YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 005299-18J-2023
Case Description: Hoyt Biffle death investigation
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department investigators canvassed members of Concerned Oxford Parents (COP) who participated in demonstrations outside of the Under Glass residence on the day Hoyt Biffle.
Participants were questioned about what they saw or heard in the area that day.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Cynthia Carter (52)
Ms. Carter, who lives in an adjoining neighborhood, said she is a member of and regularly attends services at Faith and Glory Fellowship Church. She said she joined COP with a church friend specifically to protest Mr. Biffle's Under Glass pornography and to keep this type of smut from encroaching on other's lives.
Ms. Carter said she has participated in two protest events outside the Under Glass house in the past two weeks, including today's event. She said that as officers arrived, she was preparing to leave with her church friend, Mary Louise Marlowe, who insisted that Ms. Carter drive her home due to the rain.
She said the attendees numbered approximately 15 and included the head of COP Ben Morgan, Preston Vance, Graham Newcastle, some members she was introduced to that day, and Mary Louise Marlowe. She said other than her friend whining incessantly about the weather, the protest was uneventful.
Ms. Carter described an encounter at the event she attended the week prior when Graham Newsome and Ben Morgan engaged in a verbal altercation with two of the residents. She did not know the name of either resident, but she described one as the "social influencer with the penchant to flip the bird" and the other as "the cocky one studying pre-law and threatening to sue everyone."
She said Mr. Morgan and Mr. Newsome responded to comments from the two women with scripture and offers to rescue them from the evils of pornography. She said while this verbal exchange occurred, she and the other protesters continued to chant, "We will be victorious," to which "the cocky one" responded, "You're about to be in violation. The minute your toe touches that grass, your ass is mine."
Holly Hayes (39)
Ms. Hayes said she arrived for the protest at 4:45 p.m., which was very early, and parked down the street so she could watch the activity in the neighborhood around the house. She said she often did this to see if she recognized anyone consistently hanging around the house who didn't live there.
Ms. Hayes said at last week's protest, between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., she followed a suspicious older woman as she cut through the property adjacent to the house. Although she thought the noise of a weed whacker covered the sound of her footsteps, the older woman stopped and turned to face her. Ms. Hayes said she ended her pursuit and hurried back to her car when the woman gave her a side glance that "sent a chill down her spine."
Ms. Hayes said she was hoping to catch sight of this same woman before tonight's protest started, but she was afraid to leave her car until she saw Ben Morgan arrive. She said when she hurried over to help set up, Mr. Morgan seemed distracted and, uncharacteristically, had forgotten to bring the sign-in sheet and was flustered.
Mary Louise Marlow (56)
Ms. Marlowe said she was picketing with a friend from church who convinced her to join COP for the sole purpose of stopping Mr. Biffle's "proliferation of pornography." Ms. Marlowe said she didn't much enjoy picketing but understood the importance of being seen out on the streets, calling attention to the issue.
Ms. Marlowe said today's event was the one and only protest she had attended, and she likely would not ever join another picket line. She said she had nothing good to say about either side, and the rain combined with the profane remarks spoken by some of "the good guys" was all too much. Ms. Marlowe refused to identify who had made the comments that upset her, saying she knew no one except her church friend, Cynthia Carter.
She said she'd had enough after less than an hour, and she was preparing to leave along with Ms. Carter, who was her ride home, when officers arrived.
Ms. Marlowe said as she fought to open her umbrella, which had previously inverted and never worked right since, she overheard Ms. Carter telling Ben Morgan that she and Ms. Marlowe were leaving. Mr.. Morgan replied, "Don't quit before the miracle. Victory is on the horizon." At that point, officers arrived.
Ms. Marlowe estimated that there were around 20 people at the event.
Graham Newcastle (42)
Mr. Newcastle said he joyously attends all pickets and protests and always appreciates an opportunity to proselytize. He described this evening's protest as tame compared to some but still enjoyable. He said since the devil never takes a day off, neither can they, and despite the rain, they got a good turnout of between 15 and 20 protesters.
He said he arrived at 5:15 p.m. to help set up, and Ben Morgan arrived a few minutes later with the signs but no bottled water. He said Mr. Morgan mentioned being too pressed for time to stop at the store, but he'd be happy to treat everyone to coffee afterward.
Mr. Newcastle said when officers arrived, he assumed Lacey Mitchell had called them as she'd done a few weeks before when Preston Vance walked around the side of the house. Mr. Newcastle said his umbrella had fallen from his hand and into the grass this evening, and he quickly stepped into the yard to retrieve it. He said he assumed the officers were called to report that as a trespassing incident.
Preston Vance (47)
Mr. Vance said he not only attends every protest organized by COP but often acts as the protest organizer along with Ben Morgan. He said this evening's protest was uneventful, given that Tanya (Ryder) arrived back at the house around 5:30 p.m., which was the same time as the protest started.
He said Ms. Ryder seemed to be in a hurry to get into the house, which was unusual since she typically engages with protesters and films it for her social media channels. Mr. Vance said Ms. Ryder pushed past the group of protesters with her head down. He said as she passed, he shouted, "Jesus loved Mary Magdalene, and he loves you too!" Mr. Vance expected Ms. Ryder's typical response of a lewd hand gesture but got no response at all.
Mr. Vance said he then expected Lacey Mitchell to exit the house, where he assumed she was, as she usually arrived home from her classes at around 4:00 p.m. He said at past protests, COP members were met with Ms. Mitchell's threats of legal action. He said the extent of Ms. Mitchell's legal knowledge could be summarized in two words: "Suits" reruns.
Mr. Vance said 17 of the 21 people who had signed up to picket showed up in the rain to shine the light of Christ on the "filthy, frayed moral fabric" of the Under Glass house, its owner, its residents, and those who subscribe to its "pornographic channel."