|Witness Interview: Tammy Wilson, The Oxford Town Weekly employee|
Friday, November 17, 2000 - 10:01 a.m.
This witness has been identified as personal assistant to Mr. Richard Bertuch, an editor at The Oxford Town Weekly. Ms. Wilson contacted the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department by telephone and volunteered that she might have information pertinent to this investigation. The interview was conducted over the telephone by Det. Ted Armstrong and tape recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
TA: For the record, please state your name and address.
TW: Tamara Wilson, I live in the Benbow Aprtments, on Benbow Drive in Oxford.
TA: We appreciate your contacting us in this matter, ma'am.
TW: Not at all. As I said, I think maybe I can clear up some confusion here.
TA: Yes, ma'am. What confusion is that?
TW: Regarding the whereabouts of Zoe's last column.
TA: Do you know the whereabouts, ma'am?
TW: Yes, it's here, at my office. In fact, I'm looking at it right now.
TA: How did you come into possession of it?
TW: Well, I was off a couple days that week that Zoe was... well, when, you know. My daughter had a recital and we had out of town relatives coming in and well, I took a couple days personal time.
TA: Which days were you off?
TW: The Friday and the Monday, so I had a long weekend, you know?
TA: Yes ma'am, I understand. But about the column?
TW: Okay, sure. Sorry. Anyway, I guess Peggy did turn it in. It got jammed in with another stack of stuff and well, I just found it. I told Mr. Bertuch and then I called y'all.
TA: What stack of other stuff was it jammed in, ma'am?
TW: Other manuscripts and mail. See, Peggy and I have a system. You know, sometimes she gets backed up. She is awful busy and has a lot of clients, plus her work at the copy store...
TA: So I understand. You and she had a system? What kind of system?
TW: Well, she always tried to get it in before I left. You know? Usually, she just brought right to me. But if she couldn't get here 'til later, she'd write my name on it and put it through the mail slot.
TA: Then I don't understand why it took weeks to find it, ma'am.
TW: Well, like I said. I was off for a couple of days and the envelope got put on my desk. Well, while I was gone there was another girl in the office covering for me some, and I guess she put it in a stack of future articles I had on my credenza. See, we get all kinds of things to look at and consider and I go through them when I have the time. There's no rush on them, you see?
TA: Yes, ma'am, I'm beginning to...
TW: Then I guess other stuff got stacked on top of that and so on... I'm sure you know how it is. Leave your desk for a couple days and when you come back, it's a nightmare.
TA: Why didn't the girl covering for you open it? And look at it? I'd think y'all were looking for it.
TW: I can only guess at an answer, but it was just an envelope with my name on it. I guess Myra wouldn't have thought to. No way she would of recognized Peggy's handwriting or known what it was. Besides, when I say cover for me, I mean that in the slightest sense. Covering phones, helping Mr. Bertuch in an immediate sense, if you know what I mean?
TA: I see what you mean. So, Ms. LeClaire would have just assumed you would have gotten it and would know the envelope was from her?
TW: Oh sure, like I said I know her handwriting. Known her for some time. Obviously, this has come up before or we wouldn't have had a system, right?
TA: Do you know Ms. LeClaire on a personal level? See each other socially?
TW: Yeah, I guess you'd say we're friends. We have lunch every couple of weeks or so.
TA: So, you would know something about her relationship with Ms. Chase?
TW: Well, I guess some. But I'm sure she can tell you all about that.
TA: Was Ms. LeClaire in the habit of complaining about Ms. Chase?
TW: Oh I guess Zoe ticked her off sometimes. Zoe ticked everybody off sometimes. Even Mr. Bertuch got exasperated with her. And he's a very patient man.
TA: Was there friction over columns coming in late, like this one did?
TW: With who? Peggy and Zoe or Mr. Bertuch and Zoe?
TA: With either.
TW: Well yeah, with both of them I guess. Sometimes the column came in late because Peggy was behind but just as often it came in late because of Zoe. Now Mr. Bertuch might not have said so, because he's a gentleman... he'd let Zoe blame it on Peggy, but he knew. A lot of times it was Zoe's fault.
TA: When it was Ms. LeClaire who got it in late, did she own up to it? Or was it just a free-for-all over who's fault it was?
TW: No, Peggy was pretty good about it. If she knew it was going to be late, she'd try to let me know. Sometimes though, she'd get behind and just leave it in the slot like I said.
TA: And when Ms. Chase was the responsible party?
TW: Oh she'd make up some big story about how Peggy was doing it to spite her and that she was going fire her over it. 'Course, she never did.
TA: And what did Ms. LeClaire do in these instances?
TW: Do? I don't expect she did anything. Oh she'd get perturbed about it. Sometimes we'd make jokes over it at lunch. Do Zoe impressions. You know? All in fun of course... just to let off steam.
TA: Have a couple of beers and commiserate? That sort of thing?
TW: More like a couple of cokes and laugh about it. I don't drink... and I don't think I ever saw Peggy take a drink either.
TA: Okay, Ms. Wilson, anything else you want to tell us about this?
TW: No sir, that's all I had to tell you.
TA: Can you forward a copy of the column to us?
TW: I'll let Mr. Bertuch know you want one. It's his decision, but I'm sure he won't have a problem with it.
TA: Okay ma'am, you have Mr. Bertuch contact us then, will you?
TA: Thanks for contacting us, ma'am.
TW: You're welcome, Detective. Goodbye.
TA: Morning, ma'am.
End interview 10:33 a.m.