Louis Allen

Background

Louis Allen was a logger in Amite County and World War II veteran. On Sept. 30, 1961, Allen witnessed the murder of voting-rights activist Herbert Lee in Liberty by E.H. Hurst, a state representative. Hurst, Deputy Sheriff Daniel Jones, and others threatened Allen , demanding that he testify that Hurst acted in self-defense.  Ultimately, Allen told the truth to the FBI. Jones eventually found out about Allen’s statement to the FBI.

After his FBI statement, Allen was subjected to severe harassment from Jones.  On June 30, 1962, Allen was arrested by Jones for “interfering with the law”; Jones broke Allen’s jaw in two different places. A month later, Allen gave an affidavit to the Justice Department describing the attack on him by Jones. On August 21, 1962, Allen and two other men attempted to register to vote in Amite County but they were turned away by Jones and others. On September 11, 1963, Allen testified before a federal grand jury about Daniel Jones breaking his jaw. The grand jury declined to indict Jones. On November 6, 1963, Allen was again arrested by Daniel Jones for a ”bounced check” and a “concealed weapon.” The county attorney told Allen would get “three to five years” in the penitentiary for the offense. After three weeks in jail, Allen was released on an $800 bond provided by the NAACP.

After Allen’s FBI statement about the Herbert Lee murder, his associates and family members were subjected to severe harassment. On February 21,1963, Leo McKnight, his wife, pregnant daughter, and son-in-law perished in a house fire. McKnight had been an employee of Allen’s, and allegedly he was warned by Jones to stay away from him. The fire may, some suspect, have been related to Jones’ vendetta against Allen. In the summer of 1963,  John Wesley Horton, Allen’s nephew, was arrested and jailed by Jones.

Because of the severe harassment, Allen had planned to leave the county, but before he could do so, on January 31, 1964, he was shot to death in his driveway.  The evening before he was shot, Allen had visited his employer to obtain a letter of recommendation for his intended move the next day to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Legal Status

No criminal charges have been brought in the Allen case. Currently, the Allen family is offering a $20,000 reward for information regarding the murder. The Allen case appears on the FBI 2010 cold case list.