Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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They pulled into McCullough’s driveway and parked next to the patrol car. The house was a ranch style so they both thought the murderer could have gotten in with no problem.

The front door had been kicked in and one of the officers was outside vomiting.

“Shit!” Leverette said and jumped out of the car and ran to the porch. The officer who had gotten sick was wiping his mouth with his handkerchief. He looked up at Leverette and shook his head.

“We called the ME already and the Paramedics. He left one alive.”

This threw Leverette. He left a witness? That made no sense. Billingsley was standing there when the officer gave the quick report.

“Let’s go in,” Billingsley said and the two men pulled gloves from their pockets and put them on.

The lights were on and the second officer, Monroe, came into the living room.

“Talk to me,” Billingsley said. The smell of death was in the air.

“When we got here we rang the doorbell and got no answer. Greene went to check if the cars were here and he said a car and truck were parked in the garage. We put on our gloves and kicked in the door.

“We drew our weapons and walked in but nobody was around. Well, not moving around.

“Greene turned on the light and we went through the rest of the house. They’re in the bedroom.”

Monroe led them to the bedroom and they couldn’t believe what they saw, Frank, minus the head, and his wife, Nancy. Blood saturated the pillow and spray was on the headboard and some had bounced back onto the blanket. The cut looked neat, just like the others.

Leverette walked up to Nancy and felt for a pulse. She was alive but out, and he hoped she’d stay that way for a while. She didn’t need to see her husband like this. The sound of sirens coming to the house made him feel better. Get her to the hospital and find out what he’d given her. He started taking a bunch of pictures because he knew Smith would have a fit that the crime scene was messed with.

When he called the morgue he got the operator who said she’d call Smith.

A couple minutes went by and his phone rang.

“Leverette,” he said.

“This is Smith, what’s going on?”

“Another decapitation. Only this time we have a living lying next to the corpse. We’re sending her to the hospital before she comes to. This isn’t something she needs to wake up to.”

“What!” Smith was livid. “Don’t touch a thing until I get there,” she said and hung up.

Heartless bitch, Leverette thought.

Billingsley went to the door to let the Paramedics know what to expect when they went in the bedroom.

“So that’s why the officer got sick?” one of them asked Billingsley.

“Yes. And he’s been on the force for 12 years,” he said and led them down the hall to the bedroom.

“Whew!” one of them said, “That would be horrible to wake up next to.” He said and went over to Nancy to check her vitals.

The other Paramedic went to get the board and when he got back they carefully placed her on it. They’d heard Leverette talking to Smith and were afraid they’d get written up for messing with a crime scene. Nancy was starting to stir and they hurried her out to the rig.

Betty and her group showed up just as the paramedics were loading Nancy into their vehicle. The CSI team donned their gloves, grabbed their equipment and headed in. They followed the voices down the hall and to the bedroom.

“Smith’s not here yet?” Betty asked Leverette, “I’m surprised, she usually flies over to a crime scene. Does she think she’s CSI too?” Her team started their investigation.

“I’m in hot water with her,” Leverette said, “The wife was still alive and we didn’t want her waking up and seeing her husband like this.”

“Oh boy, she’s going to come in in a rage!” Betty said and chuckled. “She must be a hell of a good ME or she has something on them. I can’t believe they put up with her.”

“You don’t know?” Leverette said raising his eyebrows.


“Besides receiving accolades in her field she’s the chief’s nephew’s wife.”

“She doesn’t look African American.”

“She’s not. I will tell you she does have beautiful kids,” Leverette said.

“I wonder if they’re like her?” Betty asked and chuckled. She walked to Frank’s side of the bed and began examining the blood spray.

“Nothing was touched on this side?”

“No,” Leverette said, “And they were very careful with the covers on this side. Nancy, his wife, had some splatter on her but it was minimal. I put the covers back like they were before they moved her.

“Yes, there’s some on her pillow, too.” Betty got her tablet out and started making notes, then got out her camera and started taking pictures using the measuring tools to indicate the size of some of the drops of blood.

“He must have held the head right over here for a second,” Betty said pointing to the non-directional drops on the blanket. She looked at the floor but there were no drops. “I’ll bet this is where he put Franks head in the bag. See how this blood is in relation to the others?”

Leverette looked at the blanket and nodded. He liked Betty, she would explain the things she noticed if he was nearby.

They both jumped when Smith yelled, “I hope you didn’t touch the body!”

“No, nobody touched him,” Leverette said and moved out of room to let them get to their work.

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