The Saga Continues Ch. 02
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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.
Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.
This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.
Part 6 – The Crime Scene
(Author’s note: This is another of those ‘bridge’ stories, interlude-type stories that give information and set the table with groundwork, and also has a case to solve. Thanks for your patience, and enjoy the sex and the rest of the story.)
Monday, October 23d, 10:00am. Two TCPD Police SUVs and two Police cruisers crawled south on the gravelly two-lane strip road until we reached the lake. It was really nothing more than a pond with some scum on top.
I was in my Police SUV with Sergeant Rudistan and Sr. Patrolman Morton. Cindy, Theo and Joanne were in Cindy’s SUV. Sergeant DeLong and Patrolman Barker were in one Police cruiser, and Lt. Carswell in the other. Cindy and I and the Detectives were in plain clothes, which meant I was in a black pullover shirt, black pants, armor underneath, the ‘girdle’ holding up my back, and of course the trenchcoat and Tilley hat. Theo had on a trenchcoat, but a button-down shirt and tie, slacks, and armor protection. Joanne and Cindy had on pantsuits; Cindy had on armor underneath while Joanne was wearing heavier armor over her clothing.
Theo was expected to take charge of his cold case, and he did so. “Okay, the pond is to the left as we face south.” he said. “The crime scene is about 40 meters down and on the right of the road.” We walked down the path, not hearing anything in the quiet of the morning except our own footsteps. The ground to our left was tall grass and scrub, and a pine forest, which looked planted by humans, was on the right.
We came to a clearing in the pines that was to the right. “This is the spot.” Theo said, using his GPS. “The bones were found pretty much in the center, here.”
We were all looking inward when I heard a twig snap. Whirling around, I was face to face with three men, all with shotguns… aimed at us.
“Who the fuck are you?” asked the man in the middle, obviously the leader.
“Town & County Police.” I said, taking charge, pulling my trenchcoat back to show my badge on my belt. “Lower your weapons. Now.”
“Or what?” snarled the leader.
“Or it will get ugly. For you.” I said, my hand hovering over my gun, as did my fellow Officers.
The man snorted. “Humph! You think you can draw your holstered gun faster than I can point it at you and shoot?”
“Yes.” I said simply.
“Jesus Christ.” said the man as he peered at me. “All right guys, lower your guns.” They did so.
“Is that him?” asked one of the men.
“Yes, that’s the Iron Crowbar.” said the leader. “Only man in the world that really does think he can draw and shoot faster than I can respond. And he’s probably right. Okay, Troy, where’s your warrant?”
“Don’t need one, Mr. McGill.” I said, very sure of who I was facing. “This is no longer your property, and its a crime scene.”
“From when, twelve, thirteen years ago?” snorted McGill.
“And no Statute of Limitations on murder.” I replied.
“All right, guys, let’s go.” said McGill, seeing that I wasn’t going to back down. “And Troy, make damn sure you don’t come much further south… without a warrant. You are not welcome on my property.”
“I’m sure.” I said. I watched as the men walked south down the path.
“Keep an eye on them.” I said to Rudistan and Morton. “If they try to circle back, let us know.”
“Yes sir.” said Rudistan. “Dayum, sir.”
“Yeah.” whispered Cindy. “Remind me not to play poker with you, Commander.”
“I wasn’t bluffing.” I said. “The safeties on their shotguns were engaged. I really would’ve put a bullet in McGill by the time he could shoot. He’s not young; his reaction times are slow. I actually had the advantage, there.”
“Mmm hmm.” said Cindy. “And we’re armored and outnumber them. But still, sir…”
“Never let ’em see you sweat, Captain.” I replied. “Okay, Detective Washington, anything of interest here?”
“Just that it’s far enough away from the lake that Tommy wouldn’t see the earth turned up where the body had been buried, if she was buried before he got to the lake.” said Theo.
“True.” I said. “Good observation. How far from here is the McGill house?”
“About 900 feet, maybe 1000.” said Theo, consulting his digital map on his Police iPhone. “But there’s a fence, and a gate blocking the road, about 250 feet down the road, just over that hill, sir.”
As the others looked around, I slowly walked back up the path ankara yabancı escort to the pond. Cindy had come with me, as my bodyguard.
“This lake used to be bigger.” I said. “You can see where the bank was on the far side.”
“What feeds this lake?” Cindy asked.
“Spring from underneath.” I said, pointing to what looked like a ring of metal pipes that was seemingly concealed on a small island in the pond. “But it’s not filling the pond up like it used to, and we’ve had a relatively dry summer. So, any observations?”
“Just that McGill is xenophobic at best, paranoid at worst.” said Cindy, her ‘pawky’ dry humor showing. “And if he owned this tract of land at the time Tammy disappeared, I don’t see him being too enamored of kids coming down to this lake and partying, using drugs, and such.”
“Hmmmm.” I said. “Unless he was supplying those drugs… and making his fortune that way.”
I saw the rest of the group coming up the path. There was no sign of McGill or his two henchmen. “Whaddya think, Theo?”
“I’m just weighing probabilities, sir.” said Theo. “I think it’s more likely the girl was killed down there in the clearing, and her body buried right there, than for her to be killed here and taken down there.”
“Could be either way, Theo.” said Joanne. “The killer would have to have had a shovel to dig the grave, which means very likely a car or truck was on the scene. So she could’ve been driven down from here.”
“That’s true.” said Theo.
“What if I told you, for certain, she was killed down there in that clearing, and not up here?” I asked.
“Why do you say that, sir?” asked Rudistan, with a look of enormous curiosity on his face.
“You know my methods. Use them.” I replied. And I would say no more. I did, however, walk to my SUV and got something out of the back. It was a metal detector. I also got out an e-tool, which is military lingo for a small collapsible shovel. I handed the e-tool to Rudistan.
“Okay, let’s go peruse that crime scene.” I said. We went back down to the clearing in the pines. I began using the metal detector. After a moment, I got a strong reading. Rudistan had the e-tool ready and was digging where I pointed. A moment later, he said “There’s something.”
“Anyone have an evidence bag?” I asked. Morton produced one instantly. Rudistan dropped the metal object into the bag.
“What is it, sir?” asked Joanne.
“The bullet that was fired into Tammy Cochran’s heart, that killed her.” I said. “Let’s look for another one.” I swept that same area some more. Another alarm, and soon we had another bullet.
“And this one,” I said gravely, “was fired into Tammy’s belly, to kill her baby.”
“That is so awful!” exclaimed Joanne. “But how do you know this one is not the one fired into Tammy’s heart?”
“Actually,” I said. “I don’t know which is which, for sure. But Tammy was hit on the head, was lying here, and she and her baby were dispatched with two bullets.”
“Why weren’t these found when the body was found?” asked Theo.
“I have two ideas on that.” I said. “First, the bullets penetrated further into the ground than the bones were buried, so when the ground pushed up the bones to be found, the bullets were still buried deeper in the earth. A corollary to that is Tammy was still alive when the grave was dug, she was put into it, and only then were the shots fired into her body.”
“And the second reason?” asked Cindy.
“That a very sloppy job was done investigating the murder scene.” I said. “Because J.G. McGill and Lorraine McGill both still had a lot of influence…”
Part 7 – Meetings
Monday, October 23d. The meeting was occurring in a hotel conference room in Pottsville, which was on the Interstate between Midtown and Westphalia. It was ostensibly being hosted by State House Ways and Means Chairman Wilson Hammonds (R – Pottsville), and only a few trusted, exclusively Establishment Republicans had been invited to attend: Lt. Governor Graham Collins, U.S. Senator Samuel Russell, State Senator Cain Mitchell from the rural southeast part of the State, State Rep. Jeff Canton from the northwest Midtown suburbs.
It was Canton’s district where Pine Valley was going to be built (Author’s note: ‘Environmental Hazards’.); he’d taken a lot of money from lobbyists to not ask questions about the project. With Establishment Republicans like Canton, money from lobbyists was much more important than the health and safety of the People of his District.
“Thank you all for coming.” said Wilson Hammonds, bringing the meeting to order after they’d all gotten coffee and pastries. “Our problem today is that our plans to get rid of Val Jared through impeachment were brought crashing down by Molinari and Cerone. And there is no way around that.”
“I’m not so sure.” said Samuel Russell. “It seems to me that we could use Katherine Woodburn and her ‘Wall of Granite’ caucus to be the front line continuing to call bahçelievler escort for Jared’s impeachment or resignation, while we work behind the scenes to get the ‘goods’ on Jared.”
“What do you mean?” asked Graham Collins.
“I heard a rumor,” said Russell, “that some years ago, Jared sexually harassed women staffers, groped women as photos were being taken, maybe even sexually assaulted a young college student or two.”
“Is that true?” asked Cain Mitchell. He was older, his thinning white hair sticking to the sides of his head, his body one athletic but now getting a bit dumpy with age.
“It doesn’t matter.” said Russell, wondering as many others had why this man’s parents had named him ‘Cain’. “We find women to make the claim. They appear before the Press with lawyer Gwen Munson, who gained some notoriety and credibility as Dr. Jan Camp’s legal representation. The Press chants the story over and over, and of course the People will fully believe what the Press tells them, since the Press is an institution of the highest virtue. And unless Jared confesses and resigns, his protestations of innocence will never be believed; this will follow him for the rest of his career.” If you noted the sarcasm in Russell’s little speech, you are not alone. So did the people listening to it.
“Like your little dalliances with prostitutes is following you around, Senator?” said Collins, totally unafraid of Russell. Russell looked daggers at Collins.
“What if Jared retaliates by exposing the Democrats in the Legislature who are really doing these things?” asked Mitchell.
“Shit, Cain.” said Russell, who had known Mitchell for years; they were definitely bedfellows of political corruption. “You know the Democrats circle the wagons around their own. Hell, a Democrat can commit violent rape, or even treason and murder, and the Democrats will never drop their support, and will even nominate those thugs to the highest positions in politics. It’s the Republicans that throw their own people under the bus, even when they’re innocent… especially when they’re innocent… and I am counting upon that moral piety to get Jared out of office.”
Jeff Canton spoke up. “I’m just mentioning this to round out the picture, so bear with me: a lot of people voted for Jared out of frustration with us, the old-guard Republicans. They are voting out good Republicans in favor of Grassroots Conservatives that don’t toe the Party line—“
“I hate the fucking Grassroots!” exploded Wilson Hammonds.
“Yes, Jeff, we know that people are fed up, and are catching on to us.” said Mitchell. “The Republicans are pro-business, and do our jobs on behalf of businesses that give us millions in campaign funds, as well as other perks such as lunches and trips to Caribbean islands. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pays for half the ads of every Republican candidate for Congress or the Legislature, to make sure we protect the Chamber’s desire to continue illegal immigration at the expense of black citizens’s jobs… yes, Jared was right about that, and we dodged a bullet when he agreed to drop those lawsuits… and that’s why it’s so important to show the People that rebelling and ‘going Grassroots’ will only bring them pain.”
“I hope this room is not bugged.” said Mitchell.
“I had it checked.” said Russell. “Besides, what if it is? The Press is never going to expose all this. Hell, they’re part of it.”
“It’s called ‘Youtube’, Senator.” said Graham Collins. “Or have you forgotten already.”
“Mind your tone with me, Collins.” said Russell.
“Or what?” replied Collins, who saw himself in Russell’s U.S. Senate seat after the next election for Russell’s speech.
“Or you may find that you’re no longer Lieutenant Governor, or anything else in this State.” threatened Russell.
“Gentlemen, let’s not fight amongst ourselves.” said Wilson Hammonds. “What I want to know is: who gave Jared that idea to sue over illegal immigration as a civil rights issue? Jared is not that smart.”
“But the Iron Crowbar is…” said one of the others…
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Carole hates ‘meetings’. Carole’s dad is not a huge fan of them, but knows they’re worth it if good information comes out. So I went into MCD at 10:30am, and sat down in front of the whiteboards that had been created over the weekend. Theo, Joanne, and Cindy brought chairs over, as well. Jerome and Teddy Parker were out on assignment somewhere.
“Fill me in, Theo.” I said. “And I have to admit: this cold case is really getting interesting to me.”
“Yes sir.” said Theo. “What we have on the whiteboards here are the primary persons involved. At the far let is Tammy Cochran.” Tammy had been a dirty blonde, 5’5″ in height, average but not bad looking face, and very ‘neutral’ eyes… they conveyed neither cunning nor helplessness, happiness or sadness. Maybe apathy.
“Tammy was a very average student at County High School.” said Theo. “Mostly balgat escort Bs, 86.1 out of 100 average. Participated in no sports and only in the VICA club, which is the vocational students’ club. Next is Tommy McGill.” Tommy was an average looking guy, but had the tough jawline of his father. He’d be considered a ‘good ole boy’ in most places.
“The school lines then were that Town High’s jurisdiction, so to speak, extended east to the County Line.” said Theo. “Your house on the hill, sir, would be in the Town High district, as it is today. The McGill’s residence on the east side permitted Tommy to go to Town High and participate in their really good vocational programs.”
“They are good.” I said. “They make good crowbars. But I digress. Carry on.”
Theo said “Tommy’s grade average was ninety-point-zero-zero-zero-zero. He made 100s in the vocational classes, and 80s in the English, Math, Science classes. He was really good at welding. As we know, he and Tammy were a couple, and notes from friends taken at the time said he’d talked about marrying Tammy after graduation.”
“Next,” said Theo, “is Lorraine Karla McGill.” Judge McGill’s latest DMV photo was on the whiteboard, and it showed a woman in late middle age going on elderly. But it was also obvious that she was still a very attractive woman, and was once a real beauty. Hell, I thought lecherously, I’d fuck her right now…”
“Judge McGill graduated from the University Law School, then got her J.D. from Yale Law School.” said Theo. “After a ten year stint as a Prosecutor in the City, she became a judge in Nextdoor County, then was elected to the Superior Court, residing in Nextdoor County, but sometimes hearing cases in Coltrane County and our County here. She was considered one of the most powerful jurists in the State, and the State Legislature did not rework the judicial system until she retired. Everyone expected her to be named to the State Supreme Court, but she apparently notified the Governor at the time that she was not interested in further judicial work, and was truly retiring.”
“And she retired right about the time Tammy disappeared, right?” I asked.
“Yes sir, only weeks later.” said Theo. “She announced her retirement at the July 4th Triathlon Festivities in this County that year. Next is our friend from this morning, J.G. McGill. He was a member of the then-County Council, and was the equivalent of the Mayor as spokesman for the County. He is said to have closely overwatched the County Police, perhaps running them indirectly. He and the Sheriff at the time were constantly at odds, and when the Sheriff died some wondered if McGill had had him murdered.”
“Where did you get that from?” asked Cindy incredulously.
“Chief Griswold, ma’am.” said Theo. “Speculation, to be sure, but most of this information about the County structure and politics of the time came from him.”
“And Chief Griswold was right.” I said. “The former Sheriff was murdered, but at the direction of the Consultant of Crime.”
“Did Pastor Westboro collude with Mr. McGill, here?” Cindy asked.
“I doubt it.” I said. “Westboro wanted the merger to happen; McGill was almost violently opposed to it. I might even suggest that McGill was a ‘Boss Hogg’ type, running the non-incorporated County with an iron fist, and Westboro usurped that power for himself behind the scenes, then added to it when the merger happened. Okay, who else, Theo?”
“Just Tammy’s parents, sir.” said Theo. “Benny worked at the Auto Body Shop, and also did side work fixing washing machines, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and such. Did not make a lot of money. Dinah was considered by many at the time to be a low-lifer. May have worked the poles in the Tenderloin District before marrying Benny, but she was never arrested. Waited tables at several places like the University Diner, the Irish Pub before the present management bought it, and such places.”
I was looking at the photos. Dinah Cochran was blonde with dark roots, and her eyes were heavy-lidded and her cheeks rosy, as those of a drug addict would be. She had had the potential to be very pretty, but did not seem to care a lot about her appearance. Benny Cochran had brown hair and a trimmed beard. Not a bad looking guy, and Tammy had been fortunate to get her looks from the better parts of both parents.
“Are Tammy’s parents suspects?” I asked.
“They’re not eliminated, sir.” said Theo. “The hypothesis at the time was that Tammy was killed around the time Tommy was supposed to meet her, or abducted at that time and killed later. So the parents were asked where they were during that afternoon. Both said they were working, and that was confirmed by coworkers. However, due to the potential timespan of the disappearance, they’re not totally eliminated.”
“Okay, good.” I said “Finances?”
“J.G. McGill was loaded.” said Theo. “Still is. I might add that his wife kept her accounts completely separate from his, since she was a sitting judge, and they’re still separate accounts today. McGill’s businesses were in farming dairy and beef cattle on a small scale, smaller than John Colby’s business at the time, but McGill had a distribution business. He sold that to AGC Trucking, and Arnold Cash took it over the county line to Nextdoor County. But the property the business was on was sold separately, to a company called ‘Northwest Properties Management’.”
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