Thursday, April 27, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.
Donna Palmer is the secretary at Faith and Glory Community Church and is a close friend of the victim's wife, Caroline Miller.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed Mrs. Palmer at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Donna Palmer
Detective Murphy: Thank you for coming in today, Mrs. Palmer. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Donna Palmer: Yes, of course. My name is Donna Palmer, and my address is 508 Webb Street. I'm not sure how I can help now, though, since I don't know that boy.
Detective Murphy: What boy is that?
Donna Palmer: The Huddleston boy who's in custody for Frederick's murder. I just can't imagine. Oh, my goodness, and to think that Lizzie and Caroline were in danger too. And possibly the whole school.
Detective Murphy: Why the whole school?
Donna Palmer: The way some of these kids go on a murderous rampage when they're upset. It's tragic what actually happened to Frederick and horrifying to think what might've happened.
Detective Armstrong: Well, let's focus on what actually happened.
Donna Palmer: I'll do my best to help, detective.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you. When we spoke to you last time, you said that Caroline and Lizzie learned to fly under the radar. What did you mean by that?
Donna Palmer: Nothing bad if that's what you're thinking. I just meant that they found ways to work around Frederick's control issues. That's all.
Detective Murphy: By doing what? Can you give us an example?
Donna Palmer: By, you know, not being completely specific about things.
Detective Murphy: By lying?
Donna Palmer: No, not lying. Not like out and out misleading, but just maybe leave off a detail or two so that Frederick wouldn't either forbid them to do something or else excessively question them when they got home.
Detective Armstrong: So, lies of omission then?
Donna Palmer: Well, yes. I guess I'd have to say lies of omission.
Detective Armstrong: Did Caroline ever tell you what she and Lizzie were doing or where they were going in these instances?
Donna Palmer: Not exactly. Sometimes Caroline would tell me things like she dropped Lizzie off somewhere to see friends and then went somewhere to kill time away from home so Frederick wouldn't ask a bunch of questions, but nothing about specific people or a specific location.
Detective Armstrong: Did Caroline ever mention meeting a friend herself?
Donna Palmer: No. Sometimes I would meet her somewhere, and we'd talk for a while.
Detective Murphy: Do you know if Caroline has any male friends?
Donna Palmer: No, I don't think so. I don't think Frederick would've allowed that.
Detective Murphy: Did she ever mention someone named Lyle?
Donna Palmer: That hunting store guy? Yes, she talked about him sometimes.
Detective Murphy: What is their relationship?
Donna Palmer: There is no relationship. She doesn't like that man.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know why?
Donna Palmer: She said he was a bad influence on Frederick.
Detective Armstrong: So, you don't think Caroline and Lyle were friends?
Donna Palmer: Oh, my God, no.
Detective Murphy: Did Caroline tell you why she thought Lyle was a bad influence on Frederick?
Donna Palmer: No, she never really wanted to go into it. She'd just say things like "what Lyle needs is a good woman in his life to give him perspective." Comments like that.
Detective Armstrong: Did it ever come across as "the lady doth protest too much"?
Donna Palmer: What? No. No, I don't think so. Wow. I never thought of it like that. You know what? I'm not sure of anything anymore. This whole thing has got me so rattled.
Detective Murphy: Do you think it's possible then?
Donna Palmer: Detective, a week ago, I would've laughed in your face if you'd told me a friend of mine would be murdered in the parking lot of the church where I work. So, is it possible? Maybe. But I have to say that I truly do not believe that Caroline is involved in any way with this Lyle person.
Detective Murphy: What would you say if we told you that some people have said Caroline is having an affair?
Donna Palmer: I'd say that's an awful thing to repeat.
Detective Murphy: Be that as it may, is it true?
Donna Palmer: How could you ask me something like that?
Detective Armstrong: With all those lies of omission, we have to wonder about the Millers' marriage. How would you characterize their relationship?
Donna Palmer: Flawed, detective. Sad. There was a breakdown of communication. This is not a rumor. This is what Caroline shared with me. And while I believe they loved each other, I also believe that they'd given up. So. What else can I say except yes, it's possible Caroline is having an affair.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know who she's having an affair with?
Donna Palmer: I don't know for sure that she is having an affair. How could I know who someone that may not even exist is?
Detective Armstrong: Did Caroline want out of her marriage?
Donna Palmer: Marriage isn't easy, even in the best of times, detective. She may have— wait. Are you implying that Caroline—? Not a chance. You can just forget about that.
Detective Armstrong: I'm just asking questions. I'm not implying anything.
Donna Palmer: Well, good.
Detective Murphy: Do you think Frederick suspected Caroline was unfaithful?
Donna Palmer: I wouldn't know, detective. Frederick didn't share much in the way of personal matters. Except we always knew when Lizzie did well in school or at a competition. He'd share that.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for being so open with us, Mrs. Palmer. You understand that what we've discussed today is part of our official investigation, and it would be best if it remained confidential?
Donna Palmer: You can count on me, detective. I'm the soul of discretion.
Detective Murphy: Thank you.
Detective Armstrong: That's all we have for now. We appreciate you taking time out of your day to speak with us.
Donna Palmer: You're welcome.
Interview ends – 10:24 a.m.