Another Odd Steven Hayne Autopsy

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

In a piece about the Jimmie Duncan case, Monroe, Louisiana’s black newspaper the Free Press writes…

In 2000 there was another strange autopsy report in Ouachita Parish. Jeremy Burton tried to rob a motel on Louisville avenue and was cornered by the cops in a dark alley. Shots were fired and a police officer initially admitted shooting him.

There was a local outcry when the autopsy report returned with a very strange result. It said Burton, who was left handed, swung his arm around a pipe over which he was draped and shot himself in the back of the head…twice.

There was never a trial of the officer. The case was swept under the rug, completing [sic] relying on the integrity of the autopsy report.

This another problem Hayne presents: The 20 years worth of cases where he may have altered autopsy results to clear police or people who were well-connected. In my 2007 piece on Hayne, I quoted from a public letter to the Jackson Advocate written by Dr. Lloyd White, one of the last two people to hold the position of state medical examiner in Mississippi, and who, like his successor, eventually left the job in frustration after getting badgered by the state’s coroners and DAs for trying to rein Hayne in. From the article:

Before leaving, [White] wrote a blistering public letter to Charles Tisdale, editor and publisher of the Jackson Advocate, a hard-hitting black paper sometimes called “the most firebombed newspaper in America.” Tisdale’s paper had been doggedly pursuing a series of suspicious suicides in Mississippi’s jails that many civil rights leaders believed to be homicides.

White himself suspected the deaths really were suicides. But he didn’t believe they were being properly investigated. In particular, he was troubled that the bodies were being sent to examiners like Hayne, who, experience taught him, couldn’t be trusted to give an unbiased conclusion. White’s letter called Hayne out by name, noting that despite his lack of credentials and poor practices, “Hayne continues to autopsy jail and prison deaths, as well as persons killed by police or sheriff’s deputies, and to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal income as a result of his extremely cozy relations with…state employees and officials.”

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17 Responses to “Another Odd Steven Hayne Autopsy”

  1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Sounds familiar. How long before Hayne claims to have “exonerated three or four times as many people” as he’s convicted? All cops and prison guards would be my guess.

  2. #2 |  Josh | 

    Is there any talk of this guy, or West, facing civil damages for their actions? I’m guessing the prosecutors they’ve aided over the years would never press any sort of charges.

  3. #3 |  Episiarch | 

    It said Burton, who was left handed, swung his arm around a pipe over which he was draped and shot himself in the back of the head…twice.

    This, and the “two people holding the gun” stuff is Monty Python-esque in its absurdity. How does this get past a jury?

    Don’t answer that question.

  4. #4 |  pegr | 

    “black newspaper”?

    You know, in any other context, I would cry racism at those two words. But in this one, I can almost understand it. I guess “black newspaper” is just shorthand for “anti-institutionalized racism newspaper”.

    Gawd, I thought we were past all this stuff… :(

  5. #5 |  Mojotron | 

    pegr, the term “black newspaper” is a fairly old one and is how they self-identify. it seems kinda archaic because it is, some date back over 100 years.

  6. #6 |  Judi | 

    The major media will not pick this story up because it wouldn’t leave room for reports about Rhianna/Chris Brown, the ‘octuplet’ mom or whether or not Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are famous enough to snub reporters on the ‘red carpet’.

    The prosecutors won’t prosecute because they have a ‘love affair’ with Hayne/West. If I am correct, a SPOUSE cannot be forced to testify against their ‘significant other’….lol.

    Every agency I’ve called, everyone from media to state agencies, seem to want to either pass the buck or wait until someone else does their J-O-B for them.

    No one except for Radley seems to have the GONADS to do anything about it and of course he can’t personally prosecute Hayne/West even though I kow he would if he could. Hell, he has HANDED them their case, sign, sealed and delivered.

    But I won’t give up and I won’t give in. “Like a tree planted by the water, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED!”

    I urge everyone to call

    The Mississippi State Medical Association (Charmaine Kanosky/Director) at 601-853-6733

    Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure (Mr. Washington and/or Shirley Thomas/Investigators and Dr. H. Vann Craig/ Executive Director at 601-987-3079

    Mississippi Dept of Safety Commssioner Stephen Simpson at 601-987-1212

    Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood at 601-359-3680

    FBI Mississippi Field Office at 601-948-5000

    Thom Bird, Sr Producer fox News at 212-301-3250

    CNN/HLN at 404-827-2600

  7. #7 |  Judi | 

    To #2 Josh: Kennedy Brewer, an exonerated man IS suing Hayne for I believe 18 million.

  8. #8 |  Number 6 | 

    “Black Newspaper” is not a racist term. Black newspapers are exactly what they sound like-newspapers aimed at the black community, and usually staffed by black people. In many markets, they function as an alternative to the metro daily.
    In Kansas City, my home town, the black newspaper is known as The Call. They have a long and fairly distinguished history, and have produced more than a few outstanding reporters. I pick it up from time to time, although I am not in their target demographic. As is the case with most alternative outlets, the quality is uneven. Some content is just ok, some is marginal, and some is quite good. Incidentally, I worked with a reporter who was a veteran of The Call. She knew her stuff, and did some remarkable research.
    IOW, “Black Newspaper” is in no way a derogatory term.

  9. #9 |  Number 6 | 

    Just a quick addendum-alternative press outlets like black newspapers can and do provide a valuable service. They often cover stories that are important to the communities they serve-stories that the metro dailies ignore for a variety of reasons. Radley’s post provides a perfect example of that.
    Would it be racist to call Dos Mundos a hispanic newspaper?

  10. #10 |  Rick Caldwell | 

    “Who’s Number 1?”
    “You are Number 6.”
    “I am not a number – I am a free man!”

    Just felt inspired to write that.

  11. #11 |  pegr | 

    Thanks for your reply, Number 6, but I contend that if we are, as a species, going to forever get past our preconceived notions regarding race, we absolutely have to stop referencing race when race is irrelevant. The tricky part is when race is relevant, but not within the context it was used.

    Case in point: the “black newspaper” referenced is concerned with institutionalized racism (among other things, I imagine). I, too, am concerned with institutionalized racism, but I cannot “self-identify” with their “target audience”. To put it another way, using the words “black newspaper” in this context suggests that I, as a caucasian, cannot be concerned with institutional racism! But I am! Why am I excluded? That’s racist!

    I would also suggest that your use of the words “black community” is also inappropriate, as your “black community” likely does not include all African Americans, but only those that have certain “social challenges”.

    Such language is divisive and inappropriate for all circumstances. The quicker we leave these forms of expression in our collective history, the sooner we can get past them.

    I understand why they are used, though, and support many (not all) of their aims. I guess it just goes to show that there is plenty of “racism” on all sides.

    /rant off

  12. #12 |  Steve Verdon | 

    …we absolutely have to stop referencing race when race is irrelevant.

    If you have a newspaper staffed mostly by people of a given race that covers issues relating to people of that race in the local community I think referencing race is not irrelevant.

    To put it another way, using the words “black newspaper” in this context suggests that I, as a caucasian, cannot be concerned with institutional racism! But I am! Why am I excluded? That’s racist!

    No it doesn’t, it suggests you are being overly sensitive.

  13. #13 |  ElScorcho | 

    Such language is divisive and inappropriate for all circumstances. The quicker we leave these forms of expression in our collective history, the sooner we can get past them.

    So we end up saying things like ‘French youths are protesting in Paris’, when we really mean disaffected Muslim immigrants are rioting and burning their neighborhoods down. One statement is less offensive, but conveys much less information about what is really happening. Likewise you’re proposed sanitation would leave much more unexplained. Black newspapers do exist. Black communities do exist. To try and ignore that there are real divisions based are race is not truly helpful, it might not offend your sensibilites as much, but it does not help. In the case you are talking about the term black newspaper conveys alot of meaning about the relative power and possible concerns that that newpaper may have that a mainstream one does not. What other term would you use to explain this situation so well?

  14. #14 |  primus | 

    Judi: I suggest also calling the tourism people of the state, and tell them that with such bad social oversight, you will not be visiting there. If you are in any way involved in arranging conventions, meetings etc. mention that fact also, and tell them that you will not be putting their state on the list of possibles. Let them know that their inaction is costing them money.

  15. #15 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “It said Burton, who was left handed, swung his arm around a pipe over which he was draped and shot himself in the back of the head…twice.”

    Really???? Mr. Burton must have been quite the contortionist. Even in a normal case, it would be pretty rare to find a legit suicide victim with a gsw to the back of the head. Hmmm…..

  16. #16 |  pegr | 

    Steve:
    “If you have a newspaper staffed mostly by people of a given race that covers issues relating to people of that race in the local community I think referencing race is not irrelevant.”

    You’re absolutely right, because the paper itself is racist. Here’s a test you can apply. Anywhere the word “black” appears, replace it with the word “white”. If the new version sounds racist, then so too the original.

  17. #17 |  markm | 

    Does a black newspaper need a direct pipeline from the ink well?

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