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Legal Issues Abound in Gary Coleman Death

Gary-Coleman It is always sad when someone dies.  It is even sadder when someone relatively young dies.  And then you throw in estranged parents and maybe a wife, maybe not, and you are left with, quite frankly, a mess.

It seems that Gary Coleman's wife Shannon was the one to decide to take him off of life support and some are questioning her legal authority to do so.  They may, or may not, have been married.  "Some people have raised the issue that they saw Gary and Shannon on Divorce Court and now there's some questions about whether or not they were married at the time of the death and whether [Shannon] had the authority to pull the plug at the hospital," attorney Randy Kester says.

"Some people in the public are raising issues whether she had authority to do that and if she has authority to be making funeral arrangements, and exactly where she fits into his estate," he adds. "I think there's going to be some developing controversy about some issues of authority."


Kester says he's not sure of Price's authority yet -- and may not know for awhile. "Everyone is out there searching for a will, and I haven't seen one yet."

TMZ says Kester told them Gary and Shannon divorced on August 12, 2008, and as far as he knows they never remarried.  Which means she would not have had the authority to make medical decisions.

The hospital says they have "become aware he may not have been married to her."  But the official said she was portraying herself as Gary's wife and they didn't require further proof.  The official did not say if Shannon had a power of attorney.

This could be a very interesting lawsuit.

And even though they were divorced, they spent the night before Gary was admitted to the hospital together.  And Shannon was the one to call 911.  The 911 tape has been released, and it seems as if Shannon was not in a rush to help Gary.  Or she was in shock.

"He just got home, I heard this big bang, I went downstairs. Blood everywhere," she says. "I don't know if he's okay. I'm not down there right now because I have a fever, if I get stressed out I'm going to faint."

Price says, "He fell. His head is bloody. There's blood all over the floor. I don't know what happened." The operator asks, "Is there any way you can go down there at all?" Price replies, "I'll try, I don't know, I mean..."

When the operator asks if anyone else is there who can go downstairs, Price says, "No," and adds, "I've just been kind of sick. I don't want to be traumatized right now."

Price then is heard saying, "Gary, are you okay?" and telling him, "Stay where you are" and "Don’t move, Gary."

The operator asks Price to tell Coleman to put pressure on his own wound. "Gary, you have to put pressure on your wound," Price is heard saying. "He's lethargic, I can't really help him. I just need help quick."

The operator says help is on the way. "I just can't be here with the blood," Price says. "I'm sorry, I can't do it. I can't. … There's blood all over and I can't do anything."

Price then says, "I can't drive" because she's been sick with a fever. "I can't do anything right now."

The operator asks Price "to at least give him a towel" so Coleman can apply pressure to his wound. Price replies, "Yeah, I'm just panicked. I don't know what to do … I just don’t want him to die. I'm freaking out."

Next, she's heard telling Coleman, "You have to put this on your head … Keep pressure on this, okay, hold this." She tells Coleman, "You need to sit down. Sit down! Gary, sit down!"

She tells the operator just moments before emergency crews arrive: "I'm gagging, I got blood on myself, I can't deal."

Stranger and stranger it seems.

source , source, source

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jen from boston

I know some people aren't good in a crisis situation...and perhaps she was in shock and/or weak from illness...but...that does not read too swell. I'm not suggesting she did anything wrong - and she did call 911...but...husband - ex-husband...I'm helping the guy out and holding a towel to his bleeding-out head.

I probably expect too much of people.


I too find that it reads very, very badly!


Well, she's obviously not good under pressure. That doesn't mean that Gary could have been saved. Nobody knows how they will react in that kind of situation unless they have been there.

Hopefully an autopsy will show whether the fall caused the brain injury, or vice-versa.

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