Sugar Free Page 32

I didn’t fucking do it, so it’s not like I’m acting.

“Duly noted,” Judge Reyes says, making a notation in the file before him. “I’m going to set the preliminary hearing for Monday at ten A.M.”

This surprises me. It’s Friday and I didn’t think things would move that fast.

ADA Hammond stands swiftly from her chair. “Your Honor, the state would ask for a bit more time. The law states the preliminary hearing can be set up to ten days from arraignment.”

Judge Reyes sounds completely bored. “Actually, Miss Hammond, what the law truly says is that it can be set within ten days of the arraignment. I suppose one could argue that I could set it for tomorrow if I was so inclined to bring you good folks back on a Saturday but as it is, I have a birthday party to attend for my granddaughter so you’re off the hook. I’ll see all parties here Monday at ten A.M.”

Hammond sits back down in a huff.

“Now, let’s discuss bail,” Judge Reyes says.

Hammond jumps back up from her chair so quickly it slides back and knocks into the half wall that separates the seating gallery. “Your Honor, the state would oppose any bail and requests the defendant be remanded. This was a grisly crime fueled by aggravating factors that will be revealed at the prelim, and the defendant is a danger to society. Furthermore, he is a man of immense wealth and has the ability to flee if he were released.”

Judge Reyes, still looking quite bored, turns to my attorney. “Mr. Shriver?”

“Your Honor, Miss Hammond is right…this was a grisly crime, but seeing as how they’ve arrested an innocent man, that shouldn’t have anything to do with your decision. Mr. North deserves the presumption of innocence as the law requires. And while we can’t do anything about the fact that he is indeed rich, you can set the bail high enough to make it hurt if he runs and merely ask him to surrender his passport, which will ensure he cannot run. Seems quite simple to me.”

Man, I love this guy. He’s slightly snarky, but so well reasoned you can’t argue with what he says. At least I can’t.

Judge Reyes nods at Doug and says, “Bail is set at five million dollars and the defendant will surrender his passport until after the trial.”

“Your Honor,” Hammond says in an almost whiny voice. “If you’re not going to remand him, at least order house arrest with an ankle bracelet.”

Judge Reyes looks to Doug with his eyebrows raised, conveying it’s his turn to counterargue.

“Again, in the eyes of this court, Mr. North is presumed innocent. He has a large corporation to run and over fifty people who depend on him for jobs. He must have the freedom to continue to operate his business. If you must have control over him, simply order him to stay within the state of California unless he has business elsewhere, and at that time, the court can decide whether or not he can travel outside of California but within the boundaries of this country.”

Reyes doesn’t even pause. “Agreed and so ordered. Is there anything else before I move on to the next case?”

“No, Your Honor,” Doug says politely.

“Not from the state,” Hammond says in a sulky voice.

“Very well, Bailiff…call the next case.”

Over the next hour, I’m shuttled back over to the Sheriff’s Department, this time without handcuffs, and I’m processed out of their system. I get back my clothes, wallet, phone, and watch. Doug stays with me the entire time while I insisted that Sela and Caroline go back to the condo. He tells me that the preliminary hearing will be nothing more than the state providing their evidence and Judge Reyes will determine if it’s sufficient to push this to trial.

Doug tells me that the prelim is going to make or break me.

He never once asks me if I killed JT.

My fingers slide over the track pad on my laptop, the cursor arrow going where I want it to, choosing a new article to read.

Sugar Bowl Founder Accused of Murdering Partner

(AP) San Francisco—The business and tech worlds were stunned Thursday night when multimillionaire founder and program developer Beckett North was arrested for the brutal murder of his partner, Jonathon Townsend. Booked and then arraigned on Friday with a five-million-dollar bond, North was released on his own recognizance but had to surrender his passport.

Just four days prior, Townsend’s body was found in his home by his personal chef, who stumbled onto what she describes as a scene “straight out of a nightmare.” While the police have yet to release details about the crime, Rosalinda Patane said that Townsend was on the floor of his den with stab wounds in his neck. Sources within the Sausalito Police Department have refused to disclose the murder weapon, which led many to believe it hasn’t been recovered.

Townsend and North, who were childhood friends, went on to open up the controversial Sugar Bowl, a dating website that pairs older, wealthy men with younger women. Many claim the site is nothing more than a means to provide paid prostitution, but Townsend had repeatedly denied that claim in interviews, maintaining no money is exchanged…

“Jesus,” Beck says from behind me in irritation, and I jump in the dining room chair that I’d been sitting in for the past half hour, spending Sunday reading news stories about Beck’s arrest. “You’ve had your nose buried in that laptop for the last three hours. Quit reading that shit.”

Okay, so maybe it was three hours, not thirty minutes. But I can’t seem to keep track of time this weekend. I’m in a constant state of worry, internal debate, and problem solving.

I get up from the chair and my back screams in protest, confirming that I had indeed been sitting there way too long. I follow Beck into the kitchen and watch as he pulls the refrigerator open and pulls out a beer. He twists the cap, puts it in the garbage, and takes a long pull while looking at me.

“I read a piece by one of the analysts at Court TV and they seemed to think without a murder weapon, it would be difficult to—”

Beck slams the beer down on the counter and foam shoots out the top. His face contorts in anger and he yells at me, “I don’t give a flying fuck what reporters or analysts are saying, Sela.”

He throws his arms out to the side in frustration and continues his rant against me. “I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about this. What I do give a shit about is that my girlfriend has been moping around this place all weekend and won’t even look at me because she’s too busy reading shit that’s written by a biased media. I’m tired of it, Sela. Tired of you sitting in front of that computer reading stories or constantly flipping channels on the TV, trying to find something that will make you feel better about this shitstorm. Well, I’m here to tell you, babe…none of that stuff is going to make it better. It’s only going to cause you more anxiety. So give it up and get the fuck on with your life. You’re driving me batty.”

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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