Monday, April 23, 2012 - 8:30 a.m.
70-year-old retiree Amelia Paxton lives within walking distance of St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Amelia Paxton
Detective Armstrong: Thank you for coming in. Please state your name and address for the record.
Amelia Paxton: Mrs. Amelia Paxton, 446 N 15th Street.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Paxton, you reported a disturbance at St. Peter's Cemetery last night? Can you please tell us what you saw or heard?
Amelia Paxton: Heard plenty, that's what. I was taking my poodle Millie for a walk. I just came near the cemetery when I heard all this clanking and all kinds of foul language. Scared me, I'll admit. Millie started barking, so I tried to get her to shush and I heard it again.
Detective Armstrong: What did you hear?
Amelia Paxton: More clanking, like metal or something. Millie was starting to bark again, so I decided to take her a different direction. But she kept on raising a ruckus, so I decided I better get her home.
Detective Armstrong: And about what time was this?
Amelia Paxton: Around 9:00.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Paxton, I see by the record you didn't call until about an hour later? Why didn't you call earlier?
Amelia Paxton: That's Mrs. Paxton, Detective.
Detective Murphy: Yes, ma'am. I apologize.
Amelia Paxton: Why didn't I call earlier? Because there was nothing to call about yet. I wanted to make sure first. I took Millie home, got my binoculars, and walked back. I found a good spot to hide behind a big headstone, and then I waited. Finally, a few minutes later, I saw somebody carrying bag a walk by. I watched him with my binoculars.
Detective Armstrong: Could you see what this person was doing?
Amelia Paxton: Well, not at first. I had to move over again, get closer. Then I realized that he was over by Mr. Faulkner's grave. Can you imagine? I moved closer to get a better look and hid behind another big headstone. I was appalled! This guy was poking around Mr. Faulkner's grave with a shovel, like he was fixing to dig it up but wasn't sure where to start. Why, Mr. Faulkner's a legend in this town! It's a sacrilege, I tell you. Like defacing the White House to have‒
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. How were you able to see all of that? Wasn't it dark by then?
Amelia Paxton: Now, Detective, I may not be as young as you, but I see just fine. And you know as well as I do that they put in more lights a while back after that awful vandalism. Not that it's stopped people from going in there when they shouldn't.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. Did you recognize the person by the grave?
Amelia Paxton: Well, once he turned around, yes, I got a good look at him when the light hit his face. That Lowell kid, Tristan! Here, I always thought he was a bright boy. Afraid I was wrong. I can't imagine what he thought he was going to do with Faulkner's body. Of all people's graves to disturb. He‒
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am.. Now, how do you know Tristan Lowell?
Amelia Paxton: Oh, he used to come to me for piano lessons back before he got too big for his britches. I didn't realize he'd become a juvenile delinquent though. Poor Mabel.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Paxton, did you see anyone else in the cemetery with Tristan?
Amelia Paxton: No, he was by himself, but a truck did drive up and stop. That kid froze up real fast and ducked down behind a headstone. I thought maybe he was caught. The door opened and this guy got out. He just stood there and looked, then he got back in and drove off like his tail was on fire.
Detective Armstrong: Did you know who that person was? What was he driving?
Amelia Paxton: Mangy looking guy. All I saw was he had a scraggly beard, wild looking hair. Never saw him before. I ducked behind a tree. Didn't want him to see me.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what kind of truck he was driving?
Amelia Paxton: Some ratty old thing.
Detective Armstrong: What happened next?
Amelia Paxton: Well, once the truck sped off, that kid got real busy. He started digging like crazy, so I figured I'd better get on home and call the police.
Detective Murphy: Did you see anything else?'
Amelia Paxton: No, that was it. Street was quiet otherwise. Kind of late for me to be out, but I like to walk around and see what's going on. Helps me sleep. I slept like a baby after that, I tell you.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you, Mrs. Paxton. We'll let you know if we need anything else.
Amelia Paxton: My pleasure. Anything I can do to help.
Interview ends: 8:46 a.m.