It never fails, just as my partner and I am sitting down to a meal, one of our pagers always seems to go off. Tonight both of them went off, sending out their urgent signals. I looked at the number revealed on the digital display. I don’t understand why I always have to look, as the number is always the number of the station. My partner looked at his pager, and just nodded his head, to confirm that the station also wanted him.
“Must be important Duke, but I think that we had better eat before we call in. No sense letting another meal go to waste,” I retorted.
Duke didn’t waste any words, but started to dig in to his meal, even before the waitress had finished setting all the food on the table. It was a good thing that he was served first, as I have somewhat of a reputation for being a human vacuum cleaner, and can finish a full plate of food before most people get their first bite down. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but everyone who eats with me complains about my speed eating. I paced myself, and this time Duke was finished about the same time as I was. We got the waitress to give us our coffee to go, and I paid the bill. Duke left the tip, as was our routine. The next time he pays, and I tip. Duke had his cell phone with him, so he called the station.
“Homicide, 1356 East 43rd St.,” he said after hanging up.
“Isn’t that the new inn downtown?” I asked.
“Yes, I think you’re right,” he replied.
We hurried out to the old Chevy that was assigned to us. With the magnetic roof strobe flashing it’s red light, we rushed to the recently refurbished downtown hotel. The coroner’s wagon was parked near the front door, and a couple of uniformed officers were standing at the doors, waiting for us.
“4th Floor, to your left, you can’t miss it,” the first officer said to us.
We went up in the elevator, and turned left into a police convention. The chief was there, along with both of our superior officers, the mayor, and a couple of other bigwigs from the city council. This sort of brass meant the stiff was probably someone I didn’t want it to be. Duke and I walked into the room, and there on the floor laid councilor Albert Braymer. The big red stain all over the front of his shirt lead me to believe that he had been shot in the chest, likely at fairly close range. Wonderful, just wonderful. This guy was such a well liked person that we would have to consider almost every resident of our fair city a suspect. How this jerk managed to get himself elected for even one term in office was a total shock to me. And, when he ran for re election, darned if at least 50% of the voters didn’t see fit to send him back to council. This one was going to have to be cleaned up fast, so visions of unwanted overtime started to dance through my head.
Duke began to survey the room. While he might give a casual appearance to most onlookers, I knew from experience that he didn’t miss a thing. And, a month, a year, even 10 years from this day, he could describe this room in perfect detail, without once referring to his notes. And, he did take notes. Once his survey of the room was complete, he began to write all the details down in his notebook. Combined with the pictures that the police photographer was taking, we would soon have the details locked up forever. Rodger, the fingerprint specialist was busy dusting the room for prints. The medical examiner chalked off the position where the body lay, and asked me if they could move the body to the morgue for a proper examination. Seeing no reason to have councilor Braymer remain on the floor, I advised them to go ahead.
As they placed the body in the body bag, I joined Duke, who was down on his hands and knees, looking at something under a chair. I knelt down, and looked at a pair of broken glasses. As I looked closer, I realized that I was looking at a pair of women’s glasses with coke bottle lenses. No, these were so thick, they must have been double coke bottle lenses. I carefully picked up the frame with a pair of tweezers, and I left the left lens lying on the carpet. The brown horn rimmed frame was cracked right at the top, near the bridge, allowing the left lens to fall out. The left lens that remained on the carpet was so thick that it was sticking up at least an inch above the carpet. It was hard to hold the frame with the tweezers, but I managed to hold the remaining lens up to the light, and noticed that everything I could see through it was very small. I have a bit of a fetish for ladies that wear glasses, and I knew that the minimization indicated that the wearer of these glasses was extremely nearsighted. How she had been able to see enough to leave the room without her glasses was a question that was going to have to be answered. I took the glasses over to Rodger, and asked him to dust them for prints. Duke had slid the other lens onto one of the blank pages in his notebook, and he carried it over to Rodger as well.
Rodger did his job. “Sorry Marty, they have been wiped clean.”
Well, I really didn’t expect that it would be that easy. But I was sure that we would be able to get some trace of the wearer’s DNA from the glasses, so we bagged them, and sent them off to the lab. And, while it might take a few days, if the owner of those glasses was from our city, we would have her in custody the minute she tried to order another pair. Heck, even if she didn’t order a new pair, the number of high myopes around are so minimal that we would likely know who her ophthalmologist was by noon tomorrow.
Duke and I left the lab technicians, going over the room, and we headed out the door. The chief was still there, and as we exited the room, he came over to us.
“Marty, you and Duke have to get this wrapped up fast,” he advised.
Like we were going to waste any time on this. I didn’t tell him that we had it in the bag, but I felt so confident that we would have our severely myopic killer within 24 hours that I almost started to brag. Turns out in the end that I was smart not to say anything more than, “We’ll do our best Chief Saunders.”
Duke and I went down to the lobby to question the desk clerk. He had sent a lady in a beige, full-length coat, with long black hair, tied back with a kerchief and wearing the coke bottle glasses that we had found broken on the floor, up to the councilors room about 15 minutes before the people in the next room reported hearing a shot. He had also seen her get off the elevator, and stride through the lobby on her way out, but he advised us that she had on a different pair of glasses. This time her glasses had a dark frame, but he told us that they had lenses at least as thick as the ones she wore up to the councilor’s room. Ah ah, the mystery of how she managed to find her way out was solved. It was the old spare pair of glasses in the purse trick. Darn, the spare glasses would make it a bit harder for us to find her, as she would not be in as much of a panic to get a new pair. And, if she was as nearsighted as I thought she must be, she probably had 2 or 3 more spare pairs. Knowing how protective severely myopic people are of their glasses, I wondered how the councilor had managed to get them off her face. I suspected that she had stood in front of him, with the gun pointed at his chest. He had grabbed for her glasses, and managed to rip them from her face. As he flung them across the room, she had most likely pulled the trigger, grabbed her spare glasses from her purse, and had rushed from the hotel, without taking the time to even look for her other glasses. We made an appointment with the clerk to meet the next morning with our identification expert, and I hoped that the composite that they would put together would enable us to get a quick identification of the myopic lady.
Duke and I headed for the councilor’s home, to notify his wife, and of course, question her as well. Sure, we had an unidentified suspect, but what if Ms. Braymer was a severe myope. Look for the people closest to the victim, and quite often you will find the killer. It was almost 11:00 in the evening by now, and under normal circumstances, I would never have considered ringing anyone’s doorbell this late. But, this was my job, and the lady was now a widow, so she had to be notified. We could see lights going on inside the house, and finally the door opened a crack.
“Yes, what do you want,” came a woman’s voice from behind the door.
“We are from the police, and I would like to request that you open the door. Here is our identification,” I said, and I slipped our identification holders through the crack in the door.
She took off the chain, and let us in. It is always hard to notify the next of kin in a homicide, but we had to do this job. It gave us a good indication of the next of kin’s feelings for the deceased. When I told her that her husband had been found shot to death in a hotel room downtown, I saw no evidence of emotion on her face. This wasn’t going to be easy. She did ask how it had happened, and I told her.
“Where was the woman he was with?” she asked.
“Well, in this case there was no woman there, except for the one that shot him,” I replied. “You don’t happen to wear very thick glasses do you?”
“I don’t wear glasses. No that isn’t totally true. Every once in a while, I will use a very weak pair of reading glasses, if I am doing a lot of close work,” she replied.
Well, that statement would be easy enough to check out. Although I suspected that what she had told us was true. She had obviously been in bed when we arrived, and she had not had enough time to go to the bathroom and put in contact lenses. I had looked into her eyes, and didn’t see any evidence of contacts either. Duke and I left the lady standing at the door, watching us drive off. I didn’t mention it to Duke, but I had found this lady to be very attractive, and I thought that under different circumstances, I would have liked to ask her out on a date.
The next morning found both Duke and myself meeting for coffee at the forensics lab. The glasses had been gone over very thoroughly, and I was surprised that there were no traces of anything that could lead to a DNA makeup of the owner. It was almost as if the glasses had been washed right before the crime was committed. So, Paul and I took the glasses with us, and began our visit to the leading ophthalmologists in the city. By the end of the day, all we had was a prescription. The glasses were –20.25D x –0.50 x135 in the right eye, and –20.50D x –0.50 x 180 in the left eye. And neither a doctor, nor any of the cities leading optical labs could give us a clue as to who the owner might be. Personal evidence like this, and it didn’t seem to be worth anything to us. All we could do was to advise everyone that we were on the lookout for a lady with glasses that had this, or a similar prescription.
The following weeks didn’t get any better. We did find that our esteemed councilor and his wife were not getting along well. Actually not well is a bit of an understatement. They had both been to lawyers, and from the pieces that we could put together; all indications were leading to a very messy, highly contested divorce. So, our criminal investigation began to focus heavily on the wife. Part of being an investigator, required total detachment from the parties involved, but the more I got to know Emily Braymer, the more I liked, and was attracted to her. And the more facts that were uncovered about the relationship between the Braymer’s, the more I began to feel that she was justified in killing him. It appeared that if he had lived for another few days, he would have managed to strip all the assets that they had owned, and put the funds into his own name, effectively leaving Emily high and dry. The only thing she would have been left with would have been an insurance policy, leaving her a million dollars, if he were to die.
I hated it. The evidence was mounting up against Emily. It was all circumstantial, but it was creating pressure for us to lay charges. The only thing that was holding Duke and myself back, was the broken glasses. We had verified that Emily Braymer had 20/20 vision, and wore neither glasses, nor contact lenses. Although it was a new technique, we had done a virtual police lineup. This was a spin off of the old police lineup, but instead of using real people, we used images of people. And it was so close to being real that even Duke and I were surprised at how realistic it was. We asked a number of women that fitted the description given by the hotel clerk to put on a long black wig, and a kerchief close to the description of the one used to tie back the hair. Then they put on the thick glasses, which I had repaired by using a new type of glue to glue the lens into the plastic frame. We took pictures of each lady, using a new type of projection camera. Then the people that had come forward with a report of having seen the killer were asked to attend a viewing. Every one of the witnesses identified the images of Emily Braymer. And, other than being home alone, Emily had no alibi for that evening. She would have had plenty of time to drive to the hotel, shoot her husband, and return home. But, she didn’t wear strong glasses with thick lenses.
Finally, the case was taken from Duke and myself, and the prosecutor took the charges against Emily to the Grand Jury. I felt terrible, when she was indicted to stand trial, but I felt that she would not be convicted, as there was no way she could have worn those thick glasses, and have been able to see well enough to find her way to the hotel room, let alone kill her husband.
Sure enough, the defense made a big issue over the glasses. A top local ophthalmologist gave testimony as to what sort of vision problem, the wearer of the glasses would have. In his estimation, there was no possible way that a person with normal eyesight could have functioned in any circumstances wearing the glasses. And, after the 3rd day of the trial, when I saw one of the jurors come to the jury box wearing a pair of high minus glasses, I knew that the jury would vote for acquittal. And such was the case. The prosecutor was very upset with his loss, but Emily Braymer was a free lady again.
I was surprised when the trial was over, and we were walking from the courtroom, when Emily came up to me, and told me that she understood that I had tried my best to convince the prosecutor not to bring her to trial.
All I could bring myself to say was, “I never thought you did it. Would you like to go out with me to discuss this further?”
I was ecstatic when she replied, “Call me in a couple of days and we will talk about this.”
That was over a year ago. I retired after another six months on the force, and Emily and I were married a month ago. My house sold, and the last few days, I have been in the process of moving my stuff into her home. My computer still wasn’t set up yet, so last night I was using her computer, and I came across a book marked Internet site called, Eye Scene. I went into the site, and after reading a number of the postings, I think I found out how Emily killed her husband. Yes, I am now quite sure that it was Emily. I concluded that she must have had plus contacts on in order to allow her to see through the very strong pairs of minus glasses that the killer wore. Then she had the guts to take a chance of standing trial for the murder, knowing full well that if she were acquitted, she would be home free. This was one smart lady, with nerves of steel, and I know that I will have to be sure never to give her a reason to kill me. But, I sure wish she would put in the plus contacts and wear the thick minus lensed glasses at night in bed just for me.
Specs4ever, with editing assistance by Aliena.