Detective Elliot stared at the suspect through the one-way mirror. The man sat in the other room, leaning back against the metal chair looking bored. The detective didn’t know what to do with this guy. He didn’t seem to care about the situation he was in right now. On the other hand, the suspect wasn’t talking too much. Elliot couldn’t tell if he just didn’t understand what was going on or if he was too crafty and knew exactly what he was doing. The suspect had refused a lawyer so Elliot was given the go-ahead to question him. So far, he hasn’t made a dent.
Judging from the way the suspect acted, Elliot and his partner, Detective Grace, assumed Elliot would have it all under control. Grace had decided to get a head start on the paperwork while Elliot finished up with the suspect. Now he waited for his partner in the back room so they could interrogation the suspect together. Elliot didn’t make any headway so maybe between the two of them, Grace would be able to get something out of this guy.
Grace entered the back room with a deadpan expression. “I thought we’d actually get off shift on time for once.”
Elliot sighed. “I’m sorry, but this man isn’t budging. I thought maybe if we gang up on him he’ll talk.”
“Does he want a lawyer?”
“Still doesn’t want a lawyer,” Elliot said, shaking his head.
Grace let out a frustrated sighed. “Well, it doesn’t seem as though this guy wants to make anything easy for us.”
“Why would they?” Elliot smirked. “I got all I could out of him. He kept giving me one-word answers. It got to the point he kept answering yes or no for all my questions even when I didn’t ask a yes or no question.”
“Oh, one of those?” Grace commented with a grunted. “Do you think he’s in a daze from all the events from today? Or do you think he’s faking trying to play us?”
Elliot reached over Grace and grabbed the manila folder on the shelf by the mirror. He opened it up and took a look at the case file that was quickly made up before they began their questioning.
“According to the woman in the apartment next door, she heard a man scream and she checked the hallway. The apartment to her left – the suspect’s apartment – was opened ajar. She took a peek to make sure everything was already and she found our victim dead on the floor in a pool of blood with a knife sticking out of his chest. Then she saw our suspect walking calmly out of the next room wiping his hands of, what she assumed, to be blood,” Elliot said, reading from the folder. “We of course, brought him in for questioning under the suspicion he murdered his roommate, but he has never once flinched. Didn’t resist arrest, doesn’t even seem to realize a homicide has taken place.”
Grace watched the suspect through the mirror with furrowed brows. He leaned back in his chair making the legs click on the floor. He began to hum along with the tune in a happy manner. “I feel like he doesn’t know what’s going on… either that or he’s a really good actor.”
“My guess is a good actor,” Elliot replied. “He refused a lawyer and said he didn’t mind talking to us about what happened. My guess is this is all an act in an attempt to fool us into thinking he’s crazy. If a lawyer was here, they’d see right through him.”
“That doesn’t matter. A lawyer would still try to protect him, that’s their job. We see right through it though and we don’t have to protect him,” Grace stated.
Elliot didn’t reply for a moment. While his partner was right, he still thought there was something off about the whole situation. Would a person really go through these lengths to cover up the fact that he murdered his roommate? People did crazy things when they were in crazy situations and were scared. Elliot had thought he’d seen it all but he knew he’d jinx himself for the next case if he said it out loud.
Either this suspect had planned to kill his roommate but didn’t expect the next door neighbor to hear – which Elliot thought was ridiculous in the first place. The apartment had thin walls that he was sure a lot of people in the building would have heard the struggle. Or, the suspect got too heated in the moment and didn’t mean to kill his roommate. Of course, you can’t accidentally stab a knife through someone’s chest, but Elliot has heard and seen a lot of crazy things throughout his years being a detective.
On the other hand, this suspect could have actually been innocent and the next door neighbor was too afraid and only thought what she was was actually what she witnessed. Maybe the suspect wasn’t talking because he was afraid. Why he didn’t want a lawyer was beyond Elliot. Maybe he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford one or maybe he was too confident that he’d be found innocent that he didn’t think he needed one.
Elliot watched him carefully through the glass. The suspect was too calm. It truly was hard to say if he was innocent and confident he’d be found so – despite the evidence and testimonies against him – or he was crazy and didn’t care at all about the situation he was in.
“Any ideas how to pursue this one?” Grace asked.
Elliot shook his head. “Do you want to go in alone and see if he’ll talk to you or tag-team this one?”
Grace shrugged. “I’ll see if he’ll be inclined to answer any of my questions.”
Elliot watched as his partner left the room. There were quite a few suspects who usually submitted to Grace’s questioning. Elliot had been doing this for years and he wasn’t sure if he was becoming less intimidating. Grace, on the other hand, had only been doing this for a handful of years but she was more intimidating to most suspects than Elliot was. He didn’t understand what he was about her, but she often scared people into talking. However, she was never out of line.
He watched as Grace opened the door to the interrogation room. Before she could take a step into the room, the suspect stood, let out an ear-splitting scream as he picked up his chair, and chucked it toward the detective before rushing toward the door.
Elliot jumped out of the back room and was just about to help his partner when he entered the interrogation room. When he made it to the doorway, Grace had the suspect pinned on the ground under the chair. Elliot tried not to crack a smile. “Did you catch the chair?”
“Of course I caught the chair, I’m no rookie,” Grace said as though she were offended he asked. “Go get backup, will you? I think he needs some more time in the holding cell.”
Elliot did as suggested and as a few police officers cuffed the suspect and brought him back to a holding cell, Elliot and Grace watched from the hall. He had the case folder in his hand and let out a sigh.
“You know,” he began, “I know nothing is ever easy. But for once, I would like a case that’s on the easier side. He was totally calm with me, I don’t know what you did.”
Grace shrugged. “My face scares people, as it should.”
Grace then sighed. “Great, now I have to add this in the report. More paperwork.”
Elliot didn’t answer his partner. Yes, she was right. They were going to have to add that into the case file, but there was certainly something that wasn’t right. “I think we should go back to the apartment and check it out again. I feel like there isn’t something right with that guy.”
“I want to go back to the apartment.”
“Alright, we’ll go back to the apartment.” Grace shrugged. “You can drive.”
The two detectives ducked under the caution tape that sprawled across the door frame to apartment 205. The remained in the doorway on the other side of the tape staring at the still-life apartment before them.
“Died right away from a stab wound to the heart,” Detective Grace said shaking her head. “What a way to go.”
“We’ve seen worse,” Elliot added.
“We have, but it still never gets less creepy. What are we looking for here?”
“Honestly, I’m not sure,” Elliot replied softly. “I thought something would jump out of me once we got here. I know that sounds a bit too easy, but… I have this feeling that we have the wrong guy.”
“The crazy guy is the wrong guy?” Grace said with a deadpanned tone.
Elliot nodded. “Maybe? I’m not sure.”
“He threw a chair at me.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s a murderer.”
“A metal chair.”
“And then he tried to run out the door. If he were innocent, would he try to run? What does he had to hide?” Grace continued.
“I can’t imagine being accused of murder when you’re actually innocent. I bet he’s afraid trying to put on a cool act.” Elliot explained.
“I get that, but I still find it completely odd. Something must be off about him. Regardless, he attacked a detective so he’ll be in trouble for something,” Grace stated. She watched as Elliot entered further into the apartment. “What are you doing?”
“Looking for clues.”
“I’m pretty sure we got everything.”
Elliot wasn’t convinced. He looked under tables and chairs but nothing seemed to be jumping out at him. He stared at the blood stains on the carpet in the middle of the living room.
“Do you think,” he began, “it’s possible our suspect came home and found his roommate dead? He might have tried to revive him with CPR or something and that’s how he got the blood on his hands. That’s what the neighbor witnessed.”
Grace walked further into the apartment and looked down at her partner who was squatting on the ground. “It’s possible, yes. Anyone who would walk home to see that would try to revive them with CPR despite a stab wound to the hear. Panic and grief sets in. But what about the scream?”
“It was our suspect. He came home and was shocked to find his roommate dead.” Detective Elliot stood up. “How would our witness be able to tell the two screams apart? They’re both male and I’m sure they don’t scream so often that their neighbor has been able to tell them apart.”
“Well, I hate to admit it, but you do have a point. Our witness didn’t actually witness the murder, she saw the aftermath,” Grace agreed.
The two detectives made it back to the station. They immediately walked down to the holding cells and found their suspect. He sat in a lonely corner of the cell weeping.
“I don’t think he did it at all,” Elliot whispered. Seeing him in this state confirmed any thoughts he had. He walked over to the cell and knocked on the bars to get his attention.
The suspect looked up, his face wet and eyes blood-shot from crying. He stood, walking to the bars. He looked confused but Elliot could tell he was trying to act tough.
“We went back to the apartment,” Elliot began. “You didn’t kill your roommate, did you?”
The suspect’s mouth gaped open. He looked back and forth between the two detectives before settling his gaze back onto Detective Elliot. His gaze softened as he smiled with relief. He shook his head.
“Then why wouldn’t you talk to us before?” Grace asked, glaring at the suspect. Elliot put a hand up signaling her to simmer down. Though he couldn’t blame her. He’d be annoyed if a chair was thrown at him too.
The suspect shrugged. “I’m sorry. I thought I was done for. I panicked.”
“You need to tell us what happened. No more staying silent if you want your roommate’s killer to be caught,” Elliot said sternly.
The suspect nodded. He looked Detective Elliot in the eye. “I think I know who killed him.”