Doctor in Blasberg death pleads to obstruction

LAS VEGAS – The physician who found the body of professional golfer Erica Blasberg at her home pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of misdemeanor obstruction, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported Dec. 1, citing court records.

Dr. Thomas Hess was sentenced by Henderson Municipal Judge Diana Hampton to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service, the newspaper reported.

Blasberg, 25, was found May 9 with a plastic bag over her head at her suburban Henderson home. Her death was ruled a suicide by asphyxia, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. She also was found to have had toxic levels of prescription medication - including headache, cough, pain and anti-anxiety medications - in her system.

Hess was determined to have removed items from the scene before police arrived at the home in response to a 911 call. Hess admitted removing a suicide note and hiding it in his vehicle along with prescription medications taken from the house, the Review Journal reported.

Blasberg, a native of Corona, Calif., turned pro in 2004, posting four top-10s in eight starts on the Duramed Futures Tour, including a victory at the Laconia Savings Bank Futures Golf Classic. She qualified for the LPGA later that fall.

Blasberg struggled on the LPGA, never finishing higher than 94th on the money list. Her career-low 64 on the LPGA came at the Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, back when she competed as an amateur on a sponsor exemption. She had her only top-10 finish in 2008. Blasberg played one LPGA tournament this year, finishing tied for 44th in the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico.

Blasberg was a decorated collegian at Arizona, winning six tournaments in two years. She was named Golfweek’s 2003 Player of the Year after finishing the season No. 1 in the rankings. She also was ’03 NGCA Freshman of the Year, Pac-10 Player of the Year and competed on the victorious 2004 Curtis Cup team.

Mel Blasberg, Erica’s father, told KTNV-TV, Las Vegas’ ABC affiliate, that the verdict was “insignificant.”

“I think the way Doctor Hess acted and didn’t act is partly responsible for Erica’s death,” Blasberg said. “But I was looking for some remorse.”

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