High-Profile Pathologist To Review Victor White III’s Autopsy Report
The case of a New Iberia man who police and the Iberia Parish Coroner say killed himself while in police custody will get an independent opinion.
KATC reports New York-based forensic pathologist Michael Baden — the same man who performed an independent autopsy on Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 — will review the autopsy report for Victor White III.
To be clear, it wasn't stated that Baden will perform a new examination; at this point, it appears he'll only review the one that's already been completed.
White's family revealed the information at a press conference today in New Iberia. Baden is known for investigating high-profile deaths and has been a Fox News contributor since 2003.
At 22 years old, White died in March of a single gunshot wound while handcuffed in the backseat of an Iberia Parish police car. The initial police account reported White shot himself in the back, but a summary of his autopsy — released last week by Coroner Carl Ditch — says the bullet entered through his right chest, tearing through his lungs and heart before exiting near his left armpit.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Maranda Kles is an anthropology professor and former Florida homicide investigator. She weighed in on the situation with Louisiana Radio Network.
"In order to accomplish that trajectory of entrance and exit, he would have had to have been very contorted," Kles said.
Troop I Spokesperson Brooks David says the case is still under investigation by Louisiana State Police, which is still awaiting more evidence findings. Because of that pending investigation — as per a Louisiana law cited by the coroner's office — White's full autopsy report won't be released until that investigation is completed.
In order to accomplish that trajectory of entrance and exit, he would have had to have been very contorted.
Meanwhile, State Police is claiming the gun that fired the bullet isn't one used by deputies.
At this point, it's unclear what happened to the bullet, as Ditch's summary states it wasn't recovered during the autopsy. Ditch ruled White's death as suicide.
"I'm understanding that there must have been some sort of intent declared by (White) to make them rule this," Kles said.
But Ditch's report also reveals White was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he died.
"Both of those (intoxicants) influence or impair an individual's judgement," Kles said. "That may have influenced his thought process."
Another lingering question is how the firearm made it into the backseat of the police cruiser, considering White was arrested after police found narcotics on him. The officers involved in the incident — whose names haven't been released — were responding to a disturbance call about a fight happening around the 300 block of Lewis Street.
White's family has been raising money since March to fund an independent autopsy, but the crowdsourcing effort didn't make much headway until recently. Initially, the dollar amount requested by the family was $15,000. Once White's initial autopsy was completed, that number increased to $35,000, and as of today, the family has raised nearly $4,000.