Nora Irene Percy was born on December 18, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her parents, Elaine and Tom Percy, were licensed real estate brokers
who owned their own Century 21 franchise and earned a substantial
income. The demands of the business took their toll on Nora, though,
since both parents had to be away from home and constantly at the
beck and call of clients especially on weekends
Nora was left in the care of babysitters and nannies practically
from the day she was born. According to her teachers at her
elementary school, "Nora was a child who seemed starved for
affection and attention -- never getting enough." She worked endless
hours on her schoolwork to gain the acceptance and accolades of her
teachers -- thus reaching the top of her high school graduating
class. In high school, she took as many AP and honors classes as
possible, which meant she graduated with a better than 4.5 grade
average. Since she had been a peer counselor and tutor during her
senior high years, Nora told her instructors she aspired to be a
college instructor and maybe even a counselor.
Upon graduation from Berry College near Rome, Georgia, she
applied for an instructor position at the School of Business at the
University of Mississippi and was coincidentally hired at the same
time as Kristi Waterson. Nora often complained that she slaved in a
tiny cubbyhole of an office while Kristi lounged in her new corner
office with the plush carpeting and all the perks. She blatantly
told a colleague, "That lazy bag of bones sits behind her shiny new
desk while I have to be careful I don't get splinters, my desk is so
old. And I'd give a day's pay to know what she's sipping from that
coffee cup she keeps at her desk all day. Coffee, my ***!"
Nora's students describe her as a tough prof. "She really makes
us work for a grade, but she's fair and a good teacher. At least we
learn from her. If you just want a good grade, you had to be a
good-looking male and suck up to Waterson. That doesn't work with
Unfortunately, Nora was not a good money manager. She'd always
had a "thing" for shoes. Her mother called her Imelda II and was
often heard to say, "Nora never met a shoe she didn't like." In
Nora's college years, Elaine monitored her credit cards and gave her
a shoe allotment. After graduation, when she was earning her own
money and had no one to oversee her spending, she bought shoes and
more shoes. She could never get enough shoes -- or lipsticks. Every
time she went to the Square in Oxford, she would find an excuse to
go through Neilson's Department store, visit the shoe department and
see what new lipstick lines or new colors were offered by Estee
Lauder or Clinique. In her apartment, boxes empty of shoes held
hundreds of lipsticks tried once or twice then cast aside. Some had
never been used and were in their original boxes.
Between the shoes, the lipsticks, and eating out several times a
week, Nora's credit cards were perpetually maxed out. She'd pay
enough off so she could go at it again until she maxed them again.
She was forever complaining of being broke, saying "I'll bet Kristi
Waterson is never broke. Her folks always bail her out. Why do I
have to be broke while she lives it up?"
Nora has been a bit overweight most of her life. No matter how
much she exercised or worked out, she was always slightly plump. She
would suddenly be aware of her extra pounds and increase the
exercise -- and of course buy a new pair of expensive athletic shoes
for motivation -- but she never seemed to consider eating less or
cutting out restaurant or high calorie prepared foods. When she
would complain to her friends "Kristi eats anything and never adds a
pound to her skinny ass," they would remind Nora that eating like
you're a bottomless pit could pack on the pounds regardless of
exercise. Nora also vented, "Kristi has it so easy. She's lazy and
arrogant and snotty and she still gets everything she wants just
‘cause she's rich and thin. And here I am working my tail off! And
what do I get? Fatter and deeper in debt. My God! I've become a
Tennessee Ernie Ford song."
The night of Kristi's death, Nora had a date with John Brewer.