At seventeen, as Malcolm Ainslie learned long afterward, Elroy Doil was first suspected of murder. He was caught running from the area where the crime had occurred, and detained for questioning. Because of his juvenile status, his mother was brought to the police station where he had been taken, and in her presence, Doil was questioned by detectives.
Had there been clear evidence against him, Elroy would have been charged with murder as an adult. As it was, Beulah knew enough to refuse to cooperate, and would not allow voluntary fingerprinting of her son, which might have linked him to a knife found near the murder scene. In the end, lacking sufficient evidence to hold him, the police released Doil and the crime remained unsolved.
Years later, when he became a suspect in a series of killings, his juvenile record remained closed and his fingerprints were not on file.
As it was, after Doil became an of ficial adult at eighteen, he used his street smarts acquired as a juvenile to continue his criminal ways. He was never caught, and thus no adult criminal record existed. Only much later, when the Police Department delved into Doil's background, was crucial information produced that had been forgotten or hidden.
* * *
Jorge's voice broke in abruptly: "We need gas, Sergeant. Why don't we stop at Wildwood, just ahead." It was almost 3:00 A.M.
"Okay, but get this car filled like we're making a pit stop in a race. I'll run in and get some coffee."
"And potato chips. NO, make it cookies. We need cookies."
Ainslie peered over fondly and realized why he sometimes looked upon Jorge as a son.
As they took the exit ramp, both men could see the beacons of several gas stations. Wildwood was a traditional highway interchange in daytime an untidy conglomeration of junk-laden tourist stores, at night a refueling stopover for long-distance truckers.
Jorge chose the nearest gas station, a Shell. Beyond it was an all-night WaMe House with cars parked nearby. A half-dozen shadowy figures were huddled together around two of the cars. As the blue-and-white drove in, heads shot up and faces turned toward the new approaching headlights.
Then, with incredible speed, everything changed. The figures separated, some thrust aside, others running, the former close-knit scene a sudden melee of gyrating legs and arms. Doors of parked cars were flung open, figures hurled themselves in, and while doors were still closing the cars started up and drove away. Taking local roads, avoiding the main highway, they were quickly out of sight.
Jorge and Ainslie laughed.
"If we do nothing else tonight," Ainslie pronounced, "we just broke up a drug deal."
Both knew that I-75 was a dangerous route this late at night. As well as drug traffickers, there were thieves, prostitutes, and muggers, all looking for action.
But the sight of a police car had preempted everything.
Ainslie gave Jorge money for the gas, then, in the Waffle House, bought coffee and cookies, saving receipts for expense vouchers. As well as expenses, both men would receive overtime pay for this trip tonight.
They sipped their coffee through holes in the plastic tops of cardboard cups as Jorge pulled back onto I-75.
Ainslie and Jorge were 270 miles north of Miami now, with about a hundred miles to go. They were still moving quickly amid mostly commercial traffic. It was 3:30 A.M.
Jorge volunteered, "We'll make it, Sergeant. No problem."
For the first time since leaving Miami, Ainslie felt himself relax. He stared through the windshield into the darkness and muttered, "I just want to hear him say it."
He was speaking of Doil, and in some ways, he acknowledged, Karen was right. His interest in Doil had moved beyond the professional. After observing the carnage left behind at each murder scene, after hunting the killer down for months, after observing Doil's total lack of remorse, Ainslie honestly felt that the world needed to be rid of this man. He wanted to hear Doil confess to the murders, and then despite what he had told Jorge earlier he wanted to see him die. Now it looked as if he would.
At that moment Jorge's voice broke in. "Oh no! Looks like big trouble up ahead."
The I-75 northbound traffic had suddenly thickened and slowed. Ahead of them, trucks were rolling to a stop, as were lines of cars between them. Across the divider, on the southbound lanes going the opposite way, not a single vehicle was on the road.
"Damn! Damn!" Ainslie slammed a hand on the dashboard. The blue-and-white had slowed to a crawl, with a bright chain of red taillights up ahead. Flashing lights of emergency vehicles were visible in the distance.
"Take the shoulder," he commanded. "Use our lights."
Jorge turned on their blue, red, and white flashers and eased across traffic onto the right-hand shoulder. They moved steadily but cautiously, passing other vehicles now at a standstill. Doors of trucks and cars were opening, people leaning out, trying to see the cause of the blockage.
"Go faster!" Ainslie ordered. "Don't waste a minute."
Within seconds, several Florida Highway Patrol cars loomed ahead, their roof lights flashing, blocking all traffic lanes, including the shoulder on which the Miami Police car now approached.
A Highway Patrol lieutenant put up a hand, signaling them to stop, and walked toward the car. Ainslie stepped out.
The lieutenant said, "You guys are really off your turf. You lost?"
"No, sir.'' Ainslie held out his identification badge, which the other inspected. "We're on our way to Raiford, and we don't have much time."
"Then I have bad news, Sergeant. This road is closed. Big accident up ahead. A tanker tractor-trailer jackknifed and flipped."
"Lieutenant, we have to get around!"
The other of ficer's voice sharpened. "Listen! It's a mess up there. The driver's dead; so, we believe, are two people trapped in a car the tractor rolled onto. The tanker ruptured, and twenty thousand gallons of high-octane gas are pouring onto the highway. We're trying to clear traffic before some idiot lights a match. We've got fire trucks with foam on the way, but they aren't here yet. So no! There is no way you can get around. Excuse me."
Responding to a call from another officer, the lieutenant turned away.
Ainslie seethed. "We need another route."
Jorge already had a Florida road map spread out on the hood of the car, and shook his head doubtfully. "There's no time, Sergeant. We'd have to go back on I-75, then take side roads. We could easily get lost. Can't we ride over the foam?"
"No way. Triple-F foam is mostly liquid soap, and slippery as hell. Besides, there'd be gasoline underneath; a car as hot as ours could start an inferno. So there's no choice we turn around. No time to waste. Let's go!"
As they climbed in the blue-and-white, the Highway Patrol lieutenant ran back. "We'll do our best to help you," he said quickly. "I just talked with Control. They know about you, and why you're going to Raiford, so here's the plan: From here, go back south to Micanopy; that's exit 73. Take that exit, go west to Highway 441." Jorge was scribbling notes as the lieutenant continued. "You'll reach 441 almost at once. When you get there, turn left, go north toward Gainesville; it's not a bad road, you should make good time. Just before Gainesville you'll intersect with Highway 331. There's a traffic light; when you reach it, turn right. On 331, one of our patrol cars will be waiting. Trooper Sequiera is in charge. Follow him. He'll escort you all the way to Raiford."
Ainslie nodded. "Thanks, Lieutenant. Okay to use our lights and siren?"
"Use everything you've got. And hey, all of us here know about Doil. Make sure that bastard fries."
Jorge already had the car in drive. He eased across a grass-and-shrubbery divider, swung sharply left, and headed south emergency lights flashing, siren wailing, and the accelerator to the floor.
* * *
They were now critically short of time. Ainslie knew it. So did Jorge.
Their delay and rerouting would cost them the better part of an hour, possibly more.
The clock on the dashboard showed 5:34 A.M. Animal was to be executed in less than an hour and a half. What remained of the journey, assuming all went perfectly, would take roughly forty minutes, which meant they'd arrive at Raiford at 6:14. Allowing time for Ainslie to enter the prison and reach Doil, plus time at the end when the prisoner would be taken to the electric chair and strapped in, the longest time Ainslie could hope for with him was a half hour.
Not enough! Not nearly enough.
But it would have to do.
"Oh shit!" Ainslie muttered, tempted to urge Jorge to go faster. But there was no way they could. Jorge was driving superbly, his eyes riveted on the road ahead, his mouth set tightly, hands firmly on the wheel. He had passed the instructions to Ainslie, who used a flashlight to read them out when needed. Highway 441, which they were on now, was rougher than I-75, with frequent intersecting side roads and some cumbersome truck traffic. Still, Jorge was maneuvering around it, making every second count. The emergency lights and siren helped. Some of the truck drivers, observing them in rearview mirrors, moved over, giving way. But a light rain had begun and there were occasional patches of mist, both slowing them down.
"Damn!" Ainslie griped. "We're not going to make it."
"We have a chance." Jorge was sitting forward, his eyes glued on the road; he increased their speed a little. "Trust me!"
That's all I can do, Ainslie thought. This is Jorge's moment; mine is coming maybe! Anyway, he told himself, try to unwind, think of something else. Think about Doil. Will he spring any surprises? Will he f nally tell the truth, the way he didn't at his trial?. . .
* * *
The sensational murder trial of Elroy Doil prompted headlines in almost every newspaper in the country and was featured daily on network TV. Outside the courthouse some demonstrators paraded, their placards urging the death penalty. Journalists competed many unsuccessfully for the limited courtroom space allotted to the media.
Public outrage was compounded by the state attorney's decision to try Doil for the most recent crime only namely the first-degree murders of Kingsley and Nellie Tempone, an elderly, wealthy, and respected black couple who were savagely tortured, then killed, in their home in Miami's exclusive Bay Heights.
As for the additional ten murders Doil was believed to have committed, if he was found guilty and executed for the Tempone killings, they would remain forever unresolved.
The controversial decision by State Attorney Adele Montesino, acting on advice of her senior prosecutors, produced an outcry from families of other victims who desperately wanted to see justice done in the names of loved ones they had lost. The media reported their indignation, providing an opportunity to link Doil's name publicly with the earlier killings. Newspapers and TV seldom worried about liability in such matters. As an editor expressed it, "When did you last hear of a serial killer suing for libel?"
Thus awareness and criticism grew.
Miami's chief of police was also known to have urged the state attorney to include at least one other double murder in the charges against Doil.
But Adele Montesino, a short, heavyset fifty-four-yearold, sometimes referred to as "the pit bull," remained adamant. She was serving her third four-year term, had already announced her intention not to seek another, and could afford to exercise her independence.