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    New Twist in Mystery Morrison Death

    This is the end of Jim Morrison as you may have heard it: the Doors frontman expired in a bathtub in his Paris apartment on July 3, 1971, supposedly of heart failure. He was 27.

    The circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of the Lizard King have spawned countless conspiracy theories over time, from CIA assassination plots to the suggestion that Morrison may have faked his own demise.

    Now, 36 years after the fact, a former Paris nightclub manager has come forward with new information about how Morrison's final moments may have really gone down.

    Sam Bernett, the onetime manager of the Left Bank's legendary Rock 'n' Roll Circus club and a personal friend of the singer, claims that contrary to popular lore, Morrison was actually found dead in a toilet stall at the nightclub after overdosing on heroin.

    In his forthcoming book, Jim Morrison: The End, Bernett tells of his shock at discovering Morrison's body in the stall after he instructed a bouncer to break down the locked door.

    "For a few seconds our eyes were glued to the unmoving corpse. We were mesmerized by the baffling spectacle," he writes.

    "The flamboyant singer of the Doors, the cool and good-looking Californian guy, was now a collapsed and inert lump lying in a nightclub toilet."

    The foam and blood on Morrison's lips indicated to Bernett that he had been snorting heroin, which he always did instead of injecting the drug because he was afraid of needles.

    The manager rushed to track down a regular club patron he knew was a physician and had him examine the body.

    "It was a quick and professional examination. His diagnosis was very confident: 'This man is dead. Apparently the victim of a cardiac arrest.' The doctor was not stupid and spoke of a lethal overdose," he recalled.

    At that point, Bernett claims, two drug dealers from whom Morrison had purchased heroin that night stepped in, insisting the singer had only fainted.

    They carted off Morrison's apparently lifeless body through a corridor that connected the Rock 'n' Roll Circus to an adjacent club. From there, Bernett believes they transported the singer back to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend Pamela Courson and placed his body in the bathtub.

    Bernett says he was told by the club's scandal-fearing owners never to speak of the incident, and that anyone who was there that night who had any awareness of what had transpired was sworn to secrecy.

    For her part, Courson gave police a completely different version of that night's events, claiming she and Morrison went out for dinner, took in a movie, went home and listened to records and then fell asleep.

    She said that Morrison woke up feeling ill in the middle of the night and decided to take a bath in order to relax. At 5 a.m., she discovered his body in the tub.

    Officials initially declared that Morrison died of natural causes, then pneumonia, and finally settled on heart failure. No autopsy was ever performed and he was buried July 7 in Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery.

    Courson died of a drug overdose three years later at age 27.

    In light of the new details brought forward by Bernett, the case of Morrison's death could potentially be reopened by French investigators.

    "The new evidence will have to be considered," a spokesman for France's Police National told the UK's Mail on Sunday.

    While the questions surrounding Morrison's death may never be answered to universal satisfaction, some of his fans are working on tying up other loose ends in the musician's life.

    Florida Governor Charlie Crist has been asked to pardon Morrison on convictions for indecent exposure and profanity, stemming from his arrest following a 1969 concert in Miami where he allegedly exposed himself and stimulated a sex act. The case was still on appeal when the singer died.

    Fans seeking the pardon have said they want Morrison to be remembered for his musical legacy, as opposed to his rap sheet. Crist has said he is seriously considering the matter.

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