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Minutes of meeting of Forensic Scientists

13 March 2000, taken and sent by Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation United States Attorney Henry Sockbeson.

Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 09:26:50 -0500

It went well. Dr. Lee and three other coroner's went over the evidence. They agreed to draft a report that will raise questions about the manner of death.

Some of their preliminary statements are as follows:

1. Dr. Michael M. Baden, "It is my opinion, on the basis of the materials that I have reviewed, that Mr. Scott died as a result of his inability to breath caused by compression of the neck. The fracture of the thyroid cartilage is much more typical for compression of the neck by baton, hands or feet than by suicidal hanging." Dr. Baden also questioned the time of death since Dr. Kevin Lee noted lividity in the lower extremities at 7:25 am. This is inconsistent with the bed check time of 4:30. "It takes many hours for such lividity to develop and, in my experience, the prominence of Mr. Scott's lividity indicates that he had been dead and hanging before the alleged 4:30 am cell check."

2. Dr. Peter Dean, "Old scars on the writs, from whatever cause, can not safely be relied upon as evidence of current suicidal intent."

3. Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., In light of these findings, which are individually and collectively somewhat atypical in suicidal hangings, I believe there is a reasonable and logical basis to legitimately question the official ruling in this case that the manner of death was suicidal. If I were confronted with this case in my current position as Coroner of Allegheny County, I would want to have further investigation conducted by my office and homicide detectives."

Dr. Lee made an oral presentation that questioned the fracture of the thyroid cartilage and the bruising on Mr. Scott's neck. This is apparently inconsistent with hanging with a soft sheet which typically does not result in damage to the thyroid cartilage since the pressure from the sheet is uniform. On the other hand, a hand or a baton would more typically result in this sort of damage.

The four forensic pathologists will draft a preliminary report that will state that there is sufficient basis to question the manner of death and will recommend that further investigation occur. These men are all well respected in their respective jurisdictions and their CV will amply support their conclusions. They stated their willingness to go to Australia to conduct the autopsy.


Posted on 2002-01-24


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