The suspect showed no fear. As a result, the Miranda warning became a psychological hurdle. They held him for a moment, not charging him yet with the crime. If they did he must be advised of his rights. During the interview the lead detective spoke softly, wearily, with a look that clearly displayed uncertainty. The evidence they had may be insufficient, and they would have to release him. The suspect knew that.
The lead detective sat alone on the other side of the interrogation room, reviewing the poor evidence he had against the suspect. Slowly he peered through pages of nothing. Only legal words reminding him that he had no case against the suspect yet. His cup of coffee had grown old and ignored as he kept the thoughts fresh in his mind. His gut was telling him that the man sitting alone on the other side of the glass was a child killer.
The lead detective thought about a beating confession. He wanted to walk into that room and beat the hell out of him until a confession fell to the floor. His size was very intimidating, and he could get away with smacking him around. But he thought about the legal ramifications, and the case would be thrown out of court.
The suspect didn’t look like a monster. He had thinning white hair, soft blue eyes and an oddly inviting smile. He just looked like the old run of the mill grandfather. He was born in a Polish working class neighborhood in a good Christian home. His past however hid a different story. He liked the young girls and the younger the better. He was a registered sex offender, but he knew that they could not use that in court against him.
The lead detective had scenarios playing through his mind. He could shoot the suspect dead and lie to the press about it. It was a self-defense killing. He could tell the media that the suspect attacked him with a pen and tried to stab him in the eye. He could tell the media that the suspect wrestled the gun away from him after a confrontation and during the struggle the gun had gone off. He thought about a lot of crazy things to keep that monster from returning to the streets.
The lead detective turned away from those meandering thoughts and returned his attention to the evidence list and case report. The law became a different kind of war in this country. The legal system lowered the playing field. Everyone seemed equally equipped to handle the law.
The lead detective looked at the suspect with contempt through the two-way mirror. He knew that his thoughts would not alter any trial if he kept them to himself. The suspect was sitting there lost in his own thoughts. He was a complete lump of shit.
What was going threw his mind? The detective thought.
At the mayor’s office, the talk of the child killer case was spreading like a cancer. There were dead children, crime scene photos, lab reports, diagrams, grieving families, but only one suspect. The case had become a world unto itself, spinning in an orbit of its own.
When the reports hit the streets that they apprehended a suspect the mood of the city was like that of a theme-park roller coaster ride. It was bouncing wildly between moments of elation and hours of despair. It was due to the fact the two different reports kept hitting the pavement. One of the reports clearly stated that the man they have was only brought in for questioning, and that he was not charged with the crime. The other report stated the complete opposite.
The suspect sat in his chair thinking about the first child he abducted over twenty years ago. Maggie Brown, he remembered her name as clearly as he could remember his own. He introduced her to the elements of torture. He thought if they weakened they would give up and have sex with him without brutal force. It worked, but he found it frustrating and highly unsatisfactory. His problem was that he could not perform. This agitated him so he simply lost his cool. He remembered Maggie Brown so well because she was the first to die. He remembered picking up a mop bucket. It was a heavy mop bucket with wheels. With the dirty water still inside he swung it and it hit her on the side of the head killing her instantly. He remembered the dirty water mixing with the blood hitting the basement wall. It was easy and he felt alive.
He would drop the dead body off in front of a church. He had no reason why, but it felt like the best thing to do.
Then the suspect would think about Amy Milligan. She was barely eight years old. He was on top of her his left hand covering her mouth because she was a non-stop screamer. What he failed to notice was that his weight coupled with his hand blocking her breathing she died almost instantly. That was the rare moment that he felt pleased that he couldn’t perform. Penetration would have clearly meant that he was having sex with the dead.
The suspect didn’t think of himself as a monster. He thought of himself as a human doing monstrous things. Everyone has a little bit of that in them. It didn’t justify his actions, but it was a preparation for an insanity plea, should he ever need one.
The lead detective opened the door and was sickened visibly.
The detective slowly shook his head from side to side, “no you’re free to go.”
“Okay, thank you for wasting my time.”
“I’ll be watching you.”
“But still,” the suspect paused. “Little girls would come up dead and raped, and you’ll be watching me?”
“There was no rape or penetration,” the detective shot back. “My guess is that the sick freak just can’t get it up. He’s a sexual loser that’s why he preys on the young and the weak.”
“Get it off your chest, maybe you’ll sleep better.”
The suspect grunted and walked away.
The lead detective just watched with the expression of pure hatred riddled across his face.
Other Quick Flash Crime fictions by Frank F. Atanacio:
© 2012 Frank Atanacio