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Witness Interview: Jack Swanson, the Victim's Boyfriend

Tuesday, October 17, 2000 - 2:30 p.m.

The witness, a twenty-six year old part-time actor, was interviewed by the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department at the residence of the deceased.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
JS = Jack Swanson

TA: Would you state your name and address, please?

JS: Jack Swanson. I live out in Abbeville.

TA: And your occupation?

JS: Actor.

TA: Really? I don't run into too many actors around here. Everyone's a writer. Have you been in anything I might have seen?

JS: I had a small part in the A Time to Kill movie. You might have seen me in that.

TA: That's interesting. What part?

JS: Well, I was one of the Klan rioters. You couldn't tell it was me. With the sheet and all.

TA: Anything else?

JS: A few little things here and there. Nothing major.

TA: Okay. And do you do anything else for a living?

JS: Some odd jobs here and there. Sometimes I wash dishes at the Downtown Grill. I've got a few construction crews that I work with when the weather is good. Just doing punch-out work and stuff.

TA: And what was your relationship with the deceased?

JS: My god, we're sitting here in her living room. What do you think?

TA: I still have to ask the questions. For the record.

JS: We were dating. Boyfriend and girlfriend.

TA: Just out of curiosity, what are you doing here?

JS: What do you mean?

TA: I mean, I came by here expecting to see her parents, not you. What are you doing here?

JS: Oh. I figured her parents would here by now, so I came by to pay my respects. I met them a few months ago when they were here. They're real nice people.

TA: But they're not here.

JS: They were here when I got here. They had to go out and asked me if I could stay here in case the funeral home called.

TA: Uh-huh. And you're just going to hang out here until they get back?

JS: Look, this isn't easy for any of us. If there's something I can do to make it a little easier for them, I'm going to do it, okay?

TA: Well, I'm sorry to be putting you through this at such a time. Were you and Zoe very serious?

JS: We were getting there. Yeah, I guess you could say that we were serious.

TA: So you two weren't dating anyone else.

JS: No.

TA: Well, I don't want to seem rude here, but my information suggests otherwise.

JS: And just what is your information?

TA: I've been told that Zoe was quite a popular girl. She evidently had several male friends.

JS: That's just rumors. Small town gossip.

TA: I've got this on pretty good authority.

JS: Well, what do you expect? I mean, you don't just get married first thing. Of course we dated around. But we had gotten fairly serious lately. We'd even talked a bit about marriage.

TA: Oh, I see. I must be mistaken.

JS: Sometimes it takes even the small town gossip columns a little while to catch the latest news. But we had, in fact, become really serious over the last few weeks and months.

TA: Okay. Can you think of anyone who might want to do Zoe any harm?

JS: No, not at all. She only had friends.

TA: Can you tell me about some of these friends? Who did she hang out with?

JS: Dani Bonner has been her friend for years. They met when they were freshmen at Ole Miss. A couple of jokers, those two. Then there is Mallory Benson. She met her at that Oxford Writers Circle thing. They hang out quite a bit. That writers group is run by a guy named Steven Atwater, so she saw a lot of him. He was always pestering her about helping him get his book published.

TA: Anyone else?

JS: She had lots of friends. Those were the main ones. There was this woman named Peggy who typed for her. I can't remember her last name, but she works at Copy Time and does a lot of typing for some of the local writers. They met at the writing group too.

TA: Any other friends? How about men?

JS: I don't know any male friends other than that Atwater guy. Maybe she had some, maybe not. I can't say that I kept up with all her escapades.

TA: Escapades? That's a pretty strong word. I thought you guys were all serious, talking about marriage, and yet she's having escapades.

JS: I'm just talking. I didn't mean anything.

TA: I bet. Just for the record, where were you on Saturday night?

JS: You think I killed her? That's crazy! Why would I do something like that? I just told you we were talking about getting married.

TA: I'm not saying you killed her, Jack. But I do need to know where you were.

JS: Fine. Zoe had her writers group meeting that night, so I went out drinking with a couple buddies.

TA: Who were these buddies?

JS: Just some guys I know from around town.

TA: Names, Jack. I need names.

JS: Henry Butler and Russell Templeton, okay?

TA: Where did you go?

JS: Several places. We were sort of bar hopping, as much as you can in a town this size.

TA: Which bars did you hop to?

JS: The usual ones. Clyde's. Proud Larry's. The Jubilee Lounge.

TA: What time was it when you called it a night?

JS: Closing time. About midnight.

TA: And where did you go then?

JS: What do you mean?

TA: Did you go home? Did you come here? Where did you go?

JS: Well... okay, I'm not proud of this, but I slept in my car. It was late and I was... tired, so I just sacked out in the car. I woke up around 7:00 a.m. and drove home.

TA: To Abbeville?

JS: Yes.

TA: Where was your car when you were sleeping in it?

JS: It was parked at the Beacon Restaurant.

TA: What happened to your buddies? Where did they go?

JS: I don't know. Home, I guess.

TA: Well, is there anything else you think might help me?

JS: No, that's about it.

TA: Thanks for your time. We'll be in touch.

End interview 2:51 p.m.

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