Six murders. Two detectives. More than four million LA residents. “That’s a hell of a lot of suspects,” Bill Pawson said.
His partner, Sean Wells shrugged.
Pawson and Wells, Detectives First Class of LAPD Robbery Homicide Squad, had been working this homicide case for the past three years. It was cases rather than a case. It was clear to them, their Captain, the Chief of Detectives, the media, and the public that there was a serial killer at large in Los Angeles. What wasn’t clear was the identity of the killer. The cops had no clue as to who it was or why.
The modus operandi told them it was the work of one person: all middle-aged female victims, all single or divorced, lived alone, had a cat or cats as a pet, no dogs, and no kids.
All the vics’ homes’ rear windows jimmied, night-time entry believed to be between three to four in the early hours, cause of death identical in all cases: a .22 slug in the brain fired at not over two-feet away, using a pillow to muffle the sound. A rose left on or next to the vics’ bodies. A single red rose the first time. Two roses on the second vic. Yeah, you got it – six roses on the sixth victim. The media called the perp, ‘The Rose Slayer.’
The crime scenes yielded no clues. No prints, no fibres, no DNA. No witnesses. Nothing. Nada. Before you ask: no, have you any idea how many florists there are in and around LA? Not to mention rose growers.
Casts were taken of the jimmy marks on the window frames and preserved in the evidence store. They were as useful as an Eskimo’s refrigerator. Without the bar used to force entry, there was nothing for the CSI lab to compare.
Sure, there were the slugs recovered during the autopsies. They were all from the same weapon but where was that gun? Detective work is easy once you have the perp’s identity, search his place, find the bar and gun. He can lawyer up as much as he wants. The DA will have a field day in court. Juries love CSI.
“Hey, Sean!” Pawson shouted. “Wanna beer or three before we knock it off for the weekend?” The robbery homicide squad room was full of detectives’ noisy banter about the Lakers.
Wells called back over the hubbub, “Yeah, sure thing. Just give me two minutes, will ya?”
Pawson, impatient and sighing, pulled his Glock .45 and holster from a desk drawer, secured them to his waist belt and threw his jacket over one shoulder ready to leave. Moving his shield from his shirt breast pocket to his belt, he muttered under his breath. His partner had taken a new incoming call.
Wells listened while holding his free hand ramrod in the air. Pawson recognised that was a signal to wait. Over the next thirty seconds, they both realised the weekend was cancelled.
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