PREDATOR: FOUND:ONE


CAUTIONARY NOTE:

The following is about a violent and horrific murder. It is a real story about real people. Parts of this are very graphic. Please have respect for the victims, their families, and their friends.

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PART ONE—Face Down

CHAPTER 1—911 Operator # 143

She lay face down.

At least, that is how they found the body—face down.

They being the hastily-established Manatee County team of sheriff’s deputies, forensic personnel, fire department paramedics, and the county coroner’s office staff that had been called into service on August 3rd, 2009, in the middle of the night. It was their job to descend on the horrifying scene at a residence in a quiet neighborhood in response to her husband’s frantic 911 call.

Manatee County 911, what is the nature of your emergency?

The operator’s voice was calm, well-practiced, having responded thousands of times in the same cool manner during stressful telephone calls as this would soon become.

Caller: (Unintelligible) I just got home, my wife is on the floor!

The voice was breathless, filled with shock and terror.

Three years after the Manatee County 911 system recorded the emotion-filled phone call from a distraught man, the prosecution introduced the tape as evidence in Case No. 2010-CF-000479, The State of Florida vs. Delmer Smith, a murder case.

The Court, jury, and gallery would sit and listen completely absorbed by the conversation being played back for them. While the horror of the night slowly became indelibly evident for everyone else in the room, the defendant appeared indifferent. He spent most of his time looking at the highly-polished wooden conference table-top where he sat, or at his handcuffed hands which were kept low behind the table so the jury could not see them.

He focused on them, turning them over, then right side up. He twisted them one way, then another, carefully examining each hand like a person would checking to see if they might need to wash them. Perhaps, in this case, to remove the invisible stain and erase the scent of his victim’s blood that only he was conscious of.

The act was eerily reminiscent of the scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth where the Thane of Fife’s wife spoke those incredibly memorable lines, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say! … What! will these hands ne’er be clean? … Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”

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PREDATOR (Forward & The cast) 12.14.15


FORWARD CONTINUED:

A short-lived smile touched her lips. Her voice lowered, softened. She lit a cigarette, busying her fingers, took a deep draw on it, then blew the first exhale up and away from my direction. “My friends,” she inhaled again. “My family,” she said quietly, more to herself than to me. Her eyes were still looking down and with the palm of her free hand she absent mindedly smoothed her dress. “It was like, you know, I was at fault for some reason. I was the guilty one. That is what they wanted to know.” She took a sip of her tea and looked around at the other lunch customers seated at tables near ours who were, like she and I, enjoying a soft Florida breeze. “Every one of them.” She paused, then added, “‘He was your boyfriend,’ they said to me,” her voice climbed with passion. “Like that gave me some kind of magical insight into the man. It’s all bullshit.” Her eyes dropped to the pavement, then up, fierce, black.

“‘You lived together. And, you are telling me, telling us you didn’t know?'” She thumped her chest with a thumb and turned her head quizzically to look at me. Our eyes met and once more I could not look away. Her chin was high and her eyes, moments before warm and friendly had grown suddenly cold, hard, flinty.

I could see, could feel the emotional intensity that burned inside her. She felt wronged by the very people she thought would have been there for support. She wanted to say to each of them, “What about me? All these questions are about why I didn’t know. What about me? Don’t any one of you who are aware of the relationship that I had with Delmer recognize that I had feelings in this? Don’t you recognize my fear? My bewilderment? My sense of betrayal? Is it only that you want to know why I didn’t know? Well, better yet, if you were around him, why didn’t you know?”

She didn’t need to say those words. I felt them emanating from her heart and soul. I saw them in her eyes, the way she held her head, the silence that surrounded her as she sat and stared into her tea.

This was our first meeting, Michele and mine. However, it would not be the last.

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MAIN CAST OF CHARACTERS 

SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Sergeant J. Blessee, Patrol Supervisor District Two

Miss Farnsworth, Victim’s Assistance

Detective Rhonda V. DiFranco, Forensics

Detective C. Dusseau

Detective Michael “Mike” A. Dumer

Jessica Hendrickson, Crime Scene Technician

Jessica Jarecki, Crime Scene Technician

Detective B. Keane

Detective M. LeFebvre

Detective K. McGath

Deputy Mrzuack, K-9 Officer

Deputy Josh Pelfrey

Deputy B. Pollock

Sergeant Sirran

Deputy John Swinney

Jessica Sawyer, Forensic Technician

Deputy John Thomas

Detective D. Tuck

Sergeant Daniel Tutko

Detective Sergeant John Walsh

Deputy Wineka, Helicopter Pilot

SARASOTA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

Detective DeFrancisco

Detective Linda DeNiro

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

Rochelle Gatemen, Supervisor FDLE Bio-Lab, Fort Myers, FL

Shana Hayter, FDLE Crime Laboratory Analyst in Biology and DNA

Michael Rafferty, FDLE Chief of Forensic Services

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

Special Agent G. Sandoval

FEDERAL PAROLE OFFICER

Gerri Cotter

CITY OF VENICE, FLORIDA POLICE DEPARTMENT

Sergeant Jason Adams

Officer Guinart

Officer Long

FAMILY, AND ACQUAINTANCES OF DELMER SMITH

Shannon (Bodell) Barrett, landlady

Michele Quinones, former fiancé

Alicia Phillips, niece

Christina Smith, niece

Martha Tejeda, personal friend

STATE OF FLORIDA PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS SARASOTA OFFICE

Elizabeth Scanlan

Earl Varn

DEFENSE ATTORNEY SARASOTA COUNTY

Marjorie Bender

MANATEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Detective Kumiko Carter

Detective Edward “Ned” Foy

Robert Feverston, Latent Fingerprint Examiner

Grace Givens, Crime Scene Technician

Andrew Hasty, Deputy

Hurley Smith, Crime Scene Technician

Richard Talbot, Crime Scene Manager

Adrianne Walls, Crime Scene Technician

FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF KATHY BRILES

James A. Briles, MD

Calvin Briles, MD

Kristie Gish

Mary Wanser

OTHER MANATEE COUNTY WITNESSES

Michael Bierds, Publix Store Manager

Wilson A. Broussard, Jr. M.D., Forensic Pathologist

Armenouhi Comstock, Owner Armiks Fine Collectibles

Stanley Grubbs, Atrue Lock Service

Kevin Noppinger, DNA Laboratory Manager, DNA Labs International

Istvan Szecsenyi, Owner Roadkill Auto, Inc.

Oliver Young, Duct Tape Product Manager

Victoria Marshall., Sarasota County Victim

STATE OF FLORIDA PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS MANATEE OFFICE

Suzanne O’Donnell

Brian Iten

DEFENSE ATTORNEYS IN MANATEE COUNTY

 Daniel Hernandez

Bjorn Brunvand

This material is protected by a copyright  by Gordon Kuhn