Skip to comments.National Enquirer To Publish Columbine Photos
Posted on 05/23/2002 7:40:12 PM PDT by Lunatic Fringe
Thursday, May 23, 2002 - Updated 11 a.m. - The Jefferson County sheriff's office said it will prosecute those responsible for making photos of the bodies of Columbine teen gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold available to The National Enquirer.
"This is terrible and disgusting," sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Tallman said today. She said she tried to persuade the Enquirer's lawyers, editor and reporters to withhold the photos to no avail.
Images of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold lying dead in the Columbine High School library will hit newsstands Friday as the supermarket tabloid publishes pictures leaked from the investigation of the school shooting, the paper's editor said Wednesday.
The two photos, which will run with a story headlined, "How the Two High School Gunmen Really Died," address the theory that Klebold didn't commit suicide and may serve as a deterrent to others who have romanticized the gunmen, said editor-in-chief David Perel.
He stressed that the Boca Raton, Fla.-based paper will publish no photos of victims - 12 students and a teacher died in the April 1999 massacre - and that the decision to publish the pictures of Harris and Klebold came after much discussion.
"These images bring home in living color the fact that there's nothing romantic about an act like this," Perel said. "These people met a brutal end. It's never an easy call to make when you show images as powerful and gripping as these. It's certainly going to have people talking around the country for weeks."
It already had them talking in Jefferson County, where the sheriff's department recently reeled from the news that many crime-scene photos - supposedly under its tight control - had been leaked. An investigation has so far produced no results.
"We were devastated by the leak, but to have the leak start to impact people is even worse," said sheriff's spokeswoman Tallman.
She said Jefferson County authorities were trying to reach lawyers for the Enquirer to ask that they not run the photos, "but I don't believe that will have any impact on what they choose to do."
Perel wouldn't say how the paper obtained the photos or whether it paid for them.
"There are a lot of people out there, in your hometown, who want these pictures out, and they weren't hard to find," Perel said. "You might even say they came to us."
The determining factors that pushed the paper to publish the photos were the absence of innocent victims and the news value of the accompanying story, Perel said.
Questions have long surrounded the official version of Klebold's death, based on the position of his weapon and the nature of his gunshot wound to the head.
Lawrence Kobilinski, professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, told the Enquirer that, based on the photos, Harris may have killed Klebold - but Perel noted that the judgment was made without benefit of the Klebold autopsy, which remains sealed.
There is an obvious omission error in this line. It should read:
...and that the decision to publish the pictures of Harris and Klebold came after much discussion of how many extra copies of this issue would be needed to meet the demand in supermarkets nation wide.
On a weekend honoring those who died for freedom, I'm not impressed. Any Internet links to the photos yet?
I don't know. I just bought the issue at a Safeway.
The accompanying article includes quotes from two parents of victims saying that they approve of the release of the photos, hoping it "de-romanticizes" the idea of shooting up your school and killing yourself.
The photos are about what one would expect - not pretty. Harris and Kleybold are sprawled on their sides with blood puddling around their heads. You can see more of Kleybold, and he seems to have more blood showing. Kleybold's gun is on his right side, but he was apparently shot in the left temple (I couldn't tell from the photo becasue his whole head is bloody). The Enquirer alleges that the gun's position, and the fact that Harris' foot is touching Kleybold's elbow, means that Kleybold died first and Harris shot him. I don't know that it proves anything, but I'm no expert on forensics.
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