(New here?  Welcome, you’ve just jumped into a crime novel which is updated every day.  Please go to the Archive section on the left and click onto the July 16th post, They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), and start from the beginning.  Each post is numbered so you can’t lose your place, if you’re called away unexpectedly.  Our newest bit of the tale is below, for those of you who are current…thanks for stopping by…Enjoy.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxiv ) continues…
     Eric Newsome, Medical Examiner, was hovering over the body, taking measurements of the wound in the chest cavity, jotting notes as he worked.
     “Hey Doc,” Becker greeted.
     Eric looked up, “Mason, haven’t seen you in a couple of days…wish it could have been longer.” he said. “Congratulations. I heard you and Marshall got the shooter from the bodega robbery…terrible thing, such a waste.” he sighed.
     “Yeah, I know,” Becker replied, “and yet, here we are again. You got a time of death yet?” he asked.
     “Oh…” Eric remarked, “this man has been here for a while. Postmortem lividity has concluded and he’s reached ambient temp. He does have very slight signs of rigor left, so my ballpark guess is 53 to 54 hours ago.”
     Becker nodded. Killer didn’t waste much time once this guy got here, he thought.
     “I found two strands of reddish hairs on the bed near his collar, not belonging to the victim,” Eric mentioned, “and he’s naked from the waste down, though there aren’t any preliminary signs of sexual activity.” he reported. “I’ve placed the blanket here for decorum,” he said, “originally it only covered the head and chest, leaving the lower portion exposed.”
     “Any idea on the caliber used?” Becker followed.
     “A large one,” Eric replied, then seeing Becker’s raised eyebrows, “I know, I’m quoting the obvious, but I’m already guessing that the bullet fragmented beyond recognition.”
     Eric pointed to the singed hole on the chest.
     “I didn’t want to move him until you got here. See the burns on the flesh? The gun barrel may have been pressed against the skin when he was shot. There’s no splatter anywhere, so I’m confident we’ll find a rather good portion of mattress affected by the exit from his back…he was laying down on the bed when it happened.” Eric stated.
     “What about the arms,” Becker queried.
     “Exactly…exactly my question,” Eric pressed. “The natural reaction would be for the extremities to contract inward, towards the central body, by the trauma at the chest, perhaps even to a fetal position depending on nerve response,” Eric demonstrated, bringing his own arms tightly into his chest.
     Turning back to the corpse, “But, this is just the opposite…as you see, the legs are perfectly straight and the arms are outstretched perpendicular to the torso.” he said. Eric paused, looking forward at nothing in particular. “I have a bad gut feeling about this, Mason.” Eric warned, sotto voce. “The body’s been posed, Doc, but let’s not project the future,” Becker returned, patting the M.E.’s shoulder. Eric nodded agreement.
     But now, Becker’s mind started to recall that case in the past, where lifeless bodies were placed in dramatic positions, one after another. He rubbed the scar on his left cheek, that ran diagonally just beneath the eye, with his fingertips. A souvenir from that time, not that long ago.
     Yet, Becker hedged, to himself.
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