Investigators testify in 1998 WA death review

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CHEHALIS, Wash. (AP) -- A now-retired sheriff's detective who re-investigated the 1998 shooting death of former Washington State Patrol Trooper Ronda Reynolds has told an inquest jury he stands by the conclusion he reached in 2001 -- that she killed herself.

Former Lewis County sheriff's Detective Glade Austin testified Tuesday in Superior Court that Reynolds' husband of 11 months was leaving her for his ex-wife and she had racked up $25,000 in credit card debt. Austin says Reynolds told a friend during a previous marriage that if her husband divorced her, she would use a gun to kill herself and "make it look like someone else would do it."

The lead investigator in the original sheriff's investigation -- Jerry Berry -- testified Tuesday that Reynolds' closest friends told him she would never have killed herself.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod called the inquest in hopes of clearing doubts surrounding Reynolds' death. Testimony continues Wednesday.

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Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com