Friday, September 18, 2009

Homicide - Hussey: Dying Declaration, Part 2

While I prepare to welcome the year 5770, I'll turn Terry's Place over to Detective Hussey once again. If you didn't read Part 1, you can find it here.

I lifted the door off the black male who was lying on his back on the bare concrete floor. I noticed at that time that this man wasn't exactly black, he was more like gray. It was a color I had seen before. He was also sweating profusely, but his skin was cool and clammy.

I also noticed a tiny hole in the shirt on the left side of the burglar, just above the belt buckle. I pulled the shirt up and saw a small red hole. If I didn't know better, I would have said it was a bug bite. I pushed on man's abdomen near the entrance wound. His stomach was hard as a rock and pushed out.

I'd spent nearly a year in North Carolina working part time as an Emergency Medical Technician on an ambulance. I knew that this guy was going into shock, and was bleeding internally. Soon all the blood in his body would be pumped into his abdominal cavity.

I used Ezra's phone to call an ambulance, and knelt down next to the injured man, so he could hear me. "You got anything you wanna' say?"

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"Am I gonna' die?" The man looked frightened. In the academy we had been taught that a dying declaration or a confession is good evidence and an exception to the hearsay rule. The defendant need not die, he must only believe that death was imminent at the time the statement was made. In other words, it might benefit the investigating officer to make the injured fellow think his injuries were worse than they actually were. In this case, I needed only to tell the truth.

"Yes sir, I believe you are," I said quietly.

The man began to cry and ask If I could help him.

"Just hang in there man, the ambulance is on the way." I tried to comfort him. "Can I call somebody for you?"

"No suh, I sho' didn't know dis' was gonna' happen."

"Can you tell me what did happen here so this man ain't in any trouble?"

"He didn't do nothin' wrong. I was tryin' to get into da man house, he shot me thoo da doe. I reckon I deserved it."

"Well that may be so, but I ain't gonna' let you die here. You'll be okay."

An ambulance from the Herndon Ambulance service arrived and a couple of medics began to work on the guy. I knew them both. One was a female named Melanie Hahn, who was married to one of our officers, and one was a little short guy named Bill Clark. Both of them were great paramedics. I knew the gentleman was in good hands.

"By the way, what's your name?" I bent down as the medics were sliding on a pair of mast trousers and trying to get some vital signs.

"Elvis Washington," the man said weakly.

"Hey I'll see you at the hospital." I smiled at Elvis.

"No you ain't," he said. "I'm dyin'." With that, his eyes fluttered, and as Melanie checked for a pulse, Bill started chest compressions.

I ran to the ambulance for a backboard. They scooped Elvis up and hauled ass for LGH. I stayed and got the story from Ezra.

It seems Mr. Grumwalt and his Japanese Chin (a small black and white dog) were awakened by noises at the carport door. Mr. Grumwalt had been broken into once before, and had been beaten by his attacker. He had taken to sleeping with his .22 revolver, and his trusty watchdog. When he heard the noises, he got up and went to the door, looking out the peephole. He saw a "Negro" man outside "fiddling" with his door. He then called the police. He kept our phone number on the wall right next to the telephone. It sure took long enough for me to get there. When the burglar had worked the hinge pins out of the door and managed to wiggle the door loose from the frame, old Ezra pushed his revolver up against the door about "gut" level and "touched her off."

The man and the door fell into the carport, then I showed up. It pretty much all fit.

I explained it all to a sleepy Detective Lonnie Nichols, who was unlucky enough to be on call. "Thanks, kid," he said.

"So how's the turd?" I asked.

"Deader than a smelt," the detective said. "Guess he got what he deserved."

"Yeah, I guess," I said.

I would become familiar with, even accustomed to death and dying, but I would never be able to just write it off without thinking about what could have been. Still, he did deserve it. Live by the know the rest.


Elena said...

Reflecting what could have been is a lovely way to say goodby. It was the guys without compassion who scared me.

Sheila Deeth said...

Sad and straightforward. I like the way it's told.