Note: Here's the final chapter. Hopefully all your questions are answered. Again, thanks for the reviews! Good reviews are like chocolate...you can never get enough!
I've got a new story in the works...hopefully I can start posting the first chapter(s) early next week!
Back at the crime lab, Nick busied himself comparing the roll of duck tape to the pieces of tape he recovered from Christian Shroll. The lab was unusually quiet. Hodges had gone on break leaving Nick alone to do his work. It didn't take long to make a positive match, roll to tape.
"Hey," Warrick said entering the lab.
"Hey, check this out," Nick said pointing to the scope.
"It's a match," Warrick nodded. "Get this, the prints I lifted from the board are a positive match to Don Henson," he said leaning against the counter. "I also got prints from Christian Shroll and Chris Eubanks."
"Well, we know it was Christian Shroll's board," Nick nodded.
"I still don't get it," Warrick shook his head. "Why go to all this trouble to kill one kid?"
"I don't know," Nick shrugged. "I've stopped questioning why people do things to each other."
"Hey guys," Grissom said from the door of the lab, "Brass is bringing in Christian Shroll."
"Alright," Nick nodded making sure his evidence was secured. He took off his lab coat and gloves and followed Grissom and Warrick to PD.
"How's the eye?" Brass asked the kid. Grissom, Nick, and Warrick observed from behind the two-way mirror.
Christian Shroll wasn't exactly forthcoming. It was going to take some work to get him to open up.
"Look, kid, we know what happened. So why don't you tell me, save me the trouble," Brass said taking a seat across the table from the kid.
"Detective, I don't know what you think you may have pinning my client to this crime," the boy's attorney spoke up, "but I can assure you of my client's innocence. He's a victim in this."
"Sure he is," Brass said glancing toward the two-way mirror. That was the signal.
"Hi, Christian," Grissom said entering the interrogation room. "I'm Gil Grissom. I work in the crime lab. What can you tell me about this?" he asked sliding the piece of paper they found on the boy's computer desk across the table.
The boy didn't respond.
"We found this piece of paper on your computer desk. We also found several e-mails sent by you to Chris Eubanks."
"They're on the same skate team," the lawyer responded.
"Yes," Grissom nodded. "There were also a few e-mails from an unknown sender. We were able to trace that address to Don Henson."
"He let's the team practice at Skate City," the attorney explained.
"The e-mails were very detailed in describing events to lure Jason Parks to Durango Hills Park. I think this piece of paper is information about when you were to meet up with Jason. See the J 7?" he pointed.
"You see, Christian," Brass spoke up. "We have reason to believe you played a part in the murder of Jason Parks."
"I think it was your job to get Jason to the park on Wednesday night. I think you met him around seven p.m. You guys practiced a couple hours," Grissom shrugged. "Around nine o'clock, though, you noticed Chris Eubanks' vehicle in the parking lot. That was your cue to get Jason to leave the park, wasn't it?" he asked. He wasn't expecting an answer. Christian's shifty eyes spoke volumes.
In the next interrogation room, Sgt. O'Riley sat with Don Henson. Nick entered the room and took a seat next to the man.
"How'd you cut your hand?" Nick asked.
"You don't have to answer that," the young man's attorney responded.
"Here's what I think," Nick smiled. "You wrestled Christian Shroll's skateboard away from him. You took them by surprise when you jumped down from the tree. You used that skateboard to kill Jason Parks."
"I didn't kill nobody," Henson responded angrily.
"Check with me before you speak," his attorney advised placing a hand on his client's arm. The boy had been un-handcuffed.
"You didn't expect it to be so hard, though, did you?" Nick asked leaning forward, his forearms on the table. "In the struggle to get the board from Christian, you knocked him out, cutting your hand in the process. You used the skateboard to hit Jason Parks over the head. One hit did the job. We didn't find any blood at the scene."
"That's a great story," the attorney spoke up. "You have nothing tying my client to this murder."
"We found wood splinters in the victim's wound. We were able to get DNA off those splinters and match it to you," Nick said sliding the test results over to the lawyer. "There were sunflower seed shells found at the base of the tree you hid in. Guess what? We got DNA off them too," Nick said a gleam in his eye.
"My client works with this skate team all the time. He does repairs on their skateboards; he lets them practice at all hours on his course. This evidence is circumstantial at best."
"We got a warrant to search your apartment," Nick nodded. "We found a bloody shirt in your room."
"Big deal," the lawyer said. "So he cut himself. He works with sharp tools."
"Cut yourself with a screwdriver did you?" O'Riley asked.
"The blood on your shirt matches blood we found at Lake Mead where we found the Eubanks' SUV. We also found your fingerprints in the vehicle."
"Look, unless you can place a weapon in my client's hand, I think we're done here," the lawyer stood up.
"Sit down," the detective said sternly a glare in his eye.
"We found the skateboard," Nick said, "and the duck tape. Your fingerprints were all over them. You know, that's the problem with murder," the CSI continued leaning back in his chair. "You spend all that time planning it out, but when it comes to cleaning up, you get sloppy," he finished gathering his papers and standing to join Grissom.
"Things got out of hand, though," Grissom was saying. "Don Henson used more force than you expected. You got knocked out in the struggle. When you woke up you were tied up in a shed at Lake Mead."
"Look, kid," Brass said. "If you start telling us the truth it can only help you. Right now, you're looking at a murder charge."
"I didn't kill Jason," Christian said, panic rising in his voice. "Alright, alright," he said shifting in his seat. "The plan was to get Jason to the park and rough him up a little. You know, make it so he couldn't skate in the tournament."
"Things got out of hand?" Grissom asked.
"You could say that," the boy nodded. "Chris was the only one with access to a car. The plan was that Chris would drive and Don would take Jason. He was supposed to hide behind the tree and get Jason from behind."
"Only he wasn't behind the tree, was he?" Grissom asked. "He was in it."
"Can we make a deal?" the boy's attorney asked, realizing there was no way out of the situation.
"That's up to the D.A," Brass said.
Grissom gathered his materials and stood to leave the room.
"I've got a question," Nick spoke up. "Why'd you do it? Why go to all this trouble?"
"I was tired of being second best. I worked my ass off to be the best, and Jason comes in and without breaking a sweat nails every trick," he said with a shrug.
"Well, congratulations, you're not second anymore. I guess your plan worked," Nick said opening the door to the interrogation room.
Don Henson would be charged with murder. Christian Shroll and Chris Eubanks charged with accessory. It never failed, once suspects were presented with the evidence, they always cracked.
Nick shook his head; all that work to be pushed up in the rankings. Was first place really worth killing a friend? It almost made him sick to think that to Christian Shroll it was.
It was coming up on the end of shift. Nick was tired; the case had taken a lot out of him. He made his way back to CSI and into the break room where he took up residence on the couch.
"Hey Nick," Grissom said, "Nick work," he smiled.
"Thanks," he sighed leaning his head back.
"Look, let's call it a day. I'm taking the team to breakfast," he smiled.
"You're on," Nick nodded rising from the couch.
The sun was coming up as he and Grissom walked to the diner just down the road from the crime lab. It was already getting warm, nearly 80 degrees at six a.m. It was going to be another hot summer day.
Grissom smiled to himself as he and Nick took their seats in the CSIs' regular booth. They were soon joined by Warrick, Catharine, Sara, and Greg.
"Hey guys, heard you closed the case," Sara said with a smile.
"Yeah," Nick nodded taking a sip of coffee.
The team spent the next hour and a half laughing with each other, letting the recent shift slip into memory. It was enough to relieve the tension that seemed to build with each case.
Nick relished the time he spent laughing with his team. It's one way he knew life was worth living. It was too bad Jason Parks' was cut short, he thought as he climbed into his truck and drove home. In twelve hours, he'd be back at it. Sleep would be good, it always was.