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Interview: Lila Lawson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 1:45 p.m.

The witness, Lila Lawson, has been identified as the owner of the C'est Belle Gallery at 150 Courthouse Square. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed the witness at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department at her request. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Lila Lawson

Detective Armstrong: Thank you for coming in this morning, Ms. Lawson.

Lila Lawson: Thank you for letting me come here instead of y'all coming to my gallery. I don't want any adverse publicity for Paul Evans's show, or for the gallery as far as that goes.

Detective Armstrong: Will you state your name and address for the record please?

Lila Lawson: Lila Lawson, 1012 Benbow Circle.

Detective Murphy: Can you tell us, Ms. Lawson, how long you've known Paul Evans and how you met him?

Lila Lawson: Let's see. I think I've known him a year or two. I met him through a mutual friend, Angela Wilder. She thought he was very talented and worth my attention. I first saw his work at a County Arts and Crafts Fair. I think it was the 2009 Fair.

Detective Murphy: Have you shown his work before?

Lila Lawson: No, but I've watched his progress, and kept in touch. This year, we both felt he had a sufficient body of work to have a one-person show, and his work is certainly of a quality I am glad to have in my gallery.

Detective Armstrong: Would you tell us the logistics of setting up his show? Meaning how he did it, how long it took, who helped him, and so forth.

Lila Lawson: Well, as you can imagine, it takes some pre-planning. He had to get a truck or something to move his works from his workshop or wherever he stores them, get them to the gallery, and then we had to set up something for him to display his works on. Of course, with Paul's talents in carpentry, he planned and did most of that himself with help from his friend, Miguel. And then I pitched in when I could. Mostly my job is more in consultation than in the physical work. It's my responsibility to help him have as successful a show as possible. Let's see. What else did you ask? Oh. How long did it take him? He started moving things into the storeroom on Friday. Then early Saturday morning we began moving his works into the showroom and working on the actual display. Of course, we'd planned it in advance, so it was more a matter of physically placing the items, arranging the lighting, things like that.

Detective Armstrong: Was he there at the gallery all day Saturday until the opening?

Lila Lawson: Oh, no. We finished by mid-afternoon, and he went home to relax and change his clothes. He came back about an hour before the show, so he was back about 6:00 p.m. People started arriving around 7:00.

Detective Murphy: How long will his work be featured in your gallery?

Lila Lawson: We will have him until October 28, then on Saturday the 29th, another artist will come in.

Detective Murphy: Now, about the night of the opening: did you know Kimberly Pace?

Lila Lawson: Oh sure, I'd met her in the two years I'd monitored Paul's works. We'd run into each other at his booth at the craft fairs and so forth.

Detective Murphy: Did you know anything about Paul and Kimberly's relationship?

Lila Lawson: Only that when I saw them together, they seemed to get along great. I know they were sort of separated, but I figured with all the stress in their lives and in the world, it would blow over and they'd get back together.

Detective Armstrong: Did you see Kimberly the evening of the opening?

Lila Lawson: I saw her come in, and I saw her go over to Paul and give him a hug.

Detective Murphy: Did their conversation seem friendly, or did it appear otherwise?

Lila Lawson: I only saw her go up to him, as I said. Then someone came up to me and my attention was needed elsewhere. My impression was they didn't talk too long. Paul was in demand that evening, and I'm sure she realized his attention needed to be with his potential buyers. People like to meet the artist before they commit to buying.

Detective Armstrong: Did Paul sell any pieces of his work that evening?

Lila Lawson: Yes, we sold several. And the interest in his work was quite exciting. We've sold several pieces since the opening.

Detective Murphy: Did you happen to notice what time Kimberly left the gallery? And incidentally, was she with someone when she left?

Lila Lawson: I didn't actually see her leave, but around 9:30 the crowd began thinning out a bit, and I didn't see her. She'd been with her sister and neither appeared to be there. I didn't see them any more that evening, so I assumed they left before 9:30.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know what time Paul left that evening? Were you there until he left?

Lila Lawson: Most of the people had left by 10:30 and we tidied up a bit, and discussed the showing. We both left around 11:00.

Detective Armstrong: Then you and Paul left together?

Lila Lawson: Well, we left at the same time, but we didn't leave together. You understand? He didn't want me to be there alone that late or to leave alone. He's a nice guy.

Detective Murphy: What was his demeanor as he left?

Lila Lawson: He was feeling good about the opening and encouraged that Kimberly had been there. He seemed very positive and pleased.

Detective Murphy: Did he say where he was going when he left?

Lila Lawson: I don't remember that he said. But it had been a long, intense couple of days; I imagine he went home to bed. That's what I did!

Detective Murphy: Is there any thing you can think of that would be pertinent to our investigation?

Lila Lawson: Not that I can think of, but I'll certainly call you if I do. What a terrible thing to happen!

End interview: 2:01 p.m.

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