Pretty Far Fetched
He reached home and as expected she wasn’t there. He called her cell phone, she answered, “Where are you honey?” he asked, “Just sitting in front of the TV in the living room, not much on today, might go off to bed soon, I’m a little tired”, his jaw tightened at the blatant lie, but he remained composed kept up the small talk and hung up after a little while, there was no turning back now, weeks of planning had led up to this day, he took out the check list he had prepared and went to work. First came the email to his lawyer, he then switched on a very unique piece of software that was actually a back door into another computer a few miles away, and sent off another email, this time to a very different email address, one he knew would set of alarms in the FBI’s Carnivore system. His job done, he removed all trace of the backdoor, logged off his laptop and headed off to the garage.
He picked up the duffle bag he had kept hidden in the freezer which itself was hidden behind the cardboard boxes he had so carefully arranged almost a month back, and backed out of the driveway, its then that he remembered the checklist in the living room, cursing his own stupidity he stopped the car, ran out retrieved the check list and prepared to drive away, it was close to 3 in the morning.
9am: She backed into the driveway, at 32 she was still a very attractive blonde and managed to turn quiet a few heads. She walked towards the front door, “Mrs Mcmahon” a voice behind her called out, turning around she saw a very striking Denzel Washington clone holding up a police badge, “I’m Detective Murphy, and this is Special Agent Carlyle from the FBI, would it be ok if we could speak to you for a few minutes?”. Its then that she noticed the second man, tall thin and with wire frame glasses, he looked more like an accountant than an FBI agent. “Of course detective, please do come in, I hope nothing is wrong”
They entered the living room, it reflected the style of a woman well in control of her life, everything in its place… except the laptop sitting very conspicuously on the coffee table, she recognized it as her husband’s , which was strange, he was supposed to be in Philadelphia attending one of those government conferences.
The Detective Murphy noticed the laptop as well but said nothing, he was going to play this exactly by the book, he had a knack of spotting potential shit storms and this had the makings of hurricane. “Mrs Mcmahon could you let us know about your Husband’s whereabouts?” , “Please call me Janice, and yes, he is attending a conference his agency The Department of Defense is holding in Philadelphia”, Murphy said nothing but made a note in his writing pad, “Ok and when was the last time you spoke to him” he continued, this had a noticeable effect on her “ What do you mean the last time? Has something happened? Why are you asking me these kinds of questions?” , Murphy flipped close his notepad and said “Please answer the question Mrs Mcmahon” she did not need to, but Murphy had been interrogating hard boiled criminals for the better part of his career ,she had no chance.
“I spoke to him last night” , “Very good” he made another note “Did you speak to him in person?” , “No!” she screamed, “Like I said, he is in Philadelphia”. Murphy looked straight at her, he wanted to read her reaction and said “Mrs Mcmahon , your husband boarded a flight yesterday afternoon from Philadelphia and reached back home some time last night, we have a sworn statement from the taxi driver who dropped him off from the airport, apparently your husband was a generous tipper, could you tell me what exactly you spoke about” the shock on her face was noticeable, her usually tan features were considerably pale now “Nothing we spoke about nothing, I told him I was visiting a friend, we spoke about his trip and then he hung up” . Murphy raised an eyebrow , made another note and continued “Could you give us the name of this Friend so we can corroborate your story” , the panic in her eyes was quiet noticeable now.
“No I won’t say another word till you tell me what this is all about” she was on the verge of hysterics, it was now Special Agent Carlyle’s turn to speak “Sometime early this morning 911 received a call from a female jogger calling from a payphone at Winslow park, she reported finding a car parked in the middle of a picnic area with the seats soaked in blood, the car was traced back and is confirmed to belong to your husband”, the only thing retrieved from the car was your husband’s DoD issued laptop which was missing its hard disk, which is the reason I am here, this is potentially a Federal crime, now please answer Detective Murphy’s question, who was it that you were visiting?” he neglected to mention the bullet hole in the backseat and the blood smear leading from the car to a rotted tree stump from which was retrieved another bullet, a .50, the revelation seemed to have broken all pretense of composure from her face and she cried bitterly.
Detective Murphy reached for and wrapped his arm around her, it was definitely nnot by the book, but he never was able to watch women cry, Agent Carlyle remained unmoved. It fell to Murphy to play good cop “Mrs Mcmahon, please understand we need to work through all possibilities, anything you tell us can help clear up this whole issue very very soon, please give us a name” , she looked at him with tears welling in her eyes and said “Nathan Rivers, I was at Nathan’s house he is a colleague of my husband. “ Neither man said a word at the revelation, Murphy continued “Could you please give us an address and a number we could contact Mr Rivers at” , she told them the information and they made to leave, she closed the door behind them and collapsed to the floor sobbing desperately.
“You are one cold motha” Murphy said to Carlyle, “Well the Bureau does not pay me to be a boy scout Murphy, you want compassion and understanding you go watch Dr. Phil, anyway the address she gave us ties up with the originating address of the email the carnivore system tracked, it was sent from Nathan River’s house, I guess we go get a warrant and search Mr River’s house and office now” , Murphy was only half listening , he seemed to be staring at something on the rear bumper of Janice Mcmahon’s car , “Better add a warrant for the car cause that looks like blood to me and one for the house, I would dearly love to get a look at the laptop in the living room”
Things moved fast, search warrants were issued and executed at the Mcmahon residence as well as at Nathan rivers house and office, retrived from Nathan’s car was one hard disk of the type that fit into a DoD laptop, also retrived from the car was a single human hair , light brown, the same color as the now presumed dead Mr Edgar Mcmahon personnel file at the DoD confirmed he had.
The DNA from the spot of blood on Janice Mcmahon’s car was an exact match to that on file for Edgar, as was the blood retrieved from the back seat of the car at the rest of the Winslow park crime scene.
Later that day at the offices of the Daily Mirror’s crime desk the phone rang, Martin Knowles answered the phone and switched on the recorder, the voice at the other end was gruff and uncultured and frequently slurred “Is this where I get money for reporting crime tips?” , Martin sighed, ever since the new editor had put in place a reward system for concerned citizens to report tips in exchange for monetary gain, he had been inundated with nothing but the mundane parking violations and imaginary terrorist cells conspiracy nuts, he gave this latest caller the usual speil of ‘If the tip results in an arrest the reward is $500, $1000 for a conviction on a felony , we give you a code number that you need to present at the cashier’s desk of the Daily mirror and claim the reward’.
The caller seemed hesitant, “I need the money now, slim Joe ain’t someone to be kept waiting on promises of future payment” , probably some homeless guy who owes drug money thought Martin, he waited for him to continue, “Well anyway, is better than nothin, I was standing by the south pier of Winslow drive and noticed this guy drive up in a real fancy car, license plate WEX952J, I asked him for some change but he said a rude word to me, my momma woulda smacked upside the head if she heard me…” Martin interrupted him, he did not need this, 4 years of college and 10 years of the beat patrol writing up headlines should not lead to this, “Please only give me the relevant details” the caller seemed put off, but continued “Well anyway he dropped a gun, a shovel and bag of lime off the pier, it should be real easy to find ,he did not toss it far” Martin gave the man his code word and sent off a report to the police desk and contemplated how much he hated his job.
The District Attorney was confident of a conviction, the divers had retrrived a Desert Eagle .50 off the pier the license plate Belonged to Nathan Rivers BMW and the shovel had his finger prints all over it. Nathan and Janice were arrested, and put into neighboring cells, they were also interviewed separately.
Janice Mcmahon’s Interview :
Detective Murphy seemed confident he could break her, his last meeting convinced him that she was no master mind. “Well Mrs Mcmahon, I think you need to do a lot of explaining, for the record, you have been offered to have an attourney present but have declined, I strongly urge you to get yourself an attorney” He was not going to risk blowing this over a Miranda violation, she looked at him and said “I told you I called our lawyer and he said he could not represent me since it could be a possible conflict of interest” , “Well yes Mrs Mcmahon we did speak to Mr Brown your husband’s estate lawyer and he informed me of the fact that your husband was moving for divorce and that he was looking to protect his assets, here is an email he sent the night he arrived from Philadelphia, she looked at it and read it
‘Larry, she lied to me again, I’m home right now and the bitch lied to me saying that she was watching TV, I have the transponder active and it is parked in front of Nathan River’s house, I’m going to go over there now and confront them, please move ahead with the divorce papers’
There was no reaction from Janice Mcmahon, the past 72 hours had been a nightmare for her, she just nodded her head, after the police had come to arrest her, she asked her mother to withdraw the savings from her joint account and hire a lawyer, but the call she received a few hours later only confused her , her cheque had been rejected at the bank, the account had been closed and all the funds withdrawn a week ago, it made sense now, Edgar was probably preparing the groundwork for the divorce.
Murphy waited for a reply, when none was forthcoming he continued, “these are photographs of the crime scene” it looked like a close up of red mural, but was in fact the back seat of her husband’s car soaked in blood. “This is the scene leading from the car to a tree stump a few feet away” The blood drag marks were all to visible “In total our pathology experts estimate a total of 2.3 quarts of blood, all a match to your husband’s DNA, he is now presumed dead” still no reaction “Listen Mrs Mcmahon, we know you were cheating on your Husband with Nathan Rivers, your husband worked at the DoD and he seemed to have used that position to requisition a tracking beacon which he installed on your car and which transmitted a GPS triangulated signal of your car’s location to the laptop we retrieved from your living room, do you deny your affair with Nathan rivers?” ,the reply was almost inaudible “No I do not deny it”
“Good, moving on. The DoD requires all employees at or higher than the position your husband had, to have a similar transponder installed on their DoD laptops at all times, the one we recovered from your husband’s car was one such, the logs clearly show it in front of Nathan River’s house at 4am and then at Winslow park at 5.30 am, it stopped sometime after that presumably because the hard disk was removed. Do you agree that Mr Mcmahon came to Nathan Rivers house and confronted the 2 of you ?” the reply was quick “No I haven’t seen my husband since he left for the conference, you have to believe me”
Murphy said nothing but ran through the evidence with her, the blood stain on her rear fender, the incriminating evidence at the crime scene and the email to the lawyer but she did not budge from her story.
Nathan River’s interrogation:
Nathan Rivers did not fare any better at the hands of Agent Carlyle, the only extra bit of information he recived was that a email was tracked from his computer to a very suspect email address in the middle east informing them that “The package was secure”, Nathan Rivers admitted to the affair with Mrs Mcmahon but denied sending any email or murdering Edgar Mcmahon.
The trail ended swiftly, the prosecution brought out witneses that confirmed that the bullets retrived from the crime scene were a match to the gun retrived from the pier , the pathology experts confirmed that the blood was a match for Edgar Mcmahon and that it was reasonable to say that for a person of his built it was not possible to survive so much blood loss, forensic computer experts confirmed that the hard disk retrieved from Nathan Rivers car was the one taken from Edgar Mcmahon’s laptop and that it contained classified information of a very critical nature. All this combined with the hair retrieved from Nathan’s car and the blood from Janice’s car was enough to convince the jury of their guilt. They were sentenced to life in prison, Nathan additionally stood trial for treason and was found guilty, he served his double life sentence in solitary at Levenworth.
In a small Midwestern town:
Johnny Valance closed the paper, he had finished reading about the “Mcmahon- Rivers” verdict and went back to the book he was writing, Billy Bob walked up to him and gave him a friendly slap on the back, Johnny had only just moved into town, but was already well liked, when the town’s young ladies saw that the dashing writer gentleman was unattached they were lining up at his door soon enough, but Johnny kept mostly to himself.
“So watcha writing” billy bob asked, Johnny just smiled and considered, he decided he could tell billy bob, he liked the man “It’s a revenge murder mystery, this man finds out his wife is cheating on him”, “So he kills her?” billy bob asked, “Not really, he kills himself”, Billy bob seemed confused “How in the hell is that revenge?”, Johnny explained “well he plans it over weeks, he draws his own blood and stores it in a frezzer with a small amount of anti coagulant, he then drives over to her lovers house while they are in there and plants blood and hair sample in their cars, after that he drives over to another location, splashes the blood he has collected all over to make it look like a murder and fires a gun into the seat, I’m thinking he uses a plastic sheet weighted down to simulate drag marks on the ground, he drops the weapon and a shovel he got from the lover’s house into the river and calls in a tip a few days later about their location, they go to prison and he starts a new life”
Billy Bob said nothing for a few minutes, the silence was deafening, … “You writers surely think up some fancy stories, take my advice though, it’s a pretty far fetched story, no one is going to believe it”. Johnny just smiled and said “Yeah you are probably right, it could never happen in real life”