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Ambridge
03-27-2006, 06:18 PM
http://www.comcast.net/news/national/index.jsp?cat=DOMESTIC&fn=/2006/03/27/354615.html
http://www.comcast.net/data/br/2006/03/27/br-48931.jpg


Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht speaks in this ...
PITTSBURGH - Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist to the stars, doesn't just tell his critics off. He cuts them to pieces with words.

Three years ago, for example, he wrote to the attorney for a citizens group that wanted to eliminate Wecht's office as Allegheny County coroner.

"Anytime you or any of your minions, sycophants, or other assorted motley crew wish to publicly debate the activities of my office, just let me know," Wecht wrote. "I can only hope that you will have occasion to require the services of this office in the most possible personal fashion."

He signed it: "Very truly yours, Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D."

Wecht, 74, gained celebrity as a critic of the Warren Commission investigation of John F. Kennedy's assassination and as a consultant on such cases as the death of Elvis Presley, the slayings of JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson, and the attempted murder trial of Claus von Bulow. He is a familiar face to TV viewers, often weighing in on big cases in the news, and recently helped Louisiana officials conduct autopsies on Hurricane Katrina victims.

But back home in Pittsburgh, admiration for Wecht's accomplishments and decades of public service is tempered by tales of unbridled egotism that some say led to the criminal charges he now faces.

Federal prosecutors say Wecht used county employees, equipment, even unclaimed morgue cadavers for the benefit of his multimillion-dollar private pathology practice.

"Sometimes he doesn't think the rules are really meant for him," said Morton Coleman, a retired political science professor who has known Wecht since they attended the University of Pittsburgh. "I just think he thinks the county's lucky to have such an important person as their coroner and they shouldn't mind that he cuts corners, as it were."

Wecht, 74, resigned from office a few days after being indicted in January on charges including fraud and theft of honest services. But he has denied any wrongdoing and continues to crisscross the country as an expert witness in murders and wrongful-death cases. He is expected to go on trial in October.

Buried in the 84-count indictment is the allegation that Wecht had his former county secretary type a nasty letter to Keith Sueker, a retired engineer who poked fun of Wecht's failed run for county executive in 1999.

Federal authorities say it was another instance of Wecht using a county worker for his personal benefit _ in this case, political retribution. But for longtime Wecht watchers, it shows an ugly side of Wecht generally hidden from national view.

Wecht's letter reads:

"Mr. Sueker:

"When I am testifying as an expert witness in major cases around the country; appearing on national television and radio shows; lecturing at major universities; writing books; accepting honors and accolades from various organizations; and making a hell of a lot of money, I have found that I am able to enhance and sustain the substantial pleasures and great joy that accompany such endeavors and accomplishments by thinking of insignificant a------- like you."

"Sincerely,

"Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O'Neill considers the Sueker letter the "Mona Lisa" of Wecht's poison pen letters. He has been collecting Wecht's letters for years, including one targeting him.

"He's accomplished. He's very smart. He's very energetic," O'Neill said. "But I have my doubts that really brilliant guys do some of the things he does."

Coleman said: "This is a tremendously talented guy. He could have been a concert violinist; he has almost a completely retentive memory; he was a first-class athlete. He was a real renaissance guy. He was president of everything at Pitt."

Wecht's attorneys refused to let him be interviewed.

Wecht, who holds a law degree in addition to a medical degree, served two 10-year stretches in the elected position of coroner, first from 1970 to 1980, then from 1996 to 2006.

Last month, Wecht told CNN's Larry King that he had never done anything "politically corrupt or criminal" while coroner since 1996. But former U.S. Attorney General **** Thornburgh, a member of Wecht's defense team, acknowledged on the same show that there were "some accounting irregularities here and probably some inappropriate use of county employees."

State officials filed similar charges against him in 1981. Wecht was acquitted of misusing county resources but paid the county $200,000 to settle related litigation.

"You would think, having been through that, that he would be extra careful about not mixing his private and public work," said Jim Roddey, the businessman who beat Wecht in the 1999 campaign to become Allegheny County's first county executive. "But Cyril always feels that whatever he is doing somehow is OK because he's Cyril Wecht."

Dr. Henry Lee, a longtime friend of Wecht's and a retired Connecticut criminalist who has also worked on big cases, said it can be difficult for forensic investigators to separate public and private business.

"The reality is, you put in 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's hard work," Lee said. "It's really hard to have a clear-cut idea of which portion of your time is public and which is private."

Suitanim
03-27-2006, 07:41 PM
It'll be hard for me to think poorly of the dude. He's a perfectionist, and incompetence and superfluous bureaucracy piss him off...can't blame him for that.

I've been a HUGE fan of Wecht since I was in High School, so I'm naturally a little biased.

PisnNapalm
03-27-2006, 07:56 PM
The only other coroner I can name is Quincy. :P

I remember Wecht's name from when I was kid. That's about it though.

Suitanim
03-27-2006, 08:12 PM
There are two names in the field: Wecht and Baden.

Baden does HBO specials.

3 to be 4
03-28-2006, 09:30 PM
Im a cadaver, you're a cadever, hes a cadever, shes a cadaver, wouldnt you like to be a cadaver too?.........

3 to be 4
03-28-2006, 09:33 PM
"That man is a slime!! If hes allowed to go free,there something reeaally wrong going on."
- Al Pacino in "..And Justice for all"

clevestinks
03-29-2006, 10:00 AM
Im a cadaver, you're a cadever, hes a cadever, shes a cadaver, wouldnt you like to be a cadaver too?.........
still laughing

3 to be 4
03-29-2006, 07:09 PM
Take my wife, you cadaver. i dont want her. You cadaver.......

3 to be 4
03-29-2006, 09:19 PM
"I dont want her, you cadaver, shes too fat for me..."