Budd Dwyer - This Gun's For Your
Red, White, Blue
Robert Budd Dwyer (November 21, 1939 – January 22, 1987) was the 30th State Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He served from 1971 to 1981 as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the state's 50th district. He then served as the 30th Treasurer of Pennsylvania from January 20, 1981, until his death. On that day, Dwyer called a news conference in the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg where he killed himself in front of the gathered reporters, by shooting himself in the head with a .357 Magnum revolver. Dwyer's suicide was broadcast later that day to a wide television audience across Pennsylvania.
In the early 1980s, Pennsylvania discovered its state workers had overpaid federal taxes due to errors in state withholding. Many accounting firms competed for a multimillion-dollar contract to determine compensation to each employee. In 1986, Dwyer was convicted of receiving a bribe from the California firm that ultimately won the contract. He was scheduled to be sentenced on those charges on January 23, 1987, the day after his suicide.
Throughout Dwyer's trial and after his conviction, he maintained that he was not guilty of the charges levied against him, and that he had been framed. Decades later, it was reported that the prosecution's primary witness, William T. Smith, whose testimony was largely used to obtain Dwyer's conviction, admitted in a documentary about Dwyer that he had lied under oath about Dwyer taking a bribe in order to receive a reduced sentence. In fact, Smith acknowledges, as he did at Dwyer's trial, that he had lied in his own earlier trial when he testified that he had offered Dwyer a bribe. He admitted that he testified against Dwyer in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence and to spare his wife from being prosecuted for her role in the conspiracy, and expressed his regret for that decision and the role it played in Dwyer's death.