Crimes Past(4)

By: Lauren Carr

If I was only twenty years younger …

“Cause of death is pretty obvious. Shot multiple times.”

His smooth deep voice drew her out of her fantasy about being trapped on a tropical island with a naked detective swimming in a chocolate pool under a milk chocolate waterfall.

Squatting next to the bodies, Mac examined Brie’s body, which was stretched out on her stomach. “I’m counting three gunshot wounds—looks like two of these are exit wounds. She had been shot in the stomach. The third shot was in the back.”

April positioned herself on the other side of the bodies to snap the crime scene pictures. “When was the last time they were seen alive?”

“According to Captain Jeffries, the limo brought them here from the church an hour and twenty minutes ago.” Mac stood to write a note in his notebook. “I want to see all of the wedding pictures. If the killer was a perp from a past case, maybe he went to the wedding to wait for just the right time to get his revenge.”

Snapping away with her camera, April said, “If one of them had arrested him, why would they have let him into the suite.” She turned around and snapped a picture of the door and entryway. “I don’t see any sign of forced entry or a struggle by the door.” She lowered the camera. “Which means they had let the shooter inside.”

Mac was aware of her watching him while he glanced around the room—taking in every minute detail. “He was shot four times. He was probably shot first because he’d be considered the bigger threat.”

“Downstairs, I heard some of the uniforms saying there was a witness.”

Mac jerked his head around to look up at her. “A witness? What witness? Why didn’t they tell me?”

“Don’t beat me up,” she said. “I’m not the one leaving you out of the loop. I’m the one telling you. They said the woman in the suite across the hall heard the shots. She thought they were champagne corks. By the time Kassandra sounded the alarm and the cavalry arrived, she was gone. Whoever this witness was, she had a master key. She’d let Kassandra inside to find the bodies.”

“If she had a master key, she was possibly a regular here at the hotel.”

“They think she’s a paid escort,” April said. “Harrington and his guys from vice are trying to track her down.”

“This isn’t their case,” Mac said with a moan. “If they catch up with her first, they could contaminate her testimony.”

“I’m only telling you what I heard the guys saying outside.” She turned her attention to photographing a soda bottle on an end table. “Vice is out for blood.”

Mac knelt to the floor and placed his cheek close to the carpet. He studied the champagne flute that Brie clutched in her hand. Did it all go down so fast that she didn’t have time to drop her drink to defend herself? He sniffed the flute. Champagne. He pressed his gloved fingers into the moist carpet and brought them to his nose.

April squatted next to him. “Find something?”

“Make sure you get a detailed analysis of the blood and liquid, including the splatter patterns in the carpet.” He rose to his feet. “Homicide’s been dealt a major blow too. Pratt had a great future ahead of her. Her father was one of the best in homicide. He trained me when I first made detective. I can only imagine what—”

“Vice lost Gordon only six months ago. Then Brie and Trevor. It’s been a rough year for the precinct.” She gestured at the groom. “You are aware that Detective Bruce Gordon was Trevor’s partner.”

“Since the Gordon murder is one of my cases, I’m very aware of that.”

“Here’s something you may not know,” she said with a coy grin. “Detective Derringer, the bridesmaid you just tossed out of the crime scene, had been Gordon’s partner in vice before she transferred to homicide. After she left, Gordon was paired up with Polk. Three months later Gordon got blown away during a stakeout of the Scorpion’s meth lab.”

“I’m well aware of that,” Mac said.

“Do you know why Derringer requested a transfer out of vice?”