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Interview: Deborah Eaton, dating Hunter Nelson

Tuesday, June 15, 2004 -- 10:15 AM

The witness, who is dating Hunter Nelson, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy and was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness' knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
DE = Deborah Eaton

TA: Good morning, Miss Eaton. Thank you for coming in today.

DE: You're welcome.

SM: Please state your name and address for the record.

DE: Deborah Jean Eaton. I live in Guess Hall on campus.

TA: You are there now even during vacation?

DE: Yes, it's the only dorm open year round. I'm going to summer school and I wanted to keep my job at Bouré, so I'm still living there.

SM: Do you have any idea why we wanted to talk to you?

DE: I suppose it's something about Kristi Waterson.

SM: That's right. Did you know her?

DE: I know of her.

TA: What do you know of her?

DE: She was an instructor in the business school.

TA: Anything else?

DE: Like what?

SM: Like her private life.

DE: I know her family is rich and influential, and she pretty much did what she wanted to without worrying about losing her job. She had it all.

SM: All. Such as?

DE: Money, job, her own apartment, nice car, nice clothes, active sex life, lots of guys. I mean what more is there?

TA: You mentioned doing pretty much what she wanted to without losing her job. What do you mean by that?

DE: Well, I heard from some of the kids who had her as a teacher that she really wasn't very good. She gave easy grades to kids she liked and was always letting class out for some no-good reason. That's great for the goof-offs but not for those of us who are going to school to learn!

SM: But you said she did what she wanted. What sort of things did she do?

DE: She liked the male students. She dated them and then, when she was through with them, she threw them away.

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TA: You talk as though you know specifically of someone that happened to. Do you have names?

DE: No. I just heard people talking.

TA: So you don't know anyone Kristi Waterson dated?

DE: We didn't socialize in the same circles. I'm just a waitress and a student. She was a college instructor -- and older.

TA: You are dating Hunter Nelson now, aren't you? Would you say he's more in your circle or in Kristi Waterson's circle?

DE: Hunter likes me for me. He doesn't care that I don't have money. We have other things in common. We're both from Natchez. We're both students. We're about the same age... we have a lot in common other than money.

SM: Is he one of the young men you're talking about who used to date Ms. Waterson?

DE: I don't know.

SM: Miss Eaton, we think you do know. Why don't you just tell us about it?

DE: Okay, yes. He used to go out with her a long time ago. But he doesn't talk to me about her. He won't talk about her to anyone that I know of. He gets angry if anyone even mentions her -- not at the person really, but more like the subject just makes him mad. I don't know. We don't talk about it. Besides, he didn't care about her anymore. He told me he didn't. And I know he didn't have anything to do with... what happened to her because he was with me that night.

TA: Hunter was with you the night of the murder?

DE: Yes.

SM: Tell us about that night, Miss Eaton.

DE: We just hung out at his place.

TA: Where is his place?

DE: Warren Street.

TA: You know the street number?

DE: 118, I think.

TA: When did you get there?

DE: Hunter picked me up. I guess we got there about 5:00.

SM: What was he wearing? Do you recall?

DE: I don't know. Does it matter?

SM: It might. Try to remember.

DE: Let's see... I'm sure he had on khakis. He wears those a lot. And I think... he might have worn a navy shirt that night, but I'm not positive. Does that help?

SM: It might. Tell us about your evening. What did the two of you do that night?

DE: There isn't that much to tell.

SM: Did you go out, order a pizza, what?

DE: We just watched a movie and some TV. Nothing special.

SM: About what time did you start watching the movie?

DE: I didn't keep a minute-by-minute record, Detective. We got there and had a couple of sandwiches. We watched a DVD -- that movie The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise -- that I brought with me. Then some Comedy Club reruns came on TV. We had some munchies later. And then at... I don't know, probably 11:00 or so, we went to bed. We didn't make it too late because I had to work the next afternoon. And we wanted some time to just spend with each other -- if you know what I mean.

TA: And when did you go home?

DE: About 10:00 the next morning. Why is this so important?

SM: And you two were there the entire evening?

DE: Yes, that's what I said.

TA: Was Hunter with you that whole time?

DE: What do you mean?

TA: Was he with you the entire time? Did he ever go out? Even just to run an errand, pick up something to eat, anything like that? Maybe he went out after you fell asleep?

DE: What do you think? That he had another girl? That he'd leave me in the middle of the night? Why would he do that?

SM: Miss Eaton, is there some reason you're not just answering the question?

DE: I know what you're doing. You're trying to make it look like he had something to do with her death. He didn't. I told you that already.

TA: You're sure about that?

DE: Of course!

TA: Even if we told you we had a witness who saw Hunter at Kristi's apartment complex that night?

DE: That's crazy! I'm telling you, he didn't kill her.

TA: Well, then who do you think could have done it?

DE: You mean kill Kristi?

TA: Yes. Who do you think could have killed Kristi?

DE: Why ask me? I don't have a clue. I didn't know her. I don't know any of her boyfriends.

SM: You know Hunter.

DE: But Hunter broke up with her months ago. He wasn't seeing her anymore. He told me. You... you can't think Hunter had anything to do with this!

TA: Well, Miss Eaton, as you know this is an ongoing investigation and we may need to talk with you again. Do you have any problem with that?

DE: I don't know why you would have to harass me! Talk to all the other people who know her better. I have nothing more to tell you. Why can't you just leave me alone?

SM: We'll do whatever we need to in order to find Ms. Waterson's killer. And that may include talking with you again.

DE: Can I go now? I'm going to be late for work.

TA: Yes, Miss Eaton, but we'll be seeing you again.

Interview ends -- 10:52 AM

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