Friday, April 28, 2017 – 11:30 a.m.
Investigators re-interviewed people who attended the Sewcial Compassion event at the church the night Frederick Miller was killed to find out if any of them had any more information.
Shelley Mitchell is a member of Faith and Glory Community Church and attended the Sewcial Compassion event.
Detective Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Shelley Mitchell
Detective Murphy: Good morning, Ms. Mitchell.
Shelley Mitchell: Good morning. Is the restroom close?
Detective Murphy: Do you need to use it now?
Shelley Mitchell: No, but soon, and I like to be preemptive. I'll need it after this. Unless this takes more than twenty minutes, in which case I'll need to take a potty break.
Detective Murphy: It shouldn't take that long, so let's get started. Please state your name and address for the record.
Shelley Mitchell: Shelley Mitchell. 593 McElroy Drive, Oxford.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Ms. Mitchell, what time did you arrive at the Sewcial Compassion event?
Shelley Mitchell: Oh, just a few minutes before 7:00 p.m.
Detective Murphy: And you were there all evening?
Shelley Mitchell: Right.
Detective Murphy: Was it a quiet event or was it more lively?
Shelley Mitchell: There was a lot of gabbing, you know, but we weren't boisterous or anything.
Detective Murphy: Was there a lot of activity in and out of the room?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, the gals came in from choir practice when that was over, but otherwise not too much. Except for me, that is.
Detective Murphy: You were in and out of the room?
Shelley Mitchell: Yes. Frequent urination due to pelvic floor trouble.
Detective Murphy: I see. You didn't notice anyone else leaving the room?
Shelley Mitchell: Not that I recall, no.
Detective Murphy: When investigators spoke to you on the night of the event, you mentioned that you saw Stephanie Bragg in the hallway.
Shelley Mitchell: Oh, yes! Stephanie! Love that girl. She was real busy that night.
Detective Murphy: Did you notice her going in and out of the room?
Shelley Mitchell: Not so much in and out of the room, but she was being a good hostess, so she didn't sit down very often.
Detective Murphy: What was her demeanor, do you remember?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, she's amazing at these things. She really knows how to put people at ease, and she's very organized. So, since the church was hosting it, she was moving around the room a lot, making sure people had what they needed and that they felt welcome.
Detective Murphy: Did she seem nervous?
Shelley Mitchell: Nervous? No, more anxious I'd say, because she is a bit of a perfectionist, and she wants things to be just right.
Detective Murphy: Did you notice her leaving the room?
Shelley Mitchell: At one point, Margie Davis wanted a cake knife, and she was bugging Stephanie to get into the kitchen, so Stephanie ducked out for a few minutes then.
Detective Murphy: What time was that?
Shelley Mitchell: Oh, I'd say around 7:45-ish. That's when Stephanie got a little vexed with Margie.
Detective Murphy: Vexed how?
Shelley Mitchell: Just a little bit irritated. Margie's great, but she loses perspective on things sometimes.
Detective Murphy: Like what?
Shelley Mitchell: Like a cake knife. So Margie was bugging Stephanie, and Stephanie pulled her out in the hall and told her to behave herself in front of our guests, and that Stephanie was a volunteer just like Margie, and that's all I heard.
Detective Murphy: You saw it, or you heard it?
Shelley Mitchell: Both. I left the room at the same time as Stephanie and Margie, and I heard what Stephanie was saying until I went into the ladies' room.
Detective Murphy: Was that the only time you saw Stephanie in the hallway?
Shelley Mitchell: No, I saw her again later. I just about plowed her over coming out of the ladies room.
Detective Murphy: What time was that?
Shelley Mitchell: I'd guess around 8:15 or 8:30?
Detective Murphy: Can you be any more specific?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, I was really having a hard time that night, detective. I'd made myself a couple of Arnold Palmers, and I'm not supposed to drink anything after 6:00 p.m., so I was dashing to the ladies' room about every 15 minutes there for a while.
Detective Murphy: Where were you when you heard the sirens?
Shelley Mitchell: In the hallway talking to Stephanie.
Detective Murphy: Did you go into the bathroom during the time you were talking to her?
Shelley Mitchell: No.
Detective Murphy: How long did you spend in the hallway with Stephanie?
Shelley Mitchell: Not long. Five minutes or so.
Detective Murphy: What direction was she coming from?
Shelley Mitchell: From the kitchen.
Detective Murphy: You're sure?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, from that hallway. I figured she'd been looking for that cake knife for Margie.
Detective Murphy: She had a cake knife with her then?
Shelley Mitchell: I don't think so. I guess she hadn't found one yet.
Detective Murphy: I see. What was her demeanor at that time?
Shelley Mitchell: Kinda huffy at first. But I made her laugh, and she lightened up a little.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean by huffy?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, she was rattled. I scared the bujeez out of her when I came out the bathroom door and dang near ran her over. She was a little out of breath over it.
Detective Murphy: Did she tell you why she was in the hallway?
Shelley Mitchell: She didn't need to. I know how Margie can get, and I know how Stephanie can get. They both have control issues, and Stephanie had already shut Margie down once, so I think to avoid a Marge-down, Stephanie just went ahead with finding something to cut that cake with.
Detective Murphy: A Marge-down?
Shelley Mitchell: Yes, ma'am. A Margie meltdown. Nobody wants to see one of those. It's second only to a Steph-nami, which I could see coming, so that's when I made her laugh.
Detective Murphy: How'd you do that?
Shelley Mitchell: I told her Margie's secret involving cake and quilting. I hoped it would help Stephanie understand Margie's behavior. And it did. It totally defused the situation.
Detective Murphy: Do you mind telling me the story?
Shelley Mitchell: I guess Margie used to be in a quilting circle with an old, infirm matriarch. They had one last party for her and put Margie in charge of the cake. She decorated it herself. She piped the icing on top to say "Quilter" but she misspelled it and it said "Quitter." So, she's nervous when she's got cake duty.
Detective Murphy: And what was Stephanie's demeanor after you told her?
Shelley Mitchell: Well, she laughed so hard I thought she wasn't going to ever catch her breath. I mean, can you blame her? That's funny stuff! And right then's when we heard the sirens. Oh, my gracious. I've got to go. May I be excused, please?
Detective Murphy: Yes, of course. Thank you, Ms. Mitchell. That's all I need for now.
Shelley Mitchell: You're welcome. Sorry to rush, but nature calls.
Interview ends – 11:49 a.m.