Gov’t gets recommendation on handling of Shawn Warner case

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A US sheriff with 40 years experience in law enforcement is making specific recommendations to the government before they proceed with a second autopsy on the body of Shawn Sylvester Warner, who died of suspected electrocution last November.

Jeffrey Murphy, a sheriff of Washington County, New York, suggested that it is extremely important for law enforcement officials allow a forensic pathologist to interview any and all witnesses prior to a second autopsy, especially those who may have information on incidents that possibly occurred prior to Shawn’s death, along with all maintenance records related to the lamppost.

His recommendation was contained in an email to OBSERVER media on Monday. According to Murphy, in his years of experience in the United States, law enforcement officials have found it difficult to prove electrocution by autopsy alone.

“Witness testimony becomes paramount in an investigation, and in this case there is plenty, both family and non-family. There are many variables that would make a definitive conclusion possible, unless the autopsy was performed by a forensic pathologist with experience in deaths by electrocution,” the Sheriff stated.

The officer, who said he is a repeat visitor to the island, also said that through his regular visits to Antigua he had the opportunity to meet Shawn’s mother, Sandra Warner, who he describes as a hard-working woman.

He said he has kept in contact with her regularly in the days after the tragic incident, and has also stayed abreast of all the news related to the case.

“It is abundantly clear – based upon witness accounts, including events both leading up to and after the incident – that Shawn Warner, a healthy young man with no apparent cardiac history, was the victim of an accidental electrocution,” the officer claimed.

The comment from the Washington-based Sheriff came a day after a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Randall Goodwin, joined with Warner’s family in criticizing the police’s handling of the case and encouraged them to continue seeking justice.

Warner was allegedly electrocuted when he reportedly came into contact with an exposed electrical wire on a pole that was repaired prior to the incident.

A week ago, Shawn’s sister, Natasha James took to social media to lament frustration over the lack of information from the police, and demanded that her brother’s body be turned over to his family for burial.

She also claimed that the doctor who conducted the first autopsy revealed to the family that she saw an enlarged heart which could have been caused by the alleged electrocution. However, without a report from the police the post-mortem was inconclusive. The government has since indicated it will absorb the cost for a second autopsy.

Shawn Warner’s body was turned over to his family.

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