Investigators may cover the real conditions of black mayor death.
Mary Washington and her adult children claim Gerald Washington was killed by a "known, organized criminal enterprise," but they cannot immediately provide the killers' names, they wrote in the lawsuit filed last week without the help of an attorney.
The family paid for an autopsy by renowned forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who said Wednesday that he told the family there was too much evidence that was not examined to rule out suicide or murder.
"I'm not looking at it as a grand conspiracy on the part of the investigating agency," Wecht said.
"This case cried out for a very, very detailed kind of forensic scientific investigation - footprints, fingerprints, any other kinds of materials, DNA trace evidence, an in-depth time study," Wecht said. He said that was not done.
Gerald Washington, 57, was found dead from a bullet wound to the chest on Dec. 30, 2006, days before he was to take office in Westlake, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Houston, Texas.
Louisiana State Police, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the parish coroner's office concluded he shot himself. State Police determined he had gambled away more than $200,000 (144,040 EUR), owed thousands more in taxes and had cheated on his wife with three women, one of whom threatened to tell a news reporter of the infidelity.
Blood spatter patterns and other forensic evidence pointed to suicide, according to the State Police report. State Police and the local coroner conducted autopsies that also determined the death was a suicide.
Washington's family alleges that officials' refusal to let them go to the death scene or view the body "strongly suggests that a conspiracy exists and cover-up methodology was engaged."
The lawsuit names as defendants Gary "Stitch" Guillory, chief deputy of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office; Henry Sims, identified in the lawsuit as the person who drove Washington's truck to his house after it was pressure-washed; and "others unknown at this time."
Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the parish would defend Guillory from the lawsuit, which he called baseless.
Sims' phone number is unlisted.