Mary Lee Jackson interview
Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 7:24 p.m.
Mary Lee Jackson works as the Stillwaters' maid.
In response to the detectives' request for an interview, Mrs. Jackson came into the Yoknaptawapha County Sheriff's Department after work.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Mary Lee Jackson
Detective Murphy: Good evening, Mrs. Jackson. Thank you for coming in.
Mary Lee Jackson: Not at all.
Detective Murphy: For the record, please state your name and address.
Mary Lee Jackson: My name is Mary Lee Jackson. I live at 604 Tyler Avenue. Now, how can I help you, Detective Murphy?
Detective Murphy: You may be aware that my office is currently investigating the homicide of Ms. Wendy Holloway.
Mary Lee Jackson: Yes, it's been all over the news. What has that got to do with me?
Detective Murphy: We have witnesses who have said that your employer, Blake Stillwater, had a relationship with Ms. Holloway.
Mary Lee Jackson: They had a business relationship if that's what you mean. I believe she was helping him with research on his new book.
Detective Murphy: Did they also have a more intimate relationship?
Mary Lee Jackson: I would suggest you discuss that with Mr. Stillwater.
Detective Murphy: We have every intention of doing that as soon as he gets back in town. However, it's my understanding that you were aware of his relationship with Ms. Holloway nonetheless.
Mary Lee Jackson: Just what exactly do you understand, Detective?
Detective Murphy: Mr. Stillwater asked you to prepare the rental home that Ms. Holloway moved into in September. Is that correct?
Mary Lee Jackson: Mr. Stillwater gave me very specific instructions on preparing that house, yes. However, he didn't tell me who it was for.
Detective Murphy: Didn't you suspect it was for a woman?
Mary Lee Jackson: Why would I suspect such a thing?
Detective Murphy: Was Mr. Stillwater in the habit of arranging for rental homes to be filled with exotic flowers, gourmet foods and candles for male friends?
Mary Lee Jackson: My lord, what a suggestion! Of course not.
Detective Murphy: Weren't those the instructions to fill—
Mary Lee Jackson: All right, yes. Of course, I suspected. Hmph, I knew. Any fool would have known.
Detective Murphy: When did you become aware of his relationship with Ms. Holloway?
Mary Lee Jackson: You're asking questions I do not feel comfortable answering, Detective.
Detective Murphy: I understand that, and I'm sorry if you're uncomfortable, but a woman is dead, and we need to get some answers.
Mary Lee Jackson: Well, surely you don't think Mr. Stillwater had anything to do with it?
Detective Murphy: It's too early in the investigation to rule anyone out, ma'am. If you believe he wasn't involved, then I need you to be honest and forthright. And I need you to do that now.
Mary Lee Jackson: Mr. Stillwater was under that woman's spell. He wouldn't have done anything to hurt her. What do you want to know?
Detective Murphy: Under her spell?
Mary Lee Jackson: There are less polite ways to phrase it, but you know very well what I mean. A man reaches a certain age, he can fall prey to the attentions of a young woman.
Detective Murphy: We've been told that Ms. Holloway was not Mr. Stillwater's first affair.
Mary Lee Jackson: I don't know who would tell you such a thing, but that kind of gossip is beneath you, Detective.
Detective Murphy: What if I told you it was Eugenia and Philip Stillwater who said so?
Mary Lee Jackson: If that's the truth and they were so tacky as to discuss the family's private business in public … well, I suppose that's their prerogative.
Detective Murphy: You don't approve of them talking about it?
Mary Lee Jackson: It's not for me to approve or disapprove. They are my employers.
Detective Murphy: I see. How did you know Mr. Stillwater was having an affair with Wendy Holloway?
Mary Lee Jackson: Aside from the welcome wagon I was instructed to prepare? Well, there was the perfume — not Mrs. Stillwater's preferred scent — on his clothing. I found items, occasionally, in his jacket pockets.
Detective Murphy: You searched his pockets?
Mary Lee Jackson: It's customary, when you're sending clothing to the dry cleaners, to check the pockets.
Detective Murphy: And what kind of items did you find?
Mary Lee Jackson: Items of a personal nature.
Detective Murphy: Such as?
Mary Lee Jackson: Lewd notes. Things of that nature. I'm not comfortable being more specific.
Detective Murphy: Did you return the items to Mr. Stillwater?
Mary Lee Jackson: I put them where they belonged: in the trash.
Detective Murphy: Did you see or hear anything else that made you aware of the affair?
Mary Lee Jackson: The calls that sometimes came when Mr. Stillwater was working at home. The caller rarely spoke if I answered the phone, though I think once she did speak to me. I suspect she had called Mr. Stillwater's cell phone, but it connects to the house phones when he's home and leaves his Bluetooth on.
Detective Murphy: What did she say?
Mary Lee Jackson: She asked for Mr. Stillwater.
Detective Murphy: Did you call him to the phone?
Mary Lee Jackson: No, he was having drinks and appetizers with his family, and I told her so. She declined to leave a message.
Detective Murphy: When was this?
Mary Lee Jackson: The night before Mr. Stillwater left on his trip. The Stillwaters had relatives visiting. They asked me to stay late to prepare the dinner and so forth. In fact, I believe that was the night I stayed over, as the cleanup went late into the night.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever speak to her again?
Mary Lee Jackson: No, I did not.
Detective Murphy: Did you tell Mr. Stillwater that Ms. Holloway had called?
Mary Lee Jackson: No. I saw no need to interrupt his family gathering. He left early the next morning for his trip, so I didn't have the chance then.
Detective Murphy: Did you stay in the morning and prepare breakfast for the family?
Mary Lee Jackson: Yes, I did. Mrs. Stillwater was too preoccupied with other things, so I didn't mind helping out.
Detective Murphy: Why not tell him then?
Mary Lee Jackson: When would I have done that? While his wife was sitting next to him at the breakfast table?
Detective Murphy: Did you ever discuss Mr. Stillwater's relationship with Ms. Holloway?
Mary Lee Jackson: In my position, that would be considered inappropriate.
Detective Murphy: He must have known that you knew.
Mary Lee Jackson: Detective, just because you know something doesn't mean you discuss it. Some things are better left unsaid. He knew I didn't approve, not that my approval was of any importance to him. But he also knew I was a loyal employee and could be trusted.
Detective Murphy: Trusted not to tell his wife?
Mary Lee Jackson: Trusted not to tell anyone. I don't gossip, and I don't appreciate those who do. My mother worked for Mr. Stillwater's father and cared for Mr. Stillwater as a child. She would never have forgiven me any betrayal of the Stillwaters. Do you understand, Detective?
Detective Murphy: Yes, I think so. Did you ever meet Ms. Holloway face to face?
Mary Lee Jackson: No. I believe I saw her once on the Square, but we didn't speak.
Detective Murphy: How did you know it was her?
Mary Lee Jackson: I was aware of what she looked like.
Detective Murphy: How?
Mary Lee Jackson: I came across some photos of her. I wasn't snooping. I was just doing my job.
Detective Murphy: Where are these photos now?
Mary Lee Jackson: I'm sure I don't know. They didn't belong to me.
Detective Murphy: Who did they belong to?
Mary Lee Jackson: I couldn't say.
Detective Murphy: How long ago did you see them?
Mary Lee Jackson: I'm not sure. Less than a month before she died, I'd say.
Detective Murphy: Have you seen them since then?
Mary Lee Jackson: No.
Detective Murphy: Are you Miles Jackson's mother?
Mary Lee Jackson: Yes, Miles is my son.
Detective Murphy: You know he was the one who found Ms. Holloway's body?
Mary Lee Jackson: Yes, of course. My son was very distressed over the entire incident. He said he couldn't stop seeing that girl's body in his mind. For that, I will never forgive Mr. Stillwater.
Detective Murphy: Forgive him? What do you mean?
Mary Lee Jackson: If he hadn't brought her here, none of this would have happened to any of us.
Detective Murphy: I see. Is your son all right now?
Mary Lee Jackson: He will be. I'm afraid it brought up old memories. My daughter, Marietta, passed away some years ago, and her passing was very hard on my son. I suspect this reminded him of that summer day at Sardis Lake.
Detective Murphy: As far as you know, did your son ever meet Ms. Holloway?
Mary Lee Jackson: Absolutely not.
Detective Murphy: How can you be so sure?
Mary Lee Jackson: I know my son, Detective. With everything he's gone through, he would've told me if he had known her.
Detective Murphy: Is there anything else you can tell me about Wendy Holloway?
Mary Lee Jackson: No, there isn't.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for your cooperation, ma'am.
Mary Lee Jackson: You're welcome. I hope I can trust you not to share my knowledge of Mr. Stillwater's extramarital activities with anyone?
Detective Murphy: As long as it doesn't become relevant to the investigation at any point, I see no reason to share that information with anyone outside the sheriff's department.
Mary Lee Jackson: Thank you. I appreciate your discretion, Detective.
End interview – 7:47 p.m.