Another autopsy ordered for Mayor Elect Gerald Washington

March 2, 2007

Reported by Associated Press

A third autopsy will be performed on the body of a southwest Louisiana mayor who was found shot to death because his family is convinced he was murdered, not a suicide as two official investigations have determined.

Gerald Washington, the first black elected as mayor of predominantly white Westlake, was found dead December 30th with a gunshot to the chest, his gun nearby. No suicide note was found.

State police and the local coroner performed autopsies and ruled Washington killed himself. The district attorney has said he plans to close the case.

But Washington's widow and children believe the investigations covered up a murder. Washington's widow, Mary, said today that the family hired Cyril Wecht, an independent forensic pathologist, to perform another autopsy.

A family spokesman, Lawrence Morrow, said the family has paid Wecht six-thousand dollars for the autopsy.