Jacobs' death was ruled a suicide, but the more I learn, the more I think his case deserves an outside investigation.
Let me be clear I have no first-hand knowledge; I can't know what happened. Perhaps it really was a murder-suicide, the denouement of a rocky and jealous relationship with his bodybuilder girlfriend Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell. But when a police department Jacobs accused of harboring steroid abusers is the same one conducting the investigation, that creates an inherent appearance of conflict that would be better served by enlisting independent investigators. I agree with Bill Baumbach from the Collin County Observer who:
hope[s] Collin County DA John Roach takes a very hard look at this case. Even if the evidence supports suicide, Rossi died before he could give testimony against law enforcement officers . An outside investigation is warranted. If Mr. Roach will not investigate, then the feds should.I'd earlier compared Jacobs' case to a New York steroid dealer who accused police and was soon thereafter found dead from gunshot wounds to the chest and head, which was ruled a suicide. (NYPD instituted department-wide steroid testing as the result of his allegations.) It turns out David Jacobs was also shot in the abdomen and head, but the medical examiner concluded his death was a suicide, too.
In general, how likely is it that a suicide requires two shots? Certainly possible, but statistically speaking, not very. Via Steroid Nation I found this study from North Carolina that has the biggest dataset I've seen on the topic. Here's the abstract:
Suicide by firearm is a frequent mode of death and the most common mode of suicide in the United States. So typically is there but one bullet entrance would in the suicide victim, and so often are there multiple wounds with homicide that some investigators and the public are unaware or forget that the person intending suicide may discharge his gun into himself more than once. The frequency, incidence, and other characteristics of the phenomenon deserve more recognition. The data presented are from medical examiner reports and related material from 7,895 gunshot deaths, including 3,522 suicides by firearm, that occurred in North Carolina in the 7-year period 1972-1978. The 58 multishot firearm suicides represent 0.7% of all firearm deaths (one in 136) and 1.6% of forearm suicides (one in 61). Characteristics of the individual entrance wounds such as body regions involved and muzzle distance were the same as those of single shot cases. Long gun use was not rare, but 0.22 caliber handguns predominated. Other characteristics of weapon, victim, wounds, and situations are presented. Each of the cases was assessed by forensic pathologists as it was reported and was reviewed again for the study. The type of data presented is one advantage of a structured, centrally guided, statewide medical examiner system.So .7% of gunshot deaths were two-shot suicides, but steroid dealers who accused police in New York and Plano both died that way? (A possibly probative followup study question might have been, "what percentage of two-shot suicides were people who had pending accusations against police officers regarding misconduct?")
Also, who tries to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the abdomen?
Another piece of datum makes me think there's more to investigate: the North Carolina study found most two shot deaths were with "long guns" and .22 caliber handguns. But David Jacobs supposedly couldn't do the job with a .40 caliber Glock?
Over the weekend, Tanya Eiserer at the Dallas News gave more detail about what police found ("Steroid dealer David Jacobs death ruled a suicide," June 7):
Police responded to Mr. Jacobs' home after receiving a missing-person call about midnight Wednesday from Ms. Earhart-Savell's family. The family told police they had not heard from her and thought she might be at Mr. Jacobs' house.
Police were still trying to determine who owned the gun believed to have been used in the shootings.
Authorities said they found "no sign of forced entry" and have no reason to believe anyone else was in the home at the time of their deaths. But according to the court records, they found signs of a struggle, six fired bullets and 10 bullet casings.
After the bodies were found, Plano police wearing masks over their faces were seen entering the house and taking evidence away, some in boxes. Police say they were undercover officers who need to protect their identities because of other work.
According to the court records, police seized computers, several cellphones, video equipment and other computer-related equipment, as well as more than $3,000.
One wonders exactly how many undercover Plano cops are working on steroid cases? After all, Jacobs already cut a plea deal and was no longer an investigative target. For whole groups of investigators to be hiding their identity while they're investigating the snitch who accused their colleagues of crimes simply leaves an eery and decidedly ambiguous impression. Wrote Dallas News columnist Kevin Sheridan:
Frankly, Jacobs made lots of public allegations, which was part of the problem. Besides counting athletes as customers, he said he sold to police officers in Garland, Richardson, Dallas, Arlington and Plano. He even said a Plano cop stole $4,500 from him during a raid last year.
"One of the feds told me that [Jacobs] was talking a lot more than they wanted him to," [said Don] Hooton [father of a steroid using high-school pitcher in Plano who committed suicide] ... "They weren't happy about that at all.
"The last thing they want to see is all this stuff on the evening news."
I've argued previously that the Department of Justice has little business investigating drug use by professional athletes, but DOJ has longstanding authority and responsibility to investigate allegations of police corruption. If it's true that Jacobs operated one of the largest steroid rings in America and sold his product to police officers, the feds need to step in so the public can feel confident nothing will get swept under the rug. At the end of the day, it's a lot more important to root out police officers who're trafficking in illegal steroids than to investigate a bunch of overpaid NFL jocks.