LITTLE RED LIES Part 2
Author: G. Waldo
Rating: Case-fic’. Some angst. Violence. Hurt-comfort. Light humour, and of course Jane-pain. No smut.
Characters: Jane/Lisbon friendship; Jane/Cho
Summary: A lawyer must pull out all the stops to save Jane from going to jail. (NOT a re-hash of the episode with the similar theme). Some of the things that occurred in Red Matter and its sequel will be explored here.
Disclaimer: Not mine though I wish he was.
“You will pay for that one. You alone, little love, you alone. Just you, j-u-u-u-st you, yo-o-o-u-u-u-u-u...”
Jane awoke with a start.
“Hey you!” The guard outside his cell door said, banging his stick against the steel bars. “Get up. You’ve got a visitor.”
Jane sat up and watched as Lisbon entered his holding cell. “I figured I’d pay you a visit before I get subpoenaed and can’t.” She said, sitting down on the opposite jail-standard single cot.
Jane nodded, pressing his lips together.
Lisbon sat stiffly. The cot was not uncomfortable but she suddenly found her back aching and her lungs short of air. It was difficult finding anything to say that wouldn’t irreparably hurt them both. “You lied to me.”
Jane clasped his hands together and rested his elbows on his knees. He leaned forward as though his words had weight. “Technically I didn’t.”
“You had a gun, Jane, and never told me or anyone. Did you even bother to get a license?”
“Didn’t seem like a good idea, I was planning on using it to kill Red John.”
“But you kept it from me.”
“Why would I tell you?”
That made Lisbon pause. “I thought we were friends?”
“We are, but our friendship doesn’t change my plans for revenge.”
“You hate guns. You don’t even know how to load a gun or shoot one.”
“I shot one once.”
Lisbon remembered. Jane had saved her life. “You fired from the hip, Jane, and that was a shot-gun blast from fifteen yards. It was blind luck that you even hit Hardy.”
“It was enough to stop him.”
Lisbon turned her head aside, not wishing her gratitude to him for being alive today to cloud what she wanted to say or alter what she was feeling. “I wish you’d told me.”
“What would you have done? I wanted to protect you and the team. I don’t want anyone going down for something that only involves me. It’s my revenge. No one else needs to get hurt.”
Lisbon shook her head. Four years. Four years and he still didn’t get it. “If killing Red John meant one of us had to die, would you still do it? Would you still seek your revenge?”
“I will not be drawn into a hypothetical scenario that has no basis in reality. When the time comes, I will kill him on my own.”
Lisbon laughed - an ironic, disappointed cough. “We’re already involved, Jane – god - how can you not see that? We’re involved because we care about you and because we don’t want to see you dead. You think any one of us will back off at the last gasp so you can keep a clear conscience while he slashes your throat?”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“He’s gotten to you twice already. What makes you think three times won’t be a charm? Where in god’s name do you get this hubris? You can barely defend yourself as it is – I seem to remember you showing up at CBI with the crap beaten out of you and your throat cut. You think Red John will just stand idly by and let you kill him?”
“I’ll do what I have to.”
She’d heard the same from him before. His desire for revenge was uncompromising and water-tight, his plan for bringing it about was naked brittle bones. “That might include dying. You won’t be around to enjoy your little vengeance.”
Jane looked at the floor. “When I get out of this – if I get out of this - I’m quitting the CBI, and then Red John will leave you alone.”
Lisbon really did look disappointed then. She couldn’t help it, her eyes filled up. “How dare you - you selfish bastard.” She said, staring at him. They all had come to care about him, caring enough in fact to protect him, more than once risking their lives and careers to help him. “You ungrateful son-of-a-bitch. How dare you treat us like we are nothing to you, like how we feel about it doesn’t matter.” One, two tears rolled down either cheek. “You selfish bastard!”
Lisbon stood and banged on the bars. “Hey. Lemm’ out! I’m done here.” She glanced back at him. “I’m done.”
“Lisbon.” Jane said to her back and despite herself, Lisbon stopped in her tracks.
The soft plea in his voice made her halt her hurrying feet that wanted to go somewhere away from him to cry out her helpless rage at how blind he was to them. To shed the resolute love and the foolish sympathy that even she felt for him – even now, with their futures under scrutiny and his in pieces.
“Will you come to the trial?”
As much as she’d like to despise him, he was still her friend. Over the years Jane had woven his weird little ways into their lives and hearts and it was impossible to excise him now. She herself still loved the crazy bastard, too deeply most times for it to be healthy. “When I can I’ll be there. Whenever the job lets me.”
“Thank you.” He said to her retreating back.
Opening statements were read.
Henry Williams, the prosecution had the first stab at the hearts of the jury. He spoke long and thorough about premeditation and the sins of personal revenge. He underlined the facts of whose fingerprints were on the gun and where it was found; about the ballistics and matching the bullets to the slugs found in the body, he lectured on the importance for them - as the jury - to keep objective and to not allow their personal feelings or the feelings of others cloud their judgement or impede justice. He spoke of reason and intelligence, about doing the right thing though it may condemn – not unjustly - a man to prison. Henry finished with an assurance that the evidence, as he would show, pointed only to one man, and that the accused, Patrick Jane, had offered no plausible explanation as to who might have shot Joshua Neil other than himself. He promised to show them the accused was a liar and a con artist by trade, a man who – not-with-standing he had worked within the CBI for more than four years – still practiced criminal art as a matter of course – it was practically in his nature to lie. Williams wrapped it up with an appeal to the jury’s good sense and intelligence, and to see that justice be done.
Gale Selby rose and walked to the jury box. For the trial she had her long brunette hair pulled back in a bun that tightened her highly arched eyebrows and sharp cheekbones into a rather severe expression. When she addressed the jury her hazel eyes spoke hard for justice yet appealed to their collective humanity. “We, the Defence of the accused, are not here to deny any facts about this case that may already have been proven scientifically. We are also not here to discuss how the accused is innocent until proven guilty. I would not presume to think you so unsophisticated. You know all the axioms. You are aware of the constitution and that every man or woman must have their day in court.”
Selby walked back and forth with her palms held loosely together, rubbing them now and again as though in her gentle hands – and by extension – theirs, a man’s freedom rested. As though this case was not for her or even for Patrick but for the jury to take up and examine in their own good hands, minds and hearts. They would decide their peer’s fate and not Williams or her or even the judge. They were also her allies and colleagues and the ones to whom she would look for guidance. It was an emotional strategy that had worked well in the past. “We are here – with our defence as you are already aware – to show that Patrick Jane is not guilty by reason of insanity – and before you get that look in your eye, I think in the end you will find yourselves agreeing with me on that stand. As you know, as any person of reasonable intelligence knows, there is more to a human being than science and more to the motivations and passions inside a human heart than a single moment in time. There is more to Patrick Jane than the label The Accused. We do not deny the obvious - that the dead man was murdered is no mystery but what is in doubt, what is still a mystery are the whys. Have you asked yourself that?
“After listening to my distinguished colleague, have you asked yourself questions beyond the obvious? Why did Patrick Jane pull that trigger? As far as we have been able to determine Patrick and Joshua never even met. There has been some suggestion by Patrick himself that he was framed and that may be, but if that is not so, why would Patrick Jane wish to kill a perfect stranger? If you have not asked yourselves these questions, I urge you to do so now most carefully.
“Mister Williams would have you believe that because Patrick was on trial for a similar charge –shooting a man - that it only makes sense that he might shoot another - but does it? Patrick knew who that man was, it was a sensational case - you all read about it: a man seeking revenge on the killer for the brutal murder of his family. I would like to remind you that Patrick was found not guilty of that crime. Not guilty. Properly tried by a jury of his peers and found Not. Guilty.
“As with any close examination of an event involving human beings, you will shortly come to see that there is far more to this event than meets the eye, there is far more here than an accused and a dead man - much more. So what is it? What at the present time hides beyond our vision that could explain why Patrick Jane lost his senses and shot Joshua Neil down? What unknowns conceal themselves in the shadows which we must ferret out?
“Here’s a question for you: Why did Patrick accept that gun as a gift? And another: Why did he use his own gun to shoot a man and then carelessly leave it behind at the scene? Beneath the body remember. Who shoots and then tries to hide the body but then leaves behind the gun with his own fingerprints on it? My god, it’s ludicrous. Mister Williams would have you believe that this crime was premeditated and deliberate, that it was carefully planned. But what I have described, what the evidence shows, is no plan at all. I must confess, for an alleged premeditated murder supposedly committed by a cold, unfeeling genius, this crime is a complete contradiction in logic. To put it plainly, it’s a bloody mess.”
Polite laughter from the jury and onlookers greeted her gentle humour.
“Still, if my client did shoot Joshua Neil, questions remain: If these two men had never met, what possible motivations would compel Patrick to put his entire life and freedom at risk to shoot a total stranger? What a terrible turn such an act would take a distinguished career such as his within the CBI. Patrick Jane has worked tirelessly for this community, for me and you and your families, for over four years tracking down killers and solving homicides – working every day to make Sacramento County and even California safer places to live. It is my personal belief that anyone who would work day and night to help victims get the relief they need through bringing criminals to justice, that man in his heart harbours a heightened sense of what is right.
“What reward, besides a small pay-check – and believe me, I checked - it’s pathetic, what our law-enforcement specialists earn...so what reward for risking his life? What reward for sleepless nights and well deserved but almost never given praise? What reward but for the citizenry’s often public criticism that he or they were too slow, or too careless? What personal reward might there be other than the satisfaction of seeing justice done? What reward would feel right to you if you were the one risking your life every week? What is your life worth? Ladies and gentlemen, we are the sum of what we believe and practice and give of ourselves. What has Patrick Jane given? And so what will you give him?
“That is what I intend to show you today. I intend for you to have the entire picture of Patrick Jane, and not just the crime snap-shots encased in a fingerprint, a gun, or a dead man. As his fellow compassionate human beings, I believe he is at least owed our full attention to what lies in his heart. We owe it to justice and to compassion to hear him out. To learn all there is to know of his sum.”
Selby stopped her pacing and folded her hands in front of her, looking at each individual member of the jury. “Please hear him out carefully, and with a willing mind free of preconceptions. I know you would wish no less for yourself or your loved one. Please use your good sense and compassion not only for what is just but for what is right.”
Selby sat down and was gratified that two members of Jane’s CBI homicide team were in attendance, sitting side-by-side about two rows behind Jane. Selby recognised the tall, angular faced fellow – Agent Wayne Rigsby and the pretty red-headed woman Agent Grace Van Pelt, the younger and least experienced of the team. Selby had taken some time to read up on them as well, whatever she’d been able to get her hands on. These two had once had an in-office romance than had ended, Rigsby ending up the dump-ee. He was cursed with a criminal ex-con for a father; He had spent two years with SF PD Arson Unit and now five years of excellent service with CBI Homicide.
Grace Van Pelt had come from a wealthy sports-hero-dad background but had chosen to serve her community through police work – and interesting choice for a princess, one that spoke to her desire to make it on her own merit and not on daddy’s shirt-tails or credit card.
The other agents Selby had taken some extra time to delve into. Kimball Cho, an unusual name for an unusual fellow. Former baseball hopeful, former gang-member, former juvenile delinquent, former army guy, now a homicide cop with a high profile but low budget crime-fighting agency. And now also Patrick Jane’s lover. It was quite a resume’.
And then there was Teresa Lisbon, the leader of this curious little policing troupe, a fair but tough female barely passed thirty years old who, at five foot-three and ninety-six pounds, somehow worked a secret magic that inspired in her underlings a fierce and abiding loyalty. Selby suspected that Patrick Jane occupied a special place in Lisbon’s tightly locked up feelings. It was probably the reason the man was often in so much hot water to begin with; Teresa Lisbon granted him professional freedoms she would not have offered to her own mother.
Selby believed that Lisbon, on some level she was not ready or willing to admit, loved the man. Had they ever slept together? Nothing she had learned so far convinced her of it, but there was no telling what lay ahead for those two hot-headed, walled-in people.
The prosecution had the stand. Henry Williams had in turn the investigating officers in the seat and was asking them about their discovery of Joshua Neil’s body and some generalities of the crime scene. It was all perfunctory stuff that needed to be said.
To the judge Selby politely said no thank-you to any cross-examination. They were simple facts. Nothing needed to be added or taken away.
Williams called Detective Semeniuk to the stand as his next witness for the prosecution and asked the detective to state his full name, address and occupation for the jury.
“Thank-you, Detective. Now Detective Semeniuk – do you recall the case of Jack Coleman?”
“Yes. Jack Coleman was a man who tried to kill an ex-con by the name of Billy Mock. The ex had been accused of the rape and murder of Mister Coleman’s wife.”
“We are aware of the results of that case, Mister Coleman was acquitted of murder being that the victim was already dead but what we are interested in is the weapon used in that attempt – do you remember what make and model of weapon it was?”
“Yes. It was a long-barrelled Glock that held twelve rounds in its clip. The serial number is on file and it is still registered to Jack Coleman. It’s in my notes right here.” Semeniuk reached inside his coat pocket.
“That’s fine, detective, I’m sure your report was thorough. This gun was originally registered to Jack Coleman, is that right?”
Semeniuk left his notes where they were. “Yes.”
“And what did Jack Coleman do with this gun?”
“According to Jack Coleman’s statement to the police and to us, he gave it to Mister Patrick Jane.”
“The man accused of murder who is sitting in this court room today?”
“At the crime scene where the body of Joshua Neil was found, was this gun also discovered there?”
“Yes. It was stashed beneath the body.”
“The forensics,” Williams sated, “we will be hearing from in a moment in greater detail but Detective Semeniuk, in your opinion, as a crime investigator with some twenty years experience, what conclusions did you make as to who might have shot Joshua Neil?”
“It seems to me there was only one conclusion to make: that Patrick Jane, the owner of the weapon, shot and killed Joshua Neil. There were no other prints on the gun and no other suspects have come to light.”
Williams spoke in mock protest. “But how can that be when we have been told by the defence that Patrick Jane didn’t even know the dead man??”
The detective rolled his eyes. “He could be lying. In twenty years, I’ve yet to meet a criminal who didn’t lie about something. And murderers are the worst of all. They don’t want to be caught – so they lie.”
Williams nodded as though, yes, that did make a lot of sense. “Thank-you, Detective Semeniuk.” Williams spoke to the judge, His Honour Judge Gilpin. “I have no more questions for this witness at this time, your Honour.”
Gilpin, a white-haired grey-faced sober-looking man asked Selby “Counsellor – do you wish to cross?”
Selby stood, taking a sheet of paper with her. “Yes, your Honour.” She approached Detective Semeniuk. “Detective, you stated...” She checked her notes, and read from the detective’s follow-up report that included the preliminary forensics “that the gun had, according to the forensics, Patrick Jane’s fingerprints on the handle and on the barrel.” She looked up at him. “What about the bullets?”
“Yes, the bullets. If Patrick Jane was the one who loaded the weapon, stands to reason he would have his fingerprints on the bullets as well, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I would agree. The forensics should have discovered that, if there were any.”
“The preliminary report does not say so one way or the other, so barring a shoddy forensic work-up do you have any idea why Jane’s fingerprints would be on the handle and the barrel but not on the bullets themselves?”
“You would have to ask them, Misses Selby.”
“Ms. - and yes I will. But for now I’m asking for your professional opinion – would you expect to find, if an accused fingerprints are on the barrel of the gun and on the handle of the gun, that his fingerprints would also be found on the bullets in the gun? Is that a reasonable conclusion to make in your opinion as a professional investigator?”
“Reasonable - yes, but inevitable - no. Sometimes - often actually - only smudges are recovered from bullets.”
“But it is odd, isn’t it for, according to this report, forensics to not have discovered even a smudge on any of the remaining nine bullets found in the clip of the gun?”
The detective shrugged. “If you’re looking for weird cases, I’ve seen weirder.”
“Do you also find it, to use your words, weird that the fingerprints of the man who owns a gun to be located on the gun?”
Detective Semeniuk frowned. “I’m not sure I understand the question.”
“Well, Mister Jane owned the gun. He had it in his possession for over a year before it was discovered under Joshua Neil’s body, it should not surprise us that his fingerprints were found on a gun he had at one point handled. Does that seem odd to you, Detective?”
“Not odd - no. But as I’ve said, I’ve seen stupider things done by a murderer than leaving his own fingerprints on a gun used to shoot someone.”
Selby cleared her throat. The detective had given her the first sharp claw with which to strike. Semeniuk had done a thing no good investigator should do, especially not in a court room – he had gotten personal. “You think Mister Jane is a stupid man, Detective Semeniuk? He defended himself at his own trial and was found not guilty - does that come across to you as something a stupid man could accomplish?”
Without giving him time to respond, Selby forged ahead to drive the point home. “Would a consultant working the tough cases with CBI homicide be a stupid individual, Detective? Would a stupid man be able to raise two million dollars for his bail from inside a jail cell? Would the Sacramento Police Department and the State of California have wished to award Patrick Jane a Bronze Medal of Valour for saving the life of his supervisor or have wanted to grant him a distinguished service award if he was just any idiot?”
The detective hurried to correct what he saw as her incorrect assumption. “Patrick Jane’s not a policeman. He could not have received the medals you’re talking about.”
“No, of course not but that is a mere technicality. Jane is only a consultant, but never-the-less a formal commendatory note was made on his permanent record regarding both. He saved his boss’s life and for four years has served this county and State with excellence. I think we can all agree, Detective Semeniuk, that Patrick Jane is not a moron. And it seems incredible to me that a man who is not a moron, a man who is this level of not being as moron, would be so careless as to leave his own fingerprints on his own gun beneath the body of his victim so he could be easily discovered and arrested.”
“Ms. Selby, you haven’t worked a homicide case from beginning to end. You don’t know how weird it can get or how smart people can sometimes do stupid things. So if you’ll forgive me for being blunt that’s just your opinion. It doesn’t hold much water out in the real world.”
“Yes, it is my opinion. It is my professional opinion, and I think would probably be most persons. And as for trying or defending criminal cases for twenty years in the real world, both the stupid and the smart ones, detective, my opinion holds water as tightly as a drum.”
Selby returned to her seat at the table for the defence. “No further questions your Honour.”
“Counsellor for the Prosecution – your next witness please.” Judge Gilpin said, encouraging things to move right along.
“The prosecution calls Jack Coleman to the stand.” Williams smiled briefly at his witness, and Jack Coleman buttoned his suit jacket as he took the center seat, stating his name and other information.
Henry Williams leaned against the witness stand and spoke pleasantly. “Mister Coleman you are the man who gifted the Glock – the murder weapon in question – to Mister Patrick Jane approximately one year ago?”
Williams walked to a long side table where various items lay and took up a hand-gun in a tagged, sealed plastic bag. He brought it to Coleman for inspection. “Is this the weapon?”
Coleman took a few seconds to examine it and nodded. “Yes, that is - er was - my gun.”
“May I ask what you and Patrick talked about that day?”
“At the time, Patrick Jane was investigating the murder case of Billy Mock and we discussed that. We also spoke of my personal history...”
“The, if you’ll forgive me, rape and murder of your wife?”
“Yes. And Patrick seemed very interested in the way I handled it; that I had forgiven the killer.”
“I see. At what point did you decide to come clean with the investigators which included Patrick?”
Coleman appeared a little uncomfortable. “Well, uh, Patrick played a very good ruse on us, using accusations against my son to force a confession from me. It was after they dismissed the charges against me that I gave him the gun.”
“I see. And what did you discuss at that time?”
“Mister Jane asked me whether it had been worth it.”
“Whether or not what had been worth it?”
“All the years of waiting and plotting to get revenge against the killer of my wife.” Coleman showed no sign of remorse. “I told him yes. I said yes. It had been worth every sacrifice I had made.”
“And do you believe Patrick was thinking of murder?”
“Objection.” Selby said and stood. “Counsel is asking the witness to draw conclusions your honour. Does Mister Coleman read minds?”
The judge nodded and Williams raised his hand in surrender. “Withdrawn your Honour. I’ll rephrase. Mister Coleman in your opinion only, why do you think Patrick Jane accepted that gun?”
Coleman looked a little uncomfortable now and shifted in his seat. “I suspected he had a score of his own to settle, that’s just the impression I got of course.”
Williams nodded and thanked him. He said to Selby. “Your witness, Counsellor.”
Selby walked to the stand, all business. “Mister Coleman, did Patrick in fact open the box when you gave it to him?”
Coleman was forced to think for a few seconds. “N-no, no, actually, I don’t think he did. He thanked me and I left.”
“So Patrick had no way of knowing what was in that box when he accepted it, did he?”
“I suppose he must have opened it after I was gone.”
Selby glanced back at her opponent Williams. “So in your opinion, Mister Coleman, according to what Patrick knew at that moment that box might have contained anything. For all he knew it might have been a box of cigars.”
“Well, neither I nor Patrick smoked, at least I never saw him smoke.”
“But the point is it could have been any number of a dozen other things in that box. You wanted to show him your gratitude so you offered him a gift, a gift that meant something to you. But let me ask you - did Mister Jane not in fact at first refuse the box?”
“That’s correct, yes. He didn’t want any gifts. He said it wasn’t necessary.”
“Patrick and perhaps you as well, must have known that members of law enforcement are prohibited from accepting gifts from clients or victims because such gratuities might be interpreted as a conflict of interest or perhaps even bribery.”
“That’s right but I still wanted – “
“We understand the circumstances, Mister Coleman, certainly. You wanted to show your thanks, but Patrick politely refused, didn’t he?”
“In other words speaking in general terms, he had just done his job for the CBI and, as it turned out, for you as he would have done for anyone else any other day of the work week.”
“Yes, yes.” Coleman said, anxious to cover over any harm his previous words might have caused his unspoken ally for the game of revenge. “That’s the impression I got from him.”
To cover ground Williams might decide to take up, Selby opened a counter-point “But then he accepted the box?”
“Well, I sort of...put it in his hands.”
“In your opinion he didn’t want to be rude perhaps?”
“No, Mister Jane was a well mannered person so when I insisted, he finally took it.”
“And once more – Mister Jane never even opened it in your presence, did he?”
“No, he didn’t. When I gave it to him, he had no idea the box contained a gun.”
“One last question – was the gun loaded when you gave it to Mister Jane?”
“Uh, no. There were no bullets in the gun and the clip was empty.”
“Let me understand.” Selby emphasised once more. “Along with the gun you gave Mister Jane no bullets at all? So to load the gun, he would have had to purchase bullets?”
“Yes, or get them somewhere.”
With her next statement Selby half addressed the jury as she did Coleman. “Speaking in general terms it stands to reason that in order to load a gun with bullets, one must touch the bullets. Do you agree Mister Coleman?”
“That stands to reason, yes.”
Now Selby addressed the jury directly. “And yet no fingerprints belonging to Mister Jane were discovered on the bullets. Not even one single smudge.”
Selby nodded to her witness. “Thank-you Mister Coleman. We appreciate your time.”
Judge Gilpin addressed the Prosecution. “Do you wish to counter, Mister Williams?” He asked.
Williams was busy furiously writing in his note-pad and shook his head, only half rising in his seat. “No thank-you, your Honour.”
The judge banged his gavel with all the authority of the law. “Court will resume Monday at eight AM.”
Part 3 soon.