Sylvia Powell, nurse

Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 10:02 a.m.

Sylvia Powell is a registered nurse at the Yoknapatawpha Acres Nursing Home where Jerry Shaw worked. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Sylvia Powell

Detective Armstrong: Ms. Powell, thank you for coming in to talk with us. For the record, we need your name and address.

Sylvia Powell: My name is Sylvia Renata Powell, and I live at 3010 Hillmont Drive in Oxford, Mississippi.

Detective Murphy: Do you know why we asked you here today?

Sylvia Powell: I assume it has to do with Jerry. I should probably start by telling you something that nobody knows.

Detective Murphy: Go ahead.

Sylvia Powell: I used to be in a relationship with Jerry.

Detective Murphy: What kind of relationship?

Sylvia Powell: You know. Romantic. But it was over before he died. Jerry Shaw was a dog. He said he was tired of me. He used me, and then he dropped me like it was nothing.

Detective Murphy: When did the two of you end your romantic relationship?

Sylvia Powell: He broke up with me about two weeks ago.

Detective Murphy: Did you see Jerry on the day he died?

Sylvia Powell: I was at work, but I avoided him as much as possible. When I passed him in the hall, I turned my head. He just laughed at me. I don't know what I ever saw in that guy.

Detective Murphy: Where were you when you found out what happened to him that day?

Sylvia Powell: I was in a resident's room when a nurse's aide, Bernice Darling, came in and informed me of his death. Of course I was shocked, but I was still mad at him so I didn't cry.

Detective Armstrong: You sound bitter, Ms. Powell.

Sylvia Powell: Of course I was angry and hurt. Wouldn't you be if someone treated you that way? It was Jerry's idea to keep our relationship a secret. He said it was to protect me because Richard wouldn't approve of our being together since I assigned Jerry some of his duties.

Detective Murphy: Richard?

Sylvia Powell: Yes, Richard Landrigan, the manager at Yoknapatawpha Acres. But now I think Jerry just wanted to keep our relationship quiet in case he found someone else. I didn't think it mattered to Richard since Natalie Murphy is the head nurse and I answer to her.

Detective Armstrong: Aside from your personal relationship, what can you tell us about Jerry as an employee at the Acres?

Sylvia Powell: I know Jerry didn't care about his job, and he could be rude to the residents.

Detective Armstrong: Other than the rudeness, was he ever inappropriate with the patients in any way that you know of?

Sylvia Powell: Inappropriate? You mean—no, I don't think so. The only person who ever told me that she didn't like the way Jerry touched her was Rose Jenkins, but she has Alzheimer's.

Detective Armstrong: Did you ever ask Jerry about it?

Sylvia Powell: Of course. I asked him about her story that same day. He said was she was just a crazy old lady. To be fair, Rose does tend to forget things as soon as you tell her, so she could have imagined abuse or mixed things up with something that happened in her past.

Detective Armstrong: Do you think Jerry was capable of doing something like that to a patient?

Sylvia Powell: I know personally that Jerry could be a good person. We had a lot fun together while it lasted. I have to admit that I'll miss him, but it's hard to forget how he broke things off with us.

Detective Murphy: We've heard that you were very angry over the breakup. We were told that you said you'd get even with Jerry Shaw and would like to wring his neck.

Sylvia Powell: That must have come from Bernice. She saw me crying the day Jerry broke things off. Detective, we say a lot of things when we're angry and hurt, but I didn't mean it. I really cared a lot for Jerry, and the breakup was hard for me. I'm sorry. This is very difficult.

Detective Murphy: Do you need a few minutes to compose yourself?

Sylvia Powell: No, thank you. I'm OK now.

Detective Armstrong: How did Jerry get along with other people at work?

Sylvia Powell: Jerry… wasn't a people person.

Detective Armstrong: Meaning?

Sylvia Powell: He didn't know how to relate to people. I don't know why. He never told me much about his past. But he'd try to be funny, and it would come off offensive. He thought he was being charming, but he was just rude.

Detective Armstrong: And you still went out with him?

Sylvia Powell: I know. Sometimes I can't believe it myself. It's just… if you could see past all that.

Detective Murphy: Are you all right, Ms. Powell?

Sylvia Powell: I thought I was, but talking about him like this… it's just… harder than I thought it would be.

Detective Murphy: Why don't we stop for today, and we'll talk again later?

Sylvia Powell: Thank you. I'm so sorry.

Detective Murphy: We'll be in touch.

Sylvia Powell: OK. Goodbye, detectives.

Interview ended: 10:31 a.m.

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