Donovan Walker interview
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 2:45 p.m.
Don Walker is Birdie Tarver's current boyfriend.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee talked with him at Arcane Guidance, his home and place of business.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Don Walker
- Sofia Summerset, assistant
Detective Magee: Donovan Walker?
Don Walker: That's the name. Can I interest you in a tarot reading or one of our psychic healing treatments? They're on special this month, and—
Detective Magee: Ah, no.
Detective Beckwith: Never know, Jo, might help with those migraines.
Detective Magee: Paul.
Don Walker: Migraines, eh? I'm sure I have just the thing for those. Let me see here. Oh, yeah, Miss Martha's Onyx Therapy. See, you use this stone as a pain pump for your—
Detective Magee: Mr. Walker.
Don Walker: Yes.
Detective Magee: We're not customers. We're detectives. We'd like to ask you a few questions if you can spare the time.
Don Walker: Well, why didn't you say so? I think I can squeeze you in here before my 3:30 reading. I have this regular coming in that is the nearest thing to Mississippi royalty we got. Old family, old plantation money—
Detective Magee: That's great, Mr. Walker, but—
Don Walker: No, no, no. Stop with this "Mr. Walker" stuff. It's just plain ol' Don. And come back here to the reading room, so we got some privacy. Sofia, I'm gonna talk to these fine people, so you have the counter.
Sofia Summerset: All right.
Don Walker: Sofia, sweet girl, she's only 16 but sharp as a tack. We would shut down without her, I'd say. Here we go, chairs here and there. Have a seat, have a seat.
Detective Magee: Okay, Don. My name's Jo Allyn Magee.
Detective Beckwith: Paul Beckwith.
Detective Magee: Can I get your full name and address before we start?
Don Walker: Donovan Edmund Burke Walker. Don, to my friends and soon-to-be friends. I live upstairs here at 426 Turnberry Circle, Oxford. So what are you hard-working detectives out working hard to detect?
Detective Beckwith: We're homicide detectives.
Don Walker: No kidding! I bet that's incredibly stressful. You know, I have some crystals here that can help you with that. You just need to—
Detective Magee: Don.
Don Walker: Yes, ma'am?
Detective Magee: Let's get started with what we came here to discuss.
Don Walker: I thought that's what we were doing.
Detective Magee: Okay. Do you know Birdie Tarver?
Don Walker: Sure do. She's my gal.
Detective Beckwith: How long have you been with Birdie?
Don Walker: Going on two years now, I'd guess. Oh, I know why y'all are here. It's what happened to Hoyt. Terrible thing, that is.
Detective Beckwith: That it is. Don, how well did you know Hoyt?
Don Walker: I only saw him a few times when he'd come to pick up Harry—Harry's Birdie and Hoyt's boy, you know—mostly around holiday times or weekends. I've talked to Hoyt before, but we didn't share much in common. He's the kind of guy who only believes what he can see and touch, a narrow way to go through life if you ask me.
Detective Magee: Give us an idea of the tone of Hoyt's interactions with Birdie over the last year.
Don Walker: They were fine up until a few weeks ago. Over the last year, both Hoyt and Birdie had been concerned about Harry's first go-round with school. His teachers put him in Special Education because he didn't learn as quick as the other children. I told Birdie that was a bunch of hogwash. Public school teachers don't know what they're doing half the damn time. Anyway, Hoyt and Birdie got this notion that he needed a doctor to check him out. Probably a big idea from the teachers. Talk about making things worse.
Detective Beckwith: I know. Harry probably only needed a crystal.
Detective Magee: Paul.
Don Walker: Right on, Detective Beckwith. That's what I said. We must have a psychic connection or distant ancestor, you and I.
Detective Beckwith: Clearly.
Detective Magee: If you're done, gentlemen? Don, did Birdie and Hoyt take Harry to see the doctor, then?
Don Walker: Yep, a couple of months ago. And the doctor did what all doctors do—sent them home with expensive medicine that Birdie couldn't afford.
Detective Magee: What did she do?
Don Walker: She was getting the money from Hoyt for about a month, and then he cut her off.
Detective Beckwith: Why?
Don Walker: I don't know. They must have had a fight over how to treat Harry's condition. I told Birdie we could try some holistic treatments and some psychic therapy, but for some reason she didn't go for it.
Detective Beckwith: Did she try to find other ways of paying for the medicine?
Don Walker: I think she asked the Pucketts if she could borrow some money.
Detective Magee: Why do you think that?
Don Walker: Because Alden Puckett has been down at Birdie's house the last couple of times I've stopped by.
Detective Magee: Did you ask him or Birdie the reason for his visits?
Don Walker: Nope. The Pucketts are Birdie's old friends. Alden has a job at Ole Miss and no kids. I just figured he'd have money lying around, and Birdie was warming him up to ask for a loan.
Detective Beckwith: Do you know if Birdie actually got the loan?
Don Walker: I hadn't asked. If she did, it wasn't enough.
Detective Magee: Why?
Don Walker: Because she sued Hoyt for non-support a couple of weeks back. That was when things went downhill.
Detective Magee: What do you mean?
Don Walker: Up until Hoyt died, he and Birdie had some choice words to say to each other over the phone. Dirtbag this. Tramp that. I figured it was none of my business. They'd have to work it out on their own for Harry's sake.
Detective Beckwith: Were you at Birdie's home the day Hoyt was murdered?
Don Walker: What day of the week was that?
Detective Beckwith: Last Wednesday.
Don Walker: I was here at Arcane Guidance from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., giving readings like I always do. I stopped down at her place for supper.
Detective Magee: When?
Don Walker: I'd say 6:30 p.m.
Detective Beckwith: What was her demeanor like?
Don Walker: You can't honestly believe that Birdie killed the man? I do weekly personal readings with Birdie. Don't you think that woulda come up in the cards? No. Birdie has a peaceful soul. She wouldn't hurt a fly.
Detective Beckwith: You didn't answer the question. What was her demeanor like?
Don Walker: I'm not gonna lie. She seemed nervous. But, really, financial woes will do that to you. Plus, she wasn't looking forward to facing Hoyt, as mad as he was, at that child support hearing. The anxiety was chewing at her. I had been telling her to relax. Amethyst is good for you that way. Given the way modern medicine was failing her, I think she's starting to come around to my way of thinking.
Detective Magee: Why do you say that?
Don Walker: I overheard June Puckett recommending a psychologist for Birdie's anxiety on Friday night on the phone. She told June that she was seeking alternative treatments. I thought, "Good for her."
Detective Beckwith: Did you talk to Birdie about what those alternative treatments were?
Don Walker: Actually no. Right after that call, Birdie told me Alden was missing. That was why June had called.
Detective Magee: What did Birdie tell you about the situation at the time?
Don Walker: Not much, only because Birdie didn't know much. She said June was at her wit's end on account that Alden had been missing for two days, and it wasn't like him to be gone that long. June was afraid he could be dead or hurt, and the not-knowing was unbearable. I told Birdie to send June down here, since we're open on the weekend, and I'd see what I could do for her.
Detective Magee: Has June been in?
Don Walker: Nope. A shame. I have a special going on blue lace agate.
Detective Beckwith: That would be my choice.
Detective Magee: Ignore him. When was the last time you saw Alden?
Don Walker: I'd say … last weekend at Birdie's.
Detective Magee: What was he doing?
Don Walker: He was talking to her in the den.
Detective Beckwith: Alone? Or was June there?
Don Walker: Alone.
Detective Beckwith: What were they talking about?
Don Walker: I don't know. They stopped talking when I walked in. … Ah, should I be worried?
Detective Beckwith: Amethyst.
Don Walker: Yes. Clearly.
Detective Magee: Paul, stop. I think we're done with the questions for now. Thank you for your time, Don.
Don Walker: No problem. Say, it's only ten after 3:00 p.m. Let's get the both of you into a quickie tarot reading! Whatcha think? Half-price?
Detective Beckwith: What do you say, Jo?
Detective Magee: Let's go, Beckwith.
Interview ended – 3:11 p.m.