A FRESH LOOK AT THE SHOOTING OF HUEY P. LONG

             NEW STATE CAPITOL, BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

SEPTEMBER 8, 1935

     A TREATISE

           Identification List

Huey  -  Huey P. Long, Jr., governor of Louisiana from 1928-32.  During the term he was elected a U.S. Senator, but continued  as governor until the term ended.  His hand-picked successor, Oscar K. Allen, was then elected governor but he was a mere figurehead as Huey remained in control of state government.  He was shot in a corridor of the new state capitol on September 8, 1935 and died on September 10.     

Weiss -  Carl Austin Weiss, M.D., the alleged assassin of Huey.  He was an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist and in 1932 joined his father’s practice in Baton Rouge.  He was anti-Huey and was shot and killed by his bodyguards in a corridor of the state capitol on Sunday, September 8,1935. His infant son was named          Carl Austin Weiss, Jr.

Papa Weiss  -  Carl Adam Weiss, the father of Weiss.  He was a prominent eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist with an office on the seventh floor of the Reymond Building in downtown Baton Rouge. He was anti-Huey, as were most physicians in the city. 

Tom Ed -  Thomas Edward Weiss, the younger brother of Weiss. In 1935 he was a student at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. 

Judge Pavy -  Benjamin Henry Pavy, who in 1935 had been a district judge in St. Landry Parish for approximately twenty-five years. He and Huey were bitter enemies. 

Yvonne -  Louise Yvonne Pavy, the daughter of Judge Pavy and the wife of Weiss. 

Coroner Bird - Thomas B. Bird, M.D., coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, who made a positive identification of Weiss’ body after he was shot and killed, and conducted an inquest into his death.  He was anti-Huey.

District Attorney Odom - John Fred Odom, district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish, who questioned the witnesses at the coroner’s inquest into Weiss’ death.  A month before he attended a controversial anti-Huey meeting at the De Soto Hotel in New Orleans.

BCI  -  the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, which a year later became a division of the Louisiana State Police.  Huey’s bodyguards came from that group. 

Gen. Guerre -  Brigadier General Louis F. Guerre, head of the BCI in 1935. He apparently left office in 1940 when a reform governor was elected. 

Roden -  Murphy Roden, a bodyguard, who testified that he was in front of Huey when he was shot. He was armed with a .38 caliber automatic pistol and shot at Weiss ten times.


Messina -  Joe Messina, a bodyguard, who testified that he was about eight feet from Huey when he was shot. He unloaded his pistol on Weiss from six to eight feet away. 

Coleman -  Elliot D. Coleman, a bodyguard, who testified that he was a few feet from Huey when he was shot. He fired his pistol at Weiss three times.

Bates -  Joe Bates, a bodyguard, who testified that he was a few feet from Huey when he was shot, but that he did not shoot at anyone.                                                                                             

Votier -  Paul Votier, a bodyguard, who testified that he was about two feet behind Huey when he was shot.  He was armed with a .38 caliber automatic pistol and shot at Weiss five times from about five feet away. 

McQuiston -  George McQuiston, a bodyguard.  When called to testify he refused, and was the only bodyguard to do so. He was excused by District Attorney Odom.   

Frampton -  Charles Frampton, a reporter for the New Orleans Item newspaper, who was considered to be Huey’s unofficial press secretary. He testified that he was in the reception room outside of the governor’s office and as he prepared to open the door into the corridor heard a shot, then opened the door and saw Huey walking away down the corridor clasping his hands to his abdomen.                                                       

Fournet -  John B. Fournet, a justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court and a close ally of Huey, who testified that he was in front of Huey when he was shot.  

Riddle -  C. A. Riddle, a state representative, who testified that he was five or six feet from Huey when he was shot.

Wimberly -  L. M. Wimberly, a state representative, who testified that he was about ten feet from Huey when he was shot.

O’Connor -  James “Jimmy” O’Connor, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and one of Huey’s favorites.  Prior to the shooting he was in the House chamber when Huey sent him down to the basement restaurant to get a pack of cigars.

Dr. Vidrine - Arthur Vidrine, M.D., appointed by Huey to head the New Orleans Charity Hospital and the new LSU Medical School in New Orleans. He was the lead surgeon when Huey was operated on after being shot. 

Dr. Cook -  William H. Cook, M.D. from Baton Rouge, who assisted in the surgery on Huey.

Prof. Starrs -  Professor James Starrs, lawyer and forensic expert at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He exhumed Weiss’ body in 1991 with the permission of the family.

Lt. Moreau -  Lieutenant Don Moreau, an investigator with the Louisiana State Police, who was assigned to investigate the shooting of Huey when the case was reopened. He wrote the final investigative report of the shooting, which was dated June 5, 1992.

Deutsch  -  Hermann Deutsch, author of The Huey Long Murder Case (1963).                             

Williams  - T. Harry Williams, author of  Huey Long, A Biography (1969). 

Reed  -  Ed Reed, author of  Requiem For A Kingfish (1986) . 

Zinman  - David Zinman, author of The Day Huey Long Was Shot (1993).

Pavy  -  Donald Pavy, M.D., author of Accident And Deception:The Huey Long Shooting (1999).

Transcript -  transcript of the Weiss inquest made by the official court reporter, entered into the U.S. Senate Congressional Record by Senator Russell Long, Huey’s son, on September 10, 1985, the 50th anniversary of Huey’s death.  Pages 23210-23221. 

( Transcript or book author, page ) - the source of a statement made in this document. 


The Shooting Scene, Weiss Inquest Testimony 

        Huey had Governor Allen schedule a special session of the Legislature beginning on Saturday,  September 7, 1935 at 10:00 PM.  Forty-two bills were introduced in the House Of Representatives, of which thirty-nine were requested by Huey, and all of the bills were referred to one committee. The Senate met briefly and adjourned until Monday morning awaiting House action on the bills. The House committee met on Sunday morning September 8 with Huey in attendance, and all thirty-nine of the bills he requested were easily approved. The House was then scheduled to meet at 8:00 PM that night to receive the committee report and schedule the bills for discussion the next morning. The House was gaveled to order at 8:30 PM with Huey in attendance.  

        The House was preparing to adjourn at about 9:20 PM when Huey exited the chamber through the side door and turned west into the corridor leading to the governor’s office. He always walked fast and his bodyguards were walking just behind him, trying to keep up. A few feet past the elevator he turned into the private entrance and walked through the secretary’s office into the governor’s office, and in an interview Roden said that he had made several such trips earlier that night. (Deutsch, 87) He entered the governor’s office to talk to Frampton, who was on the telephone, so he quickly turned around and returned to the corridor along the same route that he came in.  At Zinman, opposite page 171, is a map of the area but it incorrectly shows that he took the reception room route into the governor’s office instead of the private entrance route.  

         It was a coroner’s inquest into the death of Weiss, it was not a trial. It was conducted by Coroner Bird and District Attorney Odom, both anti-Huey, before a jury of five people. The witnesses may not have been sequestered before testifying, but any criticism for that has to be directed toward Odom, who had the authority to do it. The inquest was scheduled for 10:00 AM on Monday September 9, the day after the shooting and the day before Huey died. Supposedly his last words before going under surgery on Sunday night forbade any statements about the shooting by anyone but him, so that none of his cohorts or bodyguards appeared. Two persons did testify, one of which was Frampton, but neither person had seen the first shot fired. It was reset for Tuesday afternoon but Huey died early that morning and everything was in a turmoil so no one appeared. It was reset for Thursday but his funeral was held that day and bodyguards were needed for the funeral, so again no one appeared. It was reset for Monday, September 16 at 10:00 AM and this time the bodyguards were present. (Zinman, 195-198) (Reed, 30)  The following is a summary of the inquest testimony (Transcript, 23211-23221) : 

        Huey went into the governor’s office, turned around almost immediately, and walked back into the corridor along the same route that he came in. That part of the corridor is a bay framed on four sides by Travertine marble pillars. He stopped near a circle (rosette) in the floor and called out to someone about a meeting of his supporters the next morning.  Fournet and Roden were then directly in front of him.  A thin young man in a white suit with a pistol in his right hand approached him in a diagonal direction, thrust it into his abdomen, and fired a shot.  When Fournet and Roden saw the gun both attempted to hit the man’s arm to deflect his aim, but the gun went off simultaneously.  Prior to the shooting there was no conversation between the man and Huey and neither put his hands on the other.  Huey cried out, then turned around and fled down the corridor in a westerly direction in a crouched position holding his abdomen. Roden grabbed the man’s gun hand, they struggled for possession of the pistol, and both fell to the floor but got back up. Some witnesses heard a second shot shortly after the first one, followed by a volley of shots fired by the bodyguards at the man, who sank to the floor in the southeast corner of the bay with the pistol in his hand. He was also shot after he fell to the floor. His lifeless body was not touched until Coroner Bird arrived and positively identified him as Weiss. The following persons testified that they saw Weiss shoot Huey :  Fournet, Roden, Coleman, Bates, Votier, and Wimberly. The following persons did not see Weiss shoot Huey, but after hearing the first shot they saw Weiss with a pistol in his hand pointed at him :  Riddle and Messina.

            After Huey was shot Coleman said that he threw a punch at Weiss but hit someone else instead, then threw another punch which hit Weiss. Votier saw Coleman throw the punches, but thought he hit Weiss with the first punch. If Weiss was hit by a punch, that may have contributed to his and Roden’s fall to the floor during the struggle. 

            A small-arms cartridge consists of a metal casing (shell) holding a lead bullet, and when the weapon is fired the bullet separates from the shell and exits the end of the barrel. In a revolver, each cartridge is loaded into a separate chamber inside a cylinder and when the weapon is fired the empty shell remains inside the chamber. In an automatic pistol, cartridges are loaded into a cartridge clip, and when the weapon is fired the empty shell is expelled from the pistol by an ejecting mechanism. If the ejector jams, the shell remains inside the pistol and prevents it from being fired again.

            Roden testified that he thought Weiss fired only one shot, but in two separate interviews years apart he said he was temporarily blinded by all the shooting, after which a state policeman took him to the nearby        Our Lady Of The Lake Hospital for treatment. There he noticed that his watch was missing and saw a furrow plowed across the back of his wrist, which left a scar. Two days later the Baton Rouge police chief returned the watch and said that someone had found it on the floor and given it to the police.  Roden noticed a dent in the watch frame, which was apparently caused by a small caliber bullet. He had seen a shell eject when the man shot Huey, and was told that when the gun was recovered from the floor another shell was caught in the ejecting mechanism, which meant that two cartridges had been fired. He thereafter believed that a second shot was fired by the man during the struggle, which is the only conclusion that would conform with the two minor injuries he sustained to his right hand and left wrist. (Deutsch, 92-94,154) (Zinman,119)  At Deutsch, following page 84, is a picture of the pistol, a cartridge clip and five cartridges, and the watch. The cartridge clip normally holds seven, and Coroner Bird said that when the pistol was recovered from the floor after the shooting the clip contained five cartridges and an empty shell was jammed in the ejector. (Zinman, 219)  (A perfectionist on a mission would make sure that a gun was fully loaded with seven cartridges, which indicates that two shots were fired.)  Ownership of the pistol was traced to Weiss, and it and the clip, five cartridges, and the watch are in a showcase in the  “Assassination Exhibit”  at the Old State Capitol on North Boulevard.     

            When McQuiston was called to testify, he said : “I don’t care to make any statements whatsoever".   District Attorney Odom did not force the issue and excused him from testifying.  Roden and Messina testified that McQuiston was near the shooting scene, and Frampton testified that McQuiston had a gun in his hand, but no one testified that he shot it. 

            All of the eyewitnesses gave basically the same version : that Weiss was the aggressor, approached Huey without a word and shot him, then was gunned down by the bodyguards. None of the witnesses believed that an altercation between the two had preceded the shooting. The preponderance of testimony was that two shots came close together, a pause, then a fusillade. Coroner Bird said that he found in Weiss’ body two bullet openings in the head, thirty in the front of the body and twenty-nine in the back, but it was impossible to tell which were wounds of entrance and which were of exit because there were so many in each direction. (If the wounds in the front and back were made by the same bullet, then he was shot thirty-one or thirty-two times.) Two bullets were recovered from just under the skin, a .38 caliber and a .45 caliber. At the conclusion of the inquest the jury returned this verdict : " Dr. Carl A. Weiss came to his death as the result of pistol wounds of the head, chest and abdomen (homicidal). "  (Zinman, 218-219). Although some people may be troubled because almost all of the eyewitnesses were pro-Huey and they did not testify until a week after the shooting, it should be noted that Frampton testified the morning after the shooting.  Although he was pro-Huey, as a journalist he also had an obligation to report an event fairly and accurately.                               

Huey’s Cut Lip 

        At the inquest Frampton and Bates testified that after Huey was shot he fled west down the corridor in a crouched position, holding a hand to his abdomen.  He turned into a passageway some thirty-three feet from the shooting scene, entered a four-level staircase leading to the basement, and went down its twenty-nine steps. O’Connor obtained the cigars that Huey wanted from the basement restaurant and was starting back to the House chamber when he heard what sounded like gun shots, then saw Huey come staggering out of the staircase. Huey said that he had been shot, and spit blood on the front of O’Connor’s suit jacket, so O’Connor thought that he had been shot in the mouth.  Huey started reeling, so O’Connor grabbed him and helped him toward a rear door. Outside, O’Connor spotted an open four-door car and its owner drove them to the Our Lady Of The Lake Hospital just north of the capitol.  They sat in the rear with Huey sprawled across the back seat, his hands pressed to his abdomen with his head on O’Connor’s shoulder. (O’Connor later said that as the years passed a dozen other people claimed to have been in the car with them, but he said if that was so they had to be invisible). (Zinman, 128 footnote)  At the hospital he learned that Huey had not been shot in the mouth but that a membrane had been cut inside his lower lip, which caused the bleeding. (Zinman, 127-128)   

         Dr. Cook testified that at the hospital another doctor pointed out to him an abrasion or brush burn on Huey’s lower lip, which appeared to be fresh, and when it was wiped with a wet sponge it bled a little.  State Attorney General Gaston Porterie then asked him if a person having been shot as Huey was, making his way down four winding flights of stairs, could have struck against a hard surface such as an angle of marble or iron which caused the injury.  Cook answered that any contusion or trauma such as that could have caused it.   

         When he was shot Huey grabbed his abdomen and fled down the corridor in a crouched position with one hand held against the wound, and when he emerged from the staircase he was reeling so he was obviously in pain. It is logical to assume that in his flight down the stairs he continued in a crouched position and held one hand to the wound, while trying to hold the railing with the other hand. I invite anyone to descend that winding flight of stairs in a crouched position, with one hand held to your abdomen, and see how difficult it is to maintain your balance. You will find that he could easily have lost his balance and struck his mouth against a hard surface such as the metal plate atop the newel post, which caused his lip to bleed. To add a touch of realism to your trip down the stairs, have someone punch you in the abdomen first.  

Identification Of Weiss

        Frampton testified that the assailant’s body lay face down on the floor and was not touched until Coroner Bird arrived and ordered it removed.  Bodyguards and police cleared the main floor of spectators and cordoned off the corridor. Gen. Guerre stationed his men at all exits and closed the building.  He gave orders not to permit anyone in or out until the person was identified, and only state officials or those with business inside were allowed. Highway Police Chief E. P. Roy threw a ring of patrolmen around the body and it lay unidentified until Coroner Bird arrived.  Bird deputized Helen Gilkison, a reporter for the New Orleans Item-Tribune, to help him search the body.  In the pockets were found : a wallet containing six dollars, a fountain pen, a medical society card, a bone-handled pocket knife, a license issued to practicing physicians, an engraved calling card, and a city tax receipt. Bird said that a .32" (7.65 mm.) caliber Belgian Browning automatic pistol was found next to the body, which was later traced to Weiss. (Zinman, 129-130) The pistol was taken from the scene by Baton Rouge Police detectives and was last recorded to be in possession of the BCI.  (Reed, 231)  District Attorney Odom in a written statement in November 1944 said that the BCI secured all of the fired bullets (slugs) found at the scene and refused to surrender them to anyone. (Zinman, 251-252)  The body was turned over, and Bird identified him as Weiss.  A photograph in Deutsch, following page 84, shows the body after it was turned over, and next to the body is a hat. He was twenty-nine years old.

        The shooting occurred at approximately 9:22 PM. The coroner made the identification of the body about thirty minutes after the shooting, which would be 9:52 PM. (Reed, 24)  However, in the final investigative report issued by the state police in June 1992, reference is made to a telephone call from Washington, D.C. to a person in Baton Rouge which identified Weiss as the assailant. The call was received at 9:33 PM, approximately eleven minutes after the shooting, which is nineteen minutes before the time the coroner identified him. A correspondent for United Press International allegedly obtained the information from Speaker Of The House Allen Ellender at the Our Lady Of The Lake Hospital where Huey was brought. (Zinman, 346)  Apparently someone at the scene of the shooting recognized the assailant as Weiss, although his body lay face down until the coroner arrived. Who could it be, since most of the people in the corridor were Huey’s bodyguards and political allies, who supposedly did not know Weiss ?

        The corridor where the shooting occurred measures 8’ wide throughout most of its 150’ length, except outside the reception room where it widens to 12’ to form a bay about 12’ x 20’ long. The bay is framed in each of the four corners by a Travertine marble pillar, and in the recess next to the pillar on the southeast side is where Weiss was waiting. (Reed, 27)  He was dressed in the clothes that he wore to church that morning, a white linen suit with a Panama hat and black shoes. (Zinman, 89)  Mildred Sanchez, fifteen years old, had come to the capitol with her sister and another teenager and that girl’s parents. Their purpose was to try to get Huey’s autograph, so the teenagers split up. Mildred knew Weiss and spotted him in the first floor rotunda (Memorial Hall). When she walked over to him he recognized her, exchanged greetings, then excused himself and walked off toward the corridor. She considered physicians to be celebrities, and decided to trail him in hopes that he might lead her to another celebrity, namely Huey. (Zinman,111-112)  She apparently was somewhere in the bay when the shooting started, because for protection a highway patrolman engulfed her in his arm and snatched her against the wall by one of the pillars. (Zinman,117)  When the shooting stopped it is quite possible that she told the patrolman that the assailant was Weiss, and that information was relayed to his superior and then to Ellender. He sped to the hospital to check on Huey and the reporter confronted him there and received the tentative identification, which led to the telephone call at 9:33 PM.  

Huey’s  Wound

       Surgeons have always looked upon the abdominal cavity as one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. Gunshot wounds in this soft, yielding region have always been considered serious. In 1935 doctors did not have antibiotics such as penicillin or sulfa drugs, and the mortality rate from penetrating abdominal wounds was estimated at 65%. (Zinman, 148-150)  At the hospital Huey’s blood pressure was dropping and his pulse was rising. When the two readings come together, it is a strong indication of hemorrhaging.  Dr. Vidrine was in town for the legislative session and was summoned to the hospital. When told that surgery would be necessary, Huey requested that it be done by Dr. Urban Maes of New Orleans, an outstanding surgeon. (Deutsch, 104)  Maes was contacted and he and another physician decided to drive from New Orleans, but they were involved in a road mishap along the way and did not arrive until after the surgery was completed. (Deutsch, 108-109)  Other local physicians were summoned to the hospital, and when his condition continued to deteriorate Dr.Vidrine decided to operate. (Zinman, 145-146) The operating room record shows that surgery began at 11:22 PM, two hours after he was shot, and ended at 12:25 AM the next morning. (Deutsch, 119)    Dr. Vidrine was chief surgeon, and the others were all local physicians : Dr. William Cook was first assistant,  Dr. Cecil Lorio (a pediatrician) ran the surgical tray, and Dr. Henry McKowen was the anesthesiologist.            Dr. Clarence Lorio, a close friend of Huey and Cecil Lorio’s brother, arrived later and assisted at the end of the surgery. (Zinman, 142,146) ( Deutsch, 117)  

       Details of the surgery were not made public, apparently because of the doctor-patient privilege. The only authentic report was an article published in 1948 in an official medical journal by Dr. Frank L. Loria of           New Orleans, a specialist in abdominal surgery, who included the case in a treatise on penetrating wounds of the abdomen.  He had succeeded in interviewing Drs. Vidrine, Cook, and Cecil Lorio and the hospital had completed a questionnaire he had sent. The treatise said that an incision was made in the abdomen near the entrance wound. Very little blood was found inside the lining of the abdominal cavity. The liver, gall bladder, and stomach were free of injury. A small clot of blood, about the size of a silver dollar, was found in the tissue of the small intestine. The only damage found inside the abdominal lining was a small puncture of the colon, which accounted for a slight escape of waste matter into the abdominal cavity.  Both colon wounds, of exit and of entrance, were sewed up and further spillage stopped. The abdomen was closed in layers as usual.  A hospital bulletin was issued at 2:00 AM which read : “Senator Long was wounded by one bullet entering the upper right side, emerging from the back. The colon was punctured in two places. The first blood transfusion has been given with good results. His condition is thoroughly satisfactory. “ (Reed, 154) (Zinman, 151-154) 

        A similar bulletin was issued by Dr. Vidrine at 5:15 AM, but it added that there was a considerable hemorrhage from the mesentery and the omentum. (Pavy, 52-54) That bulletin is also included in the Assassination Exhibit.  Dr. Loria’s treatise shows that catheterization was not done until 6:45 AM, almost six hours after the surgery was completed. It showed that there was blood in the urine, which was an absolute indication of injury to the kidney. It was later determined that the kidney hemorrhage was massive and continuing, and medical opinion was unanimous that additional surgery would unquestionably prove fatal. (Deutsch, 121-122)  Dr. Loria concluded that based on the apparent path of the bullet through the body, it would have been impossible for it not to have hit the right kidney, which could result in internal hemorrhaging.  Good medical procedure would have called for tests prior to surgery to verify this clinical evidence, but there was no record showing that it was done. (Reed, 150-151)  It is possible that there was no way he could have survived, but his fate was probably sealed during surgery when no attempt was made to make an incision in the anterior wall of the peritoneal cavity to inspect the kidney visually. (Reed, 165) 

           Some physicians wondered why no attempt was made to probe into the back regions after finding such a small amount of blood in the abdomen. Apparently the rear abdominal wall, lying between the intestines and the kidney, had acted as a screen. The blood had welled up unseen behind it, and it flowed unchecked until he bled to death. (Zinman, 175-176)  Portions of the hospital record force a conclusion that his right kidney had been injured, causing internal hemorrhage, and the loss of blood was the cause of death.  Most physicians disagree with the peritonitis theory of death (inflammation of the peritoneum) because of the relative speed with which he died.  He died less than thirty-one hours after being shot and it is generally believed that it would have taken days, not hours, for peritonitis to run its fatal course. (Reed, 25)  After the surgery Dr. P. Jorda Kahle, a urologist,  plunged a long needle into Huey’s back in the region of the right kidney and drew pure blood. (Zinman,171)  A former medical school roommate and good friend of Weiss, Dr. Edgar Hull, said that he was there and understood Dr. Kahle to say that the needle drew no blood, which would support the peritonitis argument. However, even if the needle did not draw any blood, another urologist stated that a patient can bleed from the kidney and yet a negative aspiration is still possible. (Pavy, 57-58)     

       Huey died at 4:06 AM on Tuesday, September 10 at the age of forty-two.  Dr. Cecil Lorio, among others, was of the opinion that Huey was delirious when he recovered from surgery and did not regain full consciousness. Any words he spoke were not rational expressions, and O’Connor said the same thing. (Reed, 166)  Dr. E.L. Sanderson, the Long family physician from Shreveport, was there and told Dr. Vidrine that he opposed an autopsy because it would violate the body, and that settled the matter. (Reed, 168-169)  

         Huey’s body was removed to the Rabenhorst Funeral Home, the same mortuary that had prepared the body of Weiss for burial. Later that day Coroner Bird convened a jury of five people, four of whom had served on the Weiss jury. No witnesses were heard, and the inquest only lasted a few minutes. He explained the facts of the case as he knew them and showed the jury Weiss’ pistol. He lifted the sheet covering Huey’s body to show the wound in the front and raised up the right side of the body to show the small wound in the back, which the jury viewed at a distance of several feet. The jury reached a quick verdict : “Death was the result of pistol wound of abdomen (homicidal).”  (Deutsch,132-133) (Zinman, 183)

How Many Bullets Hit Huey ?

         A teletype was sent by a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New Orleans to Director J. Edgar Hoover at 10:35 PM, an hour after the shooting. It said that Huey had been shot twice in the abdomen and was in grave condition undergoing surgery. However, surgery did not begin until 11:22 PM,  two hours after the shooting.  No medical report was ever issued indicating that he had been shot twice in any part of the body, so where did the agent get his information ?  The teletype ended with this statement : “No investigation by this office unless advised.”  A few days later Hoover wrote on the teletype : ”No investigation as no Federal law violated.” (I obtained a complete copy of the teletype from the FBI and sent it to the State Archives Office on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge for filing ; a partial reproduction is at  Reed, 26).  Although Huey was a U.S. Senator shot in a public building and despite repeated requests to do so, there is no Federal record of an investigation into the shooting. (Reed,14) (Zinman, 258) The FBI has a file on Huey and his cronies, but it relates to an investigation of alleged corruption and income tax evasion. (Deutsch,141-142) (Williams, 795-798) 

         Ed Reed, listed in the “Identification” section above, was author of the book Requiem For A Kingfish, and became champion of the “two-bullet” theory.  His theory was that the front and back wounds in Huey were each entrance wounds made by different bullets, and that one of the bullets was found by Dr. Vidrine in surgery .   However, scrub student nurse Melinda Delage and Joseph Sabatier, who was a medical student in the operating room, stated that to their knowledge no bullet was found during surgery. (Pavy, 160)  Reed contended that if a bullet entered from the front and exited from the back, the exit wound should be larger. However, firearm experts say that it is not unusual for a jacketed bullet (like the one Weiss allegedly fired) that does not strike bone to make a clean, smaller hole on exit.  Patrick Lane, forensic scientist for the Louisiana State Police, said that the jacket around the bullet keeps it from expanding so that an exit hole may very closely approximate the bullet diameter or appear slightly smaller. (Zinman, 302 footnote)                          

         A world-renowned expert in ballistics and wounds, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, wrote a letter to Dr. Donald Pavy on June 29, 1998 which states as follows:  “In 1935, .32 caliber automatic ammunition was loaded with full metal-jacketed bullets, usually weighing 71 grains. Muzzle velocity was 960 feet/second. If a person was shot in the abdomen with such a bullet and it did not strike any significant bony structure, the probability is greater than 50% that it would have exited the body. While this particular round is not a very high energy round, it is a good perforating cartridge. The .38 caliber ammunition in use at that time was loaded almost exclusively with an all lead 150-grain bullet. Muzzle velocity would be around 755 feet/second. If the bullet entered the back and traveled upward striking the sternum, there is a 75% probability that it would have stayed in the body.”   He could not comment on the .44 caliber weapons because he was not familiar with the type of ammunition that was used in those days. He speculated that such a weapon was a .44 Special using an all lead bullet weighing 246 grains, with a muzzle velocity of 755 feet/second. (Pavy, 163-164)                           

       In 1983, forty-eight years later, Reed interviewed Merle Welsh, the mortician who embalmed Huey. Welsh said that Dr. Clarence Lorio, Huey’s close friend who assisted in the surgery, came to the mortuary at night after all had left except the undertakers. He said that Dr. Lorio undid the sutures, donned a rubber glove, and after probing inside Huey’s body he extracted a bullet which appeared to be of a large caliber. (Zinman, 300)          Lt. Moreau, the state police investigator, said flatly that he did not believe Welsh’s story. He said that if you ever go to an autopsy you will find that bullets do not just lie around in a body cavity, they really have to be looked for. He said that pathologists will tell you stories about how they had to cut a body wide open trying to find a bullet. He said that Welsh’s story was not credible, it was nonsense. (Zinman, 301- 302) Prof. Starrs, the forensic expert, examined the photographs of the garments presumably worn by Huey when he was shot. He said that the bullet-torn coat jacket showed clear evidence of powder-staining from a point blank entrance wound to the right abdomen, and another photograph showed what looked like an exit wound in the back of the jacket.  He said that none of the pictures gives support to the two-bullet theory, all of which made the story of mortician Welsh “so much wool-gathering”. (Zinman, 316-317)  Moreover, since Dr. Lorio was pro-Huey, why would he take an action such as that which might refute the one-bullet version in favor of a two-bullet version that would implicate the bodyguards ?  It’s a bizarre story, to say the least.  Also, Pavy admits that no bullet was ever found. (Pavy, 151)

Motive

Perceptions Of Huey 

       Huey’s opponents considered him to be a ruthless, flamboyant demagogue.  He loaded the state payroll with his cronies, bludgeoned a supine legislature into passing his proposals, and gradually extended his power until practically every office holder, court, and municipal government in the state was under his thumb. (Zinman, 41-42)  Political writers compared his regime to the fascist European dictatorships of Benito Mussolini in Italy, Engleburt Dollfus in Austria (who was assassinated in 1934), and Adolph Hitler.  Weiss had been exposed to these dictators when he interned in Europe before returning to Louisiana. (Reed, 183) There was no question that Huey’s ruthless politics spawned legions of bitter enemies. They included school teachers and state workers let go because their politics were “wrong”, anti-Huey leaders of rural parishes turned out to pasture, and genuinely disturbed members of the middle class. (Zinman, 104)          

Perceptions Of Weiss

          He had been a Boy Scout, a group that stresses service to others.  As a young boy he had a quick temper, which sometimes flashed if he thought an underling was being bullied.  His mother said that he took living seriously : Right with him was right above everything else. He was religious and was inherently an idealistic and sensitive person. Yvonne said that he was always very calm and deliberate. He became a regular intern at Bellevue Hospital in New York for two years and earned a reputation as being thorough and painstaking, a perfectionist. His office nurse in Baton Rouge said that in the most delicate of operations, his hands were perfectly steady. He had a deep concern for his patients and made house calls to check on their condition. A colleague said that he was always a strong-willed, determined person, and it was said that he hated Huey vehemently. (Zinman, 65-67)  He was sorely distressed about the suppressive form of government that he felt existed in the state because of Huey. (Deutsch, 127-128)  He had a fondness for firearms and spent a lot of time with his .32 caliber pistol, but was not an exceptional shot because he was nearsighted. (Zinman, 57)  He was slight in stature at 5’10”,132 lb.                                                                    

          He was surrounded daily by reports of the abuses of Huey and his dictatorship. Inside his office building was one of the greatest concentrations of anti-Huey sentiment in Baton Rouge.  Most of his social contacts were anti-Huey.  Because of Huey, in January 1935 martial law had been declared in Baton Rouge and it seemed that the Brownshirts of Germany and the Blackshirts of Italy had been transplanted to the city. (Reed, 212-213)  At home, Weiss and his family talked about politics at mealtime. His father, Papa Weiss, felt that Huey stood for everything that was wrong, dishonest, and conniving. (Zinman, 58)  Although the state capitol  building was only a few blocks away, his mother said that she had never set foot in the building because to her it was a giant symbol of a dictator’s rise to power. (Zinman, 72)                                

       Judge Pavy and Huey were bitter enemies.  Pavy thought Huey was a dangerous man and the nearest thing to Hitler in America. (Zinman, 80)  Yvonne’s sister Marie was a school teacher and their uncle Paul Pavy was a school principal in St. Landry Parish, but a month before the shooting both were dismissed out of hand by a board controlled by Huey.  About the same time one of Yvonne’s close friends in Baton Rouge lost her job in a mass school purge. (Zinman, 86)  An article in the New Orleans Item-Tribune on September 13 said that a patient of Weiss, a woman teacher who was the sole support of her widowed mother, felt that she lost her job because of Huey and expressed her distress at Weiss’ office on Friday, two days before the shooting. She had been fired by a board controlled by Huey which screened teachers for service in the school system. (Reed, 191, 212-213)  I believe this incident demonstrated to Weiss that no one was safe from Huey’s tentacles, and that the only thing that could stop the monster was a bullet.

                                                             The Miscegenation Claim

         The claim that there was Negro blood in the Pavy family was made by a political opponent of Judge Pavy when he first ran for judge over twenty-five years ago. (Pavy, 88)  Such a claim was taken seriously in the state and it had serious repercussions. Court decisions upheld a rule dating from the French and Spanish colonial days which said that a person with “any traceable amount” of black ancestry was considered black. Genealogists say intermingling between the races in the southern part of the state was not uncommon.  Despite their considerable numbers, those with mixed blood had no real place in Louisiana society. These residents, called "people of color", had to fit into a rigidly controlled two-caste system. They had to live as either blacks or whites.  Segregation affected every phase of life and those classified as black - no matter how light their skin - were forever members of the ”out” group.  That was still the situation in September 1935. (Zinman, 327-328)     

       If it suited his purpose, Huey wouldn’t hesitate to accuse political enemies of having “a little too much coffee in their cream”, i. e., that they had Negro blood.  He nicknamed opponents “Kinky” and “Shinola” with devastating results. (Reed, 209-210)  Judge Pavy faced reelection soon and there were vague reports that Huey was planning to make such a claim against him in his weekly newspaper, American Progress. (Deutsch, 129-130) The claim would make Yvonne and their infant son a Negro, which would place his whole future in jeopardy. He might not be allowed to go to school with white kids, he might not be allowed to go to medical school, and he might not be able to mingle in white society ; he would be ostracized. (Zinman, 327-328)  If Weiss heard the rumor that Huey was planning to make such a claim, he realized that the only way to prevent the claim from being made was to silence him forever, and Weiss was a determined person. There is some indication that Huey did plan to make such a claim.  Handbills and circulars were one of his favorite methods to attack an opponent in an election campaign. On Sunday afternoon, the day of the shooting, he met with a group of legislative leaders, and during the meeting he telephoned printer Joe David in New Orleans and told him that the copy for an important circular about Judge Pavy would soon be sent down. (Williams, 863)

            Huey thought of a scheme to make it almost impossible for Judge Pavy to be reelected by moving       St. Landry Parish into an adjacent judicial district containing three other parishes, all controlled by Huey. This would allow Huey to campaign against him on friendly turf, where the miscegenation claim could be effectively used. This gerrymandering scheme was included in one of the bills introduced in the special session. (Williams, 861-862) The Saturday afternoon Baton Rouge State-Times newspaper on its front page said that the legislature would convene that night at 10:00 PM, and the continuation on page 9 said that the bill dealing with the rearrangement of judicial districts could affect Judge Pavy.  After reading the article I believe that Weiss made an irreversible decision to silence Huey, if given the chance, to forever prevent him from making the miscegenation claim that would ostracize his son. 

Planning The Attack

           True to form, Weiss made plans in a precise and thorough manner.  Since he was nearsighted and not a good shot at a distance, he needed to get as close to Huey as possible.  He also needed to aim at a large area of the body because he would probably only get one shot, after which the bodyguards who always accompanied Huey would attack. Both branches of the legislature convened at 10:00 PM on Saturday, and all of the bills were introduced in the House, so the Senate quickly adjourned until Monday awaiting House action on the bills. It was common knowledge that when the legislature was in session Huey would set up headquarters in part of the governor’s office, which was located northwest of the House chamber with a corridor in between.  Huey was in the House chamber Saturday night and made several trips along the corridor to the governor’s office, with the bodyguards and some of his supporters in tow. (Deutsch, 66-67)  Henry Larcade was a pro-Huey, anti-Pavy senator from St. Landry Parish. The Pavy family resided in Opelousas and since Weiss and Yvonne married there almost two years ago and visited often, he probably had seen them together several times. In an interview he said that on Saturday night while walking along the corridor he saw Weiss standing in the recess just across from the reception room entrance to the governor’s office.  (Reed, 200) This would indicate that Weiss was on a reconnaissance mission, and he noticed that by standing in the recess next to the southeast pillar he would be shielded from the view of a person walking along the corridor from the House chamber to the governor’s office (try it with a friend some time). He also noticed that most of the people in the corridor waiting for Huey were dressed in a suit, and that they roamed the corridor without being disturbed by anyone.  

       Weiss’ home at 527 Lakeland Drive (a marker is there now) was only a few blocks from the capitol, about five minutes away by foot, so he may have walked there on Saturday night. He couldn’t risk doing that on Sunday night because Yvonne might become suspicious, especially if he left home dressed in a suit. He noticed that both streets leading to the capitol were lined with cars, it was always a big show when Huey was there, so he had to find a readily accessible parking space. The large parking lot in front of the capitol was closed to the public when the legislature was in session, only legislators and other authorized persons could park there, and both ends of Capitol Drive leading into the parking lot were probably barricaded and manned by guards.  On Saturday night 30 of 39 senators were in attendance, so nine parking spaces were vacant ; 85 of 105 representatives attended so twenty parking spaces were vacant, a total of twenty-nine vacant spaces. (Zinman, 14-15) There would be at least that many vacancies on Sunday night because the Senate was in adjournment until Monday. He carried a physician’s license and a calling card, and there may have been a physician’s decal on the car. The House was set to convene at 8:00 PM on Sunday.  If he approached the barricade about 9:00 PM with his medical bag in full view on the seat, identified himself as a physician, tendered his physician’s license and calling card and said that he had an appointment inside, would the guard refuse him admittance or tell him to take any vacant space on the lot ?  It is also possible that there were spaces reserved for medical personnel and he had noticed this on Saturday. 

       The two Weiss families resided a few blocks apart and shared the one family car, a black 1931 Buick, and each family had a set of keys. Weiss only had one asset, an insurance policy, so the car was probably registered to Papa Weiss. (Pavy, 27) The car may have only required one key to operate, because in the 1930’s most cars had one key which operated the ignition and the door locks. If he succeeded in shooting at Huey, Weiss might be shot by the bodyguards or at the very least he would be detained. If he had the key in his possession the car might be impounded, which would deprive both families of its use for some time. The car key and his house key were probably on a key ring, which would allow the police to ransack his house at any hour looking for evidence and that would disturb Yvonne and the baby, so he left the key ring at home and only took the car key. If he didn’t get a chance to shoot, he would need the key to drive the car home, so he hid the key where it would be hard for anyone to find. A physician would not leave his medical bag in an unlocked vehicle, so he locked the car and hid the key on the outside of it or under the hood, or near the building or inside of it.    

Why Was The Car Moved ?

         After Tom Ed was certain that his brother had been killed he went to the capitol seeking information, but the building was locked. He and his cousin got there between 10:30 PM and 11:30 PM. (Pavy, 84) (Zinman,147) The car was found in the parking lot against the curb directly in front of the building and was the only car on the lot. One book said that when Tom Ed found the car it was locked (Reed, 212), but another book said it was unlocked. (Zinman, 147)  Weiss usually kept the pistol in his medical bag or in the dashboard compartment, and Tom Ed saw that someone had rummaged through both and the white cotton sock that usually housed the pistol was on the floor. The pistol was regularly oiled to keep it in good operating condition, and the sock was used to keep it from staining other objects. (Reed, 194-195)  (Since Weiss removed the sock and put the pistol in his pocket, he obviously entered the building with a destructive intent.) Tom Ed sent the cousin to his father’s house to get a car key while he walked around to the north end of the building to speak to some policemen, but got no information from them. When he returned to the front of the building, the car was gone. He and the cousin searched for about an hour before finding the car in a wide pedestrian walkway in the gardens south of the parking lot.  (Pavy, 84-87) 

       Obviously the police were the ones who rummaged through the car, but why move it ?  If they knew it belonged to Weiss, why not leave it in front of the building and station a guard nearby. If they were looking for evidence of some kind, they could search it again when daylight came. The House adjourned at about the time of the shooting and it and the Senate were due to convene the next morning. I suspect that as a matter of routine the parking lot guards were under orders to remove all vehicles from the lot at the end of the day so that the lot would be empty when the legislators and other officials arrived in the morning. From experience, they knew how to unlock a car quickly. They rummaged through the medical bag and the dashboard compartment looking for a key to start the car, which explains why the sock was found on the floor because Weiss would not have left it there. Tom Ed said that Weiss was meticulously neat and once castigated him for leaving the sock on the seat. (Pavy, 84) The police knew how to “hot wire” a car to get it started, or perhaps they had ready access to a tow truck.  Whichever, the wide pedestrian walkway was a convenient place to transfer such cars, and the move was made during the time that Tom Ed was at the north end of the building.

The Non - Matching Slugs

         District Attorney Odom was defeated for reelection in 1936. That November, as he was preparing to leave office, he made a written request to Gen. Guerre asking that Weiss’ automatic pistol be returned to the custody of the court. Guerre declined the request in writing by saying that it was necessary to retain the pistol in order to make further ballistic investigation of it. After Guerre left office, in 1961 he was asked by Zinman what had become of the pistol, and he replied that it had remained behind at state police headquarters, but officials there said they had no record of it. (Zinman, 259)

        Guerre died in 1966.  In 1991 an investigator for  Prof. Starrs discovered Guerre's legal sucession in the Orleans Civil District Court records (No. 452-914) and the investigative file was found in the possession of his last surviving child, Mabel Guerre Binnings. A pistol matching the description of the Weiss pistol was found in her safety deposit box at a bank. A court suit was filed to determine ownership of the pistol and the file, and the state police reopened the investigation. [ The judge awarded ownership of the pistol to Carl Austin Weiss, Jr. who later donated it to the Louisiana State Archives, and it is now in a showcase in the Assassination Exhibit. (Pavy, 131) ]  With the pistol were a cartridge clip, six cartridges, and a fired .32 caliber bullet (“the box slug”). (Zinman, 308-310,344)  Lt. Moreau said that the cartridges were .32 caliber, tin plated, copper jacketed, automatic pistol, and the slug appeared to be of the same type. When the pistol was retrieved from the floor on the night of the shooting, the clip contained five cartridges and an empty shell was stuck in the ejector. (Zinman, 219) Thus, since that night at least one cartridge was added to the original five or perhaps all six cartridges are new (if so, the slug may also be new). The nose of the slug was slightly blunted, an indication that it had struck a hard surface such as a floor or wall. Judging from the moderate damage that the slug sustained, firearm experts agreed that it may have been slowed by first passing through a soft substance, such as the tissue of a person, although a microscopic examination did not show any trace of skin or blood. Embedded in the slug were grains of calcium, a mineral found in limestone, which is a major ingredient in marble, lava, and concrete. (Zinman, 317- 321) The capitol floors are made of lava and the walls and the Travertine pillars are made of marble.

         Patrick Lane of the state police crime lab said that the pistol was test-fired with one of the six cartridges found with the weapon. (He said it was also fired with a similar cartridge from state police stock).  As a bullet travels through the barrel, distinctive markings are etched on it by the grooves inside the barrel. The resultant slug was compared under a precision microscope with the box slug, but the distinctive markings did not match, which meant that the box slug did not come from the pistol. The resultant slug and the box slug are now in a      “non-matching slugs” showcase in the Assassination Exhibit at the Old State Capitol. The state police took the position that the box slug could not be linked to the shooting with any degree of certainty because there was no “chain of custody”, i. e., it was not known what weapon had fired the slug or who had handled the weapon or the slug so it was not possible to connect it with the shooting. (Zinman, 321)  Mrs. Binnings said that after the pistol came into her possession it had been offered for sale at least twice and that it had been fired, which may explain why six cartridges, rather than five, were found with the pistol. (Zinman, 325-326)

        At the Weiss inquest, four bodyguards testified that they shot at him :  Roden, Votier, Messina, and Coleman.  Roden and Votier said they were armed with .38 caliber automatic pistols.  Coroner Bird said that he found two fired bullets (slugs) just under the skin, a .38 caliber and a .45 caliber, so either Messina or Coleman was armed with a .45 caliber weapon.  Reed at  page 155, says that Messina was armed with a .45 caliber pistol.  Zinman interviewed Coleman in March 1961, and on page 97 says that he was armed with a service revolver. In the 1930’s a .38 caliber service revolver was quite popular for law enforcement use, so apparently none of these four bodyguards was armed with a small caliber weapon.

        As concluded on page 4 herein, Weiss was shot thirty-one or thirty-two times. In testimony Roden said that he shot at him ten times, Votier five times, and Coleman three times for a total of eighteen, which leaves a balance of thirteen or fourteen shots.  Messina testified that he emptied his pistol shooting at Weiss, and if it had a capacity of eight or nine cartridges that would leave a balance of five or six shots. In an interview Frampton said that after Weiss fell to the floor he saw Messina and McQuiston come up and shoot at him. (Deutsch, 98)  If McQuiston fired his pistol five or six times, that would account for the balance.   

        There is a report that McQuiston was armed with a small caliber revolver in a leg holster. (Pavy, 45-46)  A gun collector now has the weapon. It was made in Great Britain prior to 1920 and was generally used as a “back-up gun”.  It has a capacity of five or six cartridges. It was determined that it could fire a .32 caliber cartridge, and an oral report has been received that in September 2011 it was test-fired by Chris Henderson of the Acadiana Criminalistic Laboratory in New Iberia and a slug was obtained. Although it was not compared under a microscope with the box slug, a determination was somehow made that the markings on the two slugs would not match. Weiss and McQuiston were the only two persons reported to be armed with a small caliber weapon.  Since the box slug did not come from either weapon, it may not have any connection with the shooting of Huey or Weiss, and one can only speculate as to its origin.

         As stated on page 5 herein, District Attorney Odom in a written statement in 1944 said that the BCI secured all of the slugs found at the scene and refused to surrender them to anyone. Coroner Bird did not find any .32 caliber slugs in Weiss’ body, so that all of the slugs from McQuiston’s pistol were located elsewhere.  I am convinced that Gen. Guerre test-fired Weiss’ pistol and compared the markings on the resultant slug with the .32 caliber slugs found at the scene. Since Weiss shot no more than twice, no more that two of the slugs could match the resultant slug, so the remainder had to come from Mcquiston’s pistol. Unless it could be proved that none of the Mcquiston slugs hit Huey, then there is that possibility. For example, if there was no blood on a slug there is a possibility, since apparently a slug can pass through a person and not pick up a trace of blood. If there was blood on a slug and the type matched Huey’s there is a strong possibility, unless Weiss’ type was the same as Huey’s.  Guerre may have concluded that he could not prove that none of McQuiston’s slugs hit Huey, but the issue could be precluded if all of the slugs disappeared, including the resultant slug (which supports my belief that the box slug is new and has nothing to do with the case). He may also have suggested to McQuiston that he not testify at the Weiss inquest and to remain silent about his role in the shooting, which he did.  Apparently Guerre then removed Weiss’ pistol from the BCI office and put it with his personal effects so that it would not be found until after his death.           

        Over the years it has been generally assumed that the small caliber bullet (slug) that went through Huey was never found, but it could have been among the slugs collected at the scene by the BCI.  Since all of the slugs were apparently discarded, who can say for certain that one of the .32 caliber slugs was not the one that hit Huey and another was not the one that grazed Roden’s wrist and dented his watch ?  On the other hand, all of the slugs fired at Weiss traveled in a southerly direction and were probably found near his body.  The slug that went through Huey traveled in a westerly direction down the corridor and the slug that hit Roden's watch may have done the same, and neither may have been found simply because they were not looked for.   If not, then all of the .32 caliber slugs found came from McQuiston's pistol.  If Guerre concluded that he could not prove that none of those hit Huey, then the issue could only be precluded if all of the slugs disappeared.  

        The investigative file is now in the custody of the State Archives Office on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. In the file are photographs of garments that Huey allegedly wore at the time of the shooting, which are also included in the Assassination Exhibit.  Examination of the photographs revealed "powder burns" around an apparent bullet hole in the front of his jacket, and an apparent bullet hole in the back of the jacket which aligned with the front hole. (a photograph of the jacket is in Zinman, following page 170) The description of the wound given by the attending surgeons coincided with the bullet hole locations in the photographs. (Zinman, 316-317, 321-323).  On June 5, 1992 the Louisiana Department Of Safety and Corrections issued a final report which did not alter the original conclusion in 1935 : that Huey was shot once in the upper abdomen with a small caliber pistol and that the bullet exited his back. (Zinman, 343-347)     

  



Conclusion 

         The final investigative report issued by the Department Of Safety and Corrections on June 5, 1992 stated that Huey was shot once by a thin man in a white suit. The shot was fired at “loose contact” distance, no more than an inch away, and all of the eyewitnesses testified that Weiss was the only person with a weapon who got that close to him. The bullet entered the right abdomen and after traversing the body exited from the lower back. The description of the wound given by the attending surgeons coincided with the bullet hole locations in the photographs of Huey’s garments.  Although Weiss may fit the definition of an assassin, there are those who prefer to think of him as a person of great strength and courage.                                                                                         ____________

December 6, 2011   


First Addendum                                  Origin Of The Deposit Box Slug 

            Coroner Bird stated that when he recovered the Weiss .32 caliber pistol from the floor on the night of the shooting the clip contained five cartridges and an empty shell was stuck in the ejecting mechanism, which prevented the pistol from being fired again. (Zinman, 219)  After the shell was removed, if the pistol was still not operational for some other reason, then an argument could be made that Weiss did not shoot Huey.  To settle the issue, Gen. Guerre had to fire the pistol with the original cartridges in the clip in order to test the ejecting mechanism and prove that the pistol was operational from the outset, and all of the cartridges were likely fired until the clip was empty.  The resultant fired bullets (slugs), along with the slugs recovered at the shooting scene by the BCI, have disappeared and were apparently discarded. 

            From the moment that Huey died, the pistol became a valuable collector's item.  Guerre apparently appropriated it from the BCI files and put it with his personal effects.  His legal succession contains a will (testament) in which he left the legitime (forced portion) of his estate to his three daughters.  The will did not include any items of property so the testamentary executor prepared a detailed descriptive list (inventory) of the estate. In the list an item is described as : "One 7.65 Calibre Browning Automatic manufactured by 'Fabrique Nationale D'Armes de Guerre, Herstal, Belgium', Serial 319 466."  [ Please note that on page 130 of his book Zinman indicates that sometime after the shooting Coroner Bird said the serial number was 319 436. Apparently no one doubted that it was the same pistol and the judge awarded ownership to Weiss, Jr., so a one-numeral discrepancy such as that was probably caused by a clerical error. ] The list includes two other caliber pistols, a .38 and a .380, but it does not include any ammunition or slugs.  In 1991 the pistol was found in a safety deposit box owned by his last surviving child, Mabel Guerre Binnings.  With the pistol were six cartridges and a slug. (Zinman, 308, 344)  However, when the pistol was recovered from the floor on the night of the shooting the clip only contained five cartridges and an empty shell was stuck in the ejector, which raises a very strong possibility that none of the six cartridges are the original ones nor is the slug the one that struck Huey.  The person who put the cartridges and the slug with the pistol may have tried to create the impression that the cartridges were the original ones and the slug was the one that struck Huey, which would materially enhance the sale price of the pistol.  However, the person apparently did not know or else forgot that when the pistol was recovered from the floor the clip only contained five cartridges and an empty shell was stuck in the ejector.  The person may have looked for a .32 caliber slug whose nose was slightly blunted as if it had passed through a human body, and that became the box slug.  Consequently, it is not only possible but very probable that the box slug has no connection with the shooting of Huey or Weiss so that the "non-matching slugs" showcase in the Assassination Exhibit is false and misleading.  Unless someone can prove otherwise, the showcase should be removed immediately

                                                                               ___________

January 24, 2012

March 9 : Pages 5, 10, 11, 12, and 13 revised

April 3 : Page 6 additions (2)

 

Second Addendum                                Serial Number Of The Weiss Pistol, etc. 

       As stated in the Addendum above, there were no items of property in Gen. Guerre's will (testament) so for his 1966 succession the testamentary executor prepared a detailed descriptive list (inventory) of the estate.      (I supplied a copy of each document to Bill Stafford at the State Archives office in Baton Rouge via letter of Februrary 15, 2012).  The inventory includes a specific description of the Weiss pistol but there is no ammunition or slug with it.  The inventory does not indicate where the pistol was found, but another succession document shows that he was renting safety deposit box No. 4139 at the Hibernia National Bank in                 New Orleans, which is a likely place.  The serial number of the pistol consists of six digits, but there is a discrepancy as to the fifth digit.  In the inventory it is a 6, but according to page 130 of Zinman's book sometime after the shooting Coroner Bird supposedly said it was a 3.  At Archives is a file (P1993-194) which contains part of the court suit filed by Weiss, Jr. against Mabel Guerre Binnings in September 1991 to determine ownership of the pistol.  (Orleans Parish Civil District Court, No. 91-16891)  The petition includes an affidavit by Prof. Starrs to which is attached a letter dated October 16, 1935 from Gen. Guerre to the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) seeking information about the pistol.  In the letter the fifth digit of the serial number is a 4.  (Accompanying the letter is a picture of the pistol, its cartridge clip, and five cartridges, which verifies the report of Coroner Bird that when the pistol was recovered from the floor the clip only contained five cartridges.)  In the affidavit Prof. Starrs notes the discrepancy in the fifth digit of the serial number but states his belief that it is the same pistol and that a clerical error was made in the inventory.  The court awarded ownership of the pistol to Weiss, Jr. and in a  written stipulation accompanying the judgment all parties agreed that the fifth digit was a 4, but in the judgment it is shown as a 6, another clerical error !  (On August 17, 2012    I delivered a copy of each document to Bill Stafford at Archives. )  In the stipulation Weiss, Jr. agreed to donate the pistol to the State Police after which it would be transferred to the custody and control of the Secretary Of State for display at the Old State Capitol, and it is now there in an enclosed showcase in the Assassination Exhibit.   Stafford has supplied me with an image of the frame which clearly shows the fifth digit to be a 4, so that the discrepancy in the inventory listing, in the coroner's supposed report, and in the court  judgment were all caused by a clerical error.  Thus, the correct serial number is  319 446 .  

       In 1991 the pistol was found in a safety deposit box owned by Guerre's last surviving child, Mabel Guerre Binnings, and with it were six cartridges and a fired bullet (the "box slug"). In the Research Library of the State Archives Office in a box is File P1993-193, and Folder No. 15 contains a Scientific Analysis Report of February 18, 1992 by the state police which shows that the slug and the cartridges are copper jacketed with a tin plating over the copper jacket portion. Folder No. 19 contains a report dated June 15, 1992 by Richard H. Young, research associate at the LSU Geology Dept. As stated on Page 3 herein, during the shooting the underside of the watch frame worn by Huey's bodyguard Roden was apparently struck and dented by a small caliber bullet. By using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Young analyzed the watch frame and found no trace of tin anywhere, and since the box slug is tin plated he concluded that it is highly unlikely that the dent was caused by the slug, which is further evidence that it has no connection with the shooting of Huey or Weiss. If the dent  was caused by a bullet from Weiss' pistol, then the cartridges in the pistol on the night of the shooting were not tin plated, which is another indication that the cartridges and the slug found with the pistol have no connection with the shooting.  Since no one can prove that there is a connection, the "non-matching slugs" showcase in the Assassination Exhibit is a total deception, which should be removed immediately. 

       As a research aid, a Vertical File titled "Long, Huey P. - Assassination" has been established in the Research Library.  The file includes the following pertinent  documents mentioned herein : Succession Of Louis F. Guerre ; transcript of the Inquest Hearing into the death of Carl Austin Weiss ; his 32" caliber pistol and ammunition information ; scientific test reports on the pistol, ammunition, and box slug ; State Police Final Investigative Report ; and Court Judgment in the Weiss, Jr. vs. Binnings suit.  

                                                                             __________

August 22, 2012  

Revised March 20, 2013       

Third Addendum                            Donation Of The Weiss Pistol 

            While Weiss was pursuing medical studies abroad he visited a weapons plant in Belgium which manufactured American-designed guns for European markets, and there purchased the weapon that was allegedly used to shoot Huey. (Zinman, 63) It was a 32” (7.65 mm) caliber Belgian Browning automatic pistol. Upon returning to the United States Weiss filed a customs declaration on May 19, 1930 in which he listed the pistol as having a value of $8.00, which became its intrinsic value. (Deutsch, 70, 84-B)

            After Huey’s death in 1935 the pistol went missing until 1991 when it was found in the possession of Gen. Guerre’s last surviving child, Mabel Guerre Binnings. Weiss, Jr. then filed suit against her claiming ownership of the pistol, whereupon the State Police and the Secretary Of State joined in the suit, likewise seeking ownership or possession. The suit was settled when  a judgment was signed approving a written stipulation between the parties in which Weiss, Jr. was recognized as owner of the pistol, to be donated by him to the State Police after which it would be transferred to the custody and control of the Secretary Of State for display in an exhibit at the Old State Capitol, where it now rests.

            Before Weiss, Jr. made the donation he wanted to have the pistol appraised in order to  declare it as a tax write-off.  A local appraiser (Charles Elliot) was contacted and after an agreement was reached on the appraised value the donation was made, but the appraised value was not made public. Leslie J. Schiff of Opelousas was the attorney for Weiss, Jr. in the court suit and he delivered the pistol to the Secretary Of State’s office sometime in 1993.

            Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was himself assassinated two days later by Jack Ruby. It occurred in the corridor of a public building while  Oswald was surrounded by bodyguards, but Ruby barged through them and shot Oswald at point-blank range in the front part of his body (does that setting sound familiar ?) The pistol that Ruby used was recovered and immediately became a collector’s item, and later was sold for a six-figure amount, $ 220,000. (Zinman, 308) Huey was a United States Senator who was well known nationwide for his “Share The Wealth” program, and was preparing for a presidential bid in the next election. His assassination caused a sensation, so that the Weiss pistol immediately became a collector’s item. Although its value may not have been a six-figure amount, it undoubtedly was many times higher than its intrinsic value of $8.00. Submitting the pistol for appraisal or allowing it to be apprised was a tacit admission that Weiss used it to shoot Huey,  so that neither Weiss Jr. nor any family member can justifiably argue that he did not. This preclusion also applies to members of the Pavy family and to anyone else who would use hearsay and rumors in an attempt to convince the public that Weiss did not shoot Huey.

                                                                         __________

March 16, 2015                                                     

Fourth Addendum                                The Alleged Frame Up                       

            Black’s Law Dictionary defines “hearsay” as evidence not proceeding from the personal knowledge of the witness, but from the mere repetition of what he has heard others say, and its value rests mainly on the veracity and competency of those persons. The very nature of the evidence shows its weakness, and it is admitted only in specified cases from necessity. 

            Those who contend that Carl Weiss did not shoot Huey Long rely primarily on an affidavit by         Francis C. Grevemberg, State Police Superintendent from 1952-1955. The affidavit is not based on his personal knowledge of the incident, it is based on his recollection of a conversation he allegedly engaged in with two state troopers in October 1953. When he asked the troopers the next day to repeat their statements before a staff attorney, they denied that the conversation had ever taken place. Forty years later, in September 1993, he executed the affidavit. (Pavy, 92-101) A reputable journalist would readily recognize that the affidavit is hearsay, but it continues to be presented to the public by the news media as if it were the gospel truth. 

        In my treatise, reference is made to The Day Huey Long Was Shot (1993), by David Zinman. Just for fun, let’s look at the statements in the affidavit that were allegedly made by the two troopers, John DeArmond and a Trooper Martin. Both said they were walking behind Huey when he was shot and witnessed the whole thing. DeArmond said that Weiss was unarmed but that a “throw-down gun” was placed in his hand in order to frame him. However, at the Weiss inquest held the morning after the shooting, DeArmond testified that he was inside the governor’s office and did not witness the events just prior to the shooting, did not see the first shot fired, and did not come out of the office until the shooting was over. (Zinman,195-196) Obviously both troopers, along with anyone else who claims to have knowledge of the frame-up, are Big-Time Yarn Spinners & Braggarts. That label necessarily applies to all those invisible people who claim they were in the car which took Huey to the hospital. (Zinman, 128 footnote)

        The affidavit is not simple hearsay, it’s Rank Hearsay. Two hit songs from the 1950's come to mind:        "The Great Pretender" by The Platters, and “It’s Only Make Believe” by Conway Twitty. They don't make 'em like that anymore.     

                                                                              __________

October 21, 2019  

Revised November 21, 2019    

                                 

                                                    

About The Author 

            He is not a public figure, but a private person, and intends to stay that way. He will not discuss this case in person or on the telephone, nor participate in any interviews, lectures or panel discussions. Anyone who has a comment to make about this treatise may do so by email or postal mail to the address shown below, but a response is not guaranteed. 

            He was born several years after Huey died. No relative ever discussed the case with him. He first learned about Huey in a high school history class. In about 1970 he first learned some of the details of the shooting after reading Huey Long, A Biography by T. Harry Williams.  He read no further material on the subject until 2010, the 75th anniversary, when newspaper articles began to discuss the shooting, after which he read the inquest transcript and the five books shown on the “Identification List” at the beginning of this document. He alone did all of the research and all of the writing in this document, but he would like to thank the following persons for their cooperation and assistance :  Michael Wynne, Don Moreau, Patrick Lane, the  Louisiana Secretary Of State’s office, and especially Mark,Ted, Don, Greg, Frank, Cindy, Mary Ann, Thomas, Charlain, Gaynell, and Hadley Huntsville.   

            He strived to make this is an objective document, and believes that it is. 

                                                                                                                                                                                       

Charles R. King 

1421 North Ave. H

Crowley, LA  70526-2418

chsgent@yahoo.com


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