Gibbs stood in the observation room staring at the man on the other side of the two way mirror in the interrogation room. He was a strapping young man with a chiseled jaw and deep set, almost black eyes. Gibbs only saw him sitting down but he guessed he was about 6’2” and maybe 200 lbs. As he watched him, he could see that he was fidgeting – he was definitely not comfortable sitting and waiting.
The door to the observation room opened and Ziva walked in carrying a few files. Gibbs did not look at her but asked, “Who is this guy?”
“His name is Ryan Dalton. He was on the list of names that Jillian had for previous cases. He was local and easy to get to. McGee is working on tracking down everyone else; most of them are spread out across the country.”
“Who worked on this case?” Gibbs asked as he sipped his coffee, he was ignoring the file that Ziva had handed him.
“His case was the first; he was handled by Admiral Hurst.”
“Good work, Ziva. Have you been able to talk to the other JAG attorney who had one of the drug cases?”
“Barbara Moore? No, I do have an arranged call with her this afternoon. She isn’t local so we are going to do a video conference with her in MTAC.”
“Great – I want to know everything she knows.”
Gibbs left Ziva in observation and walked into the interrogation room. He said nothing; he tossed the file onto the table and took a seat directly across from Dalton.
After a few moments of silence, Dalton spoke up, “sir, may I ask why I am here?”
Gibbs took a sip of his coffee to prolong the wait before answering the question. “You may…I want to ask you about your drug charges while you were on active duty.”
“Sir, those charges are from five years ago. That case is over so I am not sure why I am here.” Dalton became a bit restless in his chair under the watchful eye of Gibbs. “The charges were unfounded and I was acquitted.”
“The only thing you and I will agree upon is that you were acquitted. I will not go as far as to say that the charges were unfounded. From what I have read, there was quite a bit of evidence.” Gibbs took another sip of coffee and let Dalton stew just a bit longer. “Tell me Dalton, how does a guy like you, with evidence against him, just walk away?
“Sir, I can’t tell you that, I’m not a lawyer. I just know the defense counsel got the drug charges dropped; but I did time for assaulting the MPs and a court officer.”
“You do appear to have a temper – looks like trouble has followed you into civilian life.” Gibbs flipped through Dalton’s file, “let’s see there are charges for harassment, assault and a possessions charge.”
“So, I’m no angel, what’s your point?”
“The point is, you have a background that makes me think you have something to do with the harassment of Lieutenant Commander Jillian Harris,” Gibbs said will staring right into Dalton’s eyes.
“I have no idea what are you are talking about and I don’t know a Harris.” Dalton responded rather emphatically.
“Tell me Dalton, how did they get you to do it? What was in it for you? Did you need money, did you need a fix, or did you just need to fill a deep seeded desire to scare women?”
“I got no idea what you are talking about.” Dalton was trying desperately to sound convincing.
“Here’s the thing – you should have gone away on the drug charges. So a deal had to be made – something to the effect that you get off but you are on the hook if they need something – that way you can pay off your debt?” Gibbs leaned back in his chair and tried to gauge the look on Dalton’s face. “Has someone called in their marker Ryan? “ Gibbs was hoping this would work to help get him to talk because it was his gut leading this interrogation.
Dalton looked down – he could not look Gibbs in the eye. He was fighting to keep his mouth shut. Gibbs was tired of the silence, he stood up and slammed his fist on the table, “tell me why you are stalking her and who is paying you to do it?”
Dalton began to rock in his chair, he couldn’t hold out any longer. “Ok, yes, I was stalking her and sent the threatening letters and calls. I owed someone and they called in the marker.”
Gibbs was shocked that he buckled so quickly. He began pacing the room and figured if he gave Dalton and opportunity, he would just start talking. Suspects hate the silence and they always feel compelled to talk, Dalton was no different. “She was too close to figuring out all of the pieces of the drug operation. They needed her to back off and figured if they scared her enough, she would stop. I was asked to rattle her cage – send her letters, emails, make phone calls and to follow her. Freak her out a bit so she would back off.”
“How did you know when to call? Did they give you her schedule?”
“We started with the letters and escalated when she wouldn’t let it go. I received a text when to start making calls; I was fed information and told where she was. Then they had me following her and I had instructions to call her when she got home at night or right after the lights went out in the apartment.”
“Why did it suddenly escalate into an attack?”
Dalton’s eyes grew wide when Gibbs asked this question. “Whoa! What? I didn’t touch her, I swear to God. I called her, wrote letters and followed her that is all!”
“You have been arrested for assault and you’re telling me you didn’t touch her? I don’t believe you Dalton.”
“Look, I have hit MPs and officers but never a woman. Do you hear me? I would never hit a woman! I didn’t know she was attacked. I know it was hinted that drastic measures would be taken if she didn’t back off but I drew the line and said I wouldn’t do the physical stuff.”
Gibbs could feel his blood pressure rising. He knew that Dalton had the names of the people behind this and he wanted them. He was not going to let Dalton walk out of this room until he gave them up. Gibbs paced to the far side of the room, he turned and faced Dalton. “Tell me, if you didn’t attack her, who did?”
“I have no idea…I didn’t even know she had been attacked until you mentioned it. I am not in that loop.” Dalton was sweating and beginning to shake.
“Fine, tell me who had you stalking and harassing her. I need that name Ryan.”
“Man, I talk I’m a dead man. I ain’t saying nothing else.”
Gibbs flew back over to the table and slapped his hands down. The vein on the side of his head was throbbing in anger. “You’re a dead man if you don’t tell me. Somebody wants her out of the picture and you know how it is. I intend to get that name out of you before you leave this room.”
No sooner had Gibbs finished his rant, the door to the interrogation room flew open and Director Vance stared at Gibbs. “A word Gibbs – NOW!”
Dalton did not look up as Gibbs started to leave the room. He had been in tough spots before and had plenty of officers threaten him for information. But this one, this one scared him. He knew of the connection between Harris and Gibbs and he was pretty sure that Gibbs would follow through and kill him if it came to that.