Show Link: https://anchor.fm/thatscriminaljs
I wonder what I could do to make my wife want to have me killed. I could ask her I guess but I’d hate to find out I had already driven her to murder, and she just hadn’t wound up the courage to pull the trigger yet. She had a Snapped obsession for a little while there and I never got a good explanation out of her as to what the draw was.
This lady, Wendy, at fifty-two years old, finally had enough (of something) and decided she was done. Or maybe she just happened upon a lucky Google search and got inspired. She found Rent-a-hitman.com, not kidding, that was the real website. She tried to be a smooth criminal (Shout out to Alien Ant Farm-yes, I like their version better) and used a pseudonym while filling out the page’s interest form. But she put in her real deets in the contact information. Close Wendy, but oh so far away. I’ll give her a 3 out of 10 for effort given she was smart enough to not use her real name while shopping for a killer. In the end though this seems like the equivalent of the points you get on the SAT for spelling your name right. After her inquiry, Wendy is contacted by the rentable hitman and meets him in a diner to talk business. She agrees to pay five thousand dollars for the job and puts two hundred dollars in earnest money down to show she’s serious. Then she’s promptly arrested when she finds out the hitman for hire is actually an undercover cop.
Turns out the website was originally set up by a cyber security guy as the front for his legitimate, if not oddly named, business. After he setup the website he realized his branding mistake when he started getting weird messages from people like Wendy. Instead of re-naming his site he decided to keep it and forward the requests for homicide to the local police as they came in. I was never any good at undercover work, and I never got to play hitman, but, what a fun op that would be.
After reading this article here are my questions: A: (The obvious) why do you want to kill your husband? And B: How did the conversation go when the detectives had to explain to him why his wife was in jail?
Luckily, since this is my fictional version of events, I have answers to both questions.
The interrogation room was stark. Only bare, concrete walls in drab flat white finish. The fluorescent lights blared overhead, illuminating only a laminate topped table and three chairs. In the chair opposite the only door sat Wendy, two detectives, Riggs and Murtaugh. Murtaugh held the file open in front of him so Wendy could see the statements, and screenshots in plain view. He had a notebook open and clicked his pen repeatedly on the table.
“Let’s start with why.” He said, “Why kill your husband, Wendy?”
“Do I need a lawyer?”
Murtaugh slouched in his chair, “If you want a lawyer, we will make that happen. But remember, you paid that guy,” he pointed at Riggs, “to kill your husband. You did it under audio and video surveillance. No lawyer on the planet will ever let you go to court on this. You’re going to take a plea and you’re going to go to prison. We just want to know why.”
Wendy squirmed in her seat. She chewed her bottom lip like a coyote gnawing on a trapped leg. Then she froze and her eyes seemed to clear.
“You ever sit next to someone, and the sound of their breathing makes you want to hit them with a car?” she asked.
Riggs looked at Murtaugh, “Yes,” he answered.
Wendy smiled, “Yes, me and Richard have been together thirty-three years. Raised two kids, kept a fine house. I’ve cooked and cleaned up after that slob for decades.” She huffed, “In all that time I never asked for anything for myself. Never asked for fancy vacations, days at the spa, nothing like that. Now the kids are grown. I’m retired. He’s been retired for years, laying around getting fat. The other night during Jeopardy I said I think we should go on a cruise. You know what he told me?”
Riggs and Murtaugh shook their head in unison, no.
“He told me to go get him another beer before final Jeopardy started.” Wendy went silent.
“No to the cruise huh?” asked Riggs.
“That was it?” asked Murtaugh.
Wendy looked at him and stuck up her nose.
“You decided to kill your husband because he didn’t want to go on vacation.” Said Riggs.
“That was just the last straw.”
“Did you get him his beer?” asked Riggs.
Wendy grinned, “I did, I even opened it for him.”
“There’s more to that,” commented Murtaugh.
Wendy snickered, “Before I gave it to him, I dropped a bunch of contact solution in it. He had the shits all night long.” She continued laughing. “I slept like a baby that night. Had the place all to myself.”
Riggs and Murtaugh looked at each other. Before Riggs could comment Wendy’s phone buzzed on the table in front of her. They looked at the screen, then at Wendy. She wasn’t laughing any more. Her eyes were bugged out. Her skin pale, or paler than usual.
Her husband was calling.
“You wanna get that, or should I?” asked Riggs.
She looked like she was trying to swallow a boulder. Her eyes were glued to the phone.
Riggs and Murtaugh were biting back laughter.
Murtaugh scoffed, “This is going to be great.”
For those of you who have already read them, let me know what you think.
Hey everyone. I moved the TDW over to Substack.
“Some Cases You Solve. Some Cases You Survive.”
Really excited to announce the pending release of my seventh novel, and the first in a series, following Special Agent Tyrone Benhoff, Blood Red Ivory.
Initially, I came up with Ty. Tyrone Benhoff, Special Agent, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Why NCIS? My former agency has a global presence. In my time with them, I traveled to nine different countries. I figured the wide range of locations would provide a great backdrop for a variety of exciting plots. Another aspect of NCIS that fit was the spectrum of cases an agent has the opportunity to work. Everything from fraud to homicide, to personal protection assignments, makes for a deep catalog of investigations I can touch on in my books.
Ty himself is kind of an amalgam of characters I’ve met over the years. Some of the most fun and frustrating traits from all the cops I’ve ever worked with went into his character. He’s a tenacious investigator, has developed a dark, and more often than not offensive level of humor. Like most cops, he’s been overrun by worthless bureaucracy so much that he has not even the slightest bit of patience for empty suits or weak leaders. That makes him really popular with management by the way. He’s dedicated to getting the job done no matter what the cost. That last part is probably the most common thread I’ve seen not just from the men and women I worked with at the state, federal, and local levels of law enforcement but cops, in general, want to serve and do their job the best they can. That’s Ty Benhoff.
As far as setting goes I picked Zimbabwe after reading about the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. A group of anti-poaching park rangers, all female, protecting endangered species in Africa. Their story is inspirational. Also, I’ve wanted to get back to Africa since I finished a deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti in 2011. The people there are great, the geography is great. Now that I have little kids, I don’t get to travel much anymore so for the time being, if I can’t go there, I can at least write about it. Someday I will get back to Africa though.
Anyway, I put Ty and these Rangers together, mixed in bad guys to include, ivory smugglers, poachers, some Chinese organized crime, and even a couple of terrorists-extremists for good measure. All this and a homicide investigation gives you, Blood Red Ivory. I hope you like it.
Big thanks to my publisher WildBlue Press. Check out their catalog of great true crime and fiction titles if you get a chance.
And more to come. Meanwhile don’t forget to check out the rest of my titles here.