Friday, March 7, 2014 - 3:00 p.m.
Bernice Darling is a certified nursing assistant at the Yoknapatawpha Acres nursing home. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Bernice Darling
Detective Armstrong: Good afternoon, Ms. Darling. We appreciate you coming in on your day off to speak with us. Before we get started, please state your name and address for our records.
Bernice Darling: It's no problem, detectives. My name is Bernice Darling and I live in Oxford, Mississippi, at 108 Hickory Street. Please call me Bernice.
Detective Armstrong: As I'm sure you know, Jerry Shaw was found dead yesterday. How well did you know him?
Bernice Darling: Yes, I was at work when Lynette found Jerry. I've been working with him for awhile now.
Detective Armstrong: He was a friend of yours?
Bernice Darling: No. If I'm honest, I didn't much care for him.
Detective Armstrong: Why not?
Bernice Darling: He was a rude person, and he could be hateful with the patients.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever report him?
Bernice Darling: No, I just ignored him and did my work. I wasn't the only one who didn't like him. I've heard him arguing with different people.
Detective Murphy: Can you tell us what you heard during some of these arguments?
Bernice Darling: I hate to gossip. It's not in my nature. But I guess if it helps, I'll tell you what I heard.
Detective Murphy: Anything you tell us will be kept confidential.
Bernice Darling: OK. Well, first off, Jerry was secretly seeing a nurse named Sylvia Powell. I know because I caught him and Sylvia kissing. Sylvia asked me not to tell anyone they were seeing each other because she thought Mr. Landrigan wouldn't like it.
Detective Murphy: Do you know how long they were seeing each other?
Bernice Darling: No, but a few days ago I found Sylvia crying at work. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that Jerry had broken things off with her because he was tired of her.
Detective Murphy: How long ago was that, would you say?
Bernice Darling: I'm not sure. A week or two maybe?
Detective Armstrong: What was Ms. Powell's reaction to the breakup?
Bernice Darling: She was angry and hurt. She said she'd tried to make things easier for him at work. She thought Jerry cared for her but all he was doing was using her.
Detective Armstrong: That must've made her angry.
Bernice Darling: Of course. She said she'd get even with him for taking advantage of her kindness. She even said she'd like to wring his neck. But I don't think she meant that. I think she was just very hurt.
Detective Armstrong: Was there anyone else that Jerry had problems with at work?
Bernice Darling: He didn't get along with Richard Landrigan. He's the manager of Yoknapatawpha Acres. I heard him and Mr. Landrigan arguing quite often in Mr. Landrigan's office. One time, I even heard Jerry threaten Mr. Landrigan.
Detective Armstrong: Threaten him how?
Bernice Darling: Jerry said something like, "You know what'll happen if you do. You have too much to lose."
Detective Armstrong: And what did Mr. Landrigan say?
Bernice Darling: I don't know. I didn't hear.
Detective Armstrong: Did you hear what they were arguing about that made Jerry say that?
Bernice Darling: I didn't stick around because I didn't want them to catch me listening. The thing that surprised me was that Mr. Landrigan didn't fire him on the spot.
Detective Armstrong: Why is that?
Bernice Darling: Mr. Landrigan doesn't like it when people disagree with him.
Detective Armstrong: Meaning?
Bernice Darling: Meaning if you want to keep your job, it's better not to make waves.
Detective Murphy: When was this argument?
Bernice Darling: Last week? I don't remember which day.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember where you were yesterday when Jerry died?
Bernice Darling: I don't know. I was working on the south wing. I was probably in a resident's room or at the nurses station.
Detective Murphy: Your co-workers can corroborate that you were there all yesterday afternoon?
Bernice Darling: Yeah. Why wouldn't they?
Detective Armstrong: OK, Bernice. Thanks again for coming in today. Enjoy the rest of your day off. We'll be in touch if we need anything else from you.
Bernice Darling: Thank you, detectives. I hope I've been of some help. I didn't really like Jerry, but I'm still sad that he's dead. Goodbye.
Interview ends - 3:22 p.m.