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Inside the Insanity
Girl with Pen
books are love
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Lisa-Queen of Random
“Sergeant, in my office, please.” Captain Shamus McGuire stood at attention in his doorway, all six-feet-four inches of him. His steel-gray hair cut to military precision focused one’s attention on his matching gray eyes.
Homicide Sergeant Jake Carrington of the Wilkesbury Police Department looked across his joined desk to his partner, and lifelong friend Louie Romanelli and shrugged. Louie threw him a questioning look as he adjusted his tie and started to rise from his chair.
“Just Jake, Louie,” the captain said as he turned into his office.
Jake picked up their latest case file to update the captain and walked in to join McGuire.
“Take a seat, Jake.” The captain pointed to one of the two institutional-gray ones in front of his desk. He took off his glasses and massaged his forehead.
Though Jake preferred to stand, he took the less beat-up seat on the right. The room was a monument to the man, all spit and polish. Sparse furnishing with a few awards and medals hung on the walls. Paperwork in precise piles, a picture of his family, the standard computer and phone were all he had on his desk. McGuire’s appearance and stance spoke of his military background and warned his cops he took no crap from them. It wasn’t like him to stall but that’s exactly what he was doing at the moment.
McGuire turned his smoky eyes on him. Jake went on alert. Something was up, something big.
“Captain?” Instincts had Jake bracing for what came next.
“Spaulding’s coming up for parole again. And this time he’s requesting a DNA test before he comes before the board.” Jake’s stomach curdled. McGuire continued, “He’s also requesting the DNA samples from your sister’s crime scene be tested against his sample.”
“What bullshit, Shamus.”
Jake jumped up, roamed the office. His mouth went dry. Deep down he was afraid the old samples somehow wouldn’t match and would set Eva’s killer free. This new development would split his attention. What could Spaulding gain from this maneuver? To catch a killer, you had to get inside his head. Did Spaulding assume the system would release him if he got a new trial?
He looked out the window and studied the downtown area as he ran every scenario through his mind. This was his town, though imperfect as it was. He and Eva had been born here of immigrant parents. Its one hundred thousand residents depended on him and those who had come before him to protect it.
Outside of his tour of military duty overseas he didn’t venture far from it, a good city, though down on its luck since all the manufacturing jobs went overseas. Wilkesbury recently had the distinguished honor to be named one of the top five saddest rust belt cities. And it’s the one that was farthest south of the belt. In its glory days, nothing could touch
Wilkesbury. Most of the crime in the city came from the twenty percent of the Wilkesburians living under the national poverty level. The city had its mix of people, businesses, homeless, shoppers, and kids. More kids claimed the downtown area since UConn had put a branch right across the street from the station. Today some of the kids wore shorts to celebrate the hot weather. Last week it was in the forties. Today the temperatures hit the seventies. New England, you gotta love it, he thought.
Clearing his mind, he focused on The Palace Marquee. Next month Johnny Mathis would be here for two days. He thought it a monument to the citizens of Wilkesbury when private citizens and businesses raised the money to save the Palace. It had been closed for eighteen years. The last performer had been Tony Bennett in 1987. Bennett had opened the newly restored theater in 2004 and it was still going strong. Jake loved the old theater. It brought back good memories from his childhood. The grand old theater done in the tradition of the Met was a step back in time. Since it had been refurbished it drew some big-name performers and plays. It’s about time we got something decent in the downtown area, he thought. Murders were down in recent years but overall crime continued. Eva’s death was the
reason he became a cop instead of going on to play pro ball after college.
Turning from the window, he walked back to stand in front of Shamus’s desk. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last part,” Jake said.
“The sperm gathered at the time of the autopsy was preserved, and with new technology he has the right to ask for the testing.”
“When will it happen? I want to be there through the whole process from collection to testing to make sure there aren’t any switch-ups.” What a way to start a Monday.
“It hasn’t been granted yet. His lawyer is working on the request,” McGuire stated.
“When will it happen?” Jake rubbed his temples where a headache was forming.
“The board acts in their own time. I’d say toward the end of the month. I’m behind you, as is the entire department, Jake, to make sure Eva gets justice.”
Jake paced the room. Seventeen years and it seemed like yesterday.
“When they took him out after the trial, Spaulding whispered to me he’d done it and enjoyed every moment of it,” Jake said. It was a moment in time he would never forget.
There were nights after the trial he dreamed up ways of killing Spaulding, making him suffer as much, if not more, than Eva had. Even today, when his moral code screamed there was no justification for taking a life, he understood deep down in his soul that, if given the chance, he’d remove George Spaulding from the face of this Earth and not look back. Captain McGuire’s voice floated back into his head. Jake felt shame standing in front of Shamus with thoughts of murder in his head. If he did kill, what would separate him from the ones he hunted every day of his life?
“As a cop, you and I both understand the evidence is what convicts, along with a smart prosecutor. Spaulding’s lawyer has petitioned the court. Even if the DNA isn’t a match, it wouldn’t get him an immediate release. There was other evidence putting him at the crime scene. And there was an eyewitness who saw him push Eva into his car. All it will get him is a new trial. If I remember this right, all of the evidence pointed to him. Have faith, Jake.”
“Faith? Is that what I should tell Eva? Oh wait. I can’t. Because she’s dead!”
The captain ignored his outburst. “If he goes to trial I promise we’ll reopen the case and work it along with our current files. But, you can’t touch the file when we do.”
“No, it’s not. If we want the chain of evidence to remain pure you can’t touch it. I’ll respect and appoint whoever you want to work it,” McGuire said.
“It can’t be him either.” McGuire held up his hands before Jake could interrupt him. “He’s too close to you.”
“What’s not to say any of the men in my department aren’t too close to me?”
“Whoever you pick will have a state trooper working with him.”
“You don’t trust your own men?” Aggrieved, Jake threw up his hands.
“Do you want answers?”
“Shamus, I already got my answer. I’ve no doubt Spaulding is guilty,” Jake said.
“Then this is the best way to handle it. When we catch the killer, it will ensure a conviction,” Shamus said.
Jake pushed a hand through his hair. The air thinned, cutting off his next breath. “I need to get out of here.”
He rushed from McGuire’s office. At his desk Jake grabbed his car keys and ignored Louie’s questions. He didn’t trust himself to speak. The pit of his stomach burned. What if the DNA didn’t match Spaulding’s?
Damn, he wanted to punch something. No, not something. He wanted to punch out Spaulding.
I swear if they release him—I’ll—I’ll kill him.
“Jake, wait up.” Louie Romanelli followed him out of the bullpen.
“Not now.” Jake kept walking.
Louie caught up to him and grabbed his arm as he would a suspect and twirled him around. If he wanted to, Jake could’ve decked him. They were evenly matched in height and weight. Instead, he stood rigid. “Talk to me,” Louie said.
“Give me a couple of hours to pull myself together. We’ll meet at my house later if you can. In the meantime, work the Wagner case. I’d hate not to give the Wagners the answers they need.” He didn’t bother to mention the case was similar to Eva’s that, he too needed the closure.
“Tell me what’s wrong. Did McGuire fire you?” Louie’s olive complexion whitened as he asked the question. His dark eyes searched Jake’s face for an answer.
Leave it to Louie. For the first time in over a half hour, he laughed. “No, I’m not fired. Spaulding’s up for parole again and has requested new testing.”
He stared down his friend as Louie processed the information. If it wasn’t for Louie and his family during the weeks and months that followed Eva’s death, he wouldn’t be standing here today.
How different we are, Jake thought. Louie, married for seventeen years to his grade-school sweetheart, now had three kids. He, on the other hand, liked being single. Side by side, though they matched each other in height, his skin tone paled next to Louie’s dark Italian coloring.
“Go back to work. I’ll talk to you later.”
Jake walked away with his head down and his mind spinning out in every direction. No matter what Shamus said, he owed it to Eva to find the answers.
It’s my fault she died.