THE CASE OF REASONABLE DOUBT
Jen and Molly worked in silence on separate cases. Molly noticed Jen rubbing her forehead. “You okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, I think so. Had another bad dream last night.”
“Oh damn,” Molly said. “They never seem to go away. Do you remember it?”
“Yeah. It’s a recurring dream. I’m on the operating table, and I have no legs and no arms. Doc is there coming toward me with a scalpel. He’s covered in blood, and I can’t move. It scares the shit outta me.”
Molly got up and walked over to Jen and hugged her.
After a quick lunch of cold cuts, the women got ready to receive their next appointment. “What do we know about our next client?” Molly asked.
“Keira Shader. Well, her address, driver’s license, and the other standard stuff checked out. She works for the city. She wouldn’t tell me over the telephone why she wanted to hire us. But I recognized the name, so I checked it out. She’s the sister-in-law of Ken Rice. Her sister is Sandra Rice. Does the name ring a bell?”
“Yeah, it does. It was in the papers recently. Isn’t he the guy who stabbed his wife?”
“Yes, that’s the guy,” Molly answered. “Her name was Sandra Rice.
Jen thought for a moment. “In fact, Jonah worked on the case. I don’t remember if he had the lead, but he definitely worked the case. Ken Rice is awaiting trial. He also worked at the hospital where Doc works. He was the facility manager. Jonah said it was a slam dunk case. He didn’t confess but had no alibi. He had recently taken out a million-dollar life insurance police on his wife. Where did his wife work again?”
“At the same hospital.”
“So why a million-dollar policy? Seems like over kill.” Jen chuckled.
Molly moaned at Jen’s attempt at dark humor. Suddenly, Prada raised her head and looked toward the front door. Molly heard an alarm from the security system and then the doorbell rang. “We’ll see what this is all about. Our client is at the front door.”
Jen let Keira Shader in and escorted her to the back office. After introductions and sharing some initial information and coffee, the three sat down to business. Once everyone was seated, Keira removed her mask. She appeared to be in her late thirties or early forties. She was a natural beauty and wore little makeup. She spoke with a slight Southern accent. “So, how can we be of service?” Jen asked.
Keira shifted in her chair. “I want y’all to find who killed my sister.”
Jen sat back. “We don’t usually take murder cases.”
Molly gasped. “What? I thought your brother-in-law killed your sister.”
“No, he did not,” Keira shot back angrily. She took a deep breath. “I don’t know who did. I want y’all to find out for me.”
“I’m confused,” said Jen. “The police charged Ken Rice with the murder of your sister. What makes you think someone else murdered her?”
Keira sighed. “I know Ken. He loved Sandra. He’d never have killed her. I know it. The police didn’t investigate anyone else. They just focused on the husband, and only him--case closed. The husband always guilty, right? They did a sloppy investigation. He’s innocent.”
“I don’t know,” Jen said. She decided it was best to not reveal Jonah worked the case.
“Please,” Keira replied. “I’ll pay you. If you discover he really did kill her, then fine. But I don’t think he did. I just need you to find out one way or another.”
Jen nodded and glanced at Molly who also nodded. “Okay, we’ll take the case.”
“Bless your little hearts. In any case, I must tell you Ken and I had a brief affair,” Keira added. “It might could come out during your investigation. We ended it six months ago. Sandra didn’t know about it.”
“Why did you end the affair?” Molly asked.
“Ken felt guilty about cheating on Sandra, plain and simple.”
“Start by telling us something about Ken and Sandra,” Jen suggested. “It may help us.”
Keira sighed and sat back in her chair. She took a sip of her coffee and speaking slowly said, “Sandra was my only sister. She’s a few years older. We grew up here in Atlanta. She became a nurse, and she met Ken at the hospital. He was head of maintenance at the hospital. Sandra worked in ICU. Somehow, they met. It was one of those love at first sight stories.”
“The marriage had problems,” Molly pointed out. “You said you had an affair with Ken, right?”
Keira sighed again. “They were going through a rough patch at the time. It was a stupid affair. I was fixin to jist have a one-night stand, then it ended up in a full-blown affair. After a few months we both regretted it, and we ended it. Sandra never knew.”
Jen recalled her one-night stand with Navada but then tried not to think about it. (See the chapter on Marty and Navada) “Who do think killed Sandra?” Jen asked.
Keira thought for a moment. “I really don’t have a clue but consider this, Ken may have had other affairs before ours or even after we broke up. He could talk a cat out of a tree. Also, he may have had enemies at work, or maybe… and I hate to even suggest it… Sandra was havin an affair. She never said a word to me. We weren’t that close.”
“Any other suspects?” Molly asked. “Work maybe?”
“He did tell me he was havin issues with one of his employees at the hospital. He was the Director for Environmental Services, so he directed the maintenance department, housekeepin, security, and grounds. The employee was in maintenance, I think. I don’t know his name.”