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Episode 11: Switch

14 years after John’s murder, one Desoto County detective establishes a new theory about the case that does not line up with the evidence. Delia investigates how the information made its way to higher powers in the ME’s office.

Episode Photos

Episode Transcript

Delia D’Ambra: In November 2007—four and a half years after John Welles was killed— the Florida department of law enforcement crime lab packaged up all of the evidence related to John’s case and sent it back to Desoto County sheriff’s office for storage.

The stuff in the boxes and bags included John’s Ruger revolver, DNA extracts from previous testing done in 2004….the unfired 17 caliber bullets, the one spent casing, the holster, the belts and all the other stuff that investigators had taken or swabbed from the crime scene or suspects.

Around that same time, the wrongful death lawsuit Helen had filed against Pat and Skip was in full swing–with the exception that Skip was no longer named in it because he’d died of a heart attack shortly after it was filed.

So, that left Pat and Helen to duke it out in court—over $15,000 in damages Helen wanted.

That legal fight would still be a few years from resolution…which meant, DCSO detective Curt Mays still couldn’t get access to Pat… A suspect who had never fallen off his radar.

His only move was to continue submitting case evidence to forensics labs hoping new advances in technology would provide him with more clues.

And because F-D-L-E had sent everything back to Desoto County…Curt could easily get items of evidence to labs for further testing.

But he didn’t do that right away…instead, he waited two more years.

In December 2009 Curt sent John’s revolver to DNA Labs International—a private forensics lab in Deerfield beach, Florida…about a three-hour drive from Arcadia.

The lab was asked to perform touch DNA extraction from the grip of John’s gun and the cylinder…areas that a person holding it would have had to press their skin close to if they fired it…. those little nooks and crannies could have held traces of DNA that prior tests had been unable to pick up.

Allison Nunes: “People say touch DNA in air quotes a lot of times like it’s not real…but it is real. We’ve been testing it…we’ve been getting touch DNA results for the past 16 years.”

Delia D’Ambra: That’s Allison Nunes—chief operating officer of DNA Labs International.

When I called to ask if she’d be willing to talk about her company’s work on the John Welles case, she agreed…with the exception that we talk in generalities…not case specific details.

She also invited her director of research and quality assurance, Rachel Oefelein to join us.

The lab has a policy of not disclosing information about specific cases they’ve worked unless the investigation into those crimes has been resolved in the courts.

From reading through the case file, I knew that by early 2010 DNA Labs International had been unsuccessful in retrieving DNA from John’s revolver—despite their best efforts.

According to a report submitted to DCSO on January 12th 2010…lab techs said that didn’t find any DNA profile on the gun or the cylinder after running multiple tests.

Allison and Rachel told me that back then, most touch DNA requests that came in were worked as thoroughly as they could be. However, due to technology limitations at the time, DNA extraction was harder to do on a piece of evidence like a firearm that had already gone through fingerprinting, several prior rounds of DNA testing by another lab…and then sat in storage for years.

Allison Nunes: “Sometimes there’s mistakes that are made that could contaminate the evidence so that you cannot use it. Sometimes someone might have lost the chain of custody at some point which is detrimental to the case if you’re ever going to go to court. So, there’s just, there’s various challenges when it goes from lab to lab but there’s so many things we can do now that it’s common to see that ”

Delia D’Ambra: I’ll get into those things that Allison says they can do now in a future episode, but for the time being back in 2010…DNA Labs International being unable to find any genetic profiles on the grip or cylinder of John’s revolver left Curt Mays with yet another dead end.

He’d taken his shot in the dark…and gotten nothing in return.

To add insult to injury, Curt spent months spinning his wheels investigating a tip from a prison inmate in the Florida panhandle named Richard Estes who claimed to have knowledge about John’s murder.

Richard said he’d been at a party in a motel in Arcadia in 2007 and overheard a person talking about the murder…but he refused to provide authorities with the name of the alleged killer until he got a reduced sentence.

Curt eventually determined Richard’s story wasn’t credible.

In early 2010, Pat and Helen’s wrongful death lawsuit came to a close and the judge did not side with Helen.

For the rest of 2010 and most of 2011, Curt tried to talk to Pat a few times but got nowhere…then he moved on and conducted a few more interviews with John’s friends and even drove to re-interview Ralph Strader—Pat’s brother-in-law who law enforcement knew Skip had called the day John died.

According to transcripts from that interview, Ralph told Curt that he couldn’t recall anymore whether or not Skip had specifically told him on July 8th that John had been shot…he said it might have been the day after, or even a few days after when word got out that the ME had found a bullet in John’s head.

Ralph said his fading memory just wasn’t strong enough…and he ended the interview saying regardless of what he remembered or didn’t remember, he felt confident that Pat and Skip were not involved.

In May of 2011 Desoto County sheriff’s office sent John’s right boot back to the F-D-L-E lab to have touch DNA extraction done on the heel to see if DNA was present there…

If you remember, John’s right boot heel had been the only thing not submerged in water when he was found.

Law enforcement’s theory was that John had been dragged to the water…possibly by his feet with his shoes still on.

But unfortunately, no DNA was found on the boot heel.

For the next five years…. nothing happened with the case. In 2016, Curt Mays retired and the investigation got re-assigned to detective James Kirdy…a newcomer to the Desoto County sheriff’s office who’d previously worked for other law enforcement agencies in southwest Florida. Within a matter of months, James made up his mind as to what he believed really happened to John.

According to what he wrote in his reports, James spent the first six months of 2016 reviewing the case evidence and re-interviewing key witnesses.

By the end of his evaluation, he determined that John was responsible for his own death.

In a 6-page summary of his findings James explained that he believed John was carelessly playing with his revolver cocked while at the trash pile and it fell out of his hands or out of his holster, which caused it to accidentally discharge several feet from his body.

In his opinion, James felt certain that after John’s gun went off…the teen didn’t realize he’d been shot and in a disoriented panic from the burning sensation flooding his eye socket John stumbled off the ATV…and crawled roughly 40 feet from the four-wheeler to the water-filled ditch to try and wash his eye out.

According to James, John died in the water and then his body floated to where it ultimately came to final rest.

To help back up his theory, James hired a third-party private forensics firm called Bevel, Gardner and Associates to corroborate his accidental shooting scenario.

Bevel, Gardner and Associates advertises itself as a forensic education and consulting group that does forensic analysis, crime scene 360 degree mapping and training.

It’s not a law enforcement entity…they staff are experts for hire.

The firm’s final determination about what the evidence in John’s case pointed to lined up with James’s theory.

Tom Bevel, the group’s founder, wrote in a 5-page report he provided to DCSO quote—

“Suicide is eliminated. Homicide is not the best explanation to comport with all of the physical evidence.

The best explanation to comport with the physical evidence is that this is an accidental discharge when a cocked weapon fell or was thrown, impacted the ATV or the ground.

The projectile struck the deceased’s face while the deceased was looking toward the weapon as the weapon fell.

The stunned and disoriented shooting victim was able to walk from the ATV toward the water while dripping blood, dropping the holster and then the belt and falling into the water where his head struck metal objects in the water.

Unless additional information is forthcoming…I would rule this an accidental discharge.“— end quote.

There’s a lot to unpack with this theory…so let’s start at the very beginning, the assumption James made about why he thinks John’s revolver went off accidentally.

James stated that he believed John was playing with his revolver or carrying it cocked. He wrote that more than likely while John was messing around with it, it had fallen out of his holster, then ricocheted off the ATV and eventually landed in the sand and went off.

I think I know where James got this idea from that John wasn’t being safe with his firearm.

You see, according to a July 2003 interview Desoto County sheriff’s office conducted with Mac Welles, John’s father, there’s this short statement Mac made regarding how John liked to sometimes practice drawing his gun from his hip…like in the old western movies they’d watch together.

Here, I’ll just let you listen to what Mac told detectives back in 2003.

Detective: “How did he like to carry that gun? Did he carry it in a low sling holster? What kind of holster did he have?”

Mac Welles: “Yeah. He liked to play with it. He liked to gun sling.”

Delia D’Ambra: In case you didn’t catch that…while answering the detective’s question of how John liked to carry his gun, Mac responded quote…”He liked to play with it. He liked to gun sling.”—end quote.

What’s interesting is that later during his 2003 interview Mac stated multiple times that John was well-trained in firearm safety and never messed around with a loaded gun.

In fact, Mac had drilled gun safety into John and Matt so adamantly that when he bought the .22 Ruger revolver for John for his birthday in May of 2001…they’d specifically chosen that Ruger model because John was most familiar with .22’s and that particular model was known to be very safe.

Why James Kirdy, in 2016, ignored Mac’s later comments and only focused on the fact that Mac briefly mentioned his son liked to gun sling, is really odd to me.

When I interviewed Mac for this show, I wanted him to clarify if John was as safety conscious as he should have been…because I was seeing some contradictions between what James Kirdy seemed to take away from Mac’s 2003 testimony and what Mac more than likely meant to say.

Here’s Mac.

Mac Welles: “John was not, he was not careless. I was very proud of the way he handled that weapon.”

Mac Welles: “I took him to a gun safety course, and he passed that.”

Delia D’Ambra: “You had stated in one of your previous interviews that sometimes John would kind of like to gun sling with his gun. What did you mean by that, when you said that to law enforcement?”

Mac Welles: “Pretty much, about every kid that’s got one wants to do it. They’ve seen westerns, and they wanted to see if that’s something that they could do.

That was not a general practice. We could had been talking maybe once. It just didn’t happen every day. It didn’t happen every weekend. It didn’t happen every month. Just was a non-issue, as far as I was concerned.”

Mac: “Starting out for a weapon that you can learn on, that’s extremely safe, that .22 Magnum was a good choice.”

Mac: “He was a very easy child to school on that. He got it immediately. He never made any mistakes, like taking it out when there were people around. He would never take it out of his holster,”

He didn’t make mistakes. There wasn’t any jumping outside and running around the yard with it and dropping it. Uh-uh. He would go to pieces if that would have happened.”

Delia D’Ambra: So, in 2003 when Mac told investigators that John liked to ‘play with his revolver and gun sling’, he says what he was referring to was John practicing drawing the revolver from his hip…unloaded…and pretending to be a cowboy.

Not…twirling it around his finger or swinging it over his shoulder or grabbing it with his whole hand out of his holster.

And just to be extra sure that Mac wasn’t just defending his son…because he didn’t want to be wrong, I independently verified John’s gun safety conscientiousness with his mother Helen, his aunt Laura Welles and Patrick Skinner.

Three people who knew John…but did not associate with one another on a regular basis.

Helen Huff: “The kid had gun safety classes; he was raised around guns. Nobody in their right minds running around with a gun cocked. No way.”

Laura Welles: “His dad had taught him all about firearms. He was, as far as a safety nut. He was very, very, Mac was very hard on him as far as being safe with a rifle or a pistol. He taught him from the beginning.”

Patrick Skinner: “He was very good with a gun. Like, very safety conscious.”

Delia D’Ambra: Another person who knew very well how John normally carried his revolver was his ex-girlfriend, Beth Flowers.

Beth Flowers-Waldron: “My family wasn’t really into the hunting and the guns and this and that but when I was around him, I felt safe that he knew how to use it and understand it…and he had a holster that he kept it in sometimes as well and it’s not like you just throw it around, he knew what to do with it.”

Delia D’Ambra: When Beth spoke to Desoto County investigators on-record in July 2003, she told them in crystal clear detail how John carried his gun on the four-wheeler…

And what she said, contradicts James Kirdy’s assumptions…

Beth Flowers-Waldron: “He had his belt on and then he had his holster on his right side with the gun in it and he would point it he’d turn it so if it was laying across his lap it would be pointing to the left and he would just lay it down whenever we were riding the 4-wheeler and then whenever we got off, he’d take it off, take the belt off and lay it down on the 4-wheeler.”

Delia D’Ambra: That’s the voice of 16-year-old Beth Flowers telling Desoto County sheriff’s office detective Curt Mays exactly how John wore his gun and holster while riding on the four-wheeler.

The audio is not the best quality but what Beth says is that John always holstered his revolver before getting on the ATV…and he actually would situate the holster on his lap so that the muzzle of the gun was facing left, not angled backwards toward his calf or leg…and then when he’d dismount the ATV, John would remove his, belt, holster and gun and lay them all together across the racks of the four-wheeler.

What Beth’s testimony means is that if John was carrying his gun the same way when he was alone as he did all the other times…then that indicates he was safety conscious and probably wasn’t improperly holding it on July 8th.

Now—there is no way to know for sure because I wasn’t in the woods with John that fateful day—but just based on the fact that I’ve found five people who knew John well who say he was very safe when it came to firearms, just makes me really doubt James Kirdy’s assumption that John was carelessly swinging around his revolver.

The next big thing you have to accept regarding James’s accident theory is that John would have been physically able to walk or drag himself to the ditch…a distance listed in police reports as being anywhere from 30 to 50 feet…while bleeding from his eye and having a bullet lodged in his brain.

This is the thing I’m hung up on the most…

Which is why I asked forensic pathologist, Dr. Kent Harshbarger to weigh in with his professional opinion.

Dr. Kent Harshbarger: “It’s hard to imagine, or, or wrap science around, being able to walk 30 feet with a gunshot wound that bruises the base of your brain and goes through the temporal lobe.

The midbrain is very close to this pathway. So, it’s hard to imagine that the midbrain is also not suffering trauma which means you’re going to be incapacitated. The death may not have occurred immediately but it’s hard to wrap my mind around active purposeful movement. That being said, it is sort of a downhill pathway, where its on, where the ATV and wagon is…there’s trash everywhere and it is sort of downhill. So, I can envision unconscious, unaware sort of movement where you’re stumbling falling down this hill and he does have abrasions on his arm and his forehead. So, theoretically in my mind…I square that, not that he’s purposefully moving but he could have started momentum down and then rolled down that trash and sort of ended up in the pond, but if their measurements are true which I also don’t agree with that it’s really 30 feet from where he was found. That’s hard to…I have a difficult to wrap my head that he moved voluntary…actively got the pond on his own or the creek. So, I agree on the gunshot wound is the cause of death and I agree that this weapon and all the accidental circumstances that law enforcement, crime scene is trying to square with the autopsy is possible…

But the fact that he’s shot and stumbling voluntarily and walking to the creek…I…I have trouble squaring that.”

Delia D’Ambra: But that wasn’t the case for James Kirdy.

In his mind, despite having no physical evidence to support his theory…he was 100 percent convinced John died as a result of an accident.

In February of 2017, he took his theory in a neatly binded brief to the 12th district medical examiner in Sarasota and convinced the chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Russell Vega, to review the initial autopsy findings and consider changing John’s manner of death.

13 days later…Dr. Vega completed his review and decided to re-label John’s manner of death from homicide to undetermined.

Vega laid out his reason for making the change in a two-page report which I was able to get ahold of.

And just to forewarn you…there are clear inaccuracies in this document.

I have no idea where Vega came up with some of this information or who told it to him…but it is pretty wild.

He said in part, quote—

“The initial law enforcement investigation and continuing investigation that ensued failed to identify any suspects and in fact suggested that it was unlikely any other individuals could have or would have found their way to the location where the decedent was shot. The decedent was known to carry his weapon in a makeshift holster without any means of securing the weapon in a holster. No drag marks were present and there is no other evidence to suggest that the body was moved by another person from the ATV to the pond. Given that investigative background, the scene and other information is in my opinion consistent with the potential described accidental mechanism.” —end quote.

Now—here’s the real kicker.

Even though Vega clearly sided with James Kirdy…he couldn’t ignore the two massively important things that do not line up with an accidental shooting theory.

And that’s the downward trajectory of John’s wound path…and…the seemingly impossible scenario that he would have been physically capable of getting to the ditch on his own after being shot.

Regarding these two things, Dr. Vega wrote in his report, quote—

“The trajectory is not impossible based on the described accidental discharge scenario; however, a more upward trajectory would have been expected. Additionally, the gunshot track through the brain would typically be expected to render incapacitation very quickly. While it is certainly not impossible that the decedent could have suffered such injury and then stumbled 30 feet to the pond…incapacitation at the site of the injury would have been in my opinion more probable.” —end quote.

And—that was that.

Vega issued a new death certificate for John on March 9th of 2017.

James Kirdy filed his final report which indicated his department considered the case closed.

Vega’s undetermined ruling had serious repercussions…

It meant that law enforcement was no longer obligated to investigate John’s death as a crime. Last year when I interviewed Dr. William Anderson—the initial ME on the case—he was unaware that Dr. Vega had changed John’s manner of death in 2017.

William Anderson: “I’ve never had it in my career for this to happen. In fact, I don’t remember any time really where it was changed…but sometimes you’ll get calls on older cases, discuss them with and so forth. But no, not usually changed.

Undetermined is basically a wastebasket. You really don’t know what the manner of death is.

It usually happens in decomposed bodies or skeletonized remains, that sort of thing where you really just can’t tell.”

William Anderson: “I’m very surprised that it was changed without… We have myself and Dr. Spitz both have agreed on the basic on the manner of death as a homicide shot by another person. So, I had not been contacted by any one of the ME’s offices. I don’t know whether Dr. Spitz has been or not…but I think it would be a good idea always if you’re going to make a change like this to consult with the people that actually did the initial examination, if they’re available.”

Delia D’Ambra: It was his last comment…the one about Vega not contacting him before making the change on John’s manner of death that caught my attention.

I asked Dr. Anderson to explain why that was unusual.

William Anderson: “Technically, under Florida death certificate, the only way it can be amended is if the treating physician that actually signed the death certificate makes the amendment.”

Delia D’Ambra: “You?”

William Anderson: “That would be me. So, I don’t know if there’s an exception for the medical examiner or he just changed it.

But as far as I know, it’s really difficult to get a death certificate amended unless you have the doctor that signed it to do it in Florida.”

Delia D’Ambra: “So, the fact that Dr. Vega did not contact you and have you changed it or sign off on it really is unusual.”

William Anderson: “Yeah. Well, basically, normally it can’t happen in Florida. (laughs) The way the death certificate vital records is set up, you can’t do it. I guess, there might be some circumstances that I’m not aware of where you could do that, but I would think only if a physician was unavailable for some reason.

Delia D’Ambra: “But you’re available.”

William Anderson: “Sure.”

Delia D’Ambra: This was a ‘wow’ moment for me.

Why had Dr. Russell Vega never contact Anderson? They work just a few hours away from one another in Florida.

Vega is the chief medical examiner in Sarasota and Anderson works out of his private practice in Orlando—they’re practically neighbors.

I contacted Dr. Daniel Spitz as well and even though he didn’t want to do a recorded interview for the show—Spitz told me over the phone that he has never been contacted by Vega either.

I had doctor Anderson read through Dr. Vega’s reasoning for changing the manner of death …and he’s completely baffled by Vega’s conclusions, from a medical and logical standpoint.

William Anderson: “Incapacitation at the site of injury would have been more probable. Well, okay. If he’s incapacitated at the site of the injury, which we’ve determined by the blood spatter is on the bike, the vehicle, how does he get to the creek? Dr. Vega is in his report says incapacitation would have been more probable. Well, so I expected to say at the bottom that he agrees with Spitz and I.”

*laughs*

Delia D’Ambra: “Just seems odd.”

Williams Anderson: “Well, its inexplicable…”

*laughs*

William Anderson: “I don’t know if they went through all the Desoto cases and homicides and decided they were going to make them all undetermined or not. I mean, it’s sort of strange it says it’d picked out 17 years later and made undetermined.”

Delia D’Ambra: Anderson wholeheartedly disagrees with Vega’s findings.

William Anderson: “It’s homicide.”

Delia D’Ambra: “Always will be for you?”

William Anderson: “Sure.”

William Anderson: “There’s no statute of limitations with homicides. The fact that the police haven’t discovered anything in 20 years, I mean, we’ve had cases where 30, 40 years later people have been charged with crimes and just was on the news the other day that it happened. So, the problem with making it undetermined is the police are going to stop. There’s not going to be more investigation. You don’t do cold cases on undetermined deaths. They got enough cold cases as it is. So, the medical examiner is essentially saying, well, we can’t determine, well, then there’s no way you’re going to be able to take it to court because it’s undetermined.”

Delia D’Ambra: What I think is probably far worse than not making the original medical examiner on the case aware of this important switch is the fact that Desoto County sheriff’s office also didn’t make anyone in John’s family aware of the change either.

They also never followed up with Beth Flowers or Patrick Skinner to let them know John’s case was no longer considered a murder.

Helen Huff didn’t learn the news until October 2020…when she decided to go by the sheriff’s office and ask if she could offer an updated award amount in her son’s case.

Helen Huff: “The reason for me to go up there in October 2020 was I was in a position where I could offer some money and that’s when I went up there to say ‘Look, I’m fixing to do this campaign and blah, blah, blah and I started talking about it and that’s when Kim says, “Well, you know we really can’t figure out why you’re up here.” And I thought that was the strangest thing for her to say to me, because for the longest time his picture was in the lobby there. They had the TV screen and it flashes this, that and the other…and um… and that’s when she dropped the bomb.”

Delia D’Ambra: “So when they tell you, “This is our theory. We think he accidentally shot himself and crawled 30 feet to the creek.” I mean, when you hear and read the sequence of events that they think occurred, what is your thoughts?”

Helen Huff: “Well that’s when it kind of went south in there and I said are you (BLEEP) crazy and I stood up. I said, “You’ve lost your mind.” …and I started saying something about this, that and the other. I didn’t mention… Because, by this time she was so adamant that they were so sure and that unless somebody comes in and confesses, it’s going to stay closed. And I asked about getting the gun back. “Oh no, that’s going to stay because whatever.”…and I said, “Well, I don’t want the gun.” But I said, his daddy bought it and if the gun goes anywhere, it needs to go back to his dad. Well, that’s not going to happen and blah, blah, blah.”

Delia D’Ambra: For half an hour Helen went back and forth with Kim Lewis and James Kirdy trying to understand why no one had contacted her to tell her John’s death had been re-labeled.

She also had to hear details that disturbed her to her core…details like how James believed John had clawed at his eye while bleeding out and stumbled to the ditch…and how he probably agonized for minutes, confused…disoriented…and in complete shock.

Helen Huff: “It clicks over just like, “Oh my God, he suffered?” I was told he didn’t know anything…and now he’s suffered all this time. And I was like, I wonder, did he know he was drowning? *crying* Because, I read autopsy and a bunch of water…*crying*… was in the lungs and how much his liver weight and everything. Stuff I shouldn’t know. Stuff I shouldn’t have looked at but I was all in, still am.”

Delia D’Ambra: Despite the painful and confusing emotions she experienced in that meeting with James and Kim…Helen left unconvinced thatDCSO’s theory was right.

Delia D’Ambra: “Do you think that the sets of facts that they claim are in any way possible?”

Helen Huff: “No.”

Helen Huff: “No. No. No…and I’m not going to buy anything but the scientific evidence and the crap that they gave to me from the Sheriff’s office and the fact that they don’t look at the details.

Why is the belt off the holster? Why is the knee tie off the holster? Why are there three pieces of a holster instead of it all put together, and the gun and the dirt?

They’re saying a bunch of stuff in there indicating that Mac, his daddy, said that John rode around with that gun cocked. I don’t know how big a pile of (BLEEP) that can be, but it’s pretty big.”

Delia D’Ambra: She struggles with reckoning how Dr. Vega came to his conclusions despite two prior medical examiner’s ruling John’s death a homicide.

Helen Huff: “I am furious. It’s an insult. If, I was Dr. Anderson, oh my God, I’d be calling for his license or saying, what did you get paid? What did you get out of this?”

Delia D’Ambra: It wasn’t until I contacted Patrick Skinner and Beth Flowers for interviews and told them about the re-labeling of John’s case that they found out he was no longer considered a murder victim.

Beth Flowers-Waldron: “I just figured it’d always be an unsolved homicide, but I didn’t know that it was changed…a this just doesn’t make sense. Like why? You haven’t messed with this case. Why are you messing with this case now?

More investigation should have been done. Like when did you just decide to, okay, we’re not going to solve this?”

Delia D’Ambra: In my sit-down interview with Patrick, I walked him through James Kirdy’s findings and Dr. Vega’s report…and let him read the documents for himself.

He doesn’t think any of it makes sense.

Patrick Skinner: “If that did in fact happen and you shot yourself accidentally…and your eye is on fire, are you going to be thinking to start taking off your holster and your belt and all this crap to run down to the water? And throw your…It just doesn’t add up to me.

It doesn’t seem plausible to me. It just doesn’t.

If you’re in a hurry to get to water to wash your eye, I don’t think you’re necessarily thinking about stripping off. Like, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me

I remember a drum on top of him…There’s no accident there. He didn’t do that himself. Someone had to do that.

Someone killed him. Someone shot him. Someone drug him down to that water and put him in the water and put that barrel over his back.”

Delia D’Ambra: Why John’s case was changed from a homicide to undetermined has become the focal point of my investigation.

The case James Kirdy made is fraught with issues…one of which is the information he shared with Dr. Vega regarding the functionality of John’s revolver.

James said in his report that John’s gun was a Ruger model that had a recall warning issued for it advising owners not to carry it or store it in the cocked position.

This statement…though short and seemingly unimportant is critically important to the chain of events that led to John’s manner of death being changed.

And thanks to some firearms experts…

*hammer cocks*

*revolver fires*

Delia D’Ambra: I can prove….

*hammer cocks*

*revolver fires*

Delia D’Ambra: It’s just flat out wrong.

Aaron Brundenell: “If you were to drop the gun under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t go off.”

Dr. Kent Harsbarger: “It’s a homicide. I would’ve ruled it homicide. Still would rule it a homicide if the weapon is not known to malfunction.”

Delia D’Ambra: That’s on the next episode of counterclock— “Science”—listen, right now.