SUICIDE FUELS CONSPIRACY BUZZ
By Richard Johnson with Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson
(The New York Post-- 03/04/05)
Was Hunter S. Thompson's mysterious death really a suicide?
There are some serious irregularities surrounding the demise of the gonzo author, who was found shot to death in the kitchen of his Woody Creek, Colo., ranch on Feb. 20, and local cops seemed to have done a lackluster job of investigating.
Police reports obtained by the Rocky Mountain News note that cops arriving on the scene heard shots being fired, that Thompson's son, Juan, was allowed to be alone with the body, and that there was something odd about the gun Thompson supposedly used to kill himself.
Before his death, Thompson seemed in good spirits and was not known to be depressed. And considering his long-winded style, the absence of a note seems strange — he'd typed only the single word "counselor."
There were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, only an "earwitness" — Thompson's wife, Anita, who was on the phone with him at the time and who later drank scotch with the corpse. Her account of the incident is inconsistent: She alternately has said that she heard a loud, muffled noise and that she heard nothing but clicking.
The behavior of Juan, who was in the house at the time of the shooting, also was unusual. Pitkin County Deputy Sheriff John Armstrong said that when investigators arrived on the scene they heard shots, but Juan assured them he had merely been firing off a salute to his dead dad. Investigator Joseph DiSalvo also let Juan enter the kitchen alone and drape a scarf over the body.
And in his report, Deputy Ron Ryan noted the semi-automatic Smith & Wesson 645 found next to Thompson's body was in an unusual condition. There was a spent shell casing, but although there were six bullets left in the gun's clip, there was no bullet in the firing chamber, as there should have been under normal circumstances.
DiSalvo said he did not check the gun, adding, "I think a bullet from the magazine should have cycled into the chamber" unless there was a "malfunction." A spent slug was found in the stove hood behind the body.
Conspiracy theorists make much of the fact that Thompson had been working on a far-fetched story about the World Trade Center attack at the time of his death.
As Canada's Globe and Mail reported, Thompson had "stumbled across what he felt was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes that flew into them but by explosive charges set off in their foundations."