Riverville Murder - Chapter 19

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Nineteen

Previously:

“I’m not sure getting that last warrant and executing it was worthwhile. Scott says, as he sits at a table drinking coffee with Henry Reichmann, Captain Callan, Detective Sgt. Mark Simmons and Detective Sgt. Allan Rockford. What did we net? Sixteen bottom rung gang members; numbers runners, extortion collectors and hard-fisted bullies. Not a lieutenant in the bunch.”

“At the least, we cleaned up the streets, Captain Callan added. Goddard can’t function without them, even if he were free.”

“You are absolutely correct, but we don’t have a single lieutenant. The bums we grabbed are a dime a dozen. Goddard’s next in command can be back in action in a couple of days. We’ll have to exert some real pressure on the people we have in custody and find out just who they are and where they might be holed-up; even if we have to take some extreme measures.”

All at the table grew quiet, as if contemplating the situation.

“In the morning, Scott continues, we must sort these guys out as to level of importance. This way, they will be interrogated from the top down, whatever the top might be. I already know who will be first – the four we found upstairs sleeping, and the woman found in Goddard’s bed. She might be just a one-nighter knowing nothing, or his steady lady and have info we can use. I felt a little sorry for her at first, thinking she just happened to be at the wrong place at a bad time. That was an assumption I had no right making. We can all learn from it. OK, good job men. Enjoy what’s left of the day. I’ll see Captain Callan and Detective Sgt. Mark Simmons at Central Division tomorrow at ten A.M. to help with the interrogation. Any problems with that, speak now. Good, see you in the morning.”

By ten A.M. all prisoners were informed of the interrogation procedure and that they will be escorted, in handcuffs, to a room for the process. Scott made arrangements to have the woman brought to him first. Captain Callan and Sergeant Simmons started with the other prisoners.

Scott started a file on Alice Nadeau just as she entered the room, escorted by a guard.

“Make yourself comfortable, Alice, if that’s possible in these chairs. I see you have no Boston police record, just a couple of traffic warrants. That surprises me in light of your association with Mister Goddard. What is your job in his organization?”

“I am not employed by Nathan Goddard. I am self-employed -- DBA Financials - Plus, as a C.P.A. and consultant, I have offices on Commonwealth Avenue and employ thirteen people.”

“Then tell me about your association with him; how long you’ve known him and the nature of your relationship.”

“Nathan and I are friends and sometime lovers. I’ve known him for twenty-some years – since we were just kids. He has some strange opinions about relationships. He is terrified of marriage, but as loyal as a puppy to me, and I to him. I’ve been in love with him, for what seems like forever. I can’t imagine a better relationship – even if married.”

“I’ll have to check on your business, although I tend to believe you. This is a gun running case with murder and money laundering, so I trust you can understand why.”

“Yes, I do. You will not find one irregularity. I have no business affiliation with Mister Goddard or any of his associates. Oh, I’ve been offered business by some and flatly refused.”

“Well, if you have overheard anything or want to talk about Goddard’s activities you might know about, please give me a call. My department will check you out today. If everything is as you say, you can probably leave

here later today. I’ll call your office and tell them someone from the State’s Attorney’s office will be by to ask some questions.” Scott finished, as an officer took Alice Nadeau back to a holding cell.

Almost immediately, the door opens to admit the four men found upstairs at the pub, escorted by two officers.

“Sit down, please and state your names,” Scott said in an imposing voice.

One of the men continued standing after he directed the other three to chairs, and belligerently said, “We refuse to do that, sir. It’s your place to find that out,” and quickly sat.

“Really! Scott replied. I was hopping, for your sake, you all would be helpful. This gang is through. You must realize that, and there is nothing to gain by four flunkies being uncooperative. You will be going to jail on one count or another. For how long is up to you. You, the leader, if you change your mind, tell an officer and he will bring you all back. Officer, get these guys out of here and back to a cell, please.”

Scott sat at the table writing notations about the questioning of Alice Nadeau and the four thugs. Finished, he picked up the phone and pressed the inter-com button. He heard his own voice boom out of the speaker behind him as he said, “Sergeant Rockford, please report to Interrogation Room One.”

“What can I do for you, boss?” Allan Rockford said as he burst into the room; startling Scott, deep in thought.

“I would like you to please look-up the address and phone numbers of Financials-Plus on Commonwealth Avenue. And while you are at it, try finding a home address and number for Alice Nadeau, the owner of Financials -Plus. Oh yes, run her through State records. I need to know if she has ever been in trouble.”

“Will do. What do you want first?”

“The Business address and phone. Tomorrow is soon enough for the rest. Now get going, and bring a couple of coffees when you come back!” Scott said and immediately returned to his notes.

Allan returned in twenty minutes bearing coffee, followed closely by Captain Callan.

“Sorry captain, I didn’t know you would be here. Can I get you a coffee?” Allan asked.

“No thanks, Allan. I’ll only be here a minute or two.” Callan replied and turned to Scott.

“I’ve been talking to the guys we picked up in that last raid. A couple of them, both numbers, runners said that Goddard’s top men all skipped the state a week ago. There was a leak about this clean-up and one of the runners was given a message to pass on to Goddard. The messenger was a stranger to this runner, but had a strong Boston accent, so probably a local.”

“Well, at least we know. The best we can do is try to get the names of the lieutenants, get individual warrants and notify the surrounding states to keep an eye out,” Scott said as he gingerly removed the cover from the hot paper cup.

Callan waited for Scott to take a sip and said, “We, Simmons and I, will put some pressure on those two and see if we can get these top men’s names. I’ll get back to you in an hour or so

“I wonder who leaked about the raids. I’ll see if I can get that info as well,” Callan added as he closed the door behind him.

Using the information Allan brought back, Scott called his state house office and requested the State’s Attorney do an immediate audit of Financials-Plus and send him a report on any irregularities and suspicious entries.

He sat back in his chair, fished a pipe from his jacket pocket, filled and lit-up before turning to Allan. “How’s it going in the other interrogation rooms? They must be getting near the end.”

“I haven’t been in all the rooms, but in moving around, I haven’t heard or seen any problems – seems to be going smoothly enough. I do know there wasn’t much gained from the four sleeping at the bar. It was like they had rehearsed answers and stories.”

“More than likely, Scott responded. Not much we can do about that. It’s next to impossible to have isolated each prisoner when a haul like that is made. However, I have an idea. The four supposed body guards are together in a cell, and apparently have a boss among them. I’d like you to get the other three back here. The boss is the bald guy in the Glen Plaid suit. You probably won’t have to speak to him, just pick out the others and he will make himself known. I doubt they are much without Baldy and might talk if pushed.”

The three sat automatically upon entering the room, and Scott ignored them. He continued to work on his notes, stopped and lit his pipe, but didn’t look at the three men. After ten minutes Scott looked up to see them nervously fidgeting and said, “You are going to be put away for a long time, if not executed, for the murder of that ATF agent.”

One of the men jumped up and said loudly, “Your crazy. We had nothing to do with that – didn’t even know about it ‘till it was over.”

“That’s not what Baldy says in this note,” Scott said as he retrieved a blank folded piece of paper from his shirt pocket.

“He’s a liar. Looking for a break, he is, the bastard. Well, it won’t work. We have plenty on him.”

“And I want to know just what that is. But first, I need to know where Goddard’s lieutenants are and who leaked information about this raid to Goddard.”

“Come on, man! Giving you that is a death sentence; even in jail,” another man said loudly.

“Look, you help me and I can help you. If you come straight with me, and you don’t have any serious outstanding warrants, you might just be free to split this state while Baldy goes to the lock-up. Now, to start, I want your names and addresses– Baldy’s too.”

Allan stood leaning against the wall, enthralled with Scotts tactics. He never saw him be so forceful before; to the extent of lying about the murder and the note. He had the three men literally frightened and of the edge of their seats.

Scott called for a stenographer, and it only took forty-five minutes of constant talking for the three men to answer every question Scott put to them.

Satisfied, Scott nodded to Allan saying, “Please take these men back and put them in a cell away from Baldy, and bring Allice Nadeau back with you.”

“Alice, I’ve been over your state and Boston police records, and you are free to go. Sign out at the front desk. I’ve OK’d your release. Please do not leave Massachusetts. You might be needed in court.”

As soon as Allice Nadeau closed the door, Scott stood and said, “OK, Allan, let’s call it a day. We’ll stop by and see how Callan and Simmons are doing; then to my place for a needed Scotch. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good to me, sir.”

Their visit with Callan and Simmons was short. “I honestly don’t believe those two numbers guys know a thing about the lieutenants or the snitch who leaked info about the raid, Callan told Scott. They did, however give us a good understanding of the workings of the numbers racket and those in charge in Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. I have several pages of notes, and will get a full report to you in a day or two. The whole thing is brilliantly complicated. Guess it’s that way purposely to confuse and deter detection.”

“Good. Cleaning up the numbers rackets will take millions a month out of the gangs’ coffers. And, that reminds me, we have to find out just where the two gangs keep their money and who has charge of it. But, that’s for another day. We’ll have a try at Baldy again tomorrow.”

Walnut Street, Boston:

Allan brought the car to a stop in front of Scott’s converted carriage house. Suddenly, the front gate in the high fence burst open, and Scotts two sons ran to greet the men. Allan likes the boys and immediately tucked one under each arm and went up the cobbled walkway to the front door; the boys yelling and squealing with pure delight.

“Mom, Dad’s home and Allan is with him,” the boys yelled; summoning Nancy from the kitchen.

“Well, Allan! it’s been too, too long,” Nancy said and gave Allan a hug, after setting a full ice bucket on the sideboard. “I hope you like beef stew.”

“Anything you cook is just fine with me, Nancy.”

“OK. Enough buttering-up you two. Time for refreshment.” Scott laughingly said, as he poured Dewar’s White Label over the ice in three glasses.

The evening went smoothly and pleasantly, being a restful time from the hectic activities of the day. As the evening passed, the conversation eventually came back to the case.

“I sure hope we can break Baldy tomorrow, Scott said. I would like to get this done and out of the way. I’m hoping the Feds. will take over the prosecution stage. They have plenty of jurisdiction and good reason, especially concerning gun running and money; to say nothing of the murder of a federal agent.

“I think you’re right, Allan replied. I’ve learned a lot working with you on this case. I’m sure a lot of it will help me in the future sometime. I thank you for that.”

“My pleasure, Scott replied. I enjoy it too, and it’s good of the state to have an assigned a full-time driver, but I do have a private practice, and I’m neglecting it. I have a great staff of very competent people, but it’s not good for anyone to have an absentee boss. Most of my work for the commonwealth doesn’t take this much concentrated and uninterrupted time.”

The next morning, Baldy, otherwise known as Norman Riley, was already sweating when Allan ushered him into the interrogation room. Scott stood looking out the window for several minutes while Riley sat in the silence sweating and wringing his hands.

“How are you this morning, Mister Riley?” Scott asked as he slowly turned from the window.

“Never mind my health. Why did you separate me from my friends?”

“It’s very simple, Scott said as he smiled broadly at Riley. We think you are more important than your buddies, actually their boss. So, we figure, in accordance with an important person, who knows a lot that we want to know. you warrant special and vigorous treatment."

Ryan’s face turned ashen as his mind tried to interpret what Scott just said. Visions of what “special and vigorous treatment” might mean, caused his adrenaline to serge, and he felt his heart pounding in his chest.

“OK, what do you want and what kind of a deal can we make?” Ryan asked, while trying to stop his voice from trembling.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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