Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Fletcher: A Simple Case of Murder

Bound for Trial

Mr. & Mrs. Meisner
Mr. & Mrs. Meisner

The family of Leann Fletcher gathered in a foyer outside the viewing room of the Price Funeral Home in Troy. The somber group was about to view Leann's body for the first time, three days after she had died. The people at the funeral home had done good work, there was no indication of a gunshot wound thanks to a carefully placed lock of artificial hair, and her skull had been rebuilt to such a degree that no one but the morticians and medical examiners would ever know that a high-velocity, hollow-point bullet had torn through the skin and bone and distorted the skull with thousands of foot-pounds of force.

As the Meisners prepared to see their daughter, Tom Cleyman entered the funeral home and approached the family with deference.

"Mr. and Mrs. Meisner," he said softly, "I thought you would like to know that an arrest warrant has been issued for Michael Fletcher. The state police are attempting to locate him right now and we expect that he will be in custody very soon."

"They got him!" Gloria shouted, a sense of anger mixed with relief in her voice. Then she turned to her husband and buried her face in his chest and began to sob.

The reaction from the Meisner clan was a little shocking for the Price staff, but not for Cleyman. He had seen bereaved families react to similar news too many times. Survivors of murder victims go through a different grieving process than other people. On top of the standard emotional highs and lows that go along with coming to terms with a loved one's death, there is a desire for closure and revenge and anger toward the suspect and sometimes toward the law enforcement community whose slow processes prevent emotional wounds from healing. Each time a peak is climbedarrest, conviction, punishment the survivors expect some sort of peace of mind that never seems to come. Sudden, unexpected deaths take a terrible toll on those left behind, but when murder is added to the equation, the recovery is even more difficult.

And for this family, Cleyman thought, it's going to be even harder. Every time they think of their daughter, they'll remember that she was killed by a man she loved and who had given them a beautiful granddaughter. It's a burden no family should have to bear, he thought.

His job was almost finished, but Detective Tom Cleyman knew he would get no sense of satisfaction when he closed this case. There will be no happy ending here...kind of like Camelot.

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