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Witness Interview: Henry Jackson, Oxtales member

Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 1:39 p.m.

The witness, identified as an actor in Oxtales Theatre, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. 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
HJ = Henry Jackson

SM: Hello, Mr. Jackson. Thank you for talking to us today.

HJ: Certainly. I'm glad to help in any way I can.

SM: Can you state your name and address, please?

HJ: I am Henry Jackson and I live at 211 Colonial road.

SM: I assume you know that we need to talk to you about the murder of Andrea Stover?

HJ: Right.

SM: How long did you know Andrea?

HJ: Just a couple of years. I joined the group right as the production of "Snopes" was getting off the ground.

SM: What was your role in "Snopes"?

HJ: I had just joined so I had a pretty small part. I thought it was a good play. People just go too upset about it. It was only a damn play; it wasn't murder.

SM: Were you prosecuted for your part in that play?

HJ: No. I never have been able to figure out how they chose who to crucify for that thing. But for some reason, everybody left me alone.

TA: Why did you want to join Oxtales in the first place?

HJ: Well, I had just finished my degree and needed to work. I was trying to figure out my options and I kept coming across this Oxtales group. They certainly seemed to get a lot of attention so I went down there one day and introduced myself to Andrea. She said they didn't need anyone at that time. But I didn't give up. One night, I was walking by Ajax and saw Andrea sitting in there eating with some people. I walked in off the street, went up to her table, and started reciting a Mamet scene. Everyone thought I was crazy, but Andrea saw what I could do and decided to give me a chance.

SM: And what is your position in the group now?

HJ: I'm the lead actor.

TA: Is that your only job?

HJ: No. I wait tables at the Downtown Grill and I do some modeling in Memphis from time to time.

SM: Would you say that Oxtales has been good for your career?

HJ: I believe so. The group has a lot of notoriety and everything we do gets reviewed and noticed.

SM: Can some of that notoriety backfire and actually hurt your career?

HJ: Without a doubt. It's a difficult balance. I mean, let's say you're an unknown musician and Marilyn Manson comes along and wants you to play guitar in his band. It's a great chance, right? You automatically are thrust into the spotlight. But then you somehow have to separate yourself from all the craziness and show that you can really play. That's what I've tried to do with Oxtales. I want people to see our shows and walk away saying that I can act, regardless of whether the play is shocking or not.

TA: What did you think of the work the group did while Andrea was in jail?

HJ: I liked it a lot. Dale brings a different attitude to the table. He's much more thoughtful and political. He's not into the shock value as much as Andrea. I really worked hard on those plays. I thought it was a chance for the group to show that we could act. That we really are good at our craft. I think those plays proved that we could get attention for the quality of our art, not just because we took our clothes off.

TA: So you didn't like it when Andrea returned to lead the group?

HJ: I wouldn't say that I didn't like it. I was worried about the direction the group would take. As I said, I thought we made a lot of strides while she was gone and I didn't want to just revert to filthy language and nudity again.

SM: What did you think of Andrea personally?

HJ: She was very driven, very opinionated. Beautiful woman, but she could definitely be tough.

TA: How had the two of you been getting along since she got back?

HJ: We've been kind of feeling each other out. I grew a great deal as an actor while she was gone. I'm more confident in my abilities and who I am as an artist. I think she sensed that she wouldn't be able to boss me around anymore and she was trying to figure me out.

TA: So there was conflict between the two of you?

HJ: Absolutely not. We were just tentative. Trying to get a feel for each other. That's all.

SM: How was Andrea getting along with the other members of the group?

HJ: About the same as usual, I guess. She and Frank got along fine. I think Dale was a little resentful of her being back, but that's certainly understandable. They have some pretty significant artistic differences, but generally handled them well. She always kinda ran over Sheila so that was no different. She was doing well with Ethan. As a director, she often demanded re-writes and whatever, so that always caused a bit of tension. I think Ethan has more of an allegiance to Dale than most people are aware of. So I think he shared Dale's resentment of Andrea's return.

TA: What about Owen Norris and Andrea?

HJ: They have always gotten along great. And it was no different after she got out of prison.

TA: Were you aware of any romantic relationships between Andrea and anyone in the group?

HJ: Oh sure, she and Frank were an on-again, off-again thing. They hooked up occasionally.

SM: Do you know if they got together after she was released?

HJ: I don't know for sure. But I would guess that they did.

SM: Were there any other relationships?

HJ: Of people in the group? Not involving Andrea?

SM: Yeah.

HJ: Frank and Sheila are seeing each other.

TA: Is that Sheila Love?

HJ: Yeah, that's her.

SM: What did Sheila think about all this? Frank and Andrea's history and then Andrea comes back.

HJ: I don't think she was terribly happy about it. If you ask me, I think she liked Frank for a long time. She finally got her chance when Andrea went away. And I don't think she's too happy about Andrea being back.

TA: Have you seen any fights between Frank and Sheila?

HJ: No. I think he's pretty straightforward with her and she goes along with it. But I think that deep down inside, she doesn't like it. I think she's afraid to push the issue too much.

SM: When was the last time you saw Andrea Stover?

HJ: At that last rehearsal. The one on Sunday night.

TA: How did the rehearsal go?

HJ: It went well up to a point. We worked most of the afternoon and then stopped for dinner.

SM: About what time was that?

HJ: I think we started eating around 5:30 or 6. Everyone just brought in food so we wouldn't have to go out. Dale had these great rhubarb bars... anyway, after we ate, everyone just seemed to get crabby.

TA: In what way?

HJ: It seemed like everyone wanted to bitch and moan about something. Andrea and Dale got into their usual discussion about what direction the group should follow. Then, Andrea wanted some rewrites to the script so Ethan was being pissy. And Sheila was just acting very weird.

SM: What do you mean by weird?

HJ: I don't really know. She would never look at Andrea and she just seemed distracted. Maybe I imagined that, who knows?

SM: What time did rehearsal end?

HJ: Around 9:30 or so. Andrea just said we should call it a night. We weren't getting anywhere. Owen had shown up and he was watching and things just weren't going too well. So we called it off.

TA: What did you do after you left rehearsal?

HJ: Went home and read a book. A couple of people were talking about going out, but I was pretty tired. I think Dale, Frank and Sheila went for a few drinks or something.

SM: Have you guys rehearsed since then?

HJ: No. I'm sure we'll get back together at some point, but right now, everyone is just kind of chilling out.

TA: Who is in charge of Oxtales now?

HJ: I assume Dale is. He's called a few times trying to set up meetings and stuff.

TA: Do you think everyone will accept his leadership?

HJ: I guess so. They accepted him while Andrea was away and we did some amazing work. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't accept him again.

SM: Did Andrea tell you what she was going to do after rehearsal?

HJ: No. I don't hang out with those guys as much as some people do. When they say rehearsal is over, I'm gone. So I didn't know what she was going to do, although I was surprised about the Oxford Centre visit. As much as she hates heights, I would have never thought she would go there.

TA: Do you know anyone who might have wanted to kill Andrea?

HJ: Not really. I mean, those nuts in COP and all the religious fanatics certainly hated her. So I guess they're a possibility. But I can't imagine anyone else.

SM: No one in the theatre group?

HJ: Surely not. I mean, we fight and have our differences, but I can't imagine anyone I work with being a murderer.

TA: Did Andrea ever act scared for her safety?

HJ: Not that I saw. She would get frustrated from all the Jesus freaks and their protests, but I always thought she was more annoyed than scared.

SM: Okay, I think that about does it. Thanks for your time. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.

End interview 2:15 p.m.

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