Former homicide detective questions Scalia death

- Conspiracy theories abound after some high-profile deaths including the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The 79-year-old New Jersey native was found dead at a Texas ranch over the weekend.

It was determined he died of natural causes and an autopsy was not necessary.

But former homicide detective William O. Ritchie is questioning the way the local authorities handled Scalia's passing.

The former head of criminal investigations for the capital's police department said there exists no medical proof Scalia definitively died of natural causes.

"I took a look at the report and I almost fell out of my chair,” Ritchie told The NY Post from his home in Maryland.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Ritchie said:

"You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. Did the US Marshal smell his breath for any unusual odor that might suggest poisoning? My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas."

"You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack. What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?" 

Ritchie also raised concerns that without a post mortem, how could it be determined that Scalia was not injected with an illegal substance that could simulate a heart attack.

Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara told The Associated Press on Monday she spoke with Scalia's doctor on the day he was found dead in his room at a remote Texas ranch. She said the doctor told her that Scalia had a history of heart trouble, high blood pressure and was considered too weak to undergo surgery for a recent shoulder injury.

Those details are seemingly at odds with recollections of friends who described Scalia as his usual, happy self during the days leading up to his death.

News that the 79-year-old justice was in declining health may come as a surprise to the public, but unlike presidents, the high court's members don't provide regular health disclosures.

Guevara told the AP that she consulted with Scalia's personal physician and local and federal investigators, who said there were no signs of foul play, before concluding that he had died of natural causes.

She said she spoke with a "Dr. Monahan" at some point after 8 p.m. on Saturday to discuss Scalia's health history.

Rear Adm. Brian P. Monahan is the attending physician for members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman could not immediately confirm that Monahan had examined Scalia, and Monahan did not return a phone message left for him at his Capitol office Monday.

Scalia's family reportedly did not want an autopsy.

With the Associated Press

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