A Murder In Knoxville

May 6, 2013 by

A Murder In Knoxville

A Murder In Knoxville coverProspect PD’s Chief Sam Jenkins answers a friend’s call for a favor and ends up investigating a murder in another jurisdiction. Everything points to domestic violence until Sam finds an important clue and meets an unlikely killer.

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Read An Excerpt

Angela Valle explained that she and her estranged husband, Howie Wetzel, had separated nine months earlier. Because of irreconcilable differences, she had no intention of reuniting. Howie, on the other hand, wanted her back – badly.

In the last six months Angie had gone out with several other men; each of them visited by Howie and warned to stay away from his wife – two of them were spoken to at gun point. Some cops believe they can stretch the rules of good behavior to solve a personal problem.

Wetzel currently remained on disability leave after an on-duty traffic accident, claiming he suffered incurable whip-lash. He’d hired an attorney to get him classified as officially disabled and entitled to a line-of-duty disability pension.

I learned that Howie was originally from Cincinnati. He had taken the job with Knoxville PD seven years earlier when he left the Army after serving three years in the Military Police Corps.

Howie lived in the Foot O’ the Mountains Mobile Home Park on the outskirts of my city, beautiful downtown Prospect. Fool that I am, I agreed to talk some sense into him.

After taking care of a few of the necessities needed to run a small police department, I had lunch and then drove to the trailer park, hoping to speak with Officer Wetzel. A late model Nissan Z-350 was parked at the foot of a relatively new single-wide on Song Bird Lane. I knocked at the door and met a man in his early thirties. If Howie hadn’t been a cop he could have gotten a job modeling in a police supply catalog. He looked to be about five-foot-ten and could have worn a perfect size forty-regular. His short, dark hair and startling blue eyes would no doubt attract the ladies – until they got to know him.

After a few minutes of chatting with Howie I started to have serious doubts about Knoxville’s psychological screening process. Howie struck me as an unleashed shit-house rat.

“Are you here to charge me with a crime?” he asked, bristling with attitude.

“I’m here as a favor to your wife and as a courtesy to you; as one cop to another. I’m an impartial observer. From experience, I can tell you that putting the arm on your ex-wife’s new friends will get you jammed up with your job, and possibly tossed into the Knox County court system. If you think about this for a while, you’d see that.”

“Oh, you’re saying I don’t see things clearly?” His attitude went from bad to worse.

“I’m telling you nothing more than what you heard. I have no vested interest here. My friend works with your ex-wife. Your ex-wife is on the verge of taking legal action against you. You’re looking for a disability pension worth big bucks. I’m suggesting you put your efforts into getting your tax-free pension rather than into tracking down her boyfriends and breaking their balls.

“Hey, do whatever you want. If you break the law in Prospect I’ll lock your ass up – cop or not. Other than that fend for yourself. Thanks for your time.” I turned and left.

Before I got into my car I looked at Howie standing in his doorway and heard him saying, “Yeah, thanks for stopping by. Tell my ex thanks a bunch for sending one of the farm-cops to see me. Have a nice day, asshole.”

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