Man with reddish-brown hair in a sporting goods store

Lyle Nelson interview

Friday, October 30, 2020 – 12:45 p.m.

To get more information about the arrow used to kill Frederick Miller, Detective Murphy went to the Happy Hunter, a local hunting goods store, and spoke to the owner. Mr. Nelson is an expert in archery and bowhunting.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Lyle Nelson

Detective Murphy: Mr. Nelson, I'm Detective Murphy with the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. I was wondering if you had a moment to answer a couple questions.

Lyle Nelson: Sure. How can I help you?

Detective Murphy: I just need some information about arrows. If you could just take a look at some of these photos on my phone. Now, what can you tell me about this particular kind of arrow?

Lyle Nelson: Well, that's not an arrow you'd use for target practice. That's for sure.

Detective Murphy: How can you tell?

Lyle Nelson: See these angled pieces of metal around the arrowhead? This is what we call a broadhead. These cut like knives. This is designed for a quick kill.

Detective Murphy: Do you carry this particular type of arrow?

Lyle Nelson: Yeah, I do. They aren't cheap. I've probably sold twenty of these in the last six months. Mainly to doctors and lawyers.

Detective Murphy: Here's a close-up photo of the arrow. There's this engraving of the number 10 on the shaft of the arrow. Any idea of what this means?

Lyle Nelson: Hmm. That's not a standard marking or anything. In competitive archery, there's "scoring a perfect 10," but to have that on a hunting arrow doesn't make any sense.

Detective Murphy: We also measured the arrow. It's 27" long. Does this tell you anything?

Lyle Nelson: Well, you need to have a long draw and good upper body strength to accurately fire one of these off.

Detective Murphy: How hard is it to hit a moving target with an arrow like that?

Lyle Nelson: I mean, you couldn't just pick up a bow and arrow and hit something. You'd need time to practice and perfect your technique.

Detective Murphy: Do you know why I'm here, Mr. Nelson?

Lyle Nelson: Well, you're not a park ranger, so this can't be about poaching deer.

Detective Murphy: I'm here investigating the death of Frederick Miller.

Lyle Nelson: My God! And that arrow, that's the one that killed him?

Detective Murphy: You think he was killed with an arrow?

Lyle Nelson: That's what the news said.

Detective Murphy: I see. Did you know him?

Lyle Nelson: Yeah, Frederick was a friend. He stopped by all the time.

Detective Murphy: What did you guys talk about?

Lyle Nelson: He came over to shoot the breeze. We both love sports, so we talked about that all the time. It seemed like he'd come over sometimes just to vent about things. His daughter had just started dating, and he had a huge problem with it. Boy, did I have to hear about that!

Detective Murphy: Did she have a steady boyfriend?

Lyle Nelson: Yeah, but Frederick put an end to it. He went a bit overboard if you ask me.

Detective Murphy: Who was she dating?

Lyle Nelson: Marc Huddleston. He seemed okay, kind of an arrogant kid. One hell of an archer. Top guy on the team at the high school.

Detective Murphy: So what happened?

Lyle Nelson: Frederick made Lizzie break it off.

Detective Murphy: And that was that?

Lyle Nelson: Yeah. What else could she do?

Detective Murphy: Did Frederick ever mention if anyone had threatened him or any other trouble he may have been having?

Lyle Nelson: No, nothing like that. I mean, he had problems with kids at school all the time, but not that kind of trouble. 

Detective Murphy: What kind of problems did he have with the students?

Lyle Nelson: You know how teenagers can be. He was always talking about how disrespectful they were. He said a kid was cheating in his class, and he was obsessed with busting him.

Detective Murphy: Did he mention the name of the student?

Lyle Nelson: No, he just said that he had a plan, and the kid was going down.

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

Lyle Nelson: He stopped in on the way to choir practice yesterday. Seemed super stressed.

Detective Murphy: Did he say why?

Lyle Nelson: I asked him, but he seemed to be in a bad mood. All he said was the kids were making him crazy. I think he stopped by here just to get a break from everything. It's usually pretty quiet around here on the weekday evenings.

Detective Murphy: When he left here, you said he was going to choir practice?

Lyle Nelson: Yeah.

Detective Murphy: And what did you do?

Lyle Nelson: I was here until after closing.

Detective Murphy: What time do you close?

Lyle Nelson: 6:00.

Detective Murphy: What did you do after that?

Lyle Nelson: I was here closing up until about 6:30, and then I went over to The Roadhouse to get something to eat. Why are you asking me where I was?

Detective Murphy: We're asking everyone we talk to who knew Frederick Miller. It's just standard procedure, but I promise I won't take up much more of your time here. I just have a couple more questions. Where were you when you got the news?

Lyle Nelson: Coach Lancaster called me this morning. I was at home, getting ready for work. I was going to stay home, but it was too short of notice. Can't say I've gotten much done today. I'm still… I just can't believe it.

Detective Murphy: I'm sorry for your loss.

Lyle Nelson: Thank you.

Detective Murphy: Who is Coach Lancaster?

Lyle Nelson: Travis Lancaster. He's the archery coach over at the high school. I guess someone notified the school that Frederick— anyway, so Travis called me because he knows Frederick and I are friends.

Detective Murphy: Is there anything else you can think of that might help out our investigation? Anyone else he was having trouble with or anything else he was worried about?

Lyle Nelson: Nope, that's all I can think of right now.

Detective Murphy: Okay, well, you've been a great help, Mr. Nelson. We'll be in touch if we have any other questions as we dig deeper into the investigation.

Lyle Nelson: You need anything from me, you just say the word.

Detective Murphy: Would you be willing to give us a sample of your DNA and your fingerprints?

Lyle Nelson: I— yeah. Sure. I guess.

Detective Murphy: Thank you, sir. And again, I'm sorry for your loss.

Interview ends – 1:06 p.m.


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