Undercover secrets untol.., p.20
Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies, page 20
Gwen had to agree. “I suppose so.”
* * *
The following day, at Wright’s request, Fred and Gwen paid him another visit at the hospital.
“If I talk, what’s in it for me?” Wright asked gruffly.
“I talked to the DA and he’s agreed not go for the death penalty if you come clean. You’ll get a life sentence for each of the murders with no parole. Best I could do,” Barzak told him.
“Concurrent, not consecutive?” Wright asked. If they agreed to concurrent sentences, where each year of time served would count for each sentence, he might be able to make parole before his eightieth birthday. If the sentences were consecutive, one ending and the next starting, he’d be dead long before his time was served.
“Give me a minute,” Barzak said, taking his cell phone out to the hallway.
When he returned, he told Wright, “The DA will consider concurrent sentences only if you leave no holes in your testimony. You’ll answer every question completely and honestly.”
“Agreed,” Wright said quickly.
“Start from the beginning,” Barzak demanded, after placing a tape recorder on the bedside table and stating the names of the people present in the room.
“I got tied up with the judge…uh, that’s Garmer…when I was trying to nail some thugs bringing in illegal merchandise from Mexico. Garmer liked my style, and had me contact Algier. Garmer always had me work through Algier, who said he’d cut a deal for my informants, and we’d partner up and take a cut in the illegal trade. They wanted in on a little business I had going in Florida too, and I thought what the heck. It was getting to be more than I could handle myself anyway. I said I’d be okay with anything as long as it didn’t involve drugs. About that time my daughter had started using and we argued about it all the time. I honestly tried everything I could think of to get her back on the straight and narrow. She was such a sweet girl when she was clean,” Wright said with tears in his eyes.
“Anyway,” he continued, “someone told Kathy about some of my illegal dealings. I figured it was Algier, ’cause the money was coming in real slow. She was pretty strung out from the drugs and yelling at me, and I grabbed her from that fleabag they were using and took her home. Honestly, I wouldn’t…I didn’t intend to hurt her. But she kept yelling and came after me with a metal bookend, and when I tried to defend myself, well…the rest is history.”
“Then you killed four more women after that. Why?” Gwen demanded.
“They were all on drugs and were feeding them to my little girl. I’d been following Kathy for several months before she died,” he admitted.
“None of those girls were using or dealing drugs,” Gwen said angrily.
“But I saw them handing Kathy packages! I’ve got pictures,” Wright protested.
“Meg and Kathy were going to be business partners. I’d imagine that the packages you saw pass between them were the legal documents we found at your daughter’s apartment. Carole was giving Kathy motorcycle magazines and advising her on the purchase of a used one, and I’m sure the relationship between Kathy and Amy was just as innocent.”
“Oh no.” Wright covered his eyes and wept. When he had composed himself he said, “There were more on my hit list, but I never was able to get them alone. Somebody got Kathy’s drugs for her, and I was bound and determined to see them suffer like she did. I chose the people she saw most often as the first ones I went after. I guess I chose wrong.”
“Yes, I guess you did,” Gwen snarled. “The crosses…what was the significance of that?”
“I grew up in a devout Catholic family. I was even an altar boy as a young man.” He smiled, reliving the memory. “It’s been years since I stepped foot into a church, but I did remember that God is forgiving. I held a ceremony after each of the murders, lighting candles and praying, atoning for the sins of the women and asking Him to forgive me.”
“That’s sick,” Gwen couldn’t help herself from saying out loud.
“What about Reyna?” Barzak asked.
“That was Algier’s idea. She knew far too much from talking to all the other women, and she had seen him and Garmer together at The Dive one afternoon. He was sure she was putting two and two together. Besides, he felt it would throw the investigators off-kilter if someone like her was murdered. He ordered me to accompany him, and we decided not to move the body after I stabbed her. She was too heavy, and why even bother trying?”
“You are one sick man, Captain,” Barzak said in disgust.
“It’s odd,” Wright said with a smirk and faraway look on his face. “You think you wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone if your life depended on it. Then after the first one it gets easier. The power is overwhelming and you start liking it. It’s addictive. Had I not gotten caught, I would have killed every drug dealer in the city.”
“And taken a lot of innocent lives with them,” Gwen stated without hiding her loathing for Wright.
“The bad for the good of all. We’re all going to die sooner or later anyway,” Wright answered.
“I’m glad you’ll never have the opportunity again to play God,” Gwen said softly. “It’s not becoming to you at all.”
“Are you already packed and ready to go?” Gwen asked impatiently.
“Yep, just got to get the boys in their carriers,” CC answered.
The case was finally wrapped up, and the women had taken a week of much-needed vacation. They were finally going to spend three days at the Wisconsin Dells. Gwen was going to keep the promise she had made to Ben when she and the bartender at The Dive had talked about their families. They planned to visit her mother on the way.
On the weekend after their return from the Dells, they had invited CC’s family for a visit. The Carpenter family reunion would be fun, and they had purchased cots and sleeping bags to accommodate CC’s four brothers and two sisters. They were giving the master bedroom to her parents, and would move into the guest room.
In the meantime, Wright’s plea agreement had been accepted without a hitch, and he was now safely tucked away in the Wisconsin State Prison for a minimum of thirty-five years. As he had calculated, he would be well into his eighties if he ever made parole. That a parole board would ever consider his release was doubtful, but stranger things had happened within the justice system.
Garmer’s high-powered attorneys had come through. He had been fined one hundred thousand dollars and set free. Last anyone had heard, he was enjoying retirement in the Florida Keys. His new condo was on a golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and he was quickly forming new alliances. The Scarletsville police weren’t worried, as long as he abided by the court order barring him from returning to Wisconsin.
Life was good for Gwen and CC. Each day their love and respect for each other was strengthened, and they were both happy with their commitment to spend their future together. Their home radiated love and warmth, and Peanut and Cashew brought so much fun and laughter to their lives, they had added two kittens to the family. They were considering another larger dog, but hadn’t found the perfect matchup for their little ones yet.
“Hey, is it going to be in this lifetime?” Gwen came up behind CC and gave her a hug. When she turned to reply, Gwen kissed her passionately.
“You keep that up, we’ll never get out of here,” CC threatened.
“You know what I love about our relationship? Well, one of the things anyway—I can never get enough of you, CC. The more I’m with you, the more I learn about you, the more I want to be with you.”
“I’d say that’s pretty cool. I feel the same way,” CC said seriously.
“Come on, I’ll help you get the dogs settled in the car.” Gwen smiled. “Take my hand and we’ll go riding off into the sunset.”
“Gwen, it’s just barely past nine in the morning!”
“I know, but it sounded good, didn’t it?” Gwen laughed. “I love you!”
“I love you, too. Let’s go!”
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Jasmine Austin Moore, Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies
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