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THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2007
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Results from Barksdale’s autopsy may come Friday, state officials say

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Preliminary autopsy results on Farron Barksdale could come as early as Friday, according to state forensic officials.

Alabama Forensic Sciences Department pathologist Kenneth Snell conducted the autopsy Wednesday, but results were not yet complete.

Barksdale, who died Monday, had been hospitalized and on life support in Montgomery since Aug. 11. The hospitalization came three days after Limestone County sheriff’s deputies transported Barksdale to Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery to begin serving a sentence of life without parole.

The 32-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing two Athens police officers, died within hours after his family asked the hospital to disconnect life support equipment.

Guards at Kilby Correctional Facility took Barksdale to the hospital after finding him unconscious in his cell. Barksdale had a high fever, symptoms of a systemic infection and marks and bruises on his pelvis. Barksdale never regained consciousness.

Beating unlikely?

Although there were questions initially about the possibility Barksdale might have been beaten, officials now believe that is unlikely.

Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely told The Daily that officials now believe medical conditions and unusually high heat in the Montgomery area are more likely causes. Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett and Commissioner Richard Allen have said from the beginning that they don’t believe Barksdale was attacked at Kilby.

Though diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Barksdale was declared competent to stand trial for the Jan. 2, 2004, slaying of Athens police officer Tony Mims and Sgt. Larry Russell as they responded to his 911 call for help from his mother’s home.

Funeral Saturday

Barksdale’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at McConnell Funeral Home in Athens with visitation one hour before the service.

An internal prison system investigation that began the day Barksdale entered the hospital continues, but it may be weeks before investigators issue findings, Corbett said.

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