Lone Witness(5)

By: Rachel Dylan


“I love you, Sophie. Stay in touch. I want to know how you’re doing.”

“Of course. Love you too.” She hung up and closed her eyes for a second. The last thing she wanted was to stress out her father, so she was trying to stay composed for his sake.

There was a loud knock on her door, and she looked up to see her boss, Fulton County District Attorney Keith Todd.

“Sophie, do you have a minute?”

“Of course.”

Keith sat down across from her. “First, how are you doing? I know you had a traumatic night on Friday.”

She looked into his light blue eyes. “It’s been a trying couple of days, but I’m thankful to be alive. I only wish I could’ve done more.”

“From what I hear, you did everything by the book and put yourself at risk trying to help. A lot of people would’ve curled up in a ball at the back of the store and hidden. But you jumped into action. You’ve made us all proud. Your actions were very brave.”

“Thank you.” Keith didn’t offer praise often, so she was warmed by his compliment, even given the circumstances. He had high career hopes that went beyond being the Fulton County DA. At almost fifty years old, he was setting himself up for the next big thing.

“I want to talk to you about something, so you aren’t caught unaware.”

Her stomach clenched. “What is it?”

“You’ll hear more about all of this, especially as the local news breaks today, but I wanted you to hear it from me first.”

She leaned forward in her chair, sensing something big was coming. “Okay.”

“The suspect you identified this morning in the lineup for the shooting is a man by the name of Ricky Wade.”

“All right.” She didn’t know where Keith was going with this. “The name doesn’t sound familiar to me.”

“Ricky is the younger brother of Juan Wade.”

That name she knew. “As in the head of one of Atlanta’s biggest gangs? That Juan Wade?”

“The very same.” Keith ran his hand through his short, sandy blond hair. “So this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill prosecution. We’ve got a double homicide linked to a major gang. I don’t have to spell all of this out for you.”

Her head started to swim. There were a lot of implications. Especially with her being a potential witness.

Keith cleared his throat. “Having said all that, I’ve decided it makes sense to remove any semblance of bias in this case. I’m assigning a special prosecutor to it.”

“Who?”

“Deputy Chief ADA Patrick Hunt from the Dekalb County prosecutor’s office. Do you know him?”

She shook her head. “I’ve heard the name, but I’ve never met him.”

“Good. That way we can put to bed any argument about a conflict of interest. I didn’t want one of our own Fulton County prosecutors having to put you on the witness stand. It’s just too close. This will be better for everyone, including you.”

She looked up to see a tall man standing in her doorway. He had short dark hair and was probably in his mid-to-late thirties.

“Hello,” he said. “Hope I’m not interrupting.”

“Patrick.” Keith rose from his seat. “Nice to see you.” He shook Patrick’s hand. “Let me introduce you to Sophie Dawson.”

Sophie stood and walked around her desk to greet Patrick. “Nice to meet you.”

“I know this is a difficult time for you,” Patrick said, “but I’ll do everything I can to make this process go as smoothly as possible.”

“I’ll let you two talk,” Keith said. “Sophie, if you need anything, let me know. And if your workload needs to be adjusted, that won’t be an issue.”

She appreciated the offer, but the last thing she wanted to do was give up any of her cases. She didn’t want this case against Ricky Wade to impede on her life any more than it had to.

When Keith had left, Patrick leaned against the corner of her desk. “I don’t know what all Keith told you, but I’d like to hear everything you can tell me about Friday night.”

“Of course.” It was going to be a long morning. She stared at her empty coffee cup and thought about a refill. “What about the other woman at the scene? The college student?”