DONNIE MAYS...Victim of the State

What Really Happen

What an awful day.  It was approximately 11:00 a.m. Donnie got a call from Ann Turner, his administrator Customer Service Representative.  She was in the Ft. Walton Beach office and he was in the Biloxi office.  She said she just received a call from accounting in headquarters….said she they needed her correct Post Office Box number.  Ann told them that she did not have a P.O. Box. Angie in accounting told Ann that she had some returned expense checks from a P.O. Box and gave her the number.


Ann asked Donnie to call Angie to find out what was going on. He did. Angie was cold to him and said they were checking into the problem and told him not to worry about it.  Angie said it was probably the wrong address typed on the checks. Donnie talked with Angie several times that afternoon.


He called Ann who was still in Fort Walton Beach and told her what Angie said.  He and Ann concerned.  The day went on and around 3:00 p.m. Lenis McClain, head of auditing, called Donnie and asked if he knew there was a problem with Ann’s expense reports? He said yes, that Ann had called him.  He asked Donnie thought Ann would do something like this. Donnie said, NO!   Mr. McClain said, don’t worry about this and his office would investigate tomorrow (Friday). Donnie called Ann and told her he talked with Mr. McClain.


An hour later, Mr. Martin, Donnie’s direct supervisor called him from the Atlanta airport and asked what was going on.  He told Donnie not to worry about it; he would get with him on Friday.  Donnie had scheduled to take Friday off, but could still call from home.


Around 5:00 p.m. he left the Biloxi office driving home.  He called Kaye from the car and told her he was on the way home.  I arrived home around 6:10 p.m.  Madeline and Kaye were waiting at the table with dinner ready when he walked in.  Seven o’clock that night was the Maundy Thursday service at Spring Hill Baptist Church. They ate dinner and left the house around 6:40 p.m.  On the way to church Donnie told Kaye about the course of events that happened that day.


During the course of the service Kaye left to go to the restroom (something she never did. She often criticized those who did.). The congregation shared communion that evening so services were not over until 8 p.m. On the way home, as they were turning off Airport Boulevard to Dawes Road, Kaye told Donnie that she needed to tell him something.  With tears running down her face, she told Donnie, “It was me.” She confessed to falsifying the expense reports under Ann’s name. She answered Donnie’s questions about how and why she did it. She showed much remorse and expressed much fear as to how her actions would be viewed by her parents and the church membership.


Donnie remembered that Kaye had always had a keen interest in Ann’s schedule. He thought it was just Kaye being nosey and desire to be “in the know”.  She knew Ann was his right hand person. Kaye knew every manager by name and most every employee.  Kaye had always asked a lot of questions about work.


With tears in her eyes she told Donnie again that she was sorry.  She said she did not feel like talking about it. Donnie asked her to call Mr. Martin in Evansville, Indiana and tell him what had happened.  He told her his plane should have been in by now.  She agreed and then abruptly changed her mind saying that she would wait and do it Friday morning. She stated that she did not want to bother him at home after he had been traveling in the Texas branches. At that point she became very insistent on waiting until the morning to call Mr. Martin.


At that point Kaye said she was through talking about his until in the morning. Madeline heard Kaye say this, and grabbed Donnie’s hand and pulled him to her bedroom.  This was around 8:45 p.m.  Madeline shut the door to her room and they played with her dolls for about 15 minutes.



When Madeline and Donnie finished playing she said she was sleepy.  He told her after he changed his clothes he would read her a book. After Kaye and Donnie finished changing their clothes they went into Madeline’s room and each read a book of Madeline’s choice and all 3 took turns saying a prayer.  About 9:15 p.m. they walked out of her room. Donnie went to the living room and Kaye went to send some emails.  After a while they both retired to the bedroom. Donnie asked Kaye again to discuss the expense reports situation but she vehemently refused.


Donnie tossed in bed, unable to sleep. Around 10:30 he decided to get up and go into Madeline’s room. A few times each night he would lift Madeline from bed and place her on a plastic potty
next to her bed. Eventually she would tee-tee and he would place her back in bed. Although both Donnie and Kaye had shared this duty, Madeline had gotten too big for Kaye to lift.


They kept an air purifier and noise machine in Madeline’s bedroom to disguise noises from the other parts of the house and traffic outside. This let Madeline sleep better. That night, as usual, Donnie put Madeline on her potty. After several minutes of whispering encouragement to Madeline to tee-tee, Donnie heard a loud boom. He quickly pulled up Madeline’s panties and put her back in bed and ran to the bedroom. As soon as he got to the door he smelled gun powder. He ran up to the bed yelling “Kaye, Kaye, Kaye, Kaye”.  It was dark in the bedroom. He ran to the bathroom and turned on the bathroom light.


Once he got back to the bedside he saw blood everywhere. He saw a gun twisted up in the sheets and the butt of the gun exposed out from under the sheets.  Again he kept yelling for Kaye to respond.  At that point he saw the gun’s barrel protruding from under the sheets near Kaye’s breast. He pulled the sheets to try and move it.


He ran to the kitchen and called Kaye’s parents.  June answered the phone and she said they were on the way.  Then Donnie called his parents. He then called 911 and gave the operator his name and street address and told her his wife shot herself. The operator asked him some questions and he told her he was in the kitchen and that Kaye was in our bedroom. He was told to go into the bedroom. He laid the phone down in the kitchen and ran and picked up the cordless phone in the living room and ran to the bedroom. The operator asked Donnie to try and feel a pulse. He said that he did not feel a pulse. She asked if he could get her on the floor. He said he could not so he was instructed by the 911 operator to leave her alone; the ambulance is on the way.


Donnie ran through the house to the garage and let up the garage door and waited.  He was crying while standing in the garage when his parents arrived.  He motioned for them to follow him to the bedroom. All three ran to the bedroom. Donnie’s father shook Kaye very hard and called her name. His mother touched Kaye on the head.


The three of them walked to the garage. They were stunned and in shock. They   awaited the ambulance. Within minutes 2 very
young uniformed officers came running up the driveway. Mr. Mays Sr. began motioning them to enter the house.


Within seconds a very young plain clothes officer came up the driveway with his hand on his pistol yelling in a menacing tone towards Mr. Mays Sr. to, “get back, get back!”.  Mr. Mays was trying to inform the officers that Madeline was still in the house, but they were too busy acting like NYPD BLUE to listen. Thank God the EMTs came quickly and would heed the warning.


June and Stan Strickler, Kaye’s parents arrived next and within minutes the EMT came out to tell us that Kaye was dead. The 5 joined hands and prayed for Kaye’s soul. Stan went into a frenzy, yelling prayers in some kind of tongues.


An officer asked the five to move to the patio adjacent to the garage. Mrs. Mays asked the EMT to go get Madeline from her room. The EMT told them that he was no longer allowed in the house. He said he understood why they would be concerned about Madeline’s well-being and said he would try.


Within a few minutes he reappeared with Madeline in his arms. The three men had walked away before that happened. Madeline was awake and plainly said to Mrs. Mays and Mrs. Strickler that, “Daddy and I were in my room when we heard a loud boom!”.


Over the course of the next few hours, as news of Kaye’s suicide spread, family and friends began to arrive at the home. Much love and support was conveyed. Stan told Donnie that he would have to take a large portion of the blame for Kaye’s actions because that he never told her that he loved her. (Stan was an extreme disciplinarian and hard-shell Baptist. Mrs. Mays mentioned to Mrs. Strickler that Kaye had admitted to falsifying expense reports that evening to which June quickly retorted, “You didn’t tell the police that, did you?”. Both Stan and June had always been overly concerned about their image in the Baptist community.)


June, Kaye’s mother, told Donnie that she had spoken to Kaye over the phone that evening and that Kaye was not herself. Kaye’s brother, Neil, said that Kaye had told him recently that she was an unfit mother. When Donnie confided with Stan, Kaye’s father, that she had been stealing money from my company he encouraged me not to tell that to the police.

During these 3 hours or so that elapsed between the time that the police arrived and when an officer came to take Donnie to the police station, several very inexperienced police officers decided to make Donnie and Kaye’s bedroom  into a “crime scene”. Although throughout the prosecution the bedroom was described as “sterile”, three people moved about the room and moved objects within the room before the police arrived. During the trial phase, the bedroom was constantly purported to be totally unaltered.


About 3:00am Cpl Evans, one of the newbie’s investigating the evening’s event told Donnie that he would like him to go downtown with him to go over some more questions. He said that this just standard, routine procedure and that Donnie would be back in an hour or two. Several hours of questioning occurred. Donnie never changed his account of the evening’s event. Several attempts were made to pull a confession from Donnie that he had indeed killed Kaye and tried to stage the murder as a suicide. Of course, they were unsuccessful. Finally, about 6:30am, Detective Vaughn informed Donnie that he was being charged with murdering Kaye. 


During that time period, the police also began to try and convince Kaye’s family that I had murdered her. They knew that her family would find it easier to cope with Kaye’s death if they could believe that she did not kill herself. They also knew that Donnie’s defense would be hampered by a lack of cooperation from Kaye’s family. And lastly, the police (and the prosecution) knew that having the grieving and angry family present at the trial would impact the jury.


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