Saturday, October 30, 2021 – 9:15 a.m.
Woody Herron is the Assistant Stage Manager for the Yoknapatawpha Players.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee asked him to come into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department again for more questions.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Woody Herron
Detective Magee: Hello, Mr—
Woody Herron: Woody, remember?
Detective Magee: Woody, we have a few more questions for you today if you don't mind.
Woody Herron: All right. I gotta say, though, y'all are making me jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Detective Beckwith: Why is that?
Woody Herron: This is the third time y'all have talked with me. I told y'all before that I get nervous easy.
Detective Magee: As long as you tell us the truth, Woody, you have nothing to worry about. Give us your full name and address again for the record.
Woody Herron: Woodrow Wayne Herron, 2219 Lee Loop, Oxford, Mississippi.
Detective Magee: The main reason you're here today is that we want to know more about the club used by Martin Vargas during the "Zombie Escape" play.
Woody Herron: All right.
Detective Magee: Are you familiar with this club?
Woody Herron: Yes, I know it.
Detective Beckwith: Did you make this club for the play?
Woody Herron: No, no. Scott made it. He made most of the prop weapons for the show.
Detective Beckwith: Most?
Woody Herron: Well, he didn't make the stage guns. We rented those used from an outside vendor. The close-combat prop weapons he made himself.
Detective Magee: Where?
Woody Herron: At his house, I believe. He's got a workshop there.
Detective Beckwith: Have you been to Scott's workshop?
Woody Herron: No, but Scott was always saying that he'd take this or that home to the workshop to fix it or make it better. He said it was just easier to do home where he had all the tools in one place.
Detective Magee: What close-combat prop weapons did he make?
Woody Herron: Weapons that looked like they could be improvised from common items found inside a military camp. You know, big ol' pipe wrenches, tire irons, batons, knives, clubs wrapped in concertina wire, that sort of thing.
Detective Magee: So, did you ever handle this club?
Woody Herron: No, but I did hold some of the versions of that weapon.
Detective Beckwith: What were they made of?
Woody Herron: Foam, mostly. We had a couple of them, both made from the same material.
Detective Beckwith: The concertina wire?
Woody Herron: It was latex. It looked scary, but it was as soft and pliable as toilet paper...
Detective Magee: Were the clubs heavy?
Woody Herron: Nah, they were a pound or so, I'd say.
Detective Magee: Was fake blood or gore applied to these prop weapons for use onstage?
Woody Herron: As I remember, they were prepainted with blood-like streaks, and just before the show, we added some stage blood to them.
Detective Beckwith: How much?
Woody Herron: Just a little, so it looked like the weapon had really made contact with a zombie.
Detective Magee: What kind of stage blood was applied?
Woody Herron: Standard mint-flavored Nye Stage Blood.
Detective Magee: Who applied the blood?
Woody Herron: Scott did.
Detective Beckwith: Is there any possibility that one of these fake clubs was replaced with a real one?
Woody Herron: I doubt it. Scott would have known. He set up Martin's club in position before the rehearsal.
Detective Magee: Could you take us through where the club and other weapons would have been the day of the show?
Woody Herron: Sure, our prop weapons were mostly being stored in the armory onstage so they'd be available for the audience during the play. And because it was easy to keep them there because they were out of the way when the show wasn't in progress. Those weapons did not have fake blood applied to them pre-show.
Detective Beckwith: What about the weapons that weren't in the armory?
Woody Herron: Those weapons, like some of the stage guns, were placed in various places around the second half of the performance area, so the audience could find them and use them in a pinch if they wanted to. Martin's club, however, was bloodied-up backstage before the show, and Scott took it to a weapons stand backstage near the mobile lab.
Detective Magee: Why was this club treated differently from the other weapons?
Woody Herron: Because only Martin Vargas' character was scripted to use it. And, like the other clubs, we didn't want an audience member to inadvertently pick it up. They would have known it was fake.
Detective Beckwith: By the weight?
Woody Herron: Yes, and because it had drippy blood on the barbed wire already.
Detective Magee: So do you think Martin would know that this club was fake during the performance?
Woody Herron: Oh, sure. He'd used one of the two early-version clubs each time he was rehearsing this scene.
Detective Beckwith: Martin's character dies in this scene, right?
Woody Herron: Yes. That's right.
Detective Beckwith: What happens to the club after Martin's character dies?
Woody Herron: Nothing. It falls to the ground. The crew would retrieve it after the show and put it backstage in storage for the next show.
Detective Magee: And the crew members would have known that the club was fake?
Woody Herron: Yes.
Detective Beckwith: Did any crew members or actors retrieve the club after the rehearsal when Scott was killed?
Woody Herron: No. There wasn't any time. We were trying to help Scott, and then y'all came and asked us a bunch of questions and told us not to touch nothing. All y'all's people took the prop weapons we used in the show to your labs, wherever they are.
Detective Magee: Okay. Would anyone besides Scott or Martin ever have the opportunity to touch that club during the show that day?
Woody Herron: Uh, no one else was supposed to.
Detective Magee: Do you know if anyone did?
Woody Herron: I can't say for sure. I was on the south side of the theater most of the show. The backstage area is only on the theater's north side.
Detective Beckwith: But you said you went looking for Scott and found him backstage after the show.
Woody Herron: Yeah, after the show. But I didn't even think about the club then. We were trying to help Scott. Y'all's people would have known where the club went to; they were the ones who picked it up.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see the field evidence techs pick it up?
Woody Herron: No, but none of the close-combat weapons are here anymore, so I figured you have them.
Detective Magee: Woody, can you tell me what your relationship with Scott was like?
Woody Herron: We worked well together. In my opinion, we got more accomplished in a show than with a crew twice our size.
Detective Beckwith: Which of you have worked longer with the troupe?
Woody Herron: I have. I was in the crew before Scott was hired.
Detective Magee: So you got passed over when Scott got the job of stage manager?
Woody Herron: Yes, that's true. Denis Goodman, our playwright, pushed for Scott to be stage manager because Scott's girlfriend was one of Denis's friends from college.
Detective Beckwith: That probably made you mad, didn't it?
Woody Herron: I wasn't happy about it, but what could I do? I kept working as hard as I could, and eventually, Scott and I got to a place where things were working smooth as a well-oiled machine. I could have whined and cried about getting passed over, but I think I profited in the long run by being the bigger man.
Detective Magee: Did you tell anyone that you suspected Scott got his position through nepotism?
Woody Herron: Nep-o-what?
Detective Magee: That Scott got his position because of a friendship rather than merit?
Woody Herron: No, I held my tongue. Besides, it was obvious that no nep-o-whatever was going to happen again when Scott's girlfriend went and killed herself.
Detective Beckwith: What do you mean?
Woody Herron: Well, after she did the deed, Scott and Denis went from being buddy-buddy to being mortal enemies. Denis told me that Scott essentially killed Ginny.
Detective Magee: Why?
Woody Herron: By neglecting her.
Detective Beckwith: Now that Scott's gone, you have the inside track to become stage manager, don't you?
Woody Herron: I don't know. I don't do the hiring. I got passed over before. Besides, I would only want the job if I earned it, not because someone got killed. That's a horrible thing to think.
Detective Beckwith: In my job, you'd be surprised what horrible things people can think.
Woody Herron: I'm sure I don't want to know.
Detective Magee: Okay, Woody, we're through with our questions for now. You can head home.
Woody Herron: Last interview?
Detective Beckwith: I wouldn't bet on it.
Woody Herron: Y'all are going to be the death of me.
Interview ended – 9:42 a.m.