Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – 5:49 p.m.
After Mallory Benson came in with her attorney to talk to investigators, the detectives asked Peggy LeClaire to come back in again for some additional questions.
Detective Armstrong re-interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Peggy LeClaire
Detective Armstrong: Would you please state your full name and address for the record?
Peggy LeClaire: Peggy Madeline LeClaire, 224 North 18th, Oxford.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. LeClaire, thank you for coming in today on such short notice.
Peggy LeClaire: What is it now, Detective? I'm sure I don't have another thing to tell you.
Detective Armstrong: We have information that you own more than one gun. Is that correct?
Peggy LeClaire: I turned in my gun, at your request, for testing.
Detective Armstrong: I'm asking you if you have another weapon in addition to the one you surrendered to the Sheriff's Department.
Peggy LeClaire: If I did, don't you think I would have turned it in?
Detective Armstrong: So, you don't have a second gun?
Peggy LeClaire: You'll never find a second gun of mine. Is that all?
Detective Armstrong: No, ma'am. When was the last time you saw Boyd Forbes?
Peggy LeClaire: Boyd? My heavens, I can't even think when the last time I saw him. Years and years ago, when I was young and foolish. I wouldn't even know how to reach him. No idea where he is.
Detective Armstrong: He's actually in jail right now. We can contact him if we need to.
Peggy LeClaire: Well, why would you want to talk to Boyd?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe he gave you a gun. The last time you saw him.
Peggy LeClaire: Why on earth would he have given me a gun? What a notion!
Detective Armstrong: Well, you do currently own a gun, don't you? The one you loaned to us for testing?
Peggy LeClaire: Yes, but I got that gun for myself. For protection. I'm a single woman living alone. This is a dangerous world, Detective, in case you haven't noticed. Why is that so strange to you?
Detective Armstrong: Never said it was strange, ma'am. So, if we do go up and see Boyd, he's not going to tell us about a .25 Beretta he gave you some years back as a backup?
Peggy LeClaire: I have no idea what he might tell you. I can say that he is not the most honest person you will ever encounter. As you said, he's in jail. I can guess it's not for a traffic violation.
Detective Armstrong: You think he'll lie to us?
Peggy LeClaire: He lied to me. Many times. He's a charming man—at least he was—but he has no conscience. He has no room in his heart for God. Without that, you don't have much besides your own selfish need.
Detective Armstrong: What do you think he'll lie to us about?
Peggy LeClaire: Anything and everything. He can spin a good story. That's a fact. If you want to waste your time and go on to whatever jail he's stewing in, ain't none of my business.
Detective Armstrong: Anything you'd like us to tell him when we see him?
Peggy LeClaire: Tell him to read his Bible, and maybe then he won't burn in Hell!
Detective Armstrong: You take the word of the Bible pretty literally? Don't you?
Peggy LeClaire: It's the Lord's word. Should I take it casually, Detective? That's what's the matter with the world today—people think they can be cynical and mean-hearted, and it won't make a difference. But they're wrong.
Detective Armstrong: Like Zoe?
Peggy LeClaire: What about Zoe?
Detective Armstrong: She was pretty mean-spirited and cynical from what I gather. You think she's burning in Hell now?
Peggy LeClaire: I think the Lord is sitting in judgment of her, and He will determine what her fate is in Eternity.
Detective Armstrong: So, your view is we all get what we deserve?
Peggy LeClaire: In the end, yes, I guess we do.
Detective Armstrong: Tell me about your new blazer.
Peggy LeClaire: My new blazer? What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: The blazer you're wearing. Looks pretty new to me. Pretty snazzy. Linen, isn't it? Must've set you back some.
Peggy LeClaire: Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, it is nice, isn't it?
Detective Armstrong: When did you get it?
Peggy LeClaire: I don't know exactly. A few weeks ago, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: What prompted you to get it?
Peggy LeClaire: The one I had was old and worn out. I thought it was time to replace it.
Detective Armstrong: So, it wasn't to celebrate anything? You win some money on the lottery or anything like that?
Peggy LeClaire: No, I'd been saving up for it. I had my eye on it for a long while. When I saw it on sale, I figured I should just go ahead and buy it.
Detective Armstrong: Where'd you get it?
Peggy LeClaire: I got it at Neilson's Department Store.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. Do you remember how you paid for it? Credit card? Check?
Peggy LeClaire: I don't believe in credit cards, and I rarely write checks. Like I said, I was saving up the money. I keep a jar on the kitchen counter and toss in change and such when I get a little extra, you know? So it doesn't feel like I'm depriving myself of a lot of cash at once.
Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh. Mind if I ask you what you paid for it?
Peggy LeClaire: I think it was about $450. Plus tax.
Detective Armstrong: That's a lot of loose change.
Peggy LeClaire: Well, loose change adds up, right?
Detective Armstrong: I suppose so. I want to talk to you about Mallory's book.
Peggy LeClaire: Which book? She's written several.
Detective Armstrong: The one you claimed Zoe stole from her.
Peggy LeClaire: Oh, that one. What about it?
Detective Armstrong: Made you pretty angry, didn't it? When you learned what Zoe had done to your friend?
Peggy LeClaire: Well, of course, I was upset about it. Nobody likes to see their friends cheated and used.
Detective Armstrong: You're pretty protective of your friends?
Peggy LeClaire: I don't like to see anyone get abused.
Detective Armstrong: You have a particular reason that upsets you?
Peggy LeClaire: Like I said, it's a cruel world, and there are a lot of cruel people in it. Bad people get away with bad things all the time. If a body can step in and do something—even a little something—they owe it to their friends.
Detective Armstrong: Is that what you did? Step in?
Peggy LeClaire: Well, I offered Mallory sympathy and support. Tried to give her some advice.
Detective Armstrong: What kind of advice?
Peggy LeClaire: I told her to finish her book reconstruction and to send it to Kathy Silverman. Then, Kathy would realize that Mallory was the true author—not to mention how much better it would be without all of Zoe's changes and distortions of the heart of the story.
Detective Armstrong: What makes you say Zoe distorted the heart of the story? Did you actually see the finished manuscript?
Peggy LeClaire: Of course, I never saw it. As I told you many times before, she didn't have me type it, and she certainly wouldn't ask my opinion on it. I just know is all.
Detective Armstrong: How do you know?
Peggy LeClaire: Because that's what she did with everything! She had to make sure everything had her touch on it, and usually, that touch came from her own distorted and immoral views.
Detective Armstrong: The advice you gave Mallory was your idea of getting even?
Peggy LeClaire: I didn't say anything about getting even. I simply encouraged her to stand up for herself and her work. There was no guarantee that anything would come of it, but at least Mallory would have tried. You know? Stuck up for herself. And maybe Zoe wouldn't do it again.
Detective Armstrong: Well, with Zoe dead, I doubt she'll be able to do it again, as you say.
Peggy LeClaire: What's your point? I'm just trying to tell you that people need to stand up for themselves.
Detective Armstrong: And what if they're not able to? Then what?
Peggy LeClaire: Then, Detective, the Lord will see to His children.
Detective Armstrong: With a little help from His messengers?
Peggy LeClaire: I'm sure I don't know what you mean. Maybe you should go to church more often yourself, Detective.
Detective Armstrong: I'm sure I'll get more time for that later, ma'am. Right now, I'm trying to solve a murder.
Peggy LeClaire: Maybe the Lord could help you with that too. Honestly, I'm not here to debate religious issues with you. Are there any more questions?
Detective Armstrong: Not at this time.
Peggy LeClaire: In that case, I'll be leaving, as it is, I'm late for choir practice. Good evening, Detective.
Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. Thank you for coming in. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 6:17 p.m.