Sins of the Fathers'

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Chapter 4


He was now sitting in a corner booth watching the girls move around the restaurant, helping their father wait on customers. Today was going to be the day of the next step in his plan. No one would suspect his true motives for being there and it was sad really at how easy this one was going to be.

Gabriella was the oldest of the girls and she was the most shy of the three, blushing horribly as she approached the table with his order. “Hello Detective Taylor.” She sat his pizza down and arranged everything. “Would you like anything else?”

“No thank you Gabby.” He flashed his smile and brushed his fingers over her hand as he spoke softly. “How many times do I have to ask you to call me Jesse?” She blushed and turned her head. “I’m not going to bite you. I promise.” She was 20 so he didn’t feel too bad about a little harmless flirting.

Her father called for her and she took a few steps away. “Let me know if you need anything else sir.”

He couldn’t help using the fact that the young girl had a crush on him. “Thank you Gabby.” He winked as she turned a darker shade of red and almost ran across the restaurant.

Gabby made her way back over a few minutes later to refill his water. “Is everything ok sir?”She smiled shyly as she set his water back down.

“Do you know how beautiful you are?” He asked and she blushed even more than before.

Gabby shook her head as her cheeks flushed. “No. My sisters are the pretty ones.”

He looked around to make sure no one could see and took her hand. “Your sisters have nothing on you. You are very beautiful.”

She pulled her hand away. “Thank you sir.” Manny called for her again. “I’m sorry but I have to go.”

He scanned the room as he watched her walk away. The restaurant was packed with Firemen, EMT, and law enforcement from all over the city. He didn’t feel any remorse for the fact that he was going to ruin this place for them forever. His life had been ruined twenty years ago so it only seemed fitting that he return the favor. After he finished lunch he drove around the city for a while. He checked on his next target, the one that was going to be a little trickier than any of the others.

Unfortunately almost every cop in the city knew Manny’s routine. There had been some robberies in the neighborhood a few years back. A lot of officers had provided security for Manny and his family at closing time.Once the crew was caught Manny ceased asking for help. When the restaurant closed he would leave to deposit the money for the day. Usually his son and one of his daughters would finish cleaning up and then call him to pick them up.

Jesse watched from the street for when Rafael would take out the trash and then he walked around to the alley. He stood in the shadows and waited as the young man brought the trash out the back door. “Rafael?”

The young man jumped and spun around. “Who’s there?”

Jesse emerged with his hands up. “Relax Rafael, it’s just me.” He stepped into the light. “It’s Jesse. It’s Detective Taylor.”

He watched as Rafael immediately relaxed. “Detective, you scared me.” He chuckled then looked around skeptically. “What are you doing back here?”

It was a shame how trusting these kids were. He walked closer and calmly said. “I was driving by and thought I saw someone run back here. I just wanted to make sure you guys were ok. You didn’t see anyone did you?”

Rafael went on alert and scanned the alley, shaking his head he said. “No. I didn’t see anyone.” He moved quickly to the door. “I need to go in and make sure Gabby is ok.”

Jesse smiled and motioned toward the door. “I’ll go in with you just to make sure everything is ok if you want.”

“Of course, thank you.” As soon as Rafael stepped through the door Jesse struck him in the back of the head with the butt of his gun.

The young man collapsed in a heap in the doorway. Jesse stepped over him and made his way through the kitchen into the restaurant. Gabriella was wiping down a table when he walked into the main area.

“Gabby.” He said carefully but she screamed and jumped anyway. He held up his hands as she turned around. “Easy. Easy. It’s just me. It’s Jesse.”

She was clutching her chest and panting hard. “You scared me Detective.” Then she realized he’d come out of the kitchen. “Why are you coming from the kitchen and where is my brother?”

Jesse knew he could be convincing so he didn’t hesitate. “I was driving by and saw someone running out of the alley. He was attacked Gabby, Rafael is hurt. You need to come with me.”

Gabriella ran ahead of him, he smiled as she reached her brother and dropped to her knees. “Raffie! Raffie!” Her voice cracked from the emotion and tears flowed down her face. “Rafael wake up!” She shook him, trying to get a response. “We need to call 911!” She said as she pulled out her phone.

The young man didn’t even stir as his terrified sister shook him. Jesse had hit him hard enough that he probably wouldn’t wake up. Jesse walked up behind Gabby and when she looked up at him he struck her in the head too. The look on her face at the moment of realization didn’t bring him pleasure though. He was very fond of the beautiful young woman and had actually hoped it was one of her sisters that would be closing that night instead. There was no going back now though of course.He couldn’t allow them to live after what he’d done. If he didn’t follow through with it all of his plans would be for nothing.

He quickly moved the bodies inside, turned out the lights then closed and locked the back door. He checked the front door then bound and gagged both of them like he had the Benson’s. Neither had woken up yet and that was great for him. He moved them to the middle of the restaurant and checked the street. There hadn’t been any traffic for a while so he walked back over to where he had their bodies positioned on the floor. He looked down at them, thinking of his father for a second before he shot them. He left the gun and a note behind just like with the Benson’s. Then left through the back door and walked the three blocks to his car.

It was just after 2 a.m. when the call came through. Kris, Jonas, and Quinn pulled up to Manny’s twenty minutes later. She felt sick at her stomach as the scene spread out before her.The emergency vehicles filling the lot made more real. The sky looked like a blue and red laser show. This place was like a second home to the city and now it would be changed forever.

Davies was already on scene, waiting for them when they arrived. For all the vehicles and people the scene was pretty quiet. Quinn and Jonas tried to convince Kris she didn’t have to go in there.

“It’s my job no matter how personal it is.” She’d said as steadily as she could as they got out of the car.

Elliot walked over to meet them. “Guys.” They all shook hands. “I’m sorry but it looks like it’s connected to the Benson’s.The killer left behind a gun and a note.”

They could see Manny sitting on the bumper of an ambulance sobbing uncontrollably. “Who is it?” Jonas asked as he looked around.

Elliot nodded for them to follow him inside. “It’s Rafael and Gabriella.” They stopped beside Sophia and the bodies. “Manny left them here to finish cleaning up while he took the money to the bank. They were supposed to call him when they were finished. By midnight he hadn’t received a call so he came back to…” Elliot’s voice cracked so he stopped for a second to get himself together. “He was the one that found them.”

Kris let out a long shaky breath as she walked around the scene. It was hard to not get emotional because they were so young and she’d watched them grow up. Rafael was 21 and Gabriella was 20. “What do we have?”

Erik had joined them now as well, hands full with evidence bags. “A revolver and a note were left just like at the other scene.”

Kris took the offered bags and looked over the items inside. The revolver was exactly like the other one, possibly an old police issue. When she looked at the butt of it something caught her eye. “Did you see this Erik?” Everyone gathered around and looked at the butt of the gun. “Looks like initials were carved into it.”

Erik squinted a little and looked at the tiny letters. “Holy shit.” The excitement was evident in his voice as he said. “I can get this under a microscope and then go through old employment records to see if I can find out who this belonged to. I had to send the other one off to the GBI so maybe they’ll have something on the serial numbers soon.”

Kris held up the letter and shook her head as she read it out loud. “’They didn’t have to die. It’s his fault too.’” She looked to her partners. “What the hell? He blamed Clayton for his kids and now it sounds like he’d blaming Manny.” This one was just as confusing as the other note because Manny was one of the nicest people she knew.

Jonas let out a frustrated growl. “We’ve been through every case of his for the last 25 years. Manny’s name hasn’t come up in any of them.”

Quinn was pacing now as he thought. “Not as a victim or a witness but what if he was on a jury?The killer could be blaming them for something going wrong with a case they both worked on.”

Kris smiled despite where they were. “That’s it Quinn. That has to be the missing piece. We need to look through his cases and court reports from his early years again.”

Jonas felt like they were finally getting somewhere. “I’m going to call my dad, see if he has any ideas about who it could be. He was new in Internal Affairs back in the late 80’s but you never know.”

Kris had an uncle at the GBI. “I’m going to call my Uncle Ben. Maybe he can help get the results for the serial numbers faster.”

Kris walked outside to talk to Manny. He was still sitting in the back of the ambulance. “I’m so sorry Manny.” She hugged him and sat beside him. “Do you feel like talking?” He shuddered and sniffed as he nodded. “Ok.” She patted his knee. “What time did you leave the restaurant?”

He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. “I think around 11:15. The last customer left around 10:30 and then I took the money back to my office. I counted it and filled out the paperwork like always. I checked on…” His voice cracked. “I checked on Raf and Gabby before I left. I told them to call me when they were finished and told them I loved them before I left. It usually only takes about another hour to finish. I hadn’t heard from them by 12:30 a.m. so I tried calling the restaurant. When they didn’t answer I knew something was wrong so I drove over here.” He stood up on shaky legs and wrapped his arms around himself. “The back door was unlocked and the lights were out. I just knew something was wrong. So I ran inside and I found them...they…they were already gone.”

She knew this had to be incredibly hard for him. “Manny, I need to ask you something else.” He looked up and waited. “Were you ever involved on a jury for a case that Clayton Benson was prosecuting?”

He was quiet for a few minutes, lost in thought. “Maybe. Probably.” He finally shrugged. “I was called for jury duty so many times over the years that I lost count but I haven’t been on one for many years.”

She remembered as a child that her grandmother was called for jury duty many times. It was so strange to her because no one else in their family was ever called as much as she was. “We think it would’ve been about 20 years ago. I know that’s a long time but if you can remember anything, it might help us.”

He hugged himself tighter as he nodded. “I’ll do my best.” He seemed to remember something. “I used to keep all of my summons and notes from the cases. Maybe something would be in there.”

Kris’s heart rate picked up. “Go home and be with your family ok? At least one of us will come by tomorrow to check on you guys.” Manny shook hands with Kris and thanked her. “I’m going to have a uniformed officer drive you home.”

Manny knew there was no way he could drive and he was thankful. “Ok. I’m glad you guys are on this case. I know you will find the man that did this.”

“We will do everything we can. I promise.”Kris waved over an officer and said. “Harper, please take Mr. Rodriguez home and stay with the family.”

Kris had worked with David Harper many times over the years and she knew the family would be safe with him. “Sure thing Kris.”

She found Jonas and Quinn by their car. “You guys ready to go?” Both men nodded and Quinn opened her door.

Quinn drove this time. It was nearly 5 a.m. now and it was far too late or early depending on how you looked at it, for them to do anything but to go find some food and talk about the case. “We need to eat.”

Neither Kris nor Jonas argued so Quinn pulled into the closest IHOP. They ordered two pots of coffee and food. The waitress was efficient and gave them the space she could tell they obviously needed.

“My dad is an early riser. I’ll head over there as soon as we’re finished here.I know he’ll be up.” Jonas said between bites.“If that gun really belongs to a cop he’ll probably know who it is.”

“I think my uncle gets in around 7:00 so I’ll leave from the station and it should take around two hours to get there depending on traffic.” This case was weighing heavily on all of them already but none more than Kris. She wore her emotions on her sleeve and Quinn was worried about her. “Quinn, maybe you could go see Manny and his family after you drop me off so I can get a car? See if any of them remembers anything. Maybe get access to all of their sales in the last couple of weeks. Someone might stand out. Also Manny mentioned that he kept notes from all the juries he sat on. Maybe those will help.”

“I can do that.” He pulled out his wallet and paid for the meal. “They have pretty regular customers so maybe they’ll remember a stranger. Plus Manny installed surveillance cameras back when those robberies were going on so I’ll see if we can get the video.”

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