Lee Merryweather follow-up interview
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 3:41 p.m.
Lee Merryweather was Victor Jennings' personal assistant and is the person who found his body. Detectives Murphy and Parker re-interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Lee Merryweather
Detective Murphy: Good morning. Thank you for coming in.
Lee Merryweather: That's OK. I'm out of work right now, so it's no problem.
Detective Murphy: Please state your name and address.
Lee Merryweather: Sure. My name is Lee Merryweather, and I live at 3036 Davis Drive, Apartment 234.
Detective Murphy: All right, down to business. Tell us. How did you like working for Victor Jennings?
Lee Merryweather: It was never boring. He had some very interesting clients and associates. The trips we made to California were so much fun. I got to meet a lot of celebrities: actors, directors, musicians. Victor was well-known in those circles.
Detective Murphy: So would you say then that Mr. Jennings was a good employer?
Lee Merryweather: He had his moments. I made it clear to him from the beginning that if I took the job as a personal assistant, I expected to be treated with respect and there was to be no funny business.
Detective Parker: And what did he say to that?
Lee Merryweather: He laughed. He told me I had nothing to worry about because he didn’t mix business with pleasure. What I didn't like about him was his attitude. He strutted around like a rooster all the time. I can't think of the word for someone like that. Oh wait, it's cocky. He was so cocky and sure of himself. But I guess that's what made him so believable. He could convince anyone of anything.
Detective Parker: And did he keep it that way? I mean the business and pleasure thing?
Lee Merryweather: Yes, he did. Sometimes he'd give me the up and down with his eyes, you know? That was kind of uncomfortable, but he never tried anything with me. I was surprised too because a lot of women complained about him.
Detective Murphy: What kind of complaints?
Lee Merryweather: Mostly accusing him of sexual harassment, but the last few months there was something about rape. But I don't know what was going on with that. Victor and Carl always stopped talking about it when I was around.
Detective Parker: Why did you stay after you heard those kind of complaints?
Lee Merryweather: I told you, I liked the job. I loved meeting movie stars and other famous people. I thought I could move up in the world if I met the right ones. I almost made it too.
Detective Murphy: What do you mean? How?
Lee Merryweather: Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood. They were very friendly towards me and always invited me along whenever they had Victor over for dinner or whatever party they had going we were in California. I was ready to ask them for a job.
Detective Parker: That would've been nice. But didn't you already have a job?
Lee Merryweather: Yeah, but after Victor got arrested, I don't know. I guess I didn't really think I'd have that job for much longer.
Detective Parker: You thought he'd be convicted?
Lee Merryweather: It kind of didn't matter. His business had fallen off since people found out what he was arrested for. He was losing clients. People weren't taking his calls. If Victor had been able to leave his house, I don't think there would've been enough work for me to do for him. I spent most of my time lately just running errands for him.
Detective Murphy: Let's talk about the day Victor died. You spent a lot of time in his house?
Lee Merryweather: Yes. His office was there, and of course lately he couldn't leave, so we had to work there.
Detective Murphy: You didn't always work there?
Lee Merryweather: Before the house arrest, sometimes Victor liked to work at a restaurant or a bar, like in the middle of the afternoon when it was pretty dead. Then when people started coming in for dinner or after work or whatever, I'd leave and Victor would stay and do what Victor did.
Detective Parker: What was that?
Lee Merryweather: You know, talk to people and hit on women.
Detective Parker: Doesn't Victor's brother have a restaurant? Did you two ever go there to work?
Lee Merryweather: No. Victor didn't like his brother very much.
Detective Murphy: Back to the day Victor died, when you went into the house that evening, did you notice anything that was disturbed or out of place?
Lee Merryweather: No, not anything worth mentioning anyway.
Detective Murphy: What did you do when you first went in the house?
Lee Merryweather: I expected him to be in the office, so I went straight there, but he wasn't there. Obviously. You know what? Now that I think about it, I think some stuff might've been missing in Victor's office.
Detective Murphy: What kind of stuff?
Lee Merryweather: Just dumb knickknacks that were on his credenza: a clock, a music box, a little statuette he got as an award for something, that stupid toy with the five balls that you can make whack each other back and forth, his applause button, a gold Slinky. Just stupid stuff.
Detective Parker: I'm sorry. What's an applause button?
Lee Merryweather: It's a big red button, and when you push it, it plays applause. Victor liked to applaud himself a lot.
Detective Murphy: Were any of those missing items valuable?
Lee Merryweather: Ha! No, just stupid crap. I mean, that gold Slinky probably cost an insane amount of money for a Slinky, but it wasn't valuable.
Detective Murphy: Is it possible Victor just moved those things somewhere else?
Lee Merryweather: Sure. I don't know why he would, but I guess he could have.
Detective Murphy: OK. So when you saw Victor wasn't in his office, what did you do?
Lee Merryweather: I just went from room to room, calling his name.
Detective Parker: Did you think he might've gone out?
Lee Merryweather: He was under house arrest.
Detective Parker: Yes, but sometimes people think they can slip out for a little while and no one will know.
Lee Merryweather: No way. Victor spent like a week in jail after he was arrested before got on house arrest, and he really didn't like it. He didn't pay any attention to rules most of the time, but he really didn't want to go back to jail, so he wouldn't have tried to leave the house.
Detective Murphy: OK. So you were walking through his house, calling his name. When you reached the kitchen, what did you see?
Lee Merryweather: I saw Victor on the floor, bleeding.
Detective Murphy: What else?
Lee Merryweather: The dishwasher door was open and something about it didn't look right to me, but I can't remember what it was. And I don't remember seeing the mat in front of the sink.
Detective Murphy: Was anything else missing or out of place in there?
Lee Merryweather: I don't think so.
Detective Parker: When Victor called to tell you to bring the groceries, was anyone there with him?
Lee Merryweather: I don't think so. He didn't say he had company.
Detective Parker: Would he have told you if someone was there?
Lee Merryweather: If he thought I needed to know for some reason. Otherwise, probably not.
Detective Parker: Did you hear anything in the background? People talking? Music? The TV?
Lee Merryweather: No, I didn't hear anything.
Detective Parker: His groceries, did he request anything out of the ordinary?
Lee Merryweather: No. Detectives, I do have a job interview to prepare for. If that's all for now?
Detective Murphy: OK, then. We can wrap it up for today, but we may need to speak with you again. Thanks for coming in, and good luck with the interview.
Interview ends: 4:03 p.m.