Friday, October 29, 2021 – 9:15 a.m.
Woody Herron is the Assistant Stage Manager for the Yoknapatawpha Players.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee spoke to him again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Woody Herron
Detective Beckwith: Have a seat, Mr. Herron. We have a few more questions for you.
Woody Herron: For just me?
Detective Beckwith: No, this is just routine. We follow up with lots of people all the time. It's the job.
Woody Herron: All right. But please call me Woody. I'm tense enough here.
Detective Magee: Okay, Woody, give us your full name and address again before we start.
Woody Herron: Woodrow Wayne Herron, 2219 Lee Loop, Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Magee: Let's start with the set wall that fell onto Scott Bryant.
Woody Herron: All right.
Detective Magee: Was Scott completely under the wall when you first found him?
Woody Herron: Actually, no. Once I shined my flashlight under the wall, I saw one part of his shoe was sticking out.
Detective Beckwith: Which foot?
Woody Herron: His right.
Detective Beckwith: Was he face down or face up at this point in time?
Woody Herron: Face down.
Detective Beckwith: Which direction were his legs pointed?
Woody Herron: To the east.
Detective Magee: So his legs were to the east and head to the west. If the wall had remained standing, would his body have been parallel to the wall?
Woody Herron: Yes, and only inches away.
Detective Magee: So if you were inside the lab when the lab wall fell on Scott, you would be able to look under the wall on that end and see Scott just under there, right?
Woody Herron: Yes. If you had a flashlight like I did, you would definitely be able to.
Detective Beckwith: CSU found a lot of blood on the bottom portion of the fallen wall where it would have been near the floor. Can you explain that?
Woody Herron: Maybe it came from Scott's costume.
Detective Beckwith: The problem with that explanation is that there's a void in the bloodstain where Scott's head would have been. Would that bloodstain have been on the wall prior to the show?
Woody Herron: No, all the walls of the set that face the backstage are blank. Wait, are you saying that Scott was hurt before the wall fell on him?
Detective Magee: We're trying to find that out.
Woody Herron: So you're saying this wasn't an accident?
Detective Magee: Calm down, Woody, we don't know anything for sure. Can you tell us about the people who would have been around Scott when he was backstage? Start from the beginning of the play.
Woody Herron: At the beginning of the play, Scott and I were backstage at the front of the theater.
Detective Beckwith: Is this near the performance area where the audience was?
Woody Herron: Yes, the muster point. That's where Weston Naboa briefed the audience on the zombie situation. We were running the lights and sound in that area, and Scott fogged it.
Detective Magee: Then what happened?
Woody Herron: Naboa's character gets spectacularly killed by a surprise zombie attack. We used a different stage blood for this attack—one that contained more liquid so it would splatter out at the audience members in dramatic fashion. After Naboa's character died and the audience moved away, Naboa went backstage to get his zombie makeup applied.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see him backstage at that point?
Woody Herron: Yes, he came back and went over to Cammy Stargel to get into makeup. Scott continued east in the backstage area on the north side of the theater. I moved outside to the performance area's southside to make sure lights and sound were working there.
Detective Magee: Is there a backstage area on the south side of the theater?
Woody Herron: No, I was in full zombie costume, so I was managing that side of the theater from the performance area and playing a zombie role at the same time.
Detective Magee: When was the next time you were backstage?
Woody Herron: Not until after the big zombie battle occurred at the climax of the play. In the script, I attack Janet Weber's character at the maze entrance and drag her to the north side of the theater. She goes backstage at that point to put on simple zombie makeup.
Detective Magee: Did she go directly into makeup?
Woody Herron: Yes.
Detective Beckwith: Did anyone else go backstage at that time?
Woody Herron: Yes. Anna Kessler's doctor character gets killed and dragged backstage like Janet's.
Detective Magee: Was this scripted?
Woody Herron: Yes.
Detective Magee: Was she applying makeup at the same place and time as Janet?
Woody Herron: Roughly. When Anna came backstage, I went back into the performance area. I was still in zombie mode, menacing Kyler Birdsall's character until he entered the maze. After he did, my acting duties were over. I didn't see Scott, who was scripted to be a zombie attacker at the same time and location.
Detective Beckwith: What did you do?
Woody Herron: I called for him. There was no answer.
Detective Magee: Then what did you do?
Woody Herron: I didn't want to be any louder because the play was still going on, so I went to the battlefield area to see if he was there.
Detective Magee: Was he?
Woody Herron: No. Essie Joplin and Martin Vargas were there. I asked Essie if she had seen Scott, and she said he told her to go to the west entrance, so I looked for him there. When he wasn't there either, I went back through the performance area a bit more systematically. I went through the mobile lab, like I told you before, and found Scott under the wall.
Detective Magee: Did Essie Joplin go with you?
Woody Herron: No. She was behind me when I left her on the battlefield. I don't know where she went after I left her.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, let me sum this up. You left backstage at the beginning of the play and then followed the action of the play in the performance area, traveling the length of the theater on its southside?
Woody Herron: That's it.
Detective Beckwith: And you went backstage again only near the end of the play?
Woody Herron: Yes, only briefly to drag Janet there.
Detective Magee: Do you know if any other actor or crew member was scripted to go backstage while you were acting?
Woody Herron: Only Martin Vargas. He was scripted to leave the big battle at the mid-point to ratchet up the tension for the audience members.
Detective Beckwith: Did he do that?
Woody Herron: Actually, I don't know. I wasn't in a position to see. I was on the south side of the theater at that point.
Detective Magee: Okay, Woody, you were a big help today. We'll probably need to get more information from you in the future, but you can go now.
Woody Herron: All right. But I hope all this business is done soon. My nervous stomach can't take it.
Interview ended – 9:34 a.m.