Sons Doubt Hospital CEO Killed His Wife, Self, Allege Autopsy Inaccuracies

The sons of a high-profile South Jersey hospital CEO gave more details about why they doubt a prosecutor's conclusion that their father killed their mother, then himself.

Lawyer Mark Sheridan on Monday sent an open letter to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office laying out why he and his brothers fault the prosecutor's finding on the deaths of John and Joyce Sheridan.

READ: Entire letter to prosecutor's office

Firefighters found Cooper University Health System CEO John Sheridan Jr, 72, and his 69-year-old wife in the burning master bedroom of their Montgomery Township, New Jersey home on Sept. 28, 2014.

It was six months before a cause of death was announced for John Sheridan.

In the 11-page letter dated April 13, Mark Sheridan alleges that investigators came to their conclusions because initial assumptions pointed to a murder-suicide despite the possibility of a third knife.

"When it was subsequently revealed that the investigation had failed to located the weapon that killed out father your office refused to accept that it had made a mistake," wrote Mark Sheridan. "Instead, your office set out to prove the premature conclusion of its investigators... Your murder-suicide conclusion cannot withstand scrutiny."

The revered top executive stabbed his wife multiple times in the face and once in the chest, perforating her aorta, which ultimately caused her death, according to the investigation results.

He then turned a knife on himself, doused the room with gasoline and set it ablaze, trapping them inside, police said.

"Somebody's tapping on the window," said a neighbor in a chilling call to 911 that morning. "Somebody's trying to get out." That person very well may have been Sheridan's wife of 47 years.

Initially, it was reported that Joyce Sheridan was alive when she was found by firefighters inside the couple's bedroom, but following the investigation, it was determined that the retired schoolteacher died before her husband set fire to the room.

The coroner ruled John Sheridan died of "sharp force injuries" to the neck and torso and smoke inhalation. His body was found underneath a heavy, burning wooden dresser that had fallen on him, breaking five of his ribs, according to investigators. A large carving knife, covered in his wife's blood, and serrated bread knife were found near the bodies.

Mark Sheridan said some basic facts were wrong on an autopsy. He and his brothers have said they intend to sue.

In an October letter to Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, Mark Sheridan expressed various concerns about the investigation and mentioned the possibility of a third, unaccounted for, knife.

He posed questions about "hesitation wounds" possibly suffered by his father as well as questions about the search of the home, DNA evidence, melted metal and witness interviews.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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