Former Under Glass resident canvass
YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Investigating Officer(s): Det. P. Beckwith, Det. J. Magee
Incident No.: 005299-18J-2023
Case Description: Hoyt Biffle death investigation
YCSD investigators spoke to former Under Glass housemates about Hoyt and their experiences on the show.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all the interviews conducted.
Raisa Hahn (20)
Raisa Hahn first met Hoyt Biffle in McCormick's Bar and Grill on the campus of Ole Miss, where Hahn worked as a waitress. Biffle struck up a conversation with Hahn about his Under Glass project, sensing that she needed money for school. Biffle was right. Hahn, who was successfully studying chemistry at Ole Miss, was less successful in finding the funds necessary for her sophomore year.
At the end of their conversation, Biffle left a $100 tip and his phone number. Even though Hahn considered herself a rather reserved personality, she eventually called Biffle for details of his new venture and what date would be appropriate for her to move in.
In 2021, Hahn joined Augie Stafford and Violet Lamb as inaugural Under Glass housemates. From the beginning, Hahn was too quiet and shy for Biffle. He encouraged Hahn to bring friends to the house to party, only to find that Hahn didn't have any really close friends.
Hahn said Biffle then had Kenny Ross take her out on the weekends to "loosen her up." Ross told her she wasn't really "earning her keep," and according to Biffle, she'd have to "do more" in the house in order to stay. When Hahn asked Ross what he meant by that, he mentioned what a good body she had and said she should show it off a bit more.
Hahn was angered but complied throughout the spring of 2022, wearing clothing that showed more cleavage than she felt comfortable with, but didn't say anything about it to Biffle in fear that she would be forced out of the house.
When Biffle announced to the housemates that he was keeping compilations of some of the footage taken in the house, Hahn objected, saying that she never wanted her face on some sort of Playboy Mansion DVD ten years down the road and never would have joined Under Glass if she had known what he was planning. Hahn said Biffle thought she was overreacting and told her she would have to commit to the compilation recordings to stay in the house.
Hahn refused and left Under Glass in May 2022. She was immediately replaced by Tanya Ryder.
Grant Hooper (20)
Grant Hooper is a sophomore at Ole Miss in the second year of ROTC basic training. Hooper lived at Under Glass from January 2023 to late July 2023. He was introduced to Hoyt Biffle's new enterprise by Alden Puckett, who was Hooper's Computer Applications professor.
Hooper came from a low-income family in Alabama, and although the army was paying for some of his schooling, he needed the income from Under Glass to maintain his social life.
Hooper said Biffle was looking to add some muscle and masculinity to his project and was hampered by the fact that Ole Miss athletes could not be a part of Under Glass because it would violate regulations. Biffle told Hooper that a military man was the next best thing.
Hooper said his stay at Under Glass was mostly uneventful. Most of Biffle's critics left him alone because of his intimidating size. He said he left the house in late July because of an instance of daytime shower sex with another housemate, Shiloh Bates, who he knew had a boyfriend. Hooper was expecting to leave the house around that time anyway because he knew his second year of ROTC would be more time-intensive.
Hours after his rendezvous with Bates, Hooper asked Biffle if the incident was broadcast on the web, but Biffle said it was recorded but not released because it was too hardcore in nature. Hooper said he was glad because he didn't want to have to confront Bates' boyfriend, who could be a bit of a hothead.
Violet Lamb (22)
Violet Lamb said Hoyt Biffle asked her to join Under Glass because of her look and attitude, which he felt was dark and alluring.
Biffle told her he didn't want a typical reality show where blonde white people talk endlessly about nothing. Instead, he wanted to get a good mix of interesting young people and let them be themselves. Lamb, who has both a Scottish and Moroccan background, had just the right combination of exoticism and familiarity that Biffle was looking for, so he offered Lamb a spot in the first cohort of Under Glass housemates.
At the time that Lamb lived at Under Glass, she was working days at the End of All Music record store and playing violin for her darkwave band, One With Nothingness, at night.
Early on, Lamb was a target for what she described as religious bigots who picketed near the Under Glass property. Lamb said she was constantly slandered as a Satan worshiper or a witch, even though she grew up attending the First Presbyterian Church on Van Buren Avenue.
Eventually, two members of this religious group, who introduced themselves as Mr. Vance and Mr. Newcastle, approached her as she played violin at Lamar Park in late August 2022. They attempted to convert her to their religious beliefs unsuccessfully.
Rebuffed, the two men told Lamb they would continue to harass her wherever she went unless she left Under Glass. Lamb told them she would call the police. The men told her to go ahead, but no one would do anything since some of the police were members of their group, and stopping their so-called harassment would be a violation of their religious freedom.
A frustrated and stressed-out Lamb left Under Glass on September 10, 2022.
Nash Matson (22)
Nash Matson is a senior at Ole Miss, studying international relations with a minor in Chinese. He has been accepted for an internship through The Carter Center next summer and is moving to Shanghai.
In 2022, Matson spent the spring and summer living at Under Glass. Matson said Biffle recruited him to be one of Under Glass's first housemates because of his vast and diverse contacts in the student body at Ole Miss, from his Greek buddies at Sigma Nu to his friends on the football team. Among new acquaintances, Matson was an instant charmer, resulting in a steady stream of young people for summer weekend parties hosted at Under Glass.
Matson left Under Glass in August of 2022, at the beginning of his junior year, to concentrate on his studies. He reported that Hoyt Biffle was very good to him and was agreeable when Matson decided to leave the house. Matson said Biffle never pressured him to do anything at the house, and he had been comfortable as one could be when being recorded 24 hours a day for seven days a week.
Matson could not imagine that someone would want to hurt Biffle.
August "Augie" Stafford (23)
Augie Stafford prefers ze/zir as zir personal pronouns. When Stafford was asked to join Under Glass, ze was working as a DJ for Stray Armadillo Productions. Hoyt Biffle loved Stafford's flamboyant personal style and thought Stafford would be perfect as an inaugural housemate of Under Glass.
Stafford knew Biffle was also interested in having Stafford as a free DJ for the frequent Under Glass house parties, but ze didn't mind since ze was getting free rent plus a bit of cash on the side from Biffle as an employee.
In addition, Stafford noted that Biffle was not judgmental of the housemates. He told Stafford to celebrate being who ze is. At first, since ze was comfortable in zir own skin already, Stafford took exception about being told how to feel by a cisgender, heterosexual man, but then found that Biffle was absolutely genuine and gave Stafford the space to realize the person Stafford was growing up to be.
As safe as Under Glass was behind closed doors, outside, Stafford took constant abuse from the religious group Concerted Oxford Parents. Stafford said the group's members called zir every slur in the book and didn't see Stafford as a person.
Particularly, Stafford recalled the slurs as primarily sexually based, given that the group members couldn't or wouldn't see the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Stafford described them as ignorant bigots and couldn't understand how they could do what they did and still see themselves as servants of God.
Despite pleas from Under Glass housemates Mackenzie Collins and Tanya Ryder not to allow the Concerted Oxford Parents members to push zir out, Stafford left the house on January 20, 2023.
Stafford's affection toward Hoyt was evident as ze broke down several times during the interview.