The prosecutor investigating the death of Len Bias, contradicting a previous claim, said Friday that the autopsy did not provide any evidence to show how the University of Maryland basketball star ingested the cocaine that killed him.
Wednesday, Dr. Dennis F. Smyth, an assistant medical examiner who helped perform the autopsy, said that redness in Bias' windpipe and high levels of cocaine in blood samples indicated that Bias apparently free-based the cocaine. Free-basing is a way of smoking the concentrated vapors for a quicker, more powerful high than that obtained by snorting cocaine through the nose.
However, the prosecutor, Arthur Marshall Jr., said that Maryland's chief medical examiner, Dr. John E. Smialek, claimed that the throat irritation probably was due to the placement of an instrument in Bias' throat in an effort to resuscitate him or cause regurgitation. Marshall said it appeared in part that the confusion was due to a misinterpretation of the assistant medical examiner's remarks.
Marshall also made it clear that he would prosecute two Maryland basketball players and a third man who was with Bias when he collapsed if it can be proved they were using drugs. Players Terry Long and David Gregg and former Maryland student Brian Lee Tribble have all been instructed by their attorneys not to talk with police.
"When lawyers tell me their clients won't talk to police but will talk to a grand jury," which would give them immunity from prosecution, "it tells me they're doing something wrong," Marshall said.