Young woman with long brown hair

Jolene Wright interview

Saturday, April 22, 2023 – 2:24 p.m.

Jolene Wright is a waitress at The Rebel Yell. Witnesses who were at Mugshots the night of April 12, 2023, identified her from a photograph as the woman seen with Charles Tatum that night.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Jolene Wright

Detective Murphy: Do you want a glass of water or anything?

Jolene Wright: No, I'm okay, I guess.

Detective Murphy: You understand we brought you here for an interview, but you have not been officially arrested, right?

Jolene Wright: Yeah.

Detective Murphy: Okay. For the record, could you please state your name and address?

Jolene Wright: Jolene Wright. I live at 805 College Hill Road, here in Oxford.

Detective Murphy: And your occupation?

Jolene Wright: I work at The Rebel Yell.

Detective Armstrong: Work is a nice way of putting it.

Jolene Wright: Uh, what do you mean—

Detective Murphy: C'mon on, Armstrong. Cool it. Jolene, what do you do at The Rebel Yell?

Jolene Wright: I'm a waitress.

Detective Murphy: Is that all?

Jolene Wright: What is that supposed to mean?

Detective Murphy: Let's be very clear here, Jolene. We're interviewing you as part of our investigation into the death of Charles Tatum. This is serious stuff. You'd better be as open and honest with us as you can. Now, do you make any money from The Rebel Yell for anything other than waiting tables?

Jolene Wright: Well, no.

Detective Murphy: Okay. Did you know Charles Tatum?

Jolene Wright: No.

Detective Armstrong: You didn't know him? We've got witnesses who say you were awfully close to him at Mugshots.

Jolene Wright: Well, I, uh, didn't really know him. Yes, I did meet him that night at Mugshots, but I didn't think that qualified as knowing him. You know, I thought you were asking if I had known him for a long time or something like that.

Detective Murphy: Did you know Charles Tatum was a cop?

Jolene Wright: Yeah, I had seen him coming into the bar all those times. I don't think he ever noticed me, but I seen him when he come around looking at the liquor license and all that.

Detective Murphy: When you say you saw him coming into the bar, do you mean Mugshots?

Jolene Wright: No. The Rebel Yell. You know, the bar where I work?

Detective Armstrong: You're gonna want to drop that attitude, Jolene.

Jolene Wright: What attitude?

Detective Murphy: Enough! So, Jolene, what exactly was the extent of your relationship with Charles Tatum?

Jolene Wright: We didn't have no relationship. I knew who he was, but we never talked or anything. Then that night, I met him at Mugshots. That was it.

Detective Armstrong: Exactly what night are we talking about here?

Jolene Wright: I don't remember. I can't remember every single night and people I talk to—

Detective Armstrong: Seems to me that hooking up with a cop in a bar would be fairly memorable.

Jolene Wright: I told you! I don't remember what night it was. Of course, I remember meeting him. I just don't remember the exact date.

Detective Murphy: Could it have been on April 12th?

Jolene Wright: Sure.

Detective Armstrong: It was a little over a week ago. I can see how you'd have trouble remembering.

Jolene Wright: What do you want from me? I guess that sounds 'bout right. 

Detective Murphy: How did you meet him?

Jolene Wright: I seen him sitting there in Mugshots. Like I said, I'd seen him at the bar, and he always seemed nice. So I went up and said hello.

Detective Armstrong: What were your intentions?

Jolene Wright: I, uh, don't understand.

Detective Armstrong: Were you trying to get laid? Or did you just decide it would be nice to chat up a cop? Why did you talk to him?

Jolene Wright: Like I said, he always seemed nice. And I was mad at my boyfriend, so I guess maybe I wanted to get even.

Detective Murphy: Who's your boyfriend?

Jolene Wright: Just some guy. He's a jerk.

Detective Armstrong: What's his name?

Jolene Wright: Uh, Cary.

Detective Armstrong: Cary what?

Jolene Wright: Just Cary. I ain't seen him that many times.

Detective Murphy: He's your boyfriend, and you don't know his last name?

Jolene Wright: Well, maybe boyfriend ain't the right word. We hooked up a few times, is all. So's maybe I shouldn't have called him my boyfriend.

Detective Armstrong: Just so I'm straight here. He's not your boyfriend, but you hooked up with him some, and then you got mad and were out looking to snag some other guy to get revenge on this mystery man?

Jolene Wright: Uh, yeah.

Detective Murphy: Where does this Cary with no last name live?

Jolene Wright: Up near Memphis somewheres.

Detective Murphy: You don't know where?

Jolene Wright: No.

Detective Murphy: You don't know very much about this guy.

Jolene Wright: He's just some guy. You know how it is.

Detective Armstrong: No, we don't know how it is. That's why you're here to tell us.

Jolene Wright: He just come in the bar every now and then. He'd stay after closing, and we'd go to some late night at someone's house and hook up. Then he'd go home. He was supposed to come down that night, but he didn't show up, so I went to Mugshots.

Detective Murphy: So what did you and Detective Tatum talk about?

Jolene Wright: The usual stuff.

Detective Armstrong: You better start giving us some details here, little girl!

Jolene Wright: Ain't you never talked to no one in a bar? No wonder you're all uptight. You need to get laid.

Detective Murphy: Ted, don't. Jolene, you don't remember what you talked about with Detective Tatum?

Jolene Wright: No, I don't really remember.

Detective Armstrong: You don't remember very much at all.

Jolene Wright: I was pretty drunk.

Detective Murphy: Well, what do you remember about when the bar closed?

Jolene Wright: I, uh, I'm not sure what to say.

Detective Armstrong: Tell us what happened. That shouldn't be too hard.

Jolene Wright: We left together. We, uh, we went back to Charlie's place.

Detective Murphy: Who initiated that?

Jolene Wright: Initiated what?

Detective Murphy: Did he invite you, or did you suggest it to him?

Jolene Wright: I don't really remember. I think he did. Yeah, I think I remember that he asked me if I wanted to keep partying.

Detective Armstrong: Charles Tatum didn't "party," so obviously, your memory is wrong.

Jolene Wright: He might not have said it like that. I don't really remember exactly what he said, but it was pretty obvious he didn't want to go home alone.

Detective Murphy: So you two left the bar. Did you go anywhere else?

Jolene Wright: No, we went straight to his place.

Detective Murphy: And then what happened?

Jolene Wright: We ended up fooling around.

Detective Armstrong: Fooling around how?

Jolene Wright: You know how. You know, fooling around. We hooked up.

Detective Murphy: Please be more precise, Jolene. Hooking up can mean many different things.

Jolene Wright: I can't believe you want me to say it. We had sex! Is that what you want to hear?

Detective Armstrong: Tell us about it.

Jolene Wright: I ain't telling you nothing. You're a pervert!

Detective Armstrong: I'm not the one hooking up with people when I don't even know their last name and then going out and picking other folks up at bars.

Jolene Wright: I'm not a whore! I just, uh, it just happened.

Detective Armstrong: Oh, the "it just happened" excuse. I love that one! You just tripped, and all your clothes fell off, and you landed in bed, is that it?

Jolene Wright: Hey, I didn't rape him. I seem to remember him having a pretty good time.

Detective Murphy: How many times did you have sex?

Jolene Wright: Just once.

Detective Murphy: What happened then?

Jolene Wright: Uh, nothing, I guess.

Detective Armstrong: You guess?

Jolene Wright: Nothing. Nothing happened. He passed out, and I left.

Detective Murphy: Just like that.

Jolene Wright: Yeah, he was, uh, out. Yeah, he was snoring away. Loud as all get out, sawing logs right and left. I got up and left.

Detective Armstrong: You didn't put your clothes on first?

Jolene Wright: Of course I did!

Detective Armstrong: You didn't say that. You just said you left. Please be very specific.

Jolene Wright: You're crazy! Of course, I put on my clothes. Then I left.

Detective Armstrong: And Detective Tatum was still alive when you left?

Jolene Wright: Yes! I didn't kill him. He was resting quietly.

Detective Armstrong: I thought you said he was snoring loudly.

Jolene Wright: Well, yeah. Yeah, he was snoring.

Detective Murphy: But isn't snoring loudly different than resting quietly?

Jolene Wright: You all are just trying to trick me. He was asleep. Completely asleep. And I was drunk. I don't know why you think I can remember every little detail.

Detective Murphy: Where did you go when you left?

Jolene Wright: Home.

Detective Armstrong: How did you get there?

Jolene Wright: I walked.

Detective Murphy: That's a pretty good size walk.

Jolene Wright: It was a nice night. It helped me sober up.

Detective Murphy: Really? You didn't think it was maybe not the best idea to walk home drunk more than two miles in the middle of the night?

Jolene Wright: Um, no.

Detective Armstrong: Did you see anyone?

Jolene Wright: No.

Detective Murphy: Then what happened?

Jolene Wright: I took a shower and went to bed. Slept late and then went into work the next evening.

Detective Murphy: When did you hear about Detective Tatum's death?

Jolene Wright: I come into work one day, and some guys had the newspaper at the bar. They were talking about it.

Detective Murphy: And you don't know anything about his death?

Jolene Wright: No! I done told y'all that.

Detective Murphy: Jolene, when you left Detective Tatum's apartment that night, did you take anything with you? A souvenir of some kind, maybe?

Jolene Wright: Huh?

Detective Armstrong: When you left, did you have anything that you didn't have when you got there? Did you take anything that didn't belong to you? Did you steal anything from Detective Tatum?

Jolene Wright: Wha— no! What do you mean?

Detective Armstrong: It's not a difficult question, girl. Did you steal anything or not?

Jolene Wright: No! What— I— like what?

Detective Armstrong: Like what? You mean, you might have taken something, but you need me to tell you what it was so you can decide?

Jolene Wright: No! I— I don't know what you're talking about.

Detective Armstrong: You didn't happen to, say, pick up his wallet on your way out the door? So you could get your hands on the cash he had in there and maybe use his credit cards a time or two?

Jolene Wright: What? No. I— No!

Detective Murphy: Jolene, have you heard of a store in town called Double Quick?

Jolene Wright: Yeah, I heard of it.

Detective Murphy: I want you to take a look at this video. Do you know what that is? It's from a security camera at the Double Quick. Do you know who that is in the video there?

Jolene Wright: I don't know.

Detective Murphy: You don't?

Jolene Wright: No.

Detective Murphy: You don't think that looks an awful lot like you?

Jolene Wright: I don't know.

Detective Murphy: Jolene, we know it's you. And you know what you're doing in the security video?

Jolene Wright: No. And it's not me.

Detective Murphy: You're using Detective Tatum's credit card to buy snacks.

Jolene Wright: Nuh-uh! That's not me, and I didn't do that!

Detective Armstrong: That stuff didn't even cost ten bucks, and you had to use a stolen credit card to get it? That's pretty sad, girl. You must not be very good at your job if you don't even have ten bucks in cash in your pocket.

Jolene Wright: You don't know what kind of money I have in my pocket. I could have paid cash. I just— I mean, I have money to pay for stuff. I don't need no stolen credit card for nothin'.

Detective Murphy: Where did you get Detective Tatum's credit card, Jolene?

Jolene Wright: I didn't.

Detective Murphy: Yes. You did. I know it. Detective Armstrong knows it. And you know it. We all know you stole his credit card and his wallet from his apartment that night. We all know you used that stolen credit card. We have it on video, Jolene.

Jolene Wright: That's not me. If you really thought so, you'd arrest me, but you didn't, so you must be playing me, trying to get something out of me, but I'm not talking about nothing. I'm not helping you get nothing on Hank.

Detective Murphy: Hank who? We never said anything about anyone named Hank.

Jolene Wright: Yeah, right. You cops would love to nail him for something, and I ain't doing nothing to help you. Hank is real good to me, no matter what y'all say about him, and I'm not gonna do anything that might hurt him.

Detective Murphy: You know, Jolene, you lost me. Did we ask you to do or say something that might hurt Hank? Have we asked you about anything that has anything at all to do with Hank?

Jolene Wright: Well— I— I'm just saying is all.

Detective Murphy: What is your relationship with Hank, Jolene?

Jolene Wright: I work for him.

Detective Murphy: Uh-huh. Anything else?

Jolene Wright: Wha— no. Like what?

Detective Murphy: I don't know like what. You have to tell me.

Jolene Wright: He's my boss. That's all.

Detective Armstrong: You don't sound too sure about that, girl. You sure there isn't more to it than that?

Jolene Wright: You just want me to talk some more about my sex life, you pervert.

Detective Armstrong: Is Hank involved in your sex life?

Jolene Wright: Wouldn't you like to know?

Detective Armstrong: Yeah, I would.

Jolene Wright: Well, that's just too bad for you 'cause I'm not talking to you no more about nothing. You're a sick and perverted old man. I may be just some dumb waitress, but I don't have to put up with sh*t like that from nobody, not even you.

Detective Armstrong: Girl, we'll stop talking when we say—

Detective Murphy: Ted, let it go. It's not worth it. Jolene, you know what?

Jolene Wright: What?

Detective Murphy: You can stop talking to us now. That's just fine. You know why?

Jolene Wright: Why?

Detective Murphy: Because we're not the only ones who want to talk to you. Some other detectives are waiting to speak to you right now. You know why?

Jolene Wright: No.

Detective Murphy: Because Detective Tatum's wallet wasn't the only thing missing from his apartment. There were a couple of other things—some pretty important things—that were also missing. And some other detectives want to talk to you about that.

Jolene Wright: So?

Detective Murphy: So? So they're Internal Affairs detectives, and if you thought talking to us was bad, just wait until you talk to them. You'll be begging to talk to us again.

Jolene Wright: Yeah, sure. I'm real scared.

Detective Murphy: Yes, I can see that you are. You just sit tight. Detective Calhoun will be right in. You have a real nice time talking to her.

Jolene Wright: She can't be worse than you all.

Detective Armstrong: You think so now. Just wait.

Jolene Wright: At least you'll be gone.

Detective Armstrong: Don't worry. I have a feeling we'll be seeing each other again real soon. In the meantime, you'd best be thinking about whether you really want to stick with that story that you don't know anything about Charles Tatum's death because no one's buying it. And you know what happens to cop killers in this state, don't you?

Interview ended – 3:32 p.m.


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