Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Fletcher: A Simple Case of Murder

The Other Woman Speaks

Susan Chrzanowski was clearly uncomfortable talking to two strange men about her sex life. One of the men was Detective Tom Cleyman and the other was Susan's attorney, Stephen Rabaut. Not only were Cleyman's questions embarrassing, but the revelation that her lover, Mick Fletcher, may have killed his wife, and that she was probably going to be exposed in the press as the other woman in a fatal love triangle was heartbreaking.

For his part, Rabaut felt badly for his client. Susan was a good person who had fallen in love with a bad man and now it was going to torpedo her career. He looked on with a mixture of sadness and anger. He wanted to take her and hug her and ask her how she could be so stupid. He was convinced that she had no knowledge of this Fletcher's plans, and there was nothing technically wrong with her assigning so many indigent cases to him. Hell, she was a judge she could give him all of her indigent cases if she wanted to. Not that that would be smart, but she could legally do it.

"I was with him Sunday night," Susan was saying. "We were intimate and he told me he loved me. I swear to God that I would never have stayed with him if I thought this was going to happen. He told me the marriage was over and that there was nothing going on between them."

"Did you ever see any indication that he was thinking of homicide?" Cleyman asked.

"No. Never. Mick was a good man. I can't believe this is happening to him."

"Marlinga may make some noise to the Judicial Tenure Commission about some of these cases," Cleyman said, referring to Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga.

"I know," Susan said, not looking at the officer. "I dismissed a DUI case after his office failed to turn over some documents, but there was nothing wrong with that."

"You probably shouldn't have been sitting as judge in any cases Mr. Fletcher had in your courtroom. How do you think it looks if someone walks into a courtroom and finds out that the attorney for their opponent is sleeping with the judge?"

"It's going to hit the papers, isn't it?" she asked.

"I'm not talking to them," Cleyman replied. "But Mrs. Fletcher's family is and they know that your ex-husband had called Leann with his suspicions."

"I can't imagine what they must think of me," Susan said. "But I didn't have anything to do with this."

"Not having anything to do with this is a relative statement, your honor," Tom Cleyman said as he stood up. "Thank you very much for your time. I'll be in touch."

He walked out of the plush office without looking back. Rabaut looked at the floor, unsure of what to say to his client. Susan Chrzanowski opened her mouth to say something, thought better of it and stared straight ahead as her tidy world began to crumble around her.

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