10.20am March 20
It was a brisk Saturday morning that March 20, 2016. Snow had all but melted, as sun burst through the clouds.
There had been trouble between Twenty-one year-old Hannah Brower and Mathew Seabright, twenty-three the night before, at the local watering hole.
They seem to have gotten over it, as they headed up to Jackson Heights Holiday Camp on the ridge, over looking Lake Garda, with the breaking of a new day.
Hannah saw it first, legs partly sticking out from behind some logs. She stopped in her tracks, popping her head round, expecting to see a vagrant, not a man bludgeoned to death, partly buried in the snow. She gave a slight scream, and thrust her face onto Mathew’s shoulder. “Look,” she pointed out.
10.50am March 20
Hannah and Mathew hurriedly walked along the ridge, to the home of Richard Daniels. Hannah was still shaking from the gruesome sight of the body, and the police were called in.
Lieutenant Carmichael took the call and ordered Pete Carrigan to investigate. Officer Paul Marks accompanied him.
11.30am March 20
Police Officer’s soon reached the scene to discover the body partly immersed in snow. Carrigan observed on closer inspection; maggots in the wounds. Close to the body was a man’s wallet containing a driver’s license in the name of Sal Cornick, nothing else…no money or cards.
3.00pm March 20
Closer inspection of the area revealed sixty-one cents, keys, and a long handed axe, believed to be the murder weapon.
“So doctor, when and how did he die?” asked Lieutenant Carmichael.
“We have had a bad winter, been deep in snow for some months or so. I can’t give an exact time frame, until I carry out an autopsy, but an educated guess would be, late October, but don’t hold me to it,” replied the doctor, examining the victim.
“I would trust your educated guesses any time,” smiled Carmichael.
“In my opinion based on the evidence before me, this must have been a frenzied attack, using the axe to hack him to death.”
The cabins were searched for clues as to who was living here at the time…Carmichael knew a janitor was often employed during the winter months to ward off squatters.
Cassandra had taken on this job as janitor for the winter months at Jackson Heights Holiday Camp on Lake Garda. It came at the right time, I had just been released from hospital, and we had no money to pay the rent on our apartment. Our job was nothing more than a sitting tenant, to drive off potential squatters.
It was perfect…we even got paid.
“It will be just the two of us, lounging around in hot tubs and sitting by the fire in the lodge,” claimed Cassandra. “It will give you time to get back to full strength.”
The snow started just after we arrived, falling with gentle vengeance, as if to apologize for its late arrival. Within an hour there wasn’t a blade of grass visible.
I liked the place right away. It was kind of run down; just a main building, a dozen or more log cabins, a pool, hot tubs, with an area set aside for caravans and tents.
After unpacking, we went to the main building and climbed into one of the hot tubs. We left the door open, just because we could.
We had been there about a month, when he showed up, looking for a place to stay. By that time, the cold weather had gotten worse, and it had snowed for three weeks non-stop. She didn’t seem to mind it, tramping around in the snow in her big fleece – lined parka, pointing out the birds to me, and the cold footed raccoons foraging in the snow.
In the bitter cold of the morning, I would strip down in the chilly locker room, run to the heated pool and jump in. Spend what seemed like eternity, floating in the cloudy water. Then one morning, I opened my eyes, and there he was, standing over me; our lodger.
“Nice morning for a swim, man?”
I was naked of course. I felt suddenly ashamed of my body, with its scars, compared to his.
“It is good to meet you, I am Sal… Sal Cornick.”
I got out on the other side of the pool, away from him. On the way into the locker room I bumped into Cassandra, naked going for a swim. “We will have to start wearing swimsuits, the lodgers here.”
She gave me a condescending smile and patted me on my shoulder. “I know.”
“We should invite him to join us some evenings at the lodge?” Cassandra suggested. “It must be lonely in the cabin.”
My face said everything; I didn’t like the idea one bit. Still Cassandra asked him in.
Sal built a fire for us in the lodge. He brewed a bitter herbal tea over the fire, as the wind snapped snow against the building while we sat there wrapped in blankets, round the crackling fire.
Later, I went out to get some more logs for the fire. When I got back, Cassandra and Sal were gone. I knew where she was. I could have stopped it from happening, but I didn’t. Instead, I lay in the dark, and let myself get angry.
The biggest storm of the winter hit a few days later. It was a warm one, full of wet, sticking snow that clung to your cheeks. You couldn’t see more then a few feet through the snow storm.
It lasted six long days, and we had to dig out way out of our cabin. There was no sign of Sal; his cabin was empty. We never spoke of him again.
A few months later, Sal was a memory from the past, as was the snow which was melting, and the day we were due to leave drew ever closer.
She was right about this place. I was feeling better. My muscles were lean and hard. What I had lost in the hospital had come back to me in thick ropes around my arms and legs. I moved with all the grace that had once made me proud.
With the melting snow, Sal’s body appeared, by the log pile, hacked to death… I knew then Cassandra must have killed him.
I lay in our cabin, staring at the ceiling, thinking about the events that had taken place.
10.15am March 25
The chief suspects in the murder of Sal Cornick were Cassandra and Daniel Jenkins, stated the police at a press conference.
If anyone knew of there whereabouts they should contact the police.
2.15pm March 29
Cassandra and David were entertaining friends when police cars pulled into the caravan park, where they were living. The couple were taken to Milwaukee County Court house for questioning.
12.30pm March 30
Hannah Bower and Mathew Seabright were brought in for questioning, for it was they who found the body.
2.45pm March 31
A statement was issued to the press that Daniel Jenkins would be charged with murder, based on a signed confession by Cassandra Jenkins.
In reply, David Jenkins believes he is innocent, but can offer no alibi.
11.40am May 10
Cassandra identified her husband as the actual murderer of Sal Cornick, stating he was jealous of him.
“Did you actually see him commit the murder?” asked the Prosecutor.
“No…but there was no one else up there” Cassandra replied.
3.25pm March 19
Finally, after nine days and thirty-one witnesses…
“Have you reached a verdict, on which you agree?” asked the judge.
“We have your honour.” The foreman of the jury looked directly at me, his voice taking on a harsh sounding edge to it. “We find the defendant guilty of murder.”
My knees buckled as I heard the word guilty, and I nearly collapsed, a roaring in my eyes blotting out all sound around me.
I looked for her in court, as officer’s grabbed my arms. They were pulling me away as I caught sight of her. She stood talking with my lawyer, the back of her hand stroking his upper arm. They turned, looking in my direction, with slight smiles. I knew then he had fallen under the spell of Cassandra.
Before I was dragged from the court, Cassandra raised her hand – and blew me a kiss.
The door slammed shut on my life…I had been betrayed by my Cassandra, the true murderer…