Blake Stillwater interview
Thursday, April 28, 2022 – 12:30 p.m.
Blake Stillwater is a local author who reportedly had both business and personal relationships with Wendy Holloway.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Blake Stillwater
Detective Armstrong: Would you state your name and address, please?
Blake Stillwater: Blake Stillwater. I live at 238 Highway 6 West, just outside Oxford.
Detective Armstrong: And your occupation?
Blake Stillwater: I am a lawyer by education as well as a writer.
Detective Murphy: Do you still practice law, Mr. Stillwater?
Blake Stillwater: Not really. I keep an office and a research assistant around. Every once in a while, I might consult on a case here and there, mainly just to keep my hand in.
Detective Murphy: So the majority of your income comes from writing?
Blake Stillwater: That's correct.
Detective Murphy: We've been trying to get in touch with you for some time.
Blake Stillwater: I was out of the country promoting one of my novels. I was able to get an earlier flight back so I could meet with you today.
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Stillwater, we asked you here to talk to you about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Wendy Pane Holloway. Since you're an attorney, I'm sure you're familiar with the investigative process. We're not accusing you of anything at this time, but it would be best for everyone if you didn't dance around behind a bunch of legal obstacles.
Blake Stillwater: Is that your polite way of telling me to answer the questions and not divert you with legal mumbo-jumbo?
Detective Armstrong: If you want to take it that way, then yes.
Blake Stillwater: I can assure you that I had nothing to do with Ms. Holloway's death, so I will be glad to provide whatever information I can. But I can also assure you that I am not going to be pushed around by small-town cops with an attitude.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, fine.
Blake Stillwater: Then, can we get started?
Detective Armstrong: You moved here to Oxford, in what? 2006 or so?
Blake Stillwater: That's correct. I had tired of the demands of practicing as a criminal law attorney, and the success of my first book gave me reason to focus on writing. So we left Chicago and moved down here.
Detective Armstrong: How long were you here in Oxford before you had your first affair?
Blake Stillwater: Please! What kind of question is that?
Detective Armstrong: Your tendencies towards young women are well known around town. Your son was very frank with us about your extramarital affairs.
Blake Stillwater: Regardless, that's none of your business.
Detective Armstrong: Fine. Then why don't you tell me the nature of your relationship with Wendy Holloway?
Blake Stillwater: I employed Ms. Holloway as a consultant. I'm working on a new novel that's heavily involved with the internet and technology. I'm afraid that I'm pretty archaic when it comes to such matters, so I retained Ms. Holloway as sort of a technical advisor.
Detective Murphy: And what kind of advice did she give you?
Blake Stillwater: She answered questions. I know the basics of navigating the internet, but I'm clueless about the more technical aspects of it. She explained to me some of the various technologies used to create and operate websites. In many cases, she would just act as a sort of tutor, answering questions. In other cases, I would give her passages of text to read over to ensure their accuracy.
Detective Murphy: Could you give us some more details on some of these issues she helped you with?
Blake Stillwater: I'll try. I'm apprehensive about giving away too much of the plot of my new novel, and frankly, I'm not sure I understand all the things well enough to describe them.
Detective Murphy: Just do the best you can.
Blake Stillwater: In short, besides explaining how websites work and so forth, she was trying to find the best way for someone to hide their online activity that also would work within the story I'm developing. Oh, and she was also looking into password theft of some sort.
Detective Armstrong: So, how did you communicate with her? If you know nothing, then how did you describe to her what you wanted?
Blake Stillwater: Simple, really. Everyone knows about hackers. It's on the news all the time now, so for example, I would simply say to Wendy— uh, Ms. Holloway that I was thinking of a scene where the villain taps into the hero's bank account. She would then describe how it works technically.
Detective Murphy: So your relationship with the victim was entirely professional?
Blake Stillwater: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: Now, see? This is what pisses me off about you lawyer types. You're really going to sit right there and bald-faced lie when we ask you questions?
Blake Stillwater: You're accusing me of lying?
Detective Armstrong: I'm not accusing. I'm stating. It's a fact.
Blake Stillwater: What makes you think I'm lying?
Detective Armstrong: Because even your own son admitted that you were having an affair with Wendy Holloway, and yet you sit there and say your relationship was purely professional?
Blake Stillwater: And what did he have to say?
Detective Armstrong: Let me flip through my notes. God forbid I might misquote him, and you sue me. Let's see … he said, and I quote: "She was having an affair with my father." Your son confronted her at a bar and screamed at her to leave his family alone. There are several witnesses to the altercation, and he admitted it himself. And your own wife told our detectives that she knew you were having an affair with Ms. Holloway. So what's your answer?
Blake Stillwater: A family upset that I spend so much time traveling? A jealous wife who poisons the son against the father? There are many possible explanations.
Detective Armstrong: So you're not going to admit to having an affair with Wendy Holloway?
Blake Stillwater: I told you the extent of our professional relationship. Anything beyond that, I would prefer not to answer.
Detective Armstrong: Even if I show you the emails you wrote to her, talking about how much you couldn't wait to see her again and all sorts of lovey-dovey stuff?
Blake Stillwater: You would make an excellent card player, Detective. The way you slowly dole out information and reveal your cards is quite admirable. But you can interpret those emails any way you want. I'm not answering that question.
Detective Armstrong: You're really making things look bad for yourself here.
Blake Stillwater: If you don't have any real evidence—and I'm assuming you don't since you haven't charged me with anything—then it doesn't really matter what sort of impression I make.
Detective Murphy: When we talked to Mary Lee Jackson, she told us that Wendy called you the night before you left town. Mrs. Jackson answered the call, but she didn't inform you of the message.
Blake Stillwater: Okay.
Detective Murphy: But later that night, you left a message on Wendy's voicemail saying something to the effect of "Sorry, I missed your call." Care to explain that?
Blake Stillwater: Simple. I heard the phone ring. When I saw Mary Lee's face, I knew immediately who it had been on the phone.
Detective Murphy: Why is that?
Blake Stillwater: Mary Lee has been an important part of our household for years. However, she doesn't necessarily approve of all aspects of my life. Anytime an attractive woman is involved, Mary Lee tends to get very aggressive. Because of this tendency, she did not like my work with Ms. Holloway. I could tell by her tone of voice and facial expressions who was on the phone.
Detective Armstrong: Were you and Wendy trying to conceive a child?
Blake Stillwater: I have no intention of dignifying that question with a response.
Detective Armstrong: Because forensics found out that Wendy's diaphragm had a little tiny hole in it. What do you think about that?
Blake Stillwater: Well, I… I don't know. What am I supposed to think?
Detective Armstrong: What are your thoughts on possibly having an illegitimate child, Mr. Stillwater?
Blake Stillwater: I can assure you that would not happen.
Detective Armstrong: Why? Because you wouldn't let her? A young woman is having an affair with a famous married man, seems like someone's trying to get pregnant, then she ends up with her head knocked in. Your wife tolerates your infidelities, but what would she do if a little baby showed up? You probably wanted to make sure that didn't happen.
Blake Stillwater: No! Listen, I've told you. I had nothing to do with Wendy's death. If people want to gossip about our relationship, there's nothing I can do about it, but her birth control habits mean nothing to me.
Detective Armstrong: Damn, this is the first time you've gotten flustered. I'm surprised that a mere employer would get so upset about an employee's contraceptive habits.
Blake Stillwater: I really don't care what surprises you, detective.
Detective Armstrong: Would you be willing to submit a semen sample for DNA testing?
Blake Stillwater: Hell no! There is no reason for me to do that.
Detective Armstrong: Seems to me there is. If you're just her boss and didn't have anything to do with her death, a simple DNA test would clear you right up. You wouldn't have to fool with me again.
Blake Stillwater: I don't care. I am not going to submit to that kind of indignity.
Detective Murphy: Where were you at the time of Wendy's death, late night of April 15th, early morning of the 16th?
Blake Stillwater: I was at home, asleep. I got up early, around 4:30 a.m., to go to the airport in Memphis. I had an early flight out to Tokyo.
Detective Armstrong: And if I told you the airline's records don't corroborate that?
Blake Stillwater: Then I'd say you were bluffing, detective. Look, is that all you want? I've just gotten back to town, and I have a lot of things to see to.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure you want to leave before we finish asking our questions?
Blake Stillwater: I don't think we're going to accomplish anything further here. I don't appreciate the way these questions are going, and I'm not going to waste any more of my time listening to your filth.
Detective Armstrong: Fine, Mr. Stillwater. You don't have any more book tours or promotional things anytime soon, do you?
Blake Stillwater: No. Not until my next book is published, which is some months away.
Detective Armstrong: Good. Then it won't be an inconvenience when I ask you to let us know if you should feel the need to leave town during the next couple of weeks. Thanks for your time. Oh, and drink some water or something. You look like hell.
Interview ended – 12:56 p.m.