The next afternoon…
Orville pulled alongside the curb just across the street form Alberto Winter’s office and parked behind Harry Doyle’s familiar Toyota sedan. Alberto had summoned both of them to his office but had not said anything more. Just that they needed to come and he would explain when they arrived. As Orville jogged across the road he was not sure if this was good or bad, but it seemed unlikely that Alberto would have sent for them had he struck out with Finley. The receptionist told him to go on inside.
“Mr. Winter and Mr. Doyle are waiting for you,” she said with a cheery smile.
Orville thanked her and entered without knocking. Alberto was in his usual spot behind his large oak desk while Harry was just hanging his coat over the back of a chair.
“I miss anything?” Orville asked as he closed the door behind him.
“Nope…” Alberto replied as he motioned for Orville to take a seat, “Harry just arrived as well.”
“How did it go?” Harry finally asked. “We going to have to implement plan B?”
Alberto chuckled and just shook his head.
“Nope. I barely got out my revelation to Richard Finley before he began to crack. My guess is the thought of going away for murder or at least as an accessory to murder in this case was not such an appealing option.”
“You get a full confession?” Orville asked excitedly.
“Not yet. That we will save for the meeting I have set up with Arnold Redding for tomorrow.”
“But enough to get this thing against Sarah blown up?” Orville pressed.
“Nothing is for sure, Orville, but I think if I was a betting man I would say so. All Redding knows so far is that Finley and I are coming in tomorrow with new evidence in the case that I suggested he might want to hear prior to Sarah’s sentencing. Had it been just me I doubt he would have been too interested, but when I said one of his star witnesses was coming along with some inconsistencies in his testimony given at the trial he suddenly got very accommodating.”
“You and Redding have issues?” Orville asked.
Alberto looked over to Harry.
“Nothing personal, Orville,” Harry added, “it’s just that…well…let’s say Redding’s scorecard might be a bit more heavily weighted on the conviction side than it is were it not for Alberto.”
“Professional jealousy?” Orville asked.
“More like I am just a thorn in his side slowing down his political ambitions,” Alberto replied.
“OK…so give us the scoop.”
“OK…I guess I will begin at the beginning…”
Both Orville and Harry settled back in their seats.
“Finley’s shall we say….limited grasp of anything requiring real thought and planning gave me my opening. I called him up and let him know a piece of jewelry I suspected belonged to him had been recovered and I wanted to see if he was interested in having me drop it off on my way up north near where he lives. He was very anxious to recover it, he said. At this point I had no idea if he was just some greedy pinhead who is out there grabbing at everything of any monetary value or if he realized that somewhere during the crime he had lost his watch.”
Harry chuckled, thinking back on all the similar strategies he and Alberto had employed over the years to get no so bright perps to walk into a trap. Alberto looked over at Harry and raised his eyebrows.
“Just recalling some good times, boss. Remember Jimmy McCready?”
Alberto smiled as well.
“This was even easier, if that is possible, Harry. Anyway…I found his apartment and told him I would need for him to identify the piece just to make sure. He invited me in and I just held up the bag with the watch in it that we got back from Vicky Wells. When he got a glimpse of it, his mouth dropped open and it was like all the blood drained from his face.”
“This is just too good….” Orville chimed in.
“I held it up and asked him if he recognized this watch but he just stood there and stared. I figured by this point the charade was over so I explained how his watch had been found at the Joe Garrity murder site. He just shrugged and said, ‘so what’.”
“Oh God….these guys slay me…” Harry added with a laugh he could not hold in anymore.
“So I went on to explain that he might want to explain how this came to be, his watch at Joe Garrity’s with both his and Mr. Garrity’s blood on it as well as his DNA. He still just acted like it was nothing.”
“So, then I said, ‘OK, Richard…I wanted to give you a chance to get out of this thing without a first degree murder rap, but I guess if that’s how you want to play it, I will just drop by Arnold Redding’s office and let him take it from here’. I dropped the bag back in my coat pocket and was about to head out when he broke.”
“He did it?” Orville asked impatiently.
“No…but he was in on the scheme and unless he has some sort of brain malfunction between now and tomorrow morning, he will be offering Redding a new story. One that will still nail him for perjury for sure, but maybe trade that for the actual murder. All this will depend on Redding of course, but my guess is the last thing Arnie wants is another high-profile trial where it comes to light that he put two liars on the stand to frame an innocent woman by her detestable, vile almost ex-husband.”
“Holy shit, Alberto!” Orville exclaimed, “James Holding is the actual murderer?”
“According to Finley. It seems Holding knew them from way back. He had arranged some evidence to be tampered with in that old B&E charge against Finley and Robertson which was instrumental in those charges being dropped. He had some clerk’s job somewhere in the county building at the time and somehow got to the evidence room at police headquarters. He did not go into details, and I will leave that one to the police to clear up. Anyway, for all this time, Holding had stored away this chit and decided it was time to cash it in.”
“Oh my God…” Orville replied.
“Holding killed her and Finley and Robertson were responsible for stashing the knife to make it look like it was Sarah, huh?” Harry asked.
“So he says. And as well, lying about being with Robertson and Holding over in Memphis at the time of the murder to give Holding the alibi he needed.”
“So why involve these two geniuses?” Orville asked. “Why not just kill him and plant the knife himself?” Orville continued.
“According to Finley, Holding felt he might be too recognizable to Kennedy or someone else who might be around the apartment building who knew him and that would put him in Laconia at the time of Joe’s murder.”
Harry looked to Orville.
“Seems we were not the only ones concerned about Mr. Kennedy…”
“But wouldn’t Holding being in Joe’s apartment to kill him make him vulnerable to being spotted as well?”
“I asked him that. According to Finley Joe was killed outside the apartment and then he and Robertson moved the corpse to the apartment in the dead of night. Seems our Mr. Holding wanted to do the dead personally no matter what.”
“So…Holding kills Joe, has Finley and Robertson move the body and plant the murder weapon in the wall of Joe’s apartment, making it pretty obvious that there were loose boards to be checked out when the police arrived, and then agreed to vouch for Holding’s being out of town during the murder when he police questioned him. That about the size of it?” Orville asked.
“So what was the motive, Alberto?” Harry asked. “The divorce was imminent with no custody issues or anything. Was he really that pissed at her for filing?”
“All Finley has said so far is that Holding quote: ‘wanted that bitch to get what was coming to her’. Guess we will have to wait and see how Redding proceeds and see if Holding reveals anything more specific.”
“Did his quick rollover surprise you, Alberto?” Harry asked.
“The rollover itself, no…but how quick it all went? Yep. But had I been in Finley’s shoes I suppose I might have folded before I ended up taking the fall for them all.”
“What is the chance that this will end of being just a he said-he said thing?” Orville asked.
“You mean, Robertson and Holding denying they were involved and that it was all Finley?” Alberto replied.
“It did occur to me…”
“Possibility I suppose. But Finley has details and is motivated. Laconia’s not a big place and I think the overall vibe here is that Sarah got railroaded. From what he told me today, they went out drinking to celebrate. You know Pete’s Pub over on Goring?”
They both nodded.
“Well…that was the place according to Finley. He says they were there until Pete closed up and threw them out. I am guessing there will be plenty of witnesses to corroborate this. Hopefully once Robertson and Holding see their story crumbling they will also admit the whole scheme. But even if they do not and Finley cannot convince anyone they were in on it as well, Sarah will be released.”
“Still would leave a very pissed off and vengeful James Holding in the wind, though, Alberto.” Harry added.
“True…but my guess is that will put him in the cross hairs of the police once this whole story breaks. In general cops do not like being played either. Leaving the impression that maybe they were in on a fix with the DA us not likely to sit too well. The police really detest lawyers like me on the defense side, but lawyers as a group are not favorites of the boys in blue…even Redding. I’d hate to see the actual murderer get away with this, but I have this gut feeling that Finley’s recanting will throw a net over all three.”