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Coroner Appears to Admit Possibility of Homicide in Webb's Death!
There is a great contradiction between the headline in the Wednesday's Bee story on Gary Webb and the actual conclusion by the Coroner in the last paragraph!
Coroner's Update on Gary Webb's Death
If you haven't seen the story in today's Bee, here it is. Here's the most
interesting line from Coroner Robert Lyons: "It's unusual in a suicide case to
have two shots," he said, "but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a
A distinct possibility? The coroner first says that Webb definitely committed
suicide - then he contradicts himself by saying him shooting himself twice is "a
What the heck? If shooting himself twice is only a "possibility," does that mean
that that homicide is also a "possibility" or even a "probability?"
We definitely need to pressure the Coroner for a complete and thorough
investigation! For alternative views on Webb's death, go to
It appears the Webb had received threats in the weeks before his untimely death.
Yes, this death very well could have been a suicide, as his ex-wife and the
coroner contend, but it needs to be thoroughly investigated to find out what
really happened! We must not let the mainstream media and the Coroner's office
get away with covering up his death, if foul play was involved.
Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner
A flood of inquiries about Gary Webb's shooting death prompts statement.
By Sam Stanton -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Facing a barrage of calls from the media and the public, the Sacramento County
Coroner's Office issued a statement Tuesday confirming that former investigative
reporter Gary Webb committed suicide with two gunshots to the head.
"The cause of death was determined to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the
head," the coroner's statement said.
"Information and evidence gathered at the scene of death, including a
handwritten note indicating an intention on the part of the decedent to take his
own life, resulted in 'suicide' as the determined manner of death.
"The investigation is continuing and will take an estimated additional six to
eight weeks to complete."
The statement was issued because of the number of calls that had flooded the
Coroner's Office since The Bee reported Sunday that Webb's death was caused by
more than one wound.
Webb, a former San Jose Mercury News reporter, was found dead in his Carmichael
home Friday morning.
Webb, who most recently had been writing for the Sacramento News & Review, is
survived by his ex-wife and three children.
Such a case normally would have sparked little notice. But Webb gained notoriety
in the 1990s after writing a series of stories for the Mercury News linking the
CIA to Nicaraguan Contras seeking to overthrow the Sandinista government and to
drug sales of crack cocaine flooding South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s.
His newspaper and others later questioned the conclusions in Webb's reporting,
and he left the San Jose newspaper in 1997 after being moved to a suburban
But Webb's allegations spawned a following, including conspiracy theorists who
have worked the Internet feverishly for days with notions that because Webb died
from two gunshots he was killed by government agents or the Contras in
retribution for the stories written nearly a decade ago.
Webb's ex-wife, Sue Bell, discounted such theories Tuesday, saying the
49-year-old Webb had been distraught for some time over his inability to get a
job at another major newspaper.
"The way he was acting it would be hard for me to believe it was anything but
suicide," Bell said.
She said that before he died Webb wrote and mailed notes to family members and
placed his baby shoes in his mother's shed.
Webb had paid for his own cremation earlier in the year and had named Bell
months ago as the beneficiary of his bank account, she said. He had sold his
house last week, because he could no longer afford the mortgage, and was upset
that his motorcycle had been stolen last week.
He had apparently laid out his driver's license before taking his father's
.38-caliber pistol, which he kept in his nightstand, to shoot himself.
Coroner Robert Lyons said his office had been swamped with calls. "It's unusual
in a suicide case to have two shots," he said, "but it has been done in the
past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility."
Services for Webb are pending.
About the writer:
The Bee's Sam Stanton can be reached at (916) 321-1091 or sstanton [at] sacbee.com.