WASHINGTON -- A former Green Beret who worked for the CIA said he is convinced former CIA analyst Kevin Mulcahy was killed to stop him from testifying against a renegade ex-intelligence agent accused of arming Libyan terrorists, it was reported Wednesday.
The FBI is investigating the mysterious death of Mulcahy, 40. An autopsy did not immediately pinpoint the cause of his death at a remote motel cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Further tests, including those for poison, were ordered.
A spokesman at FBI headquarters said a preliminary investigation would be conducted by the bureau's Richmond, Va., office, and Shenandoah County authorities also said they would investigate pending a final autopsy finding.
Mulcahy's body was found Tuesday morning jack-knifed in the cabin doorway. A window had been shattered by a shotgun.
'Immediately I knew that he was killed to keep from testifyiung before the trial that's coming up in Houston,' former Green Beret Luke Thompson told CBS News. He met Mulcahy on several occasions and says he was recruited by Edwin Wilson to train commandos in Libya.
Mulcahy, a communications expert who left the CIA in 1968, was the second potential prosecution witness to die in the case of Wilson, a renegade ex-CIA agent accused of working for Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy. He was scheduled to testify against Wilson next month.
'Probably drugs,' said Thompson, speculating on the cause of death. 'Probably simulated a heart attack ... There's a number of ways, but that's probably the most common. The drug is not traceable an hour or so after death.'
Thompson said he fears for his own life now.
'I'm trying to stay away from my home as much as possible,' he said, adding that he has not been offered federal protection. 'I don't want my family involved.'
A Colorado policeman, Ray Martinez, told CBS Mulcahy called him a week and a half ago, and said he was being followed from one motel room to another.
'He's been in rooms and knows that when he's been out of the room, somebody's been in his room,' Martinez said. 'He didn't know, in his words, if there's a bomb being planted or somebody was setting him up, or if he's going to be poisoned.
'He'd expressed that several times that he thought he could be poisoned to death,' the officer said.
'This case has certain unusual aspects to it,' said James Beyer, deputy medical examiner for Northern Virginia District, referring to the public and legal aspects of the case.
Beyer said the 'cause of death is pending,' and results from further tests, including routine tests for poison, could take several weeks. He declined to say whether the autopsy revealed high alcohol content in the blood.
Donald Mulcahy, the dead man's father and a retired CIA official, said his son had been treated for alcoholism and had been depressed recently and started to drink again. He said he doubted his son was murdered.
Gary Dalton, Shenandoah County Sheriff's deputy who found Mulcahy's body at the Mountain View Motel Court in Edinburg, Va., said there was 'no inkling whatsoever' to suggest foul play. 'No trauma to the body. No marks. No, nothing that indicated foul play,' he said.
But Bill Brannon of the FBI's Richmond office, said, 'We have been asked by the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Mulcahy's death to determine (the cause) ... and to determine whether there might have been an obstruction of justice.'
Lt. R.R. Rinker of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Department said Mulcahy had an Alcoholics Anonymous card in his wallet when his body was discovered at the $50-a-day cabin 90 miles west of Washington.
Shenandoah County Commonwealth attorney William Logan Jr. said several wine bottles also were found among Mulcahy's belongings. He declined comment on whether Mulcahy could have collapsed outside his cabin and died of exposure Monday night when tempeDaures dropped to the 40s.
Sheriff Marshal Robinson said Mulcahy had been told by the motel manager to leave and had paid his rent. He said Mulcahy 'had moved everything out of his cottage and into his vehicle.'
Rinker said a window in Mulcahy's cabin had been shattered by a shotgun. A shotgun was found in Mulcahy's truck. Officials said they did not believe Mulcahy was shooting at anyone and had discussed the broken window with the manager.
Mulcahy was scheduled to be a key witness at the first of three separate trials of Wilson scheduled to begin next month in Alexandria, Va., Washington and Houston. U.S. Assistant Attorney E. Lawrence Barcella, the prosecutor in charge of the Wilson case, said the death would not cause any delays.
Mulcahy is said to have joined up with Wilson and Terpil in 1976, then become disillusioned and told the CIA what he knew about the operation.
Wilson and another former CIA employee, Frank Terpil, who was last reported as a fugitive in Beirut, Lebanon, were allegedly involved in an operation that smuggled arms, explosives and trick bombs into Libya.
Rafael Villaverde, a Cuban also allegedly involved in the Wilson case, was killed in a boat explosion near the Bahamas seven months ago. The Coast Guard ruled it an accident.