Fourth Financier Suicide After Brutal Self-Torture

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Yes, the headline sounds appalling and weird, because the story is appalling and weird.

On Tuesday, the lifeless body of Richard Talley, 57, the CEO of American Title Services was found in his Centennial, Colorado home.

Talley’s death was a strange one indeed. The Denver Post reported:

A coroner’s spokeswoman Thursday said Talley was found in his garage by a family member who called authorities. They said Talley died from seven or eight self-inflicted wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.

Prior to founding American Title Services, Talley was a financial officer at investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert in Chicago.

I can’t even begin to imagine a human being repeatedly shooting himself in the head and torso with a nail gun.

I mean, I can imagine someone doing that if someone else is standing over him holding one of a kid hostage, or threatening to destroy loved ones. Outside of that, what makes you choose self-torture over a quick end? Terrible self-loathing, I guess?

The suicides are beginning to add up for men in financial positions. In late January three such killed themselves over six days, and another has apparently gone into hiding:

. . .details emerged about the work of the three that suggests at least a passing commonality – that is, the institutions they worked for were all connected to investigations in the United States or the United Kingdom for various types of fraud or misconduct.

People have been investigated for fraud and misconduct before, faced jail time and ruin, what could be so awful about these shenanigans that people would rather die or disappear from their lives, than face it?

I don’t pretend to know what it means. Perhaps if one is completely attached to the material, if one’s whole sense of self-worth is attached to the things, and the niceties and the respectability — and if all of that seemed about to be lost — people might suppose there is nothing else to live for, and kill themselves? Bankers did it, after all, after the stock market crash in 1929.

Still, this is a disturbing trend. Perhaps we simply have not communicated enough to the world that life is worth living — that even when it is very difficult, there is love. Perhaps these men didn’t believe anyone could love them, anymore, with more shame and less stuff?

A friend says: “if the news is bad enough to make somebody shoot himself numerous times with a nail gun, I really do not want to survive the apocalypse.”


By the way, Lent begins on March 5. Perhaps not a moment too soon.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • vox borealis

    It reminds me, perversely, of those old cartoons and comedies from the depression era, where the bankers and financiers are also shown reading the ticker tape, looking shocked at the investments going south, and then jumping out the window of the skyscraper.

    That’s bad enough of course, and perhaps wore is that it became the object of comedy. But this seems so much more grisly and sinister.

  • DaTechGuy on DaRadio

    My gut feeling when reading this without knowing anything else about these cases would not be suicide

  • Deo confido

    Unfortunately, when your self worth is not grounded in being a child of God and made in His image, but has been perverted by the enemy into that of what you own materially then it becomes all to easy to despair when that “self worth” is lost.

  • perpper

    Maybe there’s more to it, indeed. Fr. Longenecker is talking about demonic influences lately … certainly our culture is under spiritual attack, maybe this man (and the others) in a personal way … prayers are needed, for sure.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    That occurred to me as well, when I first read this.

  • nannon31

    My post vanished by editing it. Pray for the financiers but also the group of young girls in these days that are committing suicide …N.J.’s Madison Holleran…pressure to succeed at U Penn…Audrey Potts, drank gatorade laced with liquor after which she was sexually assaulted and video taped…Jo Anna Lowe, boyfriend breakup. Suicide is a mortal sin generically but there can be imperfection in the act which reduces it ( Aquinas’ concept) and especially the young ones could have made it to purgatory where they could use your prayers.

  • oregon nurse

    Look away, look away. Just keep pouring all your savings into the stock market, there’s nothing to see here…

  • Augustine

    Tin-foil hat on.

    Self-inflicted nail-gun wounds to the head, yet it’s ruled a suicide? As any defendant, he’d probably be hoping for a deal if he spilled the beans on his partners in crime. Given that banks are inextricably tied to the government via Wall St. and the Fed system, could this be a hit job, lest he implicate our overlords?

    Tin-foil hat off.

  • leelu

    I am NOT a believer in coincidence. And this one defies belief!! Sounds like something a (fill in the blank) mob killer might do.

  • Manny

    Yikes! Sounds like an episode from Married With Children. Only with real ramifications. I wonder if all copycat events like this are demonic as some have suggested.

  • JohnE_o

    Self inflicted? Seems unlikely…

  • Andy

    I think that the prosperity gospel that seems to pervade our monied set has created the belief that money will protect from anything. This false idol – money – when the desired or believed in protection is not forthcoming leads to despair. Despair leads to hopelessness and the spiral towards suicide is on the way.
    On a different note I am not sue how a person could be able to shoot himself multiple times with a nail gun – in the torso and then the head. My son had the misfortune while at work to accidentally “nick himself” – his phrase not mine – with a nail gun and required 9 stitches and was in extreme pain for three or four days and could not really concentrate.

  • oregon nurse

    was he about to nail others?

  • Frank

    You really think it deserves to be called a “trend”? It’s a few guys under extreme stress behaving in ways that are bizarre and self-destructive. My guess would be, there’s nothing new in this at all (except maybe the nail gun bit; that takes real imagination, if not psychosis), and it’s not a trend at all.

    Any evidence to the contrary?

  • Maggie Goff

    I agree.

  • RenegadePilgrim

    I highly doubt this is a suicide. Nail guns have to be pressed down in order to fire. Even if it was rigged to fire anyways, there’s no way someone could have done that to themselves that many times. I call foul play. Kinda like that black guy in Jasper, TX who was found with a missing ear, missing teeth and a slit throat…they ruled that one as an overdose even though he was a father of three, physical therapist, never used drugs, etc. His body decomposition didn’t match the date of his disappearance either which means he was probably tortured first. Sometimes I really wonder about the justice system in this country.

  • L.B.

    Since Wall St. seems to be the only sector of the economy that is doing well (fancy that) I’m left wondering what was it that brought them such despair. Is something coming down the pike that we, the little people, are not priviledged to know.

  • TXRed

    At least two European bankers committed suicide because they saw it as the only honorable thing to do after their decisions led to major financial problems for their banks and clients. That I can almost understand, in a way. This? I fear I’m inclined to agree with DaTechGuy – something rings false with the suicide narrative. May G-d have mercy on him and his family, no matter what happened.

  • perpper


  • perpper

    It is not a justice system. It is a legal system. A system of defined procedures the intention of which is to prevent rule by fiat. That’s all it is — procedures. Justice often cannot be accomplished in this world … most obviously in a case of murder … and the legal authorities are incapable of providing justice in most cases. Legal system.

  • Augustine

    There’s another sector that doing quite well: the federal government. The Beltway is now the highest earning location in America.

  • L.B.

    There’s a difference?

  • Augustine

    Yes, there is. Wall St. does not have the monopoly of legal violence to impose its whims.