WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington state’s first-ever medical examiner has ruled the death of a man who died in a Washington state park on his birthday was homicide, despite a lengthy court battle over whether his death was due to a heart attack or a car crash.
The judge who ruled on Wednesday said the death was homicide by self-inflicted gunshot, a ruling that raises the question of whether the city of Olympia should have known about the risks of a car accident.
The ruling by Washington state District Judge Jennifer Meehan came a week after a Washington State Patrol trooper was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death.
The trooper, whose name was not released by the state, faces a charge of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the May 18 accident.
He was fired from the patrol, and prosecutors said he had lied about the circumstances of the accident and had no knowledge of the dangers of car crashes.