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Monday, October 23, 2017

Midnight is For Murder

The man was seated on a park bench, not a normal place for a murder victim....He looked like he was just sleeping...except he had a smartphone in his mouth.....When someone tapped him, he fell over...He was dead.....And had been dead for a few hours...
I'm Assistant District Attorney Keith Wallace....I prosecute major crimes....This doesn't at face value look like a major crime or a crime at all...but indeed it was....

So my Monday Morning began like this...I was just coming out of court when I got the call, from my wife, Detective Carlotta Rodriguez-Wallace...One of several detectives I handpicked for a special unit...The Criminal Investigation Division.... A Unit who investigates and takes down major criminals,Crime Bosses...Drug Suppliers, Serial Killers, Fences...Major Heist Crews....Major Drug Crews..et al..You get the idea..This was one such case..

Carlotta arrived on the scene first....Along with one of her partners, Detective James Barlow and Forensic Investigator and coroner, Dr. Hazel Baylor...

"It's a beautiful fall day." she said....

"It is.." said Hazel....

Two uniformed police officers lead them to the scene...

"He was discovered by that guy over there giving his statement to your partner...Detective..He was just sitting here, with the phone in his mouth and when the guy tapped him, he fell over.." he said..

Jimmy walked over...

"He says he sat down next to him and did a double take, asked him what his deal was and when he touched him, he fell over, dead as a doorknob..." he said..

Hazel and Carlotta put on their latex gloves and examined the body...

"No bones broken...No signs of physical trauma..." said Carlotta...

"None...judging by the body temperature and how stiff he is...I'd say time of death was around midnight....Hours before he was discovered..."said Hazel...

Just then...My wife's other partner...Detective Tyriq Pile drove up and was lead to the scene by another uniformed policeman...

"Hey Carlotta, Junior....." he said... He immediately put on his latex gloves and kneeled down with Carlotta and Hazel...

He pulled the phone out of the mouth of the dead man... A white male about 21 or 22, sandy brown hair, athletic build....

"The timer says midnight...Just like the others." he said..

Carlotta looked at him.....So did Jimmy...
who nodded...

"You know what this means right?  This is number three!" he said.
He had discovered a young man, in the same condition in a drive way in the Queen Village section just a week before...

And Jimmy had found a man  two weeks before ...Also in Queen Village, blocks away in the same condition....Fully clothed, no sign of trauma, with a phone in his mouth and a timer, timed at midnight...


Tyriq and Carlotta both turned the body over and looked at the back of the neck....

Jimmy observed...

"Is it there?" he asked..

Hazel confirmed it...

"Yupper.....right behind the ear..." she said..

A puncture mark....

This man,like the other two was injected with a killer cocktail that relaxed the muscles, put the victim to sleep and stopped his heart....Death was instantaneous...and theoretically painless..
"This is number three..." said Carlotta...

Lt. Sissy Van Buren and I were arriving right around this time...

"Number Three?" she asked..



Carlotta, Hazel and Tyriq confirmed it...
''Hooo boy, another nut..."I sighed..

Several Uniformed Policemen kept the crowd that was growing at bay....

CSI men snapped photos and scoured the area looking for anything that would give them a clue as to what might have happened...and who might have brought our victim here...


Carlotta and Jimmy questioned bystanders...but no one saw anything...No one remembered the victim even coming into the park...
To make matters worse....The Press was now on the perimeter of the park asking about this guy and the other two victims.....

"No comment guys ,Let my detectives do their Jobs." said Sissy...

''We don't know if this man's death is related to two other men we've found or not right now gentlemen..."I said..

Into all of this came Lt. Tragg...

"Fellas...Let the Detectives do their jobs....We are going to bust this guy, whoever is killing these young men.." he said..

"So this death is related?" asked a reporter....

"More than likely...I want the Gay Community to know that The Philadelphia Police Department is going to protect them!!" he bellowed...
Sissy walked over to him...

''What is wrong with you.?..We don't know yet if this is related to the others and we don't know if this guy is gay...We don't know anything about him?" said Sissy..

"Come on Siss...Did he have a phone in his mouth?" he asked..
''I don't know...I have to ask Carlotta, Rico and Jimmy..." she said.
 Carlotta went through his pockets....

"I found his wallet..Two credit cards....A Debit Card....$140.00 dollars in cash...He wasn't robbed." she said.

"His Drivers License says he's Dale Cooley.....He's 23.....Here is his gym membership.."said Tyriq..
"He was a member of the Gay Male chorus...Here is his uh membership card and his gym membership and a receipt for a Bike he bought in Manyunk at this Bike shop..."said Jimmy...
"Can we release the body?" asked Hazel..

"Yeah, we got everything we need here.."said Carlotta..

"The Mayor and the Deputy Ops wants action on this and fast..."said Lt. Tragg...

''And they sent you here to inform us of that?" I asked..
"I'm just passing a message along.." he said.

II-
In Queen Village , just hours later...Detectives Sirena Pile and her partner, Detective Tony Hopkins came upon a man slumped over at a table at an outdoor coffee shop...

A woman had discovered him and screamed...A huge crowd had converged on the area...Several uniformed police officers had already secured the perimeter and were keeping the crowds back..

Sirena arrived with two uniformed officers...

An officer walked up to her...

''"He was discovered by that young lady over there giving her statement to your partner...Detective..He was just sitting here, with the phone in his mouth and when the woman tapped him, he fell over..She knew him....She says his name is Tony Sheridan..." he said..
Hop walked over...

''She knew him....He lives a few blocks from her..  He's a dance instructor....He lives with another guy.....She said she saw him last, last night around ten o'clock...He was fine.."said Hop..

He pulled a phone out of his mouth...



Sirena looked at it..

"My Husband found a man like this, a few blocks from here a few weeks ago..."she said.

"Yeah ..So did Jimmy.....Both cases went cold...They were keeping it down about the phone being found in their mouths..."said Hop..

"Yeah, well now we got one."said Sirena..

"You callin Siss?" asked Hop..

"Yeah"said Sirena...

Sissy, Duke and I drove to the scene....

"Thanks for calling Sirena...This is my second one today.." said Sissy..

''Your second?" asked Sirena.
"Top, Rico and Jimmy fund a guy in Rittenhouse Square  with a phone in his mouth.....Sittin on a park bench.."said Duke..

''I took a phone out of his mouth.."said Hop who had bagged and tagged this..
"That makes your guy number four..."I said..

Hazel and her staff arrived...

She put on her latex gloves and felt the body...

"No bones broken...No signs of physical trauma..."she said... She looked at the next and there it was.. A needle mark on the back of the neck..

"Yupper.....right behind the ear..." she said..

A puncture mark....

This man,like the other three was injected with a killer cocktail that relaxed the muscles, put the victim to sleep and stopped his heart....Death was instantaneous...and theoretically painless..

"This is victim number four and the second body we've found today...Folks..I hate to say it..But we have a serial killer on the loose.." said Hazel..

 ''Is this guy Gay?" asked Duke.
"Look around you Duke....This is a heavily Gay Area.....Not Everybody, but a lot of the residents."I said.

"I looked in his uh Man Purse....He apparently was going to participate in the anniversary of "Marriage Equality" being made law march next week..." said Hop..

"I just talked to his female friend...Yes he was Gay......" said Sirena...

''So We have a killer who targets Gay men....Keep that under your hats.." I said.

Because just the a throng of reporters appeared..

and with them, Lt. Tragg

He walked over to Sissy and I...

"Second time we meet today Siss...Still don't think these cases are related..?"he asked.

''I'd like to know for sure...We are investigating them one at a time..."she said.

''I want in on this...Where are you guys anyway?  Your Office is being painted and new air conditioning is being installed.." he said.

''We are working out of the Federal Building."Sissy lied..

We weren't at the Federal Building, but the building we were working at was owned by the Federal Government..She partially told the truth...

An Apartment complex we had turned into a off site police station...With a conference room, A law office, a make shift morgue, and a situation room with monitors, computers, fax machines and other crime fighting equipment...We used the rooms above to sleep in overnight..

The location was a secret...Only Federal Agents knew about it and those cops with a need to know..Lt. Tragg wasn't one of them.

"Hazel ,you can release the body." said Hop...

"Okay guys....Let's wrap it up." said Hazel...

For the second time today...a body was rolled from a city block....

III-
Because of the improvements on our offices at headquarters....We had been working out of ''Copland"as our forwarding base....

The difference was , we could and were going home after work just like we normally did... When these murders started...


Carlotta and I,


and Tyriq and Sirena packed our bags and began staying there over night....

Sharon and her entire staff of FBI agents were already working there and staying there....

as was her husband, Hop..

By the weekend...Angie and Jimmy had packed a few bags and joined us...



as had Duke, Hazel, Sissy and her husband, Eddie C..

 ''We missed hanging out with you guys at night." said Duke..
 ''Yeah...Even though we see you everyday..."said Hazel.
 "You guys can still go home any night you want to...You're not locked in...You'll just be reporting here for work.."said Sissy..
"Face it Siss...We are all locked in." said Eddie C.

IV-

Of course Lt. Tragg went to the Federal Building looking for us and did not find us...Nobody knew what or who he was talking about...As for Deputy Special Agent in Charge Sharon Hopkins...Her whereabouts were considered "classified.."

He was furious...He went to the Deputy Of Operations ,who was preparing to go on Vacation...

''THEY PURPOSELY MISLEAD ME!" he bellowed..

"Ahhh not really....They are working in a federal facility...Which one I don't know..Why are you worried about this case anyway? It's Sissy and her detectives case..."said the Deputy of Operations..

 ''I want in on this case...I can crack it..."said Lt. Tragg...

"You think so huh?  Then crack it...But don't harrass Sissy or her detectives...Work with them or work alone..." said the Deputy Of Operations laughing to himself...He wondered how Lt. Tragg was going to embarrass himself this time?


The next morning.....Rittenhouse square...Detective Angela Belton-Barlow was holding the hand of a blond man, Athletic build....Blond hair....dressed in a  gray sweat suit with white sneakers...and a gym bag...

"What a waste" she thought...He was handsome...built...and unfortunately, gay!~

"My God...He's as stiff as a board....." she said....

Like the day before...Several Uniformed Policemen kept the crowd that was growing at bay....

CSI men snapped photos and scoured the area looking for anything that would give them a clue as to what might have happened...and who might have brought our victim here...


"Rigor has set in....He's been dead a little longer than the average guy we find..."said Hazel...

Angie took the phone out of his mouth....

"The timer says midnight..." said Angie..

Duke had on latex gloves... He turned him over...

''Rico told me where to look on the neck...Uhhhh huh...There it is...The pock mark..."said Duke..

"This is number five..." said Angie...

"This cocktail they're using is the same cocktail used to execute death row prisoners....You guys got a problem...you guys have a serial killer on your hands!"said Hazel...


"Top, Rico ,Jimmy,Hop and Sharon are cross checking all Death Penalty states to see if there have been any thefts of the execution drugs..." said Duke..








"And Sirena ,Hop and Jimmy and Sharon are talking to Interpol to see if anyone has been ordering black market supplies of the chemicals used in these murders..






"It's tedious work..." said Duke..

"I take it, the other four victims didn't know each other?" asked Angie..

"No...Their paths didn't cross..We cross checked..  Rico, Jimmy,Top,Sirena and Hop interviewed their friends, relatives ,classmates and associates....they didn't know each other...





and they didn't even have clubs or social events in common....All they had in common was sexual orientation..." said Duke...
"But they all came in common with someone...Whoever is killing them..."said Hazel...
"Yeah...I know..." said Duke..

"Let's get this body out of here and all of these people ."said Angie..

"Okay guys...Wrap it up..." said Hazel...

As the body was removed...

and reporters snapped photos...Angie spotted a familliar figure working his way through the crowd..
"Crap" she said... "It's Lt. Tragg..." she said..

 ''What do have Ang?" he asked.

And hours later....in midtown Philadelphia...a phone rings.....

"I'm not answering this.....Damn it...Don't call me!!!!I'm not answering...." came an angry voice...

On the wall was photos of all five dead men.....

The Phone continued to ring....

A Blonde wig lay on the side of the bed....Black high heels lay turned over on the floor...

The phone continued to ring...

"I'm not answering this.....Damn it...Don't call me!!!!I'm not answering...."


(TO BE CONTINUED)