Friday, August 3, 2012

Revisiting the Forensics and Possible Motives in the Death of Alabama Lawyer Major Bashinsky

Major Bashinsky death scene

I raised the following question in a recent post: Is Sloan Bashinsky Jr. Intentionally Trying to Muddy the Water On Reporting About His Brother's Death?

The post addressed a number of issues connected to the 2010 death of Alabama lawyer Major Bashinsky, in a case that was ruled (dubiously, in my view) a suicide. Sloan Bashinsky Jr., writing at  various blogs from his base in Key West, Florida, has agreed with the official finding and taken me to task for raising questions about it.

I raised a provocative question about Sloan's reasons for dismissing evidence that suggests Major did not kill himself, so it's only fair to point out I that I have unintentionally muddied the water on the case myself. I came to that realization after conducting additional research on the issue of stippling in a gunshot wound. My reports on that issue, it turns out, were off target, and I regret the error.

I want to acknowledge my mistake and clear up confusion that it has caused. Also, it seems a good time to reconsider the forensic evidence and possible motives surrounding the death of Major Bashinsky. We will do that by examining several issues in the wake of some spirited back and forth between Sloan Bashinsky Jr. and yours truly:

* The Essence of Stippling--I screwed up on this one, and here is how: The medical examiner's report says in its summary that Major Bashinsky died from a contact wound to the head. Earlier in the report, it states there was an absence of stippling, which is a pattern of abrasions around an entrance wound. Based on my reading of an article titled "Practical Pathology of Gunshot Wounds," I reported that these two findings were contradictory, and the ME appeared to have made a mistake. But my assertion was incorrect.

Where did I go wrong? I relied too heavily on one journal article. The article I cited stated the following about stippling:

The principle indicator of close range fire is stippling, that is, a pattern of tiny, punctuate abrasions in the skin surrounding the entrance wound . . . . Stippling is caused by unburned particles of gunpowder striking the skin. In contrast to other substances that may be deposited on the skin, such as soot, stippling cannot be washed away. The presence of stippling indicates that the muzzle of the gun was within 2 feet of the victim’s body when it was discharged.

I took this to mean that the absence of stippling, as stated in the ME's report on Major Bashinsky's death, means the shot was fired from a distance of more than 2 feet. That is true, but there is an exception--and that is when the gun is placed against, or right next to, the skin. That is a contact wound, and my most recent research indicates stippling is not present in such instances. This is from an article titled "Forensic Pathology":

Contact wound: Muzzle of gun was applied to skin at time of shooting. Classic features include an impression of the muzzle burned around the entrance wound and absence of fouling and stippling (see below). Contact wounds over the skull may have a stellate appearance because of expulsion of hot gases from the barrel which are trapped against the outer table of the skull and blow back toward the exterior, ripping apart the skin around the entrance wound.

The bottom line? Stippling is present on gunshot wounds of intermediate distance--from roughly 6 to 8 inches to 2 to 3 feet. It is not present on contact wounds or shots fired from greater than 2 to 3 feet.

* Forensics and Major Bashinsky--What does my goof mean in the context of the Major Bashinsky case? Not much, really. I focused on stippling because I thought it was part of a contradictory statement in the ME's report. Turns out I was wrong about that. But it's still correct to say that the ME's report offers no scientific evidence to support a finding of suicide. And it's still correct to say that manner of death in the Bashinsky case should have been classified as "undetermined," followed by the kind of thorough police investigation that apparently never took place.

The presence or absence of stippling is relatively minor compared to these key facts that remain about the evidence in the Bashinsky case:

(1) The gun found in the golf-course water hazard, where Major Bashinsky's body was recovered, has never been tied to him;

(2) The ME's report offers no evidence that Major Bashinsky pulled the trigger on that gun--or any other gun that might have been used in his death;

(3) No bullet was recovered at the scene, raising major questions about the official story that Bashinsky shot himself in the pond.

All of these suggest the suicide finding is based on shaky footing.

* The Tao of Sloan--Bashinsky Jr. has become rather surly in recent posts about my reporting on his brother's death, even referring to my blog as "muttface.blogspot,com." Did angels provide him with that kind of clever humor? We might never know. Sloan deserves credit for being right on the stippling issue, but he continues to raise a number of points in curious ways. Let's ponder a few of those from recent days:

(1) In a post dated July 31, 2012, Sloan's headline refers to an "alleged murderer" in connection with my reporting on Major's death. But I've never alleged that Major was murdered. In fact, it's not my role to allege anything; as a journalist, it's my role to find facts, analyze available information, and go where that takes me. My focus has been on weaknesses in the official finding of suicide, mainly because it provides no scientific evidence that the deceased shot himself, and we have no reports indicating he intended to kill himself--no suicide note, no reports of depression or erratic behavior, no tell-tale statements. The Major Bashinsky case obviously does not present a natural death or an accidental death, so the options are suicide or murder. But my focus has been on reporting about weaknesses in the official finding of suicide. I've never said that the finding should have been murder. As noted above, my research indicates the manner of death should have been classified as "undetermined."

(2) In the July 31 post, Sloan refers to my reporting about the scene at Highland Park Golf Course water hazard and states that Major's body was found in "the middle of the pond." That's curious because I've seen nothing in published reports that says the body was found in the middle of the pond. I've been on the course, and played that hole, a number of times--and it features a pretty sizable body of water. I would say "pond" is a good description because it's bigger than your standard water hazard. My impression is that the body was found fairly close to shore, but Sloan might know something that I don't.

(3) In both the July 31 post and another dated August 1, 2012, Sloan asks if I am going to inform my readers about information he has reported regarding his brother's death. I've referred to Sloan's writings a number of times, but I've never made it my aim to report everything he writes about Major's death. For one thing, I'm not sure how much Sloan knows about the case; he lives in Key West, Florida, almost 1,000 miles from Birmingham, and it appears he and Major had been more or less estranged for several years. For another, I have no idea about the accuracy of certain items Sloan reports as fact; after all, this is a guy who says he talks to angels, so that doesn't help his credibility as a news source. For another, Sloan does not strike me as terribly objective about the case; he seems invested in the official finding of suicide, even though it is weak (at best) or deeply flawed (at worst). Finally, folks who are interested in Sloan's take on things can go directly to his blog--and I've provided the links above; there is no reason for me to repeat everything here.

* Corporate Matters Vs. Estate Matters--Both Sloan and I have reported on matters surrounding the Bashinsky family in the days and months leading up to Major's disappearance and death. In his July 31 post, Sloan addresses a possible murder scenario and notes a letter that was attached to Major's body at the scene. In all caps, he writes:


Not sure why he's addressing this to me because "what I would have done" is beside the point. But as you can see, Sloan focuses on issues at the family business, Golden Enterprises, the maker of Golden Flake snack foods.

I, meanwhile, have focused on a lawsuit styled Estate of Sloan Y. Bashinsky Sr., et al v. W&H Investments, et al, which reached a curious settlement just two days before Major disappeared. The case involved a possible accounting of some $37 million that the family patriarch, Sloan Bashinsky Sr., had invested in oil and gas wells. Court records indicate that the estate never received much of the information it sought, and it appears the investment firm engaged in serious stonewalling.

Why? Sloan Bashinsky Jr. doesn't seem interested in that question. I most certainly am interested, and we will return to those issues in upcoming posts.


Anonymous said...

There is no doubt an autopsy report has been covered-up quite remarkably. JFK was a political hit carefully covered, too.

Coroner used to be the name, now it is a "ME," "legislatures" changing the name?

Kinda makes me wonder.

Roger, I'd go easy on the talking to angels, the U.S. has on its currency, slave traders faces and this is in actuality, a disgrace.

"In God We Trust," is on our "money." This was a very big NO NO by the slave traders' faces on the paper money: our founding forefathers did not agree with a religious overtone, as you are well aware.

Thus, those of us that do nothing to change the faces on the money to reflect not a slave trading nation, should be praying to a higher power, be it angels?, how do we co-create our future to be freer?

Iconography is from the beginning of time, used as the best mind altering "drug" and therefore, the most thorough brain programming. Notice? We're slaves to this day.

Perhaps a few angel heart-to-heart conversations may find some HOPE.

The other "hope" has not bloomed.

We can talk about resolving the U.S. and our owners. The host, America, is wounded and may be dead. We need a ME or Coroner, to determine the forensic report.

Have the predatory criminally insane that kill whatever does not allow the slave trading to continue, destroyed the parasitic classless, no more no truth and no more no justice to suck no more life?

What dead flesh are the maggots to feed frenzy upon?

Oh, there are the Campus Crest, ET AL getting readying for the next "fatted calf," finest cuts yet.

The owners,' that is the predatory criminally insane of global US, are not interested in other than the host remaining in tact for the parasites to get filled real full and then the banquet is so delicious. Too bad the "judicial" do not look at the iconography of maggots, upon being devoured by bigger parasites.

The food chain on earth, there is no such idea: hungry.

David said...

Three questions:
1. How was Major's body able to lie in the water in the edge of the pond next to a well used path and not be seen for so long?
2. If Major found tied up, how would he be able to shoot himself?
3. What info can be found in Major's Probate File?

Anonymous said...

Primary example of the American new world order "justice system":

". . . Oregon Man Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail -- for Collecting Rainwater on His Property

( – A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

AGENDA 21, w/ John Kerry's name littered in the pages of fascism, proving his true role as an "elected" official is not about the U.S. Constitution.

Rubbish? GD piece of paper? Outdated, worn-torn-tattered and scattered?

We can reboot, yes / no?

Each "ESTATE" in the U.S. is critical "pay dirt."

The rest is virtual credit fraud.

Major had a major stake that needed pounding into a different coffer than what was.

Whom has the booty? This / these is-are the murderer(s).

jeffrey spruill said...

The curious settlement just two days before Major disappeared & accounting of some $37 million that the family patriarch, Sloan Bashinsky Sr., had invested in oil and gas wells might explain Sloan Bashinsky Jr.'s nonchalant attitude towards his brothers death.

That's where I would focus Mr. Schnauzer.

Anonymous said...

Oil? Iraq? ". . . Exxon moved back into Iraq in 2012 after having been expelled by Saddam Hussein in 1972 . . . .

Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, ET AL and "ESTATE" OF MAJOR, ET AL? Investments?

The Unraveling Anglo-American Imperial Project, by Dr Anthony Gronowicz at

Vice President Richard Cheney’s Halliburton, the world’s largest oil services company, reaped the lion’s share of profits from Iraq’s “reconstruction” that failed to restore the basic necessities of life like clean water and decent health care that Iraqis had before U.S. conquest and occupation. As Vice President, Cheney granted his company an exclusive contract with no competition. Then, when corruption charges surged around Halliburton, its headquarters moved out of the United States to Dubai, one of its allied sheikdoms immune from U.S. legal prosecution . . . con't at global research

The killers are the same murderers, at home and in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Roger: Your ceased reporting going on over 2 years ago. You are now a bitter man who is picking at others scabs vicariously.

You lost to your neighbor. You cannot win in this system. I know that, like you, I've learned the hard way.

You lost to UAB. You cannot win when you are dealing with the system.

Alabama is a fucked up place. Remember, it was just as fucked up when the Democrats ran it.

Don took the money, I think you know that by now. But I think your outrage stems from the fact you know he was no worse than any other Alabama politician(or politician of any state or any party) of the last 100 years plus. That most certainly includes Boob Riley and Bentley too.

The Democratic Party is no different from the Republican Party. They give lip service to different social positions to try to seem like they are separate entities. We have one party in the United States. That party is controlled by those wealthy enough to make decisions for the rest of us because they can buy representation.

You were better than this, I choose to believe you're better than this.

Leave Bill Swatek alone. Leave the Bashinsky's alone.

As for the asshole with Campus Crest and the Pest Control scams ? He's as bad as the worst corporate caricature Hiassen ever dreamed up. Keep fucking with him. Fuck with him all you want. That is sport.

Concerned in Carolina

Anonymous said...

The US is behind China!?:

". . . A most interesting and important element of the Shifang and Qidong actions is the prominence of a confrontational vanguard of young people - high school students and twenty-somethings (collectively known as "after 80s" and "after 90s" for their birth years) who appear quite happy to mix it up violently with the cops and cadres.

It appears that a new generation is less interested in recapitulating the experience of 1989 and the Tiananmen Square protests than redefining it, or even discarding it.

Occupy' with Chinese characteristics, By Peter Lee

Anonymous said...

BigV in Carolina.

I like your words, the f bomb is certainly a well thrown color, a clear definitive blanket statement.

Leave alone and Roger was, were, is, maybe better that "this?"

Roger and Mrs. Schnauzer have been gang raped. You use the words that are real, so let us use the words that are real, here.

Gang raped USA, Ghetto USA, yes the one party system that you do not really name, leave it alone?

What is left alone in the memory of being gang raped by a raving pack of jackals?

America is exceptionally alone in the leaving the criminals free to continue gang raping higher thinking individuals.

And the dark secrets keep on giving to the same darkness.

Don took the "money?" What money? Virtual credit fraud is not "money." Does not matter that, a contract ensued, it was fraud. Don was defrauded, there is only virtual credit fraud, BigV in Carolina. Thus, all the Governors in the U.S. since circa 1907? or thereabouts have been defrauded by the leave-it-aloners.

Time for the escapes to be held accountable for "sport," all the way around in my experience of growing into winter years.

Getting killed in America is easy, telling the truth and staying alive to continue on in the light of freedom?

STAND with Roger and Mrs. Schnauzer BigV in Carolina, do not fear the future of certain honest transparency. There is only our souls to further loose absent the courage to co-create reality.


Anonymous said...

correction and,

Lose our souls' to an eternal ?

Is this not the trade-off, in "leave it alone."

Do not think so?

BigV in Carolina, study history, the leave it aloners, in Nazi Germany, were also in the collective of the not-leave-it aloners [Roger, et al].

Regardless of how much the ignorant fear reined, keep silent, the entire population suffered.


Anonymous said...

Don took money from Scrushy to pay debt of non-profit to pay debt drom failed lottery campaigh. It didn't go into his pocket or bank account therefore no bribe.

Bob Riley took:
$13 million from Miss. Indians
$13 million in scam no bid computer contract w/ state where woman w/ no office or phone#
13 million in Medical Research lab in Huntsville.
$13 million in Rusion lottery deal

legalschnauzer said...

Big V:

An interesting comment. I will let your words stand on their own, but I should reply to one item--the part about Don taking the money.

That's not in dispute, that Siegelman took a contribution from Scrushy--and that, in itself, is not a crime. Happens in politics all the time.

The allegation was that they had an illegal quid pro quo (this for that) deal. The evidence did not prove that, and the judge did not require it in his jury instruction, contrary to clear law. That's why I say these two gentlemen were convicted for a crime that does not exist. They were convicted of a crime that Judge Fuller created in his jury instructions.

Anyway, just want to make it clear that the taking of money never was an issue in the Siegelman case. The nature of an alleged "deal" was the issue.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 1:22--

You raise an important point. Even if Siegelman and Scrushy had an illegal deal--and the evidence shows they did not--the case still was a political prosecution based on the government's refusal to investigate wrongdoing by "similarly situated" individuals, such as Riley. (The relevant law, which I've written about, uses the term "similarly situated.") A political prosecution is unlawful, and that's clearly what this was--and Siegelman's lawyers raised these issues and gave examples of similarly situated individuals who had not been investigated for the same alleged conduct.

Anonymous said...

A contract is a contract.


The devil is in the details.

The CONTRACT was not fully transparent and this is, according to once upon a time in our U.S. Constitution's "good law," as well as International Law, not a legitimate contract.

What "Judge Fuller" did was rule on a contract breach to cement that the contract was agreed upon.

Beginning with the virtual credit fraud, contract breach.

However, contract breach occurred in the non-transparency of the whole conjured up non-binding contract.

Roger, BigV from Carolina, the new Justice ruling about this point, exposes that devil in the details.

WHOLE CONTRACT TRANSPARENCY. His law is very good on the merits of this simple truth.

Anonymous said...

the law is also, simple contract, "equal rights' in the law."

the general contract is, standard language for all the politicians getting money in the standard which the politicians all operate under.

our new world order is into taking the simple contract and coloring it invisible.

must not get lost in the bedeviled details.


Anonymous said...

Judge Fuller committed a crime.

He has a contract which he breached.

His violation to our "good law," is the detail devil in that he committed the crime against Don Siegelman, et al.

Not fit for the Federal Bench according to the standard in which the Federal Bench was contracted.

Anonymous said...

Simple contract language:


Judge Fuller vitiated his contract IN, the word is IN, our U.S. Constitution.

Read the contract that binds the "Federalists'" to the Federal Bench.

Honoring the simple contract clause of due process in the highest regard for FULL TRANSPARENCY in every bedeviled detail of our good rule of law.

Judge Fuller is a global corporatist on a very well protected federal virtual credit salary, with no doubt extremely off shore hidden bonuses.