Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 6:30 p.m.
Jeff Harte is the owner of the Harte Agency where Annette Wyatt was found murdered and had been her employer for the last 13 years. Detectives Murphy and Parker re-interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department. The interview was recorded with the witness’s knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Jeff Harte
Detective Parker: Thanks for coming back in, Mr. Harte. Just a reminder. My name is Detective Parker. Detective Murphy and I would like to ask you just a couple more questions.
Detective Murphy: Good evening, Mr. Harte. Thanks for meeting with us again.
Jeff Harte: No problem. Any leads on the case yet?
Detective Murphy: Some. Perhaps you can help us follow up on some of those. Could you please state your name and address for the record?
Jeff Harte: Jeff Harte, 392 Country Club Road.
Detective Parker: How’s the agency doing, Mr. Harte?
Jeff Harte: Decent, as good as it can do in this economy. I can’t complain.
Detective Parker: I hope you haven’t lost any more clients?
Jeff Harte: Not since we spoke last.
Detective Murphy: Well, that’s good news. Mr. Harte, we asked you to come in here today because we’d like to further discuss the nature of your relationship with Ms. Wyatt.
Detective Parker: We were a little surprised to find out that you and Ms. Wyatt had been romantically involved in the past.
Jeff Harte: I was afraid you were going to bring that up, but not for the reason you think. Annette and I, our relationship was somewhat of a sore subject, even if it happened many years ago.
Detective Parker: How many years ago was that?
Jeff Harte: She came – we started dating two months after she came to the agency, and that was in 1999.
Detective Murphy: How long did the relationship last?
Jeff Harte: Seven months, if I can recall correctly. No, six.
Detective Murphy: Who broke it off: you or Ms. Wyatt?
Jeff Harte: What does that have to do with the investigation? Annette and I, we dated a long time ago, but we patched things up. We moved on.
Detective Parker: So why didn’t you mention any of this in your previous interview with us when asked about your relationship with Ms. Wyatt?
Jeff Harte: Like I said, it’s a sore subject.
Detective Parker: Sore for whom?
Jeff Harte: A lot of people, like you, think that it was more than what it was. Annette and I dated a few months a long time ago. It has nothing to do with today.
Detective Parker: So why didn’t you tell us about it?
Jeff Harte: Because I didn’t think it had anything to do with the investigation, and I didn’t want to bring up old wounds.
Detective Murphy: Old wounds? Even though you and Ms. Wyatt had both already moved on?
Jeff Harte: All right, if you think that this office gossip is going to help your investigation, then fine. I’ll tell you everything, beginning to end.
Detective Murphy: We’d appreciate that, Mr. Harte.
Jeff Harte: Annette was the one who broke it off, but I couldn’t blame her. At the end, I was colder, more distant. I was young, and I was afraid. I didn’t have the guts to break it off myself, so I guess I forced Annette to do it.
Detective Murphy: Why did you want to end the relationship?
Jeff Harte: Well, at first, I thought Annette could be the one. But after five months, I could see that she wasn’t very stable emotionally.
Detective Murphy: What does that mean?
Jeff Harte: Well, most days, Annette was this charming, intelligent, smart girl, the girl that I fell in love with, but a lot of times she had these anxiety attacks, mood swings that came suddenly and then would leave just as quickly. After about ten of these episodes, I realized that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with her, so I became colder.
Detective Parker: Did you and Ms. Wyatt end on friendly terms?
Jeff Harte: Breakups are never friendly, but Annette was my most valued employee. We tried to patch things up. It was awkward at first, but we eventually got back into our work rhythm, and it stayed like that since.
Detective Parker: So you no longer had any romantic interest in Ms. Wyatt after that?
Jeff Harte: No. I married Elena a few years later, and I’m nothing but faithful to my wife.
Detective Murphy: What about Ms. Wyatt? Did you ever feel that she wanted something more than a platonic work relationship?
Jeff Harte: I highly doubt it. Annette and I are friends. We keep our distance. I’m married. She’s seeing other people, and we’ve never really interacted outside of work.
Detective Parker: Does your wife know about your past relationship with Ms. Wyatt?
Jeff Harte: There are no secrets between my wife and I.
Detective Parker: And how does she feel about you working all these years with an ex-girlfriend?
Jeff Harte: When we first got married, Elena was a little suspicious. She’d always ask about who I talked to at work, if I was working on any projects with Annette. But Elena was OK after I explained to her that Annette and I just had a casual fling.
Detective Murphy: Casual fling? I thought you said there were no secrets between you two. That sounds like a white lie.
Jeff Harte: A white lies, by nature, are told with good intentions.
Detective Parker: Has your wife asked about Annette recently?
Jeff Harte: Just as much as she’s asked about any of my other co-workers.
Detective Parker: And how would you characterize the relationship between your wife and Annette?
Jeff Harte: I would say acquaintances. I mean, they’re not the type to go out and have drinks together, but they would greet each other on the street.
Detective Parker: Had Ms. Wyatt shown ill will toward your wife or vice versa?
Jeff Harte: I don’t see why any of them would.
Detective Murphy: Are you familiar with the name Chris Frost?
Jeff Harte: It sounds familiar.
Detective Murphy: Do you know who it is?
Jeff Harte: It’s not one of the clients that left for Pearce Brokers. That’s for sure. I’d remember that. I feel like I should know, but I don’t remember. Who is he?
Detective Murphy: Chris Frost is a woman. Are you sure you don’t know who that is?
Jeff Harte: Is she the one who was harassing Annette? Calling the office all the time, calling her cell phone, that sort of thing?
Detective Parker: Have you ever spoken to this woman yourself?
Jeff Harte: I spoke to her once. A woman on the phone said that she wanted to speak to Annette’s supervisor. I don’t I think of myself that way, but I took the call.
Detective Parker: What did she say?
Jeff Harte: It was a bunch of garbage. She said that Annette lied to her, that Annette is not trustworthy and that she should be fired. I – but I continued talking to her, and I found out that she was happy with the sale, and then beyond that, it wasn’t my problem.
Detective Murphy: So you weren’t the least bit concerned about Ms. Frost’s negative feelings?
Jeff Harte: Annette’s job isn’t entailed to be friends with everyone. You know, I thought she was a nutcase, so I wrote her off. Is she the one who killed Annette? I’ll never forgive myself if something so stupid got her killed.
Detective Murphy: Meaning?
Jeff Harte: Well, meaning that if I could have helped Annette in this situation, if I could’ve stepped – took this woman more seriously and stepped in and been a mediator of some kind, I don’t know what I’ll do. I really thought she was all bark and no bite. Is she really the one who killed Annette?
Detective Parker: We are looking into a lot of possibilities.
Jeff Harte: Including that one?
Detective Parker: Until we can rule it out.
Jeff Harte: Oh my god.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you were at Annette Wyatt’s house?
Jeff Harte: It had to have been years.
Detective Murphy: So you haven’t driven by there recently?
Jeff Harte: No. Why would I?
Detective Murphy: What about your wife? When was the last time she was at Annette’s house?
Jeff Harte: I don’t think Elena has ever been over to Annette’s house. Why?
Detective Parker: Mr. Harte, we found several hundred dollars in cash in Annette’s desk. Do your agents usually carry that much cash?
Jeff Harte: I don’t know if it’s typical, but it happens.
Detective Parker: And where did she get this cash?
Jeff Harte: I don’t know. An ATM probably.
Detective Murphy: Was Annette Wyatt a smoker?
Jeff Harte: What? No. She quit a long time ago.
Detective Murphy: Are you sure?
Jeff Harte: Yes. She said it was unhealthy for her, so she quit. What does that have to do with anything?
Detective Murphy: I think that’s all we need to discuss for today. Thanks for your time, Mr. Harte.
Jeff Harte: Well, OK. I hope I was some help, detectives. Should I be expecting any more calls?
Detective Murphy: I wouldn’t take a vacation just yet.
Interview ends – 6:48 p.m.