After leaving Riker’s Island, Isis drove straight to NYU. Negative thoughts invaded her mind when she thought about her niece’s fate in the hands of the criminal justice. The very system that failed her mother. The very system that she helped to keep running. The very system that she loathed.
Isis sat in the passengers’ seat musing. “Holy shit. I got it!”
The outburst startled Toni. “What?”
“The names of those girls, Stacey and Jennifer—”
“No, Isis, she said It was Jannifer, with an A.”
Isis grabbed her laptop from the back seat. “I know those names,” she said as she tapped on the keys. In an instant, the list she and Taylor had compiled popped up on the screen. Isis scrolled down the list. “Bingo, Stacey Hill and Jannifer Hill both signed up for theater at NYU on the same day.”
Isis and Toni marched into a building on Washington Square. Isis asked to speak to someone in charge. A tall man carrying a Cenzo 4050 Italian leather briefcase approached the detectives. “Can I help you?”
Isis thought the man was handsome. He had the kind of rugged look that most women found sexy. “Yes,” Isis said, looking up at the man’s blue eyes.
“And who are you?” Toni asked.
“I’m Bob Cain, dean of humanities, faculty of arts and science.”
Isis and Toni both pulled out their ID’s.
“Can we go somewhere and talk?” Isis said. The dean took the detectives into his office. Isis went right to work: “I need to know if Stacey and Jannifer Hill are in class right now.”
“Has this anything to do with the arrest of Pamerla Thomas?” the Dean asked as he removed his laptop from his briefcase. He stared at the screen as he typed.
“As a matter of fact, it does,” Isis said.
“Ah, no,” the dean said. “They were supposed to attend a theater group with Mr. Welsing this morning, but…”
“So, they haven’t been on campus all day, that right?” Toni asked.
“Yes, Detective, that’s right.”
“Well, I’m gonna need their address.”
“I’m sorry, Detective, but it’s against—”
Isis slapped the top of the dean’s desk, which caught him off guard. “Mr. Cain, are you telling me you’re gonna interfere with my investigation? A murder investigation?”
Mr. Cain stammered, “Well...I...no, no I don’t want to do that—”
“Well then,” Isis said as she sat back in her chair. “Address, please.”
Mr. Cain went on to tell Isis and Toni about some of Pam’s friends. “Yvette Rivers and Darlene Moultrie are Pam’s best friends. You might want to have a talk with them.”
Isis noticed the dean was sweating. “Call them in.”
Fifteen minutes later, two teenage girls walked into Dean Cain’s office. Dean Cain asked the girls to have a seat. The two college students wore the same outfits. They also wore the same shoes, the same kind of jewelry, and their makeup was even applied the same way. Dean Cain asked the girls if they wanted something to drink, but they both declined. Isis was watching the two teenagers closely. So was Toni. The two teenagers could pass for twins. “Which one of you two is named Yvette?” Isis asked.
The teenage girl that sat closest to Isis was Yvette. “That would be me,” she said nervously.
Isis noticed that the young woman had her tongue pierced. And Isis would bet two years of her salary that her friend had the exact same thing stuck through her tongue. “That means you must be Darleen.”
The other teenager nodded her head.
“Look, the way this thing works is that I ask you questions and you, verbally, answer them, you got that?”
Both girls nodded their heads. Isis pinched the bridge of her nose and shook hers.
“Do you two always dress alike?” Toni asked.
The girls nodded again.
“Please, we’re going to need for you two to talk,” Toni said.
“Yes,” Yvette said. “We’re BFF’s.”
“What about Pam, was she your best friend too?” Isis asked.
Yvette and Darlene looked at each other.
“Yeah,” Darlene said. “But she was different—”
“What do you mean, different?” Isis asked.
The girls looked at each other again, then Yvette said, “She was like our leader. Although she didn’t like dressing the same, she was our girl.”
The questioning went on for over an hour. Isis found out thing about her niece that she could not have imagined. One of those things was that Pam was a bully--that she had an explosive temper, and that she’d paraded around campus like she was Queen Nefertiti. She also learned her niece was a liar. The story Pam had told her back at Riker’s Island was all lies. Isis was told that Pam threatened the new girls and she’d slapped one of them because she was jealous of one of the girls who Derrick was obviously attracted to. Yvette, too, told Isis that Derrick took a lot of girls over to his little hideaway in Queens.
“She told us once that she would kill Derrick if she ever caught him cheating on her.”
Isis felt herself sinking. Her niece had lied to her.
Anthony Bliss requested the forensic report on Derrick Simmons before he’d met Isis and Toni at Riker’s Island, and at 5:01 pm it was downloaded to him. Bliss took a sip from his coffee cup as he touched a key on his computer to open the file. There were photos of Derrick taken from the crime scene, which made Bliss spit out his coffee.
“Oh my God…” Bliss had seen tons of crime scene photos, but these were most bizarre he’d ever seen. He went over the witness’s statement and the videos taken from the Due Motor Inn. And it was clear to him that it was Pamerla Thomas. A search warrant had been issued and the detectives at the one hundred and thirteenth precinct had found a switchblade in Pam’s room. They also found a cleaner’s ticket. When the investigators visited the cleaners, they’d found the clothes that Pam was wearing the day of the murder.
Bliss sat back in his chair and rubbed his hands across his face. He exhaled. Bliss’ phone began to ring. It was the D.A.’s office. Bliss was told by the district attorney’s office that they would be pushing for a speedy trial and he should be ready in about sixty days. Bliss argued he was going to need more time, however, he didn’t get it.
Isis called Bliss and told him about the questioning of Pam’s friends. That information made his scalp itch. He hung up the phone and buried his face in his hands. “This is not good,” he mumbled to himself. “Not good at all.”