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The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Warren Report: Chapter I

Summary and Conclusions

THE ASSASSINATION of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November
22, 1963, was a cruel and shocking act of violence directed against a
man, a family, a nation, and against all mankind. A young and
vigorous leader whose years of public and private life stretched
before him was the Victim of the fourth Presidential assassination in
the history of a country dedicated to the concepts of reasoned
argument and peaceful political change. This Commission was
created on November 29, 1963, in recognition of the right of people
everywhere to full and truthful knowledge concerning these events.
This report endeavors to fulfill that right and to appraise this tragedy
by the light of reason and the standard of fairness. It has been
prepared with a deep awareness of the Commission's responsibility
to present to the American people an objective report of the facts
relating to the assassination.

Narrative of Events

At 11:40 a.m., CST., on Friday, November 22, 1963, President John
F. Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy, and their party arrived at Love Field,
Dallas, Tex. Behind them was the first day of a Texas trip planned 5
months before by the President, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson,
and John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas. After leaving the
White House on Thursday morning, the President had flown initially
to San Antonio where Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson joined the
party and the President dedicated new research facilities at the U.S.
Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Following a testimonial
dinner in Houston for U.S. Representative Albert Thomas, the
President flew to Fort Worth where he spent the night and spoke at a
large breakfast gathering on Friday.

Planned for later that day were a motorcade through downtown
Dallas, a luncheon speech at the Trade Mart, and a flight to Austin
where the President would attend a reception and speak at a
Democratic fundraising dinner. From Austin he would proceed to the
Texas ranch of the Vice President. Evident on this trip were the varied
roles which an American President performs--Head of State, Chief
Executive, party leader, and, in this instance, prospective candidate for
reelection.

The Dallas motorcade, it was hoped, would evoke a demonstration of
the President's personal popularity in a city which he had lost in the
1960 election. Once it had been decided that the trip to Texas would
span 2 days, those responsible for planning, primarily Governor
Connally and Kenneth O'Donnell, a special assistant to the President,
agreed that a motorcade through Dallas would be desirable. The
Secret Service was told on November 8 that 45 minutes had been
allotted to a motorcade procession from Love Field to the site of a
luncheon planned by Dallas business and civic leaders in honor of
the President. After considering the facilities and security problems
of several buildings, the Trade Mart was chosen as the luncheon site.
Given this selection, and in accordance with the customary practice of
affording the greatest number of people an opportunity to see the
President, the motorcade route selected was a natural one. The route
was approved by the local host committee and White House
representatives on November 18 and publicized in the local papers
starting on November 19. This advance publicity made it clear that
the motorcade would leave Main Street and pass the intersection of
Elm and Houston Streets as it proceeded to the Trade Mart by way of
the Stemmons Freeway.

By midmorning of November 22, clearing skies in Dallas dispelled
the threat of rain and the President greeted the crowds from his open
limousine without the "bubble top," which was at that time a plastic
shield furnishing protection only against inclement weather. To the
left of the President in the rear seat was Mrs. Kennedy. In the jump
seats were Governor Connally, who was in front of the President, and
Mrs. Connally at the Governor's left. Agent William R. Greer of the
Secret Service was driving, and Agent Roy H. Kellerman was sitting
to his right.

Directly behind the Presidential limousine was an open "follow-up"
car with eight Secret Service agents, two in the front seat, two in the
rear, and two on each running board. These agents, in accordance
with normal Secret Service procedures, were instructed to scan the
crowds, the roofs, and windows of buildings, overpasses, and
crossings for signs of trouble. Behind the "follow-up" car was the
Vice Presidential car carrying the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson
and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough. Next were a Vice Presidential
"follow-up" car and several cars and buses for additional dignitaries,
press representatives, and others.

The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11:50 a.m., and
proceeded through residential neighborhoods, stopping twice at the
President's request to greet well-wishers among the friendly crowds.
Each time the President's car halted, Secret Service agents from the
"follow-up" car moved forward to assume a protective stance near the
President and Mrs. Kennedy. As the motorcade reached Main Street,
a principal east-west artery in downtown Dallas, the welcome became
tumultuous. At the extreme west end of Main Street the motorcade
turned right on Houston Street and proceeded north for one block in
order to make a left turn on Elm Street, the most direct and
convenient approach to the Stemmons Freeway and the Trade Mart.
As the President's car approached the intersection of Houston and
Elm Streets, there loomed directly ahead on the intersection's
northwest corner a seven-story, orange brick warehouse and office
building, the Texas School Book Depository. Riding in the Vice
President's car, Agent Rufus W. Youngblood of the Secret Service
noticed that the clock atop the building indicated 12:30 p.m., the
scheduled arrival time at the Trade Mart.

The President's car which had been going north made a sharp turn
toward the southwest onto Elm Street. At a speed of about 11 miles
per hour, it started down the gradual descent toward a railroad
overpass under which the motorcade would proceed before reaching
the Stemmons Freeway. The front of the Texas School Book
Depository was now on the President's right, and he waved to the
crowd assembled there as he passed the building. Dealey Plaza--an
open, landscaped area marking the western end of downtown
Dallas--stretched out to the President's left. A Secret Service agent
riding in the motorcade radioed the Trade Mart that the President
would arrive in 5 minutes.

Seconds later shots resounded in rapid succession. The President's
hands moved to his fleck. He appeared to stiffen momentarily and
lurch slightly forward in his seat. A bullet had entered the base of the
back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine. It traveled
downward and exited from the front of the neck, causing a nick in the
left lower portion of the knot in the President's necktie. Before the
shooting started, Governor Connally had been facing toward the
crowd on the right. He started to turn toward the left and suddenly
felt a blow on his back. The Governor had been hit by a bullet which
entered at the extreme right side of his back at a point below his right
armpit. The bullet traveled through his chest in a downward and
forward direction, exited below his right nipple, passed through his
right wrist which had been in his lap, and then caused a wound to his
left thigh. The force of the bullet's impact appeared to spin the
Governor to his right, and Mrs. Connally pulled him down into her
lap. Another bullet then struck President Kennedy in the rear portion
of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound. The President fell to
the left into Mrs. Kennedy's lap.

Secret Service Agent Clinton J. Hill, riding on the left running board
of the "follow-up" car, heard a noise which sounded like a firecracker
and saw the President suddenly lean forward and to the left. Hill
jumped off the car and raced toward the President's limousine. In the
front seat of the Vice Presidential car, Agent Youngblood heard an
explosion and noticed unusual movements in the crowd. He vaulted
into the rear seat and sat on the Vice President in order to protect
him. At the same time Agent Kellerman in the front seat of the
Presidential limousine turned to observe the President. Seeing that
the President was struck, Kellerman instructed the driver, "Let's get
out of here; we are hit." He radioed ahead to the lead car, "Get us to
the hospital immediately." Agent Greer immediately accelerated the
Presidential car. As it gained speed, Agent Hill managed to pull
himself onto the back of the car where Mrs. Kennedy had climbed.
Hill pushed her back into the rear seat and shielded the stricken
President and Mrs. Kennedy as the President's car proceeded at high
speed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, 4 miles away.

At Parkland, the President was immediately treated by a team of
physicians who had been alerted for the President's arrival by the
Dallas Police Department as the result of a radio message from the
motorcade after the shooting. The doctors noted irregular breathing
movements and a possible heartbeat, although they could not detect a
pulse beat. They observed the extensive wound in the President's
head and a small wound approximately one-fourth inch in diameter in
the lower third of his neck. In an effort to facilitate breathing, the
physicians performed a tracheotomy by enlarging the throat wound
and inserting a tube. Totally absorbed in the immediate task of trying
to preserve the President's life, the attending doctors never turned the
president over for an examination of his back. At 1 p.m., after all
heart activity ceased and the Last Rites were administered by a priest,
President Kennedy was pronounced dead. Governor Connally
underwent surgery and ultimately recovered from his serious
wounds.

Upon learning of the President's death, Vice President Johnson left
Parkland Hospital under close guard and proceeded to the
Presidential plane at Love Field. Mrs. Kennedy, accompanying her
husband's body, boarded the plane shortly thereafter. At 2:38 p.m., in
the central compartment of the plane, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn
in as the 36th President of the United States by Federal District
Court Judge Sarah T. Hughes. The plane left immediately for
Washington, DC., arriving at Andrews AFB, Md., at 5:58 p.m., EST.
The President's body was taken to the National Naval Medical
Center, Bethesda, Md., where it was given a complete pathological
examination. The autopsy disclosed the large head wound observed
at Parkland and the wound in the front of the neck which had been
enlarged by the Parkland doctors when they performed the
tracheotomy. Both of these wounds were described in the autopsy
report as being "presumably of exit." In addition the autopsy revealed
a small wound of entry in the rear of the President's skull and another
wound of entry near the base of the back of the neck. The autopsy
report stated the cause of death as "Gunshot wound, head" and the
bullets which struck the President were described as having been
fired "from a point behind and somewhat above the level of the
deceased."

At the scene of the shooting, there was evident confusion at the outset
concerning the point of origin of the shots. Witnesses differed in
their accounts of the direction from which the sound of the shots
emanated. Within a few minutes, however, attention centered on the
Texas School Book Depository Building as the source of the shots.
The building was occupied by a private corporation, the Texas School
Book Depository Co., which distributed school textbooks of several
publishers and leased space to representatives of the publishers.
Most of the employees in the building worked for these publishers.
The balance, including a 15-man warehousing crew, were employees
of the Texas School Book Depository Co. itself.

Several eyewitnesses in front of the building reported that they saw a
rifle being fired from the southeast corner window on the sixth floor
of the Texas School Book Depository. One eyewitness, Howard L.
Brennan, had been watching the parade from a point on Elm Street
directly opposite and facing the building. He promptly told a
policeman that he had seen a slender man, about 5 feet 10 inches, in
his early thirties, take deliberate aim from the sixth-floor corner
window and fire a rifle in the direction of the President's car. Brennan
thought he might be able to identify the man since he had noticed him
in the window a few minutes before the motorcade made the turn
onto Elm Street. At 12 :34 p.m., the Dallas police radio mentioned the
Depository Building as a possible source of the shots, and at 12 :45
p.m., the police radio broadcast a description of the suspected
assassin based primarily on Brennan's observations.

When the shots were fired, a Dallas motorcycle patrolman, Marrion
L. Baker, was riding in the motorcade at a point several cars behind
the President. He had turned right from Main Street onto Houston
Street and was about 200 feet south of Elm Street when he heard a
shot. Baker, having recently returned from a week of deer hunting,
was certain the shot came from a high-powered rifle. He looked up
and saw pigeons scattering in the air from their perches on the Texas
School Book Depository Building. He raced his motorcycle to the
building, dismounted, scanned the area to the west and pushed his
way through the spectators toward the entrance. There he
encountered Roy Truly, the building superintendent, who offered
Baker his help. They entered the building, and ran toward the two
elevators in the rear. Finding that both elevators were on an upper
floor, they dashed up the stairs. Not more than 2 minutes had elapsed
since the shooting.

When they reached the second-floor landing on their way up to the
top of the building, Patrolman Baker thought he caught a glimpse of
someone through the small glass window in the door separating the
hall area near the stairs from the small vestibule leading into the
lunchroom. Gun in hand, he rushed to the door and saw a man about
20 feet away walking toward the other end of the lunchroom. The
man was empty-handed. At Baker's command, the man turned and
approached him. Truly, who had started up the stairs to the third floor
ahead of Baker, returned to see what had delayed the patrolman.
Baker asked Truly whether he knew the man in the lunchroom. Truly
replied that the man worked in the building, whereupon Baker turned
from the man and proceeded, with Truly, up the stairs. The man they
encountered had started working in the Texas School Book
Depository Building on October 16, 1963. His fellow workers
described him as a very quiet "loner." His name was Lee Harvey
Oswald.

Within about 1 minute after his encounter with Baker and Truly,
Oswald was seen passing through the second-floor offices. In his
hand was a full "Coke" bottle which he had purchased from a
vending machine in the lunchroom. He was walking toward the front
of the building where a passenger elevator and a short flight of stairs
provided access to the main entrance of the building on the first floor.
Approximately 7 minutes later, at about 12:40 p.m., Oswald boarded
a bus at a point on Elm Street seven short blocks east of the
Depository Building. The bus was traveling west toward the very
building from which Oswald had come. Its route lay through the Oak
Cliff section in southwest Dallas, where it would pass seven blocks
east of the rooming house in which Oswald was living, at 1026 North
Beckley Avenue. On the bus was Mrs. Mary Bledsoe, one of
Oswald's former landladies, who immediately recognized him.
Oswald stayed on the bus approximately 3 or 4 minutes, during
which time it proceeded only two blocks because of the traffic jam
created by the motorcade and the assassination. Oswald then left the
bus.

A few minutes later he entered a vacant taxi four blocks away and
asked the driver to take him to a point on North Beckley Avenue
several blocks beyond his rooming house. The trip required 5 or 6
minutes. At about 1 p.m. Oswald arrived at the rooming house. The
housekeeper, Mrs. Earlene Roberts, was surprised to see Oswald at
midday and remarked to him that he seemed to be in quite a hurry.
He made no reply. A few minutes later Oswald emerged from his
room zipping up his jacket and rushed out of the house.

Approximately 14 minutes later, and just 45 minutes after the
assassination, another violent shooting occurred in Dallas. The victim
was Patrolman J. D. Tippit of the Dallas police, an officer with a
good record during his more than 11 years with the police force. He
was shot near the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue,
about nine-tenths of a mile from Oswald's rooming house. At the
time of the assassination, Tippit was alone in his patrol car, the
routine practice for most police patrol officers at this time of day. He
had been ordered by radio at 12:45 p.m. to proceed to the central Oak
Cliff area as part of a concentration of patrol car activity around the
center of the city following the assassination. At 12:54 Tippit radioed
that he had moved as directed and would be available for any
emergency. By this time the police radio had broadcast several
messages alerting the police to the suspect described by Brennan at
the scene of the assassination--slender white male, about 30 years
old, 5 feet 10 inches and weighing about 165 pounds.

At approximately 1:15 p.m., Tippit was driving slowly in an easterly
direction on East. 10th Street in Oak Cliff. About 100 feet past the
intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, Tippit pulled up
alongside a man walking in the same direction. The man met the
general description of the suspect wanted in connection with the
assassination. He walked over to Tippit's car, rested his arms on the
door on the right hand side of the car, and apparently exchanged
words with Tippit through the window. Tippit opened the door on the
left side and started to walk around the front of his car. As he reached
the front wheel on the driver's side, the man on the sidewalk drew a
revolver and fired several shots in rapid succession, hitting Tippit
four times and killing him instantly. An automobile repairman,
Domingo Benavides, heard the shots and stopped his pickup truck on
the opposite side of the street about 25 feet in front of Tippit's car.
He observed the gunman start back toward Patton Avenue, removing
the empty cartridge cases from the gun as he went. Benavides rushed
to Tippit's side. The patrolman, apparently dead, was lying on his
revolver, which was out of its holster. Benavides promptly reported
the shooting to police headquarters over the radio in Tippit's car. The
message was received shortly after 1:16 p.m.

As the gunman left the scene, he walked hurriedly back toward Patton
Avenue and turned left, heading south. Standing on the northwest
corner of 10th Street and Patton Avenue was Helen Markham, who
had been walking south on Patton Avenue and had seen both the
killer and Tippit cross the intersection in front of her as she waited on
the curb for traffic to pass. She witnessed the shooting and then saw
the man with a gun in his hand walk back toward the corner and cut
across the lawn of the corner house as he started south on Patton
Avenue.

In the corner house itself, Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis and her
sister-in-law, Mrs. Virginia Davis, heard the shots and rushed to the
door in time to see the man walk rapidly across the lawn shaking a
revolver as if he were emptying it of cartridge cases. Later that day
each woman found a cartridge case near the home. As the gunman
turned the corner he passed alongside a taxicab which was parked on
Patton Avenue a few feet from 10th Street. The driver, William W.
Scoggins, had seen the slaying and was now crouched behind his cab
on the street side. As the gunman cut through the shrubbery on the
lawn, Scoggins looked up and saw the man approximately 12 feet
away. In his hand was a pistol and he muttered words which sounded
to Scoggins like "poor dumb cop" or "poor damn cop."

After passing Scoggins, the gunman crossed to the West side of
Patton Avenue and ran south toward Jefferson Boulevard, a main
Oak Cliff thoroughfare. On the east side of Patton, between 10th
Street and Jefferson Boulevard, Ted Callaway, a used car salesman,
heard the shots and ran to the sidewalk. As the man with the gun
rushed past, Callaway shouted "What's going on?" The man merely
shrugged, ran on to Jefferson Boulevard and turned right. On the
next corner was a gas station with a parking lot in the rear. The
assailant ran into the lot, discarded his jacket and then continued his
flight west on Jefferson.

In a shoe store a few blocks farther west on Jefferson, the manager,
Johnny Calvin Brewer, heard the siren of a police car moments after
the radio in his store announced the shooting of the police officer in
Oak Cliff. Brewer saw a man step quickly into the entranceway of the
store and stand there with his back toward the street. When the police
car made a U-turn and headed back in the direction of the Tippit
shooting, the man left and Brewer followed him. He saw the man
enter the Texas Theater, a motion picture house about 60 feet away,
without buying' a ticket. Brewer pointed this out to the cashier, Mrs.
Julia Postal, who called the police. The time was shortly after 1 :40
p.m.

At 1:29 p.m., the police radio had noted the similarity in the
descriptions of the suspects in the Tippit shooting and the
assassination. At 1:45 p.m., in response to Mrs. Postal's call, the
police radio sounded the alarm: "Have information a suspect just
went in the Texas Theater on West Jefferson." Within minutes the
theater was surrounded. The house lights were then turned up.
Patrolman M.N. McDonald and several other policemen approached
the man, who had been pointed out to them by Brewer.

McDonald ordered the man to his feet and heard him say, "Well, it's
all over now." The man drew a gun from his waist with one hand and
struck the officer with the other. McDonald struck out with his right
hand and grabbed the gun with his left hand. After a brief struggle
McDonald and several other police officers disarmed and handcuffed
the suspect and drove him to police headquarters, arriving at
approximately 2 p.m. Following the assassination, police cars had
rushed to the Texas School Book Depository in response to the
many radio messages reporting that the shots had been fired from the
Depository Building. Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer of the Dallas
Police Department arrived at the scene shortly after hearing the first
of these police radio messages at 12:34 p.m. Some of the officers
who had been assigned to the area of Elm and Houston Streets for
the motorcade were talking to witnesses and watching the building
when Sawyer arrived. Sawyer entered the building and rode a
passenger elevator to the fourth floor, which was the top floor for this
elevator. He conducted a quick search, returned to the main floor and,
between approximately 12:37 and 12:40 p.m., ordered that no one be
permitted to leave the building.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Capt. J. Will Fritz, chief of the homicide and
robbery bureau of the Dallas Police Department, arrived to take
charge of the investigation. Searching the sixth floor, Deputy Sheriff
Luke Mooney noticed a pile of cartons in the southeast corner. He
squeezed through the boxes and realized immediately that he had
discovered the point from which the shots had been fired. On the
floor were three empty cartridge cases. A carton had apparently been
placed on the floor at the side of the window so that a person sitting
on the carton could look down Elm Street toward the overpass and
scarcely be noticed from the outside. Between this carton and the
half-open window were three additional cartons arranged at such an
angle that a rifle resting on the top carton would be aimed directly at
the motorcade as it moved away from the building. The high stack of
boxes, which first attracted Mooney's attention effectively screened a
person at the window from the view of anyone else on the floor.

Mooney's discovery intensified the search for additional evidence on
the sixth floor, and at 1:22 p.m. approximately 10 minutes after the
cartridge cases were found, Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone turned his
flashlight in the direction of two rows of boxes in the northwest
corner near the staircase. Stuffed between the two rows was a
bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight. The rifle was not touched
until it could be photographed. When Lt. J.O. Day of the police
identification bureau decided that the wooden stock and the metal
knob at the end of the bolt contained no prints, he held the rifle by the
stock while Captain Fritz ejected a live shell by operating the bolt.
Lieutenant Day promptly noted that stamped on the rifle itself was
the serial number "C2766" as well as the markings "1940" "MADE
ITALY" and "CAL.6.5." The rifle was about 40 inches long and
when disassembled it could fit into a handmade paper sack which,
after the assassination, was found in the southeast corner of the
building within a few feet of the cartridge cases.

As Fritz and Day were completing their examination of this rifle on
the sixth floor, Roy Truly, the building superintendent, approached
with information which he felt should be brought to the attention of
the police. Earlier, while the police were questioning the employees,
Truly had observed that Lee Harvey Oswald, 1 of the 15 men who
worked in the warehouse, was missing. After Truly provided
Oswald's name, address, and general description, Fritz left for police
headquarters. He arrived at headquarters shortly after 2 p.m. and
asked two detectives to pick up the employee who was missing from
the Texas School Book Depository. Standing nearby were the police
officers who had just arrived with the man arrested in the Texas
Theater. When Fritz mentioned the name of the missing employee, he
learned that the man was already in the interrogation room. The
missing School Book Depository employee and the suspect who had
been apprehended in the Texas Theater were one and the same Lee
Harvey Oswald.

The suspect Fritz was about to question in connection with the
assassination of the President and the murder of a policeman was
born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, 2 months after the death
of his father. His mother, Marguerite Claverie Oswald, had two older
children. One, John Pic, was a half-brother to Lee from an earlier
marriage which had ended in divorce. The other was Robert Oswald,
a full brother to Lee and 5 years older. When Lee Oswald was 3,
Mrs. Oswald placed him in an orphanage where his brother and
half-brother were already living, primarily because she had to work.

In January 1944, when Lee was 4, he was taken out of the orphanage,
and shortly thereafter his mother moved with him to Dallas, Tex.,
where the older boys joined them at the end of the school year. In
May of 1945 Marguerite Oswald married her third husband, Edwin
A. Ekdahl. While the two older boys attended a military boarding
school, Lee lived at home and developed a warm attachment to
Ekdahl, occasionally accompanying his mother and stepfather on
business trips around the country. Lee started school in Benbrook,
Tex., but in the fall of 1946, after a separation from Ekdahl,
Marguerite Oswald reentered Lee in the first grade in Covington, La.
In January 1917, while Lee was still in the first grade, the family
moved to Fort Worth, Tex., as the result of an attempted
reconciliation between Ekdahl and Lee's mother. A year and a half
later, before Lee was 9, his mother was divorced from her third
husband as the result of a divorce action instituted by Ekdahl. Lee's
school record during the next 5 and a half years in Fort Worth was
average, although generally it grew poorer each year. The comments
of teachers and others who knew him at that time do not reveal any
unusual personality traits or characteristics.

Another change for Lee Oswald occurred in August 1952, a few
months after he completed the sixth grade. Marguerite Oswald and
her 12-year-old son moved to New York City where Marguerite's
oldest son, John Pic, was stationed with the Coast Guard. The
ensuing year and one-half in New York was marked by Lee's refusals
to attend school and by emotional and psychological problems of a
seemingly serious nature. Because he had become a chronic school
truant, Lee underwent psychiatric study at Youth House, an institution
in New York for juveniles who have had truancy problems or
difficulties with the law, and who appear to require psychiatric
observation, or other types of guidance. The social worker assigned
to his case described him as "seriously detached" and "withdrawn"
and noted "a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally
starved, affectionless youngster." Lee expressed the feeling to the
social worker that his mother did not care for him and regarded him
as a burden. He experienced fantasies about being all powerful and
hurting people, but during his stay at Youth House he was apparently
not a behavior problem. He appeared withdrawn and evasive, a boy
who preferred to spend his time alone, reading and watching
television. His tests indicated that he was above average in
intelligence for his age group. The chief psychiatrist of Youth House
diagnosed Lee's problem as a "personality pattern disturbance with
schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies." He concluded
that the boy was "an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster" and
recommended psychiatric treatment.

In May 1953, after having been at Youth House for 3 weeks, Lee
Oswald returned to school where his attendance and grades
temporarily improved. By the following fall, however, the probation
officer reported that virtually every teacher complained about the
boy's behavior. His mother insisted that he did not need psychiatric
assistance. Although there was apparently some improvement in
Lee's behavior during the next few months, the court recommended
further treatment. In January 1954, while Lee's case was still pending,
Marguerite and Lee left for New Orleans, the city of Lee's birth.

Upon his return to New Orleans, Lee maintained mediocre grades but
had no obvious behavior problems. Neighbors and others who knew
him outside of school remembered him as a quiet, solitary and
introverted boy who read a great deal and whose vocabulary made
him quite articulate. About l month after he started the l0th grade and
11 days before his 16th birthday in October 1955, he brought to
school a note purportedly written by his mother, stating that the
family was moving to California. The note was written by Lee. A few
days latex' he dropped out of school and almost immediately tried to
join the Marine Corps. Because he was only 16, he was rejected.
After leaving school Lee worked for the next 10 months at several
jobs in New Orleans as an office messenger or clerk. It was during
this period that he started to read communist literature. Occasionally,
in conversations with others, he praised communism and expressed
to his fellow employees a desire to join the Communist Party. At
about this time, when he was not yet 17, he wrote to the Socialist
Party of America, professing his belief in Marxism.

Another move followed in July 1956 when Lee and his mother
returned to Fort Worth. He reentered high school but again dropped
out after a few weeks and enlisted in the Marine Corps on October
1956, 6 days after his 17th birthday. On December 21, 1956, during
boot camp in San Diego, Oswald fired a score of 212 for record with
the M-1 rifle--2 points over the minimum for a rating of
"sharpshooter" on a marksman/sharpshooter/expert scale. After his
basic training, Oswald received training in aviation fundamentals and
then in radar scanning.

Most people who knew Oswald in the Marines described him as
"loner" who resented the exercise of authority by others. He spent
much of his free time reading. He was court-martialed once for
possessing an unregistered privately owned weapon and, on another
occasion, for using provocative language to a noncommissioned
officer. He was, however, generally able to comply with Marine
discipline, even though his experiences in the Marine Corps did not
live up to his expectations,

Oswald served 15 months overseas until November 1958, most of it
in Japan. During his final year in the Marine Corps he was stationed
for the most part in Santa Ana, Calif., where he showed marked
interest in the Soviet Union and sometimes expressed politically
radical views with dogmatic conviction. Oswald again fired the M-1
rifle for record on May 6, 1959, and this time he shot a score of 191
on a shorter course than before, only 1 point over the minimum
required to be a "marksman." According to one of his fellow marines,
Oswald was not particularly interested in his rifle performance, and
his unit was not expected to exhibit the usual rifle proficiency.
During this period he expressed strong admiration for Fidel Castro
and an interest in joining the Cuban army. He tried to impress those
around him as an intellectual, but his thinking appeared to some as
shallow and rigid.

Oswald's Marine service terminated on September 11, 1959, when at
his own request he was released from active service a few months
ahead of his scheduled release. He offered as the reason for his
release the ill health and economic plight of his mother. He returned
to Fort Worth, remained with his mother only 3 days and left for
New Orleans, telling his mother he planned to get work there in the
shipping or import-export business. In New Orleans he booked
passage on the freighter SS Marion Lykes, which sailed from New
Orleans to Le Havre, France, on September 20, 1959.

Lee Harvey Oswald had presumably planned this step in his life for
quite some time. In March of 1959 he had applied to the Albert
Schweitzer College in Switzerland for admission to the Spring 1960
term. His letter of application contained many blatant falsehoods
concerning his qualifications and background. A few weeks before
his discharge he had applied for and obtained a passport, listing the
Soviet Union as one of the countries which he planned to visit.
During his service in the Marines he had saved a comparatively large
sum of money, possibly as much as $1,500, which would appear to
have been accomplished by considerable frugality and apparently for
a specific purpose.

The purpose of the accumulated fund soon became known. On
October 16, 1959, Oswald arrived in Moscow by train after crossing
the border from Finland, where he had secured a visa for a 6-day stay
in the Soviet Union. He immediately applied for Soviet citizenship.
On the afternoon of October 21, 1959, Oswald was ordered to leave
the Soviet Union by 8 p.m. that evening. That same afternoon in his
hotel room Oswald, in an apparent suicide attempt, slashed his left
wrist. He was hospitalized immediately. On October 31, 3 days after
his release from the hospital, Oswald appeared at the American
Embassy, announced that he wished to renounce his U.S. citizenship
and become a Russian citizen, and handed the Embassy officer a
written statement he had prepared for the occasion. When asked his
reasons, Oswald replied, "I am a Marxist." Oswald never formally
complied with the legal steps necessary to renounce his American
citizenship. The Soviet Government did not grant. his request for
citizenship, but. in January 1960 he was given permission to remain
in the Soviet Union on a year to year basis. At the same time Oswald
was sent to Minsk where he worked in radio factory as an unskilled
laborer. In January 1961 his permission to remain in the Soviet
Union was extended for another year. A few weeks later, in February
1961, he wrote to the American Embassy in Moscow expressing a
desire to return to the United States.

The following month Oswald met a 19-year-old Russian girl, Marina
Nikolaevna Prusakova, a pharmacist, who Had been brought up in
Leningrad but was then living with an aunt and uncle in Minsk. They
were married on April 30, 1961. Throughout the following year he
carried on a correspondence with American and Soviet. authorities
seeking approval for the departure of himself and his wife to the
United States. In the course of this effort, Oswald and his wife visited
the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in July of 1961. Primarily on the basis
of an interview and questionnaire completed there, the Embassy
concluded that Oswald had not. lost his citizenship, a decision
subsequently ratified by the Department of State in Washington,
D.C. Upon their return to Minsk, 'Oswald and his wife filed with the
Soviet authorities for permission to leave together. Their formal
application was made in July 1961, and on December 25, 1961,
Marina Oswald was advised it would be granted.

A daughter was born to the Oswalds in February 1962. In the
months that followed they prepared for their return to the United
States. On May 9, 1962 the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service, at the request of the Department of State, agreed to waive a
restriction under the law which would have prevented the issuance of
a United States visa. to Oswald's Russian wife until she had left the
Soviet Union. They finally left Moscow on June 1, 1962, and were
assisted in meeting their travel expenses by a loan of $435.71 from
the U.S. Department of State. Two weeks later they arrived in Fort
Worth, Tex.

For a few weeks Oswald, his wife and child lived with Oswald's
brother Robert. After a similar stay with Oswald's mother, they
moved into their own apartment in early August. Oswald obtained a
job on July 16 as a sheet metal worker. During this period in Fort
Worth, Oswald was interviewed twice by agents of the FBI. The
report of the first interview, which occurred on June 26, described
him as arrogant and unwilling to discuss the reasons why he had
gone to the Soviet Union. Oswald denied that he was involved in
Soviet intelligence activities and promised to advise the FBI if Soviet
representatives ever communicated with him. He was interviewed
again on August 16, when he displayed a less belligerent attitude and
once again agreed to inform the FBI of any attempt to enlist him in
intelligence activities.

In early October 1962 Oswald quit his job at the sheet metal plant
and moved to Dallas. While living in Forth Worth the Oswalds had
been introduced to a group of Russian-speaking people in the Dallas
Fort Worth area. Many of them assisted the Oswalds by providing
small amounts of food, clothing, and household items. Oswald
himself was disliked by almost all of this group whose help to the
family was prompted primarily by sympathy for Marina Oswald and
the child. Despite the fact that he had left the Soviet Union,
disillusioned with its Government, Oswald seemed more firmly
committed than ever to his concepts of Marxism. He showed disdain
for democracy, capitalism, and American society in general. He was
highly critical of the Russian-speaking group because they seemed
devoted to American concepts of democracy and capitalism and were
ambitious to improve themselves economically.

In February 1963 the Oswalds met Ruth Paine at a social gathering.
Ruth Paine was temporarily separated from her husband and living
with her two children in their home in Irving, Tex., a suburb of
Dallas. because of an interest in the Russian language and sympathy
for Marina Oswald, who spoke no English and had little funds, Ruth
Paine befriended Marina and, during the next 2 months, visited her
on several occasions.

On April 6, 1963, Oswald lost his job with a photography firm. A
few days later, on April 10, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A.
Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army), using a rifle which he had ordered
by mail 1 month previously under an assumed name. Marina Oswald
learned of her husband's act when she confronted him with a note
which he had left, giving her instructions in the event he did not
return. That incident, and their general economic difficulties impelled
Marina Oswald to suggest that her husband leave Dallas and go to
New Orleans to look for work.

Oswald left for New Orleans on April 24, 1963. Ruth Paine, who
knew nothing of the Walker shooting, invited Marina Oswald and the
baby to stay with her in the Paines' modest. home while Oswald
sought work in New Orleans. Early in May, upon receiving word
from Oswald that he had found a job, Ruth Paine drove Marina
Oswald and the baby to New Orleans to rejoin Oswald.

During the stay in New Orleans, Oswald formed a fictitious New
Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. lie posed as
secretary of this organization and represented that the president was
A. J. Hidell. In reality, Hidell was a completely fictitious person
created by Oswald, the organization's only member. Oswald was
arrested on August 9 in connection with a scuffle which occurred
while he was distributing pro-Castro leaflets. The next day, while at
the police station, he was interviewed by an FBI agent after Oswald
requested the police to arrange such an interview. Oswald gave the
agent false information about his own background and was evasive in
his replies concerning Fair Play for Cuba activities. During the next 2
weeks Oswald appeared on radio programs twice, claiming to be the
spokesman for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans.

On July 19, 1963, Oswald lost his job as a greaser of coffee
processing machinery. In September, after an exchange of
correspondence with Marina Oswald, Ruth Paine drove to New
Orleans and on September 23, transported Marina, the child, and the
family belongings to Irving, Tex. Ruth Paine suggested that Marina
Oswald, who was expecting her second child in October, live at the
Paine house until after the baby was born. Oswald remained behind,
ostensibly to find work either in Houston or some other city. Instead,
he departed by bus for Mexico, arriving in Mexico City on
September 27, where he promptly visited the Cuban and Russian
Embassies. His stated objective was to obtain official permission to
visit Cuba, on his way to the Soviet Union. The Cuban Government
would not grant his visa unless the Soviet Government would also
issue a visa permitting his entry into Russia. Oswald's efforts to
secure these visas failed, and he left for Dallas, where he arrived on
October 3, 1968.

When he saw his wife the next day, it was decided that Oswald would
rent a room in Dallas and visit his family on weekends. For 1 week
he rented a room from Mrs. Bledsoe, the woman who later saw him
on the bus shortly after the assassination. On October 14, 1968, he
rented the Beckley Avenue room and listed his name as O. H. Lee.
On the same day, at the suggestion of a neighbor, Mrs. Paine phoned
the Texas School Book Depository and was told that there was a job
opening. She informed Oswald who was interviewed the following
day at the Depository and started to work there on October 16, 1963.

On October 20 the Oswalds' second daughter was born. During
October and November Oswald established a general pattern of
weekend visits to Irving, arriving on Friday afternoon and returning
to Dallas Monday morning with a fellow employee, Buell Wesley
Frazier, who lived near the Paines. On Friday, November 15, Oswald
remained in Dallas at the suggestion of his wife who told him that the
house would be crowded because of a birthday party for Ruth Paine's
daughter. On Monday, November 18, Oswald and his wife quarreled
bitterly during a telephone conversation, because she learned for the
first time that he was living at the roominghouse under an assumed
name. On Thursday, November 21, Oswald told Frazier that he
would like to drive to Irving to pick up some curtain rods for an
apartment in Dallas. His wife and Mrs. Paine were quite surprised to
see him since it was a Thursday night. They thought he had returned
to make up after Monday's quarrel. He was conciliatory, but Marina
Oswald was still angry.

Later that evening, when Mrs. Paine had finished cleaning the
kitchen, she went into the garage and noticed that the light was
burning. She was certain that she had not left it on, although the
incident appeared unimportant at the time. In the garage were most of
the Oswalds' personal possessions. The following morning Oswald
left while his wife was still in bed feeding the baby. She did not see
him leave the house, nor did Ruth Paine. On the dresser in their room
he left his wedding ring which he had never done before. His wallet
containing $170 was left intact in a dresser-drawer.

Oswald walked to Frazier's house about half a block away and placed
a long bulky package, made out of wrapping paper and tape, into the
rear seat of the car. He told Frazier that. the package contained
curtain rods. When they reached the Depository parking lot, Oswald
walked quickly ahead. Frazier followed and saw Oswald enter the
Depository Building carrying the long bulky package with him.

During the morning of November 22, Marina Oswald followed
President Kennedy's activities on television. She and Ruth Paine
cried when they heard that the President had been shot. Ruth Paine
translated the news of the shooting to Marina Oswald as it came over
television, including the report that the shots were probably fired
from the building where Oswald worked. When Marina Oswald
heard this, she recalled the Walker episode and the fact that her
husband still owned the rifle. She went quietly to the Paine's garage
where the rifle had been concealed in a blanket among their other
belongings. It appeared to her that the rifle was still there, although
she did not actually open the blanket.

At about 3 p.m. the police arrived at the Paine house and asked
Marina Oswald whether her husband owned a rifle. She said that he
did and then led them into the garage and pointed to the rolled up
blanket. As a police officer lifted it, the blanket hung limply over
either side of his arm. The rifle was not there.

Meanwhile, at police headquarters Captain Fritz had begun
questioning Oswald. Soon after the start of the first interrogation,
agents of the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service arrived and participated
in the questioning. Oswald denied having anything to do with the
assassination of President Kennedy or the murder of Patrolman
Tippit. He claimed that he was eating lunch at the time of the
assassination, and that he then spoke with his foreman for 5 to 10
minutes before going home. He denied that he owned a rifle and
when confronted, in a subsequent interview, with a picture showing
him holding a rifle and pistol, he claimed that his face had been
superimposed on someone else's body. He refused to answer any
questions about the presence in his wallet of a selective service card
with his picture and the name "Alek J. Hidell."

During the questioning of Oswald on the third floor of the police
department, more than 100 representatives of the press, radio, and
television were crowded into the hallway through which Oswald had
to pass when being taken from his cell to Captain Fritz' office for
interrogation. Reporters tried to interview Oswald during these trips.
Between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning he appeared in the
hallway at least 16 times. The generally confused conditions outside
and inside Captain Fritz' office increased the difficulty of police
questioning. Advised by the police that he could communicate with
an attorney, Oswald made several telephone calls on Saturday in an
effort to procure representation of his own choice and discussed the
matter with the president of the local bar association, who offered to
obtain counsel Oswald declined the offer saying that he would first
try to obtain counsel by himself. By Sunday morning he had not
yetengaged an attorney.

At 7:10 p.m. on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was
formally advised that he had been charged with the murder of
Patrolman J. D. Tippit Several witnesses to the Tippit slaying and to
the subsequent flight of the gunman had positively identified Oswald
in police lineups. While positive firearm identification evidence was
not available at the time, the revolver in Oswald's possession at the
time of his arrest was of a type which could have fired the shots that
killed Tippit

The formal charge against Oswald for the assassination of President
Kennedy was lodged shortly after 1:30 a..m., on Saturday, November
28. By 10 p.m. of the day of the assassination, the FBI had traced the
rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository
to a mail order house in Chicago which had purchased it from a
distributor in New York Approximately 6 hours later the Chicago
firm advised that this rifle had been ordered in March 1968 by an A.
Hidel for shipment to post office box 2915, in Dallas, Tex., box
rented by Oswald. Payment for the rifle was remitted by a money
order signed by A. Hidell. By 6:45 p.m. on November 23, the FBI
was able to advise the Dallas police that,, as a result of handwriting
analysis of the documents used to purchase the rifle, it had concluded
that the rifle had been ordered by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Throughout Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police released to the
public many of the details concerning the alleged evidence against
Oswald. Police officials discussed important aspects of the case,
usually in the course. of impromptu and confused press conferences
in the third-floor corridor. Some of the information divulged was
erroneous. Efforts by the news media representatives to reconstruct
the crime and promptly report details frequently led to erroneous and
often conflicting reports. At the urgings of the newsmen, Chief of
Police Jesse E. Curry, brought Oswald to a press conference in the
police assembly room shortly after midnight of the day Oswald was
arrested. The assembly room was crowded with newsmen who had
come to Dallas from all over the country. They shouted questions at
Oswald and flashed cameras at him. Among this group was a
52-year-old Dallas nightclub operator--Jack Ruby.

 

On Sunday morning, November 24, arrangements were made for
Oswald's transfer from the city jail to the Dallas County jail, about 1
mile away. The news media had been informed on Saturday night
that the transfer of Oswald would not take place until after 10 a.m. on
Sunday. Earlier on Sunday, between 2:80 and 3 a.m., anonymous
telephone calls threatening Oswald's life had been received by the
Dallas office of the FBI and by the office of the county sheriff.
Never- the less, on Sunday morning, television, radio, and newspaper
representatives crowded into the basement to record the transfer. As
viewed through television cameras, Oswald would emerge from a
door in front of the cameras and proceed to the transfer vehicle. To
the right of the cameras was a "down" ramp from Main Street on the
north. To the left was an %p" ramp leading to Commerce Street. on
the south.

 

The armored truck in which Oswald was to be transferred arrived
shortly after 11 a.m. Police officials then decided, however, that an
unmarked police car would be preferable for the trip because of its
greater speed and maneuverability. At approximately 11:20 a.m.
Oswald emerged from the basement jail office flanked by detectives
on either side and at his rear. He took a few steps toward the car and
was in the glaring light of the television cameras when a man
suddenly darted out from an area on the right of the cameras where
newsmen had been assembled. The man was carrying a Colt..38
revolver in his right hand and, while millions watched on television,
he moved quickly to within a few feet of Oswald and fired one shot
into Oswald's abdomen. Oswald groaned with pain as he fell to the
ground and quickly lost consciousness. Within 7 minutes Oswald
was at Parkland Hospital where, without having regained
consciousness, he was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m.

The man who killed Oswald was Jack Ruby. He was instantly
arrested and, minutes later, confined in a cell on the fifth floor of the
Dallas police jail. Under interrogation, he denied that the killing of
Oswald was in any way connected with a conspiracy involving the
assassination of President Kennedy. He maintained that he had killed
Oswald in a temporary fit of depression and rage over the President's
death. Ruby was transferred the following day to the county jail
without notice to the press or to police officers not directly involved
in the transfer. Indicted for the murder of Oswald by the State of
Texas on November 26, 1963, Ruby was found guilty on March 14,
1964, and sentenced to death. As of September 1964, his case was
pending on appeal.

 

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