your time.
Roger Hammond: Wait. What do you mean, you'll check out my story?
Detective Murphy: I'm sure you understand, sir, that we have to verify your alibi. It's standard procedure.
Roger Hammond: Oh. OK.
Detective Armstrong: OK. We'll be in touch if we need to talk to you again. If you think of anything that might help us find Missy's killer in the meantime, be sure to give us a call.
Roger Hammond: I'll do that. Thank you, detectives.
Detective Armstrong: Have a good afternoon, Mr. Hammond.
End interview – 11:39 a.m.