[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 092
Chapter 17 (8 of 11): Interviews
As they slowly walked out of number three, Phoebe in the lead, she turned to the other detectives and said, “I’ll see that the tape gets to the steno pool right away and the interview gets transcribed. Tanya should have copies for you by eight this evening. Please pick them up and study them. We’re going to meet on this at nine sharp tomorrow. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” they chimed in.
“Willard, see if you get hold of this Benny Jameson sometime between now and tomorrow morning and have a chat and confirm what Darling said about Trinh and the prostitute.”
“I’ll track him down.”
“As for me, I’m going to see if I can get a warrant to compel hair samples from this Mazarine. This could be the break we’ve been looking for, people.” Phoebe was hopeful, and she sounded very upbeat. “And, people, thanks. It went well, and we’re going to look very carefully at this Mazarine. Ulla, I’d like you to run her and see if we’ve got anything on her in the computers. And you check with the University hospital on Fabian’s bunion surgery, will you?”
“I’m on it,” Ulla said.
They fanned out and disappeared on their errands.
Phoebe headed for her office. She flicked on the fluorescents in the ceiling and sank down in the big chair behind her desk. She put her arms behind her head, stretched, and listened to the creaks and cracks of her unwinding body. She had found the interview with Fabian Darling exhausting. Did she think he murdered Trinh? Bottom line, no. And if his bunions story checked out, he was covered, at least personally. Would he hire a hitter? No, she didn’t think so. O.K., if it isn’t the boyfriend and it isn’t the parents – always the first suspects – who? That, Phoebe tells herself as she sits up in her chair, is the brass ring question.
She flips through the pink slips Tanya has hung on her clip, sorts through the piles on her desk, rearranges them and squares them up, and opens the lower drawer. She pulls out a beat-up box of cinnamon-flavored cereal that is crunchier than potato chips and fills half a cup for herself. She munches slowly and organizes her thoughts.
She checks her watch. It is almost a quarter to five and she should be calling Jeff Kerzy before he leaves the office to get that warrant on Mazarine. And while she’s at it, she might as well cover Darling’s ex, too, and get some samples from Yukiko Darling. She’s not all that far from a possible.
Phoebe has dealt with Kerzy before, as she has dealt with many D.A.s in the long course of her career as a homicide detective. She doesn’t fully trust him. As she never unreservedly trusted any of his predecessors. She thinks about it.
The rewards system in that bailiwick of the criminal justice system is just a little bit too incestuous. No DA ever got a salary raise or promoted to higher office – the quest of every DA she had ever known — because he or she was solicitous of justice. No, what counted for them was convictions. Convictions, convictions, and more convictions. A numbers game. Justice … well, if it got served, so much the better, but it wasn’t at the top of their list. During the past decade, in too many places in America – one place is too many – belated evidence had emerged of corrupt DAs, pressured lab techs, police lying on the witness stand, discovery withheld, out and out injustice consciously perpetrated by the justice system. Over the years Phoebe had personally witnessed what she was certain, but could never have proved, was doctored evidence and out-and-out lying by police officers. The first time it had happened, years ago, she had spoken to her watch commander. He had advised her to “let the system do its work – it’ll all come out in the trial wash” – only the problem was, that it hadn’t. Not, Phoebe thought, that prisons are filled with innocent people, but there are certainly some innocent victims of a corrupt system doing hard time in hard places. One is one too many. Most people simply don’t realize the awesome power the state and its various agencies have, the massive advantage for the prosecution except in the case of the most influential and wealthiest of defendants.
Well, it’s the system we have, and she has to get in touch with Kerzy.
First she called the telephone company, asked for a supervisor, and gave her badge number. The supervisor asked for a fax number to which to send the requested information, and ten minutes after Phoebe hung up her fax spits out two sheets of paper containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of Mazarine Cape and Yukiko Darling.
She gets hold of Kerzy as he is winding up for the day.
When she makes contact he clucks over the dreadful murder of the Vietnamese woman – there is little that goes on in the police department that he does not hear of, and Phoebe knows he employs a fanatically zealous clipping service. The discovery of the body last Monday appeared on the police blotter within twenty-four hours, and the media have already started to sink their teeth into the case. They will surely grab this unhappy fulcrum to lever their profits. The momentum is building, and a few initial reports on the satellite news channels the last couple of days means it’s already started to go international.
Kerzy is of course immediately interested in the new developments Phoebe is recounting for him. She can tell that the man’s publicity-antennae are up and scenting the air. This is the kind of potentially high-profile scandal case he lives for: an ethnic mix, immigrants, police, love triangle. He bores in on the unidentified hair samples found on the corpse and readily agrees with Phoebe that he should secure a warrant to compel hair evidence from the Cape woman and the Japanese ex-wife of the police officer. She gives him the names and addresses, careful to spell everything exactly. He tells her to line up the manpower, and he will speak to a judge who is a soft touch on such warrants. He’ll have no trouble making the case for some kind of probable cause that the two women have invaluable information to contribute to the ongoing investigation.
What he does not tell Phoebe is about the disturbing call he had received on his private cell phone earlier that afternoon from Bob Abernathy, the mayor’s campaign manager, hired by the party to make sure Rany got reelected in November. “The party wants this Mazarine woman kept quiet,” had been the terse ukase. The very party that Kerzy was depending on to help him at last launch his much-deserved rise in local and, hopefully, higher politics. Well, he thought, no defense attorney in his right mind would ever put a defendant like this Mazarine Cape on the stand. So, how could she spill anything about anybody? She’d be quiet.
He promises to have the warrants hand-delivered to Phoebe within the hour and hangs up. Phoebe calls the police lab and talks to the shift supervisor; he promises to make one of his techs immediately available. Next she gets in touch with Rickie Aronson and explains what is happening: he is to have a patrol car with two officers standing by, and they are to escort the tech to take the hair samples from the women. “And then you light a fire and have the lab people get on the comparisons with the hairs found on the corpse. Highest priority, and a report no later than nine o’clock tomorrow morning. At the latest, Rickie!”
She and Rickie are sitting in her office waiting when, forty-five minutes later, a police messenger arrives with the warrants. Phoebe checks them to make sure all names and addresses are in order, and that the judge has signed both of them. She hands them to Aronson. “On your way. Go!”
Friday morning they are all back in the War Room, in full force: Phoebe, Ulla, Rickie, Willard, Barb, Henry and Pete. And of course Bev. There is a certain excitement in the air, as if they are the hounds and the fox is tiring.
TO BE CONTINUED