Gateway to a Cure Founder's Death a Suspected Suicide

Nov 8, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Gateway to a Cure founder Lou Sengheiser, 58, who had been on trial in U.S. District Court these past two weeks on 22 counts of mail fraud, has apparently committed suicide.

His attorney, Paul D’Agrosa, says Sengheiser wasn’t at home when his brother went to pick him up for court this morning. The jury was just beginning its second day of deliberations in the case. Sengheiser was accused of diverting funds from his charity to pay off his own personal debts. Sengheiser started the charity to support spinal cord-injury research after his son was injured in a fall.

Sengheiser’s brother drove from the downtown courthouse this morning to Gateway’s offices on Lemay Ferry Road in south St. Louis County and found Sengheiser dead inside.

D’Agrosa declined to comment on the manner in which Sengheiser was found.

“I've never had this happen before,” D’Agrosa tells Riverfront Times. “Obviously I'm sad. I'm sad for his family. I spent the last year with this guy, so I feel awful about it. And I feel for the jury. They were visibly upset. I know they were wrestling with what you're supposed to wrestle with when you're a jury.”

U.S. District Judge Donald Stohr sent the jury home, so there will be no verdict in the case. D’Agrosa says Stohr is likely to dismiss it as a moot issue.

-Kristen Hinman