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Witness Interview: Michael Robbins, Property Developer

Thursday, August 10, 2000 - 6:47 p.m.

In response to the detectives' request for a second interview, this witness came in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office on Thursday evening. The interview was conducted by Det. Sam Murphy and was recorded with Mr. Robbins' knowledge and consent.

SM = Det. Sam Murphy
MR = Michael Robbins

SM: For the record, please state your name and address.

MR: Michael Robbins, I live at 8 The Clovers, Oxford.

SM: Thanks for coming in this evening, Mr. Robbins.

MR: You're welcome. But honestly, I don't know what else I can tell you.

SM: I'll get straight to the point. We found Ms. Holloway's personal phone book at her residence and your name and number were in it. Additionally, we have statements from witnesses that you did, in fact, know Ms. Holloway.

MR: What's your question?

SM: Why did you lie about knowing Ms. Holloway when we talked to you on the day her body was discovered on your property?

MR: Firstly, the body was not found on my property. It was several yards beyond my property line...

SM: And, secondly?

MR: All right, I knew her. Why didn't I just say so in the first place? Well, I guess you could say it was shock. Or you could say I was worried about the bad publicity. Or you could say...

SM: What do you say, Mr. Robbins? You could have saved this department a good deal of trouble and time if you'd just identified her the day we found her body.

MR: I panicked. That's the truth. I just panicked.

SM: About what?

MR: Seeing her dead. I just flipped out about it.

SM: Because of your involvement with her?

MR: My involvement? You're kidding, right?

SM: You knew her?

MR: Yes, I knew her. She was a potential buyer for one of my units. I brought her to the site before we started construction. Her and that geeky brother of hers.

SM: Peter Pane? He went with you and Ms. Holloway to the site?

MR: Yes, what of it?

SM: When was that?

MR: I don't know, some months back... maybe March or April. I guess she thought he might want to buy a condo too.

SM: Did they show any interest?

MR: Wendy showed some, but not the brother.

SM: Did he say why he wasn't interested?

MR: Mumbled something about it being too rich for his blood. But you know that type, they think everything should be free or something. Like you have a lot of nerve asking them to pay for it.

SM: How long was this meeting?

MR: I don't know. Maybe an hour or so.

SM: Didn't you spend considerable time with the victim before and after that meeting?

MR: I met her when she first came to town.

SM: Under what circumstances?

MR: I believe it was at The Downtown Grill.

SM: Rumor has it, you had a thing for her.

MR: Thing? What sort of thing?

SM: You tell me.

MR: I was attracted to her, sure. A pretty woman always catches my eye. But she wasn't interested. I admit, I thought at first she was playing hard to get, but then I saw she just wasn't interested.

SM: Are you easily discouraged when women don't seem interested?

MR: What's that supposed to mean? Easily discouraged? Look, she was attractive, I tried for a while, I struck out. I didn't try to force myself on her, if that's what you mean.

SM: So, you didn't follow her? Stalk her?

MR: Oh for God's sakes. Follow her? Look, Detective, I have a business that takes up most of my time. I don't have time to stalk anyone. Besides, there are plenty of women who find me attractive and aren't averse to sharing a steak dinner and some adult recreation with me. I wasn't desperate for her. Or any woman for that matter.

SM: Where were you on the night of July 14th?

MR: I was at my birthday party. Rhett Boland had a big bash for me. Pretty swell of him, don't you think?

SM: Yeah. Swell. Mr. Boland told us you left his house between 11:30 and midnight. Where did you go after that?

MR: I went home.

SM: Directly home, without making any stops?

MR: Well... no. I did make one stop.

SM: Where was that?

MR: I called my friend, Bambi, on my cell phone while I was driving home to see if she'd like to join me for a nightcap. She did, so I swung by and picked her up. Then we went to my place for that nightcap.

SM: Bambi? Like the Disney movie?

MR: Her real name is Norma Jean Johnson, but what can I say? She wants me to call her Bambi.

SM: When did you and Bambi part company?

MR: The next afternoon around noon or a little after. I was on my way back home when Earl called me.

SM: So you're saying she can corroborate your alibi for that night after you left Mr. Boland's home?

MR: Yes.

SM: Why did Earl call you before the police, after Ms. Holloway's body was found?

MR: It's company policy that anything unusual gets reported to me right away. Of course, one doesn't expect a dead body is going to be found on the site, so no special instructions, like "call the police first," were ever stated. I guess he just panicked for a second himself. I told him to call y'all and he did. Does that make either of us guilty of anything?

SM: Poor judgment at a minimum.

MR: Okay, so we have poor judgment. That's not a crime. And just so we're clear, I came out to the site to calm down my crew and obviously to keep the press away if possible. Which, as it turns out, wasn't possible.

SM: Do you have any idea who might have killed Ms. Holloway?

MR: No. I really was shocked. I can't think of anybody who would have that kind of hostility towards Wendy. She was a nice woman, as far as I could tell.

SM: Did you ever see anyone bothering Ms. Holloway? Or did she ever complain about such things?

MR: Not to me. I never saw anything that would have given me a clue.

SM: All right, Mr. Robbins, thanks for your cooperation.

MR: Sure.

SM: If we have any further questions, my office will contact you. In the meantime, please don't leave town without notifying the Sheriff's Department.

MR: I'm not going anywhere. Good evening, Detective.

End interview: 7:08 p.m.

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