Officers Jose Gonzalez and Fred Johnson continued to review the facts. The two suspects both fit the description given by the victim, Stacy Cupper.
“Let’s go over this one more time.” Officer Gonzalez lifted the file containing the details of the assault. Turning to the descriptions of the suspects, he read aloud, “Mark Price is twenty-six, five foot-eleven, brown hair, Caucasian, earth tattoo - right arm, owns a black bomber jacket with a red patch on the back.” Flipping the page, he continued, “Sonny Smithfield’s twenty-seven, five foot-ten and half, brown hair, Caucasian, coiled cobra tattoo – right arm, wears black bomber jacket with red letters on back.”
Officer Johnson continued, “Mark is a great kid. No rap sheet. Attends Central Bible Church. Active in their singles ministry. Has worked at Parks Office Supply for six years. Currently in line for general manager. There’s no way this kid could have attacked Stacy.”
“I know what you’re saying, Fred, but Stacy picked him out of the line-up.”
”But only because we put him there. He wasn’t even a suspect. We just needed someone close in stature to Sonny. Mark was simply in the station with his sister who was paying a parking ticket. Now Sonny … there’s trouble. The gang he runs with has terrorized this town for too long. His rap sheet is five pages thick. I sure hope we can put him away this time and make an example of him.”
“So what are you gonna do? Bring ‘em both back in and have another line-up?”
“I dunno. I just can’t make it work in my mind. Stacy seemed so sure that Mark was the attacker. How do I accept that a fine young man with so much respect within the community would brutally attack a beautiful young woman and then run off with her purse? Mark doesn’t need the money, and I’m sure he could get a date with no problem. Sonny, on the other hand…no job, tough as nails, three priors for sexual assault, tied to the Sharks gang for over nine years. That’s the kind of thug that attacks the Stacys of the world … not Mark.”
Officer Gonzalez nodded. “I agree. Mark is what they call ‘good people’. He picks his friends wisely. He hangs out after work at a coffee shop with the guys from his Bible study group. He plays by the rules. Then there’s Sonny. Bad news all the way around. No job. Drinks all night at Bubba’s Pub with the guys from his gang. The modus operandi of his gang would explain why the purse was taken after the attack.”
“Looks like we need to bring Sonny in for a line-up. Think Stacy’s up for it?”
“Yeah, I think she can handle it fine. I’ll go set it up.” As Officer Gonzalez left the room he nearly tripped over Julie from the CSI lab.
“What’s your hurry big guy? Slow down. I’ve got some news for you.”
“Can it wait, Juls? I need to get Stacy in here for a line-up. We’re going to see what she does with Sonny Smithfield in the line-up.”
Julie held up her hand. “No need to. We have the right suspect identified already.”
“We do? Who? And how can you be so sure?”
“Mark Price. How do I know? Look at this.” She tossed the envelope on the table and headed back out the door. She couldn’t resist a parting shot. “Forget your line-up. DNA doesn’t lie.”
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