Read Compelling Evidence Online

Authors: Steve Martini

Tags: #Trials (Murder), #Mystery & Detective, #Legal, #General, #Psychological, #Suspense, #Large type books, #Fiction

Compelling Evidence (48 page)

BOOK: Compelling Evidence

'k, "What do we do with these?" she says. "Package them all," I tell her. The family @[email protected] them." Sharon Cooper died the evening of the accident, car, the car Potter ran from in panic, shades of a career fading before his eyes. He saw scandal in the young woman, questions of an untoward air. What Ben didn't know when he fled from the Sharon was not yet dead, only unconscious. She ensuing fire, sparke 'd by engine heat and a burst ("M could have saved her. This fact did not elude @ ‐ s

@ Coop bore his undying enmity, shrouded from so world by the visible pain of his lost daughter. It that embraced not only Ben but Talia. The police had been unusually thorough in their )w, of the accident, a favor to a forensic colleague. But 4V, they could not come up with any leads.

In part this ve fact that Coop was busy misleading them. He had itsi Ben Potter prosecuted for merely fleeing the scene 0) He wanted more. Even after killing Ben, Coop aicst, I ‐ 1, charade, the pretense of the purposeless search for 10, Sharon's car. Nikki has found copies of investigative reports private, papers. In one of these is a note ‐wilt MM marker, a single paragraph. A little after seven on of the accident an attendant at a gas station a mile : the crash said he saw a man alone, wearing a business suit, walk to the pay phone on die comer of his property to make a call. Twenty Ininutes later he was picked up by a woman driving an expensive sports car, a white Mercedes 500 SL. Talia and her spiffy little car. Theirs indeed was a marriage of convenience.

Talia, it seems, whether she would have cared or not, was oblivious to Ben's own infidelity. She shielded him from authorities for the benefit of his career, and after his death failed to comprehend the significance of these events for her own plight. She was in all ways a victim of circumstance. I have said nothing to authorities about these events.

Talia Potter has paid a dear enough price for a bad marriage. It is not often that one gets a glimpse of ultimate truth following a trial of the proportions of Talia's ordeal. But with what I know w I have been able to piece together many of the events surrounding Ben's murder, though I still do not know with certainty where the deed was carried out. If I had my guess I would say here, in Coop's house. I have not checked the phone recoms, but I suspect that on the day he died, Ben received a telephone call from George Cooper, a confrontational call in which Coopthreatened to go to authorities with what he knew unless Ben came here. He came‐‐and was killed. I have a new admiration for Mrs. Foster, for now it is clear that the vehicle she saw in the driveway of the Potter residence on the night of the murder was in fact Ben Potter's. It was driven )y Coop, who needed physical evidence linking Talia with more

,ertainty to the crime. Hair from a brush or comb was n eeded. Wer calling the home and sensing that no one was there, he sed Ben's keys to enter the house, then left unseen. Given the ieighborhood sentry dutyperformed by Mrs. Foster, this was an Ct of God. The shotgun was

fortuitous. It was left for repairs by Sharonn effand no doubt run for Ben‐and the receipt fell into Coop's 77w, after Sharon's death. The rest is history. He reclaimed it Rd used it to mask the shot of his own small‐caliber handgun, ilmurder weapon which no doubt is now long gone.

:"What do you think will happen to Skarpellos?" says Harry. "Who knows?

He won't be prosecuted for murder. Embezzlei have shared the letter from Coop with Nelson. With regard Ben's death, Skarpellos is now off the hook and so am 1, o, the Greek has other problems. Nelson has an open and Wl‐.investigation combing the firm's client trust account, and word is that the state bar is closing in on Tony's [email protected]‐, Skarpellos, it seems, will soon have a new managing I had lunch with Robert Rath last week, my alpha called me, so we met to talk about Talia's trial. It seems had more intelligence than even I had credited to him, sense for dealing with people. The jury foreman was a" egocentric woman, a person Rath sensed would cause she lost in a contest to lead the jury. He sensed pro a hung jury, grounded on personal pique, if he crossed‐, he bowed out in the first round of balloting. Even took the. woman three ballots to secure a majority of I.Otherw

"Yow ise," he told me as we

left the restaurant, have had your verdict an hour earlier."

Jimmy Lama has his own problems. Off on a si Us out pay, Lama has all the attention he can handle affairs. Nelson has dropped him from the DA's unit, is demanding a,stiff sanction for Lam's meddling seems the tip to Eli Walker will cost him. And Eli I*V head firmly wedged in a new bottle, doing expos6s on corruption, a topic no one much cares to read about.

J' Nikki and I are talking about her moving back in the house. Sarah is throwing little parties over this four‐year‐old's picture of heaven is life with Mommlie Nikki and I have a lot to work out. We are trying t,[email protected], of our lives back together. When I look at Coop I know that as long as there is life there is hope. Ben once told me that experience had taught him, neither convict nor acquit. T'hey merely lend their particular version of the facts before them. It IS lawyer that is the difference, he told me. In this C, ho' The jury did not acquit Talia so much as convict did it for all the wrong reasons. In the end, Ben's possess the ring of prophecy. As he said, the law is, for divining the truth.

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