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The detective proceeded cautiously. It wasn't comfortable driving on a dark country road at night.

The long narrow stretch of highway faded in the distance. The barren land looked like one of those places that had been declared dead but refused to die. There was nothing for miles except hundreds of acres of open fields waiting to be plowed. The absence of street lights made the road darker and more perilous. Deer grazing along the side of the road, oblivious to the occasional traffic, would often be hit by a passing car. Striking a three-hundred-pound buck on a dark country road was maddening. No matter how hard the impact, the animal would always escape unharmed. Yet the damage to the car would be extensive. He hated deer. They were only suitable as dinner for wolves. The perils to a country cop were not always the criminals with guns. Sometimes they had horns.

  As he drove up to the crime scene, he could see the lights from the squad cars.

  Another homicide. Twenty years on the force, and dozens of murders, after a while they all looked alike.

 An anxious young rookie was standing near the taped off area. He was shaking like a juggler with St. Vitus Dance. The cop lifted the yellow crime tape and approached the area.

 He watched the men in uniform as they crept around the crime scene. Police officers doing their jobs with as much enthusiasm as men who are worked too hard and paid too little can muster.

  The detective saw the coroner's car parked in the distance.

 He thought corners were inept. They weren't specialists. They weren't doctors. Coroners didn't even work full time. All they did was sign death certificates. However, he figured, in this case, the town got a bonus. The coroner was the local undertaker as well. At least the guy was used to looking at dead bodies.

 The detective walked over to the coroner to get an update.

 The coroner looked up and began to frown. His brow had more wrinkles than a Shar Pei in a dog pound. As the coroner related the grim news, it set his teeth on edge like chalk being dragged across a chalkboard. The story was horrific. You couldn't work amid all this without it getting to you.

 The coroner told him that when police responded to a tip from a neighbor of suspicious activity at a nearby farm, they found a grisly site.

 The authorities discovered the body of a tattooed heavy-set man, stuffed in a freezer. After a further search, they found another corpse, that of a female, in an adjacent pond.

 The police immediately suspected the couple's nineteen-year-old son had committed a double homicide.

 The informant was the brother of one of the victims and lived on a neighboring farm. He said he called in the tip because he heard his brother and sister-in-law fighting with their son. He added that he saw his nephew shoot the parents several times with a small handgun then dispose of the bodies.

 The police immediately brought the son and uncle into custody for questioning. During a thorough interrogation, the police tried to determine a motive. However, many inconsistencies arose between the son's and uncle's testimonies. Every time more facts were added, the possibilities grew more numerous. There didn't seem to be a clear direction to take.

 Nevertheless, after the chief detective reviewed the information from both suspects questions arose in his mind. The investigator began to wonder. How could a thin boy, (he weighed 130 lbs.), lift his 250-pound father into a freezer? How could the young man drag the corpse of his mother into a pond? Why weren't there any shell casings at the scene of the crime? Also, the trajectory of the bullets found in the bodies suggested that the gun was held in the right hand. The boy was left handed.

 Further investigation revealed that the victims were heavily in debt. The brother lent his dead sibling money to help clean up unpaid obligations. The collateral was the farm and a life insurance policy in which the victim's brother was named the beneficiary.

 The detective assigned to the case knew that one of the most common motives for murder is money.

 The brother seemed to have a good alibi. Nonetheless, the detective called the man back for questioning. The investigator requested that the brother take a lie detector test. Instead, the brother confessed.

 The boy was released.

 The detective was satisfied. He knew you get justice in the next world. In this world, you have the law.


David De Santo






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