FROM "THE COLD CASE FILES" - WHO KILLED
CAPTAIN HESS? - NATIONAL GUARD OFFICER
FOUND DEAD ON RUNNING TRAIL AT FT KNOX
ARMY SAYS "SUICIDE" - BUT INDEPENDENT
AUTOPSY SHOWS GORDON HESS DIED FROM
SOME 27 STAB WOUNDS - FIVE OF WHICH COULD
HAVE BEEN FATAL - ANOTHER COVER-UP?
ONE MORE CHAPTER IN OUR UPCOMING BOOK
"MURDER IN THE MILITARY" - HOW CID, OSI,
NCIS USE "SUICIDE" STORY TO CONCEAL TRUTH
© 2011 MilitaryCorruption.com
So many times, the same scenario has played out. We have an obvious criminal homicide, yet military investigators revert to that time-tested cover story, "he (she) must have committed suicide." Yeah, that's the ticket.
It is maddening, frustrating and fraudulent. And the families of the slain suffer all over again.
If you don't have powerful connections and political pull, and the deceased is a low-ranking enlisted woman like PFC Lavena Johnson, raped and murdered in Iraq, (see "related stories box" below), you're flat out of luck.
Al Gore used to say, as an excuse when he got caught taking cash from campaign contributors at a Buddhist temple in California: "There is no controlling authority." With Janet "Butch" Reno then in charge of the Justice Department, Al could afford to laugh, even when some of his media allies deigned to actually report on his illegal election activities.
CALL MURDER A "SUICIDE" AND "MOVE ON"
In the US armed forces, the brass hats are the ones who decide what cases they want to investigate and which to cover-up.
If there's a chance of embarrassment or exposure of their own misdeeds, the generals and admirals controlling Army CID, Air Force OSI, and Navy NCIS immediately switch into the cover-up mode. That's even spawned a word to add to our lexicon: "suicided." That's what happens when someone gets in the way, or there's a murder that embarrasses the Command and needs to be "cleaned up." Call it a "suicide."
"Nothing more to see here, folks. Just move right along."
Such was the case in the 1998 stabbing death of New York National Guard CPT Gordon Hess. His demise was so obviously a homicide that even some of the "mainstream media" drones in the Pentagon Press Office sat up and took notice. But leave it to the Army to get some of their medical officers to "prostitute" themselves and go on television supporting a story that was specious on the face of it.
HESS DIDN'T FIT THE PROFILE
OF A MAN BENT ON SELF-DESTRUCTION
First of all, we need to know about what kind of man CPT Hess was, and how despicable was the Army's attempt to paint him as an "unstable" person.
A much-decorated lieutenant in the Jamestown, N.Y. Fire Dept., Hess had risked his life repeatedly to save others. He loved his job and his family. Gordon Hess was a devout Christian and his religious faith prohibited "suicide." The 38 year-old captain in the New York National Guard was looking forward to completing his annual training at Ft. Knox, Ky., and returning home to his loving family in upstate New York.
Hess was known as a fitness buff who liked to take an early-morning run to get his day going right. So there was no concern when the officer rose early, shaved, donned his PT clothes and set out to jog on a secluded running trail near his Army barracks.
The hours went by and Hess didn't turn up for morning formation or at work. A search was conducted, and that's when the provost marshall's office knew they had a big "problem" on their hands. CPT Hess was dead. His body was discovered lying face down in a creek bed one half mile from his training location.
USE YOUR HEAD - HOW CAN ANYONE "STAB" THEMSELVES 27 TIMES?
On March 3rd that year, Hess was found with 27 stab wounds in his upper torso, including at least one cut on his right arm that was clearly a defensive wound, as if the officer had tried to fend off an attacker.
In order to take the heat off their own incompetent and sloppy "investigation," the CID boys quickly labeled the death a "suicide."
The night before he died, Hess had been to the PX and purchased a common pocket knife, comb and paperback book. The Army tried to spin this as Hess preparing to "kill himself" the following morning. They contended the captain was "upset" about a lower than usual ranking on a training exercise the day before.
The knife, found lying near the officer's body on the trail, contained no "definitive" fingerprints. Hello? Is this the same weapon the CID cover-up artists contended Hess used to painfully stab himself more than two dozen times? Are we to believe he did not "grip it tightly" in his hand as he did such an impossible feat?
Never mind Hess had told his wife on the phone that he loved her and was eager to get home and see her and their happy children, teenage daughter Sarah, 9 year-old Shawna, and little Sammy, age five.
"Somebody killed my husband," Mrs. Hess told a reporter. "They are still out there. He did not do this to himself. Gordon had too much to live for."
A LOT EASIER AND MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO KILL ONESELF
A trained EMT, Hess, knew faster and more effective ways to "kill himself" than more than two-dozen slashing stab wounds. Popular with his friends, co-workers and colleagues back in Jamestown, he had no rational reason to take his own life. What's more, when wife Doreen, outraged by the cover-up and stigma attached to her husband's death, hired former New York City Medical Examiner Michael Baden to do a second autopsy, some interesting facts came to light.
Baden found that any one of five particularly deep stab wounds on the dead captain's body would have killed him instantly. He also asked how any human being could be so inured to pain that he could repeatedly and violently stab himself two or three times before giving up the task.
The Army had hoped widow Doreen would take the then-$200,000 SGLI (Serviceman's Group Life Insurance) money and quietly "go away." She didn't.
The feisty wife hired more independent experts and refused to cave in.
Forensic pathologist Barbara Wolf found many holes in the Army's "official" suicide story. She questioned the contention Hess stabbed himself in on the right side of his neck. Why was that, she argued, when Hess was right-handed? She also questioned the unseemly haste in which the death scene was destroyed by military investigators. Why was a bulldozer called in almost immediately to irretrievably alter the site?
The excuse for that was, to guard against "blood stain contamination" of the ground. One CID agent was seen to laugh out loud as he recited this "reason."
A MYSTERY THAT MAY NEVER BE SOLVED
Who killed CPT Hess and why? We may never know.
But thanks to Doreen Hess, who went through hell fighting the Army spinmeisters and cover-up artists, the cause of death was finally changed from "suicide" to "undetermined."
It was a small victory, but an important one for the family of a good a decent man who deserved much better than he got.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: If our readers would like to see more stories from our "COLD-CASE FILES" or have some information on this or other cases you'd like to share, please contact us at once. Your identity will be protected. Thank you.]