Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 1:00 p.m.
Elliott Owens provides freelance IT services to customers including the Harte Agency. Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective E. Parker
- Detective S. Murphy
- Elliott Owens
Detective Parker: It’s nice to see you again, Elliott. Thanks for meeting us on such short notice.
Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please state your name and address?
Elliott Owens: Sure. Elliott Owens, 1264 Beanland Drive. So the investigation is still ongoing?
Detective Murphy: Why don’t we start by having you tell us all the stuff you failed to mention in your last interview?
Elliott Owens: Like what? I thought we covered pretty much everything.
Detective Murphy: You can’t think of anything?
Elliott Owens: No, ma’am.
Detective Murphy: What about the fact that you happen to do IT services for both the Harte Agency and Pearce Brokers?
Elliott Owens: I thought you knew about that.
Detective Murphy: We certainly did not. Not until someone from Pearce mentioned that you worked for them.
Detective Parker: Why would you keep that information from us? Are you protecting someone?
Elliott Owens: Look, detectives, it was an honest mistake. I was simply recovering from losing a friend so suddenly. I had just seen Annette at work, and just like that, she was gone. My head was not exactly screwed on right.
Detective Parker: That’s understandable, but you realize how this makes you look to us.
Elliott Owens: It was not my intention to withhold anything. I’ll tell you whatever I can.
Detective Parker: Were you doing the same kind of IT work for Pearce as you were doing for Harte?
Elliott Owens: Mm-hmm, file backups and systems checks.
Detective Murphy: So you had complete access to all the files and communications from both companies?
Elliott Owens: Yes.
Detective Murphy: Well, I suppose that means you can tell us the identity of the mole who is leaking Harte Agency information to Pearce.
Elliott Owens: Was.
Detective Murphy: Pardon?
Elliott Owens: Annette Wyatt was giving information to Pearce.
Detective Parker: But she was the one that was investigating the leak.
Elliott Owens: I was the only one that knew that Annette was the leak.
Detective Murphy: Why didn’t you tell anyone?
Elliott Owens: I had to sign a confidentiality agreement with both Harte and Pearce to make sure I wasn’t going to steal any company secrets for my own profit, I guess. So you see how my hands were tied. I couldn’t say something to either side without violating the confidentiality of the other company.
Detective Murphy: So you just decided to keep quiet and play along with Annette Wyatt’s charade?
Elliott Owens: I didn’t have a choice.
Detective Murphy: Did you consider saying no when Jeff Harte asked you to join the investigation?
Elliott Owens: No.
Detective Murphy: So you just let him pay you for work that you knew would produce no results?
Elliott Owens: What could I do?
Detective Murphy: You could have said no.
Elliott Owens: And that, my good detective, would make him suspicious of me. We didn’t want him thinking that I was the leak.
Detective Murphy: You could have said you were too busy. You could have suggested he hire an outside investigator to keep the investigation impartial. There were any number of things you could have done besides let him pay you to lie to him.
Elliott Owens: I needed the money.
Detective Murphy: For what? You finally going to start paying your parents rent?
Elliott Owens: OK, so I didn’t make the best decisions, but it was an honest mistake. It wasn’t my fault.
Detective Parker: Elliott, can you tell me how you first found out that she was the leak?
Elliott Owens: A few months back, Rita had me go into her email to fix a glitch that was sending all of her email to her spam folder. I pulled up about 50 unread emails and just happened to read the first sentence of an email that was sent from Annette.
Detective Murphy: You just happened to read other people’s email?
Elliott Owens: I had to make sure it was working.
Detective Parker: Part of the job, I would think.
Elliott Owens: That’s right.
Detective Parker: Do you remember what that first sentence said?
Elliott Owens: It mentioned one of the Harte Agency clients, and the next week, I had found out that the Harte Agency lost that client to Pearce. That is when I knew.
Detective Parker: Did either Annette or Rita know that you’d read the email?
Elliott Owens: Nope. Just marked the email as unread and didn’t say anything about it.
Detective Parker: Did you see any more communication between Annette and Rita? Anything that would explain why Annette would betray the Harte Agency?
Elliott Owens: Betrayal, that’s a strong word. I didn’t see anything, but from what I gather of their communication, that Annette felt unappreciated. A few nights of our late-night investigation, Annette had told me that she wasn’t going to get anywhere in the Harte Agency because Jeff was never make her a partner.
Detective Murphy: So could anyone else have known that Annette was the leak?
Elliott Owens: Rita, obviously, since she was the one that Annette was giving client information to. And from what I saw of their communications, it looked like Annette was going to be working for her.
Detective Parker: What about someone at the Harte Agency?
Elliott Owens: No way, not even Jeff knew.
Detective Murphy: Could anyone else have known that you’re working for both companies?
Elliott Owens: Nope. Nobody asked. I told nobody. If that information got out, it could be pretty awkward.
Detective Murphy: What about Ms. Wyatt? Since you two worked so close together on the investigation, could she have found out that you work for both companies?
Elliott Owens: No way. Rita never said anything to her about me because she never considered me anybody of any importance. And if she did, Annette would’ve definitely said something to me about it. That’s the kind of person she was.
Detective Murphy: Maybe she did say something about it, and that’s why you had to kill her. So you wouldn’t lose your clients.
Elliott Owens: I didn’t kill her! I liked Annette. I still can’t believe someone would’ve done that to her.
Detective Parker: But you’re a smart man. You can understand how someone might think you would have motive.
Elliott Owens: Obviously, someone who didn’t know me very well. I would never do anything like that, especially to a woman like Annette.
Detective Parker: Is there anything else that you know that you could tell us to help us catch who did kill Annette?
Elliott Owens: I’ve told you everything I can. I wish I did know something, so you could catch this guy.
Detective Parker: All right. That’s all for now. Thank you, Elliott, for coming in to help us out. Can we count on you to give us the benefit of your knowledge and expertise if we need you again?
Elliott Owens: My pleasure. Can I– am I free to go now?
Detective Murphy: Yeah, you can see yourself out.
Interview ends - 1:19 p.m.