The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office released a report late Tuesday that gave some insight into the actions of federal law enforcement following the recent death of a Supreme Court Justice.
Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead on the morning of Feb. 13 in a room at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a 30,000-acre luxury ranch in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, Texas.
The Sheriff’s office in Marfa released an offense report to the Washington Post, which claimed that the ranch’s owner, John Poindexter, called Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez at 12:14 p.m. on Feb. 13.
While Poindexter initially did not want to release the name of the deceased and wanted to contact the U.S. Marshals Service, Dominguez said in the report that he assured Poindexter that handling the death was under his jurisdiction.
“He then stated to me that this death was way beyond my authority and that it should go the Feds (USMS),” Dominguez wrote. “I then replied it doesn’t matter who it is, it was still under my jurisdiction.”
Dominguez said that after he arrived at the ranch at 12:35 p.m., he met with Poindexter and a friend of Scalia’s, and he was escorted to Scalia’s room, where he said “all seemed to be in order.”
[pull_quote_center]Scalia was laying on three pillows stacked up to elevate his head, and appeared to have fallen asleep in that position, indicating he died in that position as well. Both of Scalia’s hands were rested at his side. The top pillow case appeared to have shifted at some point in the night due to the weight of his head on the pillow, causing the pillowcase to slide down and cover his eyes. The position of the pillow did not seem to have inhibited Scalia’s breathing.[/pull_quote_center]
Dominguez went on to describe the setting of Scalia’s room, noting that the “sheets and pillows that were being used by Scalia were still in the creased position from that day’s room service,” which he claimed indicated “that there was no struggle involved.”
Dominguez said he then relayed his observations to Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara over the phone, and she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes at 1:52 p.m.
The report claims that U.S Marshall Service Agents then arrived on the scene and after they observed the situation, they contacted their supervisor, Ken Roberts, who came to the scene and then contacted his supervisor in El Paso.
Dominguez reported that Marfa Sector Border Patrol Agents arrived on the scene around 10:00 p.m., and that although the FBI was contacted by the U.S. Marshal service, they “declined to get involved in the investigation” after hearing the marshals’ report of Scalia’s death.
[pull_quote_center]The FBI was contacted by the U.S. Marshal Service in reference to Scalia’s death. However, the FBI declined to get involved in the investigation, after hearing the report of the circumstances of the death from the U.S. Marshals.[/pull_quote_center]
Scalia’s body was then transported to El Paso, and arrived at the Sunset Funeral Home around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He was embalmed without undergoing an autopsy.
Scalia’s family reportedly did not want an autopsy, and Guevara justified her decision to declare Scalia dead of natural causes based on the details she received during a phone call, by claiming that his doctor told her that he had been suffering from significant health problems.