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Witness Interview: Kevin Travers, victim's neighbor

Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 11:09 a.m.

This witness, identified as a friend and neighbor of the deceased, was interviewed in his home at 110 Hickory Street. The interview was conducted by Det. Sam Murphy and Det. Ted Armstrong, and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
KT = Kevin Travers

SM: For the record, sir, could you please state your name and address?

KT: My name is Kevin Travers. I live here at 110 Hickory in Oxford.

SM: Can you tell us how you know the deceased and what your relationship was with her?

KT: Missy and I have been neighbors since 1997, when she first moved in next door. I brought over a "welcome to the neighborhood" coffee cake and we've been friends ever since.

SM: Would you say you were close friends?

KT: I guess it would depend on what you mean by close.

SM: Well, did you spend a lot of time together, hang out? Did she confide in you? That sort of thing?

KT: Yes. I'd say that's about right. I'm a photographer and I work out of my house, so I'm around a lot.

SM: Did you have any romantic attachment to one another?

KT: No, we're just friends. Don't get me wrong. Missy's a great girl and any man would be lucky to have her love him. But we're just friends. Missy and I take Liddie to the park sometimes. Or if she needs a sitter and nobody's around, I look after Liddie.

SM: So, you know the deceased's daughter pretty well?

KT: Yeah, she's a good kid. We get along pretty good. I got her her first camera, just a little instamatic, but she's pretty good at it. Real smart little girl. She just got a computer for her birthday and it came with a little digital video camera. She's been having a good time with that. She's a great kid.

SM: When was the last time you talked to Ms. Hammond?

KT: Yesterday afternoon. After the knock-down, drag-out.

SM: The what? The knock-down, drag-out? What does that mean?

KT: She and JP had a fight, again. They are always fighting.

TA: Who is JP?

KT: JP Wallace, her boyfriend, though what she ever saw in him, none of us knew. He's bad news.

TA: How is he bad news?

KT: He's a creep. Local gossip says he deals drugs sometimes. He must do something for money, only works part time at some factory job. He can't make enough there to support himself.

SM: What did Ms. Hammond have to say about your suspicions? You did share them with her, didn't you?

KT: At first, she just said I was imagining things, that it was just gossip. But then lately, seems like she was coming around. But not enough.

TA: Not enough?

KT: Well, she was still seeing him. Even though she was saying for the last couple weeks she was going to break it off, she never did.

SM: Tell us about the fight they had yesterday. How do you know about it?

KT: No way to avoid it. They were out in the front yard, yelling and screaming, then he jumps in his truck and races off. You could have heard them screaming a mile away.

TA: When did the fight take place?

KT: I don't know, must've been about 3:30, 4 o'clock.

SM: Could you hear what they were arguing about?

KT: Yeah, she thought he was drunk or high. She didn't like that stuff. Her mama died from a drug overdose when Missy was a kid. She had no tolerance for that kind of thing. One of the reasons she and Roger split too, he had a problem with that too.

SM: Who is Roger?

KT: Roger Hammond. Her ex-husband.

SM: Her ex-husband has a drug or alcohol abuse problem?

KT: Drugs, but supposedly he's kicked it. But I haven't seen him in quite a spell so I couldn't say. I just know it came up in the divorce and she just was sick about it. Didn't want her child exposed to that. Just like any mother I suspect.

SM: So, they fought in the front yard and JP took off. Then what happened?

KT: I called her to make sure she was okay, if she wanted me to come over or something.

SM: Why not just walk across the yard and knock on her door?

KT: Missy doesn't like that, people just dropping by. She's pretty firm on that. No, you have to call first. Anyway, we talked a couple minutes. She said she was okay and didn't want any company, so I said okay.

TA: Did she say anything about the fight? What it was about? Anything like that?

KT: Like I said, I pretty much heard the whole thing. She just said she'd had it and she wasn't going to see him anymore. She was just going to have a glass of wine and wind down. Relax 'til Liddie came home.

TA: So you just hung up and that was it?

KT: No. I told her if she needed anything to give a holler. And reminded her to lock the doors. Someone tried to break in over there about a week back, so I wanted to make sure she was okay. You know?

SM: Mr. Dale told us about that. Was Ms. Hammond given to forgetting to lock her doors?

KT: No, I don't think so. I guess I was just feeling protective. Anyway, then we said good-bye and hung up. Then about fifteen minutes later, I heard JP pounding on her door and screaming for her to let him in.

SM: Did she let him in?

KT: Hell no. I went over there and run him off. Told him to beat it or I was going to call the cops.

TA: What did he do?

KT: Nothing much. He saw me come out of my house and walked over to me like he wanted to start something. Got up in my face, called me every name in the book and sort of shoved me once like he was trying to get me to hit him. But I didn't. Then he just gave me the finger and got in his truck and raced off. I could smell the liquor on his breath. Just a pathetic loser, if you ask me.

TA: Did you call Ms. Hammond back to see if she was okay?

KT: No, I knew she was okay.

TA: How'd you know that? Did she come out and tell you?

KT: No. But I saw her at the window. Well, I didn't actually see her, but I saw the curtains move for a second, so I knew she'd seen me run him off. I figured if she felt insecure or something, that she'd of come out or called me. She didn't, so I figured she was okay.

SM: Did you see anyone else outside when all this was going on? Anyone who might have seen anything?

KT: You might want to talk to the Williams across the street. The parents weren't home, but the kids were outside with their babysitters. They might have seen something.

SM: Do you know the babysitter's name?

KT: Brenda... Brenda March or Marsh. Ask the Williams. They'll know. Joanne or Richard. They're the parents.

TA: Did you see Missy Hammond's daughter at any point during all this with JP?

KT: No, Liddie spends Friday afternoons with Roger's parents, thank goodness. At least she wasn't here to see JP acting like that with her mother.

TA: Did you notice when Liddie was dropped off by the Hammonds?

KT: No, I guess I was probably in my darkroom developing a few rolls of film I'd taken this week.

TA: And when did you start working on developing your film?

KT: I don't know about five or so. I had a sandwich and made a pot of coffee and then went in to work. Once I start doing that, I lose all track of time. I guess I finished up around eleven or so. I don't know. I was so beat, I just fell into bed and was out like a light 'til morning.

SM: So you didn't hear anything else, after about five or so?

KT: No ma'am. I didn't. I wish I'd of decided to do that film later. Maybe if I had, I would've saw something or heard something... I can't really believe this happened. She was such a sweet girl. Who could have...

TA: You can't go second guessing yourself on these things, sir. Can you think of anything else that happened yesterday that struck you funny?

KT: No, nothing. Well, one thing was a little strange. The lights in Missy's living room were on late.

SM: How late?

KT: Whenever it was that I quit for the night. I saw the porch light was still on and the living room. They usually had lights out by ten and it was probably almost midnight.

TA: But you didn't call to see if there was a problem?

KT: No, I didn't want to disturb her. She could have just forgot the porch light and left the TV on without realizing it. I don't know. I just didn't think it was right to call so late.

SM: I understand. Can you think of anyone who would want to hurt Ms. Hammond?

KT: Not anybody in his right mind. She's a sweet, caring young woman. Who'd want to hurt her?

SM: That's what we intend to find out.

KT: I hope you do. She didn't deserve this and neither did Liddie.

TA: If we have any more questions, we'll contact you.

KT: Any time. Anything at all I can do, don't hesitate to call.

SM: Thank you, Mr. Travers.

End interview 11:48 a.m.

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