- It was murder. That's the stunning verdict of top law
enforcement experts who have independently examined the shooting death
of Enron executive Cliff Baxter, which was hurriedly ruled a suicide by
a controversial medical examiner.
- And insiders believe the popular boss' tragic death is
linked to the giant energy company whose shoddy dealings and bankruptcy
have shattered the lives of thousands of employees. "Mr. Baxter's
death was NOT a suicide-and nothing points to a natural death, which leads
to the unavoidable conclusion that foul play was involved," said Peter
Levin, a veteran prosecutor in Philadelphia.
- Baxter, a 43-year-old former vice-president of the Houston-based
company, was found dead in his Mercedes just half a mile from his $700,000
- He had been steeling himself to testify before congressional
committees about Enron's questionable accounting practices-and just dayus
earlier had talked to a business associate about "perhaps needing
- "He knew where all the Enron bodies were buried
and he was apparently ready to talk," former congressman John LeBoutillier,
who attended Harvard Business School with former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling,
told The ENQUIRER.
- "The evidence for foul play is pretty strong. Here's
a man who had everything to live for-children he loved and a comfortable
future. He's lying in bed in the middle of the night when he suddenly gets
up, dresses, gets into his car, drives a short distance and blows his brains
out. It doesn't make sense.
- "There's billions of dollars missing. If the people
involved are capable of cheating, lying and stealing money, it's not going
much further to hire a hit man and have someone whacked."
- Veteran prosecutor Craig Silverman, who nailed dozens
of murderers in his 16 years as chief deputy district attorney of Denver,
Colo., told The ENQUIRER:
- "A trained killer can make a murder look like a
suicide. There are hit men who work for lrge sums of money and do a very
efficient job of killing the the way that suits their clients' purposes."
Company insiders say Enron was a cesspool of greed, inflated egoes and
illicit sex. And Baxter's friends and co-workers have deep doubts about
the so-called suicide of a former boss who knew the inner workings of the
- "He wasn't the kind of guy who'd kill himself,"
his friend Lyndon Taylor told The ENQUIRER.
- "Cliff had a happy disposition and I never really
saw him get rattled. If someone could have walked out of this Enron scandal
it would have been Cliff. He was a survivor." Added another close
friend: "Here is a guy with everything in the world to live for. He
still had his money, he had a huge yacht and a wonderful family. The thought
that he would kill himself is absolutely mind-boggling."
- Baxter's body was found at 2:23 a.m. on January 25, Harris
County medical examiner Joye Carter completed the autopsy and decided it
was suicide by that night-unusual speed, according to insiders.
- Dr. Carter has a controversial past, an ENQUIRER investigation
reveals. In 1993 she was the District of Columbia Chief Medical Examiner
when Washington lawyer Paul David Wilcher was mysteriously found dead in
his apartment. Wilcher had been investigating the events leading up to
the Branch Davidian fire in Waco, Texas. But no cause of death was ever
determined and autopsy reports were never made public.
- In February 2001 Carter was fined $1,000 and narrowly
escaped being fired for allowing an unlicensed pathologist to perform roughly
200 autopsies in the Houston area. And during her time in Houston, the
county has paid hefty damages in two lawsuits brought by whistle-blowers
on her staff who alleged official mis-conduct.
- Nine days after Baxter's death, police still hadn't publicly
supported the suicide verdict. "It's highly significant that the police
are being so cautious," a former senior detective told The ENQUIRER.
"There are so many questions here-most importantly, why did he leave
the house so suddenly? Was he lured by a phone call? Had he agreed to meet
- "The fact that the police investigation is still
going on tells me that despite what the medical examiner says, the detectives
on the ground haven't ruled out murder."