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Las Vegas jury hears pro golfer's suicide note

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A suicide note left by professional golfer Erica Blasberg in 2010 blames no one, expresses deep personal unhappiness and describes a mixture of drugs kicking in before ending with the words, "love and kisses, eternity, Erica."

"I'm sad and don't want to be doing this right now," the 25-year-old wrote in the letter that was read to a jury on Wednesday. "Sorry for all the people I've hurt doing this, but please understand how miserable and sad I am, and that I feel no way of escaping it."

The note provided a dramatic opening to a civil wrongful death, medical malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty trial against Blasberg's then-physician, occasional golfing buddy and personal friend, Dr. Thomas Hess.

Blasberg's parents accuse Hess of having had an inappropriate relationship with her and failing to provide proper medical care before she died. Their lawsuit, filed in 2011 in Clark County District Court, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Hess, now 46, denies having a romantic relationship with Blasberg. He pleaded guilty in late 2010 to a misdemeanor obstruction charge for removing the suicide note and medications after discovering Blasberg's body, and was sentenced to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service.

Blasberg's parents' attorney, Nick Crosby, told the jury Wednesday that circumstantial evidence and series of seemingly secretive acts surrounding their communication point to Hess' responsibility in the death.

"This is a case about a doctor who let his personal interest get in the way of his professional responsibility," Crosby said, "and my clients' daughter died as a result."

Two days before she died, Blasberg and Hess played golf at the exclusive Southern Highlands Golf Club outside Las Vegas, where both had free memberships, Crosby said. They then watched a televised hockey game at a lounge at a resort hotel in Henderson, where they were seen touching hands and with Hess' hand on Blasberg's leg.

The married Hess bought a prepaid cellular telephone the next day, which he used only to call Blasberg, and Crosby said evidence would show that Hess left an obviously drunk Blasberg at her home the night before she died.

"He left her in a compromised state," Crosby said. "He was torn between leaving Erica and getting in trouble with his wife."

Crosby said phone records show that Blasberg tried to call Hess about 3:30 a.m. the following morning - a Sunday, Mother's Day - and that Hess tried to call Blasberg eight times that morning and nine times that afternoon before going to her home in Henderson and finding her body.

Blasberg was in bed with a dust mask over her mouth and a plastic bag over her head, secured by rubber bands.

The Clark County coroner determined that she committed suicide by asphyxiation, with a toxic combination of medications in her system.

Crosby told the jury that Hess' then-wife texted Hess that she was "sad, scared and disappointed" to learn of Blasberg's death and that she suspected from his distress the night before that Hess had been ending a relationship with someone.

But defense attorney Kim Irene Mandelbaum told the jury that there was no evidence that Hess killed Blasberg or that the two had a romantic relationship.

Blasberg had been seeing a psychiatrist for depression, but Hess didn't know that, the defense attorney said.

Hess "stupidly removed the suicide note and a blister pack of Mexican medications, Xanax," Mandelbaum said.

Hess has maintained he was trying to spare Blasberg's family from anguish.

Blasberg's note - read in court on Wednesday by Mandelbaum - referred once to "many people who will know who they are when this is read," and twice referred to stockpiling over several months the drugs she was taking.

"I blame no one for the drugs I am taking this evening," it says.

None of the medications had been prescribed by Hess, Mandelbaum said.

"I know her parents want to blame Dr. Hess," the defense attorney said. "But there's no one to blame. Certainly, not Dr. Hess."

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Blasberg was from Corona, California, where she was coached by her father and became a junior golf standout.

She was an All-American in 2003 and 2004 at the University of Arizona and turned professional in June 2004. Her best year was 2008, when she earned a career-best tie for eighth at the SBS Open in Hawaii and more than $113,000 in winnings, the LPGA said.

Join the discussion

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Bluedane May 08 2014 at 8:03 AM

She was a big girl and knew what she was doing!

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Baines-Hunter May 08 2014 at 5:14 AM

Parents maybe you should be blaming yourselves the pressures of playing golf professionally.

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1 reply
BigBadGene Baines-Hunter May 08 2014 at 7:29 AM

You got it. Feel bad for them but why a civil case.

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jeff May 08 2014 at 4:42 AM

People kill themselves for anything they want to. Rich, poor, married, single, Been happening for oh I'd say thousands of years. Let's sue everyone else when people commit
suicide. Unbelieveable idiots in this world who want to blame someone else when a person wants to end their own life.

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1 reply
nation3x jeff May 08 2014 at 6:22 AM

100% agree with you bro.

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gingerhughes2 May 08 2014 at 4:37 AM

I am so terribly sorry that this happened to this beautiful young girl and her parents; however, she chose to end her life and even put in her note that it was her choice. Apparently she tried to take responsibility for her actions and her parents won't allow it. They want their day in court and now they are having it. I hope this will give them the closure they need. I pray that God will be with you.

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doopyman May 08 2014 at 4:31 AM

He was her doctor, married at the time and this young lady killed herself after he took advantage of and then abandoned her. This scoundrel then came back and tried to cover up the suicide in fear of being caught for his inappropriate behavior. I hope the parents win big in court.

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1 reply
masterhq doopyman May 08 2014 at 4:42 AM

plenty of affairs /relationships like this but legally you can't hold the doctor to be responsible for an immature young lady's suicide

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Joe May 08 2014 at 4:10 AM

Never mind the morality issues... they were two consenting adults in a relationship and if she couldn't handle the pressure of him having a wife, too bad. If killing herself solved that problem for her, that was her decision. The parents need to get over the notion that they are entitled to any money. She was 25, not 15.

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1 reply
masterhq Joe May 08 2014 at 4:43 AM

sad but true, how in the world the parents and their lawyer expect to prove that the doctor legally caused the young woman's death?

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1 reply
Viviangel masterhq May 08 2014 at 5:12 AM

I don't know that they can (unless they have info that we're as yet unaware of), but what they can do is try to prove he contributed to her state of mind which led up to the event. Considering he was her doctor, he had to have known her depressive state and the meds she was already taking. I guess the details and truth will be played out in court. Regardless, my condolences to the family.

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b2spiritx May 08 2014 at 3:34 AM

Very often parents want to blame everyone else for their child's death, except themselves. It's just so much easier to point fingers than to look at yourself in the Mirror.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
LARGEHUMAN May 08 2014 at 12:05 PM

Suicide , a permanent solution to a temporary problem ........

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1 reply
jOSEPHINE LARGEHUMAN May 08 2014 at 12:35 PM

so wrong.. on so many fronts... she is where she wants to be... you know nothing of her personal emotions..

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2 replies
vafilec_39 jOSEPHINE May 08 2014 at 1:09 PM

Right on Josephine.... These people are not reading between the lines, and thinking the doctor is a perfect partner. Except when they are not treating the problem. What a designated AH.

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Valerie jOSEPHINE May 08 2014 at 2:08 PM

With a body full of illegal pills from Mexico, how do YOU know she's where she wants to be?? You know nothing of her personal emotions either!

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twintwo422 May 08 2014 at 2:40 AM

A 25 year old might have been too fragile to handle an affair with a physician almost 20 yrs older! I think he tried to end it the night before she comitted suicide....married men usually "end it" when "the other woman" falls in love with them! Yes, if I were her parents, I would make sure he never has the money to wine and dine another girl while married! So why did his "former" wife divorce him? Let me guess! She might be a star witness for the parents! How sad, but true, this goes on all the time with married men, but this one got caught! If he is so innocent, why did he try to take the suicide note and meds??? I doubt he had time to read it or notice the meds were not anything he prescribed...just panic to cover his tracks was ALL he was interested in! Selfish SOB deserves whatever these parents throw at him! I would do the same!

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3 replies
Linda Bender May 08 2014 at 6:14 AM

She must of had something going with this guy and he got in over his head. Ya know having a wife and all........rat basta*d. Hang him. He left her out to dry when he was done with her.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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