Greg Fleniken, a landman for the company he co-owned with his brother, traveled a lot for work. When his body was found on the floor of a locked hotel room, cigarette in hand, a small wound on his scrotum and rug-burn on his cheek, but no other signs of injury, the police were initially baffled. And after the autopsy, things got weirder. The medical examiner found damage to numerous internal organs and two broken ribs, the type of injuries consistent with being beaten or crushed, yet Fleniken didn't have a bruise to be found. Announcing that Fleniken probably bled internally to death just a few minutes as a result of these injuries, the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
The police began an investigation which uncovered the following facts:
The investigation seemed to hit a dead end. ...Until the family hired a PI. When the PI and the police returned to the hotel room, the PI noticed a small hole in the wall of the room, and later they discovered another corresponding hole in the wall of the adjacent room, patched up with toothpaste.
When the police lined the two holes up, they reasoned that the holes might mark the trajectory of a bullet which had gone through the wall in the electricians’ room and exited in Fleniken’s. Using a laser, the police determined that a bullet on that trajectory would have struck Fleniken bed: the bed where he had likely been laying watching TV.
This discovery led the police to start investigating the hotel neighbors that night, men who were coworkers, in town on electrician business unrelated to Fleniken's.
With this new lead, the police followed up with the men who had been in the neighboring room that night. Two of the three men cooperated with the police and Fleniken's family finally got some answers. Apparently, the three men had all been drinking and when the alcohol in the room ran out, one man sent another down to his car to retrieve more alcohol and--for reasons unknown--his gun. When the second man returned with both items, the first took the gun, and playfully pointed the gun at the others, at which time the gun accidentally discharged, barely missing his friends. None of the men checked the room next door to see if the story bullet had caused any damage, opting instead, to head down to the hotel bar and pretend nothing had happened. ...But when one of them saw a gurney being rolled out of the hotel the next morning, they knew something had gone horrible wrong the previous night.
The final conclusion reached by the police: while Fleniken was laying on the bed, the bullet came through the wall, hit him in the scrotum and then bounced around inside his body, ricocheting off his ribs shredding his internal organs, and causing massive internal bleeding.
The shooter ultimately pled no contest to manslaughter, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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