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Witness interview: Gretchen Doyle, victim's friend
  Wednesday, March 6, 2002, 4:30 p.m.

Witness interview: Gretchen Doyle, victim’s friend Wednesday, March 6, 2002 – 4:30 p.m. This witness, identified as Andrea Stover's best friend by Stover's parents, 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
SM
= Detective S. Murphy
GD
= Gretchen Doyle

TA : Thanks for stopping by again, Ms. Doyle.

GD : Of course. I hope there’s not any trouble?

TA : We just need to ask you a few more questions.

GD : Whatever I can do to help.

SM : Thank you for that. Once again could you state your name and address?

GD : Gretchen Marie Doyle, 404 Sisk.

TA : Now Ms. Doyle, we need you to talk a little bit more about the people in Ms. Stover’s life.

GD : I already told you, I don’t know many of them.

TA : Well, it does seem like you know more than you’re letting on, like for instance Trevor O’Shea. He says he knows you.

GD : Of course. We went to college around the same time. But we’re not exactly friends.

SM : What was his relationship with Ms. Stover?

GD : Oh, they were good friends, I suppose. They’d known each other since high school. They saw more of each other in college than nowadays. You know, as a student it’s easy to find time for friends.

TA : Are you saying Ms. Stover didn’t have time for friends lately?

GD : No! Not at all. I wish you wouldn’t twist my words around.

TA : Well then, what did you mean?

GD : I just meant that Andrea and Trevor saw more of each other before real life took over, you know, jobs and paying the bills. He was wrapped up in his teaching. I guess Andrea saw him from time to time.

SM : What about you and Mr. O’Shea? How often do you see him?

GD : Me? Oh, never – I mean, not on purpose. Sorry. I mean, we’ve bumped into each other here and there. I suppose when Andrea dragged me to parties, I might see him there, but not often. I think he was more studious than Andrea as opposed to partying.

SM : As far as you know, did Ms. Stover see Mr. O’Shea the week preceding her death?

GD : I don’t know, to be honest. I don’t think so – she didn’t mention it to me.

SM : Who else did Ms. Stover see that week?

GD : I don’t remember exactly. Of course she saw everyone in the group, Frank and Owen and all the rest.

SM : That’s Owen Norris?

GD : Yes.

SM : When did she see him?

GD : Aside from rehearsal? I don’t recall. I’m sorry, it’s not like I had access to her date book. But I think they got together for lunch or maybe dinner to talk about the new production. It was some time during the week rather than the weekend.

TA : What exactly was their relationship? Mr. Norris seems to have written her some strange letters.

GD : I’m not aware of them.

TA : Were they lovers?

GD : What? Oh, no, not at all. Owen’s interests don’t tend that way – I mean, Andrea doesn’t seem to be his type. I don’t know him that well, but it seems that way. He’s more into blonds, Andrea told me. They were just friends, and of course they had a professional interest in each other.

SM : What about Frank Tuttle? You mentioned Ms. Stover saw him, too. Was it in a professional capacity?

GD : As far as I know. He wanted to see her that weekend, the weekend before … it happened. But she had other things to take care of. I think she was a little tired of living at home. She spent some time looking for apartments and had to work too on Saturday – Occasions, that’s her day job. So I think she just wanted a little space.

TA : Did she want space from you, too?

GD : What do you mean by that?

TA : Ms. Doyle, in your letters, and there sure were a lot of them, it seems you were pretty eager to be with Ms. Stover when she was released. You even mentioned going away with her. Were you disappointed maybe that she wasn’t as excited to see you as you were to see her?

GD : What? No, of course not! She was perfectly glad to see me. It’s always been a fantasy of ours – you know, best friends on a cross-country road trip. We’ve talked about it off and on for years. It was really more a device to keep her spirits up than anything real, I suppose. I mean, I would have gone if she wanted to, but I didn’t expect it. That doesn’t mean we weren’t getting along, not at all. She really wanted to return to her work, which I understand completely.

SM : Let’s talk about her work. Are you sure she never mentioned any conflicts within Oxtales?

GD : Not really, no – aside from the usual artistic differences.

SM : What do you mean by artistic differences?

GD : Well, I think she was a little stressed out by having to come back after being away for so long. The assistant director – Dale? – he apparently had a different style and while she was away he did a few productions more to his own tastes, and they seemed to do well. She sort of had to re-assert herself, I guess, which is difficult, in terms of doing risqué things and taking on really difficult issues.

SM : How did the rest of the group feel about that? Were they on Ms. Stover’s side or Mr. King’s?

GD : Oh. I really don’t know, I hardly know any of them at all, not well enough to know that sort of thing. And it wasn’t really black and white – there were advantages to both styles, from what I could tell. Dale being more political and straight-ahead, and Andrea more outrageous. But I think Andrea wondered whether everyone might be better off, careerwise, if she backed off – in terms of critical praise, I mean. It’s one thing to be notorious, and another thing to be taken seriously as an actor or playwright.

TA : So Ethan Lewiston preferred Mr. King’s direction?

GD : No. I wouldn’t say that. I guess Andrea felt responsible for all of them professionally, after what happened. And so she would talk about these things with me. But I reassured her that they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to work with her, on her vision. Ethan – I didn’t know him, just heard about him – I would imagine that the freedom she gave him to experiment was tremendous. So I can’t imagine he would have a serious gripe. Like I told her, if he had a serious gripe, why didn’t he leave?

SM : What about Henry Jackson – the actor?

GD : I never heard much about him. He never seemed to come up.

SM : Did she ever mention Sheila Love, the actress?

GD : No. Um, I mean, only in passing, when she was talking about a particular scene and what was going on, she might say Sheila was stage right or something. She never talked about her outside that context.

TA : She never mentioned she was jealous of Sheila, or Sheila was jealous of her?

GD : No, why?

TA : Ms. Doyle, Sheila Love began dating Frank Tuttle while Ms. Stover was incarcerated, and was still dating him when Ms. Stover died. As far as we can tell, that means Mr. Tuttle was in the middle of a triangle. Are you absolutely sure Ms. Stover never mentioned it to you?

GD : No. Sorry – I mean, I’m sure she never mentioned it. It doesn’t surprise me – Andrea wasn’t possessive like that, in fact she was the opposite, generous in her relationships with people. She and Frank were on again, off again. I can only think she’d have been relieved if he’d found someone else to be interested in.

TA : What do you mean by that? Was Mr. Tuttle bothering Ms. Stover in any way?

GD : Um, not bothering, no. I’d say that he was the pursuer, he was the one calling her and asking her out or asking her to spend time with him. It was a comfortable relationship for her, in terms of she knew him so well, but I’m not sure she wanted to get back in a pattern.

TA : Did Ms. Stover ever say anything that led you to believe Mr. Tuttle was frightening her?

GD : No! Not at all. Frank is about the most harmless person you can imagine. Very spiritual, not really into action. I just picked up these things over time, it’s not like anyone was making threats or being histrionic.

SM : What about Mr. Norris or Mr. King? Was Ms. Stover worried about them or frightened by them in any way?

GD : Absolutely not. Owen, no, of course not – they were friends. And Dale, I really perceived he was the type to brood instead of have a confrontation. And really, their relationship was completely professional – they respected each other as professionals. They had differences, I suppose They weren’t petty to each other, no name calling or anything as far as Andrea told me. It was all strictly within the realm of their artistic work, reasoned arguments.

TA : All right then. Let’s talk a little bit more about your relationship with Ms. Stover. Her parents mentioned that sometimes she would sleep over at your place?

GD : That’s right.

TA : How did that work out?

GD : Fine. I’m sorry – I don’t see what you’re getting at.

TA : How did Ms. Raines feel about it?

GD : What? Oh! Ursula. No, of course not. There was never any problem.

TA : She didn’t seem jealous?

GD : No. Well, of course she liked to have time alone with me – but she knew Andrea, they got along. Andrea wasn’t a threat, she knew that. Ursula and I are completely committed to each other as partners.

TA : So when Ms. Stover spent the night, would Ms. Raines be there too?

GD : Um, no, usually not. We don’t live together, so usually it was nights Ursula wasn’t there, or if she was she would go home. Really it’s a practical thing – there isn’t much room and if we were staying up talking she couldn’t sleep.

TA : Right. And how often would you say this happened?

GD : Since she got back? I don’t know – maybe four or five times. Not often.

TA : That’s practically once a week.

GD : Oh. I guess it is. But it wasn’t like that – a regular thing. She might spend a couple of nights one week then none at all the next. It wasn’t planned in any way. Um, I guess I can see where you’re heading and really, there was nothing between us that would cause Ursula to be jealous. It wasn’t a triangle, as you call it.

TA : What was it then?

GD : Between the three of us? There was nothing. Andrea was my best friend, Ursula is my girlfriend. I loved them both, but of course in completely different ways. They both knew that. Ursula knew she had to trust me, it’s all about trust – how can someone be happy if you suffocate them? She knew that. I wish you would stop assuming everything is about sex – it’s not. Sex is something Ursula and I share exclusively. Just because I loved Andrea doesn’t mean I wanted to have sex with her, or had sex with her.

TA : Except for in college.

GD : Please! That was a long time ago.

TA : And Ms. Raines was comfortable with this?

GD : Of course.

TA : In your letters you mention that Ms. Raines was glad you wouldn’t be going away with Ms. Stover. Why?

GD : Well, of course she’d be glad. Who wants their lover to go away for three weeks?

TA : But if Ms. Raines wanted you to be happy, wouldn’t she want you to go have fun?

GD : I guess so. Yes. I don’t know. Um, I’m feeling really uncomfortable here – I feel like you’re trying to push me into a corner and say something about Ursula I don’t want to. It’s not the way you think – she loves me, she sometimes worries about other relationships but that doesn’t mean she wants to keep me locked in a closet. Anyone who’s mature realizes committing to love a single person is a choice – other possibilities exist, there’s doubt, but you have to trust despite that. Trust the other person is going to choose the right path. Ursula did, I know it wasn’t easy but she did.

TA : How do you know it wasn’t easy, as you put it? Did Ms. Raines ever mention anything specific to you?

GD : No, not really. Um, I guess I tend to pick up a lot from people’s expressions, little things they say – over time, you know? It’s not like she was waving a flag and shouting “I’m jealous.”

TA : So you do think she was jealous.

GD : No. Not really. She, I don’t know. It’s not jealousy in the way you’re thinking. It’s so hard, with both of us working so much and our own lives and obligations – when we’re alone together, it’s a precious gift. She was jealous of that – of our time together. Yes, that’s what it was. She wanted to protect the time she and I had for each other. Every busy couple runs into the same problem, I’m sure.

TA : Is that what happened the night Ms. Stover died? Was Ms. Raines jealous of the time you spent with Ms. Stover?

GD : I don’t think so. I guess when I left she was a little down because we’d planned to spend the evening together, we have a nice quiet Sunday routine and it was disrupted. So she was disappointed, but I wouldn’t say jealous. Jealous is the wrong word, I’m sure.

SM : And when you left to go see Ms. Stover, Ms. Raines stayed behind?

GD : For a while, yes. She told me she left to go back to her place around 11:30. I guess she needed to get up really early for work so she didn’t want me to come in late and wake her.

SM : And you’re sure she went home?

GD : Yes.

SM : When did you hear from Ms. Raines next?

GD : I called her right away the next morning, I called her cell phone but it was off. I guess the battery was out. So we talked at, I don’t know, 11. She came home and took the rest of the day off to be with me.

TA : All right. What about your last meeting with Ms. Stover? We already talked about it once. Is there anything else she mentioned to you, anything that was worrying her?

GD : No. Not really.

SM : Did she mention being afraid for her safety?

GD : No. Never.

TA : Do you remember what Ms. Stover was wearing?

GD : Wearing? Yes. I remember like it was yesterday. Her grey coat, a striped sweater, jeans. I don’t know about shoes. She had her usual blue bag. Don’t you know this already?

TA : We just need to verify everything we found belonged to Ms. Stover. What about a hat or any jewelry, rings?

GD : She didn’t wear rings, but of course there was her necklace.

TA : Necklace?

GD : I gave it to her when she came back. Sort of a Christmas/New Year/new beginning present. An antique poison locket I found in New Orleans, with a dark garnet, almost black, on a longish silver chain. She pretty much always wore it.

TA : Anything in the locket?

GD : No, I mean I gave it to her empty, she might have put something in it. Why? Don’t you have it?

TA : I’d have to look in the inventory. I’m sure it’s there. Is there anything else you want to add?

GD : No, I can’t think of anything. Do you have any idea who could have done this? I just wish I could know, so there would be some closure.

TA : We’re working on it. If you think of anything else, give us a call.

GD : Of course.

Interview ended 5:28 p.m.

 

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