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Here is a short sample from the book:
Day one…Tuesday morning through afternoon…
I am running late as usual. I should have arrived at work an hour ago. Last night, I drank a little too much of a three hundred dollar bottle of wine paid for by my boss. We were celebrating a criminal case that the District Attorney had to dismiss due to a technicality. I always have a major headache the morning after drinking too much wine which made it a little hard getting up this morning.
My name is Daisy Sinclair. I work as a paralegal for a well-known criminal defense attorney in downtown Fort Worth. Luckily, I live in a loft a few blocks away, so I walk to work. The daily exercise keeps my five foot five frame nice and trim. I used to not worry about having to exercise but at thirty-two and given an hour glass shape it was inevitable at some point in my life.
I work at the Law Office of James D. Garfield. Mr. Garfield, or Jim as I call him, is in his mid-sixties and has been an attorney for almost forty years. He became well-known about twenty five years ago when he defended a sports figure in a highly publicized murder case and won. We first met and became acquainted when I worked as a criminal clerk at the courthouse. He offered me a job with a salary twice what I was making as a clerk. I jumped at the offer and now have worked for him for 7 years. During that time, he has mainly done consulting work. However, given his high success rate of getting clients off, he has been hired on a handful of highly publicized criminal cases. Jim says he has done his time as a major player in the criminal defense game and now is in his retirement years. I always respond that I am honored to be a part of his retirement. However, I suggest that we take a week, go to the beach and drown ourselves in margaritas which is more my idea of retirement.
I am almost to the office, but I need to stop by the coffee shop on the corner. I have to drink at least one cup of coffee before I require my brain to function properly. I like my coffee like I like my men, sweet and creamy. Some days, I am in need of something a bit stronger so I do go a little crazy and order a café mocha. These to me are combining two greats – chocolate and coffee. Now, I have toyed with the idea of adding wine to that combo making it the ultimate trifecta.
As I am waiting in line to get my coffee, I notice that there is a television on in the corner. The news is on reporting about a horrific double murder. The story briefly catches my attention, but not even a double murder takes my focus off my task at hand. I am running late, need to get to the office and first and foremost get a cup of coffee.
With my mind so focused and the noise of the television, I didn’t realize my phone was ringing. I reach down to answer it. It is the secretary from my office, Sue.
Sue has been working with Jim for over 20 years. She is so sweet, but do not let that fool you. She is a hard ass. She makes sure Jim and his office run like a well-oiled machine, which really helps make my job easier.
“Where are you?” Sue asks.
“Obviously, I’m running late. I’m down at the coffee shop.” I am still gazing at the television and yawning. “Since Jim and I went out last night and celebrated, my body is slowly shutting down. I’m in need of some caffeine.”
“Jim needs you to go to the jail because we have a new client that needs to be interviewed.”
“What information do you possess on the client?”
“His name is Michael Kirkland. He is a local attorney and he has been arrested for a double murder.”
“Huh? That name sounds familiar.” I am trying to figure out where I heard that name before. “Okay, I will go and meet with him and I will be in the office afterwards.”
When I hang up, I am still paying attention to the news story of the television and realize the story being reported on is about our client’s arrest.
Luckily, the jail is not too far from the coffee shop, so I will enjoy the walk while drinking my cup of coffee. It is a cool sunny spring day. A pleasant day for a walk. By the time I reached the front doors of the jail, I had finished my cup of coffee and feel alert enough to carry on an intelligent conversation with our new client.
Jim has me interview clients to get all the initial information from them. He says with my face resembling a doll, my kind green eyes and long straight auburn hair that it is hard for people to lie to such a pretty girl. I do have a knack for getting people to talk to me and be honest. I have always been able to get people to open up to me. I will be at a grocery store and some stranger will start telling me about some random personal stuff and all I did was politely smile at them.
As I walk in the front doors of the jail, I hear someone say, “Hey pretty girl.” I know exactly who it is…Officer Lee “Mac” McClesky.
Mac and I have known each other since working at the courthouse. We worked in the same courtroom. He was a bailiff. He used to hit on me and ask me out all the time. I always turned him down telling him I couldn’t go out with him because we work together. He is extremely cute, blond hair, dreamy blue eyes, tall and a nice slender build. He reminds me of a major league baseball player that I used to have a crush on. That is why when I started working for Jim I took Mac up on his offer.
We started off going out for drinks and realized we had a lot in common. It never developed into a relationship even though Mac wanted it to. I am so busy with work that I do not have time for one. So over the years we have become best friends. We go out for drinks after work and hang out on the weekends. On occasions we may have sleep overs where there isn’t much sleeping involved. I have needs and Mac always tells me he is there to oblige.
He is probably the reason why I haven’t had any serious relationships in many years. Every time I start getting serious with some guy, the guy has an issue with our friendship. There has been a time or two that the other guy had legitimate concerns. I can’t help it. Mac and I hold this special connection that if my mind set was different we would probably get married and grow old together.
“Hey good-lookin’.” I smile at him.
“Are you here to visit Mr. Kirkland?” Mac asks.
“When you leave you need to watch out for the reporters because it is a hot case in the news right now.” He warns.
“Thanks for the heads up.”
I noticed there were news vans parked outside the jail when I came in. I was right about the news story being about our client. Luckily, I didn’t get spotted. They have gotten to know my face and name from prior cases that Mr. Garfield was hired as the defense attorney.
“Are you going to be at Lady Liberty later tonight?” Mac asks as he walks me to the conference room.
“I may go by there later for a drink. It will all depend on how my day goes and how late I end up working.”
“Always revolving your life around work, huh, Daisy?” He says playfully.
“Yep, but I never hear you complaining when I need a little sex to relieve some of the work-related stress.”
“Yeah, yeah. Well you know I’m always here for whatever you need and I’ll be at Lady Liberty tonight. So, look for me and we can hang out.”
“You know I will, sweetie.”
Mac opens the door to the conference room for me. It is a grey room that contains two chairs and a table bolted to the floor. As I walk in, Mr. Kirkland is sitting and secured to the table with handcuffs. He is in his mid-fifties, slicked back silver hair and distinguished-looking. His eyes are grey and gentle. He looks like he hasn’t slept for days. Even though he is trying to put on a strong façade, I can tell by his red eyes that he has been crying all night. He looks like a broken man.
“Hi, Mr. Kirkland. I am Daisy Sinclair with the Law Office of James D. Garfield.”
I extend my hand to him. He reaches up and gently places my hand between both of his. It is a genuine gesture and somewhat fatherly. He did not say a word as almost to be at a loss for them. I sit down across from him and place my phone down on the table.
“I’ll be recording our conversation.” I inform him.
He nods his head in acknowledgment.
“I know you have been arrested for a double murder and I need you to tell me what happened. Please begin with your events on the night of the murders to when you were arrested.” I instruct.
He sits there with his head down staring at the table for a second seemingly to be lost in thought. He raises his head and looks at me with sad eyes.
“She was my life, I loved her, and I don’t know what I am going to do.”
“Who is she?” Not knowing who he was referring to.
“My wife, Lizzie!” He screams at me. Although not with rage, but with hurtful sorrow of his loss.
The door to the room flies open and Mac is standing there.
“Is everything okay?” Mac glances at me and then at Mr. Kirkland.
I shoot him a look of annoyance and roll my eyes. He knows that I can’t stand it when he is over protective of me.
“Everything is fine, but we could use some water.” Knowing that his job is not to get us drinks. He cocks his head, squints his eyes at me and slowly shuts the door.
I turn back to Mr. Kirkland. “I apologize. I usually do not know the facts of the case before the initial interview so I can evaluate the case with your view point.” I explain and then request him, “Please tell me what happened.”
He starts with the night of the murder. “My wife and I were arguing about how much time I spend at work. She was saying that we should start thinking about retirement and slowing down.”
Mr. Kirkland explains, “I had a bad day at work and the last thing I wanted was to go home and argue with my wife. So, I dismissed what she was saying by suggesting that we talk about it some other time. Of course, that made her angry. She yelled at me to get out of the house. So, against my better judgment, I left.”
“What time was that?”
“Around 7:30 p.m. I went back to the office to chill out for couple of hours and then left and drove around long enough that by the time I got home my wife would be in bed.”
I am taking notes on a legal pad. I tear out a piece of paper and hand it to him with a pen.
“I need you to write down the exact route you took that night. I need the specific street names.”
He quickly jots down the information and hands the pen and paper back to me. “Here you go.”
“What time did you get back to your house?”
“It was 10:42 p.m. because I checked my clock and thought Lizzie should be in bed by now. After a night of rest, I figured we could talk about it clearly in the morning. I mean we have been married for so long. Our marriage isn’t perfect. We do fight on occasion.”
I nod for him to go on as I continue taking notes.
“So, when I arrived home I seen my business partner Jeff Ellis’ car in the driveway. It surprised me because he didn’t call to let me know he was coming over. Sometimes he would come over without calling, but that was rare.” He furrows his eyebrows as if he was still trying to make sense of it.
“What kind of business are you in?” I ask.
“We are trust and estate lawyers.” He replies.
I nod. That is where I recognize his name from.
“So, I walked in the house and I didn’t see or hear anyone. I went into the kitchen and then I checked the living room. They were not in either place. I heard noises coming from our bedroom upstairs. I got this sinking pit in my stomach and my chest was hurting. As I was going up the stairs it seemed to take an eternity like treads were being added to the staircase. The master bedroom doors were to the left of the staircase down a short hallway. I could see a straight shot to the bed.” Mr. Kirkland stops for a second as if he is going to get sick. Then he continues, “That is where I seen Jeff naked with both hands handcuffed to the bed posts. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on.” He starts to sob.
I hand him a tissue. “Do you want to take a break?”
He shakes his head and continues, “As I walked down the hallway, I could see Jeff covered in blood. It felt like the walls were closing in on me. I walked into the bedroom just passed the doorway and everything went black.”
“What do you mean everything went black?”
“I don’t remember. I woke up lying on the floor with my head in excruciating pain. The lights were off but there was street lights coming in from the windows. I surveyed my surroundings trying to get my bearings and realized I was still in my bedroom. I managed to get up and find my way to the light switch. I turned the lights on. I rubbed my head, turned around and glanced up to see Jeff still covered in blood and handcuffed to the bed posts. I was hoping it was all just a horrible nightmare. Out of the corner of my eye, I seen Lizzie naked and laying in a pool of blood on the floor. Instinctively, I went to Lizzie and there was a knife sticking out of her chest. I didn’t know what to do and I grabbed the knife and then I let go. There was nothing I could do. I didn’t know what to do so I just held her.” Mr. Kirkland put his head in his hands and is uncontrollably sobbing.
“Take a second and when you are ready you can finish telling me the rest of the story.” I pat him on the shoulder trying to comfort him.
After a few minutes he raises his head and finishes the story, “It was shortly after that the first responders arrived and I was immediately arrested. I had noticed a phone in Lizzie’s hand. The detective told me she called 911 and all she said was ‘my husband’. I am not an idiot. The husband is the first suspect without any possible evidence. I knew how this all looked, so I didn’t even let them question me and I contacted Mr. Garfield.”
I conclude our meeting by telling him, “You are not to speak to anyone about this case, absolutely no one. We will do an intensive investigation into your case to find evidence to help prove your innocence.”
He nods in understanding. Then I ask him, “Are you going to be able to make the two million dollar bail?”
“I will get in contact with my financial manager and get it taken care of.”
“When you make bail you need to contact Mr. Garfield.”
I shake his hand. “We will be in contact in a couple of days.”
As I walk out of the room, I run right into Mac. I squint at him, cock my head to the side and cross my arms. “Where is my water?”
He smiles. “Don’t be mad at me, pretty girl. I heard him yell and I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
With my head still cocked, I roll my eyes. “I will talk to you later.”
As I come out of the jail, there are reporters from all of the local televisions stations and three newspaper reporters waiting like vultures. Someone must have tipped them off that Mr. Kirkland had a visitor. I have gotten used to getting accosted by reporters over the years working for Mr. Garfield. At first, I would just ignore them and walk away. However, Mr. Garfield preferred me to start making comments. He feels like I make a better public affairs liaison since as he puts it I am easier on the eyes then he is.
“Ms. Sinclair, is Mr. Garfield representing Mr. Kirkland in the Kirkland-Ellis murder case?” One of the television station reporters ask.
“I am here visiting a friend who works here. You will find out who represents Mr. Kirkland after the prosecution is notified.”
“Is that a yes?” Another newspaper reporter asks.
“Have a good day people.” I walk away deflecting their questions.
On my walk back to the office the wind picks up. I couldn’t help but think about the story Mr. Kirkland told me. Based off his point of view alone he could easily be convicted. I have interviewed many criminal clients and most were guilty even though the whole time they were pleading innocent. Mr. Kirkland was truly devastated and he told the story without any thought of his possible conviction. He could have left out certain parts of the story to make himself appear less guilty. His honesty made me believe in his innocence.
Our office is located in one of the twin tower buildings. The suite is located on the tenth floor. The outside of our office has a grand entrance with large columns flanking the glass double doors. As I walk into our offices, Sue is at her desk. She is in her fifties, has shoulder length bottled blond hair always puffed up and caked on make-up. She looks amazing and doesn’t look much older than forty.
She peers up from her desk, smiles and greets me. “Hello, Daisy. Jim has already left for the day and he will talk to you in the morning about the Kirkland case. I bought you lunch and put it on the desk in your office.”
“Thanks as always.” She normally gets me lunch since I tend to get so wrapped up in my work. I sometimes forget to take time to eat and by the end of the day I feel like I am going to faint.
I go back to my office, kick off my heels and turn on the radio. I put my head back and shut my eyes. I fell asleep for a second because I wake up to the phone buzzing and Sue saying, “It’s Mac on the phone.”
I pick up the phone. “Can’t get enough me today, can you?”
“I can never get enough of you, pretty girl. I mean let’s face it your my longest relationship to date.” Mac chuckles.
“Very funny. What is going on?”
“I called to let you know that Mr. Kirkland has bonded out.”
“Thanks. I will talk to you later.” I hang up.
When I get off the phone, I look up to see Sue standing in my doorway. “When are you going to officially take that good-looking man off the market?”
“Don’t you start.” I hear this from her about twice a week.
“I am leaving for the day. I want to let you know that Jim has decided to hire a full time criminal investigator and he will be here tomorrow for us to meet.”
I nod my head as I start to eat my sandwich. Mr. Garfield normally contracts out a private investigator that he keeps on retainer. I guess he decided to hire someone full time. I didn’t think we were that busy on the criminal defense side of our legal services. I will find out more from Jim tomorrow.
Sue smiles, gestures a bye and walks away.
After she left, I finish eating my sandwich. I email the District Attorney a representation letter informing them of Mr. Garfield representing Mr. Kirkland. I then send out open records request letters to Texas Department of Transportation for copies of any recorded surveillance videos of the route our client took the night of the murders between the hours of seven P.M. to eleven P.M. I have had a long productive day and I need to wind down. I am going to go see Mac and get a drink.