Carl Weiss

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For the World War II Navy Cross recipient, USMC, see Carl W. Weiss. For the Danish field hockey player, see Carl Günther Weiss.
Carl Weiss
Dr. Carl Wiess.jpg
Dr. Carl Weiss
Born Carl Austin Weiss
(1906-12-06)December 6, 1906
Baton Rouge
East Baton Rouge Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died September 8, 1935(1935-09-08) (aged 28)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting place
Exhumed from Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge; remains never returned
Alma mater

Catholic High School
Interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York City

Louisiana State University
Occupation Physician
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s)

Yvonne Louise Pavy Weiss (married 1933-1935, his death)

Father-in-law: Judge Benjamin Pavy
Children Carl Austin Weiss, Jr.
Parents Carl Adam and Viola Maine Weiss

Carl Austin Weiss, Sr. (December 6, 1906 – September 8, 1935), was an American physician from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who assassinated nationally famous U.S. Senator Huey Pierce Long, Jr., at the Louisiana State Capitol on September 8, 1935.

Baton Rouge doctor[edit]

Weiss was born in Baton Rouge to Carl Adam Weiss, M.D., and the former Viola Maine. He was educated in local schools and graduated as the valedictorian of St. Vincent's Academy.[citation needed] He then obtained his bachelor's degree in 1925 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He did postgraduate work in Vienna, Austria, and was thereafter awarded internships in Vienna and at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In 1932, he returned to Baton Rouge to enter private practice with his father. He was president of the Louisiana Medical Society in 1933 and a member of the Kiwanis International (Conrad 1988, 2:831).

The Pavy-Opelousas connection[edit]

In 1933, Weiss married Yvonne Louise Pavy of Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish. The couple had one son, Carl Austin Weiss, Jr. (born 1934). Pavy was the daughter of Judge Benjamin Henry Pavy (1874–1943) and Ida Veazie (died 1941). Judge Pavy was part of the anti-Long political faction. Judge Pavy's brother Felix Octave Pavy, Sr. (died 1962), an Opelousas physician, had run for lieutenant governor in 1928 on an intraparty ticket opposite the Long slate. Felix Pavy was defeated for lieutenant governor by Paul N. Cyr of Iberia Parish, who thereafter turned against Long.

Benjamin Pavy was the Sixteenth Judicial District Court state judge from St. Landry and Evangeline parishes. He did not seek reelection in 1936, after Long had the legislature gerrymander the seat to include a majority of pro-Long voters within a revised district.(Conrad 1988, 2:635). Weiss's father was a prominent eye specialist who had once treated Senator Long.[1]

Murder of Huey Long[edit]

On September 8, 1935, Weiss confronted and shot Huey Long in the Capitol building in Baton Rouge. Weiss was cornered and killed by Long's bodyguards, having been shot sixty-two times.

Weiss was interred at Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge. As measured by the number of mourners, Weiss's funeral is believed to have been the largest ever held for an accused political assassin in the United States.[2]

Family denials[edit]

At the time, Weiss's wife, her parents and other family members accepted his guilt, but his parents disagreed because Weiss had seemed to be quite happy earlier in the day that Long was killed.[3]

Weiss's son—Carl Weiss, Jr., an infant at the time—has since vigorously disputed the assertion, most notably in a 1993 interview on the NBC program Unsolved Mysteries.[4] Weiss was shot on the spot by Long's bodyguards. One argument made in that program revolves around the ballistics evidence. Long died from either a .38 caliber or a .45 caliber bullet consistent with the bodyguard's ammunition, while Weiss actually owned a .32 caliber gun which was not seen by anyone at the scene at the time of the confrontation. Weiss claims without evidence that the insurance company reported that Long's death was "accidental." The fatal bullet, fired at relatively close range, was found by the surgeons lodged in Long's body and the conclusion reached on Unsolved Mysteries was that it had either passed through Weiss's body first or ricocheted off the solid marble walls. In addition, the surgeon's report noted that Long's lip was cut, bleeding and severely bruised, consistent with the punch to Long's mouth attributed to Weiss by several observers at the scene.

However, the thesis that Huey was accidentally shot by one of his own bodyguards has not been accepted by any scholars. Professor T. Harry Williams of LSU dismissed it as wishful thinking on the part of Weiss's son. In his exhaustive, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Long, Williams wrote (p. 870, Vintage edition) that "no one had taken it very seriously, for unless all the witnesses to the event were lying or mistaken, only four shots had been fired while Huey was still in the corridor, the two from Weiss's pistol that struck Huey and Roden's wristwatch respectively and the two from the revolvers of Roden and Coleman that dropped Weiss. By the time the other guards had got their guns out and started to fire Huey had run from the scene."[5]

Film portrayal[edit]

The character of Adam Stanton in Robert Penn Warren's fictitious All the King's Men is partially based on Weiss.

References[edit]

  • Conrad, Glenn R. 1988. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Lafayette: Louisiana Historical Association.
  • Richard D. White, Jr., Kingfish (New York: Random House), pp. 258–259.
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker, 1997. Taphonomic Applications in Forensic Anthropology. In: Haglund, W.D. & Sorg, M.H. (eds): Forensic Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains. CRC Press, pp.: 77-90; Boca Raton.
  • Williams, T.H., 1969, Huey Long, New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
  • Gremillion, E.A., 2011 Did Carl Weiss shoot Huey Long

External links[edit]