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Could a Private Investigator Uncover the Truth Behind a Mysterious "Suicide"?

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

If I were a member of Birmingham's Bashinsky family--and had plenty of money, as they seem to have--I would promptly put in a call to Paul Ciolino.

Who is Paul Ciolino? He is a Chicago-based private investigator who recently announced that he had helped determine that the death of boxing great Arturo Gatti was not a suicide, contrary to the official findings of authorities in Brazil. Gatti was found dead in his room at a Brazilian resort in July 2009, and it was ruled a suicide by hanging.

The private investigation proved so compelling that officials in Brazil announced that they are reopening their official inquiry. What did the PIs find? Reports the Associated Press:

Experts said . . . Gatti suffered a head injury before being strangled. They also said the strap he allegedly used wasn't strong enough to hold up his body.

Noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht says the position of the body and other evidence shows Gatti was the victim of strangulation.

One can only wonder what the Gatti PIs would make of the Major Bashinsky case. A prominent lawyer and the son of a well-known Alabama businessman, Bashinsky was reported missing in March 2010, and his body was found floating in a golf-course water hazard. Officials found that Bashinsky died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, although there have been no reports of anything that might have driven the affluent, 63-year-old attorney to take his own life.

The Bashinsky autopsy report presents no scientific evidence that points to suicide. News reports, and the autopsy report itself, have been filled with inconsistencies and unanswered questions.

Circumstances surrounding the Arturo Gatti death have been bizarre from the outset--but they probably have nothing on the Bashinsky case. Gatti lived in New Jersey, and here is how a newspaper there described his death:

The immensely popular Gatti, who was born in Montreal but called Jersey City home, was found dead in his room by his wife, Amanda Rodrigues, on July 11, 2009. She was initially charged with murder but on July 30 the charges were dropped and Rodrigues was released by Brazilian authorities. Gatti's death was ruled a suicide by hanging.

Authorities in Brazil said at the time that Gatti was drunk and despondent over his failing marriage. They said he used Rodrigues' purse strap to hang himself, as his wife and son, Arturo Jr., slept upstairs.

Brazilian officials actually came up with a more believable story than the one we've been handed in the Bashinsky case. They at least stated that Gatti was "drunk and despondent over his failing marriage."

Alabama officials have never given any reason that Major Bashinsky might have wanted to kill himself. In fact, multiple news outlets have reported that Bashinsky refilled a prescription for cholesterol medication just hours before his disappearance. Does that sound like the act of a man who planned to kill himself?

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 

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