C.S.I. Crime Scene Investigators: Las Vegas Blitz

Chapter 5

Catherine and Joan sat across from each other. Catherine placed photos on the table as she spoke: magnified ends of the roll, the rope that strangled John Wright, and the one from Joan’s sailboat.

“You really hated John Wright, I imagine. Watching him beat on Guistina and not being able to do anything. You probably got to the point that you decided to do something about it.” Catherine looked up at her and envisioned how this crime occurred…

John Wright watched television, oblivious to Joan standing outside the window watching him. Guistina sits in the chair next to him. The recent struggle to survive her husband’s temper left her bruised and shaken; she doesn’t even notice the news on the television. John stood and shut off the television. She quickly stood and hurried down the hall ahead of him.

The lights in the trailer are turned off and an hour passed. Down the hall the floor creaked, then silence. Closer to the bedroom, the floor creaked again. Joan melted out of the shadows, holding a rope tied in a noose. The noose in her hands was ready to claim its victim’s life.

She crept up to the bed, carefully slipped the rope around John’s neck, and slowly tightened it so he wouldn’t wake up. He did wake but it was too late to even struggle.

The bed moving woke Guistina and the scene terrified her. With John Wright dead, Joan let the rope go and reached out to her friend.

Guistina screamed and ran out of the bedroom.

Joan shook her head adamantly. “I didn’t kill him.”

“The cut on these three ends match. The rope came from the same roll.”

“Since it’s my rope, I’m not surprised. The bastard came over two weeks ago and took it. I realized it was gone when I needed it to tie up my sail and went over to ask for it back. He told me I could buy another one. I yelled a lot but eventually left. Then Tina brought me some while he was out, so I let it go. He’d just take his anger out on her if I did anything.”

Catherine pulled another paper out of the folder and skimmed it. “He filed several charges against you: assault, destruction of property, theft. Two pages, in fact.”

“Did you happen to look at the charges the jerk filed on all his neighbors? He was always fighting with someone about something, not just me.”

“The matching rope wasn’t found on the property of your other neighbors, Joan.”

Joan sat back, shaking her head. “Did you find anything else? Anything more concrete that links me to murdering someone?”

Catherine doesn’t answer, because the answer is no.

Realizing she just called Catherine’s bluff, Joan sadly shook her head. “Well, when you come in here with actual evidence, that actually puts my hands on the rope around his neck, then we’ll talk.”

“Yes we will.” Catherine collected the photographs, got up, and walked out.

In the hall, Catherine let her emotions out. She shot daggers at Joan through the window in the door, but Joan was looking somewhere else. She didn’t hear Sara come up behind her.

“Yours went well too, I take it?” Sara asked.

Catherine turned to her. “I just have to place the rope in their hands.”

“Not Elan’s.”


“She told me she is taking Coumadin and has arthritis. I called her doctor, and then had Wendy verify her medications in her blood sample. She’s telling the truth. That woman couldn’t have killed John Wright.”

Catherine looks back at Joan. “I know that they’re both perfect for this, but…”

“But the evidence is telling us to look somewhere else.”

Catherine’s cell phone began to ring. “Willows.” She listened to the caller and frowned. “And she’s said nothing else? Nothing at all? Okay. Thanks.” Catherine hung up, telling Sara, “They moved Guistina Wright to the psychiatric floor. She’s asking for her sewing basket but hasn’t said anything else.”

“I feel so sorry for her,” Sara admits. “Everything in her closet was hand sewn. He made her work for everything in her life. That quilt on the bed was beautiful. It’s hard to imagine someone with such a traumatic life would be able to create something so beautiful.”

The two are silent for a moment, reflecting on evidence, trying to figure this mystery out.

Archie passed them and then came back. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you two.” He joined them, handing a digital recorder to Catherine with a Post-It note attached. “I was finally able to find the song the woman’s humming on that recording.”

“You recorded her humming?” Sara asked.

“I thought it might give us something.” Catherine looked at the paper. “Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Stone Cold Dead in the Market[1]?”

“The song she’s humming is Stone Cold Dead in the Market. The original artists were Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan.”

“Never heard of them.”

“Oh really?” Archie offered an ornery smile. “I thought you were born in the early 40s?”

Catherine’s jaw almost dropped. Sara laughed with Archie.

“I’m kidding, Catherine.”

“You’d better be!”

“However, that song was popular after it became a hit in 1946. Do you want to know what the song is about?”

“Someone is dead in the market, I would assume?”

“You’re partially right. The guy comes home, beats his wife, she kills him in the market. Rather eerie considering the case you’ve got here.”

“I’d say. Thanks Archie.”

He hurried away, leaving the women with the new information. To Catherine, the song means nothing.

To Sara, having learned to look beyond the obvious in cases like this, the dots suddenly connected and the web of life and death became clear to her.

“Catherine…” Sara suddenly stood. “I think the answer is in the sewing basket.”

Having no epiphany of her own, Catherine told her, “Let’s go take a look at it.”

Grissom, Nick, and Greg were packing evidence when District Attorney Daniel Woodrow stormed in and threw a case file in the middle of the evidence.

“You actually expect me to go to court with the testimony of a monkey as my sole evidence in prosecuting a human, Gil?” Woodrow snapped.

The three stopped moving. Nick and Greg both looked to Grissom.

“Primate, and yes.”

Woodrow shook his head. “I cannot – I will not – prosecute that man on this. It is omissible, regardless of what the monkey is, what you think he knows, or who owns it. All you’ve managed to do is prove the monkey is innocent, but not that Steve Perinski killed Takoda Red Deer. Get me tangible evidence, something that won’t get me laughed out of court, or I will move to have the case thrown out.” Woodrow stormed out.

Grissom frowned at the folder, but he could feel the eyes of his C.S.I. on him.

“Should we unpack all the boxes?” Greg asked.

Grissom shook his head.

“He won’t use it. We need to find something else. Nick, did you ever get the video from the surveillance cameras?”

Nick thought about the question. “I think we did. I didn’t check after you spoke to Ralph.”

“Go over it. Greg and I will go to Mister Perinski’s residence and see what we can find.”

Nick left. Grissom continued packing evidence.

“Greg, we need a warrant. Go get one.”

“On it!” Greg rushed out.

[1] Fitzgerald, Ella, & Jordan, Louis. “Stone Cold Dead In The Market (He Had It Coming).” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, January 14, 2009.

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