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With a nod to Kurt Westervelt.

The following is true. Not a story of my invention. I doubt even my well creased mind could create the following. Please join me in the morgue where medical examiner Nancy Smith is completing an autopsy on Vernon Springfield. Concluding Mr. Springfield   died from a shotgun blast to the head. 


Apparently, Mr. Springfield leapt from the top of a 40 story building intending on suicide. He’d left a signed note on the roof indicating his despondency. But, as he tumbled past the 38th floor his suicide attempt was abruptly interrupted by a shotgun blast through an open balcony window that riddled his upper torso

killing him instantly. (You can’t make this stuff up)

Neither the shooter, nor Mr. Springfield was aware that a series of  safety nets had been installed, every three floors, to protect painters who would soon be repainting the building.  


"Ordinarily," Lieutenant Barbara Chan said, "A person who sets out to commit suicide and succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide." 


“But,” added Detective Gail Ester, “even though Mr. Springfield  attempted suicide; he probably would not have been successful because of the safety net. I believe we can call this a homicide.

The apartment on the 38th floor where the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by Mister and Misses Dixon, an elderly couple, who were involved in a violent argument. Mr. Dixon had pulled a loaded shotgun from his gun rack threatening his wife. Apparently he was so upset he accidently pulled the trigger, but thankfully missed his wife. The blast of  pellets went through the window striking the falling Mr. Springfield.  


Lt. Barbara Chan asked:

When one intends to kill subject "A" but kills subject "B" in the attempt, is one guilty of the murder of subject "B?"


Legally the answer is yes.  But…

When confronted with a murder charge Mr. Dixon and his wife were adamant. Both said they thought the shotgun was unloaded.   Mr. Dixon said it was his long standing habit, sort of joke, to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention of harming nor murdering her. 


A continuing investigation turned up Agelio Battle, a family friend,  who witnessed the Dixon’s only son loading the shotgun a few weeks prior to the fatal accident. 


 “We were having a few beers watching a Oakland A’s game.  All of a sudden he got up, pulled the gun from a rack and two shells from a box of ammo.  He knew what he was doing.  He brought both shells in at an angle then seated them in the chambers and closed the barrel. It was weird. He had another beer and went back to the game with the shotgun laying across his lap. I knew it was strange, but he’s always been… well, strange. I left him like that in the eighth inning. “ 


Further investigation found that because of violent personality clashes, Mr. Dixon had cut off all of his step-son’s financial support. 




Lt. Chan asked Dixon if his son knew he played the shotgun card when arguing with his wife.  “Sure, he saw me do it more than once.  My wife Annette and I love the theater of a good argument.”


Detective Ester and Lt. Chan concluded that the son knew his step-father used the shotgun in a threateningly manner and  loaded the gun with the hope his step-father would shoot his mother; be convicted of murder; and then he would inherit everything. 



Lieutenant Barbara Chan and Detective Gail Ester charged Dixon’s step-son with the death of Vernon Springfield.




Mr. Brian Dixon --- was never charged with a crime, though he was admonished for brandishing a shotgun at his spouse. 


Brian Dixon’s son was charged with premeditated murder though he never severed a minute in jail.


The building was painted two months late. 


Since we know Dixon’s son was responsible for the demise of Vernon Springfield.  Why didn’t he have to serve anytime in jail????


Contact me if you need more clues. ---- 

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