TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The medical examiner on Friday overturned a ruling that a hospital president found dead along with his wife killed himself, the first step in their children's quest to prove that their parents were slain by someone other than their father.
Medical Examiner Andrew Falzon said the injuries that 72-year-old John Sheridan suffered "have the appearance of self-inflicted wounds," but he noted that no weapon was recovered from the scene "that could be conclusively associated with (them)." He changed the manner of death from suicide to undetermined.
The decision came after the four sons of John and Joyce Sheridan accused a prosecutor of jumping to conclusions that Sheridan stabbed his 69-year-old wife to death and then killed himself after setting their house on fire in September 2014.
The sons have been pushing to have the investigation reopened and have gained support from business and political leaders across the state, including three former New Jersey governors who called last year for authorities to reopen the case.
Sheridan is the former president and CEO of Cooper Health System.
"We feel a huge wrong has been made right, at least in part. Unfortunately, we still don't know who killed our parents and so while we accept today's decision as a vindication of what we've said all along, we have a long way yet to go," said son Mark Sheridan. "On behalf of the Sheridan family, I want to thank the State Medical Examiner for doing the right thing and exercising the courage to admit that a mistake was made."
They have offered a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of a person who killed their parents.
Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson said in a statement he had no comment, but there is no reason to believe that residents should be fearful of their safety.
"Should additional information regarding the case become available in the future, the case will be re-evaluated and amended if necessary," Falzon wrote in his decision.
Nationally known forensic pathologist Michael Baden conducted a second autopsy on behalf of the family and said that the weapon that caused John Sheridan's stab wounds wasn't recovered at the scene. He concluded that John Sheridan was likely killed.