AUDIO: Wukie talks

Listen to Sandusky County coroner John Wukie explain suicide in interview with BCI
Register
Dec 27, 2013

Listen to the interview below.

Sandusky County coroner John Wukie had no doubt how Jacob Limberios died when he talked with a BCI agent Oct. 10.

“Unfortunately, when someone puts a gun to their head and they can't tell us anything beyond that point we have no way to know what their intention was.”

The interviewer, Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent Charlie Snyder, picks up on that response.

“Do you believe that establishing intent is necessary to rule a death as a suicide?” he asks Wukie.

“I have not in the past,” Wukie responds. “I think there are writings in two different camps on that...I've made a statement in (another) newspaper in the past that I didn't believe that intent was necessary to establish suicide.

“If someone puts a gun to their head and pulls the trigger and it goes bang, I've ruled all those suicides for the last 20 years,” Wukie tells Snyder. “In this region of the state the feeling is that if someone puts a gun to their head and pulls the trigger and it goes bang and they die we call those suicides.”

Click below for the audio of Wukie's interview 

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sees it differently. After a four-month investigation, his office determined the gun used to kill Jake was defective and his death was unintentional. 

“Everything just totally points to an accident,” DeWine told the Register. “We have no evidence he killed himself at all.”

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Comments

Kottage Kat

What would he call Russian Roulette?

Commenter

In my opinion Russian Roulette IS Suicide. You know that gun is loaded and you pull the trigger?? Unless I don't know what it really is?

White Owl

Months ago, I found Dr. Wukie's finding of "accidental suicide" to be ludicrous. But as the story unfolds and facts come out to demonstrate that "accidental suicide" was a creation by this newspaper, Dr. Wukie's explanation increasingly makes sense to me. Providing the audiotape is a good example of why context matters.

As hard as this is for the SR and others to accept, the fact is the cause of death is a medical-legal determination made by a doctor not an attorney or journalist. AG DeWine is not qualified to make the determination, nor is Attorney McGookey. A change in cause of death is made through a coroner's inquest, not through a grand jury proceeding.

Arguably, DeWine made a false statement as he is quoted in the article "We have no evidence he killed himself at all" when in fact all the evidence as found by the grand jury points to Jake holding the gun when it discharged. So, Jake did in fact kill himself.

The issue was and remains was Jake's conduct in mishandling and holding a loaded gun to his head while under influence of prescribed drug(s)for an unstated mental health issue, so reckless as to form a reasonable basis of intent to kill oneself. It's a tragedy, but I think Dr. Wukie's finding is defensible.

Dying as a result of willingly playing Russian Roulette is analogous, and IMO the finding would be suicide. However, in both the Limberios case and the hypothetical Russian Roulette case, one would hope that the law enforcement officers, officials, journalists, and lawyers would have conducted themselves with far more professionalism than occurred in the Limberios case.

Jmschmidt812

Dr. Wukie has made a comment that I never thought about until he said it. He said something like, you don't know someone's intent after the trigger is pulled and the gun goes boom. There may have been intent but that's something nobody will ever know. There's a reasonable amount of certainty that death could result from putting a gun to ones head, especially a gun with a hair trigger. This is just a sad story that keeps getting brought up. No matter what new evidence may be found, it will never change the single fact that this young man died.

Ithink

Your opinions would be more valid, had said coroner gone to the scene of a dead gunshot victim or, at the very least, ordered an autopsy. Since he was the only qualified person- medically speaking- to make the determination of cause of death, and he CHOSE to do neither, your opinion holds no value. IMO.

Sam

So either he intentionally caused his own death or he caused it by acting recklessly, either way you would hope this newspaper would stop from its constant rehashing the same story line of its agenda and bias. I think people on both sides of the issue has made their decisions without further replay of the same facts..

Commenter

I think both sides have decided that they are right no matter what and have blinders on to not see another point of view.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Sam. This story represents the first comments directly from Dr. Wukie in more than 20 months. I'm not sure how that would be considered re-hashing the same story line since this information was never published previously. If you're tired of this story perhaps there is something else in the Register's news stream that might interest you. Thanks again for the comment.

Commenter

It's the first in more than 20 months on this particular topic. Matt, please don't be so arrogant to not admit you have run a lot of angles to this story.

Matt Westerhold

I readily admit, there are a lot of angles to this story, and the Register has reported on many of them. 

Ithink

Matt- Please don't stop shedding light on ANY information you have concerning this tragedy. I have told the naysayers to skip these articles on many occasions. Yet, they continue to read the material AND feel it necessary to comment on the stories they so readily admit they are tired of reading about. Ironic and moronic.

Sam

Matt you have to admit no recent subject has had this amount of articles, many of them are rehashes of prior articles. The perception of bias comes from the attorney that represents the family also has a weekly column in your newspaper that clearly favors his major practice of law and is the only column that doesn't allow comments.

White Owl

Is the column really a form of paid advertising for the attorney? If it's really an advertisement, that would explain the lack of comments. It would also explain the co-dependency between the SR and the attorney.

It's as if the newspaper is financially incentivized to work with the attorney on one side of the litigation. We've seen this one sided reporting before in the Zinc litigation.

Also, to the lawyers out there: Is a foreclosure/business attorney qualified to litigate a case of alleged official/police misconduct?

Matt Westerhold

These suggestions are silly. They seem to be red herrings designed to divert attention from the information that's reported. If you want to refute the reporting, refute the reporting. Don't make stuff up. 

White Owl

Matt: Why don't you answer the question? Is the column a form of paid advertising? If I'm making it up, then come out and deny that the SR receives ad revenues from the attorney either directly or indirectly. The so called "red herring" (legal term) is your post designed to divert attention from the likely financial relationship with the attorney. Did he direct your post?

Also, it was obvious that the SR was taking the sides of the law firm that represents Zinc and was providing misleading information about the suit. You took down the comments after it was pointed out that the true facts were available on line from court documents and that Zinc's lawyers had likely entered false documents.

Furthermore, the competency of the attorney with little to no experience in the area of civil rights/official misconduct law is a valid question.

Finally, thank you for providing the audio tape. It helped confirm for me that Dr. Wukie's initial determination was not based on some devious desire to cover up a homicide but to protect the family from the grim reality that their son was deeply troubled and took his own life either intentionally or through a reasonably foreseeable extremely reckless action.

IMO, had the family received competent legal representation (who wasn't looking to create a lawsuit or a big insurance payout) at the onset maybe Sandusky County officials would not have been so combative and the family could begin to grieve.

Matt Westerhold

There is no financial relationship or advertising relationship as you suggested and your comments are inaccurate and silly. There also is no information that Jacob Limberios was "deeply troubled" or that "he took his own life,"  and "protecting" the family, as you suggest, by putting inaccurate information on a death certificate seems to be an inappropriate course of action.  

White Owl2

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

White Owl2

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

White Owl2

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

Jmschmidt812

Seems like you're being censored because you have asked to many questions or have hit a nerve.

White Owl

The audiotape as published by the SR is extremely helpful to understanding Dr. Wukie's position and is new information. However, given that Dr. Wukie is the only official who can change the cause of death through a Coroner's Inquest, it makes sense to stop the name calling and assaults on his integrity.

Sam has IMO accurately presented the two scenarios: 1) Jake intentionally put the gun to his head and intended to kill himself in front of the witnesses; or 2) Jake recklessly put the gun to his head in front of witnesses and his recklessness caused his death.

The challenge for Attorney McGookey is to present a compelling case to Dr. Wukie through an Inquest that Jake's reckless behavior did not rise to a level of intending to shot oneself so that Dr. Wukie reverses himself. IMO, that's going to be a tough sell in view of the extremely hostile comments and ill will publicly directed at Dr. Wukie.

deertracker

Number 1 is suicide. Number 2 is accidental.

deertracker

If you don't know what one's intent was how an you say it was suicide? Some of you are trying to redefine what suicide actually means. Those of you that really believe you can accidentally on purpose kill yourself are just DUMB! Period!

Sam

You put a loaded firearm to your head, that is an intention act. If death results was that intentional or an accident? Does a mentally capable person put a firearm to their head? If a mentally ill person commits suicide is that intentional or the result of the illness? Once again calling others dumb reflect back towards you PERIOD!

Matt Westerhold

Hey Sam, you neglected to mention the gun purportedly has a hair trigger, the failed lie detector tests or the Attorney General's findings after a four-month investigation, or mention that Wukie did not conduct any kind of investigation. He can't even remember why he couldn't go to the house where Jake was killed on March 2, 2012. 

Suicide seems to be becoming a malleable and convenient explanation in difficult circumstances. Sandusky County sheriff's deputies shot and killed Bryan Jones in July 2010 from near point-blank range after using a flashbang grenade to wake him up. One explanation from public officials was that Jones "committed suicide by cop" as he was sleeping. That's an explanation that does not seem to be at all plausible, similar to the current explanations being put forward for this "suicide." 

Simple Enough II

Mr. W, you use the term "hair trigger", being this revolver is a DA/SA ( Double Action/Single Action) the single action mode typically has a reduced trigger pull in the 4 to 4-1/2 pound range, really nothing special and not a hair trigger. Now I would like to know what the process for this "impact test" comprises of? What no one can tell us, where his fingers were in relation to the hammer & the trigger, because I am not familiar with a revolver with the transfer bar
safety failing.

Sam

Hey Matt hair trigger or not ,if anyone placed a loaded gun anywhere near their head and was injured or died who's fault would that be, and wouldn't the fact they placed themselves in harm make it intentional or gross reckless? Clearly we will agree to disagree. Why change the subject to the 2010 case? Why not answer why the family attorney has a column in your newspaper every week that is nothing more than a promotion for his practice with no comments allowed. You should agree that at least is an appearance of a lack of objectivity concerning that attorney on the newspapers part?
Bottom line the AG agreed it was self inflicted and the victim was reckless in his own death.

Matt Westerhold

Sam ... just look up the definition of the word suicide. It requires intent. This isn't rocket science. And Wukie doesn't mention "reckless disregard." He implies it was an accident. Seems like some people here in the comments section want to make this up as they go along and disregard information that doesn't meet with their view. Do you work for the Sandusky County sheriff's office, Sam, or have close ties to this unfolding story? 

Sam

No Matt I don't work for the Sandusky County Sheriff, or have close ties with any of the involved parties including the lawyer for the family. You are correct this isn't rocket science, what was his intent when he pointed a loaded gun towards his head, does any us really know. If in fact he wasn't suicidal he was reckless. Does either outcome really bring peace to the family. How about my question about this newspaper's objectivity with the apparent relationship with the family's lawyer, doesn't that raise questions about journalistic objectivity? I will ask you the same question you asked me and I answered, explain your ties with any of the involved persons involved in this case.

Jmschmidt812

Mr. Westerhold you have no idea what his intentions where, so you can cannot say that it wasn't his intention. You keep bringing up the Jones case when it has no relevance to this one. This article is about Mr. Wukie, not the SCSO. If there was a problem with the way they handled Mr. Jones and if he wasn't a threat like you say, then why didn't his parents disarm him? They failed a lie detector test while on the Dr. Phil show, and those tests and their findings, as far as I know, were never reviewed by another expert. As you know just from this case, not every expert is going to have the same opinion as the next. Those results should be reviewed by an unbiased third party and see how they view each of the results.

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