Suicide likely in Ga. commissioner's death, lawyer says

Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 8:33 AM
Last updated 7:36 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

ST. SIMONS ISLAND - A lawyer representing the family of the late Glynn County Commissioner Tom Sublett said Thursday he expects a state medical examiner to conclude Sublett killed himself.

Sublett  Morris News Sevice
Morris News Sevice

Mark Johnson also said the family would contest that finding.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner James Downs met with the family recently and indicated Sublett’s death “was consistent with suicide,” Johnson said.

“The family strongly disagrees with the conclusion and will challenge that conclusion in the proper forum,’’ he said. “We’re not experts, but we have reasons to believe that is an incorrect conclusion.’’

Sublett’s body was found floating in the Frederica River about 6 a.m. Dec. 12 between a dock and a boat at the St. Simons Boating & Fishing Club. His car was found parked nearby in Gascoigne Bluff Park and divers have repeatedly searched the river around a county fishing dock about 150 yards south.

His hands were bound in front of his body and he had been shot in the head. Downs, who conducted the autopsy, said Sublett had drowned.

He was last seen the night before after dropping off a friend at a car north of Brunswick following a regular friendly card game at a home on Oak Grove Island.

The family expects the finding to be released in a matter of days and is researching the best way to challenge it, Johnson said.

“We may hire a private qualified expert to review,’’ he said.

Among the family’s doubts are that Sublett was preparing for a Christmas celebration with his family and there had never been any signs of depression or any other issues that would have led to him taking his own life, Johnson said.

He said the family has no criticism of the Glynn County Police Department or the GBI, the lead investigators in the case.

“The family’s belief is they’re working hard on the investigation,’’ and that the work will continue, Johnson said.

Stacy Carson, assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Kingsland office, said investigators are still working on the case. She declined comment on any other aspect of the investigation.

Glynn County Coroner Jimmy Durden said he was told that Downs intended to meet with the family about two weeks ago but doesn’t know what was said.

Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Sublett’s death is now at $70,000 after private donors contributed $20,000, Johnson said.

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 02/01/13 - 10:10 am
That doesn't sound much like suicide.

"His hands were bound in front of his body and he had been shot in the head."

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/01/13 - 10:49 am

It is not hard to tie your hands together in front of your body (Houdini could even do it behind his body). Then once tied, it is quite easy to shoot a gun into your own head. If he was standing beside a body of water when he pulled the trigger, it's easy to reconcile that he drowned.

I presume the family is fighting this because he had a large life insurance policy that does not pay off in cases of suicide.

GiantsAllDay 02/01/13 - 11:47 am
Did they look for and/or find

Did they look for and/or find a gun at the bottom of the river?

americafirst 02/01/13 - 12:22 pm
LL, perhaps ypou are right

LL, perhaps ypou are right but any life insurance policy that has been in effect for more than 2 years is incontestable and suicide will not prevent the proceeds from going to the beneficiaries.

Dixieman 02/01/13 - 01:18 pm
2000000 POINTS

I agree with Little Lamb - tie hands together, pick up gun, shoot self in temple while leaning over water, fall in water and gun drops to bottom, maybe carried away by current.
Maybe policy was less than 2 years old.
Maybe it is just family pride - lots of families go out of the way to conceal a suicide.
Maybe - well, who knows, really? Wait for more info.

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 02/01/13 - 08:36 pm
I agree with LL, that it

I agree with LL, that it would be physically possible, but have you ever heard of it? I certainly haven't.

Those who knew him say he showed no signs. Unless it turns out he had a secret life, insurmountable debts, a critical illness, a serious emotional or biological issue, some recent change in psychotropic medications, drug habit, facing criminal charges, etc.... I'd say keep looking for who may have murdered him.

OpenCurtain 02/02/13 - 08:35 am
Presented this possibility initially

Too much did not, and still does not point to murder.

Knowing the angel of bullet entry will tell.

Besides suicide,
it could have been death by Misadventure (a publicity stunt gone wrong).

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs