Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons Page 48

“Maybe the robber panicked. He didn’t plan to run into the victim and after he killed him, he was too scared and upset to think about it. So he grabbed a small out of cash and left most of it behind.”

“Mr. Decker’s right-handed.”

He frowned in confusion. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“The murderer is left-handed.”

He leaned closer to the bars. “What do you know that you’re not telling me? You said right before you ran into me Monday morning that you overheard something. Where were you?”

I hesitated. There was no turning back if I told him. “I was in the restroom.”

“So you think the real murderer is a woman?”

“No, it’s a man.”

“But…”

“The women’s restroom was closed and I really had to go. And Matt had kept me down in security for quite some time waiting for Officer Ernie to show up and pat me down.”

“So you went to the men’s restroom instead.”

“Yes.”

“And you were in a stall and overheard something?”

“Something like that.”

“What did you hear?”

I took a deep breath. Could I tell him enough to convince him to at least investigate more without revealing my vision? “I heard a man say ‘I’m going to get away with murder.’”

“That’s it?”

“No, of course not. But he talked about a lapel pin. One with a dog and a tree and he was worried it would be tied back to him.”

Mr. Deveraux’s face paled. “Why didn’t you say something in voir dire?”

“What was I going to say? I had no idea what he was talking about. People say ‘I’m going to get away with murder’ all the time and it doesn’t mean a thing. Honestly, so much was going on that I plumb forgot about it. And by the time I figured out it meant something, we were well into the trial. I didn’t put all together until Detective Taylor mentioned the pin.”

His eyes sank closed. “And you fainted.”

“Yeah.”

“So you decided to investigate on your own? Because you thought Bruce Decker was innocent, but you didn’t have any hard evidence to prove it.”

I studied his shoes. They were shiny, expensive loafers, and they made it obvious that Mr. Deveraux was from money. No wonder he hated backward Henryetta so much. “Yeah.”

“You know that you broke the law?”

“I think the side of the bars I’m standin’ on is proof of that.”

“Did you know you were breaking it while you did it?

I raised my chin and looked into his eyes. “Yes.”

“Why did you do it?”

“Why are you an assistant DA?”

“What does that have to do with the predicament you’re in? I was hired to do a job. Prosecute criminals. You swore to do a job—be a juror. You broke your oath.”

I sighed. Mr. No Nonsense was back. “Mr. Deveraux, just answer the question. Do you want to be a district attorney?”

“Yes.”

“Then just tell me why.”

He shifted his feet and pain flashed through his eyes before he could hide it.

I felt guilty. I hadn’t realized my question was so personal. “You don’t have to answer—”

His face lifted and his jaw was clenched, but a softness filled his eyes. “I want to uphold the laws of the state of Arkansas and put the bad guys away, as corny as that sounds. I want protect the innocent and make the world a safer place. I want to fight for justice.”

I leaned my temple against the bars, suddenly weary of it all. “And that’s why I did it. I wanted justice for Bruce Wayne Decker because no one else would get it for him. I know all too well that people are eager to find the easy target. No one was fightin’ for Mr. Decker and somebody had to.” Turning my gaze towards him, I realized he’d moved closer and our faces were about six inches apart.

He studied me for several moments with a serious expression, then stepped backward. “I’m going to see what I can do to get you out of this mess.”

“But…why?”

He winked, looking young and ornery. “It’s the least I can do after you pointed out what a curmudgeon I’ve been.”

“Curmudgeon?” He made himself sound like he was sixty years old instead of thirty.

He shrugged with a grin, then turned to leave. “Don’t get too comfortable, Rose Gardner.”

I looked around at my accommodations. He didn’t need to worry about that.

Chapter Fifteen

I spent most of the afternoon on my cot, examining the choices that got me into the Fenton County Jail. Should I have left it all alone and listened to the evidence presented in the trial? Despite what I knew? As I stared at the ugly gray walls, I kept reminding myself that the most time I could spend in here was thirty days. Bruce Decker would be there for years. While I admitted I should have handled things differently, I wasn’t sorry I tried to help.

Thankfully, my anxiety over being enclosed had lessened since Mr. Deveraux’s visit. His appearance had surprised me, proving he was definitely a conundrum. I wasn’t sure whether to count on him getting me out or believe his reasons for wanting to help me. But I had little choice except to trust and hope.

There wasn’t a clock in the cell so I had no idea what time it was. I only knew I’d been there for hours. What was taking Deanna so long? When I’d been taken in for questioning for Momma’s murder, Deanna had shown up in the wee hours of the morning, within an hour of the phone call. Surely, it was easier to come in to the county jail on a weekday afternoon. But then again, it was Friday.

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