Flint and Jesse were seated at a wooden table in the police station’s interrogation room with the two arresting officers. They’d been there for hours, with neither side making headway in either direction. The cops kept asking questions which Jesse refused to answer while Flint kept demanding that they turn over whatever evidence they had on Jesse and the cops refusing to hand it over.
Finally, after it was obvious the interrogation was going nowhere, the cops offered up the information Flint had been waiting all along for them to divulge. The arrest had been made based solely on Leah’s cell phone records, which contained several calls and a text message between her and Jesse on the day of her murder.
The room went silent while Flint read the evidence file. “Can I have a moment alone with my client?” he asked when he was finished.
“Sure,” the officer said, sliding back his metal chair. “I could use another cup of coffee anyway.” The officers stood up and left the room.
Flint scooted his chair closer to Jesse. “You want to tell me now about the phone calls? Why the hell didn’t you mention this before?”
Jesse shrugged and ran a hand through his hair. “I didn’t realize it was important. We both know the Liberators killed Leah for warning me they were on their way to the safe house. It never occurred to me that I would be a suspect in her murder. I didn’t realize it was important.”
“You didn’t think the cops would check her cell phone records?” Flint asked.
“I’m not that stupid,” Jesse replied. “I thought she was using a burner phone. I can’t believe she was calling me on her real cell phone. What does a prepaid phone cost? Ten bucks?”
Flint shook his head in disbelief. “Even the Sweet Butts would have more sense than that, but it’s done now. Tell me about the calls.”
“After Leah called to warn me that the Liberators were coming for you, she panicked,” Jesse said. “She called me several times that night because she was terrified they would figure out what she’d done. She seemed agitated and not like herself. Or at least not like the Leah I knew years ago.”
“You think she was doing drugs?”
“I heard through the grapevine that she was doing meth. Don’t know for sure. Something was different about her. I begged her to get the hell out of there because I knew they’d kill her if they suspected that she was a rat. I thought if I could convince her to meet me that I could talk her into leaving the Liberators for good. After I sent the last text message asking her to meet me, I never heard from her again. You know the rest of the story.”
Flint didn’t speak for a moment, thinking about Leah’s battered body being dumped on the side of the road. He couldn’t imagine what she must’ve gone through before they finally killed her.
“The Liberators probably found her cell phone,” he said. “Dammit! How could she have let that happen?”
“Leah was a sweetheart, but she wasn’t the smartest gal in the world,” Jesse replied. “And she wasn’t thinking clearly if she was high. It makes me sick to think about what they did to her because she was helping us.”
“Obviously you can’t come clean to the cops about what you two were talking about because that would lead straight back to the safe house and everything that happened on the mountain. How many text messages were there?” Flint knew any text messages would be used as direct evidence against Jesse.
“Only one,” Jesse answered. “The text message asking her to meet me. I’d been calling her for hours and couldn’t get an answer, so I sent her a text.”
“That wasn’t too smart on your part either,” Flint said. “So there are no other text messages going back and forth between you?”
“No, I’m sure of that. Just the one. From me to her.”
“Okay, that’s good to know,” Flint said. “If I had to take an educated guess, I would say the police don’t have enough real evidence to charge you or even hold you at this point. I don’t know what the hell these cops were thinking, dragging you in here with only phone records as evidence. I’m pretty certain I can get this thrown out in the morning as soon as you go before the judge. Are you sure there’s nothing else you haven’t told me?”
“I swear,” Jesse replied. “You know everything I do.”
Flint stood up and slapped Jesse on the back. “I’ll take care of this. You’re going to have to spend the night in jail since it’s so late on a Sunday evening, but by tomorrow night you’ll be back in your own bed. Or somebody else’s bed. Whatever makes you happy.”
Jesse tried to smile. “I knew all that damn lawyer stuff of yours would come in handy some day.”
Flint rapped twice on the door to let the officers know to unlock it from the outside so he could leave. He turned back to Jesse. “You probably never noticed or needed to care up until now, but I’m a damn good lawyer. And I can be fucking brilliant in court when I set my mind to it. You don’t need to worry.”
Jesse grew serious. “I noticed. I never said it out loud, but I’m proud of you. Always was, so go get me the fuck out of here. I’m counting on you.”
“I got this. See you in the morning.”