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Interview: Norman Higgins, activist

The witness, identified as Norman Higgins, 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
= Detective S. Murphy
= Norman Higgins

TA: Thank you for coming in today Mr. Higgins. Will you, please state your name and address for the record?

NH: Norman Higgins, I live at 2617 Jackson Avenue.

SM: We appreciate you coming in to talk to us, Mr. Higgins.

NH: I’d be glad to help in any way I can, but I don’t know how I can help you.

TA: We are still trying to piece some things together and need all the information we can get about Ms. Stover and the people who knew her.

NH: You understand that I didn’t really know her, just her reputation.

SM: So you never met her?

NH: No, I never spoke to her directly. I saw her from a distance. The closest I ever got to her was in the courtroom at her trial.

TA: Did you ever speak to her on the phone, or speak to her folks on the phone?

NH: Heck no. Why would I do that?

SM: Would you know anyone who might have called her to tell her to stop her pornography?

NH: No unless those fanatics at COP called her. That’s not my style.

TA: What is your style, Mr. Higgins? We know you’ve taken an active interest in Ms. Stover since Oxtales produced Snopes.

NH: I monitor all registered sex offenders who return to Oxford, sir. I believe the community is entitled to know who the predators are in our community.

SM: Yes, I understand your interest in registered sex offenders who return to the community, but your interest in Snopes is well documented in TV coverage of the picketers before Ms. Stover was even charged with a sex crime.

NH: That’s right.

SM: Well, what was your interest based on?

NH: It was based on that piece of filth, Snopes, that she insisted was “art” and unleashed on our community.

TA: But wasn’t that out of your usual area of interest? I thought you concentrated on released registered sex offenders.

NH: That is my major interest it is true, but I was so sickened by that play and the harm it could bring to innocent children, I helped on the COP campaign to get her prosecuted and sentenced for a sex crime.

SM: But children weren’t allowed to see it, were they? What would be the harm to children except for the three high school kids who worked back stage?

NH: No, no you don’t understand! It was that dance that simulated sex acts, some of them between men and boys that I objected to. Someone inclined to an attraction for children might be stimulated to act out his fantasies after seeing that play. And that could certainly be dangerous to children in our community.

SN: Then you did see the play?

NH: I went after one of my friends called to tell me about it. It was disgusting. So when I heard that COP was alerting the DA’s office, and pressing for her prosecution, I pitched in where I could.

TA: Are you a member of COP?

NH: No that was the one project of theirs that I worked on.

SM: Do you know Ben Morgan, the president of COP?

NH: Oh, sure. We’ve had many a heated argument on the importance of each other’s projects. We aren’t friends. We don’t travel in the same social group. My taste is more to bowling and poker with my buddies. Can you picture him in a bowling alley with a beer? To tell the truth, detective, I don’t really like some of the things COP thinks are so important. I mean, like trying to ban Harry Potter books. Some of the ladies who work for me tell me their children are reading like crazy because of those books and they think that’s great. They can’t see anything wrong with them. I think COP gets carried away with little things that don’t really matter. I don’t want my name associated with them all the time.

TA: Were you happy with the result of the prosecution and Ms. Stover’s resulting sentence?

NH: I wish they ‘d locked her up and thrown away the key, but we can’t have everything, can we?

SM: So you think they were too lenient with her sentence?

NH: I think the courts are way too lenient on all those deviants, but I suppose they thought the punishment fit the crime. Now, if she had pled out, and been offered a fine and community service, I really would have been upset.

SM: You seemed to concentrate on Ms. Stover being prosecuted. Why didn’t you press for prosecution of Owen Norris, or others in the production company?

NH. Stover was the one who was so vocal about “her art” and she was the power behind getting it on stage. The others were just her flunkies.

SM: Even Owen Norris?

NH: Especially Norris. She just played him like a harp and got him to give money. I don’t think he knew what she was up to.

TA: Were you aware of the flyers COP was distributing about Ms. Stover since she was home?

NH: My God, man. You’d have to be unconscious to not be aware of COP’s ravings. I believe in notifying the community of a sex offender’s release, but you have to be careful to stay within the law. Law enforcement is pretty stodgy about preserving their rights after they are out. Personally, I don’t think they should have any rights, but the law says there are limits to how you can treat them. COP was dangerously on the edge there. I was afraid there was going to be a backlash and undo all we had fought for before she went to jail. Did you see that last flyer? “Wanted”. All they left off was the “dead or alive.”

TA: Have you heard anything about the new production Ms. Stover was planning?

NH: Sure I’ve heard rumors. But I’m not one for operating on rumors. I want to see the actual play first. COP is just sure it is going to be as bad as Snopes. I say wait and see.

SM: Do you have any theories about who might have killed her?

NH: Sure. If I were you I’d be looking at her friends and co-workers. There had to have been a lot of jealousy and damaged egos there. After all they are show people.

TA: Incidentally, Mr. Higgins, are you familiar with the Oxford Centre complex?

NH: Sure. My company has a contract for janitorial service at some of the offices and stores there. Oh, now, wait a minute. I can see where you’re going with this. Just because my service works there doesn’t mean I had anything to do with Stover’s death!

SM: Did you have a crew there Sunday night January 13th? They might have seen something that would be useful to us.

NH: No, detective. We don’t work on Sunday nights. If there is work to be done on the weekend, we do it during the day in the offices, and are through by Saturday night in the shops that are open on Saturday. Sunday is a night off.

TA: Just for the record, Mr. Higgins. Where were you on Sunday night January 13th?

NH: That’s my bowling night, detective. My bachelor buddies and I always get together that night. It’s the one night none of us has to work. I was at Kiamie's Lanes from 9:00 p.m. until about almost 1:00 a.m. Then a couple of us stayed outside and shot the bull for another hour or so. Check with Kiamie's, they all know me there. And I can give you the names of the guys I was with.

TA: O.K. Thank you Mr. Higgins. We appreciate your help. Please give us a call if you think of anything else that might be useful to us.

NH: OK but I doubt I know any thing more. Goodbye.

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