Brian was in his second story office overlooking Wilshire Boulevard on Thursday afternoon when his assistant buzzed him. “Mr. Levin is on line 2 for you,” she said.
Brian picked up the receiver, and said, “Hi Lou, thanks for calling. Have you had a chance to speak with Abbey?”
“I did,” Lou answered. “She has given me permission to speak to you and also to her accountant to release funds for my fee and her part of any bail set by the judge.”
He added, “But she was taken back to the hospital at my request. When I saw her this morning, she was already beginning to exhibit symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, so I insisted that she be brought back to hospital for treatment pending her hearing tomorrow. She asked me to have her daughter bring her some clothes for her court appearance. She said that they are on spring break now. The kids can visit her in the hospital this evening and can bring her the clothes. I’ll text you the list of what she wants.”
“Oh, and have them give you her passport if they can find it,” he added. “She will probably have to surrender it. You should bring it to the hearing tomorrow.”
“Will do. What time is the hearing?”
“It’s at 9 a.m. in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, in Department 151. Judge Chaffey is in that courtroom. He’s a tough judge.”
“How does it look?” Brian asked.
“Not good. She admitted to me that she has had two prior DUI’s within the last three years. She was just cited and released on her own recognizance both times. But after being held on the 5150 a few weeks ago, and now with this serious injury accident, the police weren’t about to release her on her own recognizance again.
“Do you know the name of the woman who was injured and how she’s doing?” asked Brian. “We would like to pray for her as well as for Abbey.”
“I don’t, but my investigator is picking up the police report today on an expedited basis, and I’ll know later today. I’ll text the information to you.”
He continued, “I’m going to try to convince the judge to release her on bail, but it will likely be a six-figure bail. The story about her arrest is already on the internet. People remember her from her TV show. The judge will want to set an example. The police took her driver’s license at the scene, and with her resources, it is unlikely that she will be issued a temporary license. She’s not working, and can hire people to bring her the essentials. More likely than not, she will also have to wear an alcohol monitor and will be placed under house arrest pending the trial.”
“Okay, I’ll take the kids over to their house for her clothes and the passport after dinner and then to the hospital. I just hope the paparazzi aren’t mobbing the place.”
He added, “Just so that you know, Lou, Audrey and Andy aren’t on spring break until next week. She must be confused about that.”
After dinner Brian drove Audrey and Andy to their home for the things Abbey needed, and then to the hospital. The drugs they had given Abbey to help manage her withdrawal symptoms had made her drowsy. They only stayed for a few minutes. Brian explained that he would be present at the hearing in the morning and would see her then. Abbey nodded, exhausted, then rested her head back on her pillow and fell asleep. They arrived back in St. Michael’s Cove just after 8 pm.
Liz awoke to the sound of Keller barking in Kevin’s room, then heard scuffling in the music room window just underneath her and Brian’s bedroom.
The digital clock on her nightstand said 1:18.
“Did you hear that?” Liz asked Brian.
Brian muttered something unintelligible.
“Did you hear that noise?” asked Liz.
“You mean Keller barking?” Brian mumbled.
Liz waited a minute then swung her legs out of bed and padded across the wood floor in her bare feet. She switched on the outdoor floodlight just as their loud security alarm began blaring.
“Turn the alarm off,” Brian yelled above the din.
“Wait, I see someone running through the patio . . . I want to wait until he’s gone,” Liz replied over the blaring alarm.
A few seconds later, Liz turned off the security system, then tried to reboot it but it wouldn’t reboot.
“We must’ve woken up the neighborhood,” Brian grumbled. “At least we know the alarm works.”
When the security company called, Brian asked them to come out and check the windows and French doors in the music room to make sure the house was secure.
A few minutes later, the security guard called the O’Connells on his cell phone. Brian answered, and talked to him for a few minutes.
“Will you fix it tonight?”
“Okay, I’ll wait for your tech guy at 8. Actually, can he come at 7:30? I have to leave the house at 8. Thanks for coming out.”
Liz looked up at him expectantly when he hung up the phone.
“The guard said that he found a wire pulled out in one of the window connections in the music room. Apparently, the intruder didn’t see the wire and tried to open the window. He took off when he triggered the alarm. They’ll send someone out in the morning at 7:30 to repair it. But he said it’s probably nothing serious. There have been a spate of break-ins in the neighborhood, but hardly anything has been taken.
Homeowners have reported finding blankets on the floor and food missing, but nothing else. Their working theory is that a homeless person is looking for a warm place to spend the night. We’re ok for the rest of the night. The windows and doors are all locked.”
“I think that we have to acknowledge that the homeless problem is now on our doorstep,” Liz replied sleepily. “Don’t you have a classmate from law school who became a federal judge and is interested in this issue?”
“Yep. Alex Kozikian.” Brian was wide awake now. He continued. “Alex was appointed to the federal bench last year after spending eight years as a Superior Court judge. He is very interested in the homeless issue. He’s concerned that the City and the County are not doing what they should be to alleviate the problem.”
“Why don’t you call him and offer to help?” Liz mumbled. “You’re in private practice—no conflict.”
“I think I will,” answered Brian, as he climbed back into bed.