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Evidence: Excerpts of Letters from Ethan Lewiston to Andrea Stover
 

YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Investigating Officer(s): Det. S. Murphy. Det. T. Armstrong
Incident No.: 000133-14A-2002
Case Description: Andrea Stover Homicide

As recorded in the Inventory of Items Taken into Evidence from the Victim's Residence, the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department collected as evidence five hundred forty-eight (548) letters addressed to Andrea Stover at the Yoknapatawpha County Adult Local Detention Facility. Included in that number were twenty-eight (28) letters from Ethan Lewiston (Evidence #s 000133-21-302 through 000133-21-329). Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department representatives have examined those letters and assembled the following excerpts from the Lewiston letters. These excerpts were determined to be potentially relevant to the Andrea Stover Homicide investigation and are typical of the content of all letters from Ethan Lewiston.


Letter Dates

June 9, 2000 | June 13, 2000 | June 19, 2000 | July 4, 2000 | July 28, 2000 |

September 3, 2000 | December 15, 2000 | February 26, 2001 | May 5, 2001 | August 28, 2001 |

September 20, 2001 | October 13, 2001 | November 11, 2001 | December 1, 2001

Letter Date: June 9, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

The company all seems terribly depressed since you left. Dale is doing a great job trying to keep everyone's spirits up and Owen has been coming around a lot as well. Everyone wants to know about your legal status... are you going to appeal your conviction or try to fight it in any way? Please let me know what's going on so I can give the group an update.

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Letter Date: June 13, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

I told everyone that you had no plans to appeal and they were all upset. I tried to explain to them your feelings that if society was going to persecute artists, then you were willing to stand up and take the punishment, but they just couldn't understand it. However, everyone trusts your judgment and accepts the fact that it is your decision to make.

On another note, Dale is being very aggressive about taking over control. For the first few days, he was very timid and scared to exert himself. Now, he is becoming very demanding and take-charge. He is re-doing our rehearsal schedule and he has inserted a lot of fundamental breathing exercises and things in the beginning of exercise. Some of the company feel like he's changing things too much although some like the new perspectives he is bringing to the table. I don't mention any of this to alarm you, just to let you know what's going on in case someone mentions something to you. I think in the long run, everything will be fine and the group will be stronger as a result of all this turmoil.

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Letter Date: June 19, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

You definitely don't have to worry about the group under Dale's direction. He is doing a fabulous job! I have to admit that I was apprehensive myself when he starting taking over. It was like he just threw all the established processes out the window and replaced everything with his own ideas. However, his ideas have really borne a lot of fruit. The group is functioning incredibly well. The work we are doing is interesting as well. Dale is pushing us in new directions to a more political ideal and moving away from some of the theatrics we've employed in the past. He can be very demanding and he most definitely wants to put his stamp of approval on things, but at least so far, it's been great!

End excerpt

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Letter Date: July 4, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

A bunch of us got together for the holiday today and wanted to say hello. You were missed at our party, as you are missed every day. Once again, the discussion centered around how you should have saved yourself and plea bargained down to a lesser sentence. But that's only because people miss you. The good news is that work with Oxtales has continued to go well. Things are just running very smoothly. We've had almost no re-writes of the script! Dale and I work very well together and we seem to anticipate each other's needs so very little re-work is every needed.

End excerpt

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Letter Date: July 28, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

We are trying to set up video cameras to tape rehearsals so you can see how well everything is going. Do you have access to a VCR in there? Is there any way for you to watch videos?

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Letter Date: September 3, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

We are brainstorming ideas right now. Dale wants to do a highly political piece, but one that is stark in it's lack of offensive material. He's interested in exploring harsh or difficult subjects without nudity, cussing, etc. We were watching TV the other night and we both wondered why is that when TV shows want to be known as "gritty" they start cussing more. Or, they show the locker room of the police department like on NYPD Blue. Is there a way to artistically communicate the despair of reality without the bad language and nudity? And is there a way to portray it cleanly without becoming a Disney movie or Leave it to Beaver? I think it's a great avenue to explore. I've written up some scenes and we haven't had to re-write any of them. This may be some of our best work ever!

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Letter Date: December 15, 2000

Postmark: Oxford, MS

How many visitors can you see at one time? We were all thinking about coming down to see you around Christmas but we didn't know what the procedures are... could we all see you at one time or would we have to take turns? Can we bring food? Please let us know how this whole thing works. Dale was somewhat against the idea since we are doing very well in rehearsals and he doesn't like the idea of breaking our rhythm. But he eventually gave in to the group.

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Letter Date: February 26, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

The new play is opening in a little more than a month and rumors around town are that it might very well be our best work yet. There is quite a buzz going. Wish you could be there!

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Letter Date: May 5, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

Sorry it's been a while, but I've been very busy. I'm riding such a wave of energy right now, I spend hours on end writing and it all just keeps pouring out. I can't physically type fast enough. So I've been somewhat remiss in my letter writing. But I have been wanting to let you know how "Black Boy in the Closet" performed. It was great! We sold out every show and even got reviewed in the Memphis newspapers. It sounds so weird to say about our work, but it was critically acclaimed by everyone who saw it. Everyone really wished you could have been there to see it.

We are taking off about six to eight weeks or so. Dale thinks that we need a break since we've been working non-stop for a couple of years now. I know that it is your belief that artists need to keep working, but I think Dale might have a point with this. Everyone is pretty burned out. And we'll keep working on small stuff, just not undertake any major productions for a little while. I'm glad because it will give me time to savor the success of "Black Boy in the Closet" as well as let this wave of creativity pour out of me. That way, when we do start to work more seriously again, I'll have a backlog of good material.

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Letter Date: August 28, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

We started working again a few weeks ago. Just small stuff, mainly for our own practice. It's really more of Dale's focus on the fundamentals. We're doing small scenes between two actors, very little in the way of set or props. Just to hone our skills. Everyone is really excited and enjoying it.

Someone pointed out the other day that it's only a couple of months now until you get released... I'm sure you're very excited. Any ideas on the exact date?

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Letter Date: September 20, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

Glad to hear you're getting out in time for Christmas. Your parents must be thrilled. When do you think you'll be catching up with Oxtales? Have you talked to Owen at all about what your role will be when you get back?

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Letter Date: October 13, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

Don't keep us in suspense... everyone keeps asking what you're going to do when you return. Owen has been around the group a lot less lately and when he is around, he's keeping very quiet. Are you going to return to the Director's spot or are you going to do something else?

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Letter Date: November 11, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

Everyone has adopted a kind of "wait and see" attitude. Of course everyone is thrilled that you're coming back. As your friends we are happy you will be out and back amongst our midst. And as artists, we're looking forward to your contributions. Everyone is so excited about your return. I just think some of them wish they knew what the org chart was going to be... you know how some people get hung up on those kinds of things.

Unfortunately, rehearsals have hit a big of snag. Things just haven't been going well. We were on such a hot streak there for a while, but as the year drags on, things just seem to be really bogging down.

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Letter Date: December 1, 2001

Postmark: Oxford, MS

See ya in a few days!

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Letter Dates

June 9, 2000 | June 13, 2000 | June 19, 2000 | July 4, 2000 | July 28, 2000 |

September 3, 2000 | December 15, 2000 | February 26, 2001 | May 5, 2001 | August 28, 2001 |

September 20, 2001 | October 13, 2001 | November 11, 2001 | December 1, 2001

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