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Witness Interview: Peter Pane, Victim's Brother

Tuesday, August 22, 2000 - 5:13 p.m.

This witness was reinterviewed in his home in Memphis, Tennessee. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the knowledge and consent of the witness. There was no attorney present during the interview.

SM = Det. Sam Murphy
PP = Peter Pane

SM: For the record, could you please state your name and address?

PP: Peter Austin Pane. I live at 4888 Gill Road, Memphis.

SM: Thanks for letting us come to your home on such short notice. We appreciate your cooperation.

PP: Of course. I want to do anything I can to help.

SM: This is your office? Where you conduct your business?

PP: Yes, it is.

SM: I see that detectives aren't the only ones with stacks of paperwork. How do you keep track of it all?

PP: Oh... I guess you'd say I have a system. Not one that anyone else would understand, but I know where everything is and can find it in a snap.

SM: Impressive. I see you have a lot of CDs stacked around... hmm, a lot of them aren't even labeled. How do you keep track of them?

PP: The secret is in which stack they're in.

SM: I see. So, anyone coming in here would have no idea what's in any of the stacks, but you of course. Sort of like hiding them in plain sight, huh?

PP: I suppose, yes. 

SM: Well, looks like you bury yourself in paperwork most of the time. Ever get out and bike around town?

PP: Bike around town?

SM: I noticed you have a bike rack on your car.

PP: Oh... that's Amanda's car. She's the athlete around here.

SM: So, you never bicycle yourself?

PP: Rarely. Sorry Detective, but didn't you have questions about Wendy?

SM: Of course. A few things have come up during the course of our investigation that don't seem to add up.

PP: How's that?

SM: For example, I believe you told me in our original interview that your sister was working on a new project, but that you didn't know what it was. Is that correct?

PP: Yes, I believe I did say that.

SM: But you see, we have documentation showing that not only did you know what it was, but you were involved in it.

PP: Documentation? What do you mean?

SM: Are you denying you had involvement in her new software project?

PP: No. But that wasn't the project I was referring to. Actually, it turned out to be Blake Stillwater's new novel.

SM: Oh, so you didn't think mentioning your involvement in the software project was pertinent?

PP: I don't know what I thought, Detective. My sister had just died, I'd just gotten back from the funeral, had jet lag. I don't think a mind reader could have told you what I was thinking.

SM: So, not mentioning it was just an oversight on your part?

PP: I suppose.

SM: What exactly was your involvement?

PP: Is that a trick question? I thought you said you had documentation?

SM: Mr. Pane, your sister has been murdered. Don't you think playing games is inappropriate? Just answer the question. What was your involvement?

PP: I was looking for a deal for her.

SM: And that means what, specifically?

PP: I was trying to find a company interested in buying and developing the software for distribution.

SM: Did you have any hand in creating the software?

PP: No. I mean, Wendy and I often tossed around ideas about things. But she was the one who always ran with the idea.

SM: The idea for the software was yours?

PP: I didn't say that. I just said we tossed things around. During one of our conversations, I could have said something about the general idea.

SM: What about the testing stage?

PP: I didn't do any testing.

SM: No, apparently Jenny Sadlier did that. Another fact which you failed to mention was that you had a prior relationship with Ms. Sadlier.

PP: I knew her, sure.

SM: You knew her before your sister did, isn't that right?

PP: Yes, actually I think I did.

SM: You didn't think this was something important enough to mention?

PP: You were asking the questions. How was I to know what you thought would be important? Now, I'm not trying to be difficult, Detective, but there's no way I would know you would want to know that.

SM: How did you know her? Jenny Sadlier?

PP: We met in Dallas when we both worked at Rockwell a few years back. We dated briefly. Actually, I hadn't heard from her in ages and then by coincidence I learned she and Wendy were roommates and working on this software.

SM: Did Wendy know that you knew Jenny?

PP: I don't know. I don't think I mentioned it to her. We had so many other things to talk about, I guess it never came up.

SM: Back to the "tossing things around" conversations. When, exactly, did you have these conversations?

PP: Well, our whole lives, I guess.

SM: Mr. Pane, it's not a secret that you and your sister were estranged for many years and, even when you were talking, that things were strained.

PP: Well, yes that's true. But there were times when things just seemed, well... normal. I guess it was then. When we were kids, a couple of years after college, and then of course, recently...

SM: What about the meeting with Michael Robbins? That slip your mind too?

PP: What meeting?

SM: Mr. Robbins says you visited the Kelly Green site with him and your sister.

PP: Oh that. Well, I'm sure I mentioned him. Yes, she was all excited about the development and wanted me to see it... but I wasn't impressed.

SM: So, it just didn't occur to you that we would be interested in this?

PP: Yes, that's right. I barely remembered it myself. Like I said, I wasn't impressed.

SM: And the fact that her body was found very near this site didn't jog anything in your memory?

PP: Like I said, I was pretty shook up. Oh, maybe something did for a moment, but then everything else just came crashing in around me. My mother was upset, the whole family was upset... I could barely breathe. Sorry, I guess I should have said something. What else can I say?

SM: Okay, Mr. Pane. So, which of these stacks is Wendy's?

PP: Beg your pardon?

SM: You said you have things in stacks and that's how you tell them apart. Which ones have to do with your sister's project?

PP: None of them. I mean, after what happened... Things are in limbo I guess you'd say.

SM: Well, did you pack them away?

PP: I have a box of stuff - correspondence, logs, that sort of thing - somewhere in the attic.

SM: Mind turning it over to the Sheriff's Department?

PP: Well, technically, it's work product and, in fact, now belongs to my mother, so you would have to consult her about that.

SM: You can bet on it. Mind telling me where you were the night of July 14th?

PP: July 14th? I guess I could consult my day minder. Let's see... looks like I worked most of the day and most of the night, a lot of phone calls, conference calls.

SM: You never left the house? This was the night before Wendy's body was found. Does that jog your memory?

PP: I know what night it was, Detective. Yes... worked all day, all night and Amanda came home sick. So no, I didn't go anywhere. I worked and tried to take care of her.

SM: Take care of her how?

PP: Oh, I gave her a back rub and made her dinner. Insisted she go to bed when it was obvious she wasn't feeling any better.

SM: What time was that?

PP: About ten, I'd say.

SM: You seem pretty sure. Why is that?

PP: It was right after that crime show... "Special Victims Unit." I think it ends at ten on Friday nights. I suppose I could check the listings for you.

SM: Did you retire at the same time?

PP: No, I worked for a while longer, probably a couple hours.

SM: So, you went to bed about midnight?

PP: That sounds about right.

SM: The next morning, did you go anywhere?

PP: No... I think I got the bug Amanda had. My head was splitting. I stayed in bed most of the morning.

SM: Okay. Were you ever able to make a deal for your sister with the software?

PP: No. I came close a couple of times. It's frustrating. You think you have somebody closed and then some other V.P. steps in and says no. But we hadn't even grazed the tip of the iceberg. I knew we'd get a deal.

SM: How long did you work on trying to market the software?

PP: Oh, around 3 months, I guess.

SM: And you got nowhere in that time?

PP: Like I said, you get close then they shut the door. You try again. Find a new door to knock on. It's a numbers game. Eventually, you find somebody who bites and then it's sweet.

SM: And you didn't resent doing this for your sister?

PP: Are you implying something, Detective? Why would I resent it?

SM: Your sister seemed to have a habit of outshining you. From what I hear, you've had more downs than ups. On the other hand, your sister was golden.

PP: Well, let's just say I was a late bloomer and Wendy was a prodigy. Our talents were different, just like our lives.

SM: Who killed your sister, Mr. Pane?

PP: I wish I knew.

SM: You can't think of anyone who would bear such a grudge that they would want her dead?

PP: Well, I'm sure you know she was having an affair with a married man?

SM: Yes, we know.

PP: Jealousy does strange things to people.

SM: Yes, it does.

PP: To answer your question, I don't know anyone who would want to harm Wendy, kill her... no, I can't think of anyone.

SM: Okay. We may have further questions for you.

PP: Ill be happy to answer them.

SM: Thanks for your time.

PP: You're welcome.

SM: If you should have occasion to leave town, please notify us before you go.

PP: Certainly.

End interview 5:47 p.m.

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