Coroners Rule Bizarre Death of Georgia Commissioner a Suicide, Raising More Questions
Tom Sublett, the quiet, well-respected county commissioner in the small Georgia town of St. Simons Island, Ga. who was found dead in December in a local marina with a bullet in his brain and his hands bound, committed suicide, coroners have ruled.
Authorities recovered the body of the respected 52-year-old Glynn County commissioner floating in a marina that was just a short walk away from his home Dec. 11. When he was found, his hands were bound together in front of him with zip ties and he had been shot in the head.
The unusual circumstances of his death touched off an intense debate in the small coastal Georgia town of about 14,000, 75 miles north of Jacksonville, Fla., over whether the well-liked Sublett had committed suicide or been the victim of foul play.
Sublett’s initial autopsy confirmed that the deceased father of four had died by drowning. But the mysterious case was referred to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which classified the incident as a “death investigation” and opened up an investigation into whether Sublett was murdered or killed himself.
Now that coroners have made their ruling, Sublett’s family has said they will contest it.
"Earlier this week (we) were informed the report was likely to be issued as early as today and that the probable finding of that report would be that Mr. Sublett's death was consistent with suicide," Mark Johnson, an attorney retained by Sublett’s family after his death, told WJXT-TV Jacksonville. "The family strongly disagrees with that conclusion."
Johnson said the family believes that the suicide ruling will cool police efforts to find what they believe is a person who killed Sublett.
Local authorities were alerted to the unexpected death Dec. 10, when Sublett’s wife called 911 to report that her husband hadn’t returned home from his regular poker game with friends.
"I know that he doesn't drink. He's not an alcoholic. He doesn't run around," his wife, Carol Sublett, said on the 911 recording. "He is a county commissioner, and he's not home, and I don't know what to do. I can't get him on his cell phone."
Police eventually found Sublett’s car about 150 yards from his body, along with an empty gun holster, bullets, and prescription bottles belonging to Sublett and his wife.
But investigators never found a gun.
Sublett had been at the end of his four-year term as St. Simons’ county commissioner at the time of his death. He decided not to run for reelection, opting to return to his real estate career.
But there was no indication that Sublett was suffering from any psychological affliction, and by all accounts, he was a trusted, personable man.
"There was no history of depression, no history of alcohol drug abuse," Johnson added. "As a matter of fact, there was no blood alcohol found in his body."
Re: Coroners Rule Bizarre Death of Georgia Commissioner a Suicide, Raising More Quest
cant collect life insurance if its suicide