Joe Wechsler interview
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – 7:30 a.m.
Joe Wechsler owns the lodge where Death to the Revelers was being filmed and rented it to Dalton Kimbrough.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him by telephone at his home in Jackson, Mississippi.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Joe Wechsler
Detective Murphy: For the record, please state your name, age, address, and occupation.
Joe Wechsler: I'm Joe Wechsler. I am 54. I live at 740 Hickory Ridge Drive here in Jackson. I'm a plumber with my own company, Wechsler's Plumbing, serving Jackson and the surrounding area since 1988.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Please tell us about your relationship with Dalton Kimbrough.
Joe Wechsler: I first met the young man back in October. He contacted me about renting the lodge I have up in west Yoknapatawpha. At first, I wasn't sure that I wanted to rent it at all, but eventually, he offered to pay $2,000 a month and, since me and my family weren't going to be using it, I decided to rent it to him. So he took out the lease on January 1st. It was a six-month lease, and he paid all six months in advance.
Detective Murphy: Did you speak with him after he signed the lease and moved in?
Joe Wechsler: He called me on a regular basis to let me know everything was going fine. There was an incident early on where they broke a side table while they were filming a scene for the movie. We discussed it, and he agreed to cover the cost of the table. After that, he took to calling me regular to let me know everything was okay.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us anything about Dalton Kimbrough as a person?
Joe Wechsler: He seemed to be a real studious guy, real focused on what he wanted to do. He was a real straight shooter with me, and I liked him. I didn't really understand him, but I liked him.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us anything else about Dalton Kimbrough or about the time he was living in your lodge or anything like that?
Joe Wechsler: This was this one little gal who called me one day and asked if she could come by and see me. I said sure, and she came by the shop. Said her name was Cheyenne Wyoming. Don't that beat all? Anyway, she said she was an old friend of Dalton's, and she'd been looking for him for a long time. She said she was heading up to a retreat or something near Holly Springs, and she'd heard Dalton had rented a place from me. She wanted to stop by and surprise him, seeing as how they were old friends and all that. Now, normally, I wouldn't go for anything like that, but she was a sweet ol' girl — real nice looking, real polite, real persuasive — and so I gave her the address.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember when this was? The date?
Joe Wechsler: It was 'round about February. The first week of February, maybe.
Detective Murphy: Did you ever see her or hear from her again after that?
Joe Wechsler: No, I sure didn't. But she said she was going to that retreat, women's group, whatever-it-was, so I didn't really expect her to drop back by.
Detective Murphy: Do you know if she actually did go to your lodge to see Mr. Kimbrough?
Joe Wechsler: I have no way of knowing that. He never mentioned it, and I didn't want to ask him, seeing as how it was supposed to be a surprise and all.
Detective Armstrong: Did she give you any contact information so you could get in touch with her? Did she ever leave you a message or anything like that?
Joe Wechsler: You know, come to think of it, she didn't. When we were working out a good time for her to come by the shop, she always said she was on the move, and she would call me back. You know kids these days. I didn't ask.
Detective Murphy: Did Dalton Kimbrough ever give you any addresses or references for places he had lived before?
Joe Wechsler: You know, he didn't. He was going to. He always said that he meant to send me that stuff, but he never did, and after a while, I just forgot about it.
Detective Murphy: So you leased your lodge to him for six months, and you didn't have any references?
Joe Wechsler: Well, you know… I talked to people who knew him around in Oxford. And I've known John McPhail for years, and he said the kid was okay, so, you know, I believed him. 'Course, I knew Johnny was gonna be out there too — Dalton told me that — and so I knew, if nothing else, Johnny would keep an eye on the place. Wouldn't let those kids get all crazy and destroy it.
Detective Armstrong: Okay, Mr. Wechsler, is there anything you can think of that you have to tell us that might be relevant?
Joe Wechsler: I'm not sure I have anything else to tell you, but I have something to ask.
Detective Armstrong: All right. Go ahead.
Joe Wechsler: Can you tell me when I'm gonna be able to get back in my lodge? We're coming up on summer here pretty quick.
Detective Murphy: Well, sir, I don't know that offhand, but we can put you in touch with the DA's office, and you can work that out with them.
Joe Wechsler: The grandkids are gonna be real disappointed if we can't go up there.
Detective Armstrong: I hear you, Mr. Wechsler. I can't speak for the prosecutor, but hopefully, we'll get everything we need in time for you to use it, but right now, I just can't guarantee it. I'm real sorry.
Joe Wechsler: That's all right. I know you folks got a job to do. And that Dalton was a good kid. Pretty unusual, no doubt about it, but I think he had a good heart underneath all that.
Detective Murphy: Well, we thank you for your time this morning. If you think of anything else at all related to Dalton Kimbrough, please give us a call even if it seems unimportant. You never know what little detail might turn out to be the thing that solves the case.
Joe Wechsler: I definitely will. What happened to that young man was terrible, and I hope you catch the one who did it to him.
Detective Murphy: Yes, sir. That's what we plan to do. You have a good day now.
Interview ended – 7:58 a.m.