You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Independent autopsy of Robert Fuller finds no signs of foul play

The LA Times logo The LA Times 7/10/2020 Matthew Ormseth
a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Pallbearers carry Robert Fuller's casket to the hearse at Living Stone Cathedral of Worship on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in Little Rock, Calif. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times) © Provided by The LA Times Pallbearers carry Robert Fuller's casket to the hearse at Living Stone Cathedral of Worship on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in Little Rock, Calif. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

An independent autopsy commissioned by the family of Robert Fuller, a Black man whose body was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, found no signs of foul play, the family's attorney said Friday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Thursday that its detectives and the Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner had determined that Fuller, 24, died by suicide, affirming a preliminary finding that Fuller's family and many residents of the Antelope Valley had called into question.

Dr. Marvin Pietruszka, a pathologist who examined Fuller's body at the request of his family, found no signs of trauma significant enough to indicate a struggle or any foul play, according to Jamon Hicks, a lawyer representing the family. While Pietruszka has yet to officially determine the cause of death and is still completing a written analysis, Hicks said he does not expect it to dispute the coroner's conclusion.

While the coroner's office investigated the possibility that Fuller was hanged by someone other than himself, Matthew J. Miller, a deputy medical examiner, said a lack of "significant trauma" to his limbs or neck, “coupled with the existence of evidence of prior suicidal ideation and a history of mental health issues,” supported the finding of suicide.

Sheriff's investigators said Thursday that, after obtaining medical records and interviewing relatives and social workers, they established that Fuller had been repeatedly hospitalized in the last three years for mental illness and suicidal behavior. Fuller had expressed an intention to hurt himself, and on at least one occasion attempted it, investigators said, noting he had tried to light himself on fire in Las Vegas.

Sheriff's detectives learned an EBT card registered to Fuller was used on May 14 to purchase a red rope, consistent with the one used in his death, Cmdr. Chris Marks said Thursday.

This is a developing story; it will be updated.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From LA Times

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon