SMITH looked from his boss to the new guy and read the mood. They were laughing like friends! How did they become friends so fast?! He didn’t trust this guy and Ola shouldn’t too! Ola that was always frowning at people, how did this guy get her to laugh? It took him a year of very hard work to get her to smile at him! The man was standing where he was supposed to be. It was him and D.O solving cases before he came! He was taking over his space and territories and he didn’t like it one bit. He eyed Paul before turning to Ola.
‘I see you guys were having fun while I was on the street looking for information!’ He couldn’t help it. It came out before he knew it and it didn’t sound pleasant.
Ola was taken aback by Smith’s outburst and she didn’t know how to react.
‘We are through with the suspects. Did you get any mail from the lab?’
‘Yes I did, but I’ve not read it yet, I was on the road. Have you?’
‘Not yet.’ Ola said still baffled by Smith’s behavior. Could he be jealous or protective or her?
‘Since we are still here, why don’t we go to the lab and the doctor to hear from the horses’ mouths?’ Paul suggested. He had a feeling Smith didn’t want him in the discussion but he wouldn’t be left out.
‘Why barrister? You don’t like to read?’ Smith lashed out and just before Paul replied, Ola jumped into the conversation.
‘We can do both but I think it’s a good idea we go see the doctor since we are still here. Let’s go!’ she said heading for the door immediately. Smith who was nearer to the door quickly grabbed the knob and opened the door. Ola stepped out not looking back and oblivious to what went on behind her back!
As Ola stepped out, Paul was at her heels but Smith jumped in front of him putting space between him and Ola and almost slamming the door against his feet! Smith smiled at himself for making his stand known.
“Okay! It’s official! You don’t like me! Game on!”
THE doctor looked up as his glass door slide. It was Ola, Smith and one other man he didn’t know but was sure he has the authorization to be in the morgue. Ola didn’t waste time introducing the two men and they shook hands.
‘Have you read my mail.’ The doctor asked.
‘No doc. I’ve been in the I.R. Any new development?’
‘Oh yes! A whole lot! The deceased was being drugged. We examined her liver and I did some extra test on it because I wanted to know why the poison didn’t work on time aside for the fact that she was drunk. I found out this woman has been consuming drugs. I didn’t find it in her stomach content, I mean in the meal she had last so I told the lab to run a test for me on the cup and alcohol bottle you brought back from the house.’ He said moving over to a table. He opened a file and took a colorful paper from it and gave it to Ola.
‘It happened that the entire content in the bottle has been drugged! It’s a harmless sleeping tablet though but it works fast and swift! Knocks you out in thirty minutes max! However, the poison was only in the cup.’
‘This is tough! Her alcohol was drugged, poisoned and then she was bashed on the head and shot! This person wanted her gone truly! Anything else?’
‘Yes! We found four fingerprints on her cheeks and it was there before she was killed. It’s a slap mark. When we swapped her face we couldn’t get a clear print, however, we got blood!’ He announced triumphantly.
‘You mean another person’s blood?’
‘Yes! Without keeping you in suspense, it’s the husband’s blood and I bet if we compare his hand to the slap mark left on her cheeks, it will match!’ He announced.
‘Seems like we have our first break! Did I not tell you the doctor looked too guilty and probably was?’ Smith said obviously very happy that he was right!
‘Now I am confused! Could Dr. Akin be guilty?’ Ola has never been wrong in her profession. She has a strong gut and she believed in it. Was she losing her touch?’
‘I think we should not be quick to judge. We still need more evidence to charge and convict.’ Paul said wanting to assure Ola.
‘I would follow the lawyer’s advice if I were you. Wait till you hear what the lab has got to say then you will be more confused!’ The doctor said taking a shocked Ola by the hand and leading her towards laboratory.
As they entered the laboratory the H.O.D’s eyes lit up!
‘Have you read my mail?’
‘No! But we are here so tell us! The doctor said I would be more shocked.’
‘I believe the doctor told you about the cup and alcohol bottle? Ok good. Only the deceased prints are all over the bottle so we don’t know who did it. But talking about fingerprints, we discovered some interesting things in the security room. We saw a fresh print that belongs to the sister, Grace. Also, there’s a fresh hand glove print too, the interesting thing about the glove print is that it belongs to the maid, Victoria!’
‘Why is that strange or interesting and how do you know the glove prints are hers?’ Ola asked truly confused.
‘We have technology Ola, it’s 2072! When you feed the computer with shapes, it can recognize and identify the prints when it sees it again by what we call scales and measurements!’
‘Speak in our language please!’ Smith pleaded.
‘We found this glove prints in most parts of the house, in fact, everywhere! It’s the glove maids wear to protect their hands when they clean. The security room is so dusty, in fact, I think it has not been cleaned for weeks but we found some clean spots! It led us to dig deeper using our infrared machine and we found three prints. One for the deceased, one for the sister and the other for gloved hands! When we put it in the computer, it recognized it as Vic’s! Those prints are fresh, nothing more than forty-eight hours!’
‘Wow! I’m confused. They killed her together? The ex-husband’s blood on the dead, the sister’s and maid’s prints in the house! What’s going on here?’ Paul said baffled.
‘I don’t know! All I can say is that they all lied during interrogation and that means they all have something to hide!’ Ola said.
‘I can see how the ex-husband and sister are looking guilty but I can’t see how the maid is guilty.’ Smith said.
‘She lied during interrogation that she hasn’t been in that particular room in a month! She’s guilty of something definitely.’
‘Remember that the security room also doubles as the vault room. Maybe she was there to steal?’
‘Maybe, but she lied and right now, I’m not taking any chances!’ Ola said sounding angry.
‘But we still can’t pin anything on her, it might be an oversight!’ Paul said and he was beginning to irritate Ola.
‘H.O.D, the liquor is Hennessy right?’ Ola asked the H.O.D. All eyes turned on Ola because she had that look. That look she always had when on the edge of discovering something.
‘Yes it was! Why?’
‘Well, the person who drugged the liquor would have to remove the secure inner cap to pour in the drug. What are the chances he or she remembered to clean the inner cap or wore a glove while doing it? Anyone close to Joy can explain their fingerprints on the bottle but can they explain why it is on the inner cap?’ She said to everyone’s eager faces.
‘Oh my God! You are a genius! I should have thought of that! I’m on it right away!’ The H.O.D said jumping into action.
HE wore his glove, picked up the bottle and headed for the testing table. Opening the cap, he picked up an instrument and manipulated the inner cap out. He added some liquids on the cap and it became blue. He picked it up again and put it in and equipment that spins the cap around for several seconds. Everyone in the lab was silently watching the scientists do his magic, following him with their eyes everywhere he went too.
The machine stopped spinning and he brought the cap out from the smokey machine. He placed it under a very bright light and the first sign of a smile appeared on his face. He placed a chemical paper on the cap and lifted it immediately then he announced:
‘We have a print!’
The lab roared in happiness then quickly settled down as the scientist placed the prints on the scanner that fed it to the computer. All eyes switched to the monitor where the computer was looking for a match and you could hear a pin drop at that moment as everyone in the room held their breath. Then the sound came!
‘PARM! PARM!! PARM!!! Match found!’ The H.O.D pressed a key and a name and picture appeared on the screen.
‘Wow!’ Ola sighed as the everyone released their held breath.
It was Victoria.
‘At this point, I’m thoroughly confused. Who exactly are we going to charge? We have evidence against the three of them.’ Smith said.
‘I have some theories.’ Paul said pausing for approval to continue. It seemed everyone wanted to hear his theory except Smith who murmured “theory theory” under his breath.
‘It’s either it’s a plan work or someone is trying very hard to set these people up. I refuse to believe three people individually hurt one person at the same time separately. It’s not likely.’
‘I think you are right barrister Paul but I need to get to other work so if you all will leave my lab and go and find the criminal, I will be happy.’ The H.O.D said smiling but meaning what he said.
‘I better get back to the cadaver and look for more clues. See you around.’ He said leaving the laboratory.
‘Thanks doc!’ Ola called after the doctor who acknowledged her greetings by waving his hands.
‘And you Prof.’ Ola said facing the scientist.
‘Hmmmm. When you call me Prof it means I’ve done well! Run along girl.’ He said departing from the trio.
THE moment the three of them were left alone the atmosphere became heavy and uncomfortable. Ola didn’t get it. She couldn’t understand it. She was comfortable with either of them but when they came together, there was always tension.
‘Ehm. It’s lunchtime, why don’t we discuss what we know and the steps to take over lunch?’ She asked not directing it to anyone in particular. At first, it looked like they were going to disagree but the men both nodded and Smith add:
‘It’s okay.’ Like he didn’t have a choice.
With their food trays filled with each chosen menu, they sat quietly eating lunch until Smith said;
‘How do we approach this Ola? I think all our theories needs to be reexamined again.’
‘I agree but first, let’s rearrange the facts and evidence we have. Then we can narrow down our suspect.’ Ola said dropping her cutlery and creating a space for her notebook on the table.
‘We know she was murdered. Evidence suggested it was done by someone who knew her. Someone who had easy access to her house. We also know it was a planned murder staged to look like a burglary. We know the suspect cried over the victim and they were emotional tears. We have three suspects with motives, opportunities, and means. The ex-husband, the sister and the maid.’ Smith said.
‘We know they all lied during interrogation and had contact with the victim 48 hours prior the crime took place. The victim was drugged, poisoned, bashed on the head and shot, however, it was the beating on the head that took her life. We found their fingerprints on the victim and crime scene.’ Paul added.
‘So let’s see. Who has the highest motive to commit this crime?’ Ola asked.
‘I think it’s the ex-husband. Money is a great motive. He is not a fan of his wife and he’s still bitter about not keeping their child. The husband has easy access to the poison we found in her system and he was in her house hours before the victim was discovered. We just learned that his blood was on her face. I think we have enough to arrest him as it is now.’ Smith stated.
‘Yes but we have to be sure. Can you answer these questions? Where was the child when he was killing the victim? The victim’s face didn’t have a cut, how did his blood get on her face? The doctor knows the poison will kill her, why beat her to death again? What was he doing for the 30 minutes laps between the poison time and the beating period? These are questions the defense lawyer will use to destroy the case. They will say it’s a setup and I see the jury buying into it. Remember, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt!’ The lawyer explained. Smith reasoned with Paul but he wasn’t happy that the lawyer put holes in his theory.
‘Let’s look at the sister. There’s money motive there too. The sisters are rivals and obviously, Grace was jealous and angry with her sister. What were her fingerprints doing in the security room? She lied that she hasn’t seen her sister in weeks in her statement but we found her fresh prints in the security room! Maybe she stole the security tape to conceal her secrets! It makes perfect sense to me but I think she had help, her fiancé…’ Ola said convinced that she was right.
‘You may be right but it’s not enough to arrest her not to talk of hold her to justice. The fiancé can’t be involved, nothing linked him to the crime or the crime scene. I think Victoria did it.’ Paul said again putting holes in the case.
‘Hmmm. Okay, build a case against her.’ Smith said to Paul.
‘We know she has a criminal record, she admitted to stealing from the victim in the past so money could be her motive too. She drugged a whole bottle of liquor and her prints were found in the security room she claimed she hadn’t been in for a month. She has the maximum access to the victim and the house. I tell you we have a case if we arrest her.’ Paul said.
‘This woman has been working for Joy for a long time, she could have killed him at any time. The drug was a harmless sedative, she could explain she drugged her boss for other reasons. If others’ are claiming setup due to too many evidence against them, so can she.’ Smith said happy that he was able to pick at Pauls theory too.
‘Hmmm. This is confusing but it takes me back to a crime book I read in police college. This case is looking like that of the story. Four strangers came together to execute a crime. Each person carried out a part of the crime till the victim died. Police had evidence against all of them but it wasn’t enough to convict one or all of them. The prosecutor lost the case in court because the suspects requested for separate trials and the prosecutor couldn’t find a link between the four people. It was fifty years later one of them confessed to the authorities when he became a pastor but it was too late as he was the only one still alive. I’m thinking, all of them could have done it but we need to find what links them. What they stand to gain collectively or I fear we don’t have a case!’
‘I suggest we go to the victim’s lawyer and find out what he knows. You will be surprised the kind of secrets lawyers keep for their client!’
‘Okay, let’s go. I’m done with my food. Smith, please dig more on Victoria while Paul and I are gone.’ Ola said standing up. Paul stood up and followed Ola as Smith watched them go.
…to be continued…
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Written by Olatorera.
Edited by Kevin.
Edited by Olatorera.
© 2016 by IBIOLAT communications.