Tanya and Walter Pride were young lovers in search of higher learning. Their young love they professed to be eternal so they married. Barely old enough to drink, they were now man and wife. Marriage doesn’t make you instantly more mature; wisdom comes with time and age. Walter was extremely studious leaving him very little time to experience “college life”. There were no keg parties, bon fires, pep rallies or pajama jammy jams for this young man. He was focused on becoming an engineer and great provider for his young family. Walter looked forward to having many children with Tanya his love and for them all to live together happily ever after.
Tanya loved her husband but thought him to be a bit of a bore from time to time. She respected his dedication to his goals but she just wished that he would loosen up a little bit. To her he acted more like a man in his late forties rather than his early twenties. Whenever she asked him to blow a class and go do something fun he rebuffed her. Walter was into doing extra, digging deeper, not skipping mandatory classes. The young bride was in need of some excitement not the stable predictability that Walter offered day in and day out.
To scratch her itch she became more social on campus joining study groups and clubs. In one particular study group she met a friend with a bright future. He was a basketball player who had the potential to be drafted into the NBA. James was the team’s star shooting guard and business major like Tanya. James was dating a sophomore by the name of Betty Wright for the past year and a half or so and was very happy in his relationship. He was however very concerned for Betty because she had received some threatening letters on her car and even her door. The police investigated but could find no strong suspects. James vowed to protect the lady he loved and she trusted him to do so.
Friends and study buddies Tanya and James grew closer as the semester went on. They spent most of their time together in public places or groups. James resided with a religious man and his sister who was also heavily involved in the church. They took in the budding young superstar when he struggled finding lodging his second freshman semester. He was charged very little in rent to reside in the large home. They only asked that he attend church with them from time to time and obey the house rules.
Ronald, James’ landlord, was often called “Bishop” by the people in the community. He was very active in the church, organizing different activities and groups. Bishop was known to be a man strong in faith, always willing to help the needy. His sister Carol was a virtuous woman, a deaconess in the same church. It would seem that James could find no better people to surround himself with as he pursued his academic and athletic goals.
One day while studying, a spark flew between Tanya and James. That spark became a flame and then an inferno of passion. It erupted in an explosion of kissing and heavy petting. After two intense minutes, they both caught themselves and stopped. Feelings were discussed and then temptation given into. For the second time Tanya visited James’ home but this time she wasn’t just dropping him off. This time she stayed. Her long visit did not go unnoticed by Bishop. He inquired with James about the nature of the young woman’s visit. James was forthright and truthful. He divulged the nature of Tanya’s visit to Ronald’s dismay. He was none too pleased to know that James had physical relations with that young lady under his roof.
Tanya left James’ home a little distraught and stressed because their encounter left a prophylactic hidden within her body. Many worries raced through her mind, disease, pregnancy, Walter finding out. She decided to look for it more carefully in the privacy of her own bathroom. She and James exchanged calls of concern that night, then he made his way to Betty’s place. James needed to be with her to help him pretend things were normal, like he hadn’t just been adulterous with a married woman.
The next morning he was up early embracing the newness of the day. Betty drove him to class and James kissed her passionately before they parted. After a day of classes he made his way home to the scene of his moral crime. After being home for less than an hour he was visited by two detectives. They asked him when last he saw or spoke to Tanya. James was deceptive because of the new nature of their relationship. The officers asked him to join them down at the police station so that they could ask him a few more questions. They still hadn’t told him what this was all about but he agreed to go with them nonetheless. He knew that he didn’t commit a crime and if he could clear anything up with a conversation he would. Anything, just as long as Tanya’s husband didn’t find out about them.
When they got him into an interrogation room they shocked him with graphic photos and details of the crime committed. James was shocked! He couldn’t believe it; Tanya was dead and he was a suspect! She had been found in the early hours in a wooded area off of Interstate-4. Her car was recovered on the shoulder of the road a quarter of a mile from the body. She had been stabbed over fifty times and left for dead. It seemed to be a crime of passion and maybe a sex crime. There were no items stolen from the vehicle or her purse. The condom was found and tested forcing James to come clean about being with Tanya.
When pressed he admitted to being intimate with Mrs. Pride that evening before she was murdered. But, he had an alibi, Betty. She vouched for his whereabouts and the detectives found her to be very credible. Walter was investigated but he was with his study group that evening returning home around 11:00pm. He had a conversation with a neighbor when he arrived home and the same neighbor informed the police that he never saw Tanya’s car return home that night. The two best suspects both had been cleared and the authorities were getting frustrated. Then new information came in that shifted the case in a totally different direction.
A highway patrol officer reported seeing Tanya’s car the night of her murder on the side of the road. There was another car parked on the side of the road near Mrs. Pride’s car. The officer ran the tags but was called away to the scene of a fatal accident. He remembered as he was driving away the call came back. The vehicle was registered to a Ronald Meeks. When the detective got this news their ears perked up. Ronald was James’ landlord; why would he be in the area of Tanya’s car the night she was murdered?
When questioned Bishop stated that he attended a church service that night and had no idea about why his car was in that area. His sister Carol was also questioned about her brother’s whereabouts. The police inquired about the church service and she stated that she was there but never saw her brother. Bishop was confronted with this information and said that she must be mistaken. As far as his car being in that area, he allowed James to drive his vehicle from time to time.
James was back in the crosshairs of the police until they found Ronald Meeks DNA inside of Tanya’s car. Arrested, prosecuted and put on trial was Ronald Meeks for the murder of Tanya Pride. Prosecutors needed to find a motive for the killing. Love and jealousy were the culprits. James explained that Bishop asked him strange questions and even propositioned him somewhat. He asked if James had ever let a man perform oral sex on him and how it felt no different. He disguised his come on as a lesson he wanted to teach. Then one day he out right offered James free rent for intimacy. James always let the comments roll off of him. He needed a place to live so he didn’t make a big deal about it.
Investigators dug deeper and learned that Mr. Meeks was the one sending Betty threats as well. There they had their motive. Ronald Meeks was in love with James and he was trying to eliminate any woman who came near him. People of the religious community tried to stand behind the man until all of the details of the case came out. Still they prayed for his soul but they could no longer publicly support a murderer who used their religion as a cloak disguising who he really was and his ill intentions.
Ronald Meeks, aka Bishop, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Betty was happy that no harm had come to her or James. She was upset at James for having an affair with a married woman but forgave him. Without much effort James charmed her and their relationship returned to normal. Betty was just happy to have him all to herself.
Walter Pride however was torn. He was devastated by the loss of the woman he loved. Thoughts of how her life was lost haunted him; he wished that he could save her from the pain. Then another side of him was angry. He did all that he could to prepare a beautiful future for them both. He was diligent and committed to his marriage and his wife betrayed him. He wanted to ask her why but he was robbed of that opportunity by Ronald Meeks. So here he was left with his world torn in two, still mourning his wife’s marital mistakes.