Wednesday, September 1, 2021 – 11:30 a.m.
Darren Barksdale had been dating Annette Wyatt since 2018, and investigators wanted to understand more about their relationship at the time of her murder.
Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department.
- Detective S. Murphy
- Detective E. Parker
- Darren Barksdale
Detective Murphy: Hello, Mr. Barksdale. For the record, could you please state your full name and address?
Darren Barksdale: Hello, yes. My name is Darren Dale Barksdale, and my home address is 1711 Anderson Road, Apt. 244 in Oxford.
Detective Parker: Tell us a little about yourself.
Darren Barksdale: As you can see, I am a handsome devil. I’m smart, I like online role-playing games, and I'm a natural with numbers. Most people think I’m a geek. I’ll accept that, but as my girlfriend— um, she used to say I’m a sexy geek.
Detective Murphy: What is your occupation?
Darren Barksdale: I’m a manager at Best Buy in Tupelo.
Detective Murphy: Tupelo?
Darren Barksdale: Uh-huh. I commute. I am very happy with my job, and it’s worth the drive to me.
Detective Parker: How does someone who is good with numbers end up working at Best Buy?
Darren Barksdale: I get that a lot. I have my degree in accounting, but for now, I’m satisfied working at Best Buy. I get to flex my accounting muscles and my geek muscles there.
Detective Murphy: Very well then. We asked you here to talk about Annette Wyatt. What was your relationship with her?
Darren Barksdale: She was my girl. I was in love with her.
Detective Murphy: How did the two of you meet?
Darren Barksdale: It was the best night of my life. I was at the bar with a few of my friends, and I saw her sitting at the bar. Oh, she was a sight for sore eyes. She had a little red dress on and red heels, and she was beautiful. My friends dared me to ask her to dance. I knew she was way out of my league, but I accepted the dare.
Detective Murphy: Where did this magic moment happen?
Darren Barksdale: The Library, here in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: When was this?
Darren Barksdale: One awesome night in May about three years ago.
Detective Murphy: She said yes to the dance?
Darren Barksdale: She said yes to everything. As I approached her, I noticed that her nails and lips were the same shade of red as her dress and shoes. She was stunning, took my breath away. I almost turned around and went back to my table.
Detective Parker: So what happened next?
Darren Barksdale: After the dance, she invited me to sit at the bar with her. We sat there and talked and laughed for nearly two hours, and then she asked me if I’d like to take her home.
Detective Parker: Did you take her home?
Darren Barksdale: Of course I did. I ended up spending the night at her place. She was something else. I couldn’t believe a guy like me shared her bed.
Detective Murphy: The kind of girl you take home to meet the parents, right?
Darren Barksdale: She was one of a kind, and I loved her. I was going to ask her to marry me the night she died. She stood me up, and now I know why. Life will never be the same without her.
Detective Murphy: You had plans—mutual plans—to meet that night?
Darren Barksdale: Yes, we did. You see, she’d been acting odd for about a month, and I was afraid I was losing her. Anyway, I called her and told her I needed to see her. She told me she was going to be busy finishing up some work stuff, but she could squeeze me in for an hour or so. She asked if my roommate would be there, and I told her he was gone for the weekend. We set the time for 8:45-ish.
Detective Parker: What is your roommate’s name?
Darren Barksdale: Tommy. Tommy Miller.
Detective Murphy: When she didn’t show, did you call her?
Darren Barksdale: I tried, but it went straight to voicemail. Annette had been a no-show before, so I figured I’d ask her another night. I had no clue she was in trouble.
Detective Murphy: When you realized she wasn’t coming, what did you do?
Darren Barksdale: I went out for a bit, had a couple of drinks, and came home.
Detective Murphy: Where?
Darren Barksdale: I went to Taylor’s Pub on Jackson Avenue.
Detective Parker: What time did you leave your apartment?
Darren Barksdale: Around 10:00 p.m., I think.
Detective Parker: How long were you there?
Darren Barksdale: Maybe an hour. At the most, an hour and a half.
Detective Murphy: Did you go anywhere else?
Darren Barksdale: I drove past Annette’s place. All the lights were out, so I went on home.
Detective Parker: Did you see anyone you knew while you were at the pub?
Darren Barksdale: I saw people I had seen there before, but I didn’t know them personally. The place was packed, so there might have been people I knew there, but I sat at the bar, and I really wasn’t looking.
Detective Murphy: You said she was your girl. Did she feel the same way? Were the two of you exclusive?
Darren Barksdale: Well, I’ve had people tell me that they’d seen her out with other guys. I believe they saw her with clients. That’s one of the reasons why I was going to ask her to marry me. I didn’t want to even think about the possibility of her being with anyone else.
Detective Parker: How would you feel if you found out you weren’t the only one?
Darren Barksdale: What are you saying? What are you keeping from me? If you know something, you must tell me.
Detective Murphy: Hey, settle down. It wouldn’t change a thing now anyway.
Darren Barksdale: I’m sorry. The thought of that just makes me crazy.
Detective Murphy: Yeah, we saw that.
Detective Parker: When was the last time you saw Annette?
Darren Barksdale: Friday before last. I spent the night at her place.
Detective Parker: For someone who’d been dating her for three years, it seems like you went a while without seeing each other.
Darren Barksdale: Annette was a busy gal. I understood that. I was happy to see her whenever I could.
Detective Murphy: Did Annette talk to you about her co-workers?
Darren Barksdale: Not really. She talked about her boss a lot, but not the others much. Not anything that stands out.
Detective Parker: Who was her boss?
Darren Barksdale: Jeff Harte, the owner of Harte Agency.
Detective Parker: What did she say about him?
Darren Barksdale: She had great respect for him. But sometimes, she felt like he didn’t realize how loyal she was, that he didn’t appreciate her like he should.
Detective Murphy: How was Annette's relationship with Jeff?
Darren Barksdale: Just your normal boss and employee relationship. Nothing special.
Detective Murphy: How did you feel about their prior relationship?
Darren Barksdale: Sorry? I don’t follow. What prior relationship?
Detective Murphy: We’ve heard that they used to be a couple.
Darren Barksdale: Are you trying to upset me or what? Annette never dated Jeff.
Detective Parker: Yes, she did. It was several years ago, but they definitely dated.
Darren Barksdale: I didn’t know that. I wonder why she neglected to tell me.
Detective Murphy: Did Annette tell you about the project she was working on for Harte?
Darren Barksdale: Once again, I’m clueless as to what you are talking about.
Detective Parker: It seems like she kept a lot from you.
Detective Murphy: Was she worried about anything or afraid of anyone?
Darren Barksdale: She was preoccupied about something, but when I asked what was on her mind, she always said it was nothing. She did have a client who was bugging her to death, though. Name was Frost, wouldn’t leave Annette alone.
Detective Parker: What was she bugging her about?
Darren Barksdale: After Annette closed a deal with her, this Frost woman had the mistaken idea that they were friends. It got to the point where Annette was going to change her number. I showed her how to block Frost’s number so she wouldn’t be bothered by any calls from her on her cell.
Detective Murphy: Did you know Annette was in the office that night, the night she stood you up?
Darren Barksdale: No, I assumed she was at home. I didn’t ask.
Detective Parker: Did Annette have any enemies you know of? Or is there anyone you can think of who would want to harm her?
Darren Barksdale: None that I can think of offhand. Oh, she did mention that Kurt’s wife was a pain in the, uh, neck. Annette said she didn’t know why, but his wife didn’t like her. I think her name is Joan or something like that.
Detective Murphy: Who is Kurt?
Darren Barksdale: Grubber? I don’t know. He’s an agent at the office—a co-worker.
Detective Murphy: Annette didn’t know why Kurt’s wife didn’t like her?
Darren Barksdale: That’s what she said.
Detective Parker: Is there anyone you think we should talk to?
Darren Barksdale: Gosh, I don’t know. I guess Kurt’s wife. I really think everyone liked Annette. How could they not? I’m sorry I can’t be more help. Maybe her friend Naomi could answer the questions I couldn’t.
Detective Parker: Do you know Naomi’s last name?
Darren Barksdale: Oh, sure. It’s Fields.
Detective Murphy: Thank you for your time, Darren. We appreciate it.
Darren Barksdale: I’m sorry I wasn’t more help. I’m not myself. I miss her.
Detective Parker: If you think of anything that might help in our investigation, don’t hesitate to call.
Darren Barksdale: Okay. I hope you find who did this and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.
Detective Murphy: That’s the plan.
Interview ended – 12:07 p.m.