By Ray Stern
By New Times
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"Tim could sleep with others. I'd ignore it. Tim told me to invite them over. [But] I'm not allowed to associate with anyone, and he's allowed to fuck the countryside."
Drake then reveals to Femenia that he's on felony probation for selling a stolen car. He says that since being put on probation in November 2004, he's undertaken court-ordered treatment to help curb a long-term methamphetamine habit.
Though he denies any current drug use, Drake claims Contreraz probably ingested meth in the hours before he died. (Postmortem blood tests prove Drake right on that score.)
Femenia wants to know if Drake checked to see if Contreraz was alive after he'd stabbed him. Drake says he didn't, that his only concern at the time was "to be free, to be safe."
Now the detective asks, "When you looked at Tim, what did you see?"
"A dead body," Drake says of his lover.
Femenia wonders why Drake didn't call 911.
"Because I'm on probation," Drake replies. "That's not an excuse. That's reality. In fact, I'm going to feel very lucky if I walk out of here today. Am I going to jail?"
The detective says that's yet to be decided. But Femenia already is certain that, without a doubt, Shawn Drake will be heading to the slammer on a murder rap.
Femenia leaves the room for a few minutes to get feedback from his colleagues in the monitoring room. It's 11:22 a.m.
"No one ever argued about the size of my dick," Femenia tells them as soon as he walks in. That cracks up everyone.
He asks Detective Laird what he thinks about Drake.
"I think the guy's got a hair-trigger temper," Laird says. "I think it's a good case of second-degree [murder]."
After Femenia returns to the interview room, Drake keeps trying to explain his actions.
"I was pissed because I couldn't breathe," he says. "You know what, I probably overreacted. [But] when someone's suffocating you when you're sleeping, it's your life or their life."
Drake looks hopefully across the table.
Femenia stares back stone-faced.
The detective asks him tersely why he hadn't just left the house after Contreraz confronted him on the couch.
Drake seems to be realizing that he could be cooked.
"Why?" he says, getting testier by the second. "Because he was coming after me! Bottom line is I'm going to jail!"
Femenia wants to know more about the weapon Drake used.
"I don't know what I grabbed," Drake snaps, sounding as if he's had just about enough of the detective. "All I saw was blood was flying."
Femenia takes another break to call Detective Tom D'Aguanno, who says he's gotten the search warrant and is back on North Richland Street.
D'Aguanno is being assisted by crime-scene technician Lanie Finlay, a welcome addition to the C-32 squad because of her attention to detail and upbeat attitude in the face of continual carnage.
Just after noon, Detective Femenia informs Shawn Drake of his immediate fate -- a booking at the county jail on a charge of murdering Tim Contreraz.
Drake starts to moan softly. The moans get louder as Femenia leaves Interview Room #2.
It's about six hours after police first responded to North Richland Street, and Alex Femenia hasn't even examined the crime scene yet. But his next task after fortifying himself with coffee and a Marlboro is to find Tim Contreraz's next of kin.
"Time is of the essence in a murder investigation," the detective says, "but you can't delay in contacting people who have the right to know what's happened. It may take us out of the groove, but it's something you just have to do."
Before the police transport Shawn Drake to jail, he tells them the name of Contreraz's sister, who lives in Chandler. Femenia gets on his computer and comes up with a phone number for the sibling.
"Is your brother [named] Tim?" he asks the woman about 1:30 p.m. She answers yes. "You gonna have a moment this afternoon? I'd rather tell you in person than over the phone. Yeah, it's serious."
Femenia plans to drive to Chandler after he analyzes the murder scene, his next stop.
By now, it's just past 2. Detective D'Aguanno already has come upon a receipt from a nearby Circle K during his search of Tim Contreraz's car. The receipt was issued at 5 that morning, which suggests that Shawn Drake stopped at the store before he returned to his neighborhood.
Two other receipts in the car also are relevant. They are from Plazma, a gay bar on 15th Street and Osborn Road. The time listed on the pieces of paper -- about 2 that morning -- is when Drake said he and Contreraz had left a bar with the two mystery men.
These are bits and pieces to sort out down the road.
But Alex Femenia's focus now is the crime scene.
He starts at the front door, slowly taking everything in.
Just inside the entrance is a candy jar with nothing in it but condoms.
"Where are the chocolates?" Femenia asks.
The mention of chocolate catches the attention of crime-scene tech Lanie Finlay, who is taking photographs of evidence in the living room.