Saturday, January 23, 2010

Unanswered Sparkman Questions


The dust has finally settled on the Bill Sparkman case, and everyone seems to accept the final investigative report. It concluded Sparkman committed suicide in Hoskins Cemetery and faked it to appear as a murder, because he thought his cancer was coming out of remission and he wanted to leave behind an insurance policy for his son. Case Closed.

But I'm still uneasy about the whole thing. Don't know why, exactly. Something's just not quite right.

True, people do some crazy things, and true, they don't have to always make sense. In fact, the more a news story neatly makes a pat sort of sense, the greater likelihood it's been crafted and contrived. So, part of me thinks, maybe it is true. Maybe Sparkman did kill himself.

But ask yourself: if you were going to fake your own murder, couldn't you have thought of a better way? And couldn't you have done a better job of making it more realistic and believable?

Today's Washington Post:

Investigators said Sparkman's wrists were bound so loosely that he could have done the taping himself. He was touching the ground almost to his knees. To survive, "all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up," Capt. Lisa Rudzinksi of the Kentucky State Police said.


I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but that's just plain stupid. What kind of lynching is that? Did Sparkman really think anyone was going to believe that unknown perps captured him, tied his hands loosely, and then hung him in such an unlikely way? (And why would they even need to tie his hands, anyway? Presumably he wouldn't be going anywhere.)

Sparkman, we're told, was a teacher, a man of science, and highly intelligent. I have real trouble squaring this intelligent man with this poorly-executed hoax attempt.

Lowell Adams, a close friend of Sparkman's, told investigators that Sparkman had confessed his whole secret plan to him. Why would he do that? I don't know. It doesn't make sense. Why would Adams betray Sparkman and spill the beans? I don't know that either.

Some friend.

The Washington Post again:

"In reality Bill spoke with me several times about killing himself and, on the Saturday before his death he told me he was going to kill himself on the next Wednesday," Adams said in a written statement included in more than 200 pages of investigative records.

Adams said Sparkman, who once had lymphoma, preferred to kill himself rather than to die from cancer.

"Bill said he had chosen a place to kill himself 'in the woods' in Clay County and he intended to hang himself," Adams said. "He said he intended to tie his hands behind his back so it would appear that someone else did it, to appear like a murder."

Adams said Sparkman asked him if he wanted to get drunk with him the weekend before his death. Adams said Sparkman bought a case of Budweiser beer in Richmond. An autopsy found that Sparkman was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of his death. It also found that Sparkman did not have cancer.


Wait, so he didn't have cancer? He did all this for nothing? So why did he think his cancer had returned? Did he get a doctor's diagnosis? If so, who's the doctor? If not, why not?

The two life insurance policies that Sparkman took out on himself were for accidental death, and would not pay out in case of suicide. Wouldn't it have been far easier to fake an accident than to fake a murder? Wouldn't it have been far easier to actually set a real accident into motion?

For instance, couldn't he have driven his car off a cliff while doing 90 MPH, but stepped hard on the brakes, knowing full well that the brake marks on the road would be accepted as suitable evidence that it was an accident? (Not a very pleasant way to go, but neither is carving the word "Fed" into your own flesh and choking yourself with a noose.) For that matter, couldn't he just have deliberately overdosed on something? Or drowned in a lake? Why this bizarre and implausible kidnapping-lynching scenario?

Lastly, Sparkman allegedly did all this to help his son, who he loved very much. He left detailed written instructions to his son about what to do after his demise, and he closed the letter with "I love you and will always do so." And yet we're to believe that he, in some sort of severely misguided "Spock kills self but saves the ship" act of self destructive heroism, abandoned his son and committed suicide?

Some father.

I can't swallow it. I just can't. There's something more here we haven't been told, but I can't begin to pretend to guess what. I don't necessarily mean to imply anything in the realm of conspiracy or cover-up, but I just can't shake the feeling that there's still a third party at work here, a missing puzzle piece, a shadow over Innsmouth, a speckled band.

2 comments:

Ed said...

Methinks it exists in a convergence of things where an insurance company doesn't want to pay up on an insurance policy if someone committed suicide and where the political machinery of one of the smaller Kentucky counties wants to make sure that one of its meth boiling relatives isn't convicted of murder.

Katherine said...

I don't understand why this so called confidant didn't inform someone if he had been told a friend was going to kill himself. Reprehensible.