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Evidence: Detective Possel's Journal

Detective Possell in a private investagator working on cases in  Yoknapatawpha County.

February 17,  2010

Well gang, I've spent a good bit of time tracking down information y'all have asked for. The simplest thing is probably to just tell you what I found out and you can draw your own conclusions.

Paulette Milstrom

After a whole lot of searching, I finally located Paulette Milstrom, Devlin's former fiancée. Her married name is Paulette Reed and she and her husband, Professor Winston Reed, are currently living in Vienna, Austria. Professor Reed is in his third year of a five-year sabbatical from the University of Chicago to teach and research a book at the University of Vienna. Before going to Austria, Professor Reed had been on the faculty at the University of Chicago for 15 years, where he is a tenured professor in European History. He teaches the same type of courses at University of Vienna. I finally got Mrs. Reed on the phone and she told me she hadn't seen or spoken to Devlin since their break up in 1993. She sounded sad when I told her Devlin was dead and seemed pretty horrified when I told her how it had happened. She said she and her husband have not been back to the States since moving to Austria in 2007. So far, I haven't found any travel records to contradict that.

Devlin's Activities

Somebody wanted me to find out how Devlin spent his last 48 hours. Well, it took some doing, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on it. Here's what I was able to find out.

On Friday, January 1st, Devlin started off the day with his usual morning run around 6:15 a.m. He went over to Home Plate around 8:00 that morning and stayed there until about 2:00 p.m. when he went home for a while. I don't know for sure what he was doing at home that afternoon, but he was probably making phone calls, maybe taking a siesta, things like that. Whatever he did, he was back at Home Plate around 5:00 p.m. and he worked all through dinner. He left the restaurant around 11:00 p.m. and headed over to City Grocery for a drink after work to wind down. The bartender said Devlin didn't stay too long. He left for home around midnight. I couldn't find any indications that he had any visitors or that he left home again until the next morning.

On Saturday, January 2nd, Devlin took his morning run around 6:00 a.m. John Jackson came over to pick up the baseball gear around 8:00, and then Devlin left for Home Plate around 8:15. He left the restaurant around 3:00 p.m. and went over to Figgy's, where he met Jordan Rodale for a late lunch. Devlin got back to Home Plate around 5:00 p.m. and we all pretty much know what happened after that. He left Home Plate around 10:00 p.m., got home about 10:15, a woman came over about 10:25, John Jackson returned the baseball gear as late as 10:30, and the woman visitor was seen leaving around 10:45. What happened after that is anybody's guess right now.

The Cleaning Crew

I caught up with Marisa Lewis and Anita Ruiz from Dixie Darlins Cleaning Service on their lunch break Friday. I agreed to buy them lunch and they agreed to talk to me about Devlin. I asked how long they'd been cleaning Devlin's house. They weren't sure how long Dixie Darlins had been working for him, but they'd been assigned to him since April 2009. They'd cleaned his house every other Wednesday since then. They said Devlin usually was there to let them in, but didn't stay while they cleaned. He generally left for work after they arrived and they locked up when they left.

I asked them if anyone else was ever at Devlin's house when they got there and they said at the beginning sometimes there was a woman, who left with Devlin when he went to work. But they never saw her at Devlin's house after sometime around the end of the summer. The few things she kept at Devlin's house disappeared around the same time. I showed them pictures of Kat Dixon, Mickie Webster, Emma Gower and Millie Hodges. They picked out Mickie Webster as the woman they'd seen at Devlin's house. I asked if they'd ever seen any other women or indications of other visitors at Devlin's house, but they didn't remember any. They told me they hadn't seen any signs of overnight guests in the last few months.

I asked if Devlin ever gave them any special instructions about cleaning. They said, in the last six weeks or so before his death, he'd been very protective of his study. He'd made a point of asking them not to disturb any incoming faxes or any papers on or in his desk. Marisa told me that one time in December she'd accidentally knocked some papers off his desk on to the floor. She'd picked them up and put them back on the desk, but apparently he was pretty upset when he saw they'd been moved. He'd even called the Dixie Darlins office to complain, which he'd never done before, about anything.

I asked if they'd ever noticed anything else unusual, but they couldn't think of anything. They did confirm that they'd last cleaned Devlin's house on December 30, 2009. They said that, even though he'd gotten a little strange recently, they would miss him and thought his death was very tragic.

Devlin's Neighbors

I went out and talked with Devlin's neighbors on Saturday afternoon, February 5. Since it was the weekend, most of them were home.

Edna Oxbow

I talked first to Mrs. Oxbow. I reminded her that she'd told the police she saw Devlin return home at 10:15 p.m. on the night of the murder. I asked her if she was certain about the time. She indicated that 10:15 was an estimate but it could have been a few minutes earlier or later. I told her about John Jackson saying he'd gone to Devlin's house around the same time and asked if she remembered seeing him. She said she didn't, but that she got a telephone call from her daughter-in-law, Frances, right after Devlin got home. Mrs. Oxbow said they talked for about 15 minutes and she could have been talking to Frances when Jackson went to Devlin's.

I asked her why she noticed the young woman arrive around 10:25, if she was still on the phone at that time. She said when she heard the car drive up in front of Ms. Gower's house and stop, she went to the window to see who it was. She saw the young woman get out of the car, walk down the street past her house, and approach Devlin's house. Mrs. Oxbow told me she thought it was strange that the woman parked so far away from Devlin's house, so when she got off the phone around 10:30, she went outside to get a closer look at the car. Apparently Mrs. Oxbow takes her position as Block Captain of the Neighborhood Watch very seriously. She said she walked down her front lawn a little ways to get what she could of the license plate, but she didn't want to go all the way out to the street because she didn't want Devlin or the woman to see her out his front windows. While she was outside getting the tag number, she heard Devlin and the woman visitor arguing. I asked Mrs. Oxbow if she noticed what the woman was wearing and she thought the woman might have had on a red shirt and dark pants, but couldn't say for sure or give any more detail than that.

Emma Gower

Next, I went across the street and talked to Emma Gower. I asked her if she was positive she never saw a car parked in front of her house the night Devlin was murdered. She repeated her story that she was watching movies in the den on the back side of her house and didn't see anything that happened out on the street. I didn't think she was telling me everything, so I pushed her a little more to see if I could knock something loose. Finally, she admitted what she hadn't told the police for obvious reasons - she smoked "a joint or two" that night while she was watching videos, and she really didn't get up off the couch for hours because she was so "relaxed." My instinct says she had finally told the whole truth.

I asked her if she and Devlin were friends, since it didn't seem like she was very upset about his death. She told me they only knew each other to wave and say 'hey' across the street. And even though she and Devlin weren't close, she still thought it was pretty upsetting that a murder happened so close her house. She said she didn't feel quite as safe in her neighborhood as she once did, but she didn't believe her life in particular was in danger.

Mr. Newton wasn't at home and I didn't have any questions for Mr. Shaw, so I went on over to John Jackson's house to talk to him.

John Jackson

I know Jack from seeing him around town at the Grocery, Proud Larry's, Murff's, the Jubilee Lounge and other places where people hang out. When I started across the street to his house, he was just driving in from a pick up softball game at park. I told him I wanted to talk about Devlin and he invited me in for a beer. I asked him if he was sure about the time he went over to Devlin's to return the sports equipment that night. He told me he thought it was around 10:15, but he couldn't be positive. It could have been as late as 10:30. I wanted to know why he brought the equipment back so late at night and he said when he'd borrowed the baseball stuff earlier that day, Devlin had asked him to return it as soon as he was finished with it. Jack noticed Devlin's lights were still on when he got home that night so, after he went in his own house to "freshen up," he walked over to Devlin's front door to give him the equipment back. I asked if he remembered what was in the bag and he thought there were some mitts and balls, a bat, and maybe some other small stuff at the bottom.

I asked him if he'd noticed anything unusual when he went over the Devlin's house. Jack told me it was a little strange because most times he dropped by, Devlin would invite him in for a beer. But that night, Devlin didn't look very happy when he opened the door and he sort of used his body to block Jack from entering or even really seeing in. When Jack heard the woman laugh, he said she didn't sound like she was having a very good time. Jack described it as a bitter kind of laugh. He decided Devlin must have been in the middle of something and just gave him the equipment bag and went back home. I asked if he'd recognized the woman's laugh, but he didn't.

I reminded Jack that some of the other neighbors mentioned seeing a dark-colored foreign sedan parked in front of Ms. Gower's house that night. I asked him why he hadn't seen it. He asked me where exactly the car was and we walked out in front of his house so I could show him roughly where we thought it had been parked. He pointed out that we'd had to come all the way out to the street to see the spot and told me he'd just walked through his and Devlin's front yards that night to get to Devlin's front door that night. Before I left, I asked if he'd noticed anything unusual going on over at Devlin's house lately, but he hadn't. He said Devlin might have been spending more time at home than he had in the past, but he didn't think that really qualified as strange.

I think we're on the verge of making a breakthrough in this case, folks. There's still a lot of information to sift through, but if we can just get the right pieces lined up in the right way, I think we'll be able to close in on a real suspect. Keep the tips coming. We're getting close. I can feel it.