Crimes Past(5)

By: Lauren Carr

“She was ambitious and wanted to move up.”

“Yes, she is that,” April said. “She was also sleeping with her partner and Harrington found out. One of them had to transfer out. She saw an opportunity to move up, so she grabbed it.”

“She did a very good job of keeping her personal relationship with Gordon under wraps.” Mac took note of wet spots on the wall near the victims’ bodies. “I’m surprised Harrington didn’t tell me that.”

“You would think he would have,” April said. “Two detectives. Partners. Murdered six months apart.” She let out a soft gasp. “Only the Yurievichs would have the guts to whack two detectives in a hotel filled with cops. Gordon and Polk arrested Malykhin Yurievich. Pratt was probably collateral damage. Can you imagine a better way to send a message?”

“Maybe.” Mac gestured to the floor. “As wet as this carpet is, I think the glasses were full.”

He noted the plastic ice bucket containing an opened bottle of champagne on the table. He peered inside to see that the ice was only slightly melted. A lone champagne flute rested on the table next to the bottle. He bent over to peer into the glass. It was so clean that it sparkled in the light of the room. “Can you take a picture of the champagne and the ice bucket? Make sure you get a picture of the glass, too.”

April crossed the room from where she was placing evidence markers around the bodies to photograph the champagne bottle, ice bucket, and glass in the precise position as they had been found.

After she had finished, Mac picked up the green bottle to examine it while being careful to not disturb any fingerprints. Its gold label read, “De Margerie Grand Cru Brut.” It was stamped with the year 1988. The bottle was halffilled and still cold.

“This bottle must have been delivered, opened, and the champagne poured into their glasses before they were shot.” He carefully placed it back in the bucket and examined the glass.

“A complimentary bottle of champagne and two glasses come with the room.”

“The killer had to have come in right after the champagne was delivered or he or she brought it. There’s no sign of a break in. They’d let their killer in.” He knelt to look under the furniture. There was a champagne flute on the floor next to the bed.

“What about the murder weapon?” April asked.

“I’m not finding any,” Mac said. “How many champagne flutes are there in this room?”

They counted three glasses. The overturned glass next to the bed. The clean one next to the ice bucket. The third was in the bride’s dead fingers.

“Doesn’t that strike you as an odd number?” Mac asked April. “I’m thinking there were already two champagne flutes in the room—comes with the bridal package. Two more glasses were delivered with the bottle.”

“And one glass left with the killer,” April said, “leaving three.”

“Make sure forensics checks everyone’s weapons—every officer and detective, who came to this wedding. We need to check each one to find out if any have recently been fired.” He studied the size of the bullet wounds. “We’re talking about a big caliber weapon.”

While April moved on to take samples of the blood and other liquids soaking the carpet, Mac knelt next to Brie’s body to once more examine the champagne flute in her hand. He pressed his gloved finger into the tiny bit of liquid that had pooled in the lowest point of the glass and tasted it.

Definitely champagne.

He continued pressing his hand against the carpet, taking note of the moist areas around the bodies, and sniffing his hand until he found an area against the wall and on the floor where the scent and taste was noticeably sweeter.

Mac closed his eyes to identify the liquid. Ginger ale. Interesting. He took note of the soda bottle on the end table that April had photographed earlier.

After two more crime scene investigators arrived to work the room, Mac waded through his colleagues to get to the elevator.

Before the doors shut, Detective Rico Sanchez slipped onto the car. The doors closed behind him. “Hey, Faraday, can I ask you for a favor?”

Mac cut him off with a shake of his head. “I can’t tell you anything about the crime scene, Sanchez.”