Obstruction of Justice Charged: Evidence Destroyed in Corrupt Investigation

Medical Examiner’s Office, Police,
St. Petersburg Times Implicated

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Investigation revealed Medical Examiner Joan Wood did not perform the autopsy. The doctor who did testified under oath that there was no substance to any of her “findings.”
vidence now in the possession of Church counsel and publicly available in court files shows the claims of Medical Examiner Joan Wood concerning the death of Lisa McPherson to have been false and medically unsupported. At the same time, important facts and evidence were hidden or destroyed.

     What is now known presents a damning picture of the motives and corruption in some quarters of the Clearwater PD and of the St. Petersburg Times. And it reflects the continuing pattern of conduct, deemed “patently offensive” by the nation’s highest courts which has never been extinguished.

Central allegations disproven

     More than 50 articles have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times concerning the tragic death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson in the course of a one-year period. At the center of those stories were allegations of Florida Medical Examiner Dr. Joan Wood, who initially presented her findings concerning the death of Ms. McPherson on the “Inside Edition” tabloid television program. But consider what the Times didn’t tell you:

     END Subsequent investigation revealed Wood did not perform the autopsy.

     END Attorneys located the assistant Medical Examiner who did perform the autopsy, Dr. Robert Davis. He testified that he could not support any of Wood’s fundamental findings. Further, he revealed, in sworn testimony, that Wood sought to intimidate him into silence, telling him “not to talk to anybody about the case; not to talk to any of the parties involved; not to talk to the police; not to talk to the paper; not to talk to the State’s Attorney; not to talk to the Scientologists; not to talk to the family. Don’t talk to anybody.” Wood’s assistant Larry Bedore separately told Davis, “You are involved.”

     END Additional investigation revealed the autopsy notes were withheld or illegally destroyed by Wood’s office.

     Davis testified that of the 25 autopsies he left incomplete after leaving Wood’s office, 24 were sent to him to complete and return for release. Only one was not – that of Lisa McPherson, which Wood herself wrote and signed. Davis further testified he always made detailed handwritten notes during all of his autopsies and maintained these notes in the autopsy file.

     It was these same notes which were ordered released on February 27, 1997, by Circuit Judge Barker in a case brought under the Public Records Act. The Church of Scientology was forced to bring this suit against Wood’s office when Wood refused to produce records concerning the McPherson death.

     Yet when her office allegedly complied to the court’s order, there were no handwritten notes. Not only did Davis testify that he made such notes, and that he always maintained them in the autopsy file, but when asked if there would be any reason to destroy the notes, he responded that he believed it illegal to do so. Moreover, Larry Bedore testified there was an office policy against any such destruction.

     Pursuing the matter further, Church counsel questioned Wood’s attorney Pat Anderson. Her response: “This document, if it ever existed, does not exist now. ... Watch my lips here... It doesn’t exist.”

Obstruction of Justice Charged: Evidence
Destroyed in Corrupt Investigation continued...

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