California 1992: ME persuaded not to section brain of murder victim

Michael Louis Friedman, an Alcor Suspension Member since 1987, was put into cryonic suspension on June 2nd, one day after being shot in the back of the head. An attorney, Friedman was gunned down in a Los Angeles law library, slain by a disgruntled client he hardly knew. The client, 62-year-old James Sinclair, had a grudge against the police for alleged misconduct, and also a history of mental problems. The 38-year-old Friedman had agreed to take his case when another attorney dropped it after being threatened. Still trying to familiarize himself and photocopying some documents, Friedman was shot at least four times in the back of the head with a 9mm pistol. Then, when this gun jammed, Sinclair turned another weapon, a .380 caliber pistol, on himself.

Sinclair's suicide in fact simplified the procedure for obtaining his victim's body from the coroner's office, since there was no prosecution to worry about. But the delay was considerable — about 26 hours — and the body meanwhile was autopsied. There are so many coroner's cases to deal with in L.A., several dozen per day, of which roughly one in ten are murder victims, that a body will often lay in a morgue refrigerator, at above-freezing temperature, for two weeks before it is autopsied! The coroner, in deference to Mr. Friedman's wishes to be cryonically suspended (with considerable negotiating by Alcor attorneys), agreed to process the case as fast as possible, and to refrain from sectioning the brain, though it was removed from the skull. Though it appears that we will be paying the Los Angeles Medical Examiner's Office overtime fees for putting our patient ahead of some forty other cases, we at least secured his release in hours instead of days.

The brain, despite having visible tracks from the shooting and some of the pathologist's cuts, seemed amazingly intact. The biggest problem, no doubt, was the long period of warm ischemia. Due to the wounds, Friedman was not perfused but only straight-frozen. His brain is being stored separately from the rest of his body because it was removed by the L.A. Medical Examiner to extract bullets. Since he was signed up as a whole-body, his other remains are also being preserved

SOURCE: ME persuaded not to section brain of murder victim (Case Report Excerpt)