Deadly justice, p.21
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       Deadly Justice, p.21

           Darrell Case
Back at her apartment, Alison had fallen into bed. After an hour of tossing and turning, she got up. Picking up the new novel John Grisham novel, she tried to concentrate. Ten minutes later, she put it down. She turned on the television. Letterman was not interesting. She turned the volume down low.

  Her eyes became heavy; they felt like they had sand in them. A bell rang. A school bus? Prison alarm? She fought her way back from sleep. The phone, it was her phone. She glanced at her watch 3 a.m. She snatched up the cell phone.


  “Allison, this is Steel.”

  “Yes sir,” she said instantly alert.

  “There's been another killing.”


  “Michigan City, Indiana. Death row. Strong's on his way, there's a plane waiting at Dallas.”

  “A prison stabbing is not uncommon sir.”

  “The man had just won a stay of execution from the governor. Then last week the court commuted him to life.”

  “So why was he still on death row?”

  “He was to be transported to another state prison later today.”

  “And Allison,” Tony said every word clipped.


  “You report only to me. Don't blow this one.”

  “Yes sir,” she said but he was already gone.

  Something was wrong. The whole case was wrong. All her instincts were screaming. Deep in thought, she dressed and packed an overnight bag. She was waiting when Derrick knocked on her door.

  The gray walls of Indiana State Prison stood as a fortress before Allison.

  “F B I, Huh,” the correctional officer at the front gate said studying her ID. “Ain't never seen one of these before, I'm going to have to call the captain.” He studied it some more.

  In the front seat of the rented black SUV, Allison steamed, physically and mentally. The air conditioner had quit working outside of Gary. Even with both front windows down, the inside of the vehicle was like an oven.

  “Well, get him down here,” she demanded. The young officer eyed her indifferently, and then sauntered off to the guard shack.

  Five minutes later a heavyset man in a blue uniform and white hat drove up. Except for the blue license plate, the Jeep had no marking identify it as a prison vehicle.

  “You Stevens?” He asked, not bothering to glance at the ID she held up.

  “Of course,” Allison, said biting back further response.

  “Where's your partner?” he asked looking over her shoulder into the back seat as if he expected to see Derrick stretched out asleep. “Superintendent said there would be two of you.”

  “he’s interviewing the prisoner's family," Allison said impatiently. "Look, captain, can we get on with this?”

  “Sure, I'll take you to the superintendent.”

  “Is the prisoner still in his cell?” The captain gave her the once -over from head to toe. “Are you daft, lady? In this heat he'd be stinkin'.”

  In Indianapolis, the elderly black woman pulled the ragged curtain aside from the glass door panel.

  “What you want?” she said, eyeing the big man on her front step.

  “FBI ma'am,” Derrick said, holding his ID, up to the glass.

  “I done talk to the cops,” she said, starting to let down the curtain.

  “I really need to speak with you, ma'am.”

  “What fer? The po - leese done told me my son is dead, that's what you people been wantin' all along. Now you just let him rest in peace.” The curtain dropped.

  “We believe your son was murdered.” Silence.

  Chains rattled, locks clicked. A few seconds later, the door opened. The frail woman looked up at the huge man.

  “I knew they'd get him,” she said.

  “Who ma'am?”

  “Them that's been killing people all over the country.” Tears sprang into her eyes. “They done killed that man in Chicago last week. That man that's been a robbin' banks. And that boy down in Texas Oh I knows you don't believes me, but its' true.”

  “Yes, ma'am,” Derrick said writing in his notebook, “Do you have any proof there was a conspiracy against your son?”

  “You think if I did, I'd be sittin' here in this run down shack?” She shook her head, “No sirree, I'd be right in there at there warden's office demanding an investigation.”

  “Well, if you have nothing to go on, how do you know he wasn't murdered by another offender?”

  “I knows it right here,” she said tapping her left breast, “in a mother's heart.”

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