Michael was called to court on the double murder case he had solved and had made it clear that the rifle had never been fired. He had made it plain that this had been the single most important fact that had made his team realize that the whole scene had been setup, not factual. And the fact that the gun had never been loaded, but had been barely old enough to be at the scene, made the idea that it had been the murder weapon ludicrous. The wounds had been too neat. Too small to be a rifle wound. And not made at close enough a range to simulate even the slightest rifle shot.
Only one of the shots had been close enough for a through-and-through. And it was neither head wound. It had been the hidden shoulder wound on the victim who’d been staged as ‘killer’. The head wounds had merely been enough to kill both victims so that they couldn’t finger the real killer.
But evidence never lied. Especially not when it was properly collected and cataloged. The real killer sat listening to his deposition, cold and emotionless. He listened as Michael told how the collected fingerprints all pointed to the man who was now on trial.
He remained in the courtroom as the forensics team leader backed his evidence up with technical jargon and explanations on how all conclusions had been reached. He watched as the murderer sat, emotionless, as all the evidence piled up against him. No smile. No frown. No squirming. No sign of remorse.
He shook his head. The only question he had now was why. He knew how, where and when. He shook his head as he listened to the rest of the trial.
He walked out when Justin called. There was another homicide. A body had been found in the projects. The killing was suspected to be gang related.
Before he left, he looked over at the forensics officer. “If they get to why he killed his two besties, will you drop a note on my desk with the answer?”
The officer nodded. Michael went out the courtroom doors and down the hall. As he left the courthouse, he shook his head. People these days. They would betray their own friends for anything. Hell. They would kill for no reason at all.
He got into his car and headed for the projects. Something told him that he was not going to find what everyone suspected. Most people, even the management of the projects, tended to believe that every killing in the projects was gang related. Not so. Only one out of six was. the rest were unrelated, but sometimes made to look as if they were.
Some were merely drug deals gone wrong. Or crimes of passion. Many struggled for a proper definition. He shook his head in thought.
He pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex and immediately knew. He smiled sadly. parking, he turned off his car and got out. Reilly met him at the door.
“You ain’t going to believe this,” Reilly smiled grimly, “but what was supposed to be and what is are two different things. never in all my life have I ever known gangs to hang a mark. never.”
“Me either,” Michael admitted, “Lead the way.”
Reilly was still talking as he led Michael to the apartment where the body waited. “No gunshot wounds. No knife wounds. No signs of being beaten. Just hung.”
“Suicide?” Michael inquired.
Reilly nodded. “It’s possible, but I doubt it. The victims’ hands were tied.”
Michael was suddenly alert. “Victims? Are you saying there was more than one? I was only aware of one.”
“So were we when we first received the call.” Reilly stopped at a door.”Brace yourself.”
The door opened onto the most horrific scene. A whole family had been hung. A man, his wife, and two small children. But this had not been their apartment. this one had been vacant and was in the middle of being renovated, which made the beams used easy to access. this was definitely no gang-related killing. This had been something more sinister. But what had motivated it? And who were the victims?
“Search the scene for any clues,” He immediately stated, “Is the ME on the way?”
Justin nodded. “Yes. We’ll leave de bodies alone. Jus’ search de room.”
Michael shook his head. “God! What a senseless waste. A whole family. And what was the motive?”
“What, Indeed,” Danforth replied, “That is the million dollar question.”
The ME arrived. “Dear God!”
Michael looked at her. “Would you be kind enough to search the man’s pockets? perhaps he had ID on him.”
“Sure,” came the answer, “Wanna help us get them down?”
Micheal smiled sadly. “Sure.”
He traced the homemade rope to the bathroom. There, it was tied to the register. Putting on latex gloves, he untied the knots and let the bodies down-one at a time-gently onto the floor. He knew he wouldn’t soon forget this scene. He would probably see it in his nightmares for years to come.
“Malcolm Holmesly,” the ME called to him, “That is our male victim’s name. I am assuming that this is his wife and two children.”
“Let’s not assume too much,” he replied, “No telling one way or the other.”
She nodded. “True. And, of course, we have no way of confirming or discounting the notion.”
Justin appeared. “Wrong, Ma Chere.” He produced a purse. “Dis was in de corner. De ID matches the female victim. Not our gentleman’s wife, non. Maybe his sister or girlfriend. She be one Miss Deborah Mattel. Until her untimely death, she worked for the Department of child Welfare. Den, again, she might’ve jus’ been in de wrong place at de wrong time. Might’ve been conducting a routine check on a case.”
Michael shook his head. “Shit! So the kids are his? Or no?”
“Maybe,” Danforth replied, “And maybe not. He could have been a foster care provider. No way of telling at the moment. DNA testing will have to be done while we seek files on Holmesly.”