No cause to die for, p.24
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       No Cause to Die For, p.24

           David Dilley

  Vinnie sat behind the table in the center of a small room with dark walls and no decorations. He smiled a big smile as he looked up toward the camera that was hung near the ceiling above the door. He had been through this many times before in the past, only it had been quite a while since had faced a good stiff interrogation… but he was ready… and he was confident that, like in the past, there would be no real evidence that he had done anything they were going to accuse him of. He was thinking that once the family’s lawyer arrived he would be out of there and on his way when the door burst open and three men entered the room.

  Berry stood back against the wall opposite the suspect with the third man standing beside him as Dave sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the table.

  I’m Lt. Dave Lutz Mr. Balboa… standing behind me is Special consulting detective Berry Sullivan and our department’s chief of forensics. Dave didn’t tell the suspect that Berry was just a consultant… he wanted Vinnie to know that he was there for serious business and he felt that by telling Vinnie that he was including important department people as backup during the questioning he was making a strong point of that fact.

  Mr. Balboa, are you aquatinted with a man name Charles Loften?

  Can’t say I’ve ever heard of him… did this Loften guy finger me for some crime or something? … what’s this puke accusing me of?

  Feeling guilty Vinnie?

  No, but I figure you didn’t bring me down here just to have a friendly chat.

  Well, he’s not accusing you of anything Vinnie… he’s dead… and we think you had something to do with that?

  So let me get this straight… you’re sayin that I killed this Loften guy … who I already said I never heard of… you’re gonna charge me with killin this guy? … well, I’m sure there ain’t no evidence cause I didn’t do nothing… and I ain’t sayin nothin more till I can call my lawyer… I know my rights …

  It’s funny that you mentioned evidence Vinnie… because we DO have evidence… we have your fingerprints from the crime scene… where you shot him in one of the buildings down in Warehouse Row… that’s where we found him.

  Warehouse Row!!! … Vinnie laughed… I’ve been in all of them places down there… I work for people who do business in most of them places… ya know… doing little odds and ends… my fingerprints are probably everywhere down there… along with a whole lot of other people’s I’ll bet… you can’t arrest me for that… you got any witnesses to this killin I was supposed to do?

  No Vinnie, we don’t have any witnesses, I’m certain you made sure you wouldn’t be seen. But we DO have some evidence… Berry, you want to tell Mr. Balboa what you discovered when you reviewed the crime scene?

  Well, it appeared that the victim was clutching something in his hand when he was shot, and it also appeared that the killer pried open the victim’s hand and removed whenever he was holding.

  It appeared that? … You got to be kiddin me… you say you got no witnesses? … so you concoct some crazy story about this guy being killed having something in his hand and it appeared that I supposedly took it… you guys must have it in for me or something… I didn’t do nothing, and you can’t prove that I did … you musta been smoking crack or something when you came up with that story!

  Vinnie was still smiling like he knew something they didn’t… he was sure he was going to walk out of there still smiling.

  It’s not just a story Vinnie… the fingerprint of yours we got wasn’t form any of the warehouses… it was from the victim.

  Vinnie stopped smiling. 

  You see Vinnie, I wasn’t aware of it, but it seems that Carl, our forensic scientist over there, has a technique for lifting fingerprints from a person’s skin… it involves vaporized Super Glue… probably not something you were aware of from the old days of your work… but let’s skip the details… what was the match percentage Carl?

  It was a hundred percent Dave…

  You see, the point is Vinnie we have you cold. Your fingerprint was on the victim’s hand. When you pried open his hand to remove what you had killed him for, you left your fingerprint on his skin… there isn’t a jury in this country that wouldn’t convict you just on that evidence alone.  Dave was implying that he had more evidence than he did… with all we have on you, we’re talking first degree murder… you could spend the rest of your life behind bars… depending on the outcome of our little chat...

  Vinnie sat rather still and quiet in his chair… he was contemplating his situation… he wasn’t smiling at all now… in fact he had an expression on his face that that looked more like he was in pain.

  You said I COULD spend my life behind bars depending on how our talk here goes… you offering me a deal?

  What I am saying Vinnie is that I might be able to help you some if you help me. What I want is the name of the person behind the hit… you tell me who you were working for and I will speak to the DA.

  Vinnie leaned forward and looked Dave right in the eyes… I’ve never got a break for the cops… how do I know you’re being straight with me?

  We’re the good guys Vinnie… what we want is to stop this before it gets completely out of hand… we want the people behind all this mess. YOU know things that can help us get to the people that are really causing this trouble that you are in. You’re not our primary target, and we can take you out of the scope if you help us. Do you still want to talk to your lawyer of do you want to talk to me?

  If I tell you something you wanta know you’ll reduce my charges and my time?

  I said I would talk to the DA.

  You bring me a statement from the DA saying what he is offering and if it’s good for me, I’ll talk to ya… but nothing till I get it in writing.

  I’ll see what I can do. Dave got up and motioned to Berry for them to leave the room…

  Once they were a few steps away from the interrogation room, Berry spoke what he was really thinking. Do you really think the DA will actually cut him a deal for his information?

  I don’t know Berry, but if we’re going to have any chance of the DA working with us on this, we’re going to have to get the Chief involved…I think it’s time we had a sit down with Chief Dobbins and filled him in on what we have… maybe everything we have.

  The look on Berry’s face read like a book. He wasn’t happy with the idea of giving the Chief the entire story… he still wasn’t sure if he could trust the Chief in spite of how Dianne might feel about it. He knew she was a good judge of character, and he really wasn’t second guessing her opinion. He was just thinking that he had been fooled before, and it could happen to Dianne too…

  Listen Dave, I’m not sure we should get into the power broker stuff and presidential politics. I have to be honest, I really don’t know if we can completely trust the Chief… I’m not saying he crooked… it’s just that there is a lot at stake here… maybe even including our lives and the lives of others… are you sure you want to tell him EVERYTHING?

  I’m not keen on the idea either, but we need to get something concrete confirming our suspicions… and Vinnie just might have what we need to tie it all together. It appears that this is the only way we’re going to get Vinnie to talk. We’ll have to see how much leverage we need before the Chief is willing to get involved in the politics of inter-department cooperation… if we can convince him about our suspicions regarding ties to organized crime and gambling…. well, that might be enough…  maybe we won’t have to tell him EVERYTHING!


  The Chief had just finished a conversation and was hanging up the phone when Dave and Berry entered his office.  Dave closed the door behind them and approached his desk while Berry sort of stood in the background.

  I only have a few minutes Lt. Lutz so make this quick. I have a meeting with the Mayor… the Chief drew a deep breath and sort of mused out loud… he’s been giving me a hassle about crime statistics… it’s all politics to him. So what do you have?

  Well, it’s more what we n
eed … not that we don’t have anything… we have a real break in the Loften murder case… and it looks as if it leads to much more…

  Get to the point… the Chief tapped on the face of his wrist watch indicating he was in a hurry.

  Well, sir… we need to get the DA to make a deal with a suspect… Vincent Balboa… we have him dead to rights for the Loften murder… Carl in forensics was able to lift his fingerprints from the victim’s body… we believe he was hired as a hit man… from what we have discovered we believe that organized crime families are involved and it may also involve a plan to take control of organized gamble on sports… and he’s willing to talk and give us information on who is behind it… The problem is he won’t say a word until we get him some kind of deal in writing from the DA.

  The Chief’s expression changed from a frown to what could be considered the first smile like look that Dave had ever seen on him. How sure are you about Balboa giving you good information?

  Mr. Sullivan has been working from the other side of this case and he has received some very solid inside information that points to the same conclusions… he’s pretty sure we’re heading in the right direction…

  I’m going to be honest with you boys… the timing on this is good for my meeting with the Mayor… it gives me an edge… if he believes the department is close to resolving some of the goals of the Organized Crime Task Force it could take some pressure off of me.

  The look on Dave and Berry’s faces must have given away their thoughts. The Chief was more observant and a lot quicker to grasp the entire situation than Dave had figured. Don’t worry Lt. Lutz, I won’t tell him more than he needs to know to keep him happy… being a politician, I don’t trust him either… I would never jeopardize an ongoing investigation by telling a politician all we know… you can relax.

  The Chief got up from his desk and motioned for them to leave the office with him. I’ll speak with the DA after my meeting with the Mayor. I’m pretty sure he will cooperate… he owes me anyway, and this would be a good time to call in that debt…

  Berry with thinking that even though the Chief didn’t talk to him directly, he was more cooperative than Berry thought he would be…and he didn’t aim any arrows directly at Berry…

  His mind was reorganizing his thoughts. Maybe this arrangement is going to be a lot more beneficial than I first thought… he really doesn’t seem to be such a bad guy… probably it’s all the responsibility that makes it seem to his people like he’s an old Grisly Bear.

  Returning to Dave’s office Berry spoke his mind. He’s not so bad to deal with… from your description of him, I thought I was gonna get my head bit off…

  It’s timing Berry… we couldn’t have come to him with this request for his help at a better opportunity.

  Berry was thinking that his timing was getting better…

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