Sledge Hammer's Cause of Death Still Undetermined

Dan Miller

LOS ANGELES — The L.A. County Coroner told XBIZ Wednesday that he had completed his autospy of Marland Anderson, aka adult performer Sledge Hammer, but that determining the cause of his death has been "deferred" until further tests are conducted.

"What that means is that we want to evaluate the case for additional evidence," said L.A. County Coroner Ed Winter, who performed the autopsy Wednesday.

Winter said the Los Angeles Police Department has no say in whether additional tests are needed to determine a cause of death.

Anderson died at Northridge Hospital last Friday morning, April 13, at the age of 39. He had been in a coma for five days as a result of a cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of Monday, April 9, after an altercation with several Los Angeles police officers.

The incident started when Anderson's girlfriend, adult performer Alexa Cruz, called 911 about 1 a.m. on April 9 from the Reseda apartment where they had lived together for over a year when it appeared that Anderson might be suicidal.

When police and medical personnel tried to take him to the hospital in the ambulance, Anderson, who was suffering from severe insomnia and mild schizophrenia, did not want to go. He resisted and LAPD officers tried to subdue him twice with a Taser, using a technique called contact Tasing in which the darts aren't fired, an LAPD official told XBIZ. Instead, the Taser is placed on the subject's body in an attempt to get him to comply. This technique, also known as a "Drive Stun," is intended to cause pain without incapacitating the target.

Both times the Taser was used on Anderson it was ineffective, according to LAPD spokesman Lt. Andrew Neiman, who said that bodily force from several police officers, possible between six and eight, is ultimately what got Anderson under control.

The coroner indicated that additional test results on Anderson could take up to eight weeks to be evaluated.

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