BILL FLINT CHEATED DEATH THREE TIMES,
THEN HE DROPPED DEAD OF A HEART ATTACK -- OR DID HE?
"48 HOURS MYSTERY" SATURDAY, MAY 7
Described as a gentle, caring man, Bill Flint was an electrical engineer near Houston, Texas, who spent his life cheating death: he was shot, the bullet passing through his neck; then a hit man was hired to kill him; and he even survived a serious workplace accident. So, when he suddenly became violently ill and died of an apparent heart attack on May 3, 2002, Bill Flint's friends and family couldn't help wondering � was it murder? Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Secrets from the Grave" to be broadcast Saturday, May 7 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Flint had been involved in an ugly custody dispute with his ex-wife, Cassandra Smith, over their daughter, who was two years old when they divorced. Smith claimed that her daughter told her that Flint had molested her, although a grand jury refused to indict him.
About two years after the divorce and extensive custody battles, Flint got a very frightening phone call. The caller was his ex wife's brother, Ralph Smith, who threatened to kill him. Flint became paranoid, but with good cause. One morning while taking out his garbage, Flint was ambushed in his driveway and beaten and shot. He survived and identified his attackers as Cassandra's brother and her new husband, Charlton Andras. While awaiting trial for attempted murder, Andras made a call from the courthouse to find a hit man to finish the job and kill Flint. However, Andras' contact that day recorded the call and turned it over to the district attorney's office. Andras would meet a hit man, but he was an undercover investigator for the district attorney. Andras was arrested, charged and convicted of solicitation of capital murder. Ralph was convicted of attempted murder and remains in jail.
Flint told a television reporter at the time he was convinced that his ex-wife had been a part of the attacks. But, there still wasn't enough evidence to charge Cassandra in either attempt on his life.
Two years later, Bill Flint almost died in an on-the-job accident, when a 70 pound light fell 40 feet on his back and neck. After surviving so much, it was quite a shock that Flint collapsed in a pizza parlor and died in May 2002. Witnesses say that Flint became violently ill and went into convulsions, asking for water to be poured on him because he felt like he was burning up. The medical examiner ruled his death, at age 44, a heart attack. Friends and family suspected he was poisoned.
Authorities in Harris County, Texas had questions of their own and they called in one of the world's foremost forensic investigators to take a closer look at Bill Flint's demise. At his own expense, Professor James Starrs of George Washington University would exhume Flint's body to try to determine what really happened. Did Flint die of natural causes or was it foul play?
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Secrets from the Grave" is produced by Loen Kelley and Jenna Jackson. Katie Boyle is the senior producer and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.