Bicycle Shop Murder 5

Angela Hammerly dedicated her life to becoming District Attorney. At 42, she had never been married, or even seriously dated. All she could think about, night and day, was her ulti­mate goal. And her dream finally came true, thanks to the death of 74-year-old Porter Strickley.

She could not deny that she had learned the job well, working for that old pain-in-the-butt. He was 57 when she interviewed for the position of Assistant District Attorney. At the time, she thought he was 70.

Two months ago, she had become the District Attorney. She loved seeing her name on the door. And she felt a rush of adre­naline every time a judge referred to her as ‘The District Attor­ney’ in open court. The D.A.’s office would be better than ever—now that she was running the show.

There was a soft knock, and Andrea Newly opened the door just enough to peek in.

“Come in, Andrea.” Angela sometimes wondered if she had made a mistake two weeks ago when she hired this timid young lady as her assistant. Angela had been impressed with her resume. But in person, Andrea was quiet, and seemed to be rather intimidated by Angela.

But Andrea was enthralled with every word Angela spoke. And the new D.A. couldn’t resist the prospect of being god to her assistant. She had hired her on the spot, even though she knew Andrea would stress her patience.

But Angela was confident the 25-year-old could be molded into her mentor’s image. And thereby, become a powerful force for justice in the D.A.’s office.

Andrea took a chair across from the D.A. The furniture in the District Attorney’s office was similar to that found in most old government offices—largely unchanged since the 1950s. Yet the hardwood chairs and desks were of such good quality that an exact replacement would be cost prohibitive in today’s mar­ket. Angela planned to upsize her diminutive desk as soon as possible, even if the money came out of her own pocket.

“I talked to a couple of old friends in Longview this morn­ing,” said Angela. “One works in the D.A.’s office, and the other is an ambulance chaser. We went to law school together. Nei­ther of them had any idea why Kyle Serpentine would take Kantrell Jamison’s case pro bono.

“Usually when he does a freebee, he’s hoping to boost his reputation. I don’t see that happening with this case. Especially if he loses. And he will surely lose. So, what’s his motivation?” She was talking to herself more than to Andrea.

“Maybe he just wants to help this poor black family. That’s what pro bono is supposed to be for. To help people who can’t afford an attorney.”

“Oh, Andrea…you’re so naive. With a scummy lawyer like Serpentine, it’s always about helping himself.”

The phone on her desk rang three times before Angela bothered to pick up.

“Yes? …Hi, Sheriff…oh, really…” Angela’s cold face slowly melted into a smile—an evil smile. “Yes, Sheriff, that informa­tion may be very helpful to the case…thank you, good-bye.

“Kantrell Jamison’s been talking to his cellmates, one of which is a regular snitch working for the Sheriff. It seems the defendant is expecting to come into a small fortune after he gets off. He has a cousin in Shreveport he plans to move in with. And once he’s there, he will be buying a flashy new car. He’s not sure whether it will be a Cadillac or a Mercedes.”

“Where would he get that kind of money?”

“When we find out the answer to that question, Andrea, then I believe we will know why Mr. Serpentine took this case.”

“Do you think somebody is paying the defendant to keep quiet about something? Maybe he stole more from Sam Spo­kane than what we thought. And hid it somewhere.”

“Sam never kept much cash around, or anything else of value except his beloved bikes. No. My guess is Mr. Jamison was hired to kill Sam Spokane, and make it look like a robbery gone bad.”

“Wow.”

“Now it’s making sense. The person who wanted Sam dead has paid Kyle Serpentine, or scared him into trying this case. His life might even be at stake. No wonder he’s working so hard to get the jury he wants.”

Maybe the new D.A.’s first murder trial was not going to be so boring after all, Angela mused, already salivating.

**********

Kyle Serpentine pulled into the courthouse parking lot, flipped down the sun visor, and brushed his hair in the mirror. As he admired his handsome reflection, he couldn’t help but smile, thinking about how much fun it was to go up against two fine-looking ladies in court. He would mesmerize them with his irresistible, sexy charm while dealing them a devastating loss.

It was better than any drug—to simultaneously feel the power of his manliness while showing off his superior legal skills. Sure, Buford was counting on him to win this case. But, more important to Kyle Serpentine was adding another win to his ever-growing list of victories.

Little did he know that there was much more at stake than just his ego.

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