A dying decleration, the lawyers call it - admissible evidence in a Maryland courtroom if the victim is informed by a competent medical personnel that he is dying or otherwise indicates that he believes himself to be dying. And while it's not uncommon for homicide victims to make dying declarations, it is a rare and special moment when those utterances are at all helpful to a detective, not to mention relevant.
Every homicide detective has a favourite story involving a murdered man's last words. Many of these tales center on the code of the street and its observance even at life's end. One involves the last moments of a West Baltimore doper, who was still talking when the officers arrived.
"Who shot you?"
"I'll tell you in a minute," the victim declared, presumably unaware that he had about forty seconds left to live.
Having suffered deep stab wounds to the chest and face, one dying man claimed to have cut himself shaving. Another victim, shot five times in the chest and back, assured officers with his last breath that he would take care of the problem himself.
But perhaps the most classic dying declaration story belongs to Bob McAllister. Back in '82, during his first weeks as a homicide detective, Mac had worked a long detail case with other detectives and had been secondary on a few calls, but otherwise he was pretty green. In the hope that he'd learn from a veteran, they paired him with Jake "the Snake" Coleman, alias the Polyester Prince, a gravel-voiced, bantamweight detective of legendary proportions. And so, when the call came for a shooting on Pennsylvania Avenue, Jake Coleman was out the door with McAllister in tow.
The dead man at Pennsie and Gold was named Frank Gupton. McAllister can remember the name without hesitation; he also remembers that the case is still as open as the day is long.
"He was alive when we got there," said the first officer at the scene.
"Oh yeah?" said Coleman, encouraged.
"Yeah. We asked him who shot him."
"He said, 'Fuck you.' "
13 júlí 2006
Já og ég var að klára Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets í vinnunni í dag. Nú verð ég að redda mér annarri góðri bók.. En hérna er smá kafli sem mig langaði að færa upp:
Birt af Björninn kl. 03:27