Tag Archives: suicide

***Breaking–Kentucky Census Worker Bill Sparkman Killed Himself, Police Say

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In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP—A Kentucky census worker found naked, bound with duct tape and hanging from a tree with “fed” scrawled on his chest killed himself but staged his death to make it look like a homicide, authorities said Tuesday.

Bill Sparkman, 51, was found Sept. 12 with a rope around his neck near a cemetery in a heavily wooded area of the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky. Authorities said his wrists were loosely bound, his glasses were taped to his head and he was gagged.

Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that “fed” was written “from the bottom up.” He was touching the ground, and to survive “all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up,” she said.

Our investigation, based on evidence and witness testimony, has concluded that Mr. Sparkman died during an intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide,” Rudzinski said.

Authorities said Sparkman alone manipulated the suicide scene. Rudzinski said he “told a credible witness that he planned to commit suicide and provided details on how and when.”

Authorities wouldn’t say who Sparkman told of his plan, but said Sparkman talked about it a week before his suicide and the person did not take him seriously.

Friends and co-workers have said that even while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Sparkman would show up for work smiling with a toboggan cap to cover his balding head. They said he was punctual and dependable.

$600,000 in life insurance
Sparkman had recently taken out two accidental life insurance policies totaling $600,000 that would not pay out for suicide, authorities said. If Sparkman had been killed on the job, his family also would have been be eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments from the government.

Sparkman’s son, Josh, previously told The Associated Press that his father had named him as his life insurance beneficiary. Josh Sparkman said earlier this month he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount.

The Census Bureau suspended door-to-door interviews in the rural area after Sparkman’s body was found, but a spokesman said normal operations would resume in Clay County next month.

Anti-government sentiment was initially one possibility in the death. Authorities said Sparkman had discussed perceived negative views of the federal government in the county.

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Insurance Probed in Census Taker Bill Sparkman’s Death

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MANCHESTER-KY-largeAP/Jeffrey McMurray & Devlin Barrett— A census taker found hanging from a tree had named his son as his life insurance beneficiary, and investigators are looking into whether the father manipulated the death scene to make a claim possible, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Thursday.

In an interview with AP, Josh Sparkman said he found paperwork for the private life insurance policy among his father’s personal files but wasn’t sure of the amount or when it was taken out. He said authorities have told him nothing about the case or produced a death certificate, which is usually needed to make an insurance claim.

Two law enforcement sources, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case, said investigators are trying to determine if Bill Sparkman committed suicide but altered the scene to make it look like a homicide, allowing his son to collect. Life insurance policies typically do not cover suicides within a certain period of time after the policy starts.

Josh Sparkman said he is convinced his father was slain, in part because there were several items missing and apparently stolen from his car.

If it’s deemed suicide, there’s no point in even looking at insurance,” Josh Sparkman said. “There’s no such thing as suicide insurance. The money is not the concern. I just want to know what happened to my dad.

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This is not the way we should be doing things in America…

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Colin Powell and Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press 10/19/08Watching the horrific events at Fort Hood unfold yesterday, it saddens me to admit that one of the first things that came to my mind, once the shooter was identified, was “oh no, what is the right-wing going to do with this?” Today, after seeing some fair and some not so fair coverage of the Fort Hood Massacre, it reminded me of what General Colin Powell said on Meet the Press in October of last year. When asked by host, Tom Brokaw whether he was prepared to announce whether he was endorsing John McCain or Barack Obama, Powell answered with a very long explanation on how he came to the decision to endorse Barack Obama for president and how he felt about the recent actions of the GOP. Towards the end of his answer, he said something that needs to be said again and again, regarding some of the countries reaction to the events at Fort Hood.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell

His words were important last year, but even more so relevant today. The following are two a thoughtful pieces written by Kamran Pasha and Jon Soltz.

A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood

Soldiers praying

Soldiers praying

Kamran Pasha—Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a murderer and has brought great shame upon every American Muslim in the armed forces.

There are currently over 10,000 Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, men and women who are patriotic and love their country and their fellow service members. Hasan’s evil actions, the murder of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, have now brought those honorable soldiers’ loyalties into question.

The Islamophobe community on the Internet is trumpeting how Hasan’s behavior is reflective of the threat Americans face from their Muslim neighbors, and how radical Islamists have infiltrated the ranks of our military. Calls for purging the military, and perhaps even the United States, of its Muslim members have already begun.

Today there are dozens of families mourning the attack on their loved ones by a fellow-in-arms. And there are hundreds of Muslims at Fort Hood who knew Hasan and are stunned that he would betray their country and their community with such cold, calculated ease. Hasan’s rampage has truly shattered many more lives than we can begin to imagine.

I spoke today with a friend who is a Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood. He is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a recent convert to Islam. He agreed to share his perspective with me if I granted him anonymity. So we will call him Richard.

Richard is exactly the kind of soldier we need to protect our country from those that seek to do us harm. A combat veteran who has served in Iraq, Richard became interested in studying Islam initially as a strategic means of understanding his adversary in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But as he began to study the religion’s teachings, he became struck by how different they were from what was being claimed by men like Osama Bin Laden.

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Kamran Pasha is a Hollywood filmmaker and author of “Mother of the Believers”

Many Issues With Tragedy at Ft. Hood — A “Muslim Problem” not One of Them, FOX News

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Jon Soltz—Yesterday was one of the most tragic days in the military, in the midst of a slew of tragic days as we continue to see casualties in Afghanistan. Innocent soldiers lost their lives, and many more were injured, at the hands of a very troubled Major at Ft. Hood. Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives, their families, and those wounded.

Like many, I’m angry and confused, as well, at how this could possibly happen. But, until the facts are all known, I won’t jump to conclusions, or cast aspersions at a large group of Americans, like the disgraceful hosts of FOX and Friends.

During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, the FOX and Friends hosts twice implied that this is some kind of Muslim problem. Of course, they didn’t come out and say it outright, they couched it in the form of a question, like FOX News can be so good at. You know, like their teasers, “President Obama. Does He Hate America?”

Brian Kilmeade asked if it’s time to have “special debriefings” or “special screenings” of all Muslims in the military. Because, as he said, “If I’m gonna be deployed in a foxhole, if I’m gonna be deployed in an outpost, I’m gonna want to know that the guy next to me isn’t gonna want to kill me.”

Perhaps sensing that they were not being offensive enough, Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now…to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?”

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Jon Stoltz is the Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Wajahat Ali: The Fort Hood Tragedy: Fanning the Anti-Muslim Hysteria

Right-Wing Media Respond To Fort Hood Shooting By Attacking Muslims

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Allen West, GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows “Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military

WND’s Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama

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Bill Sparkman, Kentucky Census Worker, May Have Committed Suicide

Posted by Audiegrl

Census Worker Hanged bill sparkman

In this undated 2008 photo, Bill Sparkman speaks to a 7th grade class during a lesson about sound waves.

AP/Devlin Barrett and Jeffrey McMurray—Investigators probing the death of a Kentucky census worker found hanging from a tree with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job and are pursuing the possibility he committed suicide, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said no final conclusions have been made in the case. In recent weeks, however, investigators have grown more skeptical that 51-year-old Bill Sparkman died at the hands of someone angry at the federal government.

The officials said investigators continue to look closely at suicide as a possible cause of Sparkman’s death for a number of reasons. There were no defensive wounds on Sparkman’s body, and while his hands were bound with duct-tape, they were still somewhat mobile, suggesting he could have manipulated the rope, the officials said.

Sparkman’s naked body was found Sept. 12 hanging from a tree yet in contact with the ground in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest near Manchester, Ky.

The strange case attracted national attention when it first came to light, prompting worries that it may be a sign of increased anger toward the federal government in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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John Woodfield, Retired AP Bureau Chief, Commits Suicide After Molestation Charges

AP-LOGO-largeAP—A retired Associated Press bureau chief has killed himself after being charged with molesting two boys over a five-year period.

John Edward Woodfield Sr., 80, was found dead in his home on Saturday from a single gunshot, according to Lt. Jim Eyler of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. The medical examiner’s office ruled the death a suicide.

Woodfield, who retired in 1991 as bureau chief in Baltimore, had been charged the day before with sexual abuse of a minor and other charges.

Woodfield worked for the AP for more than 30 years, the entire time in Maryland.

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Nunn Charged In Murder Of Ex-Fiancée

Steve Nunn, booking photo

Steve Nunn, booking photo

TPMMuckraker—Steve Nunn, the Kentucky Republican former gubernatorial candidate and state lawmaker, has been charged in the murder of his former fiancée Amanda Ross.

As we told you Friday, Nunn was found with a gun and slit wrists in the cemetery where his parents are buried, hours after Ross — with whom he had had a tumultuous and violent relationship — was found shot to death in the parking lot of her Lexington apartment.

Nunn had spent the weekend in the hospital, before being taken yesterday morning to the Hart County jail. He had earlier been charged with violating the terms of a protective order obtained by Ross by carrying the gun, and with endangering a police officer by firing it after cops showed up at the cemetery.

The murder charges are contained in an arrest warrant obtained by Lexington police yesterday evening.

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To view our previous coverage:

Kentucky GOP Pol Found With Slit Wrists After Shooting Death Of Ex-Fiancée

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Kentucky GOP Pol Found With Slit Wrists After Shooting Death Of Ex-Fiancée

Kentucky Herald Leader

Lexington Herald Leader—After months of trying to use the legal system to protect herself from her former fiancée, 29-year-old Amanda Ross was found shot to death early Friday outside her home in downtown Lexington.
Hours later, the man she feared, former state representative and one-time gubernatorial candidate Steve Nunn, was taken into police custody at the edge of the Hart County cemetery where his parents are buried.

Nunn had slit his wrists after placing mementos on his parents’ graves, officers said.

Nunn and Ross attended the governor's Kentucky Derby party in 2008.

Nunn and Ross attended the governor's Kentucky Derby party in 2008.


Nunn was charged with six counts of wanton endangerment of a police officer after police say he fired a .38-caliber handgun when officers began arriving at the cemetery. Nunn, 56, was listed in fair condition in a Bowling Green hospital late Friday.

Lt. Douglas Pape, Lexington police spokesman, said Nunn was a person that detectives “would like to talk to” in relation to Ross’s death.

No charges had been filed in the slaying as of late Friday.

There were no witnesses to the early-morning shooting, though neighbors in Ross’s gated townhome complex said they heard five shots fired and heard Ross scream.

Lexington police received a call about the shooting at Opera House Square Townhomes at 6:34 a.m. Officers arrived at 541 West Short Street minutes later and found Ross lying in the back corner of the parking lot.

After finding Ross, police had issued an alert to other police agencies for Nunn, who is the son of the late Gov. Louie B. Nunn and was a candidate for governor in 2003.

Cont’d

Profile of Steve Nunn
Profile of Amanda Ross
Statement from Amanda Ross’s family
Audio clip of Nunn in court in August
Nunn’s citation
Summary of complaint against Nunn
Original EPO order against Nunn
Extended EPO order against Nunn
Contempt of court order
Amended domestic violence order
Nunn’s pre-trial order
Nunn pleads not guilty to domestic-violence charges
Former gov. candidate Nunn to face arraignment
Nunn resigns cabinet position

More coverage from TPM

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