3 former NJ governors want new investigation into Cooper Health executive's death

A group that includes three former New Jersey governors is calling for a new investigation into the September 2014 deaths of former Camden, N.J.-based Cooper Health System President and CEO John Sheridan and his wife, and want Mr. Sheridan's death changed from suicide to undetermined.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman (R) said Feb. 17 she believes the Sheridans may have been murdered and that the state should conduct a new investigation, according to a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Former Gov. Whitman and nearly 200 others, including former New Jersey Governors Thomas Kean (R) and James J. Florio (D), signed an open letter this week as Friends of John and Joyce Sheridan.

In the letter, which was also signed by various former state cabinet officers, former prosecutors, defense attorneys, lawyers, friends and professional associates of the couple, group members said there are compelling reasons to question the murder-suicide conclusion reached by the medical examiner and the prosecutor's office.

"The only truth in this terrible tragedy is that no one knows what happened on that September morning — not us, not the medical examiner, not the prosecutor," the letter states. "We support the Sheridan family's efforts to reopen the investigation into the murder of their parents by offering a substantial financial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of John and Joyce's killer(s). But most of all we believe that John Sheridan — through his personal and professional life in New Jersey — earned the right to have his life and death assessed competently and accurately. At a minimum, that requires that the cause of death be changed by the medical examiner from suicide to undetermined."

Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, who, along with Medical Examiner Eddy Lilavois, concluded in March 2015 the deaths were a murder-suicide, declined to comment to The Philadelphia Inquirer, writing: "In light of the fact that the Sheridan family is currently pursuing action to challenge the medical examiner's determination as to the manner of the death of John Sheridan, it is my firm belief that it would be inappropriate for me to provide any comment on this matter."

According to the report, John and Joyce Sheridan were found Sept. 28, 2014, unresponsive in the second-floor bedroom of their home in Montgomery Township, N.J. The Somerset County prosecutor concluded Mr. Sheridan fatally stabbed his wife, stabbed himself five times and set their master bedroom on fire.


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