DC Medical Examiner history one of covering up politically-connected murders
publication date: Feb 15, 2011
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On February 12, "Pravda of the Potomac" -- The Washington Post -- the paper that puts the final official lid on stories in the nation's capital, reported on the District of Columbia Medical Examiner's conclusions on the fiery automobile death of former Rep. Rosa DeLauro chief of staff Ashley Turton. Turton died betwen 4:30 and 5:00 am on January 10 after she started her BMW. The DC Medical concluded Turton died from burns and inhalation of "products of combustion" with "acute alcohol intoxication."
WMR has previously reported that a friend of Ashley Turton told us the former congressional staffer who became chief lobbyist for North Carolina-based Progress Energy was on her way to the airport, possibly with a stop at her office, to fly to Charlotte where a buy-out of her company by Duke Power was to be announced later in the day. To believe the DC Medical Examiner (DCME), Turton was in a heavily drunken state as she was heading to the airport for an early morning flight to attend a conference with her present and future employer. And, curiously, the DCME issued its findings before the DC Fire Department concluded its own investigation.
It is not the first time the DCME has issued a dubious autopsy report on a politically-linked suspicious death.
In March 1995, the DCME concluded that a 36 year-old Little Rock, Arkansas woman named Margaret Davis King had committed suicide when she threw herself into the Lion Exhibit at the Washington National Zoo around 5:00 am after entering through the secure employee's entrance, scaling a tall fence, diving nine feet into a moat and swimming to the lion's lair, and then somehow enraging a male lion to the point that he swatted her head and then ate her hands and most of her arms. King had left no suicide note. King was in Washington to file a lawsuit against President Clinton who she claimed had abducted "their daughter." King had been ruled mentally unstable in Arkansas and was known to the Secret Service. King was carrying a small tape recorder when she "committed suicide." The DCME and Washington Metropolitan Police said they could not immediately identify King until two days after her death, even though she was carrying an Arkansas photo identification bus pass.
In July 1997, Mary Mahoney, a former White House intern who worked with Monica Lewinsky, was murdered execution-style, along with two colleagues, at a Starbuck's at 1810 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown in Washington. There were reports that Mahoney was to go public with information about what she knew about sexual harassment at the Clinton White House. Mahoney was shot in the head with five bullet from an automatic weapon. Her two colleagues, Emory Evans and Aaron Goodrich, were taken to another room at the coffee shop and executed separately, each shot one time in the head with a revolver. No money was taken from the Starbuck's, ruling out robbery as a motive. Two separate types of bullets and two guns were used in the killings, a clear indication that more than one killer was involved. The murders occurred on a Sunday evening after the shop closed at 8 pm. There was ample cash in the drawers after a busy Independence Day weekend. Police also examined a security video tape from the upscale Four Seasons Hotel, which was several blocks away from the Starbuck's on Pennsylvania Avenue. The DCME never looked at the murders as a professional hit but as a random robbery.
On November 26, 1996, the day after Thanksgiving, when most federal employees take the day off, Commerce Department executive secretary Barbara Wise's bruised and partially naked body was found locked in her office at the Herbert Hoover Building, across 15th Street from the White House Ellipse. Wise handled the personal correspondence for Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and Commerce Department official John Huang. On the morning of the day Wise died, President Clinton, at Camp David for the Thanksgiving weekend, returned to the White House on an unscheduled trip to retrieve a poetry book he said he needed for his Inaugural Address, not scheduled for another two months. DCME conclusion on Wise's death: unknown.
On November 7, 2003, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research official, 58year-old John J. Kokal, the department's key intelligence analyst on Iraq, was said to have jumped to his death from the secured rooftop of the State Department's Foggy Bottom headquarters. Kokal's body was found after 5 pm on the ground, eight floors down from the roof. Kokal's wife, also a State Department employee, was waiting for him in the State Department parking garage. DCME: suicide, no signs of struggle, and no explanation why Kokal was wearing no shoes. Kokal briefed Secretary of State Colin Powell at least once a week on Iraq and the analyst, who may have been seconded from the CIA to State, was known to be a skeptic on the intelligence used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
On November 25, 2003, just a few weeks after Kokal's "suicide." Gus Weiss, a former top level CIA and Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan White House intelligence official, died "after a fall" from the Watergate complex, where Weiss lived. DCME did not disclose details of Weiss's death. Weiss, like Kokal, was an outspoken opponent of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Watergate is only a few blocks from where Kokal's body was found. The DCME never even tried to connect the two deaths.
In 2006, New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum was hit over the head in his usually crime-free Northwest Washington neighborhood. Washington emergency response personnel never noticed the severe head wound on Rosenbaum's head and thought he was a drunk. Rosenbaum died from his brain injuries two days after he was attacked. The DCME concluded that Rosenbaum was the victim of a mugging.
With a record like this, any conclusions of the DCME should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. File the Turton case in the same "Cold Case" file along with King, Mahoney, Wise, Kokal, Weiss, Rosenbaum, Chandra Levy, and a number of others. And no, The Washington Post does not have the final word.
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