|Subject: Carl Weiss, Jr., son of Huey Long Assassin
Dies at 84
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Date Posted: Friday, August 09, 06:34:00am
Dr. Carl Weiss Jr., who questioned whether his father assassinated Huey Long, dies at 84
Dr. Carl Weiss Jr., who authorized what turned out to be an inconclusive investigation into whether his father really assassinated Huey Long in 1935, has died. He was 84.
Weiss Jr. was an infant when Long died after being shot inside the Louisiana state Capitol building on Sept. 8, 1935. In the early 1990s, he agreed to let Washington, D.C., forensic scientist James Starrs investigate whether Dr. Carl Weiss fired the shot that killed the U.S. senator and former governor.
According to his daughter, Weiss Jr. didn’t learn of his father’s role in the assassination until he was around 10 years old. Over the years his mother had explained away Weiss’ death by claiming he had died in a firearms accident. He discovered the truth when he saw a LIFE magazine cover depicting the murder, with his father slumped over in a pool of blood.
At a forum on the 75th anniversary of Long’s assassination, Weiss Jr. sad he didn’t believe his father was “a bad apple” capable of a political killing.
"I don't believe that he fired a fatal shot or indeed that he carried a gun into the state Capitol that night," Weiss Jr. said.
Weiss Jr.’s youngest daughter, Gretchen Weiss Dubit, said Friday that her father “didn’t yell” about her grandfather’s innocence.
“He just quietly believed it, and hoped it was the truth,” she said.
The first time the family heard him staunchly speak out about the event was at the symposium, she said. Her brother, Dr. Carl A. Weiss III, said Friday that their father knew “in his heart the allegations were not true,” but he didn’t go out of his way to clear the Weiss name.
While Starrs questioned whether Weiss fatally wounded Long, State Police have maintained that Weiss was responsible — likely over Long's political and personal attacks on Weiss’ in-laws. Long’s bodyguards killed Weiss.
Long was a U.S. senator when he died but still wielded control over Louisiana politics through his successor as Louisiana governor, O.K. Allen. Weiss was a doctor whose father-in-law was a judge in St. Landry Parish. Long backed legislation that would have gerrymandered Judge Benjamin Henry Pavy out of his post.
Weiss Jr., who was 3 months old when his father died, was an orthopedic surgeon in New York. His mother whisked him away to France following the assassination, where he spent much of his childhood before attending college in Massachusetts.
In the aftermath of the assassination, Dubit said her father was sheltered from the story as a child and shielded from it by loved ones in adulthood. At the end of the day, Dubit said, Weiss Jr. was a little boy who grew up without a father, and that was the lasting impact the assassination had on his life.
“A lot of people tried really hard to make sure he knew that his father was not a villain,” Dubit said.
Christina Terranova, Weiss Jr.’s oldest daughter, remembers her father “as a very brilliant person who was full of mischief, but also highly intelligent.” As a doctor, he loved to help people. Terranova said even after he retired he would visit friends and family on house calls, checking on them and diagnosing their ills.
“He would inconvenience himself for anyone,” she said.
All three children describe their father as both an unconventional parent and a daredevil. He flew planes and helicopters, rode motorcycles and shot squirrels in their suburban backyard. When he returned to Louisiana to visit family, an accent would slip out occasionally.
State Police reopened an investigation of Long’s death decades after the killing after the purported murder weapon and several investigative documents were recovered from the daughter of a former police superintendent.
Weiss Jr. had said before the 75-year conference that the "court of public opinion" would render a final verdict. "It is what the public believes through the media that ultimately makes the difference," he said.
Terranova said her father never believed his father was capable of killing Long.
“He was able to cite chapter and verse about the case,” she said. “He felt very strongly that he had a lot of the same personality traits of his father. He wouldn’t have done such a thing, and his father wouldn’t have either.”
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