On the night of October 29, 2020, YCSD investigators spoke to all 38 people who were participating in the Sewcial Compassion event at the Faith and Glory Community Church when Frederick Miller was killed.

When they heard the sirens, some of the participants had exited the church's Fellowship Hall where the event was being held, but Deputy Willits had escorted them back to the Fellowship Hall and asked them to remain there until an investigator could speak to them.

The participants were asked what they had seen and heard at the church that evening.

The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.

Aaronson

Bethann Aaronson
Age 65
Faith and Glory Community Church member and choir member

Ms. Aaronson said that she joined the sewing event at around 8:00 p.m. following choir practice. She said that Mr. Miller, the assistant choir director, shouted more than usual. 

Ms. Aaronson said that Mr. Miller was particularly hard on the sopranos for having difficulty maintaining their part while singing “I’m Bound for the Kingdom” a capella and in four-part harmony.

Bragg

Stephanie Bragg
Age 47
Faith and Glory Community Church member

Ms. Bragg said she was one of the event organizers, representing the Faith and Glory Community Church on the Sewcial Compassion committee. She said she arrived at the church around 6:30 that evening to make sure everything was ready for the event.

Ms. Bragg said she had been in and out of the Fellowship Hall several times that night, taking care of minor tasks related to her responsibilities as host, but she said she had not seen or heard anything unusual.

Carter

Cynthia Carter
Age 48
Faith and Glory Community Church member

Ms. Carter said that she is part of a small group of 10-12 church members who meet each Tuesday evening for a sewing circle on the church campus.

Ms. Carter said that this evening’s meeting was unusual not only because it was held on a Thursday, but also that it was a special annual event, called Sewcial Compassion. The annual event is held at a different church each year, and this is the first year that it was held at Faith and Glory Community Church.

Ms. Carter said that attendees numbered approximately 55 and included volunteers from other sewing groups around the County.

Davis

Margaret Davis
Age 56
Faith and Glory Community Church member

Ms. Davis said that she left the Fellowship Hall for a half an hour or so, from approximately 7:00 until 7:30-ish, while trying to get access to the kitchen where the party supplies are stored. Ms. Davis was in charge of refreshments for the event and needed a cake knife and a tablecloth.

Ms. Davis said that the kitchen was supposed to be unlocked, and she spent that half an hour trying to find someone with a key. Finding no one, she returned to the Fellowship Hall.

Other than that 30-minute period, Ms. Davis was with the other participants in the Fellowship Hall, where she noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

Madison

Bernie Madison
Age 64
Faith and Glory Community Church member and choir member

Ms. Madison said that she joined the sewing event immediately following choir practice. She said that the assistant choir director was in a foul mood that night, and she couldn’t wait to get out of there, so as soon as choir practice was over at 8:00 p.m., she hurried to the Fellowship Hall, sat down, and started stitching.

Matys

Marjorie Matys
Age 70
Sewcial Compassion event attendee

Ms. Matys said that she is not affiliated with any one church or organization but regularly volunteers around the Oxford area. She said she finds out about volunteer opportunities through the Yoknapatawpha County website’s Volunteering in Oxford page.

Ms. Matys said that she arrived at the Sewcial Compassion event at 7:20 p.m., after visiting a friend at the State Veterans Home.

Ms. Matys said that when she entered the church building, she was met in the hallway by a woman who introduced herself as Margie Davis. Ms. Davis hurriedly escorted Ms. Matys to the Fellowship Hall, then left the room.

Mitchell

Shelley Mitchell
Age 54
Faith and Glory Community Church member

Ms. Mitchell said that she was in and out of the Fellowship Hall all evening. She explained that she has an incontinence problem and a frequent need to use the facilities.

Ms. Mitchell said that on one of her restroom visits, upon exiting, she nearly collided with her friend, Stephanie Bragg, who appeared to be coming from the direction of the kitchen. She and Ms. Bragg were chit-chatting when they heard the sirens.