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Table of Contents Foreward - Robert K. Tanenbaum - 1 Acknowledgements - 3 Introduction - 5 The Murder Trial of Scott Peterson: Sex, Lies, and Audiotape - 9 Jayson Williams: One Last Game - 59 Chandra Levy: Lost and Found - 111 The Case of Jonny Gammage: Death in Police Custody - 141 The Captain's Death: Suicide, Murder, or Accident - 194 Gander Air Crash: Ice or Sabotage? - 230 Jane Bolding: Angel of Death or Victim of Statistics - 260 Coup d'etat: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy - 311 "Goodbye Norma Jeane:" The Death of Marilyn Monroe - 368 Epilogue - 435 FOREWORD Greatness is more than achieving proficiency in one's craft. The true champion is one who elevates his profession through excellence that is derived from a courageous heart and a pure soul. The individual who so triumphs, evinces a passion and energy that inspires others. In public life, an heroic figure enhances the dignity of his office during his tenure by serving the ends of justice. He respects our laws and values, and serves passionately the truth. He takes no shortcuts, seeks no loopholes, and possesses a soul that is non-negotiable. Dr. Cyril Wecht is America's foremost distinguished medical examiner. More than sitting atop the "greasy pole" of his profession, Dr. Cyril Wecht is a great man. He has in painstaking fashion committed himself to seeking truth. He possesses the heart and courage of the warrior. His opinions are honestly derived from the documented evidence. Dr. Wecht brings a unique commitment to our justice system. He understands the crucial role he plays in it. The Medical Examiner is an essential participant in the justice system's search for truth. The M.E. must be independent. His opinion ought never be compromised to satisfy a prosecution theory. The M.E. is on no one's team. He is a scientist who during the course of a murder case opines as to cause and manner of death. Tales From the Morgue is much more than superb reportage about fascinating and mysterious murder cases. Its essence lies in understanding the motivation and passion of Dr. Cyril Wecht. He rages against injustice. He anguishes for those who are unjustly accused. He is unwilling to permit corrupt justice system officials to railroad innocent people on false or inadequate evidence. After reading this book, I am convinced that Dr. Wecht could have readily authored President Lincoln's words: "I pity the man who cannot feel the pain of the lash placed upon another." For, how nightmarish it must be to be unjustly convicted and incarcerated. Each case documented in Tales From the Morgue cries out for compassion, understanding, and justice. No legitimate commentary of this book can be given without noting the important contribution of Dr. Wecht's collaborator, Mark Curriden. Mr. Curriden, in his own right is a brilliant author and also a crusader for justice. Robert K. Tanenbaum Attorney at Law ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS There are several key people we would like to personally thank for helping us with the research, writing, and editing of this book. Dr. Henry Lee, Dr. Michael Baden, and Dr. Tom Noguchi are good friends and colleagues. But they also provided us their invaluable insights and experiences in the cases in which I was involved with them. Without their assistance and guidance, this book would not have been possible. There are no two people who are more knowledgeable of the facts and evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy than Dr. Gary Aguilar and Robert Groden. We thank them for their help. The Digman and Gammage families deserve our thanks and our admiration for seeking the truth in their respective cases. They have faced tragedy, and yet they have stood strong. We owe them a debt of gratitude. The investigative reporting skills of television journalist Terri Taylor must be mentioned. Without her, the story of what happened in Gander, Newfoundland, might never have been uncovered. In addition, the Modesto Bee and Court TV need to be praised for their voluminous and exceptional coverage in the Jayson Williams and Scott Peterson trials. The world of the Internet was also helpful. There are a myriad of websites about Marilyn Monroe, but we found Danamo's Marilyn Monroe Online at HYPERLINK "http://marilynmonroepages.com/" http://marilynmonroepages.com/ and Marilyn Monroe's official website, HYPERLINK "http://www.marilynmonroe.com/" http://www.marilynmonroe.com/, to be accurate sources of information. The History Channel's website and HYPERLINK "http://www.historymatters.com" www.historymatters.com were tremendously helpful. We would be remiss if we did not thank the folks at Prometheus, particularly our editor, Linda Regan. She did her best to keep us grammatically correct and on a time schedule. Thanks must also go out to Jason Curriden, who helped edit before the edits, and to our families, who put up with us. Finally, a personal expression of gratitude goes to Kathy McCabe and Flo Johnson, who daily help keep Dr. Wecht operating efficiently and professionally. INTRODUCTION The current intense interest in forensic science has been fueled by the success of recent TV shows such as Crossing Jordan, and Forensic Files. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Charlie Chan have given way to CSI and Quincy. The murder cases and controversial deaths depicted in Tales from the Morgue will take you beyond fiction, into the real-life world of the forensic pathologist examining the body at the death scene and into the morgue in an effort to recognize, collect and analyze all that may ultimately lead to the conviction of the assailant or the exoneration of the innocent. The fictional dramatization of highly skilled forensic scientists solving complex murder cases and other major crimes may have been an important factor in stimulating the public's fascination with forensic scientific investigation this field currently enjoys throughout much of the world. However, the occurrence of highly controversial, notorious, and well-publicized real-life cases such as the Laci and Connor Peterson murder, the Chandra Levy homicide, John F. Kennedy's assassination, the death of Marilyn Monroe, the inexplicable deadly crash of a military plane transporting hundreds of soldiers, and many others have made millions of people aware of the significant and essential role that forensic pathologists and other forensic scientists play in criminal investigations. Actual trials are often reported in great detail by broadcast and print news media. Indeed, some cases are covered live, and even acquire an audience that rivals the most popular network television programs. The investigation of violent, sudden, suspicious, unexpected, unexplained, and medically unattended deaths in order to determine the cause, mechanism, and manner of death is the primary responsibility of the forensic pathologist. Quite often, it is also necessary to ascertain the time and place of death; the relationship between natural disease and death; and, when two or more victims are found at the same location, the sequence of their deaths. Welcome to the world of forensic pathology, where mystery meets science, law and medicine join forces, and amazing discoveries lurk around every corner. Most important, it is a world where the application of fundamental scientific principles and sound investigative techniques can help to uncover the truth and ensure that justice is served. Mention the term forensic pathologist and most people think of Quincy and fictional CSI television heroes. Unlike a typical plot from the TV series, however, not every murder or medical intrigue is solved in sixty minutes by looking through a microscope or examining the soles of a dead man's feet, as Jack Klugman's character was apt to do. This book was written to take you inside some of the nation's most bizarre and intriguing medical-legal investigations and show you how forensic scientists help to solve crimes--and likewise how they sometimes fail to solve them. Technically defined, forensic pathology is that field of medicine that is concerned with the investigation of sudden, violent, suspicious, unexpected, unexplained, or medically unattended deaths. The most widely used courtroom expert in criminal cases is the forensic pathologist. Why? Quite simply, because there is no other medical specialist as critically integrated into the legal process. In theory, it has always been this way. But it was not until fairly recently that the usefulness of the forensic pathologist was fully appreciated. As I look back over my nearly forty-five-year career as a forensic pathologist, I am repeatedly reminded of the old French adage, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." For all of the advances I have witnessed in my field over the past four decades, the discipline's fundamental concepts have not changed all that much. Even today, a shooting is still a shooting, a stabbing is still a stabbing, and a beating is still a beating. Every year, people die in plane crashes, in fires, in bombings, in falls. And it remains my job to determine just how these deaths occurred. It may sound like a horror story, but that's what forensic pathology is all about, and that's what it always will be about.
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Forensic pathology -- Case studies.
Death -- Causes -- Case studies.
Criminal investigation -- Case studies.