Whap… the judge’s gavel resounded through the room, silence returning. If there was some sound to speak of, it was only the low moans of the defendant, and the clatter of chains.
“Well then…” said the judge, “I think it’s about time we got to our deliberation. First, an outline of the case if you will, Prosecutor Schaefer.”
Prosecutor Schaefer spoke after a glance at the accused. “Leave it to me.
“The crime came to light on November the 12th around six in the morning. A report came to the police station of Westminster Hotel’s precinct that someone had been killed, and two officers headed for the scene. After they arrived, their search revealed portion of a corpse.”
“A portion of a corpse?”
As I spoke what was on my mind, for a moment, a wrinkle descended on Prosecutor Schaefer’s brow, but she immediately reverted to her usual face of complacency.
… What’s this? Does she hate having her opening statement interrupted that much?
Come to think of it, she did always hate being interrupted, that girl.
But when I saw her expression, I got the feeling there was something else irritating her.
Paying no mind to my motives, Prosecutor Schaefer spoke.
“The body wasn’t left in perfect condition, Mr. Lawyer. The joint at the base of the right arm had been severed. The freshly-severed right arm had fallen onto the scene.”
It was a scene I didn’t really want to imagine. To be honest, I wasn’t too good with human blood. Even more so when it involved bare flesh.
“Hmm, so the right arm was severed. Then what was the cause of death?”
When the judge said that with a refined expression, the prosecution went on.
“There wasn’t a vital reaction from the severed portion. We believe it was severed post-mortem. The specific cause of death is yet unknown. We’re in the middle of investigations.”
“Is that so. Then please hurry and identify it.”
“Leave it to me,” said Prosecutor Schaefer with an especially high level of confidence. “The forensic staff are a talented bunch, so I’m sure they’ll gallantly answer to your expectations, M’lud.”
“Hmhmm. That sounds reliable.”
…Then I’d appreciate if they’d have identified it already. I wanted to retort to the harmonious air forming around the judge and prosecution.
“The conversation has derailed. Then next I’ll speak to the estimated time of death, the victim died the day prior to the report. November 11th, likely between the hours of nine and eleven pm.”
November eleventh, nine to eleven, huh. I confirmed the documents lined up on the table. Nothing paarticularily strange yet.
“The victim’s name was Hal Anderson. It seem he had come to the hotel where his remains were found for work-related purposes.”
“What was his work?”
On my question, she gave an immediate reply. “He was hired for the hotel’s night security. The victim was a guard dispatched by a security firm. He was contracted to the hotel to take the night watch three days a week, and November 11th would have been his first day on the job. Let me distribute a photo of the victim’s face.”
Under Prosecutor Schaefer’s order, the bailiff handed the victim’s picture, and the documents pertaining to the cause of death over to the judge and me.
I had received a photo of the victim from the boss, but this one was enlarged, and easier to make out.
Looking at his photo alone, he looked to be in his mid-twenties, but just based on his record, that was strange.
Short-cut black hair, and a nose well in order. Canines tapered to a point, on top of his slanted eyes gave the immediate impression of a youngster trying to act tough, but he was a bonifide magi.
Magi were long-lived. Perhaps his age was much higher than his appearance would imply.
“Based on the police’s investigation…” On Prosecutor Schaefer’s voice, I looked up with a blank expression. It does seem her opening statement was still underway.
“The victim was killed in the middle of his rounds. After he left the guard room on the second floor, he boarded the elevator, and went straight to the viewing platform on the roof. His company had ordered him to patrol each floor in order, from the roof to the ground, so ’twas common knowledge where he was going. The defendant lay in wait for the victim on the roof, and murdered him there. ”
“Wait a second.”
On my interruption, Prosecutor Schaefer let out a bored sigh. “What could it be, Mr. Lawyer?”
“There’s a disparity between the investigation report I received, and the prosecution’s assertion. Were the remains not found in the park?”
“Oh my, oh my, you really do love to jump to conclusions, don’t you.”
She sneered at me.
“Just because the body was found in the park, that doesn’t mean that was the scene of the murder, right?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“That’s simple. After the accused murdered the victim on the hotel roof, the body fell from there. Isn’t that all there is to it?”
“You say as if you saw it first-hand.”
I objected. But the prosecution didn’t take it as rebuttal, I could tell by the twitch of joy across her face she gave in response.
“Hmhmm. As if I saw it first-hand? Of course I did. I saw it with these eyes.”
“Prosecutor Schaefer? What do you mean by that? Please explain yourself.”
The judge asked a plausible question.
“Is it so hard? Truly? It’s really quite simple. The hotel had a security camera. Of course, there was a camera to monitor the elevator, and one to monitor the viewing platform. It was captured there. The scene of the accused tearing across the victim’s back with her sword.”
The gallery grew rowdy.
Perhaps I had asked an unnecessary question.