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MacArthur still had little idea as to what Varnes had in mind as they went drove in a marked police car from diner to diner, showing the picture of the victim and asking if she had eaten dinner in there two days ago. Most of the waitresses couldn't definitively say no, but none of them had said "yes" or "probably." It was a small trailer-diner on the edge of town that proved to be the place. As it was somewhat out of the way, and had a total of ten customers, the workers tended to have somewhat of a recollection of who ate there. When the man behind the counter confirmed that the victim had indeed eaten dinner there two nights ago, Detective Varnes then handed him the picture that he had MacArthur take from his desk drawer.
"Was that man with the woman who you saw, sir?" the detective asked.
"Yeah, the woman was quite a looker. I was somewhat surprised to see an older guy like him with her. They were arguing a bit, and they left at the same time in a huff," the man behind the counter replied.
"Thank you, sir," answered Varnes, as he motioned MacArthur to sit next to him in a small booth. "You know Assemblyman Richards who gave you that award four months ago at the dinner? The one in this picture?"
"Yes," MacArthur responded.
"Well, it seems that he might have been the last person to see Juliann alive. In addition, it looks like she got her hands on some records that indicate that he received some illegal campaign contributions. Sounds like motive and opportunity to me..."
MacArthur stood, "I'd like to talk to our Assemblyman friend. When we get back to the department, let's call him up and have him come down to talk with us. If he asks what it's about, I'll just tell him that everything will be explained upon his arrival."
Enthusiastically, Varnes agreed, "Sounds like a plan."
Two hours later....
"How may I help you, detectives?" asked Assemblyman Richards, boldly walking into the conference room at the police station and shaking both detectives' hands. Less than 36 hours before, John Turner had been sitting in that very spot professing his innocence.
"We'd just like to ask you a few questions about Juliann Boyle, a girl who used to work at your office."
The Assemblyman smiled as he sat down. "Ah, yes, Juliann. She stopped working here a few weeks ago. She was a very lovely girl. I read about her death in the newspaper. That was a shame."
"Why did she quit, Assemblyman?" asked Varnes.
The Assemblyman leaned back in his chair. "Actually, we were forced to lay her off. She was an excellent worker, but with taxpayers clamoring for the 'pork to be cut', we had to drop her."
"Assemblyman, since we're pressed for time, I wonder if you could just take a minute and write me up a quick list of your employees, past and present." MacArthur suddenly requested.
"Certainly, that's no problem." Richards took the clean sheet of paper that MacArthur slid to him and began jotting down names. "While I'm finishing this up, is there anything else you'd like to discuss?"
"Yes, we'd just like to know when the last time you saw Juliann alive was." Varnes stated.
"That would be Wednesday. We went out to dinner, and then I drove her home. Here's the list you requested."
MacArthur stood. "Thank you very much, Assemblyman. We appreciate your time in assisting us with this matter."
"That's all?" asked Richards, sounding slightly surprised. He rose to shake the detectives' hands again. "Well, call me at any time if you need assistance with anything."
When Varnes and MacArthur looked at each other.
"There are just too many coincidences here. I think he had a hand in this killing." declared Varnes.
"Well, we're going to wake up our handwriting expert and confirm that the list of illegal campaign contributions was written by Richards."
"What will he compare it to?" Varnes inquired.
MacArthur just smiled and held up the list of employees Richards had written for them.
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Graphical bars used with permission and taken from the CD-ROM accompanying the Que Corporation book Using HTML by Tom Savola.
The music is used with permission and taken from the Americana CD-ROM.
The police car picture was taken by Detective Sergeant Stephen Wilde for use in this project.