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Книга EchoPark. Страница 14

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Rider nodded. Bosch didn’t.

“Detective Bosch?” O’Shea prompted.

“Maybe I shouldn’t see it, then,” Bosch said. “Maybe I shouldn’t be here.”

“You were the one who wouldn’t give Freddy the file. If the case means that much to you, then I think you should be here.”

Bosch finally nodded.

“Okay,” he said.

O’Shea slid the paper across the desk and Bosch and Rider leaned forward to read it together. Bosch first unfolded his glasses and put them on.

Sept. 12, 2006

Richard O’Shea, Assistant District Attorney

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Office 16-11

210 West Temple Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Re: California v. Raynard Waits

Dear Mr. O’Shea:

This letter is intended to open discussions regarding a disposition in the above-referenced case. All statements made herein and hereafter in connection with these discussions are made with the understanding that they are inadmissible under California Evidence Code §1153, California Penal Code §1192.4 and People v. Tanner, 45 Cal. App.3d 345, 350, 119 Cal. Rptr. 407 (1975).

I suggest to you that Mr. Waits would be willing, on terms and conditions outlined below, to share with you and investigators of your choice information regarding nine homicides, excluding the two in the above-referenced case, and to plead guilty to the charges in the above-referenced case, in exchange for the People’s agreement not to seek the death penalty on the instant homicide charges or to file charges in regard to the homicides about which he would provide information.

Furthermore, in return for the cooperation and information Mr. Waits would provide, you must agree that any and all statements by Mr. Waits and any information derived therefrom will not be used against him in any criminal case; no information provided pursuant to this agreement may be divulged to any other state or federal law enforcement agencies unless and until those agencies, through their representatives, agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this agreement; no statements made or other information provided by Mr. Waits during any “off-the-record” proffer or discussion may be used against him in the prosecution’s case-in-chief; nor may you make derivative use of or pursue any investigative leads suggested by any statements made or information provided by the defendant.

In the event the above-referenced case goes to trial, if Mr. Waits offers testimony materially different from any statements made or other information provided during any proffers or discussion, then you may, of course, impeach him concerning such prior inconsistent statements or information.

I suggest that the families of eight young women and one male victim will attain some form of closure with the knowledge of what transpired in regard to their loved ones and, in eight of these instances, be able to conduct proper religious ceremonies and burials after Mr. Waits leads your investigators to the places where these victims now rest. Additionally, these families will find, perhaps, some comfort in knowing that Mr. Waits is serving a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Mr. Waits offers to provide information in regard to nine known and unknown homicides between 1992 and 2003. As an initial offer of credibility and good faith, he suggests that investigators review the investigation into the death of Daniel Fitzpatrick, 63, who was burned to death in his Hollywood Boulevard pawnshop on April 30, 1992. Investigative files will reveal that Mr. Fitzpatrick was armed and standing behind the roll-down security fence at the front of his store when he was set afire by an assailant using lighter fluid and a butane lighter. The can of EasyLight lighter fluid was left behind, standing upright in front of the security fence. This information was never made public.

Further, Mr. Waits suggests that police investigative files in regard to the September 1993 disappearance of Marie Gesto be reviewed as an additional showing of his credibility and good faith. The records will reveal that while the whereabouts of Ms. Gesto were never determined, her car was located by police in a garage at a Hollywood apartment complex known as the High Tower. The car contained Ms. Gesto’s clothing and equestrian equipment plus a grocery bag containing a one-pound package of carrots. Ms. Gesto intended to use the carrots to feed the horses she groomed in exchange for riding time at the Sunset Ranch stables in Beachwood Canyon. Again, this information was never made public.

I would suggest that if an agreement of disposition could be achieved, such an agreement would fall within the exceptions to California’s prohibition against plea bargaining serious felonies inasmuch as, absent Mr. Waits’s cooperation, there are insufficient evidence and material witnesses to prove the People’s case in regard to these nine homicides. Moreover, the People’s forbearance regarding the death penalty is entirely discretionary and does not represent a substantial change in sentence. (California Penal Code §1192.7a.)

Please contact me at your earliest convenience if the foregoing is acceptable.

Sincerely,

Maurice Swann, PA

101 Broadway

Suite 2

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Bosch realized he had read almost the entire letter without taking a breath. He now gulped down some air but it did not displace the cold tightness that was forming in his chest.

“You’re not going to agree to this, are you?” he asked.

O’Shea held his gaze for a moment before responding.

“As a matter of fact, I am negotiating with Swann right now. That was the initial proffer. I’ve improved the State’s take substantially since that arrived.”

“In what way?”

“He’ll have to plead to all the cases. We’ll get eleven murder convictions.”

And you’ll get more headlines in time for the election, Bosch thought but didn’t say.

“But he still walks?” he asked.

“No, Detective, he doesn’t walk. He never sees the light of day again. Have you ever been up to Pelican Bay, the place they send sex offenders? It only sounds like a nice place.”

“But no death penalty. You’re giving him that.”

Olivas smirked as if Bosch didn’t see the light.

“Yes, that is what we are giving,” O’Shea said. “That’s all we’re giving. No death penalty and he goes away forever and a day.”

Bosch shook his head, looked at Rider and then back at O’Shea. He said nothing because he knew it wasn’t his decision to make.

“But before we agree to such a deal,” O’Shea said, “we need to make damn sure he is good for those nine. Waits is no dummy. This could all be a trick to avoid the needle or it could be the real thing. I want to bring you two into this to work with Freddy in finding out which it is. I’ll make the calls and you will be cut loose. That will be the assignment.”

Neither Bosch nor Rider responded. O’Shea pressed on.

“It is obvious he knows things about the two bait cases cited in the letter. Freddy confirmed the Fitzpatrick thing. He was killed during the riots after the Rodney King verdict came in, burned to death behind the roll-down fence in his pawnshop. He was heavily armed at the time and what is not clear is how his killer got close enough to set him on fire. The can of EasyLight was found just like Waits said, standing upright in front of the security fence.

“The mention of the Gesto case we could not confirm because you’ve got the file, Detective Bosch. You’ve already confirmed the part about the garage. Did he get that right about the clothes and the carrots?”

Bosch reluctantly nodded.

“The car was public information,” he said. “The media was all over it. But the bag of carrots was our ace in the hole. Nobody knew about that except me, my partner at the time and the evidence tech who opened the bag. We held it back because that’s where we ended up thinking she crossed his path. The carrots came from a Mayfair Supermarket on Franklin at the bottom of Beachwood Canyon. Turned out it was her routine to stop there before going up to the stables. The day she disappeared she followed the routine. She came out with the carrots and probably her killer as a trailer. We found witnesses who put her in the store. Nothing else after that. Until we found her car.”

O’Shea nodded. He pointed to the letter, which was still on the desk in front of Bosch and Rider.

“Then this is looking good.”

“No, it’s not,” Bosch said. “Don’t do this.”

“Don’t do what?”

“Don’t make the deal.”

“Why shouldn’t we?”

“Because if he is the one who took Marie Gesto and killed her and he killed those eight other people, maybe even chopped them up like the two they caught him with, then he isn’t someone who should be allowed to live, whether in a prison cell or not. They ought to strap him down, put the juice in him and send him on down the hole to where he belongs.”

O’Shea nodded as if it were a valid consideration.

“What about all of those open cases?” he countered. “Look, I don’t like the idea of this guy living out his life in a private room at Pelican Bay any more than you do. But we have a responsibility to clear those cases and provide answers to the families of those people. Also, you have to remember, we have announced that we are seeking the death penalty. That doesn’t mean it’s automatic. We have to go to trial and win and then we have to do it all over again to get the jury to recommend death. I’m sure you know that there are any number of things that could go wrong. It only takes one juror to hang a case. And it only takes one to stop the death penalty. It only takes one soft judge to ignore the jury’s recommendation, anyway.”

Bosch didn’t respond. He knew how the system worked, how it could be manipulated and how nothing was a sure thing. Still, it bothered him. He also knew that a life sentence didn’t always mean a life sentence. Every year people like Charlie Manson and Sirhan Sirhan got their shot. Nothing lasts forever, not even a life sentence.

“Plus, there is the cost factor,” O’Shea continued. “Waits doesn’t have money but Maury Swann took the case for publicity value. If we take this to trial he will be ready for battle. Maury’s a damn good lawyer. We can expect experts to cancel out our experts, scientific analysis to cancel out our analysis-the trial will last months and cost the county a fortune. I know you don’t want to hear that money is a consideration here but that is the reality. I have the budget management office already on my back about this one. This proffer could be the safest and best way to make sure this man harms no one else in the future.”

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