Butterfly Effect

Day 1

Vance Ogden awoke to his phone ringing. It was Nicole Porter at the Denver Post assignment desk. Vance was being assigned a story about a murder at the University of Denver. As the call ended, he heard a toilet flush and a woman exited his bathroom wearing only one of his shirts. Not wanting to seem rude, like admit he didn't remember her name, he told her that he had to leave but she could make herself at home since he had to leave for work. On his way out, Vance encountered nosey Mrs. Anders, his downstairs neighbor who attempted to pry into his evening activities.

John Harrison also awoke to a phone call, from police officer Reginald Merrs, who informed John that the Denver Police Department would soon be contacting him because of a murder investigation which it appeared that he might be involved with. John then proceeded to clean up his apartment, later receiving a call from Detective Jack Adams asking him to come down to a police station to help them answer some questions. John agreed to meet with the homicide detective and proceeded to the police station. On his way out, John gave $5 to a homeless man out front, who identified himself as Miles

Vance arrived at the DU campus graduate residences where the DPD had cordoned off one of the dorm apartments with police lines. Recognizing an police officer he had worked with in the past, Vance approached Officer Reginald Merrs. After hearing Officer Merrs' impression that a satanic murder had occurred, Vance noticed the CSI unit leave a residence. Merrs offered Vance a peak in the residence for his story, as long as he didn't take any pictures which might prove he was in the apartment. He circled around the back of the building and Merrs escorted him up to the apartment, which was not yet sealed. Entering the apartment, Vance saw the dead body of Dexter Li on the floor. While some blood was present, it did not seem like a lot considering the young man had been beaten to death. Merrs commented that apparently the student had been shot, but he'd overheard that there was no bullet hole in the clothes and no bullet was found on site. The neighbors who had overheard Dexter screaming for help around 4 am didn't report hearing a gunshot. Apparently Dexter had been beaten, shot, then re-dressed in new clothes and returned to the apartment alive because it didn't appear that the murder had occurred here. Written in blood was an apparent last message from the victim: "Harrison $529.10 owe 115.09 had". When asked about the cultist connection, Merrs directed Vance to behind the door where cryptic writing had been written on the wall. Vance was under the impression that the cryptic writing was just advance math formulas, which would make sense since Dexter Li was a mathematics graduate student. Merrs noticed the coroner arrive, and directed Vance to leave out the back the way he'd entered. Vance attempted to stay close in hopes of overhearing the coroner, but knocked over some bikes under the stair well and Merrs audibly chased him away.

Meanwhile, after dealing with rush hour traffic, John Harrison arrived at the Denver Police Department District 3 Sub-Station near the University of Denver. He checked in at the desk and was directed to wait until Detective Adams came out to meet him. While he waited, he watched an interview of Aaron Brown about his incredible record rookie season despite the tragic death of his wife. Eventually Detective Adams came out and John was led into an interrogation room where Adams' partner Detective Dorris Walters was waiting. Detective Walters explained that they were investigating the death of a student Dexter Li. John explained that he did not know the student, after which Adams showed him an evidence bag containing one of Harrison's business cards. John noted that a business card isn't proof that they'd met, as he has cards around town. Detective Walters asked about John's licensed firearm, to which John replied that he'd left it in his car; Walters requested to examine the gun to see if it showed signs of recent use. John cooperated and handed over his keys, but requested to be present for the collection of his gun since they didn't have a warrant. The interrogation continued for awhile before getting the gun, where Adams proceeded to get more aggressive in his accusations. Harrison was being accused of killing the student over $400. Maybe the debt was owed to him, or maybe he was collecting it for a third party. John denied the accusations, and Detective Walters was mediating in her tone towards John. Eventually they fetched the gun, and even proceeded to wipe down John for residual traces of gun powder. With apparently only circumstantial evidence to go on, John was released but ordered to stay in town.

On campus nearby Vance noticed Fox 31 reporter Allison Ashton interviewing a university representative Michelle Berns. Mrs. Berns noted that the school was bringing in grief councilors for students. After the interview was over, Vance spoke with Michelle about the case. Dexter Li was a promising graduate student with no enemies. He also learned that Dexter's advisor was professor Leslie Wu. Vance spoke with Allison Ashton briefly as the reporter and cameraman were packing up, then proceeded to the Mathematics building to speak with Dr. Wu. Leslie Wu was not in her office, so Vance headed to the Student Union Building to see how the grief councilors were doing—some extra color and details for the story. On the way Vance received a call from his editor, Karl Goldberg demanding a full story by 5:00pm for the website. Vance spoke with grief councilor on site, Melissa Piers, from the Air Force Academy who didn't seem very impressed by the student reactions. She didn't think that Dexter Li had many close friends or associates, because the students she had been working with didn't seem to know him at all, but were seeking attention. After speaking with Melissa, Vance sat down in the SUB to write his story before the deadline.

On his way home, John Harrison stopped for some late lunch/early dinner. Upon arriving, he discovered that the police were already searching his apartment. Both homicide detectives had apparently just arrived, but during the interrogation a search warrant had been approved to look for a murder weapon, bloody clothes, or case files regarding Dexter Li. John was not impressed with the efficiency of the DPD, especially considering he had no idea who Dexter was. John lost his appetite and gave his lunch to Miles outside. Eventually the DPD left, taking most of John's private case files. Going back into his apartment, John was pissed that the search had wrecked his place, like the stereotype of a prison cell search. He spent the rest of the evening cleaning up.

After sending in his story, Vance headed home through rush hour. As he walked up to his apartment stoop, someone shot him in the back! He tried to get into cover behind the cement steps up to the apartment building, but the assailant followed. Seeing only a massive pistol pointed at him, Vance was shot again. Apparently the attacker then left. The rest of the night passed in a barely conscious blur, where Vance recalls seeing the paramedics and even a brief glimpse of his ex-wife Madeline Reid, MD.


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