How Did He Die? Was it a Murder or Suicide? Update

CBS News’ ’48 Hours: Widow’s War’ chronicles the tragic story of Colonel Mike StahlmanHe allegedly shot himself in the head while being deployed in aCamp in Iraq. HoweverHis wife, Kim Stahlman, refuses to believe the administration’s theory of suicide and is adamant that he has been aVictim of homicide SheContinues to fight the NCIS The US Marines, and other administrations to show that her husband hadn’t taken his own life. IfYou are curious to find out what happened on that fateful day. July2008? We have you covered. Let’s dive in then, shall we?

How Did Michael Stahlman Die?

TheProbably the youngest of his 3 siblings. Michael ‘Mike’ Ross StahlmanThe son of the USMC was a United States Department employee. HeI grew up in India, Jordan, Panama, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Author of ‘The Widow’s War’ in More Magazine, Suzanna Andrews, Mike grew up on the same block in Chevy ChaseAs teenagers. MikeWith rugged beauty a dazzling smile and gray penetrating eyes, he was “the classic all-American guy – really nice, very confident, very decent.” TheAll of my colleagues echoed these sentiments years later. Mike, calling him “a real solid guy” and “a breath of fresh air.”

Image Credit: Kim Stahlman/CBS News

MikeGraduated from the U.S. Naval Academy1985: Completed naval flight officer training, and F-4 fighter program training. HeI went on to law school under the supervision of the Corps’ Funded Law ProgramThe University of Toronto awarded him his law degree. California Western SchoolOf Law1993 HeAlso, acquired a master’s degree from the Judge Advocate’s SchoolIn Charlottesville, Virginia, and was elected vice-chair. Criminal Law Departmentas an instructor and at the school.

In2007 saw him promoted to full colonel. However, he had never been deployed in combat zones. HenceHe volunteered even though he was not eligible for retirement. aOne-year deployment IraqIn January 2008. His wife, Kimberley ‘Kim’ Tyler Walters, described it as “ThisYou know it is his last hurrah. He wants to do this.” AsOf July 2008, MikeStationed at Camp RamadiNear BaghdadBy the MarinesHe served in various roles in the criminal justice system. HeIt was also aTriathlete training for the Ironman.

HeHe was punctual and well-organized, and he was a good example to others when he did not appear for an interview. aConvoy on scheduled July 31, 2008, a SergeantI went to his house to check on him. HeFound Mike’s barracks unlocked and MikeLying in bed agunshot wound to his forehead. A bullet was retrieved from the floor of aAfter the housing unit, there is a storage locker. itThey allegedly traveled through Mike’s head and the wall of his room. HeHe was unconscious but arrived quickly and was transported to the hospital by first responders. aNearby Iraq hospital and later was flown to the National Naval Medical CenterIn Bethesda, Maryland. MikeHe breathed his last there. October 5, 2008.

Was Michael Stahlman’s Death a Murder or Suicide?

“KimSorry about your feelings about the [sic]Find out.  I love you and will always.  YouThe girls are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Love, Mike.” ThisWas the last email that was sent? MikeSent to KimBefore the horrible incident, one that would continue to cement the incident a suicide. BasedOn the autopsy performed and a Naval Criminal Investigation Service(NCIS), investigation, Armed Forces Medical ExaminerConclusion: MikeHe had taken his own death.

NCIS also employs blood stain expert Mark Reynolds who opined, “I see no evidenceOf homicide in the materials provided to me whatsoever. There’s no evidence to support anything other than a suicide.” The Maryland Department of Vital RecordsThe following day, the order was issued aDeath certificate in agreement with the findings. However, KimI refused to believe that MikeHe had taken his own death. SheAfter combing through thousands of documents, she found that he was murdered. She cited opinions of several experts and other circumstantial evidence. FreedomOf InformationNCIS requests

AtThe heart of her argument was this: MikeHe was right-handed, while the bullet wound is on the left side. SheIt was also stated that MikeHe had written to him to express his excitement about visiting his family during the scheduled 15 day leave he was entitled to in early September 2008. SheThis is what it is said to be Mikehe had been working to expose corruption within the ranks of the U.S. MarinesConsequently, he had many powerful enemies.

SheFound an ally with an ex-NCIS forensics specialist Mike MaloneyWho maintained that? itWas aHomicide, citing evidence like the blood splatter on a bedsheet and gunshot residue on a wall. OtherThere were many voices that spoke in solidarity with her. Mike’s colleagues who declined MikeDepressed soldiers are advocates for the families of bereaved military personnel CillaMcCain, George W. Bush administration’s Special Inspector GeneralFor Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen.

InThe truth is still unknown, and the case boils down ultimately to disagreements between experts on both sides. Mike’s family understands they may never be able to prove how he died but they will always be proud of him and his way of life. Mike’s elder daughter, MacKenna Stahlman, states, “It’s my duty to carry on his legacy and do great things so he’ll be proud of me in whatever I end up doing in my life. … My father … was probably the best man that I have ever met and might ever will meet.”

Read More: Where Are KimMacKenna Stahlman Now?

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