Off Limits

When Irish guys are smiling: You may think you've heard everything that's been going on in Judge Richard Matsch's courtroom. You may think that, but you'd be wrong. Even with the endless coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing trial, some testimony goes unreported by the local media. For instance, an exchange last Thursday concerning penises. In particular, the durability of the Irish model.

When defense lawyer Stephen Jones finally started presenting Timothy McVeigh's case, he began with testimony concerning the extra leg found at the destroyed Murrah Building--a leg that did not fit any of the 168 known victims, which opened up the possibility that a mystery bomber might have been killed in the blast. One of Jones's witnesses called in support of this notion was Dr. Thomas Marshall, an English forensic pathology expert whose articles include "Deaths From Explosive Devices." Asked about the "extra left leg" found in Oklahoma City, Marshall replied that "until shown otherwise, this must be an extra victim." Particularly significant was the fact that no other piece of a body belonging to the leg was found: "To be disintegrated so completely," he said, "you have to be near the bomb."

"Is there a circumstance known to you in which a body would be disintegrated but yet a portion of a body found?" asked Jones. Why, yes, Marshall said: He'd studied a case in Ireland "where a bomb went off as a terrorist carried it into a shed, and eight people were killed and others were injured. And as we were doing the eighth autopsy, our attention was drawn to some parts of body--unidentifiable parts...but in and amongst this, I eventually came across a penis." Since the penis did not fit any of the eight bodies--and no survivor had reported one missing--"the only conclusion," Marshall said, "was that that was a ninth victim. And the only conclusion was that he was carrying the bomb when it went off to be so badly disintegrated."

The body of evidence grows daily.
So does the number of local lawyers doing double duty as media pundits discussing the McVeigh case and, occasionally, the debacle in Boulder. Defense attorney Larry Pozner continues to pop up almost daily on Today as an NBC consultant; Holland & Hart's John Walsh has signed on as CBS's legal consultant on Oklahoma City; former Denver district attorney Norm Early is back from the corporate world and blabbing, sometimes alongside former colleague Craig Silverman. Although Silverman has an "exclusive" in this market with Channel 7, that hasn't stopped him from talking with, among others, Maury Povich and NPR. The longest resume, however, may belong to defense attorney Scott Robinson, who's writing an opinion column for the Rocky Mountain News ("the journalistic endeavor that is dearest to my miserable little heart," he says) but remains a free (literally) agent with TV and radio. Those appearances are so numerous that Robinson keeps an alphabetical list, which includes BBC TV and radio, CNN, CourtTV, NBC, Geraldo and Hard Copy.

TV or not TV? Peter Boyles had just signed off his radio show last Friday when he got word that both Hard Copy and Inside Edition were eager to talk with him. Not, it turns out, to put the "All Ramsey All the Time" talk-show host on TV to discuss JonBenet Ramsey--but to find out how to reach J.T. Colfax, the artist turned inmate (briefly) who'd snatched the Boulder morgue sheet with JonBenet's name. They wanted to put him on TV.

Two days after Colfax showed Westword that page ("A Body of Work," May 22), two Boulder police officers showed up at his rooming house and hauled him off in handcuffs. They wanted to talk to him about more than a pilfered piece of paper, though. At the Boulder cop shop, they asked Colfax if he'd murdered JonBenet--if he'd ever murdered anyone--and took saliva, hair and handwriting samples. As the questioning went on, Colfax finally turned to the cops. "If you're asking me all these questions," he says he told them, "you really don't have anything on this case, do you?" Next question.

Spinal trap: Being responsible for the people's welfare is obviously a heavy burden. First Governor Roy Romer underwent shoulder surgery--the 68-year-old pol had discovered he could no longer raise a chainsaw above his head, probably when he was attempting to clear some dead wood out of the Democratic National Committee--and invited reporters to see the 45-minute tape of his operation. Then City Auditor Don Mares put on his own tough-guy display over a strained back--an injury sustained not while going over DIA's books, but while lifting a heavy toolbox at home. "Trying to be Tim the Tool Man is not in the auditor's future," jokes Les Berry, Mares's deputy.

Nor, apparently, is joke-writing for Berry.


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