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Marine Col. James Sabow: coverup questions surface again

Marine Col. James Sabow was found dead in 1991. Official investigations ruled his death a suicide, but members of his family disagree. The case has come up again because it appears that the gunman in the Pentagon shooting may have commented on the case online.

By Staff writer / March 5, 2010



Washington

Col. James Sabow was a Marine officer who was found dead in 1991 at his home at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Calif.

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A number of official investigations have concluded that Sabow committed suicide. Members of his family have long insisted this to be untrue and say that Sabow was murdered because he knew of weapons- and drug-smuggling activities at the base.

The case is back in the news because of the shooting Thursday at the Pentagon by, according to authorities, John Patrick Bedell. Facebook postings by someone named John Patrick Bedell express sympathy with the Sabow family’s conclusion that an undiscovered conspiracy lay behind Sabow’s demise. (For more on the Pentagon shooting, click here.)

Records show that Sabow was relieved of his job as assistant chief of staff at the El Toro base in January 1991 due to allegations of misuse of government aircraft.

The following morning, his wife found him dead of a gunshot wound in the backyard of their home, with a shotgun nearby.

A government inquiry determined he had committed suicide. His brother David Sabow has long insisted that was not true. According to the brother, outside forensic experts have pointed to such inconsistencies as blood evidence on Sabow’s body that would not have appeared if he had killed himself.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) of California, at the time chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, inserted a provision into the 2004 defense authorization act that required the Pentagon to conduct another study of the Sabow death.

Forensic experts hired by the Defense Department for that study held that the original conclusion was correct – that Sabow took his own life.

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