Hunter S. Thompson obituary spawns "murder" theory

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Monday, April 4, 2005

Hunter Thompson, the author of "Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness", once discussed on radio the possibility that he would be murdered to shut him up — and that it would be made to look like a suicide.

Paul William Roberts, a friend of Thompson and a well known travel writer, in an obituary played on this possibility for dramatic effect. Roberts related the fact that Thompson was working on a story relating to the World Trade Center demolition, and did say he was going to be murdered, and that the murder would be identified as a suicide. Roberts says in the second paragraph that Thompson did, however, commit suicide, and was not murdered. [1]

Two years ago in January 2003, Thompson actually did give an interview on KDNK radio (Colorado) where he made a suggestion that he may be murdered to shut him up.

"Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him. We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it. I am embarrassed and I am pissed off. I mean to say something. I think a lot of people in this country agree with me...we'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off next week -- it is always unknown or bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterwards with no witnesses," the writer said.

More confusion has arisen after a quote from one of the police officers investigating the death scene. Deputy Ron Ryan said there was a spent shell casing, but there was no cartridge in the firing chamber, as there should have been under normal circumstances. Sheriff's officer DiSalvo confirmed this opinion; "I think a bullet from the magazine should have cycled into the chamber". This "single bullet" problem has led to speculation that Thompson was coerced into self-inflicting a gunshot wound, being given a gun with a single shot, perhaps accompanied by threats against his family.

Speculation arose that the gun used to kill Thompson could have been capable of a manual ammunition cycle, though as yet no support for this claim has been offered. DiSalvo said he hadn't checked the gun, but that the weapon could have been on a manual cycle that would have stopped the other cartridges from going into the chamber.

The spent slug was found in the stove's hood behind Hunter Thompson's body, investigators said.

Thompson died February 20. The county coroner ruled that Thompson's death was a suicide on February 21.

Other friends were not surprised at his death. "I wasn't surprised," said George Stranahan, a former owner of the Woody Creek Tavern, a favourite haunt of Thompson. "I never expected Hunter to die in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of him."

Neighbours have said how his broken leg had prevented him from leaving his house as often as he had liked to.

One neighbour and long-standing friend, Mike Cleverly, said Thompson was clearly hobbled by the broken leg. "Medically speaking, he's had a rotten year."