Incoming Lewis County Coroner Starts Term With Reversal of Suicide Ruling in Infamous Ronda Reynolds Case

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Lewis County's old coroner, Terry Wilson, was known by many as something of an insufferable screw-up. And when the two guys trying to replace him ran for election last year, both said they'd reverse his most controversial ruling as soon as they took office. Now, two days into Warren McLeod's term as the new Lewis County Coroner, he's following through on that promise by changing the ruling on former Washington State Patrol Trooper Ronda Reynolds' death from "suicide" to "undetermined."

Reynolds' death happened a few days before Christmas 1998. She was found curled up in her bedroom closet with a gun near her hand, an electric blanket wrapped around her, and a bullet lodged in her brain.

Author Ann Rule wrote an entire book about the case. Former lead detective Jerry Berry quit over what he later called a cover-up. And Reynolds' mother Barb Thompson has dedicated her life to uncovering what really happened that day.

And in a 2009 civil suit, Thompson did--sort of. The suit convinced a jury that the cause of death marked on Reynolds' death certificate was ""inaccurate and capricious," but Coroner Wilson refused to change it.

He doesn't get to refuse any more.

Now that there's new coroner in town, it seems at least one of Wilson's apparent wrongs has been made right.

 
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