Opal Tinley interview
Friday, October 20, 2023 – 10:00 a.m.
Detectives Magee and Beckwith decided to drop in on Opal Tinley to find out what she had to say about Zina Jacinto's claims.
The detectives spoke to Ms. Tinley at her home.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Opal Tinley
Detective Magee: Hello, I'm Detective Jo Magee, and this is Detective Paul Beckwith. We're canvassing the neighborhood for information on a crime that occurred near your home.
Opal Tinley: Good heavens! In that case, come in, come in. Have yourselves a seat here in the parlor, and I'll get you something to drink.
Detective Beckwith: That's not necessary.
Opal Tinley: It is, it is. I just finished making a batch of sweet tea. I'll quick grab it from the kitchen.
Detective Magee: Ma'am…
Opal Tinley: I won't even ask if y'all want a nip of bourbon in it, given y'all are on duty and such. Ha!
Detective Beckwith: Well, given the last couple of days we've had…
Detective Magee: Paul…
Detective Beckwith: A glass of sweet tea would be fine.
Opal Tinley: Here you all are. If it's not sweet enough for you, I have cubes.
Detective Magee: Thank you, ma'am. You don't have to go to all this trouble.
Opal Tinley: It's no trouble. So, what can I do for you today?
Detective Beckwith: We're investigating the death of your neighbor Hoyt Biffle.
Opal Tinley: A terrible thing, I do say.
Detective Beckwith: Yes. Now, Ms—
Opal Tinley: Ms. Tinley, Opal Tinley. Call me Opal.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, Opal, we're asking a few questions of Mr. Biffle's neighbors to see if y'all have seen anything unusual a couple of days ago. What's your address here?
Opal Tinley: 798 Birkdale Road.
Detective Magee: Is there a Mr. Tinley?
Opal Tinley: Oh, yes. Stanley's alive, but we're not together. Our marriage ended ten years ago. He was the heir to a family fortune in the pharmaceutical business. I was his high school sweetheart. We were meant to be together like peaches and cream, but I wanted kids, and he didn't.
Detective Magee: That's unfortunate.
Opal Tinley: Yes. It was an issue that we tried but couldn't get over. In the end, Stan let me out of the marriage amicably to find someone who wanted the family he never did. He even left me with a quarter of his inheritance and the house here in Oxford.
Detective Beckwith: Quite amicable.
Opal Tinley: He still loved me. Probably still does.
Detective Magee: Where is Stanley now?
Opal Tinley: Richmond, Virginia, for the last eight or so years. His drug company's headquarters are there now. Last I heard, he's remade the family fortune four times over with the drug Lexozorat—you know, the pill for migraines. I've never had a migraine, but they say Lexozorat takes them out in minutes.
Detective Magee: So Stan hasn't been back in the last week to visit?
Opal Tinley: Not in the last decade. You folks are the first visitors I've had in months.
Detective Magee: No luck with finding your family man?
Opal Tinley: Not a bit, and I'm afraid I'm over the hill for that anymore at 47 years old.
Detective Magee: I wouldn't think that.
Opal Tinley: Nice of you to say.
Detective Beckwith: So, Opal, were you at home during the afternoon on Wednesday, or do you work outside the home?
Opal Tinley: I have more than enough money that I don't have to work. I volunteer at Oxford Care for Critters Shelter from time to time. I love animals. But not Wednesday. I worked in my garden after lunch. Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading. I have quite an extensive library—some good detective fiction.
Detective Beckwith: Did you happen to notice anything unusual at the Under Glass property?
Opal Tinley: No. Not that afternoon, not that I was really paying attention.
Detective Magee: How well did you know Hoyt Biffle?
Opal Tinley: Not well. I knew of him and that he ran a controversial business on the property involving college kids. But that's it.
Detective Beckwith: How did you know his business was controversial?
Opal Tinley: Because of the constant protesters. Those COP people are always on my lawn. I don't subscribe to their religion or their politics.
Detective Magee: Have you ever had a conversation with the protesters?
Opal Tinley: I did early on. When Under Glass started, I wondered why they were protesting.
Detective Beckwith: What did they tell you?
Opal Tinley: That Biffle's business was exploiting college kids and using them for pornography on the internet. Of course, it seemed to me that their whole schtick was over-the-top performance protesting. It was all about "Look at me. I'm holier than thou."
Detective Magee: So you didn't believe that Mr. Biffle was exploiting college students?
Opal Tinley: I didn't know what Biffle was doing so I asked one of the college kids from Under Glass why they were living there.
Detective Beckwith: What did she say?
Opal Tinley: "Ze."
Detective Beckwith: "Ze?"
Opal Tinley: Yeah, "ze." "Ze" was the pronoun Augie used. Augie was a transgender person living at the house.
Detective Beckwith: All right, what did ze have to say?
Opal Tinley: Augie said the protesters didn't know what they were talking about. Augie told me that Biffle paid the housemates to live at Under Glass, and he recorded their parties, and that was it. It sounded like a good deal to me. If I was young and poor, I think I would have jumped at the chance to get my housing paid without having to get a real job.
Detective Magee: Did Augie say if Mr. Biffle treated the housemates poorly in any way?
Opal Tinley: No, from what I gather, Biffle didn't interact with Augie much. He just let the housemates do what they do. It was the protesters that treated Augie and the housemates poorly.
Detective Magee: Explain.
Opal Tinley: They badgered Augie relentlessly. They called Augie "half-and-half" and other slurs I'm not going to repeat. They told all the housemates as they went to work or class that they were going to hell. They were so loud about it, you could hear it in my parlor here. I was not surprised when Augie had enough and left the house for good.
Detective Magee: When did Augie leave?
Opal Tinley: Sometime during the holidays...after New Year's, I would think.
Detective Beckwith: What is Augie's last name?
Opal Tinley: I don't think I ever asked.
Detective Magee: How many total housemates did Mr. Biffle have?
Opal Tinley: I'm not sure.
Detective Beckwith: Did you ever talk to Biffle?
Opal Tinley: No. I never did. Whenever he would come out to the front yard, there would be a sea of protestors between him and me. It was never worth the effort. I'd just go to my garden and mind my own business.
Detective Magee: Opal, do you own a drone?
Opal Tinley: A drone?
Detective Magee: Yes, a drone.
Opal Tinley: Why would you ask that?
Detective Magee: Is it a big deal?
Opal Tinley: Ah, no, I guess not. I have a drone.
Detective Magee: What do you use it for?
Opal Tinley: I'm not sure where this is going…
Detective Magee: I'm curious.
Opal Tinley: Um. I use it to keep crows out of the garden, you know.
Detective Magee: Don't they have scarecrows for that?
Opal Tinley: You know what? I'm late for an appointment.
Detective Beckwith: Just now?
Opal Tinley: Yes, just now. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask y'all to go. I have to be going.
Detective Magee: But we only have a few more questions...
Opal Tinley: I appreciate that, but I have a medical thing. I'm sorry, but y'all have to go.
Detective Beckwith: All right. Thank you for the tea. If you remember anything else you think would help the investigation, this card has our contact information.
Opal Tinley: Thank you. Goodbye.
Interview ended – 10:26 a.m.