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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Murders At The Marina

The Houseboat at the Marina was eerily quiet....It did not look like the scene of  a homicide...Until you walked in...Inside the houseboat...Two Marine policemen stood guard as I, Assistant District Attorney Keith Wallace entered the boat..

 This was one of the rare times that I got to a crime scene first...Usually my wife, Detective Carlotta Rodriguez-Wallace or my friend, Lt. Sissy Van Buren would call me ....but today...I was here first...

The two Marine Police  men pointed me to a very bizzare scene...  Three people...Two men, and a woman were sitting at a table...Their eyes were wide open....They looked like they were having drinks...Like they were engaged in conversation....Except that they were dead...!!! and from the smell had been dead..

There was no sign of a struggle....and the way they were sitting...told me that they had been posed...There was no blood, no gore...Just three people , three dead people at a table...I heard some cars drive up....

I looked out the window of the house boat...I saw Police cars and three unmarked cars....And an M.E.'s wagon...

I turned to one of the officers...

"That's my people..Show em in." I said..

"Yes ADA Wallace." he said..

Sissy was the first one on the boat...

"Keith...you beat us here? Wow!" said Sissy, who was flanked by my wife, Carlotta and her partners..
,Detectives James Barlow and Tyriq Pile...
Carlotta gave me a very soft and sensual kiss....

"Gooood Morning Honey Bunny.." she said and smiled at me sweetly before looking at the strange scene...

She and Detective Tyriq Pile put on latex gloves and examined the bodies...

"Good Morning Keith...What do we have here?" asked Tyriq...who examined the bodies...

"They look so peaceful ,like they were just sitting here talking..., but phew...they smell to high hell, They've been here awhile..." said Jimmy...

''You got an identification on any of them?" asked Sissy...

"There is a purse over here, let me see.." said Carlotta...

"I've got a wallet here." said Tyriq...

"Yeah...I got one too.." said Jimmy...

Just then, Detectives Sirena Pile and her partner, Tony Hopkins walked in followed by Detectives Duke Baylor, Angie Belton-Barlow and Forensic Investigator ,Dr.Hazel Baylor...

"This has got to be the most unique crime scene I've ever seen.....No blood, no shell casings" said Sirena...

"How do we even know that this was a crime?" asked Hop...

"Well youngin...Look at them...Two men...they don't look over 39 or 40...a young pretty woman...she looks about 28-29...What's the odds that they all just had heart attacks while engaged in conversation?" said Duke..

Sissy,Carlotta,Tyriq,Jimmy,Sirena and I all looked at Duke and smiled...

''Whoever they are, they are loaded...Look at this boat...Look at the furniture...Look at this woman's pocketbook..Prada..not cheap...and her jewelry?" said Detective Angie Belton, our newest member , who had returned to us after a three year stint in Internal Affairs..

Hazel looked at the bodies closer....

"I smell almonds....and there is saliva...dried saliva around their lips...They look like they've been poisoned." she said.

Just then...We heard a familiar voice...

''Let me through..Let me through...I'm the ranking officer here.." came the voice of our old friend, Lt. Tragg...
He took one look at us and asked...

''Sissy, What are you and your guys doing out here?"

"As you can see...We have what looks like a triple murder...That is uh what we investigate...Murders"she said trying not to sound too sarcastic...

Lt. Tragg then looked at the two Marine Police Officers....

"WHY WAS I NOT CALLED FIRST? I AM THE RANKING OFFICER HERE?" he barked..

"It's a murder sir...a triple homicide...I thought the Criminal Investigation Division  should be called.." he said.

"You thought....YOU THOUGHT!!  I AM THE LIEUTENANT...When something happens on this waterfront...I AM TO BE NOTIFIED FIRST DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" he barked..

"Y-Yes...Yes sir." said the officer...

''Lt. Tragg...that's enough...The officer did nothing wrong....This is a CID case..The Marine Police are not equipped to handle homicides..."I said.

He ignored me...He looked at Sissy...

"I want in on this...It happened in my jurisdiction...I want in on the investigation." he said.

"You heard the ADA...This is a C.I.D. case...That makes it my investigation...Your two officers did a fine job and they did nothing wrong....And if they face any kind of reprisals...I will personally go to bat for them." said Sissy...

"Now wait just a damn minute...Who do you think you are?...I do believe I have slight seniority over you." he said...

"But this is my case Lieutenant...so I make the call...So why don't you get on your boat and go catch some crabs or catfish or whatever it is you do now.." she said and walked away from him...

The two Marine police officers turned their heads and laughed...



Duke,Tyriq and Jimmy who hated Lt. Tragg with a passion didn't hide their laughter....Even my wife Carlotta, who now hated him laughed...


Lt. Tragg spotted Angie dusting for prints...



"Angie? Angie Belton is that you?  You're back in C.I.D.  huh?" he said trying to make conversation..

"I am...and it's Barlow...I'm Jimmy's wife." she said...

''Yes...Amazing how this unit has so much fraternization...I don't allow it in mine...But that's just me..Heard you did some good work recently with the Feds...Brought down a major player...Manny Spain...After your current Lieutenant dropped the ball on that huh?" he said.

"She didn't drop the ball on anything...If not for these guys I wouldn't have been able to get close to him...It was a team effort....Something you should try....Now excuse me...We are working a homicide sir." she said.

He frowned and got on his cell phone...

"Boss Lady, we have an  ID on all three people...Richard and Josie Ellison..They are real estate agents and the guy is Robert Gucci....He's a millionaire socialite."said Carlotta...

''Are you the primary Carlotta?" asked Lt. Tragg...

She ignored him and walked past him...

"I'm the primary." said Tyriq , who glared at Lt. Tragg and walked away, not attempting to answer anymore of his questions...

By now C.S.I. people were dusting for prints and taking photographs....

"Lou, Hop and I are going to check the ATM cameras, The Traffic Cams and Street Cams to see if anybody saw anything.."said Jimmy..

"I'll get some uniforms and have them question people and see if anybody saw anybody come on this boat." said Hop.
"What can I do?" asked Lt. Tragg...

"You can get out of the way."said Duke dismissively...

''Hazel are you ready to release the bodies?"asked Sirena...


"Yes, release them..I'll know more once I can identify their cause of death." said Hazel.
''Wow...This feels so different...working with you guys officially and not on loan."said Angie.

''We are glad to have you Angie...You complete us."I said.

"I want in on this Sissy." barked Lt. Tragg...

"I've got seven very good detectives working this case Lt. Tragg....That is more than enough."she said and walked away from him...

II-



 I pulled Sissy to the side and whispered in her ear...It looked as though we were arguing at first..but we weren't..We were just talking...Finally Sissy smiled ...


 "Okay Keith...But I'm only doing this because you asked me to..." she said...She called Lt Tragg over to us...

''Yes Lieutenant?" he said...

''You do know this Marina and this waterfront better than I do since this is your jurisdiction... So here is the play...You detail your best guys to my detectives...They can help with the leg work...The interviewing of witnesses, checking the cameras et al..They'll run everything through you...but they answer to me ...I make the final call...." said Sissy...

He frowned....

"You said you wanted in....So you're in...We are both co-ordinating this investigation."she said.

"Come on Lt. Tragg...I worked out a good deal...A Truce if you will."I said.

"Thank you ADA Wallace.." he said. "And Thank You Sissy...I'm sure with both you and I working this case..The Killer or killers doesn't have a chance." he said..

"I'm certain you're right." said Sissy...

It was all I could do not to bust out laughing...I know that Sissy didn't want to be working with him...but working against him would get the Deputy of Operations involved and the Brass and we really didn't want that....

Sissy agreed with me when I said to throw him a bone...Let him think he was involved and keep an eye on him, while our guys did the real investigative work...

III-


As was his style...The very next day...Lt. Tragg called a major press conference.....

"You guys haven't seen me much since I've been heading this special Marine Detail.."said Lt. Tragg..

''Yeah, it's a real hot bed of crime down here."joked one reporter....

Several other reporters burst into guffaws of laughter..Lt. Tragg glared at the reporter with a burning stare...

"There has been a triple murder as you know of three solid citizens yesterday...and I will be heading up or uh co-ordinating the investigation with Lt. Sissy Van Buren of The Criminal Investigation Division...
and FBI Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Sharon Hopkins.."

Sharon looked at Sissy and whispered...

"Girl...If I didn't love you...There is no way I'd be down here on stage with this clown..I've got real work to do." she said.

"I know and I'm sorry...but this is the only way to keep him out of the way so our guys can run this case...Make him think he's halfway in charge.." said Sissy...

Lt. Tragg continued...

"We have the full confidence and co-operation of the District Attorney's Office, who has charged me and Lt. Sissy Van Buren to uh .ahhh launch this investigation...Any questions guys?" asked Lt. Tragg.

"Yeah Tragg, this time will you actually be there when the collar is made?" asked a reporter...which was met with guffaws of laughter...Lt. Tragg also gave this reporter an
evil stare...

Lt. Tragg stomped his foot in anger....



Sissy ,Sharon and I tried hard to conceal our laughter...

IV-

That afternoon back at headquarters..We all sat around eating Chinese food and Talking...

"So Lou, we are actually going to work with Lt. Tragg?" asked Duke..

"We are going to make him think he's working with us....but keep an eye on him....While we do the real work."said Sissy with a smile..

"I see he's already done what he does best...Had a press conference..."said my wife Carlotta..

"Yeah and tried to make it look like he's running the show...."said Jimmy....

"This guy will be a hindrince Siss...He'll be releasing information every minute..He'll compromise our investigation."said Tyriq....

"Not if we control what information he gets..." said Sissy ,smiling slyly....
"How do we do that?" asked Hop....

"Yeah...He knows that my husband and Duke and Jimmy and even Lotta hate him with a passion.."said Sirena..

"That's right....but Angie here just off of her undercover assignment...Still talks to him and Sharon,our FBI friend will be on hand to keep an eye on him...

"No..Noooooo, come on...No more undercover...I want to work a case.." said Angie..

Angie and Duke had cracked 4 homicides since she had been back and had teamed up with Hop and Sirena and had cracked a major homicide just weeks ago...This was her first time working a big case that involved the entire crew....

She was a good fit...Just as I always knew she would be...

"Look....Rico,my wife and Jimmy will have three of Tragg's best men assigned to them to help them with interviews of the family and friends of the deceased....Hop and Sirena will be co-ordinating the cameras , to see who visited them and checking their financials...Duke will be running point with Sissyand Sharon
here...While you Angie...You will be our pipeline to Tragg.."I said.

"Gee thanks" she said with fake disgust....


"Partner...with your sweet personality...Who better to infiltrate someone but you?" said Duke, putting his arm around Angie..


"You tryin to butter me up Duke?" asked Angie....

"He sure is Angie...Better you than me."laughed Carlotta.


"I'm with Top....I can't stand to be within 20 feet of that guy." said Tyriq... "The day Duke told me that Siss had an opening in her unit...was the happiest day of my life.." he said.

"Who you tellin? I couldn't wait to get over here.."said Jimmy...

"I never had the pleasure of working under Lt. Tragg...but I knew a few detectives who had transferred to my unit who didn't think too highly of him.."said Sirena..
"Wasn't nothing pleasurable about that Sirena.."laughed Duke.. "Unless you like being second guessed and then seeing your Lieutenant take all of the credit for your collar or your work."said Duke..


"It's Hazel....She wants to see us at the M.E.'s office." said Hop...

 "Come on guys let's go..."said Sissy...


Carlotta walked over to me and kissed me softly...

"Coming Honey Bunny?" she asked kind of seductively...

"Uh..Uh...Yeah." I said...After I got myself together....

Here we were...At the start of a new case...

(TO BE CONTINUED)


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