The Body in the Pool Chapter 48

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Eight

The weekend passed quiet and uneventful. Spence helped bake the cake. He took a six-hour hike with Casey and Tom. Butch and Brutus got along fine.
Monday the team was back pushing paper, looking for a lead on Dismember. Spence was considering going home early to make up for the previous week when Tom stuck his head into the team room.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” Barnes said with a touch of anger in his voice.
“Hey, guys.” Tom waved with one hand while the other sat on his hip, next to his shield.
Spence jumped up from his desk. “You’re back?”
“Not exactly.” Tom crossed to his desk. “I’m here to pack up my stuff.”
“She didn’t can you. You have your badge and it’s still gold.”
“Yeah. She thinks I need time to cool my heels.” Tom said with a laugh.
“What does that mean?”
“She transferred me. To Cold Case.”
Spence coughed. “Oh. That sucks.”
From his desk Barnes called, “She could have shit-canned you.”
“I know, man. And you probably think I deserve it. If you have things to say, I’ll take it.”
“Uh-huh. Will you tell your girlfriend later?”
Tom shook his head. “Not happening.”
Barnes nodded and turned back to his computer.
“Cold Case, huh? It’s better than nothing.”
“Yeah. Yeah, it is.” Tom frowned at his desk. “Who cleaned?”
Barnes and Spence laughed. “Tess.”
“You had Tess in here cleaning my desk?”
“Maybe.” Spence laughed. “I found tickets to a Mariners game from three years ago buried in that mess.”
“I remember that game, we got a call out on our way to Safeco field.”
“The good ole days. You need a hand boxing everything up?”
Melanie’s voice interrupted the flow. “Hold that thought Spence. Good to see you Tom. We caught a body. You coming with us, Tom?” Her question asked more than the words said.
“Wish I could. Transfered. Cold Case.”
“Siberia sucks my friend.” Melanie crossed to his desk and gave Tom a hug. “You’ll survive.”
Melanie grabbed her coat, Barnes met her at the door. Spence slapped Tom on the back. “See you soon.” To Melanie he asked, “Where’s this body?”
“Gasworks Park, Wallingford. Body’s hanging from the superstructure.”

The Body in the Pool Chapter 47

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Seven

It was late when Spence finally made it home that night. He had taken the extra time to drive Casey back to his house. To stop at the Rusty Porpoise and explain to Casey’s boss that the kid wasn’t in trouble with the police, he had in fact helped them close a major homicide.
Tess was waiting up on the couch, her feet on a pillow on the coffee table, a second pillow waiting right next to hers. “Hi love.”
Spence threw his coat over the easy chair and flopped down next to her, patting the couch next to him for Butch to jump up. “That might have been the longest day of my life.” He laid his head on her belly bump.
Tess stroked his hair. “You caught the bad guy, right?”
“It was a bad girl this time and, yeah, we got her.”
Tess kissed his head. “Your job is a lot harder than I realized.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Tess laughed. “You don’t have to say that to make me feel useful.”
“No, seriously. If it wasn’t for you, this case might have fallen all apart. You and your grandmother’s German Chocolate Macaroon cake.” Spence held his breath.
“You want me to give the recipe for-”
Spence interrupted her before she got rolling. “Not the recipe. Just bake the cake?”
“That must be some story. I’ll bake it. You have to help though since I helped you with your case.”
“Deal.”
They sat in comfortable silence. The fire crackled. The dog snored. The baby kicked at Spence’s cheek.
“What’s going to happen to Tom?” Tess asked quietly.
“I don’t know. He thinks his career’s over. He’s interviewing with private contractors.”
“Private contractors? Like personal security?”
“No, not exactly. Private military contractors.”
“Oh,” Tess paused, “No. You need to go see the lieutenant tomorrow. Stand up for Tom.”
“I already tried that.”
“You solved a major case.” Tess lifted Spence’s head off her belly by gentle force. “Don’t tell me you don’t have credit right now. Spend it on Tom.”
“Yes, ma’am.”

The next morning Spence headed into the office. He wanted to finish up the paperwork on the Paulson case. While he was there, he’d work out what to say to the lieutenant come Monday morning. As he drove up he noticed a large contingent of people on the front steps. He decided getting a few questions might be worth hearing what the brass was saying about the case. He skipped the stairs from the garage into the building and walked around the front.
His lieutenant and the mayor were holding court.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our detectives a brutal murder has been solved and millions in embezzled funds can be returned to the fine organizations which need them, like our own Whispering Evergreen Academy, a Seattle area institution. Your alma mater, right mayor?”
“Indeed. I want to thank Lieutenant Christine Polaski and her team for all their fine work. We’ll answer questions now.”
Spence nodded to himself. Tess was right, he had credit.
Rather than his office, he went to the lieu’s and waited. When she returned, the mayor was with her.
“We are working the Dismember case of course. Random murders are much harder to solve than cases like the Paulson murder.” She stopped short. “Detective Thomas. Mayor Sterland, this is Detective Thomas. He led the team that solved the Paulson murder.”
Spence reached out to shake hands. “Mayor.” He nodded a greeting.
“Did you need something Thomas?”
“I wanted to speak with you about resources.” Spence carefully selected a buzz word to get the mayor’s attention.
“A fine job, detective. Christine, I’ll let you get to business. I’m sure we want to do all we can to help Detective Thomas catch the Dismember Killer.”
As the mayor stepped away the lieu burned holes in Spence’s face with her eyes. “Slick.”
“Don’t you want to do all you can to help me catch Dismember?” Spence asked carefully.
“I am not giving you Harding back.”
“Then transfer him but keep him on. Give him a second chance to prove himself.”
A sound not unlike a hiss reverberated. “You’re pushing it.”
“As far as I can,” Spence agreed.
“I’ll take it under consideration.”
“Thank you.”

The Body in the Pool Chapter 46

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Six

The pale gray walls and sparse furnishings gave the room a cold, clammy feel, as though it were wrapped in heavy fog no matter how bright the day outside. Not that the room had a window. It was like a casino in that matter, no way for the suspect to gauge the passage of time, only them and you and the gray walls, flat and homogeneous. Spence had Arlene brought up from the women’s holding cells immediately after intake processing. There was no point in giving her time to stew. This was a well thought out and well executed murder. The surprise of being caught would do the most good work towards getting his confession. He watched her through the video feed for a few minutes before entering the room. Her brows knit together and her mouth pursed up but only for a few seconds before she shook her head almost imperceptibly. Then her eyes widened and her mouth went soft. Again only for a few seconds before she shook her head. Then her eyes welled up with tears and she nodded very gently, very small in motion, to herself.
Spence turned to Melanie but before he could speak, she said, “She’s figuring out how to play it. While waiting to be interviewed.”
Spence nodded. “She didn’t think she’d get caught. She didn’t work this part out ahead of time.”
“She thinks she’s smarter than you, than all of us. If you hit her hard with all the evidence fast before she can think it out, you might get an opening, a crack in her defenses.”
Spence nodded. “Not give her time to to weigh how circumstantial it is.”
“Go, we’re wasting our advantage right now.” Melanie shoved Spence excitedly.
Spence laughed then grabbed the file folder containing their evidence, or what they planned to show Arlene anyway, from where he had laid it down on top of the monitor. He checked his fly, confirmed his shirt was well tucked in, and rubbed his teeth to make sure nothing was trapped between them. It was the little things that worked in your favor. Giving your opponent no niche to find fault with you and therefore strengthen their own position made the difference between a confession and a long, drawn out mess. A lot depended on the person you wanted to interview. Arlene Paulson thought she had it all sewn up. She thought she knew every angle and how to play it. He needed to be bulletproof to catch her off guard. On impulse he grabbed a box of tissue from a colleague’s desk before he entered the room.
He gave Arlene a sad, conciliatory smile and placed the box of tissue in front of her. She grabbed for one and cried into it.
“I can imagine how distressing it must be for you to end up here.” He waited, letting the bait hang.
After a few more sniffles, Arlene replied, “Can you? You’ve had your husband brutally murdered, been harassed by the police, and then been arrested on a ridiculous charge?”
Spence decided not to engage on that particular vein. “It must be so frustrating to see all your hard work come to nothing.”
Arlene turned her head, bringing her chin down to her left shoulder and covering her face with a tissue.
“Years of careful effort to marry well. To marry rich. Then to discover he was leaving you for a woman half your age.”
She slammed the hand containing the tissue onto the table and whipped her eyes around to meet him. “You.” She paused and modulated her tone. “Don’t know what you are talking about.”
She tilted her chin up this time and over her right shoulder.
“Were you aware Harold was embezzling money from all his clients?”
“That is an outrageous accusation. I refuse to believe any such thing.”
Spence fanned out spreadsheets and documents from the bean counters. Then he leaned back in the chair and waited. He could do this all day, he was trained for it. Arlene Paulson was an amateur, she’d crack. It took about ninety seconds. Longer than he initially guessed it would but then she was probably thinking about what to say. Most people spoke under the pressure of silence and they said whatever came to mind. If Arlene was considering her comments, Spence’s job got that much harder.
Arlene pushed the folder of documents slightly away from her on the table. “Whatever you may think, you are wrong. Harold moved money around a lot to ensure the best return on investment he could find at any given time. People with money know that money makes money, officer.”
Spence cleared his throat and tried not to laugh. “I see. Well, thank you for the advice.” Spence opened the next folder in his stack. “You weren’t planning on visiting the Trident Trust Company, Queensgate Bank and Trust Company, or Sackville Bank and Trust company next week.”
“I don’t even know what those are.” Arlene kept her chin over her right shoulder as though she were pretending Spence was not in the room.
“You have appointments with all three. Trident on Monday at one, Queensgate Tuesday at nine, and Sackville Tuesday at three.”
“If you already knew that, why did you bother to ask me?”
Spence laughed. “I suppose I want you to be aware of the full extent of our knowledge. You’ve got quite a motive to kill your husband. When he left you, you would have very little. Your legitimate banking accounts show almost no assets. And once he ‘retired’ to a country with no extradition–no alimony for you.”
“You have no proof Harold planned to leave me. Harold loved me.”
“I have your own behavior. Why would you spit on a random woman at your husband’s funeral?”
“I refuse to entertain these ridiculous assertions a minute longer.”
“Let’s talk about means then.”
Her chin rose another millimeter.
“We have witness testimony that you arranged for the purchase of Rohypnol, which was found in your husband’s system after death.”
Arlene sniffed. “I don’t believe you.”
Spence slid a photograph out of the folder and across the table in front of Arlene.
Her chin to shoulder stance did not waver.
“Look at it.”
With a large sigh that felt to Spence like fake martyrdom, Arlene looked down at the picture. She snorted, “I don’t even know what that is.”
“It is a bit of a Rorschach test,” Spence agreed placidly.
A broad beam of satisfaction stretched across Arlene’s face.
Spence slid another sheet out of the folder. “However, this is a ten print card they took when you were booked this afternoon. Lovely fingerprints. Lots of whirls.” Spence waited patiently. “This here is a close up a a hundred dollar bill, with a fingerprint on it. Your fingerprint we have now confirmed.” He could feel it coming, the explosion of emotional anger when someone who thinks they are too smart for the world is shown, they aren’t all that bright.
Arlene’s hand came flying up from her lap and the photographs and financial documents in front of her went sailing through the air, sent by a hard slap, Spence thought might have been for him in her fantasy.
“Then of course there is always moving the body. That part was a stickler, your husband was rather a big man. And then we got a copy of this purchase receipt, your autograph on the bottom line to sign for the credit card purchase.” Spence smiled. Then laid a picture of the wheelbarrow planter on the table. “I know its a bit thin. But what you don’t know is that you were seen by a student at the Academy that night with your wheelbarrow and it didn’t have a fern in it.”
“All those years of putting up with him, putting up with him taking off his smelly socks and leaving them under the covers at the bottom of the bed. I had to change the sheets every day. Every day for twenty years of marriage. Cooking his disgusting sausage and grits for breakfast every day. Every day. That’s why when I read about what the Dismember Killer was doing to those men, I knew it was the perfect coup d’ gras. His little useless sausage on the grill. Day in and day out, boring, boring sex with a man who kept getting less attractive and he was never that hot to start. But he had money. He was supposed to keep me in a style that befits me. But he was going to run off with that hussy and leave me here to take the blame for his embezzlement. I don’t think so. Lose everything. Be alienated by society. All so he can lay on a beach in South America with a twinkie like her. Not in this lifetime. I upheld my end of the bargain, he should have upheld his. I cooked him sausage, one last time.” Arlene finally ran down, her tirade trailing off into exhaustion.
Spence nodded as she finally met his eyes. “Are you ready to make a full confession then?”
Arlene swallowed hard and nodded.
Spence slid a notepad in front of her. “Write it out for me. Start at the beginning and take me through each step.”
Her hand was shaking as she reached out for the pen and pad.
“I’ll get you a water.” Spence got up from the table and exited the room. He went around the corner to observation, where Melanie and Barnes were watching the interrogation through the glass.
Melanie gleefully lifted her hand for a high five from Spence. He obliged her with less glee.
“That was a thing of beauty,” Melanie squealed.
Spence shook his head. “You realize what this means, don’t you?”
“We caught a killer with sufficient evidence to induce a full confession?” Melanie narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know, the DA will buy us all beers?”
“We have to go back to tracking our serial killer on the move.”
“You can’t even take five minutes to enjoy this victory?” Melanie complained.
Spence looked at her with one eyebrow raised for a long four seconds before he shrugged, grimaced a smile, raised his hands in the air, and said “yay” while turning in a little circle.
“That was pitiful,” Barnes said.
This elicited an actual laugh from Spence. “I better get back in there with her water.”

The Body in the Pool Chapter 45

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Five

By 11:42 that morning Spence, Melanie, and Barnes were in front of the Paulson home with a signed warrant in their hands. They could have had her picked up by the squad car sitting in front of her house, but Spence thought the three of them might be intimidating. He wanted every advantage when it came time to talk her into confessing.
“Ready?”
“Beyond,” Melanie confirmed.
Barnes nodded.
Spence signaled to the squad car and two uniformed deputies followed them up the walkway. He banged on the door, shouting, “Police, we have a warrant for your arrest.”
They waited on the step for a minute before Spence repeated the actions.
Still no answer.
“Check it out around back.”
The uniformed deputies nodded sharply and walked off.
“She’s already gone,” Barned crabbed.
“Her flight doesn’t leave for another five hours,” Melanie reminded him. “No one hangs out at the airport that long.”
“No one normal. She ain’t normal,” Barnes replied.
“Get on the horn to the bean counters. Find out if she’s used her credit cards in the last twenty-four.”
Barnes nodded and pulled out his phone.
The two deputies returned. “There’s nothing.”
“Didn’t you verify she was here when you pulled up?” Spence was steamed.
“That wasn’t the brief. Roll and sit,” said the deputy.
“That might have been my bad. I thought we were keeping it quiet until we were ready to serve her,” Melanie admitted.
Spence groaned. This case was working his every last nerve. If it could go wrong, it had.
Barnes hung up the phone. “Charge for CedarBrook Resort and Spa last night. The Missus is getting pampered before she goes on the lam.”
“Let’s go get her.”
“Maybe we can catch her mid-massage,” Melanie joked.
“That’s gross,” Barnes retorted.
“It would be funny,” Melanie insisted.
“Yeah, no.” Spence shook his head. “I like my arrestees fully clothed, thank you very much.”
Lights and sirens blazing they made the hotel by 12:19. With no regard for the spectacle they were making, they parked multiple police cars end to end, their lights still whirling, filling the curved driveway in front of the main lobby doors.
Spence strode to the front desk. He held up his badge and demanded, “Arlene Paulson, has she checked out?”
The desk clerk shied away from his tone of voice while she typed into her computer. “She has.”
“Damn it.”
“She stored her luggage and went to the spa for a massage and lunch before her flight.”
Spence grinned. “Where?”
“Through there. I can…” she trailed off as Spence strode on in the direction she indicated.
The rest of the team followed him. Melanie diverted close enough to say, “Thank you.”
Spence stopped in the doorway to the restaurant. The team plus six deputies bunched up behind him. The space contained only small, low tables as not to impede the view out the full glass wall. There was nowhere for Arlene to hide.
Barnes spotted her first and nudged Spence. “There.”
Arlene sat, mid-meal, sipping an ice tea. She blinked at the the team and then placed her glass back down. She took a look around her. Then stood.
Spence didn’t wait. “Arlene Paulson, I have a warrant for your arrest.” With his right hand he gestured for the deputies to cuff her.
She appeared to be going quietly, saying only ‘my bag’ as the deputies snapped the handcuffs around her wrists and escorted her towards Spence. As she got closer, he could see her nostrils were flaring and she was shaking in anger. “Bring her up to interrogation as soon as you get her through booking.”
Spence turned to Melanie and said, “Let’s get her luggage. Who knows what she has in there that we can use.”
“Right.” Melanie walked back to the clerk. “I need her luggage.”

The Body in the Pool Chapter 44

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Four

Spence caught twenty winks on the couch in the lunch room. It wasn’t comfortable; marginally better than staying up all night. His cell phone alarm woke him at six. He wanted to be on the front steps haunting clerks by half past. Cup of coffee in hand, he ran the gauntlet. Up and down the halls, sticking his head into every judge’s chambers with an unlocked door.
“I got your message. The judge isn’t in until two today.”
“I got your message. The judge is on vacation until Monday.”
“I got your message. Historically, the judge refuses to sign warrants based on the testimony of a minor.”
“I got your message. The judge will be in at eight. Come back after that.”
“I got your message. Stop calling me in the middle of the night.”

Spence got the message. His emergency was not anyone else’s. Part of him wondered if he said this was to arrest the Dismember Killer, would they suddenly be much more cooperative? Seventeen minutes after seven, he could have walked the dog after all.
At eight on the dot he was back in the chambers. The clerk nodded wearily. “She’s in. I’m warning you now, she probably won’t sign this for you.”
“Minor witness?”
“That’s part of it.”
Spence cursed to himself. There was little to be done. He pulled open the dark walnut stained door. Every judge had law books as far as the eye could see, lining their inner chamber, this one was no different. It always made Spence feel claustrophobic. One misstep and it would all topple over and crush him.
“Good morning, ma’am.”
“Where’s the district attorney on this case?” the judge asked.
“I don’t have one assigned yet ma’am.”
“You’ve requested a warrant for a capital crime without the district attorney?”
“We are in a bit of a hurry, ma’am. The suspect is fleeing the country today.”
“You cannot rush justice, detective. The wheels turn slowly for a reason.”
“And what reason is that?” Spence asked wearily.
“Warrant request denied. I suggest you follow proper procedure next time.”
“Thank you for your time.” Spence ground out his response. There would be a next time with this judge. He needed to salvage as much as he could. He forced himself to walk calmly out of her office and not slam the door.
The clerk gave him a sympathetic smile. “If you come back, I’ll get you in front of her again as fast as possible.”
“Thanks.”
In the hallway, Spence could stop pretending although he had to keep it quiet, the act of silently screaming at the ceiling helped release some of his pent up tension. He needed a DA. If he waited for assignment through normal channels it would be next week already before they acted. The personal touch it would need to be once again.
He called Melanie. “Morning. I need you to gather all the bits we have against Arlene and meet me at the DA’s office. I can’t get a judge to sign as it is. We need backing.”
“Got it. I can be there in ninety.”
Spence groaned, he knew traffic was the time killer. “Got it.”
He ran up the stairs one level, to W400. He badged the receptionist. “Look I know I’m flirting with the line here, I need an ADA this morning.”
“Do you know how long the line would be out that door if we let people walk all over the process?”
“I have a murderer who is leaving the country in eight hours. Eight.” Spence leaned heavily on the three quarter wall in front of her desk.
“I have a really strong desire to say lack of forethought on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”
Eschewing a verbal response Spence crumpled his head onto the wall.
“But I won’t. Let me see who’s around this morning.”
Spence bit his tongue to keep from mentioning the hundred plus attorneys who worked for the county district court system on the prosecutors’ side of the house. He flashed a grimace that almost passed for a smile instead.
Though it took more time than Spence wanted, eventually the receptionist beckoned him down the hall. He followed her around to a small office.
“Joanna Southby, Assistant District Attorney. How can I help you this morning, detective?”
“I’m trying to get a warrant for a suspect who is fleeing the country in a few hours. Judge won’t sign off because I don’t have backing from this office.”
“Is it a capital case?”
“Murder one.”
“What do you have for me?”
“Harold Paulson killed last Thursday. Body mutilated and dumped in the pool of Whispering Evergreen Academy. I have motive and means and opportunity on the wife.”
“I thought Paulson was a Dismember case?”
“That was the initial thought.”
“Why did you change your mind?”
“The husband was having an affair, he planned to leave his wife, told his wife in fact. The victim was drugged and then smothered. Dismember overpowers his victims.”
“Means?”
“I have a witness statement that Arlene Paulson negotiated the purchase of Rohypnol.” Spence extended the file.
“A seventeen year old boy is your witness?” Southby closed the file and shook her head.
“Washington state prosecutes sixteen and seventeen year olds as adults in serious crimes but their word isn’t as good as an adult’s in a witness statement?”
Southby tapped her fingers on her desk for a few beats. “You don’t have enough for murder. I’ll convert this to a request for an arrest warrant on the drug purchase and you’ll have to squeeze her for the rest.”
“Fair enough.” Spence sighed heavily.
Southby typed the amendment into the system. “Who have you seen?”
“Judge Laramie.”
“You went to ‘wheels of justice’ without an ADA? You’re not too bright are you? I’ll walk this down for you.” She hit enter and swiveled away from her desk. “Let’s go, cowboy.”
Spence followed her, texting Melanie. Get a car over to the Paulson house to sit on it. Warrant coming. I don’t want her leaving.

The Body in the Pool Chapter 43

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Three

The on-call district attorney verbally agreed to make a deal and agreed to fax over the paperwork forthwith if she didn’t have to drive in from home. That was fine with Spence. He still needed to explain it to the kid.
Spence ran up to the fourth floor to create the array. He needed five similar looking pictures, plus Arlene’s. They had files for this. All arranged by type: age, hair color, sex. Drag and drop. Then hit print. By the time Spence had everything arranged and ran back downstairs, Melanie had the deal hot off the fax machine, complete with the attorney’s signature.
Spence slipped both into a folder and went back into interrogation.
“Listen, Casey, I want you to refuse to look at my photo array.”
“Why?”
“Do me a favor and refuse.”
“Will you still walk Brutus?”
“Absolutely.”
“I refuse to look at your photo array.”
Spence nodded. “Demand a deal.”
“I want a deal.”
Spence smiled. “Nice. Here you go kid.” He pulled the authorization from the DA out of the folder and laid it on the table in front of Casey.
“What’s this?”
“A deal from the district attorney offering you immunity in exchange for your identification and testimony regarding the woman who bribed you to act as her courier. It needs your signature.” Spence laid a pen down on top of the document.
Casey stared at the pen then back up at Spence. “Why are you helping me?”
“It’s about time someone did.”
Casey signed the deal. Spence put it back in the folder. He signaled Melanie through the glass and waited for her to come in to the room. “We need to be able to say I couldn’t have swayed you in any way regarding this identification. Another detective is going to come in, give you the array, and ask you to identify anyone you might recognize.”
“Okay.”
It took Melanie no time to enter the room and identify herself as Detective Witlow. She took the prepared array from Spence. “Casey, I am going to place six pictures in front of you. I would like you to look closely at them and let me know if you have seen any of the people before.”
“Okay.”
Melanie laid the pictures down.
Casey studied them closely. “Number four.”
“You’ve seen the woman in picture number four before?”
“Yeah. She’s the woman who paid me to be her mailman.”
“Did either I or Detective Thomas suggest to you in anyway which picture to choose?”
“No. That’s her.”
“Thank you, Casey.” Melanie left the room with the pictures.
“You said earlier you didn’t even spend the money. Did you put it in the bank?”
“No it’s still in the envelope between the mattress and box springs on my bed.”
“I need that money Casey. Her fingerprints on that money, corroborates your story.”
“Oh. Ok. They took my keys when they brought me in here. I’m sure they’d give them to you though. Go help yourself.”
Spence nodded. “Good man. Give it a couple of hours for this paperwork to go through and we’ll get you back home.”
“Thanks. It’s real nice of you to help me.”
Spence nodded. “I’ll get your statement transcribed and sent down here for your signature. Knock on the door if you need anything.” He hated to leave the kid there. It was temporary and he had a big fish to land.
After he left the room he arranged for the transcription and told the supervising deputy Casey was a witness to be taken care of, not a perp to be boxed. Spence signed on the deal and handed the paperwork to the clerk. “Get this processed as quick as you can. I don’t really have time to walk a dog tomorrow morning.”
The clerk raised an eyebrow and nodded.
Spence stopped by booking and signed out Casey’s keys. Then he ran back up four flights. At her computer, Melanie had almost completed the warrant for Arlene Paulson’s arrest.
“Who’s on night court?”
“No one.”
“What? Since when?”
“Since the judge on duty got food poisoning on his lunch break and threw up on the bench. I just got off the phone with the bailiff.”
“Crap. How long?”
“I’m planning to call every judge’s clerk who likes us and leave a message. Face it, it’s going to be morning before anyone sees this.”
Spence looked at his watch.
“Don’t remind me how many hours ‘til Arlene leaves the country.”
Spence looked at his watch again. “Crap, I never called Tess.”
Melanie shook her head as she dialed the phone. “Not going to touch that. I have clerks to call.”
“Give me half your list.” Spence reached out his hand while pulling his cell phone to text his wife. Sorry, case breaking.
He had time to call three different clerks and leave messages before Tess texted him back. Sorry, dog fur on your pillow.
At least she wasn’t too mad.
Spence sent Melanie home around two in the morning to get what sleep she could. He drove out to Casey’s to pick up the cash and walked it into evidence processing personally.
On the way back in, he stopped at the desk sergeant to beg a favor. “I promised this witness that I would walk his neighbor’s dog in the morning but I need to be at the court house bright and early. Any chance you could send a patrol car over?”
“To walk a dog?”
“Come on, man. Help me out.”
The sergeant stared at Spence. “You remember that German Chocolate Macaroon cake your wife made for the Christmas social last year.”
“Yeah.”
“Well so does my wife. It’s her birthday next week. Get your wife to bake me one of them and I’ll get the dog walked.”
Spence laughed. “You got a deal. Here’s address. The old lady’s name is Mrs. Semple and her dog is Brutus.”
“What time?”
“Six-thirty if you can.”
“No problem.”

The Body in the Pool Chapter 42

The Body in the Pool

Book One of the Dismember Killer Series

 

Chapter Forty Two

Spence stood in observation with Melanie. Casey Jackson sat at the wooden table on the other side of the glass, his head in his hands, his elbows on the table. His night was about to get much worse.
“We’re down to 15 hours before she flies,” said Melanie.
“No pressure.” Spence laughed.
“Um, no, actually the opposite. Lots of pressure. Get in there and break him.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
Spence grabbed the folder he’d prepared, a yellow lined notepad, and a pencil with wobbly lead then headed on in to interrogation. He sighed loudly. He kicked the chair away from the table and plopped in it. He gave Casey an exhausted look, before he picked up the folder and pretended to read from the blank pages inside. He didn’t speak for several minutes, letting the tension build as he “read” up on Casey. Finally, he closed the folder and slapped it down on the table.
“You’ve got yourself in quite a pickle.” He didn’t leave Casey an opportunity to speak. “Alright. Your name is Casey Jackson, yes?”
With a slow nod, Casey agreed.
Spence started to write down Casey Jackson on his yellow notepad, pressing hard enough to break the wobbly tip. “Ugh. Seriously. I can not catch a break today. First I have to chase you. I slip and fall on that damn wet floor. Then I got to walk around looking like I pissed myself. Get called back in here at midnight to interview you. And now my pencil breaks.” He broke the pencil in half, slapped the pieces down on the notepad and sighed.
“Can we make this easy, kid? It’s been a long ass day. Tell me why you ran.”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know why you ran from the cops.” Spence kept his tone flat.
“No.”
“You don’t know why you ran but you ran so far and so fast you ran out of gas halfway to the summit.”
“Yup.”
Spence took a beat in his act. The kid wasn’t defiant. He wasn’t copping attitude. He looked resigned.
“What made you think we were even looking for you?”
Casey shrugged.
“Do you know what department I work for?”
Casey shook his head.
“Homicide. Did you kill anyone?”
“I don’t know.”
This took Spence by surprise. “You don’t know if you killed anyone?”
“I might be a what do you call it, accessory.”
“You might be. How do you figure that?”
Casey shook his head.
Time to switch gears. “Everyone I talked to about you, told me what a good kid you are. Your boss, your next door neighbor.”
“You went to my house?”
“We did.”
“Then you know half the story already.”
“Can you tell me the other half?” Spence asked kindly.
“If I talk to you, can I go home?”
“I suppose that depends on what you tell me. If you don’t talk to me, you won’t be going home.”
“I kind of really need to go home. I walk Mrs. Semple’s dog for her every morning. He’s a pit bull. He has a lot of energy. That’s how she fell last year and why I started walking him for her. I don’t want her to get hurt if I’m not there to walk Brutus in the morning.”
Spence didn’t know what to say. He’d never grilled a suspect like this before. The kid wasn’t worried about getting arrested or charges or jail time. He was worried about not walking the dog. “I’ll make you a deal. You tell me what’s going on, why you ran from us? And I’ll walk Brutus in the morning.”
“You promise?”
“I do.”
Casey stared at him. “Are you the kind of man who tells lies?”
He startled Spence. “I am. I wish I wasn’t. I promise I am not lying about walking Brutus though. You tell me what time and I will be there.”
“I usually walk him around 6:30, you know before school.”
“I can do that. I will do that.”
Casey stared at Spence for a long minute. “A few weeks ago this woman comes up to me in the parking lot of the Rusty Porpoise. I was on my break. Smoking a cigarette. I know it’s a bad habit. Mrs. Semple gives me hard time about it.”
Spence nodded.
“She asks what I do at the restaurant. I tell her I wash dishes. She wants to know how much I make an hour washing dishes. Eleven dollars.”
“She opens her purse, this big leather thing, and pulls out five hundred dollars. She asks if I want to make double that. At first I’m thinking hell no. It’s got to be illegal if she’s offering cash to strangers in a parking lot.”
Spence had to agree with the kid.
“Anyway, I guess she saw my suspicion because she pulls out five hundred more. I’ll double it, she says. Two grand. That’s a lot of money. I ask her what I have to do for it. Play mailman. Mailman. I didn’t know what to think about that. But she explained it. Someone would bring me a package at work at the back door on a specific night. I would give them fifty bucks. Then I would hold the package until she picked it up the next night. She’d give me the other grand then.”
“It sounded too good to be that simple. Also too good to turn down, you know. I agreed and she asks me about the days I work. Says the delivery will be on the fifth, hands me the grand cash and walks away.”
“That was it. On the fifth a kid knocked on the back door. I gave him fifty, he gave me an envelope. The next night the woman came back. I gave her the envelope and she gave me ten more hundred dollar bills.”
“When you showed up today I thought maybe she’s done something bad with whatever was in the envelope and I was in trouble for it, too. I didn’t even spend the money.”
Spence stared at the kid for a minute. “Could you pick the woman out of a photo array?”
“I guess so. I saw her in pretty good light when she picked up the envelope.”
“Give me a minute,” Spence said.
“I can’t really go anywhere.”
Spence chuckled and bolted from the room.
Melanie met him in the hall. “I know, I know. Get a photo array.”
“No. I’ll get the photos. You get the district attorney on call on the line and them that we have a witness that can tie Arlene Paulson to the purchase of Rohypnol. Tell her they won’t cooperate without full immunity. Make sure you stress Arlene is leaving the country in less than fourteen hours.”
Melanie stopped walking. “What are you doing, Spence?”
“He’s gonna do time and he’s already paid a harsh price.”
“The dead mommy?”
“The dead mommy, the missing dad. He’s working full time, going to school, and still making time to walk his neighbor’s dog. And he isn’t smart enough to work this for himself. We’re gonna do it for him.”
“Yeah. I’m in,” said Melanie as she grabbed the nearest desk phone.