The story of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the discovery of his body has become a firestorm of controversy online after statements made by both the owner of the ranch where Scalia died, and by local officials who announced no autopsy will be performed on his body.
As TRN reported earlier (via WaPo):
It then took hours for authorities in remote West Texas to find a justice of the peace, officials said Sunday. When they did, she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and decided not to order an autopsy. A second justice of the peace, who was called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time, said she would have ordered an autopsy.
“If it had been me . . . I would want to know,” Juanita Bishop, a justice of the peace in Presidio, Tex., told The Washington Post in an interview Sunday about the chaotic hours after Scalia’s death at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury compound less than an hour from the Mexican border and about 40 miles south of Marfa.
The U.S. Marshals Service has not issued a statement about the events surrounding the death on Saturday of Scalia, who had recently returned from a trip to the Far East, where his last public event was a book signing in Hong Kong. And as official Washington tried to process what the justice’s death means for politics and the law, some details of his final hours remained opaque.
Officials later said Scalia’s body was being embalmed and there would be no autopsy. The death certificate will simply show the cause of the death was a heart attack. This despite Texas law which states, according to WaPo, “Texas law requires an autopsy when the attending physician declaring death is not familiar with patient.”
But the strange comments of the ranch owner, John B. Poindexter, have ignited the situation in even greater controversy in particular the way he described finding the body:
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.
“His hands were sort of almost folded on top of the sheets,” said Mr. Poindexter, a manufacturing executive from Houston. “The sheets weren’t rumpled up at all.”
Death by heart attack with a “pillow over his head” and with hands folded over unruffled sheets? Very odd indeed.
The political stakes in the wake of Scalia’s untimely death are causing conspiracy theories to erupt online. One of the most shared videos on Facebook at this hour is this one regarding a CIA “heart attack gun” which became popular after the suspicious death of Andrew Breitbart in 2012:
The ranch where Scalia was found dead is a sprawling, 30,000 estate bordering Mexico, 200 miles away from the nearest city.