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Who does Andrea's best friend suspect of involvement in her death?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 4:30 p.m.

Andrea Stover's parents described Gretchen Doyle as their daughter's best friend.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Gretchen Doyle

Detective Armstrong: Thanks for stopping by again, Ms. Doyle.

Gretchen Doyle: Of course. I hope there's not any trouble?

Detective Armstrong: We just need to ask you a few more questions.

Gretchen Doyle: Whatever I can do to help.

Detective Murphy: Thank you for that. Once again, would you state your name and address?

Gretchen Doyle: Gretchen Marie Doyle, 404 Sisk.

Detective Armstrong: Now, Ms. Doyle, we need you to talk a little bit more about the people in Andrea's life.

Gretchen Doyle: I already told you, I don't know many of them.

Detective Armstrong: Well, it does seem like you know more than you're letting on. For instance, Trevor O'Shea. He says he knows you.

Gretchen Doyle: Of course. We went to college around the same time, but we're not exactly friends.

Detective Murphy: What was his relationship with Ms. Stover?

Gretchen Doyle: Oh, they were good friends, I suppose. They'd known each other since high school. They saw more of each other back in college than nowadays. You know, when you're a student, it's easy to find time for friends.

Detective Armstrong: Are you saying Andrea didn't have time for friends lately?

Gretchen Doyle: No! Not at all. I wish you wouldn't twist my words around.

Detective Armstrong: Well, then, what did you mean?

Gretchen Doyle: I just meant that Andrea and Trevor saw more of each other before real life took over. You know, jobs and paying the bills. He was wrapped up in his teaching. I guess Andrea saw him from time to time.

Detective Murphy: What about you and Mr. O'Shea? How often do you see him?

Gretchen Doyle: Me? Oh, never. I mean, not on purpose. Sorry. I mean, we've bumped into each other here and there. I suppose when Andrea dragged me to parties, I might see him there but not often. I think he was more studious than Andrea as opposed to partying.

Detective Murphy: As far as you know, did Ms. Stover see Mr. O'Shea the week preceding her death?

Gretchen Doyle: I don't know, to be honest. I don't think so. She didn't mention it to me.

Detective Murphy: Who else did Ms. Stover see that week?

Gretchen Doyle: I don't remember exactly. Of course, she saw everyone in the group, Frank and Owen and all the rest.

Detective Murphy: Owen?

Gretchen Doyle: Owen Norris. He pretty much pays for everything Oxtales does, I guess.

Detective Murphy: When did she see him?

Gretchen Doyle: Aside from rehearsal? I don't recall. I'm sorry. It's not like she shared her calendar with me, but I think they got together for lunch or maybe dinner to talk about the new production. It was sometime during the week rather than the weekend.

Detective Armstrong: What exactly was their relationship? Mr. Norris seems to have written her some strange letters.

Gretchen Doyle: I'm not aware of them.

Detective Armstrong: Were they lovers?

Gretchen Doyle: What? Oh, no, not at all. Owen's interests don't tend that way. I mean, Andrea doesn't seem to be his type. I don't know him that well, but it seems that way. He's more into blonds, Andrea told me. They were just friends, and of course, they had a professional interest in each other.

Detective Murphy: What about Frank Tuttle? You mentioned Ms. Stover saw him, too. Was it in a professional capacity?

Gretchen Doyle: As far as I know. He wanted to see her that weekend, the weekend before … it happened. But she had other things to take care of. I think she was a little tired of living at home. She spent some time looking for apartments and had to work too on Saturday. Occasions, that's her day job. So I think she just wanted a little space.

Detective Armstrong: Did she want space from you, too?

Gretchen Doyle: What do you mean by that?

Detective Armstrong: Ms. Doyle, in your letters — and there sure were a lot of them — you seemed pretty eager to be with Ms. Stover when she was released. You even mentioned going away with her. Were you disappointed maybe that she wasn't as excited to see you as you were to see her?

Gretchen Doyle: What? No, of course not! She was perfectly glad to see me. It's always been a fantasy of ours – you know, best friends on a cross-country road trip. We've talked about it off and on for years.

Detective Armstrong: When were the three of you planning to go?

Gretchen Doyle: The three of us?

Detective Armstrong: Andrea and you and your girlfriend.

Gretchen Doyle: Ursula wasn't coming with us.

Detective Armstrong: She was okay with you going on a long trip with another woman?

Gretchen Doyle: Well, not at first. She had a hard time with it, but when I explained it to her, she understood.

Detective Armstrong: Explained what?

Gretchen Doyle: That it was really more a device to keep Andrea's spirits up than anything real. I mean, I would have gone if she wanted to, but I didn't expect it.

Detective Armstrong: So you and Andrea weren't really that close anymore?

Gretchen Doyle: Why would you say that? She's my best friend!

Detective Armstrong: You were lying to her.

Gretchen Doyle: I wasn't lying to her. It was more like I was … daydreaming with her, fantasizing about what we might do if we could do whatever we want. If she had been able to, I would've left town with her the day she got out. But she really wanted to return to her work, which I understand completely.

Detective Armstrong: Plus, you didn't have to explain to your girlfriend why you were abandoning her for your former lover.

Gretchen Doyle: I wasn't abandoning anybody. God, you sound just like her. What's wrong with you?

Detective Murphy: Let's talk about Andrea's work. She never mentioned any conflicts within Oxtales?

Gretchen Doyle: Not really, no. Aside from the usual artistic differences, of course.

Detective Murphy: What kind of artistic differences?

Gretchen Doyle: Well, I think she was a little stressed out about coming back after being away for so long. The assistant director – Dale? – he apparently had a different style, and while she was away, he did a few productions more to his own tastes, and they seemed to do well. She sort of had to re-assert herself, I guess, which is difficult.

Detective Murphy: Re-assert herself about what?

Gretchen Doyle: You know, doing risqué things and taking on really challenging issues.

Detective Murphy: How did the rest of the group feel about that? Were they on Ms. Stover's side or Mr. King's?

Gretchen Doyle: Oh. I really don't know. I hardly know any of them at all, not well enough to know that sort of thing. And it wasn't really black and white.

Detective Murphy: It wasn't? Why not?

Gretchen Doyle: There were advantages to both styles, from what I could tell. Dale being more political and straight-ahead, and Andrea more outrageous. But I think Andrea wondered whether everyone might be better off, career-wise, if she backed off – in terms of critical praise, I mean. It's one thing to be notorious, and another thing to be taken seriously as an actor or playwright.

Detective Armstrong: So the actors wanted to stay on a more conservative path?

Gretchen Doyle: No, I wouldn't say that. I guess Andrea felt responsible for all of them professionally, after what happened. And so she would talk about these things with me. But I reassured her that they wouldn't be there if they didn't want to work with her on her vision.

Detective Armstrong: Then it was just the playwright who preferred Dale King's direction?

Gretchen Doyle: Ethan – I don't know him, just heard about him – I would imagine that the freedom she gave him to experiment was tremendous, so I can't imagine he would have a serious gripe. Like I told her, if he had a serious gripe, why didn't he leave?

Detective Murphy: Did she ever mention Henry Jackson, the actor?

Gretchen Doyle: I never heard much about him.

Detective Murphy: Did she ever mention Sheila Love, the actress?

Gretchen Doyle: No. I mean, only in passing, when she was talking about a particular scene and what was going on, she might say Sheila was stage right or something. She never talked about her outside that context.

Detective Armstrong: She never mentioned she was jealous of Sheila, or Sheila was jealous of her?

Gretchen Doyle: No, why?

Detective Armstrong: Over Frank Tuttle. Are you absolutely sure Andrea never mentioned it to you?

Gretchen Doyle: Why would Andrea be jealous about Frank?

Detective Armstrong: Because he and Sheila are dating.

Gretchen Doyle: Ha, no. Sorry. I'm sure she never mentioned it, which doesn't surprise me. Andrea wasn't possessive like that. In fact, she was the opposite, generous in her relationships with people. She and Frank were on again, off again. I can only think she'd have been relieved if he'd found someone else to be interested in.

Detective Armstrong: What do you mean by that? Was Frank bothering Andrea in some way?

Gretchen Doyle: Not bothering, no. I'd say that he was the pursuer in their relationship, though. He was the one calling her and asking her out or asking her to spend time with him. It was a comfortable relationship for her because she knew him so well, but I'm not sure she wanted to get back in a pattern.

Detective Armstrong: Did Andrea ever say anything that led you to believe Frank was frightening her?

Gretchen Doyle: No! Not at all. Frank is about the most harmless person you can imagine. Very spiritual, not really into action. I just picked up these things over time. It's not like anyone was making threats or being histrionic.

Detective Murphy: What about Mr. Norris or Mr. King? Was Ms. Stover worried about them or frightened by them in any way?

Gretchen Doyle: Absolutely not. Owen, no, of course not. They were friends. And Dale, to me, he seems like the type to brood instead of have a confrontation. And really, their relationship was completely professional. They respected each other as professionals. They had differences, I suppose, but they weren't petty to each other. No name calling or anything as far as Andrea told me. It was all strictly within the realm of their artistic work, reasoned arguments.

Detective Armstrong: All right then. Let's talk a little bit more about your relationship with Andrea. Her parents mentioned that sometimes she would sleep over at your place?

Gretchen Doyle: That's right.

Detective Armstrong: How did that work out?

Gretchen Doyle: Fine. I'm sorry. I don't see what you're getting at.

Detective Armstrong: How did Ursula feel about it?

Gretchen Doyle: What? Oh! Ursula. No, of course not. There was never any problem.

Detective Armstrong: She didn't seem jealous?

Gretchen Doyle: No. Well, of course, she likes to have time alone with me, but she knew Andrea. They got along. Andrea wasn't a threat. She knew that. Ursula and I are completely committed to each other as partners.

Detective Armstrong: So when Andrea spent the night, would Ursula be there too?

Gretchen Doyle: No, usually not. We don't live together, so usually it was nights Ursula wasn't there, or if she was, she would go home to sleep. Really, it's a practical thing. There isn't much room, and if Andrea and I were staying up talking, Ursula couldn't sleep.

Detective Armstrong: Right. And how often would you say this happened?

Gretchen Doyle: Since she got back? I don't know. Maybe four or five times. Not often.

Detective Armstrong: That's basically once a week.

Gretchen Doyle: Oh. I guess it is. But it wasn't like that – a regular thing. She might spend a couple of nights one week, then none at all the next. It wasn't planned in any way.

Detective Armstrong: Not by either one of you?

Gretchen Doyle: I can see where you're heading, and really, there was nothing between Andrea and me that would cause Ursula to be jealous. It wasn't a love triangle, or whatever melodramatic thing you want to call it.

Detective Armstrong: What was it then?

Gretchen Doyle: Between the three of us? There was nothing. Andrea is my best friend. Ursula is my girlfriend. I love them both, but of course, in completely different ways. They both knew that. Ursula knew she had to trust me. It's all about trust. How can someone be happy if you suffocate them? She knew that.

Detective Armstrong: Did she?

Gretchen Doyle: I wish you would stop assuming everything is about sex. It's not. Sex is something Ursula and I share exclusively. Just because I loved Andrea doesn't mean I wanted to have sex with her — or did have sex with her.

Detective Armstrong: Except for in college.

Gretchen Doyle: Please! That was a long time ago.

Detective Armstrong: And Ursula was comfortable with that?

Gretchen Doyle: Of course.

Detective Armstrong: In your letters, you mention that Ursula was glad you wouldn't be going away with Ms. Stover. Why?

Gretchen Doyle: Well, of course, she'd be glad. Who wants the person they love to go away for three weeks?

Detective Armstrong: But if she wanted you to be happy, wouldn't she want you to go have fun?

Gretchen Doyle: I guess so. Yes. I don't know. I'm feeling really uncomfortable here like you're trying to push me into saying something bad about Ursula.

Detective Armstrong: Why would we want you to do that?

Gretchen Doyle: I don't know. To turn this into some tawdry lesbian love triangle? That would fit perfectly into the predatory nymphomanic picture you people love to paint of Andrea. But she wasn't like that. Neither am I, and neither is Ursula.

Detective Murphy: All right, Ms. Doyle. We're not trying to upset you. We are trying to find out who killed your friend.

Gretchen Doyle: Well, it wasn't me or Ursula!

Detective Murphy: Okay, but we still have to ask the questions. And we have to ask them about everyone. You can see that, right?

Gretchen Doyle: I guess so.

Detective Murphy: Good. So it sounds like there was occasionally some tension between you and Ursula over Andrea. Is that fair to say?

Gretchen Doyle: Not the way you're making it sound. It's so hard with both of us working so much and our own lives and obligations. When we find time to be alone together, it's a precious gift. Ursula is protective of our time together. Yes, that's the right way to put it. She wants to protect the time she and I have for each other. Every busy couple runs into the same problem, I'm sure.

Detective Armstrong: Is that what happened the night Andrea died? Was Ursula jealous of the time you spent with her?

Gretchen Doyle: I don't think so. When I left, I guess Ursula was a little down because we'd planned to spend the evening together. We have a nice quiet Sunday routine, and it was disrupted. So she was disappointed, but I wouldn't say jealous. Jealous is the wrong word.

Detective Murphy: When you left to meet Andrea, Ursula stayed behind at your place?

Gretchen Doyle: For a while, yes. She told me she left to go back to her house around 11:30. She needed to get up really early for work, so she didn't want me to come in late and wake her.

Detective Murphy: And you're sure she went home?

Gretchen Doyle: Yes.

Detective Murphy: When did you hear from her next?

Gretchen Doyle: I called her right away the next morning, but her cell phone went right to voicemail. I guess the battery was dead. So we talked at, I don't know, 11:00. She came home and took the rest of the day off to be with me.

Detective Armstrong: All right. What about your last meeting with Andrea? We already talked about it once. Is there anything else she mentioned to you, anything that was worrying her?

Gretchen Doyle: No. Not really.

Detective Armstrong: Did she mention being afraid for her safety?

Gretchen Doyle: Never. She wasn't worried, but I was, and her parents were.

Detective Armstrong: What were you worried about?

Gretchen Doyle: Those COP people. Some of them are pretty extreme, you know? Who knows what they might do?

Detective Armstrong: Did any of them ever physically threaten her?

Gretchen Doyle: It wouldn't surprise me, but if they did, she never told me.

Detective Murphy: Do you remember what Andrea was wearing that night?

Gretchen Doyle: Wearing? Yes. I remember like it was yesterday. Her gray coat, a striped sweater, jeans. I don't know about shoes. She had her usual handbag. Don't you know this already?

Detective Murphy: We just need to verify that everything we found belonged to Andrea. What about a hat or any jewelry?

Gretchen Doyle: She didn't wear rings, but of course there was her necklace.

Detective Murphy: Necklace?

Gretchen Doyle: I gave it to her when she came back. Sort of a Christmas/New Year/new beginning present.

Detective Murphy: Can you describe it?

Gretchen Doyle: It's an antique poison locket I found in New Orleans with a dark garnet, almost black, on a longish silver chain. She pretty much always wore it.

Detective Murphy: Anything in the locket?

Gretchen Doyle: No. I mean, I gave it to her empty. She might have put something in it. Why? Don't you have it?

Detective Murphy: Did she have a cell phone with her?

Gretchen Doyle: Doesn't everyone these days?

Detective Armstrong: Now that you've had some time to think about it, are you sure Andrea never said anything to you about going to Oxford Centre that night? Maybe meeting someone there?

Gretchen Doyle: No, she didn't say a word. I thought she was going straight home. She said the gin was getting to her.

Detective Armstrong: She felt drunk? Or tipsy?

Gretchen Doyle: No, sometimes gin didn't sit well with her. She loved a good G&T, but occasionally, it upset her stomach — usually when she had too much caffeine or too much stress or both.

Detective Murphy: Is there anything else you haven't already told us that you want to add?

Gretchen Doyle: No, I can't think of anything. Do you have any idea who could have done this? I just wish I could know so there would be some closure.

Detective Armstrong: We're working on it. If you think of anything else, give us a call.

Gretchen Doyle: Of course.

End interview 5:28 p.m.

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