As a sequal to "Swithback" The Usher picks up where the story ends. Colt is led down a rough road and it seems that there is nowhere to turn for safety and comfort. He must prove his innocence, while trying hard not to reveal his true identitiy.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The UsherWhen revenge is all that's left
By Will Pettijohn
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Will Pettijohn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAs Detective Rick Wise sat at his desk, he felt satisfied that he had done his part to stop the crooked FBI agent who had misled him during the investigation and then tried to kill him. However, he did not feel satisfied that he wouldn't be involved in the punishment. He could only wait and see what sort of justice Young would get. Young was officially facing multiple murder charges as well as charges of tampering with evidence and grand extortion. Along with being prosecuted for a multitude of federal charges, he would now have to live the life of a criminal—the same life he tried to make Colt live, by framing him for the Bennigan murders.
Rick was cautioned by his subconscious; he was cautioned to be ready for anything when it came to Young. He knew that Young had a cocky, criminal mind and that that mind would be trying to figure a way out of the predicament he was in. Young didn't think he was going to be caught, especially by his long-term partner Archer and a lowly detective. The thought must not have ever crossed his mind. He must have known that the person he was trying to pin these horrible murders on might not be convicted. Then what? What had he planned in the event that Colt wasn't convicted? Who would he pin it on then? Young must not ever have guessed that he would soon be in federal custody.
Wise was defiantly distraught over the whole thing. He hadn't eaten more than a few bites in the four days that had passed since the sting had taken place. He couldn't eat; he kept remembering the horrors of the Bennigan murders. He tried to sleep, but it was always the same ... He found himself staring down the barrel of his own gun, the gun that Special Agent Young had pointed in his face just a few days before as he explained the way he had killed the Bennigan family. The worst part was that the dream always ended the same way ... He was startled awake from the sound of the gunshot. The only satisfaction that he had at this time was that Young was behind bars. Rick knew that Young had killed the Bennigans and used them as proverbial chess pawns to serve as a purpose for his madness.
Rick still couldn't understand why this guy Colt was so important to him. Young wanted this guy so badly that he had thrown away his entire, almost perfect career and his freedom simply to catch him and put him away. Catching this guy was so important to Young that he had become a criminal himself. But it wasn't just his career that he was willing to sacrifice. It was Rick's life and the life of six others as well. That made a person wonder what lengths Young was willing to go to put this guy Colt away.
Rick knew that Young hated Colt because he had beaten murder charges and been acquitted. Young had tried to have him prosecuted for the murder of a man a year before. But he also knew that Colt shouldn't be framed for a crime that he hadn't committed. Who's to say that Young didn't try to frame Colt last year too? he thought. Rick didn't know all the details from then. He did know that he was going to be in that courtroom every day until he heard the verdict ... "Guilty!" He would watch the expression on Young's face as they discussed each piece of the evidence. He wanted to see how Young reacted to the pictures of the murders one by one. And he wanted to see if Young had any remorse. Maybe he was so wrapped up in the cat-and-mouse game he was playing, he felt nothing at all. Rick wanted to know if the jury would give him life in prison or sentence him to death. Rick hoped Young would get the death penalty.
Texas still has the death penalty for violent crimes: crimes witnessed by a minor under the age of twelve, such as murder or a violent rape as well as violent crimes that are so horrendous that the criminal who committed them can't be trusted to be rehabilitated. In this case, Young was considered a mass murderer, and his freedom would be the result of a complete overhaul of his moral fiber. Young will not be able to get away with it! Wise continued to tell himself as he stood up from his desk and walked toward the water fountain.
"Wise," the captain groaned. Rick turned to see his captain standing in the doorway of his office. He finished filling his coffee cup with water and walked over to the captain's office.
He stood at the doorway as his captain made eye contact with him and motioned with his eyes to his left without letting anyone else know. Rick picked his coffee cup up to his mouth and drank some water, turning his head left. There in a dark blue trench coat dripping with rainwater stood the short, chubby Agent Archer.
"What do you think he wants, Captain?" Rick whispered without moving his cup away from his face.
"I don't know, but the director of the FBI just called and asked if he could have a meeting with you, T-Bone, and me," the captain said, and motioned Rick into his office.
The two stood there watching Archer as he removed his coat and scouted the room full of detectives for the men he was looking for. He finally noticed the two men standing in the captain's office and began walking toward them.
"Detective Wise, Captain Dickie, how are you doing today?" Archer asked as he made his way to them and put his hand out. Rick and Captain Dickie responded with a smile and shook Archer's hand.
"We're doing well, Agent Archer; how are you?" the captain answered.
"I was in the neighborhood and decided to stop in and see how our star detectives are doing," Archer said, and smiled at Rick.
"Well, I think they're doing pretty well, Agent Archer," the captain replied.
T-Bone walked toward his desk, passing in front of the captain's door as he returned from the restroom. The captain noticed him and called, "T-Bone, can you join us here for a bit?"
T-Bone turned to see the three men standing in front of the captain's desk and made his way in as well. "Hey, what's up, Archer? Sorry, Captain; I had Mexican food last night and it's not agreeing with me," T-Bone said, smiling and rushing over to shake Archer's hand.
The captain shook his head, making a face, and then took a couple of steps and closed the door to his office. Captain Dickie looked at Archer and said, "Your director called ahead and asked if we could all be here to meet and discuss a couple of things, Archer; so what's up?"
Archer paused and closed the privacy blinds on the large office window on the left side of the door and then looked at his watch. "Why don't we have a seat, gentlemen," Archer said. "I have some news that may need to be said before you hear it from another source." He made his way over and shut the other blind behind T-Bone.
"What's the matter, Archer? What's going on?" Captain Dickie asked as he took his seat.
"Well, Young's attorney has already motioned for a change of venue. They want the trial to be out away from Dallas County," Archer said. He looked at the three men and waited for a response.
"So what does that have to do with us, Archer?" Rick asked.
"I just wanted you to know that it probably isn't going to be here in the Dallas County Federal Courthouse. It may even be in another state," Archer replied.
Rick stood slowly, containing his disappointment, and walked to the window, peering out at the fog-covered city below. The other three men watched as he took a piece of paper out of the tablet on the captain's desk and wrote something on it. He then folded the paper and placed it in his pocket.
"What is it, Rick? What's that?" T-Bone asked.
"Just a reminder, Bubba," Rick answered and then again took his seat. As the captain watched Rick and began tapping his finger on his desk, he asked, "Archer, why would Young ask for a change of venue? Wouldn't it help him to be here where he has family or friends?"
"Well, it's probably just another way that they will try to delay the court system," Archer answered. "Young doesn't have any family here, but he knows the federal law inside and out. And you can bet that he will use that knowledge to help himself all he can. If I had committed those crimes, I wouldn't want to be tried in the place where it was all over the papers either."
"There's not a newspaper in Texas that didn't have it all over the front page, so that's not going to help him any," the captain said. "And with the Internet, I'm sure there's not a state in the Union that hasn't heard about it yet. So where are they keeping Young now, Archer?"
"He's on the list to be transported to a federal prison to await his trial. He's still at the Dallas County Jail right now, but he won't be there long. Our local director thinks it will probably be in Bastrop or Beaumont for holding, until the attorney general makes a decision on where he'll be tried. You can bet that it will be somewhere close that he'll be transported to until that decision is made. But honestly we have no idea at this point, Captain."
"You don't think Young will get off, do ya?" T-Bone asked with a look of concern on his brow.
"I'll tell you what was said to me, gentlemen," Archer said. "Young could play the card of being under duress, which means that he could beat some of these charges—maybe not all of them, but some of them." Archer looked at Rick and then back to T-Bone.
"Duress?" Rick exclaimed. "What the hell is he calling duress on? What was he forced to do? I was there! I saw everything! Was he forced to hold a fucking gun to my face and tell me how he was going to kill me?"
"Dammit ... I told myself it was too easy to catch that son of a bitch!" Captain Dickie said.
"Captain, it may not go that way," Archer said. "Young's attorney may not be able to convince a jury that he was forced to make those statements. He'll probably try, though; I can almost guarantee that much. He will try to beat these charges any way he can. It will take one hell of a prosecutor to make them all stick. But there are several charges that he can't beat, no matter how hard he tries."
"Wait just a damn minute!" Rick said. "Are you telling us that he may get away with murder? Are you telling me that I went through all of this for nothing?"
"No, I'm only telling you that there's a chance he will not be prosecutable on all the charges," Archer answered. "Murder will have to be proved to the jury. And with the evidence that we have, that won't be a problem."
"So what charges are we talking about here, Archer?" the captain asked.
"The federal prosecutor has some reservations and concerns about how we obtained the recording at the Bennigans' home that day. She thinks Young and his attorney will dispute the fact that he was ever there before that day. She believes Young will say he had nothing to do with the murders and that he was coerced into a confession at gunpoint by Rick and me," Archer explained.
"Look, Archer, we're not the bad guys," Rick said, rising quickly to his feet. "We are not the ones who committed these crimes. Young committed them, and now there's a chance that he could get away with it."
"Well, he won't get away with all of them; we have him dead to rights on the tampering with evidence and extortion. But his DNA wasn't found at the murder scene, and the tapes were not cleared with a warrant before we recorded him saying that he killed all those people. That's why he may get off on those charges," Archer said.
"Wait a minute. I know we didn't have a warrant, but you were recording as well, Archer. Didn't you have a warrant?" Rick asked.
"No. It turns out that the federal judge was playing golf at the time this all went down. He didn't sign the warrant because he wasn't there. It all happened so fast that day. The special agent in charge said he would have the warrant signed by the time it all took place. But he didn't know the judge was gone for the rest of the day," Archer explained.
Rick put his head down and stood there for a second. "Why didn't he get the warrant signed by another fucking judge then?" he groaned.
"There were no other judges available that day. Rick, I have asked all these questions myself. Trust me, brother; I'm just as disappointed as you are about this bullshit," Archer said.
"So why didn't he sign the warrant afterward, Archer? It would've saved us a lot of bullshit if he would've just signed it and been done," Rick snapped.
"He said he wouldn't sign it after the fact. He wouldn't be known as the judge who breaks the law to catch criminals," Archer said.
"So let me get this straight: the judge would rather a murderer be set free before he would break the rules to make a taped confession stick?" the captain asked in a sarcastic yet humbled voice.
"Yes, sir, that's pretty much it, Captain," Archer said. "The judge doesn't want to break the rules to prosecute a criminal. He said that the system works and that if you play around with the rules, it will backfire. The judge wants it to be a sure thing when he prosecutes someone for a crime like this. He doesn't want there to be any kind of repercussion because of the legal implications that are involved when a judge tampers with evidence."
"That doesn't fucking seem right, though. Does that judge really know what Young has done? Does he know that the son of a bitch killed a whole family?" Rick asked.
"Yes, sir, he does. But he will not sign the warrant, no matter what. He said that would make him just as much of a criminal as Young. Breaking the law is breaking the law. Be it stealing, murder, or falsifying a federal document, the law is the law," Archer answered.
Rick understood why the judge didn't want to break the law to prosecute Young, but it didn't make him feel any better about the whole thing. After all, Young had threatened the life of a police officer and was guilty of six murders as well. At that very moment Rick knew why Young was so pissed about the case he had lost—the case against Leonard "Colt" Marcell. Who was this guy they called Colt?
Rick thought that if he found him, he'd have some answers; maybe Rick could just find out why Young went to all this trouble just to pin a murder on Colt. If he hated the guy that much, why not just kill him?
"I guess I better get going," Archer said. "I'm supposed to meet Chief Director White of the FBI later this afternoon in a formal press conference. He's supposed to give me an award. Hell, the only award I need is for Young to be punished for the crimes he's committed." Archer stood up and shook the detective's hand.
"If he gets away with murder, Archer, nothing will ever stop him again," Rick said.
"Yeah, I know. That's why we need to continue to have hope. Hell, maybe your judge doesn't look at the law the same as the federal judge does. If he signs a warrant, we can use your recordings," Archer said, and winked at the police captain.
He walked out of the office and waved good-bye to the detectives. He made his way to the coat rack, retrieved his trench coat, and poured it over his chubby shoulders. Then he buttoned up two of the center buttons and walked toward the elevator.
"I can't believe this shit," Rick said as he began pacing the floor in the captain's office.
"I understand, Rick, but we have to have faith in the system. That's why we do this job, because we think it's worth doing," the captain assured the detective.
"We can't do anything about it, Captain?" T-Bone asked.
"Well, short of pulling a signed warrant out of our ass, I guess not," the captain answered.
Rick stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at the wall behind the captain as if a mythical creature were there. "But what if we could?" he asked excitedly.
"What if we could what, Rick?" the captain asked.
"What if Archer is right? What if we could get the warrant that was signed that day from a district judge? That would solve the warrant problem, right, Captain?" Rick whispered as he closed the open door.
"Rick, you're talking crazy; you know there wasn't a warrant signed that day by any district judge," the captain replied.
"Yes, sir, I know that, but if we could get a warrant signed with that date on it and take it to the federal prosecutor, we could stop Young from playing the circumstantial evidence card," Rick explained.
"Oh, yeah, I think I get it, Captain," T-Bone added as he too stood and became excited. "We did have a signed warrant the day Young was recorded confessing to the murders. Captain, all we have to do is get a judge to sign a warrant for that day. Then we'll have it," he continued.
Excerpted from The Usher by Will Pettijohn Copyright © 2012 by Will Pettijohn. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Usher shows that Will Pettijohn has a nak for bringing us to the edge of our seats and then dropping us right in the lap of suspense. Switchback was a great introduction to Will Pettijohn's writing skills and he does not disapoint with Th Usher! AWESOME BOOK!!!