Murder by Mistake

Oct 10, 2009 - by Ronald J. Lawrence - 0 Comments

The car bomb that killed Philip J. Lucier – the president of the Continental Telephone Co. and the father of 11 children – was meant for an attorney whose clients had swindled a minor New Orleans Mafioso. The FBI misread and mishandled the case from the beginning. Subsequent federal investigations never produced a single indictment. Now, 30 yeas later, it seems certain no one will ever be charged in Lucier's tragic death.

 by Ronald J. Lawrence

"It never occurred to me to look closer. There was nothing suspicious."

- A witness

12:13 p. m. July 24, 1970 – Philip J. Lucier, president of Continental Telephone Corp., drove his black Cadillac into the parking lot of the Pierre Laclede Building, 7701 Forsyth Blvd., in the Clayton business district of suburban St. Louis. He and two telephone company vice-presidents, James Robb and James Napier, had decided on the spur of the moment to have lunch at the St. Louis Club. No one knew they were going there.

There were no empty spaces, but Lucier saw Theodore F. Schwartz, a respected attorney, back his black Lincoln Continental out of a parking stall. The two men knew each other and Schwartz waved to him. The lawyer, whose office was in the building, rarely left in his car for lunch, although this day he did.

The casual observer might not have noticed it, but, despite the difference in models, there was a similarity between Lucier's Cadillac and Schwartz' Lincoln. Not only were both black, each had a mobile telephone antenna and a four-digit license plate.

12:40 p. m. July 24, 1970 – A businessman drove slowly, looking for an empty space in the parking lot of the Pierre Laclede Building. Up ahead, he saw a man sitting behind the wheel of Lucier's black Cadillac. The door was open slightly and the man's foot dangled outside. It appeared as if he was working underneath the dashboard.

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