Marine Corps Communiqué: Smoking Gun In Colonel Sabow’s Murder?


Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) finds no support for homicide, despite forensic evidence and experts who found homicide the likely cause of death.  (Updated 1/2/2012)

(CAMP PENDLETON, CA) – There are good reasons to question the Navy Criminal Investigative Agency (NCIS) cold case investigation into the death of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow who was found dead in his quarters at MCAS El Toro, CA, by his wife on the morning of January 22, 1991.

NCIS is the law enforcement agency of the U.S. Navy. It is the successor organization to the former Naval Investigative Service (NIS), which was responsible for the crime scene investigation.

One of  the  unanswered questions is  the ‘suicide’ communiqué by BG Tom Adams, the Commanding General of MCAS El Toro, to General Al Grey, Commandant of the Marine Corps, reporting the death of Colonel Sabow.  This message was dated over 8 hours before the death of Colonel James E. Sabow.  The explanation for the date was not investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and supports a murder conspiracy at the highest levels in the Marine Corps, according to Dr. David Sabow, the younger brother of Colonel Sabow and is only one of a number of unexplained discrepancies.

Dr. Sabow, a board certified neurologist, and a number of other non-government experts believe the forensic evidence supports murder.  The NCIS reported suicide as the manner of death.  An NCIS cold case investigation conducted in late 2010 found no support for homicide.  However, the NCIS cold case special agent failed to disclose that she was present at the crime scene in January 1991.  A question of conflict of interest exists since a sworn affidavit by a world famous pathologist provided to the NCIS in 2010 reported crime scene tampering and homicide as the manner of death.  The affidavit was withdrawn without an adequate explanation and the pathologist may have been pressured by the government to withdraw from the case, according to Dr. Sabow.

According to Dr. Sabow, his brother was murdered to prevent him from ‘blowing the whistle’ on the use of the base to support CIA flights of unmarked C-130s carrying cocaine into the country.


Based interviews with Dr. David Sabow there are good reasons to question the veracity of the NCIS cold case investigation, including a communiqué from the BG Adams to CMC reporting the suicide of Colonel Sabow sent the night before he was killed; the refusal to allow Dr. David Sabow with expert knowledge of the death of his brother to participate in a meeting with the Orange County pathologist who performed the autopsy to the review of the official cause of death; the sudden and unexpected reversal of a world renown pathologist’s finding of homicide; the refusal to allow another forensic expert to attend a meeting with the pathologist;  and the failure of the NCIS cold case Special Agent to disclose her presence at the crime scene and to recuse herself, especially when there’s evidence that the crime scene was tampered with.

In February 2010, Bob Romaine, veteran law enforcement officer and retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major, attended a “cold-case” seminar in San Diego. One of the speakers was Special Agent Julie Haney, NCIS, headquartered at Camp Pendleton. Romaine had met Special Agent Haney while working on cases in the past. He approached her and talked about the Colonel Sabow case. He furnished her with a synopsis of the findings and she agreed to look into it in the future.

In April 2010, Romaine called Dr. David Sabow, the younger brother of Colonel Sabow, and told him that Special Agent Haney had reviewed the documents and was interested in pursuing an investigation but she would not be free until the early summer. However, she wished to talk to Dr. Sabow as soon as possible.

Dr. Sabow sent Special Agent Haney more in depth evidence and affidavits from various experts and discussed the case with her. According to Dr. Sabow, Haney told him point blank, “Your brother, Colonel Sabow was murdered. Joe Underwood killed your brother and I will guarantee that I will get him. But be patient because I must finish up a few things before I can turn my complete attention to the murder of your brother.”

Dr. Sabow said they kept in close contact and he even postponed a necessary back surgery so he could accompany Haney to a meeting with the Orange county Sheriff/Coroner and Medical Examiner.

Orange County does not have a medical examiner. Dr. Singhania, a pathologist under contract with the Orange County coroner, conducted the autopsy of Colonel Sabow on January 23, 1991, the day after his death, reported suicide as the manner of death the same day.

Dr. Sabow noted that SECNAVINST (Navy regulations) require that all indeterminate violent deaths must be treated as homicides. There are no exceptions. This regulation requires a thorough evaluation of all the evidence, which often requires a lengthy period to collect and apprise. However, Dr. Singhania made the determination of suicide without literally any knowledge of crime scene evidence, according to Dr. Sabow.

The evidence simply was not available: no photos, no video, no bloodstain evidence, no GSR evidence and no fingerprint results. (She did not know that the victim’s fingerprints were absent from the weapon).

Microscopic study of the lungs is critical in a death when there is evidence of aspiration of blood, according to Dr. Sabow. However, that procedure takes several days for preparation and consequently was unavailable. No interviews of neighbors were available. Dr. Singhania did not visit the crime scene. She wasn’t curious of why the shotgun blast allegedly was not heard by the next door neighbors who were only a few feet away from the crime scene.

Special Agent Haney told Dr. Sabow she was confident that with her evidence she could get Orange County to change the determination of manner of death from suicide to homicide. Dr. Sabow reminded her of his unsuccessful efforts in the past, including those of his attorney, Bob Romaine, and Mike Jacobs.

Haney countered with the explanation that she has “standing” as a federal officer and they did not. And because this homicide occurred on a “government reservation under exclusive federal jurisdiction, they must adhere to her request. According to Dr. Sabow, Haney reminded him that Orange County had repeatedly stated that they had no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation and had never done one except to have their medical examiner perform an autopsy. Since Dr. Sabow had spent the past twenty years investigating the death and spent substantial amounts of money with lawyers and investigators, it was only logical that he be included in the meeting with Orange County authorities. However, Haney told Dr. Sabow that Dr. Singhania refused his presence to the point that if she insisted there would be no meeting. Bryan Burnett, a forensic expert who was knowledgeable about the case, would accompany Haney to the meeting with Dr. Singhania.


Dr. Sabow said he was suspicions of another whitewash by DOD and contacted Dr. Werner Spitz, Professor of Pathology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Pathology at the University of Windsor in Canada, probably the most well known forensic pathologist in the world and the editor of the “Bible” of forensic pathology. Dr. Spitz listened to his story after which Dr. Sabow informed Haney of his contact. Together they provided the critical material of the death including:

NIS investigation report of the death Crime scene and body photographs Autopsy report by Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s pathologist X-ray image of decedent’s head Report of Martin Fackler, M.D., wound ballistics consultant Report of Bryan R. Burnett, MS, gunshot residue analyst Report of Kent B. Remley, M.D., Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine Report of Dennis E. Nesbit, M.D., Radiology Associates Statement of Randy L. Robinson (El Toro MP) Statement of Cheryl Baldwin, NIS Agent in Charge of crime scene, January 22, 1991

A sworn affidavit provided to Special Agent Haney by Dr. Spitz concluded that the certification of suicide was a rush to judgment based on erroneous assumptions and that Colonel Sabow’s death should have been ruled a homicide. Dr. Spitz’s affidavit noted a depressed skull fracture in the back of the head, the crime scene was tampered with, serious doubt of the coroner’s certification of death as suicide, evidence of blunt trauma [the depressed skull fracture] and shotgun injury supports that an assault must be considered.

Dr. Sabow said he “was thrilled by Dr.Spitz’s findings but it was short-lived.” When Special Agent Haney arrived at the meeting with Dr. Singhania on September 9, 2010, they refused entrance to Bryan Burnett, court-certified gunshot residue analyst and crime scene reconstructist, who had to sit outside in a waiting room. Within an hour, the meeting was over and Special Agent Haney was silent. She made no comments to Burnett. Commenting what happened later, Burnett wrote that, “I thought at the time that Singhania would approach the issue honestly, but my exclusion indicates to me that it was a ‘don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.’ I also suspect by that time Haney was told by her superior to lay off.”

Two days later on Monday, Special Agent Haney called both Bob Romaine and Dr. Sabow informing them that Dr. Spitz had changed his mind and that after further review he had determined that Colonel Sabow committed suicide. Dr. Sabow said he perceived Haney’s attitude about this unprecedented abrupt 180 reversal of an expert’s written opinion to be highly suspicious. Dr. Sabow said he phoned Dr. Spitz and experienced “the most transparently dishonest and unethical conversation with a professional in my entire life. His dishonesty even trumped all the other collaborators I had dealt with over these past twenty years.”  This was only three days following Thursday’s Sheriff/Coroner meeting where the Dr. Spitz’s affidavit of murder was allegedly presented.   Dr. Sabow said that “Dr. Spitz who contended that he received new information but he refused to tell me what it was until he blurted out that he reviewed new x-rays. Obviously that was a lie because I had copies of every skull x-ray and I sent him the copy of the depressed skull fracture myself. I questioned him about many aspects of the autopsy and crime scene photos that included the blood evidence. His answers bordered on the ludicrous and he knew that I could easily expose him if given the chance. When asked, he refused to provide a new written statement of opinion on the basis that he was both too busy and because I was a fraud trying to invent fraudulent reasons for my brother’s suicide”.

Dr. Sabow said he gave this information to Special Agent Haney and she responded that “she would get another forensic pathologist, Dr. Glenn Wagner, the Chief Medical Examiner for San Diego to give his opinion. Dr. Sabow said “I was suspicious of this tactic because we already had a signed affidavit attesting murder from Spitz. From the very first time I talked to Julie Haney, she stated that all she needed to take this case to the US Attorney was a change in the opinion regarding the manner of death and since Dr. Singhania readily admits and the certificates prove, she never conducted any investigation beyond the autopsy, then the investigation conducted by Julie Haney and bolstered by the Spitz affidavit was certainly enough to proceed to the US Attorney. However she was adamant about meeting with Dr. Wagner. Furthermore, she refused to have Bryan Burnett attend the meeting but allowed Bob Romaine to attend.”

Following the meeting Bob Romaine told Dr. Sabow “that he did not understand any of the forensic-autopsy discussion so he wondered why he was asked to attend in the first place.”

Dr. Sabow’s subsequent research confirmed his suspicions of a cover-up. He said that “Dr. Glenn Wagner was an osteopathic physician who did his residency at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP). Subsequent to that he became a Medical Examiner for the Department of the Navy and remained in that position until 1993. So much for an independent opinion! A short time later Bryan Burnett who is well regarded in the forensic community in San Diego requested a “brown bag luncheon conference” where the topic would be a discussion of the forensics of the case. Dr. Wagner categorically refused to allow any such meeting to take place.


Special Agent Julie Haney notified Dr. Sabow of the decision not to pursue the investigation of the death of Colonel Sabow in early November 2010. Haney wrote that she could not pursue a homicide in Federal District court since there was no proof of externally caused damage to scalp and skull; no proof that Colonel Sabow was incapacitated “before he was shot from behind the head, or strangled from behind or poisoned;” high levels of GSR on his left hand was evidence that he fired the weapon; there’s strong evidence he was despondent over loss of his honor and career; and that he was “caught taking 10 military flights for personal use and was pending at least career ending nonjudicial punishment.

Like referees with a home team bias, there’s no way that a NCIS cold case investigation from Camp Pendleton was going to reverse prior decisions made by the NIS and DOD. The truth is that the NCIS findings were predicable since both the NIS and a formal DOD investigation had found suicide as the cause of death. Given the prior positions taken by DOD and their support for suicide as the cause of death, it’s inconceivable that an NCIS cold case investigation would even suggest that homicide as the possible cause of death.

Dr. Sabow described the NCIS decision to drop the cold case investigation as typical of the pattern followed by the Navy and DOD over the past 20 years. He said that regardless of the merits of the scientific evidence, just deny murder and cast false and unsupported allegations of misconduct on his dead brother, painting a false picture of a depressed officer who took his life in a fit of depression. As in the past, the facts don’t support the NCIS decision to drop the cold case investigation. The Orange County corner’s death certificate of suicide allegedly prevents this case from referral to the U.S. Attorney and a Federal grand jury. A fare and impartial review of the forensic evidence can only result in a change of the death certificate to homicide. There is no law or directive that states that the civilian medical examiner’s findings in the manner of death trump the NCIS’s investigation especially when the death occurred on an installation under exclusive federal jurisdiction. The Orange county ME Singhania herself has admitted that she did nothing at all in determining the manner of death except to perform an autopsy.

Dr. Sabow said that, “Any text in Forensic Pathology asserts that an autopsy alone is totally inadequate in determining the manner of death as opposed to the cause of death and must be accompanied by a thorough evaluation of all the evidence collected at the crime scene as well as interviews with family and neighbors, if available. The Orange County Sheriff/Coroner and Dr. Singhania are guilty at best, of a mistaken rush to judgment or what appears more likely, are participants in the cover-up of the murder of Colonel Sabow. These same conclusions must also pertain to Julie Haney and her superiors.”

The murder and clearly that’s what it is of Colonel Sabow not just a tragic death of a Marine officer by unknown assailants. The use of MCAS El Toro to fly guns to Central America and drugs (cocaine, the drug of choice) into the U.S. was documented by others, including Robert Tosh Plumlee who flew unmarked C-130s into El Toro during the Contra War in the 1980s and provided Congressional testimony on it. These aircraft had to be refueled and offloaded, requiring the support of the Marine Corps and other government agencies.

Colonel Sabow had to know of the authorized use of the base to fly weapons. His reputation as a straight arrow Marine would have naturally lead him to report the use of these same aircraft to fly drugs into El Toro and to refuse any illegal orders not to.

Contrary to Special Agent Haney’s assertion, there was never any support for his personal use of military aircraft. In fact, if false charges had been filed to force him to accept non-judicial punishment (fines and early retirement), he had requested a court martial. The motive for killing him was to prevent him from talking about what he knew of the use of these unmarked aircraft at a court martial or to the media.

According to Dr. Sabow, the following facts dispute the NCIS decision to drop the cold case investigation of the death of his brother:

FACT: BG Adams communiqué to General Al Grey dated the night before his death

The communiqué by BG Adams to General Al Grey, Commandant of the Marine Corps reporting the death of Colonel Sabow was not investigated by NCIS. The time – date group that is assigned on every military communication is automatically set by the autodin-saralite system. The problem is that this particular message reports Colonel Sabow’s death over eight hours before he died. BG Adams initiated the communiqué from his office at 2345 or 11:45 P.M. January 21, 1991, the night before Colonel Sabow was killed. The time on these communications is always ZULU time. The military, as well as civil aviation uses the letter “Z” (phonetically “Zulu”) to refer to the time at the prime meridian, which is zero degrees longitude and runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory, in Greenwich, England. BG Adams’ message to CMC reporting the death of Colonel Sabow was 220745Z Jan 91, the time the message was sent by BG Adams in ZULU time. Correction to PST requires an eight hour subtraction from the ZULU designation, placing BG Adams in his office at 2345 or 11:45 PM on Monday night of the Martin Luther King Holiday, over eight hours before Colonel Sabow’s death. There is no statute of limitation on murder. Retired BG Adams would be hard pressed to explain how he could possibly report the death of Colonel Sabow the night before he died. You can bet that NCIS won’t be asking this question. As far as DOD is concerned, Colonel Sabow death is a suicide; don’t confuse them with the facts.

FACT: Colonel Sabow was struck behind the right ear with a blunt object

The autopsy photos show a large lump, the size of half a grapefruit that was localized behind the right ear with extension inferiorly into the neck. When the scalp was incised and pulled away from this lump during the autopsy, a huge localized blood clot was present immediately under the scalp but over the galea. By definition, this is termed a contusion. Furthermore, this contusion was over the depressed skull fracture. The combination of the swelling, the contusion and the depressed skull fracture are the hallmarks of an external blunt force trauma to the skull. There is even further proof that this area of the skull received an external blow, because the skull x-rays clearly show that there were no bone splinters or shotgun pellets in the blood clot over the depressed fragment. There is one prominent depressed skull fragment (a large skull fragment directed inward into the brain) and that single fragment is behind the right ear. Immediately over that depressed fragment is a very large swelling, which is clearly identified on both crime scene and autopsy photos, as well as having been noted by several witnesses, before the body was ever touched or moved, except by Sally Sabow who gently cradled her husband’s head when she discovered him prostrate in the backyard. This was the only area of swelling.

In addition the undersurface of right side the scalp, which was immediately over the depressed skull fracture, was hemorrhagic as was the right temporalis muscle. In contrast, the left side of these exact same structures showed no evidence of hemorrhage or contusions. What is more astounding was that Special Agent, NIS Cheryl Baldwin was interviewed in a second Marine Corp investigation conducted in November 2001, she explicitly stated that if there was hemorrhage between the scalp and skull that would indicate that the victim was struck by an external blow to that area. She proceeded to say, “But there was no such evidence at all proving that the damage was from internal forces”. She obviously did not read Dr. Singhania’s autopsy evaluation records.

FACT: Lt. Gen Hollis Davidson, the IG of the Marine Corps, stated that he went to El Toro to investigate BG Tom Adams and Colonel Joe Underwood and furthermore he never knew and had never heard of Colonel Sabow’s name before he arrived at El Toro.

The IG went on to say that his name “came up” during a few interviews in the investigation of Adams and Underwood. It turned out as is proved by a copy of these interviews that his name came up on second and third hand reports.

-The IG and his team arrived at El Toro on January 12, 1991.

– On Wed. January 16, 1991, Colonel Sabow was told to appear the following morning to answer questions by the IG and to bring an officer from the JAG with him. Jimmy did so but continued his daily duties in his office. During this entire time while the IG was at El Toro beginning on Jan 12, 1991, there was absolutely no inquiries to his staff by the IG team nor did Jimmy receive any notification that there was any inquiries into flight records.

– The following day, January 17, Colonel Sabow appeared before the IG Davidson and was informed that he was being investigated for misusing government aircraft. He was instructed by his counsel not to respond until specific allegations were made. The meeting lasted less than five minutes following which he went to see BG Adams who told him that he was suspended from his duties until the matter was cleared up. Colonel Sabow spent most of that afternoon at his office clearing up odds and ends and then went home. Again during this time nobody from the IG appeared at his office.

-The following day, January 18, 1991 at noon, the IG met with BG Adams and the Staff Judge Advocate Colonel William J. Lucas for an exit interview after which they left to return to Washington. Under oath the IG stated that he gave no directions to continue an investigation of Colonel Sabow. At that point the IG team had conducted no investigation of Colonel Sabow. The only reference to Colonel Sabow at all during the entire time that the IG was at El Toro was the second and third hand statements made during the interviews being conducted in the investigation of Colonel Underwood and BG Adams.

-Then the long weekend began early for it was the Martin Luther King holiday that ran through Monday, January 21, 1991.

So, no investigation could have occurred between noon on Friday up until Tuesday, January 22, 1991 when Colonel Sabow was found dead in his backyard. And to further reveal the lies of the NCIS and whoever is speaking for Ms. Haney, I will enclose one of two letters dated March 12, 1991 that BG Adams sent to me stating: “… as I indicated to you on March 9, further IG and NIS investigations into illegal activities by Jim terminated on Jan 22, 1991 with his death…David, we will never know whether charges would have been preferred against Jim…His death terminated the investigation.

FACT: Conspiracy of Marine Corps senior officers to paint a false picture of Colonel Sabow as a felon

BG Adams never anticipated that I would obtain handwritten notes of Colonel Wayne Rich that was a “script for a meeting” that I was asked to attend on March 9, 1991. The script stated that we will try to convince Dr. Sabow that his brother was a crook… and so big a crook that…” (Colonel Rich has admitted under oath that indeed these were his notes taken on March 8, 1991 the day before the scheduled meeting during a telephone conversation with someone at Marine HDQS in Washington, DC but that he could not remember who it was. To his chagrin the name “Lange” was written in an upper margin of the notes. This person was Colonel George Lange III, who was the Deputy JAG of the Marine Corps. And indeed both BG Adams and Colonel Rich spent a great deal of the five hour meeting on March 9, 1991 trying to convince me what a crook my brother was and that he had been found guilty of numerous federal felonies. So BG Adams’ letter to me dated March 12, three days following the meeting at which I was present was a “set-up” and a conspiracy by all those involved in an attempt to silence me by slandering my brother.

FACT: Colonel Sabow not certified to fly Kingair and Saberliner aircraft

Colonel Sabow at the time of his death still was not certified to fly the aircraft in question, the Kingair and Saberliner that seemed to be the brunt of the second and third hand statements made during the IG interviews. During the first week of January 1991 right before his death, Colonel Sabow was in St. Louis studying the aircraft and taking tests in the flight simulator. Prior to his death Colonel Sabow could not be the first officer in those aircraft. Any flights that he took on these aircraft were training flights and they included approaches to a variety of airfields and to accumulate flight hours. These flights usually were on weekends because the planes were being used for other purposes during the week and piloted by those officers who were already qualified. (During his entire thirty year career, Jim was a jet fighter pilot and never had been trained or qualified in any civilian aircraft used by the military for VIP purposes). Let me emphasize; every flight log including the destination and the personnel on board had to be filed and approved by the first officer. And any items to be transported by anyone on the flight had to be approved by the first officer. Consequently, any allegations of misuse against Colonel Sabow were completely false and probably this was part of the reason that the IG left El Toro with no instructions for any further investigation of Colonel Sabow.

Colonel Sabow is being ruthlessly accused and convicted after his death of charges that were never specified before his death and were never investigated as for their truthfulness. I guess, Jim made a mistake asking to schedule training time at a destination void of golf, booze and women, but rather chose a place where he could spend a few hours helping his ailing father in law.

FACT: NIS did not complete a crime scene log (journal)

Special Agent Haney, did you ever ask Cheryl Baldwin, the NIS case officer why there was no crime scene log (journal) in the crime investigation documents? The journal is an integral part of every crime scene investigation and not to have one is a dereliction of duty. What is your explanation for this glaring omission?

FACT: Marine MP Robinson and Mrs. Sally Sabow swore no chair was on top of Colonel Sabow

Sgt Randy Robinson, an MP and one of the first on the scene swore when he arrived in Colonel Sabow’s backyard there was no patio chair on top of the decedent as was later depicted in crime scene photos. Furthermore, Sally Sabow, who discovered her husband dead in the backyard, states emphatically that there was no chair on top of him or even near him. She stood next to him, noticed a massive swelling to the back of his head and her life “stopped”. Photos of the crime scene with a chair placed on top of him were an attempt to make the death have been a suicide.

FACT: False accusations made by NCIS against Dr. Sabow’s attorney

Your accusations against my attorney are false, unwarranted and unprofessional. Dan Sheehan spent a great part of five years working with me and using professional and highly qualified investigators. If this case was not part of an overt cover-up, I would not have lost my life savings and ruined my health. I strongly urge you to examine the trial records and the Facts and Findings prepared by Mr. Sheehan. This will illustrate the amount and type of work that he did.

FACT: Affidavits from experts support homicide

I conducted an investigation for twenty years and collected affidavits from renowned experts whose credentials qualify them as fact witnesses and who would pass any Daubert challenge with flying colors. I have testified as an expert not only in medical-legal cases but in numerous criminal cases in Federal Court including manslaughter and homicide. And after a Daubert challenge in Federal Court in US v Gonzales, I was qualified to testify in blood-spatter evidence. And in this case you will see that my testimony alone cleared a man falsely indicted for second degree manslaughter or homicide by the FBI and the US attorney in SD. Most importantly, the blood evidence standing alone in the investigation of Jimmy’s death proves murder rather than suicide.


Colonel Sabow was not prone to “extreme emotional distress” as you allege. He had a beautiful and loving wife, two outstanding children, and including his wife had a net worth of, at the minimum, several million dollars. He was a devout practicing Catholic and was devoted to his mother and father in law. Sally, Jim’s widow was part of a family corporation which had sold an 18,000 acre ranch just south of Tucson.[1] The ranch which Jimmy was alleged to have illegally flown to was sold approximately five years before he was stationed at El Toro. His father in law, crippled by Parkinson’s disease and a widower, still lived in a house that he owned in the vicinity of the ranch. The ranch bordered on Fort Huachuca and on a few occasions, Jim asked permission of his flight captain to arrange training flight hours to Ft. Huachuca. That location would be no different than flying to any other base where the crew would spend the weekend. Jim made a conscious point of never asking to go to Ft. Huachuca when his wife or children were there to avoid any perception of impropriety. While there he would help out with chores for his father in law. Most others in training in these aircraft tended to schedule flights to destinations like Las Vegas, Big Bear and as later was proved, to Florida by BG Adams to complete divorce proceedings and then later to Big Bear Lake to meet his new wife. Colonel Underwood preferred golf outings to Las Vegas. Both of these men were forced into retirement with less than a slap on the wrist. But Colonel Sabow was falsely noted in second and third hand testimony as to making trips to his ranch which did not exist.


The GSR and the left palm of his hand covered in blood could only have occurred if the palm was in front of his mouth to receive the blow-back from the intraoral entrance wound especially since there was no exit wound. If this was a suicide that you now profess, the palm and fingers would have been wrapped around the muzzle of the shotgun and the back of his hand and fingers would be covered with blood. But the exact opposite happened. There was not a drop of blood on the back of Jimmy’s left hand, the hand that was supposedly holding the barrel in his mouth. The same thing occurred in the blood spatter on Jimmy’s left forearm. It was the anterior surface that was covered with blood with no blood at all on the back of his arm. And even more disturbing is the fact that even though the anterior surface of his left arm was covered with blood which in the suicide scenario would have been laying on top of his chest, there was no blood on his chest-none at all! In this universe that simply could not have occurred!


You state in your final paragraph that ethically and professionally you cannot go after Joe Underwood. I contend that ethically and professionally you are obliged to, at the least, question him face to face. Ask him why he didn’t hear the shotgun blast. But remember I have the log of all flights that occurred that morning proving that there was no air traffic during the fatal hour of Jim’s death which has been the excuse posed by your predecessors in the NIS. And how could Underwood call Adams a minute after Sally ran into his house screaming that Jimmy’s dead and then running to the backyard gate, opening it and not taking but a few steps not getting closer than forty or fifty feet from his body and then calling BG Adams and telling him that Jimmy shot himself in his mouth (Adams testified under oath what Underwood told him).


Special Agent Haney apparently found no need to address Dr. Spitz’s finding of homicide and crime scene tampering. He had orally withdrawn his sworn affidavit. That was apparently good enough for her.  Special Agent Haney was present at the crime scene, never disclosed this to Dr. Sabow, and when questioned, she told Dr. Sabow’s nephew that she didn’t think this was a material fact, despite the fact that Dr. Spitz’s affidavit stated that the crime scene was tampered with. Assuming that Special Agent Haney was not present when any tampering took place, had no knowledge of any irregularity, she had to know about the controversy surrounding Colonel Sabow’s death. This was not just another murder.  Allegations of alleged government misconduct were made over the years in news reports and Congressional testimony. Congressman Duncan Hunter was convinced that Colonel Sabow was murdered and required DOD to conduct a formal investigation.  A Congressional mandate in 2003 required the DOD to conduct an independent investigation into the death of Colonel Sabow. Instead, DOD, with a recommendation from the FBI, hired Jon Nordby, doing business as Final Analysis Forensics, to conduct an investigation that according to Dr. Sabow (a physician and court-certified neurologist) failed to meet all acceptable forensic standards and the specific directives made by Congressman Duncan Hunter and agreed to by senior DOD personnel. If there ever was a ‘hot potato,’ this was one.  Mike Jacobs, attorney and retired supervisor of the Orange County District Attorney’s Homicide Trials Division, was convinced that Colonel Sabow was murdered and put it in writing.  Former Senator James G. Abourezk was convinced that Colonel Sabow was murdered and wrote an article on it in CounterPunch, “The Story of a 15 – Year Pentagon Cover-Up: The Murder of Colonel Sabow.”  Retired Lt. Col. Anthony Verducci, a Marine Corps JAG [attorney] who was stationed at MCAS El Toro in 1991, wrote, “I have reviewed x-rays, crime scene photos, and letters submitted by forensic pathologists and other experts about Col. Sabow’s death… these materials lead me to believe that Colonel Sabow did not die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As a Marine, former prosecutor, and citizen, I believe that an impartial law enforcement agency must review this case.”

The initiation of an official communiqué reporting the death of Colonel Sabow over 8 hours before it happened opens the door to a conspiracy to commit murder. If there’s an  explanation for this discrepancy, it needs to be explained.  The issue was not addressed by the NCIS cold case investigation or any previous government investigations.  The ‘suicide’ death certificate appears to be the government’s answer to anyone who suggests that Colonel Sabow was murdered.  If an independent investigation is ever conducted, those responsible for this homicide should know there’s no statute of limitation on murder.

[1] Sabow family ranch: David N. Sabow confirmed that the family ranch was 18,000 acres in the late 1980s by email dated April 19, 2011. Even though there were 18,000 acres titled, there were thousands more acres of federal long term leased grazing not titled but for a rancher were almost as valuable as what was actually owned.



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Robert O’Dowd served in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings during 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. While at MCAS El Toro for two years, O'Dowd worked and slept in a Radium 226 contaminated work space in Hangar 296 in MWSG-37, the most industrialized and contaminated acreage on the base. Robert is a two time cancer survivor and disabled veteran. Robert graduated from Temple University in 1973 with a bachelor’s of business administration, majoring in accounting, and worked with a number of federal agencies, including the EPA Office of Inspector General and the Defense Logistics Agency. After retiring from the Department of Defense, he teamed up with Tim King of to write about the environmental contamination at two Marine Corps bases (MCAS El Toro and MCB Camp Lejeune), the use of El Toro to ship weapons to the Contras and cocaine into the US on CIA proprietary aircraft, and the murder of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow and others who were a threat to blow the whistle on the illegal narcotrafficking activity. O'Dowd and King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. The book is available as a soft cover copy and eBook from See: