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Montgomery coroner, district attorney have Barksdale's autopsy

By M.J. Ellington (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Preliminary autopsy results on Farron Barksdale are in the hands of the Montgomery County coroner and district attorney.

There was no word Monday on when results will be released.

Alabama's interim Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kenneth S. Snell, who performed the autopsy, said his office does not release preliminary results for a case under investigation.

Snell said he completed the autopsy Wednesday, signed the preliminary report Thursday and sent copies to Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks and the county coroner's office the same day.

Snell said the procedure he followed is standard for cases under investigation and referred questions to the Montgomery County officials, who did not immediately return calls Monday afternoon.

"It is up to them to release results, if they choose to do so," Snell said.

Barksdale served less than two weeks of a life-without-parole sentence for killing two Athens police officers before he died Aug. 20 at a Montgomery hospital.

Corrections officers found Barksdale unresponsive on his bunk in a single cell at Kilby Correctional Facility on Aug. 11. He had a high fever, symptoms of systemic infection and marks or bruises on his pelvis. Officers at the prison took Barksdale to a Montgomery hospital, where he never regained consciousness.

Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said Barksdale's death came hours after his family asked that he be removed from life support. Corbett said an internal investigation began the same day Barksdale entered the hospital. It could be weeks before investigators issue findings, he said.

The hospitalization came three days after Limestone County sheriff's deputies transported the 32-year-old Athens man from North Alabama to begin his sentence.

Barksdale was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but psychiatrists found him competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty in the Jan. 2, 2004, slaying of Athens police officer Tony Mims and Sgt. Larry Russell. Barksdale shot the officers from inside his mother's home as they responded to his 911 call for help.

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