MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A University of Alabama football booster died when he hit his head in an accidental fall at home, rather than being slain as first thought, police said Thursday.
Police initially described the death of 65-year-old Logan Young as a bloody slaying after a fierce struggle but quit calling it a homicide a day later.
"We treated it as a homicide, the most serious, and put the puzzle together," Police Director Larry Godwin said.
Homicide Lt. Joe Scott said police believe Young tripped while carrying a salad and soft drink up a set of stairs and hit his head on an iron railing. The fall onto the railing opened a large gash across the top of Young's head and he dropped to the floor bleeding profusely, Scott said at a news conference.
After lying on the floor for some time, Young got up and walked bleeding through several rooms of his spacious, two-story house before ending up in his second-floor bedroom, Scott added. His housekeeper found the body beside his bed Tuesday morning.
"There was a lot of blood," Scott said.
Young, who was divorced and lived alone, apparently tried to slow the bleeding with towels from the kitchen downstairs and a bathroom upstairs, and two towels soaked with blood were found on the bed. He walked past several telephones but didn't place an emergency call, Scott said.
Young, a multimillionaire and longtime Crimson Tide booster, was convicted last year of bribing a high school football coach to steer a top recruit to Alabama. An appeal of the federal conviction on money laundering and conspiracy charges was pending when he died.
A recruiting scandal focused on Young played a part in an NCAA investigation that led to sanctions against Alabama in 2002.
Scott said a preliminary report from the medical examiner backed up the crime scene work of his investigators, though police could not say if Young died from blood loss, brain damage or some other cause. The medical examiner was expected to release a report late
Police first described Young's death as a homicide because of the large amount of blood found throughout the house, Godwin said.
Authorities are still waiting for forensic test results and the investigation is classified as ongoing, though investigators are confident of their conclusions, Godwin said.
Scott said investigators began to alter their homicide theory when they could find no blood splatters consistent with an attacker swinging a club, knife or other weapon.
They found no signs of a break-in and money and other valuables in plain view were not disturbed, he said.
Crime scene crews spent most of two days in Young's residence, a stone Tudor house in one of Memphis' most exclusive neighborhoods. Young's son, Logan Young III, 39, lived with his father occasionally but was not at the residence at the time of the accident, Scott said.
Police believe Young died late Monday night or early Tuesday.
Young had a history of heavy drinking, but Scott said investigators did not know if alcohol played a part in the accident. Lawyers who represented Young at the bribery trial said he recently had a kidney transplant and had quit drinking.