US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was pronounced dead on Saturday, February 13, 2016. Scalia died at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Presidio County, Texas. Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986, and was the longest serving Justice on the Supreme Court. Scalia was 79 years old.
Scalia was staying at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Presidio County, Texas, as part of a group engaged in quail hunting. The Cibolo Creek Ranch is approximately 30,000 acres. An Article in Western Journalism said the Ranch is 66,000 acres.
According to the Washington Post, the US Marshals Service, which provides security to the Supreme Court Justice, issued a Statement that Scalia declined a security detail at the Ranch. Therefore, no Marshals were present at the time of his death.
The Ranch was first established by Milton Faver in 1857. Mr. Faver was known as the first Texas cattle baron west of the Pecos. The Ranch includes “El Fortin de Cibolo” which was a fort built in the 19th Century to protect Settlers against the Apache Indians.
The Cibolo Creek Ranch, according to reports, has played host to various celebrities, including Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts, and Tommy Lee Jones.
John Poindexter has owned the Cibolo Creek Ranch for more than 25 years, who restored the Ranch to its present condition. Milton Faver is buried at the Ranch in a mausoleum at the top of a hill.
In a special promotion, rooms at the Ranch ranged from $545 to $565 per night. Included was a tour of the Ranch and a meal package. Activities include hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, and ATV riding tours.
Scalia arrived at the Ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people that night
John Poindexter, a Houston businessman who owns the Cibolo Creek Ranch, said Scalia and a friend arrived at the Ranch Friday, by a chartered airplane that traveled through Houston.
According to Poindexter, later that day (Friday), Scalia went out with a group to hunt quail but “he did not exert himself. He got out of the vehicle and walked around some”.
John Poindexter was given in 2010 by President Obama, the Presidential Unit Citation for his combat unit’s service during the Vietnam War. An Article in Snopes stated he was awarded this Citation on October 20, 2009.
Poindexter’s company, JB Poindexter, is the world’s largest producer of truck bodies and pickup truck accessories.
John Poindexter is the leader of the Southwest Priory of the Members of the Order of St Hubertus, which according to a press clipping and photograph of which Poindexter is included, is the highest honor for international hunting enthusiasts. The Order of St Hubertus was founded in the 17th Century, and has 250 members in the United States and 600 members worldwide. The Southwest Priory includes Texas.
The website for the International Order of St Hubertus states that the Organization mission is to: promote sportsmanlike conduct in hunting and fishing; to teach and preserve sound hunting and fishing customs; to support that the economic benefits from sport hunting and fishing should inure to the regions where these activities are carried out.
Poindexter says he only met Scalia one time, and it was brief. Scalia came to the Ranch because he was the friend of another guest. Poindexter said he knew the other guests.
American Everyman reporting on the LA Times:
Poindexter said he invited Scalia to the ranch on the suggestion of a mutual friend, a lawyer, who came with Scalia. He declined to identify the lawyer or any of the other guests, except to say they were very substantial business people. There is no political angle here. It was strictly a group of friends sympathetic to the justice’s views.
“All of the guests were friends of mine. I paid for all of them. There were no politics, no jurisprudence in the slightest”.
“This was strictly a group of friends that the judge decided to join. He was coming with his son who had to drop out for reasons I don’t know”.
“It was an honor to have him. He was highly admired. There were no speeches. He wasn’t asked any hard questions. It was all about the outdoors and Texas, and what it’s like to be a Supreme Court Justice”.
“All of us saw him as a stalwart defender of our way of life in Texas, in a real sense. It’s a great loss. Having made that statement, if it was his time to go, he was surrounded by friends, in a fairly nice setting, with a full tummy too. He said he was very happy to be invited so it could have been in worse conditions”
“He was seated near me and I had a chance to observe him. He was very entertaining. But around 9 p.m. he said, ‘It’s been a long day and a long week, I want to get some sleep”.
WERE THESE THE LAST WORDS OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA?
Scalia was staying in the Presidential Suite, which is part of an 11,000 square foot section of the Cibolo Creek Resort, and positioned in front of a lake. I have read where it is referred to as the El Presidente Suite.
Poindexter tried to awaken Scalia about 8:30 on Saturday morning but Scalia’s door was locked and he did not answer. Poindexter said that three hours later after he returned from an outing. The second time he returned to Scalia’s door, he came with a friend of Scalia. Nowhere can I find the name of Scalia’s friend and Poindexter has declined to name any of the persons present at the Ranch. He did say that the friend had come from Washington with Scalia.
According to WFAA in Texas:
“I and a friend of his who came from Washington, D.C., knocked on his door and didn’t get an answer and presumed he was probably in the bathroom. He’s a Supreme Court Justice. Maybe he just didn’t care to answer the door”.
They returned about three hours later, just before lunch:
“About 11:15 or so the same gentleman and I-his friend from Washington-went to his room, entered by a side door after knocking on it vigorously and found him in his bed”.
“Everything was in perfect order. He was in his pajamas, peacefully in bed”.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled”.
The statement by Poindexter that he and Scalia’s friend discovered the judge in bed with a pillow over his head received some excitement in the news, and was headlined on The Drudge Report.
Michael Savage called for a Warren Commission style Independent Investigation. Donald Trump, responded, on I believe the Michael Savage Show, that he had just heard about the pillow story on the airplane:
“….And it’s a horrible topic but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow”.
After Poindexter made his initial statement, CNN published an Article titled, “Skipping Scalia autopsy spawns conspiracy theories”, dated February 16, 2016, in which Poindexter says:
“I think enough disclosures were made and what I said precisely was accurate. He had a pillow over his head, not over his face as some have been saying. The pillow was against the headboard and over his head when he was discovered. He looked like someone who had had a restful night’s sleep. There was no evidence of anything else”.
The same CNN Article was the first time I saw mention of who may have been Scalia’s physician. The Article seems to name a Brian P Monahan, who is the attending physician for the US Congress and the Supreme Court. There is no confirmation as of the time of this Blog that Monahan was the person with whom the Judge who made the Inquest, Judge Guevera, spoke. More about Judge Guevera later.
“He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap”.
“His hands were sort of folded on top of the sheets. The sheets weren’t rumpled up at all”.
Poindexter WFAA interview:
“His sheets weren’t crumpled. His hands were on his chest. He was perfectly at ease”.
According to the narrative, Scalia did not have a pulse. His body was cold. Poindexter contacted a doctor in Alpine, Texas. From the conversation with the doctor, Poindexter concluded that it was futile to attempt resuscitation of Scalia. Secondly, Poindexter called federal authorities, but received a number of answering services.
“Ultimately they became available and handled it superbly. They flew in by helicopter. They told me to secure the ranch, which I did this morning”.
An Article published by National Public Radio, on its website, interviewed a Jeanette Duer, a Judge in neighboring Jeff Davis County, as how the Inquest works. Duer said, “Our County has 2,400 square miles. We have about 2,400 people. We have one justice of the peace who does the Inquest. If she’s not available, it falls to me, as county judge”.
According to the writer of the National Public Radio Article who I believe to be a Tom Michael:
“I was reporting from a candidate forum in neighboring Brewster County. Officials from all three counties were in attendance. David Beebe, the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1 in Presidio County, was there too. Shortly after 1 P.M. he received a request to handle an Inquest for a “dead body” back in his County”.
“The call came from Juanita Bishop, the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, which is closer to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, but she was in a work-related event more than 120 miles away in Fort Stockton”.
“Beebe responded he was also far away, too, busy at the political forum. The deceased wasn’t identified. Bishop said she would find an alternate”.
“Bishop contacted the third choice, Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevera”.
“It wasn’t until 3 p.m. that the news started to make its way to the local officials at the candidates forum. Phones lit up. People stopped paying attention to the debate on the stage. I was sitting near Judge Beebe, and we rushed out of the school auditorium together. We drove straight to the only funeral home in the area, in Alpine-where there was no answer at the door”.
“I was still about an hour away from Cibolo Creek Ranch, but checked the gas tank and drove there directly. There was no cell coverage for most of the drive. At the rock gate, one man stood guard, shooing me off the private property. Miraculously, I had a cell signal, and I began feeding information to NPR, The Associated Press and statewide news outlets”.
“The sun was setting over the Chinanti mountains to the west. On an airstrip to the east, three small planes punctuated the end of the runway. Few cars passed. One vehicle, from Border Patrol entered the gates in the hour I waited. The body was sent west to El Paso”.
The Judge that pronounced Scalia dead was Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevera, did so without seeing the body. WFAAB, a local ABC affiliate reported that Guevera had planned to drive to the Ranch but returned after a US Marshall told her by phone that, “It’s not necessary for you to come, judge. If you’re asking for an autopsy, that’s what we need to clarify”.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Guevera said the declaration of Scalia’s death was made around 1:52 P.M. on Saturday.
According to the Abreu Report, Judge Guevera declared Scalia dead at the request of Sheriff Danny Dominguez.
“ As part of my investigation, one of the things I did ask the sheriff and the US Marshall: Were there any signs of foul play? And they said, ‘absolutely not’. At that time, I still wanted to be careful, and asked them if Scalia’s physician would call me”.
Guevera said that she spoke with the physician of Scalia, who stated that Scalia had “various chronic ailments”. I read reports that Scalia was in his physician’s office on two days in the week recent to his venture to the Ranch, for treatment of a shoulder injury.
According to Big Bend Now, the online version of the Big Bend Sentinel, Judge Guevera went to the Cibolo Creek Ranch at 4:30, after she had already declared Scalia dead over the telephone at 1:52 p.m.
According to the Report by WFAA, when asked of the cause of death, Guevera said:
“His heart did stop. On the death certificate it will say myocardial infarction”.
Guevera later disputed a report by the Dallas television station that quoted her as saying Scalia had died of a Myocardial Infarction. This is commonly referred to as a heart attack. In an interview in the Washington Post, Guevera said, “It wasn’t a heart attack. He died of natural causes”.
She was shopping yesterday in the neighboring town of Alpine when Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez called her on her mobile phone after lunch.
“He says “Judge, I’m at Cibolo Creek Ranch, and a Supreme Court Justice has just passed away and I need someone here immediately. Both Justices of the Peace are out of town at this time.
“I said Sheriff, what did you say? Which Supreme Court Justice died at Cibolo Creek Ranch? And the phone went dead, because my connection was very bad”.
Cell phone service is very spotty in West Texas. There is no service at the Cibolo Creek Ranch.
“He called me back and gave me a few more sentences until it broke up again. And that’s how the conversation went for twenty minutes”.
Guevera said she immediately recognized Scalia’s name as a US Supreme Court Justice and pronounced him dead over the phone at 1:52 p.m.
She planned to drive to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, but returned when a US Marshal told her by phone, “Its not necessary for you to come, Judge. If you’re going to ask for an autopsy, that’s what we need to clarify”.
Texas Law CCP Article 49.25 requires an autopsy to determine the cause of death and manner in all cases of accident, homicide, suicide and undetermined death, or when the person is not under a physician’s care”.
“After I did my job, yes, I kept playing it over and over in my mind and thought, “Oh, my God. History is being made in Presidio County. It’s something I’ll never forget”.
According to the Abreu Report, Judge Guevera has a controversial history having said, “Powerful Anglos don’t take kindly to Mexican-Americans seeking social and political change”.
The Abreu Report further reported a strange case over which Judge Guevera resided in which the parents of a girl named Melaney, questioned why an autopsy was not ordered after her death.
The parents of Melaney alleged that Guevera hampered an investigation into the death of their daughter saying, “With all due respect, Judge, how do you know she wasn’t already dead when she was hit by the train”.
The Daily Kos reported that Melaney’s parents were told by Union Pacific Railroad that the company would have paid for an autopsy “if they had known that an autopsy had not been ordered”.
Melaney’s parents, apparently unaware that an autopsy had not been ordered, told the Daily Kos that they would have paid for an autopsy if they were aware that one was not ordered, despite overwhelming evidence that their daughter was not suicidal.
The parents of Melaney wrote a letter to Big Bend News in Texas stating that Judge Guevera had hampered the investigation into their daughter’s death, and that Guevera said, “I told you I asked God to give me an answer in the video as to whether this was suicide or not, I told you he didn’t give an answer. But he did give me another answer; and that was that yes this was a tragedy, but the true tragedy was that she died without accepting Jesus Christ as her savior”.
According to the Abreu Report, Judge Guevera has also said that “to some of the ranching people, Mexicans were no more valuable than cattle”, and this information she knows from talking to her husband.
According to USA Today, Miquel Acuino, the priest at the Santa Teresa de Jesus Catholic Church, was working at the church offices Saturday afternoon when he received a call to perform the last rites for someone at the Ranch, approximately 30 miles from the Church. According to the same Article, Acuino did not know the person was Scalia until he saw him.
Acuino said, “As a priest, that’s my duty. Whenever there’s a need, that’s where I go”.
At the Sunday mass, Acuino said, “It is right that we pray for everyone, especially if they’re Catholic”.
WFAA Jason Whitely reported that the body of Scalia was driven from the Presidio County Ranch to El Paso, a three hour trip, where he was embalmed that night.
According to USA Today, Judge Guevera said, “Embalming is required by Texas Law before a body can be transported out of state”.
The embalming process can destroy important toxicology evidence.
The body of Scalia arrived at the Sunset Funeral Home in El Paso, Texas, at approximately 2:30 A.M, according to Chris Lujan, a manager at the Funeral Home. Mr. Lujan said that the Funeral Home was chosen by the family of Scalia, and with the advice of a family friend.
According to the Associated Press, Lujan said that a procession of automobile that included about 20 law enforcement arrived at the funeral home in the early hours of Sunday.
According to the Associated Press, Chris Lujan said that Scalia’s family did not think an autopsy was necessary and wished that the body be returned to Washington as soon as possible.
Terry Sharpe, the assistant director for operations at El Paso International Airport said a private plane containing Scalia’s body left the airport about 8 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, on Sunday.
According to USA Today, Scalia’s body was taken from the Funeral Home to the El Paso Airport on Sunday afternoon. The body was under the escort of El Paso police offices and federal officers. The body arrived at the airport at 5 P.M. local time. At about 6 P.M., a Sunset Funeral Home hearse adorned with red, white and blue flags, left the Airport, as did dozens of police vehicles.
Juanita Bishop, a Justice of the Peace in Presidio, Texas, stated that she would have demanded an autopsy, stating she “would want to know”. She further stated that Scalia “was good one minute and the next minute he’s dead”. She added, “ It’s for our own good to know cause of death”.
According to USA Today, Juanita Bishop, the second Presidio County Justice of the Peace, whose jurisdiction includes the Cibolla Ranch, recounted driving on Interstate 67 Saturday morning and noticing an unusually large number of private jets at the Ranch. A few hours later she received a request from the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office to perform an Inquest on a deceased person at the Cibolla Ranch Property. Because she was out of town, she deferred the matter to County Judge Guevera. Judge Guevera performed the Inquest.
Image credit: wikipedia.com