Sheryl’s Daily Prompt

Donna Giroux decided there must be a specific place in hell, reserved for all vile criminals. Anyone responsible for praying on the weak the innocent the elderly and the helpless deserved that and more.

Her current case was definitely staged to replicate a robbery but it was too staged, too perfect if perfect could be used to describe the mayhem surrounding her. The whole scene was questionable.

She picked her way to the kitchen and peered outside into a beautifully manicured yard resplendent with foliage from gorgeous lush hydrangeas to massive red maple trees and a beautiful array of magnificently coloured flowers. Sitting off to one side she noticed a beautiful black pup and although her knowledge about dogs was next to none, he was a big boy and he’d definitely scare an intruder off. He unnerved her in all honesty. As she watched, he lay down his head on his paws.

“Angus, was the dog inside when you arrived?”

“No. He was in the back yard, agitated and barking. The doggy door was barricaded when we arrived.”

“Don’t know much about dogs, but he is a pup, isn’t he?”

“Yeah, maybe two, but very much a puppy. Been with the owner since he was about ten weeks old according to the neighbours. I checked. He’s not the anxious sort, and he doesn’t bark much, but this morning, he barked up a storm so a neighbour, Mr. Arizona by name, living on the left side of this residence, came to investigate since it was unusual.” Nodding toward the deceased he added, “This is what he found.” He sighed heavily.

“This neighbour, Mr. Arizona, did he lock the dog out?”

“According to Mr. Arizona, he was already locked out when he arrived. Since the dog was barking incessantly in the back yard, he headed there first and found the back door barricaded and locked. He thought that weird to begin with, then mentioned that the victim never or rarely left without taking his dog so he went around the front to investigate. He said the door was slightly ajar and he got no answer when he called out so he hesitantly entered. “

“It would seem the perp knew about the dog then. How long would it take to ensure the dog was safely outside and then kill the victim?”

“I can’t imagine the victim allowing him to take over his domain and chase the dog away. I’d have told him off, kicked him out or chased him off.”

“It suggests he knew the perp wasn’t afraid of whoever it was, and certainly wasn’t expecting any difficulties. Still, when the perp locked the dog out, you’d think he’d have noticed and that action alone would have raised questions.”

“Not if it was a regular as clockwork. Visitor comes, dog goes out.”

“That is one possibility.”

“So neither the dog nor the owner was concerned about the perps’ presence. They knew him or her, well, and he or she was a regular visitor. Enough that they didn’t raise any alarms or concerns for either. That makes the killer part of the victim’s inner circle, whether family friend or neighbour, someone they were very comfortable with.”

“I don’t know much about dogs, but they either like you or they don’t.”

“I know my pooch is pretty amicable with everyone. I’ve only seen his hackles go up on one occasion. It was a good thing as it turns out. The guy was later caught peeping at children in the park. Even though no one was aware of his proclivities, the dog seemed to know he was evil.”

“Smart dog!” Donna smiled, pleased. “Maybe we should add him to the team?”

“Yeah, I don’t think so. He’s got a mind of his own.”

“We could make this a short lineup. Bring in neighbours, friends family, close acquaintances. How much you want to bet the dog will go ballistic?”

“I’m sure he’d sniff the culprit out in no time. It’s definitely worth a try.”

The victim, Samual Barton worked from home, owned his own business and was doing well. At thirty-seven, he’d had relationships but wasn’t currently involved, his last having ended approximately ten months ago, amicably it would seem. A Miss Morris, who appeared legitimately broken up upon hearing the news.

Most of his family were out of state and upon checking, none had made the trip to see the victim recently. Gradually they were whittling the suspects down.

Other neighbours mentioned that Mr. Arizona was the one neighbour that seemed to drop by often. They’d sit out on the porch and share a brandy and talk about politics. They were often heard bantering back and forth, but nothing argumentative or even heated.

When questioned about the ex-girlfriend, a few looked away seemed uneasy. That begged further investigation and upon doing so, they learned through Mr. Barton’s lawyer, that she was going to take Mr. Barton to court in an effort to obtain a portion of his wealth. Both detectives found that interesting and dived into the background of attractive Miss Morris.

It seemed she had a history of love them and leave them relationships and toward the end, had tried to extort money from the partner. Her efforts had failed so far and according to Barton’s attorney would have failed again this time. Perhaps she wasn’t happy about that situation and decided to take matters into her own hands.

Donna looked at Angus, “I think it’s time for that lineup, don’t you?”

“No time like the present. Perhaps we keep it informal, conduct the lineup at the victim’s house? We’ll have animal control on hand to handle the pooch just in case.”

It worked like clockwork. The dog went ballistic immediately upon seeing the woman, snarling writhing fighting to get free of the handlers. It took two men to hold him back. “Seems he doesn’t like you much!” That was an understatement.

“Get him away from me. He’s always hated me.”

“Not according to the neighbours. He’s amicable with everyone, not you, however. Could be he witnessed you kill Mr. Barton. That would ensure a response.”

At a nod from the detective, the handler relaxed his hold and the dog lunged, snarling wildly. “Get him away, get him away! Alright, alright, I did it, I killed him. It was an accident, I swear. Get that dog away!” She shriveled into a little ball and the two detectives nodded at the handlers and smiled at each other.

“Ok, but you better explain fully.” She blathered on and on. Still a confession was a confession. They had her!

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