July 6, 2006

Enron’s Lay death grabs headlines, sparks emotions

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The sudden death of disgraced Enron
Corp. founder Ken Lay topped newspaper headlines across the
nation on Thursday, with media reactions ranging from outraged
to cheated.

The outrage was provided by the The New York Post, which
gave voice to the conspiracy theories circulating around the
Internet that Lay's death was faked.

"Before they put cheato Lay's coffin in the grave check
he's in it," the tabloid splashed on its front page.

Some media kept the story simple, such as USA Today's
headline "Sudden end for Enron founder," but many others
focused on the unfinished business Lay left in the federal
courthouse in Houston. He faced decades in prison at his
sentencing in October.

"From any perspective, this feels like an unfinished tale,"
the New York Times said in an editorial headlined, "Ken Lay's
Final Act."

Lay, 64, died of a coronary artery disease early on
Wednesday while vacationing near Aspen, Colorado with his wife,

His death came six weeks after he and former protege
Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of fraud and conspiracy for
lying to hide the financial chaos at the energy company that
collapsed in 2001 in one of the country's most infamous
business scandals.

"Lay's criminal record may vanish with his death," read the
banner headline in the Houston Chronicle, where readers were
able to treated to no fewer than nine separate stories on the
death of the man who once inhabited the city's highest business

The Chronicle's lead story, like others in Time.com and the
Los Angeles Times, put a spotlight on the legal technicality in
the federal courts that will likely quash Lay's conviction
because he was unable to exercise his rights to appeal the
jury's verdict.