Interview with William Bradford Huie


William Bradford Huie:

Alright. I said, "Well, John, I want, I, I want this. I want these two men to come in here and tell me the truth, because I think it's the best thing, and they're not in jeopardy any longer, and I don't see why they shouldn't." And I said, "I want to make a film of it. And so I'm willing to buy what we call portrayal rights and I'm willing to pay them about $4,000 for their portrayal rights if they'll come in here and tell me the truth. Now you tell them that they must tell me the truth, they must give me ways so that in the daytime I can go out and verify that they're telling me the truth. And if I find them telling me a lie, I won't pay them a damn thing." And he says, "Well, [cough] Bill," he said, "What are you doing next week?" Says, "Deer season opens." He says uh, "Let's go deer hunting." And I said, "Well, uh," you know, and he says, "I got to go to homecoming up to Old Miss." And uh, he says uh, "I know it'll be a few days for we can get around to it ‘cause I'd love for you to go deer hunting with me." And I say, "Well I can't go deer hunting right now." Well, he said, "Give me a couple of weeks." Well, then I just drove on home. I didn't go looking up for these men. Because I knew that I, if I, that that would not be the way to do it. About two weeks later, John Whitten called me. He said, "Bill, I talked to them." Says, "They're interested in doing that." He says, "They'd like for you to come in here at night, and meet me—meet ‘em—in the office at night so nobody in the community knows anything about it." And so we made an appointment, that the next Monday night at 8:00 or 7:00, I think at that time of year, uh, I believe that 7:00 was dark, that I'd stop my car out of town, and I'd go in there, and I did. I went in there and I met Milam and Bryant. Well, the wife was not there that night. And uh, we had this strange situation, because we're meeting in the library of this law firm. Milam and Bryant are sitting on one side of the table, John Whitten and I sitting on the other side of the table. Now they're, they're going to tell me the story of why and how they killed the boy. I'm not doing the questioning. Their own lawyer is doing the questioning. And he's never heard their story. Not once. He defended, he didn't ask them to sit across there and tell that story to him before he defended them. He becomes more interest—-as interested in the story as I am. I just sit there, and I tell them, I said, "Now I'm going to make notes. And then during the day I'm going to do two things. I'm going to be roughing out this story, and I'm also going where you say you went and I'm going to find evidence. You say you found this gin fan that you hung around his neck in a certain place. I'm going over there and find—I look around and find where you got that gin fan." "Well, ok, you'll find it right there." And I did that. And I said, "Now, at the end of five days we're going to work here. I'm coming here at night to see you during the day. I'm going to be writing and going around and verifying. At the end of five days, I'm going to have something roughed out, and you bring your wife in here, who's involved, and I want all three of you to initial every page and to tell me that that's truth and to tell Mr. Whitten that that's truth. And I'll have a lawyer here too by then. And then I'll pay you $4,000. And I have the right to portray you in a film as the murderers by name with live actors as the murderers and that's what I'm paying you for. I'm not paying you for telling me the story." And um, so that's how, that's how we got it. We uh, I then—-no one knew—-I didn't go there for any particular magazine.