I Is for Innocent
spot were lumped together in one of those annoying hodgepodges that make finding anything a chore.
The second box supposedly contained copies of all of Morley Shine's reports, affidavits, transcripts from the numerous depositions taken, and pages of supporting documentation. Fat chance. I could see the list of witnesses that Morley had talked to – he'd been billing Lonnie on a regular monthly basis since June 1 – but not all of the corresponding written reports were in evidence. It looked like he'd served about half the subpoenas for the upcoming trial, but most of those seemed to be repeat witnesses from the criminal proceedings. Eight signed civil subpoenas, with instructions for service attached, were clipped together in a folder. I didn't see that he'd served any new witnesses... unless the yellow server's copies were filed somewhere else. From a scribbled note, I gathered that the informant's name was Curtis McIntyre, whose telephone number was a disconnect and whose last known address was no good. I made a note to myself to track him down first as per Lonnie's request.
I leafed through page after page of interrogatories and responses, making an occasional note to myself. As with a jigsaw puzzle, what I hoped to do was to familiarize myself with the picture on the box lid and then proceed to put the pieces together one section at a time. I knew I'd be repeating some of Morley Shine's investigation, but his approach tended to be a bit ham-fisted and I thought I'd do better if I started from scratch, at least in the sensitive areas. I wasn't sure what to do about the gaps in the files. I hadn't finished going through the boxes yet and I could tell I was going to have to empty everything out and repack the data so they would match the index. Certain avenues Morley'd pursued appeared to be dead ends and could probably be eliminated unless something new cropped up. He'd probably been keeping all the current files in his office or at home, which I did myself if I was still in the process of transcribing notes.
The bare bones of the story were much as Kenneth Voigt had indicated. Isabelle Barney died sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. on December 26 when a .38-caliber weapon was fired at point-blank range through the peephole in her front door. The ballistics expert called it "a near-contact shooting," with the hole in the door acting almost like an extension of the barrel and Isabelle's eye almost touching the door. The wood around the hole was blown out at right angles to the hole and toward Isabelle, with some fragments probably blown back toward the killer as well. In a dry parenthetical note, the ballistics expert suggested that the blast might well have forced "material" back into the barrel itself, perhaps jamming the gun, and thus making a second shot problematic, if not impossible. I skipped the rest of that paragraph.
The muzzle flash had singed the wood inside the hole, charring it slightly. The report noted powder residue on the outside of the door around the hole, inside the hole, and also around the hole on the inside of the door. Much of the area was splintered by the gas pressure. The bird shot and the remnants of blue plastic cap removed from the wound indicated that the bullet was a Glaser Safety Slug, a light, high-velocity round consisting of bird shot suspended in a viscous medium encased in a copper jacket with a plastic nose cap. When the slug hits a medium like flesh with a high water content, the plastic cap separates, the copper jacket peels back, and the bird shot spreads out rapidly, transferring all of the energy in the slug to the flesh. Because each piece is small and of low mass, it dumps its energy quickly and stays in the body, hence the name Safety Slug. Bystanders are not endangered by an overpenetrating bullet, and since the Safety Slug also disintegrates against hard surfaces (such as skulls...), ricochets are minimized as well. No getting around it, I thought, this killer was just too considerate.
According to the pathologist, the bullet, along with fragments of metal and wood, entered the victim's right eye. The autopsy report spelled out in highly technical detail the destruction to soft tissue left in its wake. Even with my sketchy knowledge of anatomy, it was clear death was instantaneous and therefore painless. The machinery of life had shut down long before the nervous system had a chance to register the agony such a wound would inflict.
It's hard to have faith in
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