Richard Savage was a successful young investment broker in San Francisco. He worked for an old-line brokerage company that had a very good reputation in the Bay Area and around the World. Richard was thirty years old, single and a handsome young man. He started to visit a gay bar on the other side of the bay. Richard knew the owner of his company very well, he was old money and old school. Richard knew if his boss had any idea about him being gay he would be out of there before the door could hit him in the ass. He earned a very comfortable income and enjoyed his single life to the max. He had been working for Golden Investments a couple years and felt at home, like he would be there for many more years.
Early one Sunday morning he got a phone call, the caller said, “Hello Richard, just call me uncle John.” We know you make several trips a week across the bridge to Oakland. You have some real close friends at that little gay bar over there. I know the man you work for very well, if he learns about your trips to Oakland you will be in the unemployed line. ‘There is one small favor I want you to do for me.’ You will be paid very well for your services. Richard asked,” what do you want me to do.” Uncle John said, “we need some information on Noah Pharmaceuticals and we need it yesterday. We know you have been handling their account and you are the only one with access to this information. We want you to copy everything from the Noah Pharmaceutical file and put it on a flash drive.” ‘Deliver it to the Clover Leaf Bar on Market Street, Tuesday at 7:00 PM. Give it to Cliff he will be wearing a Derby hat, he will give you an envelope with $50,000 in it.’
Several days went by and Richard decided he wasn’t going to do it, he was going out of his mind with worry about his job. He was sitting in his apartment having a drink and wondering if he should try to leave town, he still had a good work reputation. The phone rang and he decided not to answer then a few minutes later it started ringing again and would not quit. He picked it up, the voice on the other end of the line said, “this he your uncle John again, I talked to you last Sunday.” You screwed up big time and didn’t meet Cliff. You get one more chance, bring the flash drive to the same place Saturday night, same time. You get it delivered to the bar this time or you’ll be taking a little one way boat ride, I don’t think you want to do that. Right? You don’t want to be fish food, do you? Do your job, get the flash drive and deliver it and we will be out of your life forever.
Richard thought to himself, ‘yeah right be out of my life forever, it will just be the beginning.’ Late Saturday night the phone started ringing again and he shut it off. A short time later there was a knock on the door. Two wanna be thugs came busting into Richards apartment. The real ugly one said,” didn’t you think uncle John might put a camera in your apartment?” He is watching you right now. “You better pick up that phone and talk to John, he’s really pissed at you.” Or we can just take you for the boat ride.
Richard grabbed the phone when it rang, he picked it up and said, “Uncle John I will not get the flash drive for you.” I have a lot of good friends over in Oakland, they know how to be bad also. A few are very computer savvy, they have all your phone calls from the past year, they also tracked and checked out everything you have done since you were born. They could easily put you out of business or pave your path straight to a Federal Prison. Your compound out in Napa Valley is not invincible, we have also checked out your summer place at Lake Tahoe. Uncle John baby, you got no place to go. I have one big bad friend across the bay, a ex-football player, the team joked he was big enough to eat a bale of hay. He owns a nice boat but you don’t want to go fishing with him. If anything happens to me or my job, You will be going on the one way boat trip, your so rotten the fish will spit you out. Now tell your two goons here to leave quietly, say they are sorry and be real nice to me on the way out.
Richard went back to work on Monday. He was used to a very laid-back job and lifestyle, this past week just about made a wreck out of his nervous system. He knew he was drinking more. He was wondering if the so-called uncle John was going to stay out of his life or not, sounded like a very bad person to know or deal with.
He made a trip over to Oakland the following week and had a good visit with some of his friends. He asked them, “Did anything suspicious happen around the bar or with any of them in their personal lives?” None of them could think of anything that wasn’t normal or usual going on. The bartender did say, “There was a fellow in one day wearing a Derby hat, came in the evening and sat by himself, seemed to be checking out what was going on in the bar. He never came back after that one trip.” ” Richard said, “That would have been Cliff.”
A couple weeks after the incident with uncle John and his two thugs. Richards boss called him into his office, he asked Richard, “While you were working on the Noah Pharmaceutical company file, did you ever see anything out of the ordinary that might of been going on with that company?” Richard replied, “He hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary.” His boss then told him, “An employee at Noah has been missing for about a week, he was on his way home from work but never arrived at home.” The company thinks he had a lot of important papers in his briefcase. There was a rumor going around that this fellow might have been gay. Gay employees is something we would never tolerate here at Golden Investments. A gay person opens your company up to black mail schemes. Noah talked about moving their account to a different firm but they haven’t made a decision yet. You have done good work for them, stay on it. Are you OK? You haven’t been your happy go lucky self lately? I’m fine, “thinking of a different apartment, rent is out of site.”
Richard almost started choking when his boss asked him those questions. What in the hell is he going to do now, Should he go to the authorities or what?” The next morning Richard was reading the newspaper with bourbon in his coffee. He spotted a small article on the business page about Noah Pharmaceuticals being the target of a hostile take over. They had turned down a proposed merger with T-Max Pharmaceuticals.
He called one of his friends over in Oakland who worked for a newspaper. He asked, “Roger, Do you know anything about a proposed merger of Noah Pharmaceuticals and T-Max Pharmaceuticals?” Roger replies, “There were merger talks a few weeks ago, the Noah board voted not to merge.” The way it sounds now a hostile take over is in the works by T-Max. Richard asks, “Do you know the owners of T-Max?” Roger says from what he heard about T-Max, it is just a shell company. A very questionable character got control of it about ten years ago. His family were grape growers out at Napa Valley’. he is the only one in the family left. He runs an import business, great cover for getting counterfeit drugs into the country. His name is John Clemens.
Richard replied, ‘My God he used his own damn name while he was trying to blackmail me’. Roger says, ‘what are you talking about?’ Richard, remember what I told you guys that day we all met, “If something was to happen to me or my job I wanted you guys to take care of this John fellow for me.” It sure looks like this John Clemens the importer was the one trying to blackmail me. The other guys traced all of his calls to Napa, they checked out the address and it was a big compound in the middle of a Napa vineyard, He has a Summer Place at Lake Tahoe, that is to much to be a coincidence.
Roger, this is getting to be a real sticky wicket one of the Noah board members never made it home from work a week ago, he is missing along with his briefcase full of documents. Without this guy’s vote and the papers you can bet John Clemens will control Noah Pharmaceutical soon. Roger, “Do you think we should take this to the authorities or what?” Roger replies, “I don’t know how we you can do that, it would open many assorted cans of worms and no doubt a whole bunch of lawsuits.” There is no proof of a crime, John Clemens will end up suing everyone. Roger, “I got to try to rehash all of this in my head I will talk to you tomorrow thanks a lot, good night.”
Richard was at work when He got a call from Roger, “you were right about the forced takeover of Noah Pharmaceuticals, the T-Max acquisition was in the papers this morning so Mr. Clemons has a lot more pharmaceuticals to deal with.” I had almost forgotten about the whole thing, He decided the rat John Clemons got his way on that merger deal. I just won’t be handling anymore contracts for Noah Pharmaceuticals that is for sure.
Richard heard someone knocking on his door, he looked out the peep hole. Two guys in suits were standing there. He opened the door, they claimed to be homicide detectives and asked if he is Richard Savage. They told him this is about Peter Nash, the missing employee from Noah Pharmaceuticals.
Richard told them, ‘You guys got this all wrong, I never knew any people from Noah Pharmaceuticals.’ The policeman asked him, “Didn’t you work on their contract at Golden Investments?” Your boss a Mr Yates, said “You handled the Noah contract very well.” Richard says, ” Yes I worked on their file I didn’t know any of the people in their company.” The other policeman replied, ‘that can’t hardly be true because we found this guy’s rotting body in a deserted car at a wrecking yard out in Vallejo. He had a bullet in his head, he had been murdered with a gun registered to you. Some pictures of you where found in his car. One of the Detectives read Richard his Miranda rights, Richard Savage you are under arrest for the murder of Peter Nash, you will have to come downtown with us.
Richard spent most of the night in the interrogation room he knew he was innocent he felt like puking, and could not believe the situation he was in. They told Richard he could make his phone call. He called Roger, and tried to explain that he was being framed for murder. Roger, ‘Please find me the best defense attorney in the area. This does not look good at all, money is no problem.
Richard was sitting in his cell trying to piece it all together. This John Clemons must have had somebody go through his apartment when they put the camera in. They found his old gun in the closet and grabbed some pictures out of his desk. Clemens planned a good frame job. He made it look like Peter Nash and Richard must have had a falling out so Richard killed him. Richards finger prints were on the papers left in the briefcase because he had worked on them. They had his gun and pictures. They murdered Peter and he was the perfect patsy to frame for the whole damn thing.
Roger found one of the best attorneys in the Bay Area to represent him. Richard explained in detail the crazy situation to his attorney. From the first phone call demanding the flash drive, until he told uncle John he wasn’t going to deliver it. The attorney agreed with them it sounded like a genuine case of framing him for murder. Richard told the lawyer he had not fired that gun for ten years and he replied, that would not make any difference now. It is too late for any tests on powder burn residue. You are the owner of the murder weapon that is what is going be hard to get around. How did they get your gun? Richard replied, ‘They must have found his gun when they installed the camera in his apartment. His attorney asked,” Did you ever meet this fellow Peter Nash?” Richard says, “I never met the guy but my boss told me one day it was rumored that Nash was gay.” You never met Nash and we can’t prove that either, This looks very bad, the Prosecutor thinks he has an easy case, a real slam dunk.
Richard, you said, You had some friends over in Oakland. I can’t advice you to do this but if you have somebody over there, made out of the right stuff and they can lean on one of this John Clemons soldiers and get him to come clean it will be a big help. That looks to me like our only way out of this. If we can’t do that, you will end up doing some kind of jail time for sure. Richard, I have to be honest with you, you could get life in prison. My God, your innocent, we sure don’t want to have to plea bargain.
Richard called Roger and asked him if he could get someone to watch the fellow Cliff with the Derby Hat. Find out where he lives, what he does, when he comes and goes, the schedule he keeps and so on. We’ve got to get one of Clemons boys to roll over on his boss and I don’t think one of the two that visited my apartment would be very good candidates. They are both packing guns. Please Roger, ‘I need your help or I will be going away for a long time and I didn’t do anything. It looks like they want the fastest murder conviction in San Francisco history.
A few days later Roger reported back to Richard. Butch and Ralph followed Cliff, they found him living on the waterfront in a old rundown apartment building with hardly any lights around the place, he was very easy to get at. One night when he came out of his apartment they just stuck a black bag over his head and guided him out to their vehicle. Butch had his big boat about a mile from there so they took Cliff to the boat. They joked about Butch being big enough to eat a bale of hay on his football team, I think he is! Butch carried this fellow Cliff onto the boat under his arm like he was a bed roll. Cliff was doing a lot of incoherent mumbling and grumbling under the hood but it muffled the noise real good, nobody heard anything around there.
Butch got the boat running and I went with them, out past the Golden Gate Bridge heading out into the deeper water. That big old Cabin Cruiser is a neat boat, we went out several miles, nobody around. Cliff started going nuts. That heavy black bag wasn’t muffling the noise very good at that time. Butch stopped the boat and picked Cliff up. He held him out over the water by his feet, his head is still covered with the black bag and partly in the water. I felt sorry for the poor guy, he was getting the same treatment as water boarding. Like the CIA used on terrorists. Cliff was really losing it big time!. He kept hollering I don’t know who you guys are, or what you want. Are you terrorists or with the Taliban?
Cliff,we want you to tell us everything about your boss John Clemons. Did he plan to blackmail a man named Richard Savage? Cliff says, yes but it didn’t work. How about framing him for murder? Butch says, “My arms are getting tired, lets just drown him and get out of here.” Cliff started screaming and peeing all over himself. “He was mumbling what are you talking about Clemons has nothing to do with framing anyone for murder.” Roger asked, “how do you know that.” Cliff said, “I just do, I’m very close to John, if there was any murder or frame up going on I surely would have known about it”.
Cliff kept saying, ‘Don’t drown me I’ll leave town take me any where, honest I will never come back and I will never tell Clemons what you guys did. But Cliff you were all part of that blackmail scheme why wouldn’t you be involved in this murder framing operation? ”I am very sorry about trying to blackmail you he said I knew all about that and I thought it was a lousy thing to do but I’m sure Clemons is not involved in a murder frame up.’
Well Cliff, you are very lucky man having a very good day. You don’t know what we look like, far as you’re concerned we took you for a little boat ride and you decided you didn’t want to go fishing. Many pairs of eyes will be watching you from now on. You better leave San Francisco tonight and never come back and never communicate with John Clemons again or any of your old comrades.
On second thought you stay in your apartment until Richard Savage’s trial is over. We will contact you about when to leave town. Have your food sent in, talk to nobody
Richard was into his second week in jail, making daily trips to the Court House. He feels sure the judge is homophobic, ‘every time he enters the court room he looks at Richard like. I am going to put you away for the rest of your life.’ His attorney requested bail at his arraignment, bail was denied. His preliminary hearing, and trial were setting new speed records. Richard is starting to think about ways to kill himself, ready to have a nervous break down.
Roger tells the Attorney about Cliff’s confessing to blackmailing Richard and asks, ‘if that is something he can use in the trial.’ The Attorney said, “I think they would deny anything like that coming out at this point in the trial.” All of the evidence will be presented by the prosecution. The prosecution will not allow any extenuating circumstances that might sway the judge or the jury on the murder case. By the way, “why did this Cliff fellow decide to share the blackmail information?” We all met one night and he just got real talkative. Yeah, I bet!
I will try to work the attempted black mail into the trial but I know the judge will say, that will have to be heard on another day. Our only hope is the attempted blackmail being allowed into the trial. That should be enough to put some doubt into the jurors minds. We will just have to play it by ear and see what the Judge will allow.
The Prosecution seems to think this it is a slam dunk case. A gay love affair that went bad, creating jealousy and murder. The trial has been going on now for four days without a whole lot being done. The prosecution can’t put Richard at the murder scene, there are no fingerprints anywhere on the car or in the car. The briefcase had some papers missing, important documents no doubt. Others were left because they had Richards finger prints on them.
The idiot prosecutor can’t get it through his head that Richard worked on those papers at his office. He didn’t dig through them in the car. I have demanded to know how my client could be the murderer, there is absolutely no sign of him being at the crime scene, that doesn’t seem to deter them any. They have Richards own gun and those pictures that is all they have their case built around. They are going for murder one and life.
Richards trial day five: The Prosecution rests and the Defense calls Cliff Jones to the stand, ‘take off your Derby hat please.’ State your full name for the court, “Clifford Jones.” “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, so help you God, under the penalties of perjury.” Cliff, “Yes I do.”
Mr Clifford Jones where you involved in a black mail attempt against the Defendant Richard Savage?
“Prosecution shouts, objection!.”
Judge, “sustained, where is the Defense going with this line of questioning?”
Defense Attorney, “Your Honor, the defendant was approached with an offer of $50,000.00
Prosecution, “objection, your Honor the Defendant is being charged with murder, nothing to do with blackmail.”
Judge, “overruled, please continue.”
Defense, “Your Honor, the Defendant was asked to steal investment information from his employer for $50,000.00. His life was threatened if he refused to get the information. The same information that was in the briefcase Peter Nash was carrying when he was murdered. The briefcase contained very important information involving the merger of two pharmaceutical companies.
Judge, “answer the question please, Mr Jones.”
Cliff says yes, “An attempt was made to black mail Richard, I was involved in it. Richard refused to deliver the information. I was never involved in, or know anyone involved in a murder scheme to get those papers.
Judge, “The information that was just presented to this court by the Defense sheds a whole new light on this murder trial. We will reconvene after one week. Hopefully you two scholarly lawyers will have all of your ducks in neat little rows by then.” The judge had his gavel in the air, ready to adjourn.
The Court Room Doors burst open. A man ran in yelling, “My name is Thomas Yates, I own Golden Investments.” “Richard did not kill Peter Nash!” “I shot him in the head, he was leaving me because I was too old for him now.” “I had a key to Richards apartment to use when I dropped off work there.” “I took Richards gun and some pictures, I killed Peter with no regrets.” “I’m sorry Richard, your a good man I could not let you go to prison.”
“I always respected you, your not gay, I respected that.”