This case won’t seem important at first, but when you work a small town a lot of cases are related. Pay attention to the stories I tell that don’t seem important because they usually have important information that is needed later. So in retrospect, all cases are important even if they don’t seem so at the time.
My boss, also my father-in-law, came in, slammed the papers down and left back to his office. We get the case papers from another office sent to the main computer. This was the case of Danny Rodgers. He had been shot to death a few years back and pretty much the police at the time didn’t care enough to really look into it. One of his live relatives listed was his father, Kent Rodgers.
“Y’all come up here and ask me if I know who killed my son. Ya know, if I knew who killed they would already be dead. Now if you can’t ask any better questions than that then leave and don’t care like the all the others did.”
“I’m sorry,” said Jan. “I didn’t mean it that way. We’re just trying to find any information we can. Did he work somewhere?”
“He worked for his brother Johnny. He lives three houses down. He might be able to tell you more.”
We saw Johnny working outside in his garden.
“Yeah, he used to work here, but he quit 3 weeks before he died.”
“Yeah, he said he couldn’t take Pat anymore.”
“Pat was one of my employees. I’m told he would make kids buy something or he’d hurt ‘em. I never saw anything or was told in detail or he would have been fired.”
“Do you know where he is now?”
“He’s dead. He was stabbed. People say a little boy did it to protect himself. That’s only a rumor though. Nobody really knows or cares how he died. Brooks Gordon is living around the block in the only yellow house. He knew Pat better than any of us did. Maybe he’ll lead you somewhere.”
We thanked him and headed to the only yellow house on the block. Brooks nicely invited us in.
“I know Pat didn’t kill ‘em. He coulddn’t shoot the side of a barn with his aim. He acted tough, but really if he needed an adult taken care of he’d get his dad, Josh Towers. I can give you the address.”
Josh’s house wasn’t quite as pleasant. His wife came to the door.
“I’m sorry, we don’t allow detectives here after y’all did nothing about our son.”
“We need to talk to Josh. He’s a suspect in the murder of Danny Rodgers.”
“Josh, we’ve got company.”
“I ain’t speakin’ to any detectives. Shoulda come sooner.”
“We’re here about Danny Rodgers.”
“Word is he quit because of my boy. There was a promotion at stake and I guess he couldn’t take losing to Pat, so he left. A few weeks later Pat was killed by a little boy. Where were you then?”
“Probably still in law school if you really want to know.”
“Word on the street is that you killed Danny.”
“Yeah, I did. But it wasn’t my choice. Pat came up behind me and put his arms around my neck with a knife in his hand and said that if I didn’t kill Danny he would kill me. Pat was just crazy enough to do it.”
“Well we can’t arrest him on a threat now, but maybe it will give you a lighter sentence.”
Josh was given a much lighter sentence, but that’s another story for another time. As for us it was back to the office to finish paperwork and then going home and doing it all over again the next day.