|Judge Cinderella Guevara (right) with JOP David Beebe (left)|
Guevara refused to return phone calls made by the Dallas Morning News seeking clarification. She told The Post that Justice Scalia was "having health problems." She told The Post she was awaiting a statement from Justice Scalia's physician. Dr. Brian Monahan, a U.S. Navy rear admiral and attending physician for members of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, declined to comment to The Post, citing doctor-patient confidentiality.
A former head of criminal investigations in the nation's capital is not satisfied with what he had heard. "My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas," William O. Ritchie wrote on his Facebook page. Ritchie continued:
“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia,” Ritchie wrote on Sunday.
“You have a Supreme Court Justice who died, not in attendance of a physician,” he wrote.
“You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack. What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?”
Ritchie also questioned the marshals’ actions:
“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…”
“Did the US Marshal check for petechial hemorrhage in his eyes or under his lips that would have suggested suffocation? Did the US Marshal smell his breath for any unusual odor that might suggest poisoning?”Chris Lujan, the funeral director of the Sunset Funeral Home in El Paso who received Scalia's body and prepared it before being flown back to D.C told the New York Times an official had gone to the Cibolo Creek Ranch where Scalia was found dead to make a formal death declaration. Lujan, who said he had not seen a copy of the death certificate, told the LA Times that Justice Scalia had passed away in his sleep of natural causes. The Morning-News notes that Lujan's account contradicts Guevara's account, who told the New York Times that she pronounced him dead over the telephone and "ruled it natural causes based on credible information."
Adding to the uncertainty is a contradictory view held by another Presidio County justice of the peace, Juanita Bishop, who was outside the county when the call came on Saturday and was unable to respond to the scene. "If it had been me," said Juanita Bishop, a justice of the peace in Presidio, "I would want to know." The county's other justice of the peace, David Beebe, was busy attending a Democratic political forum and apparently couldn't be pulled away to go to the ranch. That's when Judge Guevara, a former justice of the peace, was contacted by the sheriff's department to handle the matter.
Beebe, who posts frequently to his Facebook account and online journal, had little to say about the entire affair. "I had to leave this meeting (the political forum) near the end of it when I was notified about the passing of Antonin Scalia," he wrote. "I had to make some phone calls and respond to some messages regarding the inquest, which I would have had to do if I hadn't already committed myself to attending this forum." That comment was interspersed in an in-depth column Beebe posted to his online journal discussing the Democratic forum he attended. Yeah, the political forum comes before your elected job. I get it.
UPDATE: Judge Guevara is now recounting details she claims Scalia's physician shared with her that allowed her to conclude he died of natural causes:
She said the doctor told her that Scalia had a history of heart trouble, high blood pressure and was considered too weak to undergo surgery for a recent shoulder injury.
Those details are seemingly at odds with recollections of friends who described Scalia as his usual, happy self during the days leading up to his death . . .Scalia's long-time friend and co-author of his book, Bryan Garner, spoke on CNN tonight about his last conversation with Justice Scalia. It was last Wednesday. Scalia called his good friend to say the world had lost one of its tennis greats. Garner was confused until he told him that he had just learned he had a torn rotator cuff and would no longer be able to play tennis. When Guevara claims his doctor told her that he was too weak to have surgery on his shoulder, I highly doubt he meant it in the context she was trying to convey to defend her incompetent death investigation. Garner took a trip to Asia with Scalia just last month. Here's how he described his health during the trip:
Bryan Garner, one of Scalia's close friends and the co-author of two books with the justice, said in an interview that Scalia seemed happy and jovial during recent trips to Hong Kong and Singapore in late January and early February. Garner said Scalia never mentioned anything about heart problems or other ailments during the trip.
"He did seem strong as ever," Garner said. "He was a very strong man physically."
During the trip, Scalia and Garner spent long days traveling, speaking to university audiences about their most recent book on interpreting the law, and meeting with public officials.
Garner said his most recent conversation with Scalia was on Wednesday morning, when the justice told him, "'The world of tennis has lost a great competitor.'" Scalia, long an avid tennis player, said he had torn his rotator cuff for a second time and that his playing days likely were over, Garner said. But Garner said Scalia never mentioned any other ailments other than that he was dealing with a "head cold."Looks like Guevara needs to revise her death certificate to conclude Scalia died from a head cold.