Книга EchoPark. Страница 37
“He didn’t have an alibi for the time we believed Marie was grabbed outside the supermarket. But we can skip ahead here because that part of the interview took forever.”
Rachel was now sitting up in the bed behind him with the sheet wrapped around her. Bosch looked back at her.
“What do you think of this guy so far?”
She shrugged her bare shoulders.
“He seems like a typical rich asshole. But that doesn’t make him a murderer.”
“This now is two years later. The lawyers from his daddy’s firm slapped a TRO on me and I could only interview the kid if he had counsel present. So there’s nothing much here but there’s one thing I want you to see. His lawyer in this is Dennis Franks, an associate of Cecil Dobbs, a big-shot Century City guy who handles things for T. Rex.”
“The father. Thomas Rex Garland. Likes to be called T. Rex.”
Bosch slowed the fast-forward down a notch so he could better see where the action on the tape was. On the screen was Garland sitting at a table with a man right next to him. As the image moved in fast motion the lawyer and his client conferred many times in mouth-to-ear communications. Bosch finally slowed it to normal speed and the audio came back up. It was Franks, the lawyer, doing the talking.
“My client has fully cooperated with you but you continue to harass him at work and home with these suspicions and questions that have not one ounce of evidentiary support.”
“I’m working on that part of it, Counselor,” Bosch said. “And when I get it, there won’t be a lawyer in the world who can help him.”
“Fuck you, Bosch!” Garland said. “You better hope you never come for me alone, man. I’ll put you down in the dirt.”
Franks put a calming hand on Garland’s arm. Bosch was silent for a few moments before responding.
“You want to threaten me now, Anthony? You think I’m like one of those teenagers you cuff out in the oil fields and dump crude on? You think I’m going to go away with my tail between my legs?”
Garland’s face pinched together and turned dark. His eyes looked like frozen black marbles.
Bosch hit the pause button on the VCR remote.
“There,” he said to Rachel, pointing at the screen with the remote. “That’s what I wanted you to see. Look at his face. Pure, perfect rage. That’s why I thought it was him.”
Walling didn’t respond. Bosch glanced at her and she looked as though she had seen the face of pure, perfect rage before. She looked to be almost intimidated by it. Bosch wondered if she had seen it in one of the killers she had faced, or in someone else.
Bosch turned back to the television and hit the fast-forward button again.
“Now we jump almost ten years, to when I brought him in last April. Franks was gone and a new guy had the case in Dobbs’s office. He dropped the ball and never went back to the judge when the first restraining order expired. So I took another shot at him. He was surprised to see me. I grabbed him when he came out of Kate Mantilini’s at lunch one day. He probably thought I was long gone from his life.”
He stopped the fast-forward and played the tape. On the screen Garland looked older and wider. His face had spread and he wore his now-thinning hair cropped short. He wore a white shirt with a tie. The taped interviews had followed him from the end of boyhood to well into manhood.
This time he sat in a different interview room. This one was at Parker Center.
“If I’m not under arrest, then I should be free to go,” he said. “Am I free to go?”
“I was hoping you’d answer a few questions first,” Bosch replied.
“I answered all your questions years ago. This is a vendetta, Bosch. You will not give up. You will not leave me alone. Am I free to go or not?”
“Where did you hide her body?”
Garland shook his head.
“My God, this is unbelievable. When will this end?”
“It will never end, Garland. Not until I find her and not until I lock you up.”
“This is fucking crazy! You’re crazy, Bosch. What can I say to make you believe me? What can-”
“You can tell me where she is and then I’ll believe you.”
“Well, that’s the one thing I can’t tell you, because I don’t-”
Bosch suddenly killed the TV with the remote. For the first time, he realized how case-blind he had been, going after Garland as relentlessly as a dog chasing a car. He was unaware of the traffic, unaware that right in front of him in the murder book was the clue to the real killer. Watching the tape with Walling had heaped humiliation upon humiliation. He had thought by showing her the tape she would see why he had focused on Garland. She would understand and absolve him of the mistake. But now seeing it through the prism of Waits’s impending confession he couldn’t even absolve himself.
Rachel leaned toward him and touched his back, her soft fingers tracing down his spine.
“It happens to all of us,” she said.
Bosch nodded. Not to me, he thought.
“I guess when this is all over I’m going to have to find him and apologize,” he said.
“Fuck him. He’s still an asshole. I wouldn’t bother.”
Bosch smiled. She was trying to make it easy for him.
She pulled back the elastic waistband on his boxers and then snapped them against his back.
“I think I have at least another hour before I should be thinking about getting home.”
Bosch turned to look at her and she smiled.
THE NEXT MORNING Bosch and Rider walked from the Hall of Records to the CCB and despite the wait for an elevator still got to the DA’s office twenty minutes early. O’Shea and Olivas were ready for them. Everyone took the same seats as before. Bosch noticed that the posters that had been leaning against the wall were gone. They had probably been put to good use somewhere, maybe sent to the public hall where the candidates’ forum was scheduled for that night.
As he sat down Bosch saw the Gesto murder book on O’Shea’s desk. He took it without asking and immediately opened it to the chronological record. He combed through the 51s until he found the page for September 29, 1993. He looked at the entry Olivas had told him about the evening before. It was, as it had been read to Bosch, the last entry of the day. Bosch felt the deep sense of regret tug at him all over again.
“Detective Bosch, we all make mistakes,” O’Shea said. “Let’s just move on from it and do the best we can today.”
Bosch looked up at him and eventually nodded. He closed the book and put it back on the desk. O’Shea continued.
“I am told that Maury Swann is in the interview room with Mr. Waits and is ready to go. I have been thinking about this and I want to take the cases one at a time and in order. We start with Fitzpatrick and when we are satisfied by the confession, we move on to the Gesto case, and when we are satisfied there, we move on to the next one and so on.”
Everybody nodded except for Bosch.
“I am not going to be satisfied until we have her remains,” he said.
Now O’Shea nodded. He lifted a document off his desk.
“I understand that. If you can locate the victim based on the statements from Waits, then fine. If it is a matter of him leading us to the body, I have a release order ready to go to the judge. I would say that if we reach a point where we are taking this man out of lockup, then the security should be extraordinary. There will be a lot riding on this and we cannot have any mistakes.”
O’Shea took the time to look from detective to detective to make sure they understood the gravity of the situation. He would be gambling his campaign and political life on the security of Raynard Waits.
“We’ll be ready for anything,” Olivas said.
The look of concern on O’Shea’s face didn’t change.
“You’re going to have a uniformed presence, right?” he asked.
“I don’t think it is necessary-uniforms draw attention,” Olivas said. “We can handle him. But if you want it we’ll have it.”
“I think it would be good to have, yes.”
“No problem, then. We’ll either get a car from Metro to go with us or a couple deputies from the jail.”
O’Shea nodded his approval.
“Then, are we ready to start?”
“There’s one thing,” Bosch said. “We’re not sure who that is in the interview room waiting for us, but we’re pretty sure his name isn’t Raynard Waits.”
A look of surprise played off O’Shea’s face and immediately became contagious. Olivas dropped his mouth open an inch and leaned forward.
“We made him on fingerprints,” Olivas protested. “On the prior.”
“Yes, the prior. As you know, when he was popped thirteen years ago for prowling, he first gave the name Robert Saxon along with the birth date of eleven/three/’seventy-five. This is the same name he used later that year when he called about Gesto, only then he gave the birth date of eleven/three/’seventy-one. But when he was pulled in on the prowling and they ran his prints through the computer, they matched the thumb to the DL of Raynard Waits, with a birth date of eleven/three/’seventy-one. So we keep getting the same month and day but different years. Anyway, when confronted with the thumbprint he copped to being Raynard Waits, saying he had given the false name and year because he was hoping to be handled as a juvenile. This is all in the file.”
“But where does all of it go?” O’Shea said impatiently.
“Just let me finish. He got probation for the prowling because it was a first offense. In the probation report bio he said he was born and raised in L.A., okay? We just came from the Hall of Records. There is no record of Raynard Waits being born in L.A. on that date or any other. There have been a lot of Robert Saxons born in L.A. but none on November third of either of the years mentioned in the files.”
“The bottom line,” Rider said, “is we don’t know who the man we are about to talk to is.”
O’Shea pushed back from his desk and stood up. He paced around the spacious office as he thought and spoke about this latest information.
“Okay, so what are you saying, that the DMV had the wrong prints on file or there was some sort of a mix-up?”
Bosch turned in his seat so he could look at O’Shea while he answered.
“I’m saying that this guy, whoever he really is, could have gone to the DMV thirteen, fourteen, years ago to set up a false ID. What do you need to get a driver’s license? Proof of age. Back then, you could buy phony IDs and birth certificates on Hollywood Boulevard, no problem. Or he could have bribed a DMV employee, could have done a lot of things. The point is, there is no record of him being born here in L.A., as he said he was. That puts all the rest in doubt.”