(Another piece to the puzzle, added every day of the week.  Welcome.  If you’re new to this blog, well, there’s a story going on.  Please click back into the Archives section on the left and go to July 16th, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), which is the beginning of the tale.  Those of you following along, thanks so much…let me know what you think…and away we go.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xvi ) continues…
     The house in question faced west and was still shaded from the morning sun. Becker checked his watch and started to approach the rising stone staircase, looking down at the entrance to the basement, underneath the steps. He made a mental note to check and make sure the suspect couldn’t backtrack out the front by using it. He felt the grit of the preformed concrete steps on the soles of his Adidas, and the cool air tickled the back of his neck as he pushed open the front door. He inspected the mailbox slots in the foyer. The name ‘Stills’ was on the 1A box, held there with tape which was yellowed and curling up at its edges from afternoon sunlight and neglect. Lucky break, first floor, he thought.
     He opened the inner door and was greeted by the stale fog of fried food, mingled with whiffs of animal waste. The hallway was dank and dim. Becker felt the wall for a switch, found one, but got no result flipping it. Looking up, he saw the remnants of a ceiling lamp, glass panes missing and no bulbs. He pulled a penlight from his jacket pocket and swept the beam down the twenty- foot narrow walkway, adjacent to the staircase leading to the second floor. He noticed the wainscoting, the moldings and the detailed balustrade. Simple elegance left to ruins. 1A’s door was straight ahead.
     He rapped on the door and was startled by the bark of what had to be a large dog, followed by tearing of wood on the opposite side of the two- inch panel that separated them. That explains the stink, Becker surmised.
     “Who’s there?!” a woman yelled from inside the room.
     Becker braced himself, “NYPD. Please open the door.”
     “Whatta’ ya want?” the gruff response came back, over the constant explosive yelps of the dog. “I need to speak with you, ma’am. Move the dog and open the door please,” Becker shouted. He could now hear the cry of an infant from upstairs, a door opening and heavy footsteps moving towards the stairwell.
     “Shut that mutt up, or I’ll shut him up!” the bellow came.
     Becker peered above and could see the upper half of a fat man, hanging over the railing on the second landing. He flashed his badge towards the figure.
     “New York Police,” he yelled, “go back inside, now. I’ll handle this, sir.”
     The barking continued. Becker had enough.
     “Mrs. Stills, control your dog and open the door,” he commanded, “otherwise the next knock you hear will be from Animal Control.”
     Becker heard the dog’s sharp cry and its nails dragging across the floor inside, then the slam of a door. The barking commenced once more, this time muffled. The front latch unlocked and the door opened slightly. The pale dry face, bloodshot eyes with deep circles underneath, peered through the space.
     “Yeah?” she asked.
     Becker could sense the time passing and wondered if he had given Terrance enough of a head start.
     “Open the door, ma’am, I need to see your son, Joseph,” he stated.
     “He ain’t here,” she huffed. Becker’s eyes were piercing through her now.
     “I saw him enter the dwelling, open up,” he said.
     A brief hint of fear replaced her defiant demeanor. She opened the door slowly, making a futile effort to avoid spilling anything from the overfilled rocks glass she was holding.
     “Where is he?”
     “I told you, not here,” her voice cracked. The defiance returned, “and you ain’t got no warrant,” she sniffed.
     “I’ve got exigent circumstances, lady. Is he in with Fido?”
     Becker started towards the barking, while pulling his taser. She went to grab his arm. Out of the corner of his eye, Becker saw a shadow slip into the main corridor and run towards the back door of the kitchen.
     “Police!” he shouted. The mother got hold of his jacket, lost her balance and the drink crashed to the floor. The figure was now at the rear exit. She was holding onto Becker for dear life. He clenched her wrist, gave it a quick jerking twist and she released him.
     Becker began to run towards the now- sunlit opening that led to a small patio and yard. Before reaching it, he heard a shrill shriek, then strained choking. Upon exiting, he turned to his right and found the suspect pinned to the house wall, dangling twelve inches off the ground, his neck firmly secured in the vise of Terrance’s right hand. Becker stood there, appreciating the moment of comic relief.
     “Are you OK, T?” he asked, fighting back a grin.
     Terrance turned towards Becker, “This puke tried to pull his piece on me,” Terrance growled, shoving the suspect upward another few inches for emphasis.
     His captive gasped for air and Becker got the sense that Terrance wasn’t all that concerned about it.
     “T?” he said smoothly, calmly.
     The partner’s jaw muscles pulsated, as Terrance clenched his teeth, and managed an “Uh…huh,” as he once again pounded the writhing figure into the stone. Becker moved closer.
     “We’re going to cuff him now, put him in the car and let the ADA take care of the rest, remember?” he whispered.
     Terrance’s face relaxed and he released the neck. The suspect crumpled to the ground, sucked in air. Terrance turned him over on his stomach, yanked both arms to the small of the prone man’s back and affixed the handcuffs.
     Becker radioed in for a backup unit to transport the mother to the station house; she would be charged with harboring. Terrance stood up, took the back of Stills’ collar and snatched him onto his feet with one clean- and- jerk motion. The three started back into the house.
     “Joseph Stills, you are under arrest,” Terrance recited, “for the murders of James Marks and William Petra. You have the right to remain silent…”
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