Marshall was well known for precipitant judgements.  More importantly, nine out of ten times, he was right, which was even more infuriating.  How could you compete with a man that was nearly always correct, who could sum up a crime scene within seconds of witnessing it? 

He was a great man to have on your side, all you had to do was follow his lead and you’d get your perp.  He was the devil’s own when you had to fight him, and in this case, the coroner was adamant that he’d misread the scene.

“Marshall, your dead wrong on this one.  I see it, I feel it.”

“The wife did it.  He was quite literally bludgeoned to death, Sandra.  If it had been a man, an intruder as she suggests, he’d have taken one blow maybe two, but this was a lightweight that pummeled him to death. His wife is 100 lbs. and although she has body tone, I looked, she’s not strong enough to kill him unless she managed to hit him just so with the first blow and surely, he would have fought her off.”

“Marshall, the blows were delivered with precision; something took him down and someone systematically hit him and it wasn’t random.”

“Exactly my point.”  Marshall ran his fingers through his hair.  “The wife did it.”

“I’m sure when I finish the autopsy you’ll find otherwise.”  Raising her hands’ palms out she said, “Your damn good, Marshall, brilliant in fact, but your wrong on this one.”

The look on his face said it all.  He was going to go for the jugular and unless she could prove otherwise, the wife was going to jail.  Sandra didn’t have a vested interest in the case or the woman, she needed to prove time of death and how the victim died.  She couldn’t say why this one got under her skin, she hadn’t seen a picture of the woman in question even, but it was there, this irrefutable feeling she was innocent and that it would require her skills to prove it.

Sandra was aware everyone was on tenterhooks awaiting her findings and she was meticulous in her autopsies and even more-so on this one.  She wasn’t about to miss anything no matter how minute. As a result, the autopsy took her much longer than usual and she was exhausted but felt vindicated.  She’d been right.

Undoubtedly the victim had suffered at the hands of his assailant who had attempted to cover their tracks by bludgeoning him.  In fact, the cause of death was a gunshot and what’s more he’d at some point been tied to a chair as there were ligature marks forming around his ankles and wrists which hadn’t shown up immediately. 

The entire crime scene had been staged and Marshall would have to take another look to determine what had really happened.  He wasn’t going to be pleased, but he’d be vigorous, of that she was sure.

She placed the call to Marshall, “Marshall, glad I caught you.  Why don’t you come down here and have a look at the results of the …”

“On my way,” he replied cutting her off before she could finish.  Slamming the phone down, he hustled to the coroner’s office and had barely made it through the door when he asked, “And?”

“Not even a hello?  I think I’m insulted.”

He smirked at that.  “Ok, hello, Sandra.  How are you, blah blah blah!  Good enough?”

Smiling Sandra returned, “Not really, but it’ll do.”

Standing she asked, “You want to read my report or shall I show you what I found?”

“Show me.”

When she was finished, he was stunned.  “I can’t believe I missed that.”

“You wouldn’t have known, Marshall.  Someone went to great lengths to implicate the wife, cover up the truth and very nearly succeeded. If I hadn’t been as good at my job as I am, and if some sixth sense hadn’t warned me something fishy was going on, I’d have gone with it.  The evidence clearly proves otherwise.”

“I’m heading back to the crime scene, you want to tag along?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I would. I need to see this one for myself.”

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