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Witness Interview: Norma Jean "Bambi" Johnson, Michael Robbins Alibi Witness

Monday, August 14, 2000 - 3:20 p.m.

In response to the detectives' request, the witness came in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department for an interview.

TA = Det. T. Armstrong
SM = Det. S. Murphy
NJJ = Norma Jean Johnson

TA: Please state your name and address for the record.

NJJ: Norma Jean Johnson, 309 Phillip Road, Oxford, Mississippi.

TA: Thanks for coming in, even though you are 20 minutes late.

NJJ: Yeah, sorry about that.

TA: There are some questions we need to ask you. First, do you know Michael Robbins?

NJJ: Yes, I do.

TA: How do you know him?

NJJ: Been dating him about five months now.

SM: How did you meet him?

NJJ: Just around town, you know? I don't remember exactly.

SM: It wasn't through your association with Good Graces?

NJJ: No. I cut my links with that place last year, thank goodness, before all that mess happened.

SM: So even though we know both you and Mr. Robbins have had connections with Good Graces in the past, that wasn't how met him. That's what you want us to believe?

NJJ: That's right. It's the truth, isn't it?

SM: Is it?

NJJ: Well, why else would I say it?

SM: I can't imagine why. You call yourself "Bambi." Why's that?

NJJ: It's a cute name. I was called that as a kid because I had long legs like little Bambi the deer.

SM: Haven't you placed some advertisements using that name? About being a "fun-loving girl" wanting a "generous companion" for "wild times?" Signed "Bambi."

NJJ: Yeah, something like that, ma'am.

TA: So what is your relationship with Mr. Robbins?

NJJ: Sometimes we go to dinner or a movie. Most times I just go to his place and we party.

TA: Mr. Robbins is a generous man?

NJJ: He certainly is. This one time, we went to Gulfport in somebody's private jet and stayed in a luxury suite. Mike gave me money for the slots while he played blackjack and I won $1,000. Some people save all their money and then they die like shriveled-up old prunes. Mike's not like that.

TA: So is your relationship a generosity-for-services-rendered relationship?

NJJ: I'm Mike's... companion, you might say. He knows I never want to be broke. My mama was so poor that she stole pineapples from the plantations in Hawaii so we could eat. That's before she left my dad and we came back here. Mike looks after me pretty good, pays my rent and for me to get my hair done. He likes me to look good. He also gave me a designer dress once, but I'd rather wear snake skin boots and a short skirt or jeans, you know? With a sexy little low-cut top?

TA: I get the picture

SM: Are you trying to flirt with Detective Armstrong? If you are, it will get you nowhere, I can assure you. Just answer the questions please.

NJJ: If you say so...

TA: Where were you the night of Friday July 14th and early on July 15th?

NJJ: I was at my place, then Mike's place. He has this big condo at The Clovers.

SM: How do you remember so easily? That was a month ago. You remember all your activities from a month ago so accurately?

NJJ: Well, it's not like I don't know which night you're talking about. Mike told me y'all might ask me about it.

SM: And did he also tell you what to say to us?

NJJ: No, why would he? I already know what happened. I was there.

TA: Okay. So what time did you go to Mike's condo?

NJJ: Oh, he picked me up a little after midnight. It was Mike's birthday and he went to a birthday dinner those investment people, Rhett Boland and his wife Nancy, gave for him. Something he had to go to. Good for business.

TA: Were you invited?

NJJ: No, and I wouldn't want to go anyway. People like Rhett's wife look down on me like I'm trailer trash or something, and I don't even live in a trailer. I went to one of her stuck-up functions one time, wearing that dress Mike bought me, but I heard her say to her friend, "She looks good, but wait until she opens her mouth." That was pretty snotty of her. I like Rhett. He's hung out with me and Mike a few times. But his wife can be a real bitch.

TA: I see. Had you made arrangements ahead of time to see Mr. Robbins that night?

NJJ: He said he'd probably call. He did call when he left that dinner and said he was on his way to pick me up and I should be ready to go. He told me, "You can light my birthday candle." Then he called me a few minutes later from the car and said he was outside and I should come on out. He was in kind of a hurry to get home.

TA: What time did he pick you up?

NJJ: I don't remember exactly. Maybe about 12:15?

TA: What happened then?

NJJ: He was already in a romantic mood and it didn't take long for our party to start.

TA: Were you drinking alcohol?

NJJ: No, I don't usually drink alcohol. Seen the ruination it causes.

TA: Was Mr. Robbins?

NJJ: No, he wasn't drinking. I believe he'd had a few drinks at the birthday dinner.

SM: That's interesting. See, he told me he invited you over for a nightcap. Did you take drugs that night?.

NJJ: No, of course not!

TA: Did you spend the night at his house?

NJJ: Yes, I did.

TA: What time did y'all go to sleep?

NJJ: Must have been about 4 a.m. I think I dozed off a bit then.

TA: That's pretty late to be getting to bed.

NJJ: Well, so what? We were partying.

TA: What time did you leave?

NJJ: About noon. Mike dropped me off at home. I think he had some work to do

TA: Do you know where he was going?

NJJ: No, I don't. I can't remember if he told me or not. I'm sorry. I just know he had to go out. I guess it was something to do with business.

TA: So you were with him the entire time from around 12:15 Friday night to about noon on Saturday?

NJJ: You got it.

TA: And you were both partying for most of that time?

NJJ: I don't know as I'd say most of the time. We were sleeping part of the time.

TA: Would he have had an opportunity to leave while you were there?

NJJ: No, he didn't. He was with me. Obviously, I didn't follow him around every second like to the bathroom. But I know he didn't go anywhere.

TA: How do you know, if you were sleeping part of the time?

NJJ: We were sleeping in the same bed. If he'd gotten up, I woulda known it.

SM: A few more questions, Ms. Johnson. Did you know Wendy Pane Holloway?

NJJ: I met her once, but I didn't know it was her. I realized it later when I saw her picture on the TV.

SM: When did you meet her?

NJJ: She came over to Mike's place one time when I was there. Maybe in June? Didn't stay long, just dropped by.

SM: Why did Ms. Holloway visit Mr. Robbins?

NJJ: I don't know. Maybe she was picking up a brochure.

SM: Something to do with cocaine perhaps?

NJJ: A brochure about cocaine?

SM: You know that's not what I mean. Did she come by to buy or sell cocaine?

NJJ: No, I really don't think so. Why would you even think that?

SM: Did you know that Mr. Robbins had asked Ms. Holloway out?

NJJ: On a date? No, I can't believe that. Unless it was so he could take someone with him to one of those society soirees. She looked like one of those Miss High and Mighty types to me.

TA: Can anyone verify your activities on the night in question?

NJJ: Only Mike, I guess.

SM: Okay, Ms. Johnson. That's all we have for you at this time. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions. Thank you for coming in today.

NJJ: You're welcome.

End interview 3:47 p.m.

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