Monday, April 20, 2020 – 10:30 a.m.
Kayla Mathis was a crew member on the victim's film.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at her parents' home because the subject's mother would not let her daughter outside of their home.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Kayla Mathis
- Beverly Mathis
Detective Murphy: For the record, please state your name, age, address, and occupation.
Kayla Mathis: My name is Kayla Mathis. I'm 22 years old. I work at Square Books part-time and take some classes at Ole Miss sometimes. I guess I'm living with my mother now. The address is 14 Magnolia Ridge, Highway 337.
Detective Armstrong: Kayla, tell us why you were at the lodge.
Kayla Mathis: Dalton invited me.
Detective Armstrong: How did you know Dalton?
Kayla Mathis: Well, I thought he was my boyfriend.
Detective Murphy: He wasn't?
Kayla Mathis: He turned out to be a jerk and a psychopath.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, but isn't that why you were interested in him to begin with?
Kayla Mathis: Maybe.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about that. How did you meet him?
Kayla Mathis: I met him at Proud Larry's. I was dating one of the barkeepers up there, and Dalton came in one night. We talked for a while, and he was fascinated by me after I told him about how I was kidnapped. He was totally riveted.
Detective Armstrong: When was this?
Kayla Mathis: Oh, I think it was probably around October or November.
Detective Armstrong: How did you get involved with him? You used to be such a scholar in school.
Kayla Mathis: I don't know, you know. School just holds no interest for me now. I think that's why I found Dalton so refreshing. He was dangerous.
Detective Murphy: How?
Kayla Mathis: I don't know. I guess because he could make people do anything he wanted to.
Detective Murphy: How did he do that?
Kayla Mathis: He was super persuasive. He just knew what he was talking about. And he had all of these interesting stories, and he would get all dramatic while telling them.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember any of them?
Kayla Mathis: Oh, he'd just tell me how he and his friends used to go out together and pull these pranks, just like in the movie. They'd use guns with blanks and condoms filled with blood hooked to these little explosives, so it looked like real gunshot wounds. It was a good effect. So all that stuff was real. He lived what he wrote about.
Detective Murphy: When did he do this?
Kayla Mathis: Before he moved to Oxford, I guess.
Detective Murphy: How much do you know about his life before Oxford?
Kayla Mathis: He told me a good bit of stuff, although not many details. Mostly about when he was a little kid. No names or anything, although he did tell me his old buddy's name was Rob. This is the guy he went around with, pulling these pranks. I think they lived in Florida.
Detective Armstrong: Whereabouts?
Kayla Mathis: I don't know. Somewhere near Pensacola, I think.
Detective Armstrong: So you met this guy Dalton and what, you two fell in love?
Kayla Mathis: Yes. He was putting his movie together and telling me about it. I just thought it was the most brilliant thing. I said I wanted to help, and he agreed.
Detective Armstrong: What was your position on the crew?
Kayla Mathis: As I understood it, I would be cooking and kind of taking care of logistical things. Mainly, I was a production assistant. I ran errands. I was the only one he let off the grounds.
Detective Murphy: Where did he let you go?
Kayla Mathis: There's a little grocery store about four or five miles from the house, and I would go there and stock up on essentials. I could only be gone for 20 minutes at a time, though.
Detective Murphy: So you didn't go to town.
Kayla Mathis: Sometimes, he sent me to the hardware store, but it wasn't really in town. It was just on the outskirts on Highway 6, you know?
Detective Armstrong: What kind of stuff did he have you get?
Kayla Mathis: Just tools and stuff for the set. I bought the machete there.
Detective Murphy: What was that for?
Kayla Mathis: I don't know. It was a prop, but I don't recall there being a machete in the script.
Detective Murphy: Tell us what you remember about the morning he was killed.
Kayla Mathis: The gunshots were, like, right over my head in the room upstairs, so they woke me up. I was still in bed, and I could hear fumbling around up there. I distinctly heard what I thought were footsteps on the roof then, but I just thought Dalton was acting crazy. I stuck my head out of the room, and I heard Gwen upstairs banging on the door, trying to kick it in. I really just thought they were having a fight, and he'd shot off some blanks. It pissed me off, so I went back to bed.
Detective Murphy: You were in your room on the first floor?
Kayla Mathis: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: So how could you hear anyone on the roof?
Kayla Mathis: I stuck my head out in the hall like I said, and you know, it's open to the upstairs out there, so … that's what I heard.
Detective Murphy: Uh-huh. Was that unusual? Hearing people walking on the roof?
Kayla Mathis: Well, yeah.
Detective Murphy: But not unusual enough for you to do anything about it?
Kayla Mathis: What was I going to do?
Detective Murphy: So you thought you heard footsteps on the roof, and you went back to bed. Then what?
Kayla Mathis: No sooner was I in bed than I hear her shrieking upstairs, so I ran up to see what was going on. By that time, everybody else was there except Johnny, who was right behind me.
Detective Murphy: You didn't see anybody climb down the tree outside your window? No one walked past your door?
Kayla Mathis: No. I looked out the window, but it was still dark. I didn't see anything.
Detective Armstrong: I hear you and Gwen weren't the best of friends.
Kayla Mathis: Well, no. She stole him from me. She didn't even care that we were together.
Detective Armstrong: Did she go to him, or him to her?
Kayla Mathis: She was all over him. It was disgusting. He didn't have to work for it, like with me.
Detective Armstrong: You were pretty upset.
Kayla Mathis: Hell, yes.
Detective Armstrong: They say you created quite a few disturbances on the set.
Kayla Mathis: It was an emotionally hard time for me. Dalton wasn't paying attention to me. She was the biggest b****. The rest of them were smelly and drunk all the time.
Detective Armstrong: Why did you stay? Why not just take the car and drive home?
Kayla Mathis: I was scared of what he'd do. I was afraid he wouldn't love me.
Detective Armstrong: But he had already fallen out of love with you and in love with Gwen, correct?
Kayla Mathis: You don't have to be so cold about it.
Detective Armstrong: I'm sorry, Kayla. I'm just trying to characterize everyone's behavior.
Kayla Mathis: Dalton had everybody so mixed up. We didn't know if we were coming or going. Nothing was real. Everything was fake, and that's what I thought. I thought that when the movie wrapped, everything would go back to normal, and that Dalton didn't really love Gwen. He loved me. He was just doing her for the movie. That slut. I wouldn't believe anything she said either. The last time I saw her, which was yesterday, she was still in character. I mean, come on. How pathetic.
Detective Murphy: What about the other girl?
Kayla Mathis: What other girl?
Detective Murphy: The actress who came up to the house?
Kayla Mathis: Probably just some bimbo he'd screwed and promised a part. Before he met me, of course. You see, no one knew how to handle Dalton, except me. You can't just bombard him and expect him to take an interest in you. It's what you held back that made Dalton interested. She just came busting up in there, yelling her head off. You can't do that.
Detective Murphy: Now, what do you know about Charles Mulroney?
Kayla Mathis: He's a creep. A pimp doctor. We had dinner at his house a couple of times. He, like, wanted us to have group sex in his living room. What does that tell you?
Detective Murphy: Why did you have dinner with him?
Kayla Mathis: This was when Dalton was still trying to raise money for the movie. He was so smooth dealing with Mulroney, trying to get him to invest. Mulroney was such a cheeseball that it was an easy sell. All Dalton had to do was promise him executive producer credits and convince him that this movie was gonna be a huge box office success. He had formulated all these charts and stuff to prove that the public would go see it. Chuckie fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Detective Armstrong: When Chuckie came to the lodge, was he belligerent?
Kayla Mathis: He didn't have a chance to be. He walked around, making awful suggestions, saying the script needed more sex. Dalton just nipped it in the bud, ran him off. But Chuckie called the house a few times. I answered it once, and he was screaming in the phone when I told him he couldn't speak to Dalton. He was a jerk. You know, when we went to eat, Dalton took Chuckie out behind his house to shoot guns, and I had to stay there with this sad wench of a girlfriend he had. She was bawling and stuff, talking about how he had given her a bad boob job and how her implants were poisoning her, and she didn't have long to live. Just a super paranoid freak. I bet he abused her and shot her full of drugs.
Beverly Mathis: Detectives, my daughter has been under an undue amount of stress these last few months, and you're only making it worse with all of these questions. I'm afraid I have to insist you go now and leave her in peace. Hasn't she suffered enough?
Detective Armstrong: Kayla, if we need to speak with you again, will you be available?
Kayla Mathis: I'm not going anywhere, Detective.
Interview ended – 11:08 a.m.