(Art by Ivy Coyote)
Death of the Judge Executive
After many trips to the Merit County Courthouse, Claren had learned the names of several people who held grudges against the County Judge Executive, Hank Leonard Riley, Leo to his friends. Of course, none of them hated the judge more than Claren did, and she had plans to do away with him as quickly as possible, but she had to decide who would pay for the crime.
Of the five people who held grudges against Judge Leo, there were two who had caused problems for Claren – Larry Linkirk, her ex-boss at the Quick and Go convenience store and Karen Manard, an ex-cheerleader from high school whom Claren had always disliked. One of these two people would end up arrested for killing Judge Leo, but which one?
Because Judge Leo lived on a large farm near the county line, Claren knew this one would have to be a long distance killing, probably with a sniper rifle, so this cut out Karen. Karen “the cheerleader” Manard was a prim and proper lady and had probably never shot a handgun in her life, much less a high powered rifle. This meant Larry would finally pay for all the late night hours and sexual harassment he had put Claren through in the two years she worked at the Quick and Go.
Getting the high powered rifle was no problem. Six years ago when she started planning her murders, Claren had broken into her ex-husbands house and stole several guns. As far as she knew, no one had ever been charged with stealing from her ex, Lonnie, which made her use of the guns even more special.
Claren lived in a quiet rural neighborhood just outside the city limits of Harmony, Kentucky, and the major city in Merit County. Although she wasn’t particularly friendly with her neighbors, she did have enough sense to wave "hi" and "bye" – no use drawing undo attention to her if she could help it.
She didn’t keep any incriminated items in her hole, oh no, Claren was much too smart for that. But, if police agents were to discover the underground bunker at the back of her one-acre lot, she would be in a lot of trouble. Claren had bought the house in the year after her divorce. To help her get over the anger and hostility, she started digging a hole in the backyard. It started out as a koi pond, but quickly manifested into something else.
Every evening after work, Claren would go out into the backyard and dig for several hours. One wheel barrel full at a time, sdug and then hauled the soil to the front yard to make raised beds for her flowers. At first she was only able to dig and haul two to three wheel barrels at a time, but every day she was able to increase her work by one or two barrels.
In time, the bunker was 12 feet deep by 10 feet wide – not big enough to live in, but certainly big enough to hide things. And hide things she did: potassium chloride vials and syringes, rat poison, knives of all shapes and sizes, guns and rifles and all forms of ammunition; also duct tape, rope, gas containers and various odds and ends.
The bunker had a trap door and was covered with a piece of artificial turf. The turf served as a platform for a miniature golf course Claren had constructed in the backyard. She had family and friends over quiet often for cookouts and games, and no one had every discovered her little secret. She took great pleasure in flaunting her secret in front of the people she knew.
Now Claren had to decide the appropriate time to kill Judge Leo, and figure out what evidence she could steal and plant to incriminate good ole Larry. This should be fun.