Ronald Smoot, 29, is in the men’s room in the Popeye’s restaurant at 11th and F Streets NW, last Jan. 14. He’s trying to scrub the blood off his clothes and his forearms, but the blood keeps running out of fresh cuts on his hands. Smoot finally gives up and leaves behind a trail of white hand towels stained red.

One floor up, on the street level of Popeye’s, Steven Robertson, 32, who uses the street name “Tamika,” is standing in clothes even more blood-stained than Smoot’s, although he’s managed to clean his hands in the men’s room.

Just outside Popeye’s, on 11th Street, Tommy Overton, 32, is trying to flag down the police. “Quickness,” as he is known, lives right down the street, under the G Street awning of the closed Woodward & Lothrop department store. His spot is a few steps away from Smoot and Tamika’s camp; they live together in the entryway of the old Lerner Shops storefront. In that camp lies its third resident, Carlos Xavier Quarles, also 32, unmoving and bleeding from the face.

While Smoot and Tamika are still in Popeye’s, Quickness flags down Metropolitan Police Lt. Beverly Medlock and says he wants to show her something.

“What?” she asks.

“A dead body.”

In the entryway, Quarles has no pulse. His eyes are open, and he has fresh wounds on his face and neck. Blood is crusting and drying around his ear and on his neck. Medlock tries to hold onto Quickness, her only suspect, but he keeps pulling away from her on the icy sidewalk—he wants to show her a coat with blood on it in the bathroom at Popeye’s.

The cop finally follows Quickness to the restaurant and sees the bloody coat—on Tamika. Medlock invites Tamika to step outside onto the sidewalk.

They are soon joined by Smoot, who has given up the sink-and-soggy-napkin treatment although he still has blood on his clothes, and fresh cuts—thin “cat scratches”—on his hands.

Tamika asks, “Is he dead?” again and again. The cop only says that paramedics will see to Quarles, but it’s clear he has expired.

Tamika immediately starts crying and falling on Medlock. “He didn’t stop grieving,” according to the cop. “He was putting on an act of fainting on me, while feigning crying and grief—but there were no real tears.” Tamika kept motioning as if “he wanted to run to the aid of the dead person.”

“He also said he was a nurse and had been giving CPR to [Quarles], and I said, ‘If you were giving him CPR, why did you walk away to get some chicken?’”

The story of Quarles’ slaying beside the gutter last January is unlike the murder stories found on mystery shelves or in parlor games in which you figure out it was Col. Mustard in the drawing room with the candlestick. The main characters in this thriller aren’t pursuing the Maltese Falcon—unless there’s a malt liquor by that name.

This is a story of death in an entryway, broken beer bottle as weapon, empty vodka bottle as motive, and nothing left to lose as cause of death. The only mystery here is how a human life shrinks so small that it can be traded for a half a bottle of booze.

The victim and the suspects are “untouchables” inhabiting the bottom of a caste system. It’s as if a glass floor separates their existence from the culture at large. Underneath that floor they live, and often die, without so much as a nod of regret from the rest of us. Both victims and perpetrators, they live a life beyond consequence because there is nothing the law can do to them that they haven’t done to themselves already. They are not above the law, but below it.

Sunday, Jan. 14 broke as a dark day for most everyone involved. Over the previous few days a major storm had dropped several feet of snow on the Washington area. Tamika didn’t much care for the snow when he woke up at 7 a.m. in the entryway, but the real bad news was the missing vodka bottle that had been beside his bedroll when sleep had come late Saturday night.

The day before, Quarles had brought the bottle back to the camp and the three of them, Smoot, Tamika, and Quarles, had shared it. Quickness and another neighbor had stopped by for a nip. Later, Quarles gave the bottle to Tamika, but Tamika would not give it back. Tamika warned him not to take the bottle while they were sleeping.

After Tamika fell asleep, Quarles promptly took the bottle and drank the remaining vodka with a friend. When Tamika woke up the next day, he noticed that the bottle was gone and told Smoot. Smoot was highly pissed off.

“That’s fucked up, Carlos, I should fuck you up,” he said.

Tamika (who says he prefers to be known as “Tamika Smoot” because of his devotion to Smoot) dismissed the threat as a joke among friends. He acknowledged, however, that such a statement didn’t look good now that one of the friends was dead.

Pressured by Smoot, Quarles quickly implicated Quickness in the disappearance of the bottle. Smoot and Tamika caught up with Quickness that afternoon in Chinatown, where he was shoveling snow for small bills. Quickness says they beat him up, even though he told them he hadn’t taken the bottle.

Quickness took the beating and went to Popeye’s with his snow shoveling money to warm up and get some food. On his way there he passed Quarles in the camp. Quarles was not feeling well and said he had been throwing up. It might have been exposure to the cold, or it could have been because he was an alcoholic and had not had his juice yet. Quickness says Quarles was alive when he left.

Thirty-five minutes later, Quickness left Popeye’s and saw Smoot and Tamika standing over Quarles’ body, with blood spattered all over their clothes. While Quickness watched, Smoot and Tamika left Quarles and went to Popeye’s.

“I was working at the Popeye’s at the cash register around 4:00 or 4:30 p.m.,” a Popeye’s worker said in a statement to police. “All the homeless people who sleep by Lerner’s came in, and they were screaming, ‘Call the ambulance!’ because one of them that sleeps there was bleeding real bad.”

Smoot and Tamika told Purushothaman Vasudevan, the manager on duty, to call the police, and then said they wanted to use the restroom. They needed a token to get past the chrome “Nik-o-lok” security devices on the doors.

“No,” Vasudevan said. “Use a quarter.”

They didn’t have a quarter between them. They slid down to the cashier at the other end of the counter and asked again.

“And she hesitated,” Tamika said. “I told her, ‘I’ve got all this blood on me!’”

Noticing that the blood on Tamika was getting onto the counter, the worker quickly handed over a token, and Tamika took off for the restroom.

“Before you know it,” said the worker, “the police came in and took him away.”

The entryway where Quarles died is about 6 feet wide by 12 feet deep. The concrete floor slopes down toward the street. Three walls are glass, and on the fourth side is the sidewalk. Behind the window walls is the old shop space, its darkness flecked with glints of chrome from abandoned display racks.

Quarles was whisked into an ambulance, and fire department medical technicians wiped away the blood and performed CPR all the way to the hospital. Quarles arrived at George Washington University Hospital, effectively dead on arrival. At 5:42 p.m. the attending physician pronounced him dead. On the ground in the entryway police found a jagged piece of a beer bottle. Blood darkened its edges.

Down at Homicide Division offices, Smoot and Tamika ended up in separate interrogation rooms. A different detective questioned each, and the detectives frequently left the rooms to compare notes. Smoot and Tamika each performed calculations about what the other might say.

At first both of them said they had become bloody when they had come to help Quarles, and denied any responsibility for his injuries.

The detectives pressed Tamika.

“They were mean,” Tamika remembers. “They said I could go away for 35 years. They scared me. So I told them my husband did it.”

Over in the other room the detectives told Smoot his friend had thrown him in as the perpetrator.

“At about 2:55 a.m., this Def. [Smoot] was advised that the Co-Def. [Tamika] had implicated him in the stabbing, and this Def. ultimately gave a written statement, naming the Co-Def. as the suspect who stabbed the Decedent [Quarles], and admitted to having participated in the assault by striking the Decedent with his fist.”

Five minutes later, both of them were arrested for second-degree murder while armed, and were advised of their rights. When Tamika realized he was being charged, he “adamantly maintained his innocence, repeatedly accusing [Smoot] in this offense,” the cops wrote.

They both signed statements. In Box 52 of Tamika’s arrest report, headed “modus operandi, hangouts, and habits,” the cops spelled it out: “Female impersonator; homosexual, broken 40 oz. bottle used in this offense. Homeless.”

On Smoot’s form they wrote, “homosexual, homeless” and “violent when drinking.”

There were no eyewitnesses to the slaying, as the assistant U.S. Attorney noted the next day, and the defendants’ statements were a tangle of conflicts. Tamika claimed that the night before his death Quarles had threatened Smoot and pulled a knife on him over some liquor. He also suggested that Smoot had been defending himself in the fight when Quarles died. Smoot said almost the same thing, but with the roles reversed. Tamika and Quarles were fighting, Smoot claimed, and Tamika had used the broken bottle. Smoot said he had only hit Quarles to break up the fight.

Detectives and the assistant U.S. Attorney thought Smoot the more likely aggressor, but they knew that if they tried to hold him on the basis of Tamika’s statement they would also be giving him a good self-defense claim. “We could not rely on one portion of [Tamika’s] statement and not the other,” David Schertler, the assistant U.S. Attorney and head of the U.S. Attorney’s homicide unit, wrote in response to questions. Furthermore, Schertler said that “by alerting others to his situation, [Tamika and Smoot] seemed to be acting inconsistently with persons who had just committed a murder.”

Smoot and Tamika, still speckled with blood, were released that afternoon after murder charges were “no-papered,” which means that they were dropped for the time being but could be re-filed later.

Smoot and Tamika are intimately familiar with no-papered charges. Out of 48 charges against Smoot since 1990, the U.S. Attorney’s office no-papered 22, and 14 were dismissed by a judge for want of prosecution. Out of 27 charges against Tamika for arrests over the same period, 17 were no-papered, and judges dismissed 5.

Schertler said he no-papered Tamika and Smoot after they allegedly murdered Quarles because “I believed at this time that I would have been abrogating my responsibility to the fairness of the criminal justice system by charging these defendants given the state of the evidence.”

Tamika didn’t like getting picked up on the murder charge but hoped that the case would disappear into a tangle of continuances, probation, and suspended sentences, like all the other cases.

“They were no-papered at first. It was nothing,” Tamika said.

Tamika wasn’t worried about his friend Smoot because it wasn’t exactly the first time he’d caught a case.

“He kept getting locked up, but anytime they locked him up they kept letting him out—every time until Carlos got killed and they tried to blame one of us for it. That’s the only reason they kept us.”

When they left D.C. Superior Court, Smoot and Tamika didn’t go back to the entryway where Quarles had died. They moved to the park at 20th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. They went back to “drinking beer and hanging out.”

A few years ago, I had a chat with Quarles. He came up to me south of Dupont Circle and panhandled me, using the coins-in-cup routine. I had nothing to give him but conversation—and I noticed the long, distinctive scars that crisscrossed his face, leaving behind a patchwork of dark eyes, crooked teeth, and awkward, punished flesh.

His mouth drooped to one side, where the corner of it ran away in a long, bumpy scar. I thought that the scars were healed knife cuts, but I later learned they were from skin-graft operations and had earned him the street moniker “Burnt-up Carlos.” When he was a toddler, a pan of hot chicken fat on a stove had fallen on him. He was burned on his face, left arm, stomach, and back.

His panhandling persona was solid, the just-trying-to-get-a-leg-back-on-the-social-ladder kind of beggar. He used direct eye contact and clearly took advantage of the state of his face to win him money. At the time, I was contemplating doing a story about panhandling, and he answered my questions and demonstrated his technique on a passing couple.

“Can you spare some change?” (Rattle-rattle go the coins in the paper cup.)

No answer. No looks our way. No change in the couple’s pace. Nervousness—they hate pretending nothing is going on.

He asks again and gets the same result. He switches tactics when they get 10 steps past us.

“Hey! You dropped something!” says Quarles. He had told me the follow-through is very important, but the couple aren’t looking.

“Hey! You dropped something!”

On the fourth try, one of them looks back.

“Your self-respect!” he yells self-righteously, and turns back to me in triumph before his target can look away.

I left him on the bench after that. He did not ask me for money again—perhaps because he had invested so much in his nice-beggar routine that he didn’t want to fall out of character. In the course of our 15-minute interview he had shown me his picture ID card, issued by the D.C Department of Human Services. I recalled his name when I saw it in the homicide stats in the paper.

Quarles’ sister says he started living on the street in 1991, after their mother died. He quit school after the 10th grade. In contrast to Smoot and Tamika’s long history of arrests, Quarles’ criminal record is very short—seven arrests since 1987 and no convictions. Records of his arrests show a binge of street crime in August of last year—panhandling on the 19th and possession of cocaine on the 27th—culminating in indecent exposure at about 11 a.m. on the 30th.

This last one was trouble, the kind that gets people stirred up on the other side of the glass. The officer’s report said he found Carlos Quarles urinating out in the open on the west side of Dupont Circle. “There were over a dozen people who had a view of the subject who later identified himself as Quarles. I then arrested Quarles for indecent exposure and he was transported to D-1 [Park Police District 1 Central Station] for processing. At D-1 the desk officers observed Quarles on the cell camera masturbating. Officers Spano and Strathman had to enter the cell and stop Quarles. Officer Spano 30 seconds later had to handcuff Quarles while he was in the cell as he started to masturbate again.”

Quickness was the last person to see Quarles alive and the first to find him dead—apart from his killers. Quickness is neither physically nor mentally swift. He limps, and stands knock-kneed because one leg does not straighten out at the knee. When I found him, he smelled of beer and urine and he wore a ripped black T-shirt.

Quickness wanted to sell an interview. “Lotta people’ve been approaching me, saying they want to write books and shit. So what you got to offer?”

Quickness tried to whet my appetite. He took on a preacher’s voice. “Carlos, he was a magnificent man. A magnificent man! He could see things, and by seeing them, make ’em come true!” he said.

I told him I had met Quarles and he didn’t seem particularly magnificent.

“Did you give Carlos any money?”

No, I told him.

“Then what you tryin’ to talk to me for?” Quickness yelled as he slowly walked away, his head held high—a non sequitur of the kind street life brims with.

It reminded me of Quarles’ crack about dropping your self-respect—the voice from below the glass floor calling you. Quickness had had the last word; after all, what could I say?

Maybe Quarles and Quickness ended their conversations with definitive non sequiturs because when you have nothing, it makes sense to claim the last word because that’s all that’s left. It’s the only way to be heard, a last joy—to tell someone off and turn away as if in righteousness. It’s without logic, but not without satisfaction. Everyone who has tried to ignore the just-a-quarter-mister come-ons knows this kind of finishing game. What better response to “Get a job!” than “What are you tryin’ to talk to me for?”

Bingo Bob has been asking if you can spare “just 19 cents” around 19th Street NW for years. He had heard about Quarles’ demise when I caught up with him. I told him Quarles died for nothing. For a mostly empty bottle of liquor.

Bingo Bob told me I didn’t get it.

“He drank that liquor,” he said. “Then he said he didn’t take it. Those guys asked him if he took it and he said no. That was when he should have fessed up.”

“But the liquor was gone—it makes no sense to bust his head when it won’t bring back the booze,” I replied.

“For people like you and me, that’s right. But I’m telling you, down here, Carlos shouldn’t have done that.”

Bingo Bob had drawn the dividing line—tapped on the glass floor, even. I say Quarles died over nothing, a mere empty bottle; Bingo Bob, however, says that on the other side, “down here,” the empty bottle was filled with meaning.

Tamika and Smoot have been together since they met in the street about three years ago. Since that time, the street has been the most stable element in their lives—the place where they drink, sleep, and perpetrate. Tamika says

he doesn’t need to

live on the street, but chooses to in order

to be with Smoot. If they are

not on

the streets they’re usually in custody.

In the 25-month period beginning in October 1993, Smoot was arrested 20 times—four times for felonies. He has been convicted of threatening bodily harm, attempted theft, taking property without right, unlawful entry, and burglary. Tamika has been arrested 14 times since he met Smoot—three of them for felonies. Tamika has been convicted of taking property without right, and solicitation for lewd purpose.

In most of Smoot’s violent offenses—assault with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, aggravated assault—Tamika was his victim. Their relationship has followed the classic fury-and-forgiveness pattern of domestic violence and made them well-known at pretrial services and in the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In a Feb. 1, 1995, arrest, Smoot beat Tamika over a distance of several city blocks, from 12th and K Streets NW to 13th Street and New York Avenue, and then down to the McDonald’s at 12th and New York. Police arrived and saw Smoot “throwing” Tamika “with substantial force into the brick wall of the McDonald’s.” Officers noted that it was the sixth time Smoot had been arrested for beating Tamika in eight months. Six weeks later, Smoot was arrested for holding a knife to Tamika’s throat just before midnight at 10th and Massachusetts Avenue NW. In 1995 alone, Smoot was arrested 11 times in as many months. As court documents state, Smoot’s probation is “unsupervised.” He got into a jam when a worker at a deli on P street caught him shoplifting. Smoot punched the clerk several times, left, and came back, making threats and reaching into his coat as if he had a gun.

While out on his own recognizance for the deli threats, Smoot beat up Tamika and entered a halfway house in April. He left and was arrested for stealing a “DKNY New York” sack from a street vendor on June 7. He spent the summer and fall in jail because he couldn’t make bail. After he was finally released in October, he and Tamika were picked up for walking out on a $32.58 tab at T.G.I. Friday’s. After the knife incident, Smoot pleaded guilty to making threats against the deli worker. He was sentenced to six months, but served 30 days. Upon his release, Smoot still faced two felony charges for assaulting Tamika. Bail was set at $10, which Tamika promptly payed, reuniting them on the the street.

“Yeah, he beat me up,” mused Tamika over lunch. “We’d both get drunk—and I can’t say it’s his fault, because I was drunk, too.”

“We don’t have any real problems unless [we’re] under the influence of alcohol,” Tamika said, with an amber microbrew bottle on the table in front of him. “I can’t handle alcohol and neither can he.”

He thinks Smoot is really the victim: “I cut him, he cut me, but I guess he had such a record that they wanted to lock him up—you know how prosecutors are.”

It didn’t matter much to Smoot. “Anytime they locked him up, they kept letting him out,” he added. “He kept kicking my ass; they kept letting him out. What’s it going to take? For him to kill before they kept him in jail?” I didn’t mention that Tamika has been there to bail him out at every opportunity.

In the 10-day period after Quarles’ death, Smoot and Tamika, either individually or together, were arrested or released on seven of the days. The rest of the time they were drinking beer and hanging out.

They drink “Ice 800,” a rotgut malt liquor and the “No. 1 mover” at Press Liquors, at 14th and F Streets NW. It’s what the guys with bloodshot eyes, worn-out sneakers, and smelly clothes drink all afternoon in Pershing Park, across from the Willard Hotel.

A few days after Quarles died, Quickness was standing in front of Press Liquors. He saw Smoot and Tamika coming down the block.

“You said we killed Carlos,” Tamika said to him.

“Yeah, with all that blood on you, yeah, you killed him,” Quickness responded.

Smoot threw a punch, but Quickness blocked it. Quickness says that Tamika then stepped up and slashed at his face with the corner of a broken piece of plastic, but he got out of the way.

“He knew me and Carlos were close—I was upset with him for saying those rumors about me,” Tamika later told a judge.

Tamika and Smoot moved on. Just after 6 p.m. on the same day, 2nd District officer Gilbert Burgess and his partner Joe Crespo were working an undercover operation at the Roy Rogers restaurant at 20th and I Streets NW, when Smoot and Tamika got into an argument at the counter. Just a minor altercation, the officers thought, no need to blow the cover.

Then Tamika and Smoot got into a full-on food fight, using fistfuls of burger condiments from the fixins bar for ammo.

Burgess and Crespo remained anonymous.

“[But] then it got so ridiculous,” Burgess said. “[Tamika] lifted up a computer cash register and smashed it on the counter.”

That was it. Property destroyed. Can’t have that. Burgess and Crespo identified themselves as police officers and went to stop the fight, but by the time they did, Tamika had lifted and smashed a second register.

“They dragged me outside,” Tamika said. According to both officers, Tamika started reaching inside his coat as if he had a gun and said to Smoot, “Back up, baby, I got ’em!”

Not a pro move.

After the food and cash register fight at Roy Rogers, Smoot was only charged with being in a “disorderly fight”; the charges were dropped when he arrived in court the next day. But this time he was “oriented” to see a probation officer—he had, after all, five months’ probation from the deli conviction hanging over his head. At the probation office, Smoot sat across a desk from someone paid to connect the dots, and his no-paper trail piled up. The probation officer submitted a report to the judge listing four arrests between the end of Smoot’s 30-day sentence and his eventual jailing for attacking Quickness. “It is respectfully recommended that no action be taken until one or all of cases is resolved,” the probation officer wrote.

Two days later, Smoot was arrested for unlawful entry at the J.W. Marriott Hotel next to Press Liquors and set free, but by then, warrants for Quarles’ murder had been issued.

“I signed these warrants when they were presented to me on Jan. 22, 1996,” assistant U.S. Attorney Schertler wrote. “Smoot and [Tamika] were arrested on January 23.” Sounds impressive, but Tamika and Smoot actually walked themselves into custody. On Jan. 23, Smoot woke up with a bad headache, so the two walked over to the 1st District police headquarters at 4th and E Streets SW to get a bottle of Tylenol seized after Smoot’s arrest at the Marriott.

“On January 23, 1996, approximately 1100 hours at 415 4th Street SW, the defendant was stopped, identified, and arrested. He was then transported to the Homicide Branch to be processed.”

Tamika’s outstanding charges were all bundled together, and he ended up pleading guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon for slashing at Quickness with the piece of plastic. The U.S. Attorney’s office waived all other charges against him in exchange for his plea and his promise to testify to Smoot’s role in Quarles’ death. Except Tamika told me he believes Smoot when he says he didn’t do it.

The medical examiner’s office ruled that Quarles’ death was caused by “acute coronary insufficiency associated with blunt and sharp force trauma to the head.” A Homicide captain said he bled to death.

The “blunt and sharp force trauma” refers to cuts on his face and the left side of his neck from the broken bottle. One of the deepest cuts was right above one eye, where the skin is very soft and a cut can release a lot of blood. The killer’s assault on Quarles’ face was deadly because the skin grafts made Quarles’ skin stiff and unyielding.

When I had lunch with Tamika, he remembered that Quarles’ eyes were open and that he mumbled incomprehensible things as Tamika cradled his bloody head in his arms.

Between pleading guilty in April and being sentenced in August, Tamika lived at his mother’s. During those months, the judge in the case ordered him to get along with his mother and to avoid all contact with Smoot. Tamika willingly agreed, and his attorney told the judge Tamika was “thrilled to be away from Mr. Smoot.”

But at the end of lunch, Tamika offered to have Smoot call me (he never did).

Smoot may be in jail, Tamika says, but “I’ll wait for him.”

“He ain’t going to be home tomorrow, I don’t think, but when he does get home, I have my stuff in order, prepared.”

If Tamika gets the maximum sentence for slashing at Quickness he will go away for between three-and-a-third and 10 years. “I might get time, I might not,” he said, slowly cracking a grin.

In the matter of Quarles’ death, Tamika never took the stand. Smoot agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. At his sentencing hearing the judge said Smoot was clearly someone behaving “beyond the law” and sentenced him to five to 30 years. Before sentence was passed, Smoot told the court that he was informed that he is HIV-positive. The judge stopped short of giving Smoot the maximum amount of time (10 to 30 years), stating only that his illness may help him turn around the last few years of his life. In exchange for his guilty plea, the government agreed to waive all the other cases against him, including the ones for beating Tamika.

Before his sentencing, Tamika said he hoped Smoot didn’t get put away for a long time.

A guy died, I said. His last moments sounded hellish. Shouldn’t society call in a bigger debt than that?

“Not when you’re a black homosexual,” Tamika snapped.

He was talking about Quarles, but Tamika is a black homosexual, too, as is Smoot. The ironies stack like cordwood. Death by wounds on a face that was scarred for life, a man who lived by the bottle ending up dying by same, and now Tamika wants Smoot to benefit from the justice system’s calculation that a homeless queer’s life isn’t worth squat.

Tamika’s comment about the relative cheapness of life when you are gay, black, and homeless cuts too many ways to count. If Quarles’ life wasn’t worth much, then Smoot probably won’t be forced to pay. But Smoot is also a part of that class under the glass, so he has no reason to expect mercy. And while Tamika may skate on the murder, his lot is no better. By waiting and hoping for Smoot’s return, Tamika’s future is bleak. After all, it’s Smoot coming to say, “Honey, I’m home.” The beatings will no doubt resume.

No one really cares. Tamika’s rant about being gay and black is just one more cry shouted from under the glass floor, saying that he and Smoot will get caught—and get away—over and over, for the same reason: They are below the law.

Laws should rule a civilized society, but what of those who don’t buy in, who feel that the laws don’t apply to them and don’t protect them?

“Not if you’re a black homosexual,” Tamika said a second time, to fill the silence, slowly shaking his head. I paid the check and Tamika went off to use the ladies’ room.

A few weeks later, I repeatedly tried to meet up with Tamika again, and suggested we meet for coffee.

“I don’t drink coffee,” Tamika shouted through the phone. “I’m a white woman from Bethesda!” Ah yes, there it was. The last word. What could I say?

On Feb. 14, 1996, the U.S Attorney’s office announced it would seek murder charges against Smoot and Tamika for the death of Carlos Quarles. On that very same day, in another courtroom in the same building, Quarles failed to appear at his trial for indecent exposure. The judge in that case issued a bench warrant for his arrest and sent the paperwork on to the warrant office.CP