Col. James Sabow, RIP
Col. James Sabow, RIP

John Patrick Bedell: Alleged Pentagon Shooter, OC Weekly Reader?

John Patrick Bedell, who died after firing shots at Pentagon security guards yesterday, may have been motivated in part by his obsession with a story the Weekly has covered extensively: the Jan. 1991 death of Col. James Sabow at the now-closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Bedell, a 36-year-old Hollister man with a history of mental problems and a 2006 arrest in Irvine for marijuana cultivation on his record, the AP is reporting, appears to have been obsessed with Sept. 11 conspiracy theories and anger over U.S. marijuana laws. Someone using "JPatrickBedell" as a screen name also recently posted comments on Internet sites about the Sabow death, which the colonel's family believes was a murder tied to covert operations they believe were being carried out at the base.

According to the AP story, someone named "JPatrickBedell wrote that he was 'determined to see that justice is served' in the death of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in the backyard of his California home in 1991. The death was ruled a suicide but the case has long been thee source of theories of a cover up. Sabow's family has maintained that he was murdered because he was about to expose cover military operations in Central America involving drug smuggling."

OC Weekly has published numerous articles over the years about Sabow's death, most of them focusing on the efforts of his brother, David Sabow, a retired neurosurgeon in Rapid City, SD, who never accepted the coroner's ruling that his brother killed himself. Dr. Sabow filed a lawsuit 12 years ago charging that the military had created intentional emotional distress to the Sabow family by verbally abusing him and other family members when they threatened to go to the press with their complaints about the initial investigation into Sabow's death.

That lawsuit, which led to some surreal courtroom antics by former Christic Institute lawyer Daniel Sheehan--in which he repeatedly referred to "black box" evidence and unnamed eyewitnesses to the alleged murder--was tossed out of court. Here is that story.

Click on the links below to read several other Weekly articles over the past decade dealing with Dr. Sabow's efforts to prove his brother was murdered, as well one about Tosh Plumlee, a pilot who claims he flew covert missions between Central America and El Toro in the 1980s. And yes, we checked: There are no comments by Bedell on any of these stories.

Murder He Wrote: Brother Alleges County is Covering up El Toro colonel's Murder

Cold Case at the Marine Base: An El Toro Officer's 1991 Death Could Reopen Controversy over Military Drug Trafficking

Final Analysis? Despite Official Suicide Rulings, a San Diego Forensics Expert says Col. Sabow was Murdered

Cocaine Airways: A Former CIA Pilot says Secret Flights to El Toro Could Explain a Marine Officer's Suicide


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