Dr. Carl Austin Weiss was innocent

Dr. Carl Austin Weiss was born on December 18,1905 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Dr. Carl Adam Weiss and Viola Maine. He had a sister Olga (1907-1997) and a brother Tom (1916-2004). He was an American physician. His family was a devout Catholic family of German, Irish, and French descent. A very smart student, Carl graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy as valedictorian in 1921. He went to Louisiana State University with the intention of becoming an engineer. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1925. That same year he attended Tulane University and decided to become a doctor. He received a M. D. Degree in 1927, at the age of 21. It was around this time, he was a protege under the well known physician, Dr. Rudolph Matas. In April 1929, his internship began at American Hospital in Paris, France. In May 1930, his internship ended and returned to the U.S. From 1930 to 1932, he interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. After Bellevue, he returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he and his father held a joint practice. In November of 1932, he met his future wife Yvonne Pavy at his joint practice with his father. After dating for a while. Carl popped the question to Yvonne about marriage to which she agreed. The marriage had the Blessings of both families. On December 27,1933, Carl Weiss and Yvonne Pavy were married at St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas, Louisiana. The couple honeymooned to Florida. On June 7,1935, Yvonne gave birth to a son who was named Carl Austin Weiss, Jr. Carl was a very devout Catholic, who attended Mass and Holy Communion every Sunday and First Friday of the month. On September 8,1935, the day that would change the history of the Weiss family and Louisiana, Dr. Weiss, his wife, and 3 month old son attended Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (now St. Joseph’s Cathedral). After Mass, Dr. Weiss and his family stopped at Scheinuk’s Florist Shop on the same block. Weiss payed a bill and ordered flowers to be sent to a patient. Dr. Weiss’s family were friend of the owner. Also at the florist shop, Dr. Weiss bought a bouquet of flowers for his mother. Dr. Weiss and his family went to his parents home in Baton Rouge for dinner. After dinner, Dr. and Weiss and his family drove back to their home at 527 Lakeland Drive, which was in the shadow of the Louisiana State Capitol. Dr. Weiss, had to visit a patient he was due to operate on the next day. He kissed his wife goodbye and would return. He visited both the patient and the hospital he was preparing for surgery at Baton Rouge General Hospital. On his way home, Dr. Weiss would have to go by the State Capitol since his home was with the shadow of the building. Dr. Weiss, knowing that his in-laws were being victimized by Louisiana populist Senator Huey P. Long, he decided to go to the State Capitol to try to reason things out with the flamboyant loud mouth Senator. Dr. Weiss walked up the 48 steps and went inside the Capitol. He was searched for weapons and was found clean of any. That same night, Long was trying to get a House Bill passed that would change the redistricting of Louisiana. Its main purpose was to gerrymander Dr. Weiss’s father-in-law, Judge Benjamin Pavy, who had been Judge of St. Landry Parish since 1910. Three times, Dr. Weiss tried to talk to Long and three times he was brushed aside. On the third and final time at 9:20 pm, Dr. Weiss tried to talk to Senator Long. Long and Weiss got into a screaming match, which resulted Long insulting Dr. Weiss. Dr. Weiss who was angry and frustrated, punched Long in the mouth. Long’s bodyguards who were without any training pulled their pistols out and began shooting. They shot and killed Dr. Weiss and kept shooting him with 61 bullets. Senator Long ran from the scene was shot twice accidentally by bodyguards Murphy Roden and Joe Messina. Long was driven to Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium nearby. After seeing what they had done, the bodyguards had to figure a plan. At the same time, Tom Ed Weiss (Carl’s brother) and James Brousseau (Carl’s cousin) heard the rumors and preceded to the Capitol. They found Carl’s car. Since they didn’t have the keys, they went back to Dr. Carl Adam Weiss’s home to fetch them. At the same time in Opelousas, Judge Pavy received a phone call that his son-in-law was killed for attempting to assassinate Senator Long. Pavy groaned and said, “It can’t be true!”. Meanwhile, the bodyguards, got the car keys to Dr. Weiss’s car. They drove the car to the other side of the building, ransacked the car, and found a .32 Belgian caliber gun, that Dr. Weiss kept in his car for protection. They planted the gun on Dr. Weiss. This was later confirmed by Elois Sahuc, a security guard at the Capitol. When Tom and James returned, they noticed the car was missing. They searched and found the car on the other side of the building. They opened the car and noticed it was ransacked. They also noticed the gun was missing. Tom knew his brother would never leave the car a mess and also knew his brother was not the assassin. Dr. Carl Adam Weiss (Carl’s father) went to the morgue to identify the body of his son. When the coroner emptied the pockets, there were no car keys, also his glasses and wallet were missing. It is believed they were taken as part of the plan to frame Weiss. At around, 11 pm, Huey Long was operated on. During surgery, a .38 caliber bullet was removed by Dr. Arthur Vidrine (this was later confirmed by his relative). Long was patched up and pronounced cured, despite overlooking a serious wound to his kidney. On September 9,1935, Dr. Weiss’s family, in-laws, friends, and supporters attended Dr. Carl Austin Weiss’s funeral at the same church he attended the day before. They were met by supporters and opponents. The opponents screamed profanities against Weiss’s family. The Funeral Mass was conducted by Monsignor Leon Gassler. Monsignor Gassler knew Dr. Weiss and did not believe he was Long’s assassin. Monsignor Gassler who was at Mass the day before saw, Dr. Weiss come to Holy Communion and saw him received the Eucharist. It would have been controversial to have a Catholic funeral for Dr. Weiss if he was the assassin. Monsignor Gassler did not believe Weiss was Long’s assassin and the Archbishop of New Orleans, Joseph Rummel also believed Weiss was innocent. Dr. Weiss was later laid to rest at Roselawn Memorial Park and Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On September 10,1935, Senator Long died after lingering from the wounds he sustained from bodyguards Messina and Roden. As Long was being prepared for burial, the mortician in charge, Merle Welsh, was visited by Dr. Clarence Lorio, a surgeon who worked on Long’s surgery. Dr. Lorio made an incision into Long’s body and retrieved a .45 caliber bullet. In the 1980s, Welsh confirmed that it was a .45 caliber bullet that was removed. In 1991, with permission from the Weiss and Pavy family, Dr. James Starrs exhumed the body of Dr. Weiss and noticed that his right arm plus his hand was fractured. Dr. Starrs was convinced that when Weiss punched Long he fractured his hand and arm. Also, Dr. Starrs noticed that there was a bullet in Weiss’s head with a piece of white cloth. Dr. Starrs surmised that when Weiss was being shot at. He put his hand up to try to protect himself and the bullet went through the shirt and struck Weiss in the head.

Also, Dr. Starrs found Dr. Weiss’s missing .32 caliber Belgian hand gun with 5 unused bullets and one used bullet. A ballistics test was done and it showed that the used bullet did not come from Dr. Weiss’s gun. Dr. Tom Ed Weiss, said that during that fateful day Dr. Weiss fired one bullet, during a shooting practice, in a tree.

The Louisiana State Police, conducted by Captain Don Moreau, did an investigation and still concluded that Weiss was Long’s assailant. In 1993, former Louisiana State Police superintendent, Francis Grevemberg came forward with information he heard on a car ride in 1953. Grevemberg also believed that Dr. Weiss was innocent. Grevemberg was told by two state troopers who were eyewitnesses to the shooting that Dr. Weiss was unarmed when Long was shot. They also told him that, after Long was shot, the bodyguards planted a gun on Weiss. Despite this information, the Louisiana State Police dismissed it as hearsay.

A few more interesting items: In 1936, an insurance investigator was sent from the insurance company that awarded the Long family $40,000. The insurance investigator concluded that Long’s death was accidental and that Weiss was not the perpetrator. In 2010, on the 75th Anniversary of the alleged assassination held at the Old Louisiana State Capitol was a symposium on Huey Long’s death. It was attended by Dr. Donald Pavy (a relative of Dr. Weiss), Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, Jr. (son of Dr. Carl Austin Weiss), and many others. When the audience of 300 was asked did they believed Weiss was Long’s assassin. In a vote of 3 to 1, they said they believed Weiss was innocent.

After examining the evidence, I am absolutely convinced that Dr. Weiss is innocent. Dr. Weiss would never have committed the crime. He was good natured and religious. My opinion he was railroaded.

His case was featured on the 1992 episode of Unsolved Mysteries and the 2014 documentary 61 Bullets.

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