James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How Did Peter Die?

You quote William F. Buckley verbatim, you may end up spreading myth rather than fact. If so, I apologize. I was alerted by Michael Simmons, author of this article,which gives a fuller picture of McWilliams and his case, that McWilliams did not choke to death on his own vomit. As the article states,

In the early evening of Sunday, June 11, a fire broke out in McWilliams's home. Billy Rader, a neighbor and friend, placed a ladder to the second-story window and helped McWilliams to the ground. Peter had suffered some smoke inhalation and scrapes and bruises, but was relatively unscathed and refused hospitalization. The house, however, was severely damaged, and the computer in which the manuscript of his latest book was stored was wrecked. The book, said to have been "the truth" about his case, was lost. Understandably, Peter was reported "upset and depressed."

A few days later, on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 14, McWilliams's housekeeper, Natalie Fisher, summoned Rader back to the house. McWilliams had gone into the bathroom earlier and was not responding to her calls. Unable to open the door, Rader was forced to break it in. In the bathroom he discovered McWilliams's body.

The claims that McWilliams had died from vomiting began circulating the next day. In an e-mail to his supporters dated June 15, Ann McCormick, Todd's mother, wrote, "The preliminary cause of death is listed as asphyxiation. It appears that [McWilliams] was alone, vomited, and was unable, in his weakened state, to clear his airway." But the coroner's report, released on July 27, says McWilliams had 80 percent occlusion of the left main coronary artery and left anterior descending artery, and that he died of coronary artery disease - a heart attack. No foul play or trauma. Natural causes. No reference to vomiting.

Nonetheless, some activists shall not be swayed. "The government obviously got to the coroner," one prominent hempster told me. "It doesn't matter," said Kevin Zeese, the president of Common Sense for Drug Policy, when advised of the autopsy's conclusion. "He was tortured to death by the government."


  1. Very interesting, James. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  2. Actually, that makes more sense to me than the vomiting story. Thanks for the heads up.