Around three weeks earlier…
Childhood sweethearts Calvin and Linda Fulton had been together since high school. Married for thirty-one years they have three children, all of whom are now adult age and have moved out of home to pursue their various careers. Their eldest child, Colin and their youngest child, Alyssa are both professionals who live and work in Manhattan, while the middle child, Ben worked as a mining engineer down-under in Australia.
At fifty-five and fifty-four years of age respectively Calvin and Linda reside near the East River in their two-story Row House in the upper-middle class residential neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.
The road on which they live, Jolimont Street, was full of old-world charm and character being one of only a few neighboring streets paved with cobblestones, reminiscent of an era when the area was referred to as Brooklyn Village.
The narrow footpaths were tree-lined from which the lush leaf covered branches extended over the road, almost meeting in the middle, forming a picturesque evergreen canopy over the roadway.
Each side of their street was lined with two and three-story, red brick Row Houses with ornate window and door surrounds. The characteristic stoops finished right on the footpath boundary, leaving the narrowest of front yards.
Calvin and Linda worked Monday to Friday office hours in New York City so their weekends were often free to spend their leisure time together, which was the norm for most weekends. Calvin worked as a head Accountant for a company deep in Manhattan’s Financial District, while Linda worked as a Production Assistant with NBC Universal.
Calvin’s outdated gold rim glasses, his careful choice of pale colored polo T-Shirts and his male pattern baldness with a comb over, conspired to project a conservative personality. He was meticulous, organized and possibly even anally retentive. His neat and tidy tendencies bordered on obsessive compulsive.
Linda on the other hand was adventurous and more outgoing than Calvin. She was often the motivator of the two when it came to decisions on their leisurely activities. She was the envy of most women her age, maintaining the natural complexion of a forty year old woman, without the use of Botox or invasive surgery. Her active lifestyle and demanding work regimen contributed to keeping her figure slim. With light-brown shoulder length hair she was a plainly attractive woman, in a girl-next-door archetype.
Saturday was a relaxing day in the Fulton household. Calvin and Linda enjoyed a leisurely fresh brewed afternoon coffee together in their kitchen while deciding on some options for their Saturday night entertainment.
As they sat opposite one another at their small four seat dining table, Calvin suggested, ‘What about a night in with a movie and some Chinese takeout?’
‘We haven’t been out for ages Cal...’ Linda said, ‘Wouldn’t you like to eat out and then go out to a movie?’
Calvin shrugged. ‘If you want, Hun. I’ll do whatever you want to do.’
‘No…that’s not what I want to hear,’ Linda said. ‘I don’t want to do anything that you don’t want to do.’
‘Why don’t we look at the movie options showing at the cinemas before we decide?’ Calvin suggested.
‘That would be lovely.’
Calvin slid the newspaper closer and opened it to the cinema guide. ‘OK, let’s see what’s showing at the moment…’
Calvin scanned the various cinema listings. 'The Brooklyn Heights Cinema is showing The Wolverine and Two Guns…’ he said as he shifted to the next option. 'Cobble Hill’s showing the same…as well as The Butler…Elysium…The Conjuring and…Monsters University,’ he said lifting his eyes to Linda. Her non-committal reaction caused him to continue.
Calvin continued to read. 'Um…The Pavilion in Prospect Park is showing the same as Cobble Hill, with the addition of Man of Steel,’ he read out before lifting his eyes to Linda. ‘Anything there grab your fancy?’
Linda shook her head. ‘Not really…what about you…? Did you see anything you like?’
‘Nothing…’ Calvin shook a dissatisfied head as his eyes dropped back to the guide to recheck the options a second time.
Linda watched on as Calvin scanned over the guide. She must’ve realized her suggestion for a movie and dinner was looking less and less likely by the minute.
‘I know…’ Linda started. ‘Why don’t we just do as you said…rent that movie we both wanted to see, but missed when it was out…you know, the one with Jason Bateman in it.’ She said clicking her fingers. ’What’s it called…oh yeah, Identity Thief. I don’t like any of those other cinema options, so…Identity Thief and some Chinese takeout is probably the next best option,’ Linda said.
Calvin lifted his head from the guide and smiled his approval at her.
9-1-1- what’s your emergency…?
‘Help me please,’ a desperate male voice pleaded over the phone. ‘Someone has attacked my wife. He ran out the door when I came home. She’s on the floor…please help me,’ the voice cried before trailing off into sobbing.
Sir, are you saying your wife is unconscious on the floor? the female 9-1-1 operator replied.
‘Yes, Oh my god there’s blood everywhere,’ the voice sobbed.
Is your wife breathing?
‘I don’t think so… I just got home. Oh my god…oh my god.’
Sir, is this your cell you’re calling from?
We don’t have any record of your details coming up with this phone. What is your name, Sir?
And is this your house you are calling from?
What is the address where you are right now?
‘280 Jolimont Street, Brooklyn Heights.’
Ok, thank you. The ambulance is on the way Sir. Can I ask that you check if your wife is breathing…are you able to check for a pulse?
After a brief pause the desperate voice screamed into the phone, ‘She’s not breathing… I can’t feel anything… There’s no pulse… Oh god help me please... Linda… Oh no, Linda…’ the sobbing voice screamed.
Sir, the Police are also on the way. Has the suspect left the area?
‘I don’t know…I wrestled with him and he ran out the front door.’
Did you get a description?
‘No, it all happened so fast. He had a full face ski mask. Oh my god there is blood everywhere…’
The police will be there shortly Sir.
Within minutes of the distressing 9-1-1 call the evening darkness of Jolimont Street was illuminated by a kaleidoscope of flashing red and blue lights pulsing from the first response emergency vehicles. The flashing colored lights radiated up the façade of neighboring row houses and into the over hanging trees.
It was obvious to all first response units who attended the scene they had walked into the aftermath of what was clearly a vicious and brutal homicide. The lack of defensive wounds on the victim suggested a surprise attack.
The lead Detective in charge of the case, Detective Luke Fox was contacted by the first response uniform police from the 84th. He arrived at the scene a short time later.
After alighting from his vehicle Luke’s attention was drawn to a uniform officer who had rushed from the premise, via the front door and involuntarily purged the contents of his stomach over the side—several times.
Luke lifted his eyebrows in anticipation of what to expect as he made his way up the front stoop and into the house. Inside he was met in the foyer by the first response uniform officer who summoned him to the scene. The officer slowly shook his head at Luke as he approached.
‘What do we have…?’ Luke inquired stepping over a plastic bag on the floor, the contents of which appeared to be Chinese takeout spilled over the floor.
‘Ah the husband dropped that there...’ the cop said. ‘He had returned from collecting their dinner when he confronted the offender here in the foyer. The husband said he briefly struggled with the male offender who physically overpowered him and fled out the front door.’
‘Where’s the husband…what’s his name?’ Luke asked.
‘Calvin Fulton. He’s in the lounge...covered in his wife’s blood.’ Luke’s questioning eyes flicked to the Officer. ‘Nah…’ the officer shook his head. ‘The blood is transfer from the vic. He was holding onto her…hugging her dead body when we arrived.’
Luke nodded his understanding. ‘Who called it in…?’
‘What time was the 9-1-1 call?’
The officer consulted his notes. ‘9-1-1 call was at…’ he flicked through the pages in his note book. ‘Ah…7.53pm. We got the call from dispatch at 7.55pm.’
‘So, what do we know?’
The officer again consulted his notes. ‘Ah…the vic is a Mrs Linda Fulton—fifty-four. Found by her husband. Her head had been crushed…opened up like an over ripe melon,’ the cop said. ‘Looks like a rock was used as the murder weapon…it’s still on the floor beside her.’
‘Ah, the kitchen.’ The cop gestured over his shoulder. ‘It’s down this way,’ he said.
Both men moved towards the kitchen.
‘Any sign of forced entry?’ Luke asked as they made their way to the rear of the house.
Luke stood at the doorway to the kitchen surveying the extensive splattering of blood over the floor, walls and ceiling. He was initially taken aback by the horrific and violent crime scene that lay before him.
The female victim was lying on her back in the middle of the room amongst what was the largest volume of blood Luke had encountered in his six years as a Homicide Detective.
An everyday garden variety rock, the size of a volley ball, lay beside the victim’s body. Blood and tissue were visible on the rock.
The victim’s face had been crushed beyond all recognition. The force of the blows had split open her skull, exploding blood and brain matter sideways across the floor. Luke’s experience told him that this was a clear case of overkill. To do that to a victim indicated to Luke that the killer had to have been driven by pure hatred and filled with rage towards the victim, but why?
Back in the Bar room…
Luke finished his recount of the second case that had been causing him problems. ‘Pretty straight forward,’ Luke suggested to the old man. ‘Husband goes out for takeout dinner...returns home and confronts a violent offender. Husband drops the takeout on the floor and they wrestle. The offender overpowers the husband and decamps. He later discovered his wife dead on the floor, the murder weapon, a rock, was still by her side and he calls 9-1-1.’ Luke said. ‘I’ve heard the tapes of the 9-1-1 call…chilling…’ Luke said. 'There are no witnesses who saw the fleeing offender. Apart from the husband who was holding her when police arrived, there’s no other DNA evidence, no transfer, nothing. All neighbors know the Fultons as a loving couple. Some even suggested they were smitten with each other. So you see…that’s why I got nuthin,’ Luke said.
As with the first case, the old man sat silently throughout Luke’s entire explanation of the circumstances of the case. ‘Did you look at the husband for this?’ the old man asked.
‘At first I did, yeah. But with every inquiry I made he became more and more the unfortunate widower victim.’
The old man shook his head. ‘He’s your man.’ The old man was direct. ‘The husband is your killer. The injuries suggest over kill, hatred…the attacker had some form of anger against this victim. Can you recall what the kitchen looked like when you arrived?’ The old man asked.
‘Did it look like there had been a struggle?’
‘It did. There were smashed plates, broken vases, upturned chairs…the phone was smashed on the floor, there was—’
‘You said in your story that the injuries suggested a surprise attack?’ The old man said as a question.
‘If your vic was hit over the head in a surprise attack… how would all the damage in the kitchen occur…? Presumably the offender struck her with the rock he was carrying and she fell to the floor. So why the upturned chairs and damaged plates, etcetera…?’
‘We don’t know that’s how it happened…they could have wrestled first.’
‘You said there were no defensive wounds…if they wrestled she would have indicative marks on her where she was grabbed, punched, pushed etcetera…’ the old man said.
‘Look...these two were infatuated with each other…’ Luke said, ‘What would be his motive to kill the love of his life?’
‘I can’t answer that...’ the old man began, 'But I’ve had three cases identical to this one over my time…and in each case, the husband did it. The motive for each was jealousy. They each thought, wrongly I might add, that their wife was having an affair, so they killed ‘em.’
Luke shook his head. ‘Just coz you had a similar case years ago doesn’t make this guy guilty.’
The old man thought for a moment. ‘OK, consider this... You said the phone was smashed on the floor. Could she have been making a call when the person who killed her walked in?’
Luke shrugged. ‘Hard to say...’
’Well, I’ll go as far as telling you she was making a call. Your victim was on the phone when she was attacked...that is why the phone is smashed.’
‘How the hell could you—’
‘Check with their Telco company. I bet you that around the time she was attacked there was a call made from that house.’
‘What will that tell me…?’
‘Well… if I am right and she was on the phone…the person she was talking to must’ve heard something.’
Luke shook his head. ‘Why wouldn’t the person have come forward by now if they heard her being attacked?’
The old man shook his head. 'I can’t answer that…but I will tell you that the answer to solving this case lies in the inquiries you make relating to that telephone call,’ the old man said. ‘Just like the other case, son… what have you got to lose…? You don’t exactly have the leads queuing up now do you? Can you afford to be skeptical on this?’
Luke returned a single shake of his head. His mouth straightened. ‘Alright.’ Luke opened his note pad a second time. ‘I’ll give the Telco a call… but I think you are way off with this one…the husband definitely didn’t do it.’
‘That’s all I ask,’ the old man said. ‘Now…that’s two down – two to go. What’s next?’ the old man eagerly asked. He appeared to be enjoying their little late night bar room interaction.
Luke laughed. ‘That’s two down is it…? Just like that…cases solved.’
‘Well, not right now…’ the old man said. ‘But they certainly will be.’
‘Right…’ Luke said. 'Anyway, the third case that has me stumped was the apparent robbery-murder of a forty-eight year old male from Park Slope…