“Sure,” he said at last in a blustering tone of voice. “I wrote it. But what of it?”
“And this enclosure?” asked the attorney. He handed Murray the slip of soiled wrapping paper with the threat lettered upon it. “This was received with your letter.”
Murray hesitated before replying. “Oh,” he said, “that ain’t nothing. That was just a little joke.”
“You were seen in Feinheimer’s with Mr. Bince on March—Do you recall the object of this meeting?”
“Mr. Bince thought there was going to be a strike at his plant and he wanted me to fix it up for him,” replied Murray.
“You know the defendant, James Torrance?”
“Didn’t he knock you down once for insulting a girl?” Murray flushed, but was compelled to admit the truth of the allegation.
“You haven’t got much use for him, have you?” continued the attorney.
“No, I haven’t,” replied Murray.
“You called the defendant on the telephone a half or three-quarters of an hour before the police discovered Mr. Compton’s body, did you not?”
Murray started to deny that he had done so. Jimmy’s attorney stopped him. “Just a moment, Mr. Murray,” he said, “if you will stop a moment and give the matter careful thought I am sure you will recall that you telephoned Mr. Torrance at that time, and that you did it in the presence of a witness,” and the attorney pointed toward the back of the court-room. Murray looked in the direction that the other indicated and again he paled and his hand trembled where it rested on the arm of his chair, for seated in the back of the courtroom was the head-waiter from Feinheimer’s. “Now do you recall?” asked the attorney.
Murray was silent for a moment. Suddenly he half rose from his chair. “Yes I remember it,” he said. “They are all trying to double-cross me. I had nothing to do with killing Compton. That wasn’t in the deal at all. Ask that man there; he will tell you that I had nothing to do with killing Compton. He hired me and he knows,” and with shaking finger Murray pointed at Mr. Harold Bince where he sat with his wife beside the prosecuting attorney.
For a moment there was tense silence in the court-room which was broken by the defense’s perfunctory “Take the witness” to the prosecuting attorney, but again cross-examination was waived.
“Call the next witness, please,” and a moment later the Lizard emerged from the witness-room.
“I wish you would tell the jury,” said the counsel for defense after the witness had been sworn, “just what you told me in my office yesterday afternoon.”