SYNOPSIS: Jason Franco is an aspiring novelist stuck in a dead end job working for a newspaper in a small town where nothing exciting happens until someone rapes and murders a young woman only eighteen years old. All evidence points to the woman's boyfriend who confesses to the crime. Jason is assigned to write a follow-up story for the paper and soon suspects that the local police are covering up for one of their own. Jason enlists the help from a high school classmate who works at the state crime and the two soon fall in love. Jason and his girlfriend, Tina, follow the leads and Jason finds himself a target for the rapist turned murderer. An attempt on Jason's life puts him in the hospital as the alleged rapist commits suicide. An unexpected turn of events put Jason back in the cross hairs of a different killer.
Naomi Marini, Art Rudd and Gerald Dunley, Police Officers
Chief Cruse called later and said that Jason could talk to his patrol officers around four pm. Once again, Jason arrived five minute early. Chief Cruse’s administrative assistance, Natalie Hathaway, led Jason to the break room. “The Chief has a daily telephone conference with the Mayor and other city officials at four, so you’ll have to use the break room.”
Jason sat down in the middle of the long table. He set Naomi Marini walked in first. She was medium build with very short brunette hair. Jason noted that she had a strong handshake. She wore no jewelry. She was followed by Art Rudd. He stood six feet two and was very muscular. His hand shake crushed Jason's hand. He wore his hair very close on the sides with a crew cut on top.
Gerald Dunley seemed to be the opposite of the military style of his two fellow officers. He had a handlebar mustache and long hair. Around his neck were two gold chains. Jason saw that his ears were pierced but at the time he was not wearing earrings.
All three sat down opposite Jason. Naomi and Gerald sat with their arms folded across their chest. Art sat with his hands clasped on the table. Jason noted that his finger tips were yellow from nicotine and he had a yellow streak in his hair. His knuckles were very large and calloused, especially the first two on each hand. The two outside fingers on his left hand were out of alignment with the rest. When Art noticed that Jason was looking at his hands, he placed them under the table on his lap
Jason took out his pocket recorder, turned it on and set it in the center of the table. After introductions, he the three officers to explain what happened on the night of Angelina’s murder. Art and Gerald both looked at Naomi who acknowledged their nod and began to speak. Jason knew from his interview with Chief Cruse that she was the senior officer.
“Art and I are on duty so if anything comes up, we may have to leave,” said Naomi. She had a way of talking out of the right corner of her mouth. It wasn't pronounced but it was noticeable.
“No sweat,” answered Jason. He sniffed the air. “What's that smell?”
“Oh, probably WD-40,” answered Dunley. “I was cleaning my service weapon just before you came in. I spray WD-4 on my weapon to keep out moisture that causes rust. I guess I got some on me.”
“Oh come on,” said Naomi. “Everyone knows that you use WD-40 as aftershave.”
Dunley laughed. “Yeah, it attracts my kind of woman.”
Naomi continued, “Art and I were here at the station when the 911 call came. Gerald was on duty out on patrol. Mrs. Littlefield called and reported that she came home and found her daughter dead. Art and I immediately went to the Littlefield residence. Outside the hoiuse we found Mrs. Littlefield who let us inside. We found her daughter, angelina Littlefield, lying on her back on the kitchen floor. She had been murdered; stabbed in the heart.”
“Can you describe the crime scene?”
“It appeared that a struggle took place starting at the side door and into the living room. Later we determined that Angelina Littlefield had been beaten and raped in the living room. She was then dragged into the kitchen and killed.”
“How did you determine that there was struggle?”
“There was blood spatter on the door and door frame. It was her blood. We think her attacker struck her when she opened the door. She fell backward into the living room and her attacker beat her senseless. Blood was on the carpet. While she was unconsciousness, he raped her.”
“How can you be sure she wasn't raped in the kitchen?'
“We found carpet fibers on her buttock, so her shorts and panties were removed in the living room. We also found vaginal fluids on the carpet.”
“Can you describe what you saw in the kitchen?”
“The vic was on her back. Her jean shorts had been removed and placed over her head. She was naked from the waist down. She had a deep wound in her chest. The ME said it was the fatal stab wound. The ME also said that she had been raped before she was killed.”
“Then what happened?”
“We started to protect the crime scene. Imediately I notified the chief. We followed protocol. I told Art to search the house to make sure no one else was there. He also looked for evidence and any signs for forced entry. He found no signs of forced entry. It appeared that the vic may have known her attacker and let him in. When the chief and Gerald arrived, the chief had Gerald search outside the house while the chief questioned Mrs. Littlefield.”
“What did Mrs. Littlefield say?”
“She said that Angelina had a boyfriend. She wanted to call him and tell him. I told her not to call him and that we’d tell him face to face.”
“Was he a suspect?”
“Not at that time. We didn’t initially think about suspects. We just wanted to gather evidence. But if he was the perp, we didn't want to tip him off so he could escape. Art and I went to talk to Mr. McAdams to inform him of Angelina’s death and to see what information he could provide.”
“What happened when you got to the McAdams’s house?”
“He and his mother were both asleep when we arrived. He said he was home watching TV at the time of the murder. His mother couldn’t verify that because she was asleep. I thought it best to take Mr. McAdams into custody and question him at the station. His mother drove to the station to be with her son.”
“Then what happened?”
“As according to protocol, I went back inside and searched the house. That’s when I found the knife with blood on it. It turned out to be the murder weapon.”
“Where was the knife?”
“It was on the kitchen counter. Mrs. Littlefield later identified it as part of a set of knives that she owned. This one was missing.”
“Did you find anything else when you searched the house?”
“I picked up a cellphone. Later we discovered one was the vic’s phone. I also picked up a laptop. Later, we found incriminating pics on the cellphone.”
“What about Mr. McAdam's clothes?here blood on his clothes?”
“No. We thought at first thast he cleaned them but the crime lab could find no traces of blood on his clothes or shoes. We think he got rid of any evidence.”
“But he left the knife in the kitchen.”
“He attempted to clean the knife. I guess he thought it was clean.”
Jason asked Art if he had anything to add.
“I took Mr. McAdams to the station,” said Art. “Like Naomi said, his mother went there in her own car. I started to question him, you know, just rudimentary questions at first.”
“Is that when he confessed?”
“No. No. He didn't confess till much later. After he lawyered up.”
Jason open his file and removed the police report. “I noticed when I read the police report that there were no witnesses.”
“That’s affirmative,” answered Naomi. “We canvased the neighborhood but couldn’t find any witnesses.”
“You said that you were off duty. Why were you still at the station?”
“That’s not unusual. Sometime we stay late to do paperwork or just to unwind. We were in the break room talking when the call came in. We decide to help the night shift since they’re shorthanded.”
Jason reviewed his notes again. “You said that Angelina was naked from the waist down. Did you find her panties at the McAdams’s house?”
“No. We don’t know if she was wearing any to begin with. Girls now days like to go commando. We did not find any at the McAdams’s house. He might have gotten rid of them along with his clothes.”
“Did you process the crime scene?”
“No. We just cordoned it off and protected it. The chief called a special unit from the State Police. They flew up by copter and arrived about two hours after they were called. They gathered the rest of the evidence, took pictures and processed everything. We just helped to keep the neighbors away.”
“Then who questioned Mr. McAdams?”
“Initially, I did,” said Art. “We needed to know if he acted alone.”
“Doesn’t seem odd to you that a man would rape his girlfriend?’
Naomi answered, “Yes, but it happens. Husbands rape their wives. No means no. We don’t know what happened between the two. We just made the arrest. The rest was up to the court. We didn’t establish a motive.”
“But what did you think?”
“I think maybe they broke up and in a fit of anger, he raped her. Then he figured she would report him so he killed her.” Art and Gerald nodded in agreement.
“Mr. McAdams said that he and Ms. Littlefield had sex earlier and that’s why his semen was present.”
“We have no way to verify that,” answered Naomi. “His fingerprints and DNA were all over her body.”
“How do you feel about it?”
“I didn’t know either the vic or McAdams. I feel bad that it happened in this community. People around town don’t lock their doors at night. It’s a shame. I think Art knew them.
“Affirmative. I knew them both,” said Art. “I caught them making out in a parked car one time. I thought perhaps the car was stolen and when I checked, they were inside the car making out. That was all the contact I had with either of them.”
“Do you think he raped and killed Angelina?”
Art nodded his head. “I agree with Naomi. I felt bad at first. I thought maybe if I’d patrolled that neighborhood that night, I might have prevented it. Now I realize there’s nothing I could’ve done to prevent it.”
“Mr. McAdams initially confessed but at his trail he said he didn’t kill her. What do you make of that?”
Naomi was back in control. “They always do that. The DA lets him plead out. Later, he wants to change his story. Happens all the time. That’s up to the court. We don’t get involved.”
Jason decided to ask the dumb question. “Is it possible that this started out as a robbery that went bad?”
Naomi laughed. “No, I don't think so. The only things taked from the Littlefield house were the knife and the cell phone.”
“I see. Well, I’ve the crime lab report and the medical examiner’s report. If you think of anything else please let me know.”