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Interview: Myra Olander, Weldon Foyle's alibi witness

Thursday, June 24, 2004 -- 9:00 AM

The witness, who Weldon Foyle provided as an alibi, 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
MO = Myra Olander

SM: We appreciate you coming in today, Ms. Olander.

MO: Let's just please get this over with.

SM: Can you please state your name and address?

MO: Myra Olander. I live at 3342 Delay Road, out near Yocona.

SM: And what is your occupation?

MO: I'm a potter and ceramics maker.

TA: You seem uncomfortable, Ms. Olander.

MO: I don't mean any disrespect, but I know how the system works. I'll be honest with you -- I don't really trust the police. I'm telling you that now because I'm sure you can either find that out about me or else you already know that. But I'm here trying to do the right thing and get this over with as soon as possible.

SM: What is the right thing?

MO: To confirm that Weldon Foyle was working for me on the night that teacher was killed.

SM: How do you know that is what we want to talk about?

MO: It's pretty obvious, isn't it? Weldon said you interviewed him. He said he told you what he was doing that night. I was sure you would contact me for confirmation.

SM: Weldon talked to you?

MO: Of course. I mean, a young hard-working kid is interrogated by the police, of course he's going to talk about it. You don't ask the people you interview to keep it confidential, do you?

SM: No. What exactly did Weldon tell you?

MO: That you asked him questions and thought he might be a suspect. I’m telling you now, Detectives, you’re wrong. That boy couldn’t hurt anyone.

TA: And Weldon asked you to talk to us?

MO: He did not. He didn’t have to. He is a good boy and he doesn’t need to be involved in this. He has entirely too much to do -- his schoolwork, his jobs -- to have his time taken up in nonproductive matters.

SM: I see. Does Weldon often confide in you?

MO: He does not confide in me; he works for me, and very hard, I might add. Oh, sometimes he tell me about school or about his other work, but it’s only polite conversation.

TA: What did he say about his instructors at the university?

MO: Ha! He said you’d ask about that.

SM: And so we are. During your conversations, polite or otherwise, what did Weldon say about his instructors at the university?

MO: It’s no secret he did not like that one who was murdered. However, Weldon never spoke harshly of his instructors.

TA: Who did he speak harshly of?

MO: Weldon and I once discussed the injustices of the educational and political and social systems, Detective, but he never threatened or implied a threat against that Instructor Waterson in any way in my presence.

SM: What else did he say we’d ask about?

MO: About the night that instructor was killed.

TA: So then let's cut to the chase, was Weldon working for you on the night of Saturday, May 22nd?

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MO: Yes.

TA: What time did he start work?

MO: He arrived about 6:30 or so.

SM: What was he doing?

MO: I believe that he cleaned the yard late in the evening and then, after it got dark, he came in and started scraping and sanding my screened-in porch. I want to paint it, but it's got several layers of old, nasty paint already on it. He worked on getting that off for several hours.

SM: What time did he leave?

MO: I don't remember exactly. It was after I went to bed. But I was up until about 2:30 in the morning. So it was pretty late.

TA: So Weldon spent from about 6:30 in the evening until after 2:30 in the following morning working at your house?

MO: Yes. He was there the entire time. I will testify to that under oath in court, if necessary.

SM: That may or may not be necessary, but thank you for letting us know. What else did Weldon tell you to say, other than that you would testify?

MO: Weldon did not tell me to say I would testify. He didn’t tell me to say anything. I don’t like it when people tell me to do things. That’s a good way to get me to do just the opposite.

SM: I see. And during this time, what were you doing, Ms. Olander?

MO: I had several projects going: two pots, a pickle pot, and I also read two of my pottery magazines.

TA: How often does Weldon work for you?

MO: He comes out maybe once a week. Definitely once every other week. So he's out to my place pretty regularly.

SM: And you work as a potter?

MO: Yes.

TA: Does that pay enough to support paying a handyman on such a regular basis?

MO: I'm not sure that my financial condition is any of your business, but some years ago, I was involved in a traffic accident caused by a large trucking company's negligence. I received a fair settlement. I'm not wealthy by any means, but it provides enough for me to get by and to pay for work on my home.

SM: How much land do you have out there?

MO: Only a couple of acres.

TA: That's not much land for hiring someone so often.

MO: My house is more than a hundred years old. And it's not some antebellum mansion either. It's not always in the best shape. Plus, the accident I mentioned earlier left me with some chronic back problems. When you might go outside and mow your grass, I can't do that. So even the most basic home maintenance issues require me to hire help.

SM: And Weldon provides that?

MO: Yes.

SM: How did you meet him?

MO: He was referred to me by the Ole Miss Career Center. They have a service where you can post jobs for students. They sent him to me and I've had him ever since then.

SM: How would you describe Weldon?

MO: He's a good kid. He works incredibly hard and has had a tough life. So I'm glad to be able to throw him some odd jobs now and then.

TA: Have you ever known him to act or speak violently?

MO: He has never acted violently. As to his speech, in this country one is still free to speak their mind -- at least for now. As I said before, he never threatened or implied a threat against Instructor Waterson.

SM: Do you have any idea where he went after he left your house that night?

MO: I assume he went home. Weldon works too much to go out partying. If he's not working or studying, he's asleep.

SM: I see. Thank you for your time, Ms. Olander. We may need to speak with you again.

MO: I don’t see why, but if it’s necessary to make sure that you don’t bother Weldon any more, I’d be happy to do so.

TA: You’re very gracious, Ms. Olander. Thank you.

MO: You’re welcome.

Interview ends -- 9:35 AM

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