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A 3rd autopsy for black mayor-elect

March 08, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

The body of the first black man elected mayor of Westlake was exhumed for a third autopsy, commissioned by relatives who believe he was killed and not a suicide victim.

Gerald Washington was found dead Dec. 30 with a gunshot to the chest, his gun nearby. Washington, 57, won with 69% of the vote last year over a white candidate in the southwest Louisiana refinery town, which is about 80% white.

No suicide note was found, but autopsies by the state police and the local coroner concluded that Washington killed himself.

The district attorney has said he plans to close the case. However, Washington's family hired forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht to perform a third autopsy at his lab in Pittsburgh.

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