NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The sister-in-law of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson died early Saturday after suffering a severe head injury at her home, coroner's officials said.
Sandra Peters Jefferson, 58, was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. at the Interim LSU Public Hospital, said John Gagliano, an investigator for the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office. She was hospitalized there Friday with an unspecified head trauma.
Remi Braden, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Police Department, said Gagliano reported later Saturday that an autopsy showed Jefferson died of blunt trauma to the head.
Police initially reported Jefferson as a gunshot victim. But those treating her at the hospital later told investigators that after further medical examination, they concluded that she had not been shot, Braden said.
Weapons were removed from the New Orleans home she shares with her husband, Archie L. Jefferson, but Serpas didn't know whether any were involved with the injury.
Archie Jefferson, a younger brother of William Jefferson, has been questioned in the case.
Police said they were called to the Jeffersons' home around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Braden said they're investigating the death as an aggravated homicide and police are urging anyone with information about the case to contact CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.
It's the latest trouble to befall the Jeffersons, a once-powerful political family beset in recent years by scandal, illness and death.
William Jefferson, 65, is serving a 13-year federal prison term for bribery, racketeering and other charges. He represented parts of New Orleans for almost 20 years.
His brother, Mose, died in prison after being convicted in a separate bribery scheme. Their sister, Betty Jefferson, is serving 15 months of home detention for a scheme to pocket money earmarked for charitable and educational programs. Another sister, Brenda Jefferson, died after pleading guilty to helping her relatives conceal the scheme.
Supreme Court records show Archie Jefferson, 57, was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in 2004. The permanent disbarment came after he practiced law in violation of earlier prohibitions imposed by the court.