Update: On November 4, Thomas Bashline, a 42-year-old who occasionally worked as a trainer for the Harlem Globetrotters, was found murdered in his Frederick home. Speculation about a motive included allusions to a Bashline side business testing athletes for performance enhancing drugs. But now, Fox31 is reporting that a suspect now in custody met Bashline via a Craigslist hook-up gone terribly wrong.
As we've reported, Bashline's girlfriend called authorities on the afternoon of the 4th, saying he was unresponsive. In the beginning, personnel at the scene couldn't be absolutely positive he'd been a victim of homicide, since there were no obvious signs of trauma to his body. However, closer examination revealed a bullet entry wound -- and because no gun was found at the scene, Bashline couldn't have killed himself.
As a result, the Weld County Sheriff's Office launched a homicide investigation -- and no doubt they considered the drug testing angle. Yesterday, however, the WCSO announced that a thus-far-unnamed suspect had been taken into custody, and while he was being held on unrelated charges, investigators had requested an arrest warrant related to Bashline's slaying.
The clues? Items left in Bashline's stolen Chevy pickup, which was found in Boulder, more than twenty miles from his home, after the homicide. Also obtained: a semi-automatic handgun that authorities believe was the murder weapon.
Thus far, sheriff's office reps haven't shared their theory about the reason Bashline was killed -- at least not for attribution. However, the aforementioned Fox31 piece quotes sources within Weld County law enforcement as saying Bashline and the suspect met via the "man-for-man personals section" of Craiglist. Bashline is thought to have driven to Longmont to pick up the man, then took him back to his place, after which the man shot him in the head and stole his truck.
Look below to see the Fox31 report and earlier coverage.
Original item, 10:21 a.m. November 7: Thomas Bashline, 42, a sometime trainer for the Harlem Globetrotters, was found dead in his Frederick home on Friday, but the circumstances weren't immediately clear.
But after additional investigation and an autopsy, the Weld County Sheriff's Office has now launched a formal homicide investigation.
According to the WCSO, Bashline's girlfriend phoned authorities at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, telling the operator that her boyfriend was unresponsive. Emergency responders rushed to the scene, where they found Bashline dead in his bedroom.
At first, it was unclear why; there were no obvious signs of trauma to his body. However, further examination revealed that he'd been shot. No gun was found at the scene, eliminating the possibility of suicide -- hence the determination that foul play was involved. Thus far, the caliber of the weapon has not yet been made public.
As portrayed by his father in a 9News interview, Bashline was a man without enemies. He worked for years as an athletic trainer at Brighton High School, and volunteered at assorted high-school rodeo events. And then there was that job with the Globetrotters, which gave him the opportunity to travel the globe. A trip to China with the squad was on his agenda.
However, the Denver Post reports that Bashline ran a side business in which he tested professional athletes for performance-enhancing drugs or other banned substances. A family friend floats the possibility that test results could provide a motive.
Could a professional sports player have been so concerned about a positive test that he or she could have taken steps to end Bashline's life? Thus far, the sheriff's office isn't saying. In the meantime, the Globetrotters have issued a statement about Bashline that reads, in part, "Our condolences go out to Tom's family and friends. The entire Harlem Globetrotters organization is deeply saddened by this news."
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Look below to see a 9News report about Bashline.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Alie Berrelez murder: DNA from underwear links chief suspect Nicholas Stofer 18 years later."