Roger Johnson’s 12/5/1984 interview after his arrest for arson/murder

Det. Cpl. Barry Shuman interviewed Roger Johnson first at 2:00 p.m. and read him his constitutional rights. Johnson said he would speak without an attorney present. Det. Cpl. David Giroux was present during the interviews of Johnson and Meyers.
     Shuman said, “Okay, Mr. Johnson, you understand that the Hancock County Grand Jury has indicted you today; charging you with murder and arson. This was a murder that took place in February 1981. The arson took place at the camp owned by David Dupray’s mother; and the person that was deceased in the camp as a result of the fire was Micheal Cochran. What can you tell me about your knowledge of this fire or these people involved in this right now?
     “I had nothing to do with the fire at all, you know, I had no reason to even attempt to burn down his camp....”
     Shuman wanted to know if [Robert] Rideout asked him if he burned down Dupray’s camp in a conversation he had with Rideout. Shuman struck a nerve with Johnson.
      “No, he didn’t. ... I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t have a f***ing thing to do with this f***ing deal. I’ll prove it to you too, when I go for that test [polygraph examination]. Any way I can help you, I’ll help. I’ll help you now anyways. Ain’t trying to set me up on the f***ing deal.”
     “The information I’ve got is that you fronted Cochran some cocaine,” Shuman said.
     “I don’t even know Cochran.”
     “He was introduced to you from Bobby Rideout [police informant], David Dupray, and you fronted him some cocaine and he welshed on the deal.”
     “NO! They’re lying. Somebody’s lying, setting me up. You give me a lie detector test; I’ll prove it right to you. I tell you right now, I didn’t have nothing to do with this f***ing fire deal. And this Cochran guy, if he was here right today, I wouldn’t know him if I seen him. Wouldn’t even know him. I don’t even know that Percy guy, hardly at all. Other than by the name, them two I don’t even know. The only one I know is Dave and Bob. Dave Dupray and Bob Rideout.”
     “Then what you(re) telling me is you never fronted cocaine for Micheal Cochran.”
     “No, sir, don’t even know the guy. You’ll find that out when I take the test.”
     Shuman tells Johnson, “I heard that Percy Sargent was at a party here just before he went to Thomaston, and that he was bragging about Micheal Cochran getting knocked off. [When I told this to Asst. AG Brannigan, he rudely responded rumors, rumors and when I told Shuman that Linda Gray told me this he said he already knew it.]
     Johnson said, “I heard that Percy done it.”
    “Percy was in jail when the fire started.”
     “Well, I don’t know, that’s what Bob (Rideout), Bob thought Percy had something to do with it. ... I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t have nothing to do with this f***ing deal. Whoever’s doing it is setting me up. I guarantee you that. ...”
     Shuman said, “From what you’re saying to me, from the time that the Cochran fire happened, or the fire at Dupray’s which resulted in the death of Micheal Cochran, you have not heard anything—you were in this circle, and these people do a lot of talking and you never heard anybody talking who might have set fire to the camp.”
     “I know one time I heard one little thing, but I don’t know the guy’s name that they were talking about—thought they might have done it. I was thinking Sargent, that Percy guy ...”
     “Could it have been Dickie Sargent, Percy’s brother?”
     “I thought it was a Sargent they was talking about—they thought that done it.”
     “You’re not sure who the people were who said that it may have been Dickie Sargent who did this?
     “No. I couldn’t say for sure. But all I could seem to think was Percy Sargent...”
     Shuman said, “... did they ever tell you that Percy ripped off drug dealers?”
     “Dickie Sargent ripped off drug dealers?”

     Johnson again says “...I don’t know the Sargent’s. I don’t know that Cochran guy. Those other guys you named, I’ve never heard of them.”
     Shuman says “The other thing I heard during the investigation was a bunch of the area dealers were going to get together because they were getting ripped off by Dickie Sargent, Lionel Cormier, and Percy. And that they were going to see what they could do about taking care of this situation.”
     Shuman then says, “I’m talking about strong-arm type rip-offs. In other words, if you had $20,000 at your house.”
     “I never heard anything about that. ... What do you mean by strong-arm, you mean go in and hold them up?”