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62

A somber-faced Brinkley shifted uncomfortably on the wooden dais, his arms linked behind his back, standing next to Kovich. He blinked against the harsh flashes from the Hasselblads and avoided the black lenses of the video cameras pointed at him. He hadn't slept the rest of last night and had barely had enough time to change clothes for this morning press conference, which was a total waste of time. He'd much rather be with the DiNunzios, who needed him, but he was on orders.

Microphones sprouted from the podium at the center of the dais, their thick black stems craned toward Captain Walsh. The Cap was wearing his dress uniform, since this was official, and to his left stood Dwight Davis. Davis wouldn't even look at Brinkley, which was fine with him.

Captain Walsh raised his hands to settle the reporters packing the large press room. 'Okay, people,' he said, when they had quieted, 'we'd like to make a short statement about recent events in the Newlin case. Bottom line, we've dropped all charges against Jack Newlin. We have charged Mr Marc Videon for the murder of Honor Newlin and the murder of Mr William Whittier.' Walsh nodded once, as if to punctuate his speech. 'We'll take a few quick questions at this time.' The reporters shouted and waved at once, but the Cap pointed at a woman reporter in the front row. 'You,' he said.

'Captain Walsh, did the police department really charge the wrong man? And if so, how did that happen?'

'No two ways about it, we made a horrendous mistake. We accepted Newlin's confession and we shouldn't have.

The credit for correcting this mistake goes to our own Detective Reginald Brinkley, of Homicide,' Walsh gestured to Brinkley, who looked immediately down at his loafers. He had changed them at home. His sneakers had been stained with Mary's blood. Mary. He bit his lip.

Walsh continued, 'I would also like to give credit to someone who is not here with us tonight, Mary DiNunzio, Mr Newlin's attorney. Next question?' He pointed again. 'You, John.'

'This is for Dwight Davis,' the older reporter said. 'Mr Davis, you thought the Commonwealth's case was so strong that you announced earlier this week you would not offer Mr Newlin a plea bargain. How do you square that with his ultimate innocence?'

Davis edged forward to take the podium. 'John, I have to agree with Captain Walsh,' he began, and Brinkley looked up, listening. He'd never heard a D.A. admit he was wrong and couldn't believe he was about to hear it from Davis, in front of everyone. It was one thing to fess up in a hospital cafeteria and another to do it in public. 'My prosecution of Mr Newlin was a complete miscarriage of justice, and the fault is entirely mine. I am announcing effective today my resignation from the Office of the District Attorney.'

Brinkley looked over, stunned. Davis had changed his view of lawyers in one shot. Almost.

'I was overzealous in this case and I think it's time for me to take a breather. Beyond that, I have no further comment.' Davis stepped away from the podium, as strobe lights flashed like gunfire.

The reporters immediately began shouting again, and Captain Walsh picked one in the back of the room. 'You have the last question, Bill;'

'Thank you, sir,' the reporter said. 'What's the latest on DiNunzio's condition?'


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