We admire Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr.'s efforts to get at the truth through his blog goodmorningfloridakeys.com. In a piece posted this morning, Sloan provides more details about why he believes his younger brother took his own life.
We're not sure we agree with Sloan's conclusions, partly because suicide seems to conflict with other information reported on Sloan's blog. Also, in the ugly political and legal environment that has enveloped Alabama over the past eight to 10 years, we would not be at all surprised to find that someone could commit murder in an effort to keep certain information from coming to light.
We will get to the conflicts that we think point toward homicide, not suicide. But first, let's consider Sloan Bashinsky's latest revelations about his brother.
Sloan says Major was a tormented man who suffered from a physical deformity:
He was desperate and felt trapped, and all signs point toward suicide. I was contacted by one of Major’s former girlfriends, who dated him a short while, before he met his first wife to be. She said he was unable to penetrate and have intercourse sex because of a physical deformity (Peyroine’s disease) that severely affected his erection. She was reluctant to reveal this and does not want to be dragged into it. I looked up Peyroine’s disease online. In severe cases, which this woman described Major having had when she dated him, it has no good medical outcome. I found myself seeing how that could have pushed Major to be bisexual. I saw how someone could hang the condition and/or Major being bisexual over his head, and how, faced with public disclosure and humiliation, he could have killed himself and perhaps done it in a way to make it look like someone else may have done it.
Sloan writes that he has received information indicating Major might have had problems with his business affairs:
I have heard it was reported in the news that Major was talking with the FBI about something before he disappeared. Perhaps he was under investigation and it was about to become public. I was told by someone who ought to know, of Major having charged commissions for security transactions he made for one of his clients. He had no securities license and could not charge commissions. Perhaps the FBI was involved in that. If you knew Major as I knew him, as others knew him, you would have no qualms thinking something happened he could not handle and he killed himself. What still puzzles me is why the FBI never contacted Major’s first wife or me, to develop a profile? I can only imagine the FBI knew something all along that caused them to feel they didn’t need to canvass people beyond Major’s immediate family, and all they did not know was where he was. Either that, or they are not very good FBI agents.
As for the conflicts, the signs that do not point to suicide, here are a few that come to mind:
* Sloan has written that a private source told him that Major was shot in the head, beside the golf-course water hazard where his body was found, and a pistol was recovered. Also, Sloan has written that the body did not appear to have been at the golf course for a long time. If Major shot himself beside the water hazard, how would his body wind up in the water? Wouldn't someone have had to push or throw his body into the water?
* Sloan writes of a report that Major was shot in the left temple and acknowledges that Major was not left-handed. Sloan writes that Major could have shot himself in the left temple to make it look like someone else did it. Certainly possible, but it seems unlikely to us.
* Sloan writes of a report that Major was found with his hands tied behind his back, which would seem to rule out suicide. If that's the case, Sloan writes, he can't understand why law enforcement would say they weren't sure if it was homicide or suicide. Perhaps it's a case of incompetence or corruption among law-enforcement officials. I wouldn't have a hard time believing that one.
* If Major committed suicide, where was he during the roughly 12 days that he was missing? News reports have indicated that he did not use credit cards or withdraw cash. So where was he, and how did he survive? And if he indeed was shot at the golf course, and his body had not been there long, why did he wait so long to commit suicide?
Sloan has written that he and Major had become estranged in recent years, but it seems clear that he still cared deeply about his brother and other family members. Sloan now lives in Key West, Florida, but like many who live in Birmingham and have been familiar with the Bashinskys for years, he is puzzled about what could have happened:
In deference to Sherlock Holmes, what dog did not bark? There was no contact from a kidnapper. No ransom demand. There was only silence until Major’s body was noticed by golfers on a Monday, 12 days after he disappeared, in a shallow pond at Highland Golf Course. The course had been heavily used by golfers and a tournament crowd the Saturday before. Ergo, the body got into the pond after the golf tournament ended on Saturday. 10 days ago, the body was found. Yet still nothing from the coronor’s office when I checked al.com this morning. Why hasn’t that dog barked? Was it waiting on the Memorial service to be held, out of respect to the family? Or is that dog still scratching its head?