Vignette > Assassination

AssassinationWilliam O. Weissich was born in 1921 and spent much of his childhood in Mill Valley. He was a lawyer whose 40-year career included several years as Marin County district attorney.   In 1986, Malcolm Schlette murdered Weissich. Schlette was a vengeful ex-convict who bore a grudge against Weissich because in 1955, he had been instrumental in sentencing him to prison for 20 years. His crime was setting fire to a West Marin tavern belonging to his former wife. In 1986, Schlette made an appointment by telephone for 4 p.m. He used a false name. Schlette arrived, dressed like an executive, entirely in black, with gloves, hat, boots and raincoat. He forced the receptionist at gunpoint to take him to Weissich’s office.  He shot Weissich using a 45-caliber pistol. Schlette’s fellow inmates had told authorities that Schlette had vowed to kill lawmen that had helped put him behind bars. Weissich was aware of Schlette’s intent to kill him.  In the center drawer of Weissich’s desk was a loaded pistol on top of a snapshot of Schlette.  After the shooting, Schlette tried to escape in a rented van. When he was surrounded by police on a frontage road adjacent to Highway 101, he took his own life by swallowing cyanide