JUSTICE DELAYED: SS; SEVENTEEN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A 36 year-old murder case is revived by DNA.
Allan Hamilton is an ex-homicide chief and also a juror in the trial of David Sanderson.
As the evidence begins to unfold, people and circumstances come looming 'out of the past'.
Allan realizes that he was in the area of the murder, tells the judge, and is excused.
He acts as Holmes to another fellow bounced-juror's Watson as they pursue the truth.

Submitted: November 07, 2016

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Submitted: November 07, 2016

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JUSTICE DELAYED

A Short Story in Chapters

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Seventeen

 

 

It was truly bizarre, but the Judge, Hilo, and Gail (and me) were ecstatic about all three former teenagers and the two attorneys immediately said they accepted them for jury duty. 

The one person who knew nothing about the case also proved to be an excellent choice for the jury.

Judge Tan told all of us at one time or another that optimism is the first ingredient of luck.

Once again, her unfailing optimism carried the day.

Both attorneys went on the record with sincere thanks and some awe regarding the Judge’s strongest character trait.

Hilo asked the Judge to allow her to put off her Opening Statement to the new jury until Monday. Judge Tan agreed and told all of us that she intended to dismiss the jury early and take the remainder of the day to question those people who Mr. Washington had picked out of the audience, including Mr.Trevor Ransome.

Then we took all that shared optimism out into the courtroom and Judge Tan had the new jurors sworn in.  

*  * *

Allan Hamilton was about to ransom his car from the underground garage when Jennifer rang.

“Hi, Allan. I have some great news. I found Trevor Ransome, and also his mother. His father was Seth. He died in a boating accident. His mother is now Mrs. Corrigan. I have the scoop on her. I’m sending it to you.”

“Thanks, Jenny; is Sweet available?”

“Sure is; here.”

“Hi chief; glad you called. It took me about ten seconds to get our answer. "The Benjamin Brothers Marine Works. On the other side of he lake from Jensen. I’ll send you the poop.

“I called them and asked about the biggest, fastest boat back then and they put me on hold for only a minute or two and came back with a unanimous verdict.

"A woman named Langmuir back then but now she’s Mrs. Sloane. I ran down all her poop as well and it’s on its way to you. And she still owns the boat; the same one.”

“Good going, Sweet, anything else about Mrs. Sloane?”

“Well, she’s still around; seventy-nine by the way.

"Apparently, she’s still a real terror around that side of the lake.

"The guys at the boat works implied very strongly that she is a very bitter old lady. They didn’t say why; shall I try and find out?”

“Yes ma’am. Good work. I’m on my way back. Call me in the car with anything any of you have dredged up. Thanks Sweet.”

Allan called Doctor Davies from his car and arranged a time to meet on Sunday and to take Allan’s car. 

He intended to put all his staff on double time over the weekend to make a gallant effort to reach a solution to the murder by Monday morning.

Allan thought it best to delay telling Doctor Davies about the DNA results as long as he could, with the hope that they could solve the mystery and cut a deal for the Doctor on the agg rape charge.

 

Allan Hamilton was a fully armed detective when it came to modern equipment. 

He had three different iPhones in docks for car calls that allowed him to send and receive information from his car while having both hands free for driving.

He always drove fast; with purpose, even when he was just out for some air.

By the time he spied his office sitting in the soothing sunshine, on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he had received enough information from his crew to justify a call to Gail Bernal using his voice-changer app.

He hit the front door running and summoned Sweet to show him once more where and how to use the app that then allowed him to call the PD’s office and ask for Gail.

She had just returned from court.

“Hello, is this the Public Defender?”

“Yes, one of them, I’m Gail Bernal, one of the Deputy Public Defenders. Who’s this?”

“Here is some information on the Jefferson murder . .”

Gail cut in, ”Who is this; who’s calling?”

“Never mind that. Just listen.”

Gail Bernal was very tired, extremely hungry, but unnaturally curious. She listened.

*  *  *

Following his call to Gail Bernal, Allan tried to reach the courtroom with the Sanderson trial and the reporter, ElaineBadwell.

He used the fact that he had been a juror to get through the first line of court personnel protections and made it clear to Bob the bailiff, that he wanted to order a portion of the transcript from the trial record.

Bob said that Elaine, as well as the rest of Judge Tan’s crew were still in the courtroom, discussing some final matters before the weekend. The attorneys left some time ago. He said he would give Elaine the message as soon as she came back to her office.

 

I called Allan back when we finished up for the day and staggered into the weekend with a round of sherry with the Judge in her chambers.

“Hello, Mr. Hamilton, what can I do for you?”

“Hi, Mrs. Badwell; please call me Allan; there was one part of Mr. Washington’s testimony that I would like to get a copy of; do I go through you to do that or somebody else?”

“Well, Allan—and please call me Elaine—ask me first. I’ll find it and then I’ll get you to Roy to arrange for the payment and delivery. What particular section of his testimony were you interested in?”

“I’m trying to remember, Elaine. I know I should be more specific; let me think about it. At least I know the procedure now. Thanks, Elaine.”

“Very welcome, Allan.” I was about to hang up.

“Oh, wait a sec Elaine; one more question. I know you have a ton of things to do and it’s Friday and all so I’ll just be blunt.”

I waited.

“You have done all the murder cases in the county; you have seen all of the jury members in Sanderson’s case; and you have had a chance to observe the jury before, during, and after the testimony of the witnesses.

"I was just curious.  Because you looked a bit surprised when Mr. Washington picked out Doctor Davies and myself. 

“As you know, I ran the homicide group before going private, and so I learned to observe people and to read their leanings or bias—sometimes their decisions.”

I waited for the question I suspected he would ask in a moment or so.

“Now when Mr. Washington pointed to the Doctor and me, your eyes swung away from me and up toward the other end of the jury box.

"And you watched the expression on the faces of the people in that area.

"Now, Elaine, you expected Mr. Washingtonto point to two other people instead of myself and DoctorDavies, correct?”

I had to say "Yes.”

“Just for me and my account of my experience with you and your wonderful judge and the total jury experience, just give me the names of the two people you expected to be fingered and why, okay?”

I must have been expecting—or even praying for---somebody to ask my opinions about those two, because, without a moment’s pause, I replied.

“Well okay, but just let me double-check with Judge Tan that’s it’s all right to talk with you now that you’re off the jury; hang on just a sec.”

I was dead beat, a little tipsy form the sherry, and I really liked everything about Allan Hamilton. Despite his age, were I not married, I might have invited him for a drink at the KCR and gone on from there. Terrible; I know. But this was the result of fatigue, wine—and relief.

I put down the phone to ask the Judge if it was okay to talk. 

However, I only asked Judge Tan if it was all right for Allan to order a copy of a particular part of the transcript involving Mr.Washington.

About his other questions, I was positive it would be all right, but I must confess that I so much wanted Allan to know my choices and my reasons that I just mumbled something about my observations of the jury for an account he’s writing up. 

I realized that I hadn’t asked him what form the account would take, but by this time I was running on fumes, and about to drop, and I really didn’t care.

I quickly returned to the phone.

“Okay. Here it is.”

For the next twenty minutes or so, I sipped more sherry and felt like Allan and I were sitting across the table from each other in a fine, dimly-lit, restaurant, talking about this strange case and how the past was coming out of the walls and into the courtroom. 

We were holding hands.

With the aid of the sherry, I loosened not only my tongue but also my subconscious.

I gave him my two choices and then my reasons. We talked and talked and when I hung up, I felt as though I had just come home a bit snockered after an evening out with my husband. However, all I saw was Judge Tan.

I put on some coffee and decided to stay a little longer until I felt more focused in on the chore of driving home.

While the coffee perked, I reviewed my conversation with Allan and realized that he might throw a lot of light on this increasingly weird relic of a killing from “out of the past”.

 

 End of Chapter Seventeen


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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