Deadly justice, p.29
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       Deadly Justice, p.29

           Darrell Case
After pacing her cell for an hour, Alison began to calm

  down. Steel could take away her badge but he could not take away her instincts. She was still an FBI agent. They trained her. The agency gave her the tools to solve any case despite its difficulty.

  The only difference was that this time she had to prove her own innocence. At this moment she knew only that someone had drugged her, killed Derrick and planted evidence in her apartment to frame her as the assassin. Who? The only name the came to mind was Rome Jorgensen.

  At 9 o'clock, four correctional officers came for her. They manacled her wrist and ankles. Then, in lockstep, they hurried her down the hallway to the elevator. Every high-risk prisoner wore a bulletproof vest any time they were exposed to the public. Not her.

  It seemed there were a hundred reporters crowded around the back exit. Even with the officers surrounding her they thrust their mikes and cameras in her face. CNN Fox News, NBC, CBS. Alphabet soup served cold. Dozens of questions were hurled at her. She kept her mouth shut and straight ahead. She expected at any moment to be blown into eternity by hot lead piercing her head or her chest.

  The arraignment was swift. They brought her in handcuffs through the back door of the courthouse. The officers escorting her were firm and impersonal. She was just another criminal to appear before the judge. She breathed a sigh of relief when they entered the quiet courtroom. Her respite

  was short lived. The full impact of her fight for freedom hit her the moment the judge entered.

  “How do you plead?” the judge asked, peering down at her dispassionately.

  She wanted to scream. That would only add to her trouble. The fight for her life and freedom had begun. She would not let them beat her.

  “How do you plead?” the judge repeated, his eyes boring through her and his tone impatient. From his attitude Allison inferred she might as well plead guilty.

  She answered in as a firm and clear a voice as she could muster, “Not guilty Your Honor.”

  “Do you have the resources to hire an attorney?”

  “No Your Honor.”

  “Very well Mr. Crenshaw, you will take this case.”

  “Yes Your Honor.”

  A sluggish, grizzled older man with a bored expression stepped out of the gallery and stood to Allison. As a young man fresh out of law school, Benny Crenshaw was primed to be a fierce fighter for the innocent. He soon learned there were few who were not responsible for the crimes of which they were accused. Now at 62, the only thing that interested him was retirement. Yet retirement took money, of which as a public defender Benny had very little.

  Alison turned to speak to him but his resigned demeanor took the wind right out of her sails. She had no doubt this was one lawyer who would happily settle for a quick fix.

  “Not guilty Your Honor,” Crenshaw echoed as he had a thousand times before.

  “So ordered. Bail is set at one million dollars.”

  Allison reeled. The door to one path of had just slammed in her face.

  Later in the conference room, Crenshaw sat down heavily. The chair groaned under his weight. He smiled wearily at Alison. Still in handcuffs, she didn't return it.

  “They treating you all right?” It was a standard question, one that he asked of all of his clients. Deep down he cared or at least liked to think he did.

  “And if they're not? Would you do anything about

  it?” Allison said, angrily snapping off each word. Crenshaw took a deep breath.

  “Look Ms. Stevens, Allison. You're facing some serious charges. Not to mention giving the FBI a black eye,” he said.

  Removing his glasses, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The judge and the prosecutor both received a call from Tony Steel this morning. He’s demanding they go for the death penalty.”

  Allison felt faint. The room spun. It wasn't like she hadn't expected this. She Steeled herself. If she was going to make it through this, she had to be stronger than them.

  “They may have evidence, bogus as it is. What about motive? And what about the investigation I was on?”

  “The investigation is concluded. Motive? Well, they believe you’re hired gun.”

  “That's absurd.”

  “Absurd or not it will very difficult to mount an effective defense with the FBI targeting you. I don't need to tell you they have some powerful artillery.”

  “So are you telling me to plead guilty?”

  “What I'm saying is, if you plead guilty...”

  “No, I'll ...”

  “I think I can get them to take the death penalty off the table.”

  “I would rather die than spend the rest of my life surrounded by murderer’s, thieves and thugs.”

  “Also if you name the members of your network.”

  “There is no network.”

  “All right then, we'll take it to trial and see what we can do.” Crenshaw placed his large hands on the table and pushed himself to his feet. Walking toward the door, he called for the CO.

  “Thank you, I feel so much better now.” Uttering that remark made Allison feel like she’d gotten back a little of her power. Crenshaw kept walking, pretending not to have heard.

  Back in her cell, Allison planned her escape.

  Chapter 20

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