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|Witness Interview: Peter Pane, Victim's Brother|
Friday, July 28, 2000 - 11:43 a.m.
This witness was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office, immediately following his return from his sister's funeral in Pittsburgh. Mr. Pane came to Oxford to meet with investigators and to collect his sister's personal belongings.
SM: Thank you for coming down so quickly, Mr. Pane. Naturally, you have the Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Department condolences.
PP: Thank you. I appreciate that.
SM: For the record, could you state your full name and address?
PP: Peter Austin Pane, I live at 4888 Gill Road in Memphis, Tennessee.
SM: Also for the record, I wanted to verify that you originally were going to speak to Det. Armstrong while he was in Pittsburgh, but you were unable to?
PP: Yes, that's correct. I'm afraid I was too overcome by what happened to my sister. I just couldn't manage to compose myself. I'm sorry to have inconvenienced your office.
SM: Not at all, sir. We know this is a difficult time. Now, it's my understanding that you and your sister weren't always close, is that correct?
PP: Yes, it is. We just hated each other as kids.
SM: Hated each other?
PP: Well, you know, sibling rivalry stuff. Kid stuff.
SM: But you hadn't spoken to your sister for years, is that correct?
PP: I'll be honest with you, Detective. I wasn't much good to myself or anyone else for most of my life. I was a screw up. I admit it. Not easy to love. But I had a turning point after my father's death, cleaned up my act. And... well, I guess I was trying to mend some fences. First with my mother and then with Wendy.
SM: When did you start this fence mending with your sister?
PP: I guess it was early February when I learned Wendy had moved to Oxford. She called me out of the blue and we got to talking and... well, I guess I realized how much I'd missed my sister.
SM: What did you talk about?
PP: Anything and everything. She told me about her success in the IPO. Girl really cleaned up. I was really proud of her. And she told me about her vacation and meeting that novelist guy.
SM: What novelist guy are you referring to?
PP: Blake something... Waters? C'mon, you know the guy. He's pretty well known. Stillwater? That's it. Blake Stillwater.
SM: Did you and your sister make plans to meet after she got in touch with you?
PP: Yes, I drove down the following weekend, I think it was around the middle of February. We did some sightseeing. She met my girlfriend, Amanda. We had a grand time. A couple weekends later, she drove up to see us and stayed a few days.
SM: Did she tell you anything about the relocation? Why she'd moved to Oxford?
PP: Well, it was that novelist. She had a thing for him... but you know, didn't say much. I gathered he was married. Poor girl, never had good luck with men.
SM: So, you knew she was having an affair with Blake Stillwater or is this just your opinion?
PP: Oh yes, ma'am, I knew. But we had other things to talk about. You know, she was quite a brilliant person. She had a real knack for developing software. We'd even talked about my going to bat for her on the marketing and promotion of her next project, whatever that turned out to be. We were both really jazzed about it. I'll always regret we never got a chance to do that, to work together.
SM: Did you see her again, after the weekend she visited you in Memphis?
PP: No. We talked on the phone and exchanged some emails. I was going to visit her the weekend that she... well, that weekend, you know? But had to cancel at the last minute. I left her message on her answering machine. I wonder if she ever got it...
SM: We have witnesses who have told us they saw her with a blues musician by the name of Willie King. Did she ever mention him to you?
PP: Yes, I'm afraid she did. I told her to stay clear of him. He has a bit of a reputation.
SM: How do you know anything about Mr. King's reputation?
PP: Well, I'm a music fan myself and the Oxford and Memphis music scenes are connected to a certain extent. Lots of bands play in both places. So I've heard his band play and I've heard other musicians talk about them.
SM: And what have you heard about Mr. King?
PP: Well, from what I hear, he's got a reputation with women. Also, I could tell Wendy was using coke and I worried he was supplying her.
SM: What made you think she was using cocaine?
PP: I called her on the carpet about it, and she admitted it. She promised me it was just 'til she got through the project she was working on and then she was going to quit.
SM: Would you say she had a habit?
PP: I don't know. I didn't see her enough to be able to tell. She said she was just using it to keep her energy level up. But it doesn't take much to turn recreation into addiction, believe me. I'm someone who knows. She said, if she had a hard time with it, she was going to consider rehab. But I don't know, maybe she was just saying that to make me feel better.
SM: So, you think she may have lied?
PP: Not lied, exactly. More like telling me what she thought I wanted to hear. She didn't want me to worry.
SM: I see. Is there anything she said to you that struck you as unusual the last time you spoke? Did she mention anyone or anything that was bothering her?
PP: No, not really. I know that real estate guy had the hots for her, but she wasn't interested. But I don't think he was bothering her. She was a very private person and didn't let a lot of people into her life. She was pretty selective that way.
SM: What real estate guy was that? Do you know?
PP: She didn't talk about him too much. I think his name was Mike something? I really don't remember. If I'd known this was going to happen to her, I would have paid more attention. You don't think he's the one, do you?
SM: I really couldn't say, sir. At this point, we're considering several suspects
PP: I can't imagine why anyone would do this to her.
SM: What about anyone in the workplace? I understand there's an awful lot of competition in her field. Anyone grinding an axe for her that you know of?
PP: Nothing she couldn't handle. Really, she didn't mention anything. Maybe if I'd spent more time with her. I should have gone down on Sunday... if I had...
SM: Don't try to second guess yourself, Mr. Pane. You aren't responsible for this. Your sister had already passed away by Sunday, so there's nothing you could have done, even if you had come down then.
PP: You're right, I guess. I just have so many "what ifs" twirling around in my head, you know?
SM: Yes, I do. Is there anything else that you think we should know?
PP: No, ma'am. Just find the person who did this to her, will you?
SM: We plan to do just that.
End interview 12:11 p.m.