Publish Novellas July 17 2022
EPISODE 6 – PLEAS
The scope of evidence against the suspect far exceeds his expectations. His attorney must think on his feet to protect him in this miniseries climax.
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Summarizing the interrogation, Detective Anthony says to the defense attorney, “I will say this. The questions I asked just now are the tip of a very large iceberg. We have Mr. Wilson’s fingerprints on fake identification left with the victim.
“Search history on his phone shows him looking up ‘John Doe’ shortly after the crime. Pieces of his broken headlight were found at the crime scene. But the real smoking gun is a recording of the entire event retrieved from his secretary on a corporate server for dictation.
“I suggest you consider carefully how you wish to proceed. The district attorney will exchange discovery evidence with you before trial. You may request that the court release your client on bail but that seems unlikely based on what we have so far.”
“I would like to confer in private again with my client,” Zamir says.
“Certainly. I can notify you of an available time tomorrow morning or you may speak to him in his cell where officers will now lead him.”
“Okay, Dan, let me sort this out and sit down with you in the morning.”
District Attorney Jacquelin Davis watches the entire interrogation from a video feed and feels Dan Wilson is guilty of vehicular manslaughter.
Detective Megan Anthony wants Fred Zimmerman in an interrogation room. “I don’t care where he is, bring him in for questioning.”
Megan visits District Attorney Jacquelin Davis with the evidence of murder, kidnapping, theft, and conspiracy. “Nicholas Ryan has a posh home on the same block as the Dan Wilson. Mr. Ryan was en route to finalize a business deal with Fred Zimmerman when Mr. Ryan is robbed and kidnapped on video.
“A few days later, Mr. Zimmerman meets with Mr. Wilson. After that meeting, Mr. Wilson runs down the victim, drags his body into the woods, puts fake identification on him, tampers with evidence, and lies to police.”
“This is pretty substantial. I need to know what both suspects have to say to better establish conspiracy.”
“Mr. Wilson has been oozing guilt like a wet sponge. I put the thumbscrews in them without revealing all we have—just enough to make them squirm. They will confer again in the morning. We can sit down with them afterwards before presenting motions.
“My men are looking for Zimmerman. Wilson confirms he is a client and that they had a meal together on the night of the murder. There is even a phone call from Zimmerman to Wilson shortly after the hit-and-run that points to conspiracy.”
“I hope you find Zimmerman. If not, all this will be pinned on Dan Wilson,” says Jacquelin.
Officers are unable to locate Zimmerman. Zamir speaks to Wilson the next morning. Then they meet with Detective Megan Anthony and District Attorney Jacquelin Davis.
“I am not here to offer you a plea deal. I just want to know two things: 1) Can you tell me the whereabouts of Mr. Fred Zimmerman, and 2) How do you plan to plea?
“I do not know where Mr. Zimmerman is. We only met at restaurants. I have never been to his office or home. I can give you his phone number,” Dan says.
“We have that number. It is burnt. Zimmerman is in the wind, leaving you to face all the charges.”
“Wait! What if I admit to driving under the influence and surrender my driver’s license?” asks Dan.
“I caution you, District Attorney, that my client is speaking hypothetically, not under advice of counsel, and may or may not have his thinking impaired or recall facts clearly. In fact, I admonish him to remain silent,” interjects Zamir.
“Mr. Wilson, if I want to hear jokes, I go to the Comedy Club, not a courtroom. Instead of dreaming of a misdemeanor, you need to wrap your head around the possibility of going to prison for a very long time.”
“Everyone calm down. Tell me the charges against my client,” Zamir inquires.
“For starters, we have evidence of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, felony theft, 2nd degree murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. With these charges there is no bail and the possibility of life in prison.”
“Is there an offer of 10 years on the table for vehicular homicide that I can discuss with my client?”
“Subject to judge approval, there might be an offer of 20 years for felony theft and 2nd degree murder with 10 years parole for good behavior.”
“Please give me a private moment with my client.”
The detective and district attorney step out of the room before the conversation between Perry Zamir and Dan Wilson resumes.
“This is where the rubber meets the road. In all honesty, I feel you were a victim of both circumstance and deliberate setup. But these are not adequate defense arguments. I will fight until every dollar you have is exhausted if you want but my advice is to take the plea deal.”
“I am not guilty of all those charges. Can I admit to hit-and-run?”
“But you are guilty of murder and evidence tampering. A possible 10 years for that is a win. The charges are entangled. Admitting to one makes you culpable for the others. Conspiracy and theft may be difficult to prove without Zimmerman but they have strong circumstantial evidence of it.
“To be effective, I must consider both sides of the argument. The DA has enough information to diminish the incentive to plead down. Take the deal. I can preserve your assets so you can have a comfortable retirement when you get out. Otherwise you risk losing everything and getting life in prison.”
After the detective and DA enter the room, Mr. Zamir announces that his client accepts the offer of 20 years with release in 10 years for good behavior. The judge modifies the plea deal to 15-year parole with good behavior.
It turns out that Detective Megan Anthony was accurate with all assumptions. Fred Zimmerman is a fictitious name. He lured Nicholas into a deal that seemed too good to be true in order to steal his diamonds. He then had his men loosely bind and release him on the path Dan would take home after their meeting for drinks.
On a deserted road, Nicholas jumped out in attempt to be seen. But Dan had too many drinks to react properly. One of Fred’s men followed in a truck to make certain things went according to plan. Then Fred and all his men hopped on a plane to their next con.
Whether Dan stopped and phoned the police or not, he was likely to face similar charges. His efforts to conceal evidence where just icing on the con cake. So he can only hope that with good behavior, he will see the light of day after 15 years.