Donald Rasch Was Punched to Death

de Kooning 1.jpg
The Willem de Kooning masterpiece Rasch stole to hang over his bed.
That's Dr. Mary Case's official assessment of the facts. Dr. Case, the St. Louis County Medical Examiner, ruled Rasch's death a homicide last week, and after studying his brain, determined the cause of death was a subdural hematoma, or blood clot on the brain.

Rasch, 50, was found unconscious in his Maplewood apartment November 12, and died in the hospital four days later. He had gained his local notoriety in 2005, when he pleaded guilty to his involvement in the theft of 133 pieces of modern art worth a cumulative $4 million. He told the court that his was a "crime of passion" and served two years in prison for that passion. The story of that crime was the subject of Kristen Hinman's 2004 Riverfront Times feature, "Master Piece Theatre."

There were no signs of break-in or struggle in Rasch's apartment and he had no visible injuries. Maplewood police don't believe the murder was related to the art thefts. No suspects have been officially identified, but police say there's a "person of interest" in the case.

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