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From: Robin Ramp
Received: Aug. 28
In reference to concerns raised by Cheryl Owsley Jackson about the death of her brother Cary Owsley:
I remain deeply troubled by the events which have transpired in my hometown. Clearly any family member would be troubled by a suicide; many would experience denial.
Humans cannot be governed by emotion, which is why protocol is developed. Protocol advocates for the truth when it might be shadowed by human error. Sheriff Mark Gorbett acknowledges the absence of certain protocol yet expects to reserve his credibility and that of his officers.
Compounding the issue of credibility exponentially is the allegation that Deputy Jaynes (ex-husband of Mr. Owsley’s wife) worked another death case just a few years ago. In that case the allegation is that he worked the suicide (?) of his daughter-in-law. In what would seem to be the darkest of coincidences, Deputy Jaynes not only is first (or near so) on scene in two unrelated, controversial suicides within a few years, both involved persons to whom he had an affiliation by marriage.
It is perhaps not so much suspect that he was first on scene as it would be that in two different tragedies an experienced professional did not (based on published reports) recognize that his presence jeopardized the legal process that should protect us all.
Another article noted that the state police consulted on the case after Ms. Jackson raised concerns. Yet that consult was reported as the state police advising the sheriff’s department how to confirm that it was a suicide. Indeed as a result the department acknowledged “procedural errors” and suspended three deputies.
One might wonder how a 10-day suspension could rectify such an egregious lack of procedural knowledge if the deputy’s previous lengthy law enforcement career was not already sufficient for him to have learned how to process a potential crime scene. Isn’t it possible that such breaches could not only compromise the truth as it applies to Mr. Owsley but also jeopardize the credibility of any case investigated by the sheriff’s department in the future?
The questions do not, unfortunately, limit themselves to the sheriff’s department. Coroner Larry Fisher allegedly denied an autopsy request. Though Indiana Code seems to award Mr. Owsley’s wife, Lisa, the sole right to request an autopsy, Fisher had the right, and many would argue the duty to grant an autopsy request if not to initiate it as a function of his office. Wouldn’t a true independent review of the case where a conclusion was NOT assumed have been more appropriate?
Why would the coroner deny the request for an autopsy? The local prosecutor, Bill Nash, decried Ms. Jackson’s effort to seek truth regarding her brother as “horribly irresponsible.” This is both offensive and ironic. A grieving sister’s right to pursue truth is deeply personal and right or wrong protected by the spirit of our Constitution.
Persons affected by her pursuit have the protection of civil law should her actions have ever exceeded her right to the pursuit of truth. An elected official’s refusal to recognize that the elements of this case warrant a transparent evaluation by an outside agency is something much worse.
At best, it is the kind of indifference that no person entrusted to operate our fragile legal system should ever manifest. At worst, the possibilities (conspiracy, racism, gross incompetence) are almost too chilling to consider.
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