I had Jeanie Carson call ahead to the Drummond Mansion to okay my request to gather all interested parties into Victor's bedroom. Vic was at first apprehensive, but his father overheard us and overruled Vic's decision.
As expected, I was the last one to arrive at the Drummond Mansion. It was important that I make a couple of stops first to double check some theories. As I pulled up onto the estate, the sun had long since dropped behind the western Rockies. I noticed Dave was reclining against his patrol car with Brent Underwood still sitting in the back seat. Manny's patrol car and Betty's Camry were also on the brick drive.
I jumped out of the Blazer and walked over to Dave, "You can bring Mr. Underwood in with us." Dave just nodded and opened up the rear door and escorted the handcuffed suspect up to the Mansion.
I rang the doorbell, and was surprised on how quickly the door flew opened. "Gee, sheriff it sure took you long enough," Dan said as he greeted us at the door. "Everyone is waiting for you. Did you get a flat?"
"Naw, nothing that dramatic. Is everyone in Mr. Drummond's bedroom?"
"Yes, sir," Dan was excited. He nearly ran up the stairs to the upstairs' bedroom.
Everyone was assembled once Brent and Dave walked in behind me. The glares that Victor and Vic gave could have killed. Victor's heart rate increased rapidly, he pushed himself up higher in bed and was about to yell and curse at Brent. However, I held up my hand to stop him.
"Please, if everyone will please calm down," I said looking at Victor, but I meant it for everyone. "Mr. Drummond, I believe you wanted justice for your daughter's cruel murder. I will now administer that. First, everyone please have a seat. Deputies please remain standing and alert."
I couldn't help but smile to myself seeing everyone taking seats around the large room. The deputies stood near the door keeping an eye on everyone. I started to pace back in forth as if in thought. I could not resist being a little theatrical at a moment like this. Hell, this was right out of an Agatha Christie novel.
"I know for some of you this will be very hard to hear. However, let's go back over the facts. A few weeks ago, Dan Easton found Mr. Underwood staggering along Lower Country road. It was not long after that when I got a call about Miss Drummond's body, which had been found dead on Upper Country road.
"Mr. Underwood claims that he was jumped by someone and roughed up. On further examination, we find a hunting knife belonging to Mr. Underwood in his backpack that has the victim's blood all over the blade. There is no denying the knife is the crime weapon and that the weapon belongs to and was found on Mr. Underwood.
"A witness claims to have heard some screaming coming from Miss Drummond's house. He only heard her screaming, but no other voices. He never saw anyone enter or leave the house of the victim.
"This same witness pointed out Mr. Underwood as the victim's lover." I noticed Victor Drummond physically flinch when I mentioned this.
"However, there were no fingerprints on the weapon. Neither, were there any fingerprints nor footprints of the suspect near the body of the victim. The assailant thought they did a good job covering their tracks.
"But why would Mr. Underwood keep a bloody knife in his backpack? Why weren't there any fingerprints? These questions have been bothering me.
"Now, my sheriff deputy Dan Easton had some crack pot story about Mr. Underwood wearing gloves and changing clothes and conspiring with another person. I even thought at the time it was crazy.
"Miss Vermont even admitted that she threatened to kill Victoria and has a police record to back up some of her previous jealous behavior." Betty let out a loud gasp and was about to protest. Once again, I held up my hand to forestall any interruptions.
"Please, let me continue. Thanks to the help of my second in command," I pointed over to a beaming Dan Easton, "who continued to look for clues when the rest of us gave up. He found something quite interesting. Some gloves and some blue work clothes." Brent's head dropped even further as I mentioned the clues.
"But one of the most important clues he found were some bloody socks. By the assailant dragging their feet across the floor, all they left were some smudges. However, on the socks they left a nice set of footprints.
"I had Mr. Underwood's hands and feet traced. The gloves will fit, sorry Mr. Underwood." Brent even sunk lower; Victor's face broke out in a smile.Posted by deg at December 27, 2006 12:00 PM