It was all about Marlene Berrios
For anyone with experience in the Criminal Justice machine, understood the interrogation room happens for only a few rare suspects. Usually those in domestic murders or child abuse cases.
Murders happen so much that it no longer unsettles a man. In Bridgeport, Connecticut it doesn’t even ruin his day. However, the feel of murder was so different today. It happened to a young girl who had hoped to become a big sister. She was so excited that her life would change, but it wasn’t the way she expected. She met death head on and lost. Marlene Berrios was abducted and brutally murdered. Her body was discovered stretched across a basement floor in full rigor. She was covered with a few sheets of yellowed newspaper. The saddest thing about the scene was watching the young girl being examined right there on the basement floor. The medical examiners were professionals as they examined the tiny body without demonstrating shock or dismay.
The interrogation rooms these days were routine, and that it could take all of two minutes to complete an interrogation.
Anything to say this time, Mr. Suspect?
No, sir. Just want to call my lawyer.
Fine, Mr. Suspect.
On July, 6, the interrogation room was different. There was a suspect accused of killing Marlene Berrios. The two detectives were standing over that suspect, Mariano Sanchez. He kept telling the detectives that he had abducted the young girl but he did not kill her.
Detectives Laura Kimber and Hemel Patel stood directly in front of him neither one believing his fabrication.
Kimber turned away from the suspect and stared into the large mirror directly in front of her. She felt an animalistic anger building inside her. It was the spontaneous feeling of provoked hostility. She had this blind loss of control. Murderous rage started to fill her heart. It was a virulent, heart burning, seething anger. It was a complete venting of anger and frustration.
Patel knew exactly what she was feeling so he walked over to calm her down and make a suggestion he thought he’d never make.
“Laura, Willie Da Greek still has his offer on the table,” he started. “If you and Detective Rios lose all the evidence you have on him he’ll take care of Sanchez. He says he’ll make it look like a drug deal gone bad. I think you should consider it.”
“Become an animal like Da Greek?”
“This guy killed a young, tiny girl,” Patel added. “He’ll keep the courts busy for years before anything happens to him.”
Kimber knew deep down inside that she wanted that baby killer dead. He was a monster and didn’t deserve to live, but who was she to determine his fate?
It was all about Marlene Berrios. That statement kept riding her brain until it felt like a phone-line that had gone dead. Still after a week they have not charged Sanchez with the murder.
The only link they had so far was Larry Boyd’s statement. He claimed that he saw Sanchez carrying the body into the basement of the six apartment row-house off of Kossuth Street. The problem was that Boyd was an addict and a two-time loser and his mother owned the apartments. He was a terrible witness and could easily be proven as unreliable. The prints found in the basement did belong to Sanchez, but he claimed he carried her down there and just left her. When he did leave her, she was still alive. A good lawyer could hammer that home and shed doubt on the case.
Kimber glared at Patel.
Sanchez looked with terror at Kimber and Patel, certain that they had something up their sleeve. That look did little to warm up the cold hatred Kimber felt inside as she just shivered.
“I want to, but it doesn’t feel right.”
“I know Da Greek had you and Rios locked up in a self storage room and he sent you a warning. Maybe he knows you weren’t going to back down. Perhaps we can use him in a way that unties our hands.” Patel added. “Trust me, I hate doing it this way too, but damn it if I let this creep walk!”
Detective Laura Kimber felt her neck muscles turn to wood, because she knew what she had to do. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but it had to be done. She’d face her demons when her Maker comes calling.
“Do it,” she said quietly.
Patel almost grimaced as he turned to Sanchez. “We’re letting you go Sanchez, because we don’t have anything to hold you on.”
He looked confused.
“Get the hell out of here before I change my mind!” Patel shouted.
It was all about Marlene Berrios. Detective Laura Kimber kept repeating that statement over and over again.
Two days later the Connecticut Post’s headlines read: Mariano Sanchez was shot three times in a drive-by while selling drugs to several teenagers as gang violence continues to grow.
The article stated that none of the teenagers were hurt and that Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detective Laura Kimber folded the newspaper and threw it into the backseat of her unmarked cruiser. There was no guilt in her heart.
© 2013 Frank Atanacio