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Witness Interview: Myra Portnoy, Manager of Neilson's Department Store

Friday, December 8, 2000 - 10:00 a.m.

This witness, identified as the manager of Neilson's Department Store, where Peggy LeClaire purchased a brown suede coat, was interviewed in her office by Det. Sam Murphy. The interview was taped on a portable tape recorder with the witnesses knowledge and consent

SM = Detective S. Murphy
MP = Myra Portnoy

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

MP: Myra Rose Portnoy. My address is 624 N Lamar, Oxford, Mississippi

SM: Ms. Portnoy, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I know y'all must be busy this time of year. I promise it won't take long.

MP: Not at all, Detective. I found the invoice you asked for - it's dated October 16, 2000.

SM: Thank you. Can you make a copy of that for your records, so we can take the original and go over it?

MP: Of course. Did you have any questions?

SM: Do you know who waited on Ms. LeClaire? Who sold the coat to her?

MP: Yes, it was me. We had a sale that weekend, to clear out the old inventory because we had a big shipment of new coats coming in on the following Monday. Well, it was a madhouse, so I had to pitch in.

SM: Do you specifically recall selling the coat to Ms. LeClaire?

MP: Strangely, I do.

SM: Why do you say that?

MP: Well, I made a lot of sales that day. Remembering any one of them would nearly be an act of God, so that I remembered this one... Anyway, I do remember.

SM: What about it was so memorable?

MP: Well, she paid with hundreds and a fifty and I couldn't find my pen. You know the kind I mean? Where you mark the bill to make sure it's not counterfeit? Anyway, I couldn't find the darn thing and she ended up having a wait while I fished around in my office. I worried I was going to lose the sale.

SM: Why? Wasn't Ms. LeClaire that interested in the coat?

MP: No, I think she was, but she was in a hurry. She said it several times, so I worried if I didn't find the marker she'd walk out. Anyway, I found it and we sold her the coat.

SM: Did she happen to mention why she wanted the coat?

MP: Oh, just the usual, her present coat was old and beat up and so on. She'd wanted something nice for a while. The usual justifications that women employ when they buy expensive clothing.

SM: Anything else? Any other comments she made that were odd or struck you funny?

MP: I don't know if it was funny - she wanted to wear the coat out. You know, cut off the tags and wear it? But she asked me to throw away her old coat and I said no.

SM: Why'd you say no?

MP: Well, for one thing, we don't have much room for trash and well, we just don't like to do things like that. We had an incident some years back where a woman purchased a coat and asked us to dispose of her old one and it turned out there was contraband in the pockets. She was dodging the police. Anyway, what a mess. So, we just made a policy about that sort of thing after that.

SM: I see. Did Ms. LeClaire buy anything else?

MP: Yes, the sales slip notes a pair of gloves.

SM: Anything more specific than gloves? Does it say what color or type?

MP: I think it says moss driving gloves. Yes, that's right. I remember she wanted the really thin ones, they type you wear while driving - not so bulky as the other types. This brand promises you can pick up a dime with them on.

SM: I'm sorry. Moss driving gloves? Is that the brand name?

MP: Oh no. Moss is the color. It's a dark green.

SM: I see. What brand were the gloves then?

MP: Hmm, it doesn't say. It could have been Isotoner or Iodad - that's our own brand - but I don't remember. Both brands make that type of glove and make the same representations about comfort and flexibility.

SM: Anything else you can remember about the purchase or Ms. LeClaire's behavior?

MP: No. Like I said, it was a madhouse. Surprised I remembered that much.

SM: Thanks. Can we get that receipt to take with us?

MP: Surely.

End interview 10:21 a.m.

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