DICKSON CITY – Stephen Jenkins looked into his primary suspect's face Wednesday morning from across the table and put things simply.
"Right now you're looking at time," Mr. Jenkins said, citing the charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy that T.J. Eltringham would already face.
"If you cooperate with us, you can make things easy with us," Mr. Jenkins said.
Cocaine, heroin and marijuana lay strewn across a room just down the hall, where a bloody knife sat on the counter.
It appeared someone had been stabbed after a card game gone awry, fled the room and left two possible assailants behind to explain it all to police.
Mr. Eltringham cracked.
"It was all an accident," he confessed - falsely.
The setting wasn't a courtroom, but the lobby of the Microtel Inn and Suites, the scene not of a crime, but an educational demonstration.
Mr. Eltringham is campus director of McCann School of Business and Technology. Mr. Jenkins, 22, is a student in the school's criminal justice program.
It was actually flour, sugar and parsley all over the room and a corn syrup covered knife on the counter, but aside from the illegal substance's substitutes, the scene seemed no different than one in which a crime had actually taken place.
"I have a huge passion for this stuff," said Dave Kostiak, criminal justice program director at McCann. "I like conveying it to students to show it's not as easy as it looks."
Mr. Kostiak spent 14 years working in the Baltimore Police Department, and since moving back to the area four years ago, he has worked in several security positions and with the Lackawanna County sheriff's office. He has been at McCann for six months.
Microtel donated a room in the hotel and a conference room for the class to use for the mock investigation Wednesday morning.
The students processed the crime scene, interviewed the two suspects and completed authentic Baltimore Police Department paperwork to complete their investigation.
Mr. Kostiak said the final project of the semester would count for 30 percent of the students' grades.
Despite his cool, dominant demeanor in dealing with Mr. Eltringham - or "Tom" as far as "investigators" were concerned - Mr. Jenkins said it was not as easy as it looked.