The Alabama press has been remarkably silent since the mysterious death of business advocate Ralph Stacy on September 14. The Montgomery Advertiser did one sketchy story, hinting that Stacy died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Business Council of Alabama headquarters, where he worked as a senior vice president. We've seen no followup reporting in any media outlet.
Multiple sources tell Legal Schnauzer that a shotgun, apparently belonging to Stacy, was involved in his death. A man takes a shotgun to work with the intention of killing himself? That seems like an unusual scenario, but the Alabama press is not the least bit curious about it.
Michael Rich, of Waynesville, North Carolina, knew Stacy for many years. He was bothered by his friend's death and wondered about the lack of coverage in Montgomery. So he wrote a letter to Wanda Lloyd, editor of the Montgomery Advertiser.
Curiously, the newspaper did not see fit to run Rich's letter. But we will run it here at Legal Schnauzer. The letter is well written and raises serious questions about Ralph Stacy's death and the state of journalism in Alabama:
I read with sadness of the death of an old college friend in the online version of the Montgomery Advertiser last week.
I have regularly looked at the online version of the paper (I live in North Carolina and I am not able to get the print version) since then and I have yet to see a follow-up to the original article. Having a journalism background, I was surprised to read this statement in the article, and now a week later, there has been no follow-up that I can observe:
"Montgomery police declined to discuss details of Stacy's death, but Maj. Huey Thornton confirmed police responded Tuesday to BCA headquarters to investigate a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
Have the police ruled Stacy's death to be a suicide or not? Has a coroner declared that his death was self-inflicted? Is there an ongoing investigation of the situation by law enforcement? Did the weapon belong to Stacy? Were there any irregularities in this case that would lead the police to refuse further comment? Was there a suicide note or had he spoken with friends or family about suicide in recent days? Had he exhibited any signs of depression, stress in the days leading up to the death?
I was a college friend of Ralph Stacy, and had been in touch with him by email and through Facebook since the beginning of this year. We exchanged books and written notes in the spring, and I can say that I knew something about the character of Ralph Stacy. Suicide was not an option for him nor in his value system. This was a guy who lived for challenges and overcoming obstacles. It came as a complete surprise to all who knew him and those who commented in your paper, yet there is no follow-up to the story?
I would appreciate seeing some serious journalism taking place in the midst of a high profile death.
How did the Montgomery Advertiser respond to Rich's letter. More on that coming up.