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Witness Interview: Joel Shenton

4:06 p.m.

The witness was identified as Joel Shenton, age 24. Detective Armstrong interviewed Shenton at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office. The interview was recorded on a portable audio tape recorder with the witness's knowledge and consent.

TA = Detective Ted Armstrong
JS = Joel Shenton

TA: So Joel --

JS: Joey.

TA: -- Joey. By now you probably know why we've called you here. Could you tell us a little about Valerie?

JS: I could tell you a lot about her but I'd rather not, okay? It's still kind of upsetting.

TA: What's upsetting?

JS: Everything! Everything. It's like, first she's dead, and then it's like she's all famous because she's dead, she's like some sort of celebrity, all these people like guessing about who killed her like it's some sort of game and it's not, she's like real, a real person, you know? It's like everyone is just raping her memory.

TA: So do you spend much time online?

JS: Sure, I mean I like know what the 'Net is and stuff. I've used it mostly for research, for, you know, school. It's not my like specialty if that's what you're after.

TA: Were you involved in any computing activities with Valerie or Greg?

JS: No. I used the lab at school, that's it, okay?

TA: So you and Valerie never did any programming together?

JS: I said no, all right? Maybe once we printed up a flyer for a play. I'm like a theater guy, that stuff doesn't interest me much.

TA: Did she ever mention any computer work to you?

JS: No.

TA: So you knew Valerie through theater?

JS: Yeah. (Pause.) We were in a lot of productions together.

TA: Were you working on anything together when she died?

JS: Look, you don't have to like, check up on me. You're not going to catch me in some kind of lie. I know you know this stuff already. Yes, we were working on a scene for a class, and yes, I was, like, supposed to rehearse with her that evening. I left that f***ing message, okay? (agitated) We were going to rehearse.

TA: Please calm down, Joey. We know you're not a suspect. This is an informational interview, and you're being very cooperative. Can we continue?

JS: Whatever.

TA: How long had you known Valerie?

JS: A year and a half, two years.

TA: So you knew her pretty well?

JS: There you f***ing go again. Why not, like, come out and say it and ask whether or not we were f***ing? Because that's what you want to know, isn't it? The answer is no. We were never, like, involved. You already know that I wanted to be so don't even ask, okay?

TA: Did you notice anything out of the ordinary going on with her?

JS: No. I mean, she was around less, but I knew she wanted to finish and leave. She was working harder. I wasn't like monitoring her or anything, you know? I had my own projects, and I was like pretty wrapped up in them, mostly. I assumed it was just stress from work and everything.

TA: Did you know Greg?

JS: I met him once or twice. No one really knew him.

TA: Did Valerie ever talk about him or his brother?

JS: No. But she was like really into him. Whenever he was around she would like disappear for a few days and then suddenly she'd be back and just say oh Greg was here and like that was it. I never understood it.

TA: So you hadn't spent much time with her just before the murder.

JS: Very good.

TA: When did you last speak with her?

JS: It was the day before. I saw her in class and she said she'd be there for rehearsal. That was it. That was the last time --look, could we like talk about something else?

TA: All right. Did you ever see Valerie consume drugs?

JS: It depends on how you define drugs. Caffeine, sure. Pot. She liked to drink.

TA: Did she use marijuana a lot?

JS: No more than the rest of us.

TA: Where did she get it?

JS: F*** if I know.

TA: Have you ever bought drugs?

JS: So I'm like supposed to incriminate myself? I don't think so. Let's just say that if I'm at a party and somehow a joint ends up in my hand I'm not above taking a hit.

TA: Did you know Purity?

JS: No.

TA: Valerie never told you?

JS: I said no. I guess she had some secrets, okay? Look, is there any point to this interview or are we just like casting around for clues? Because if we are I'm like really not enjoying it and I'd like to go.

TA: May we release this interview to the public?

JS: Do whatever the f*** you want. I just don't want to talk about it any more now, okay?

Interview ended 4:24 p.m.


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