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“And that seemed suspicious to you?”

Denning shrugs. “Could be, or it could be someone lost, but we did subsequently confirm that Mr. North drives a white Audi A4.”

Yeah…I hear the gasp in the courtroom from some of the spectators and I want to bang my head on the table in front of me.

“Did Mr. North ever mention to you coming to the victim’s neighborhood on that night?” Hammond asks.

“No,” Denning says. “In fact he maintains he was at his condo the entire time. We’ve subpoenaed the GPS records from Mr. North’s Audi, but we don’t know what that will reveal at this time.”

I can’t help myself. I turn myself all the way around in my seat to look at Sela and she gives me a halfhearted smile. I try to give it back but my lips won’t fucking move. I don’t dare look at Caroline again, because I know I won’t get a smile from her after the revelation that JT’s our brother, so I turn back around. Then Doug begins his cross-examination of Denning, which is very good considering what just occurred. He manages to poke enough holes in her testimony that it’s a bit weakened, eventually getting her to admit that all of this is pure conjecture and speculation on a motive that may or may not exist.

Still, by the time Denning leaves the stand, I find myself rubbing my sweaty hands repeatedly on my slacks trying to get them dry.

ADA Hammond stands up and says, “Your Honor, we have one last witness…the state will call DNA analyst Michael Carbone to the stand.”

“What’s that for?” I whisper to Doug.

He shrugs. “Most DNA takes a while to process, but they must have processed something fairly quickly. Relax. Probably just a hair of yours at the scene, but we figured they’d find that.”

And yeah…they could match that up, because when I was arrested last Thursday, they also had a warrant compelling my DNA. That was done by swabbing the inside of my cheek when I was processed into the jail.

A nerdy-looking guy with dark wavy hair and a huge Adam’s apple takes the stand, nervously tugging on his tie. Hammond goes through his background with the Bureau of Forensic Sciences and asks about all of the samples that were retrieved during the investigation. It’s boring, tedious stuff that I guess does nothing more than prove the samples are being processed correctly.

“Mr. Carbone, have you managed to process any of the evidence collected at the scene?” Hammond asks.

He nods and in a somewhat squeaky voice says, “A little bit…identification of some fibers and such.”

“What about DNA?” she asks.

“We’ve got several samples to go through, but we have processed one fully,” he says.

Hammond nods at him to continue.

“We always take a sample from the victim so we can use it to exclude against other samples found at the scene. So we usually run that first. We analyzed Mr. Townsend’s DNA, and as we routinely do in all cases, also submitted it to the CODIS national database and we got an interesting hit.”

Holy fuck.

My blood freezes in my veins, disbelieving that they are going to out JT as a rapist. There’s no way, but then again…if they pin my girlfriend’s rape on him, boom! My coffin is nailed shut with motive.

“And what did the ‘hit’ reveal?” Hammond asks, and I can hear in her voice that she can barely contain her excitement at the bomb she’s getting ready to drop. I twist my head, look at Sela, who is watching the nerd on the stand with wide, disbelieving eyes.

“It actually revealed that Mr. Townsend’s DNA matched an unsolved rape,” he says with no emotion.

Jesus fuck, this is it.

“Almost five years ago here in San Francisco,” Carbone adds, and my entire world spins so hard I have to slap my hands hard on the table to keep my balance. Doug goes stiff beside me and I hear a small pained moan that I know is from Sela.

“And who was the victim in that case?” Hammond prods.

“Caroline North,” Carbone says as his eyes shift slightly to mine and then back to Hammond, as if he had to take a peek at my reaction.

“N-o-o-o-o-o,” I hear Caroline whimper behind me, and then rustling and something knocking against wood. “Get out of my way.”

I spin in my chair to see Caroline trying to push her way past Sela, who’s trying to hold on to her.

“Caroline, wait,” Sela says pleadingly as Caroline jerks her arm away, manages to get to the end of the row, and runs for the exit doors.

Sela turns to look at me and I want to break down like a baby and cry at the anguished confusion on her face. I know what’s in her head right now:

Remmers just confirmed to me that my attacker’s DNA was in the system properly.

JT’s DNA is now in the system.

It didn’t match with mine.

JT didn’t rape me.

He didn’t rape me and so now I don’t even have that to alleviate some of my guilt for killing him.

I don’t care at all what the judge says, or if I’m damning my case. I push up out of my seat, bend over the gallery wall, and put my hands on Sela’s shoulders. I can hear the deputy coming toward me so I whisper to her urgently. “He did rape you, Sela. He admitted it to you. I don’t know what the fuck’s going on, but don’t you even be thinking you got it wrong, you hear me?”

Hands at my arms start to pull me away and the deputy says, “Mr. North, you need to sit back down before I have to cuff you.”

The judge taps his gavel slightly on the wooden bench and says firmly, “Okay…let’s have some order, please. Mr. North, kindly take your seat.”

The deputy pulls me back to my chair but I don’t break eye contact with Sela. “Go after her,” I beg her, and let my eyes cut to the doors where Caroline just went. “Please help her.”

Sela nods once and then she’s sliding out of the pew and running toward the doors herself. I have no clue what’s going to happen to me and I don’t give a fuck. I just want Caroline and Sela to be taken care of, and I think my time on this earth where I can do that may now be over.

I can’t process what was just laid out in open court for all the spectators and reporters to hear. That Caroline was raped by her half brother, Jonathon Townsend, which is the perfect motive to pin his murder on Beck. Just yesterday, Beck and I had been convinced otherwise.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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