By Michael Morgan
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
“I don’t know what to think J,” Demarcus sagged back on the couch, whisky untouched in his tumbler.
A Pawn advanced across the board. “Pawn to G3,” intoned the feminine voice of Jeremiah’s AI opponent.
“What’s so hard about it?” Jeremiah asked without looking up from the game as the AI’s Queen slid across to threaten his Rook. “A shot up body is nothing unusual in the Islands.”
Demarcus raised his glass and sipped, “It’s not the body. It’s the way he died. This guy wasn’t connected. He didn’t bang. Nothing. Just a guy who went to work and went home. Why would three dudes show up at his house and cap him?”
“Why three? Jeremiah moved his Rook one square.
“I told you the coroner pulled three different kinds of bullets out of him. Who’s gonna bring three guns to shoot one person?” Demarcus put his glass down.
“How many time was he shot?” Jeremiah moved again.
Demarcus looked puzzled, “Eleven.”
“And how many different types of bullets?” Jeremiah’s Rook fell to a Bishop.
Frustration crept into Demarcus’ voice as he read from his notebook, “I told you, three kinds of bullets. Three nines, three thirty-twos, and the rest were thirty-eights. “
Jeremiah shut off the game and faced the detective, “Any of those bullets have marks on them?”
“Ballistics isn’t back yet,” Demarcus admitted.
Jeremiah shook his head, “They won’t find anything. Those slugs will be perfectly smooth.”
“How do you know?” Demarcus addressed his glass again.
“Let me take another couple of guesses before I tell you. First, you found little bits of paper scattered around the body.” Jeremiah nodded slowly, “And most of those bullets keyholed.”
“Only one hit straight on. The rest hit all kinds of ways. How did you know about the paper?” Jeremiah held up his hand stopping Demarcus.
“One more guess. All of the bullet paths will indicate a single shooter,” Jeremiah looked at Demarcus for confirmation. At Demarcus’s nod, he continued, “You’re looking for a pair of forty-four or forty-five caliber revolvers. The perp will have some paper in his place that will match the paper fragments found at the scene. Look for paper cut into strips about three quarters of an inch to an inch and an eighth wide.”
“What the hell does paper have to do with this?” Demarcus demanded.
“Don’t swear. It makes you sound less intelligent.” Jeremiah warned.
“Screw you,” Demarcus replied.
Jeremiah continued, “Your killer knows some things. He doesn’t care about leaving a body, and he wants to throw off the investigation he knows is coming. His weapons are probably registered to him, so he got a handful of black market ammunition in calibers different from his weapon’s real caliber, and wrapped strips of paper around the cartridges to make them big enough to fit into the chambers of his gun. Then he knocks on his victim’s door, and shoots him.”
“At that distance the bullets would be accurate enough to do the job,” Demarcus nodded in understanding.
“Since they are smaller than the barrel, the bullets have no rifling marks to ID the weapon. The paper fragments were caused by the explosion of the gunpowder.” Jeremiah finished.
“A professional hit,” Demarcus surmised.
Jeremiah shook his head, “Possible. Personally, I would look for someone with a grudge and a lot of old books. Crime novels from the 1940s.”
“Why old books?” Demarcus looked puzzled.
Jeremiah smiled at his friend, “An educated man knows things, but he often lacks the direct personal experience that prevents him from making simple mistakes a person with direct experience would never think to write down because he does not make those mistakes.”
Demarcus picked up his tumbler and sipped, “Ok Yoda, you want to put that in English? What kind of mistakes?”
“Revolvers leave bullets, but no shell casings. Bangers don’t care about shell casings, so it’s not gang related. A professional would have used a shotgun. A big revolver is hard to conceal, so your suspect would be carrying a package, or wearing a coat. It’s a hundred degrees out, so people will remember some big sweaty dude in a winter coat,” Jeremiah explained.
“You’re sure it’s a dude?” Demarcus looked dubious.
Jeremiah gave him a look, “Large caliber revolvers typically hold between five and eight rounds. If you man was shot eleven times, the perp had two guns, or he took the time to reload. Unless you forgot to tell me the victim was shot while he was on the floor, we have a shooter with a gun in each hand.”
A knock and the door opened. The portly man on the other side stepped into the room. “Jeremiah, Demarcus,“ he nodded to each in turn. “Thank you so much for your assistance. Our writers really appreciate your brainstorming this through for us, and I’m sure our viewers will be blown away next season. Your checks are waiting at the receptionist.”
As they walked down the hall Demarcus put his arm around Jeremiah’s shoulders, “Man, I told you this was a sweet treat!”
Jeremiah nodded, “I’ll admit, it is not what I expected to be doing after twenty years on the street.”