JUSTICE DELAYED: SS; TWO

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young woman was murdered thirty-six year ago. While cleaning out the evidence locker in the basement of the sheriff's office,there was clothing that they could now tested for DNA.
There was DNA and it matched the defendant's.
Now a jury must consider and decide.

Submitted: August 16, 2016

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Submitted: August 15, 2016

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JUSTICE DELAYED

A Novel

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Two

 

Jackson Parrot, juror number three was feeling very uncomfortable.

Hmm. That poor guy; there but for the grace of God, go I, I guess. All the other jurors look a bit pink; yes. We all had those moments when we were very young and very stupid. Yes; all of us.

*  *  *

Well, when they brought the defendant back today, he looked very different.

He has a good suit on and he doesn’t have handcuffs or shackles or anything. He also has a haircut and shave. And new shoes. In fact I barely recognized him.

The Judge and I, as well as Sally, the Court Clerk, all agreed that Mr. Sanderson seemed totally different somehow. He didn’t look scared anymore, for one thing. He even smiled now and then.

*  *  *

Betty Hyslop, juror number seven was focused on the defendant’s new appearance.

Nice looking man; probably fifty-five, something like that I think they said.  No beard or moustache anymore. Even his sideburns are short; well none at all really. Kinda give the impression of being a very neat person; tidy; drop a few crumbs somewhere and the vacuum is on and blasting; no stuff on the floors. Period. Yeah . . . a really neat guy for sure. And today,  he doesn’t look near as worried, that’s for sure.

*  *  *

Doctor Davies was mulling the chances of two jurors having to leave the jury for whatever reason. If this happened, then Harold Jenkins would be the first to go and sit in the seat of the departed juror and then, if some terrible calamity created the necessity of another juror to leave, then there he’d be . . .and probably the foreperson.  

Something about this guy seems familiar. Maybe he was one of my patients. I’ll get a long look at him and describe him to Debbie. She has an eye for that sort of thing; I can never remember; except the cases that went sideways on me. But I’ve never lost a patient; and in surgery that‘s not all that outstanding but still, it is comforting. I wonder when we’re going to start getting some evidence.

*  *  *

Hmmm, thought Alice Cramm, juror number eight, that doesn’t impress me all that much. I wonder what Doctor Davies thinks of it; a pair of sunglasses similar to the defendant’s was found at the scene. C’mon, everybody had a pair of Foster Grants in the day; hey; very light; almost no weight at all. And no fingerprints on the glasses, Oh, some, but not his. Why is this evidence against this guy?

*  *  *

Foster Grants sunglasses. This is very insignificant. I guess they’ll start slow and save the heavy duty evidence for the end. Building the case, one brick at a time. This was the conclusion of Brenda Simmins, juror number nine. I wonder how Paul and Jane are doing on their exams. What pedestrian names; I ask you; Paul?  Jane? Oh well, Fiona can break it to the kids gently ; no more  top twenty names. Ah, a break.

 

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’ll take out afternoon recess now. Let’s be back at half past the hour. And, again, do not discuss this case with anyone and especially not with any of your fellow jurors . . . or the alternates.”

*  *  *

“So, Doctor, what kind of medicine do you practice?”
“I’m a surgeon. I specialize in sports injuries; mainly knees, elbows and ankles; repair and total replacements. Those areas.”

“Well, that’s real interesting Doctor, I was . . .”

“Please call me Pete. I’m so happy to be away from the office; the practice for awhile. . . .how about you? Allan, right?

“Yes, Allan Hamilton."

“And what do  you do, Allan; I think I heard your answers on voir dire; I think you said you were a policeman; well, an ex-policeman, right?”

“Absolutely, Doctor . . . sorry, Pete. Yeah, I’m a private detective now; or investigator; a P.I.

"I was with the force for twenty years and I needed a break. So I took one for about six months and a lot of people heard I’d retired—I was a homicide investigator; strictly. My last five years I was head of the division.

“So, when all these people started asking me to help them find people or help their attorney on the case against them, I suddenly found myself on Market Street on the third floor of the oldest building; frosted glass and  transoms,” laughing, “just like Sam Spade’s shop.

"Anyway, I’ve been doing that for about three years now. Love it. No divorce cases; only a few lost persons; but a lot of work for people who think they know something about cold cases. I really like those—and they’re willing to pay very well for my time. Can’t beat it, “ pausing, “I’m missing a lot of work sitting on this jury. In fact, a great deal of work. And I’m still trying to figure out why they left me—you know, the attorneys—on their jury.”

“I think that’s odd too, Allan; I mean, as an ex-policeman, I would think that the defense attorney—the PD, would think you would side with the D.A.  . . .”

Cutting in “exactly, Pete . . . but you know, maybe she thinks I can help her get to the bottom of this thing.

"This is the coldest of cold cases; what, thirty-five or is it six; anyway, thirty plus years and boom; suddenly we’re in a time warp and back then; that’s a rare situation. It’s tough to feel comfortable working so far in the past; for me, at least.

“If I had this case for my own, it would be a real bitch to figure out.” sighing, “maybe we’ll hear more this afternoon but so far—whoops; can’t talk about it; maybe we crossed the line; I don’t think so, but we should choose our words pretty carefully when we chat as the trial goes on.”

Allan and Pete laughed and began to discuss the state of the Warriors.

**  *

I’ve been transcribing my notes from the last day’s testimony and this case is getting really muddy, or, at least in my experience, it is; forty-eight murder trials. I noticed a number of the jurors getting sleepy. In fact, juror number eleven, Mrs. Barnstable, looked downright asleep. Then number twelve gave her a good nudge and she almost fell off her seat. She was all ears after that.

So far there isn’t much more evidence in the case than there was at the Preliminary Examination.

Miss Jefferson was apparently at some party or other across the lake from where she was found. Not much evidence about whose party it was or who was there and I can’t imagine why it would matter.

Hilo has put on people to say that the defendant, Mr. Sanderson, worked at the general store in Jensen. He’d been there only about three weeks at the time of the death.

The DNA evidence is semen that matches Mr. Sanderson’s DNA. But when Gail cross-examined, it turned out that there was other semen on the dress; a lot of it; and different DNA.

The only other connections to Mr. Sanderson are that three people say they saw him walking with Miss Jefferson around midnight that night.

The only other thing, so far, is that another worker in the general store said that Miss Jefferson had been in the store several times. And that she and her family had a cottage about a mile down the west side of the lake, Lake Balfort.  

*  **

Allan Hamilton (juror number one) stared at the witness, trying to find something about her appearance that could tell him that he recognized her. The name, Susan Taylor, was not familiar; nor her voice, but something about the way she held her head when she spoke tickled a byte in his hard drive.

Well I’ll be a son of a bitch; Lake Balfort. I know people on that lake.

I don’t think it had been mentioned before. Certainly not in either of the attorneys’ opening statements to the jury. Hunh. Maybe that’s why she looks vaguely familiar. 

Doctor Davies was also staring at the witness.

Damn; I just can’t place her but  . . . she does seem really . .  well, not familiar; more like an almost-image. Hmmmm.  And Lake Balfort. I know the name. Never been there.  I guess everyone around there knows the names of the big lakes. After all it is the 'summer vacation land’ for the city.

*  *  *

This morning juror number two, Basil Rankin, called the court. He said that his wife had been hospitalized and he had to be there and sign papers and direct her care in some way.

Judge Tan didn’t seem to mind at all—that he was unable to serve, that is; but she was very sad about his wife and talked with him for about ten minutes. It was all questions about her situation and could the court call anyone and tell them that he was definitely excused; and that this might ease his mind.

Apparently, he said he would appreciate that and the judge took some names and gave them to Sally, the Court Clerk, and asked her to call the numbers and explain the situation to them.

We were all very sad about Mrs. Rankin.

*  *  *

That’s terrible; oh, that’s so sad. And now I’m on the real jury. Number two; right next to that P.I. guy. Maybe we can talk about some of his cases at the break. I’d love to talk to him about this one. What he thinks. About the evidence that’s come in so far—and the evidence that hasn’t come in yet. This morning the owner of the store is going to testify.

*  *  *

 At five minutes past nine that morning, Bill Washington, the owner of the general store in Jensen went to the witness stand to testify.

I looked up from my court reporting equipment while we all waited for him to sit down. My eyes were resting on the jury. Suddenly four jurors leaned forward in their seats in a hasty fashion, I thought.

They all seemed to recognize Mr. Washington, who is black, and they remained leaning forward while they waited for the DA to begin her questions.

 

 

End of Chapter Two


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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