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Witness interview: Jennifer Thieson, bartender, Jubilee Lounge
Wednesday, March 11, 2002 Ç 5 p.m.
This witness, identified as a bartender at the Jubilee Lounge by Gretchen Doyle, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. The interview was conducted by Det. Sam Murphy and Det. Ted Armstrong, and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.
TA = Detective T. Armstrong
TA: Thanks for stopping by this afternoon.
JT: Sure. I don't know if I'll be of much help, but whatever I can do.
SM: For the record, please state your full name and address, please.
JT: Jennifer Thieson, 515 Van Buren.
TA: Thanks. Now then, you're a friend of Gretchen Doyle's?
JT: I wouldn't say a friend. I know her, is all. Just from the Jubilee Ç she comes in there a lot and we've talked a couple of times.
SM: You work at the Jubilee?
JT: Yes. Friday through Monday nights, six to closing. I'm doing a business degree, so it works out with my schedule.
SM: Undergrad or graduate?
SM: Okay. So how long would you say you've known Ms. Doyle?
JT: Probably the first time we talked was a couple of years ago, like 1999 or so.
SM: And how often would you say you and Ms. Doyle have spoken?
JT: Altogether? I guess maybe 10 times. Just sort of "Hi, how're you doing" kind of stuff. She always asks me how school is going. She's a good listener, remembers stuff and then asks about it again. Like one time I'd told her my cat died, and the next time I saw her, it must have been more than a month later, she asked me if I'd gotten a new cat.
TA: Did you ever see each other outside the Jubilee?
JT: No. Like I said, we weren't friends or anything, we just talked whenever she came in.
TA: Did she usually come in on her own or with friends?
JT: She came in alone a lot Ç she strikes me as the quiet type, you know, not afraid to spend an evening on her own. Otherwise she came in with her friend Andrea a few times.
SM: Do you know Andrea's last name?
JT: Sure, Andrea Stover. But I only know it because of what's happened, what I read in the papers. I recognized her picture. It's terrible. I bet Gretchen is really cut up.
TA: Have you seen Ms. Doyle since then?
SM: Who else did Ms. Doyle come here with? Any other friends?
JT: None that I saw. Maybe on my nights off, but aside from Andrea that's it.
SM: Did she ever mention any of her friends to you?
JT: No. Now that I think of it, she was pretty private Ç she always seemed so interested in asking about me and what I'm up to, it wouldn't occur to me til later that we didn't talk much about her.
TA: All right. So when was the last time you saw Ms. Doyle?
JT: It was the night before her friend was killed. Sunday night.
SM: Did Ms. Doyle come in alone?
JT: No, she and Andrea came in together and sat at their usual table. I brought them G and Ts. They were here for a couple of hours, after closing. I let them stay while I rang out the register and then we all left around 12:15, 12:20.
TA: Did you notice anything unusual about them that evening? Did either of them seem upset or emotional?
JT: Not really. Her friend Ç Andrea Ç seemed a little tired, I guess. But they were just talking. Actually, Gretchen was listening a lot and Andrea was talking. I guess every once in a while Gretchen would put her hand on Andrea's arm, like she was encouraging her or something. Nothing out of the ordinary.
TA: Did you hear what they were talking about?
JT: Please! I try to give customers their space. I mean it's a public place and all, but you figure most people who come in just want to relax, not worry about being eavesdropped. Unless someone's sitting at the bar in the mood to chat, I pretty much ignore it. Plus, we've got music on Ç it's not like I can really hear much anyway.
TA: All right. How much did they drink?
JT: Just two G and Ts each.
SM: And what happened when you left? The three of you walked out together?
JT: Actually no. I was still closing up shop when they left Ç she thanked me for letting them stay a little longer, then they walked out the front and I bolted the door behind them. I left maybe 5 minutes later out the back.
SM: Did you happen to see where they were headed?
JT: No. At that point I was turning out the lights and checking all the doors were locked Ç I wasn't exactly peeping out at them.
SM: When you left, did you see either of them?
SM: Were you the last person to leave for the night?
SM: Did you see any other cars or people around?
JT: None that I recognized.
TA: What do you mean by that?
JT: There was another car in the employee lot in the alley. I didn't recognize it, though. I thought maybe it was Andrea's. I remember it because it was green, which is my favorite for cars. I want a green BMW some day.
TA: What else do you remember about it?
JT: Um, I don't know. It was a sedan. I don't remember the make. To be honest, I really didn't take a close look, I just noticed it because it was weird there was another car in the employee lot at that hour, and it didn't look like it even belonged to anyone I knew. But I was pretty beat so like I said, I just went, "Huh" and then went home as usual.
TA: Have you ever seen that car since?
JT: No. Not there or anywhere else for that matter. But then I don't get out and about Ç mainly I'm either home, school or work. It's not like I'm out cruising around.
TA: Gotcha. Do you have anything else to add that might help us out?
JT: Not that I know of. I sure hope you catch whoever did it though. I'm scared to leave work alone these days Ç you never know.
SM: Of course. If you think of anything, give us a call.
JT: Will do. Bye!
Interview ended 5:28 p.m.