January 10, 2017 – 10:45 a.m.
Mark Gable is a sometime participant in the Oxtales theater productions and was one of the teens involved in the scandal that sent Andrea Stover to prison.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Mark Gable
Detective Murphy: Thanks for taking the time to meet with us today.
Mark Gable: Sure.
Detective Murphy: Would you state your name and address, please?
Mark Gable: I'm Mark Gable. I live at 1213 Harrison.
Detective Murphy: How did you know Andrea Stover?
Mark Gable: God, that sounds so weird to talk about her in the past tense. But I worked with her on some productions for Oxtales.
Detective Armstrong: How did you get involved with the group?
Mark Gable: My drama teacher introduced me to them. He thought it would be good for me to get some experience outside of just the school drama club.
Detective Murphy: Why?
Mark Gable: I really enjoyed drama. For really the first time, I got excited about something in school. I guess you could say that I pretty much didn't care about school until then. I signed up for drama because it would be an easy A, you know? But I really got into it. My teacher said he wanted to fuel the fire he saw in me, that he wanted me to get more work outside of school. So he took me down and introduced me.
Detective Murphy: What was your first impression of Andrea?
Mark Gable: I was pretty nervous around her. I was just a kid, and she was gorgeous, so there was that kind of thing. But once I saw her work, I was amazed. She was such a visionary. It was unbelievable the things that she saw.
Detective Murphy: Did you work with Oxtales alone?
Mark Gable: Nah, I brought a couple of friends with me: Benny Dees and Larry Eastman. Benny just wanted to hang out. He wasn't really into it. Larry liked the theater, so he was more gung-ho than Kurt but still not as crazy about it as me.
Detective Murphy: What kind of work did you do with Oxtales at that time?
Mark Gable: Just grunt work. Nothing special. A lot of times, we were just gofers, running to get pizza or whatever. Sometimes we worked with the scenery and the lights. Other times we might go through rehearsal if someone wasn't there. You know, just stand in. It was whatever the company needed, which was cool. I wasn't under any delusions that I was going to walk in the door and be the star.
Detective Armstrong: So you didn't mind doing the, uh, grunt work?
Mark Gable: No way. It was a great learning experience. That was one of the things I loved the most about Andrea. As driven as she was, she always took the time to explain things to me. Even if it was just about moving a piece of furniture to another position or something. She would always come over and explain why it was a good move.
Detective Murphy: What about your friends? Were they cool just being gophers?
Mark Gable: Sure. Like I said, they were just hanging out really. They didn't care.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about the "Snopes" production.
Mark Gable: Man, do we have to go through that?
Detective Murphy: I'm afraid so, Mark.
Mark Gable: Well, what do you want to know?
Detective Murphy: What was your opinion about the material on stage?
Mark Gable: I thought it was kind of racy but no big deal. Some art is supposed to shock. That's part of what it does. But I didn't think the simulated sex was that raunchy. When I was a kid, my parents would go out for the night, and I would sneak into the den and watch Cinemax. They called it "Cinemax After Dark" or something like that. The movies were always horrible, things like "Body Chemistry Part 48" or "Prison Girls in Heat." Anyway, that was far worse than anything that Oxtales ever performed.
Detective Murphy: When Andrea was arrested, what did you do?
Mark Gable: I went home and argued with my parents. I told them that they were overreacting. I told them that they were ruining people's lives. This is almost a cliché, but my dad kept a stack of Playboys in his closet. And he's going to throw someone in jail for a play?
Detective Armstrong: What was your parent's response?
Mark Gable: They wouldn't budge. They were so high and mighty, so righteous. They said that the process was too far along to stop and that even if they wanted to, they couldn't stop things. But of course, they didn't want to.
Detective Murphy: What did you do then?
Mark Gable: I moved out. I packed up my stuff and left. I crashed on a buddy's couch for a couple of months. Finally, I had to move back in with my parents, but we pretty much kept our distance from each other. As soon as college started, I moved into the dorm, and I haven't spent a night under their roof since then.
Detective Armstrong: Did you cooperate with the prosecution?
Mark Gable: I didn't have a choice! I was absolutely against the prosecution, but they put you on the stand and ask these questions. And then they cut you off and won't let you explain. They ask something like "Was there nudity in the show?" and you say, "Yes, but—" and they interrupt you. They won't let you explain why the nudity was necessary from an artistic point of view or anything. It was completely unfair.
Detective Murphy: How did you feel when Andrea left for prison?
Mark Gable: How do you think I felt? I was crushed. Especially at that age, it was a hard thing to go through. I guess I have to admit that I had a bit of a crush on her. Just some kid thing. But then you watch someone go to jail because of a witch-hunt that involved your parents. That's hard, man. In a lot of ways, I ruined that woman's life.
Detective Murphy: Did you talk to Andrea while she was in jail?
Mark Gable: I sent some letters. I figured she would never want to talk to me again, but I still had to let her know that I was sorry and that I did all I could to protect her.
Detective Armstrong: What was her response?
Mark Gable: She said it was okay, that she understood. She said she didn't blame me.
Detective Murphy: We were told that you're at Ole Miss now, majoring in theater.
Mark Gable: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: Have you worked with Oxtales any since the "Snopes" production?
Mark Gable: Just a little. I've helped out here and there. It's been weird, you know? I don't know if those guys want me around.
Detective Murphy: Were you planning on working with them some more when Andrea got out?
Mark Gable: I was hoping to. Andrea had always been very supportive of me. She said I could be a good actor, so I thought we could reconnect when she got out. But the new production didn't seem to have anything in it for me.
Detective Armstrong: She wouldn't cast you in it?
Mark Gable: She just seemed distant. She was never really concrete about me acting in it. It was always like "Check back next week. We'll have some things ironed out by then." But they never would be ironed out.
Detective Armstrong: Did you think she was blowing you off?
Mark Gable: Yeah.
Detective Murphy: How did that make you feel?
Mark Gable: It depended on my mood. Sometimes I understood. I could see why she might not want me around. But other times, I got really mad. I can't help what my parents did. She told me she didn't blame me, so why wouldn't she talk to me when she got out? I thought things were cool between us, so why did she ignore me?
Detective Murphy: I'm sure she was confused and uncertain about what to do. Just like you.
Mark Gable: Yeah, well. You're probably right, but that still wasn't cool.
Detective Murphy: Mark, we have to ask this question: where were you on the night Andrea was murdered?
Mark Gable: I was watching a movie. My roommate was there. Frank Nicoletti. I was at home.
Detective Murphy: Okay, thanks for your time. I'm sure we'll have more questions and need to talk to you again, but that'll do it for now.
Interview ended 11:10 a.m.