Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Editor's Note: This post is a joint reporting effort by Lori Alexander Moore and Roger Shuler.
Roughly 14 months have passed since the body of Alabama attorney Major Bashinsky was found floating in a golf-course water hazard. The official finding of suicide sounded suspect to our ears when it was announced on March 24, 2010--and it seems even more suspect now that we've fully examined the autopsy report in the case.
The mainstream press has ignored signs that the Bashinsky death was not a suicide, but the public should not ignore them. And it should demand an independent investigation, especially because the issue of mysterious "suicides" in Alabama does not end with Major Bashinsky.
We have reported on the suicides of four prominent Alabamians, all of whom had possible connections to financial matters involving former Governor Bob Riley, the Alabama Republican Party, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--and perhaps GOP strategist Karl Rove and confessed felon Jack Abramoff. We have reported that the Bashinsky autopsy report presents no forensic evidence to support a finding of suicide; the finding is based on the non-scientific investigation of police officers. We also have reported that a gun linked to the Bashinsky death is from a model that dates to World War II and now is considered a collector's item--seemingly an odd choice for a man planning to shoot himself, especially since we've seen no reports that Major Bashinsky was a gun collector.
After reviewing the full Bashinsky autopsy report, we are convinced that Alabama law enforcement cannot be trusted to examine these deaths objectively. Why is that? During Bob Riley's last year in office, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned years of judicial precedent and essentially declared that Riley was the chief law-enforcement officer in the state. That means any police agency in Alabama had a conflict of interest investigating deaths that might have ties to the Riley administration.
Should Alabamians trust that conflicted agencies got it right on these four deaths--and possibly others? No, they should not. And the stakes grow higher as the death toll mounts.