Monday, December 10, 2012 - 10:00 a.m.
Kenzie Walker is a lifelong resident of Yoknapatawpha County and has been a good friend of Melvin Roberts since they were children. Walker is married and has two adult children. He farms and also drives a truck for a freight company three days a week. Melvin Roberts named Kenzie Walker as one of the people he went hunting with in the early morning hours of November 25, 2012. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed Walker at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Kenzie Walker
Detective Parker: Thank you for coming in, Mr. Walker. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Kenzie Walker: Kenzie Walker. I live at 614 Butler
Detective Murphy: You've known Melvin Roberts for several years?
Kenzie Walker: Since we were about five or six, I'd guess. We grew up on the same road, County Road 109. I've known Mel a long time, yes.
Detective Murphy: Do you and Mr. Roberts ever hunt together?
Kenzie Walker: We go pretty regular every year. We go out to his old homeplace. It used to be his parents' house, but they're both gone now. He's got about fifty acres of woods. Hell, the house I grew up on sits on his land. We've been tramping through those woods for more than fifty years now.
Detective Parker: What did you think when Mr. Roberts was arrested for rape five years ago?
Kenzie Walker: I was pretty sure he didn't do it. That was when he was drinking so heavy and messing with pills, and when I first heard about it, I said 'Damn, the pills have gotten to him.'
Detective Parker: What kind of pills?
Kenzie Walker: Sedatives or Valium or something like that. His wife got into them for her back after she had a slipped disc. Then Mel started getting into them, and he just got hooked. But I never thought that he did anything to that girl. He's not a monster. He's a war hero.
Detective Parker: Do you think that the publicity from the rape arrest and trial hurt his business at Melvin's Nite Owl?
Kenzie Walker: It hurt him, but it didn't ruin him. It was never as bad as Mel made it out to be. He still had a lot of business. He kind of shot himself in the foot when he came out and said that no more police could eat free or drink free coffee at his store anymore. A lot of people saw that and figured that if the police weren't welcome in his store, then they sure weren't going in there. Might be trouble or something one day, and who would help them? Maybe Mel had something he wanted to hide from people. Who knows? But it was never that bad.
Detective Murphy: You've heard that Mr. Roberts has confessed to the murder of Monica Drum?
Kenzie Walker: I tell you what. That one really threw me for a loop because we went out to Enid that day, the day after she was killed, and he didn't say nothing about it.
Detective Murphy: You went hunting on November 25th?
Kenzie Walker: Yes, ma'am. Me and Mel and Billy Tidwell. Guy couldn't make it. Guy Frankton.
Detective Parker: What time did you meet up?
Kenzie Walker: 3:00 or so, like usual. We meet up at Denny's and go from there, out around Enid Lake. Guy knows a farmer out there who doesn't mind us in his woods.
Detective Parker: Was Mr. Roberts on time that morning?
Kenzie Walker: More or less. We don't punch a clock.
Detective Murphy: And Mr. Roberts didn't say anything about killing Monica Drum that same morning?
Kenzie Walker: No. Nothing. Come to think of it, he didn't hunt so good, but then I scarcely noticed at all. I just thought it wasn't his day. And then next thing I hear is that he's confessing. I didn't know what to think. Because the first time he was in trouble with the law, it was all set up and kind of came down hard on him. He never saw it coming. But with this, where he just comes out and says he did it, you don't know what to think. I kind of thought that he did do it because I went to see him at the jail, and I said "Mel, did you kill that woman?" And he said "Yes, I did. Because of those things she wrote about me." And I said "Mel, that was years ago," and he said "It's just like today to me." So that kind of set me back. But I've never known him to lie to me about anything, so I kind of took him at his word.
Detective Parker: Do you think that he could kill someone?
Kenzie Walker: I want to say no, but he was in a war, you know, and he didn't have a problem there. But I don't really think that he could or would plan out a murder, no. Other people didn't take those articles that seriously, but Mel never would believe that.
Detective Murphy: Do you have any other reasons why you might doubt Mr. Roberts's word about this incident?
Kenzie Walker: Well, ever since Mel came back from the war, he's been given over to crazy, extravagant stories. Usually they're about half-true. Some of them don't have a bit of truth.
Detective Parker: What do you think is going to happen to Mr. Roberts?
Kenzie Walker: I don't know if he did it, but I hope he gets some help. I'm going to try and really help him. But his friends – and he does have several – have to step up and see what they can do to help him. They've got to. He's obviously having a lot of problems right now.
Detective Murphy: Thanks again for coming in. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.
Kenzie Walker: Happy to help.
Interview ends - 10:24 a.m.