CSI: Crime Scene Investigation s14e03 Episode Script

Torch Song

Some creatures are more fortunate than humans are.
Pheromones do the crowd control, keep the mob moving in an orderly fashion, even when panic sets in.
We humans have no such gift.
It's every man for himself.
Concert going on.
Fire sent 'em all running for the door.
Just a kid.
Any more bodies? Yeah, there's three more inside.
At least the last thing he saw was a beautiful night.
Through the smoke, mob stomping all over him.
Nice thought.
- Let me through! - No, hey, don't don't let her Someone h Some help my boy! He said he was meeting friends and hearing some music.
I said I'd be here at midnight to pick him up.
Where are his friends? Where are his friends? Who did this? Who did this to Kevin?! Who did this to my son? Who did this to my boy? She's looking for answers.
But it's nobody's fault they were trying to survive.
Human instinct.
Fire starts and everything you need-- breath, space, life-- is on the other side of a door.
Doesn't matter what's in front of you.
Even if it's your best friend.
Let's get at it, boss.
Come on.
Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Who are you? Who, who, who, who? I really wanna know Who are you? Oh-oh-oh Who Come on, tell me who are you, you, you Are you! All right, Russell checked in with Brass and witnesses at the hospital.
Finn, why don't you and I start on this fire investigation.
Yeah, we'll document the victims.
Kevin Ellis.
He's 18.
He's a local.
No burns.
But a lot of soot.
And multiple blunt-force trauma to the face, the head and the hands.
I never liked concerts.
Just give me an iPod, some headphones, a little personal space and I'm good.
Not me.
The right crowd, the right band.
Closest thing I've ever come to a religious experience.
Yeah? You mind if I pull his wallet? Yeah, go ahead.
Timo Padia.
No burns on him either.
Looks like he took a hit to the nose.
There's petechiae in his eyes.
He was asphyxiated.
By the crowd? It doesn't look like he was trampled.
Blood down his shirt says he was upright when his nose was broken.
No shoeprints on him.
Crush asphyxiation can happen when you're on your feet.
Pressure from other bodies prevents the lungs from expanding, making it impossible to breathe.
However the physics worked, this kid went through hell.
Well hell of a thing, huh? It's the kind of news that stops a parent's heart.
We got a dozen serious injuries, half of them critical.
Along with, uh, three unidentified.
Including that guy.
So, the club owner, he's sitting over there in the black shirt.
His name is Stu Kirchoff.
He was bunkered in to his back office when the fire broke out.
Can't even remember the name of the band.
No one can.
That's a little odd.
Well, the place is kind of like amateur hour, you know? Kids sneak in booze, get wasted and listen to some random band rage onstage.
Any witness videos, photos? Anything to help us reconstruct? No.
Not yet.
My kids use their cell phone cameras like they're all-seeing eyes.
Maybe they think it's not too cool to share their photos with cops.
You know, I have to admit, when I, uh, worked in Seattle, I didn't get a chance to do many fire investigations.
It's complicated.
Really? Even for you? Someone who can paint a whole knife fight from a few drops of blood? I think you'll be all right.
All right.
Where do we start? Our main goal is to find the point of origin.
And a fire burns up and out, right? So if we locate the lowest point of damage, that should tell us where the fire started.
But What? You see all this soundproof foam right here? Yeah.
All this caught fire and just rained down all over the place.
Creating many low points.
I bet it went up so fast that's what caused the stampede.
Think this was the stage.
Didn't want to leave his axe behind.
No wallet, no I.
on either of them.
Just a few guitar picks on this one.
I'm guessing that makes her the bassist.
Reddish skin tone suggests carbon monoxide poisoning.
Smoke inhalation.
Firefighters knocked in the side door.
How come these two didn't exit through it? Maybe the smoke was too thick, it was too dark and they couldn't see.
Carbon monoxide poisoning also disorients and confuses long before it kills.
Band on the run may have been all turned around.
You realize that this was bound to happen.
You covered the walls with polyurethane foam.
Went up like gasoline.
No sprinklers, no smoke alarms, empty fire extinguishers and only one exit.
That's not true.
There's a second one by the stage.
Which couldn't be opened.
Evidence shows that this victim tried to kick that door open.
I sure as hell didn't lock it.
Oh, I used to, to keep people from sneaking in during the shows, but, uh Who are these people? Well, we were hoping that you might be able to help with that.
They were in the band that was playing.
All right, there-there was a guy that, uh was the lead vocals, played the guitar.
Another guy on the drums.
And the gal on bass.
That's all you know? Look, these groups, they come to me, ask to play, I let 'em.
But the music got lost on me years ago.
Nevertheless, kids would line up, pay ten bucks, come in, let loose.
That's just the way it's been for Well, speaking of club history, my colleagues found some recent online photos of the Lockjaw Club's interior, to aid with reconstruction.
Noticed something missing.
Must've been a pretty sweet guitar to get that kind of treatment.
You know who gave me that guitar? Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Yeah, he did a spot for me back in '85.
Blew the roof and the doors right off of the joint.
So why wasn't it there tonight? Oh.
About a month or so ago, I I pawned it.
I had to keep the power on somehow.
Yeah, if it wasn't for that cash, uh club would've been closed tonight.
Sorry to keep you waiting.
And without a stack of old National Geographics, like a proper doctor.
David's still prepping the last victim, but here's what we have so far.
Kevin Ellis.
's intracerebral hemorrhage due to multiple blunt force trauma.
Steel-toed boots may be the punk style, but they definitely clashed with his skull.
Tox showed he had a very high blood alcohol level.
Could've made him lose balance in the stampede.
Did you also get a panel on our John Doe musician? Yep.
This discoloration certainly suggests carbon monoxide.
Along with a toxic chaser.
Hydrogen cyanide.
Same stuff used in execution chambers.
Produced, in this case, by the burning polyurethane foam on the walls.
Well, on this three-act bill the last C.
's the real surprise.
Timo Padia, ligature strangulation.
Choked by a chain.
I, uh, used your I.
camera, saw the pattern.
So he was murdered.
Before the fire? I didn't find any soot in his lungs.
But I did find this.
Some sort of granular material lodged in his trachea.
Is something wrong, David? Uh It's just that female decedent that I'm prepping Jane Doe Bassist? You guys really need to see this.
There are even more under the sheet.
An Hispanic kid is strangled to death with a chain while a racist rocks out onstage? What the hell kind of show was this? Our female victim's name is Rene Nylen.
She was a bassist in a hatecore band called White Rising.
" Music for white supremacists, right? Yeah.
Underground scene with a national presence.
Lots of anthems for angry young bigots.
Here is some video from a recent White Rising show.
I couldn't find the names of the other band members, but I'm guessing that the masked front man is our John Doe Musician.
And I'm guessing that's why our club owner was so forgetful about the band he'd booked.
Admit to letting these guys take the stage, some might say you deserved the fire.
But what was Timo Padia doing at a White Power "hatenanny"? Maybe someone asked that same question.
Then did something about it, killed him.
Yeah, and someone adds fire to the fury.
All right.
Brass spoke to one of the hospitalized witnesses.
Evidently, they saw Timo Padia enter the club with a blonde girl.
They were holding hands.
He was a little drunk and flirty.
But once Timo heard the music, he sobered up quick.
And where's this girl now? She hasn't come forward.
All right.
So maybe one of these hatecore fans, pumped up on the music, goes after Padia, kills him and starts the fire to cover it up.
I just got a text from Hodges.
He said the trace they found in Timo Padia's throat is actually crushed limestone.
Which I'm guessing he swallowed somehow while he was being choked.
I didn't find any material like that at the body.
But, you know what, it's worth a look around.
Maybe we can find exactly where Padia was attacked.
Fire didn't touch this storeroom.
Blood drops.
Got more blood here.
Double-line pattern.
That's odd.
Look, there were scratches on Timo Padia's boots.
Timo Padia was killed in here.
Dragged out.
And then dumped on the dance floor.
And then the killer set fire to the place.
One crime leads to another.
Hey, could you give me a hand with this? What is it? I want to check out this door.
The door was not locked.
Then why couldn't the band get out of it? Exactly.
Fresh paint scrapings embedded on the outside.
Something was blocking that door.
Heard Nick Stokes and a friend were making a mess of my scene.
Fire Investigator.
So, uh what are we looking at? Uh, we're still looking for the point of origin.
Yeah? Yeah.
Ryan, why don't you, uh, come over here? Check this out.
Uh, I think this is what received the most damage.
Hey, Stokes, I'll tell you what, man.
What's that? I don't mind you invading my scene when you bring a partner who looks like that.
What do you mean? You know.
Ah, here you go.
Look at this, man.
Hey, uh, Finn, want to come take a look at this? Sure.
See, these springs are annealed.
Annealed? Yeah, a certain threshold of heat, springs lose their tension and they, uh, collapse like this.
But you only hit that threshold if you add an extra combustible.
Like what? Gasoline, Sterno, butane.
Whatever the arsonist's particular appetite calls for.
So you're assuming that it's arson? Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah.
Someone doused this bench, lit it up.
Well, then you should get me a shot of that.
No, bro.
Let me get my real camera from the truck.
Digital's got no soul.
He's kind of obnoxious.
He's also very old-school.
He's been taught by old-school guys.
When it comes to a fire investigation, some of those pages have been ripped out of the book.
A lot of things have been disproved-- case in point, annealed springs simply indicate that the springs got hot.
- He likes to jump to conclusions.
- Oh, chief, you got your hydrocarbon detector? Yeah.
I tell you what.
I'll trade with you.
There you go.
Give this thing a try.
Thanks, man.
All right, this is gonna tell us which type of accelerant the arsonist used.
Five-foot radius.
All right.
Hello, sweetheart.
Piece of cardboard with a candle attached.
Let me see that.
Incendiary device.
We found a few things in your son's pockets.
Wallet and keys.
Kevin's grandpa gave him this when he for his eighth birthday.
I hope you find peace, Mrs.
This officer's gonna show you to your car.
Does she have any idea what kind of band her son was going to see? What kind of racist, violent crowd he was hanging out with? I don't think so, no.
Maybe that's good.
So, this band White Rising-- they made a kind of Top 40.
They made the FBI Hate Group Watch-List.
The local office tossed me their file.
on our masked singer-- Kurt Harper.
Definitely played the club before.
They only left one body behind last time.
Three months ago, White Rising played a gig at The Lockjaw Club.
Now, outside the club, in an adjacent parking lot, a group of Asian-American kids were skateboarding.
So, the show let out and some of the skinhead thugs let loose and beat one of the skateboarders into a coma.
Le Wong Jr.
, 17 years old.
Assailants got away? Yeah, they blended right back into the all-white crowd.
So, the Feds took a picture of Kurt Harper and showed it to the vic's friends, hoping to get an I.
, but none of them could identify him as an attacker.
No, he's just the guy who got the attackers amped up and ready for blood.
Well, to the question of whether the stiff that's lying horizontal in our morgue is Kurt Harper, permanently silenced, the feds did a dental comparison.
And it's a match.
Okay, well, that settles that.
Front man and the bass player are both dead.
The drummer vanished.
Does it say anywhere in here whether or not the band had any particular enemies? Nick found an incendiary device, so we're looking at arson.
No specific grudges, no.
When you fling enough crap into the universe, occasionally the breeze is going to blow your way.
Trace you scraped from the outside of the club doors-- stock Pontiac red paint.
Used since the early '90s.
So, there was a red Pontiac blocking the door? Well, there wasn't one on the scene when we arrived.
Okay, how are you doing with the incendiary device? GCMS revealed traces of gasoline on the cardboard.
Confirms arson.
Yeah, and since I'm full-service, I didn't stop with the gas.
I noticed this barcode.
Ran it.
Cardboard's from a box of auto parts delivered to a local mechanic-- Lee Wong Automotive.
That can't be a coincidence.
What do you mean? Brass worked a case a few months ago, where this kid was beaten half to death, put in a coma.
His name was Lee Wong, Jr.
Sounds like more than arson.
Yeah, it sounds like revenge.
Thank you for coming down, Nora.
I appreciate it.
This article about the assault on your brother-- you were pretty vocal.
Lee couldn't speak for himself.
Still can't.
Might never.
Yeah, I heard that.
I'm very sorry.
Fact that his assailants were never identified-- boy that that must have been frustrating.
What kind of car do you drive, Nora? Jeep.
My dad's.
He passed away.
But you-you do run the family auto shop, right? So, you'd probably get your hands on any kind of car you wanted, like a red Pontiac, maybe? I drive a Jeep.
What does this have to do with my brother's beating? Well, the band that inspired your brother's beating returned to that same club last night, but then, you know that, don't you, because you were there? Took a candle, scrap of cardboard from your shop, you doused it in some gasoline, and you set the club on fire.
And you killed three people, Nora.
I thought I was here to learn who ruined my brother's life.
Instead, you're accusing me of You're wrong.
Two days after the attack of my brother, I brought some friends to the place where it happened.
I made sky lanterns.
Cardboard, candle, paper balloon.
We lit them and watched them float up, thinking of Lee.
One or two landed on the roof of that club.
Maybe there was gas on the cardboard from the floor of the shop.
But that was months ago.
They didn't start a fire then, or last night.
Looks like the grieving sister's story makes sense.
Yeah, that sky lantern landed on the roof, stays up there a couple months, then comes down in here when that part of the roof collapsed.
And we still have no point of origin, which means we are nowhere.
Okay, there's a, uh a new technique that I learned recently when it comes to fire that I'd like to try out here.
Are you up for it? Sure.
It's called arc mapping.
Now, during a fire, the insulation around the wiring in the walls melts away.
Once that happens, the bare wires then short-circuit or arc, leaving behind these distinct little beads at each point of an arc.
Now, no power can flow through that arc, so if you map out the arc locations, and compare it against the building's circuitry, you should be able to figure out which wire burnt fir.
And hopefully, where the fire started.
Where do we start? Well, we start by checking the wiring in the walls for arcs.
Did I miss something? Did you forget where the point of origin was, Stokes? You know, I could have, uh could've written it on a Post-it note for you.
Actually, that theory has been disproven, so, we're still investigating.
- Looks more like you're remodeling.
- No.
No, actually, we are still investigating.
We were thinking about just arc-mapping the whole building.
No, bro, not arc-mapping.
I'm not trying to make you look bad, chief.
You guys are going about this all wrong.
- Leave - You know what? We're gonna continue working.
So, you're just gonna do this on your own, huh? That's what we're gonna do.
Let's see how that works out for you.
Ha fun.
Thanks, chief.
Here's where the fire started, making this arc number one.
Hey, guys.
- How's it going? - Good.
We just found the point of origin.
Did he call you? Wanted to get us in trouble with the sheriff? Oh Miller's a good guy.
Smart investigator.
I mean, yeah, he had a few concerns.
Well, we had a few concerns about him.
Nick obviously knows his science.
That guy was all about his ego.
I tried to be fair with him, Conrad.
Four people dead, a dozen more burnt all over.
I don't give a damn about fair, Nick.
Just show me you're right.
We deduced that the fire had to have started in this corner.
I think all we need to do now is dig through this rubble and see what we can find.
All right, all right, okay.
What are we waiting for? Let's do it.
You tracked it down? The Red Pontiac of Doom.
Had to have been at the club during the fire, but gone when the fire department arrived.
It's a tight time-frame.
Not much traffic.
I checked the cams.
There you go-- the only red Pontiac around, headed away from the venue.
Paint looks charred from the heat.
Can't make out the driver's face, though.
DMV any help with the plate? Driver is a Northtown resident named Jeremy Douglass.
Haven't seen my car in, like That's not me driving.
Look, you already told us that you were at that skinhead show last night.
This is your car, driving away from it.
What are you saying? That one of your friendly Aryan brothers swiped it? Saying, whatever my-my car might have been involved in I didn't have anything to do with it.
So, uh, what what, uh what-what what might it have been involved in? It was parked in an alley, blocking the exit door from the club, trapping the club-goers inside during the fire.
Four of them died.
Something about that coming back to you? He asked me to borrow it.
My car.
Texted me, in the middle of the concert.
"Leave your car in the alley, keys in it.
Right now.
Walk away.
" Who's Caleb Voigt? A guy.
Asks for your car, and you just give it to him? Well, he's-he's not the kind of guy you say no to.
Dude's like half pit-bull, and-and and breaks rocks for a living.
Breaks rocks? What, like limestone? Sure, I guess.
Why? Because he left some of it on the kid he choked to death at the club.
A murder for which you provided the getaway car.
Whoa, whoa.
No, no, no, it-it wasn't like that.
I didn't know.
Maybe you didn't know, but this Caleb guy took out one person.
You took out three people with your stupid parking job.
Found something.
Cigarette and matches, rubber-banded together.
Hey, Conrad, how much you want to bet, the arsonist didn't expect that to survive the fire? How much you want to bet they didn't expect a couple of CSIs to rip the walls down to find it? Nice work, guys.
Douglass, I'm Sheriff Ecklie.
We're gonna give you a chance to do yourself a ten-to-15 year favor.
It's a microphone.
Looks no different than a cell phone, so, you do your job right, Caleb Voigt doesn't know any different, and you come out in one piece.
Car's out back.
Key's in it.
What's Voigt working on? Looks like he's cleaning some equipment with acid.
We need to get Caleb Voigt to connect himself to our evidence.
That could be the limestone debris.
How-how, uh how-how how's work been? What the hell do you care? Just-just like, uh, what-what kind of jobs you been doing? What-what-what kind of materials you working with? Don't hit me up for work, all right? You couldn't handle it.
Or we connect him to the murder weapon.
A chain, approximately a half-inch wide.
Caleb wears a chain like that on his wallet.
Keep an eye out for it.
Whether he's wearing it, or maybe he tossed it somewhere.
Uh, listen.
I'm a I'm a little short.
Could-could you loan me a few bucks? If-If your If your if your wallet's around? That was subtle.
That ain't happening.
But I leant you my car.
I-I had to walk all the way here.
Or we link him to the cigarette and matches that were used to start the fire.
Do you know if Caleb smokes that brand? Tillworth? Not sure.
It's-It's It's just a few bucks.
I-I wanted to buy a pack of cigs.
'Less I can I can bum one from you? Why don't you come inside with me? Mitch, can you maintain a visual? Negative.
We're blocked.
Adjusting position.
Man to man, Jeremy, you on something? What do you mean? The way you're acting.
The way you parked your car last night, blocking the door.
Nearly burned me to death.
Makes me think your mind's not straight.
Shrooms? Pills? I don't know acid? Acid? Go, Mitch, go! On the floor! Now! Stop! Get him up! Let's go.
Go! I think you might've stumbled on an odd premonition, hating Timo for his skin, because his skin, or at least little chunks of it, caught in your chain here.
I'm gonna put you away for murder.
And add the Hate Crime component, and your peculiar method of clean-up-- that's death row easy.
Mutual combat.
That wetback's first mistake was walking in the place.
Second mistake was opening his mouth.
You got a problem with me? Bunch of redneck bitches! Didn't mean for it to end that way.
Told Jeremy to bring the car around so I could drag the kid out, drive him to the hospital.
He was dead, and you knew it, so you dragged him into the club floor, you dumped him on the floor, and then you torched the whole scene.
I didn't set that fire.
Oh, so, what was it? A thousand-degree coincidence? Huh? Pack enough rage in a room, sometimes you get lucky.
I didn't start your fire, but I know who did.
And seeing as though he incinerated three good, proud white people, why don't I tell you what he looked like? Are you believing any of this? No.
Okay, Chuckles, go for it.
About to bang heads with the kid, I saw him crouched in a corner.
Came out a minute later, and I saw what he was up to.
Would you recognize him again? Him? None of those.
He had on a black T-shirt.
Some kind of logo.
Death's-head maybe.
Shirt like this? Yeah.
Who was wearing that? John Doe number three.
He's on life support at Desert Palm Hospital.
Suspect's name is Ian Baxton, and he's blazed a pretty long sheet.
Multiple priors for arson.
Still on probation for a torched warehouse.
Pull up his case history.
He's got a signature M.
Tillworth cigarette, rubber-banded with matches.
Just like what you found at the club-- that makes it easy.
It should've been a lot easier.
Now, fellas, you wield this thing right, you get in anywhere.
Or out, should Donnelly's mom trap you in her bedroom.
Square up and let 'er rip.
I think we need to talk for a second.
Kind of in the middle of something here, chief.
Oh, really? Hey, boys, what's he teaching you, how to jeopardize a quadruple homicide case? Take a break, fellas.
What the hell you talking about? Well, we just found out that you worked Ian Baxton's arsons.
So you knew his signature.
And when we found that signature at the club, you didn't say anything.
'Cause I followed up on that lead, solo.
I checked with his P.
Baxton was working the night shift.
Or maybe that's what he told his P.
before he ditched out of work.
He's not our guy.
Yeah? Do you know where he is right now? Home.
Look, I'll get confirmation if you want, all right? But I've studied this guy.
Occupied buildings are not his style, okay? He's in the burn ward.
Well, he got caught up in a fire that he started, but come on, if you'd have mentioned that you knew the signature, we'd have solved it yesterday.
Nothing to say? It's my bad.
Your bad? Hey, guys, there's something else you should know.
Baxton only burns for hire.
in a paper bag, under the arsonist's mattress.
That's the exact amount that you got when you pawned your prized guitar.
You showed us the receipt.
You pawn your guitar, and you pay the arsonist, you collect the insurance.
I think I may have mentioned this before, but I pawned the guitar to save my club.
You're wasting your time.
Your fingerprints are all over the bag, Stu.
We got you.
It's over.
So can we talk? I'd really like to know why you did this.
You want out of the club, you need the cash, why didn't you just sell the dump? Dump? Come on.
You sound like those real estate crooks.
Uh "Hey, Stu you know, it's a tear-down; you can't even give it away.
" I spent 30 years of my life busting my hump for that place.
And you know what? For a long time, I did pretty good.
So why'd you want out so bad that you torched the place? I mean, see, that I don't understand that.
Can't tell me you don't see it.
You've been around-- a guy in your line of work? What? What is it I don't see? The world's getting nastier.
It's getting hard to stomach, don't you think? Day after day.
You see the way these kids act, huh? They're animals.
They get up on the stage, and the stuff that they spout! They spit right in my face if I get in their way.
They're kids, Stu.
Young, stupid kids! You set a fire in a club full of kids because it's less suspicious than torching it empty? They're animals? Give me a break.
What's that make you? I didn't think the fire would spread that fast.
I thought they'd have time to get out of there.
Well, your timing was off.
By three.
It's called the death spiral.
It's created by the pheromones the ants put out to warn the colony of danger.
Each ant just follows the one in front of it.
Blindly circling in an endless loop.
Mindless conformity.
Has its advantages.
Like what? Well, you don't see any of them wrapping chains around each other's throats, or burning each other up for money.
That's true.
But, then, I bet you won't see any of them stepping out of line to write a symphony or pursue enlightenment, either.
Yeah, it's a bit of a trade-off, I guess.
How long do they go on like that? Well, till they drop dead from exhaustion.
Or until some kind soul disrupts the spiral.
Man, I ain't stickin' my hand in there.
You do it.
You be a benevolent god.
All right.
Okay, little guys be free.
Look at that.
Well Hey, lookie there.
I think that's Beethoven.