M/M Elbert Warren Jr. interview
Sunday, May 24, 1998 – 3:30 p.m.
In reviewing the 1958 case files, Detective Nelson identified Elbert Warren Sr. as a person of interest he'd like to re-interview.
After determining that Mr. Warren resided at a local nursing home, Detective Nelson first checked with Warren's next of kin to assess Warren's current state of mind and whether an interview with him could be potentially fruitful.
Detective Nelson spoke with Elbert Warren Jr. and his wife in their home at 278 Mockingbird Lane, Oxford.
- Detective Terry Nelson
- Elbert Warren, Jr.
- Pauline "Polly" Warren
Detective Nelson: Mr. Warren, I appreciate y'all giving me some of your time this afternoon.
Elbert Warren Jr.: That's all right. Gives me an excuse to let the garden go one more day. Pauline said this is about that woman stirring up the old Izard case?
Detective Nelson: Yessir. We're just giving it another look over. Figure it can't hurt, after all these years.
Elbert Warren Jr.: I reckon that's why you want to talk to Daddy, right? Old McPhail really had it out for Daddy back then.
Detective Nelson: Had it out for him?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Oh, I expect it was pretty common knowledge that McPhail was sure Daddy did it. But he was wrong. Daddy never did anything like that. Not killing.
Detective Nelson: Mr. Warren, I hope you'll excuse my saying so, but your father did hang out with a rough bunch back then, and it was no secret that he took the glove factory layoff real hard.
Elbert Warren Jr.: Wouldn't you? He had a wife and four kids to support, another one on the way. He needed that job. And I won't lie to you. He hated old Bowlan's guts after that. Never tried to hide it. If he saw Bowlan uptown, he'd make us all cross the street, avoid being on the same sidewalk with him. "Sorry old snake," he always called him.
Detective Nelson: And that was all about the layoffs?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Way Daddy saw it, Bowlan sold 'em all out — the union, the factory, everything — and walked off with a big hunk of money when he sold the factory the next year.
Detective Nelson: How about Richard Izard? Your Daddy hate him, too?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Naw. Maybe just that day.
Detective Nelson: The day of the layoffs?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Right. That day he wasn't too happy with Dick Izard, but killing mad? Naw. I can't see it. Can you, Polly?
Pauline Warren.: Nossir. Paw isn't the easiest man in the world, but he's all bluster. He wouldn't really hurt nobody. I truly believe that. He'll talk a big game, but I seen him nearly shed a tear when little Bert's dog got killed six or eight years back. You remember that, sugar?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Yep. He wouldn't never admit it on a bet, but he's a soft-hearted man. I remember him being real upset after Dick and Lisa Izard's murders. He went out and helped with the search parties looking for those poor little kids.
Detective Nelson: Mr. Warren, I know this isn't the most pleasant subject, but d'you suppose we could talk to your father about that time, if we went out to the nursing home?
Elbert Warren Jr.: I can't stop you. Whether he'll talk to you or not is up to him. He's still got his cussed days, but most days he's easy with himself.
Detective Nelson: Mr. Elbert retired from Carter's, what, ten years ago?
Pauline Warren.: Eleven this spring. We gave him a big party.
Detective Nelson: Did he work anywhere else between the glove factory and when he got on at Carter's Building Supply?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Nossir, he didn't. It was almost two years in between, and those was some tough years. I'll be the first to admit it.
Detective Nelson: How so?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Daddy was drinking some, and Mama lost her job at the steam laundry when it closed in '59, so for half a year it was real touch and go.
Detective Nelson: How'd they turn it around?
Elbert Warren Jr.: Mama got Daddy and us back in church, and Daddy got right with the Lord. Next thing you know, he's working over at Carter's. Worked his way up. Made enough to send my two youngest brothers to the university in time.
Pauline Warren.: Paw Warren did real good by his family, detective. He had a tough row to hoe, but he hoed it well. All that glove factory stuff was a long time ago. Y'all really got to go digging it up again?
Detective Nelson: Yes, ma'am. We believe we do.
Elbert Warren Jr.: Well, you got to do what you think necessary, I reckon.
Pauline Warren.: We'll pray for you and your men, detective.
Detective Nelson: I appreciate that, Mrs. Warren. Mr. Warren. Good day now.