Forensic expert: Limberios death was homicide

Manner of death: homicide. It's a bombshell and the final word from renowned forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who after reviewing the evidence determined 19-year-old Jacob Limberios could not have shot himself on March 2.
Emil Whitis
Jan 29, 2013

It's also a direct contradiction to Sandusky County coroner John Wukie's confusing opinion that Jacob accidentally committed suicide.  

During an autopsy of the body, Wecht found no gunpowder burns on or inside Jacob's head.

"Examination of the exposed scalp surrounding the entrance wound revealed no evidence of stippling or gun powder residue," Wecht stated in a Dec. 12 report, which the Register obtained this past week. "This shot would have been fired beyond a distance of 24 inches."

Wecht also noted the bullet passed through Jacob's head at a downward angle. It's all the more confounding, given that investigators had recovered the fatal bullet from the ceiling inside the home where Jacob died.

Stated Wecht's report: "I find it extremely difficult to envision a scenario in which Jacob Limberios could have shot himself either accidentally or with suicidal intent. Accordingly, it is my professional opinion, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the manner of death in this case should be considered a homicide."

Wecht's letter effectively throws the Jacob Limberios case into a new dimension – or at least a place where Sandusky County officials would likely rather not go.   

Just hours after Jacob was shot and killed inside a County Road 294 home, Wukie issued a coroner's report listing the cause of death as "suicide. Gunshot wound to head. Deceased shot self in head, may not have realized gun was loaded."

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and a few deputies had been at the scene that night, too, but they all left without collecting the bullet from the ceiling. About eight months later, sheriff's Detective Sean O'Connell recovered the bullet.

Three people were inside the house with Jacob that night, and they all told deputies Jacob shot himself.  

Jacob's body was found lying on the living room, a .357 handgun nearby.

His family pleaded with Sandusky County officials to conduct an autopsy, but they refused, saying it was closed.

In late September the family paid to exhume their son's body and send it to Pittsburgh, where Wecht could conduct a full autopsy.

The findings are nothing short of astonishing.

"It's just one of many terrible ironies in this case," said Dan McGookey, the Sandusky attorney hired by Jacob's parents, Mike and Shannon Limberios. "Nine months ago we were begging for an autopsy. Now that we got an answer they didn't want, they want to exhume the body for a second time."

Wukie's state-appointed attorney, Dean Henry, now wants a second opinion — he said he's just doing what any attorney would do, seeking their own expert for an independent opinion.

"They bought and paid for their expert … (and) they got the results they paid for," Henry said.

He said he's merely seeking the same opportunity.

On Thursday, Mike Limberios withdrew his support for a second autopsy until the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation completes its forensic testing of the gun.

"I've already got my answer," Mike said. "I know what didn't happen — my son didn't shoot himself that night at that house."

Henry said he has, for now, put the brakes on his plan for a second exhumation.  

"I understand the family is frustrated," Henry said. "But frustration isn't going to get us where we need to be.

"There's more than one way to do this," Henry said. "I was trying to do it in a way that was courteous and respectful. I'm going to discuss the matter with (Wukie)."

About three months ago, Sandusky County deputies sent the .357 Magnum to BCI for ballistics and finger-print testing. In about 90 days since, BCI hasn't returned any results, McGookey said.

A recent publication printed by the Ohio Attorney General's Office said the average processing time for a gun is about 16 days.

McGookey said he withheld Wecht's homicide ruling from the Register as a sign of goodwill to Sandusky County officials and investigators. He was hoping investigators would get things done, so he wouldn't have to add extra pressure from the media.

But that goodwill ended this past week when McGookey emailed the Register copy of Wecht's report.

McGookey and others had said all along that Wukie's report on Jacob's death made no sense.   

Wecht, in fact, called it an "oxymoron" — there's no way to die of suicide unintentionally.  

Even Henry agreed there's a problem: "Yes, I see a contradiction," he said.

McGookey plans to subpoena the three witnesses, Wukie and Sheriff Kyle Overmyer for depositions in February.




Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.


Exactly "his friends"...give me a break!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Libel and defamation.


Dean Henry is pathetic.

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (something's gonna happen)


Great respect for Emil's work! That's it for me folks, won't hear anymore from Brady M Gasser


Investigative reporting brings out the hidden truth. Newspapers are one power that should expose the powers that be.




I'm wondering how much this Dr's word holds in the legal system of Sandusky County. Being the county coroner is the only person who can declare a death a homicide?

nosey rosey

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to the bank they go. Bad things happen when you play with guns.


There is a special place for ppl like you when you go! BURN BABY BURN.... Trying to do this so the SR doesn't delete my comment!!!!!

Truth Seeker

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Libel and defamation.


The mother of his child was not a witness. History of reckless behavior? They lied about killing him..what are you talking about?

Swamp Fox

This expert was forced to resign as Allegheny County Medical Examiner and had to repay over $200,000 to the county for his questionable practices. He went into debt almost $6 million in his defense which might be the reason he is now known as a hired gun in high profile cases which he charges high fees. This expert is a a hired gun for the family, do they want the truth or a civil settlement from the county or life insurance? If the family wants the truth why wouldn't they want a third independent expert to conduct an autopsy? Is this article slanted, could it be the Register is once again on another anti-law enforcement binge to sell papers?


Read my comment discussing the hiring of Dr. Wecht on the last page of comments on the last article.


I'm curious about your comment about the Register slanting an article???? They printed the information provided. The Register did not order an autopsy. The Register did not pay for the autopsy. How is the Register to blame for the family wanting answers to their unanswered questions. Why was there no autopsy in the first place??? Sounds like LEA wasn't doing their job very well. And why did they not remove the evidence (bullet in the ceiling)??? Doesn't that sound suspicious to anyone??? Regardless of what they thought happened - wouldn't you gather all of your evidence??? I guess they figured the family would just sit back and take whatever story they were given. Not everyone will bow down to LEA just because they are the cops. Cops make mistakes - and it appears that cops also pay off medical examiners as well.


Truth seeker, I'm the mother of his child. Are you high? I was NOT a witness. And history of reckless behavior? He obviously wasn't a reckless man if he has never been in trouble and it's obvious he didn't kill himself.
As far the rest of you negative bloggers, WE ARE NOT SEEKING THE TRUTH FOR COMPENSATION, so nosey rosey you can go be nosey somewhere else. We are simply seeking the truth because we deserve the truth.

lolllllll lol

Payed for what you wanted to hear.


You shouldn't read these......mostly says it all.......most are trolls with no jobs or retired. Do what you do!


So happy for the Limberios family! What an ordeal you have gone through. May God grant you the peace to make it through the next difficult steps.
Sue the darn city and everyone you can! May it be a lesson that they will NEVER do this to another family. It could be any of us one day!!


not saying one way or another. but, everyone has an "expert". now, the county could get an "expert" to refute the other "experts" opinion. this will probably be drug out for a while.


If the evidence is accurate from the autopsy, I would have to agree with his conclusion. I'm sure it would be one story against another story, but one of those stories will make sense and the other one won't and will be difficult to prove with rebuttal witnesses.


where would this have gone if the coroner had put accidental instead of suicide?


It would have gone the same direction mikel. We are looking to find what happened that night because the county neglected to do so.


Hang in there. Slowly you are getting the answers. I'm so sorry you and the family have had to go through all of this. The county officials should have been working for/with you.


thats fine. was just curious.


So let me get this straight...the CORONERS attorney wants the same opportunity to examine the body??? Shouldnt the CORONER have examined the body when he had the chance instead of letting the "network" help cover each other's butts...


Spot On!


Sandusky county doesn't do autopsies


Thank you OMGReally! Finally someone with common sense! No one gets why we hired dr. Wecht. We hired him because sandusky county failed to do an investigation!

Swamp Fox

If anyone is disputing that this expert was not a hired gun answer this simple question, who paid him and how much? No one is disputing that this death was a tragedy for the family.