Case of the Murdered Bride Ch. 03

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The chronological order of my stories is as follows:

Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, The Murdered Football Player Series, Case of the Black Widow series, Teresa’s Christmas Story, The Case of the Black Badge series, A Case of Revenge series, Trilogy Series, Dark Side Of The Force series., Caught In the Act series.

Case of the Murdered Bride Ch. 1-3.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, extreme language, and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial or racist language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 14 – Secret Passages and Hidden Knowledge

“He’s been dead a couple of days.” said the Chief. “Rigor had set in but is releasing now. Blood pooling inside the chest cavity and abdomen.”

“So, you’re going to be a medical examiner in your retiring years, Chief?” I asked, grinning.

“Just might. Miss Perlman has nothing on me.” said the Chief, feeling around the man’s neck. “Hmmm, the man’s neck is broken. Violently so. Probably the cause of death.”

I was looking further down the passageway. “Looks like someone walked around the body here, probably the guy that dumped him here. But there are some footprints headed down the passageway… not fresh, they have some dust settling into them.”

“Wanna follow them?” said the Chief. “Here’s an extra key to the locks. I was going to give it to you, anyway. Keep it on your police keychain at all times.”

“Thank you, sir. Yes, sir.” I said. “But first: Cindy, why don’t you go upstairs and call in for only Dr. Woodrow and Technician Cho to come down. Have them bring a wheeled stretcher so we can haul the body out.”

“Good idea, Crowbar.” said the Chief. “The less people know about this, the better.” He handed Cindy his key to all the doors, and she headed upstairs.

“So, Chief,” I asked as we waited. “Where are the other secret passages in the County? Besides the one between the Crime Lab building and the Headquarters?”

“You know about that?” asked the Chief, his voice incredulous. “How in God’s name? I know there’s something down there, but I don’t know where it is.”

“Well, Chief,” I said, “that guy who got into our Evidence Rooms, the one who committed suicide when we caught him, who was wearing my badge… he didn’t come from upstairs, that much is obvious. That suggests a passage somewhere… I think it runs parallel to the firing range, then cuts over to the Crime Lab, but I’m not sure.”

“Geez.” said the Chief, truly astonished at my knowledge. “I figured it was somewhere behind Internal Affairs. I’ve only been in there once, and that was just after the building was built, before they actually moved in.

A moment later, the Chief said “As to your question about other passages, there’s two under the University football stadium, in an ‘X’ shape, that goes to the four corners of it. I’d hate to see what condition it might be in right now. And there’s an old sewer drain under the County Jail that leads to the River, big enough to evacuate the Jail if there were a fire or if it came under attack from the outside.”

———————————-

After Cho and Woodrow got to the crime scene and processed it, having been sworn to secrecy by the Chief, we got the body up to the main floor, and quickly removed it to the waiting ambulance by the side door. After that, Cindy and I went on down the passageway.

“Two sets of footprints.” Cindy said. “Moving pretty fast.”

“Yep,” I said, “and staying in the center, which means they were navigating in the dark with flashlights and avoided the walls.”

“Think these are connected to this murder?” Cindy asked as we turned the corner and headed up the stairs. A moment later, we were in the ground floor hallway of the Tower Condos.

“No, I think that was a separate thing.” I said. “I suspect we just traced the escape route of the rapists of Vicki Oldeeds some months ago.”

“Ah, yes.” Cindy said, remembering all that had happened in association with that. “So do you think the same guys are involved in this case?”

“Can’t see that as being likely.” I said. “We’re–” I was interrupted by my cell phone going off. I answered it.

“What?!… That’s great!… Yeah, Ross and I are coming back to Headquarters right now… listen, Martin, process him, read him his rights. Suspicion of murder. I want him agitated as hell when we interrogate him. Okay, see you in a few.”

As I put the cellphone back in its pocket, I said to Cindy “The FBI got a facial recognition match on the cabbie in the videos, and sent Nash an address. bursa escort Rudistan and Morton have already gone there and made the arrest, and they’re bringing the guy to Headquarters now. Let’s go!”

Part 15 – Cab Fare, Redux

The cabbie was in Interrogation-1. He was taller than medium but shorter than tall, and in his early forties. He was well built and fairly muscular. His brown hair was ringing the sides of his head, but very thin up top, and his forehead was a bit prominent. It was all the more obvious due to the sweat on his brow under the bright light over the table.

“His name, the one he’s going by now, is Ronald Burger.” said Cindy as we observed him from the anteroom through the one-way glass. “He’s been with University Cab Company here just short of three years. He apparently created a new identity for himself, complete with modest credit card records, but no credit cards in his wallet when he was arrested. He hangs out with other cabbies sometimes, but for the most part keeps to himself.”

“Witness protection?” I asked. “That would explain some of the Federal interest in him… or at least in this case if he’s involved.”

“When Sandra Speer called Martin with the address of this guy,” said Cindy, “she said that the Marshals were denying he was in Witness Protection. She also said they probably would say so if he was, not to mention they’d tell us to back off of him. So we’re thinking he’s not.”

“So why don’t you have someone interviewing him?” I asked.

“He invoked.” Cindy replied. “When they went to his home, he refused to voluntarily come to the station. So he was arrested, brought in and processed, per your instructions. As soon as he was put in Interrogation-1, he demanded a lawyer. He doesn’t have one to call, so we’re getting him a public defender right now.”

About half an hour later, at 7:30pm, still October 12th, the public defender arrived, and Cindy and I high-fived when we saw who it was: Dexter Epstein. He was a very typical nerdish geek, and he was a very poor lawyer. He was the public defender the racists Judge Stoner and ADA Sanders had tried to assign out of turn to Nathaniel Jones. He was assigned to night court arraignments as a public defender, and God have mercy on the suspect to whom he was assigned.

“All right.” I said to Cindy. “Have Nash and Rose play ‘good cop, bad cop’ with this slug. He looks nervous. We did take a cheek swab, didn’t we?”

“Yep.” Cindy said. “We had the warrant for that ready to go by the time Rudistan and Morton got him to the station.”

————————–

Nash and Rose didn’t make much progress. Ronald Burger, a.k.a. Joey Franks, simply refused to answer any questions about anything. Epstein occasionally would reinforce that when Nash and Rose tried to ask if the cabbie was at a certain place at a certain time.

“Okay, I’m going to go change uniforms.” I said. “When I get back, pull them out of there.” I said to Cindy, meaning Nash and Rose. “Then you and I will go in. I’m going to barbecue this guy, so just watch and go along.”

I went and changed to my ‘black’ uniform, which looked more formidable and menacing than the regular blue one, and my silver oak leaf rank stood out more brightly, as well. I wanted to intimidate this man, but subtly. When I got back to the anteroom, Cindy knocked on the window and then stuck her head in the door and had Nash and Rose pull out. Then I went in, Cindy following.

“All right, cabbie, my name is Commander Troy, and I want to–“

“My client has invoked.” interrupted Dexter Epstein, in his annoying, nasally voice. “He is not answering any questions. I want you to stop wasting his time–“

“Wasting his time?” I asked, allowing incredulity to be a major inflection of my voice. “The man is going to either sit here or sit in our holding cell until we transfer him to County Jail, Mr. Epstein. Now you have your right to remain silent, Mr. Burger, or Mr. Franks, or whatever you want me to call you tonight…. how about ‘Cabbie’? I’ll just call you, ‘Cabbie’, okay? You may have the right to not speak, but the Constitution doesn’t protect you from having to listen to me.” Actually, the Constitution might indeed afford that protection, but let Dexter Epstein figure it out…

I continued ominously: “I need to make sure you understand the full picture here, Cabbie. You’re on video in the company of one Diane Lang, who very shortly afterwards was found murdered in her hotel room. We know that you went to her hotel with her. Now we’re going to be comparing the DNA from the cheek swab we just took from you to the semen found in Mrs. Lang’s mouth and stomach. I’m betting it’s going to come up as your semen, Cabbie.”

“I got nothing to say.” said the Cabbie. “You’re harassing me at this point. Either let me go or take me to my jail cell.” Heck, he was a better legal eagle that ol’ Dexter, there.

I leaned forward just a bit and looking very hard into Cabbie’s eyes. “Oh, you’re going to your jail cell, all right. But before altıparmak escort you go, let me make something really, really clear to you: if that DNA matches, it is all over for you. I’m talking the death penalty here, Cabbie. When you are convicted, you will die. They are going to strap you to a table and inject drugs into you, buddy. Juries have convicted for a lot less than what we have. You were at the scene of the murder, you had sex with the dead woman, your semen was in her mouth and belly. Jesus, this is going to be easy!”

I paused, then continued: “If I leave this room without you telling me what happened, and I mean the truth, then I won’t try to help you one fucking bit, Cabbie. You’ll be convicted of murder and you will be put to death. You don’t stand a chance, buddy, not a hell of a chance. You know that if it comes back as your DNA, then I am looking at a dead man walking right now.”

“You’re bluffing.” the cabbie said, but the look on his face showed me who was really bluffing. The man was scared to death, and desperately trying not to show it.

“Mr. Epstein,” I said, turning my attention to the lawyer, “I’d suggest you talk to your client. I suggest you discuss with him about seeing reason. If you think I’m bluffing, so be it. I think once you see our evidence, you’ll understand that your client is going to be executed for the crime, whether he in actuality did it or not. I’ll leave you for a few minutes to talk to your client Epstein. But the clock is ticking, and when I walk away, it’ll be for keeps. I won’t come back to save your client; he will be executed by the State after he’s convicted.”

I got up and left the room. Cindy followed. We watched in the anteroom with Nash, Rose and ADA Paulina Patterson, who’d come in while I was letting the cabbie know of his impending death.

“Think he’ll crack?” Nash asked.

“If he did it, no.” I replied, somewhat to the surprise of the others. “But if he’s innocent, he’s going to sing like a bird. He’ll be begging me to come back in there.”

The cabbie and his inept lawyer seemed to be getting heated in their discussion, which was turning into an argument. By law, we were not allowed to listen in on their privileged conversation. Finally, a couple of minutes later, Epstein got up, picked up the wall phone which communicated with the Duty Desk, and asked for me. The message was relayed, and after five minutes I came back in, this time with ADA Patterson.

“Look,” the cabbie said, his voice desperate as he tried to control his shaking body, “you gotta help me, here. I didn’t kill nobody. You gotta believe me!”

“Are you waiving your Fifth Amendment rights, Mr. Burger?” I asked. “Are you going to talk to us?”

“Mr. Burger,” said Epstein, showing a bit more ability than I would’ve thought he had, “it’s my duty to advise you that once you waive your right to remain silent, you cannot re-invoke, and you will have to answer their questions. I again urge you to ask for immunity or other consideration from the ADA before speaking.”

“There will be no offers from the District Attorney’s office.” said Paulina, clearly and severely. “We have a case that is all-but-guaranteed to get a conviction and the death penalty… which I absolutely will be asking for. I have no reason to make a deal, and I have no desire to.”

The cabbie’s face fell as Paulina spoke, and kept on falling until a look of sheer desperation masked his features. Dexter Epstein looked disgusted… and defeated. He’d played an exceptionally poor hand.

“Oh Jesus…” said the cabbie, his face in his hands. Then he smoothed his hair back and said “Okay, I’ll talk, I’ll tell you what I know.”

“Mr. Burger–” started Epstein, but Burger yelled “Just shut up! Don’t you understand? This is my only chance to live!” Epstein remained silent as Burger asked “Okay, Colonel, what do you want to know?”

“Tell me what happened that night.” I said, not worrying about his understandable misinterpretation of my rank. “All of it, no lies, no tricks. I already know so much I could probably tell you what happened, so make damn sure you tell it straight.”

“It was like this.” said the cabbie. “I was driving around when I saw this bride and groom outside one of the bars on The Strip.” The Strip was the lineup of bars and restaurants on the other side of the main north-south road from the University. Students went there in droves to eat and (with their fake IDs) to drink in large quantities. The Strip morphed over the city blocks into the Tenderloin District.

“I picked them up and they had me drive around.” said the Cabbie. I got out my iPhone and showed him the DMV pictures of the Langs. “That’s her, but that’s not him.” he said. I then flipped the pics to the ‘groom’ from the Hotel videos. “Yeah, that’s him.” said the Cabbie. I urged him to keep talking.

“So she’s giving him a blowjob while I’m driving around. He had a big cock, and she was really going to town on him. After a while, they asked if I wanted to party with them, görükle escort and I said ‘Sure, why not?’. So they had me drive them to the University Hotel. I dropped them off near the front door, then parked at the far end of the lot, since he hotel people don’t like us parking our cabs in their parking lot near the entrance.”

“I went inside and followed them to their room…. yeah, it was on the sixth floor.” Cabbie continued. “The groom got the ice bucket and said he was going to to get some ice for drinks. The bride started fooling around with me. She gave me a blowjob and I started getting close. She said to come in her mouth, that we’d be partying for a while. So I came in her mouth, to take the edge off, y’know? She was a hot dame.”

“Did she take off her wedding dress?” I asked.

“No, not while I was there.” said the Cabbie.

“So then what happened?” I asked.

“Well, right after she sucked me off, her husband comes back.” said the cabbie. “He was kind of agitated. He apologized to me and told me that the party was over and I had to go. He handed me a hundred dollar bill and told me I needed to go out by the stairwell. He took me to the stairwell, and I walked down the stairs and out the door.”

“Was this the stairwell nearest the highway?” I asked.

“Yeah.” said the cabbie. “It wasn’t too far from where my cab was, which is why I figured the guy had me leave that way.”

“What did the bride say when the groom ushered you out?” I asked.

“She was confused, she was asking him what was going on, and he said he’d explain when he got back from taking me to the stairs.”

“Did you see anyone else in the hallway? Did you hear any noise of an argument at any time?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t see nobody or hear nuthin’.” the cabbie replied.

“Well, cabbie,” I said as I got up. “I’m sorry to say that you’re going to be spending some time with us. You get a hearing in the morning. Paulina, he’s gotta have an ankle monitor. He’s a flight risk, so I’ll leave that to you.” With that, I exited Interrogation-1, with Paulina following. A few minutes later, Sr. Patrolman Morton escorted the cabbie to a holding cell.

————————————–

As we walked out of the Interrogation area and into the hallway that ran along the back of Police Headquarters, Teresa Croyle came up to us and said the Chief wanted us to come to the main conference room. I asked them to go ahead and tell the Chief I’d be there in just a second, as I had to use the bathroom. Once they went down the hall, I quickly went the other way and made my way to the Duty Desk up front, leaving some instructions for the Desk Sergeant, the extremely reliable Sergeant Thompson. Then, as I walked back to the conference room, I made a quick cellphone call.

“Nice of you to join us, Commander.” the Chief said acerbically when I entered the main conference room. Already in the room were Cindy, Martin, Lorena, and Paulina, and Teresa Croyle, who’d been invited in by the Chief.

“Sorry about that Chief. When Nature calls, it calls.” I replied.

“Right. So, what do you think?” asked the Chief. “This cabbie the guilty party?”

“Well,” I said, trying to think even as I was speaking, “he told his story straight enough, it holds true as far as the evidence. Hold on one second…”

I was looking at my notes on my iPhone as everyone stared at me. “I’m looking to see if an ice bucket was mentioned in the Crime Lab’s report… I think it was… yeah, here it is. Ice bucket was on the desk to the right as one went inside. It was dry and empty.”

“What does that prove?” asked Lorena Rose.

“It doesn’t prove anything, but it’s not inconsistent with the cabbie’s statement.” I said. “He said the groom took the bucket to get ice, then hurriedly came back in, taking long enough for the cabbie to get a blowjob from the bride. I’m thinking all that took about five minutes total. When the groom came back, Cabbie probably didn’t notice him put the ice bucket down in his haste to get the cabbie out of there. However, the the fact it was on the desk and not in the bathroom area or refrigerator, where ice buckets are normally kept, shows that at least that much of the cabbie’s story is valid.”

“Think he did it?” asked Cindy, trying to force my hand.

“C’mon, Cindy…” I said, a bit exasperated. “But I can say that right now I’m inclined to believe his story. He goes out the far stairwell; the parking lot cameras are all trained on the front of the Hotel, and the front door cameras are also trained to that drive-up area. So that’s why we might not see the cabbie as he left… and… hmmm, what if the groom knew that, and had the cabbie leave in a way he wouldn’t be seen?”

“And the cameras on that floor weren’t working right.” said Nash. “Maybe they were tampered with.”

“Why don’t we have the cabbie take a polygraph test?” asked Lorena Rose.

“We can,” I said, “but I personally don’t believe in them. Whether he passes or fails, it’s not admissible in Court; and if it’s not admissible in Court, why in the hell should I give it any credence? He was agitated when I was talking to him; he realizes his life is on the line here. That alone could make the polygraph worthless. No, Detective Rose, I’m one of those that just don’t bother with polygraphs; the Chief and Lt. Ross disagree with me, though.”

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