Suspicions surrounding the circumstances of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia’s death began to swirl almost immediately after his unexpected death became public Saturday. In the ensuing days, concerns — some would call them conspiracy theories — have only intensified. It seems each new detail revealed only amplifies the questions.
The fact that the outspoken conservative justice, who died away from his home, was declared dead over the phone by a state judge, without an autopsy, struck many as sketchy — especially for a man of Scalia’s stature, not to mention status as the target of explicit vitriol from the left.
Today, the ranch owner where Scalia was found dead tried to clarify one detail that sparked some of the most intense speculation.
The conspiracy theories kicked into high gear after the owner of the ranch where Scalia died told a Texas newspaper that Scalia had “a pillow over his head.”
The ranch owner, John Poindexter, tried to clarify his comments, telling “CBS This Morning” that Scalia “had a pillow over his head, not over his face as some have been saying. The pillow was against the headboard.”
Judge Cinderela Guevara said investigators found no signs of foul play or struggle. She added Scalia’s personal physician believed “the death was due to natural causes.”
However, many question why an autopsy wasn’t done nonetheless to confirm this, given Scalia’s role on the Supreme Court — especially since he died away from his home, without security detail.
William Ritchie, the former homicide commander of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, said an autopsy would put all these questions to rest.
“If you’re called to the scene to investigate a death, you will assume that death is a homicide until your investigation proves otherwise,” Ritchie said. “If the death scene was handled in an appropriate manner, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”
Though many treated it as some sort of “smoking gun,” tor me, the pillow was never really the big issue in the first place. If someone was using the pillow for foul play, surely he/she would have strategically placed it to deter any suspicion — so today’s clarification of its precise position does little to alter my questions about the death.
No, I am not saying Scalia was murdered. However, it sure seems like it would have been proper — and wise — to conduct the declaration and investigation of his death with the utmost thoroughness and attention to protocol given his position. One of the local justices of the peace unable to attend to Scalia’s death, Juanita Bishop, said the county normally performs autopsies on people who unexpectedly die like Scalia.
“It’s for our own good because we need to know the cause of death [for] a death certificate,” she said in an interview with Infowars. “If they’re not under medical supervision or medical care, we usually do request an autopsy because we don’t know why they died.”
Numerous other detectives have similarly suggested an autopsy ought to have been standard in a case like this.
While I want to respect the privacy of the family at a time like this especially — including its wishes to not have an autopsy — I fear the lack of one in this case will let this remain an open issue that may never be fully answered now.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]