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The order of my stories to read is:
Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, Case of the Executed Evangelist series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, The Murdered Football Player series.
Case of The Black Widow, Ch. 1-4
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 19 – Her Fatal Mistake
It was New Year’s Eve, and Laura and I were attending the party at University President Wellman’s home. It was mostly University people, but Cpt. Britt Maxwell and Campus Police Commissioner Dexter Robinson were there, giving me outlets of conversation. Britt was worried about the impending fate of Teresa Croyle, with whom Cindy Ross was staying. I told them not to worry, that several people had Teresa’s interests at heart, the Thin Blue Line would circle the wagons around our fellow officer, and she’s land on her feet.
The party began breaking up shortly after midnight. Of course Laura and I had shared a warm kiss to ring in the New Year, and Daniel and Melina had done likewise with each other. But just as we were about to leave, I received a call on my police cellphone. It was Angela Harlan, who had drawn the short stick to be on call that night.
“Lieutenant, it looks like the Black Widow has struck again.” Harlan said. She gave the address: it was the J.P. Goldman Bank!
I told her I’d be right there, and to not put anything out on the police radio.
“Always on duty.” President Wellman said in sympathy as Laura and I hastily made our goodbyes. My wife drove me to Police Headquarters and dropped me off by my Police SUV, which I drove to the location.
I was admitted into the bank by Patrolman Rudistan, who was always in a cheerful if not mischievous mood. In one of the back office rooms I found Detective Angela Harlan, Patrolmen Morton and Feeley, and Detective Tanya Perlman and her Crime Lab team.
“Some way to ring in the New Year, huh?” said Tanya as I entered.
“You betcha.” I replied. “Okay, Harlan, from the beginning, what’s going on here?” I asked as I took in the scene. A youngish man was tied to the chair that belonged to the desk in front of it and him. His expensive suit jacket and shirt were opened, his expensive suit pants and underwear pulled down to his ankles. His penis was half-hard and the wetness of his climax smeared his loins. The back of his head was beaten in by what appeared to be multiple savage blows.
On his abdomen were two red triangles outlined in white, joined at their apexes into an hourglass: the Black Widow had struck again.
“This is Bradley Hazelton.” Angela said in her husky voice. “He’s a loan officer here at the J.P. Goldman Bank, but this is not his office; this room is apparently a generic office where bankers talk to clients.”
“Who found him?” I asked. “By that I mean: how did we discover this crime in a closed bank on New Year’s Eve?”
Angela replied “He was supposed to take his girlfriend to a New Year’s party thrown by her company at River Valley Country Club. She said that he’d called and said he was running late from work and that he’d meet her at the party, so she went there alone. He never showed up at the party and never answered his cellphone, so she got worried and called the police to see if there’d been any traffic accidents involving him, that he was missing.”
“You talked to the girlfriend?” I asked.
“No sir,” said Angela, “that was what the Duty Desk Sergeant told me. Anyway, when she called, the duty desk put out a radio call to be on the lookout for him or his car. Rudistan and Morton drove by the bank, saw his car, found the bank doors locked and called in to Headquarters. The Desk Sergeant called me, I called the contact number for the bank at Headquarters, which was their Vice President Selena Steele. She never answered, so I called the second number, which was Vice President Stanley Wells. He came over and unlocked the doors for us, and once inside we found the body. I called for the Crime Lab, then called you.”
“Thank you for not using police radio once you found this.” I said. “Tanya, anything?”
“Yep, we may have a break.” Tanya said. “Several long black hairs, many with roots, around the guy’s loins and in his hands. He may have clutched at her hair before being subdued. In any case, it looks good for getting some DNA.”
“He sustained multiple blows to the head.” said the crime scene man I called ‘Labcoat’ because I never saw him not wearing bursa escort one. His voice was almost lilting as he spoke. “I’m not sure yet if this was a baseball bat or another object, though. And you can see the mark on his shoulder: he was injected with something.”
“Looks like our Black Widow is back, and has chosen to settle down in my Town and County, Detective Harlan.” I said. “That may prove to be a fatal mistake on her part… fatal for her, if I have anything to do with it.”
“Yes sir.” was all Angela said.
On the morning of January 2nd, we met in Classroom J. All of the FBI team was present, including Martin Nash’s girlfriend Sandra Speer, and all of the MCD Detectives were present, along with Captain Malone and Detective Julie Newton of Vice.
Tanya Perlman was wearing a diamond ring as she got up to give the autopsy and toxicology report. On Christmas Day, Pete Feeley had asked Tanya to marry him… and she had said ‘yes’. We were all a bit surprised at this, but I was very happy for both of them and hoped they’d be happy together… whatever the sexual arrangement between the nymphomaniacal Tanya and her future husband would be.
Tanya reported “He was definitely injected with the same drugs given to Burleson and Dawdle. We recovered hairs that are now undergoing DNA testing, and we should get preliminary results in a day or two. This is the biggest break we’ve had so far, and I would suggest getting DNA samples of any women whose names turn up in this case.
“Hazelton had blows to the head, but ‘CMB’, the medical examiner, thinks the poison in the drugs may have killed him first, because the person striking his head had a difficult time landing solid blows from the angle behind the desk, and there were several of them, not just the usual one major fatal blow.”
“Which tells us that he was placed or forced to sit in the chair behind the desk and not moved away from the desk.” I said.
“It might also suggest that the Black Widow herself administered the blows.” said Lindy Linares. “She might have worked alone on this one, and it took several blows to do significant damage.”
“Oooh… very nice point, Agent Linares!” I said. That was a great observation on her part, and I had no problem acknowledging it. “Myron, what did you come up with?”
“We have nothing.” said Myron Milton, who had worked all day on the case with Martin Nash on New Years Day. “The bank’s various cameras were either turned off or disabled. Their daytime cameras behind the teller windows are normally turned to a “motion sensor” mode after the bank is closed for the day, meaning they begin recording if motion is detected. For some reason they were never turned on after hours on this night. The other cameras that are normally operating full-time were deactivated.”
“In addition,” said Martin Nash, “both the front and back doors were locked, and there are literally no other exits from the building.
“Inside job.” said Angela.
“Maybe not, Angela.” I said. “The dead man’s keys as well as his cellphone were missing. The criminals might well have used his keys to lock the door behind them when they left. In addition, the cameras could be deactivated by anyone with security systems knowledge, and since apparently the dead man never left the back area, the systems likely weren’t even activated.”
“What else do we know about the victim?” asked Chief Griswold.
“He’s been an employee at the J.P. Goldman Bank since he graduated college four years ago. And by the way, he went to your school, Lieutenant. He’s a Wildcat.” said Myron.
“The only good Wildcat is a- oops.” Cindy started, but my embellished stare at her quieted her down, though there was some laughter from others.
Myron was grinning as he continued: “He’s been a junior VP and loan officer for the past year, which has been tough sledding with the economy and housing markets the way they are. He was engaged to be married two years ago, but his fiancee broke it off. He’s got some credit card debt, two cards, one maxed out, the other nearly so. Owns an expensive car, had a big monthly payment and a lot of paying off still to do on the note.”
Martin Nash then said “Detective Perlman, Officer Feeley, and I searched Hazelton’s home yesterday. He was living in a three-bedroom house that he was renting from J.P. Goldman Bank. Had several expensive suits, two sets of golf clubs, plenty of furniture, big-screen TV and game console. He was living beyond his means, if you ask me. Also, there were several bottles of hard liquor around the house, and a couple of empty bottles in the trash can.”
“He wasn’t intoxicated when he was found dead,” Tanya said, “but CMB suspects Hazelton drank. We’re running some extra tests to check into that.”
“Agent Linares? Black Widow?” asked the Chief.
“Yes, Chief, absolutely.” Lindy Linares replied. “This fits the pattern very nicely after the Dawdle deviation. Drugged, forced to have sex to climax, beaten over the bursa escort bayan head, banker associated with J.P. Goldman Bank. Like I said earlier, the only difference here is that the woman may have acted alone instead of with a male confederate. As to the victim, I’d like to know a lot more about his relationship with Mr. Goldman and other officers of the bank.”
“We’ll get that for you.” Chief Griswold responded. “Anyone else have any comment?”
“Sir,” said Angela Harlan, “I just want to say that I still think there’s a possibility of an inside job. I think we should really pay attention to the dead man’s work associates and his history with them, as well as possible links to the Black Widow’s previous victims. With your permission, sir, I’d like to interview the bank officers and work with the FBI on the past relationships.”
“That’s up to the Iron Crowbar.” said the Chief. “Don?”
“I think it’d be great if Detective Harlan works with Agent Linares and the FBI team.” I said. “However, on this case I’m going to take the lead personally, especially in talking to the bank people. The reason is that J.P. Goldman is the only man who is both a Town & County Councilman and a University Regent, and he’s very well-connected to a lot of important people. He is one of what we call the ‘Big Boyz’, if you all get my meaning. And if we’re going to tread these political waters, I want my ass to be the one sticking out, not my team’s.”
“And that is why this man is a Lieutenant already.” said Chief Griswold. “That is what leadership is all about, people. Okay, Don, go to it, and keep me well informed at all times; you’re right, this is a sticky situation. Detective Harlan, liaison with the FBI for us. Detective Ross, work with Don and keep him in line for me.”
I noticed two things as I left: Angela Harlan looked annoyed, and Hugh Hewitt looked very uncomfortable.
Part 20 – Interviews and Suspicions
“Thank you for seeing us, Mr. Goldman.” I said after we’d been ushered into the banker’s office. “This is my partner, Detective Ross.”
“Very nice to meet you, Detective Ross.” said Goldman as he shook her hand. “You’re doing a great job running that gym up there, too. Really nice place, makes even an old man like me want to work out.”
“Thank you, sir.” said Cindy, smiling politely. “I’m sorry for the loss of your bank officer.”
“Yes, it’s very sad.” Goldman said. “Such a young man, just beginning his life and career. I know you’re going to have to ask me and my employees a lot of questions, and I’ve told them already to cooperate with you in every way possible. I’ve also told them what I’ll tell you now: I’m going to have a lawyer present at all of the interviews, just to make sure the bank isn’t compromised. I’m sure you understand.”
“Yes sir, I do.” I said. “And I’m glad you’re doing that, as it will help us out as well. Would you like to call in your lawyer now, so we can go ahead and interview you?”
“It’s nice to see you again, Lieutenant.” Selena Steele said as we sat down in J.P. Goldman’s conference room, which he’d made available to us. The bank’s lawyer was settled in for a long day of monitoring our interviews, and we’d conducted several already. “I wish it was under better circumstances.”
“As do I.” I said, then introduced Cindy, whose eyes showed a liking for Selena’s good looks.
“First of all, Miss Steele, would be willing to give a cheek swab for your DNA?”
The lawyer said out loud “Miss Steele, it’s my duty to advise you that you are not required to give a DNA sample without a court order.”
“That’s okay.” Selena said. “I have nothing to hide. I’m willing to give the sample.” Cindy Ross produced a tube which contained what looked like a big Q-tip. She quickly swabbed the inside of Selena’s mouth, then put the Q-tip back in the tube and sealed it. Selena, Cindy and I all initialed it.
“Thank you.” I said. “Miss Steele, how well did you know Bradley Hazelton?”
“Pretty well.” Selena said. “He worked with me a lot this last year.”
“Did you go on trips together, on bank business?” I asked.
“On a couple of occasions.” Selena said. “Mr. Goldman asked me to take him to St. Louis to get to know our business associates there, and we were planning for Bradley to go on other introduction trips next- er, this year.”
“So was Mr. Hazelton being groomed to take over some of your duties?” I asked.
“Yes and no.” Selena said, her eyes sharp, having understood the underlying intent of my question. “I definitely want to cut back on some of my travel, and have been planning to have several of my officers take over those duties so that I could take on new duties for Mr. Goldman.”
“So Mr. Goldman was planning on promoting you?” I asked.
Selena looked at the lawyer, who just nodded. “We don’t want this to get out, but I am on track to become Chief Operating Officer within the year.”
“I see.” I said. “Did you like Bradley Hazelton, escort bursa as a person? How did others like him?”
“Everyone liked him fine.” said Selena. “He was nice enough. It really hurt him when his fiancee broke up with him, though. He became more distant after that. He was nice, polite, cordial, but he became less open, less…trusting, I guess is the word.”
“He was dating someone, wasn’t he?” I asked. “His girlfriend called in the missing person report that led us to finding him.”
“I… I don’t know.” said Selena, looking surprised and confused. “I had no idea he was dating anyone lately.”
“Do you know of anyone who wanted to harm Mr. Hazelton?” I asked.
“No, not at all.”
“Just one more question, Ms. Steele: where were you on New Year’s Eve?”
“The bank didn’t have a party that night, so I went to The Cattleman’s Club for a couple of drinks, then home for the balance of the night.” Selena replied. The Cattleman’s Club was an upscale but comfortable bar and grill not far from the River Valley Golf Club, owned and operated by my friend John “Jack” Colby. Laura and I had gone there with friends on a number of occasions.
“About what time did you leave?” I asked.
“About 9:30 or so, maybe 10:00.” Selena said.
“Were you alone at home, or with someone?” I asked.
“Uh…” Selena said haltingly, and a blush began to form on her cheeks. “I was… with someone… he stayed the night.”
“Would you give us the name of who you were with, please?” I asked.
“Er… uh… it was a man.” said Selena. “And it’s a situation where discretion is required. I don’t think I can give you his name at this time.”
“Miss Steele,” I said, my voice rather commanding, “if someone can verify your whereabouts at the time your business associate was murdered, it would be very helpful to you and to us. I must insist on you giving us his name.”
Selena Steele looked over at the lawyer, who leaned over and whispered something to her. “I must decline to answer that question, and in doing so my lawyer advises me that I cannot answer any further questions.”
“Okay, if that’s the way you want to play it, Ms. Steele.” I said. “That will conclude our interview, then. I once again advise you that it would be in your best interests to tell us who you were with at the time Bradley Hazelton was murdered.”
“If you’ll excuse me…” Selena Steele said, getting up. Without further word, she left the room.
“I need to call Myron.” I said to Cindy as we took a break from questioning…
“You were right, Lieutenant.” said Myron Milton. “It’s just as you said when you called in.”
We were in the 4:00pm meeting in the Chief’s conference room. In addition to Myron and myself, present at the meeting were Cindy Ross, Chief Griswold, Lindy Linares and Jack Muscone. I’d asked that this information be kept on the down-low, and the Chief had agreed.
“The call to the Desk on New Year’s Eve was from a burner phone.” Myron said. “It was used three times that day. Two calls to Hazelton’s cellphone number, and once to the Police Station. And no, it’s not the same burner phone used to contact Tim Dawdle on the night he died.”
“That figures.” I said. “When every bank employee said that they were surprised to hear that Hazelton had a girlfriend, I began wondering who she was. I called Martin Nash and talked to Officer Feeley, both confirmed there were no signs of a woman living in Hazelton’s house.”
“When Myron told me what he’d found, I called the Sergeant who’d been on duty that night.” said Chief Griswold. “He said the woman’s voice was youngish, scratchy, and high-pitched. ‘Whiney’ was a word he used, as well.”
“Selena Steele’s voice is as smooth as cream.” said Cindy Ross.
“Why would someone call the police and fake being the guy’s girlfriend?” asked Jack Muscone.
“So that we’d find the body that night.” I said. “The bank was closed New Year’s Day. Someone wanted the body to be found that night, not long after he’d been killed. The Black Widow wanted her handiwork found, and quickly. Now why did she want that?…”
“Okay, let’s take it from the top.” the Chief said. “Crowbar, what did you get from the interviews?”
I said “Everyone said that Bradley Hazelton was a nice guy, a decent guy, but after his fiancee broke up with him two years ago, he became more reserved. Nothing else bad said about him, no one ever smelled alcohol on his breath, though some had noticed mouthwash on occasion. Mr. Goldman was very happy with Bradley’s work and had been giving him more responsibilities. He was on his way to a decent career, from all accounts.”
“There was only one strangeness during the day.” I continued. “Selena Steele was essentially his boss. She answered all our questions until I asked where she was the night of the murder. She said she was with someone, but refused to give his name… to the point she invoked and refused to answer any more questions.”
“Very suspicious.” Jack Muscone said.
“What’s really strange is that she very willingly gave the DNA sample.” I said. “She said she wouldn’t give the man’s name because of discretion on his behalf, so she may just be covering up for a married man.”
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