They were now able to get a search warrant for the ministry’s offices. Divine Fury. Chapter 51

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A VG Serial: Divine Fury

Chapter 51

Monday, June 7, 2004
110 miles from San Francisco

WALBERG DITCHED THE Blazer in Reno.  He bought a very used Dodge Caravan for $1,500.  The guy who owned the used-car lot didn’t ask any questions or even request ID when he saw that Walberg had a stack of $50 bills in his pocket.  Walberg assumed the van had serious problems – worn brakes, lousy suspension, a transmission about to lock up or maybe all three.  But he didn’t have far to go now.

He found a motel in Folsom and paid for two nights.  In the morning, he found a gun range 40 minutes away in Elk Grove.  He took both the Beretta and the SR-25.  He didn’t know which he might need to use.  Maybe both.  He wanted to be completely confident no matter the situation that he would make the most of any opportunity that arose.

He paid the $20 range fee and put on the mandatory goggles.  He started with the rifle.

The range only had targets out to 100 yards, too close, really, for the scope.  He compensated by making his target smaller.  Instead of going for a head or torso shot, he focused on where the nose would be, or the heart or the navel.

With the Beretta, Walberg wanted to practice squeezing off three quick shots at a time because he knew that unless you were at point-blank range, it was hard to control the recoil and keep the subsequent shots on target.  The gun tended to rise after the initial shot. After the first couple of tries, he was compensating well, keeping the aim much steadier.

By the end, he was confident that if he got within 25 yards, he could put three shots into the torso of the target very quickly.  Each would be potentially lethal.  Three should be enough to do the job.  No problem if he just kept his focus.

On the way back to the motel, Walberg stopped at a café with computer terminals connected to the Internet.  He paid the $5 fee for an hour’s use and bought a ham and cheese sandwich and coffee.

He logged onto his email account and found the message he’d been expecting.  The email was short. The subject line read:  “Righteous Fury”

“Dear S.W.,

Harper’s schedule of main events – Pride Week.  June 17, 8 pm – Campaign Rally at Justin Herman Plaza.  June 19, 10:30 am – Gay Pride Parade.  June 20, 10 am –Attend Trinity Cathedral Services.

A new threat to your success is Enzo Lee, a reporter for the San Francisco News.  Home address:  537 Green St.

God be with you.

With His Love,


* * *

Bud Walters was at his computer trying to figure out whether appetites in Japan and Korea could better absorb an extra 10 truckloads of artichokes than those on the East Coast when his secretary knocked on his office door.  She entered so quickly, before he could say his customary “Enter,” that his guard was up even without having seen the expression on her face.  Normally as unrevealing as a professional poker player, she looked flustered.

“There’s…uh…the police,” she said.  “Several of them.  They’re outside to see you.”

When Walters walked out the door he recognized the two Monterey County sheriff’s deputies in their khaki-and-tan uniforms.  Looking out of place was the African American woman with long braids dressed in civilian clothes who seemed to be in charge.

Bobbie Connors walked Walters back into his office, had him sit in his desk chair and read him his Miranda rights.  The San Francisco detective also laid out his choices for him right there.

Cooperate and he could plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit assault and battery with a probable sentence of 2-4 years of probation without having to spend a night in jail.

Fight it and he faced 15 separate counts of assault and battery for the crop-dusting “attack” as well as possible federal counts for inducing Buzz Shelton to violate numerous federal regulations governing the safe operation of aircraft in the United States.

It was his choice.  Walters was free to call his attorney.  But the deal was only on the table for the next three hours.

In the end, the Salinas farmer’s cooperation and his statement that the Soldiers of Christ Ministry had asked him to sabotage Harper’s press conference in the artichoke field fit nicely into Connors’ investigation. It was a firsthand allegation of criminality on the part of the church.  She knew it would be enough for a search warrant targeting the Soldiers of Christ offices.


Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.

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