Webb Aide Shot Dead

A young aide to Senator Jim Webb was found dead along a Virginia highway yesterday morning.

Aide to Sen. Jim Webb KilledAuthorities in Botetourt County [Virginia] this [Tuesday] morning discovered the body of a well-known Democratic operative and U.S. Senate aide along U.S. 220, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

The body of Frederick W. Hutchins Jr., 26, of Roanoke was found shortly after 7 a.m. along southbound U.S. 220 by a Botetourt County deputy who had stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the highway’s shoulder, according to the sheriff’s office. Hutchins was an aide to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, D-Va.

Hutchins had been shot in the head, and a gun was found beneath his body, Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said. The sheriff added that the official cause of death would be determined by the state medical examiner. Hutchins’ body was outside the car, which was north of Fincastle, on a small embankment beside the road. Sprinkle said the death occurred between 4:30 a.m., when an officer passed the scene and no vehicle was present, and 7:08 a.m., when another officer stopped to check on the parked vehicle.

Sad and truly bizarre. No further details are available. Indeed, the Roanoke Times report is the only coverage thus far at Google News.

via Memeorandum

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. First thing I thought of was the Webb staffer who got in trouble by trying to take a gun into a senate building. But this is a different staffer.

  2. Bithead says:

    It certainly looks like a suicide, but Vince Foster was suppsoed to be a suicide, too. I’m withholding judgement on this one.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    First thing I thought of was the Webb staffer who got in trouble by trying to take a gun into a senate building. But this is a different staffer.

    Ditto.

    It certainly looks like a suicide, but Vince Foster was suppsoed to be a suicide, too.

    Ah. I thought Bit was a serious commentator not a parody like triumph. My bad.

  4. Bithead says:

    I’m not a serious blogger/commentor because I withold a judgement awaiting further evdience? What a strange standard you impose on the word ‘serious’.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    Come on, Bit. The Vince Foster thing ranks right up there with faked moon landings, 9/11 demolitions tales, and the evil conspiracy of contrails.

  6. Bithead says:

    Since you seem to know the answer, how does one shoot one’s self with a gun that won’t fire, anyway?

  7. Anderson says:

    Bitsy’s sources are mysterious as ever:

    The .38 caliber revolver recovered from Mr. Foster’s hand at Fort Marcy Park had a four-inch barrel and a capacity of six shots. It had one live round and one spent casing. Had the trigger been pulled again, the next shot would have fired the remaining round.

    In August 1993, at the request of the Park Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Laboratory examined the revolver and found that it functioned. The ATF Laboratory determined that the cartridge case found in the cylinder under the hammer was fired in that gun. The FBI Laboratory also test-fired the gun and determined that it “functioned normally” and that the trigger pulls were normal. The .38 caliber cartridge case “was identified as having been fired in the . . . revolver. ” Like the expended cartridge, the unexpended cartridge was .38 caliber manufactured by Remington. They bore similar headstamps. Dr. Lee also test-fired the revolver and found that it was operable.

    This from widely noted Clinton supporter Kenneth Starr.

  8. Bithead says:

    It interests me that someone so very willing, hell, eager, to think the worst of Republicans, springs to the defense of Demorats with an almost rabid ferosity.

    But…. those nasty questions keep popping up…

    Check out the photographs of the body, Anderson, if you can even find it anymore. Where’s the blood on his hands? It’s physically impossible for him not to have sprayed blood on his hands, and the gun for that matter, and yet there was none in the photo. Why?

    Further, the gun in his hand didn’t have his prints. Why?

    The supposed suicide note was repeatedly identified by several handwriting experts as a forgery. What about that, Anderson?

    “Don’t believe a word you hear. It was not suicide. It couldn’t have been.” -Assistant Attorney General Webster Hubbell, 7/20/93, …
    Are we to discount his statement outright because it doesn’t match the mantra?

    Not enough for a murder conviction, but it doesn’t strike me that everything is on the up, here.

  9. Michael says:

    It’s physically impossible for him not to have sprayed blood on his hands, and the gun for that matter

    Why is that physically impossible?

    Further, the gun in his hand didn’t have his prints. Why?

    That allegation doesn’t even make sense. If the gun was in his bare hand, it would have his prints (whether suicide or murder). If his hand wasn’t bare, we shouldn’t expect it to have his prints.

    Are we to discount his statement outright because it doesn’t match the mantra?

    No, we should discount it because it doesn’t provide any supporting logic or evidence.

  10. Anderson says:

    Let’s see: I can believe either …

    (1) an exonerating report from a man who showed himself willing to bring even the flimsiest charge against Clinton; or

    (2) random assertions from someone whose judgment and evidence are on par with those who argue that the plane crashes couldn’t possibly have toppled the WTC on 9/11.

    See, I don’t even have to think very long about that.

  11. Bithead says:

    Why is that physically impossible?

    It has to do with the motion involved.

    That allegation doesn’t even make sense. If the gun was in his bare hand, it would have his prints (whether suicide or murder). If his hand wasn’t bare, we shouldn’t expect it to have his prints.

    Not if it was placed in him PALM after the fact.

    No, we should discount it because it doesn’t provide any supporting logic or evidence

    And so we discount the man’s personal history, and his understanding of the players. Got it.

    You ignore the third possibility; That there’s something deeper going on here than a simple murder case, that the Clintons were not directly involved with. That thought is exactly why I’ve not mentioned anything about blaming them.

    As for Starr, let me remind yu of the OJ Simpson case. He was found innocent by a court, too. Is he?

  12. Michael says:

    It has to do with the motion involved.

    Can you either explain or post a link to an explanation? I’m just not seeing it.

    Not if it was placed in him PALM after the fact.

    Okay, so the allegation is that there are palm prints, but not finger prints?

    And so we discount the man’s personal history, and his understanding of the players. Got it.

    Stephen Hawking once said that information cannot escape a black hole. People discounted this claim because he couldn’t support it with logic or evidence. If you can’t trust Stephen Hawking on a matter of physics, why should you trust this guy?

    You ignore the third possibility; That there’s something deeper going on here than a simple murder case, that the Clintons were not directly involved with. That thought is exactly why I’ve not mentioned anything about blaming them.

    It probably would have helped your standing to clarify that in the first place. Surely you were aware that most people would think you’re advocating the same conspiracy theory they’ve heard a thousand times before.

    As for Starr, let me remind yu of the OJ Simpson case. He was found innocent by a court, too. Is he?

    Legally? Yes. In reality? I don’t know.

  13. Anderson says:

    So an L.A. County jury verdict is supposed to be comparable to an investigative report by a (particularly vindictive) special prosecutor who used to be a federal judge?

    Quit embarrassing yourself, dude. Srsly.

  14. Michael says:

    Quit embarrassing yourself, dude. Seriously.

    This isn’t Wheel of Fortune, here vowels are free.

  15. Anderson says:

    Ok thx by.

  16. Michael says:

    Ok thx by.

    You make the internet just a little bit worse.

  17. Eneils Bailey says:

    OJ Simpson was not found innocent.
    He was found not guilty based on the ineptitude of the prosecution team and the make-up of the jury.

  18. Tlaloc says:

    I apologize for getting this tangent started.

  19. Bithead says:

    So an L.A. County jury verdict is supposed to be comparable to an investigative report by a (particularly vindictive) special prosecutor who used to be a federal judge?

    Is this the same Starr that spent months/years getting his credibility question by the Democrats until this ruling came down?

    Oh, yeah.

    Okay, so the allegation is that there are palm prints, but not finger prints?

    As I understand it, yes.

    He was found not guilty based on the ineptitude of the prosecution team and the make-up of the jury.

    Correct. Whereas the handling of the case by the park police etc was the reason that nothing came of the Foster investigation. Is there anyone here going to argue that the park police didn’t screw that investigation up? As a result, Michael describes our situation with Foster…

    Legally? Yes. In reality? I don’t know

  20. Bithead says:

    It probably would have helped your standing to clarify that in the first place. Surely you were aware that most people would think you’re advocating the same conspiracy theory they’ve heard a thousand times before.

    Well, look; Seems to me that one of the reasons that all these things get discounted as a vast conspiracy theory is (Irony abounds) because the Clintons are involved, and people are deathly afraid at what might be uncovered. Were the Clintons directly involved? I don’t know thought I doubt even many Democrats would put it past them.

    But if this were a Republican White House we were talking about, I think you could safely bet the farm, your house cat, and your cowboy hat that we’d have had a better investigation… mostly because the press and the left would be demanding it, instead of discounting stuff before it’s even investigated.

  21. Michael says:

    Well, look; Seems to me that one of the reasons that all these things get discounted as a vast conspiracy theory is (Irony abounds) because the Clintons are involved, and people are deathly afraid at what might be uncovered.

    Once again, you seem wrong. People don’t discount moon landing hoax theories because they’re afraid of what might be uncovered at NASA.

    I don’t know thought I doubt even many Democrats would put it past them.

    I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans (and you can throw in Libertarians and Greens for good measure) don’t believe that the Clintons were involved in political murder. Are there any Republicans here besides Bithead who believe this?

    But if this were a Republican White House we were talking about, I think you could safely bet the farm, your house cat, and your cowboy hat that we’d have had a better investigation…

    I wouldn’t make that bet. Certainly recent events don’t inspire any confidence in a Republican White House being properly investigated for anything, let alone investigated on such spurious murder allegations.

  22. Michael says:

    Oh, and I would put political murder past the current Republican administration as well. I say that as a staunch anti-Bush Democrat.

  23. Bithead says:

    Once again, you seem wrong. People don’t discount moon landing hoax theories because they’re afraid of what might be uncovered at NASA.

    Apples to tent stakes.
    Nasa is hardly political, and does not have the history or serious unanswered questions.

    I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans (and you can throw in Libertarians and Greens for good measure) don’t believe that the Clintons were involved in political murder.

    That’s qite a different question from putting such an act past them. Again, there seems a major trust issue with the Clintons, among at least half the Democrats, given the recent voting.

    I wouldn’t make that bet. Certainly recent events don’t inspire any confidence in a Republican White House being properly investigated for anything, let alone investigated on such spurious murder allegations

    .

    Well, it’d help if you had someone driving that particular bus that had something more in the way of creds than Kucinich. Even Pelosi and Ried won’t touch such charges. Ever wonder why?

  24. Bithead says:

    Meanwhile, I note a dearth of information on the case at hand. The ME seems to be doing this the long and careful way.

  25. Michael says:

    Nasa is hardly political, and does not have the history or serious unanswered questions.

    Tell that to the moon landing conspiracy nuts.

    That’s qite a different question from putting such an act past them. Again, there seems a major trust issue with the Clintons, among at least half the Democrats, given the recent voting.

    I’m pretty sure people weren’t voting for Obama because they thought Hillary might kill them and make it look like a suicide.

    Well, it’d help if you had someone driving that particular bus that had something more in the way of creds than Kucinich.

    I wasn’t talking the impeachment crap that Kucinich is pushing. I was referring to the Plame case, FISA, Justice Department firings, etc. Things that we knew happened, but couldn’t investigate the who, how or why.

  26. Michael says:

    The ME seems to be doing this the long and careful way.

    I hope so, we don’t need any more crazy conspiracy theories.

  27. joe says:

    This is absolutely shocking and terrible news. Weapons laws in this country may have prevented this tragedy if they were enforced properly, but regardless this is a tragedy.

  28. Bithead says:

    I’m pretty sure people weren’t voting for Obama because they thought Hillary might kill them and make it look like a suicide

    Nice twist.
    But again, it’s an issue of trust, not just to that point, but with corruption in general, of which political murder is only one of the many possible symptoms.

    I was referring to the Plame case

    …which is about as credible as Kucinich’s nonsense….

    Justice Department firings, etc.

    They serve at the plasure of the President… As was argued by the Democrats after Clinton did it.

    End of story.

  29. Bithead says:

    This is absolutely shocking and terrible news. Weapons laws in this country may have prevented this tragedy if they were enforced properly

    Has nothing to do with it. What would ahve prevented him from driving off the cliff he was parked in front of? Would that style of death make you feel better?

  30. Michael says:

    But again, it’s an issue of trust, not just to that point, but with corruption in general, of which political murder is only one of the many possible symptoms.

    I don’t lump murder as a “symptom” of corruption. There’s a world of difference between taking lobbyist kickbacks and killing somebody.

    …which is about as credible as Kucinich’s nonsense….

    Kucinish is trying to impeach the president on allegations of getting us into Iraq using knowingly false statements. Whether they knew they were false, or believed they were false, or whether they were responsible for getting us into Iraq, is not clear-cut. The fact that somebody told reporters Valerie Plame’s real name, while she was an undercover operative for the CIA, is very clear cut.

    They serve at the plasure of the President… As was argued by the Democrats after Clinton did it.

    Nobody was saying he can’t fire them, but Clinton fired them all at once at the start of his term, for no reason. These were fired after resisting pressure for them to prosecute certain political cases that they did not feel should be prosecuted. Here in Florida you can fire an employee for no reason, but you can’t fire them for the wrong reasons, I believe the same holds in the Justice Department.

  31. Bithead says:

    I don’t lump murder as a “symptom” of corruption

    Heh… Search string: “Hoffa”

    The fact that somebody told reporters Valerie Plame’s real name, while she was an undercover operative for the CIA, is very clear cut.

    Yep. Thing is, they knew going into the investigation Armatage was the culprit there.. and by no stretch of anyone’s imagination is he to be considered a Bush loyalist, sorry. In any event, the woman was listed in ‘who’s who’… I mean come on, here.

    Nobody was saying he can’t fire them, but Clinton fired them all at once at the start of his term, for no reason

    For no reason? You know better, don’t you?

  32. Michael says:

    In any event, the woman was listed in ‘who’s who’

    Listed as what? “Valerie Plame, aka Valerie Wilson, wife of Joseph Wilson and undercover CIA spook”?

  33. Michael says:

    For no reason? You know better, don’t you?

    Oh well of course there was a reason (there always is). But “because I didn’t put them there” is an acceptable reason for firing them, while “because they didn’t prosecute members of the opposing party like I wanted” isn’t acceptable.

  34. Bithead says:

    You look to be pin dancing a bit, here.

    Why on earth would “I didn’t put them there” be a problem, unless Clinton suspected that they wouldn’t prosecute members of the Republican party, as the Democrats in the WH demanded?

  35. Michael says:

    Why on earth would “I didn’t put them there” be a problem, unless Clinton suspected that they wouldn’t prosecute members of the Republican party, as the Democrats in the WH demanded?

    It’s the political equivalent of NIH syndrome, I would imagine. Still, there’s a difference between a changing of the guard, and punishing the guard.

  36. Bithead says:

    NIH?
    I think not.
    When you’re dealing with the Clintons there’s not only a reason, but a POLITICAL reason behind everything fliping thing they do…. as even their own loyalists will tell you.

  37. Michael says:

    When you’re dealing with the Clintons there’s not only a reason, but a POLITICAL reason behind everything fliping thing they do

    NIH isn’t sufficiently political?

  38. Bithead says:

    In some cases it can be. But clearly, there was more involved.

    And by the way, I note that yet again today, there’s nothing on the wires about the ME’s report. wouldn’t a clear cut case of suicide get a ruling a bit faster than this?

  39. Bruce Moomaw says:

    One thing must be said for Bithead: he’s consistently directional in his paranoia. (But then, a 5-second glance at any part of his blogsite confirms that, once you’ve wiped enough of the drool off the page to read his print.)

    Incidentally — as has been pointed out numerous times — it’s traditional custom for each President to fire the previous President’s US attorneys and appoint his own at the START of his administration. Reagan did it; Bush Sr. did it. It’s unprecedented for an administration to do what Bush Jr.’s did, and start firing them suddenly in the MIDDLE of his administration just when they were starting to poke around in affairs that might be embarrassing to him politically — which, of course, is what the entire fuss has been about. (I await with delight Bitsy’s comments on the Saturday Night Massacre, and indeed on Watergate in general. After all, anyone who denies with a straight face that Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms were racists is obviously capable of flights of fancy that can leave Tolkien completely in the shade.)

    And as for Armitage supposedly being the “culprit” in the Plame affair: please. 12 good men and true unanimously concluded — on the basis of multiple lines of evidence presented by a Republican prosecutor — that Scooter Libby had committed perjury. And what he was covering up was that — after Armitage had ACCIDENTALLY spilled the beans about Plame’s covert status to only one reporter (which he immediately confessed to Fitzgerald at the very start of the investigation, without even being ordered to testify) — Libby and Rove eagerly and DELIBERATELY called one additional reporter after another to make sure the news got spread as far as possible, and then tried to deny that they’d done it. (As the AP pointed out in an article in late 2004, Rove was in fact privately confessing that fact to Fitzgerald right in the middle of the 2004 general-election campaign at exactly the same time that the White House was repeatedly denying that Rove had ever talked to ANY reporter about Plame at all.) However, Rove managed to escape prosecution for perjury, because Fitzgerald managed to break those two reporters and get their confessions that Libby and Rove had been their sources just before Rove was planning to testify officially to Fitzgerald, giving him time to change his story and say that he’d somehow completely “forgotten” about revealing Plame’s status — whereas Libby had already testified, and gone into great detail as to how he KNEW for absolute certain that he’d never spilled Plame’s identity to any reporter.

  40. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Slight typo on my part: “However, Rove managed to escape prosecution for perjury, because Fitzgerald managed to break those two reporters and get their confessions that Libby and Rove had been their sources just before Rove was planning to testify officially A SECOND TIME to Fitzgerald, giving him time to change his INITIAL story and say that he’d somehow completely ‘forgotten’ about revealing Plame’s status while talking to that reporter — whereas Libby had already testified REPEATEDLY to Fitzgerald, and gone into great detail as to how he KNEW for absolute certain that he’d never spilled Plame’s identity to any reporter.” Fitzgerald used Libby’s solemn claim that he’d actually suffered from amnesia on this subject a good half-dozen times to devastating effect on the jury.

  41. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Which — since one has to use very simple words to Bithead — is why even Bush refuses to say that Libby was innocent and should therefore be flat-out pardoned. (Well, that and the fact that — if he had totally pardoned Libby instead of merely “commuting” his sentence — Libby could have been forced to testify before Congress as to the Administration’s more interesting activities on this front.)