Michael Fletcher: A Simple Case of Murder
Mick Fletcher took a deep breath, trying to control his ire. He was tired of telling the story to the police. He had told it three times, to three different people and had told it the same way, with little variation each time. The veins in his neck pulsed with tension. He got the distinct impression they didn't believe him. He fiddled nervously with a pen.
"I was having trouble putting the bullets in the clip," he started again. "I had to go to the bathroom, so I gave the clip to Leann and asked her to finish loading it. I was at the sink and I heard the shot. I ran into the bedroom and she was lying there. I couldn't feel any pulse or see her breathing, and I called 911."
Detective Thomas Cleyman, a 13-year veteran and experienced investigator of many homicides, listened to Mick tell the story. There was something troubling him about Fletcher, but he couldn't place it. For some reason, he kept hearing Richard Harris singing "Camelot" in the back of his mind and couldn't figure out why Mick Fletcher, a 29-year-old lawyer, would remind him of that musical.
"Did you and your wife get along, Mr. Fletcher? Was she unhappy?"
"We...I...uh, we had separated a couple of times, and we filed for divorce around January, but we had gotten back together in March and I've been living at home ever since. I thought we were getting along fine."
"I can see that," Cleyman said. "I saw the card you gave her. It was in her purse."
"Yeah," Fletcher said, drumming his fingers on the table. "I said that I loved her and that I was happy she was going to have a baby. I didn't care whether it was a girl or a boy."
"...as long as it came from you, it would be beautiful," finished Cleyman, reading his notebook.
"I gave that to her today, before we went shooting."
Cleyman's pager went off. He excused himself from the interrogation room and went outside to make a call. When he returned, his eyes were narrowed and his teeth were clenched.
"I just heard some interesting news, Mr. Fletcher," he said.
"Oh, what is it?"
"One of my officers went and broke the news to Mrs. Fletcher's parents. Do you know the first thing her mother said?"
Mick stiffened in his chair and tried to maintain a calm poise. "No, what did she say?"
"She said 'Oh my God! He killed her.' Now why do you think she would say something like that?"