In the outer room, there was silence. Broken only by the tiny crackle of the intercomm.
Inspector Doris stood rigid, her hands clasped behind her as she looked through the glass window into the interrogation room.
Timini, her murder suspect was seated at the only table, his hands cuffed to the metal surface. His bulky frame was slouched, his eyes darting about fearfully.
He had been arrested over an hour ago, but Doris had decided to let him stew for a while. And now, she was ready. This particular case had been too easy, almost a disappointment. And she knew everything about the murder. She only needed Timini to confess on tape, and give her a name so she could arrest his accomplice.
She turned to the sergeant beside her and held out her hand, he gave her the case file.
"I'll be here, sir." He told her as she walked out.
Her hair was currently tied up in a bun, her badge was dangling from her neck as she walked into the interrogation room. As she was not in the field, she wore a simple T-shirt and jeans, with the sleeves of the shirt folded to the elbows.
When she slammed the door shut behind her, Timini jumped, turning in his seat.
"Good evening ma!" He began hurriedly, "I swear I don't know--"
She held up a finger, silencing him at once. Without a word, she lowered herself into the metal chair opposite him. His face was pouring sweat and his eyelids kept twitching.
"Good evening to you too, Mr. Timini. I'm Inspector Doris, I'm the cop who's gonna put you in jail."
"Ahh..." Something like a whine escaped his lips, he pushed forward in his seat. "But I didn't do anything. The police that picked me up said I killed--"
She held up her finger again, silencing him. "Speak when you're asked to. Now, have you been read your rights?"
"Yes. The police--"
"Then where's your lawyer? You should have one present."
"I don't need one. I'm innocent."
She shrugged, she had seen all kinds of criminals. She simply said, "let it be known for the record that the suspect has refused legal counsel."
At the word 'suspect' his eyes widened. But she ignored him and calmly opened up the case file and pulled out the gory pictures of the murder victim, Mr. Bright. They showed the man lying in the pool of his blood, the murder weapon was a bat and it lay just by the victim.
Upon seeing the pictures splayed before him, Timini turned and threw up on the floor. Doris ignored that. What kind of murderer couldn't stomach the sight of his victims?
"I take it you recognize this man." She tapped the picture.
"No. I've never met him in my life." Timini said, his voice was sounding like he would puke again.
"That's a lie. Are you also going to tell me you've never been to No. 34 Benedict's street?"
She saw the flash of recognition in his eyes, but he shook his head feverishly, "hell no!"
"Okay. That's your second lie. The next one would be your last." She pulled back the photos and returned them to the file. "For a murder like this, the minimum sentence you can get is twenty-five years, but with the case I've built against you, I can make it a sentence of life imprisonment. So think carefully before you tell me the next lie. Why were you at No. 34 Benedict's street on the night of June 3rd?"
He looked at her, looked down at the case file, then looked away. "I told you, I've not been--"
She shut the file with a bang and stood up. "Goodbye Timini, and know that you'll be looking through bars for the rest of your miserable life."
She turned to leave.
"Wait!" He called.
"No longer interested." She replied, walking towards the door. "You lost your chance."
Wait goddamit!!" He punched the table, "he was not supposed to be there in the first place."
She stopped just at the door, "why not? That's his house."
At this, Timini let out a deep breath. He said nothing as she quietly glided back to her seat. Then, like a bird, he began to sing.
Timini was only a low key burglar with little skills. He used to break into homes and steal valuables, selling them off to a fence. Until he met Vick.
"And Vick is..." She prompted, even though she knew the reply. This was for the record.
"He's a paramedic. We work together."
Vick was a member of an ambulance crew that operated in one of the highbrow areas of Lagos State. The deal he had with Timini was that, when there's an emergency, especially the ones that are critical, most of the time, the members of the family followed the ambulance to the hospital. In the panic and confusion of the moment, they sometimes forget to lock up properly. So Vick alerts Timini to such houses and while they are void of people, he loots them. And they share the proceeds. Easy in, easy out.
"Until No. 34 Benedict's street." Doris muttered.
The call had come in as usual, Timini had hurried over and broken in. He was in the process of carting the valuables when Mr. Bright had walked in.
"He was calling for his wife and kids," Timini explained his voice was quiet. "So I think he didn't know yet that they were on their way to the hospital. He didn't figure out anything was wrong when he found the door open, he just waltzed in, calling for his family. And then he saw me."
Timini shuddered, as though the memory of the moment still scared him, "I think it was then he knew something was wrong. He was asking me for his family, advancing on me. I didn't know what to do... I had to defend myself. The bat was just there, propped against the wall. I picked it and..."
He broke off, unable to put into words how he had killed Mr. Bright. He slouched further in the seat, as though confessing his sins had doubled their weight instead of lightening them.
Doris could see he was not going any further without some prodding, "and did you tell Vick of this development?"
This was the whole point of the interrogation.
"Yes. He was the first person I told. I was panicking but he calmed me down. Told me to get the goods and get the hell out."
She smiled then, now the judge would grant her a warrant for Vick's arrest. She could charge him with accessory to murder and accessory to burglary, just to name a few. Her work with Timini was done.
"Your prints were all over the scene, Timini. Especially on the murder weapon. And when you were picked up, we found some of the stolen goods in your possession. You and Vick took advantage of innocent families and advantage of the system. And you both will pay for that. You're both going away for a long time."
He didn't move, as though she was only confirming something he already knew. Nothing else could shock him. The nerves were gone, so was his sweating. His worst fears had been actualized.
For the second time, Inspector Doris took the case file and stood up.
"You're no longer a free man, Mr. Timini. But don't worry, I'll tell the prosecutors you cooperated willingly."
She walked out of the interrogation room as he dissolved into tears behind her.
This is yet another story featuring the savvy Inspector Doris. Previous stories featuring her are Search, Crashed and Burnt and Kaboom!. Feel free to check them out.
Know that while the stories are connected, they are not a continuation of each other. The only connecting factor is the character of Inspector Doris herself.
Thank you for reading.
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