Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Murder, He Wrote

After television went cable with a plethora of stations (most of which aren't good, healthy viewing) and began its decline then nosedive into its current dearth of quality, among the few shows I truly enjoyed was "Murder, She Wrote", starring Angela Landsbury as sleuth-writer Jessica Fletcher. This pure-fiction show was about as close as I'd come to any homicide... until Monday morning the 18th.

I slept more fitfully than usual -- did my body psychically know something dire was about to occur? -- and around 5 a.m., I guess, I was awakened again. This time it was due to a heated argument between two or possibly three men apparently taking place in the street outside the house. I heard only the voices, no sounds of struggle nor a gunshot. So I returned to what little sleep time was left to me.

After rising and eating a small breakfast I sat to read in the recliner near the living room front window. Then one of my housemates entered the living room from his bedroom, and informed me that there was a dead body out in our street, Martin Street. I looked out; sure 'nuf, a man's body lay crumpled in the middle of Martin in front of the house next door!

This was extremely surprising, especially as ours is a generally quiet neighborhood of older homes near Clarksville's downtown. The only disturbance since I'd moved in was the dogs next door who growled and barked incessantly. And now there was a corpse in front of that "doggy" house!

Yellow tape (crime tape) went up, isolating about 100 feet of the street plus the house. Regular police and detectives swarmed the area; one took my meager statement about what I'd heard just a few hours earlier. The body remained as it was for a considerable time. There was no readily visible stream of blood, only the crumpled body.

I had plans for the day, and these got slightly altered. As in, due to the tape I couldn't access the nearest bus stop, on Crossland Avenue at Martin. Instead, I had to walk a block the other way, to Washington and Martin, to catch a city bus into downtown and stay on it on its outbound run, to the public library. And when I came back late in the afternoon, there was still one police car, plus a fire engine, in front of the house next door. I inquired about the presence of the fire truck; a police woman informed me that it was there to hose blood from the street. (There really wasn't that much blood to be seen, but whatever.)

Now, today (Wed.) I've learned that the victim was a 39-year-old man from Clarksville; no address is given, so for all I know he lived next door. He was stabbed several times in the chest. a bit more than 24 hours after the crime, Clarksville police arrested a Hispanic man who does live next door and is of similar age to his alleged victim.

While this isn't a case for Jessica Fletcher to solve, even were she real, one might say of the case, "there goes the neighborhood!" (Pardon my "gallows humor".)

And if my coverage of this incident seems somewhat flippant or that there's inappropriate humor, please forgive me, dear reader. Such may be a symptom of shock, shock at my first encounter with a murder scene.

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