Luke burst into the viewing room.
‘It’s her husband…’ Luke blurted as he quickly approached the two-way mirror and stood looking back in on Jacqui. ‘It has to be…’ he said. ‘Did you hear what she said…?’ Luke didn’t wait for his boss to respond. ‘She had just finished sending a text to her friend…ah…Tania, or whatever her name was…’ Luke said. ‘And she just put her mobile phone into her purse when her husband came in to the kitchen and took the bag…’
Husken nodded, but didn’t appear to follow.
‘Her husband didn’t know her phone password…but he didn’t have to. If he took the bag with her phone in it before the auto lock function kicked in…’
Husken nodded, ‘The phone would already be unlocked...’ Husken said, finishing Luke's sentence.
Luke nodded. ‘That bastard must’ve found out about her affair with John Bishop after he trawled through her phone messages. He must've used her unlocked phone to lure Bishop to a remote location… and he shot him… ambushed him and executed him,’ Luke said.
Luke shifted his focus to Jacqui seated in the interrogation room as he continued, ‘I knew she couldn’t have done this…I knew it.’ His tone was one of pure relief.
‘You don’t think she knew about it…?’ Husken said. ’I mean, was in on it in some way..?'
Luke firmly shook his head. ‘Nah…no way. Why would she…she loved the sex. You heard her in there…she had no idea her husband did this. She just unknowingly put him in for it when she said he took her phone.’
Luke rubbed contemplative fingers across his lowered forehead. ‘What did she say her husband’s name was again…Ryan…’ he said, answering his own question. ‘That’s it…Ryan Herbert,’ he said. He quickly exited the room.
When Luke returned about fifteen minutes later his boss stood with his arms behind his back watching Jacqui. Husken glanced briefly at Luke when he entered before returning his admiring eyes back to Jacqui. ‘She’s not a bad sort,’ Husken said with a lift of his chin to Jacqui.
Luke smiled to himself. Following his experiences from last night he could definitely vouch for that.
Luke had a hunch. With Ryan Herbert working as a security guard he wondered if Ryan owned a firearm, in particular a nine millimeter—the same caliber that killed John Bishop.
After conducting a search of licensed firearm holders in the New York City area his search revealed Ryan Herbert held a Concealed Carry Permit and a New York State Pistol License, which was to be expected if he was employed as a security guard. But more importantly, the records indicated he was the registered owner of a Glock 17 pistol. The Glock 17 used nine millimeter rounds.
Husken appeared as excited about this news as Luke.
‘I’m gonna cut her loose, Boss…’ Luke said. ‘She’s shouldn’t be here…Poor thing doesn’t realize she’s about to lose her husband… for good.’
Luke returned to the interrogation room to tell Jacqui she was free to go. He didn’t elaborate as to the reason and she didn’t ask.
‘Would you like a lift back to your office?’ Luke asked.
‘Will you be able to take me?’ she asked with a seductive bite on her lip. After last night, Luke wasn’t sure if that question was a deliberate double entendre.
He shook his head. ‘I would love to Jacqui…truly I would…’ he began, pausing at the smile she gave him. He briefly realized, true to form, it certainly was a deliberate double entendre. He continued. ‘But unfortunately I have some place I have to be.’
He couldn’t tell her he was about to swear out a warrant to search her house and arrest her sleeping husband for murder.
‘That’s OK...’ Jacqui said. She pushed herself from the table to stand. She shouldered her purse. ‘I don’t want your amazon friend out there…’ she said, with a flick of her finger towards the interrogation room door. ‘If you can’t do it…’ she said flirtatiously sidling up closer to him, ‘then I’ll just have to do it myself.’ She gazed suggestively into his eyes before moving ahead of him towards the door.
Luke knew that also was a deliberate masturbation innuendo she just gave him, but he just had to let it slip through undetected. Instead he watched Jacqui as she walked ahead of him, before following her from the room. She was incredibly sexy and she knew it.
Jacqui weaved her speeding Honda around the slower moving vehicles traveling in the same direction like driving a slalom course. The speed of her shift changes as she worked her way up through the gears rivaled any professional racing car driver. Not even two red lights and a stop sign could slow her down.
A neighbor friend had contacted Jacqui to give her a heads up that there were cops at her address. They had forced open the front door with some sort of ramming device and were now inside her home.
When her frantic telephone calls home went unanswered, Jacqui decided to head home, and fast. She didn’t tell anyone at work she was leaving, she just grabbed her purse and ran from the office.
The tires on her little Honda sedan squealed in protest and the rear end of her vehicle drifted sideways as she executed a powerful left hand turn in to her street under excessive speed.
She punched through the gears as she rapidly accelerated along the narrow one way street, pushing her car’s small engine to its limits as she sped towards her home.
Jacqui stamped on the vehicle’s brakes. Her car’s rear end drifted to the sideways before skidding to a stop at an angle across the road. The momentum from her vehicle’s rapid deceleration into a sudden stop caused her vehicle to rock sideways several times before coming to rest.
She stopped her vehicle in the middle of the road, behind the black and white police vehicles that blocked any further access down the street.
Before her vehicle had stopped rocking Jacqui was out of the driver’s door and running towards her house, about fifty yards ahead of her.
As she ran her husband appeared out the front door onto the stoop. He had police on either side and his arms were behind his back.
Her husband noticed Jacqui as she approached. Her face was etched with anguish, but he didn’t say a word. Ryan was in the process of stepping down from the last step onto the pavement by the time she arrived out the front of her home. Jacqui ran and threw her arms around her husband’s neck and hugged him tightly.
After a few beats Jacqui lifted her head from Ryan’s shoulder to address the cops on either side. ‘What the hell is going on...? Where are you taking my husband…?’ she yelled.
The older cop on Ryan’s left took hold of Jacqui’s right arm and gently led her to the side, out of the way. ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but you’ll have to stay out of the way. This man is under arrest.’
‘For what…?’ she screamed. Her eyes welled with tears. ‘Why are you taking him…?’
From inside the house, Luke recognized Jacqui’s voice. He moved out onto the landing to monitor what was occurring.
The cop jabbed his thumb over his shoulder towards her house. ‘You will have to ask the Detectives inside ma’am if you require any details,’ he said then continued his escort of Ryan to an awaiting police vehicle.
Jacqui appeared lost. Her tears flowed. She turned towards her house. She quickly ran towards Luke standing at the front door.
Luke was impressed at how fast she moved while wearing such high spike heels. Jacqui quickly ascended the stairs towards Luke and ran straight into his arms, embracing him tightly. Right now he must’ve been the only form of comfort and security she had.
After what felt like an eternity to Luke, Jacqui lifted her head from his shoulders and stared into his eyes. Her black mascara had streaked and her eyes were bloodshot and filled with despair. ‘Please tell me what’s going on…’ she said. ‘Are you responsible for this…?’ she gestured towards her husband. ‘Is this your doing…?’ she asked.
Luke placed his hand gently around behind Jacqui and guided her towards her front door. ‘Let’s go inside…’ he said. Jacqui instinctively followed his lead. ‘I’ll explain what’s going on.’
After taking a moment to settle her down, Luke guided her to an arm chair in her lounge room, where she took a seat. He excused himself from the room for a brief moment, before returning with a glass of water, which he handed to Jacqui. She accepted the glass. Her saddened, inquisitive eyes lifted to the standing Luke. She started to sob. ‘Please tell me why you are taking my husband away…’
Luke moved to a nearby arm chair and dragged it closer to Jacqui, so it was now in front of her. He lowered himself onto the front of the chair where he sat facing her. Her pleading eyes followed him.
'Your telephone records clearly indicated the SMS message that lured John Bishop to Stacey Park came from your phone. Following my discussions with you at the police station earlier today, I suspected that your husband had discovered your affair with John Bishop and he used your phone to contact Bishop.'
Jacqui’s hand shot to her mouth.
'I have made some inquiries which verified that your husband owns a firearm, which was the same caliber of bullet as the one that killed Bishop.'
Jacqui’s hand remained over her open mouth. She slowly shook her head.
'Earlier today I obtained a search warrant and we searched your house. I found your husband’s firearm in a locked case on the hat rack in your wardrobe. When I opened the case, your husband’s firearm was in place, however one round was missing from the bullet receptacle that individually stored each round,' Luke said. 'I am certain a ballistics examination of this weapon will match the striations on the round recovered at the shooting of John Bishop to the rifling in your husband’s gun.'
Jacqui buried her head into her hands. She commenced to sob loudly. ‘It’s all my fault…’ she mumbled through her hands. ‘It’s all my fault…If I wasn’t having an affair this would never have happened…What have I done…?’ She lifted her eyes from her hands to the ceiling.
Luke gently placed his hand on her knee. ‘Rightly or wrongly, all you did was have an affair…’ he said. ‘You cannot in any way be held responsible for the murderous actions of your husband,’ Luke said. His tone was comforting.
Once Jacqui had settled a little, Luke told her there was more to his story.
'The Forensic Crime Scene Investigators tested some of your husband’s clothing items for gunshot residue. GSR was identified on the left sleeve of a dark colored jacket in your wardrobe. The jacket was an XXL size and clearly your husband’s.'
Jacqui looked at Luke. She began to sob. ‘Ryan is left handed…’ she said. ‘Oh my god…’ Her hand cupped her forehead.
Luke continued. 'When we searched the pockets of her husband’s jacket, we found John Bishop’s mobile phone.'
Jacqui again buried her sobbing head into her hands.
‘He is in a great deal of trouble Jacqui. The evidence against him is strong,’ Luke said.
‘Did he say anything…?’ she asked. ‘Like…I mean…did he admit to anything…?’
Luke held his gaze on her while he considered his answer. Should he tell her the truth, or lie and protect her fragile emotions. He opted for the former.
'Your husband said to me…“What would you do if he was fucking your wife…?” ’
Jacqui’s eyes dropped. She buried her head into her hands. ‘What’s going to happen to him, Detective?’ She sobbed through her hands.
‘That’s not up to me, Jacqui…’ Luke said. ‘But if he is found guilty…’ he paused before delivering his thoughts. 'Well…he’ll probably live the rest of his days in an nine by six cell.’
With that Jacqui broke down sobbing uncontrollably. Her reaction was as though she had just been told her husband was dead. For all intents and purposes, he may as well have been. His life was effectively over, or at least, his quality of life was.
On the drive back to the station Luke felt nothing for Ryan Herbert. He was a cold-hearted killer who calculatingly lured an unsuspecting man to a remote location and executed him with a single shot to the head. Nothing could justify those abhorrent actions, not even the fact the victim was having an affair with his wife.
Jacqui however was another story. He definitely felt sorry for her. Not only was she about to lose her husband to the New York State Department of Correctional Services, she had to live with the all too consuming guilt of having the illicit affair that caused her husband to flip out and brutally kill another man.
Luke was aware that no amount of heartfelt words or consoling would help Jacqui come to terms with her guilt any quicker. It was something that only she could do in her own time.
As he drove, Luke’s mind turned to John Bishop’s unfortunate widow, Sandy Bishop and how she has had to endure weeks of not knowing what actually happened to her husband.
While it wasn’t on his way, Luke took a detour to Park Slope and visited Sandy. He wanted to personally inform her that her husband’s killer has been arrested and would be brought to justice.
As Luke pulled his vehicle to a stop outside Sandy’s house at number 141 Hanover Street, Sandy had just exited via her front door. After locking it she trotted down her front steps of her luxury Brownstone townhouse to the street below.
Sandy wached Luke as he alighted from his car, but she initially failed to recognize him. She commenced walking south along her street. She stopped and her head snapped back towards Luke in a typical double take.
Luke approached Sandy and reintroduced himself to her, even though she reassured she remembered him.
Following some ice-breaking small talk about the weather and questions about how she had been, Luke informed Sandy that he had some good news.
'I have just arrested a male for the murder of your husband, John. The suspect is currently at the police station awaiting interview,' Luke said.
Sandy’s hand shot up to her mouth. She wanted to know the answers to her baffling questions that up until now could not be answered. Questions like, who was he? What was his name? How old was he? Why did he kill her husband?
Unfortunately, Sandy would have to wait a little longer for most of these questions to be answered. At the moment Luke was not in a position to divulge his suspect’s name to her, nor was he about to mention the motive for the killing of her husband. That would all come out soon enough at trial. And it wouldn’t be any easier for her to accept then.
Right now though, he just wanted to be able to give her some good news as a pleasant change from all the negative she has lived with for the last four to five weeks.
Luke was mentally fatigued as he made his way to Barnaby’s for a post-shift bourbon with some of his colleagues. He was exhausted. But with every major crime collar there was always a certain feeling of achievement when the cell door slammed behind an offender.
It was a kind of euphoric feeling of satisfaction. But while this had been a successful day for him, it was also a stressful one filled with mixed emotions for the women the likes of Jacqui Herbert and Sandy Bishop. Both were victims of Ryan Herbert’s actions in their own different way.
Luke was glad to finally see it over. He had spent the last two hours interviewing and processing Ryan Herbert for the murder of John Bishop. At the advice of his lawyer Herbert pleaded the “Fifth” and refused to answer any questions at all. While this was his right, Luke wasn’t concerned. He was more than satisfied his evidence against Herbert was irrefutable. Herbert was eventually remanded in custody. Luke had his man once again.
As he strolled with his hands thrust deep into his pockets his head was slightly bowed. Luke’s thoughts drifted back to the old man he met in the bar that night. Four capital murder cases that caused Luke no end of grief and stress, all of which could have potentially ended his career if he failed to solve them, were now all solved. The offenders were all off the streets, all because of the surprisingly reliable advice he received from this old man.
Despite Luke’s cynicism, the old man was four from four in his outcome predications. Luke could not fathom just how accurate the old man’s predictions were. From a body hidden in a basement wall to a video camera concealed in a purse, he was spot on with everything. The old man must’ve been some cop in his day.
How great would it be if the old guy was at Barnaby’s tonight. He has so much to thank him for. Whether the old man realized it or not, he helped Luke change his life around and get it back on track, to where it was before his fiancée left him. He owed the old guy so much.
The street door to Barnaby’s bar opened and the group of six thirsty cops from the 84th wandered in. Luke was third to enter and receive the usual smiling welcome from the barman, Benny.
While his colleagues stopped to chat briefly with the amiable barman, Luke continued to walk ahead, moving deeper into the bar. Maybe by chance, the old man may be in there tonight.
Luke stopped at the end of the bar to scan the patrons in the bar room. Suddenly Luke’s eyes widened as they locked onto a grey haired, elderly male seated on his own with his back to Luke, at a table near the back wall.
It was the grey fedora hat sitting on the table beside the old man that initially caught Luke’s attention, followed by the light weight overcoat over the back of his chair.
Finally. Luke quickly weaved his way around the occupied tables towards the old man. He had so much to thank him for, but he was more so relieved that he could finally let the old man know just how accurate he was with his predictions.
‘You’re a tough one to try and locate…’ Luke said. A huge grin illuminated his face as he walked around to the front of the old man’s table.
The puzzled expression of the old man looked up from his drink. Luke’s grin evaporated. His face tightened. Luke’s confused eyes flicked from the old man to the hat on the table, to the light weight overcoat, before returning to the curious of the old man staring back up at him.
Luke raised a hand to the old man. ‘I’m sorry….’ Luke said. ‘I thought you were somebody else.’
The old man watched Luke walk away.
Luke returned towards the front bar where his colleagues were still chatting with Benny. He was disappointed that wasn’t the old man he had searched for.
Luke stopped momentarily and turned back to the unsuspecting old man for another brief reassuring look. He shook his head. The old man was still seated with his back to Luke. It was uncanny how much that old guy resembled his old guy from weeks ago.
Luke was mid-conversation relaying a ‘war story’ story to his colleagues in their usual corner down in The Cave when his mobile phone interrupted his story. Luke excused himself and took the call.
It was Kelly calling to find out if he was interested in joining her for dinner this evening.
‘I know it’s a little presumptuous but…I have made reservations for 7.30pm at Lucio’s Paradiso. It’s my favorite Italian restaurant and I was hoping you could join me.’
Luke checked his watch. It had just gone 7pm. He had plenty of time to make it.
‘I’d love to join you for dinner…’ he said. ‘But only on one condition….’
‘Oh…OK. What’s that…?’
‘As long as dinner is my treat,’ he insisted.
Discussions about who was paying for dinner bounced back and forth between them until Kelly reluctantly relented and accepted his condition.
‘I still have some errands to run before 7.30pm….would you my mind if I met you there…?’ she asked.
‘Of course not... I’m already looking forward to it.’
‘You don’t think it’s poor form of me…you know, asking you to dinner and then meeting you there?’
‘Don’t be silly…Do what you have to do and I’ll see you at 7.30,’ Luke said before ending the call.