Blood Crumbs: Chapter 20Mature

    There’s nothing in the world quite like the stiff, cramped feeling of a night spent in the seat of a car. I yawned and stretched before I realized where I was. My bulging right hand bumped into the ceiling, sending sharp needles of pain down my arm. I groaned as pain brought me further into the land of the living. My mouth was dry and crusted drool was on my chin. Everything ached and I was again tempted by the powerful narcotics the doctor had given me.

    Instead, I popped some Advil and washed it down with warm water from a bottle that had been sitting half empty in my cup holder for at least a week. I was about to get out and check on Isaac when my phone went off. I picked it up and click ‘Send’

    “What!?” I demanded. My voice came out harsh and gravelly.

    “Jesus, what’s up Burton? This is the third time I’ve called.” Jared’s near frantic voice assaulted my ears.

    “Sorry, bad night,” I mumbled, “What’s so damned important that you need to be calling me so early?”

    “Burton, it’s almost noon.”

    I looked down at my watch. “So it is. For a call this early, it had better be life or death.”

    “We got a hit,” He said.

    “A hit on what?” I asked as my mind was still sluggishly trying to catch up.

    “We got the DNA from the blood back last night and I ran it through CODIS before I left. We just got a match.”

    I sat up and shoved my car key into the ignition. “That blood was a match for someone in the criminal database?”

    “Kind of,” he said.

    “What’s that supposed to mean? How do you ‘kind of’ get a match on DNA?” I said feeling my patience strained. I needed coffee.

    “No, I meant I kind of got the match from the criminal database. It was a case from the 70’s. Our guy, Landon Turner, was convicted for two counts of rape one and two counts of murder one in 1979.”

    Now I was really lost.

    “That doesn’t make any sense. DNA wasn’t even used in the US courts until the mid-80’s and didn’t really become popular until the early 90’s” I said.

    “Wow, Burton, I’m impressed that you knew that.” Jared said.

    “Well I was around when they made the change and I’ve worked cases with and without it. Hard to forget a monumental change in the way we do things.”

    “I suppose it would be,” he acknowledged, “anyway Landon, it seems, was convicted on what looks to be some shoddy circumstantial evidence. In 1993, fourteen years after his conviction, his case got picked up by The Innocence Project. They appealed and Landon was acquitted when DNA evidence irrefutably proved his innocence.”

    The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 to assist prisoners who could now be proven innocent through DNA testing. Since they opened their doors, 238 wrongly convicted prisoners have been set free; a handful of them having been on death row.

    “So this blood is definitely Landon Turner’s?” I confirmed.

    “Absolutely, and better yet, he’s got an address here in Sandy.”

    I wrote down the address and thanked Jared. Then I called Gavin and told him to meet me at Landon’s house.

    I felt a twinge of excitement as I pulled away from the hospital. This was the first strong lead in my case and sometimes all it took is one domino to fall for a case to break. Besides, I really needed a win right now.

    *    *    *    *    

    Landon Turner lived in a sturdy looking one story house in a beautiful neighborhood. His house looked meticulously maintained and the lawn looked recently mowed despite the late season.

    I arrived moments before Gavin, who pulled up as I was climbing out of my car. I ran my fingers through my hair and took a look around.

    “You look like Death took a shit in your cereal this morning.” Gavin said as he walked up to me.

    “How wonderful of you to notice,” I said tugging at my belt.

    “What happened to your hand?”

    “Me and a wall had a disagreement.”

    “I heard those walls can be hard-headed.” He said as we moved around my car to the sidewalk.

    “Let’s just say I punched a few holes in his theory.”

    “Oh man, I know I set you up for that, but that was just terrible.” He said with a grin which suddenly dropped away.


    “Burton,” Gavin said as he nodded to the front door of Turner’s house and drew his gun.

    I looked over and found my own hand moving to my holster. The door was open a few inches. The gun felt awkward in my swollen right hand. I winced as I lifted it and moved forward.

    “Burton, do you want to get shot?” Gavin chided in a whisper as he grabbed my shoulder, “No way I’m letting you lead with your hand like that. Cover me.”

    I pinched my lips together. Gavin was right, of course, but I sure didn’t want him to be. Finally, I nodded at him and stepped to the side for him to pass. We moved swiftly up the front walk until Gavin was against the door. He peered through the opening.

    “This is the police.” He bellowed in an official tone. “Mr. Turner are you in there?”

    I was hit with a sense of de ja vu as silence greeted his inquiries. This was Isaac’s apartment all over again.

    Gavin pushed against the door and moved in with his gun pointed shoulder level in front of him. His arms were panning quickly from left to right as he crossed the entry way. He stopped in the living room.

    “Jesus Christ.” He muttered.

    I walked in behind him and looked down at the pallid body of an old man lying on the floor. He was stripped down to his boxers and I would not need to check his carotid for a pulse. His neck was sliced open and I could see the artery from where I was standing.

The End

64 comments about this story Feed