Real Name: Huey Pierce Long Jr.
Case: Suspicious Death
Date: September 8, 1935
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Details: Nicknamed The Kingfish, Huey Long was a noted Louisiana governor and senator planning a bid for President of the United States. Had he succeeded, he might have been one of the greatest and most controversial American Presidents to hold office. However, he was killed on September 8, 1935, in a shooting that remains controversial to this day.
Huey only went one year of law school, but by the age of twenty-nine, he had successfully argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. When he was thirty-four, he was elected governor of Louisiana. He was brought into office thanks to his philosophy of re-distributing American wealth. At the age of thirty-seven, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
When talks started of him becoming president, many of the rich and powerful became fearful. Many also took up arms, believing that the senator would be better dead than alive. As a result, Huey hired several bodyguards to protect him. Although Huey was nice to his friends, if someone crossed him, they became an enemy for life. He would sometimes use his power to ruin the lives of his enemies. Judge Henry Pavy was one of the many elected officials that Huey targeted for political destruction. Pavy's twenty-nine-year-old son-in-law, Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, however, was seen as apolitical.
On September 4, 1935, Huey returned to Louisiana from Washington, D.C. Four days later, he was shot, allegedly by Carl Weiss. Weiss was immediately killed by his bodyguards. Huey died from his wounds a few hours later. The inquest determined that Weiss had probably shot Huey to prevent him from destroying his father-in-law's political career. Although the case seemed open-and-shut, some believed that Weiss was innocent and that Huey was killed accidentally.
On the day of the shooting, the Weiss family gathered together for dinner at Weiss's father's home. According to those present, his father was the one angry about Huey's gerrymandering tactics. Weiss himself actually calmed his father down, minimizing Huey's actions. After dinner, Weiss went to visit a patient's home. He made a call from the patient's home and then left. Instead of going home, he went to the State Capitol.
House Bill No. 1 would determine the fate of Judge Pavy's career. Huey was determined to have the bill passed. At 9 pm, Huey walked throughout the capitol, talking to various individuals. Some believe that Weiss went there to plead his father-in-law's case. On three separate occasions, Weiss would attempt to approach Huey, but he would be brushed off each time.
At 9:20 pm, Weiss approached Huey for the third and final time. Some believe that during this encounter, Huey made an angry remark towards Weiss. They believe that Weiss punched him in the face. After that, they believe that Huey's bodyguards shot Weiss and accidentally shot Huey.
After the shooting, Huey, despite being seriously wounded, continued to order people around. The surgeons overlooked a serious wound to his kidney. A day-and-a-half later, he died from his wounds. At the official inquest, Weiss was named the assassin, but many remain unconvinced. There appeared to be no evidence that he planned on shooting Huey.
It is known that Weiss owned a .32 caliber pistol, which he kept in the glove compartment of his car. However, author Ed Reed believes that he has uncovered evidence that Huey was not shot with this gun. The official version of the shooting claims that no bullets were retrieved from Huey's body. However, a relative of one of the surgeons present claims that a .38 caliber bullet was pulled from the body. This bullet could not have come from Weiss's gun.
A second bullet was also allegedly found while the body was being prepared for autopsy. A doctor and close friend of Huey's allegedly approached the mortician and asked him to step away from the body. The friend pulled another bullet out of the body that would have been a .45 caliber bullet. This also would not have come from Weiss's gun.
Reed also believes that Weiss would not have been able to enter the Capitol with a gun. On the night of the shooting, Weiss's brother and cousin came to the building and found his car in the parking lot. Realizing that it was locked, they went back to get the keys. When they returned, they found that it had been moved to another spot. When they opened the car, the gun was missing and his bag was apparently rifled through.
A security guard at that Capitol claimed that someone, not Weiss, moved his car that night. One of Huey's guards claimed that he believed Weiss's gun was planted with his body. Reed believes that due to the guards' lack of training, they mistakenly believed Weiss had a gun and shot him. When they realized their mistake, they went out to his car, took his gun, and planted it on him.
Reed learned that Huey apparently had a busted lip when he entered the surgeon's room. When asked about it, he claimed "that's where he hit me". One witness claimed that he meant that Weiss hit him in the face with his fist.
For years, it was difficult for anyone to investigate the case. Several investigative files, along with Weiss's gun, were lost or misplaced. In 1987, forensic expert James Starrs began to investigate the case, hoping to find the lost evidence. He looked into the police investigators from 1935, focusing on the then-chief of police, Louis F. Guerre. One of Starrs's investigators found Guerre's will. In the will, there was a list that mentioned miscellaneous police files. More importantly, another list in the will mentioned Carl Weiss's gun. It was traced to a safety deposit box in New Orleans, where it was in the possession of Guerre's daughter.
Along with the gun, there were several unused .32 caliber bullets and a spent .32 slug. At first, it was assumed that the slug was from the bullet that killed Huey. However, ballistics tests conducted by the police determined that the slug had not come from Weiss's gun.
However, the Louisiana State Police still holds the position that Dr. Carl Weiss was the assassin. The Weiss family, on the other hand, wants Carl's name cleared, certain that Huey was shot by his own bodyguards.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 30, 1992 episode.
Results: Unresolved. After the broadcast, a former superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, Francis Grevemberg, came forward, claiming that Huey was indeed killed by his bodyguards. Grevemberg claimed that he was told by two eyewitness state troopers that Dr. Weiss was unarmed when Huey was shot. The troopers claimed that the bodyguards did accidentally shoot Huey and plant a gun with Weiss. Grevemberg claimed that he did not come forward until forty years later because the Louisiana State legislature was filled with pro-Long politicians who would not believe the story or support an inquiry.
In research unavailable to the public, it has been revealed that Senator Long had a life insurance policy of $10,000. The policy would double if he died by accident. The Long family was awarded $20,000. After Long died, the insurance company hired a private investigator to look into the matter. In 1936, the investigator concluded that Senator Huey Long was fatally shot accidentally by his bodyguards.
However, the debate still remains as to what really happened to Huey Long on the night he was shot.
- Huey Long on Unsolved.com
- Huey Long on Wikipedia
- Search for 56-year-old Answers
- Scientist Says Report Casts Doubt on Story Of Huey Long Death
- Controversy, mystery still surround the death of Huey P. Long
- Was Huey Long Killed By His Own Bodyguards?