Publish Novellas 16 June 2021
EPISODE 2 – FORENSICS
Evidence suggests a man hired to pose as a delivery man gained access to the victim’s home and suffocated him before leaving in a van.
Wearing latex gloves, Detective Stevens searches the crime scene home office, looking for a box in a wastebasket. He then rummages through the large garbage can in the backyard and finds what could be the box, though empty. There is no address label—only a “Fragile” sticker.
He photographs the scene and places the box within an evidence bag to take to the crime lab.
The visit of the delivery man corresponds to the timeline for the death of the victim. Since the person came in disguise, he did not rely on Mr. Richardson recognizing him to gain access. Did the deliveryman force himself in?
Detective Stevens heads to the forensics department for crucial answers in what is clearly a murder investigation.
“Okay, people, do you have the answers I need?” asks Stevens.
The forensics team offers some helpful information. “The patent attorney’s name is Alison McCarthy. She has a local office downtown.
“There are many online complaints about a patent of the victim that covers ownership of the technology related to browser history. The debate is whether the user, the browser software company, the corporation employing its workers, or Mr. Richardson owns the data known as cookies.”
“Looks like I am paying a visit to Ms. McCarthy.” Anticipating legal stonewalling, Stevens gets a subpoena for records relating to browser history and blister pack patents.
At the legal office of Alison McCarthy, Detective Stevens receives the anticipated objection of attorney-client privilege. With the subpoena in hand he is able to get cooperation.
“Please sit down, Detective. I prefer to answer your questions directly, rather than upset my files.”
“Thank you. How many patents does Mr. Richardsons have?”
“That question is beyond the scope of your warrant.”
With a smile, the detective continues, “Just testing. Without lawyer double-speak, can you tell me who might have wanted to kill Mr. Richardson?”
“Documents relating to your subpoena indicate ongoing negotiations with most major browser software developers. While such negotiations can get contentious, I cannot assume anyone’s intent to murder.
“There is, however, a rather vocal online individual, against whom a restraining order was obtained due to various threats. Maurice Bingham uses the screen name ‘ScreamFillled’ with a cookie avatar. Here is a copy of the restraining order with his address information.”
The detective’s eyes light up. “This is most helpful. Can you tell me about any of Mr. Richardson’s patents that relate to the cause of death?”
“I’m sorry, the news reports only indicate suffocation with cookies,” says Ms. McCarthy.
“Here’s a crime scene photo. Can you identify the type of device over his head?” asks the detective.
“Interesting photo. Terrible death. Mr. Richardson does have a patent for an industrial-strength blister pack. It is similar to how a glass blower might put a ship in a bottle. Only, this method does not involve nearly as much heat. It has been licensed to gumball vending machine manufacturers.
“The easiest way to describe it is if you can imagine placing a plastic bag over something…”
“In this case, his head,” Stevens interjects.
“Precisely. Place the plastic bag over his head with the cookies. Fit a band around his neck. Fill it with air and then harden it with a hairdryer,” says McCarthy.
“So what connection is there between the blister packs and the cookies?” asks Stevens, while taking notes on everything said.
McCarthy continues, “At the risk of doing your job for you, ScreamFilled is a licenser of the blister pack technology. On his website, he sells customized gumball-style vending machines with a cooling element to dispense miniature sandwich cookies.”
“It sounds like you are saying that Maurice Bingham has motive and means to commit this crime,” Stevens summarizes.
“I am not a criminal lawyer. I am a patent attorney. It is all circumstantial unless you physically tie Mr. Bingham to crime. That is up to you and the district attorney.”
“Thank you for your time. You have been most cooperative. Many lawyers try their best to stonewall us.“
“There is no need. My client is dead. I want to be as helpful as possible.”
“May I please take corroborating documentation with me today?”
“Yes, my secretary will get you that information on your way out. Good day, Detective Stevens.”
“Good evening, Ms. McCarthy.” Extending a business card, “Please phone if you think of any more pertinent details.”
“Yes, of course, Detective.”
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