Freedom may be on life support in America, but it is still alive. By sending a mere $25 to the Offoce of the Medical Examiner of Harris County, Texas, The Great Speckled Bird has been able to obtain a notarized copy of the autopsy of former Enron executive, J. Clifford Baxter. A complete copy is attached. Here are the salient points as we see them:

1. Although the "Manner of Death" on page 1 is given as "suicide," no effort is made in the autopsy to support that conclusion, and, indeed, there is no supporting evidence for suicide in the autopsy. The conclusion could only have been reached based upon something extraneous to the autopsy.

2. The strongest evidence in the autopsy report is most consistent with murder. Under EVIDENCE OF INJURY on numbered page 3 we find, "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositiioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction."

This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches before striking the head. Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this?

In the paragraph above the EVIDENCE OF INJURY we read that "The palmar surface of the left hand is remarkable for an irregular, red, recent abrasion occurring at the base of the fifth digit, which measures 1/4 inch along the linear axis. There is an irregular abrasion on the palmar surface of the distal phalanx of the fifth digit, which measures 1.5 centimeters. This injury consists of discontinuous superficial abrasions with a trail of black material."

Such an injury, though very slight, is not consistent with Baxter having shot himself while seated in his car. Rather, it suggests that he had recently fallen to his left (consistent with being shot in the right temple) and attempted to break to fall by extending his left hand, perhaps on an asphalt road. The black material should have been tested to see what it is, but apparently it was not.

3. The car was much nearer to the house than news reports have indicated, for what that might be worth. As in the original Houston Chronicle report, the autopsy report says Baxter was found in his car in the 5200 block of Palm Royale Boulevard. We learn for the first time here, though, that his home was at 5211 Palm Royale Boulevard. He was less than a block from home, and could have been in front of his own house.

4. His dress, workout pants and a t-shirt, are most consistent with his having just ventured out from his house rather than his having been out in some public place.

I am putting the entire autopsy up here in case someone else might see something that I haven't, or in case someone might want to take issue with my tentative conclusions.

David Martin

The Great Speckled Bird

DC Dave
Author, "America's Dreyfus Affair, The Case of the Death of Vincent Foster"
"Upton Sinclair and Timothy McVeigh"
"Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression"
News group: alt.thebird


Click on thumbnail to see the full size page.


A friend of mine took the initiative to call CCI Ammunition, a manufacturer of rat shot of same general type as was found in Cliff Baxter's noggin. The technician that he was able to get on the phone said that the rule of thumb for such shot fired from a .38 caliber revolver is one inch of spread for one foot of distance from the target. That conjures up an almost comical picture of Baxter holding the gun to attempt to shoot himself. Maybe he wanted to give himself a sporting chance.

-- DC Dave


Note that Baxter was killed with rat shot, essentially a small shotgun shell sized to fit a handgun, which fires spread pattern useful against rodents and snakes. The spread of the rat shot indicates a distance of about 2 feet between the gun and Baxter's head. This clearly argues against a suicide.

Another argument against suicide is the choice of ratshot as the ammo in the gun. In the sort of home Baxter was able to afford to live in, one does not go hunting rats with guns loaded with ratshot; one hires an exterminator. In addition, rat shot is the perfect murder ammunition, because unlike a solid bullet, there is no ballistics test that can match rat shot or snake shot to the gun that fired it.

There are other problems with this autopsy report.

There were shards of glass found on his shirt, on what would have been over the superior RIGHT shoulder, following the removal of his shirt. What was the source of this glass?

Baxter had Ambien--which is given for sleep--in his stomach and in his blood. That means he had taken it very recently; Ambien works very fast; peak levels are usually at about 1.5 hours. Is it likely that someone would take a sleeping pill and then immediately drive somewhere to kill themselves. Why take a sleeping pill if you are going to kill yourself? Ambien is pretty powerful; you don't get in a car to drive someplace.

The abrasions/lacerations of Baxter's hands take on a new meaning when you consider the unexplained glass shards on his superior right shoulder clothing. This suggests a struggle.

Baxter's body was found on 01/25/2002. The specimens were received at the lab on 01/26/2002. The date of the autopsy report is 01/25/2002 (the day BEFORE the lab specimens were delivered), but the autopsy was not notarized until 02/15/2002. It was signed by Dr. Carter on 01/31/2002. Dr. Carter indicated very quickly to the press that it was a suicide, yet did not sign the report until 01/31/2002. There are no initials or indications regarding the processing of the report; no dictation or transcription dates, or transcriptionists initials.

COPVCIA: Serious discrencies in Baxter case

Latest from DC Dave

A consensus of informed readers' comments is in, and I now believe that the large irregular entrance wound is very likely to have been made by the discharge from a pistol muzzle pressed firmly against Cliff Baxter's temple, not by a weapon held a foot or two away.  As one reader pointed out, there's a good chance that rat shot would not even penetrate the skull unless the gun were pressed up against the head.  Moreover, when it is pressed up against the head the expanded gases between the scalp and the skull quite often cause a star-shaped (stellate) blow-out of the scalp, similar to the one described in the autopsy.  See the attached page and photograph from Vincent DiMiaio's text, "Gunshot Wounds."
The big question that remains, of course, is who might have pressed the gun up against Baxter's head and pulled the trigger and on what basis the autopsy doctor and the justice of the peace rushed to the conclusion that it was Baxter. 
Readers have also asked some other questions whiich may or may not have good answers such as why the clothes were wet, why was the body barefooted yet the feet were clean, where were his shoes, why weren't the hands bagged for protection, why there is nothing said about the condition of the right hand, and why Baxter had taken a powerful and fast-acting sleeping pill if he was planning to go driving somewhere and kill himself.
There also remain a host of other unanswered questions unrelated to the autopsy such as:
1. Whose gun was the death weapon?
2. Where, exactly, was it found?
3. Where did the rat shot ammo come from?
4. Where was the "suicide note" found?
5. What does the note say?
6. Has it been authenticated?  How and by whom?
7. What was the condition of the car?
8. Who saw Baxter last and what was his mood?
9. What does the family have to say?
Perhaps most important of all, with the motive for murder seemingly so much stronger than the motive for suicide, why are the news media apparently so eager to embrace the suicide conclusion and to sweep the whole matter under the rug?

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