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Nathaniel's relationship with Frederick was sometimes contentious

Friday, April 21, 2017 – 2:30 p.m.

Nathaniel Huggins is the music director at Faith and Glory Community Church. He also directs the chancel choir.

Detective Armstrong spoke with him in the choir room at the church.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Nathaniel Huggins

Detective Armstrong: Hello, Mr. Huggins. I'm Detective Armstrong with the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. I'm investigating Frederick Miller's death and was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time.

Nathaniel Huggins: Sure, you can. What do you need to know?

Detective Armstrong: First, can I get you to state your name and address for the record?

Nathaniel Huggins: Sure. Nathaniel Huggins. 2152 Anderson Road.

Detective Armstrong: Where were you when you heard the news?

Nathaniel Huggins: My wife Laura and I had just turned in, it must have been around 11:00. The phone rang, and it was Pastor Roberts. He could barely get out the words. Said that something terrible had happened and that Frederick was dead.

Detective Armstrong: Did he tell you any other details?

Nathaniel Huggins: He wasn't making a lot of sense. He just kept on saying over and over that Frederick had been shot. My first thought that it must have been a gun.

Detective Armstrong: What happened next?

Nathaniel Huggins: I asked him if he wanted me to come down there or if there was anything I could do. He said that the cops were keeping people away from the scene and that I should just stay at home.

Detective Armstrong: How well did you know Frederick?

Nathaniel Huggins: I've known him the last five years since he's been the assistant choir director.

Detective Armstrong: Would you consider him a friend?

Nathaniel Huggins: Somewhat. Laura and I went over to have dinner with him and his wife a few times. That woman knows how to cook a ham.

Detective Armstrong: Were you close?

Nathaniel Huggins: Close as far as a working relationship goes. Sometimes it wasn't easy. Frederick had his moments.

Detective Armstrong: What do you mean?

Nathaniel Huggins: Sometimes he forgot that the word "assistant" was in his job title.

Detective Armstrong: Did you two have disagreements?

Nathaniel Huggins: The Bible says “Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone.” Frederick thought that he was perfect and could throw as many pebbles as he wanted.

Detective Armstrong: How so?

Nathaniel Huggins: It seems like he always had a comment about something. When we added electric guitar to the choir, he just about had a fit over that.

Detective Armstrong: Why was that?

Nathaniel Huggins: He said rock and roll instruments had no place in the church. It's not like we were playing heavy metal.

Detective Armstrong: Anything else?

Nathaniel Huggins: He was always complaining that we were singing the songs at the wrong tempo. They weren't always perfect, but perfection isn't our goal. Our goal is to bring glory to God and minister to his flock.

Detective Armstrong: How did you deal with these conflicts?

Nathaniel Huggins: Frederick was pushy, but I wasn't afraid to push back when I thought that he was in the wrong.

Detective Armstrong: Did that happen recently?

Nathaniel Huggins: Yeah. He kept giving my sopranos a hard time in practice about their singing on “I'm Bound for the Kingdom.” I told him that the harmonies were challenging, and he should ease up. He stormed out of practice.

Detective Armstrong: How did that make you feel?

Nathaniel Huggins: Dealing with a guy like that who constantly criticizes people, including yourself, gets to you. And yeah, I got mad all the time. Thank God for my wife. She's an angel when I've had a bad day. Without her, I don't know what I'd do.

Detective Armstrong: Did things over boil over? Did you ever get physical with him?

Nathaniel Huggins: Dear Lord, no. But there were many times I felt like wringing his neck. Lots of people felt the same.

Detective Armstrong: Did you see Frederick get mad about anything else recently?

Nathaniel Huggins: He seemed irritable at practice last night, and he didn't seem to be all there. It was like his mind was somewhere else.

Detective Armstrong: How so?

Nathaniel Huggins: He seemed agitated. He almost made the poor widow Darla Collins cry after practically yelling at her about being behind the beat.

Detective Armstrong: Did you notice anything else out of place that practice?

Nathaniel Huggins: He was checking his phone all the time. I had to tell him to knock it off.

Detective Armstrong: Did he mention anything was wrong to you after rehearsal?

Nathaniel Huggins: I didn't have a chance to find out. I left immediately after. Maybe if I had stuck around, this whole terrible thing wouldn't have happened. I've been playing “what if” over and over and over.

Detective Armstrong: And where did you go after?

Nathaniel Huggins: I went straight home. Laura had my favorite — chicken and dumplings — ready for me on the table. I can't tell you how good that felt.

Detective Armstrong: Is there anything else you remember from last night that we should know?

Nathaniel Huggins: Nope, that's all I recall.

Detective Armstrong: We're asking everyone we talk to in this case to provide fingerprint and DNA samples to assist with the investigation. Would you be willing to do that?

Nathaniel Huggins: Well … I suppose so.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you, Mr. Huggins. And we appreciate all the information. We'll be in touch if there's anything else we need from you.

Nathaniel Huggins: You're welcome.

End interview – 2:31 p.m.

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