Tonight, Briscoe and Green investigate the murder of a man who was apparently stealing other people’s identities, including that of an elderly man who consequently lost his home. Could this old man have exacted deadly revenge on the identity thief?
Daphne Hitchens returns home with her two kids to find her husband, Andrew, has been shot dead. Mrs Hitchens is at a loss to explain why he was not at work, until the cops discover that Andrew actually lost his job nine months earlier, and had been living off a mysterious deposit of $400,000.
Detectives Briscoe and Green have some trouble piecing together the circuitous way in which Hitchens acquired the money, but eventually establish a paper trail that leads to the refinancing of a house in Harlem. The property is an old brownstone mansion that belonged to an elderly man named Lonnie Jackson, until he defaulted on his mortgage payments and was evicted.
The detectives eventually track Lonnie down and find him to be a proud, hardworking man who is slipping into senile dementia. Although Lonnie claims not to know Hitchens, his prints are found in the dead man’s apartment. Briscoe and Green begin to understand the connection between the two men when they realise that Hitchens was involved in identity fraud and had stolen Lonnie’s identity before he died.
The cops establish that Hitchens, a computer expert, opened a private mailbox in Lonnie’s name and succeeded in re-mortgaging the old man’s house without his knowledge. He then had the mortgage payment sent to the secret mailbox and stole all the money. When Lonnie subsequently defaulted on the mortgage repayments, he was unceremoniously evicted from his home. Briscoe and Green suspect Hitchens targeted Lonnie because he was old and vulnerable and his property had already been paid off.
Lonnie was clearly the victim of a malicious crime, but it seems likely that he chose to retaliate by killing the man who stole from him. This seems to be confirmed when the police establish that the weapon used to kill Hitchens was a very rare World War II-era gun. Lonnie fought in World War II and most likely was in possession of such a weapon.
Lonnie’s son, Paul, a physician, hires spitfire attorney Shambala Green to represent his father. A civil court soon determines that Lonnie is incapable of managing his own affairs and he is examined by Dr Olivet to establish if he is fit to stand trial. The defence team maintains that Lonnie is simply a victim of Hitchens and that he was so ashamed by his eviction that he did not tell anyone what had happened. Their main argument, however, is tough to answer: how could an elderly man from Harlem track down a
computer whiz in the East Village and kill him?
McCoy is convinced that he can prove Lonnie’s guilt, but the nagging question remains: should the victimised and mentally infirm Lonnie stand trial at all?