"Thank you so much for seeing me," Charice stuck her hand out to Officer Peacock. He shook her hand firmly and led her to the back rooms of the station.
"No problem Miss Williams. I have to admit I was a little surprised to hear you were so interested in this case, and even more surprised to find out that we still have records of his case. I guess these small town stations really are hoarding info," Officer Peacock said. Together the two of them followed a long hallway to what seemed to be the catacombs of the ancient station. Officer Peacock stopped at the last door on the right and pulled his keys out of his pocket to unlock the mostly unused evidence room. He flicked on the light inside (knocking some cobwebs as he went), and walked deeper into the room.
Charice looked around the damp smelling place at the evidence boxes piled almost to the ceiling. She kept her arms close to her for fear of disturbing whatever made those huge webs, or any other creature lurking in the boxes. After a moment Officer Peacock returned carrying a dusty box with the numbers "11983" along the side.
"Here you go Miss Williams. All the evidence this department has gathered in the case of Anthony Rogers, as you requested. You may be wasting your time though, even if its just for a TV special or something. From what the older officers tell me, Anthony Rogers' case was pretty open and shut," Officer Peacock explained as he handed the box to her.
"Thank you Officer, but trust me, I'm sure between me and my producers we can come up with some new angles to spin this thing with," she smiled faintly and placed the box under one of her arms to shake the officer's hand once again.
"I'm sure you will," Officer Peacock agreed. He clasped Charice's hand gently but firmly, and held on a bit too long for her liking. She withdrew politely, but it seemed that the officer caught the hint. He regained all professionalism immediately. "But be careful with that box; that stuff is over twenty years old, who knows how fragile it is, or what's living inside it."
"I'll be very careful, officer. Thank you so much," Charice nodded and led herself out of the depressing space and outside of the station.
At her home, Charice sat the box on her living room's coffee table and got comfortable. When she came back into the room she had changed out of the semiprofessional blouse and skirt she wore to the station and into a more relaxed t-shirt and lounge pants. "This will probably take a while," she thought to herself. She sat on the couch and just stared at the box for a moment. She took a deep breath, reached for it and opened it. Unsurprisingly, it was only halfway full with documents. Sitting on top of all the files and forms, however, was a single video tape. She laughed; she hadn't seen a VHS in many years. Luckily, her reporter position forced her to keep a VCR in the house, and she walked to her living room television to pop in the tape. She took a seat on the couch and pressed "Play".
The video starts with a newscast, in which a chunky woman dressed in a gray suit and large glasses begins speaking. "Nineteen year old Anthony Rogers was found dead on the streets of Greendale last night. Police say that the young man was found face down along the side of the road around 8 PM when a motorist mentions noticing his shape in front of him."
The video shifted to a man in front of a bland background recounting his find. "I was just drivin down the road and I saw 'im. I pulled over to see if he needed help, but he was already dead so I called a ambulance and waited on 'em,"
The woman at the station takes over again. "Police are looking for this man's killer, and any information regarding the case is greatly appreciated."
Static. Another newscast starts, this time with a slim man wearing a black suit speaking earnestly to the camera. "Reports now show that Anthony Rogers may have been pursued by forty-eight year old Robert Carter, a former high school teacher and community leader. According to a call he made to a friend made before Rogers' death, Robert mentioned seeing the youth walking around in the neighborhood where Robert lived. The friend says that Robert was sitting on his porch on the phone with her when he noted that Rogers had just passed in front of his house. The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, mentioned that Robert began a rant about 'them' in 'his' neighborhood, and quickly ended the call. The friend mentions that she only comes forward now when she realized how the details of the case added up to the conversation she and Robert have, and fears that her friend may have done something terrible. Police are taking this information very seriously, and are looking into the case with renewed interest."
Static. A third story, again narrated by the same stern man, begins. "Police have reason to believe that Anthony Rogers' May 19th death is the result of gang related activity. New information about Rogers shows the teen engaging in illicit drug use, and posing with other teens throwing up various hand signs. Robert Carter, the former lead suspect, mentions that while he did see Rogers walking down the street and did mention the presence of 'them' in 'his' neighborhood as previously reported, he only made such comments because he noticed Rogers smelled so strongly of marijuana that it took him by surprise. Toxicology reports on Rogers' body have yet to show if the teen was, in fact, under the influence. The bullet wounds on Rogers' body do, however, seem reminiscent to what police have seen in the past with gang related deaths."
Charice, so engrossed in the tape, doesn't realize that it is over until the static has been on for almost a full minute. She removes stops the VCR and delves deeper into the box. The first file shows exactly as the last newscast explained; an autopsy showing three bullet wounds: two to the back and one in the head. Comments attached to the autopsy show that it was believed that Rogers had ran, was shot twice bringing him to the ground, and then again in the head. It said nothing of any marijuana usage. She moved the autopsy report and continued digging.
LOCAL WOMAN DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR SON'S DEATH
Ella Rogers, mother of slain teen Anthony Rogers, demands that police look deeper into her son's murder. "My baby was never into drugs; he was a good kid. There is no way he got killed over no gang stuff," Ella explains. When asked what she believes happened to her son, there is no hesitation in her voice. "It was that Carter man. That white man killed my baby, I know it. He said that he don't like 'them people' in his neighborhood, so when he saw Anthony just walking to the bus stop from his uncle's house he thought he was up to no good and killed him." When asked who Rogers' uncle was that lived in the neighborhood, Ella refused to disclose his name, citing her fear for her brother's safety as well.
The man Ella accuses, Robert Carter, has been cleared of involvement with the murder, citing that at the time Rogers was killed he had stepped back into his home to continue work on organizing a neighborhood block party. "I am sorry for her son's death, but senselessly blaming me for it will not bring him back. I understand how difficult it is to accept a lifestyle that you did not want for your child, one of my son's is gay, but we must. Clearly her boy was into some stuff that got him into trouble."
Ella Rogers maintains her frigid stance on the matter however. "He killed him. He shot my baby like a dog."
LOCAL WOMAN TO RAISE MONEY FOR SON'S DEATH
Forty-Four year old Ella Rogers has now started a charity fund following the May 19th shooting death of her son, Anthony Rogers.
"I never thought I would have to bury my boy, but I did. I had to put him in the ground and now I have to figure out how to go about it. He had so much potential and had so much to live for, and now I have to pick up the pieces of his life.
Rogers, who is believed to have been murdered in a gang-related incident, leaves behind eighteen year old Audrey Williams and their young daughter.
"I'm taking any and all donations to the Anthony Rogers Scholarship Fund, which is being used to help raise money for young kids like Anthony who want to go to school and be journalists. It's not fair that Anthony couldn't go, but maybe someone else could use the money to get out of this place and do good for themselves," Ella explains.
Information on donating to the Anthony Rogers Scholarship Fund is listed below.
Charice moved the two newspaper articles and dug to the bottom portion of the box. Surprisngly (yet also unsurprisingly) the box was exceedingly empty. A few photos of Anthony's body on the side of the road, and a photo or two of him blowing smoke and posing with a group of his friends outside of Anthony's house. It seemed as if Anthony had a portable CD player on his body when they found him. Charice picked up the ancient CD player and placed the headphones in her ears. She pressed play, but nothing happened. Of course, she thought. No battery would last over twenty years. She put the player down and ran to grab a few batteries out of her kitchen. She replaced the batteries in the CD player and pressed play again. This time the lyrics blasted into her ears:
One, two, three and to the fo'
Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre are at the do'. . .
Charice laughed and stopped the CD. She placed the device back in the box, but not before she picked up a small sticky note that seemed to have fallen off of it.
Gangster Music the note said.
She stopped smiling and got the bottom of the box. The last thing inside of it was an up close picture of Anthony's body, and a final picture: this one of Anthony bent down posing with a little girl, looking to be no older than three. The two smiled at the camera, looking quite happy. Charice turned the picture around and saw that the back of it bore a message.
Hey mama, hope you like this pic. I had Audrey take this one special just so you could have a new one of yo grandbaby.
Anthony & Recey
Charice wiped a tear out of her eye and placed the picture of her and her father back into the box. Her grandmother had told her that she had given the police a recent photograph to try to use to run in the papers and to find Anthony's killer, but they found their own. Charice closed the box and pushed it away from her. She went to her bathroom to get a tissue, but returned to her couch to think. She had known from her mother that her father's death had been fishy, but it wasn't until now that she realized just how odd it really was. She knew that reopening a twenty-four year old case would really serve no purpose, but if her exposé on police cover ups could do anything, it would at least show how wrong her father's murder had been handled. She certainly had the evidence here to back it up.
She picked her phone up off the end table and dialed her mother's number. "Hi Mom. I got it. And you won't believe what's inside of it. . . "
Marcus Haynes is a perfect example of the scholar/writer hybrid. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Alcorn State University in 2012 and his Master of Arts in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2014. Many of his creative works are featured in Alcorn State University yearbooks and in literary journals such as Canyon Voices and T/OUR magazine. He describes his fiction as experimental realism dealing with the lives of the underrepresented, which coincides with his scholarly interests in marginalized groups. He takes pride in exploring different ways of presenting his stories through varying viewpoints.