Caught in the Act Ch. 03

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Amateur

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, 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 – Search Warrant

October 2nd, 5:30pm. My cell phone rang.

It was Paulina Patterson, who said “Judge Folsom didn’t issue an arrest warrant yet, but he did issue a search warrant for your suspect’s house, in particular for the shoes that might have left the dirt tracks that night. Get moving before he changes his mind!”

——–

“WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” yelled the shrill voice. It was Karen Warner, who had walked in on us.

The Crime Lab and many police officers were tearing through the house of Coach Brian Harlan. Several pairs of his shoes, including a pair of sneakers caked with mud that looked promising, had already been taken into evidence. We were now going a little further than we should and seeing if we could find any papers or anything hidden that tied Brian Harlan to a group that Jack Muscone and I had nicknamed ‘The Four’.

“Miss Warner,” I said. “How nice to see you. We are executing a search warrant on the property of your lover Brian Harlan. May I suggest that you not interfere.”

“You fucking bastard.” said Karen Warner, her eyes pouring daggers into me. “You will pay for this.” She did not even try to feign lack of understanding, I noted. She was smart enough to know the game was up. She turned and left.

——–

“Congratulations, Tanya.” said University President Sidney P. Wellman. “He’s a fine boy.” He was visiting Tanya Perlman in her home, to which she and her new child been discharged from the hospital. Mrs. Feeley was staying and helping Tanya with baby Pete.

“Thanks.” said Tanya. “And how have you been doing, Sidney?” Tanya could be informal with Wellman; she had been his mistress for several years, breaking it off when she began seriously dating Officer Pete Feeley, then starting the affair back up again some weeks after Pete had been murdered by Angela Harlan, the Black Widow.

“I’m good, good.” Wellman said, then knew that Tanya was just too perceptive as she studied him. “Okay, okay, I’m really worried about Brian Harlan. You heard about his cancer?”

“Yes.” said Tanya. “But just him having cancer isn’t what’s bothering you, is it?”

“No wonder the Iron Crowbar wants to put you back in charge of Major Crimes.” Wellman said. “You see through things like he does.”

“I only wish I could see half as much as him.” said Tanya. “So, tell me about it.”

“Well…” said Wellman, then deciding to trust Tanya, “Commander Troy has been more than generous in preserving the University’s reputation by not having pursued Coach Harlan. But I’ve… I’ve been told something that leads me to believe that the Iron Crowbar might not be so… discreet… in the future.”

“And you want me to talk to Don?” Tanya said, more as an accusation than anything else.

“No-” Wellman said, then exhaled, “Well, it’s not me that is really worried about the University, but the great man who has been such a benefactor to the School. He very much is worried about what the Iron Crowbar will permit himself to do, and how it might harm the University’s reputation, especially in the athletics area after all the trouble we’ve had there.”

“Sidney, I’ve already talked to Don,” said Tanya, “and I’ll just tell you this… trust the Iron Crowbar. Even when what he’s doing doesn’t seem right, it’ll turn out that way. He’s not going to throw his wife’s University under the bus, but he IS going to do the right thing by the people who are innocent in all this.”

Their eyes locked, and Sidney Wellman finally relented. “He must be one hell of a man.” he said. “You even named your son partly after him.”

“You’re one hell of a man, too, Sidney.” said Tanya, her eyes flirtatious. “And it won’t be long before I’m sampling your… talents… again…”

Part 15 – Arrests

October 3d. And there’s no better way to start a morning than with a hot cup of coffee and a hot reporterette on the TV screen. It was time for Bettina!

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, Eskort Bayan KXTC Channel Two News! Channel Two News has learned that three arrests have been made in connection with the murder of Derrick Belle! Belle’s sister, Cheryl Belle Dunston, her husband, and Belle’s cousin, known as R. M. Belle, were arrested on charges of embezzlement and fraud. These crimes were uncovered by Town & County Police, who contacted SBI authorities to make the arrests. SBI Agent Ted Crenshaw and SBI Reserve Agent Thomas “Sapper” Warren of the City Police effected the arrests based upon information provided by the Town & County Police’s Vice Department, led by Lieutenant Teresa Croyle!”

Detective Thomas “Sapper” Warren was the big black Detective who had gone with us on the Joe Arruzio arrest raid, and who worked with Detective Robin Ventura of the City PD. And you better believe I had Bettina mention Teresa’s name prominently in exchange for giving her the tip to these arrests.

“Channel Two News has also learned that Commander Donald Troy is investigating possible links between Belle-Dunston and the murder of Derrick Belle, but he hastened to say that no charges for the murder are imminent at this time. Now let’s go to the Sports Desk with Chuck Pringle. Chuck!”

It was a taped broadcast, with Chuck Pringle saying: “Thank you, Bettina. Channel Two Sports has learned that the condition of University Head Football Coach Brian Harlan is more serious than originally realized, and while doctors are not commenting, the University Athletic Department and Boosters are making preparations for the possibility that Coach Harlan will not return to the University as head football coach. No decision will be made until December, but the Athletic Department has stated it will need to take decisive action before recruiting season heats up in December, so that coaches and recruits will know what the status of the football program will be for next season. This is Chuck Pringle, Channel Two Sports…”

“Now why in the world did they release that?” Claire Michaels asked. I was happy to hear her question, it showed she was catching on.

“It’s definitely for a purpose.” I said. “I think their Big Boy knows what’s coming. This is his doing.”

———-

“It’s solid.” said Dr. Woodrow at 1:30pm. “Barry Oliver consulted with us on it. The athletic field fibers from the shoes are the same as those found at the crime scene, and so exact that we’ve been able to show it exclusively. The mudballs are also consistent with that found on Coach Harlan’s shoes that were confiscated during the search under the warrant.”

“How can you tell it’s the same lot or from the same place?” said Chief Griswold. We, meaning Dr. Woodrow, myself and Paulina Patterson, were in the Chief’s office.

“Deterioration of the fibers, as well as unique traits in the production of the nylon ‘weave’, are consistent with the fibers found at the crime scene, at the University’s practice field, and on the shoes. The odds are astronomical that they’re from different places.” said Dr. Woodrow.

“That seals it.” said Chief Griswold. “Crowbar, what about the phone pings?”

I said “Thank goodness for stupid people, they make our job so much easier! He actually brought his cell phone with him, probably left it in his car while he hiding in the Belle house.”

I then explained to Dr. Woodrow: “Coach Harlan’s cell phone was pinging the nearest tower to the Belle home between 5:10 and 6:20 on the afternoon of the murder. That’s while Shayla and Seth were having sex, then when Belle caught them and after they left him alone at the house. That essentially puts him at the crime scene, and when added to the fibers found after the search warrant, it should be more than enough for an arrest warrant, unless Paulina has an objection?”

“Not at all, not at all.” said Paulina. “I’m going to the Courthouse now to see Judge Folsom. In fact, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way.”

“By all means, Miss Patterson.” said the Chief. After Paulina had left, the Chief looked at me and said “Well, Crowbar, looks like you’ve waded hip-deep in the University political shit again. Who are you going to send to make the arrest?”

“I’m bringing Detective Rose with me, she’ll make the formal arrest. She did a much better job that she’s giving herself credit for, and she deserves it. But I’m also going to go, to take the hits for the political stuff myself. I don’t think Lorena is ready for Henry R. Wargrave.”

“You’re not ready for Henry R. Wargrave, either, Crowbar.” admonished the Chief. “In truth, nobody is.”

I could not disagree with that.

———-

It was 4:30pm and Dr. Wellman was hosting a hastily-called meeting in his University office.

“Brian, he’s coming to arrest you.” said Dr. Wellman to Coach Brian Harlan. “I told him that you will turn yourself in when he gets here. It’s the only way to keep this as quiet as possible and for you to look good in the media.”

“Sidney,” said Henry Wargrave, “I am not convinced that this is the best way at all. There is no way Coach Harlan can look good if he’s arrested. Just think of the damage to the University’s reputation!”

“Yes, Henry, I know.” said Wellman. “We usually agree on most things, but how much worse would it be for the Iron Crowbar to put out an arrest warrant for Coach Harlan and he not cooperate? We’d be in a terrible spot then!”

Wargrave turned to Harlan and said “Brian, we’ll have the best lawyers working on your behalf. Don’t worry about a thing, even if the Iron Crowbar does contradict my strong wishes and arrests you-“

Just then there was a knock on the door. “Police! May we come in?” asked an imperious voice. Dr. Wellman picked up his desk phone and told his assistant to allow them in.

I came into the room with Sr. Patrolman Rudistan, asking Detective Lorena Rose and Sr. Patrolman Morton to remain in the anteroom until called for. Bringing in Rudistan was his reward for having not only kept his mouth shut when I beat down the animal abuser Bryan Thatcher, but for participating in the roughing up of that despicable slug.

“Gentlemen, you know why I am here.” I said, holding the arrest warrant in my hand.

“Before you do anything, Commander,” said Henry Wargrave, “I want you to reconsider this action. There must be a way this can be done more quietly, perhaps in a way that the Public won’t have to know, which would besmirch the reputation of this great University.”

“The problem is, Mr. Wargrave,” I said, “the Public already believes that Mrs. Belle murdered her husband, and will continue to believe that unless and until another arrest is made… in this case the arrest of the true murderer of Derrick Belle-“

“Let me try again.” said Wargrave, becoming irritated. “We once had a conversation where I ceded to you that the Town was yours… and the University was mine. This greatly affects my University, and I will once again… suggest a more circumspect approach.”

I let my eyes bore into the billionaire’s, not feeling the fear that I’d felt in the past when confronting him, letting righteous anger guide my path as I said “Mr. Wargrave, first of all, I’ve saved your company millions by arresting Cheryl Belle Dunston, who was embezzling from the Belle company and was going to challenge the ownership structure by challenging the will. I would hope you would take that into consideration in these discussions.”

“But I will also add this, Mr. Wargrave, and it is not negotiable: I’ve been more than circumspect in the past. I could have, and in hindsight should have, had Brian Harlan arrested for providing the Black Widow with an alibi… and regardless of the fact she was his blood kin, I consider his actions to have cost a police officer his life at her hands.” I stared down at Harlan as I said the words. He only stared back malignantly.

“And further, when I did act with restraint, what was the Coach’s answer? To attack me in the Media and with the Council over the raid to take down his murderous cousin, preventing the death of another police officer. No gratitude at all in the man, Mr. Wargrave, so do not even try to talk to me any further about ‘circumspect’. The University will survive, and this is definitely my territory, as this murder happened in my Town, and I have the reputation of the innocent to consider.”

“Think about it, Commander.” said Wargrave, giving it one last try. “It would behoove you very much to consider my way of doing things.”

I was done with this. I turned to Rudistan and gave a signal. He opened the door and in walked Detective Rose with Patrolman Morton. She walked up to Harlan.

“Brian Harlan,” she said, “you are under arrest for the murder of Derrick Belle. Please stand up.” Harlan looked over at Wellman and Wargrave. Wellman nodded while Wargrave looked on, his face set in stone.

“Cuff his hands in front of him, Detective.” I said. “He’s not going to do anything in his condition.” Harlan finally got up and Lorena put on the handcuffs, reciting the suspect’s considerable Rights as she led him out the door, Morton and Rudistan following.”

“You will regret this, Troy.” said Wargrave, his face beginning to show his anger.

“Four little Indian boys, going out to sea; a red crowbar swallowed one, and then there were three.” I said, paraphrasing the poem, which actually said ‘red herring’ instead of ‘red crowbar’. I don’t know if Wargrave understood that by ‘four’ I meant the shadowy group led by Ward of Ward Harvester.

Wargrave’s eyes gave away his increasing anger as I said “I hope you realize how this helps you and your businesses far more than it hurts the School, Mr. Wargrave. Have a good day, gentlemen; gentlemen, have a good day.” With that, I turned and left.

It was a Media crush outside, and the newscasts would show Rose and Morton leading Coach Harlan to a waiting police cruiser for transport to Headquarters. When I stepped outside, following them, I was besieged by the Press, and gave the statement I needed to make:

“Coach Harlan is implicated in the murder of Derrick Belle, which will be proved during his trial. I want to be clear that Shayla Belle is completely innocent of involvement in the murder of her husband, that she had nothing to do with it, and she should not face any accusation by anyone…”

Part 16 – Solution

We were at The Steakhouse at 9:00pm on October 3d, having had another celebration dinner paid for by the Chief… maybe. I choose not to know what arrangements he and Town & County Councilman John “Jack” Colby, the restaurant’s owner, come to on these occasions. I do know that the Chief likes the bourbons and samples several of them.

Celebrating with us was Laura, Martin Nash and Sandra Speer; Barry Oliver and Tanya Perlman, who had come together; Cindy Ross and ADA Jenna Stiles, not being overt but also not hiding that they were a lesbian couple; ADA Paulina Patterson and her husband; Claire Michaels and Hugh Hewitt, who came together; Todd and Jeanine Burke; Jeanine’s partners Tina Felton and Virginia Madison; Lorena Rose, Teddy Parker, and Jack Muscone, all who came singly. Julie Newton was busy with the SBI on the evidence to prosecute Cheryl Belle Dunston and her cohorts, and the rest of Vice were working on a drug raid.

“In hindsight, it looks easy,” said Claire Michaels, “but I really don’t know if anyone else would’ve seen it the way you did, Commander. So how did you catch on to Coach Harlan so quickly?” The room chatter died down as I began telling the story.

“Well,” I said, “first of all, you new guys had no knowledge of the past history of some things, such as Shayla Belle’s past relationship with Seth Warner, of her past problems with her husband, and of Seth’s problems with his family after his father was killed.”

I continued: “The crime scene was very important, as it served to exonerate Shayla and Seth as well as give the vital clues to the murderer. Let me first tell you what happened, then how I arrived at my conclusions.

“After watching the afternoon practice session and tracking his athletic shoes in the mud at the edge of the practice field, Coach Harlan took off early and drove to the neighborhood where Shayla and Derrick lived. He entered the house while Shayla and Seth were making love in the bedroom. He grabbed the poker from the fireplace and I believe was about to attack the lovers in the bedroom. His intent may have been to kill Seth or it may have been to kill Shayla and have Seth blamed for it. I’m not sure Derrick Belle was the primary target.”

“As it happened, Derrick Belle came home and Harlan had to rush into the closet, leaving some mud trackings along the way. Belle confronted his wife and her lover, who wisely left the scene. At that point, Harlan was trapped in the closet with Belle at home, possibly waiting for Shayla to come back. Harlan may have thought that if he killed Belle, Seth would take at least some of the blame. So he-“

“Uh sir,” said Lorena Rose, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but can you tell us why Seth was Coach Harlan’s target?”

“Sure.” I said. “Again, this is information some of you don’t know. Seth and his sister Karen are in a vicious dispute over Dynacorp, their father’s company. Karen had maneuvered to take control so that she could sell the company, but Seth took legal action to stop it. Tina?”

“Yes,” Tina said, having raised her hand, “I might add that Seth’s lawsuit has gone surprisingly well, and I have hopes that I didn’t have when we started that he might actually win this thing. Karen must be seething over it.”

“Yes, she and her partners.” I said. “I won’t get into the weeds of that right now, but suffice it to say that Karen Warner really needs an edge over Seth, either by his death or by him being arrested for murder so that his case would collapse in the Courts. I might add that Karen Warner and Brian Harlan are lovers and have been for some time. Unfortunately, I cannot prove anything that implicates Karen Warner in the murder, so understand this is all sheer speculation.”

I continued: “So Harlan has to escape the closet and get back to the University. He sneaks out, maybe is seen by Derrick Belle but probably not, then he whacks Belle in the head with the poker. He leaves, cleans off the poker, throws it and probably his cleaning rag in a garbage can when he gets to the University. Of course, Shayla and her several friends come back to the house and find the dead body, and it is indeed most very fortunate for her that some clues were left to lead us onto the right path.”

“And that path is…” said Cindy Ross, either showing impatience or just needling me; it was hard to tell which from her facial expression.

“I could see at the crime scene that someone else had been there.” I said. “And that was why I pointed out the weather to Detective Rose. The Crime Lab did a huge job in finding those artificial grass fibers, and that led me to the practice fields. Then the poker was found on Campus, so it was becoming increasingly obvious that someone connected with the University was involved in some way.

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