“Lust killed him,” I surmised aloud. My daily regimen of yoga, green tea and prayer is the winning combination to stay focused on all aspects of my career for the past decade as a Homicide Detective and all my life as well. I had completed my yoga practice and reflected back to a deadly incident at Cyrano’s Restaurant in the eclectic neighborhood of Lower Greenville in Dallas, Texas. Norco Electronics executive Jake Walters was gunned down by ex-lover Natalie Holmes during the restaurant’s Happy Hour last Friday evening.
The shocked celebrants of the week’s end witnessed the petite redhead stroll up to his reserved table. She quietly stared at him as he uttered his last words, “I never said I loved you.” She brandished a .22 automatic from her purse and fired three times, striking him in the face, eye and throat. Walters tumbled to the floor leaving his Bloody Mary and rare steak undisturbed. The woman turned to the shocked onlookers and icily demanded, “Someone call the police.”
I arrived shortly with two other detectives as Forensics, EMT’s, and a Medical Examiner followed with the morgue wagon parked in front of the restaurant. Uniformed officers had arrived prior and secured the scene. Natalie Holmes maintained a quiet and cooperative status as she was arrested; but maintained her silence. The investigation had begun. What witnesses reported matched, although my intuition beckoned more than a violent end to a lover’s quarrel.
She was arraigned and charged with Capital Murder and no bail. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea minus the temporary insanity, emotional distress, mental defect or act of passion defense pleas. The facts and the coldness of her actions profiled a premeditated murder. I was ready for green tea.
After the kettle whistled and water poured into the teapot, I let it steep while I showered and shaved. I served myself and sat at the dining table in my bachelor efficiency and sipped the beverage. Its warm flow relaxed me. The case seemed strong for prosecution. However, a follow up with the Security Director Fred Giles proved otherwise. I was invited to his office for a closed door conference.
Giles leaned forward from his office recliner to inform me of what he had observed about Holmes and Walters, as I positioned myself in the uncomfortable guest chair in front of his desk. I knew Natalie Holmes was a technical writer in Walters’s department and that she recently had filed for divorce. Giles gave me another angle to the story that changed the spectrum of my investigation. “Jake Walters was a predator,” began Giles. I sat up attentively, “He targeted married women and enjoyed busting up their marriages. Some divorced and moved on. Some left the company. There were those that opted for counseling and even reconciled with their spouses.”
“Why wasn’t anything done to stop him?” I inquired.
Giles leaned back and sighed, “Walters was sleeping with a vice president’s wife. Thusly the Veep could dally on the side.”
“Sensible,” I observed. Serial Predators have different M.O.’s. There are those that are violent and then those like Walters; not breaking laws but destroying lives.
“Yea,” agreed Giles, “He was over Human Resources so no complaint could be investigated and therefore no lawsuits followed. It was their word against Walters. “
“Okay, what about Natalie Holmes?”
“That,” he asserted, “I hoped would cause his dismissal.” Giles continued discussing Walters manner of approaching women first as a friend to talk to, followed by coffee, drinks after work, dinner then bed. The executive was punched by a jealous husband once in the parking garage late one afternoon. This stimulated him to pursue the woman vehemently. She quit the job and stayed married.
“Natalie Holmes,” Giles stated, “Arrived here and was main support for her husband; an Iraqi War vet with PTSD. A highly decorated Army Ranger. There was strain. He had been in and out of rehab for alcohol abuse. This made her vulnerable.” Giles noted that as a retired Secret Service Agent, he had learned to read facial expressions. He knew each employee’s background. “I saw him move on her and there was nothing I could do; plausible deniability. “
I nodded as he proceeded, “I noticed them at lunch last Friday at our cafeteria. The voices low but the conversation intense. He walked away and as she began to cry her eyes told it all. I knew what she was thinking and summoned her to my office. I suggested time off, counseling or finding another job but keep clear of him. You know the rest.”
“Yes,” I replied. He added that the employees at Norcom had raised a fund for her to help out with any expenses. The irate husband that slugged Walters was a Criminal Defense Attorney for Briggs & Briggs, a large prestigious law firm. They offered his services pro bono. I knew then the media would follow with a sympathetic profile for her defense.
“She‘s a hero here,” observed Giles.
“In her cell block too,” I added. It was apparent Briggs & Briggs would make their profits from the civil suits against Norcom for allowing Walters and his protector to operate. The facts Giles shared made me anticipate a mistrial. This meant a resentful Assistant District Attorney assigned to try the case would surrender to a plea bargain.
I finished my green tea but remained concerned about the outcome. Natalie Holmes was Walters’s victim. The public would soon know that. I was puzzled what my next action should be to secure justice. I bowed in prayer and turned to Him for an answer.
By Tom Fegan