Jessica looked out at the throng of police gathered in the parking lot across from Joseph Novak's apartment. There were now two scenes to process - the murder scene, and the scene where a police detective had been assaulted. Out of the crowd walked Nick Palladino, notebook in hand. He spoke to Dana Westbrook for a few moments. Every so often they glanced over at Jessica. Dino did most of the talking. Westbrook did most of the nodding.
Dino came over when they were done, asked after Jessica's well- being. Jessica told him that she was all right. But she could see by the look on his face that things had just gotten worse.
'What's up?' Jessica asked.
Dino told her.
Jessica discovered that she was mistaken about there being two scenes to process. There were three.
Lucas Anthony Thompson's body had been found dumped in another parking lot, three blocks away. His body was nude, roughly shaved clean, and there was a band of paper around his head. It appeared that he had been strangled. On one of the fingers of his right hand was a small tattoo of an elephant.
It didn't take long to determine the significance of the crime scene.
Lucas Anthony Thompson's body was found in the parking lot where Marcia Kimmelman's body had been found. It fitted the killer's pattern. Another murderer dumped at the scene of his crime.
There were already two teams watching Thompson's family members. If one of them was an accomplice they would be targeted.
Jessica looked across the lot to see someone trying to get through the police cordon. It was David Albrecht. He wanted to talk to Jessica. The uniformed officer held him back, glanced over.
'Let him through,' Westbrook said.
Albrecht came running up, out of breath.
'What did you want to say?' Westbrook asked.
'I was across the street, getting exterior shots of the building when I saw Detective Balzano come out of the front door.'
Albrecht gasped for breath. He held up a finger.
'Take your time,' Westbrook said. 'Would you like some water?'
Albrecht shook his head, gathered his wind, continued. 'Okay, okay. So I saw Detective Balzano go into the diner, and a few minutes later she came out with a coffee, and walked over here.' He indicated the parking lot, which was now teeming with crime-scene personnel. 'At first, I didn't think there was a shot, you know? I mean, a parking lot is a parking lot, right? Not the most exciting backdrop. We're not talking Robert Flaherty here.'
Albrecht looked at Jessica and Dana Westbrook, perhaps expecting a reply or a reaction. None was forthcoming. He continued.
'So anyway, I'm looking at the way the trees back here sort of frame the lot, the way that half-wall sort of provides a horizon, and I saw Detective Balzano pacing back and forth, and I thought it looked pretty good.'
He turned, pointed to his van across the street. 'I set the camera on my tripod, framed the shot, locked it down, then went into the back of the van for a filter. I wanted to use a Circular Polarizer because I wasn't getting much contrast. It took me a few minutes to find it, and when I came back around she was gone. Just papers blowing around in the wind. I looked and saw that her car was still down the block, so I knew she didn't leave. I figured she either went back into the diner or back into the apartment building. I figured I just missed her. Then I looked next to the building and . . . and I saw her lying there.' There was a slight hitch in Albrecht's voice.
'And you didn't see the assailant?' Westbrook asked.
'No, ma'am,' Albrecht said. 'I didn't. Not at first.'
'What do you mean, not at first?'
'I mean I didn't see him live.''
Westbrook looked at Jessica, then back at Albrecht. 'I don't know what you mean.'
'I didn't realize I was rolling.'
'Rolling?' Westbrook asked, clearly getting a little agitated.
'Yeah. When I put the camera on the tripod I started shooting. I have to admit, I'm just getting used to this camera. It's brand new. I hit the button by accident. It's a little embarrassing, but that's what happened.'
'What are you saying?' Jessica asked.
'What I'm saying is, I just watched the replay, and I think we have it.'
David Albrecht held up the camera. 'I think we have footage of the killer.'