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Monday, July 10, 2017

Who Assassinated Huey P. Long?

     The assassination of a political figure is most often executed by persons who seemingly have nothing to lose by their actions. Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and James Earl Ray, the assassins of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., respectively, fit neatly into this category of down-and-outers. But Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, reputedly the assassin of Louisiana senator Huey P. Long, was not of that mold.

     Instead he is a rarity among proved or purported assassins--a medical doctor. He is the only physician in history to be an accused assassin. To add further mystery to this case, at the age of twenty-nine he had a flourishing medical practice in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as well as a wife and three-month-old son to grace a promising life. He was not overly involved in politics.

     In addition, he gave no indication on the day of the assassination [September 10, 1935] to anyone who knew him that he was about to do something so dramatic--and certainly suicidal, as well as humiliating for his family. He'd been on a family outing and had just ordered new furniture for his home. Yet despite these nagging questions, this case has been closed with the popular conviction, spurred by police efforts to close the file and by a popular enthusiasm to follow the police lead, that Weiss was indeed an assassin. Yet was he? [Dr. Starrs, based on the forensic firearms identification evidence, believes that Senator Long was accidentally shot to death by his body guards, the men who also shot Dr. Weiss to death that night in the Louisiana State House.]

James E. Starrs (with Katherine Ramsland) A Voice for the Dead, 2005

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