Titus & Yvonne Hawkins interview
Friday, April 11, 1958 – 6:00 p.m.
Initial neighborhood interviews with homeowners living near the Izard home on County Road 106 were conducted at the neighbors' homes on the afternoon and into the evening of the Izard murders, Friday, April 11, 1958.
Titus and Yvonne Hawkins live across County Road 106 from the Izard and slightly south.
- Detective Jack McPhail
- Titus Hawkins
- Yvonne Hawkins
Detective McPhail: Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins.
Yvonne Hawkins: The layoffs. You know about them?
Detective McPhail: Yes, ma'am. I'd like to ask you a few questions.
Yvonne Hawkins: They're related to the Izards' murders. I'm sure of it. I knew our people around here were going to be led astray by those communist union agitators, and look what it's come to. Lost jobs. Lost lives. What are you doing about it?
Detective McPhail: We're just starting our investigation into the Izard murders, ma'am, asking neighbors a few questions.
Yvonne Hawkins: Certainly. I'm prepared to tell you everything I know. I've naturally been on the phone ever since I heard your officers arriving and walked over and spoke to the deputy on duty near the road. I've called everyone I could reach and told them everything. No one seems to know anything. Isn't that true, Titus?
Titus Hawkins: Yep.
Detective McPhail: Could we start off, for the record, by getting your names, ages, occupation, and address?
Yvonne Hawkins: I am Yvonne Little Hawkins, and this is my husband, Titus. I really prefer not to give my age. A woman should not be asked that. He is 53. Our address is County Road 106, Box 208, Oxford, Mississippi. We operate a dry cleaning business in Oxford, although I leave that in my husband's hands nowadays. I am a housewife and the organist for Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church. Our two children are grown and gone.
Detective McPhail: Have both of you been home all day?
Yvonne Hawkins: Titus hasn't. He returned home around 4:00 this afternoon. I have been home all day.
Detective McPhail: Miz Hawkins, did you see or hear anything over at the Izard house today?
Yvonne Hawkins: I heard a vehicle go up the Izards' driveway not too long before the school bus was due. I didn't notice the time, but I believe it was around that time in the afternoon. It was hard to miss the way that driver was going so fast on the gravel. I didn't see him or his vehicle, however.
Detective McPhail: "Him," ma'am?
Yvonne Hawkins: Well, a woman couldn't possibly have committed such brutality, could she, sir? No, I'm certain that no woman is involved in any way. You can stop investigating that dead end right now. Isn't that right, Titus?
Titus Hawkins: Yep.
Detective McPhail: Miz Hawkins, you believe this car you heard was related to the murders, is that right?
Yvonne Hawkins: What else would it be? Someone goes tearing into the drive, and a few hours later, here you are?
Detective McPhail: I see, ma'am, but did you see the car?
Yvonne Hawkins: No, I didn't. I heard it throwing gravel up the drive.
Detective McPhail: This was shortly before the school bus, you say? Could you narrow that time down at all?
Yvonne Hawkins: Well, let me think now. Not more than half an hour before the bus, I'd say. Like I said, I didn't notice the time.
Detective McPhail: Did you hear or see the car leave?
Yvonne Hawkins: No, can't say as I noticed anyone leaving. I didn't see the car.
Detective McPhail: I see. Did you hear anything else from across the street, ma'am? Any noises, shouting, crying, the kids?
Yvonne Hawkins: Are you suggesting that I would stoop to eavesdropping? Because if you are, you are mistaken. I would do no such thing. I only do my Christian duty to help others in need.
Detective McPhail: So… you didn't hear anything?
Yvonne Hawkins: No, I continued with my housework after glancing out the window and seeing the cloud of dust the driver had left in the Izards' driveway. I didn't hear anything else or notice when the person left. I went down into the basement to complete a load of laundry, you see. Today is ironing day for me, you know. You tell him, Titus.
Titus Hawkins: It's ironing day.
Detective McPhail: Did you see or hear the school bus arrive or leave, Miz Hawkins?
Yvonne Hawkins: I heard it out on the road, but I was on the phone at the time. I didn't get up to look, no.
Detective McPhail: What can you tell me about the Izards? The kind of neighbors they were, whether they had any money problems, if they had any enemies, that kind of thing.
Yvonne Hawkins: Well, I think you're really wasting your time pursuing other information like that when it's clearly related to that commie Yankee man. What was his name, Titus? Some kind of fish. Something‑or‑other Perch, isn't it?
Detective McPhail: How do you reckon he was involved?
Yvonne Hawkins: He tried to unionize the Bowlan Glove Factory, and see what happened when the vote failed? He's your murderer. Communists teach their young people how to do things like that, killings and such. You need to go and arrest him before he goes into hiding. Are you writing all this down?
Detective McPhail: Yes, ma'am. Mrs. Hawkins, do you know your postman?
Yvonne Hawkins: That Hinkley man? I should think so. Tommy Joe's been our carrier for some time now. Not always on time, but a nice enough fellow. And do you know, we haven't even gotten our mail today. Is that legal? I think everyone up to us on this road has gotten their mail, and he just stopped delivering after he found those bodies. I'll bet our mail is still in his postal truck. I wonder if I could just go get it? I don't think Tommy Joe would mind. Do you, Titus?
Titus Hawkins: Nope.
Detective McPhail: I'm not sure that's a good idea, Mrs. Hawkins. The post office will make sure you get your mail. Do you think Mr. Hinkley would have any reason—
Yvonne Hawkins: Oh, don't be ridiculous. He's not a communist. He's a Baptist.
Detective McPhail: Yes, ma'am. He did mention that he was taking a package up to the Izards' door today. Is that usual to get front‑door delivery like that?
Yvonne Hawkins: Not for most postmen, but it is for him, at least for his friends. Why do you think he's so slow on his route? I presume the package was something else from Sears. They're always getting packages. The Izards were always spending too much money on clothing and other fripperies. I warned Lisa time and again, "Dear, if you want to have any money, you must save, save, save."
Detective McPhail: So then Tommy Joe is in the habit of bringing packages to the door?
Yvonne Hawkins: Well, he's been bringing all of us our packages up to the door for several weeks now. Some U.S. Mail items in this area have been disappearing recently, and Tommy Joe knew, of course, that none of us would have stolen from our neighbors. I am, in fact, the one who reported the stolen packages.
Detective McPhail: Thank you, ma'am. Very civic‑minded of you.
Yvonne Hawkins: I've been expecting some new bed linens for weeks, and they haven't arrived. I'm sure they were stolen and told Tommy Joe so. So he began bringing all our packages up to the door. You understand I'm not accusing anyone around here of stealing. Anyone could look at all of us around here and tell instantly that we're not that type of people. We have character. But there's no accounting for some. Don't you agree, Titus?
Titus Hawkins: No accounting.
Detective McPhail: When was the last time you saw any of the Izard family?
Yvonne Hawkins: I saw Richard leave this morning with Ricky. He drives him over to his school, you know. I haven't seen Lisa or little LeAnne since yesterday afternoon. Titus?
Titus Hawkins: I do believe yesterday evening was the last I saw Richard. Miz Izard was getting the mail out of the box yesterday when I drove up. Haven't seen the kids in a few days, don't think.
Detective McPhail: Can you tell me of anyone who might have a personal grudge against the Izards?
Yvonne Hawkins: Oh, well, you know about that Danahy boy. He come around cussing and raising a ruckus a few times there. Then there's that silly fence argument Mrs. Catlett has been fussing about for years, but that's nothing. I say you got to look at that union man.
Detective McPhail: Mr. Hawkins?
Titus Hawkins: Can't say as I can think of anything to add to that.
Detective McPhail: I understand that there have been a few late-night gatherings next door lately. Know anything about that?
Yvonne Hawkins: Which neighbor? I don't know about anything like that. We go to bed early out here. Haven't heard anything to wake me if there has been anything like that. It's been quiet. Titus, you hear anything about that?
Titus Hawkins: No. Seems like I've heard a car or two over at the Waithers place. Figured that was Frank Abbott bringing Hannah home, though. Don't know about any gatherings.
Yvonne Hawkins: Detective, I wonder why your men have not been out in the yard, shouting for those poor dear children to let them know it's safe to come home. Surely they're hiding nearby?
Detective McPhail: We're doing everything we can right now, Mrs. Hawkins, to learn more about who killed the Izards and to find their children.
Yvonne Hawkins: I certainly hope so. I've already contacted our church prayer circle, and they'll be meeting over here later tonight. We plan to pray in shifts, so those little children are covered in prayers, wherever they are.
Detective McPhail: That's a comfort, ma'am. I'll be back in touch if I think of any further questions.
Yvonne Hawkins: You do that. Titus, get up. You've got yard work to do before supper, you hear?
Titus Hawkins: I hear.
Detective McPhail: If you think of anything else, you just give us a call over at the sheriff's office.