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Witness Interview: Brenda Marsh, saw the victim the afternoon before the body was found

Wednesday, February 7, 2001 - 3:15 p.m.

Since Brenda Marsh's first interview on January 27, 2001, questions have arisen regarding certain portions of her statement. Marsh's mother, Cynthia Marsh, brought her into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office for a follow up interview with Detectives Armstrong and Murphy. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness and her mother's knowledge and consent.

TA = Det. Ted Armstrong
SM = Det. Sam Murphy
BM = Brenda Marsh, witness
CM = Cynthia Marsh, witness's mother

SM: Thanks for coming in to talk with us again, Miss Marsh. Could you state your name and address for the record, please?

BM: Brenda Marsh. I live at 610 Martin Luther King.

SM: Do you know why we wanted to talk to you again, Brenda?

BM: Um, no.

SM: We think that maybe you left something out when you talked to us before. Do you know what I'm talking about?

BM: I don't know.

SM: Do you know someone named Chuck?

BM: Yes, ma'am.

SM: Is there anything you want to tell us that involves someone named Chuck?

BM: Um, maybe...

TA: Don't worry, Brenda. We're not upset or angry with you. You're not going to get in trouble with us. We just need to know about Chuck.

CM: What is this about? Brenda? What did you do?

TA: Mrs. Marsh, this is not a big deal and we want Brenda to feel comfortable telling us everything she needs to, so let's not get tense over this, okay?

CM: I don't understand, but okay. Brenda, you need to tell the detectives what they want to know.

BM: Yes, ma'am.

TA: Was a boy named Chuck with you at the Williams' house that Friday? The day before Missy Hammond's body was found?

BM: Yes, sir.

CM: What?

TA: Mrs. Marsh, if you'd just bear with us a moment, please.

CM: All right.

TA: What is Chuck's last name, Brenda?

BM: Ward.

SM: Chuck Ward?

BM: Yes, ma'am.

TA: Does he go to school with you?

BM: Yes, sir.

TA: Is he in the eighth grade too?

BM: Yes, sir.

SM: Can you tell us how to get in touch with Chuck?

BM: Yes. His phone number is 234-XXXX.

SM: Do you know his address?

BM: Um... I can't remember. I'm sorry. Am I in trouble?

TA: It's okay, Brenda. You're not in trouble. We can find his address. Let's just talk a little about when exactly Chuck was there that day, okay? What time did he get to the Williams'? Did he come with you?

BM: No. He came over a little after we got there.

SM: What time do you think he got there?

BM: I don't know. Maybe 3:30ish or a little later?

SM: Why did he come to the Williams' that day?

BM: I don't know. Just to hang out.

SM: Is Chuck your boyfriend?

BM: Um... I don't know. Sort of.

TA: It's okay if he is.

BM: I know. I guess he is. Sort of.

SM: What did the two of you do while he was there?

BM: I don't know. Nothing. Just talked and watched the kids.

SM: Was he there with you the whole time?

BM: No. He was only there for, like, a little while.

SM: When did he leave?

BM: I don't know. Like around five-ish?

SM: Did Mr. and Mrs. Williams know he was going to be there?

BM: No. I'm not supposed to have any friends over when I'm babysitting.

SM: But you did anyway?

BM: Yes.

TA: It's okay, Brenda. Just relax. Did Chuck see the argument between Missy Hammond and her boyfriend too?

BM: Yes, sir.

TA: What did he say about it?

BM: Nothing. He thought it was bad, I guess. He didn't think they should be, like, all fighting like that.

TA: Did he do anything about it?

BM: No. Like what could he do?

TA: Why didn't you tell us Chuck was there when we talked to you before?

BM: I don't know. I didn't want to get in trouble.

TA: Why did you think you would get in trouble?

BM: Like, I know that Mr. and Mrs. Williams don't want me to have friends over while I'm babysitting for them. And, like, I knew my mom wouldn't really like it either. No matter what you say, I'm going to be in trouble when I leave here.

TA: What do you think will happen to you?

BM: I don't know. I'll probably get grounded or something. And the Williams probably won't want me to babysit for them anymore when they find out.

SM: They already know.

BM: Oh.

SM: When we talked before, you told us that you and the Williams children were outside from the time you arrived around 3:20 until a little while after Ms. Hammond's boyfriend left the second time. Is that right?

BM: Yes, ma'am.

SM: And you and Chuck were outside with the Williams children the whole time?

BM: Yes, ma'am. Pretty much.

SM: What do you mean "pretty much"?

BM: Well... Chuck went inside once, I think, to go to the bathroom. And I went inside a couple of times. But at least one of us was always outside with the kids. I mean, Chuck was, like, helping me babysit, you know? So we wouldn't leave them out there alone.

TA: Do you remember what Missy Hammond was wearing that day?

BM: Um... I think... I think maybe some kind of like nightgown or something. It could have been a dress, I guess.

TA: A nightgown? Did you think that was strange?

BM: I don't know. I guess. I guess we just thought she was having some kind of... romantic thing with her boyfriend. Before they, like, started fighting anyway.

SM: Why didn't you mention what she was wearing when we talked to you before?

BM: I don't know. I guess I didn't think of it. I was kind of nervous. Like now.

TA: Have you told us everything about that day now?

BM: Yes, sir. I think so.

SM: So when we talk to Chuck, he's going to tell us the same thing you have?

BM: I don't know. I think so.

SM: Do you remember seeing an Airborne Express delivery van in the neighborhood that day?

BM: No, ma'am.

TA: Are you sure?

BM: Yes, I'm pretty sure. I don't really remember.

TA: Okay. Is there anything else you can think of that happened that day?

BM: No, sir.

TA: If you do remember something, will you tell your mom so she can call us?

BM: Yes, sir.

TA: Okay. Thanks for talking to us again, Brenda.

BM: Okay.

SM: Mrs. Marsh, thank you for bringing her in. If we need to talk to Brenda again, we'll be in touch with you.

CM: Okay. You know how to reach us. Thank you, Detectives. And I apologize. I hope Brenda hasn't caused any problems for you by not telling you everything in the beginning.

TA: No need to apologize, ma'am. It's all part of the job. Y'all have a good afternoon now.

CM: Thank you, Detective. Same to you. Young lady? Let's go.

BM: Yes, ma'am.

End interview 3:37 p.m.

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