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Interview: Follow-up with Hunter Nelson, victim's student

Thursday, July 1, 2004 -- 2:25 PM

The witness, who was a student of the victim, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Detention Center. The witness' attorney, Frank Sheppard, was present for the interview, which was conducted by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy. The interview was recorded on a portable tape recorder with the witness' knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
SM = Detective S. Murphy
HN = Hunter Nelson
FS = Frank Sheppard

SM: Hello, Mr. Nelson.

HN: Yeah.

SM: We'll let our records show that you are accompanied by legal counsel. Counselor, would you please state your name?

FS: I am Frank Sheppard of Johnson, Webber, and Sheppard Law Firm in Natchez. I am here representing my client, Hunter Nelson.

SM: Duly noted. For the record, Mr. Nelson, would you please state your name and address?

HN: Hunter Nelson. I live at 118-C Warren Street here in Oxford.

SM: And you are aware that you are being held in conjunction with the murder of Kristi Waterson?

HN: Yes.

FS: Other than that, Hunter, don't say a word.

SM: Hunter, your attorney gives you good advice -- so you just listen, and then we want to hear your side of it, Okay? Just listen. We know what you told us before isn't true. We have witnesses that put you at the murder scene. We have evidence that shows you had relations with Kristi much more recently than you led us to believe. We know how she liked it -- we know she was into some stuff that wasn't exactly mainstream. Now, maybe things just got out of hand that night, and you got scared and had to do something to protect yourself. Maybe that's what happened. So maybe you want to change your story about what kind of relationship you and Kristi were having at the time of her death?

HN: No.

SM: Well, maybe you just went to see her for old times' sake, just to say hi, and she came on to you and something went wrong?

HN: No, no, no. I did not see Kristi the night she was killed. I haven't been with her in a long time.

TA: Let's save a lot of time here and you just tell us why you did it.

HN: I didn't do anything.

SM: Oh, come on, Hunter. We have plenty of evidence linking you to the crime. We have witnesses prepared to testify that they saw someone matching your description and clothing heading towards Kristi's apartment. We've got plenty of--

HN: You don't have anything!

TA: Oh, there's enough there to put you away for a long time.

FS: Detectives, I have informed my client that your evidence, as you call it, is very sketchy and I don't think it will stand up under the scrutiny of a trial. Please don't try to threaten him.

SM: Are you confident in your lawyer, Hunter?

HN: Yes, I--

TA: Most people we see are pretty confident in their legal protections. But then eventually they find out what the truth is. When the jury comes back and says guilty, well, then your lawyer's assurances don't matter much.

HN: Well--

FS: You're wasting our time here, Detectives. If you don't have anything to say to us besides worthless threats, then Hunter should just go back to his cell and I'll return to my office.

SM: Look, Hunter. You want to help us. You need to help us. We can get a better deal for you. Mr. Sheppard isn't going to end up sitting on death row at Parchman. You, on the other hand, have forensic evidence linking you to your old girlfriend's murder. That's good stuff for us. Bad stuff for you. Just work with us and we can help you.

TA: We can't help you, kid, unless you help us.

HN: I don't have any way of helping you. I didn't do it.

SM: Hunter, look, tell us where you were on the night of Kristi's murder.

HN: I already told you. I was with Deborah.

SM: But you weren't with her the whole night.

HN: Yes, I was!

TA: Forget this, Murphy. Let's quit wasting our time. Let the kid fry.

HN: I was with her all night.

SM: That's not the information we have received.

HN: Yeah? What have you been told?

TA: You tell us, kid. We've got info, all right. That's all you need to know. Now, you know the truth. Why don't you tell us and we'll see if it jives with our info.

HN: I don't know--

FS: Hunter, you don't have to tell them anything.

TA: What was that list again? Let's see, I believe we said we have forensic evidence, we have eyewitness testimony, and now, we have information that pokes holes all in little Hunter's alibi. Things are falling right into place for us, don't you think, Counselor?

FS: We don't have to answer anything.

HN: I went to buy some weed, okay!

FS: Hunter, I demand that you stop talking right this minute!

HN: Shut up! No way! Look, I can take the heat for some dope, all right? But I am not going to jail for murder!

SM: So you want to tell us the truth now?

HN: I left Deborah at my apartment around 9:30 or so. That's when I went to get the marijuana. I didn't get it to distribute it or anything! Just for the two of us.

SM: Who did you buy it from?

HN: I shouldn't say. I don't want to get anyone in trouble.

TA: So you'd rather risk going to death row than to get anyone in trouble. You're a swell guy.

HN: Dewey Devoe. I bought it from Dewey Devoe.

FS: Hunter, you must stop this right now. Detectives, my client will not answer any more questions regarding any alleged drug deal.

TA: He'll answer them if he doesn't want to go down for murder.

FS: I must consult with my client first. This interview is over. Please let the record show that I am instructing my client to answer no more questions.

SM: We'll give you one for the road, Mr. Sheppard. We found a condom, Hunter. We found a used latex condom, and what do you think we'll find when all the tests are run? Anything to link it to you?

HN: Nope. There'll be nothing to link link that to me! See, I'm allergic to latex. Can't use 'em. See! I told you I had nothing to do with this.

SM: What?

HN: I am allergic to latex. Can't use those types of condoms.

TA: We'll get the doctors to see about that.

HN: Yeah, yeah! Get your doctors, lemme take your tests -- but I already did that!

SM: What do you mean?

HN: It's on file -- in the court records. Get the affidavit from my lawsuit.

FS: Sounds like maybe your case isn't that airtight, Detectives. But I need to confer with my client anyway, so I think it's time we both retired to our separate corners.

TA: We'll see.

SM: Hey, Hunter, one last thing--

FS: Hunter, don't you dare say--

SM: Relax, Mr. Sheppard. Hunter, when you were involved with Kristi, did you observe that she had any unusual shaving habits?

HN: What?

SM: Did she ever shave anywhere that might be considered... atypical?

HN: What? No-- What are you talking about?

FS: Detective, what part of my saying this interview is terminated don't you understand?

SM: Thanks, Hunter, you told us what we wanted to know. We'll be talking again soon.

Interview ends -- 3:02 PM

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