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.
Dyanna Jones, Biologist and Roommate
June 28, 2015
(Chapter 11, Part 2)
Dyanna thought for a moment. “You guys checked to see if there were other rapes with the same MO?”
Tina handed Dyanna the list of names they had put together.
Dyanna looked over the list. “We have to drill down on all these cases. You can’t look at them as individual cases. Each case has clues, and if we examine them all together, we may find something.”
“We did see that there was DNA from a couple of the cases, but it wasn't from any rape kits,” said Tina.
Dyanna nodded. “That’s a start. Now we need to see if the DNA from the hairs match the DNA from these other cases. What else is common?”
Jason thought for a moment. “Apparently, none of the victims saw their attacker.”
“Maybe that’s what went wrong this time,” said Dyanna. “The vic saw her attacker, so he killed her. This is odd too. All the other rapes took place outdoors. This one was indoors. Doesn't sound like a serial rapist.”
Dyanna and Jason agreed with Tina. After reviewing dozen of case, the trio took a break. Tina bought three sodas from a vending machine and a bag of chips to share.
After a few minutes Dyanna sat back. “Several things bother me about this case.”
“You mean besides the lack of testing on the pubic hairs?” asked Jason
“Yeah, that’s a biggy, but there’s more. For example, Angelina was killed with a single knife thrust through her heart. The police said this was a crime of passion; that Paulo was angry at Angelina.”
Jason noticed that Dyanna started using Angelina’s and Paulo’s first names instead of 'vic' and 'suspect' or last name. A couple of times, she said “Angie.”That meant she was taking ownership of the case.
Dyanna continued, “In a crime of passion usually there’re dozens of wounds, sometimes hundreds. The perps are so angry they stab multiple times. Angelina was stabbed only once. Her attacker wasn't angry. It wasn’t personal to him. He may not even have known her.”
“I never thought of that,” said Tina. “But even so, we can’t use that to justify reopening the case. Go on. What else?”
“Well, there’s the wound itself. It’s off toward the left side and between the ribs. Whoever did this knew how to kill a person. Amateurs would stab directly in the center into the sternum. That’s hard to do. You have to penetrate bone. Between the ribs is easier, quicker.”
“So what does that tell you?” asked Jason.
“An eighteen year old kid like Paulo wouldn't know how to kill someone like that.”
“Anything else?” asked Tina.
“The lack of evidence is very telling. Where are her panties? They should’ve found them in Paulo’s house. If he confessed, why didn’t he tell them where to find them?”
“That’s what I thought too,” added Tina. “I mean, Paulo’s DNA and fingerprints were all over Angie’s body. Whoever raped her must have worn gloves and a condom. Then there’s the murder weapon and cellphone.”
“What do you mean?” asked Jason.
“Well, everyone knows that when a woman is killed, the boyfriend or husband is suspect number one, right?” asked Tina.
“Yeah, so?” asked Jason.
Tina continued, “Paulo's prints weren't on the knife. Assuming for a minute that Paulo killed her, why would he wear gloves when using the knife and then take it to his house and leave it on the kitchen counter? Blood was still on it. The same with the cellphone. Why take a picture of the body and then leave the phone on the table at his house? It makes no sense unless he’s extremely stupid.”
“Or he was set up or he’s a psychopath,” added Dyanna.
“What do we do now?” asked Jason.
Dyanna thought for a moment. “If you can get the pubic hairs and there’s a follicle, we can run a DNA test. If the DNA is not Paulo’s then he’s innocent. Other than that, I’m not sure we can do anything more here.”
“Well, we do have a list of rapes, “ said Tina. “We could start checking on them.”
“How many should we check?” asked Jason.
“All of them,” answered Dyanna.
Tina and Jason agreed. Tina and Dyanna decided to take Jason to a few of their favorite watering holes. After drinking and dancing they returned to the apartment late. Jason and Tina went to bed right away.
Tina’s and Jason’s love making was interrupted when Dyanna opened their bedroom door. Jason rolled off Tina and she sat up. Both yelled at the same time, “Get out!”
Dyanna was standing in the door. She had turned on the living room light so she was silhouetted. She was naked. “I thought maybe the three of us could sleep together. You know, a Ménage à trois.”
Again, Tina and Jason shouted, “Get out!”
Dyanna beat a hasty retreat, closing the door behind her. Jason and Tina looked at each other and started to laugh.
“I warned you,” said Tina. “I guess I have to ask, do you want her in bed with us?”
Jason smiled. “Of course not. I’m a one woman man.”
Tina looked Jason in the eyes. “You’re lying, but it’s a sweet lie so I’ll forgive you.” She threw the covers off Jason and cupped his testicles. “But if you ever lie to me again…” She squeezed his testicles gently. “Do we have an understanding?”
Jason laughed. “Yes, dear.”
“Are we exclusive now? I meant this is still our first date, technically.”
Jason laughed. “After these last couple of days, we’re committed. Yes, we’re exclusive.”
Tina kissed Jason. “I agree. It’s as if we’ve dated forever.”
“Anyway, I could see the difference between you two this time.”
“The shag rug on the floor.”
Tina laughed. “Yeah. That woman is overdue for a Brazilian.” Tina was still holding Jason’s testicles. She squeezed them gently once more and slid her mouth onto his shaft. After Jason climaxed, Tina lay with her head on his chest. “I love to hear your heart beat,” she said.
“Have you been dating heartless men?”
“Yes, they were zombies.”
Jason laughed. “Tina, can I ask you something?”
“Were you serious about carrying a gun?”
“Yes, why? Are you going to attack me?”
Jason laughed. “No, but I’d like for you to always carry it. Okay?”
“After studying all those rapes are you feeling a little unsafe?”
“Not for me, for you.”
Tina sat up. “When I started working in the crime lab they told me that new female biologists are paranoid the first year. They were right. I thought very male was a potential attacker. I thought I was being followed – stalked. I double locked all my doors and windows.”
“Is that when you started carrying a gun?”
“No. I started in college. Colleges aren't safe. Do you have a gun?”
“I can get one for you. My dad has a couple.”
“I’m not ready for that yet. I don’t like guns.”
Tina smiled. “Tell you what, I’ll take you to target practice. See how you like it.”
“Okay. Another date.”
Tina lay down on one elbow. “Listen Jason. I can’t be one of those friends with benefits. Okay?”
“I don’t have any friends with benefits unless you count Sy.”
Tina sat up. “Sy? You mean Sylvester?”
“Yeah. He gives me a discount when I take in my Buick for maintenance.”
“That rat! He doesn’t give me a discount. Tell him I’m your girlfriend and to give me a discount too.”
“Oh, I don’t know. What’d you do to him?”
“Nothing, I swear… Oh wait. I might have turned him down for a date. Is he still mad after all these years?” Tina lay her head down on Jason chest again. They both lay quietly for a few minutes. Tina broke the silence. “How come you never noticed me in high school?”
“Lately I’ve been wondering about that. Something Mary, our office manager, said at the office got me reflecting on my behavior. She said that I was too self-absorbed. I mean she didn’t say it like that. She said I don’t notice what’s going on around me and that I couldn’t be a good journalist. I guess I was that way in high school. I missed seeing you. I’m sorry.” It was a little white lie; Jason did notice her in high school, but thought she was out of his league.
“It’s okay. We’re together now. You’re worth waiting for.”
“But here’s the thing. The editor gave me this assignment because he thought he couldn’t be objective. He thought he might miss something. Am I so self-absorbed that I might miss a key clue in this case?”
Tina sat up. “No, Jason. We’re a team. We’ll do this together. I’ll see things that you don’t see. You see things that I don’t. We’ll expose this killer. I promise.”