Thursday, August 31, 2023 – 2:00 p.m.
Emily Peyton was a colleague of Kristi Waterson.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Emily Peyton
Detective Armstrong: Good afternoon, Ms. Peyton. How are you today?
Emily Peyton: I'm wondering why I'm here, detective, and I have an appointment, so let's get on with this.
Detective Murphy: First, will you state your name and address for the record, please?
Emily Peyton: I'm Emily Peyton, and I live at 120 Faculty Row.
Detective Murphy: I understand you're a professor at the University of Mississippi. Is that correct?
Emily Peyton: Well, I'm an instructor. That isn't exactly the same as a professor, I'm afraid.
Detective Armstrong: What department are you in, Ms. Peyton?
Emily Peyton: I'm at the School of Business.
Detective Murphy: Then were you acquainted with Kristi Waterson?
Emily Peyton: Oh, yes, I knew Kristi.
Detective Armstrong: How did you and Professor Waterson get along?
Emily Peyton: She wasn't a professor any more than I am, detective. Just a lowly instructor, practically the bottom of the food chain. I don't know that Kristi really got along with anyone except maybe her stud students.
Detective Murphy: Stud students? What do you mean?
Emily Peyton: Oh, come now, detective. Surely you know by now the hanky-panky that went on between Kristi and some of her male students?
Detective Murphy: Why don't you tell us about it?
Emily Peyton: Kristi had an insatiable appetite for young men. She didn't think the rules applied to her. She was above doing what she was supposed to do and flaunted her father's wealth and power.
Detective Murphy: You don't sound too fond of her. Did you have something to do with her death?
Emily Peyton: Are you crazy? Of course not! But she was an embarrassment to our department and the university.
Detective Armstrong: You didn't answer the question, Ms. Peyton. How did you and Ms. Waterson get along?
Emily Peyton: We tolerated each other, detective. There was no love lost on either side.
Detective Murphy: Why do you think that was?
Emily Peyton: She was a notorious slacker. The kids who took her classes got grades without putting in any work, and she sure as hell didn't put in any effort. She'd give good grades to her pets and screw the others—no pun intended. I had kids coming to me whining and crying about it all the time, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. When I'd talk to Kristi about it, she'd tell me to bug off and mind my own business.
Detective Armstrong: Do you remember anyone in particular who complained about her?
Emily Peyton: I remember Weldon Foyle was pretty pissed at her.
Detective Murphy: Was there a good reason for him to be upset?
Emily Peyton: He seemed to think so. You'd have to talk to him.
Detective Armstrong: You say there was no love lost on either side. Did you think she didn't like you?
Emily Peyton: She was jealous of my work, detective. It was obvious. I work hard, prepare for my classes, do substantive research, and write for publication. She didn't do any of that.
Detective Murphy: Do you have any idea who could have killed Ms. Waterson?
Emily Peyton: Heavens, no! I can't imagine doing such a horrible thing, but then, I suppose Kristi had her share of ex-lovers who might want her out of the way.
Detective Armstrong: Any names come to mind?
Emily Peyton: Not really.
Detective Murphy: You seem to be pretty aware of her extracurricular activities. You must've heard a name or two mentioned.
Emily Peyton: Well, mind you, she never confided in me, but I heard that she and Hunter Nelson were going at it for a while there. Even faculty gets the buzz once in a while. But you know that, or you wouldn't have searched his stuff.
Detective Armstrong: How do you know about that?
Emily Peyton: This may be a big university, but word gets around pretty fast.
Detective Murphy: What about other faculty members? Was she dating any of them?
Emily Peyton: Not that I heard.
Detective Armstrong: Was there something between John Brewer and her?
Emily Peyton: Not that I know of.
Detective Murphy: Wasn't there a situation where they exchanged words at a faculty meeting?
Emily Peyton: Oh, that. That was nothing. John just got a little irritated at her once in a while. She could be very irritating.
Detective Murphy: I understand Mr. Brewer has quite a temper. Could he get mad enough to kill someone?
Emily Peyton: Oh, John can get hot under the collar—and it's Doctor Brewer, detective—but he's mostly sound and fury signifying nothing if you know what I mean.
Detective Armstrong: No, I don't know. Why don't you tell us what you mean?
Emily Peyton: Something pisses John off, you know about it. Loud and clear. He doesn't pull any punches—word-wise, that is. But it's all just noise. He doesn't really do anything except let off steam by ranting and raving.
Detective Murphy: Have you ever known Mr. Brewer to be violent? Say, threaten someone with a baseball bat?
Emily Peyton: Oh, that. It was blown way out of proportion, according to John.
Detective Armstrong: Have you ever seen him be violent?
Emily Peyton: No, never.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Peyton, where were you the evening Ms. Waterson was killed?
Emily Peyton: John and I went to dinner then went over to his place.
Detective Murphy: What time did you go to dinner?
Emily Peyton: We met about 6:00 p.m. at Venice Kitchen.
Detective Armstrong: And after dinner?
Emily Peyton: We went to his place.
Detective Murphy: What time was that?
Emily Peyton: I don't know exactly. I guess about 8:00.
Detective Armstrong: Did you go together in his car?
Emily Peyton: No, I took my car and followed him to his house.
Detective Armstrong: Were you actually in sight of his car all the way over there?
Emily Peyton: Huh?
Detective Armstrong: You say you followed him. Could you see his car all the time?
Emily Peyton: I don't really recall. I think he stopped for a minute somewhere because I got to his place and had to wait in the car until he got there.
Detective Murphy: How long did you wait?
Emily Peyton: Just a few minutes, I think. I was listening to a podcast in my car and just leaned back and relaxed. I don't think it was more than a few minutes.
Detective Armstrong: Is it possible it was more than a few minutes? That maybe you dozed off?
Emily Peyton: Oh, I doubt that.
Detective Murphy: But you aren't sure?
Detective Armstrong: Do you know something about Ms. Waterson's death that you aren't telling us?
Emily Peyton: No, of course not. I was nowhere near her that night. John and I were together.
Detective Murphy: What time did you leave his house?
Emily Peyton: I guess it was 2:00 a.m. or so.
Detective Murphy: Did either of you go out after you arrived at his place?
Emily Peyton: No. We stayed in all evening. Just had some wine, listened to some good music and enjoyed each other's company.
Detective Armstrong: Did anyone see you arrive at Mr.— uh, Dr. Brewer's?
Emily Peyton: Not unless a nosy neighbor was looking out her window. What is this? Why are you questioning me as though I did something wrong? I don't like what you're implying. I thought you had evidence linking Hunter to all this. Why bug John and me?
Detective Armstrong: Our investigation is ongoing, Ms. Peyton. How do you think it will come out concerning you? Or maybe you and Dr. Brewer?
Emily Peyton: I think you're blowing smoke, detective. You will find that I—that John and I—had nothing to do with Kristi Waterson's death. Now if you're through harassing me, I'm late for my appointment.
Detective Armstrong: All right, Ms. Peyton. But as we said, this is an ongoing investigation, and we may want to talk with you again. Do you have any problem with that?
Emily Peyton: You're spinning your wheels, detective. You should spend your time on real suspects instead of innocent bystanders like me. You'll waste a lot less time. I'm going now. Good day.
Interview ended – 2:37 p.m.