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02 Injustice for All by J A Jance

02 Injustice for All by J A Jance

Author:J A Jance [Jance, J A]
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER

21

We did enjoy the press conference. For once we caught the media absolutely flat-footed. When I walked to the podium with Ray, you could have heard a pin drop.

Ray Johnson went straight to the microphones as naturally as if he had been doing it all his life. In ten months he had indeed become a police chief rather than a homicide detective. He was totally at ease.

“Before I issue my statement, I want to introduce you to some guests. On my right is Detective J. P. Beaumont of Seattle P. D. Next to him is Ralph Ames, Mr. Beaumont’s personal attorney. Next to him is Detective Hal Huggins of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department.

“What I have to say is short and sweet. The City of Pasco and its Police Department deeply regret that Detective Beaumont here was mistakenly arrested as a suspect in the murder of Mona Larson. We wish to express our sincere apology for any inconvenience this may have caused.

“We are pursuing several leads in the Larson case and are, in fact, working on a major suspect. I repeat, Detective Beaumont is not that suspect. My understanding is that, after consulting his attorney, Detective Beaumont has agreed not to press false-arrest charges against this jurisdiction. However, some legal action may be contemplated. I believe Mr. Ames will be speaking to that issue. Mr. Ames?” He yielded the platform to Ralph.

Ralph Ames looks unassuming. He dresses conservatively and well, but he’s a real tiger in negotiations or in court. He stepped to the bank of microphones.

“Thank you, Chief Johnson. Yes, I have advised my client that false-arrest proceedings would be ill-advised. However, in the next few days we will be reviewing all media coverage of my client’s arrest to determine whether we have grounds for defamation of character or libel suits in conjunction with media treatment of the incident. It’s possible some of the reports were in fact libelous.”

Ames sat down, leaving the hall in utter silence. I happened to be looking directly at Maxwell Cole when Ames made his pronouncement. Max blanched visibly, his complexion turning a pukey shade of green.

Ray resumed the microphone. “Any questions?”

There were none immediately. No one was eager to leap into the breach. Eventually, one brave soul near the back tentatively raised his hand. “Do you believe there’s a connection between Mona Larson’s death and that of her husband?”

I could see Ray’s smile coming a mile away. “No comment,” he said.

“I understand the governor has now extended State Patrol protection to all family members of the parole board as well as to board members themselves. Is that true?”

“You’ll have to ask Governor Reynolds about that.”

“Can you tell us why Detective Huggins is here?”

Ray turned to Hal. “Hal,” he said, “would you care to answer that?”

We were having a good time. I could see Peters in the back of the room with a broad grin plastered across his face.

“No comment,” Hal said.

That got the message across. The reporters could see we were having fun at their expense.



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