Wukie says it's confusing

Sandusky County coroner released a statement defending his ruling in the death of Jacob Limberios, citing confusion about the word 'suicide'
Register
Jan 28, 2014

“The time is now right for me to explain to the public why I made the suicide ruling, and why I do not believe it would be proper to change that ruling to 'accident.'” Wukie wrote in the statement he gave the News-Messenger.

Jacob Limberios was accidentally killed March 2, 2012. In mid-March 2012, Wukie ruled the cause of death this way: “Suicide. Gunshot wound to the head. Deceased shot self in head, may not have realized the gun was loaded.”

Wukie declined to make any public statements after that until he was interviewed by a state agent in October 2013. He told the agent then he wrote the cause of death that way “out of compassion” for Jacob's mother, to give her a “question” about her son's intent to kill himself.

But there wasn't ever any question about whether Jacob Limberios intended to kill himself, Wukie said on Monday, because it doesn't matter.

“Much of the confusion about this case stems from the false belief that suicide always means the decedent 'intended' to take his life. There is no universally accepted definition of 'suicide' within the medical and legal community,” Wukie wrote in the statement he gave the News-Messenger.

Read Wukie's statement here

Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist, is not confused in the same way Wukie appears to be.

“Suicide is the intentional taking of one's life as defined in medical and general dictionaries, and in the practice of forensic pathology,” Baden wrote in a recent affidavit urging the death certificate be corrected.

Baden, a famed forensic pathologist and former New York medical examiner, provided expertise in forensic pathology and reviewed the autopsy reports and other evidence for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's state investigation of Jacob's death.

“Jacob Limberios died as a result of an accidental gun discharge,” Baden wrote in the sworn affidavit. “The manner of death on his death certificate should be changed to reflect this.”

The dictionary defines the word “suicide” this way: “The action of killing oneself intentionally.”

After a five-month investigation and a two-week grand jury proceeding, DeWine determined Jake's death was an accident. The AG also suggested the death certificate be corrected.

Click here to read past news articles

Wukie, who is not a forensic pathologist, said he culled his information from the various reports he's reviewed. He also said there was no value in him being present for the original investigation to succeed.

“I did not personally go to the scene of the shooting,” he said. “In this case, my presence would have added nothing.”

He has declined to say why he could not go to the scene when he was called by Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and deputies March 2, 2012.

In his statement released this week, Wukie cited some information from witness statements he'd read but did not cite other information that conflicted with his ruling or his statement about it.

He also did not address the destruction of evidence that occurred during the initial investigation by Sandusky County sheriff's deputies, or other missteps later documented by the AG's investigation, including Wukie's failure to order an autopsy.

He previously stated that Baden was “not well-liked” in the medical community and was "bosom buddies" with Dr. Cyril Wecht, another famed forensic pathologist who disagrees with Wukie, according to documents from the AG's investigation.

The Register asked David P. Corey, executive director of the Ohio Coroners Association, for a review of Wukie's ruling and his statement to determine if the association supports his position.

State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba, has conferred with the association on a legislative proposal called “Jake's Law,” that would more clearly dictate when a county coroner should order an autopsy.

 

Comments

Turduckenbreath

Whether or not one agrees with Wukie's position, The Register does not serve its readers with this misleading headline. The word "confusion" is used in the story in a much different context than the headline indicates.

Matt Westerhold's picture
Matt Westerhold

The headline has been adjusted. 

Turduckenbreath

Well, you're getting closer. But you still are trying to imply it is Wukie who is confused. The story, and his statement, just do not support this.

Matt Westerhold's picture
Matt Westerhold

Thanks Turd...really should think about changing the name. No offense. Wukie says it's a confusing topic. It doesn't seem confusing, but, according to the coroner, it's confusing. Here's what sheriff's captain Michael Meggitt said the morning after Jacob was killed: “Everybody there was extremely shocked about what occurred. He wasn’t distraught. There’s not one person there that thought he did that intentionally.” There hasn't been any source yet to talk with the Register who agrees with Wukie's position. The Register made inquiries to the Ohio coroners association and other coroners across the state and country, including  Dr. Paul Matus, Dr. Michael Baden, Dr. Cyril Wecht and others.

Random Thoughts

Mr. Westerhold.  The Fremont News-Messenger reports that the President of the National Association of Medical Examiners, Dr. Gregory A. Schmunk, supports Wukie's ruling of "suicide" (see the News-Messenger's article for the exact quote).  So to be accurate and fair to both sides of the argument, there is a difference of opinion between experts, and it is not as clear cut as your articles suggest.  I recommend that the Register reach out Dr. Schmunk like the News-Messenger did.

mikesee

Mr Westerhold only wants to spin this to reflect negatively on Wukie. At NO time has the SR reported fairly on this topic. It is unfortunate that the SR does not practice fair reporting.

Matt Westerhold's picture
Matt Westerhold

From that article, which is linked in this SR post, Schmunk said he would call it a suicide. You are correct, Random, and I stand corrected. I might have been tripped up by the lead-in to the quote, from the article, Schmunk "told The News-Messenger last summer a suicide ruling might not be inaccurate." We will reach out to him and ask about the current circumstances, given the findings of the attorney general and statement from Baden.

Jack518

whether one adds the wording accidental before the word suicide or not, does not change the meaning of suicide. The only way it can be called an accident is when those there WITESSING IT say it was an accident. You cannot say that it was an accident by an autopsy or by measuring or by any other method except by witnesses. Suicide is suicide. To say it was an accident won't change a thing except in the minds of those who need to hear that.

If it means that much to the family, then let them say that, but the coronor cannot say that. He wasn't there. He has to go by what was found on autopsy and the autopsy by Lucus county, by Baden and by everyone else says "suicide". Sorry. To add it was an accidental is only an adjective of sympathy. The next step to that would be "murder'. Is that what the family wants?

They agreed to abide by what the AG found and he said it was suicide. It was probably by "accident" but still they press on. Truthfully, they won't be happy until it says murder because they is what Mr. Limbrois wants to hear, I think. He believes it and he won't rest until someone tells him that. We watched the Dr. Phil show, He really believes that someone killed his son. He may be right, he may not be.

John Harville

ORC... Suicide is the intentional taking of one's life.
Attempted Suicide, incomplete suicide, unsuccessful suicide - all must by law include a demonstration of INTENT.
What difference will it make to Wukie to indicate death was the result of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound?
A coroner cannot by law refuse to go to a scene when called upon by Sheriff or other law enforcement.
Wukie is described by co-workers as 'arrogant', 'unable to be wrong', 'stubborn', 'self-important'. Seems to explain how a local county coroner would counter a decision by the states highest-ranking legal officer.

Jmschmidt812

Read the news messenger article it gives more detail than this paper.

Simple Enough II

Yeah, I wondered about that also. I'm no fan of the news-mess, but he does go on to explain the purpose ofhis ruling and like it or not the valid point is made. Thanks for posting his .pdf statement, I hope everyone can have a chance to read it especially the J4J&E group and just maybe some sense sink in.

nikfrog

What I find "confusing" is why they won't just change the death certificate. When someone commits suicide, they "intend" to harm themselves. It's all about intent. From what I've seen, Jacob didn't "intend" to harm himself. There were no indications he was "suicidal" or wanted to harm himself. Yes, he had a loaded gun and probably shouldn't have been handling it so carelessly, but he certainly didn't have it there to shoot himself. It was an accident. A horrible, tragic accident. Why not just change the wording? What is the big deal? This family needs to heal, and if this is what they need, then just do it! So very sad for everyone involved.

John Harville

If the gun had been pointed toward someone else when it went off and, unfortunately, that person had died, what degree of 'homicide' would it be? Accidental. Involuntary manslaughter? Voluntary manslaughter? Second Degree Murder? First Degree Murder?
It would all be a matter of intent.
It would involve 'aggravating' and 'migitating' circumstances.
And the coroner WOULD have gone to the scene.
And evidence WOULD have been collected.

Swiftshot

Any time that you admit wrong doing you leave yourself open for lawsuits. If he sticks to the original statements he thinks the damage will be lessened

Informed

There is nothing confusing about it. There is no evidence or testimony that leads one to believe this was intentional. Therefore, it cannot be a suicide. It was an accident. I don't know why he is confused. I don't think he is confused at all. Just incompetent and stubborn. Suicide has always meant intent. If I am working on my roof and fall off, that is an accident. If I go up to the roof and jump off with intent to die, that is suicide. It's not rocket science.

John Harville

If I'm there with you and something happens that I fall off and die... the coroner will be called and will come.. Did you push me? Did you cause me to fall? Did you intentionally cause me to fall?
Just like sin, it' all about 'intent'.

Simple Enough II

nikfrog & informed, read the attached .pdf if you haven't already, and if you have read it again until it sinks in.

Informed

I read it, and I still don't agree. If someone dies while drunk driving, that is not ruled a suicide, even though their dangerous act was intentional. If I am up on my roof playing hopscotch and fall, that is not a suicide even though my dangerous act was intentional. And there are no facts that state he intentionally put the gun to his head. In fact, the physical findings do not support that.
If intent is not determined, then there would never be findings of homicide--they would all be manslaughter or another crime.
Wukie is wrong and stubborn.

Ctwhalers

Jack518 you are wrong that baden and ag say suicide. They have told wukie to change it cause he is wrong. Do not know where you got your information from but it is wrong. Parents never agreed with the ruling thats why they kept it going. Yes they dropped it but are getting a new lawyer to help them out. If you people were to read a full AG report and listen to all the audio you will see why the family is still pushing for this. Maybe then it will sink into you. They are public records. So if you want to be informed read and listen then lets see what your comments are then

Ctwhalers

Oh by the way wukie I hear has no real training in his job and has others do it for him. Plus he makes it clear he does not trust baden in what he says even through he is trained in this field of expertise. So how can he rule on something by what others say even when he has no expertise in this at all. Wake up people.

Jmschmidt812

What you hear has no bearing on this article nor does it constitute fact. Just because you "hear" something doesn't make it true. Unless you have FACTS to substantiate your claim, it has no relevance here.

mikesee

Baden is an expert in his own mind. A hired gun, thats all.

Stop It

Let's face it. Wukie is one stubborn prick who refuses to change his mind because he has a narcissistic and grandiose view of himself and won't let ANYONE tell him what to do. Even if proved wrong.

John Harville

BY OHIO LAW, as closest 'of-age' relatives, Jake's PARENTS are entitled to see and have copies of ALL the coroner's comments, documents, evidence, EVERYTHING in the file - individually and jointly.
They don't need an attorney to request this position.

Mum-of-One

Thought this definition would help with any confusion.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/d...

kcender's picture
kcender

Seriously when is the state going to step in and do something about this entire county? Sounds to me the whole place needs revamped! Maybe I'll personally send Wukie a dictionary so he can get his facts straight before he makes a bigger idiot out of himself!

DGMutley

Wukie's statement is doublespeak.

Texx Reloader

He told the agent then he wrote the cause of death that way “out of compassion” for Jacob's mother, to give her a “question” about her son's intent to kill himself. Its a slippery slope when people ignore the law for personal reasons, however well intended. Close examination of the lawsuits against this county will prove not only do these people not understand "The Rule of Law," they don't even comprehend the Law itself, and when they do, they have nothing but contempt for it unless it meets some personal agenda. You "civil rights" in this county are whatever they wish them to be, and there are many who run interference for them.

Texx Reloader

Read the definitions of "suicide, and accidental death" in Black's Online Dictionary. Why is it tolerated that they people have nothing but contempt for the law, which they are supposed to be enforcing? Why do they constantly "slide out" of sanction? That is a big "why?" People got rid of the mayor because he shafted them on the cost of the reservoir. What are the liability insurance rates of that county now, as opposed to 5 years ago (excluding inflation)? Who can afford this silliness?

Texx Reloader

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."