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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Medical Examiner Wrongful Death Cover-up in District 1?

"I just want the truth.  It's not about the money.  Society is not fair, but everyone should be treated equally under the law."  Mr. Steve Lillo to author, April 17, 2015.

"Thus, it is not possible to exclude that the most likely reason for Dr. Minyard's purposeful exclusion from her reports and deposition testimony any mention or documentation of her removal of the decedent's posterior cervical spine and spinal cord, is that the physical evidence related to the spine was inconsistent with her reported conclusions, and inconsistent with the interests of Law Enforcement."  Dr. Kris Sperry, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Georgia, affidavit to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

Introduction

The Medical Examiner for District 1, one of 24 such medical examiner districts, is Andrea N. Minyard M.D.  District 1 includes Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties.

Dr. Minyard is arguably the top Medical Examiner in the state of Florida.  She was the chair of the fifteen-doctor committee that wrote the July 28, 2010, Practice Guidelines for Florida Medical Examiners (see other publications at link).  The Introduction (p. i) noted that administrative code, like statute, "is written in absolutes (shall and shall not)...[and] differs from statute in that it is more flexible and attuned to the current state of medical examiner practice."  The Practice Guidelines "are usually crafted in language that is more discretionary."

The administrative code that the Practice Guidelines refers to is Chapter 11G of the Florida Administrative Code.  Two parts of Chapter 11G at issue here are rules 11G-2.004 on "Physical Evidence, Body Parts, Specimens" and 11G-2.005 on "Records, Autopsy Report." Again, the Practice Guidelines remind us that administrative code "is written in absolutes (shall and shall not)."  This means, there is no discretion on the part of the Medical Examiner.

The Practice Guidelines further state that "the word 'shall' is to be taken [here] to mean that there is no discretion to deviate from the guideline unless it is stated explicitly in the text of the guideline.  The word 'should' is to be taken [here] to mean that the guideline is to be observed unless there is a compelling reason not to do so, and that the guideline should be observed in the majority of instances."

Thus, in raising the very serious accusatorial question of a potential cover-up of a wrongful death, Dr. Minyard's knowledge of statutes, rules, and guidelines is not in doubt.  She is undoubtedly an expert and her expertise is not in question.

The question is, did she knowingly and willfully cover-up a potential wrongful death in the case of Mr. John 'Ronnie' Lillo, Jr., who died in the presence of multiple Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Team personnel while at the Bridgeway Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Bridgeway Center provides "psychiatric medicine" and "psychological and psychosocial wellness," according to its website.

Mr. John 'Ronnie' Lillo, Jr.


This blogpost can provide no definitive answer, but the fact that it can be raised, based on an expert deposition from Georgia's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kris Sperry, M.D., suggests that an independent agency should investigate this possibility.

The Case Law "Facts" of Regarding the Death of Mr. Ronnie Lillo

On April 17, 2015, I interviewed Mr. Steve Lillo, an outgoing Italian restaurant owner of Lillo's Tuscan Grille in Gulf Breeze, Florida.  Steve Lillo had standing to sue as the "personal representative" of his deceased brother's estate.  Mr. Lillo sued nine members of the Fort Walton Beach Police Department for "cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, unlawful seizure, failure to intervene, and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need."

All the facts quoted below are taken from the description of the case at fl.findacase.com. I have also included Mr. Steve Lillo's version when it differs.

There is no doubt that nine members of the Fort Walton Beach Police Department were involved to one degree or another in physically restraining Mr. Ronnie Lillo with leg restraints, more than one set of handcuffs, and a nylon rope to 'hogtie' Mr. Lillo during the early morning hours of January 22, 2004.

According to the FindaCase report, after Mr. Ronnie Lillo was restrained with only leg restraints and placed into a chair, a Bridgeway doctor prescribed Ativan and Geodon "to control Lillo's violent behavior."  These drugs would be administered later.

However, Mr. Steve Lillo told me that his brother had been handcuffed in the police vehicle, had leg restraints placed on him outside the vehicle, and was then carried into the Bridgeway Center by the police officers; his brother may have hit his head on the door frame and was always restrained face down on the ground.  He was never placed in a chair and he never tried to walk out of the Center.

Mr. Steve Lillo told me that his brother Mr. Ronnie Lillo, did not want to be treated at Bridgeway and did not want any drugs put into his system.  He said that his brother had pleaded, "No needles, no needles."  He had not resisted being arrested and thought he was being taken to jail.  He was taken to Bridgeway Center without his consent.

Mr. Steve Lillo told me that his brother had taken his medication within 30 days prior to this police arrest and did not want any other drugs in his system.  The 30-day window was normal dose for his bipolar condition.

According to FindaCase, "At that point, according to Bridgeway records and the testimony of the police officers, Lillo became agitated and struggled with police.  Brown, Harran, and other officers pulled Lillo to the floor by his waist and shoulders.  Brown, Harran, Millard, and Yeakos restrained Lillo on the ground by applying pressure with their hands to his shoulders and extremities."

After that, Mr. Ronnie Lillo was hogtied and the drugs Ativan and Geodon were administered by a Bridgeway Center staff member.  Mr. Lillo was turned on to side so that he could breathe.  At 1240 A.M., the Bridgeway staff observed Mr. Lillo "restrained with his face down and to the side."

Again, Mr. Ronnie Lillo was rolling around the floor because he did not want any drugs put into his system.  Mr. Steve Lillo contends that his brother was face down the entire time and was not on his side.

At 0110 hours, the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department's battalion chief and paramedic, and two Emergency Medical Technicians arrived at Bridgeway.  The first Emergency Medical Technician to arrive observed Mr. Lillo standing and then being taken down to the floor because he was "disruptive and violent." The battalion chief and the second EMT "testified Lillo struck his own head against the floor repeatedly" and that the battalion chief, a paramedic, to prevent further injury "used his hands and knees to keep Lillo's head still."

It is important to note that Mr. Ronnie Lillo was 5' 10" and weighed about 265.  The battalion chief who put his knee on the back of Mr. Ronnie Lillo's neck weighed around 250 pounds. Two other personnel were helping hold Mr. Ronnie Lillo down around his shoulders and two other personnel were pinning his legs down, according to Mr. Steve Lillo.

At 0115 hours, two Okaloosa County Emergency Medical Service personnel, a paramedic and an EMT, arrived at Bridgeway.  This paramedic, authorized by the Bridgeway doctor, administered "Haldol, an anti-psychotic medication" at 01:30 hours.

Mr. Lillo immediately stopped breathing and no pulse was detected; the paramedic administered CPR, Mr. Lillo's pulse returned and at 0145 hours Mr. Lillo was transported to the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, where he arrived ten minutes later.  At 0219 hours, Mr. Lillo was pronounced dead.

Mr. Steve Lillo contended that his brother actually expired inside the Bridgeway Center.  The idea that his pulse had returned was a function of the needle moving while they were giving him CPR.  The whole point of this exercise was to give the impression that Mr. Ronnie Lillo had not died in police custody.

At the hearing to grant or deny qualified immunity to the police officers involved, according to the summary report, "Dr. Andrea Minyard reported Lillo's cause of death as complications of acute psychosis.  Her report noted multiple abrasions, lacerations and contusions of the face, scalp, and extremities, as well as deep contusions of the skin and muscle of the posterior neck."

Mr. Steve Lillo's expert witness, "Dr. Michael Berkland testified that Lillo's autopsy photographs depicted 'extensive deep subcutaneous hemorrhage that extends down and involves the musculature of the cervical and upper thoracic spine."  Actually, there was no testimony.  It was Dr. Berkland's deposition that contained his expert opinion on the cause of death.

Furthermore, based "on the injuries to Lillo's neck, and the reports of Bullard [the battalion chief and paramedic] restraining Lillo's head with his hands an knees, Berkland concluded that Lillo's death was the result of asphyxia induced by compression and restraint of the neck and upper back."

Mr. Steven Lillo's lawsuit against the nine police officers was unsuccessful because the Court ruled that they had "qualified immunity."  The judge summarily granted seven of the police officers "qualified immunity" as well as two police officers who had not made the request.  Mr. Lillo's lawsuit, contesting this granting of a summary judgement of qualified immunity, including the two who had not requested it, eventually made it up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which let the federal Appeals Court ruling stand.

Thus, this blogpost is not about the facts at the hearing or appeal.  It is about the potential cover-up of a wrongful death by the Medical Examiner for District 1, Dr. Andrea Minyard.

Elements of the Cover-up Based on Mr. Steve Lillo Narrative

Some of what Mr. Lillo told me cannot be corroborated or verified, though the actions of Dr. Minyard are clear-cut and virtually irrefutable.  However, we start with information that Mr. Steve Lillo accumulated from unrecorded, off-the-record conversations he had with various police officers and at least one Bridgeway staff.

Approximately six months before Mr. Ronnie Lillo died, he had a bipolar episode.  He had been working for a local construction company.  His paycheck bounced.  Checks for bills he had paid began to bounce.  Under increased psychological pressure, Mr. Ronnie Lillo would quote the Bible.  This was the first time he had an altercation with a police officer.

A very big man, possibly at the time approaching 300 pounds, Mr. Lillo in the confrontation came to be on top of the officer.  Though Mr. Lillo had not swung at the police officer, the officer sustained a broken nose.  Another officer suffered an injured arm.

Mr. Ronnie Lillo told his brother Mr. Steve Lillo that one of the two police officers who had been injured and embarrassed in front of fellow police officers, told Mr. Ronnie Lillo, "I'm going to kill you."  Months later, with police officers still harassing him, the Chief of Police in Fort Walton Beach allegedly told his officers to leave Mr. Ronnie Lillo alone if they see him on the street and call Mr. Steve Lillo.

During the day of January 21, 2004, Mr. Ronnie Lillo, who used to be homeless, was seen by the local police walking in or near the street, but did not stop him.  Mr. Ronnie Lillo wanted to be a preacher and on this morning he was sort of giving a "sermon" to the homeless across the street from the police station.

Ronnie Lillo's back was to the street and he was urinating.  A police car pulled up behind him.  The police officer told him to stop urinating.  When Ronnie Lillo saw who the police officer was--the same one he had broken the nose of--he pulled his pants down and put his hands in the air.  He was handcuffed and put into the police car.  Mr. Steve Lillo told me that his brother had not been defecating in the street, as the police officer alleged.

Internal Affairs officers who spoke with Mr. Steve Lillo told him that they were starting an investigation and knew about the first confrontation with the police officers.  But, Internal Affairs was not being truthful when they Mr. Steve Lillo that the police officer who had been injured previously was not working that night.

Mr. Lillo's inspection of the park and roadway revealed no fecal matter in the alleged area. A homeless person also told Mr. Steve Lillo that Mr. Ronnie Lillo was urinating, not defecating. In fact, when Mr. Steve Lillo initially heard the dash cam video, the police officer clearly ordered Mr. Ronnie Lillo to "stop urinating."

The allegation that Mr. Ronnie Lillo had kicked out a window in the police car could not be corroborated by Mr. Steve Lillo's inspection of the area looking for broken glass.  Mr. Steve Lillo also told me that what should have been a five-minute ride to the Bridgeway Center actually took twenty-five minutes--a time gap in which anything could have been said or done to Mr. Ronnie Lillo to make him suspicious of the police's motives and angry.

In fact, the elapsed time is based on the difference between the dash cam recorder showing the time Mr. Ronnie Lillo was picked up and the time the Bridgeway Center recorded him arriving.

Mr. Steve Lillo was told by at least one Bridgeway Center manager that "no one at the Center injured your brother John, and you can read between the lines."  But, no further information was apparently forthcoming because the Center relies upon funds from the city.

Mr. Steve Lillo told me that within two days of his brother dying, the police had told him that they had a video of the event.  Mr. Steve Lillo told me that the video showed his brother Ronnie being taken into custody with no struggle or resistance.

Two years later, Mr. Steve Lillo's second lawyer told him that there were two videotapes--one with audio and one without audio.  Both video tapes were dash cam recordings. Apparently one of these two videos or a third video was circulating in law enforcement circles because another Lillo brother found a source in  the Sheriff's Office who told him that on the video with audio there is clearly a voice saying, "Get off of him, you're going to kill him."  The second video had all audio removed.  Now we know why, said Mr. Steve Lillo.

But, it is not clear which video contains this information.  The two dash cam videos show Mr. Ronnie Lillo walking towards the police car and disappearing from view.  He is behind the camera.  What actually happened to Mr. Ronnie Lillo after he was out of the line of sight of the camera and without audio is impossible to say.

Mr. Steve Lillo told me that on the day of the autopsy Dr. Minyard told him that there was heavy bruising on the neck and that she was looking for a broken neck.

Two years later, after she gave her deposition, she allegedly told Mr. Steve Lillo, "I cut your brother's neck out" and had found no break.  That information is not in her deposition and not in her official autopsy report.

This act of omission by Dr. Minyard is what prompted Mr. Steve Lillo to exhume his brother's body and try to find the truth.

The Alleged Cover-up According to Counter Expert Testimony

Seven and one-half years after Mr. Ronnie Lillo was buried, Mr. Steve Lillo had his body exhumed and Dr. Kris Sperry, the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Georgia, performed a graveside autopsy on Mr. Ronnie Lillo's remains.

Dr. Sperry was appointed to his position in June 1997, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's biography of Dr. Sperry states unequivocally: "Dr. Sperry is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of forensic pathology and childhood injury..."

In other words, to a layman like me, he's an experts expert--and not some fly-by-night pathologist offering his opinion for money.

Recall, that Mr. Steve Lillo's first expert witness, Dr. Michael Berkland, had concluded that "Lillo's death was the result of asphyxia induced by compression of the neck and upper back."  Now, Dr. Berkland was fired as the Medical Examiner for District 1 in 2003, "for not completing autopsy reports" and had his medical license withdrawn, according to a CBS News report.  In 1996, Dr. Berkland had been fired from his "contract medical examiner" position in Jackson County, Missouri, and eventually lost his medical license in that state, according to the same report.

Thus, the expert opinion of Dr. Kris Sperry is crucial to understanding the possibility of a cover-up by Dr. Minyard.  Dr. Berkland's expert opinion can be impeached on credibility grounds.  Dr. Sperry's expert opinion cannot be impeached on credibility grounds.

In the graveside autopsy video, taken on or about July 23, 2011, which I watched with Mr. Steve Lillo, Dr. Sperry did indeed find that Dr. Minyard had cut a significant portion, about eight inches, of Mr. Ronnie Lillo's neck out.  The video shows Dr. Sperry pointing out the missing part of the neck and describing how it would have been done.  Dr. Sperry also remarked that there was "no red bag" containing body parts or organs that are removed during an autopsy.  Dr. Sperry remarked that the "red bag" could have been removed by the embalmer. Nevertheless, the "red bag" was of no real consequence because, as Dr. Sperry explained on camera, the neck bone that had been cut out would have been decayed and damaged to the degree that it would not be possible to know what had happened.

Thus, Dr. Minyard's official autopsy report and all her notes and observations made during the autopsy are of critical importance.

Here is the verbatim quote from Dr. Sperry's "Affidavit of Kris Sperry, M.D. In Support of Complaint" in the case before the Florida Medical Examiners Commission of Stephen Lillo vs. Andrea Minyard, M.D.

According to Dr. Sperry's affidavit, prior to viewing Mr. Ronnie Lillo's body, he "reviewed the complete autopsy of John R. Lillo performed by Dr. Andrea Minyard (including the original autopsy on January 23, 2004, the subsequent edit to the autopsy report dated April 9, 2004, and the finalized autopsy report dated April 27, 2004).  I also reviewed the depositions of Dr. Andrea Minyard (taken September 9, 2008) and Stephen Lillo (taken October 20, 2008). Through my review of these documents, I was sufficiently informed as to the relevant facts surrounding the death and autopsy of the decedent" (paragraph 7).

In paragraph 11, Dr. Sperry stated:  "The removal of the dorsal vertebral column segments had been accomplished through a vertical incision to the posterior neck, from the base of the skull to the upper posterior thorax, and the dissection of the paraspinous musculature away from each side of the vertebral column to then expose the dorsal and transverse processes; then, the transverse processes were sawn on the right and the left with a bone saw, thus accomplishing the 'unroofing' of the spinal canal and spinal cord.  This is a conventional approach utilized in forensic pathology examinations to effectuate evaluation of the spinal cord in the cervical and upper thoracic regions, and also to evaluate the integrity of the bony structures of the cervical spine.  The portion of the dorsal spine which had been removed was approximately 8 inches in length."

In paragraph 12, Dr. Sperry concluded that Dr. Minyard or someone under her supervision had performed this specialized and intricate procedure: "Among the purposes of this specialized dissection, one specific purpose is to allow inspection and detection of the presence of any injury or any other trauma in the neck or spinal cord.  This type of procedure would not be done by a funeral home director or embalmer.  Accordingly, the removal of the spine was, in my opinion, either performed personally by Dr. Andrea Minyard, or performed by a trained autopsy assistant at Dr. Minyard's specific direction."

And, here is where Dr. Minyard's possible cover-up of a wrongful death begins.

According to Dr. Sperry (paragraph 13), "It is a breach of the standard of care by Dr. Minyard to fail to provide any description, documentation, notation, cataloging, or otherwise mention in any way this procedure in her autopsy report or deposition.  Dissection, examination, and removal of organs or body parts such as the spine for further examination are common during autopsies when required to determine cause of death.  However, the performance of such procedures and the detailed findings related to these procedures must be included in the autopsy report.  Above and beyond the description and documentation that such specialized autopsy procedures were performed, the resultant findings should also be described in sufficient detail to support the diagnoses, opinions, and conclusions.  Here, Dr. Minyard's reports and depositions are silent on this critical procedure that was clearly performed, and the results of this procedure."

Let us now examine Rule 11G-2.005 on "Records, Autopsy Report."  Recall that the Practice Guidelines that Dr. Minyard chaired stated that under Chapter 11G "code is written in absolutes (shall and shall not)."

According to 11G-2.005:  "The district medical examiner shall keep among the official records:....All other notes or documentation forming a record of the investigation." And, the autopsy report's "objective observations to be included or appended shall be the gross evaluations, any microscopic observations, and any results of toxicology tests.  Among the opinions to be included shall be the cause of death."

In the Practice Guidelines, which Dr. Minyard, as the chair of the writing committee helped write, Article 20 (1) states, "The gross findings should be described in sufficient detail to support the diagnoses, opinions, and conclusions."

Recall that in the Practice Guidelines the "word 'should' is to be taken to mean that the guideline is to be observed unless there is a compelling reason not to do so, and that the guideline is to be observed in the majority of instances."

What was Dr. Minyard's compelling reason for not including these legally required notes and documentation?  Florida's rule 11G provides no discretion to Dr. Minyard.  Under administrative code it is "written in absolutes (shall and shall not)."

Under Article 23 paragraph (1)(b) of the Practice Guidelines, an "internal examination....Optionally includes inspection and dissection of the posterior neck compartment, cranio-cervical articulation, lateral neck compartment, spinal column and cord, or the extremities."

Clearly, it is highly probable, based on Dr. Sperry's expert analysis, that Dr. Minyard performed this "optional" part of an "internal examination."  And, if Dr. Minyard did not include in the "all other notes or documentation forming a record of the investigation," then she violated rule 11G-2.005.

In paragraph 14 of Dr. Sperry's affidavit, he stated that "Dr. Minyard's dissection and examination of John R. Lillo's spine should have been documented in detail, and the objective results of any examination or testing of the spinal tissue should have been included in the autopsy report."

In paragraph 16, Dr. Sperry opined, "These failures by Dr. Minyard constitute, in my professional view, a willful non-disclosure and a gross breach of the Medical Examiner's Code of Ethics and the public trust.  Moreover, the fact that the death of John R. Lillo occurred during the course of a law enforcement custody event significantly elevates the importance of thorough and complete documentation of all autopsy procedures and relevant findings (both positive and negative), given the heightened scrutiny of such high-profile deaths.  Furthermore, the purposeful omission by Dr. Minyard and her subsequent findings would constitute a material misrepresentation of data upon which an opinion or conclusion by the medical examiner is based.  Consequently, her conclusions cannot be relied upon" [emphasis added].

In other words, Dr. Minyard deliberately and knowingly withheld information from her autopsy report which constituted, as Mr. Steve Lillo contended, and neither the Florida Medical Examiners Commission nor a local judge would consider--fraud and possibly even obstruction of justice and a violation of Mr. Ronnie Lillo's civil rights.  And, her conclusion regarding the cause of death in the case of Mr. Ronnie Lillo "cannot be relied upon."

In short, her allegedly fraudulent autopsy report does not meet the legal requirements for completeness upon which one can reasonably determine his cause of death.  Mr. Ronnie Lillo may very well have died from asphyxiation from a broken neck.

In paragraph 17, the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Georgia, a "nationally recognized expert in forensic pathology," concluded: "This type of dissection is memorable for a forensic pathologist and a medical examiner, and is performed for specific purposes as part of the investigation of a custody-related death, and despite multiple opportunities to document the performance of this procedure as part of John R. Lillo's autopsy examination, no such documentation exists.  Thus, it is not possible to exclude that the most likely reason for Dr. Minyard's purposeful exclusion from her reports and deposition testimony [of] any mention or documentation of her removal of the decedent's posterior cervical spine and spinal cord, is that the physical evidence related to the spine was inconsistent with her reported conclusions, and inconsistent with the interests of Law Enforcement" [emphasis added].

In other words, the reason for Dr. Minyard's deliberate exclusion of this legally required information was to shield a public entity from a wrongful death lawsuit from Mr. Ronnie Lillo's legal representative, his brother Mr. Steve Lillo.

The Florida Medical Examiners Commission Protect Dr. Minyard

Mr. Steve Lillo sought to have the Florida Medical Examiners Commission investigate Dr. Minyard for her faulty analysis of the cause of death.  Specifically, he was claiming that Dr. Minyard had committed fraud and violate the administrative code governing autopsies.

An April 3, 2012, letter from Margaret A. Edwards, staff director of the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, took the low bureaucratic road and rejected Mr. Steve Lillo's effort on the narrow grounds that the "the section of spinal column that was allegedly retained by Dr. Andrea Minyard does not meet the definition of a body part or organ, as spelled out in Rule 11G-2.004(1)(a) and 11G-2.004(1)(b).  She continued, "Accordingly, the portion of the cervical spine at issue does not meet the definition of a body part or that of an organ."

In other words, rather than examine Dr. Minyard's lack of documentation of her procedures and findings in contravention of Florida's administrative code and guidelines that might have led her to conclude a different cause of death that implicated Fort Walton Beach Police Department or the Fire Department, the Florida Medical Examiners Commission took the easy way out and simply stated that the neck was not a "body part."

Without the Florida Medical Examiners Commission finding of fraud, a local judge refused hear Mr. Lillo's legal argument for a trial.  The judge rejected his claim stating that it was too late to bring in new evidence.

Seriously?  An allegedly fraudulent autopsy report is not worthy of consideration in the legal system in Florida?

The Financial Pressures on Florida's District Medical Examiners

Dr. Minyard is not an independent actor in the judicial system.  She is, in fact, under contract with at least two counties who use her services as a medical examiner, according to budget documents.

According to WebMd, Dr. Minyard is the owner of Gulf Coast Autopsy Physicians PA, and she is the only physician employed by her company.

Dr. Minyard's contract with Escambia County for one year (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015) is worth $847,300.

Dr. Minyard's contract with Okaloosa County from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, was $510,568, an increase of $70,031 from the previous year.

Although I cannot find budget data for the other two counties, I assume she is paid by those counties for her services.

While it is not known how much she received for her services in 2004, she is now probably earning in the neighborhood of about $1.6 million per year for a one-physician office.

Moreover, all four county Sheriff's Offices apparently must sign off on her reappointment. They must give her a "favorable" rating on the "Recommendation for Reappointment" document.  The Northwest Florida Daily News website reported that as of April 2015, "all four county sheriffs within Minyard's jurisdiction recommend that she be reappointed."  The website went on to note that Dr. Minyard's gubernatorial appointment expires on July 1, 2015, and after that date Governor Rick Scott must re-appoint her or her replacement.

Concluding Observation

It is not too difficult to imagine that financial considerations could enter into Dr. Minyard's work.  Her hypothetical alternative finding that Mr. Ronnie Lillo's death was caused by excessive force applied either by the Fort Walton Beach Police Department and/or the Fire Department could have cost the county or city a huge settlement--perhaps larger than her contract.

How could she have foreseen that a brother's love and search for answers would lead to the exhumation of the deceased and the finding that the neck had been removed, no documentation presented in her autopsy report or deposition, and her finding of death by "complications of acute psychosis" challenged by a "nationally recognized forensic pathologist" who found that her methodology and lack of documentation meant that her "conclusions cannot be relied upon"?

We all deserve equal justice under the law and that is all Mr. Steve Lillo is asking for--justice for all--not justice for just us, the elites who run the system.

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