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Interview: Weldon Foyle, victim's student

Thursday, June 17, 2004 -- 9:00 AM

The witness, who was a student of the victim, was interviewed by 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
WF = Weldon Foyle

SM: Thank you for meeting with us, Mr. Foyle.

WF: Of course. I'm glad to help in anyway I can.

SM: Can you please state your name and address?

WF: I'm Weldon Foyle. I live at 604 North 14th Street. In Apartment B.

SM: And your occupation?

WF: I'm a student.

TA: Are you a full-time student or do you also work?

WF: Both.

SM: Could you elaborate on that, please?

WF: Both. It's hard to believe when you stroll through the Grove and see all the BMWs and Mercedes cars and the silver serving sets on game days, but not everyone who goes to Ole Miss is wealthy. I work several jobs to pay the bills, yet I'm also enrolled in fulltime coursework.

SM: That's impressive. What kind of work do you do?

WF: Mainly odd jobs for a variety of places. I wash dishes at a restaurant, I tutor some students, I clean yards and do household chores for a few people. I pick up some house-painting jobs now and then. I could give you a list of some of the people I work for if you'd like. I have to have jobs that will allow me to go to class and study. So I can't really maintain normal working hours. But if a merchant wants me to go in and paint their store after closing hours, that's perfect. Fits into my class schedule and doesn't interrupt their business.

TA: You must not get much sleep.

WF: I'm used to it.

SM: What are you studying?

WF: I'm a business major.

SM: Do you know why we wanted to speak with you today?

WF: I assume you're trying to find out what happened to Kristi Waterson.

SM: And why do you think we want to talk to you specifically.

WF: Because her name was on a class I took. I'm sure you're talking to everyone in her class. Plus, let's be honest and lay it all out on the table. My lack of respect for Ms. Waterson was pretty well-known. If I were investigating this case, I'd talk to someone like me as well.

TA: Why did you lack respect for her?

WF: She was a horrible teacher.

TA: That's it?

WF: That's it. Plain and simple. She wasted my time.

SM: What do you mean by that?

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WF: Like we talked about earlier, I work a lot. And I pay my tuition. No student loans, no rich daddy. I'm here to learn, not to beat on some freshman in the name of Greek bonding. Her class was a requirement for me, but it was a waste of time. I didn't like that. Do you realize that a three-hour-credit course costs almost $500? Granted, I'm a full time student and I don't pay by the credit hour, but still, that's a good statistic. Her class, which taught me nothing, took money out of my pocket and time out of my day.

SM: Why don't you have any student loans? I believe the statistics are that the majority of students at Ole Miss are on some sort of financial aid.

WF: My father was a farmhand. He picked tobacco all his life. Most of the farm owners he worked for were on the city council and they were responsible for passing many of the laws and regulations that governed our county. Unfortunately, although they were quick to say we couldn't run a business from our home because it violated zoning ordinances, they didn't seem to have any problem with not withholding taxes for their farmhands. They refused to pay taxes and my father couldn't afford to report estimated income. He probably wouldn't have known how to do so, even if he could. So he never paid taxes. Not because he believed in breaking the law, but because his superiors made it basically impossible for him to do the right thing. Since he paid no taxes, I couldn't exactly apply for financial aid without drawing attention to him.

TA: What about scholarships? You seem awfully driven--

WF: I like to think that I'm intelligent. But I'm also hard working. I can't just show up and ace an exam. Whatever amount of intelligence I have is a result of working my brain, like an athlete in the gym. That takes time. And with working throughout high school, as well as being the product of rural education, I can't claim stellar grades or test scores. If I had the opportunity to take all those test prep classes that are so expensive, or hire private tutors, or spend hours and hours a night on homework, things might have been different.

SM: Back to Ms. Waterson, why was her class so bad?

WF: She didn't know the material, for one. So as an instructor, she couldn't instruct. Secondly, if the weather was nice, you could almost guarantee that class would be cancelled.

SM: Did you complain to University officials?

WF: Yes, I wrote several letters to her department chair. I'm sure the University's shredders got hold of them. But I'm delighted to say that my letters are quite legendary now. I hear they are quite well-known amongst the department faculty.

TA: University shredders?

WF: Yes, the school doesn't like to attract negative attention. So they shred most everything.

SM: How do you know this?

WF: I picked up a gig through the student job board at the Career Center for painting the chemistry department offices and saw some things. If the chemistry department has shredders, I'm sure the business school does. Ms. Waterson aside, most of the business professors are good teachers, although they are a bit self-important. Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling get in trouble, Henry Blodgett's e-mail gets splattered all over the press, the Ole Miss business department thinks these things affect them. They quiver thinking about themselves being caught up in some scandal, even though they would never be able to own a $6,000 shower curtain. They like to envision themselves as CEOs, like they're the Jack Welch of education. Anyway, I'm quite certain that they would shred anything that was critical.

TA: Do you know if other students complained about Ms. Waterson?

WF: I doubt it. Most students are quite happy to show up two or three times a semester and receive an A. Why would they complain?

SM: Mr. Foyle, you seem awfully comfortable talking to us today.

WF: Is that wrong?

SM: It's just that most college students we speak with are obviously nervous, irritated, or something. You seem very calm.

WF: I have nothing to be afraid of from you. So why would I be nervous? This is actually quite exciting. It's like being on TV on a detective show or something. I'm glad to help you try and find the killer in any way I can.

TA: Since your disdain for Ms. Waterson is so evident, don't you think some people might think you're a prime suspect?

WF: I'm sure they do.

SM: And should you be? Did you have anything to do with her death?

WF: No, I had nothing to do with this. My sexual preferences are quite bland, I'm afraid. I work too much for anything very exciting.

TA: What does that have to do with Kristi Waterson's death?

WF: Oh, I just meant that I don't go in for dating teachers. I don't have the time and energy for all the cover-up. She was killed by a lover, right?

SM: We're not going to answer that question right now. Our investigation is ongoing. But what makes you so sure?

WF: Come on. Her tendency towards inappropriate relationships was extremely well-known. It was only a matter of time until a jealous lover went over the deep end. Or a jilted lover. Or something. That's what always happens on the cop shows.

TA: This isn't a cop show, kid.

WF: I'm aware of that. I'm just intrigued by how you investigators work.

SM: If you were in our place, if you were in charge of this investigation, what would you do?

WF: I've already said what I would do. I would examine her relationships. Granted, you'll need a large staff working fulltime to talk to all her lovers, but that's where I would begin.

TA: Who all were her lovers?

WF: I can't give you names. I suppose I should be careful to qualify my comments about her love life. It was rumored that she was as, uh, let's say "friendly" as her father is wealthy. Her father doesn't seem to be concerned with using his money in any philanthropic ways, so I guess she was trying to spread around her own form of goodwill. But I can't give you any specifics. It was just a well-known rumor on campus that she was very promiscuous.

SM: Where were you on the night Ms. Waterson was murdered?

WF: I was working. As usual. That's what those of us who aren't rich do on the weekends.

SM: Who were you working for?

WF: A lady I do a lot of work for. Ms. Myra Olander hired me to do odd jobs around her house. I was there that night.

SM: Can you think of any reason why we might need to talk to you again during this investigation?

WF: No, I can't think of any reason you'll need to talk to me again. But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if you did. You'll talk to everyone, all of her students, most of her co-workers and so forth. I'm sure that you'll do your best to try and solve this puzzle. So in your diligent and thorough manner, it wouldn't shock me if you talked to everyone multiple times. Myself included.

TA: Does that bother you?

WF: Not at all. It will be interesting to see how this thing plays out.

SM: Okay, I'm sure we'll be talking to you again.

Interview ends -- 9:38 AM

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