Wednesday, September 19, 2012 – 3:00 p.m.
Donna Sowa works at Pearce Brokers, another real estate company in Oxford. In the weeks before her death, Annette Wyatt had been investigating whether someone was giving Pearce Brokers inside information that helped them lure clients away from the Harte Agency. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed Ms. Sowa at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department. The interview was recorded with witness’s knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Donna Sowa
Detective Murphy: Good afternoon, Miss Sowa. Please take a seat. Before we get started, we need your name and address for our records.
Donna Sowa: I’m sorry. Could you repeat what you said? I’m just making sure there isn’t anything on the seat. I’m so nervous.
Detective Murphy: You don’t have to be nervous. We just want to ask you a few questions. But first, we need your name and address for our records.
Donna Sowa: What’s this about? I’m sorry I forgot to answer your question. My name is Donna Lynn Sowa, and I live at 332 Phillip Road, Oxford, Mississippi. Please call me Donna.
Detective Murphy: Donna, can we get you a glass of water?
Donna Sowa: No, thank you. I’m OK. Please let’s get this over with.
Detective Parker: Did you know Annette Wyatt?
Donna Sowa: No, I didn’t know her personally. I know she worked at the Harte Agency and her reputation as a real estate agent. I work at Pearce Brokers.
Detective Parker: What was her reputation?
Donna Sowa: She was one of the best agents in our area, and she brought in a lot of money.
Detective Parker: She was your rival.
Donna Sowa: I guess you can call her that. There’s a lot of competition between us and Harte. She has been known to take some of our business. But lately it’s been paybacks for us.
Detective Parker: What do you mean paybacks?
Donna Sowa: We’ve had some new clients come to us from Harte. I had a lady tell me she thinks we’re a better company, so she left them.
Detective Parker: How long ago was this?
Donna Sowa: Just recently. To be honest, I’m thrilled. It’s hard these days to get new clients. Besides, it makes Rita happy. It’s a lot of competition out there, and if a client chooses us over Harte, so be it. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound so cold-hearted. I really am sorry about Ms. Wyatt’s death.
Detective Murphy: Who’s Rita?
Donna Sowa: Rita’s my boss. She’ll be checking on me if I don’t get back to work soon. She doesn’t like us being late. She’s good to us, but I have to admit she does have a pretty hot temper at times. Sometimes it’s like walking on eggshells around that woman. Oh, please don’t tell her I said that! I don’t want to lose my job.
Detective Parker: Don’t worry about it. Our lips are sealed.
Detective Murphy: Donna, where were you on Saturday? Just take us through your day.
Donna Sowa: I got up around 8:00. I had an open house scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. After the open house, I stopped at the grocery store, and then I went home. My boyfriend, Alex Moorehead, picked me up around 6:30 p.m.
Detective Parker: Slow down. We’re not accusing you of anything, Donna. We just need to know where you were, so take a deep breath and try to relax a little.
Donna Sowa: I’m sorry. I’ve just never been questioned by the police before.
Detective Parker: I understand. It can be nerve-racking for some people, but try to calm down, OK? Did you kill Annette Wyatt?
Donna Sowa: No! Oh my god!
Detective Parker: OK, then. Breathe. If you didn’t kill her, then you don’t need to worry. Now, you said your boyfriend picked you up around 6:30 on Saturday. Then what did you do?
Donna Sowa: We met my brother Mark and his girlfriend and their friends, another couple, for pizza at Proud Larry’s. Around 8:00, we came back to my place to chat and play cards. They all left around midnight, and I went to bed.
Detective Parker: Thank you, Donna. That’s very helpful.
Donna Sowa: That’s it? I can go?
Detective Murphy: Just one more question. Do you own a nail gun?
Donna Sowa: Nail gun? No. Why?
Detective Parker: We appreciate you coming in to talk to us. You can go now.
Donna Sowa: Thank you, detectives. Before I leave, can you tell me where the ladies room is located? I need to wash my hands.
Detective Murphy: Of course. It’s just down the hall on the right.
Interview ends - 3:16 p.m.