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Interview Aaron Azeriah

Q = Det. Armstrong

A = Azeriah

Q Thank you for coming in. To start, please state your full name, date of birth, and address for the record.
A Aaron Azeriah, February 12, 1969. I live at XXXXXX.
Q That's the 8 Ball Lounge?
A Right. There's a house on the property behind the bar.
Q Thank you. Now then Mr. Azeriah, where were you during the period Ms. Knight was abducted and killed?
A I'm not sure of the dates - when all that was happening. I was in Tangier with my father from April 27 to May 31.
Q What about for the rest of the time?
A Nothing. I've been here working. Seven days a week, sometimes twelve hours a day. It's not easy.
Q Do you make much money?
A Oh sure. It's a popular place. But I run it. So it's a lot of work. We don't have much staff, because of keeping costs down.
Q I see. Where did you get the 10,000 dollars?
A For the loan?
Q Yes.
A It was mostly personal funds. I mean, obviously some of my paycheck was in there, but it was personal funds. I have money saved up, my mother left me something I've been earning interest on. I used some money from the bar, but not much.
Q How did you pay Ms. Knight? In cash?
A No. She wanted cash but I gave her a check. I told her she could go cash it if that's what she really wanted. I didn't want to deal with all that cash.
Q Why did Ms. Knight want the loan?
A She told me it was to pay for school. She told me she was going to get the money from her parents and she just needed it until she got the check from her parents.
Q Why did you give it to her?
A I trusted her, I guess. I mean, I thought about it for a while, and I knew it was a lot just for tuition, but sometimes it's hard to talk about the real reason you need money. I knew she'd been through a lot, and I trusted her.
Q What else might she have used the money for?
A I really don't know. All I'm saying is it seemed like a lot for classes and books.
Q What was the collateral?
A None really. I told her to pay it back in a couple of weeks. It was our understanding that it was a really temporary thing.
Q Did she pay it back?
A No. Not a cent.
Q Did you have any kind of agreement about what to do?
A No. Not really. Sometimes with loans I ask them to come to the bar and work, to work it off.
Q So you loan a lot of people money?
A Yeah, but not like Purity. You know, small stuff, 200 dollars, 500 dollars. Never over a thousand. I wouldn't say it's a lot of people - it's mostly friends. If they can't pay I just say I could use some help at work and they come in for a few days and that's it. It's not like slavery or anything. I pretty much forgive the loan - most people don't work enough to pay it off.
Q Have you ever charged interest for loans?
A No. Never. It's just like an IOU, pretty much.
Q Have you ever been involved in book making?
A No.
Q Did you forgive Ms. Knight's loan? Did she work it off?
A No. Ten thousand dollars is too much money. I told her to come in and work, but that was mostly just to make sure she didn't skip town. I needed to keep an eye on her.
Q Did she ever come in?
A Not to work, no.
Q But she came to the bar?
A Yeah. She liked the atmosphere. Sometimes she came to hear a band, but mostly it was just to hang out.
Q What did you do about the loan?
A Obviously I was pretty mad about it. I tried to give her plenty of leeway, knowing she was going through a tough time, but I felt betrayed. I just kept after her about it. I didn't really know what else to do. I guess eventually I might have asked her to sell stuff - jewelry, I don't know.
Q Did you ever contact her parents yourself?
A No. I figured it was her business to deal with them. To be honest, I just wanted my money back. I didn't want to get entangled in her life.
Q Did you ever consider pressing charges or going to court?
A No. No offense to you, but I figure the less the law is involved, the better. I figured it was just something she and I needed to work out.
Q Was Ms. Knight supporting herself in any way?
A Not as far as I know. She did volunteer work, as far as I know, and that was it. She was living off the loan money. I guess she was hoping to live off her parents.
Q She was volunteering at the animal shelter?
A Yeah.
Q When was the last time you saw Ms. Knight?
A I guess she came by at the end of February. It was a Friday, I guess it was February 28.
Q What happened?
A The bar was crowded, I told her to come back some other time so we could talk. I was working behind the bar. I remember not being glad to see her - I was too mad. It annoyed me that she was paying for her drinks with my money. She stuck around for a while, not really talking to anyone. And then she left.
Q Did she come by again?
A No, no calls either. That was it.
Q And you didn't tell the police when she disappeared?
A No. I figured she'd finally done it - skipped town. When I heard maybe it was a kidnapping, then I didn't know what to think.
Q What was the exact nature of your relationship?
A I guess you could say we'd been friends before the whole loan thing.
Q Did you ever have sexual relations?
A No. Nothing like that. It was mostly just letters until she came to Oxford. Then I guess we saw each other every couple of weeks.
Q Did you want to be romantically involved?
A No. Not really. What I mean is, we had a different kind of relationship. We weren't dating, we weren't having sex, but we were intimate. It doesn't fit in a category.
Q What about in Europe?
A We met in Spain. I guess it was late July, so about a year ago. It was just one night, we talked for a long while and I gave her my address.
Q Are you married?
A No.
Q Do you have any children?
A No.
Q What about younger brothers or sisters?
A No, none.
Q Are you currently romantically involved with someone?
A No. I'm not happy about it, but I really don't have time for anything serious.
Q Have you ever heard of the band Ego Shovel?
A Sure. They're local.
Q Have they ever played here?
A No. They didn't really fit the crowd here. We get mostly blues here. Blues and just traditional stuff. A lot of the bands here play for free, it's just students jamming or whatever. It's not really that serious.
Q Do you know Blaine Pitzer?
A I know of him. He's in Ego Shovel. I've never met him.
Q Do you know Dave Woolowrth?
A No. Never heard of him.
Q All right, Mr. Azeriah. Just one more question. Why do you think Ms. Knight was murdered?
A I don't know. As far as I knew she was pretty nice to people. I can't see her having real enemies. Maybe she was a little naÔve about that - sometimes she was nice to people at the bar too much. She was basically a trusting person, which was something she'd worked on. We talked about that a lot in our letters - learning to trust people when people are basically bad. Maybe I'm wrong because I know she was pretty much a loner and didn't have a lot of friends, but just with strangers in the bar she was always very open and willing to talk.
Q Thank you. We'll give you a call.

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