Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jarrod Davidson: Murderous family secret

The Potted Plant

Investigators determined that the shot came from across the courtyard of Jarrod's apartment building. A row of bushes stood there, and someone had hidden behind them, waiting for a clean shot of Jarrod standing in front of his apartment. It was clearly an ambush, an assassination.

Plant found at murder scene
Plant found at murder scene

Sorenson looked at the incongruous plant which had drawn his attention. It was a Persian violet in a small plastic container. A plastic card holder stuck out of it and held a card that read, "For my teacher" and a misspelling of Jarrod's name. It seemed likely that someone had knocked on Jarrod's door and left the plant several feet in front of his house; then, when he went outside to pick it up, Jarrod was shot.

One of the detectives working with Sorenson remembered seeing such a plant at a grocery store near Jarrod's home. He went back to that store. Sure enough, there was a display of Persian violet plants, and it looked like one was missing. Detectives obtained a copy of the store surveillance tape for the hours leading up to the murder.

They hit paydirt. At 10:44 p.m., just 15 minutes before the shooting, a woman in an oversized sweatshirt and baseball cap had purchased one of the plants. Because of the hat, Sorenson wasn't able to clearly see the face of the customer, but she looked similar to Kelee. Criminalists found skin cells on the card holder, and it was sent out for DNA testing.

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