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Was Prominent Attorney's Death Really a Suicide?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 3/25/10

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
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Law-enforcement officials have ruled Major Bashinsky's death a suicide. But we see reasons to doubt that conclusion in the disappearance and death of the prominent Alabama attorney.

Particularly surprising is the officials' finding that Bashinsky died on March 3, the day he disappeared. That means his body remained in a shallow golf-course water hazard for 12 days, in a heavily trafficked area, without being noticed.

Will members of Bashinsky's family question the suicide finding? We suspect they will. Comments in the press about a week ago from Leslie Hewett Bashinsky, Major's widow, and her brother, Steve Hewett, indicate that they saw no signs pointing to suicide.

Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr., Major's older brother, states in a post this morning that he accepts the suicide finding. But Sloan says he suspects someone pressured Major about something--perhaps disclosure that he had Peyroine's disease and was bisexual--and that drove Major to suicide.

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Previously, Sloan had written that he thought Major might have felt business pressures, possibly from improper sales of securities. But Sloan quotes a business associate who says Major was fully licensed to sell securities. Via e-mail, the person wrote:

Good morning,

I have been following your blog since the whole story broke and I have enjoyed reading your past blogs.

I did want to comment on your blog today (3/24). Major did have all securities licenses needed to sell any kind of investment he wanted. Even though he was an attorney, his main business was an investment advisor practice thru First Protective, a subsidiary of Protective Life. Although I do not know for sure, his business seemed to be legit, so I would lean more towards his personal life for the reasons behind his suicide. I just thought you should know.

I hope you find closure and peace.

Because of that note, Sloan writes, he believes Major was pressured about something personal, not involving the law or business, that drove him to suicide.

We admire Sloan's efforts to sort out the truth about a painful chapter in his family's history, through his blog. But we're not sure we agree with either of his findings, so far. We have doubts about the suicide finding, and we suspect Major Bashinsky's concerns might have been more professional than personal.

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This much is clear: Many questions remain about Major Bashinsky's disappearance and death, and we suspect many of those questions might never be answered now that his death has been ruled a suicide. Consider just a few questions that seemingly have not been properly addressed:

* If Major Bashinsky waded into the golf-course water hazard on March 3 and shot himself, how could his body go unnoticed for 12 days?

An article in the print version of today's Birmingham News provides the official account. (The same version does not appear to be available online.)

Authorities said they believe Bashinsky died March 3, the day he disappeared from his Mountain Brook office. His Toyota Camry was found in Southside, in the 2100 block of 11th Court, on March 7. His body was found March 15 in the golf course pond.

Here's what investigators believe happened:

The day he disappeared, Bashinsky went into a Southside coffee shop and bought coffee, then went to a nearby hardware store and purchased rope and duct tape.

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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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