Pretenses Chapter 6


Ann Coulter

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Wicked Wisdom

Phillip Thomas Duck

Alisha Yvonne

Laura Schlessinger

Dr. Frederick K.C. Price

James Patterson

Eric Jerome Dickey

Jackie Collins

L.A. Banks

Brandon Massey

Kendra Norman-Bellamy

Pretenses Cover
THE BODIES were still being photographed when I entered the Taylor house. Flynn and Ford had already briefed me on the crime scene, so I knew that powerful hands had broken Judge Taylor's neck, which meant the assailant was probably a man. What bothered me was that Webster Taylor was shot in the forehead. As I looked down at Webster, I wondered why the killer hadn't shot them both.

Was Webster's murder personal? Was that why he was shot in the head? Or was Judge Taylor's death personal? This is strange. Did the killer or killers take some pleasure in killing Judge Taylor? If so, maybe we should start by looking into some of her cases. Find out who might hold a grudge.

I had spoken with the neighbor who had found them. According to her, she had seen Webster Taylor watching an NBA playoff game around 9:30 the previous evening. She went on to tell me that the Taylors were perfectly suited to each other, sharing a love of books, theatre, art, romantic movies, the symphony, and the law. The couple had celebrated their silver anniversary recently, and they were still very much in love. Judge Taylor had told her that she and her husband had planned to make some popcorn and watch the basketball game that evening. Later, they planned to get into the Jacuzzi, which overlooked Dogue Creek, and watch the stars.

They had so much to look forward to, I thought. In just four days, Jennifer Taylor's confirmation hearing would have begun. If confirmed, she would have been only the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court. According to Michelson, retiring Justice Patterson had handpicked her as his replacement. President Harrison Palmer Davidson, Patterson's college roommate and best friend, was a year-and-a-half shy of finishing his second term and wanted to appoint one more justice to the bench before he left office.

A media firestorm ensued the day President Davidson made Patterson's replacement known. Judge Taylor was a very vocal conservative who didn't support abortion on demand. The court was currently split on the abortion issue, with Justice Street, a moderate who often voted conservatively, carrying the deciding vote. Women's rights organizations were furious. Angry women picketed in front of the White House daily, carrying signs that read, "Abort Taylor!"

The most demonstrative group was led by a militant feminist named Patricia English. Patricia had remained silent about Taylor's stance on abortion, but when President Davidson nominated Taylor to replace Justice Patterson, Patricia organized an all-out attack on her qualifications.

"Anyone ever tell you, you look just like Jada Pinkett?" a Secret Service agent asked me.

"Tell me; what do you think of all of this?" I asked him, avoiding the question I'd heard much too often. It really annoyed me to be asked that question constantly.

"I think I'd like to ask you out on a date," he replied, trying to charm me.

I looked at him. He was a tall black man, with a thick, neatly trimmed moustache. He smiled. I could tell he was too impressed with himself and probably used his Secret Service credentials to get dates. "You ever work a murder scene before?"

He shook his head.

"Then what the hell are you doing here?" I snarled.

"The president wanted one of our guys here. I'm Agent Andrew Jordan. My friends call me A.J."

"Agent Jordan, if you don't know what's going on, get the hell outta the way. This is a crime scene, not a pickup bar."

He looked around to see who might of heard my rancorous comment, then rolled his eyes, said something into the microphone tucked into his right sleeve, and left the area.

Kelly was examining Judge Taylor's body. "You getting any vibes, Kelly?" I called out.

"Yeah, I'm thinking this is strange, Phoenix," she called back. "Come and look at this."

I went over to Judge Taylor's body to see what she was talking about. By the time I got there, everyone had come over to see. Kelly lifted the judge's right leg. There was a huge bruise in the back of her knee.

"What do you think, Phoenix?" Kelly asked.

"She was hit pretty damn hard. I wonder if that's the only bruise on her body. I wonder if the husband has bruises too. They could have been tortured for information. Only way to find out is to treat this like either one of them could have been the target."

"I agree," Kelly said.

I checked the caller ID, which showed 112 calls. The calls went back as far as December. Using her cell, Kelly called the bureau to get one of the techs to pull up the Taylors' home and office telephone records.

"Kelly, we better check their cell phone logs, too," I said.

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