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|Witness Interview: Mary Lee Jackson, Stillwaters' Maid|
Wednesday, August 2, 2000 - 7:24 p.m.
In response to the detectives' request for an interview, this witness came in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office after work on Wednesday evening. The interview was taped on a portable tape recorder with Mrs. Jackson's knowledge and consent.
SM: Good evening, Mrs. Jackson. Thank you for coming in.
MLJ: Not at all.
SM: For the record, please state your name and address.
MLJ: My name is Mary Lee Jackson, I live at 604 Tyler Avenue. Now, how can I help you, Detective Murphy?
SM: You may be aware that my office is currently investigating the homicide of Ms. Wendy Holloway.
MLJ: Yes, it's been all over the papers and on television. What has that got to do with me?
SM: We have witnesses who have stated that your employer, Blake Stillwater, had a relationship with Ms. Holloway.
MLJ: I would suggest you discuss that with Mr. Stillwater.
SM: Believe me, we have every intention of doing so as soon as he gets back in town. However, it's my understanding that you were aware of his relationship with Ms. Holloway nonetheless.
MLJ: Just what exactly do you understand, Detective?
SM: Mr. Stillwater requested you prepare the rental home that Ms. Holloway moved into in February, is that correct?
MLJ: Mr. Stillwater gave me very specific instructions on preparing that house, yes. However, he didn't tell me who it was for.
SM: Didn't you suspect it was for a woman?
MLJ: Why would I suspect such a thing?
SM: Was Mr. Stillwater in the habit of arranging for rental homes to be filled with exotic flowers, gourmet foods and candles for male friends?
MLJ: My lord, what a suggestion! Of course not.
SM: Weren't those the instructions to fill...
MLJ: All right, yes. Of course I suspected. Hmph, I knew. Any fool would have known...
SM: When did you become aware of his relationship with Ms. Holloway?
MLJ: You are asking questions I do not feel comfortable answering, Detective.
SM: I understand that, and I'm sorry if you are uncomfortable, but a woman is dead and we need to get some answers.
MLJ: Well, surely you don't think Mr. Stillwater had anything to do with it?
SM: Ma'am, I'm the one asking questions here. I need you to be honest and forthright. And I need you to do that now.
MLJ: Are you threatening me?
SM: Did you suspect Mr. Stillwater was having an affair with Wendy Holloway?
MLJ: No. I knew he was.
SM: How did you know?
MLJ: Aside from the welcome wagon I was ordered to prepare? Well... there was the perfume, not Mrs. Stillwater's preferred scent, on his clothing. I found items, occasionally, in his jacket pockets.
SM: You searched his pockets?
MLJ: It's customary, when you are sending clothing to the dry cleaners, to check the pockets.
SM: Anything else?
MLJ: The calls that sometimes came when Mr. Stillwater was working at home. The caller rarely spoke if I answered the phone, though I think once she did speak to me. I suspect she had called Mr. Stillwater's cell phone, but it was forwarded to the house.
SM: What did she say?
MLJ: She asked for Mr. Stillwater.
SM: Did you call him to the phone?
MLJ: No, he was having drinks and appetizers with his family and I told her so. She declined to leave a message.
SM: When was this?
MLJ: Mid-July I believe, the night before Mr. Stillwater left on his trip. The Stillwaters had relatives visiting. They asked me to stay late to prepare the dinner and so forth. In fact, I believe that was the night I stayed over, as the cleanup went late into the night.
SM: Did you ever speak to her again?
MLJ: No, I did not.
SM: Did you tell Mr. Stillwater that Ms. Holloway had called?
MLJ: No. I saw no need to interrupt his family gathering. He left early the next morning for his trip, so I didn't have the chance then.
SM: Did you stay in the morning and prepare breakfast for the family?
MLJ: Yes, I did. Mrs. Stillwater was too preoccupied with other things, so I didn't mind helping out.
SM: Why not tell him then?
MLJ: When would I have done that? While his wife was sitting next to him at the breakfast table?
SM: Did you ever discuss Mr. Stillwater's relationship with Ms. Holloway?
MLJ: In my position, that would be considered rude and impertinent.
SM: Certainly, he knew that you knew.
MLJ: Detective, just because you know something doesn't mean you discuss it. Some things are better left unsaid. He knew I didn't approve, not that my approval was of any importance to him. But he also knew I was a loyal employee and could be trusted.
SM: Trusted not to tell his wife?
MLJ: Trusted not to tell anyone. I don't gossip and I don't appreciate those who do. My mother worked for Mr. Stillwater's father and cared for Mr. Stillwater as a child. She would never have forgiven me any betrayal of the Stillwaters. Do you understand, Detective?
SM: Yes, I think so. Did you ever meet Ms. Holloway, face to face?
MLJ: No. I believe I saw her once on the Square, but we didn't speak.
SM: Are you the mother of Miles Jackson?
MLJ: Yes, Miles is my son.
SM: You know he was the one who found Ms. Holloway's body?
MLJ: Yes, of course. My son was very distressed over the entire incident. He said he couldn't stop seeing that girl's body in his mind. For that, I will never forgive Mr. Stillwater.
SM: Forgive him? What do you mean?
MLJ: If he hadn't brought her here, none of this sorrow would have come on any of us.
SM: I see. Is your son all right now?
MLJ: He will be. I'm afraid it brought up old memories. My daughter, Marietta, passed away some years ago and I'm afraid her passing was very hard on my son. I suspect this reminded him of that summer day at Sardis Lake.
SM: Is there anything else you can tell me about Wendy Holloway?
MLJ: No, there isn't.
SM: Thank you for your cooperation, ma'am.
MLJ: You're welcome. I hope I can assume you won't feel the need to share my knowledge of Mr. Stillwater's deceit with anyone?
SM: I'm not in the habit of sharing homicide investigation information with anyone not involved in investigating the case.
MLJ: Thank you. I appreciate your discretion, Detective.
End interview 7:47 p.m.