Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books available on this site.)
Introduction: A series of haunting, politically-related deaths in Alabama have been ruled “suicides,” in spite of evidence to the contrary. All of the victims of these so-called “suicides” are linked to what one incisive blog has termed “Karl Rove’s Alabama.”
Linked to the political skulduggery that appears to have engulfed former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, these deaths exemplify an unpleasant reality that Americans have chosen to ignore: political murder is an established tradition in the United States.
The program reviews the untimely death of former Bush White House IT chief Mike Connell in a plane crash (following death threats against Connell [allegedly made by Karl Rove] and warnings that his plane might be sabotaged.)
Connell’s testimony in ongoing investigations might have shed light on the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections, as well as the destruction of White House e-mails. At least five alleged suicides and murders in Alabama involve people connected to the GOP power structure that elevated Governor Bob Riley, a power structure forged by Karl Rove. These deaths also appear linked to the operations of convicted felon Jack Abramoff in Alabama.
The broadcast relates the incredible circumstances of the death of Major Bashinsky, whose corpse was found dead of a gunshot wound on the bottom of a golf course pond.
- . . . Authorities say [Major] Bashinsky wrapped rope around parts of his body and attached a bottle that contained a copy of the note they found in his car. He stuck a label from a Golden Flake bag in the roof of his mouth and loosely bound his mouth with duct tape and his hands with rope. He then walked into the [golf course] pond and shot himself. . . .
Bashinsky’s cousin, Charles “Bubba” Major (a former pro at the golf club on whose course Bashinsky’s corpse was discovered) expressed disbelief at the official account of the death:
- “. . .You probably did not know that I [Charles “Bubba” Major] ran Highland Golf Course for 15 yrs 83–98 and thought it was ironic that they found Major’s body at Highland Golf Course, still have not heard the cause of death, but guess it will come out soon. For the record there is no way the body could have been there several days, without being seen because Hooters had a golf tourney there Sat and had over 120 people going by that pond every 3 minutes. . .”
Major was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound after making the above statement.
After noting the alleged suicides of a couple of former and active FBI agents, the program analyzes aspects of the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, and the mysterious death that same weekend of Ashley Turton, the wife of Dan Turton, Obama’s liaison to the House of Representatives.
Ending with discussion of one of this country’s major political assassinations, the program notes that Sirhan Sirhan has recalled key details of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy under hypnotic regression.
Program Highlights Include: The alleged suicide of Ralph Stacy; the alleged suicide of Bob Caviness; the murder of Zoa White; the possibility of a second suspect in the shooting of Representative Giffords; the possibility that the primary target of the Giffords shooting may have been a federal judge with drug task force experience; a recounting of the “girl in the polka-dot dress”–a key aspect of the investigation into the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy; Sirhan’s hypnotic recollection of a second gun being fired at the Ambassador Hotel; Ashley Turton’s work for Rudy Giuliani’s law firm; that firm’s successful negotiation of the merger of Duke and Progress Energy, to form the world’s largest utility.
1. Beginning with review of the apparent murder of Michael Connell, the broadcast notes his links to the events underlying the investigation into a series of highly suspicious deaths in Alabama.
Connell’s testimony in ongoing investigations might have shed light on the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections, as well as the destruction of White House e-mails (the scandal surrounding the e-mails overlaps the issue of Rove’s manipulation of U.S. attorneys and the controversy surrounding Don Siegelman in Alabama). Note the reports of Connell having been threatened by Karl Rove.
Michael Connell, the Bush IT expert who has been directly implicated in the rigging of George Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed last night when his single engine plane crashed three miles short of the Akron airport. Velvet Revolution (“VR”), a non-profit that has been investigating Mr. Connell’s activities for the past two years, can now reveal that a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how he can tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.”
A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.
On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.
An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the setting up of the off-grid White House email system.
Mr. Connell handled all of John McCain’s computer work in the recent presidential campaign. VR has received direct evidence that the McCain campaign kept abreast of the legal developments against Mr. Connell by reading the VR dedicated website, www.rovecybergate.com. . . .
2. The lethality manifesting in Alabama appears to be connected to Karl Rove’s machinations in that state–gambits that apparently resulted in the prosecution of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on corruption charges, this in the wake of Siegelman’s suspicious defeat in the 2002 elections.
Note, in particular, the presence of Leura Canary and her husband Bill in this scenario. Both names crop up in connection with the events apparently surrounding the violent deaths in Alabama.
Note, also, the violence to which whistleblower Jill Simpson was subjected, after disclosing allegations of Rove’s intention to destroy Don Siegelman politically.
Don Eugene Siegelman (born February 24, 1946) is an American Democratic Party politician who held numerous offices in Alabama. He was the 51st Governor of Alabama for one term from 1999 to 2003. Siegelman is the only person in the history of Alabama to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected offices: Secretary of State, Attorney General, 26th Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He served in Alabama politics for 26 years.
After the expiration of his governorship, two of Alabama’s United States Attorneys began a criminal investigation against him on accusations of corruption while in office. Indictments came in 2004 and again in 2005, and in 2006 he was convicted on corruption charges. Since then there have been counter-accusations by various former attorneys general and officials that his prosecution was intentionally wrongful, engineered by presidential advisor Karl Rove and officials of the U.S. Department of Justice to gain political advantage. . . .
. . . Representative Bob Riley defeated Siegelman’s November 2002 reelection bid by the narrowest margin in Alabama history: approximately 3,000 votes. The result was controversial, as on the night of the election, Siegelman was initially declared the winner by the Associated Press. Later, a voting machine malfunction in a single county, Baldwin County, was claimed to have produced the votes needed to give Siegelman the election. When the malfunction was corrected, Riley emerged the winner. Democratic Party officials objected, stating that the recount had been performed by local Republican election officials after Democratic observers had left the site of the vote counting, thus rendering verification of the recount results impossible. The state’s Attorney General, Republican Bill Pryor, affirmed the recounted vote totals, securing Riley’s election. Largely as a result of this controversy, the Alabama Legislature amended the election code to provide for automatic, supervised recounts in close races. . . .
. . . Siegelman has stated that he wants to see Karl Rove held in contempt for refusing to testify before a House committee that is investigating Siegelman’s conviction. Although Siegelman was convicted, his argument is he may not have been investigated if not for Rove. . .
. . . Witness Nick Bailey, who provided the cornerstone testimony upon which the conviction was based, was subsequently convicted of extortion; upon being given 10 years in prison Bailey cooperated with prosecutors to lighten his own sentence. Although he engaged in over 70 interviews with the prosecution against Siegelman, none of the notes detailing these interviews were shared with the defense. In addition, after the case was tried it was confirmed that the check he testified he saw Scrushy write for Siegelman was actually written days later, when he was not actually present. . . .
. . . Allegations that Siegelman was prosecuted at the insistence of Bush-appointed officials at the Justice Depaontgomery whose husband was Alabama’s top Republican operative and who had for years worked closely with Karl Rove, led federal courts to release the accused on bail. In June 2007, a Republican lawyer, Dana Jill Simpson of Rainsville, Alabama, signed a sworn statement that, five years earlier, she had heard that Karl Rove was preparing to neutralize Siegelman politically with an investigation headed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Simpson later told The Birmingham News that her affidavit’s wording could be interpreted in two ways, and stated that she had written her affidavit herself, whereas in her Congressional testimony she had admitted to having help from a Siegelman supporter.
According to Simpson’s statement, she was on a Republican campaign conference call in 2002 when she heard Bill Canary tell other campaign workers not to worry about Siegelman because Canary’s “girls” and “Karl” would make sure the Justice Department pursued the Democrat so he was not a political threat in the future. “Canary’s girls” supposedly included his wife, Leura Canary, who is United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Alice Martin. Leura Canary did not submit voluntary recusal paperwork until two months after Siegelman attorney David Cromwell Johnson’s press conference in March 2002.
In interviews with the press, Simpson has emphasized that she heard Rove’s name mentioned in a phone conversation in which the discussion turned to Siegelman, clarified that she heard someone involved in a 2002 conference call refer to a meeting between Mr. Rove and Justice Department officials on the subject of Siegelman, and revealed that Karl Rove ordered her to “catch Siegelman cheating on his wife.“ The Anniston Star published an editorial stating that, “If that’s his story, then Rove should not hesitate to go under oath and answer questions before a congressional committee.“ . . .
. . . On the other hand, Raw Story reports that Karl Rove advised Bill Canary on managing Republican Bob Riley’s gubernatorial campaign against Siegelman in the election fraud controversy of 2002, based on the testimony of “two Republican lawyers who have asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation,” one of whom is close to Alabama’s Republican National Committee.
Simpson’s house burned down soon after she began whistleblowing, and Simpson’s car was driven off the road by a private investigator and wrecked. As a result of the timing of these incidents, Simpson said, “Anytime you speak truth to power, there are great risks. I’ve been attacked,” explaining she felt a “moral obligation” to speak up. . . .
3. Analyzing those suspicious deaths in Alabama, the program begins by highlighting the alleged suicide of Charles “Bubba” Major.
For the fourth time in roughly a year, a person with ties to Alabama’s corporate/political elites has committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. This time, the deceased had family ties to a man who committed a most public “suicide” in March 2010.
Charles “Bubba” Major died on Monday at age 59, and his funeral will be at 3 p.m. today at Mountain Brook Baptist Church. Bubba Major was a first cousin of prominent Birmingham attorney Major Bashinsky, whose body was found floating in a golf-course pond last March and later was ruled a suicide, a finding we have reported is dubious, at best.
Bubba Major was quoted publicly as saying the story of Major Basinsky’s death did not add up. Now, sources are telling Legal Schnauzer this morning that Bubba Major’s death has been ruled a suicide–and that has been confirmed with today’s post from goodmorningfloridakeys.com, a blog written by Sloan Bashinsky Jr., Major’s older brother.
This brings to four the number of curious suicides in roughly the past year in Alabama, all involving individuals with ties to the state’s conservative ruling elites? We know about Major Bashinsky and Bubba Major. The others are Ralph Stacy, an executive with the Business Council of Alabama, and Bob Caviness, an investigator in the office of former Attorney General Troy King. That list doesn’t include Zoa White, a woman who worked in the Riley administration and was found beaten to death in her Mobile home. That has been ruled a homicide.
Both Major Bashinsky and Bubba Major had roundabout ties to a lawsuit brought by the estate of Sloan Bashinsky Sr. against the Birmingham firm W and H Investments. The “H” stands for William Cobb “Chip” Hazelrig, an entrepreneur with ties to the Alabama gaming community. Hazelrig is a partner in Paragon Gaming, a company headed by Robert Sigler, of Tuscaloosa. Paragon is pursuing a major gambling resort in Canada, and Rob Riley, the son of former Alabama Republican Governor Bob Riley, used to be involved in Paragon.
Bubba Major was known as one of the finest golfers in Alabama and was a long-time member of the prestigious Country Club of Birmingham. And how is this for irony? An Internet search reveals that Bubba Major worked in sales at Southline Steel, a company based in Bessemer, Alabama. Who has a prominent interest in Southline Steel? None other than Chip Hazelrig.
People with ties to the lawsuit styled Estate of Sloan Bashinsky v. W and H Investments have a curious way of turning up as suicide victims. Is that because Chip Hazelrig has ties to Alabama’s Republican machine, built largely by Karl Rove in the 1990s and run by the Riley family in the 2000s? And is this ugliness driven partly because of the GOP’s under-the-table ties to the gambling industry?
We know for sure that Chip Hazelrig took some curious actions last March, while Major Bashinsky was missing. Why would he show up for a visit with Sloan Bashinsky Jr. in Key West, Florida?
What about Hazelrig’s ties to the Alabama GOP? Rob Riley distanced himself from Paragon Gaming only after a contribution from Hazelrig to Bob Riley’s gubernatorial campaign was revealed to have come from someone with ties to gambling. Bob Riley returned the contribution, claiming that he was staunchly anti-gambling, and he went on to launch a crusade against electronic bingo in the last year of his reign as governor.
The Riley family’s public stance on gambling, of course, represents breath-taking hypocrisy. Bob Riley, it has been widely reported, was elected with massive financial assistance from Mississippi Choctaw gaming interests funneled through convicted GOP felon Jack Abramoff. And it has been well documented that Rob Riley has ties to Chip Hazelrig, Robert Sigler, and their gaming interests.
Now, two people with ties to the Bashinsky family, which was seeking an accounting of $37 million invested with Chip Hazelrig’s company, have turned up dead. Both have been ruled a suicide, but we have shown there are significant reasons to doubt the finding in the Major Bashinsky case. The Bubba Major story is in its early stages, but we’ve seen signs that he was concerned about what had happened to his cousin. Did that concern cost him his life? We would not be surprised if the answer is yes. . . .
4. Exhibiting the parameters of the so-called “suicides” in Alabama are the preposterous circumstances of the alleged “suicide” of Charles “Bubba” Major’s cousin Major Bashinsky.
Note that Major was a golf pro at the club where Bashinsky’s body was found. Major felt it was impossible for his cousin’s body not to be discovered. He was found dead roughly a year later.
. . . Authorities say Bashinsky wrapped rope around parts of his body and attached a bottle that contained a copy of the note they found in his car. He stuck a label from a Golden Flake bag in the roof of his mouth and loosely bound his mouth with duct tape and his hands with rope. He then walked into the pond and shot himself.
If he waded into the water, obviously the water was shallow. Being in Alabama in early March, the water probably was not terribly cold. This was on a public golf course where many people come and go. And yet the body remained submerged and unnoticed for roughly 12 days?
I don’t pretend to be a forensic pathologist, but this seems unlikely–and officials gave no indication that the body was weighted down by any object. . . .
. . .You probably did not know that I ran Highland Golf Course for 15 yrs 83–98 and thought it was ironic that they found Major’s body at Highland Golf Course, still have not heard the cause of death, but guess it will come out soon. For the record there is no way the body could have been there several days, without being seen because Hooters had golf tourney there Sat and had over 120 people going by that pond every 3 minutes. . .
. . . Background note: Major’s body was spotted by golfers Monday following the Hooters tournament. He went missing 12 days before his body was found. He was alive most of that time. There was no ransom demand. There was no note to law enforcement or the family or the media. There was only silence. . . .
5. Bob Caviness was yet another of the mysterious deaths in “Karl Rove’s Alabama.”
An investigator in the office of Alabama Attorney General Troy King recently died under mysterious circumstances, adding to a growing list of suspicious deaths in the final 12 months or so of Governor Bob Riley’s two terms.
Robert William “Bob” Caviness died on November 15 in Alexander City, Alabama, where he lived. Multiple sources have told Legal Schnauzer that Caviness died from a gunshot wound to the head, and his death apparently is being considered a suicide.
Sources also say that Caviness was friends with Ralph Stacy, a Business Council of Alabama (BCA) executive who was found dead in his office in September from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Caviness and Stacy reportedly shared a common faith and both were lay ministers.
An obvious question: Was Bob Caviness investigating his friend’s death and did he get too close to the truth for someone’s comfort?
Another question: Is this toxic environment a natural by-product of efforts by Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to take over Alabama courts in the 1990s–which served as a precursor to the Don Siegelman prosecution and other nasty events in our state?
Caviness was 46 years old, with a wife and two sons. He had worked for the Montgomery Police Department, mostly in drug investigations, for 20 years before going to work for the Attorney General’s Office. . . .
. . . The Caviness case marks at least four suspicious deaths that we know of in 2010, all involving people with some connections to the Riley administration or its activities. Caviness’ boss, Attorney General Troy King, is a Republican and once was a Riley ally. But the two have had a very public and ugly falling out over gambling-related issues. King has stated that electronic bingo generally is legal in Alabama, while Riley launched a crusade to shut down gaming facilities in Alabama.
Eleven lobbyists, legislators, and gaming figures–including the high-profile Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley–are under indictment on charges related to gambling legislation. The investigation has been led by U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, a Riley ally and George W. Bush appointee who, inexplicably, has remained in office throughout the Barack Obama administration.
What are the other suspicious deaths? We have written several posts about Major Bashinsky, Zoa White, and Ralph Stacy:
* Major Bashinsky–The 63-year-old son of one of the state’s best-known businessmen was reported missing in early March. About two weeks later, his body was found floating in a golf-course pond on Birmingham’s Southside, and his death was ruled a suicide. His father, the late Sloan Bashinsky Sr., was the CEO of Golden Enterprises, the maker of Golden Flake potato chips and snack foods. In the months leading up to Major Bashinsky’s disappearance, the Estate of Sloan Bashinsky was involved in a lawsuit with W and H Investments of Birmingham, seeking an accounting of some $37 million the elder Bashinsky had invested with the firm–mostly in oil wells. A settlement was approved in the lawsuit on March 1, two days before Major Bashinsky was reported missing. One of the partners in W and H Investments is William Cobb “Chip” Hazelrig, who once had a campaign contribution to Bob Riley returned when it was discovered that Hazelrig was a founding partner of a company called Paragon Gaming. Both Hazelrig and Rob Riley, the governor’s son, had ties to a company called Crimsonica, which is based in Tuscaloosa and run by a man named Robert Sigler.
* Zoa White–A former Riley campaign worker, the 69-year-old White was found dead in her midtown Mobile home on June 28. News reports have said she was beaten to death with a hammer. White had worked in the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) under Bill Johnson, who went from being a member of the Riley administration to one of the governor’s harshest critics. Johnson was so close to White and her family that he helped notify friends about funeral arrangements. Mobile police recently made an arrest in White’s murder, but they have said little about evidence found in the case. The prosecution will be led by Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson, who is commander of Riley’s anti-gambling task force. Suspect Carlos Edward Kennedy has been denied bond in the case and is represented by a court-appointed lawyer.
* Ralph Stacy–He was in charge of strategic communications and was a chief lieutenant to BCA president Bill Canary. Canary, who is Leura Canary’s husband, is a long-time associate of Karl Rove and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue. Montgomery police have released few details about Stacy’s death, and the Montgomery Advertiser has written almost nothing about it. Stacy was 53, with a wife, Angel, and a daughter, Savannah. Friends and colleagues described him as a jovial man who was a popular public speaker. Before moving under the BCA banner earlier this year, Stacy had served as director of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, which represented the state’s 120 Chambers of Commerce and had some 60,000 dues-paying members. The BCA, with about 5,000 members, reportedly had long coveted the sizable membership over which Stacy ruled.
Is it coincidence that these deaths happened in 2010, as Bob Riley’s term was winding down and the governor was engaged in a high-profile crusade against gambling interests? Is it coincidence that these deaths occurred as questions continued to rise about Riley’s financial support from the Mississippi Choctaw Indians, reportedly laundered through GOP felon Jack Abramoff? Is it a coincidence that Bob Riley has strong ties to Bill Canary, Karl Rove, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–and Riley’s term is ending amidst a disturbingly high body count? It could be. Is it possible that there is nothing suspicious about any of these deaths?. . .
6. One of the “suicides” had been harassed by the FBI.
Alabama deputy attorney general before he committed suicide last November–all because the agents mistakenly thought the deputy AG was trying to help gambling magnate Milton McGregor.
Robert William “Bob” Caviness died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on November 15, as FBI agents Keith Baker and John H. McEachren III were conducting a harassment campaign against him, according to a report in The Montgomery Independent. Baker and McEachren were involved in an investigation of McGregor, which led to the ongoing prosecution of 11 individuals connected to gambling-related measures in the Alabama Legislature.
We have reported on the Caviness story as one of several mysterious Alabama deaths that seem connected roughly to the last year of Gov. Bob Riley’s administration. The most recent such death came just last week, when Birmingham businessman Charles “Bubba” Major reportedly committed suicide in Mountain Brook. Major was a first cousin to prominent attorney Major Bashinsky, whose death in March 2010 was ruled a suicide. Bubba Major had expressed doubts about the official circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, which came just days after the settlement in a lawsuit the Bashinsky family brought against an investment firm with ties to the Riley family and the gambling industry.
How did Bob Caviness incur the wrath of the FBI? Bob Martin, editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent, reports:
The Deputy AG, Robert William “Bob” Caviness, was in the process of conducting a background check on an individual with the last name of McEachern, who lived in the Auburn-Opelika area. It was a matter involving worker’s comp fraud.
The Independent was told by the AG’s office that Agents Baker and McEachern became suspicious when they found out through the state’s computer data base that someone in the Attorney General’s office was conducting the search involving McEachern’s name.
“They went ballistic” according to a source at the AG’s office, “and began harassing Bob and accusing him of trying to help Mr. McGregor,” AG officials told us.
What was the fallout?
An internal investigation was conducted by the AG’s office, which, at that time was under the direction of Atty. Gen. Troy King.
The investigation completely cleared Caviness of doing anything improper.
“He was just doing his job but those idiots at the FBI wouldn’t let him alone. They (the FBI) were bound and determined to tie Bob in with trying to help McGregor,” one AG official told our reporters. Baker and McEachern were the agents who arrested McGregor at his home.
Martin reports that the AG’s office confirmed that Caviness’ death was a suicide. But a number of questions remain, in our mind. Did the AG’s office, now under Luther Strange, provide any documents to support the suicide finding? Did the AG’s office conduct an investigation of its own into Caviness’ death?
What about Caviness’ possible ties to Ralph Stacy, the Business Council of Alabama executive who reportedly committed suicide in his office last September. Multiple sources have told Legal Schnauzer that Stacy and Caviness were friends, that they shared a common faith and were lay ministers. . . .
7. Some FBI agents and former agents have also become “suicides” lately, also victims of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds. What was he working on?
The FBI wasn’t saying much last week about the suicide of an FBI agent, who shot himself in the Portland, Maine area over the weekend of April 24, according to sources.
The agent was in his early 50s, one source said.
FBI agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the Boston FBI Division, which includes Maine, told the ticklethewire.com:
“The type of question which you are inquiring (about)is not something the FBI would comment on.”
Last year, an FBI agent assigned to Quantico committed suicide.
8. Another former FBI agent allegdly shot herself to death in the Houston area. What had she been working on?
The body of a missing former FBI agent from Harris County was found Thursday near her car in Waller County just north of Rolling Hills.
Patricia Durney, who had been reported missing the day before, was retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and working in the private sector. Her car was found Thursday morning in a clearing off Wiggins Road, which set off a multi-agency search for her. A law enforcement helicopter and airplane circled the area while law enforcement officers searched on the ground with the air of dogs.
Agents from the FBI, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety and Waller and Harris county sheriff offices responded.
“The investigation continues, however the initial investigation does not reveal any evidence of foul play,” the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Her body has been taken to the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office. Unconfirmed, published reports indicate Durney died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
On Thursday, Sheriff Glenn Smith said they were waiting for crime scene investigators to examine the area to help determine if the death was murder or suicide.
9. The program highlights some of the considerations at the core of the investigation of the shooting Representative Giffords in Arizona. (These will be dealt with at greater length in a future program.)
10. Quite apart from questions as to the ideological motivation of Jared Lee Loughner, the media have quickly dropped reports of a second possible suspect in the case.
. . . With the local sheriff’s office and the FBI investigating, suspicions that the suspected gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, had an accomplice would complicate the thesis that the shooting was the work of a lone and mentally unbalanced young man lashing out at the government. The existence of a co-conspirator could point to a more calculated plot, and perhaps shed more light on the motive for the attack.
“We are not convinced that [the man in custody] acted alone. There is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved,” said Clarence Dupnik, Pima County sheriff, at a press conference Saturday. . . .
11. A horrifying politically-related death occurred the same weekend that Representative Giffords was shot. The fiery death (murder?) of Ashley Turton, wife of Dan Turton, President Obama’s liaison to the now GOP-controlled House of Representatives received little attention, and was readily dismissed as an unfortunate accident.
Of course, Representative Giffords is a member of that same House of Representatives, due to convene shortly after that deadly weekend.
Was a message being send to the Obama White House?
The car fire that led to the sudden death of Ashley Turton was caused by the impact after a low-speed crash, according to the major crash investigation unit of the Metropolitan Police Department.
“It’s quite possible that the victim was maneuvering the car and came in contact with some kind of flammable chemical materials,” D.C. Fire spokesman Pete Piringer said.
Turton, 37, was the former chief of staff to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and wife of White House liaison to the House of Representatives Dan Turton. She worked as a lobbyist for the Raleigh, N.C.-based utility giant Progress Energy.
Turton was found dead in her car Monday morning, which was discovered ablaze in a row house garage, presumably the Turton home, in the 800 block of A Street Southeast near Eastern Market.
Police said there was a heavy fire in the garage at 4:45 a.m. that caused significant damage to the 2008 BMW X5, which was partially backed out into the driveway and looked singed. Fire damage could also be seen on a corner of the brick home Monday.
When the fire was extinguished, firefighters discovered Turton’s body inside the car. . . .
12a. Ms. Turton worked for Rudy Giuliani’s law firm, which had just successfully negotiated the merger of Duke Energy with Progressive Energy, to form the largest U.S. utility.
In the context of Ms. Turton’s lobbying activities, it is important to remember that K Street lobbyists have, as a matter of custom, given generously to both parties. Under the influence of GOP bigwig Grover Norquist, however, lobbyists have increasingly been favoring the GOP. Might Ms. Turton’s work have threatened that dynamic?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is now assisting D.C. Fire and EMS and D.C. Police with an investigation of a deadly fire that killed a key Washington lobbyist.
37-year-old Ashley Turton was killed in a fire as she backed out of her garage early Monday morning.
A spokesman for D.C. Fire and EMS says the ATF routinely helps out on most fire investigations because they bring in valuable resources. At this point, they are evaluating all possible scenarios, but have not determined a cause. Officials are also awaiting an autopsy report to determine the cause of death.
Officials do believe the BMW SUV that Turton was in initially had a low-impact crash which was followed by a fire. The airbags did not deploy.
Investigators say they’re looking at all possible scenarios and are checking the vehicle maintenance records as well as whether the garage door was working. . . .
. . . In the tough world of politics, she made her presence known with her insight and a smile. Turton worked as a lobbyist and had close ties to the White House. But if you talk to friends, she was the exception.
The 37-year-old was one half of a well-known and well-liked Washington power couple who accomplished a lot. Ashley’s husband, Dan Turton, is the point person for the White House when it comes to moving legislation through Congress.
“She never let that change her personality. She was still a very regular person. The kind of person that if you met, you’d would think was a nice person and a smart person, but you wouldn’t necessarily suspect that she had substantial connections to corridors of power,” said Scott Segal, a lobbyist with Bracewell & Giuliani.
From Capitol Hill to K Street, she stood out first as a top staffer on the Hill, then as a lobbyist for Progress Energy. . . .
12b. More about the Duke, Progress merger:
Merger mania in the utility industry continues with the granddaddy of them all–at least so far. Duke Energy and Progress Energy have announced their intent to merge in a deal that would create the largest utility in the United States and among the largest in the world with a $37 billion market capitalization, $65 billion enterprise value, and $20 billion in revenue. . . .
13. The program concludes with examination of an aspect of the investigation into the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan was manipulated by a seductive girl in a mind control plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bullets did not kill the presidential candidate, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers.
The documents filed this week in federal court and obtained by The Associated Press detail extensive interviews with Sirhan during the past three years, some done while he was under hypnosis.
The papers point to a mysterious girl in a polka-dot dress as the controller who led Sirhan to fire a gun in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. But the documents suggest a second person shot and killed Kennedy while using Sirhan as a diversion.
For the first time, Sirhan said under hypnosis that on a cue from the girl he went into “range mode” believing he was at a firing range and seeing circles with targets in front of his eyes.
“I thought that I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy,” Sirhan was quoted as saying during interviews with Daniel Brown, a Harvard University professor and expert in trauma memory and hypnosis. He interviewed Sirhan for 60 hours with and without hypnosis, according to the legal brief. . .
. . . The story of the girl has been a lingering theme in accounts of the events just after midnight on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claiming victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.
Witnesses talked of seeing such a female running from the hotel shouting, “We shot Kennedy.” But she was never identified, and amid the chaos of the scene, descriptions were conflicting.
Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no memory of shooting Kennedy and said in the recent interviews that his presence at the hotel was an accident, not a planned destination.
Under hypnosis, he remembered meeting the girl that night and becoming smitten with her. He said she led him to the pantry.
“I am trying to figure out how to hit on her.... That’s all that I can think about,” he says in one interview cited in the documents. “I was fascinated with her looks .... She never said much. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability.” . . .
. . . Sirhan maintained in the hypnotic interviews that the mystery girl touched him or “pinched” him on the shoulder just before he fired then spun him around to see people coming through the pantry door.
“Then I was on the target range ... a flashback to the shooting range ... I didn’t know that I had a gun,” Sirhan said.
Under what Brown called the condition of hypnotic free recall, he said Sirhan remembered seeing the flash of a second gun at the time of the assassination. Without hypnosis, he said, Sirhan could not remember that shot. . . .