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The next morning, the two detectives looked at Judge Beck intently.
"Let me get this straight," began the judge. "You want me to issue you a warrant to search the home, car, and financial records of Assemblyman Donald Richards?"
MacArthur leaned forward, "Yes, Your Honor, that's exactly what we want. Our handwriting expert confirms that Richards wrote up this list, which appears to be a collection of campaign contributions which are well beyond the state-set limits. In addition, we have a witness from a diner who places the victim, Juliann Boyle, with Richards immediately before her death - he saw them arguing. He claims to have dropped her off at her house, her parents say she never got there; when we called them this morning, they told us that no one drove down their street that night - they live on a dead end. Finally, she was fired from his office about six weeks ago. The last date on this list of company contributions was eight weeks ago."
Varnes continued for him. "She discovered he was making illegal campaign contributions, so he fired her. It probably takes her six weeks to build up the courage to challenge him and go public with it, so he invites her out to dinner to talk it over 'rationally'. She winds up dead, shot and strangled. I want the gun. I want the rope. I want his bank books. In short, Your Honor, I want him."
The judge leaned back. The detectives had filled out the affidavits that they were required to in order to apply for a search warrant. They described their reasons for wanting one, the places they wished to search, what they wanted to find, and when they intended to carry out their search. The explanation seemed to meet the criterium of probable cause, so despite Richards' standing in the community, he could see no other choice but to grant the warrant.
"You're messing with a very powerful man, gentlemen. He'd better be guilty."
When the police showed up at Richard's house, the Assemblyman was outraged by the warrant. Room by room, the investigators systematically searched through every drawer, every closet, and every cabinet, looking for the evidence of wrongdoing they described in their affidavits. In his bedroom, they executed a thorough search of his mattress, sheets, and pillows. After looking under the bed, they flipped the mattress over and deposited any items that were not relevent to their search on the bedframe so they did not waste time going over the same material twice. A search of his drawer netted his bank records, and they found a pair of shoes with sand along the soles in his closet. When the police examined his car, they discovered trace elements that were quickly put in tagged plastic bags. These would later be compared to the victim's hair and clothing. When the search was completed, Varnes and MacArthur consulted with each other. They then called up the prosecutor on their cellular phone, and outlined the results of the search. Together, they agreed that they had enough to go to trial. MacArthur approached Assemblyman Richards, and placed him under arrest. The man was put in handcuffs and frisked as he was led down his winding driveway and into the back of a waiting sqaud car.
First, Richards was taken to the police station where he was booked; he was fingerprinted three times (once for local records, once for the state police, and once for the FBI), photographed three times (front, side, and at an angle), stripped of the belongings he had on him, and led to a holding cell. Before being led out to a police van which took him to the county jail facility, he was permitted to phone his attorney. A Superior Court judge would hear from him on bail that very day. No one expected him to get out on bail, due both to the seriousness of the charges and his wealth, which might allow him to be a flight risk. Following his indictment by a grand jury, he would have another formal bail hearing, and would be allowed to enter a plea. The next few months were going to be interesting times.
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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 picture of the police car was taken by Detective Sergeant Stephen Wilde for use with this project.