STATE OF CALIFORNIA
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
INTERVIEW OF KENNETH HENDRIX
DATE: November 19, 2000
Detective Paul Jennings
Detective Edward Valbuena
PJ: All right, I think we’ll go ahead and get started here. This is Detective Paul Jennings, Los Angeles Police Department. For the record, the date is November 19, the year 2000. The time is 12:49 p.m. Also present this afternoon is Detective Edward Valbuena. The individual being interviewed today is Mr. Kenneth Hendrix -- Mr. Hendrix, would you please pronounce and spell your first and last name for us?
KH: Kenneth Hendrix, K-E-N-N-E-T-H. Last name H-E-N-D-R-I-X.
PJ: Okay, so that’s Hendrix with an X?
PJ: And your date of birth is February 2, 1969, is that correct?
KH: That’s right.
PJ: And what’s your address, please?
KH: 332 Imperial Avenue, Apartment 7.
PJ: And that’s in El Segundo, right?
PJ: Is that near the dog park?
KH: Yeah, more or less.
PJ: All right, Ken -- You mind if I call you Ken?
KH: Yeah, that's okay.
PJ: Okay, Ken. So, look, before we start I have to make sure you understand your rights, okay?
PJ: Ken, one of your rights is the right to remain silent. Do you understand that? You have to speak up a little so the tape can pick everything up.
KH: I understand.
PJ: All right, then. Do me a favor and write your initials in that space right there.
PJ: You can hold onto that pen for a second, Ken.
PJ: All right, Ken. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law or other proceedings. Do you understand?
PJ: Write your initials there, please.
PJ: You also have the right to speak to an attorney for any advice or questions you may have, and you have the right to have one present here with you during this questioning. Do you understand that?
PJ: Initial there, please.
PJ: If you can’t afford a lawyer but still feel the need to have one, the State of California will provide one to you at no cost. Is that understood?
PJ: Initials here, please.
PJ: If you decide to answer any questions, you have the right to stop answering at any time until you speak to an attorney. Understood?
PJ: Sign here.
PJ: Okay, let me see this for a second. I, blank space, you write your name there, have read and understand the above rights as explained to me by, I’ll print my name, Detective Jennings, and I am willing to make a statement at this time without a lawyer being present.
PJ: Do you mind speaking to us now about some questions we have for you?
KH: Sure. Well, I guess it depends what they’re about, you know? I’m not exactly sure what this is all about.
PJ: Well, Ken, that’s the thing. Detective Valbuena and I think you do know what this is about, so that’s what we’re trying to do here today, you know? You don’t know why we may have called you down here today?
KH: I don’t know.
PJ: Okay, Ken. That is your real name, isn’t it?
KH: Yeah, man. That’s my real name.
PJ: Do you go by any other aliases? Have you ever changed your name in the past?
PJ: Listen, Ken. Work with us, here. Detective Valbuena and I just want to help you.
KH: You know, I think I may need a lawyer.
PJ: You think you need a lawyer?
PJ: Okay. You have a right to have your own lawyer.
KH: Well, that’s the thing, man. I don’t have a lawyer, you know? I’m gonna have to get one.
PJ: Look, Ken. It’s your decision. So, just to be clear, what you’re saying is you’d rather have a lawyer than speak to me and Detective Valbuena?
KH: Look, man, I told you I don’t know what this is about, you know? So, I don’t want you askin’ me nothin’ that will put me in a spot I don’t want to be in. I know how these things go.
PJ: Okay, Ken. Having a lawyer is entirely up to you. So, just to be clear, you would rather have a lawyer?
PJ: So, what you’re saying is you really can’t talk to us today or answer any of our questions? Because, Ken, look. Let me be frank with you, I think you do know why we’ve called you down here today, and if you just answer some of our questions and work with us on this, I guarantee you this will work out better for you. You don’t have any idea why we may have called you in here today?
KH: No, not really.
PJ: Ken, I want you to have a look at something. Can you tell me what this is, please?
KH: It’s a driver’s license.
PJ: Can you read the name on that driver’s license?
KH: Anthony Scott.
PJ: Does anything about this driver’s license seem strange to you?
KH: I don’t know. What about that lawyer, man?
PJ: Sure, Ken. If that’s what you want, you know, we can get you a lawyer. You just have to make sure that’s what you really want.
KH: Okay, well --
PJ: Because look, just try to help us understand, okay? Look at this driver’s license again. Don’t you think this Anthony Scott person looks a lot like Kenneth Hendrix?
KH: I don’t know.
PJ: You don’t know? Because when I look at it, and I have you sitting here right in front me, it’s kind of clear to me that Anthony Scott is Kenneth Hendrix.
PJ: Ken, do you mind telling us where you were last Thursday night?
KH: I was at home.
PJ: You weren’t out?
KH: No, I was at home.
PJ: You didn’t leave the house at all? Not even to go to the store? Maybe to buy some beer? Maybe you got hungry and got some drive through somewhere?
KH: I don’t know, maybe.
PJ: Maybe. Okay. Do you think maybe you could have used this Anthony Scott ID at the Tipsy Fox liquor store in Hawthorne last Thursday night? And do you think maybe the fellow behind the counter kept this ID and told you to get out of the store because he suspected it was a fake?
KH: Are you asking me or are you telling me?
PJ: I’m asking you.
KH: Then, no.
PJ: No, what? No you didn’t use the ID, no you didn’t leave the house, no --
KH: No, I didn’t leave the house.
PJ: Ken, look. What me and Detective Valbuena are trying to do is get through to all the facts, okay? And while we do this, Detective Valbuena and I really appreciate honesty, so I’m gonna ask you to please not lie to us, alright? If you tell us the truth, all of this will go a whole lot better for you.
KH: How about that lawyer, man?
EV: Listen, Ken. We’re not getting you a lawyer.
KH: Man, what are you talking about? He said he’d get me a lawyer.
EV: He said that’s the process, like if you ended up in court, you know, that’s a different proceeding.
KH: You guys said I could have a lawyer.
EV: The form you signed says you have the right to an attorney, okay. We don’t actually go out there and find an attorney for you and give you one right now. You can hire a lawyer to represent you at some point, you know, if you were arrested --
PJ: Ken, the surveillance camera at the Tipsy Fox recorded you coming into the store. We have your face on tape. It’s clear that it was you there that night. So, I’m gonna ask you again, please don’t lie to us.
PJ: You mind if I ask you where you got this fake ID, Ken?
KH: Alvarado Street.
PJ: You got this fake ID on Alvarado Street?
PJ: Who’d you get it from on Alvarado Street?
KH: I don’t know, man. Some Mexican dude. You know he didn’t tell me his name.
PJ: Okay. Why’d you need a fake ID, Ken? You’re 30.
KH: I’m 31.
PJ: So, why’d you need a fake ID?
KH: You know why.
PJ: That’s right, Ken. We have a good idea why, but we want to hear it from you.
KH: Because I’m on the lam right now.
PJ: Alright. You’re on the lam. Why are you on the lam right now?
KH: Because that old greedy fuck Sampson is after me.
PJ: Okay. Tell us who this Sampson character is.
KH: You all are the detectives. You’re the ones that got me here. You telling me you don’t know?
EV: We want to hear it from you, Ken.
EV: Tell us about Sampson. What’s his first name?
EV: Tell us about David Sampson.
KH: What can I tell ya, man? Old man Sampson is a greedy fuck.
EV: You used to work for Mr. Sampson, is that right?
EV: Tell us about that. Tell us what he does and what your job for him was.
KH: Alright. David Sampson owns a coin shop up in Agoura Hills. Agoura Stamp and Coin. He’s a rich bastard. Real cutthroat, you know? Honestly, I don’t even know how a piece of shit like that is still alive, all the people he must have ripped off in his life.
EV: And what’d you use to do for Mr. Sampson?
KH: I worked security at the front door.
EV: You worked security?
KH: Yeah, man. But it was nothing major, you know? I basically just sat there. If things ever got heavy, old man Sampson had a gun. I was just there to scare people off, you know what I mean?
EV: What else did you do?
KH: Well, sometimes I’d do odd jobs.
EV: Odd jobs?
KH: Basic stuff, man. Drive around, pick up lunch. Answer the phone if he was busy. Fix a door. Minor shit.
EV: Did you ever handle any of Mr. Sampson’s merchandise?
KH: No, hardly ever. He didn’t really trust anyone with that stuff.
EV: And what kind of stuff would that be?
KH: Lots of stuff. Gold, silver coins. Lots of old shit. Valuable shit. He had books and books full of coin descriptions and values and all that, and he had a few customers that would pay a lot of money for rare shit, you know what I mean? I’m talking hundreds of thousands, millions for the good stuff.
EV: Okay, I think I understand.
EV: So, at some point you say something went wrong with you and Mr. Sampson, is that right?
KH: That’s right.
EV: What went wrong?
KH: Well, lots of stuff, man.
EV: Like what? Give me an example.
KH: Okay, so one time we had this girl come into the store with a box of coins, right? She said it was her grandpa’s old collection and she needed to sell it because her grandma needed the money. She’s in there for maybe 10 minutes and Sampson makes her an offer, he gives her 40 grand for everything. I mean, I don’t know how much she was expecting to get, but she seemed pretty happy about it. But, later on, maybe three or four days later, this girl comes back with some guy, big guy, and old man Sampson, he sees them coming up to the store on the security cameras, right? So he yells over to me, he says, “Don’t let them in.”
EV: So what’d you do?
KH: What I was supposed to do. I didn’t let them in.
EV: And this was when?
KH: About two years ago.
EV: Two years ago?
EV: Okay. So what happened after that?
KH: Well, after they were done hollerin’ and screamin’ at old man Sampson, they left. I figured they realized they couldn’t really do much, you know? I mean the deal was cut and done, so what could they do?
EV: And that was that?
KH: Well, no.
EV: What happened?
KH: She kept calling the store.
EV: Did you ever talk to her?
KH: I talked to her once.
EV: What’d she say?
KH: She said she wanted her shit back, that it was worth a lot more than 40 grand and that old man Sampson was a cheat and a thief.
EV: And what’d you say?
KH: What could I say, man? Yes, ma’am, you’re right but I need this job because I got bills to pay? What could I do?
EV: Is that the only time something like that happened?
KH: No, man. It happened all the time. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Sampson made a killing doing this kind of shit. That 40 grand he gave her? Pennies, man. Later on I found out everything in that box was worth well over a million dollars. And he had people like that coming in all the time. So, you do the math.
EV: Okay, but this incident, this incident with the girl, that’s not what caused you to have a falling out with Mr. Sampson, is it?
EV: What happened between you and Mr. Sampson?
KH: I want that lawyer, man.
EV: Ken, look. Mr. Sampson was murdered four months ago.
EV: Don’t you want to know if we think you’re a suspect?
EV: No, you don’t want to know?
KH: No, I know I’m not a suspect because I didn’t do it.
EV: Okay. Maybe you didn’t do it. Maybe we know you didn’t do it. But maybe we don’t. And maybe you know who killed Mr. Sampson. Maybe that’s what we’re trying to find out. Do you know who killed Mr. Sampson?
KH: Lots of people wanted to kill Sampson.
EV: Maybe a lot of people did want to kill Mr. Sampson --
KH: I need you to explain something to me. You say I used a fake ID last week --
PJ: That’s right, Ken, and you know how we found you?
PJ: You listed your real address on the fake ID, man. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but you know what? It happens. We checked out the address and asked your property manager to point out your car, and when we ran your plates, well, we pulled up a Kenneth Hendrix. And it just so happens that Kenneth Hendrix is a person of interest in the David Sampson murder case. We’re not saying you did it. But, look at it from our perspective. You used to work for David Sampson. David Sampson ends up murdered. Your name is attached to the case and we find you hiding out in El Segundo with a fake name. Do you understand where we’re coming from?
KH: You know I didn’t do it, man.
PJ: Help us out, Ken. Why were you hiding out in El Segundo.
PJ: You gotta answer these questions, man. Help us understand why Mr. Sampson was after you.
KH: You want me to tell you what you already know? I’ll tell you. I robbed him, alright? And I don’t feel bad about it, because he deserved it, okay? It’s like some Robin Hood shit, man. All the people he ripped off, I wanted him to know how it felt.
PJ: What’d you take?
KH: One coin.
PJ: One coin?
KH: Yeah, one coin.
PJ: A valuable coin?
KH: Of course it was valuable.
PJ: What kind of coin are we talking about?
KH: We’re talking about a 1914 Indian Head Gold Eagle. An error coin. It’s got 12 stars instead of 13.
EV: How’d he get the coin?
KH: How do you think he got the coin?
EV: I’m asking you.
KH: He bought it off some old man.
EV: Did this old man know how much it was worth?
KH: He knew it was worth something.
EV: But not exactly?
EV: Do you know who that old man was?
EV: What’d he look like?
KH: Tall white dude. Gray hair. Glasses.
EV: How tall?
KH: About six foot.
EV: You don’t know his name?
KH: No, I told you.
EV: Okay. So this old man sells Mr. Sampson the coin. How much did he sell it for?
KH: Old man Sampson gave him ten grand for it.
EV: Ten grand?
EV: And then what?
KH: Well, before he sold it, the old man had called the store. Sampson was in the parking lot, right? So, I picked up the phone. This old man tells me has a coin, a 1914 Indian Head Gold Eagle with 12 stars, and wants to know how much we’ll give him for it.
EV: And what’d you say?
KH: I said he’d have to come in and talk to old man Sampson.
EV: And this was when?
KH: About a year ago.
EV: A year ago?
EV: Do you remember what month?
EV: Okay. What then?
KH: Well, I was curious, you know? I wanted to see how Sampson was gonna play it. So while he was out back, I went through one of his books and looked up the coin.
EV: What’d you find out?
KH: I found out it was worth more than two million dollars, that’s what I found out.
EV: Two million dollars?
KH: Yeah, man.
EV: So the old man comes in, then what?
KH: Well, at first Sampson didn’t realize how valuable the coin was, you know? He didn’t realize it was an error coin. I mean, he didn’t know it only had 12 stars on it instead of 13 and all that, so he offered the guy something a little below standard for what a regular coin like that goes for, like 300 bucks or something, but the old man said, “No, no, no. This here’s a special coin, it’s only got 12 stars when it should have 13, and it should be worth a lot more than that.” So, old man Sampson, I mean, his face didn’t even flinch, you know? That’s how good he was. He says, “Hold on a sec,” and goes into the back room to look at his books, and when he comes back they start negotiating. Shit, man. That old man with the coin really didn’t know any better. He took that ten grand and that was that.
EV: And that was it?
KH: Nah, man.
EV: Well, what happened?
KH: What happened is old man Sampson left the coin on his desk. See, he didn’t know that I knew how much the coin was worth. Otherwise, he would have put it in the safe. Later on, when he went to the bathroom, I snagged it and bounced. And that was that and here we are.
PJ: And you’re familiar with the events that followed?
KH: Kind of.
PJ: I mean, you heard about how the man who sold the coin to Sampson had actually stolen it himself?
KH: Yeah, I heard about that.
PJ: And you heard about how that man was murdered shortly after by the man he stole it from?
PJ: And that’s why you’re hiding out?
KH: Man, I would have been hiding out regardless. All of that stuff happened after the fact. But yeah, I mean, I was afraid Sampson would send someone after me, definitely. I mean, who wouldn’t? That’s two million dollars, man.
EV: Well, Ken, that leads us to the big question.
EV: Who’d you sell the coin to?
KH: Be straight with me, man. What am I being charged with? Murder? Theft? Using a fake ID? What? How you gonna pin this on me?
EV: Look, we know who murdered Sampson, okay? We know it wasn’t you. But, we do know that you stole that coin.
KH: So, what? Robbery, then?
EV: The only people that could press charges are dead or in jail. And even the man in jail doesn’t really have a claim to that coin.
KH: What do you mean?
EV: Well, Ken, our friends at the FBI and the Denver Mint told us that coin of yours doesn’t rightfully belong to anyone. Well, not anyone but the Denver Mint. It’s not even supposed to exist. It was meant to be destroyed in 1914, but someone that year made off with the coin in question and nine other specimens for themselves.
KH: What’s that mean for me?
EV: It means if you can tell us where that coin is, we can forget about this whole thing and put it behind us. The only real charge against you is that fake ID thing, which we can drop. The Denver Mint wants the coin back, no questions asked, and you walk.
KH: And what if I don’t have it?
EV: What if we put a tail on you and make sure you know you’re being watched for the rest of your life until that coin turns up? You so much as sneeze wrong and we’ll know.
PJ: Come on, Ken. Who’d you sell it to?
KH: I look rich to you? Who said I sold it?
PJ: Where is it then?
KH: You guys ever see two million dollars before?
EV: Is that it? You had it with you this whole time?
KH: Yeah, that’s it.
EV: Let me see it.
PJ: Count those stars, Valbuena.
KH: You guys wanna sell it and split the cash? You can turn off that tape recorder. I won’t tell nobody.
PJ: That’s tempting, Ken. I think that’ll be all for now. This is Detective Jennings; for the record the time is now 1:08 p.m., November 19, the year 2000.
[End of recording].