Page 47 of Detective



Malcolm Ainslie, Jorge Rodriguez, and Jose Garcia were at the funeral, not as mourners but as observers, their eyes scanning the congregation. Despite newly kindled suspicions about suicide, the possibility that Byron Maddox-Davanal had been murdered had not been eliminated, and experience showed that some murderers were morbidly drawn to a victim's funeral.


As well as the detectives, three members of a police ID crew, using concealed cameras, discreetly shot photos of attendees and their car license plates.

* * *

During the late afternoon of that day, while the detectives were back at their desks in Homicide, a uniformed U.S. Immigration officer was escorted in, then taken to Garcia.

The two, who knew each other, shook hands. "Thought I'd bring this over," the Immigration man said. He handed the detective an envelope. "It's those fingerprints you wanted. They just came in by e-mail from London."

"Hey, thanks a lot!" Garcia, enthusiastic as usual, beamed. They chatted briefly, then the detective saw the visitor out. Back at his desk, Garcia waited briefly for Ainslie to finish a phone call, then gave up and headed for the neighboring ID Department to see Julio Verona.

Ten minutes later Garcia was back. Approaching Ainslie, he called out, "Hey, Sergeant, we got a break a hot one!"

Ainslie swung his chair around.

"It's that son of a bitch butler, Holdsworth; I told you he was lying. Those were his prints on that little clock bloodstained prints a perfect match. And ID has the blood report back. The blood on the clock is the same type as the victim's."


"Nice going, Pop..." Ainslie was interrupted by a shout from another desk: "Call on line seven for Sergeant Ainslie."

Motioning the others to wait, Ainslie picked up his phone and identified himself. A voice responded, "It's Karina Vazquez, Sergeant. Mr. Wilhelm is awake and says he'll be glad to see you. I think he knows something. But please come quickly. He could fall asleep anytime."

Replacing the phone, Ainslie sighed. "Great news, Jose; gives us a lot to chew on. But there's something I have to take care of first."

* * *

On the fourth floor of the Davanal mansion, Mrs. Vazquez escorted Ainslie to a spacious bedroom with handsome light-oak paneling and wide windows overlooking Biscayne Bay. Facing the windows was a large four-poster bed with a slight, gaunt figure in it, propped up by pillows Wilhelm Davanal.

"This is Mr. Ainslie," Mrs. Vazquez announced. "He's the policeman you agreed to see, Mr. Wilhelm." While speaking, she moved a chair beside the bed.

The figure in the bed nodded and, motioning to the chair, said softly, "Sit down."

"Thank you, sir." As Ainslie did so, Vazquez murmured from behind, "Do you mind if I stay?"

"No. I'd like you to." If anything significant emerged, a witness would be useful.

Ainslie regarded the old man facing him.

Despite age and frailty, Wilhelm Davanal remained a patrician figure, with hawklike features. His hair, totally white, was thin but neatly combed. He held his head straight and upright. Only pockets of loose skin around his cheeks and neck, watery eyes, and a tremor in his hand betrayed his body's near century of wear and tear.

"Pity about Byron." The old man spoke in a weak voice, which Ainslie strained to hear. "Didn't have much backbone, no damn good in our business, but I liked him. Came to see me often; not many others do, too busy. Byron sometimes read to me. Do you know who killed him?"

Ainslie decided to be direct. "We're not sure anyone did, sir. We're looking into the possibility of suicide."

The old man's expression did not change. He seemed to be considering, then said, "Not surprised. Once told me his life was empty."

While Ainslie made quick notes, Vazquez whispered from behind, "Don't waste time, Detective. If you've got questions, ask them quickly."

Ainslie nodded. "Mr. Davanal, last Monday right, or early Tuesday morning, did you hear any noise that might have been a shot?"

This time the voice was stronger. "I heard the shot. Loud. Knew exactly what it was. Know the time, too."

"What time was that, sir?"

"Few minutes after half past five. Have a luminous clock there." With a shaking hand the old man gestured to a small table on his left.

Ainslie remembered that Sandra Sanchez had estimated Byron Maddox-Davanal's death as having occurred between 5:00 and 6:00 A.M.

"After the shot, Mr. Davanal, did you hear anything else?"

"Yes, I had my windows open. Few minutes later, lot of commotion down below. Some on the patio. Voices."

"Did you recognize anyone's voice?"

"Holdsworth. He's our. . ."

The old man's voice was drifting. Ainslie prompted, "Yes, I know he's the butler. Did you recognize any others?"

"I think . . . I think it was . . ." The words trailed off and he said weakly, "Some water." Vazquez brought it, and held him while he sipped. Then Wilhelm's eyes closed sleepily and his head fell back. The nurse lowered him to the pillow, then turned to Ainslie.

"That's all for now, Detective. Mr. Wilhelm will probably sleep for seven or eight hours. I did warn you." She reached over, shifting the old man in the bed to make him comfortable, and a moment later, "I'll see you out."

Outside the bedroom, Ainslie paused. "Mrs. Vazquez, I know the way and can let myself out. Right now there's something more important I need you to do."

She looked at him curiously. "What's that?"

"Later I may want to take a sworn statement from you about the questions and answers you just heard. So I'd appreciate it if you'd go somewhere quiet and write down everything you remember Mr. Davanal and me saying."

"Of course, I'll do it," Karina Vazquez said. "Just let me know when you need me."

As Ainslie drove back to Homicide, he wondered if the name that Wilhelm Davanal had almost spoken was Felicia.

* * *

"I want an arrest warrant for Humphrey Holdsworth on a charge of murdering Byron Maddox-Davanal," Malcolm Ainslie told Lieutenant Newbold.

Ainslie, Jorge Rodriguez, and Jose Garcia faced the lieutenant in his office. A few minutes earlier, Ainslie, reading from his notes, had described the evidence against Holdsworth.

"His fingerprints were the only ones on the desk clock that had the victim's blood on it. Therefore, in view of the distance between the clock and the body, it must have been picked up by Holdsworth and placed back on the desk. There was also blood on two of Holdsworth's fingerprints, though we haven't identified it yet.

"Holdsworth lied in a statement to Detective Garcia when he claimed to have known nothing about Byron Maddox-Davanal's murder until Felicia Maddox-Davanal told him after she'd called nine-one-one, which we know was at seven-thirty-two A.M.

"Contradicting Holdsworth's statement, Wilhelm Davanal states that at approximately five-thirty A.M. on the day of the murder he heard a loud gunshot, then, a few minutes later, Holdsworth's voice. HE knows the butler well, is certain it was him. The sound came from below Mr. bavanal's open bedroom window, on the patio directly outside the murder scene."

Newbold asked, "Do you all think Holdsworth did the killing?"

Ainslie responded. "Within these four walls, sir, no. But we have enough to bring him in, scare him stiff, and make him talk. He knows everything that went on at that scene; all three of us are agreed on that." He glanced at the other two.

"Sergeant's right, sir," Garcia offered. "And it's the only way we're gonna squeeze the truth out of him. Lady Macbeth over there sure as hell won't open her lily lips."

Rodriguez nodded agreement. "If I approve this," Newbold said, "what's your plan, Malcolm?"

"To get the warrant drawn tonight, then find a judge to sign it. Early tomorrow morning we'll have a squad car join us to pick up Holdsworth. Being handcuffed in a caged car will give him something to think about; also, the faster we get him away from the Davanal house, the better."

"Looks like the best bet we have," Newbold said. "So do it."

* * *

It was early evening when Ainslie reached the state attorney's offices on Northwest Twelfth Avenue. He had telephoned Curzon Knowles and knew he'd be waiting.

' Seated in the attorney's office, Ainslie described the evidence against Holdsworth. Knowles was familiar with the background.

"Sounds like enough for a warrant," he acknowledged. "We'd need more to convict, though I suppose you're counting on a confession." He regarded Ainslie shrewdly. "Or maybe some finger pointing elsewhere."

Before becoming a lawyer, Knowles had been a New York City police detective and knew from experience the sometimes devious routes to solving a tangled crime. Ethically, though, Ainslie knew they should not discuss the possible misuse of an arrest warrant and he answered warily, "There are always other possibilities, counselor, but at this moment Holdsworth is our strongest suspect."

The attorney smiled. "Funny thing is, when I saw that scene, and knowing Byron slightly, the first thing I thought of was suicide. But Davanals don't kill themselves, do they?"

Though Knowles eyed him cagily, Ainslie said nothing.

The attorney stood. "My secretary's gone home. Let's see how good I am at the computer.''

They moved to an outer office, where Knowles, using two fingers at the keyboard but otherwise adept, prepared an affidavit that he printed and Ainslie formally swore and signed. An arrest warrant followed.

"Now," Knowles said, the paperwork complete, "let's see which judges are on call." Back at his desk, he produced a list showing three judges available for extracurricular needs, along with phone numbers and home addresses. "Any preference?" He passed the list over.

"I'll try Detmann." Ainslie had appeared before Ishmael Detmann as a witness several times, and it helped if a judge knew the officer seeking the warrant.

"I'll phone him for you."

Moments later Knowles reported, "The judge's wife says they're having dinner, but her husband will be free by the time you get there."

* * *

Judge Detmann, who lived in a small house in Miami Shores, opened the front door himself. Portly, dignified, and graying, he took Ainslie to a study, where Mrs. Detmann brought them both coffee. Seated in facing chairs, the judge looked up from the papers Ainslie had presented him. "You've found a villain pretty quickly. Is your case strong?"

"We think so, Your Honor; so does a state attorney." Again, Ainslie was cautious, knowing that whatever ensued during the day ahead would become public knowledge fast.

The judge glanced down. "Knowles yes, he's appeared before me many times. Well, his imprint is good enough for me." The judge reached for a pen and signed.

* * *

At home, Ainslie set his bedside alarm for 5:00 A.M.

At 5:50, still in darkness, he and Jorge Rodriguez entered the Davanal estate in an unmarked car, followed by a Miami Police blue-and-white. The second car contained two uniform officers, one of them a sergeant.

At the house main entrance, all four police exited the cars and, by prearrangement, Rodriguez took the lead. Facing the massive double doors, he pressed a bell push and held it down for several seconds. After a pause, he pressed it again, then several times insistently. This time there were sounds from inside and a male voice calling, "All right, all right, whoever it is! I'm coming!"

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