After dropping the boys off at the hospital Perrini couldn’t wait to get back to the Courthouse. With the murder weapon now in his possession, a renewed sense of mission and direction swept over him. Back in the office he felt compelled to move on this new information right now. It was 6:30 in the early evening but most of the checking and tracing could be done online., Booting up the computer, Ben immediately searched for the weapons screening and print scanning software. He plugged in all the data in the forms on screen and all results came back positive. Ballistics identified the SR22 as the murder weapon and the bore markings matched the slugs removed from the victim’s body. The prints on the hand grip were smudged with grease from the engine but were a perfect match for one Virgil Fusner, a known small-time felon.
Virgil Fusner was born in Shelby, Montana. He grew up as the singular spawn of a white trash couple. Neither of them would acknowledge that he was anything but a drunken mistake. Each blamed his existence on the other and neither took responsibility for his upkeep or bad behavior. His juvenile rap sheet was a classic tour of what kind of trouble can I get into next.
As a fourteen-year old homeless on the street vagrant, Virgil Fusner stole a car in Polson, Montana and drove South to Missoula and ultimately West into Northern Idaho. Using an Oklahoma credit card (rubber hose) to siphon gas from parked cars, he finally ran completely out of gas in Spokane, Washington. Caught trying to suck the gas out of a parked Police vehicle, he was apprehended and taken to jail. After a sleepless night in a communal cell shared with a couple of sleep it off street drunks, he was arraigned before the on-duty Justice of the Peace the next day. Because of his age the magistrate gave him six-months jail time and six-months’ probation. After sentencing, he was sent to Echo Glen Youth Reform School. His roommates there quickly saw his potential. On release, his associates and reputation helped him fit into a series of burglaries, muggings and a number of other gang-related incidents of note. In a developmental curve to be admired, all of this schooling helped establish him as a successful low-level career criminal. As of now, Fusner’s rap sheet included such exotic material as doing time as an adult in Montana State Penitentiary in Deer Lodge. While incarcerated there he had shared a cell with Chief Crooked Arrow, a well-known Native American indigent drunk.
The county, state and federal data bases all pointed in the same direction. Now all Perrini had to do was find him, make the arrest and turn it all over to the DA. The new evidence would clear up everything but why the murder happened. Whatever alibi or explanation Fusner might have wouldn’t be able to erase his prints from the murder weapon. Ballistics confirmed the SR22 was the gun. And motive didn’t seem to be an issue. At any rate it would all be over soon.
According to google, Fusner’s last known address was a cheap motel in Airway Heights, a suburb located on the western outskirts of Spokane. Airway Heights, has the dubious distinction of being the home of the Lucky Seven Tribal Casino. The Humvee the victim had been driving was registered to the Tribe. Airway Heights Correctional Center, a State criminal custodial facility was located just a couple of miles away.
With staff help in the office next day, Perrini had narrowed the search down to the All Climate Rooms/Motel on Sunset Highway, not too far from the Correctional Center on West Sprague.
When the Swat team and Perrini arrived at the motel, Fusner was just getting out of bed. Answering the door in his underwear, he wasn’t in any mood for visitors.
“What the hell, ya want at his time of day?”
Remembering the mug shots of record in his office and comparing them to with what he was looking at, Ben Perrini began,
“Virgil Fusner, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand?”
Fusner, no stranger to this line of attack said,
“I need some duds on if you’re hauling my ass outta here.”