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Detective Murphy finally caught up with bluesman Willie King

Monday, February 27, 2017 - 3:30 p.m.

Willie King is a blues musician who was reportedly seen with Wendy Holloway on the afternoon she was killed.

Detective Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Participants:

  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Willie King

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in. We were starting to think you were never going to call us back.

Willie King: I was out of town for a gig. You know how it is.

Detective Murphy: Uh-huh. Would you state your name and address, please?

Willie King: William King. 610 Van Buren Avenue, Apt. A, Oxford, Mississippi.

Detective Murphy: That's the same address we have for Carmen Rodriguez.

Willie King: That's right. We been living together for a while now.

Detective Murphy: She told us you weren't living there anymore.

Willie King: Aw, when did she tell y'all that? Last week? She was just throwin' one of her hissy fits. She got over it.

Detective Murphy: I see. And where are you employed?

Willie King: I'm self-employed. I'm a musician.

Detective Murphy: Tell me about your relationship with Wendy Holloway.

Willie King: We were friends. I met her around town. She used to come to my shows and hang out.

Detective Murphy: Was your relationship with her platonic?

Willie King: You want to know if I slept with her? No, I didn't. We just hung out. Partied.

Detective Murphy: Was there ever any attempt to make the relationship more?

Willie King: Well, she was a good-looking woman. At one time, I guess I tried to get at her, but she wasn't interested in that. So we just became good friends.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw her?

Willie King: I believe it was the night she was killed. She came into Proud Larry's and came up to me during one of our breaks. She said she was feeling low, and we talked a bit. Then my woman showed up and caused a big scene. She's really jealous and thought me and Wendy was going at something.

Detective Murphy: Your woman is Carmen Rodriguez?

Willie King: That's right.

Detective Murphy: Then what happened?

Willie King: We started playing again. Wendy yelled at me something about "message in a bottle." We play mainly blues, but sometimes I throw in some rock or something for the college kids. Almost as a joke. So the boys launched into that old Police song. After that, I didn't see Wendy again.

Detective Murphy: What did you do after your show was over?

Willie King: Carmen was just waitin' for us to finish playin' so she could start in on me. So she lays into me right after we finished the last set. She thinks I was hooking up with Wendy, so she's yellin' and screamin', throwin' stuff. Pitchin' a real bitch while we're tryin' to load up. We holler for a while, and by the time we got everything packed up, I've had enough. She kept sayin' that I couldn't come home, and I didn't want to hang around her anyway, so I left her there, still yellin'.

Detective Murphy: What time was that?

Willie King: I dunno. Probably 1:45, 2:00. I don't remember exactly.

Detective Murphy: Where did you go?

Willie King: Me and the boys hung out some at Hound Dog's. Sat around and had a few beers. Then I crashed on his couch.

Detective Murphy: Hound Dog's?

Willie King: He's our drummer, Danny Morgan. He's got a place over on North 15th.

Detective Murphy: Do you know where Carmen went after you left Proud Larry's?

Willie King: Home, I reckon.

Detective Murphy: What did you do after you crashed on Danny Morgan's couch?

Willie King: Some of the boys in the band were getting up real early to go fishing. I hadn't planned on joining them, but since I was in no mood to get into it with Carmen again, I decided to go with 'em. I went by the house to get some stuff I needed for the trip to New Orleans and met them at the Chevron before we all headed out.

Detective Murphy: And they can verify that you were with them?

Willie King: Sure.

Detective Murphy: Did you see Carmen when you went to your apartment?

Willie King: Sure didn't. I just needed some clothes for my trip, and since she'd thrown every stitch I own out on the front porch, I didn't even have to go inside. Just picked it all up and put it in my van.

Detective Murphy: Mr. King, you've been arrested for narcotics possession before, and it's no real secret around town that you still indulge. Did Wendy Holloway ever use any drugs?

Willie King: I'm not quite sure how to answer that.

Detective Murphy: Look, Willie, she's dead. We can't arrest her. It's not like you're tattling. Tell the truth, and it may help us find her killer.

Willie King: Yeah, I reckon that Wendy liked to party.

Detective Murphy: Was she high when you saw her at Proud Larry's that night?

Willie King: Nah, but I give her something to make her feel better. Didn't sell it to her, mind you.

Detective Murphy: Don't worry. This isn't about trying to bust you. Would you say that Wendy's drug habit was serious? Or out of control?

Willie King: No way. She worked hard and liked to take the edge off, and she liked to party. But she wasn't no junkie.

Detective Murphy: Who did she get her drugs from?

Willie King: Just people. It wasn't like she was some major drug player like on The Wire or anything. She would just get some from people at parties and stuff. Nothing major.

Detective Murphy: Do you know of any debts she might have had to any dealers or anything?

Willie King: What did I just say? It wasn't like she went around buying in bulk. One night, she might have some and would share. Another night, I might have some and would share. It's that simple.

Detective Murphy: Do you know much about Wendy's personal life? Was she dating anyone that you know of?

Willie King: She played pretty close to the vest about that kind of thing. She was seein' someone, that much I'm sure of. But just who I couldn't tell you.

Detective Murphy: Was it someone here in town?

Willie King: I reckon so.

Detective Murphy: I hear you ate lunch with Wendy at The Blind Pig that Friday afternoon before she was killed. Is that right?

Willie King: Well, sort of. She ate lunch. Mine was more of the liquid variety.

Detective Murphy: Uh-huh, and did you see anyone else with her at lunch that day?

Willie King: She come in with that writer guy she was workin' with, but he left. I waited 'til he was gone before I went over to talk to her.

Detective Murphy: Why did you do that?

Willie King: Aw, he thinks he's pretty hot sh— uh, stuff. Acts like he's too good for the likes of me. And Wendy, she didn't like him to know about our… recreational activity. It was no skin off my nose since I'd just as soon not have to deal with him anyways, so I never did come up to her when he was around.

Detective Murphy: Do you know the writer's name?

Willie King: Blake Stillwater. That pretty much says it all, don't you think?

Detective Murphy: I'm not sure what you mean.

Willie King: Skip it.

Detective Murphy: Do you think he's the man Wendy was seeing?

Willie King: Could be.

Detective Murphy: Do you know of anyone who might have wanted to hurt Wendy?

Willie King: I been thinkin' about that ever since I heard what happened to her, but I can't think of a soul. She was a sweet girl, Wendy.

Detective Murphy: Did you have any reason to hurt her?

Willie King: You crazy, lady? No way. We was friends like I told you. I got no reason to kill her.

Detective Murphy: You know we found your fingerprints on a matchbook she had in her pocket when we found her body?

Willie King: So what? That don't make me a killer. That makes me a guy who touched matches.

Detective Murphy: Would you be willing to give us a blood sample so we can do a DNA comparison with some samples we found on her body?

Willie King: Hold up a minute. I don't know about that. I think I should check with my lawyer before I do anything like that.

Detective Murphy: You can certainly talk to your lawyer if you want to, but if you were to give us your full cooperation, it'd give us cause to look more favorably on you.

Willie King: All the same, I think I'll talk to my lawyer first.

Detective Murphy: Suit yourself. If you've got something to hide, I can understand why you'd be cautious.

Willie King: Oh no. This ain't my first rodeo, and you ain't ropin' me in with that one. You got any other questions or are we done?

Detective Murphy: That's about all I've got for now. But Willie, I'm going to ask you to let us know anytime you leave town until we notify you that you've been cleared as a suspect.

Willie King: When will that be?

Detective Murphy: When will you give us a blood sample?

Willie King: Look, we got gigs out of town all the time. I'm supposed to tell you every time? You can't make me do that.

Detective Murphy: I'm not making you. I'm asking you. If you don't want to cooperate with the investigation into your friend's death, that's your choice.

Willie King: Thanks. You're a big help. Can I get out of here now?

Detective Murphy: Sure. We'll be in touch. And you let me know what your lawyer says.

Willie King: Yeah. I'll do that.

End interview – 3:59 p.m.

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