'Something Fishy' Going on With Scalia's Death?
Chaos, confusion still shroud Scalia's demise
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2016 4:28 PM CST
The hearse which transported Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's body to the airport from Sunset Funeral Home departs the Atlantic Aviation hangar at El Paso International Airport in El Paso, Texas,...   (VIctor Calzada/The El Paso Times via AP)
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(Newser) Antonin Scalia's death—how it was handled, who made what decisions, and why—is appearing murkier than recent articles suggest. A former top homicide official even says "there is something fishy going on" with the Supreme Court Justice's demise. To sum up:

  • Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who pronounced Scalia's death a likely heart attack, now says she only meant his heart stopped when he died, the Washington Post reports. "It wasn’t a heart attack," Guevara says. "He died of natural causes." She had declared Scalia's death "natural" without seeing his body (apparently legal in Texas) or demanding an autopsy. She had talked to a US Marshal at the scene and Scalia's doctor before deciding.
  • She tells the AP that Scalia's doctor—Rear Adm. Brian P. Monahan, who is attending physician for the Supreme Court and Congress—said Scalia had a history of high blood pressure and heart trouble, and wasn't strong enough to have shoulder surgery for a recent injury.
  • If that's true, Scalia hid it well: John Poindexter, who owns the Cibolo Creek Ranch where Scalia was visiting when he died, says the Supreme Court Justice behaved normally Friday and joined a quail hunt as an observer, the New York Times reports. "He seemed in good spirits," Poindexter tells the LA Times. Scalia was also traveling without a security detail of US Marshals.
  • West Texas authorities spent hours seeking a justice of the peace to pronounce on Scalia's death. Juanita Bishop, a justice of the peace in Presidio, Tex., didn't get there in time but suggests she would have wanted an autopsy. "If it had been me . . . I would want to know," she says.
  • A former head of criminal investigations for DC police agrees, the Dallas Morning News reports. "As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia," writes William Ritchie in a Facebook post. "You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. ... How can the Marshal say, without a thorough post mortem, that he was not injected with an illegal substance that would simulate a heart attack…"
  • Poindexter found Scalia's body in a peaceful position Saturday after checking on the apparent late sleeper: "It was just like he was taking a nap," Poindexter days. "He just went to sleep and didn’t wake up."
  • Reporters weren't allowed into Scalia's impressive suite, "El Presidente," after he died, but looked in the window and saw a bed that appeared slept in. Poindexter says he found a water bottle and a map of the ranch property by the bed.

See how Scalia's death could affect six big cases.
 

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