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XX
XX.jpg
Season 4
Number 17
Writer Ethlie Ann Vare
Director Deran Sarafian
Original Airdate March 11, 2004
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Next Episode: Bad To The Bone

XX is the seventeenth episode in season four of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Catherine, Nick and Sara investigate when the body of a female prison inmate is found tied to the underside of a bus. What first looks like an escape gone wrong turns out to be a murder when it is discovered the woman was already dead before she was tied to the bus. Meanwhile, Grissom and Warrick investigate the death of a man stabbed to death in his apartment.

Plot

Victim: Antoinette Stella (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

A man and a woman are tailing a bus that is driving along too slowly. The woman urges the man to pass the bus, but before he can, an object flies out from under the bus and strikes the windshield of the car. It's a human arm. Catherine, Nick and Brass arrive on the scene. Brass tells them that the bus was carrying women from a correctional facility on a work release program. The body under the bus, now in pieces, was that of a woman from the facility. Catherine observes the white stripes of cloth that were used to secure the woman to the bottom of the bus. Based on the low tensile strength of the cloth, they figure that the woman tied herself to the undercarriage using what was available in the prison. As they sift through her scattered remains, they presume it was a failed escape attempt. Catherine notes that the attempt would have been successful if a stronger fabric was used.

In the morgue, Doc Robbins is putting all of the pieces of the body together when Catherine walks in. He tells her that Nick was able to identify the victim as Antoinette Stella, who had missed her last bed check at the correctional facility. Antoinette was serving a sentence for identity theft and was due to be released the following month. Catherine wonders why she was trying to escape, but Doc Robbins tells her that Antoinette was murdered. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the back of the head and there are white fibers depressed in the skull fracture. He guesses that she was hit with something hard on the inside and white and fuzzy on the outside. There is a mark on Antoinette's left forearm that they are unable to identify as of yet.

Sara and Nick visit the prison, where Warden Hutton brings them to the cell where Antoinette, who was known as "Baby Girl" around the prison, had been for the last few weeks. She'd been recently moved from her old cell after it was discovered that she had smuggled a necklace into the prison, which is illegal for inmates. Christine, Baby Girl's new cellmate, is hostile and defensive, but Nick finds no blood in the cell.

Sara questions Doug Hanson, the officer who was driving the bus the day Baby Girl's body was discovered. He tells her that the inmates have access to the bus because they are the ones who clean it. The gate to the garage is also unlocked because Doug doesn't believe anyone can just get on the bus and hot-wire it. Nick tells Sara that there is no evidence of drag marks, so Baby Girl was not killed in her cell or in the garage. He wonders if Baby Girl was attacked on the bus. Sara sums up the conversation by saying that anyone in the prison population could have walked into the garage and onto the bus. While the interrogation is going on, another prisoner, Juanita, watches from afar.

Nick and Sara process the inside of the bus and find a relatively large amount of blood near the back of it. Nick also finds a substance that tests positive for semen, which is quite odd for a female prison. Catherine questions Juanita in Warden Hutton's office. Juanita was the inmate on bus detail; she had last washed out the interior of the bus a few hours before it departed for the work release. She admits to having found semen in the back of the bus and, when she starts to explain that conjugal visits aren't allowed and that the ACLU was going to bring a case against the prison, she clams up when she looks at Warden Hutton. Juanita says that the only men allowed in the correctional facility are the correctional officers. The warden says that it is a Class D felony for a correctional officer to have sexual contact with the inmates.

In the lab, David Hodges tells Nick that the white fibers found in the skull fracture are from a generic white fabric, like a bra, underwear or socks. Hodges also has the results from Antoinette's forearm, but it's a substance that neither he nor Nick recognize. Sara recognizes the substance as coming from a cochineal, a scaled insect. She informs the guys that the dye of the insect has been prized for centuries and that it can be found feeding on cactus plants. They figure that Antoinette found the insects, ground them up, and tattooed herself. Sara notices that the tattoo is in the shape of a broken heart. When Nick and Hodges Sara how she knows so much about the cochineal, she tells them she learned it from an entomology textbook that Grissom gave her for Christmas. Nick and Hodges joke that they didn't get anything from Grissom at Christmas, but Sara doesn't respond to their teasing.

Catherine, who has been going through Antoinette's purchases at the prison commissary, discovers that Antoinette had been buying a twenty-count box of tampons every month up until recently. She has Doc Robbins perform a pregnancy test on the body, and it comes out positive. Much against the wishes of Warden Hutton, Catherine gathers all male correctional officers for DNA samples. Greg later provides Catherine with the results - the blood in the back of the bus was Antoinette's and the semen found matched Doug Hanson's DNA. Catherine is surprised by neither of these reveals, but that changes when Greg tells her that Doug was the father of Antoinette's unborn child.

Doug is brought in for questioning; Catherine interrogates him as Nick and Sara look on. Nick tells Sara that, since Doug was an authority figure, he would still be charged with rape. He also says that Doug has motive; if Antoinette blabbed to the warden, Doug would be demoted from officer to inmate. Doug tells Catherine that Antoinette had insisted she couldn't have children, which was obviously a lie. He admits that he got Antoinette pregnant and is willing to serve time for doing so. However, he insists that he is not guilty of murder.

Greg pages Catherine and tells her that he couldn't recover any DNA from the fabric tied around the bus's chassis. However, he was able to get DNA from the fabric tied around the body parts. Much to Catherine's surprise, the DNA is female. They are looking for another inmate or a female staff member. Meanwhile, Doc Robbins brings Catherine Antoinette's skull with the shape of the murder weapon still intact.

Nick uses a computer program to build a 3D model of the skull. He shows Sara that there are two concentric arcs in the murder wound - a circle within another circle. Sara has Nick zoom in on the wound where they see evenly spaced indentations on the inner arc. She immediately recognizes that the murder weapon is a padlock from a locker.

In the prison, Catherine sprays luminol on the padlock to Christine's (Antoinette's cellmate) locker, but it comes up negative for blood. Warden Hutton tells Catherine that before Antoinette was transferred to that cell, she was housed in "D" block. They go to Antoinette's old cell and have her old roommate, Juanita, step outside. The padlock on Juanita's locker tests positive for blood and it also contains white fibers. After not finding any white clothes with blood on them in Juanita's belongings, Catherine has her remove her shoes. Sure enough, there is blood on the bottom of one of Juanita's socks.

Catherine questions Juanita and brings up Juanita's past - her father had used her as a drug mule and she was forced to take the fall when her father disappeared after a drug raid. Catherine notices a tattoo on one of Juanita's arms in the shape of half of heart. Juanita admits to having feelings for Antoinette, but got jealous when she found out Antoinette had been sneaking around and was now pregnant. The two fought, but would eventually make up. Soon after, Antoinette got transferred to another cell. Juanita claims that Antoinette wasn't playing Doug, she was playing her.

Juanita caught Antoinette and Doug having sex on the prison bus. In a jealous rage, she put the padlock in a sock and hit Antoinette over the head with it while she was still on the bus. She then tied Antoinette to the bus chassis to make it look like an attempted prison escape. Catherine informs Juanita that Antoinette didn't request a change of cell; she was reprimanded for smuggling in a necklace. Catherine guesses that the necklace was a gift for Juanita. A tearful Juanita is then shown being brought back to her cell.

Victim: Adanto Adams (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Warrick Brown, Louis Vartann

Grissom and Warrick look around a crime scene where a man has been stabbed to death in his apartment. There is a blood pool next to the body as well as a bloody knife. Grissom immediately notes that there is no blood spatter on the ceiling or the walls. The landlord tells Det. Vartann that the victim, Adanto Adams, is actually the brother of the man who is renting the apartment. The renter's name is Zero. Grissom sees a blood stain on the couch and notes that it is inconsistent with the stab wound on Adanto's shirt. When the body is flipped over, they find that Adanto was stabbed in both the front and back of his body.

In the lab, Grissom examines the knife that killed Adanto. He scrapes a white substance off of the handle, then places the knife under the fume hood, where he is able to get a clear print off the hilt. Back in the apartment building, Frank Samuels, Zero's guardian, arrives on the scene and wants to know what happened. Warrick informs him that the victim is Adanto, and Frank admits that he's known both Adanto and Zero since they were kids. Just then, Zero shows up with an officer in tow. He has blood on his shirt and appears to be in somewhat of a catatonic state. He apologies to Frank several times.

Warrick questions Zero and Frank. Zero tells him that he was apologetic because he wasn't supposed to be out by himself. He says that he found Adanto dead in the kitchen; a flashback shows Zero hugging Adanto's body, explaining how the blood got on shirt. Zero tells Warrick that the last time he talked to Adanto was earlier in the morning, when Adanto promised him that they were going to be rich. Another flashback shows Adanto dropping a deck of cards onto the kitchen table.

In the interrogation room, Warrick informs Frank that his print was found on the knife used to kill Adanto. Frank admits coming into the apartment, finding Adanto's body, and pulling the knife from it. His concern was more for Zero, who he says is a nine-year old trapped in a man's body. Frank admits that he left the scene of crime without calling the police, worried that Zero was the culprit. Det. Vartann says that what he did is a felony and Frank is arrested to spend 24 hours in a holding cell.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that all of the stab wounds Adanto incurred where all "straight in, straight out" wounds; there is are no angular entry wounds. Grissom finds this odd since the crime scene indicates that Adanto was moving around his apartment when he was stabbed. Doc Robbins shows Grissom the wounds on Adanto's back; all four are straight, clustered wounds that are parallel to each other. The stab wound in his chest is also the same distance from the crown of his head as the wounds on his back are. Doc Robbins also says that there are no defensive wounds. He shows Grissom a piece of wadded up paper in Adanto's stomach, and Grissom wonders if it could be some sort of treasure map.

With help from Ronnie Litre, Warrick is able to identify the wadded up paper as a $10,000 marker from the Palms casino. He goes to the casino and talks to the manager, who is able to identify Adanto from his crime scene photograph. The manager tells Warrick that Adanto got the $10,000 marker and was playing no-limit blackjack against the dealer. When asked if Adanto had a system for counting cards, the manager remarks that everyone that comes to Vegas has a system.

Archie and Warrick watch the casino surveillance tapes and verify that Adanto was playing blackjack using a "double-up" system - starting with $100, he would double his bet every time he lost. Adanto ended up losing $102,300 in ten hands, with the last hand being a 10-card 21 for the dealer (a near record). Adanto got a marker for $10,000, lost that money, and swallowed the marker afterwards.

Det. Vartann tells Warrick that there was a $102,000 withdrawal from Zero's custodial account the day he was murdered. The signatures on the withdrawal slip belong to Frank and Zero; however, Frank insists that it's not his signature. He remembers that he fought with Adanto over Zero's life savings and realizes that Adanto likely had a hand in this. Warrick has both Frank and Zero perform handwriting tests. The results show that Zero's signature on the slip is authentic; however, Frank's is not. Ronnie Litre tells Warrick that Frank's signature was forged and Zero is unlikely the culprit. They wonder if Adanto forged Frank's signature, but they have nothing to compare his handwriting to.

Hodges informs Warrick that the substance Grissom scraped off of the knife handle was common house paint. Warrick relays this information to Grissom and is confused as to why there would be house paint on the knife. Grissom tells Warrick to put himself in Adanto's frame of mind - he had convinced his brother to risk his life savings on a "system" and lost it all. Adanto was desperate, and Grissom tells Warrick to put this into context with the evidence.

Warrick pays a visit to Adanto's apartment, keeping in mind Adanto's state of desperation. As he looks around, he finds wood shavings on the floor and some damage to the wall. A flashback shows Adanto sticking the knife in the wall and jamming his back into it four times. He then sat on the couch briefly before getting up the courage to run full speed at the knife, stabbing himself in the chest.

Warrick and Det. Vartann tell Zero that his brother killed himself. Adanto had taken out a life insurance policy with an accidental death clause for $1,000,000 and Zero would be the beneficiary. However, since Adanto's death will be ruled an accident, the policy will be worthless. A frazzled Zero asks for Frank, but Vartann tells him that Frank is going to jail for obstruction of justice and he will be appointed another guardian. Zero calls out for Frank, but all Warrick can do is apologize to him.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Notes

  • The life insurance policy that Adanto took out had an accidental death clause in it. However, since his death was ruled a suicide, the policy will not pay out. A very similar premise was used in the episode You've Got Male, where hunter James Jasper made his death look like a hunting mishap in order for his widow to collect on the insurance policy. That plan failed to succeed, as well.

Trivia

  • This is the first time that Catherine gives the last few bits of dialog before the opening theme.
  • Gina Torres appeared as Warden Hutton in this episode. At the time, she was the wife of Laurence Fishburne, who would portray Raymond Langston later in the series.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 4
Assume NothingAll For Our CountryHomebodiesFeeling the HeatFur and LoathingJackpotInvisible EvidenceAfter the ShowGrissom Versus the VolcanoComing of RageEleven Angry JurorsButterfliedSuckersPaper or PlasticEarly RolloutGetting OffXXBad To The BoneBad WordsDead RingerTurn of the ScrewsNo More BetsBloodlines
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