One Way Or Another

Chapter 19

08/29/2005 Late Monday afternoon into early evening

Chapter Nineteen

"Whatta we got, Jim?" Nick asked slamming the passenger door of the Tahoe as Warrick exited the driver's side. Both men had been called in early due to a manpower shortage. Two CSIs from swing shift had called in sick and there was a possible 4-19 at the Clark County Detention Center, so Grissom had sent Nick and Warrick to meet up with Brass and Vega.

Jim Brass was leaning against his car, waiting for the two men to arrive. He joined them as they walked up to the center's guard stationed at the main entrance gate. "Hey, Nicky. We got Matthew Waller… prisoner… whacked over the head… and get this… the weapon appears to be a book. Nice hefty one, I'm guessing. He's already on his way to the morgue. He was still breathing but died en route to the hospital. Sara's at the hospital going over the victim and will follow up at the morgue." Brass flashed his badge at the guard and the three headed for the north community room where the incident had happened. "How's Reilly and the little one doing?" Brass asked as they entered the building.

"Great. Hey, let me show you her first picture." Nick fished in his CSI vest pocket and produced his worn copy of his baby girl's sonogram. He was thrilled to be showing it off again.

"Oh, my God, don't get him started on that. We'll never get away without hearing all about her heartbeat and how she's already kicking." Warrick said, laughing in spite of himself.

"Don't listen to him Nick. He's just jealous you're so happy. Maybe this will encourage him and Tina to surprise us next with a little one." Brass said laughing along.

"Yeah. Rick, think about giving my girl a playmate." Nick said smiling.

"Wow. A book you say? Must have been War and Peace." Warrick joked, trying to change the subject as they followed Brass and checked their weapons with the officer at the front desk. The officer checked their ID's and then locked their weapons in a wall safe located behind his desk and pushed a clipboard across the desktop for them to sign in. "Do we have any suspects?"

Brass laughed at Warrick as he handed Nick back his picture and said, "You're wearing this out Nick." Then he poked Warrick with his elbow. "Changing the subject isn't going to make a difference you know.

Nick looked down at his well worn copy of his baby girl. "I know. Reilly told me earlier she has another sonogram scheduled so I'll have a new picture to show you guys, but…" He ran his fingers lovingly over the picture in his hand.

"But the first one is special." Brass added for him, knowing just what was going through Nick's mind. He smiled and patted him on the back. "Then keep it close Nicky." He turned and answered Warrick's earlier question. "Yeah, we have about twenty of them, prisoners and guards. Vega's already interviewing the guards. Seems everyone from this section of the jail was in the community room today. Big game on the TV and there were quite a few guards in here as well. Funny how no one saw anything, though. Not even the guards." Brass added as he ran his hand over his head in concentration.

"Twenty? Great. That'll take all shift." Nick said without any enthusiasm, as he pocketed his picture and his CSI ID and clipped his white visitor's badge to his vest. He picked up his kit preparing to follow Brass as he led them down a hall and into the community room where thirteen men wearing orange jumpsuits were lined up against the right side of the room while Nick counted ten uniformed officers positioned in different locations throughout the room. On the left side of the room was a man in a suit standing beside a long conference style table that was set up to hold the CSIs' supplies as they began their work. The only item on the table so far was a large encyclopedia-sized book bagged and already marked. In the far left corner, Vega sat at a small table taking notes while interviewing a guard.

"No one saw anything at all?" Warrick asked after Brass introduced the suited man as Roger Coleman, night supervisor. He would provide identification of all prisoners and guards present at the time of the crime.

"No. None of the guards saw anything out of place until they saw Waller's feet on the floor after the inmates had jumped up during a big game play. Next thing they knew everyone was fighting and throwing punches whether it was over the game or Waller, we haven't been able to ascertain as of yet. One of the guards was able to hit the lock down button and get more guards in here to control the inmates." Coleman said, supplying as much information as he had so far. "The book was found under one of the couches and it has blood and hair on the spine. We are assuming it was used, because it got in here somehow, but it could have just as easily been any of these guys own hands that did the trick, the way they're built." He said as he pointed to the prisoners standing across the room.

"So, we figure to get DNA off the book?" Nick asked as he took in the sight of the book. "Who bagged this anyway?"

"One of the guards did. I had him glove up and bag it to get it safely away while the medics worked on Waller. We've already checked and it's one of our books here from the library, but our records indicate that it was not currently checked out. We're not sure how it got from the library to here. It's also a possibility that the book is covered in dozens of fingerprints since it is a library book." Coleman answered.

Warrick reached out and picked the book up. "War and Peace." He chuckled as he eyed Nick. "Told you."

Nick looked at Coleman dubiously. "A lot of your inmates read 'War and Peace'?"

Coleman looked at him and chuckled, "You'd be surprised what these guys ask to read in here."

Nick laughed as well. "Probably." He turned to speak to Warrick. "Okay, so we're swabbing I assume?"

"Looks like it." Warrick set his kit on the table and Nick followed suit. They both opened their kits and proceeded to glove up. "Okay who's swabbing and who's writing?" He asked Nick.

Nick shrugged his shoulders. "Coin toss or…" He trailed off, smiling.

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