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Witness Interview: Eugenia Stillwater

Wednesday, August 16, 2000 - 1:00 p.m.

Detective Murphy contacted the witness and transported her to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department for an interview. The witness was not in custody, but was advised she is considered a suspect in the Holloway investigation. The witness waived in writing her right to have an attorney present during questioning.

SM = Det. S. Murphy
ES = Eugenia Stillwater

SM: Thank you for coming in. Now, for the record, could you please state your name and address.

ES: Eugenia Tate Courtney Stillwater, 238 Highway 6 West.

SM: Okay, Mrs. Stillwater. I think it's time you told me the truth.

ES: What do you mean?

SM: I mean, the last time we talked, you didn't exactly tell me everything, now did you?

ES: I told you everything you needed to know.

SM: No, ma'am. You didn't. You didn't tell me you had hired a private investigator to follow your husband. You didn't tell me that private investigator had given you your husband's mistress' name and address. You didn't tell me she had given you photographs of your husband with his mistress. You didn't tell me that you had given one of those photographs to your son.

ES: That's none of your business.

SM: I hate to break it to you, ma'am, but it is my business. And you already know that we found the file of information the P.I. gave you when we searched your home.

ES: You had no right to take those things. They're private.

SM: The search warrant gave us the right.

ES: Well, that may be true technically, but you should have more respect for people's privacy, especially people of our stature in the community. We prefer not to air our dirty laundry in public.

SM: Mrs. Stillwater, virtually everyone we've spoken to in this town knows your husband is unfaithful. You do know that, don't you?

ES: I don't know anything of the kind.

SM: Fine. The point is, you need to tell me why you concealed the fact that you'd hired a private investigator.

ES: I've already said, it was none of your business.

SM: Let me tell you what troubles me about that. Within three days of the time you received the photographs from Pam Thompson, Ms. Holloway was murdered. And when we first talked to you, you didn't mention anything about the information you got from the private investigator. That makes me think you have something to hide, Mrs. Stillwater. Something more than just some compromising photographs of your husband.

ES: It would seem, Detective, that I have nothing left to hide since you barged into my home, violated my privacy, and took the one thing that could humiliate me most.

SM: If it was so humiliating, why did you give your son a picture of your husband with his mistress?

ES: I wanted him to see what his father was doing to us.

SM: Who is "us?"

ES: Scooter and me. Our family.

SM: So you didn't give Scooter the picture so that he'd be able to recognize Wendy Holloway when he went out looking for her?

ES: Of course not!

SM: He already knew what she looked like?

ES: I... No. No, he didn't.

SM: So he wouldn't have been able to recognize her if he hadn't seen that photograph?

ES: I... I suppose not.

SM: And so you had to give him the photo so he'd be able to pick her out of the crowd when he went to confront her like you asked him to?

ES: I never! I never asked him to talk to her.

SM: He just went off and did that on his own?

ES: He's a grown boy. He doesn't need his mother to tell him what to do.

SM: Is that right? It's my understanding that the two of you are quite close.

ES: What of it? My son is devoted to me and I to him. There's not a thing in the world wrong with that.

SM: Well, there is if you persuaded him, out of his devotion to you of course, to kill Ms. Holloway for you.

ES: What on earth- Have you lost your mind, Detective?

SM: Did you ask your son to kill Ms. Holloway or otherwise imply that's what you would like him to do?

ES: Of course not. What kind of person do you think I am? Or my son, for that matter? You get one thing straight! That woman may have been a thorn in my side, in our sides, but we did not kill her. I didn't kill her. My son didn't kill her. Neither one of us had anything at all to do with her death. I... ohh...

SM: Mrs. Stillwater? Ma'am? Try to get hold of yourself. Crying isn't going to help anything, now. Let me fix you a glass of water. Here you go.

ES: Thank you. I'm sorry. This whole thing has just been such a strain. I don't know what came over me.

SM: What whole thing, ma'am?

ES: This... affair Blake was having. It was bad enough when I just suspected it, but when Pam gave me those pictures... well, there was no denying it anymore. My marriage was in trouble, big trouble. I just didn't know what to do.

SM: So what did you do?

ES: Nothing. I didn't do anything. I wanted to confront Blake with what I knew, but I was afraid.

SM: Why?

ES: I didn't know how he'd react. I was afraid he would leave me, that he would choose that woman over me. She was younger, she was prettier, she was probably even smarter. I didn't see how I could compete with that. So I just didn't say a word to Blake. I knew he was going out of town for several weeks. I suppose I was hoping their relationship would have cooled by the time he returned.

SM: So you didn't confront your husband. Did you confront Ms. Holloway?

ES: Just with that message I left on her answering machine. That was all I had the nerve to do. I was afraid, if I talked to her in person, I would get upset. I didn't... I didn't want her to see how much she was hurting me. I still have some pride, you know.

SM: What about your son? Did you ask him to confront Ms. Holloway for you?

ES: No. Scooter is a wonderful boy. He could see how much this thing was hurting me. He was just trying to protect me.

SM: How far do you think he would go to protect you?

ES: He certainly wouldn't kill anyone for me, if that's what you mean. Scooter is a kind and gentle boy. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. I don't think he could kill anyone, even if he wanted to, and I know he didn't kill that woman.

SM: How do you know he didn't?

ES: He would have told me if he had.

SM: Oh. Okay...

ES: My son tells me everything, Detective. We're very close and we have no secrets from one another.

SM: How nice. So what you're telling me is that it was just a coincidence that Wendy Holloway was murdered when she was, just a few days after you got the pictures of her with your husband?

ES: That's correct. What else could it be?

SM: Still, it was a pretty nice coincidence for you, wasn't it? All of a sudden, your problems were solved. Your husband's mistress was out of the picture and you didn't have to worry anymore about your husband leaving you.

ES: That's not entirely true, Detective.

SM: What do you mean?

ES: The mere fact that Blake's mistress is no longer... around does not mean our marriage is perfect now. Blake and I still have some... issues to resolve, as I'm sure you can imagine.

SM: Well, that's between you and your husband. The only thing that concerns me is finding the person or persons who killed Wendy Holloway.

ES: I am not that person, Detective, nor is my son.

SM: What about your husband?

ES: I beg your pardon?

SM: Do you think your husband might have killed Ms. Holloway?

ES: No! Why on earth would he do that?

SM: Maybe she wanted to break off their relationship?

ES: I hope you have some other suspects, Detective, because you are really stretching now. My husband didn't kill her. No one in my family did. How many times do I have to say it?

SM: I don't know yet, ma'am. As many times as it takes to convince me. But I have to say, I'm not really interested in hearing you repeat it anymore today. Is there anything else, anything at all, that you haven't told me?

ES: I-

SM: Before you answer, let me warn you. If I find out that you've lied about anything else or failed to tell me about anything else, then I will be forced to assume that everything you've told me was untrue and you'll find yourself in serious jeopardy of being arrested for the murder of Wendy Holloway.

ES: Detective, I did not kill that woman. I've told you everything I can think to. If I've failed to mention something, it was purely unintentional. I don't know what else I can say or do to make you believe me.

SM: I don't know. Until we figure that out, don't leave town. We'll be in touch with you.

End interview 1:26 p.m.

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