Coroner’s inquest takes dramatic turn, doc refuses to testify
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – On the second day of scheduled inquiry, Dr. Bruce Hayse at first sent a representative from his office to say he would not be able to appear. County coroner Dr. Brent Blue sent word to Hayse that he had better show up or he would issue a bench warrant for his appearance.
After interviewing witness Penelope Salcido, and unsuccessfully attempting to reach Casey Hardison via a phone call, Blue played a 12-minute 911 tape for the three-person jury.
Dr. Hayse finally showed up an hour into the proceedings at 2pm. When Blue attempted to swear him in, Hayse said he was not going to testify. He said he had just received the subpoena at 9:30 this morning and had not had time to clear his schedule and needed to see his patients. Blue countered that he, too, was missing appointments with patients for two days because of the inquiry and that was not an excuse.
Hayse added he did not have time to get Birkholz’s records together.
“First, Dr. Hayse, he was not your patient,” Blue said.
“He was my patient,” Hayse countered.
“You didn’t even know his name, according to the testimony,” Blue said.
“I’ve got a chart on him at the office. I’m sorry,” Hayse said.
The back and forth continued for a few minutes before Hayse said, “I’m happy to testify, I just don’t have time right now.”
“If you want me to get Judge Day [and a bench warrant] I’m happy to arrange that,” Blue said.
Hayse asked about rescheduling.
“We can’t reschedule. We have a jury and we have other people here including Mr. Birkholz’s mother and we want to find out why a 31-year-old died at your house.”
Hayse answered that he had patients alive now that needed him and an inquiry over someone who died months ago was not going to bring him back.
Hayse then walked out with Blue saying, “You’ll be hearing from us.”
The proceedings are now adjourned until 3:30pm. Blue conferred with Judge [Timothy] Day who confirmed Blue has the authority to issue a bench warrant as the county coroner, which he did. The warrant will be served by Sheriff’s deputies who will then drive Dr. Hayse to the federal court room.