Dan Courrier interview
Friday, March 3, 2017 - 9:15 a.m.
Dan Courrier is a computer programmer and technical architect in Atlanta, Georgia.
Detective Armstrong interviewed him by telephone about his relationship with Wendy Holloway.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Dan Courrier
Detective Armstrong: Would you state your name and address, please?
Dan Courrier: My name is Daniel Courrier. I live at 609 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you for agreeing to talk to us.
Dan Courrier: Certainly. I just hope you catch whoever did this.
Detective Armstrong: Can you describe your relationship with Wendy Holloway?
Dan Courrier: We were friends. We met a couple of years ago when both of us were working for the same firm. Since then, we've both moved on to other jobs, but we stayed in touch. Wendy used to email me questions about things. I'm a bit more experienced, so I guess she thought of me as a mentor or something. But really, she was far more talented than me.
Detective Armstrong: Like what kinds of questions?
Dan Courrier: Whatever she was working on at the time usually. Sometimes, you can get so immersed in a patch of code that you can't see what's what. A new pair of eyes can very quickly provide the answer you can't see because you're in too deep. We kind of did that for each other. Just answered questions, offered advice, that sort of thing.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know what type of software Wendy was working on at the time of her death?
Dan Courrier: Not specifically. I knew it had something to do with security. Encrypting emails and stuff. I read some of the early white papers and technical designs, but that was some time ago. Most recently, she would just ask a few questions, and I would answer those isolated queries. Mainly, she was nearing the end of the development process and was kind of freaking out. She started thinking about too much new stuff.
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean?
Dan Courrier: She was almost finished. Then, she started second-guessing things. It's like if you bake a cake, and you decorate it. You want this cake to be really, really pretty, so you keep adding more and more stuff to the decoration. You keep doing that, and you screw things up. Overdo it. You should stick to your original design. That's what I was telling Wendy.
Detective Armstrong: Did Wendy work on this security software entirely by herself?
Dan Courrier: She did all the design and planning. And she did all the coding. So essentially, she built the whole thing. I think she had somebody doing testing for her, and her brother helped her with some of the business aspects of it. Investors, marketing, that kind of stuff.
Detective Armstrong: Were things going well in that regard?
Dan Courrier: I don't really know. I think it started out well. Her brother's had a bit of a checkered past, as I understand it, and she was glad to help him out. Plus, she had too much on her plate anyway. But then, something started to happen.
Detective Armstrong: What?
Dan Courrier: I'm not really sure. She sent a couple of e-mails wanting to know if I knew any of the legal ramifications of ending their business relationship before the launch. I don't really know what the details were. Wendy certainly had a tendency to bury herself in her work and not surface for weeks at a time, so maybe her brother did the same, and she got frustrated that she couldn't contact him. Who knows? I just know that she had concerns about the way he was handling the business side.
Detective Armstrong: Have you ever met her brother or worked with him?
Dan Courrier: No.
Detective Armstrong: You're sure?
Dan Courrier: Yes, of course, I'm sure. I'd remember if I had, especially since Wendy had been talking about him some just before she died.
Detective Armstrong: Did Wendy tell you about any of her other projects? Besides the security software?
Dan Courrier: She did mention that she was doing research for something that might turn out to be very famous. She wouldn't go into any details, but I got the impression that it was some sort of art thing. Maybe a movie or something.
Detective Armstrong: And did she help you in the same way? Answer questions for you like you did for her?
Dan Courrier: To a degree. I didn't tell her as much about what I was working on as she told me. I guess occasionally I might ask for her advice. One of our clients was complaining about the response time of their application, so I was working on this little utility that would generate a performance log. Wendy helped a bit on that.
Detective Armstrong: How much did you know about Wendy's personal life?
Dan Courrier: It's hard to say. We always chatted a bit, but email is pretty impersonal, you know, and when we did talk on the phone, it was pretty much only about work-related things. I mean, she mentioned that she was dating someone new, and she seemed pretty blown away by the guy, but she never gave any specifics.
Detective Armstrong: So you don't know if things were going well or poorly with that relationship?
Dan Courrier: Not really. She might say, "Oh, he's great" or something, but that was about it.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. Mr. Courrier, do you know if Wendy ever used drugs?
Dan Courrier: Well, I'm not quite sure.
Detective Armstrong: Come on, Dan. I can hear your hesitation. It's okay. Unfortunately, she's dead. But that means anything you tell us can't be used against her. This type of information might help us catch her killer.
Dan Courrier: Okay, okay. Yeah, I guess Wendy did occasionally use drugs.
Detective Armstrong: Like what?
Dan Courrier: Cocaine mostly. She liked the edge it gave her, the energy. We work terribly long hours in this business. You've got a deadline coming, and a product is supposed to ship, and you're working round the clock for weeks. I've had many times where I haven't left this building for a week or more. Some people play video games. Some people rollerblade in the hallways. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the stress.
Detective Armstrong: And Wendy's was coke.
Dan Courrier: Yeah, I guess. Most people would take little breaks, get up from their workstations, and wander around like zombies. The fitness freaks would go downstairs and lift weights for an hour. I go down the hall to a buddy's office and throw darts. Wendy would get up, go to the bathroom, splash cold water on her face, snort a few lines, and be right back at her desk, coding away. When the rest of us would feel bad for taking an hour break, Wendy would take five minutes for some blow, and be back at work.
Detective Armstrong: Would you say that she had a drug problem?
Dan Courrier: No. She only used it when she needed that boost. There were plenty of times when she would be on the beach and not use it for weeks or even months.
Detective Armstrong: On the beach?
Dan Courrier: Oh, sorry. Our business is very cyclical. You get periods of intense work. Then there are some periods where things are pretty slow. So people are unstaffed from time to time. We call it being on the beach. Essentially, they don't have any real pressure-packed work to do. When Wendy was on the beach, she wouldn't touch the stuff for weeks on end.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know of any enemies that Wendy might have had?
Dan Courrier: Well, no. I don't guess so.
Detective Armstrong: Once again, I can hear it in your voice.
Dan Courrier: Okay, okay. I guess Wendy probably had a lot of enemies. But I can't imagine anyone would want her dead.
Detective Armstrong: Why so many enemies?
Dan Courrier: Wendy was determined to be a success. Depending on your perspective, you could say that she was incredibly ambitious, or you could say that she was obsessed, maybe even cut-throat. She would do anything to get ahead.
Detective Armstrong: People didn't like that?
Dan Courrier: I guess the thing that irritated people the most was that she was notorious for stealing ideas. If you came up with something good, you'd better guard it with your life, or she would have it. That's one of the reasons that I didn't ask her opinion the way that she asked mine. I'd like to think that she wouldn't do that to me, but who knows?
Detective Armstrong: Do you know anyone specific that she'd done this to who might want revenge?
Dan Courrier: Not really. She just wasn't very well liked. Her evaluations at work always raved about how good a coder she was. How gifted. But there's this one question on the evaluation where it asks, "Would you want to work with this person again?" and most people said no. She could just be a bit vicious. As good as she was, people didn't like working with her.
Detective Armstrong: I see.
Dan Courrier: But I can't imagine that any of those people would want to kill her. A lot of people have a co-worker they dislike, but they don't kill them.
Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anything else that I should know?
Dan Courrier: No. I wish I knew something that could help.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. If you think of anything else, just give me a call. Thanks for your time.
End interview – 9:41 a.m.