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Interview: Hunter Nelson, victim's student

Friday, June 11, 2004 -- 2:20 PM

The witness, who was a student of the victim, was interviewed by the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness' knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
HN = Hunter Nelson

SM: Thanks for talking to us today, Mr. Nelson.

HN: Sure.

SM: For our records, would you please state your name and address.

HN: Hunter Nelson. I live at 118-C Warren Street here in Oxford.

TA: Kind of odd that a fraternity man doesn't live in the house.

HN: I've worked it out with the house and the Greeks on campus. They don't have a problem with it.

SM: Is Hunter your real name?

HN: Not technically. I mean, that's what everyone in the world calls me. So it's more official, if you can call it that, then a just a nickname. But the name on my birth certificate is Nathaniel Harrison Nelson.

SM: And what is your occupation?

HN: I'm a student.

TA: What are you studying?

HN: I'm a business major.

SM: Do you have any idea why we wanted to talk to you today?

HN: I don't know. You're the ones who called me here. You tell me.

SM: You've got no idea? Surely a request to come down to the police station and speak to detectives would cause you to speculate on the topic a little bit.

HN: I guess you're investigating Kristi Waterson's death.

SM: Yes, we are. But why do you suppose we wanted to talk to you specifically?

HN: Well, I was a student of hers. I figure you're talking to a bunch of her students. That's what they always do on CSI and all those shows.

SM: How do you feel about talking to us?

HN: I don't know. It's kind of a waste of time for me, but I'll do what I can to help.

TA: You mentioned that you were a student of Ms. Waterson. Is that how you would characterize your relationship with her?

HN: Yeah, I guess so. I was her student.

SM: We've received information that your relationship might have been more involved than that.

HN: Well, I guess that's right. We did date for a while. But we had stopped seeing each other at the beginning of the spring semester. It had been several months.

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SM: But you continued taking her class?

HN: Sure. Kristi had pretty strong ethics about separating personal and professional. I didn't think it would be a problem. And it wasn't really. We got along fine.

TA: You say she had pretty strong ethics? What about dating students? Isn't that against the rules?

HN: Against the rules? I guess it is. Sure.

SM: So how can you say she had strong ethics?

HN: I don't know. I guess just, in some ways, she had strong opinions. In others, she might not think that things are that important. I guess we're all like that, aren't we. No one is perfect.

SM: Why did you two break up?

HN: It just wasn't working. No big deal. We just weren't meant to be together. You remember that old Motley Crue song? “Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away.” It was like that.

TA: Are you involved with anyone now?

HN: I've been hanging out with Deborah Eaton lately.

SM: Hanging out? What does that mean?

HN: Dating, I guess. I don't get too formal in the labels I put on relationships.

SM: Are you seeing anyone else right now?

HN: I go out now and then. What's this all about? Aren't we supposed to be talking about Kristi?

TA: We'll get to her. Please answer the question.

HN: I'll answer it, but I'll also call my father if I need to. I'm not going to sit here and be interrogated about my personal life. Anyway, I go out with a girl or two here and there. But it's no big deal. I'm spending most of my time with Debby.

SM: Where were you on the night of Kristi's death?

HN: I was with Debby. We hung out at my place.

TA: Didn't go out anyplace?

HN: We stayed in that night.

TA: The whole evening?

HN: Yes, Detective. The whole evening. Am I not making myself clear?

TA: Just calm down, Mr. Nelson.

HN: I'm calm, but I'm not liking this.

SM: Do you have any idea of who would want to hurt Ms. Waterson?

HN: No, none at all. She was a really nice girl.

SM: Have you ever thought about doing something like this?

HN: Like this? Murdering someone? You're crazy. I mean, I guess everyone thinks about it. I'm sure any psychologist could tell you that. But I'd never do anything like that. Kristi was a nice girl and it's a shame what happened to her.

TA: Is there any reason we may uncover evidence that requires us to talk to you again?

HN: Well, I don't know. I mean, I'm sure it's possible. We did date for a while, so naturally, I've been in her bedroom and it's possible there are still fingerprints there or something. But I had nothing to do with this.

SM: And you can't offer any suggestions on who might have?

HN: No.

TA: Hunter, you dated the victim and you're pretty popular and well-known around campus. You might have some good advice for us. If you were investigating this case, how would you go about it?

HN: Come on, man. You guys are the cops. I'd have no idea. I guess just start talking to people. Get the scientists involved? Whatever you normally do.

SM: Okay, thanks for your time.

Interview ends -- 2:48 PM

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