Whitney Houston died from drowning, coroner says
LOS ANGELES | Whitney Houston died from drowning in a hotel bathtub, but coroner’s officials said Thursday that heart disease and chronic cocaine use were contributing factors to the singer’s death.
The release of autopsy findings ends weeks of speculation about what killed the Grammy-winning singer on Feb. 11 on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and her death was ruled as accidental. Several bottles of prescription medications were found in her hotel room, but coroner’s officials said they weren’t in excessive quantities.
Beverly Hills police said in a statement there was no evidence of wrongdoing in connection with Houston’s death.
“We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure,” said Patricia Houston, the singer’s sister-in-law and manager.
Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said cocaine and its byproducts were found in Houston’s system, and it was listed as a contributing factor in her death. He said the results indicated that Houston was a chronic cocaine user.
Coroner’s officials said they also found traces of marijuana, Xanax and Benadryl in her system. pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crimes and admitted to a months-long pattern of brutal harassment of blacks a day after one of them pleaded guilty to a state murder charge.
Dylan Butler, 20; Deryl Dedmon, 19; and John Aaron Rice, 19; entered the pleas in federal court to conspiracy to commit a hate crime and to committing a hate crime. Authorities said the investigation continues and there could be more arrests.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves set sentencing for June 8 and ordered all three to be held.
Prosecutor Sheldon Beer said the three men harassed or assaulted black people who they thought were homeless or intoxicated and who they thought would not tell police. The harassment began in April 2011, culminating in the death of James Craig Anderson, a 47-year-old car plant worker, on June 26.
Each was charged with the same two crimes. They face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to life on the hate crime charge. Dedmon received two life sentences Wednesday on the state murder charges.