An attorney is found murdered in an elevator.
His body was found inside the elevator
On February 9, 1995, at 7:00 A.M., attorney Clint Blackman arrived at his office building in Dallas, Texas. He bypassed the notoriously slow elevator and took the stairs to the third floor.
Who was Sam Jones? The killer?
At 7:30, Juanita Lackey arrived without her keys. Secretary Roxanne Lederman let her in. When they went to use the elevator, the women found a body inside. Clint Blackman recalled the incident:
“I heard a lot of screaming and hollering. Juanita said that she thought that there was a man in the elevator, but all they’d really seen was legs, and weren’t really sure what was there.”
The body appeared to be that of David Merrifield, one of Clint Blackman’s colleagues and a partner in the law firm of Smith, Merrifield, and Richards. He had been shot in the back of the head, execution style. He left behind two children and a new bride of only three months.
Because David’s wallet was taken, Sgt. Jerry W. King of the Dallas Police thought it might be a robbery. But his opinion changed once the wallet was found:
“Mr. Merrifield’s wallet was recovered a few miles from the crime location. And in the wallet was still a small amount of money and all of his credit cards. So I believe, had robbery had been a motive, that stuff would not have been recovered.”
Sgt. King investigated the murder
As police dug deeper, they learned that the day before he was murdered, David received four phone calls from a mysterious stranger named Sam Jones. David’s co-worker, Jennifer Wanamaker, remembered the call vividly:
“He told me his name was Sam Jones, but he wouldn’t tell me who he was with, or what it was concerning. David spoke to him for, I guess, a little under ten minutes. I went up and kinda joked with David and I said, ‘Oh, what’s he trying to sell you?’ And David says, ’Well, he’s not trying to sell me anything yet, he says he wants to do something for me.’”
Sgt. King suspected that Sam Jones was an alias:
“David Merrifield, we discovered during this case, had a notepad on his desk, which had a calendar on it. And on February the ninth he had a marking there for a name and an appointment he had at 6:30 A.M. with Sam Jones. Due to the common nature of the name, it’s my guess it’s possibly a fictitious name.”
Clint Blackman found the time of the meeting unusual:
“I had known David and worked with him for years, and know David’s habits, and he never liked to get to work early. In fact, to see him at work before nine was just unusual. He was not an early riser he usually liked to work later.”
Sgt. King theorized that the killer insisted on an early meeting in order to get David alone:
“We think that Mr. Merrifield entered the elevator with another person. Whoever Sam Jones is, it’s obvious from our investigation, lured him to this location to do exactly what he did, to take his life in the elevator that morning. What we need in this case is an independent witness to come forward. If that person has heard any person boasting about being involved in this crime, if that person happened to be at this location or near this location on the morning of the crime, they might have seen suspicious activity. That’s the type of information we need. We need to know who Sam Jones is.”
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
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