Did you miss part of the story? Links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
You’ve read all the facts I could find about the murder of Dr. Allen S. King and the trial of Leo Olivier, the 15-year-old boy who killed him. This post has no new facts, just my own thoughts about the story.
We know there is a lot of missing information but based on what we do know, I have questions about the veracity of Hazel Olivier’s story, which was the foundation of everything that happened. Her family, the newspapers, and law enforcement appeared to take it on faith that she was being honest. She may have been, but it’s not the only possibility.
Hazel’s story doesn’t sound right. In a small town like Morgan City, if she was having an affair with the doctor, someone would have known it, but no one did until she returned from New Orleans and announced it herself. Her trip to New Orleans is off, too. Hazel didn’t have a lot of money, she was in a strange city, and abortion was illegal; how would she even know where to go to procure an abortion? When she returned home, she wanted to go to Sacred Heart to talk to her priest, but it wasn’t clear if she wanted to confess or if she was seeking guidance. Either way, it’s unusual she would have invited a friend.
I wondered if perhaps Hazel was infatuated with Dr. King and he had rejected her, so she invented the story to get even with him. The signs that were festooned all over town the day after Dr. King returned were a clear attempt to humiliate him. But would an indignant friend or family member, who would likely want to keep the story as quiet as possible, really paper the town with this announcement? Only someone who wanted everyone to know the story about Hazel and Dr. King would do this. Someone like a rejected paramour.
A week passed after the embarrassing poster incident with no other news. Then, per their account, Hazel spoke to her brother about it, and he murdered the doctor the next day. Leo seemed like a level-headed boy. Could Hazel have deliberately incited him to take action?
The other thing that bothered me about the case was that the defense’s case was so absurd. I felt like they weren’t even trying. Leo was a likeable kid and my guess is that his sister manipulated him into murdering the doctor. Given his age and record, together with possible/probable manipulation by an adult, he probably should not have been held entirely responsible.
But the defense’s case was so obviously false as to be insulting to everyone who heard it.
First, how is it even possible Leo did not find out about his sister’s story about the doctor until the night before the murder? The entire town was gossiping about Hazel’s story for weeks. Even if that escaped him, didn’t Leo wonder about all those posters all over town? I believe that Hazel had a conversation with him the night before he killed Dr. King, but it’s difficult to believe he knew nothing about it before then.
Second, the defense was clearly betting that the jury would actually judge Leo on the unwritten law defense. The plea of self-defense was only a formality, but… they ought to have found a better formality. Leo took a revolver to the doctor’s office, knocked on the door, and immediately shot him without saying a word. How could it possibly be self-defense?
The defense said the doctor was lying in wait with his brass knuckles. If Dr. King was smart enough to get through medical school, he’d know better than to bring brass knuckles to a gunfight.
Please share any thoughts or opinions you have in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!