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Witness Interview: Frank Tuttle, victim's ex-boyfriend and Oxtales member
March 14, 2002, 12:15 p.m.
This witness, identified as victim's coworker and former boyfriend by previous witnesses, 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 coming in again, Frank.
FT: No problem. If I can be of help, that's great.
SM: For the record, please state again your name and address.
FT: Frank Tuttle, 202 North 14th, Oxford. So what's going on? Do you have some leads?
TA: We need to get a few things straight here.
FT: Whatever I can do to help.
SM: For starts, Ms. Love said you went home with her after going to the bar the night of Jan. 13. Is that true?
FT: Um, yeah, sort of.
SM: Meaning what exactly?
FT: Well, we, like, went to her place but I left after a while. I didn't want to sleep over, you know? I was just feeling like I needed some solitude.
SM: So what time would you say you left the bar and went to Ms. Love's?
FT: I guess around 12, 12:15.
SM: And what time did you leave?
FT: Um, around 1, I guess, because I remember I got in the car in time to hear the beginning of "Loveline" on the way home, that's from 1 to 2.
SM: Did Ms. Love say whether she was going out again?
FT: She didn't say, but she was getting ready to turn in as far as I could tell. She was watching TV in bed when I left.
SM: How did she react to your decision to leave, rather than stay the night?
FT: Um, I guess she was okay with it. She knows I need my space sometimes. I guess she preferred me to stay, but you know, she doesn't want to put limits on me. She wasn't mad.
SM: And did anyone see you leaving Ms. Love's or arriving at home?
FT: What is this? You don't think I had anything to do with this, do you?
TA: We just need to know where everyone was the night of Ms. Stover's death. We need you to be as detailed as possible.
FT: All right, um, I'm just uncomfortable with the vibe here. Very hostile. It's not like I did anything wrong. I went straight home, so, no, I wouldn't have seen anyone. Ted Ç he's my roommate Ç he was asleep, he works early Monday mornings so he's usually in bed by, like, 10. I guess he heard me, though, because the next morning he said something about, like, was I out partying or what because I got in so late. His window faces the driveway so he saw the headlights, maybe. I don't know. Look, I'm telling you I didn't see Andrea after the rehearsal, and I'm telling the truth. I'm not a deceptive person.
TA: Well, we've got another problem you can help us with, then. Ms. Love denies you and Ms. Stover were romantically involved after Ms. Stover returned to the company, yet you said you spoke with Ms. Love about it. We can't figure it out, except that someone must be lying.
FT: Well, it's not me. I talked with Sheila about it. Um, maybe she didn't really get what I was saying, but I talked with her about it.
TA: What do you mean?
FT: Um, I'm not really into conflict, you know? I really like to maintain integrity in my connections with people, so, you know, I can't lie Ç but I don't like open conflict, I think it's really a destructive force. I like to find the middle way. I like to find the positive in any situation and really communicate that. I guess maybe I wasn't totally direct with Sheila, you know, like maybe what I was saying didn't really lead her to the conclusion I intended.
TA: Just tell us what you said to Ms. Love, as directly as possible.
FT: Um, I told her that, you know, Andrea and I still really had a strong connection, and that I wanted to be there for her in terms of getting back on track with her life. I think I told you this before Ç I said I needed to see where it was all heading, I needed to explore where the path was leading. I told her our relationship had blossomed so much in the past year, our connection was so deep, you know, that we could be generous with our love and support. Maybe Sheila didn't get that, I don't know Ç she seemed to understand, maybe she didn't.
SM: Did you ever discuss the situation again?
SM: Did you tell her specifically about the time you and Ms. Stover spent the night together?
FT: Not in so many words, no.
SM: And how did Ms. Love react to all this?
FT: She seemed fine with it. She and I really share a deep connection, you know, and I let her know that all the time. If anything, we're more deeply connected than we've ever been, she's really been here for me in terms of mourning Andrea, she's really helped me try to come to terms with it. I'm not, you know, a negative person, so it's really hard for me to imagine the kind of evil that would cause someone to do that kind of thing.
SM: So you and Ms. Love have talked about Ms. Stover's death?
FT: Yeah, a number of times. Just about how we can't believe she's gone, and like I said, she would help me in the grieving process.
SM: Was Ms. Love grieving herself?
FT: Um, yeah, of course. But she knew that Andrea and I had shared, you know, more of a history. But yeah, she's totally in shock just like the rest of us.
TA: Do you think Ms. Love had anything to do with Ms. Stover's death?
FT: What? No, not at all. She's a very nonviolent person, you know? She wouldn't ever raise a hand against another person. She trusts people so completely, you know, she's a very caring, loving person.
TA: All right. Let's go back to the night Ms. Stover died. Can you tell us again about rehearsal?
FT: Um, well, like I said, we started around 1 and took a break at 5:30 or so for dinner, then Andrea decided we should stop around 9:30.
TA: Let's talk about dinner. Can you remember exactly what everyone brought?
FT: Um, it's kind of hard, it's been so long. I think so. I did a vegetarian Madras curry, I remember that Ç but mild, not too spicy. Um, Sheila brought a big Caesar salad, and Andrea brought this casserole which was okay Ç pasta, kind of like lasagna, but with round noodles. Rigatoni? Anyway, um, Henry brought some soup, I think it was potato or mushroom, something creamy. Ethan just brought store-bought bread. That's it. Oh Ç Dale brought dessert.
SM: What kind of dessert?
FT: Um, like some kind of fruit bar. Rhubarb or date Ç it was rhubarb, definitely, because someone was asking wasn't rhubarb out of season and he was saying he had some in his greenhouse. Yeah, it was definitely rhubarb, I remember now because he made two batches Ç it was kind of weird Ç one with nuts and then just a few without for Andrea, she's allergic. He said there was something extra special in the batch with nuts, which is kind of weird, it's like he wanted us to think there was pot in them or something. He's never done that before, you know, he doesn't strike me as the type to be into pot. Anyway, we all went for the ones with nuts except Andrea. They were really good, but as far as I could tell, um, there was nothing special in them in terms of drugs. That I know of. Um, you aren't going to use anything I say as evidence, are you?
TA: You don't have to worry about being busted for drugs, if that's what you mean.
FT: All right. Yeah, so, I don't think those bars had anything in them. I've had pot brownies, and they were totally different.
TA: All right, Frank, thanks for that. Did Mr. King or anyone else say anything unusual during the break?
FT: No. I think I told you Ç we were just talking about the food and stuff, and The Mansion, which had just opened.
SM: What happened after the dinner break?
FT: Um, we just got back to work. We were working just on one scene, and it seemed like we reached kind of a creative block, so eventually Andrea just decided to end the rehearsal.
TA: Tell us more about this "creative block" as you put it. Were people arguing?
FT: I wouldn't say arguing, no, but Dale and Andrea had pretty much opposite views on how to stage the scene. Um, usually, there's a way to resolve the issue, like Andrea would suggest a third path or Dale would eventually see Andrea's vision and agree to follow her lead. But, I don't know, it was like nothing Andrea did seemed to really satisfy Dale, you know, he was being pretty stubborn. It just didn't seem like a positive interaction.
SM: What about Mr. Lewiston? Was he involved?
FT: Um, sort of, but not so much, it was primarily Andrea and Dale. Ethan just had one or two comments about the script, but the bulk of it was about whether Sheila was going to be completely nude for her monologue or not, and it was like no one was willing to compromise.
SM: What did Ms. Love think?
FT: She didn't say anything one way or another. She was pretty happy to do whatever the outcome was, I think. I mean, she wasn't, like, crazy about doing nudity, but she understood it helped open her horizons and her perspectives to new ideas.
SM: Has Ms. Love ever expressed her discomfort to Mr. King?
FT: No. She just mentioned it to me once or twice, it wasn't, like, a big deal.
SM: So what was Mr. King's objection to the nudity?
FT: Um, he just thought that, you know, the political significance of the scene wouldn't really be served by Sheila being nude. He wasn't seeing Andrea's vision, which was that the nudity would really enhance the message with its shock value, by upsetting the audience's expectations.
SM: And how did things end up?
FT: Well, like I said, at one point after a while Andrea just said we should wrap up since we weren't getting anywhere.
SM: How did Mr. King react?
FT: He seemed fine with it. Is it true he was brought in today? Was he arrested?
TA: We can't disclose details of the investigation at this point. Can you tell us a bit more about the end of rehearsal Ç how did Mr. King and the others seem?
FT: I think everyone was fine with it. Um, there was a lot of tension, I guess, and everyone was a little tired from it. I tend to see it as creative tension, that's what collaboration is all about, but it's hard work, you know? It's, like, the essence of the creative process.
SM: In the week before that last rehearsal, did Ms. Stover mention any particular conflict with Mr. King?
FT: Um, no. She and I only talked a couple of times and we didn't get into that.
TA: All right. So then when rehearsal broke up, what happened?
FT: Ethan left right away, then Sheila, Dale and I went to Murf's. When I left, Owen and Henry were talking and Andrea was on the phone.
SM: Do you know where Ms. Stover planned to go afterwards?
FT: No, like I said I'd asked her earlier about hanging out with me, but she didn't want to. She didn't mention Gretchen Ç I only learned she saw her when I read about it.
SM: Did Ms. Stover and Ms. Doyle see each other after rehearsal often?
FT: Um, no, I wouldn't say often, but sometimes, every once in a while. I think it was good for Andrea to, like, wind down.
SM: Did you ever meet Ms. Doyle's girlfriend?
FT: I didn't know she was seeing someone, so no. She really didn't have much to do with Oxtales, so I didn't really know much about her situation.
TA: All right. Is there anything else you can think of, anything you might add that might help us out?
FT: Um, I can't think of anything else, no. Mainly, I'm just in shock Ç especially if it's true about Dale.
TA: All right, Frank. We can't tell you any more at this point and time. We'll give you a call if we need to.
Interview ended 1:06 p.m.