Murder Has Two Faces

Part 4

by Tonya S. Coley


For Disclaimers: See part 1

Chapter 7

Johnnie was between sleep and wakefulness. Her head was pounding and her bladder was screaming bloody murder. She knew that she would have to get up soon, or risk sleeping in a puddle. Alma walked around the room, slamming dresser drawers and cursing in Spanish. She was furious with Johnnie for leaving her alone to deal with all their visitors, but even more furious for worrying her half to death with not knowing where she was.

“Oh God, what time is it?” Johnnie rasped, her throat sore from all the alcohol she consumed.

“Daytime.” Alma hissed.

“Please don't shout.” Johnnie whispered as she slowly sat up. She suddenly felt the bile rising in her throat, and she raced to the bathroom, barely making it to pray to the porcelain god.

Estupida, Alma thought as she leaned against the bathroom door to make sure Johnnie didn't collapse. That's just what you deserve, drinking like that. You should know better.

After emptying first her stomach and then her bladder, Johnnie crawled over to the sink and pulled herself up. “God, I look worse than I feel.” She said as she splashed water on her face and rinsed out her mouth. “Alma, shoot me and put me out of my misery.”

Alma huffed and walked away from the bathroom door, mumbling in Spanish.

Johnnie could hear her, and understood every word she said. I have got to fix this. She walked out into the bedroom and stood in front of Alma. She tried to touch her cheek, but Alma recoiled from her touch.

“Baby, I'm sorry I left you like I did.” Johnnie softy said.

“You're sorry?” Alma snapped. “How could you do that to me? I needed you.”

Johnnie was stung by those words. She had let Alma down and felt terrible about it. “I'm sorry that I wasn't here for you. I needed to be alone, baby.” She paused. “It felt like everything was closing in on me and I couldn't handle it.”

Alma glared at her. “You weren't alone, were you?” She hissed. “You had your alcohol to keep you company.”

“Alma, I… I don't know what to say.” Johnnie said as she lowered her head in shame.

“I didn't think that you would.” Alma said. She pushed past her and walked out of the room.

Pizo and his partner Drew were on the scene at Ballantine's office. The CSU was dusting for prints while Drew questioned the mayor's secretary and Pizo questioned Peters.

“So, this is how you and the secretary found the mayor's body? Was anything moved or touched? Is anything missing or out of place?” Pizo inquired.

“No, nothing,” Peters answered. He took another look around the office, and noticed something. “Wait, the bottle of liquor on his desk doesn't belong there.”

Pizo looked toward the desk. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because Mayor Ballantine didn't drink.” Peters told him.

“Hey, fellas, dust that bottle for prints.” Pizo ordered the CSU investigators.

Drew walked over to Pizo. “The CSU thinks that the marble ashtray could be the murder weapon. It's been bagged and tagged.”

“Good.” Pizo said.

Tori and Ceecee had prepared breakfast for their hosts. They were at the table eating in uncomfortable silence; all but Johnnie, whose stomach could not take any food. Instead, she just had coffee. Tori and Ceecee engaged in small talk, hoping Alma and Johnnie would join in, but both nothing.

“Thanks for the breakfast, guys. It looked delicious, sorry I couldn't enjoy it.” Johnnie said. “I need some air.” She stood and walked out onto the patio.

Tori looked at Alma, then out at Johnnie. “I'm gonna go and talk to her.”

“Hey, woman, how are you feeling?” Tori asked as she took the seat across from Johnnie.

“Like shit, and to make matters worse, Alma is pissed at me.” Johnnie sighed.

“I can see that.” Tori said. “She was out of her mind with worry, Johnnie. She didn't know where you were or what you were doing.”

“She told me that she needed me. I wasn't here for her, and I feel awful about it.” Johnnie told her, holding her head in her hands. “I just had to get out of here. I couldn't stand it.”

“Johnnie, she thought that you were going to leave her.” Tori revealed.

Johnnie's eyes snapped up to meet hers. “I would never leave her. She's my life. She's all I have left in this world.”

“Don't tell me, Johnnie. Tell your wife. You two need to talk about a lot of things.” Tori advised.

Johnnie slowly walked into the bedroom. Alma was sitting at the foot of the bed. She walked over and sat down beside her. “Alma, we need to talk.”

Alma lowered her head. “Alright.” She whispered.

Johnnie took Alma's hands into her own. “Baby, I am really sorry about last night. I didn't mean to hurt you, but I was going crazy here.”

“Why?” Alma tearfully asked. “Do you hate me that much?”

Johnnie couldn't believe what she was hearing. “No, no baby. I don't hate you. I could never hate you.” She assured her, cupping her lover's cheek with a gentle hand. “Alma, I was watching you yesterday. The more I looked at you, the more I saw Phillip. He looked so much like you. It tore me up inside, and I had to leave.”

Alma looked into her eyes, and could see the pain. “I'm sorry beloved.” She paused. “Are you going to run away from me every time you think of Phillip? Are you going to shut me out?”

A soft smile came to Johnnie's lips. She touched Alma's cheek. “I will be looking at you even more, especially when I think of him.”

Alma smiled. It was the first time since Phillip's death that she was able to smile.

“I've missed that smile.” Johnnie whispered as she leaned in for a kiss. “I love you, Alma.”

Alma touched her forehead to Johnnie's. “I love you too, Querida.”

“Petrillo, get in here.” Captain Hill ordered.

Pizo rushed into the captain's office. “What is it, Cap?”

“We have an ID on the prints found on the liquor bottle in Ballantine's office.” He told him.

“Well, whose are they?” He asked.

Seriousness washed over Hill's face. “Johnnie's prints were on the bottle, the desk, and on the murder weapon.”

Pizo sat down in the chair. “No, that can't be. Johnnie would never…” He paused. He remembered that Johnnie's shirt and face had blood on it.

“We have to go and talk to her.” The captain said.

Johnnie, Alma Ceecee and Tori were watching “The View” when it was interrupted by a news bulletin. The reporter announced that the mayor had been found in his office murdered.

“Hey, isn't that the guy that was at the funeral yesterday?” Ceecee asked.

“Yeah, that's him.” Johnnie said coldly.

The doorbell rang before any more questions could be asked. Alma went to answer it. She saw it was Pizo, Captain Hill, and someone she had never met. “Pizo, what are you doing here?”

“Hi, Alma. Is Johnnie in?” He asked.

Alma became concerned when she saw how serious Pizo looked. “Yeah, she's here. Come in.”

Johnnie looked at the three men as they stood in her living room. “What's going on, fellas?”

“Johnnie, can you remember where you were last night?” Pizo asked.

Johnnie tried to think back. “I really can't remember. I know I stopped by the liquor store, and then I walked to the park. After that, I can't remember.”

“She doesn't remember us bringing her home last night.” Tori added.

“What were you drinking, J?” Pizo asked.

“You know I only drink Absolut.” She said. “Why?”

“Do you remember going to the mayor's office last night?” Drew demanded harshly.

“I told you I don't remember anything after the park.” She growled, making Drew to back off.

“J, your prints were found in his office.” Pizo said.

“She was there the other day.” Alma said. “Don't you remember you called me to get her to come home?”

“There was a bottle of Absolut found in his office with your prints on it, J.” Pizo told her.

Johnnie was shocked. “I don't remember being there, Pizo. I swear it.”

“Johnnie, I'm sorry, but we are going to have to take you in for questioning.” Captain Hill stated.

“No!” Alma screamed. “She had nothing to do with this.”

Johnnie stood up and walked over to her. “Baby, calm down. We're gonna get this cleared up.” She embraced her. “It's gonna be ok.”

“I can't lose you, Johnnie. Not now, not ever.” Alma cried.

Johnnie held her tight. “Don't cry baby. You'll see; I'll be home in time for dinner.” She tried to sound convincing, but she knew that what she was saying wasn't true. She looked to Tori and Ceecee. “Can you guys stay with her?”

“Sure, Johnnie.” They both agreed.

Johnnie released Alma and turned to the men. “How do you guys want to do this?”

Drew reached for his cuffs, but Pizo stilled his hand. “Just get your jacket, J.” He looked to the captain, and he agreed.

“We need the clothes you were wearing last night, Johnnie.” The captain said.

“I'll get them.” Tori told him.

Pizo took the clothes that Tori had bagged for him.

Johnnie grabbed her jacket, kissed Alma, and left with them.

Alma was near hysterics when Rosa and Miguel arrived. Ceecee had called them right after Johnnie left.

Alma sat in a chair and rocked. She held herself as tears flowed freely from her red-rimmed eyes. “What am I going to do? I have already lost Phillip. I can't loose her, too. I need her with me. I won't be able to live without her.”

Tori kneeled in front of her. “Alma, it's going to be ok. We all know Johnnie didn't do this. She was too drunk. She couldn't even put herself to bed.”

“Why do they think she had anything to do with it?” Miguel asked. “Is it because she attacked him at the funeral?”

“They have proof that Johnnie was in his office last night.” Ceecee said.

Alma stood up. “I want to go down there.”

“I'll take you.” Tori said.

“Let's go over this again, J.” Pizo said. “You remember buying the vodka and going to the park, but after that you draw a blank?”

Johnnie rubbed her forehead. She was exhausted, saying the same things over and over. “I told you, I don't remember. I was drunk, don't you get it?” She angrily asked. “You saw the shape that I was in. Hell you could tell me more about last night than I could.” She stood up and paced around the room. “I just can't remember.”

Pizo sighed heavily. “J, I know this is hard for you, but we have to do this. Your prints were all over his office. They were on that bottle of vodka, and on the murder weapon.” He looked at her; he felt his heart breaking because his best friend was in the middle of this. “We have got to piece this thing together, Johnnie. If not, then they are going to lock you up.”

“Pizo, I just buried my son. I can't think straight.” She yelled.

“All the more reason to get this shit straightened out. Everyone saw you attack him at the cemetery. They all heard you tell him that you were going to kill him.” Pizo said.

Johnnie turned to him and slammed her hands against the table. “That bastard was show boating at my son's funeral. His lies are why my son is dead.” She angrily spat. “Am I sorry that the son of a bitch is dead? Hell no, I'm not. I'm telling you I had nothing to do with it.”

“Why were you at his office, J?” Pizo asked, his voice heavy with concern. “What happened between you two?”

Johnnie dejectedly sat down. “I don't know.”

Jonas Peters burst into Captain Hill's office. “I hear you have the animal that murdered the mayor. So, has she been arrested yet?” He demanded.

Hill glared at him. He then began to wonder why Peters was in such a rush to get Johnnie arrested. “You're just like Ballantine. Why do you hate her so much?”

“Why are you dragging you feet about this, Hill? Is it because she was a cop?” He angrily asked.

Hill stood up and leaned over his desk. “I am not dragging my feet.” He yelled. “Green was more than just a cop. She was the most highly decorated officer on the force. She dedicated her life to being an exemplary officer.”

“That may be, but she is also the prime suspect in the murder of Alexander Ballantine.” He paused and leaned over Hill's desk so that they were face to face. “Do your job, Hill, or I will see that you are replaced with someone who will.” He said in a menacing tone.

“Is that a threat?” Hill demanded.

“No, it is a promise.” He answered, and then he turned and walked out.

District Attorney Madeline Marshall was standing outside the interrogation room watching and listening to Pizo and Johnnie. Maddie, with her sky blue eyes watching every detail of the proceedings in the room, paced back and forth. She pushed blonde strands away from her face and spun around when Captain Hill approached.

“Has she remembered anything?” He asked, eyes and voice hopeful.

“No. She can't remember even being in his office.” She told him. “Unfortunately, evidence links her to the scene of the crime.”

“Damn it, Johnnie.” He said softly, and then he tapped on the window for Pizo to come out.

Pizo looked up, and then sighed heavily. “I'll be right back, J.”

Johnnie grabbed him by his arm. “Pizo, I want you to do me one favor.”

“Name it, J.” He sadly said.

“Do what you have to do, Pizo.” She told him. “Just do your job, partner.”

They both knew what would be happening next. Pizo walked out of the room. Johnnie sat down and sighed. What happened? What did I do? Is it possible, did I kill him? She questioned herself.

Pizo walked back into the room, along with Captain Hill. Johnnie stood up and faced them. Pizo looked at her; his eyes were full of tears. “Johnetta Green, you are under arrest for the murder of Alexander Ballantine.” He said as his voice cracked. “You have the right to remain silent. If you…”

The D.A. watched as Pizo read Johnnie her rights. She fought to keep her own tears from flowing.

Maddie, sweating furiously, sat astride an equally sweaty Johnnie. Johnnie's hands grasped Maddie's hips, pulling her down onto her with force.

“Oh baby.” Maddie rasped. “I'm coming, now.”

“Yes.” Johnnie hissed, as she thrust her hips full force, driving the dildo deeper inside a quivering Maddie. “Come for me baby.”

“Oh God!” Maddie exclaimed.

She shook herself back into the present. Ten years could not erase the memory of Johnnie's touch. “What am I going to do now?” She whispered to herself.

Johnnie walked out of the interrogation room with Pizo and Captain Hill. She looked over to her left and saw Maddie. She was stunned. They had not been this close to each other in years. She looked into Maddie's eyes. “It's been a long time. How have you been, Maddie?”

Maddie could no longer hold back her tears. “I'm fine, Johnnie.” She paused. “I'm sorry it is under these circumstances.” She looked longingly at Johnnie.

“Yeah, well me too.” Johnnie said. “So you will be prosecuting this one, huh?”

Maddie cleared her throat. “Yes.” She said sadly.

Johnnie grimaced. “That's just great.”

“J.” Pizo gently said. “We need to go to booking.”

Johnnie acknowledged him with a nod of her head.

As they walked through the squad room, Alma and Tori walked in. Alma ran over to Johnnie. “What's going on, Querida?” She asked in a panic.

“I've been arrested, baby.” She told her as she touched her cheek. “I won't be home for dinner.”

Alma began to cry hysterically while Tori flew into a rage. “What the fuck is going on here?” Tori demanded. “You know she didn't do it.”

Johnnie touched Tori on her shoulder. “I need for you to calm down, Tori. You have to take care of Alma for me.”

“Johnnie, this is bullshit.” Tori yelled. She turned her attention to Captain Hill. “They just lost their son. Isn't there anything you can do?”

Captain Hill was sympathetic, but he knew he had to follow procedure. “There's nothing I can do. My hands are tied.”

Alma moved closer to Johnnie. “I love you, baby.” She tearfully said. “I am going to get you out of here as soon as possible.”

Johnnie took her into her arms. “It's going to be ok, honey. I love you, too.” She kissed her. “C'mon Pizo, let's get this over with.”

Maddie stood off in a corner. She watched how Johnnie and Alma were with each other, and remembered how Johnnie was with her. Why did you leave me, Johnnie? Maddie shook off the feeling and walked out.

After Johnnie was booked, she was taken to jail. Alma sobbed hysterically as they took Johnnie away. Pizo walked over to Tori and Alma.

“Johnnie won't be arraigned until tomorrow, so you both need to go home.” Pizo said.

“We can't get her out now?” Alma demanded. “She can't stay in jail, Pizo. She can't.”

“Alma, I am going to do everything that I can to clear her.” He solemnly said. “I know Johnnie couldn't have done this. Johnnie is my best friend. As furious as she was with Ballantine, she couldn't have done anything this heinous.”

“I know she didn't do it.” Alma declared.

“Go home and get prepared to get her out.” He told them. “We will get to the bottom of this.”

Maddie cried all the way to her apartment. How can I prosecute the woman I once loved? Who am I kidding, the woman I still love. She thought.

After taking a shower, Maddie put on her robe and went to the hall closet. She pulled out a box that was pushed all the way in the back. She took the box over to the sofa, then went into the kitchen and brought back a bottle of wine and a glass. When she opened the box, there was a record album on top. She took it out of the box and saw that it was Johnnie's favorite, 'The Best of Minnie Ripperton.' Being an avid collector of albums, she took the record over to the stereo and put it on.

Johnnie stood in the kitchen preparing dinner. Minnie Ripperton played softly in the background. Johnnie was singing along, when Maddie walked into the kitchen. She had just gotten in and heard Johnnie harmonizing with Minnie. She should be a singer instead of a cop. She thought as she watched Johnnie move around in the kitchen.

Johnnie noticed Maddie staring at her. “Hey you,” She smiled. “How long have you been there?”

Maddie walked over to Johnnie and embraced her. “Long enough to hear my baby's beautiful voice.”

Johnnie kissed her forehead. “Dinner should be ready in a couple of minutes.”

“I need a shower. Would you like to join me?” Maddie seductively asked.

Johnnie gave her a knowing look. “Give me a couple of minutes.”

The high note Minnie Ripperton hit brought Maddie back to the present. Her head was a little fuzzy from the half bottle of wine that she consumed. She lay back on the sofa. Try as she might, she couldn't fight off the memories of Johnnie and their lovemaking. Her hands moved inside her robe, brushing lightly against already engorged nipples. She teased them, imagining her hands were Johnnie's. As her hands slid across her stomach, she moaned when they reached her throbbing clit. “Oh, Johnnie.” She whispered as her fingers teased her swollen bud.

She placed two fingers inside her throbbing aching wet folds, gently thrusting her hips up to meet them. She remembered how Johnnie would stroke her. Her thrust increased in speed and intensity. Maddie could feel the fire in her body begging for release. Her hips buckled wildly as she reached orgasm. “Oh yes, Johnnie, yes.” She screamed.

Ceecee had prepared dinner and was trying to convince Alma to eat. “Alma you've hardly eaten a thing all day. This is not good for you, or for the baby.”

Alma sighed. “I know. I just can't eat anything right now.” She paused. “I'm worried about Johnnie being in that place.”

Ceecee sat across from her and placed her hand over Alma's. “I know you are sweetheart, but you have got to eat something.” She looked Alma in her eyes. “Have you figured out how you are going to tell Johnnie about the baby?”

“Mami, we havin' a baby?” Phillip asked.

“Si, mijo. We are going to have a baby. You will have a little brother or sister.” She said. “Do you remember what you are supposed to say to Mama?”

“I formember, Mami. I say we havin' a baby.” He proudly told her.

Alma ruffled the boy's hair. “That's right, mijo. Say it just like that.”

“Phillip was going to tell her.” She sadly said, feeling a sob rising in her throat. “He was going to tell her when he gave her the CD he picked out for her.” Alma began to cry. So did Ceecee.

When the doorbell rang, Tori answered it. It was Laura and Tracy.

“Come on in. Ceecee's in the kitchen with Alma trying to get her to eat something.” Tori said.

“Thanks.” The both said as they came in.

“We just found out what happened.” Tracy said. “Is there anything we can do? Does Alma need anything?”

“Just help us with Alma until we can get Johnnie home. She is a nervous wreck.” Tori told them.

“I can imagine.” Laura said softly.

Chapter 8

Jonas Peters was on the phone with one of Ballantine's New York benefactors.

“Alex has been killed.” Peters told him.

“We are aware of that.” The man coldly told him. “Maybe it is for the best. He was becoming a liability, and his hypocrisy was catching up with him.” He paused. “That would have been bad for us, bad for business.”

“I tried to warn him.” Peters said. “He would not listen to me. Alex really wanted to get Green.”

“Well, that is not a concern of ours now. We have an even bigger problem. That Green woman will have to be eliminated. From what my sources tell me, she has information linking Ballantine to us.” He said.

“I have already made arrangements, sir.” Peters said. “Tomorrow morning, Ms. Green will no longer be a problem.”

“Good, Peters.” The man said. “You are a valuable asset. Ballantine was a stupid man for not listening to your advice.”

Peters smiled broadly. “Thank you, sir.”

Johnnie had been processed, and was in her cell. She thought of Alma and what she must be going through. I am so sorry, baby. I fucked up royally.

She was pulled from her musings when the jailer brought in an inmate. “You have company, Green.” She told her. “You girls play nice.”

Johnnie sat up. The inmate was a Caucasian woman in her early forties. She had red hair and looked very intimidating. If it had been anyone else, she would have been afraid. Johnnie, on the other hand, looked at her and dismissed her presence. She lay back down on her bunk.

“Hey, I'm Mary. What's your name?” She asked as she walked over to the bunks.

Johnnie propped herself up on her elbow. “I'm Johnnie.”

“What you in here for?” She asked.

Johnnie looked her in her eye. “Murder.”

“Damn. I'm locked up for assault a police officer.” She paused. “Did you do it?”

“Nope.” Johnnie told her. She lay back down on the bunk. “We won't have any problems, will we?”

Mary lifted her hands in a peaceful gesture. “No officer. We won't.”

“Will the defendant please rise?” The judge asked.

Johnnie and her attorney stood up. Johnnie turned toward the jury box.

“We, the jury, find Johnetta Green guilty of murder in the first degree.” The foreman announced.

Gasps were heard throughout the courtroom. Alma was in tears.

The judge looked a Johnnie with contempt. “I will not prolong sentencing.” He paused. “I hereby sentence you to death by lethal injection. May God have mercy on your soul.”

“No!” Alma screamed as she sat up in bed. She was shaking and sweat poured off of her. The sheets were soaked. “My God, please protect her. Please do not take her away from me.”

Johnnie lay on her bunk. Her thoughts were of Alma. She closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep.

After a while, Johnnie felt Mary shifting on her bunk above her. She opened her eyes to slits and saw Mary as she slid from her bunk to the floor. Mary reached for something under her pillow, and came back with a shank. She leaned over Johnnie and was preparing to stab her when Johnnie punched her in her forehead. The blow sent Mary reeling backwards, causing her to drop the shank. Johnnie leaped from her bunk and kicked the shank out of reach. She then began to kick Mary.

The fight awakened the other inmates. Johnnie was now straddled over Mary, furiously punching her in her face. Mary struggled and was able to hit Johnnie in her side, causing her to fall over. Mary stood, but Johnnie pulled her leg from under her, making her fall and hit her head against the bars. All the noise from the inmates alerted the guards. Johnnie stood over her and picked her up. She slammed her against the bars.

“Why are you trying to kill me?” Johnnie growled. “I haven't done anything to you.”

The guards came in and separated them. “What in the hell is going on here?” One guard demanded.

“This bitch was trying to kill me.” Johnnie yelled. “I thought she was searched.”

The other guard grabbed Johnnie by the arm. “Come on, Green. You are going into solitary.”

When they arrived at solitary, the guard opened the cell, and took Johnnie in. “I think you will be safer in here.” She whispered.

“Thanks.” Johnnie said. Her rage began to subside and she began wondering why Mary had attacked her.

Pizo arrived early that morning, being called the previous night and notified of the events that took place.

“J, are you alright?” Pizo asked as he touched her shoulder.

Johnnie was a little sore from the punch she received in her side. She winced from the pain. “Yeah, I'm fine.” She assured him.

“What beef does this woman have with you?” He asked.

“I have never seen her before. I have no idea why she would try to kill me, other than the fact she hates cops.” She said.

“J, that doesn't sound logical. There must be something else.” He paused. “You were attacked with a shank. How did she get it in past the search?”

Johnnie sighed. “I don't know and I can't concern myself with it right now. All I want to do is get out of here and clear my name.” She looked directly into Pizo's eyes. “As angry as I was with Ballantine, I know I didn't kill him.”

“I believe you, J.” He assured her.

“Have you talked with Alma? Do you know if she has gotten me a lawyer yet?” She asked.

Pizo smiled. “It looks like one of your clients has volunteered to take your case. Bob Wooten himself will be your lawyer.”

Johnnie chuckled. “Bob, eh? Well, well, I must be important to him. He hasn't handled any cases here in years. He usually defends big shots.”

“Well partner, you have one of the best. No stone will be left unturned with him on the job.” He said.

Johnnie showered and put on a fresh orange jumpsuit. She met with Bob in the room set aside for attorneys to confer with their clients.

Bob extended his hand. “How are you holding up, Johnnie?” He asked, deeply concerned.

Johnnie shook his hand. “Aside from being attacked last night, I'm holding up as best I can.” She said.

“As soon as I heard, I called Alma and offered my services.” He said as he opened his briefcase.

“I really appreciate it.” She said and paused for a long moment. “Bob, I didn't do it.”

He smiled at her. “I know you didn't Johnnie, and we are going to prove it.” He paused. “Now as for this attack on you, we are going to find out why.”

“I don't know why she attacked me.” She said. “I've never seen her before in my life.”

“Well, if she is not an enemy, we have got to figure what or maybe even who was behind this.” He adamantly said.

Johnnie's arraignment hearing was scheduled for 10 am. She arrived at the courthouse still dressed in 'jailhouse orange'. Alma, Tori, Ceecee, Annie and Pizo were seated behind the defense table. The deputies brought Johnnie in and seated her at the table. She stood only a few feet away from her. Johnnie turned to Alma and winked. Alma smiled back at her.

Maddie was situated at the prosecutor's table. She watched as Johnnie walked in. He knees became weak so she sat down.

Alma noticed how Maddie watched Johnnie and her eyes narrowd. She leaned over to Tori. “What is her problem? Why is she looking at Johnnie like that?”

“I have no idea, Alma.” She said. Thinking Annie might have an idea, she turned to her. “What's up with that D.A.? Why is she looking at Johnnie like that?”

Annie moved closer. “A little over ten years ago, she and Johnnie were lovers.” She whispered. “Johnnie has gotten over her, but it looks like she still has a thing for Johnnie.”

“Get the fuck outta here.” Tori said, shocked at what she just heard. “You have got to give me the details later.”

Bob Wooten walked in, barely making it past the media blockade outside. He nodded to Alma, and then sat next to Johnnie. “Are you ready, Johnnie?” He asked.

“As ready as I'll ever be.” She stated.

“All rise.” The bailiff said. “Court is now in session. The Honorable Henry Walters, presiding.”

Judge Walters walked in and took his seat on the bench. “You may be seated. Call the first case.”

“The State of North Carolina vs. Johnetta Green.” The bailiff announced. Both parties stood as the bailiff read the charges.

“How do you plead, Ms. Green?” The judge asked.

“Not guilty, Your Honor.” Johnnie said calmly.

He looked toward the prosecution. “Any recommendations, counselor?” He asked.

“The people request no bail, Your Honor.” Maddie regrettably said. She knew that if she handled this case with kid gloves that it would create trouble for Johnnie.

Bob interrupted. “Your Honor, Ms. Green is a well respected member of the community. She is also a highly decorated retired member of this city's police department. She has ties to the community and is not a flight risk.”

“Your Honor, Ms. Green has been charged with a capital crime. We shouldn't subject the public to such a potential danger.” Maddie stated.

Alma seethed and Tori and the rest watched in disbelief.

“Ms. Green is innocent until proven guilty.” Bob said, outraged. “Your Honor, I'd also like to add that Ms. Green is in imminent danger. She was attacked last night and nearly killed in her sleep.”

Gasps could be heard in the courtroom. Even Maddie was taken aback.

The judge grimaced. “In light of this information, bail is set at one million dollars. Let's move on, next case please.”

Tori told Johnnie that she would be out by lunch, as Alma watched the deputies take her away.

part 5

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