Another Mysterious Death in Missouri Government

Weird suicide of state auditor now followed by mysterious death of his media director.

Not sure what the status of this will be by the time you read it, but as of about noon yesterday news was released about the death of Spence Jackson. I am still waiting for an autopsy report. Jackson was the media director for the former Missouri Auditor, Tom Schweitz, a Republican.

Tom Schweitz called reporters from the Associated Press and the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. He invited them to come to his home so he could tell them about a smear campaign he  claimed that the state Republican leadership was conducting against him. The morning before the meeting, he allegedly took his own life with a handgun. Fox 2 reported:

Tony Messenger, editorial page editor for the Post-Dispatch, posted a statement in the story to disclose the content of his conversations with the late auditor. Schweich allegedly told Messenger that John Hancock, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, had spread misinformation by saying Schweich was Jewish.

Kevin McDermott, a political reporter for the Post-Dispatch said Schweich had not only reached out to the newspaper, but had even contacted the Anti-Defamation League, and also called Senator Roy Blunt.

‘‘We don’t know if that was a contributing factor to this, but it was something that was very much on his mind today,” McDermott said.

 For the record, Schweich was a member of The Church of St. Michael & St. George, an Episcopal congregation in Clayton. For his part, Hancock denies any accusations of anti-Semitism or bigotry.

I have no idea what to make of that.

When this showed up in my local news feed, I thought it seemed like a mysterious death, but I didn’t have anything else to say about it. It is not impossible for a man to commit suicide at an odd time. So I couldn’t really make a case for anything suspicious.

That is still true, but now we have an associated suicide (maybe). Local CBS reports,

Spence Jackson, the media director for late Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead in his apartment on Sunday, sources confirmed to KMOX News.

Jefferson City police would not give details on any death investigation, but did tell a KMOX reporter that they would release a statement Monday morning with more information.

Jackson’s death is being considered a suicide.

“Initial assessment of the scene indicated that Jackson died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, but Jefferson City Police Detectives were called to the scene to investigate,” according to a news release from the Jefferson City Police Department.

So two closely related people working in state government—one an elected official—commit suicide (if I have calculated correctly) thirty-two days apart.