Smiling young blonde woman with hair pulled back

Deborah Eaton interview

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – 5:15 p.m.

Deborah Eaton is a student at the University of Mississippi and is dating Hunter Nelson.

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


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Deborah Eaton

Detective Armstrong: Good afternoon, Miss Eaton. Thank you for coming in today.

Deborah Eaton: You're welcome.

Detective Murphy: Please state your name and address for the record.

Deborah Eaton: Deborah Jean Eaton. I live in Hefley Hall on campus.

Detective Murphy: Do you have any idea why we wanted to talk to you?

Deborah Eaton: I suppose it's something about Kristi Waterson.

Detective Murphy: That's right. Did you know her?

Deborah Eaton: I know of her.

Detective Armstrong: What do you know of her?

Deborah Eaton: She was an instructor in the business school.

Detective Armstrong: Anything else?

Deborah Eaton: Like what?

Detective Murphy: Like her private life.

Deborah Eaton: I know her family is wealthy and influential, and she pretty much did what she wanted to without worrying about losing her job. She had it all.

Detective Murphy: All. Such as?

Deborah Eaton: Money, job, her own apartment, nice car, nice clothes, active sex life, lots of guys. I mean, what more is there?

Detective Armstrong: You mentioned doing pretty much what she wanted to without losing her job. What do you mean by that?

Deborah Eaton: Well, I heard from some of the kids who had her as a teacher that she really wasn't very good. She gave easy grades to kids she liked and was always letting class out for some no-good reason. That's great for the goof-offs but not for those of us who are going to school to learn.

Detective Murphy: But you said she did what she wanted. What sort of things did she do?

Deborah Eaton: She liked the male students. She dated them, and then when she was through with them, she threw them away.

Detective Armstrong: You talk like you know specifically of someone that happened to. Do you have names?

Deborah Eaton: No. I just heard people talking.

Detective Armstrong: So you don't know anyone Kristi Waterson dated?

Deborah Eaton: We didn't socialize in the same circles. I'm just a waitress and a student. She was a college instructor. And older.

Detective Armstrong: You're dating Hunter Nelson now, aren't you? Would you say he's more in your circle or in Kristi Waterson's circle?

Deborah Eaton: Hunter likes me for me. He doesn't care that I don't have money. We have other things in common. We're both from Natchez. We're both students. We're about the same age. We have a lot in common other than money.

Detective Murphy: Is he one of the young men you're talking about who used to date Ms. Waterson?

Deborah Eaton: I don't know.

Detective Murphy: Miss Eaton, we think you do know. Why don't you just tell us about it?

Deborah Eaton: Okay, yes. He used to go out with her a long time ago, but he doesn't talk to me about her. He won't talk about her to anyone that I know of. He gets angry if anyone even mentions her—not at the person, really, but more like the subject just makes him mad.

Detective Murphy: Why is that?

Deborah Eaton: I don't know. We don't talk about it. Besides, he didn't care about her anymore. He told me he didn't. And I know he didn't have anything to do with… what happened to her because he was with me that night.

Detective Armstrong: Hunter was with you the night Kristi Waterson died?

Deborah Eaton: Yes.

Detective Murphy: Tell us about that night, Miss Eaton.

Deborah Eaton: We just hung out at his place.

Detective Armstrong: Where is his place?

Deborah Eaton: Warren Street.

Detective Armstrong: You know the street number?

Deborah Eaton: 118, I think.

Detective Armstrong: When did you get there?

Deborah Eaton: Hunter picked me up. I guess we got there about 5:00 p.m.

Detective Murphy: What was he wearing? Do you recall?

Deborah Eaton: I don't know. Does it matter?

Detective Murphy: It might. Try to remember.

Deborah Eaton: Let's see… I'm sure he had on khakis. He wears those a lot. And I think… he might have worn a navy shirt that night, but I'm not positive. Does that help?

Detective Murphy: It might. Tell us about your evening. What did the two of you do that night?

Deborah Eaton: There isn't that much to tell.

Detective Murphy: Did you go out, order a pizza, what?

Deborah Eaton: We just watched a movie and some TV. Nothing special.

Detective Murphy: About what time did you start watching the movie?

Deborah Eaton: I didn't keep a minute-by-minute record, Detective. We got there and had a couple of sandwiches. We watched this really old movie Se7en with Brad Pitt. Then we watched some American Vandal episodes. 

Detective Murphy: That's it?

Deborah Eaton: Well, we had some munchies later. Is that what you mean?

Detective Murphy: Yes. What else?

Deborah Eaton: I don't know. At probably 11:00 p.m. or so, we went to bed. We didn't make it too late because I had to work the next afternoon. And we wanted some time to just spend with each other, if you know what I mean.

Detective Armstrong: And when did you go home?

Deborah Eaton: About 10:00 the next morning. Why is this so important?

Detective Murphy: And you two were there the entire evening?

Deborah Eaton: Yes, that's what I said.

Detective Armstrong: Was Hunter with you that whole time?

Deborah Eaton: What do you mean?

Detective Armstrong: Was he with you the entire time? Did he ever go out? Even just to run an errand, pick up something to eat, anything like that? Maybe he went out after you fell asleep?

Deborah Eaton: What do you think? That he had another girl? That he'd leave me in the middle of the night? Why would he do that?

Detective Murphy: Miss Eaton, is there some reason you're not just answering the question?

Deborah Eaton: I know what you're doing. You're trying to make it look like he had something to do with what happened to her. He didn't. I told you that already.

Detective Armstrong: You're sure about that?

Deborah Eaton: Of course!

Detective Armstrong: Even if we told you we had a witness who saw Hunter at Kristi's apartment complex that night?

Deborah Eaton: That's ridiculous! I'm telling you, he didn't kill her.

Detective Armstrong: Well, then, who do you think could have done it?

Deborah Eaton: You mean kill Kristi?

Detective Armstrong: Yes. Who do you think could have killed Kristi?

Deborah Eaton: Why ask me? I don't have a clue. I didn't know her. I don't know any of her boyfriends.

Detective Murphy: You know Hunter.

Deborah Eaton: But Hunter broke up with her months ago. He wasn't seeing her anymore. He told me. You… you can't think Hunter had anything to do with this!

Detective Armstrong: Well, Miss Eaton, as you know, this is an ongoing investigation, and we may need to talk with you again. Do you have any problem with that?

Deborah Eaton: I don't know why you would have to harass me. Talk to all the other people who know her better. I have nothing more to tell you. Why can't you just leave me alone?

Detective Murphy: We'll do whatever's necessary to find Ms. Waterson's killer. And that may include talking with you again.

Deborah Eaton: Can I go now? I'm going to be late for work.

Detective Armstrong: Yes, Miss Eaton, but we'll be seeing you again.

Interview ended – 5:52 p.m.


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