DeNiro affected many families with his gang affiliations and naturally gained a warren of enemies. With suspicions of revenge on his mind, Hasselhop started his investigation with the families who had lost loved ones to the gang.
The investigation begins with Hasselhop’s neighbor, Janis Hoplin, whose husband died of intentional pellet poisoning. The death was officially ruled a suicide and, although it could never be proven in court, many believe the gang to be responsible since Mr. Hoplin had not been paying their family’s debt. Ms. Hoplin, who lost her husband and who was left to take care of their young son, Jack, has never been the same. Rumor has it that Jack’s eye patch was a direct result of Ms. Hoplin’s stress during the early years following her husband’s death. Their lives were forever changed and not for the better.
At first, Hasselhop and his partner intend their visit to Hoplin’s residence to be cordial; more of a formality than actually exploring the possibility of her being a murder suspect. After all, Hasselhop has known his neighbor for some ten years and became good friends with her and her son… that is, until they open the door and are let in. Dirt tracks are all over the floor. In Hasselhop’s earlier evaluation of the evidence, the culprit is expected to have dirty feet. Was she was involved? It would be reasonable to conclude that she wanted revenge for the loss of her husband.
They bring her in for questioning. “I couldn’t be the murderer!” Ms. Hoplin proclaims. “I have a son to think about, and I spent all day tending to my shop. You have the wrong rabbit!” After a thorough investigation of her activities the day of the crime, she is cleared with a solid alibi managing her cabbage shop. Witness accounts from customers and other local shop owners corroborate her story, confirming her whereabouts during the time of the murder.
Being the only major lead in the case, Hasselhop is convinced that the dirt is the key to solving the crime. “If it isn’t Janis, what’s with all the dirt in the house?” Hasselhop asks audibly, yet quiet enough that his partner knows an actual response isn’t required. Unable to shake this nagging feeling, they head back to Ms. Hoplin’s house. After searching and sweeping every nook and cranny of her humble home they found what they needed: the weapon. Covered in dirt and blood, the carrot is found under the bed that belonged to Ms. Hoplin’s son, Jack. Hasselhop charges Jack with the murder of Rabbit DeNiro and leads him away to await his trial.
TO BE CONTINUED…
***No bunnies were harmed in the making of this story. All names of characters are purely for enjoyment and convenience’s sake and in no way affiliated with the associated celebrity.
Written and edited by Hannah Kim & Erica Cortez