Friday, August 14, 2009

The Strange Death of Bobby Fuller

When someone commits suicide there are usually family members who refuse to accept that ruling. They don't want to believe that they missed something, or they feel guilt because they didn't do more for the victim. It's an extremely difficult situation for survivors to deal with. In many cases, unless there is a suicide note, it's unacceptable to them. It's extremely troubling to the family when the facts of the case simply don't add up to suicide, and yet the authorities state that's what happened, and then change the story down the road.

One of my favorite dance tunes from the middle 60's was "I Fought The Law" by Bobby Fuller. He was a fan of Buddy Holly, and at a time when the British Invasion was happening he stuck to the Buddy Holly style of rock and roll. His first top 40 hit was a song called "Let Her Dance", his second was "I Fought The Law" and there never was a third because he was found dead in the front seat of his mother's car. That's where the whole story becomes strange.

From Wikipedia:

"Just after "I Fought The Law" became a top ten hit, Bobby Fuller was found dead in his automobile, which was parked near his Los Angeles home. The police considered the death an apparent suicide/accident, however, many people believe Fuller was murdered. The investigation was botched from the start. The crime scene was not secured and no fingerprints were obtained. A witness also claimed seeing a police officer throw a can of gasoline found at the scene into the trash. Fuller was found with multiple wounds all over his body and covered in gasoline leading many to speculate that the perpetrators fled before they could set the car on fire.[5] Police later changed the cause of death to "Accidental asphyxiation" citing no evidence of foul play.[6]Despite the official cause of death stated by authorities, rumors and speculation still surround Fuller's mysterious death.[7][8] Fuller is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles."

That doesn't explain very much, does it? What I've managed to find out through other sources is this:

1. He was found dead in the front seat of his mothers locked car. The keys were missing. The car was parked in an area that his family had walked through getting to his apartment earlier that morning and it wasn't there then.

2. His body showed signs of having been beaten. There was dried blood on his chin and in his hair. His chest and abdomen were covered in bruises. He was drenched in gasoline and there was a rubber siphoning tube clenched in one hand. The autopsy report determined that he would not have died from his "wounds".

3. The gas can was removed from the back seat and thrown away in the garbage, NO fingerprints were ever taken and the car was never impounded and examined for further clues. That sort of smacks of cover-up to me. As if someone got paid not to look too closely to the evidence?

With clear evidence of a beating, with the car door being locked and no key found, the police stated at the scene that "it appeared to be a suicide". The final determination on the cause of death by the coroners office was "Accidental asphyxiation from inhaling gasoline." The more I look at the situation, the more confused I become. The final ruling wasn't that he committed suicide, the final ruling was that he died "accidentally".

Which leaves me wondering how he "accidentally' beat himself, and "accidentally" drove the car home with no keys. Then there's the "accidentally" suffocating himself in the front seat of this car with the doors locked, the windows up and no evidence of vomiting.

It's been 43 years since he died. In the days prior to his death he was somewhat depressed as he was planning on breaking up his band and going solo. There were problems with his record label, which by the way had some mob connections. Did the record label connection decide that they didn't want him breaking up a money maker to go solo? There also was a rumor that the latest gal he was dating was the girlfriend of one of the record labels thugs.

Even if the mistakes made at the scene were one of honest origins, it really does look as if his most popular song was extremely prophetic. Bobby Fuller died on July 18, 1966 and if he did fight the law, the law sure did win.

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