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A Nice Tidy Murder

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 06:16 PM
When I got the call they told me the victim was the Reverend Norbert Cortez. His wife had found his body in the living room. Cause of death – blow to the head with a blunt object. Time of death – 1.5 to 2 hours ago. The wife and son had been at a hockey game. He played, I'll check on the wife. I hate the lights at crime scenes; I don’t know how they search the area for clues with it all lit-up. I donned my gloves before entering the house. The whole area would be combed for clues. The street looked quiet. It was a nice home, typical two-story cookie cutter house in an upscale suburban subdivision. I followed the stepping-stones to the door and entered. CSI was already working the scene. The Reverend was laying face down on the rose Berber carpet. There was a torn tithe envelope sprinkled over the body like a confetti decoration. He was a huge man, at least 6'4" and 200 lbs. - solid. His right temple was deeply depressed. There was no blood spatter on the sofa – a light mint green with pink flowers, nor on the off white walls. How could anyone kill a man so huge without any sign of struggle? There was a damp spot to the left of body in front of a white glass top table. There was a tabletop fountain gurgling and a photo of a tall Hispanic man with dark hair and a woman with long blond hair. They are both smiling at the camera, but not touching each other. There was a large tree in between the couple. The picture frame was glass and the pane was cracked.
"Hey Al, what's the wet spot?" I asked Al, the chief CSI.
"Looks like plain tap water, I took a sample," Al replied.
"Thanks, why no blood splatter?"
"Must have been on the floor before he was struck."
"So why would he lay on the floor and let someone bash his head in?" I was talking to myself, but Al answered, "Don't know, we'll do a tox screen when we get him to the morgue."
I nodded, and noticed a brass armadillo near a chair on the adjacent wall. It was near to the back door, probably used as a doorstop; some people sure have strange taste. "Hey Al, think this 'dillo might be the murder weapon?"
"Let me check it, Findlay." He came over, sprayed the base, and swabbed a spot of dark substance. He put the mix in a tester then held it up. "Definitely human blood, I'll bag it to see whose blood it is." He carried it over to the body and turned it tentatively. "Seems to match the wound, good eye, Findlay, I'll check it for prints too."
Check the photo for prints too," I told Al.
The wife and son were in the family room. They had a huge new flat screen and a leather sofa with reclining sections at both ends. Being a Reverend must pay more than I thought. They also had a top of the line computer with all the trimmings: printer, scanner, fax, video cam, speakers, CD and DVD drivers – robbery probably wasn't the motive here. They were on the couch. The son had his arm around his mom's shoulder. She was crying.
"Ma'am, I'm very sorry for your loss, did your husband have any enemies?" I asked gently.
"Yes, those people who were trying to split the church, but I didn't think they would do this to poor Norbert, he was such a good man."
Mrs. Cortez, we will find who ever did this. Can you give some names?"
"Debbie and Joe Montague, she was the secretary, but Norbert had to ask her to step down, and Joyce and Clarence Bryant, he was a janitor and Joyce worked in the nursery. Norbert paid him well for the work, but he said my husband was a crook and a liar." She started sobbing again.
"Why did he think that Mrs. Cortez?"
"I don't know, Norbert said it was some sort of impropriety, but he wouldn't say exactly. Oh, and Rosalie Dangerfield. She was the pianist and then she started writing letters to everyone about poor Norbert."
"What did she say, do have any of these letters?"

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 06:17 PM
"I don't know where they are, I think Norbert kept them at his office in the church. She said he was domineering, dishonest and a home wrecker. I don't know why she would say that, Norbert was a very moral man."
I got the addresses and headed to the Montague's home. Mr. Montague answered the door. I introduced myself and asked if I could come in for a moment. I noticed that Mrs. Montague was the woman in the photo. They were curious and cordial. I told them what had happened; they looked shocked but not devastated. I asked Debbie why she had been fired.
She reacted with anger, "I wasn't fired, I quit. I looked up to him, I thought he was God's man, then I realized he was a manipulating, self centered egotist, willing to lie and steal for 'the cause.'" She made quotation marks in the air. "I was totally in disbelief, so I asked him about it. He started a rumor that I was having an affair with the janitor, Clarence Bryant. His wife, Joyce, and I are good friends. She was shocked. Joe and I left the church; Clarence did too. Joyce stayed because she headed up the nursery and enjoyed her position there. Cortez was always after her to get Clarence back, but he never considered going back." I asked about the photo, Debbie looked puzzled. They said they had been home together all evening. I thanked them and headed for the Bryant home. It took about twenty minutes to get there; they were waiting for me. I recognized Clarence as the man in the photo. They invited me in. I didn't have time to say anything when Clarence blurted out, It wasn't me, but I would have enjoyed doin' him in, he talks like a saint, but he's a devil. I'm glad he's dead." I asked about the photo. Clarence said that it was taken a church picnic last summer. The photo had included all four of them, but he conveniently cropped it to only show him and Debbie. They said they had gone to Outback for dinner and then did a little shopping at the mall. He rolled his eyes when she said 'shopping.'"
One name left - Rosalie Dangerfield, the pianist. She didn't know who I was or why I was there. She reluctantly let me in; I told her about Cortez. She looked at me suspiciously for a second, then smiled and shouted "Hallelujah," extended her hands toward the ceiling and said "Thank you, Lord!"
"I take it you didn't care for him," I quipped.
She laughed, "How ever did you guess? Who did it? I want to shake their hand."
"For a man of God, the Reverend sure had a lot of enemies," I commented.
"Reverend," she snorted, "he wanted to be revered – he wanted to be God. I never knew what 'hate, meant until I met him." She cocked her head to the side and smirked, "You think I did it? It would have been luscious, I dreamed about it, but he wasn't worth going to jail over, sorry." She didn't have an alibi for the night, but told me to go check the car engine – it was stone cold.
I headed back to the scene. The body was gone and Ms. Cortez and her son had gone to a hotel for the night. I studied the scene trying to make sense of things. He was already on the floor when he had had been struck. The murder weapon had been cleaned and returned to its place. The water spot…what if the fountain had been knocked over and then returned to its place?
The phone rang; it was Al. "What about the damp spot?" I asked before Al could get a word out.
"I was water, but it matched a swab from the fountain."
Al continued, "But the really big news was the tox screen. He'd been drugged. That's why he was on the floor, and why he was struck while on the floor. We found contra cu bruising on the left side of his brain. The armadillo was definitely the murder weapon.
"Any prints on the picture frame?" I asked hopefully.
"Just the wife's."
"And the 'dillo?"
"Wife's again."
"How did the drug get into his body?" I queried.

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 06:18 PM
reply to post by shapeshiftress

"Orally, he had ice tea in his stomach. Probably drank it just before he passed out. Oh, the title envelope was Cortez's, everyone has a specific number."
"Thanks," I said as I put the cell phone back into my belt. Things started falling into place in my mind. I could see him starting to feel the drugs take affect, reaching out to steady himself, knocking the fountain and the picture to the floor, then someone bashed his head in and carefully cleaned up after the dirty deed.
I arrived at the hotel and knocked. The son answered. Mrs. Cortez sat in the chair reading a Bible. She looked up.
"Hello, have you found Norbert's killer?" she asked evenly.
"Yes ma'am we know who did it, can you tell me why you killed your husband?"
She was perfectly still, probability debating whether to lie or give it up; I waited for her, a last she spoke, "I sold some property for $100,000. Norbert told me to give it to the church. I did; then I found a ticket out of the country in his pocket and a deposit slip to a bank in the Caymans. How did you know it was me?"
"You were the only one who would take the time to clean up and your prints were the only ones at the scene.
She smiled lamely, "Norbert always said I was too neat for my own good."

posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 08:26 PM
This was a good story ! Altho i did spot some typo's along the way and it's a scenerio that has been used once to many time's in my opinion.
Good job on it tho

posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 07:03 PM
reply to post by KrillsAngelWings

Thank you. It was an assignment in a creative writting class, so the plot wasn't original, but I had fun inventing a story around it.

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