Marion Sanders interview
Monday, April 17, 2023 –- 12:16 p.m.
Marion Sanders was Charles Tatum's girlfriend. On Monday morning, April 17, 2023, surveillance officers observed her approaching Det. Tatum's residence at 107-B Combs Street. She was detained at the scene pending the arrival of the assigned detectives.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy accompanied Ms. Sanders from Det. Tatum's residence to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, where they interviewed her.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Marion Sanders
Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking to us. I'm sure this is very difficult for you.
Marion Sanders: Yes, I just can't believe all this has happened. I can't get over the fact that he's gone.
Detective Murphy: We'll have a box of tissues brought in for you. I know this will be tough, but please take your time and tell us as much as you can.
Marion Sanders: Okay.
Detective Murphy: For the record, can you please state your name and address?
Marion Sanders: Marion Sanders. I live at 716 Shady Oaks Circle. It's out by the Walmart.
Detective Murphy: And your occupation?
Marion Sanders: I'm a loan officer at the Bank of Mississippi. My office is in the main branch at Four Corners.
Detective Murphy: And how did you know Charles Tatum?
Marion Sanders: We had— oh God, we had been dating.
Detective Armstrong: For how long?
Marion Sanders: About six months?
Detective Murphy: Tell us about it.
Marion Sanders: About our relationship?
Detective Murphy: Yes.
Marion Sanders: We had a good time. He was kind to me, treated me well.
Detective Armstrong: Any complaints?
Marion Sanders: Just the usual things. You know, you always have little things that irritate you in relationships. Silly things that bug you, and then something like this happens … I can't believe we argued about that stuff.
Detective Murphy: Like what?
Marion Sanders: He would put five or six packets of Sweet n' Low in a glass of tea. I thought it was silly. I guess the silly thing was that I made such a big deal out of it.
Detective Armstrong: Were there any more substantial issues in the relationship?
Marion Sanders: I got tired of the cop life. It's hard when you never know when you're going to see your partner. Sometimes he'd get tied up and have to cancel a date or something. I got tired of that. Or the way his mind would always be somewhere else instead of with me—that kind of stuff.
Detective Murphy: Was the relationship serious?
Marion Sanders: Oh, I wanted it to be. I really did. But I guess I have to admit that I think Charles was going to break up with me.
Detective Armstrong: Why do you say that?
Marion Sanders: Some people around town had heard that.
Detective Murphy: Surely you're not saying Charles went around town running his mouth?
Marion Sanders: No, detective. Please don't get upset. I didn't mean it that way. Charles wouldn't tell just anyone his private business, but he also didn't want to hurt people. He talked to a couple of his good friends about us. He just wanted advice.
Detective Armstrong: Why did he want to break up with you?
Marion Sanders: I think it was over the conflict about his lifestyle. He said it was difficult to concentrate on work when he knew I'd get mad if he stayed late. But I never meant to keep him from doing well at work. I just wanted to spend time with him.
Detective Armstrong: How did you feel about him breaking up with you?
Marion Sanders: I was upset. I really cared about Charles. I didn't want him out of my life. So, of course, I didn't like the idea. I tried being more flexible and more understanding about his life.
Detective Armstrong: What were you doing at his place this morning?
Marion Sanders: I told you. I'd left him a couple of messages, and he didn't call me back. I thought he might be sick or something, so I wanted to check on him. I never thought…
Detective Armstrong: Maybe he was just blowing you off. You said he wanted to break up with you. How did you know that wasn't it?
Maron Sanders: Because Charles would never do that. If he was going to break up with me, he'd have a face-to-face conversation about it, not just hide like some coward and hope I'd go away.
Detective Murphy: Where were you when he— uh, where were you Sunday?
Marion Sanders: I was out of town all weekend. I was visiting relatives in Houston.
Detective Murphy: Houston, Texas?
Marion Sanders: Yes.
Detective Murphy: Can you show us anything to verify you were out of town?
Marion Sanders: I think I still have my airline ticket. I could give you that.
Detective Murphy: That would be great. In the meantime, can you tell us what Charles liked to do in his spare time?
Marion Sanders: He fished, hunted. He liked to read a little. He would meet some friends at Mugshots and hang out.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever go to Mugshots with him?
Marion Sanders: No, not usually. It wasn't my kind of place. I like the Downtown Grill. Mugshots is just a meat market. But maybe I should have… I mean, maybe I should have shared more in the things he liked to do. Oh, I don't know!
Detective Murphy: What did you think…
Marion Sanders: Yes, detective?
Detective Murphy: Forget it. Look, Marion, this is tough for you, and it's tough for us. It's not supposed to be tough for us, but we're human, and it is. Why don't we just end this for now and give you a break?
Marion Sanders: I think I'd like that.
Detective Murphy: Okay. Just one more thing. I want to be very clear about this, Marion. We are not saying that you're a suspect. Do you understand that?
Marion Sanders: Uh, yeah. I guess.
Detective Murphy: But we need some hair samples from you. And fingerprints. We're collecting evidence from Charlie's apartment, and we want to be able to separate out your prints and so forth.
Marion Sanders: Well, I guess that's okay.
Detective Murphy: There's a deputy in the outer office who can help you with that. It won't take but five minutes, and then you can be on your way.
Marion Sanders: All right.
Detective Murphy: Thanks, Marion.
Interview ended – 12:51 p.m.
Detective Murphy: Should we have told her?
Detective Armstrong: Told her what?
Detective Murphy: About the way Charlie was found. About him being nude and the indications he probably had sex not long before he died?
Detective Armstrong: And what in the hell do you think that would accomplish?
Detective Murphy: See what her reaction is.
Detective Armstrong: Screw that. No way. We all know about her around town. We all know she can be a pain in the neck, but she really cared about Charlie, and I'm not going to hurt her like that unless we have a good reason.
Detective Murphy: I don't want to hurt her either, but if it would help—
Detective Armstrong: The only thing it would do is hurt her and then get out into the press. Do you think she would keep quiet about that? We'd hurt her and also hurt Charlie and his reputation.
Detective Murphy: I guess you're right. We'll leave it alone for now. We check out her alibi, and it holds up, we don't tell her. But, Ted, I'm telling you right now, if we find out she lied to us, I'm going after her with both barrels. I don't care how much she cared about Charlie. We're after a cop killer here, and I'm not wasting a lot of energy trying to spare people's feelings. Okay?
Detective Armstrong: Yeah. Good. Now let's get out of here. We got work to do.