ENRON'S John Clifford Baxter

baxter.jpg (2323 bytes)

43 yrs of age

• Clifford Baxter, vice chairman: Sold 577,436 shares for $35.2 million.

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Former Enron Corp. vice chairman J. Clifford Baxter committed suicide on Friday, found with a gunshot wound to his head, Texas police said. Sugar Land police department spokeswoman Patricia Whitty said Baxter was found inside his car early on Friday with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, and a suicide note at his side. There were no apparent signs of foul play, she said. Enron confirmed the death in a statement.

``We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Cliff Baxter,'' the Enron statement said. Baxter was vice chairman of the collapsed energy trader when he resigned in May 2001. He lived in Sugar Land, a suburb on Houston's southwest border.



baxter2-1-02.jpg (27272 bytes)

Larger photo 12:28 p.m. Jan. 30, 2002 PDT
Pall bearers carry the casket of former Enron vice chairman J. Clifford Baxter from St. Martins church in Amityville, New York January 30, 2002. Baxter who resigned from Enron in May, died of an apparent suicide last week.Congressional investigators planned unprecedented court action to try to find out what role Enron and others played in developing the White House's energy plan, as the fallout mounted from the energy giant's spectacular failure.



Autopsy of John C. Baxter

Please notice under EVIDENCE OF INJURY on numbered page 3, "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction."

This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches.  Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this? 

The Autopsy of John C. Baxter

Please notice under EVIDENCE OF INJURY on numbered page 3, "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction."

This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches.  Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this? 

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 1

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 2

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 3

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 4

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 5

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 6

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 7

John C. Baxter's Autopsy Report Page 8


Not buying suicide at Baxter's club


Official questioned accounting almost a year ago

HOUSTON (AP) -- A former Enron Corp. executive who committed suicide reportedly had challenged the company's accounting practices almost a year before it plunged into bankruptcy.
J. Clifford Baxter, who resigned as vice chairman in May, was named in an explosive warning that another Enron executive sent to company Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lay in August about questionable financial practices.

"Cliff Baxter complained mightily to (then-CEO Jeff) Skilling and all who would listen about the inappropriateness of our transactions with LJM," Sherron Watkins wrote. LJM is one of the partnerships apparently used to keep a half-billion dollars in losses off Enron's books.
The same letter warned, "We will implode in a wave of accounting scandals" unless Enron changes its practices.

On Friday, Baxter was found dead in a Mercedes-Benz parked on a median not far from his home in the affluent Houston suburb of Sugar Land. He had been shot in the head.
Police found a suicide note and said a .38-caliber revolver was at his side. The contents of the note were not disclosed.

A justice of the peace initially ruled the death a suicide but ordered an autopsy because of the intense interest in the case. On Saturday, results of that autopsy showed Baxter took his own life.
Baxter, 43, left Enron several months before the company collapsed in the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Enron's sudden downfall and financial practices are under investigation by federal prosecutors, the FBI, securities regulators and 11 congressional committees. Lay, a focus of the investigations and one of President Bush's strongest supporters, resigned this week.
Even though Watkins' note showed that Baxter had questioned Enron's accounting practices, he still faced questions in the investigation and was named in a shareholder lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that 29 people made $1.1 billion by selling Enron stock between October 1998 and November 2001. It says Baxter had sold 577,436 shares for $35.2 million before the company's collapse.
Thousands of Enron workers lost their jobs and watched their retirement savings all but evaporate after the company disclosed its losses, and the value of Enron stock plummeted.



For those of you looking for a good mystery or a juicy conspiracy
you'll be interested to know that despite a medical examiner's
finding that former Enron executive John Clifford Baxter's death
Friday was a suicide, at least one Texas cop is looking into the
case. Detective Billy Baugh (it is Texas after all) has been
retracing Baxter's movements on the days preceding his death,
checking Baxter's car inside and out for blood splatters,
fingerprints and other evidence, and running ballistics tests on the
gun used to fire the fatal shot. Baugh is also checking out any
information available on the gun. Baxter was found dead in his car
at 2:23 AM last Friday. He had been at home in bed just hours before
his body was found, a close family friend told The New York
Post. "His wife couldn't believe he could get out of bed without her
knowing it," said the friend.
Sources: New York Post, CompuServe News



Not buying suicide at Baxter's club


baxters-house.jpg (22709 bytes)

Security was tight around the Baxter family home in Sweetwater

The Sugar Land Sanction
"Like Chinatown, but set in Texas."

by Daniel Hopsicker
February 11--Houston Texas

An investigation in Houston Texas by the MadCowMorning News has uncovered significant discrepancies in the official version of the death of former Enron Vice Chairman Cliff Baxter. While Texas officials have been willing to share only a few facts about the case, much of what they have revealed, we have learned, is puzzling, misleading, or, amazingly, wrong.

Even more amazing is that —with billions at stake—the very real possibility that Baxter might have been murdered has been completely ignored in the press.

Early wire reports quoted Sugar Land Police Department spokeswoman Patricia Whitty saying that Baxter was found inside his Mercedes early on Friday with a gunshot wound to the head, a suicide note, and a revolver at his side.

It was an impressive litany. Police appeared to have all of their ducks in a row.

"A gunshot wound, a suicide note, and a revolver at his side."

A statement released by the Sugar Land Police Department that morning broke the news...

"At 2.23 a.m. this morning (January 25) Sugar Land police officers on routine patrol discovered John. C. Baxter, a Sugar Land resident, inside a vehicle parked between two medians on Palm Royale Boulevard of an apparent self-inflicted wound to the head."

"Baxter was dead at the scene and the sole occupant of the vehicle."

Sugar Land Police Sgt Truman Body told assembled reporters that the discovery of Baxter's body happened during a "routine patrol. It's my understanding that a deputy had seen (Baxter's) vehicle a few minutes earlier and through his routine patrol had doubled back to see if he could offer any assistance."

Even a cursory examination of the facts reveals that very little of this is true.

We uncovered this startling fact: Baxter's body had not been found by the Sugar Land police, as they have been insisting...

And rather than being "dead at the scene" when authorities 'found' him, Clifford Baxter had been still alive.

"Tell us one more time: which one of you found the body?"

S. H. "Hal" Werlein is the Constable for the county precinct encompassing the posh Sweetwater development where Baxter lived. The Constable's Office functions much like County Sheriffs’ in many parts of the country, he explained.

Contrary to the statements of the Sugar Land Police Department, it was not two Sugar Land police officers but one of Hal Werlein's Deputy Constables who discovered the former Enron executive slumped behind the wheel of his new Mercedes sedan, parked just inside the Sweetwater development where Baxter and his family lived, in much the poshest part of town.

"Our Constable’s office has a contract deputy program which provides private security guards for the Sweetwater homeowner’s association, and it was one of these men who discovered Mr. Baxter," Werlein told us.

"The report I got from my Deputy Constable there on the scene stated he had come upon a Mercedes sitting parked in a turnout. He became suspicious and approached the vehicle, where he found Baxter still alive. He then immediately called for EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians)."

Why such critical discrepancies about the most crucial of details? We've all watched enough TV cop shows to grill detectives with a simple question that usually calls for a yes or no answer...

"Was the victim alive when you found him?"

On the day we visited the crime scene, there were no gawkers at the turnout on Palm Royale Boulevard. But there is, nearby, a security kiosk that has a sign across the front reading ‘Constable Precinct Four.’

"I don’t know why the Sugar Land Police Department is saying they found Baxter, because it isn’t true," continued Constable Werlein. "My Deputy Constable found him."

Confronted with Constable Werlein’s statement, Sugar Land Police spokesperson Patricia Whitty admitted that Werlein was correct. The police statement contained inaccuracies, she stated. But she offered no explanation for how or why these critical errors or mis-statements had occurred, nor why they hadn't been corrected earlier.

"Trust us. We're really really sure that he took his own life."

There was one thing the Sugar Land Police Department was absolutely sure of: Baxter was a "definite suicide," which they had already proclaimed by 10:00 that morning.

Sugar Land police spokesmen didn't know the caliber of the gun, were unsure of the make of the car, or if a bullet was found, or where the gun was. But--and thank god!--they DID know that there were "no apparent signs of foul play."

The police captain in charge of the immediate investigation concluded that it was clear Baxter had taken his own life. He then ordered Baxter's corpse taken to a local mortuary without an autopsy.

Incredulous, Cliff Baxter's family then reportedly called on a local judge, who intervened with a counter order insisting that the body instead be taken to the county morgue for an official autopsy.

When the results of the autopsy were released last Thursday Clifford Baxter became the second American so far this year to perish through ‘suicide by zit.’

These days, explanations for mysterious suicides can apparently be found as needed, as close at hand as the nearest medicine cabinet.

Take for example the lead from the Associated Press report on the Cliff Baxter autopsy, calling attention to the fact that the former Enron Corp. executive had taken "a pain reliever, an anti-depressant and a sleeping aid" before "he shot himself to death after the company's collapse."

If you parse this sentence a bit—looking for a hint of an official explanation for the death of the most important witness in what some are calling the biggest scandal since Watergate—you end up with some pretty twisted pretzel logic.

No mention in the AP story about the possibility Baxter may have been murdered to prevent him from divulging incriminating information to Congressional committees investigating the Enron scandal, even though one such committee had been negotiating a deal with Baxter's lawyer's to get him to testify on the very day he 'killed' himself.

This is probably just coincidence.

"A pain reliever, an anti-depressant and a sleeping aid"

All things considered, this sounds like a pretty typical day in Mayberry circa 2002. But maybe the AP is intimating that under certain circumstances—like just before testifying to Congress, for example—mixing Prozac and Advil can lead abruptly and with no warning to a heavenly choir serenading you with the final chorus to "Goodbye Cruel World."

This sounds like logic that could have been conceived, in point of fact, by the very same people who brought us the word of Tampa teen Charles' Bishops' acne-induced self-immolation.

"Suicide by Zit."

If it had been our last night in town before heading out for that Great Roundup in the Sky, we don't think that just before falling on our sword we would be making sure that we'd taken all our evening pills.

Instead we might 'ingest' a little Jack Daniels to steel our nerve, or a few shots of Stolichnaya to ward off the chill of cold gunmetal pressing against our clammy forehead.

Because one thing we are not going to need, on this final night, is a sleeping pill. Taking a sleeping pill just before committing suicide only makes sense if you're going to have trouble nodding off even in the Afterlife... It’s redundant, right?

"You’re already covered on that front."

In the wake of September 11th we think they need to run some kind of disclaimer before the news. At least warn viewers of sticky wickets up ahead.

"You are entering the Twilight Zone."

The 'news' of Baxter’s List came hard on the heels of new developments in the other currently-suspicious suicide, that of the Kamikazie Kid pilot in Tampa.

Charles Bishop, the first American suicide bomber in history, committed the only authentic terrorist attack in America since 9/11. Yet authorities have still offered no explanation for his bizarre attack.

They were however forced to admit that young Charles Bishop showed no traces of accutane, the previously little-known acne medication with recently discovered suicide-inducing properties.

Clearly a steep price must be paid for a clear complexion in America today.

Or a clear conscience.

Was this misdirection? Disinformation?

Regardless, it helped forestall any closer examination of whether this 15-year-old boy—whose father is a mysterious half-Lebanese half-Sicilian organized crime figure from Boston—might have overheard anything he shouldn’t have.

Instead, the young pilot was adjudged to be troubled, but not a terrorist, a strange conclusion to reach about someone who has just flown a plane into a skyscraper at 160 miles per hour.

Authorities seemed unconcerned that something similar had--and just recently--occurred.

"Nothing to see here. Move along…"

"Unconcerned" is also a good way to describe Texas law enforcement officials after the Enron Scandal had claimed its first victim, even though Cliff Baxter was an insider who was fixin’ to talk.

Little wonder then that today even the relatively non-paranoid are entertaining suspicions that when they make the movie of the Cliff Baxter story, it won’t play like a Lifetime Original about ‘a Dad who couldn’t cope,’ but like a high tech spy thriller:

"The Sugarland Sanction."

Like "Chinatown," only set in Texas.

Whatever the ultimate truth of how he came to die in the middle of a chilly late January night in Texas, the most immediate consequence of Cliff Baxter's death is that Americans are now going to learn a lot less about the Enron Scandal than if Baxter had managed to hang around long enough to enter Witness Protection and get fitted for a bulletproof vest.

Baxter was talking of needing a bodyguard just 36 hours before he committed suicide.

And here we thought you only need a bodyguard when you're trying to stay alive.

Despite the blasť approach of the home-town Houston Chronicle to the shocking death of the most important witness in the biggest scandal since Watergate few in Houston we spoke to believe the former Enron Vice Chairman took his own life.

After going, decisively, off the record, one long-time friend of Baxter’s explained it to us this way:

"What if, for example, they had 'gotten to' John Dean before his testimony before the Watergate Committee made him a world-wide celebrity?"

"I'll tell you what would have happened. Nothing. The ‘cancer on the Presidency’ gets covered with a big gauze bandage, and we’d have all been none the wiser."

"Nobody would have seriously investigated the suicide of an obscure mid-level Nixon staffer said to be despondent over having been called to testify about misconduct in the Oval Office."

If you're talking cost-effective damage control, its hard to beat assassination.

At the Houston Yacht Club, where Baxter had taken to virtually living aboard his 72-foot yacht Tranquility Base, one club executive told us:

"Cliff Baxter was not a person who I could ever believe would kill himself. He had boundless energy, a positive attitude, and everything to live for: a wife, kids, and the time and money to enjoy them. He was anxiously awaiting, for example, the delivery of his sleek new boat, which he was going to call Tranquility Base II."

This yacht club skipper, a man with relatively extensive business dealings with Cliff Baxter, stared for a long time at the slate-gray water of Galveston Bay on a dreary February afternoon. Then he shrugged...

"Maybe Cliff just knew too much," he said. "That’s what everyone around here thinks, anyway."

An incredibly explosive political murder—if that’s what it was—would seem to be the very definition of Hard Ball.’ You would think it would be the the ideal topic for a special edition of the show of the same name.


It seems as if Mr. Matthews, along with most of his brethren in the mainstream press, find themselves otherwise engaged.

What's going on right now in Houston Texas may eventually come to be seen as the most blatant media clampdown since the death of Vince Foster.

Last word goes to Lily Tomlin, who said it best:

"No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up."



Freedom may be on life support in America, but it is still alive. By sending a mere $25 to the Offoce of the Medical Examiner of Harris County, Texas, The Great Speckled Bird has been able to obtain a notarized copy of the autopsy of former Enron executive, J. Clifford Baxter. A complete copy is attached. Here are the salient points as we see them:

1. Although the "Manner of Death" on page 1 is given as "suicide," no effort is made in the autopsy to support that conclusion, and, indeed, there is no supporting evidence for suicide in the autopsy. The conclusion could only have been reached based upon something extraneous to the autopsy.

2. The strongest evidence in the autopsy report is most consistent with murder. Under EVIDENCE OF INJURY on numbered page 3 we find, "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositiioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction."

This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches before striking the head. Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this?

In the paragraph above the EVIDENCE OF INJURY we read that "The palmar surface of the left hand is remarkable for an irregular, red, recent abrasion occurring at the base of the fifth digit, which measures 1/4 inch along the linear axis. There is an irregular abrasion on the palmar surface of the distal phalanx of the fifth digit, which measures 1.5 centimeters. This injury consists of discontinuous superficial abrasions with a trail of black material."

Such an injury, though very slight, is not consistent with Baxter having shot himself while seated in his car. Rather, it suggests that he had recently fallen to his left (consistent with being shot in the right temple) and attempted to break to fall by extending his left hand, perhaps on an asphalt road. The black material should have been tested to see what it is, but apparently it was not.

3. The car was much nearer to the house than news reports have indicated, for what that might be worth. As in the original Houston Chronicle report, the autopsy report says Baxter was found in his car in the 5200 block of Palm Royale Boulevard. We learn for the first time here, though, that his home was at 5211 Palm Royale Boulevard. He was less than a block from home, and could have been in front of his own house.

4. His dress, workout pants and a t-shirt, are most consistent with his having just ventured out from his house rather than his having been out in some public place.

I am putting the entire autopsy up here in case someone else might see something that I haven't, or in case someone might want to take issue with my tentative conclusions.

David Martin

The Great Speckled Bird

DC Dave
Author, "America's Dreyfus Affair, The Case of the Death of Vincent Foster"
"Upton Sinclair and Timothy McVeigh"
"Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression"
News group: alt.thebird



Click on thumbnail to see the full size page.


A friend of mine took the initiative to call CCI Ammunition, a manufacturer of rat shot of same general type as was found in Cliff Baxter's noggin. The technician that he was able to get on the phone said that the rule of thumb for such shot fired from a .38 caliber revolver is one inch of spread for one foot of distance from the target. That conjures up an almost comical picture of Baxter holding the gun to attempt to shoot himself. Maybe he wanted to give himself a sporting chance.

-- DC Dave


Note that Baxter was killed with rat shot, essentially a small shotgun shell sized to fit a handgun, which fires spread pattern useful against rodents and snakes. The spread of the rat shot indicates a distance of about 2 feet between the gun and Baxter's head. This clearly argues against a suicide.

Another argument against suicide is the choice of ratshot as the ammo in the gun. In the sort of home Baxter was able to afford to live in, one does not go hunting rats with guns loaded with ratshot; one hires an exterminator. In addition, rat shot is the perfect murder ammunition, because unlike a solid bullet, there is no ballistics test that can match rat shot or snake shot to the gun that fired it.

There are other problems with this autopsy report.

There were shards of glass found on his shirt, on what would have been over the superior RIGHT shoulder, following the removal of his shirt. What was the source of this glass?

Baxter had Ambien--which is given for sleep--in his stomach and in his blood. That means he had taken it very recently; Ambien works very fast; peak levels are usually at about 1.5 hours. Is it likely that someone would take a sleeping pill and then immediately drive somewhere to kill themselves. Why take a sleeping pill if you are going to kill yourself? Ambien is pretty powerful; you don't get in a car to drive someplace.

The abrasions/lacerations of Baxter's hands take on a new meaning when you consider the unexplained glass shards on his superior right shoulder clothing. This suggests a struggle.

Baxter's body was found on 01/25/2002. The specimens were received at the lab on 01/26/2002. The date of the autopsy report is 01/25/2002 (the day BEFORE the lab specimens were delivered), but the autopsy was not notarized until 02/15/2002. It was signed by Dr. Carter on 01/31/2002. Dr. Carter indicated very quickly to the press that it was a suicide, yet did not sign the report until 01/31/2002. There are no initials or indications regarding the processing of the report; no dictation or transcription dates, or transcriptionists initials.

COPVCIA: Serious discrencies in Baxter case

Latest from DC Dave

A consensus of informed readers' comments is in, and I now believe that the large irregular entrance wound is very likely to have been made by the discharge from a pistol muzzle pressed firmly against Cliff Baxter's temple, not by a weapon held a foot or two away.  As one reader pointed out, there's a good chance that rat shot would not even penetrate the skull unless the gun were pressed up against the head.  Moreover, when it is pressed up against the head the expanded gases between the scalp and the skull quite often cause a star-shaped (stellate) blow-out of the scalp, similar to the one described in the autopsy.  See the attached page and photograph from Vincent DiMiaio's text, "Gunshot Wounds."
The big question that remains, of course, is who might have pressed the gun up against Baxter's head and pulled the trigger and on what basis the autopsy doctor and the justice of the peace rushed to the conclusion that it was Baxter. 
Readers have also asked some other questions whiich may or may not have good answers such as why the clothes were wet, why was the body barefooted yet the feet were clean, where were his shoes, why weren't the hands bagged for protection, why there is nothing said about the condition of the right hand, and why Baxter had taken a powerful and fast-acting sleeping pill if he was planning to go driving somewhere and kill himself.
There also remain a host of other unanswered questions unrelated to the autopsy such as:
1. Whose gun was the death weapon?
2. Where, exactly, was it found?
3. Where did the rat shot ammo come from?
4. Where was the "suicide note" found?
5. What does the note say?
6. Has it been authenticated?  How and by whom?
7. What was the condition of the car?
8. Who saw Baxter last and what was his mood?
9. What does the family have to say?
Perhaps most important of all, with the motive for murder seemingly so much stronger than the motive for suicide, why are the news media apparently so eager to embrace the suicide conclusion and to sweep the whole matter under the rug?


The Woman who Performed Cliff Baxter's Autopsy



American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]
"... a network of networkers..."

Hit Counter