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Interview: Nora Percy, victim's colleague

Monday, June 21, 2004 -- 1:00 PM

The witness, who was a colleague of the victim, 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
NP = Nora Percy

TA: Good afternoon, Ms. Percy. How are you today?

NP: I'm wondering why I'm here, Detective. And I have an appointment -- so let's get on with this.

SM: First, will you state your name and address for the record, please?

NP: I'm Nora Percy and I live at 120 Faculty Row.

SM: I understand you are a professor at University of Mississippi. Is that correct?

NP: Well, I'm an instructor. That isn't exactly the same as a professor, I'm afraid.

TA: What department are you in, Ms. Percy?

NP: I'm at the School of Business.

SM: Then were you acquainted with Kristi Waterson?

NP: Oh yes, I knew Kristi.

TA: How did you and Professor Waterson get along?

NP: She wasn't a professor any more that I am, Detective. Just a lowly instructor -- practically the bottom of the food chain. I don't know that Kristi really got along with anyone -- except maybe her stud students.

SM: Stud students? What do you mean?

NP: Oh come now, Detective! Surely you know by now the hanky-panky that went on between Kristi and some of her male students?

SM: Why don't you tell us about it?

NP: Kristi had an insatiable appetite for young males. She didn't think rules applied to her. She was above doing what she was supposed to do and flaunted her father's wealth and power.

SM: You don't sound too fond of her. Did you have something to do with her death?

NP: Are you crazy? Of course not! But she was an embarrassment to our department and to the university.

TA: You didn't answer the question, Ms. Percy. How did you and Ms. Waterson get along?

NP: We tolerated each other, Detective. There was no love lost on either side.

SM: Why do you think that was?

NP: She was a notorious goof-off. The kids who took her classes got grades without putting in any work and she sure as hell didn't put in any effort. She'd give good grades to her pets and screw the others -- no pun intended. I had kids coming to me whining and crying about it all the time. But there wasn't anything I could do about it. When I'd talk to Kristi about it, she'd tell me to bug off and mind my own business.

TA: Do you remember anyone in particular who complained about her?

NP: I remember Weldon Foyle was pretty pissed at her.

SM: Was there a good reason for him to be annoyed at her?

NP: He seemed to think so. You'd have to talk to him.

TA: You say there was no love lost on either side. Did you think she didn't like you?

NP: She was jealous of my work, Detective. It was obvious. I work hard, prepare for my classes, do substantive research and write for publication. She didn't do any of that.

SM: Do you have any idea of who could have killed Ms. Waterson?

NP: Heavens no! I can't imagine doing such a horrible thing. But then, I suppose Kristi had her share of ex-lovers who might want her out of the way.

TA: Any names come to mind?

NP: Not really.

SM: You seem to be pretty aware of her extracurricular activities. Surely you've heard a name or two mentioned.

NP: Well, mind you, she never confided in me, but I heard that Hunter Nelson and she were going at it for a while there. Even faculty gets the buzz once in a while. But you know that or you wouldn't have searched his stuff.

TA: How do you know about that?

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NP: This may be a big university, but word gets around pretty fast.

SM: What about other faculty? Was she dating any of them?

NP: Not that I heard.

TA: Was there something between John Brewer and her?

NP: Not that I know of.

SM: Wasn't there a situation where there were words exchanged between them at a faculty meeting?

NP: Oh that. That was nothing. John just got a little irritated at her once in a while. She could be very irritating.

SM: I understand Mr. Brewer has quite a temper. Could he get mad enough to kill someone?

NP: Oh John can get hot under the collar -- and it's Doctor Brewer, Detective. But he's mostly sound and fury signifying nothing, if you know what I mean.

TA: No, I don't know. Why don't you tell us what you mean?

NP: Something pisses John off, you know about it. Loud and clear. He doesn't pull any punches -- word-wise, that is. But it's all just noise. He doesn't really do anything except let off steam by raving and ranting.

SM: Have you ever known Mr. Brewer to be violent? Say, threaten someone with a baseball bat?

NP: Oh, that. It was blown way out of proportion according to John.

TA: Have you ever seen him be violent?

NP: No, never.

TA: Ms. Percy, where were you the evening Ms. Waterson was killed?

NP: John and I went to dinner then went over to his place.

SM: What time did you go to dinner?

NP: We met about 6:00 at Old Venice.

TA: And after dinner?

NP: We went to his place.

SM: What time was that?

NP: I don't know exactly. I guess about 8:00.

TA: Did you go together in his car?

NP: No, I took my car and followed him to his house.

TA: Were you actually in sight of his car all the way over there?

NP: Huh?

TA: You say you followed him. Could you see his car all the time?

NP: I don't really recall. I think he stopped for a minute somewhere because I got to his place and had to wait in the car until he got there.

SM: How long did you wait?

NP: Just a few minutes, I think. I was listening to a CD in my car and just leaned back and relaxed. I don't think it was more than a few minutes.

TA: Is it possible it was more than a few minutes? That maybe you dozed off?

NP: Oh, I doubt that.

SM: But you aren't sure?

TA: Do you know something about Ms. Waterson's death that you aren't telling us?

NP: No, of course not. I was nowhere near her that night. John and I were together.

SM: What time did you leave his house?

NP: I guess it was 2:00 a.m. or so.

SM: Did either of you go out after you arrived at his place?

NP: No. We stayed in all evening. Just had some wine, listened to some good music and enjoyed each other's company -- if you know what I mean.

TA: Did anyone see you arrive at Mr.-- uh, Dr. Brewer's?

NP: Not unless a nosy neighbor was looking out her window. What is this? Why are you questioning me as though I did something wrong? I don't like what you are implying. I thought you had forensic evidence linking Hunter to all this. Why bug me -- and John?

TA: The investigation is still ongoing, Ms. Percy. How do you think the investigation will come out concerning you -- or maybe you and Dr. Brewer?

NP: I think you're blowing smoke, Detective. You will find that I -- that John and I -- had nothing to do with Kristi Waterson's death. Now if you are through harassing me, I'm late for my appointment.

TA: All right, Ms. Percy. But as we said, this is an ongoing investigation and we may want to talk with you again. Do you have any problem with that?

NP: I think you're spinning your wheels, Detective. You should spend your time on real suspects instead of innocent bystanders like me. You'll waste a lot less time. I'm going now. Good day.

Interview ends -- 1:37 PM

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