Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
“Hank, Scott here with a case-breaker. I found an envelope on my door this morning. Inside is a list, by name and rank, of the Compton Hill gang in Sommerville. Also, their money contacts and murder contracts, with a couple names tied to Anderson’s death. For a clincher, it appears the FTA is on the right track with Global in New York. There is also information on gun suppliers. I’ll be at Somerville P.D. early tomorrow. I’d like them to dust the pages and envelope for prints. I want to know who is supplying this information. Can you arrange that with the chief?”
“Absolutely. What a break! We might be able to close this up in one big coordinated effort.”
“My thinking exactly. See you in the morning,” Scott said and hung up, then immediately called Sgt. Allan Rockford.
“Allan, sorry to bother you on Sunday morning, but it is important. We have to be in Riverville by eight-o’clock tomorrow morning. There is a big advancement in this Riverville murder and gun running case.”
“No problem, Mr. Wadsworth. I’ll be there at seven.”
James Hurley, lifting himself from his bed Monday morning, walked slowly to the kitchen expecting to find the coffee machine on Keep Warm, and a couple of cups of coffee left by Sullivan. Looking around the kitchen, Hurley realized that Sullivan didn’t have breakfast at all. Perplexed, he checks Sullivan’s bed room but finds only a rumpled unmade bed and a shirt lying on the floor of the closet. While hanging up the shirt and noticing the near empty closet, he says to himself, “Now what’s this, the coward ran out on us. Never thought I would see that from a Paddy.”
Coffee in hand, Hurley begins to call the unpublished number of the Compton Hill gang’s, boss, but thinks better of it and quickly cradles the handset, thinking, “What if I’m wrong and he’s just taking a load to the laundry, or going to Goodwill. He does change wardrobes often. I better wait ‘till I’m certain.”
Lighting his first pipe of the day, Hurley silently smokes and sips coffee while he tries to get his mind around things. He muttered to himself, “A simple shipment of arms has escalated to the murder of a federal agent, and potentially, of a young girl. Gus Malone in Ulster is angry with me. Mr. Connors, at Global Mortgage and Loan Company, is hinting he wants his money back if the arms don’t get to the Provos soon. Rumors say another ATF agent, this one in Southie, is going to end up in the harbor. And now, it looks like Sullivan has defected to God knows where. The state and federal police are probably investigating it all at this very moment. To top it off, the weather, this damned weather, is holding up the shipment.”
Hurley grabbed an umbrella and headed for the door just as the phone rang,
“This is Western Union. I have a cablegram for Mister James Hurley. Is he present?”
“This is James Hurley.”
“Mister Hurley, I can either read the message for you, or mail it special delivery. What do you prefer?”
“Read it please.” Hurley replied impatiently.
“James, by now you must realize that I have left and will never return to serve the Compton Hill gang. I’m fed-up with our business and what it represents. I’ll not tell you where I am, and do not wish to be contacted. I intend returning to an honest and useful life and lead it decently.”
“It’s signed, Frank Sullivan. Would you like me to repeat the message?”
“That isn’t necessary. But I would like a copy mailed to me, please”
“Yes, Sir. Thank you.”
“Well, what do you know,” Hurley mutters, again talking to himself, as he unfurls his umbrella, “Good, he was always a softie. Never could have made it anyway. Now, where shall I go for breakfast?”
In Riverville, Scott and Sergeant Rockford are assembled around a conference table with Chief, Sergeant Hendersen and Agent, Henry Reichmann.
About the same time in Dublin, Frank Sullivan is leaving his apartment, located just behind Castlenock College, and hails a taxi on College Road. He is relaxed and enjoying the ride, and the familiar sights as the taxi carries him along College road to White’s Road and on to Chesterfield Avenue in Phoenix Park. Sullivan gets out and strolls leisurely through the park until he comes to the building housing the “Garda” or “An Garda Siochána.” Garda is a national police force; not military, but completely civilian, and the name translates to, Guardians of the Peace of Ireland.
He enters the building, showing ID to a sergeant at a reception desk, goes to the third floor and enters a door marked “Interpol National Central Bureau.” Then, he continues along a wide corridor and opens an office door, the window of which is embellished in gold leaf with:
Sullivan walks up to his desk and stands looking at the familiar sight and feeling happy to be home. He finally sits down, takes his favorite Peterson from his pocket, fills and lights it, before removing the pile of material from his “IN” basket. Quickly shuffling through it, he puts the material back in the basket and reaches in his jacket pocket for his address book.
Picking up the phone, he tells the operator; “I want to place an international, person-to-person, call to the US. To Police Chief,Michael J. Hendersenin Riverville, Massachusetts.”
The operator confirms the number with Sullivan and the phone goes silent for a few seconds.
“Chief Hendersen here, may I help you?”
“No, but I can help you. This is Frank Sullivan. You undoubtedly know who I am from the photos you had taken of me and the men who followed me, as I was following Miss Adams. Your officers are very professional, I might add.”
“A pleasure, Mr. Sullivan,” the chief said as he flipped the switch that turns on the recorder. “And just how can you help us”
“I thought you would know how by now, seeingit was I who left the envelope at Scott Wadsworth’s home. I made sure to leave good finger prints all over it, and the contents.”
“I guess we are just not that fast Mr. Sullivan. Your document and envelope are undergoing the finger print process at this moment. Now, let’s get on with it, shall we? Just why did you call?”
“I was undercover in the Compton Hill gang. All of my buffoonery, such as falling asleep at the sub shop, and so on, was simply an act for both James Hurley and your men. In actuality, I am an Interpol Inspector working out of the Interpol National Central Bureau in Dublin. We work closely with the National Police in Ireland. I became involved in this case because we assist them in cases of gun running, smuggling, and any other criminal activity that is considered internationally centered. As you have probably found out, I came, legally to the US four years ago. We received information out of Ulster, through the National Police, that US money was being collected for an armament shipment to the PIRA. I slowly worked my way into the gang in Somerville, with the help of phony criminal records. Ijust happened to be assigned the task, along with Hurley, of making the arrangements for the purchase, payment and shipping of guns and ammunition. I can probably help you if you hit a block in your investigation or need information about the gang and its members. I am available to be a witness in any trials that come along where substantiation of fact or persons is needed. Simply call.”
“One question right now. How is it that you and Hurley were assigned the task of watching my granddaughter?”
“That was punishment for allowing someone, Miss Adams, to overhear a conversation about the guns and shipment from Portland; as if we didn’t have enough to do.”
“I guess that was difficult for you, but to tell you the truth I find it funnier than hell. We’ll certainly call should it become necessary. Mr. Wadsworth is about to submit a partition for arrest warrants that should clean up this whole thing. This is due partly to the information you have furnished. We are grateful. Incidentally, the “we” I refer to, in addition to myself is, Detective Carl Hendersen, States Attorney Chief Investigator, Scott Wadsworth and ATF agent, Henry Reichmann. They are all here with me this morning.”
Sullivan, assuming all were listening said, “Top of the morning, gentlemen,” and returned the hand-set to its cradle.
It was a relatively short meeting. Wadsworth explained each name on the partition and about the one in the name of John Doe, and how it works, if the federal judge will allow that kind of warrant.
“Would it be out of line if I went with you, Scott?” Reichmann asked.
“No, I don’t think so. You’re a representative of the legal arm of the federal government. In fact, it might add credence to what I am attempting to accomplish.”
“The Boston Federal Court is at Sleeper Street and Northern Avenue. It is best reached via the Tobin Bridge, when you’re coming from the North.”
“Can you provide a driver, Chief?” Scott asked.
“Certainly, and a driver who knows just where the court house is.”
“Good. Meet me at nine-o’clock at the front entrance reception desk. The appointment is for nine-thirty and I will have to find out which judge I’m seeing. You guys figure out a departing time.”
The judge turned out to be Carlton Millstone. Scott and Reichmann, entered the judge’s office, led by his secretary, to a flamboyant, “Scott, my boy, how good to see you! The last time was your Dad’s funeral, wasn’t it? How are the boys and Nancy doing?”
With a smile and while shaking the judge’s hand, Scott replied, “Yes it was the last time, and the family is just fine, thanks.”
“Judge, I’d like you to meet ATF agent Henry Reichmann. He on assignment to the Riverville Police department on a murder and gun-running case we are about to close. I’m involved as an employ of the Massachusetts State’s Attorney’s office. I have partitions for several arrests and search warrants, and a John Doe partition for the same. I think you will find the evidential affidavits sufficient to grant the warrants.”
As the judge retrieves the envelope from Scotts out-stretched hand, he says, “Well, I’ve heard rumbles about this case. Sit down, gentlemen. I’d like to take a preliminary look at these before I can say they deserve greater consideration.
The judge, upon sitting at his desk, turns to Scott and asks, “Just how did you get involved with this, Scott?”
“I am Chief Investigator for the State’s Attorney and was informed of a potential murder attempt on the niece of Detective Sergeant Carl Hendersen, of the Riverville Police department. Both he and his immediate family are personal friends. Upon talking to the sergeant and chief, I learned they are aware of the situation and requested state police aid in the case. That is a summary. You will find a more detailed account in the affidavits.”
I understand. Give me a few minutes to skim over the affidavits and I’ll give you an answer. There is a coffee and doughnut vendor in the lobby if you would like to pass the time. I should be a half hour or so. I’ll send someone for you.”
Scott and Henry, consuming coffee and doughnuts, sit quietly at a small table, each wondering what the judge’s opinion will be. Suddenly Scott stands up and walks back and forth while checking his watch every few minutes.
“What is he doing in there,” motioning to the judge’s office with his head. “It’s been almost forty-five minutes. He’s had time to read them twice!”
“There is a lot there, Scott, involving many proposed bad people, and a considerable amount of state resources, to say nothing of the ATF and Coast Guard. I’m sure he is considering the money involved along with the rest of it. Try to calm down. We are at the judge’s call; not him to ours.”
“Of course, you are right, Hank. I’m not usually this way. It’s just that this whole thing is close to me, what with Kelly Addams and Mic Mitchell involved.”
Scott returning to his chair, recognized the hurried footsteps of high heels behind him, and turned as the Judge’s secretary approached.
“Judge Millstone is ready for you, gentlemen. Please follow me.”
Passing the office entrance, and stopping several yards beyond, the secretary opened a door to reveal a large conference room with the judge sitting at one end.
“Sit down please,” the judge said somewhat sternly. “I have the proverbial good news and bad news.”
Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2019
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