Bloody shirts don’t lie – and Pinal County sheriff Deputy Louie Puroll’s green shirt says he didn’t shoot himself in the back after all.

Pinal County Deputy Purrol's wound/submitted photo

Such is the conclusion after the Arizona Department of Public Safety tested Puroll’s shirt for gunshot residue.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, along with other law enforcement agencies, had investigated the April 30 shooting and found “the facts of the case confirmed the accounts of the event as Deputy Puroll described,” notes the most recent release from the sheriff’s office.

Two medical bigwigs then cried foul, saying Puroll had been shot at close contact. Neither of the medical “experts” had examined the wound, but merely glanced at photographs.

The Department of Public safety concluded its testing of Puroll’s bloody shirt Oct. 8 and, although DPS refuses to comment on the testing or any aspect of the case, the sheriff’s office fills us in.

Close up of Pinal Deputy Puroll's green shirt/submitted photo

The test results are “a hole was located on the back left side of the t-shirt. The area around the hole was microscopically and chemically processed for the presence of gunshot residues. Bullet wipe was found which is consistent with the passage of a bullet; however, no gun power was detected,” said the release.

Not only does this kill off a goodly number of conspiracy theories, but it leaves the two “experts” with a very tough decision:

Would they like the egg on their faces scrambled or fried?

To recap, 53-year-old Puroll, a 15-year-veteran with the sheriff’s office, was wounded on his left side while out tracking drug smugglers near Antelope Peak.

“He was ambushed and shot,” says a May 9 letter from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, with the shooting resulting in a multi-agency sweep. “There were over 100 illegals apprehended within our security perimeter in the remote desert area south of I-8 and west of Casa Grande, just within 24 hours we were there.”

Then came the two medical “experts” who said that’s not what happened and offered their own opinions to the Arizona Republic.

Close up of Pinal Deputy Puroll's gunshot wound/submitted photo

Puroll had to be “within inches” of the weapon, not 25 yards away, claimed Dr. Michael Baden, co-director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigation Unit and former chief medical examiner for New York City.

“This was fired at contact range . . . with the muzzle of the gun lying against the skin,” the Republic quoted Dr. Werner Spitz, co-author of the textbook “Medicolegal Investigation of Death” and the retired chief medical examiner of Detroit’s Wayne County.

This is not the first time at least one of the “former” and “retired” medical examiners offered his two cents on a high profile case. This is also not the first time his two cents were not even worth a penny.

Baden took the stand as an “expert” witness in the case of Ted Binion, the Las Vegas tycoon who died under suspicious circumstances in 1998.

The defense said Binion, a reported heroin addict, died of a heroin overdose.

“By all initial appearances, it seemed like an open-and-shut case: suicide or accidental death of a life-long addict by lethal overdose,” CBS’s 48 Hours reported.

Baden said no, the guy was suffocated to death.

“Not just any kind of suffocation said Baden, but a rare method of murder dating back to 19th Century England called burking – suffocating an already intoxicated person leaving minimal evidence,” said CBS News.

“Baden said Ted’s burking was botched and pointed to circular marks on Ted’s chest, “‘which, in my opinion, matches up to the buttons on the shirt.’”

There goes Baden with another theory based solely on photographs.

While his testimony helped convict the two suspected murderers of Binion, a Nevada Supreme Court Judge overturned the convictions and a second trial cleared both suspects of the murder.

“Defense lawyers would have an amazing nine medical experts of their own testify that Baden’s burking theory was dead wrong,” CBS wrote of the second trial.

“‘And they have, in a singular voice, rejected as absurd the Baden theory of burking,’ (defense attorney Tony) Serra told the court.”

How strange the bigwig medical man keeps popping up during high profile cases. If we didn’t know any better, we’d perhaps think he’s just trying to get his name in the papers.

But that, of course, may qualify as a conspiracy theory.

NOTE: This post was amended to remove DPS from being named as an agency in the initial investigation that agreed with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation’s findings, although an earlier news release from the sheriff’s office reported it had. Terminology that refers to the case as “closed” has also been omitted.

Past posts on topic:

Who shot Pinal Deputy Puroll?

Shot deputy recovering


PHOTO NOTE: Two desert area photos include: one photo taken by “Secure Border Intelligence” that captured Deputy Puroll working the same area approximately one month prior to the shooting incident and one photo also from “Secure Border Intelligence” of armed suspects in the same location and on the same day that Deputy Puroll was photographed.

Armed suspects in area same day Puroll was photographed/submitted photo

Pinal Deputy Puroll patrolling area where he was shot about one month prior to shooting/submitted photo

Blue shirt that had been tied around Pinal Deputy Puroll's waist/submitted photo

Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll/submitted photo

What do you think?

Do you now believe Deputy Puroll was ambushed?

Sept. 28 poll results on the question (as of Oct. 12):

Do you believe Deputy Puroll was ambushed by drug smugglers?
Yes 26%
No 59%
I don’t know. I’m too busy still wondering how O.J. was acquitted. 12%
Other – please explain in comment section of post. 0%