Tag Archives: worker

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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More @ Associated Press

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Indicted California Man Threatened To Kill President And Scrawl “Fed …” On His Chest

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AP—A Northern California man remained in federal custody without bail Friday after being charged with sending racist, profanity-laced e-mail threatening to kill President Barack Obama and his family.

John Gimbel, 59, of Crescent City was arrested Oct. 6 by U.S. Secret Service officers and indicted two days before the president’s Thursday appearances at a pair of Democratic fundraisers in the city.

He is accused of sending the message to Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, a Louisville newspaper and about 70 other people on Sept. 28.

Gimbel is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. Randall Davis, a defense lawyer assigned to serve as Gimbel’s co-counsel because Gimbel wants to represent himself, said he expects him to plead not guilty.

”He contends he didn’t violate the law” and only was exercising his free speech rights,” Davis said.
More @ Associated Press

**44 Update by GeoT**
From The Eureka Times-Standard
After allegedly e-mailing an editor with NBC Universal twice in May 2007 about killing former President George W. Bush, the Secret Service located Gimbel, who told the service he was harmless and had no interest in assassinations. The Secret Service then contacted two of his sisters, one of whom said the siblings were estranged, but thought Gimbel had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and believed he was troubled after his military discharge.

According to the Veterans Service Office and Humboldt County Records Office, Gimbel was born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1949. While he was a resident of Arcata, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Oakland in 1971. The private first class was honorably discharged for a physical disability at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco in 1973 after six months of foreign or sea service.

On Sept. 7, the Secret Service interviewed Gimbel at his home on Brevus Street in Crescent City, according to an affidavit in U.S. District Court. During the interview, Gimbel was reportedly verbally abusive to Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office deputies. He claimed he had a right to free speech when informed that his alleged threats were illegal, and said he’d defend his rights and his home, and if he “had to kill 18 deputies who tried to enter his home, then so be it.”

In the affidavit, Secret Service Special Agent Russell Miller asked the court to approve a “no-knock” arrest warrant, which would allow agents to enter Gimbel’s residence without warning. There was reason to believe Gimbel had firearms in the house, Miller wrote, and Gimbel had allegedly made threats against law enforcement. He also requested the complaint and associated documents be filed under seal so Gimbel would not discover them.

Gimbel was arrested in his home on Oct. 6 and taken into custody in the Humboldt County jail, a facility approved for holding federal prisoners. He is being held without bail on suspicion of threatening the president of the United States, threatening the president’s immediate family and making threats transmitted through interstate communication. The three charges, brought by a grand jury earlier this week, each carry maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
Read more from Northern California: (click here:)
Eureka Times-Standard

TPM has received a copy of the indictment in United States of America vs. John Gimbel

The subject line of the email read:

Operation kill big-[epithet]-rig: kill the ‘president’ [epithet], then write ‘fed shit’ on his chest with a felt tip.

As TPM also notes:

That last clause appears to be a reference to the recent death of a Census Bureau worker, who was found in rural Kentucky with a rope around his neck and the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest, in what many have suggested was an act of anti-government violence.

In the body of the e-mail, as reproduced in the indictment, Gimbel, used a string of crude and racist epithets in additionally calling for the murders of Michelle Obama and the couple’s two children “in front of” the president.

You can read the rest of his sick rant here, if you can stomach it.

Gimbel’s Previous Legal History

According to reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle, this case, which was investigated by the Secret Service, is not the first time Gimbel has come under scrutiny for e-mail messages.

In April 2004, Gimbel was accused of complaining about a $5 parking ticket in an e-mail and threatening to deputize others to carry out his plans. His email is below:

Just got a $5 parking ticket. The Crescent City piggy-wiggly that gave it to me left a little over-zealous. That’s a drag. I am hereby deputizing all the citizens of Crescent City to fix up some of the f*ck up piggos. Grab those hi-powered deer rifles, each and every, and get in groups of 50 and more and go breeze away to dust the skull of the policy chief.

Make an example of that scum. That should do it for awhile. However, if any other piggos down at the station give you crap on this or get in the way, then blow their skulls off, too.
.”

On April 8, 2004, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department arrested Gimbel and removed two computers and two handguns from his location. Gimbel was convicted of making the threats, but the conviction was overturned on appeal, court records show.

On January 8, 2007, Gimbel filed a lawsuit John Gimbel vs. State of California, et al. alleging federal claims for relief against Defendant for violation of his rights under the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The court dismissed the claim dismissed with prejudice”.

In another case, Gimbel allegedly harassed a Del Norte County sheriff’s deputy who cited him for having faulty brake lights and no proof of insurance.

Gimbel repeatedly left vulgar messages on the deputy’s voice mail, prompting the deputy to obtain a restraining order against him in 2006, authorities said.

In Gimbel vs. State of California et al, Gimbel attempted to sue for a Civil Rights violation, and asking for damages in the amount of $7000. On June 22, 2007, the Court granted a Motion to Dismiss. The Court’s Order included a detailed discussion of the pleadings and applicable law, and specifically allowed Gimbel 30 days to file an Amended Complaint properly alleging claims.

On July 12, 2007, Gimbel filed a 6-page document entitled “Amended Complaint.” The court documents explain why the case was dismissed with prejudice:

The Court need not look past the first sentence of Gimbel’s “Amended Complaint” to see that it is nothing more than profanity-ridden drivel, replete with racial epithets directed at specific members of this Court, and should be dismissed with prejudice. Even if the “Amended Complaint” actually alleged a cognizable claim (which a cursory review of the document demonstrates that it does not), the Court is under no obligation to consider the merits of Gimbel’s calumnious screed, which is a stream-of- consciousness diatribe directed primarily at insulting the Court.

John Vrieze, a Eureka attorney who represented Del Norte County in both cases, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “The guy has some type of obsessive disorder. … He’s become very fixated on his First Amendment rights, thinking that transcends all bounds and that you can say anything you want and that it’s protected speech. He probably could stand to benefit from some therapy.”

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AP Exclusive: Son Sure Kentucky Census Taker Was Slain

Posted by Audiegrl

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

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


AP/Jeffrey McMurray—The son of a U.S. Census Bureau worker found hanging from a tree in eastern Kentucky with the word “fed” scrawled on his chest said Tuesday he has no doubt his father was slain.

Josh Sparkman told The Associated Press in a phone interview that he is frustrated investigators still have not ruled out suicide or accidental death.

“I look at it as disrespectful to be still throwing suicide and accident around,” he said. “He didn’t do this to himself. That’s dishonorable. My dad was a good man. No person on this planet is going to fight cancer like he did, then turn around and kill himself a year or so later.”

Bill Sparkman, 51, was a substitute teacher and part-time census worker whose body was found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck in a remote Appalachian forest earlier this month. The Clay County coroner said “fed” was written on his chest, apparently in felt tip pen. Authorities have refused to say if he was going door-to-door for census surveys before he died.

Josh Sparkman, 19, said he learned of his father’s death Sept. 13, a day after his body was found. Bill Sparkman adopted him when he was a baby.

More @ Associated Press

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Breaking News—FBI: Sparkman Was Found Touching Ground, Not Hanging From Tree

Posted by Audiegrl

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

Bill Sparkman Was a 51-Year-Old Single Father Pursuing Teaching Degree

TPMMuckraker/Zachary Roth—Bill Sparkman, the Census worker found dead in Kentucky recently was not found hanging from a tree, according to an FBI spokesman. Rather, David Beyer told TPMmuckraker, Sparkman’s feet were planted on the ground. A rope around Sparkman’s neck was attached to a tree.

An anonymously sourced AP report said that Sparkman was hanging from a tree, and that he had the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest.

Beyer, a spokesman with the FBI’s Louisville, Kentucky filed office, declined to comment on the accuracy of the “Fed” detail. But he was at pains to ratchet back speculation that Sparkman was killed in an act of anti-government sentiment, saying that investigators had not yet determined even whether the death was a homicide.

Previous reporting “left the impression that [Sparkman] was found strung up in a tree because he was a federal employee,” Beyer said. “At this juncture that’s not accurate.” Beyer added that Sparkman died of asphyxiation.

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Area where census worker died has troubled history @ Associated Press

***Update from TPM: The local coroner has confirmed that the word “Fed” had been written on Bill Sparkman’s chest when he was found dead earlier this month.

Jim Trosper, the Clay County coroner, confirmed the information to TPMmuckraker moments ago, adding that the word appeared to have been written in felt tip marker. He declined to give additional details.

***New AP Update: Witness: Census worker’s hanging body naked, bound

Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, told The Associated Press on Friday that he was among a group of relatives who discovered the body of 51-year-old Bill Sparkman on Sept. 12.

“The only thing he had on was a pair of socks,” Weaver said. “And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.

“And they even had duct tape around his neck. And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder.”

Weaver said he couldn’t tell if the tag was a Census Bureau I.D. He said he didn’t get close enough to read it.

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