Jerry & Irene Stover interview
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – 10:00 a.m.
Jerry and Irene Stover are the victim's parents.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed them at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Irene Stover
- Jerry Stover
Detective Murphy: Thank you both so much for coming to the station this morning. Our deepest sympathy for your loss. We realize this will be difficult for you, but the more information we have about your daughter, the sooner we can find who did this.
Irene Stover: We want to do whatever we can to help, Detective, but I must tell you my husband has not been well since hearing the news. We have a doctor's appointment as soon as we leave here, so we'd appreciate it if you'd make this as short as possible.
Detective Murphy: Of course. Before we get too far, we just need you to state your names and address for the record.
Irene Stover: Irene Stover. 121 Main, Abbeville, Mississippi.
Jerry Stover: Jerry Stover. Same address.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Stover, we'll ask you some questions, but feel free to add any information you think is pertinent. And remember that we're addressing both of you, so feel free to interrupt.
Detective Armstrong: I understand Andrea had moved back home with you when she was released from prison. How we're y'all adjusting?
Irene Stover: Yes, we offered to let her stay with us until she could get back on her feet financially. She accepted but made it clear it was a temporary arrangement. She planned to move out as soon as she could afford a place of her own. In fact, she'd been looking for a place the last couple of weeks.
Detective Murphy: How did having her with you work out? It must be difficult to have an adult child move back home, particularly when she'd been gone for a while.
Irene Stover: It was okay. We tried to give her "her space," as she called it. And she really wasn't around all that much.
Jerry Stover: Maybe if she'd been home more, this never would have happened.
Detective Armstrong: What do you mean, Mr. Stover?
Jerry Stover: She was always at that confounded theatre or with the people who were involved with it and her no-good so-called friends. It was almost like she purposely stayed away from home.
Irene Stover: Now, dear, she was a grown woman and didn't want to hang around her parents.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Stover, is there someone specific you're thinking of who was no good for Andrea?
Jerry Stover: Well, what about that crazy so-called benefactor, Owen Norris? If he hadn't been so quick to rehire her at Oxtales, she might have moved on, maybe even away from Oxford and all the crazies here. And she might still be alive. What does a man like that want with Andrea anyway? He was up to no good.
Detective Armstrong: Do you think her death had something to do with her association with Oxtales?
Jerry Stover: Well, I sure as hell think it might. Look at all the grief and aggravation that last play caused. And now she's planning another stupid play. That COP group was handing out flyers about her and Oxtales, and all the garbage about her was being dredged up again. Did you know she'd had a death threat?
Detective Murphy: When was that, sir?
Jerry Stover: Oh, some time since she got home. We got phone calls all hours of the day and night, but no one was there. Then one night, someone told her to quit with the pornography, or she'd be sorry.
Detective Armstrong: Did you report it, sir?
Jerry Stover: Irene wanted to call the sheriff, but Andrea wouldn't have it. She said y'all had caused her enough trouble, and she could handle it. She didn't take it seriously. Said it was just some nut harassing her, and she'd rather deal with them than have y'all harassing her.
Detective Murphy: I'll make a note of that, sir. We may need to look into that more thoroughly.
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Stover, do you know what she was doing at Oxford Centre on Sunday night?
Irene Stover: I know she was thinking of that as a site for a presentation. She called it guerrilla theatre.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what she meant by guerrilla theatre?
Irene Stover: No, I'm sorry. You'd have to ask someone at Oxtales about that.
Detective Armstrong: Speaking of Oxtales, did she get along with everyone there?
Irene Stover: Yes, she seemed to. Although she did mention that Dale King had been acting a bit cool since she returned. He had her job while she was in jail, but then when she got home, Mr. Norris gave her the job back. That meant Dale was demoted, I guess. You'd have to talk to him. He'll probably take over now that she …
Detective Murphy: Are you all right? Would you like a minute?
Irene Stover: Could I have a glass of water, please? It's just so hard to accept she's really gone. Oh dear, I'm sorry. I swore I wouldn't fall apart.
Jerry Stover: How long you going to put us through this? Can't we go now?
Detective Armstrong: I'm sorry you have to go through this, Mr. Stover, but you want to catch whoever did this, don't you? We really need your help.
Irene Stover: Of course, Detective. I understand. It's all right, Jerry. I'm okay now. Did you have more questions?
Detective Armstrong: Do you know anyone else at Oxtales?
Irene Stover: Yes, there's Frank Tuttle. She dated him quite a lot before she went away, and he called her a couple of times after she was home. She didn't seem too interested in him romantically, I don't think, but she saw him all the time at Oxtales. He's one of the performers and the stage manager, you know. He could probably tell you of other people at the theatre that Andrea knew.
Detective Murphy: What about her other friends outside the theatre?
Irene Stover: Well, there's Gretchen. Gretchen Doyle. She and Andrea have been friends since college. They were very close for a while and have remained best friends over the years. When Andrea's out late and doesn't want to disturb us, she stays at Gretchen's house.
Detective Armstrong: Anybody else you can think of who would know what people she'd been seeing since her release from prison?
Irene Stover: No, I can't think of anybody else right off hand. She was pretty busy, what with working all day then working at the theatre weekends and in the evening.
Detective Murphy: Where did she work?
Irene Stover: She works at the Occasions Store. The owner there was supportive of Andrea and the theatre. Andrea had worked there since she graduated from Ole Miss. The owner was very flexible about her hours and paid her quite well.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us the owner's name?
Irene Stover: Yes, it's Gloria Blackwell.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Andrea?
Irene Stover: Oh, dear. This is so difficult. We talked to her at breakfast Sunday morning. We often sat down and visited on Sunday. It was one time we could get together without one of us having to rush out. She seemed very happy with the way the new play was going.
Detective Murphy: But?
Irene Stover: But she was concerned about the commotion COP had been causing. She was afraid it would affect their ability to stage the new play, but Andrea was a determined young lady. I know she wasn't perfect, but I miss her. Oh dear, there I go again.
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Stover, do you know where Andrea was Sunday afternoon and evening?
Jerry Stover: How would I know? She didn't talk to me about her comings and goings. I was just her father. I didn't rate.
Irene Stover: Now, dear. Don't go on about it. You know how much she loved you.
Jerry Stover: And how do I know that? Did she ever tell me? Did she ever spend time with me? Did she— oh God, I can't believe she's gone.
Irene Stover: She had a rehearsal with the theatre group. They were going to have a potluck dinner there since they usually rehearsed until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. You'd have to ask someone at the theatre what time they finished, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us where you were Sunday afternoon and evening, Mr. and Mrs. Stover?
Jerry Stover: Are you out of your mind? How dare you ask us that like we're suspects? I'm going to see that you lose your badge!
Detective Murphy: It's routine, Mr. Stover. Knowing where everyone was will help us determine what went on that evening.
Irene Stover: Oh, for heaven's sake, Jerry. Get yourself together. It's not the detectives' fault she's dead—or yours either. Just calm down and answer the questions, so we can get to the doctor and go home. This isn't going away, so deal with it!
Jerry Stover: Hmph!
Irene Stover: Detectives, we were home all day. We had dinner with our next-door neighbors, the Langguths, at their house, and then we played cards for a while. We were home in bed by 10:00 p.m.
Detective Armstrong: Early night?
Irene Stover: Jerry had to work early the next morning. I wasn't scheduled to go in until noon. I'm sorry, Detective, but I suddenly feel exhausted. We want to help, but if you have more questions, could we put it off until another time? We really need to get to the doctor.
Detective Murphy: Of course. I think that's all for now. If it would be all right with you, we'd like to stop by your house and take a look around Andrea's bedroom. We might be able to find something that would help us identify her killer.
Irene Stover: Of course. Just call us when you'd like to come.
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Mrs. Stover. We'll do that. In the meantime, if you think of anything else, would you please call us? And we'll be in touch soon. Thank you so much for your cooperation at this difficult time.
Interview ended – 10:41 a.m.