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Ruby's Route to a Murder and Bugliosi's Blunder


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Distinguished attorney and author Vincent Bugliosi has been a staunch defender of the Warren Commission for many years. In 1986 he was chosen to act as the prosecution for the London Weekend Television production “The trial of Lee Harvey Oswald”. He successfully persuaded the jury to bring in a verdict of guilty against Oswald.

Following this venture, Bugliosi devoted twenty years to researching and writing a huge 1,600 page book which has now been published under the title of “Reclaiming History The Assassination of President John F Kennedy”. In his lengthy introduction Bugliosi attacks writers who have criticised the work of the Warren Commission over the years. He shows great reverence towards the Commission and he tells us that those employed by the Commission worked diligently and their efforts are beyond reproach. He praises the Warren Commission for doing an exhaustive and highly successful job of finding out the truth about the Kennedy assassination. To Bugliosi it is inconceivable that the Commission could be wrong over any of the major issues they investigated.

Bugliosi sounds more like a politician seeking high office than a historian as he boldly declares: “I will not knowingly omit or distort anything.” Unfortunately, in his introduction he does omit some rather important information, presumably unknowingly. He mentions the fact that the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) found that President Kennedy “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” but he quickly points out that the HSCA concluded that none of the groups frequently mentioned by the theorists were involved in any conspiracy to kill the president. Bugliosi then goes on to give the reader the impression that the conclusions of the HSCA and the Warren Commission were basically the same except for the small matter of a sound recording made on a police dictabelt which supposedly recorded the sound of gunfire during the assassination.

The recording seemed to suggest there were two gunmen firing from two different positions. However, he reassures us that this was just flawed science and it led to a flawed conclusion by the HSCA that some form of conspiracy was involved in the assassination of Kennedy.

Bugliosi omits to inform his readers that there were a number of important conclusions reached by the HSCA which were contradictory to Warren Commission conclusions. Certainly, these conclusions did not find their way onto the list of the main conclusions of the House Select Committee on Assassinations but, nevertheless, they were still the official position of the HSCA with regards to some important, specific issues. The following conclusions regarding Jack Ruby are of particular note:

· Jack Ruby had considerable ties to the Mafia.

· Ruby’s AGVA alibi was not a credible explanation for all the long distance phone calls Ruby made to Mafia contacts all across the country after Kennedy’s visit to Dallas was announced.

· Lee Harvey Oswald might have had links to Jack Ruby.

· When Ruby shot Oswald he did not enter the basement of Police Headquarters via the Main Street Ramp. He entered some other way and probably with the help of someone in the police department.

By avoiding mentioning the issues of how the HSCA came to different conclusions to the Warren Commission Bugliosi avoids having to explain how the esteemed members of the Warren Commission managed to get it wrong with regards to certain key issues. Or else, if the Warren Commission was completely correct he avoids having to account for the HSCA reaching the wrong conclusions on certain key issues.

This article looks at the controversial issue of how Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police Department headquarters before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. The Warren Commission stated: “Although the evidence on Ruby’s means of entry is not conclusive, the weight of evidence indicates that he walked down the ramp leading from Main Street to the basement of the police department.”

The Warren Commission accepted the conclusion of a Dallas Police Department investigative team which stated that Jack Ruby had walked down the ramp at the time a police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce was coming out and going on

to Main Street. The Commission also stated:

“There is no evidence to support the rumour that Ruby may have been assisted by any members of the Dallas Police Department in the killing of Oswald.”

However, the HSCA reached different conclusions and stated in its report: “The evidence available indicates that Jack Ruby did not come down the Main Street Ramp when Lieutenant Pierce exited.” It also stated: “The alley route was the most likely alternative…”

The HSCA went on to conclude: “…it is unlikely that Ruby entered the basement without some form of assistance. This might have been in the form of knowledge of the Oswald transfer plans, direct help in entering the basement, or direct help in both entering and shooting Oswald.”

Bugliosi discusses the shooting of Oswald in detail in his chapter ‘Four days in Dallas’ between page 270 and page 286. However, he only presents the Warren Commission version of events and at no stage does he inform the reader of the

very different opinion of the HSCA as to what happened.

This article reexamines the events of that day to try and see which official body was correct in its assessment. It also looks at the work of Mr Bugliosi to see how well he evaluates this particular aspect of the Kennedy assassination.

Edited by Tony Austin
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THE SCENE OF THE CRIME

On the morning of Sunday the 24 th of November 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald was taken down into the basement of Dallas Police Department headquarters so that he could be transferred to the county jail. At that time, most of the basement area consisted of the garage space where police vehicles were parked. On the east side of the basement there were some elevators and stairs to higher levels.

Running along the west side of the garage space there were two ramps in direct line with each other.

The Main Street ramp ran in an approximately north to south line from the Main Street entrance at ground level down to a level stretch along the middle of the basement. To the south of this level stretch the Commerce Street ramp ran upwards to the Commerce Street exit back up at ground level, again running in a roughly north to south line. In the minutes leading up to the shooting of Oswald the Commerce Street ramp was blocked by an armoured truck parked at the top of the ramp. This was going to be used as a decoy vehicle when Oswald was driven away to the county jail.

At about 11:20 am, Oswald was escorted out of an elevator and taken around the jail office and through a door into an open area visible to most of the garage area. From here he was led to the level area at the foot of the Main Street ramp. It was here that Jack Ruby pushed his way forward through the large crowd of reporters and TV personnel and fired a fatal shot into the abdomen of Oswald.

EVENTS DOWN IN THE BASEMENT

We shall start by looking at statements made by key witnesses that were down in the basement of Police Headquarters at the time of Oswald’s murder.

The HSCA noted that several police officers stationed in the basement had stated that during the period encompassing Lieutenant Pierce’s departure and the Oswald shooting, they may have glanced toward the Main Street ramp at various times without consistently focusing on the area. None of them had stated that they had seen Ruby or any other individual come down the ramp.

It should be said, however, that the bright lights of the TV crews in the area in front of the Main Street ramp would have made it hard for the officers to see clearly up the ramp. Also, they might have been looking in the wrong direction at the time Ruby came down the ramp.

Terrance McGarry, a UPI reporter, told the FBI that he was at the bottom of the Main Street ramp, in the middle, and nobody came down the ramp during the 5 minutes preceding the shooting.

Detective W.J. “Blackie” Harrison was stationed in the centre of the Main Street ramp at the lower end in the basement. His comments appear to confirm the statement by McGarry according to a HSCA summary of events. The Committee reports that “...he saw Lieutenant Pierce’s car go up the ramp and stop at the ramp entrance for a very short time. He did not see Ruby come down the ramp. His response was deemed truthful when the Dallas Police Department administered a polygraph test to him.”

This information is based on a letter from Lieutenant Wallace to Chief Curry in which he reports that on the 1st of December 1963 Harrison had informed him that he was looking towards the Main Street ramp at the time the police car was turning left onto Main Street and he did not see anybody coming down the ramp at that time. However, the HSCA failed to report that Detective Harrison made no mention of this when he was interviewed by the FBI five days later. He did say that he saw Ruby go past him on his left side as he was watching Oswald being brought out.

A polygraph (lie detector) examination was given to Detective Harrison on the 16th of December 1963 and during the pretest

interview he stated that he was not sure that he saw the police squad car actually make a left turn on Main Street. During the polygraph test, Harrison was asked: “Did you see Jack Ruby come down the Main Street ramp just before the shooting?” to which he replied truthfully “No”. However, there were no questions as to what extent he was looking up the ramp before the shooting of Oswald.

The HSCA also failed to mention that Detective Harrison was interviewed by the Warren Commission three months later and he stated that he only watched Lieutenant Pierce’s car until it cleared the group of people at the bottom of the ramp and that he did not look up the ramp after that. Harrison was keen to tell the Warren Commission that Ruby might have come down the ramp even though he did not witness this himself.

Harrison’s evidence suggests that Ruby came past him on the left side, just before the shooting, moving as if he had come down the Main Street ramp but Harrison did not see if he had actually came all the way down the ramp.

One witness was certain he did see Ruby coming down the Main Street ramp and that was WBAPTV director Jimmy Turner. He told the Warren Commission that he saw Lieutenant Pierce’s car going up the Main Street ramp and that about the same time he glanced towards the ramp and saw Ruby coming down it. Turner did not know Ruby but he was certain that the individual he saw was the same man that shot Oswald.

Turner stated that he saw Ruby from approximately two-thirds of the way down the ramp.

At this point we shall digress for a while and consider how Ruby could have got into position to shoot Oswald without coming down the full length of the Main Street ramp.

The HSCA considered the possibility that Ruby may not have come all the way down the ramp, but may have come from the garage area, crossed the railing dividing the parking area from the ramp at some point and then continued down the ramp incline. The HSCA expressed a view that the Warren Commission never properly explored this idea.

The HSCA wrote on the matter as follows:

“Last is the alley theory. The alley in question is situated between the Western Union office and the DPD headquarters, running from Main Street to Commerce Street.

In the middle of the alley is a door leading to the first floor of the municipal building… Once inside the door of the alley and in the first floor corridor of the municipal building, a person would normally be able to reach the DPD basement parking lot by either elevator or fire escape stairway. The stairway has doors at the first floor and the basement. If Ruby had left Western Union and started to walk down Main Street toward Patrolman Vaughn’s position [at the top of the Main Street ramp] he would have passed the alley and had access to the building.

Although Commission counsels Hubert and Griffin indicated an awareness of the alley in questioning the witnesses, the Warren Commission Report does not mention this possible route. Further, the special DPD investigation unit did not consider it at all.”

The HSCA also said: “The possibility that Ruby entered via the alley, went down the stairs and through the basement door is logistically attractive. Through his knowledge of Dallas Police Headquarters, Ruby may have been aware of the alley, the stairs and the door, and this mode of entry would have been much less conspicuous than the others. It would have enabled Ruby to get into position without having to pass many persons, since the route went through a fairly empty parking lot in the basement. Further, most, if not all, people were probably focusing on the area nearest to the jail office and the ramps, awaiting Oswald’s appearance.

This path would also have taken Ruby across the garage area through a railing at a point near the bottom of the Main Street ramp. With respect to timing, Ruby could have entered the basement via this route in the four minutes that elapsed between his visit to Western Union and the shooting. On June 26, 1964, an FBI agent walked through the route (including going through the railing near the bottom of the ramp) in response to a request from the Warren Commission; he found it required 189 steps and 2 minutes and 25 seconds.”

The HSCA went on further to look at the doors Ruby would have had to go through and whether or not they would have been locked had he chosen this alternative route:

“Although there were at least three doors along this route, it is possible they were not or could not be secured. The Warren Commission noted that there were doubts about whether the door at the bottom of the fire escape was secured. John O. Servance, the head porter for these buildings in 1963, said that even when the bottom of the door of the fire escape is locked in such a way as to prevent egress from the basement, a person could still open it from within the stairwell. This was corroborated by two other maintenance employees, Edward Pierce and Louis McKenzie.”

The HSCA reviewed the statements from several people on this matter concluded: “...this information raises the possibility that the alley door was left open, albeit inadvertently, and that if Ruby had gone through this door, he would have been able to continue to the basement without locked barricades.

Additionally, security at the relevant point in the basement was not airtight. Patrolman Alvin R. Brock had been assigned to watch the door leading from the fire escape to the nearby elevator doors, but he was reassigned by Sergeants Putnam and Dean at 10:45 am.”

Basically, the HSCA did not believe that Ruby walked down the Main Street ramp when a police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce exited and it stated: “The alley route was the most likely alternative because of the factors of time and distance, the lack of security in the garage area and along the entire route, and the testimony concerning the security at the doors along the route. This possibility was not considered or investigated by the FBI or the Dallas Police Department and was virtually ignored by the Warren Commission.”

If we now return to the witness Jimmy Turner we can see that the fact that he first saw Jack Ruby on the lower part of the Main Street ramp does not necessarily mean that Ruby had walked all the way down the ramp. Indeed, when Turner was interviewed by the Warren Commission he was asked to mark on a plan of the basement the position that he first saw Ruby. The mark he made shows a position on the lower part of the ramp that could be accessed from the garage part by climbing over a simple railing.

The upper two thirds of the Main Street ramp had a wall on either side and could not be accessed directly from the garage area. Therefore, the important question to ask is did anyone in the basement see Ruby higher up the ramp coming down in the minute before the shooting?

The only other witness to a man coming down the ramp was a police reservist by the name of William. J. Newman. He was stationed guarding a door on the far south side of the basement area. Newman claimed that about 1 minute before the shooting, just after a shout of “here he comes” he saw an individual coming down the ramp.

The HSCA was rather dismissive of Newman’s claim, mainly because he could not identify the individual as Ruby; all that he could say was that he was a white male. The commission noted that in 1978 Newman had declared that he was only sure that it wasn’t Santa Claus!

The statements by Newman are entirely understandable if you consider that he was approximately 140 feet from where he could see the man on the ramp. He was also looking beyond the large crowd gathered in the central area waiting to see Oswald with bright spot lights on this area but not on the ramp in the background. The description of ‘a white male’ is about the best you could expect under these circumstances.

The HSCA was critical of Newman because he stated that the man had come down the far (jail office) side which contradicted the Warren Commission which stated that Ruby had come down the near side of the ramp. Again, the statement of Newman is understandable given that he was looking at the ramp at an acute angle and from about 140 feet away. At such a position it would be difficult to tell exactly where the man was positioned on the ramp when he first saw him and exactly where he was moving down on the ramp.

William Newman was asked by the Warren Commission to mark on a plan of the basement exactly where he thought he saw the man when he first spotted him.

Newman used a small cross to mark a point on the ramp. The cross was two thirds of the way over to the far (jail office) side and slightly above the part of the ramp that can be accessed directly from the garage. However, he was being interviewed 4 months after the event. There was also all the problems involved in trying to be accurate in judging the position of something about 140 feet away.

The important points to remember with regard to William Newman are, firstly, that he could not identify the man he saw on the ramp and secondly, he was too far away to accurately judge exactly where the man was on the ramp at the moment he first noticed him.

Another important question to ask is: did anyone see a man climbing over the railing between the garage and the Main Street ramp before the shooting? If Ruby was in the garage part of the basement and he wanted to make it look like he had just walked down the ramp he would probably pause by the railing and look down at the crowd gathered below and wait until he thought nobody was looking in his direction and then climb over the railing. However, he might not have been aware of being observed by someone in the far south part of the basement. It turns out there could have been such a witness.

Here we go back to police reservist William Newman who was standing by a door on the south side of the basement. According to a memo sent to Lieutenant Revill dated the 6 th of December 1963 Newman stated that he saw someone going over “the railing at the ramp leading into the parking area of the basement…” However, he could not remember whether it was before or after the shooting. The memo also stated “he saw the person was wearing a suit, and he saw only his back, and could not identify him.” The fact that he could only see his back suggests the person concerned was going from the garage side of the railing over onto the ramp side.

When Newman testified before the Warren Commission in March 1964 he stated that his observations of a man coming down the ramp and of a man climbing over the railing related to “two different instances”. However, he still could not recollect exactly when he saw the man climbing over the railing onto the Main Street ramp. This does make you wonder why he was so confident that he really was observing “two different instances” as the Warren Commission phrased it.

Did Newman see Ruby climbing over the railing having used the ‘alley route’ to get into the basement? It is still possible but there is no clear evidence from William Newman’s statements to prove that this is what he actually saw.

The only other key witness to events in the basement before the shooting is Jack Ruby himself. We will look at his statements separately later in this article. However, if look at the information provided by key witnesses excluding Ruby

we can see that Ruby used the lower part of the Main Street ramp before the shooting. However, he could have used one of two possible routes to arrive there, either a route which involved him walking down the full length of the ramp or the ‘alley route’ There is no conclusive proof available from the key witnesses to establish beyond any doubt which route Ruby took.

Edited by Tony Austin
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EVENTS AT THE TOP OF THE MAIN STREET RAMP

At the time of Oswald’s murder, the Main Street ramp was guarded by Patrolman Roy E. Vaughan. Most of the time he was standing in middle of the ramp at the top making sure those only persons with the correct identification could go past him. About a minute before the shooting a police car came up the ramp and Roy Vaughan had to move out of position to allow the car to exit the building. Jack Ruby left the nearby Western Union office a few minutes prior to this event.

If Ruby did enter the basement of Dallas Police Department (DPD) headquarters via the Main Street ramp then logically there are only two periods of time during which he could have done this. Firstly, when there was no car in the process of exiting the building via the ramp and secondly, when there was a car in the process of exiting via the ramp. We shall examine these two periods of time separately.

(1) When no car was exiting via the Main Street ramp

Patrolman Vaughn was interviewed twice by the FBI in the month following the murder of Oswald. He told them that he allowed members of the police department that he knew to go down the ramp and other individuals that he had checked their identification before deciding that it was appropiate to allow them access to the basement. The interview dated the 2nd of December 1963 states: "Vaughn advised he is positive Jack Ruby did not enter the Main Street entrance to the ramp of the Dallas Police Department between 9:30am and 12:45pm. November 24 1963. He says he does Know Jack Ruby by sight as he met him on official business in 1959..."

At about 11am that morning Vaughn was joined by a former police officer by the name of Napoleon Daniels. He stood on the east side of the entrance to the ramp and remained there until after the shooting. He spoke with Vaughn from time to time as he stood there. His presence that morning was confirmed by Roy Vaughn in his formal FBI statements.

On the 29th of November 1963 Daniels signed an Affidavid. In this he stated that nobody went down the main street ramp at the time that a police squad car was exiting and Roy Vaughn was out of position. However, he went on to say that he saw a man go down the ramp shortly after this when Vaughn was back in position on the ramp. Daniels stated that the man passed between Vaughn and the east side of the ramp and continued down the ramp. He stated that Vaughn did see him but did not challenge him or show any signs of recognising him.

This sounds as if Daniels could have witnessed Ruby going down the Main Street ramp. However, the authorities soon became aware of many problems with the Affidavid made by Daniels and later statements he made to the authorities. Firstly, the description of the man given in the Affidavid, made only 5 days after the event, does not fit how Ruby would have appeared that day. Daniels stated that the man was "..a white male approximately 50 years of age, 5'10'', weighing about 155 - 160 pounds, wearing a dark (blue or brown) single breasted suit , white shirt and dark coloured tie, this man was not wearing a hat he had light coloured hair thinning on top, round face, kind of small head, fair complexion..." The famous photograph of Jack Ruby shooting Oswald shows a man wearing a hat with dark coloured hair visible below the brim of his hat.

When interviewed by the FBI on the 4th of December 1963, Daniels described the man he saw as now being a little shorter at 5' 8-9" and "he also seemed to recall that he was partly bold" according to the report which made it a little awkward in the interview when he stated that he could not recall whether or not the individual was wearing a hat (if he was wearing a hat how could he tell he was partly bold?)

Secondly, the timing of events given by Daniels was completely wrong. When the Dallas Police Department Studied tapes of TV recordings made in the basement that morning they calculated that between the police car driven by Lieutetenant Pierce leaving the basement and the shooting of Oswald was 56 seconds. If we allow six seconds for the car to drive up the ramp and turn on to Main Street then the interval between Ray Vaughn getting back into position and the shooting of Oswald would be about 50 seconds. However, in his Affidavid, Daniels states that Vaughn got back into position and then "several minutes later" the unknown man appeared and walked down the ramp. He went on to say that he heard the shot being fired in the basement 2 minutes after that.

Daniels was later informed by the Dallas Police about the 56 second time interval between the squad car leaving the basement and the shooting but when he was interviewed by the Warren Commission a few months later he still thought that there was 3 or 4 minutes interval between the car exiting and the shooting. When questioned by Mr Hubert of the Warren Commission as to when he saw a man go down the ramp, Daniels said "..I am not sure it was before or after the car came out. I am not sure I have run that in my mind a thousand times, but I can't place one before the other."

The following exchange occurred shortly after this when Mr. Hubert asked him about the time he saw a man walk down the ramp:

Mr. Hubert: "Do you know how long that was before the shot was fired?"

Mr Daniels: "3 or 4 moinutes I guess."

Mr. Hubert: "But what you say is confusing you, is it as to whether or not that was after the Rio Pierce car came out?”

Mr. Daniels: “I’m not sure I can’t place one before the other if I had to guess at it I would say it was before.”

Mr. Hubert: “In other words you now think you saw the man go down past Vaughn before the Rio Pierce car came?”

Mr. Daniels: “Right.”

At this point Mr. Hubert made Napoleon Daniels look through all the previous statements that he made to the authorities. Daniels then said:”Well I said I think I have changed my mind now I believe it was after the car was gone out when I saw him.”

It was obvious to the Warren Commission that there were inconsistencies in Daniels’s various statements and even within the same statement as we have just seen. In addition, the timing of events he described did not correspond with the timing of events worked out by the police. The Commission expressed the view that Daniels’s story “merits little credence.”

It should also be said that Mr. Daniels’s version of events does not fit with Jack Ruby’s claims. Ruby made clear statements that he had gained access at the time the police car was exiting and Vaughn was out of position. If Ruby had arrived even just a few seconds after the car pulled out onto Main Street he would not have been able to tell the police about Lieutenant Pierce driving out of the building.

We can also note that it contradicts Patrolman Roy Vaughn’s version of events. If Vaughn had let Ruby walk right past him less than 50 seconds before the shooting without challenging him in any way, then it would suggest some form of collusion between the two men. However, Vaughn consistently stated that he only allowed people with proper authorisation go down into the basement. He also stated that he never saw Jack Ruby that morning.

Vaughn underwent a polygraph (lie detector) test and he was assessed as being truthful in all his replies when questioned about his time guarding the ramp. In contrast, Daniels was subjected to a polygraph test and he was assessed as being untruthful in all but one of his responses. This is probably another reason the Warren Commission was keen to reject his testimony completely.

The day after the shooting Vaughn was aware that Ruby had claimed he entered via the Main Street ramp. He telephoned Daniels and asked him if he saw anybody go down the ramp when the police car came out of the building.

Daniel said that he did not and Vaughn left the matter at that. Both men told the FBI about this episode and described it the same way. If Vaughn had deliberately let a man go down into the basement unchallenged between the police car exiting and the shooting of Oswald it is very likely that he would asked Daniels something about this matter when he spoke to him on the phone.

However, the only thing on his mind was what happened when Lieutenant Pierce’s car came out of the building. There were two other witnesses who could have seen Jack Ruby go down the ramp during the time that Patrolman Vaughn was in position at the top of the ramp. They were taxi driver Harry Tasker and Sergeant Flusche who were in separate vehicles across the road from the entrance of the Main Street ramp at that time. We will consider their statements more in the next section but the main thing to note is that they were in a good position to see Ruby go down the ramp and neither of them reported seeing him do so.

It should be noted that Napoleon Daniels never positively identified the man he saw going down the ramp as being Jack Ruby. When he testified before the Warren Commission he said very early on “Well actually, I don’t feel I really know anything, but I saw a guy go down into the basement, but I don’t think it was Ruby.”

Finally, it should also be noted that when Daniels underwent his polygraph (lie detector) test there was only one question that he was assessed as replying with a truthful answer. The question was: “Do you think the person you stated you saw enter the basement at that time was Jack Ruby?” to which Daniels replied “No.”

It is highly unlikely that Jack Ruby could have walked straight past Patrolman Roy Vaughn as he guarded the top of the Main Street ramp without being stopped for identification. The evidence that he did this is very weak and easily challenged whilst the evidence that Ruby did not go down the ramp when Vaughn was standing in position is very strong. It can be stated with a high degree of certainty that this was not how Ruby entered DPD headquarters.

(2)When a police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce was exiting the building.

This was the time that Jack Ruby told the police that he slipped down the ramp and into the basement of DPD headquarters. Patrolman Roy Vaughn had to move out of position until the police car had turned left onto Main Street. Defenders of the Warren Commission often overstate how busy and distracted Roy Vaughn was at this time. Vincent Bugliosi is no exception, as in his book the first thing he says is that Vaughn was surprised by the car coming up the ramp because it was normally used as an entrance to the basement and not an exit. However, in Vaughn’s Warren Commission testimony you find:

Mr. Hubert: “What did you do when the car came up?”

Mr. Vaughn: “The first thing I noticed the car still standing inside the ramp – and I heard someone at the bottom of the ramp holler, “Watch the car,” and when I looked down you could just get a view of the front end of the car coming up the ramp. It had its red light, which were in the grill. As it come on up the ramp, I stepped to my right, and it come up the ramp.”

So Vaughn was given plenty of warning that a car was on its way up. Roy Vaughn never mentioned being surprised by the car exiting and neither did any of the other witnesses that saw the event.

Secondly, Bugliosi states that Vaughn had to clear people away from the area in front of the Main Street entrance. However, Vaughn did not describe having to do this and neither did any of the other witnesses who saw Vaughn come out from the top of the ramp. The driver of the police car, Lieutenant Pierce, told the Warren Commission that people were on both sides of the car when he pulled across the sidewalk. He was then asked how far they were from the entrance to which he replied “Well, probably 6 or 7 feet.” He does not mention Patrolman Vaughn having to move them back.

Sergeant James Putnam was Pierce’s front seat passenger. In his statement to the Warren Commission he describes people on the sidewalk as being further back, as the following exchange demonstrates:

Mr. Hubert: Can you go as far as to say turning again to you right side, that there was nobody on your righthand side at all?”

Sergeant Putnam: “I can say that there was no one in the immediate vicinity within, I would say well, it was apparent that – 15 feet away from me I saw a group of people standing, and to the right.”

Mr. Hubert: “On the …”

Sergeant Putnam: “to the left and to the right I saw no one in the immediate vicinity of us.”

Again there is no mention of Vaughn clearing people from the sides of the ramp entrance.

Sergeant Maxey was in the back of the car and, according to his Warren Commission testimony; he was looking straight ahead when the car exited the building. He did not comment as to how far back people might have been on the sidewalk.

Once again there was no mention of Vaughn clearing people from in front of the ramp. Taxi driver Harry Tasker was in his taxicab parked across the road and a little to the east of the Main Street ramp entrance. He was watching the entrance from

about 90 feet away. He was questioned by the Warren Commission as to how close people were standing to the Main Street entrance. The answer he came up with was 7 or 8 feet.

Yet again, he makes no mention of Patrolman Vaughn having to clear people away from the sides of the entrance. So, what exactly did he do that morning? Patrolman Roy Vaughn gave a very precise account of his actions when he was questioned by the Warren Commission:

Mr. Vaughn: “...I stepped to my right in order to get out of the car’s way, and I stepped out on the sidewalk somewhere between the sidewalk and the curb, I believe it was right around the curb, and I glanced – it would be toward the eastbound traffic, which would be traffic towards Pearl Street to see that traffic was clear, and then motioned them on and turned around and walked back.”

Mr. Hubert: “You did not pass the curb?”

Mr. Vaughn: “No, sir; not that I recall I don’t believe I did at all.”

And later:

Mr. Hubert: “Was your back then towards the ramp entrance?”

Mr. Vaughn: “No, sir; my back was not toward the ramp, I was standing to the right of the ramp where I still had a view of the ramp itself, the entrance to the ramp. My back would have been toward Pearl Street – it would be towards the east.”

Mr. Hubert: “Did you ever turn your head or body toward your right, that is, toward Pearl Street?”

Mr. Vaughn: “No, sir; not that I recall. All I done on that, Mr. Hubert, like I say, I walked out I glanced west towards the eastbound traffic going west [he means coming from the west] and due to the fact that there were cars parked along here on Main Street, I glance to the west and seen there was an opening in the eastbound traffic which would be coming from the west, and I just motioned them on.”

Mr. Hubert: “You did not go out in the middle of the street to halt traffic?”

Mr. Vaughn: “No, sir; I did not.”

So it appears that Vaughn did not have to move away any pedestrians near the ramp and when he got to the curb edge all he had to do was to briefly turn his head to the west, notice there were no cars coming, and then look back and wave on the police car and then move back to the ramp. At no time was the police car between Vaughn and the left edge of the ramp entrance (where Ruby claimed he entered) and Vaughn probably had his head turned towards the west for only a couple of seconds at most. The account by Vaughn is well supported by the testimonies of the three police officers in the car.

Vaughn was certain that Ruby could not have got past him at the time that the car driven by Lieutenant Pierce came out. He underwent a polygraph (lie detector) test regarding this matter and he was assessed as being truthful for all the answers he supplied.

There were other witnesses who could have seen Jack Ruby enter the Main Street ramp when a car exited. The nearest one was Napoleon Daniels the former member of the Dallas Police Department who was standing on the east side of the entrance to the Main Street ramp. As mentioned earlier, the Warren Commission rejected Daniels’s testimony due to inconsistencies between his various formal statements and for other reasons. However, there was one thing that Daniels was completely consistent about and that was his assertion that he saw nobody go down the ramp when Patrolman Vaughn moved out of position to allow the police car to exit the building. He even told the FBI on the 4th of December 1963 that he was making a particular effort to look out for anyone that might try to slip down the ramp when Roy Vaughn was out of position. When Daniels was asked if he thought it was possible that someone could have gone passed him without him knowing he replied that he did not think this was possible.

Next we should consider the testimonies of the three police officers that were in the squad car that came up the ramp. If Jack Ruby had been standing still near to the entrance as they came out, particularly if he had been close to the wall of the building, then the three men could easily have failed to spot him there.

However, Ruby claimed that he never stopped walking. He walked west along Main Street and as he reached the entrance he saw Patrolman Vaughn out of position. Without slowing or stopping, he simply changed direction and headed down the ramp.

If this account by Jack Ruby is correct then the chances that one of the three police officers would have spotting Ruby heading for the ramp would have been increased dramatically.

The human eye, optic nerve and visual cortex have developed over millions of years of evolution. One feature of this visual system is that each one of us is very sensitive to movement in the peripheral part of our field of vision. If out of “the corner of our eye” something is moving we are aware of it immediately and we instinctively turn towards it to see exactly what it is that is moving.

If we get back to the Main Street entrance, the fact that Ruby was in constant motion means it is highly likely that one of the three police officers would have noticed a man walking towards the ramp and turned their head to see who it was. However, all three men were questioned by the Warren Commission and none of them saw Ruby, or anybody else, walking outside the Main Street entrance that morning.

Taxicab driver Harry Tasker was sat in his taxicab that morning. He was parked across the road and to the east of the Main Street entrance. He testified that he was about 90 feet away. He was waiting for a newspaper reporter who had hired his services that morning. He was expecting him to come out from the Main Street entrance so he was watching the entrance carefully as he sat waiting.

Tasker testified that he did not see anybody walking along Main Street from the direction of the Western Union office in the minutes leading up the shooting of Oswald. Surprisingly, he was never specifically asked if he saw a man walk into

the Main Street entrance at the time Patrolman Vaughn was out on the sidewalk.

The next witness was Sergeant Don Flusche of the Dallas Police Department. It should be noted that his statement was not available to the Warren Commission but it was available to the HSCA. His statement is in fact one of the main reasons that the HSCA came to a different conclusion to the Warren Commission as to how Ruby gained access to the basement. Jack Moriarty interviewed Sergeant Flusche in 1978 This is an extract: “The sergeant had his cruiser parked to the curb with the

right front door opened on to the side walk area. He was listening to the Police Department radio (he was on duty) Although assigned to the Northeast District at the time, he was also working as the Watch Commander and had driven to Main Street to see if he could see Lee Harvey Oswald as he was moved to the Sheriff’s Office.

He stood there long enough to see (Lt.) Rio Sam Pierce drive up the ramp and Vaughn step towards the street. He was still there when the obvious commotion told him that something was amiss in the basement.

The street was void of pedestrians in the downtown section on this Sunday morning and he knows beyond any doubt in his mind, that Jack Ruby, whom he had know for many years, did not walk down Main Street anywhere near the ramp.

Asked why he hasn’t mentioned this before, he advised he did as soon as he found out what had happened. He immediately notified his superior, Lt. Knox.

He didn’t hear any more about it until yesterday [i.e. 15 years later!] Talking with Vaughn, who asked him to mention it to me. "

This is clear, strong evidence from an on duty police officer that had known Jack Ruby for years. It is evidence that Ruby did not use the Main Street entrance to gain access to the basement when a police car was exiting or at any other time.

So we can say at this point there is the evidence of five on duty police officers, a former member of the Dallas Police Department and a working Taxicab driver to show that Ruby did not go down the Main Street ramp when Lieutenant Pierce drove his car out from the basement. There is only the evidence of one man to shows that he did go down the ramp and that is the evidence of Mr. Jack Ruby.

In the next section we shall consider what he had to say on his own movements that morning.

Edited by Tony Austin
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THE STATEMENTS OF JACK RUBY

In his book “Reclaiming History” Vincent Bugliosi reviews the murder of Oswald and states in a matter of fact way that Ruby got into the basement of Police Headquarters by going down the Main Street ramp when a police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce was coming out via the ramp. However, he makes no mention of the key witnesses’ statements of Pierce, Maxey and Putnam, the three police officers in the car or the statements made by the two other police officers, Patrolman Roy Vaughn and Sergeant Don Flusche. A polygraph examination of Lieutenant Harrison is mentioned briefly in a different part of the book (Ruby and the Mob). However, the key witness statements made by taxicab driver Harry Tasker, reporter Terrance McGarry, TV director James Turner and former police officer Napoleon Daniels are not considered, in fact these individuals do not get mentioned in his book at all.

The only evidence that Bugliosi presents to support his position is the various comments made by Jack Ruby following his arrest. Twice Bugliosi quotes Jack Ruby as saying to police officers that he came down the Main Street ramp when ‘Sam’ Pierce was exiting the building in a police car. He also quotes Ruby as saying “I just walked to the bottom of the ramp when he walked in” when asked how long he was in the basement before Oswald came out.

You can see the logic that Mr. Bugliosi has used to reach his conclusion. A last minute decision was made to send Lieutenant Pierce and two other officers out of the building via the Main Street ramp. If Ruby reported that Sam Pierce was driving a squad car out via the ramp within minutes of his arrest then he must have been at the Main Street entrance and seen this for himself. Ruby stated that the police officer guarding the ramp moved out of position and came out onto the sidewalk when the police car came up the ramp. This means he must have been at the Main Street entrance to witness Patrolman Vaughn come out onto the sidewalk.

Ruby said that it was at this time that he went down the ramp and logically this would be the time when the ramp was less well guarded. If Ruby walked down the ramp he would have arrived at the bottom only about thirty seconds before Oswald came out. His claim that he was only in the basement for a few seconds before he shot Oswald is consistent with him coming down the ramp at the time that Lieutenant Pierce’s car was exiting.

With evidence like this why should we need to consider the matter further? The answer is that we need to consider the matter further because this evidence is hopelessly flawed.

An FBI agent determined that it would have taken Jack Ruby 2 minutes and 25 seconds to walk from the Western Union office to the spot where he shot Oswald if he had gone via the “alley route” and used stairs and doors on the east side of the building. The Warren Commission took the view that there was a time interval of four minutes between Ruby leaving the Western Union office and the shooting of Oswald. This means that if Ruby had used the “alley route” he would have arrived down in the basement with plenty of time to see a police car go up the Main Street ramp. He could have seen Lieutenant Pierce get into the car or else he could have overheard police officers talking about Sam Pierce taking a squad car around the building. The fact that Ruby came up with the name of Sam Pierce as the driver of the police car exiting the building does NOT prove that he must have seen him at the Main Street entrance. He could have gathered that information from inside the basement a short time before this event.

Patrolman Roy Vaughn was standing just inside the Main Street entrance at the top of the ramp. In this position he could be seen by people in the basement standing around the bottom of the ramp. Anyone looking up at him from the basement would be able to see that, if any car came up the ramp, Vaughn would have to move out from the entrance to let the car to get past. In fact, if Ruby used the “alley route” to get into the basement and then climbed over the railing onto the Main Street ramp just after the police car had driven up it, he could have looked up the ramp and seen Patrolman Vaughn moving out of position out on to the sidewalk. Again, the fact that Ruby knew patrolman Vaughn moved away from the ramp and onto the sidewalk does NOT prove that Ruby must have been at the Main Street entrance.

In theory, there was an increased chance of someone slipping down the ramp unnoticed when Patrolman Vaughn was out of position. However, Ruby’s repeated claim that he went down to the basement at this time is contradicted by the witness statements of five police officers, an ex-police officer and a taxicab driver. So there are reasons to believe that Ruby was simply lying on this point!

Ruby did say that he was in the basement for only a matter of seconds before he shot Oswald. However, if he had been in the basement before the police car came out he would have known full well that the police car went up the ramp less than a minute before the shooting. He would know that anybody who walked all the way down the ramp at this time would arrive within seconds of Oswald being brought out so he could have told the police about being in the basement for a matter of seconds to keep his story plausible. What is interesting to note is that one police officer (Sergeant P.T. Dean) reported Ruby

as saying that he was in the basement for about 3 minutes before Oswald was brought out. For a moment, did Ruby slip up and give his real feeling as to how long he thought he had been in the basement?

We can now see that the evidence for Jack Ruby using the Main Street entrance to gain access to the basement which is based purely on the statements made by Ruby is actually worthless. At this point it is worth seeing just how well Ruby’s statements about his entry into the basement stand up to close scrutiny

Edited by Tony Austin
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RUBY’S CLAIMS

Firstly, Ruby told the FBI that as he approached the Main Street entrance he saw the police officer guarding the entrance go up to the police car driven by Sam Pierce and bend down to look inside the vehicle. When testifying to the Warren Commission he said the officer was talking with Sam Pierce. However, we looked at Vaughn’s testimony to the Warren Commission earlier in this article and we saw how he described exactly what he did when the car came out. In his testimony there is no mention of him going over to the car or trying to talk with Pierce in any way.

If you look at the statements made by the three officers in the car you find that they support Vaughn’s version of events. Sergeant Putnam gives the Warren Commission the most detailed account as the following exchange shows:

Mr. Hubert: “Where was Vaughn now when you first saw him?”

Sergeant Putnam: “In front of our automobile about the middle of the sidewalk.”

Mr. Hubert: “What did he do?”

Sergeant Putnam: “He stepped to the right and about to the curb, or just off the curb, glanced to his right and looked back and waved us on.”

Mr. Hubert: “You went into Main Street and turned left?”

Sergeant Putnam: “Right.”

A little later

Mr. Hubert: “And he stepped off the curb just about 2 feet?”

Sergeant Putnam: “Well, I would say in one step, 2 feet.”

Mr. Hubert: “Didn’t go into the middle of the street?”

Sergeant Putnam: “No, sir.”

Mr. Hubert: “And he waved you on?”

Sergeant Putnam: “He immediately turned back and glanced like this [indicating], and turned back, and was walking back to his position on the sidewalk.”

Mr. Hubert: “Would you say from the time you all reached the Main Street exit point to the time that Vaughn started to walk back to his position, it only took a matter of 3 or 4 seconds?”

Sergeant Putnam: “We didn’t even stop the car. It would be very few seconds.”

Mr. Hubert: “No stop at all?”

Sergeant Putnam: “Just a to prevent from hitting a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk. Now, there wasn’t one walking, but to take a quick glance like you would do approaching a sidewalk, the car was slowed, and immediately at this time everything happened at once. He slowed the car, Vaughn walked and glanced and waved us on. He accelerated and we went on to Main Street.”

There you have it, no attempt by Vaughn to look into the car. No attempt to talk with the driver. No stopping of the car by the driver and no time for Jack Ruby to slip down the ramp unnoticed.

Lieutenant Pierce was asked by the Warren Commission what happened when he got to the top of the ramp where Patrolman Vaughn was stationed. Pierce replied: “Well, actually, nothing happened outside the fact that he had to move out of the way to let us out.” He makes no mention of Vaughn coming over to his car and trying to talk with him or “acknowledge” him as Bugliosi phrases it in his book.

Sergeant Maxey was in the back seat. In his testimony to the Warren Commission he mentions that when the car got to the top of the ramp there was a momentary hesitation. Again he does not report the car stopping and Vaughn trying to talk to the driver.

An FBI report dated the 4 th of December 1963 reports that the exmember of the Dallas Police Department, Napoleon Daniels, told the FBI “While he was standing there, a black unmarked squad car carrying three officers drove up the Main Street ramp. He does not recall this car stopping or anyone in it talking to Vaughn …”

So when Ruby talks about Vaughn going over to the police car that came out and talking to the driver, then he is describing an event that never happened. There is the testimony of four police officers and a former member of the Dallas Police Department to confirm that this is the case.

Secondly, Ruby told the police that when he was half way down the ramp he heard a voice calling out “Hey you!” and he just put his head down and carried on down the ramp. This is a nice little embellishment, the wily night club owner slips down the ramp and just hurries on down faster when he hears someone behind him trying to get him to stop.

As the nearest pedestrians to the ramp entrance were between 6 and 15 feet away according to witness statements, the only people likely to have shouted out “Hey you” and to have been heard by Ruby would be Patrolman Vaughn or Napoleon Daniels. However, neither man reported that they cried out “Hey you!” to Ruby or anybody else in any of their official statements. If Daniels shouted “Hey you!” down the ramp then Vaughn would have followed his gaze down the ramp and immediately ran down the tunnel after Ruby. If Vaughn has shouted “Hey you!” he would have done so as he ran down the tunnel after Ruby. How can we be sure of this? If we look at the testimony of Harry Tasker to the Warren Commission we find that he describes what he saw of Vaughn’s actions that morning:

Mr. Tasker: “…he had a little difficulty now and then. Somebody would try to slip by him and he would hail them and bring them back out.”

Mr. Hubert: “Did that happen once or more than once?”

Mr. Tasker: “It happened a few times I’ve forgotten just how many”

Mr. Hubert: “Did he grab them?”

Mr. Tasker: “Oh, yes; he just went and got them and brought them back out. He didn’t mistreat them or anything like that.”

Vaughn was dragging back anyone who tried to slip past him that morning; it is hardly likely that Vaughn would have treated Jack Ruby any differently. Once again, when Ruby describes hearing someone shouting “Hey you!” as he gets half way down the ramp he is describing something that the evidence suggests did not happen.

Thirdly, in order to get down into the basement via the ramp, Ruby would have had to walk right past Napoleon Daniels. This black ex-police officer was standing on the east side of the ramp entrance separate from nearby pedestrians. Ruby could hardly have failed to notice him there and yet, in a statement to FBI agent C. Ray Hall, the report reads: “As he entered the ramp, he does not recall seeing any person standing around the entrance, and he does not know a former police officer named Daniels."

Fourthly, one distinguishing feature of Patrolman Roy Vaughn was his height. At 6 feet 4 inches he was one of the tallest officers of the Dallas Police Department. In theory, Vaughn came out from the top of the Main Street ramp and walked right in front of Jack Ruby and within a few feet of him. In those circumstances it is unlikely that Ruby would have failed to notice that this man was rather tall. You would expect Ruby to refer to him as ‘the tall officer’ or even ‘the very tall officer’ when talking about him. However, Ruby never refers to his height in any of his conversations recorded by the authorities.

Fifthly, there is the question as to how many police officers were in the car that came up the ramp just before the shooting. Roy Vaughn correctly referred to three officers and named them all in his statements but then he could have spoken with his colleagues later before he made his official statements.

Napoleon Daniels did not know who was in the car that came up the ramp but in his early FBI statements he said that he saw three officers in the car. When he testified to the Warren Commission a few months later he thought he had seen four men in the car. It can be said that he always thought there were more than two officers in the car. This brings us on to Ruby, who in theory would have had a similar view of the police car to that of Daniels. He would have seen the car pull out in front of him only a few feet away. When Ruby gave a statement to FBI agent C. Ray Hall on the 21 st of December 1963 the following comment was made: “Ruby did not recall seeing anyone else in the police car with Lieut. Pierce in either the front or back seat of the police car.”

Looking in detail at the statements made by Ruby following his arrest does not help to provide evidence to support his claim that he entered the basement of Police Headquarters by going down the Main Street ramp. On the contrary, the evidence it provides suggests that Ruby was nowhere near the Main Street entrance in the last few minutes before Oswald was shot.

Edited by Tony Austin
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A QUESTION OF TIMING

Jack Ruby claimed that he gained entry to the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters via the Main Street ramp. One way to assess the validity of this claim is analyse the time sequence of events in the minutes leading up to the shooting and see if this method of entry fits in easily with the known timing of events or whether inconsistencies are brought to light.

Exactly when did Ruby leave the Western Union office?

Shortly before he shot Oswald, Jack Ruby visited the Western Union office near to Dallas Police Department headquarters and wired some money to an employee. Mr. Doyle E Lane dealt with the transaction and he testified to the Warren Commission. He was asked about the accuracy of the clocks at his branch of the Western Union. Mr. Lane explained that the clocks were extremely accurate because every morning at 11 am the clocks would be precisely set against a national standard, the US Naval Observatory at Washington D.C.

There are four Warren Commission exhibits that are photocopies of the paperwork filled in by Doyle Lane that morning. Exhibits 2420 and 2421 are the front and back views of what is described as: “the face of the Western Union receipt” and this has the time stamped on it as 11:16am. Exhibit 5118 is the “copy of an application by Jack Ruby for a money order” and exhibit 5117 is the “copy of a money order receipt given to Jack Ruby” and both these exhibits show the time stamped on them as 11:17 am.

The first two of these exhibits were obviously stamped before the last two and when the last two exhibits were stamped the time had probably just changed to the next minute.

Doyle Lane informed the Warren Commission that stamping the last two documents and passing the receipt over to Ruby would be the last thing done before Ruby left the building. We can see that Jack Ruby must have left within seconds of 11:17 am.

Exactly when was Oswald shot?

The Warren Commission established that the shooting occurred very close to 11:21 am. The Commission stated: “This time has been established by observing the time on a clock appearing in motion pictures of Oswald in the basement jail office, and by records giving the time of Oswald’s departure from the city jail and the time at which the ambulance was summoned for Oswald.”

Exactly how long would it take to walk from the inside of the Western Union office to the Main Street entrance?

The special Dallas Police Department investigation unit calculated this time on the 29 th of November 1963. Lieutenants Revill and McCaghren found that it took 1 minute and 13 seconds to walk this distance.

What was the length of time between the car driven by Lieutenant Pierce arriving in front of the Main Street entrance and Oswald been shot?

Lieutenants Revill and McCaghren found it took 22 seconds to walk down the ramp to the spot where Oswald was shot. Given that a car can move much faster than a man we could guess the time it would take the car to come up the ramp would be about 6 seconds. As stated earlier, the Dallas Police looked at video tape of TV footage made down in the basement and worked out that there was a 56 second interval between the police car leaving the basement and Oswald being shot. If we subtract 6 seconds to allow for the time the car took to get up the ramp this leaves us with 50 seconds. This means there were 50 seconds between the time Ruby claimed he slipped past Patrolman Vaughn to go down the ramp and the moment Oswald was shot dead.

What does all this add up to?

Ruby left the Western Union office at almost exactly 11:17 and he shot Oswald at almost exactly 11:21. This means there are four minutes of time to be accounted for. Walking from the Western Union office to the Main Street entrance would take 1 minute and 13 seconds if we then add 50 seconds for the time interval between Ruby starting down the ramp and the shooting of Oswald we arrive at a figure of 2 minutes and 3 seconds. If we take this away from the 4 minutes of available time we end up with 1 minute and 57 seconds of time unaccounted for.

The Warren Commission decided that there was a four minute interval between Ruby leaving the Western Union office and Oswald being shot. The Commission was also aware of a problem with timing with approximately 2 minutes of time unaccounted for.

The Commission offered some simple explanations for this time discrepancy and then quickly moved on to other matters. These explanations effectively “swept the matter under the carpet”. The problem is that these explanations are complete nonsense. The exact wording in the report is “Ruby could have consumed time in loitering along the way, at the top of the ramp, or inside the basement.” Let us consider these in reverse order:

Loitering inside the basement

We know that the police calculated that the car driven by Lieutenant Pierce arrived at the top of the ramp about 50 seconds before the shooting. Lieutenants Revill and McCaghren found it took 22 seconds to walk down the ramp to where Oswald was shot. So that would leave Ruby with 28 seconds in the basement, a little longer if he hurried. That gives him roughly 30 seconds in the basement. However, this time is fixed by the time of the police car exiting the building. Ruby could not loiter for longer down in the basement because of the fixed time when an exiting car made access possible.

Loitering at the top of the ramp

Ruby made it clear in his statements following his arrest that he did not stop when he reached the Main Street entrance. He claimed he saw the officer guarding it moving out of position and he simply changed his direction and headed straight down the ramp. Ruby claims he did not stop at all at the Main Street entrance so this idea of loitering at the top of the ramp contradicts Ruby’s claims.

Loitering along the way

Let us consider the background here. The Warren Commission looked at Ruby’s activities over the weekend in detail and it was obvious that he was in a state of emotional turmoil. He appeared to be totally obsessed with the events of the assassination and he went into the DPD headquarters to watch Oswald being moved around the building and to watch him appear at a midnight press conference. Ruby appeared to be fascinated and obsessed with Lee Harvey Oswald.

Detective D.R. Archer was with Ruby after his arrest and, in a report to Chief Curry, he mentions that Ruby explained to Sergeant Dean how he got into the basement of Police Headquarters. At one point Ruby states that, after leaving the Western Union, “I walked up that way, thinking I might get a chance to see Oswald…”

Jack Ruby left Western Union at 11:17am and he started walking towards the Main Street entrance believing he might have a chance to see Oswald, the man he had been obsessed with for the previous two days. He probably wanted to go down into the basement to see if Oswald was there and after this he still had to return to his car to sort out one of his dogs that he had left inside the car in a parking lot near by. Can we really believe that under such circumstances Ruby would loiter along the way? If anything we would expect him to hurry to the entrance as he would be anxious not to miss anything. The idea that for a short walk, which would normally take 1 minute and 13 seconds to complete, Jack Ruby would spend 1 minute and 57 seconds loitering along the way is really unbelievable. It is much easier to believe that Ruby used a different means of entry and one that did not depend on him arriving at the ramp at the exact moment that a car was exiting.

Edited by Tony Austin
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WHY WOULD RUBY LIE?

If Jack Ruby had used the ‘alley route’ and entered DPD headquarters via some doors and stairs at the east side of the building, then why did he not just say so? He could have said that he knew about this route into the building and when he entered this way he found that the doors were unlocked and there was nobody guarding them.

However, the evidence does suggest he was lying and if criminals tell lies about their actions it is usually because they have something they wish to hide. If Ruby had entered the east side of the building it could have been that one or more of the doors were locked but somebody working for the Dallas Police Department had unlocked the door or doors and let him through into the basement.

Ruby would not want this information to come to light. Assistance from someone inside the Dallas Police Department would suggest that Ruby had prearranged some help. Ruby wanted his arrival in the basement to be regarded as a chance event and his shooting of Oswald to be regarded as a sudden, unplanned, impulsive action.

When Ruby saw a police car going up the Main Street ramp, within a minute of Oswald coming out, he probably thought it would be useful to claim that he came down the ramp as the car exited. He may have thought that it would divert attention away from the ‘alley route’ and make it less likely that his assistance from somebody on the inside would ever come to light.

It appears that the plan worked for about 15 years as his entry into the basement via the ‘alley route’ was never given serious consideration until the late 1970s when the HSCA reviewed the matter.

SUMMARY

Careful examination of witnesses statements from individuals who were down in the basement show that Ruby used the lower part of the Main Street ramp just before he shot Oswald. However, he could have come all the way down the

ramp or he could have used the ‘alley route’ and walked across the garage area. There is no decisive proof to show exactly which route he chose.

Witness statements from individuals around the Main Street entrance are more helpful. They provide good solid evidence that Ruby did not use this entrance to gain entry to the basement.

Looking closely at the comments made by Jack Ruby following his arrest we find there is nothing in his words that prove that he must have used the Main Street entrance and walked down the ramp. Jack Ruby failed to observe certain things around the Main Street entrance which he might reasonably have been expected to see. He also spoke of events taking place around the entrance which all the evidence from other witnesses suggests never occurred. A detailed examination of the timing of events relating to Jack Ruby’s movements that morning do not support his claim that he walked up to the Main Street entrance and then walked down the ramp without stopping.

When all this information is brought together it is clear that the House Select Committee on Assassinations was correct in its assessment as to how Ruby gained access to the basement of DPD headquarters before he shot Oswald.

Ruby did not use the Main Street entrance and walk down the ramp as described by the Warren Commission. Ruby almost certainly used the ‘alley route’ and went through doors and down stairs in the east part of the building. Ruby went to considerable efforts to try and persuade his captors that he did not use this route. However, it is highly likely that he did use this route and he was probably helped by someone who worked for the Dallas Police Department.

Vincent Bugliosi made a huge blunder when he considered this matter. He assumed that the comments made by Jack Ruby constitute adequate proof that Ruby used the Main Street ramp to enter the basement and that all other witness statements could be ignored. This article clearly demonstrates that Ruby’s comments do not prove anything and that there is a great deal of information available to determine exactly what happened, which Bugliosi simply ignores.

The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald is one of the most important aspects of the assassination of President Kennedy and the associated events. It is important to examine all the information available regarding the murder of Oswald in order to understand exactly what happened.

Bugliosi has written a long and detailed account of the events relating to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald, it can be found in the first chapter of ‘Book One’ If you go to page one of his great tome and look at the heading ‘Book One’ underneath appears two statements: ‘Matters of Fact’ and ‘What Happened’. However, in dealing with the issue of how Ruby entered the basement of Dallas Police Department headquarters before he shot Oswald, Bugliosi omits all the important facts relating to the issue and describes something which definitely did NOT happen.

The truth of the matter is that when Vincent Bugliosi confidently writes that Jack Ruby entered the basement of Dallas Police Department headquarters by walking down the Main Street ramp he is not “reclaiming history” he is simply “rewriting history”.

Dr Tony Austin

Edited by Tony Austin
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REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION

Reclaiming History – The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. By Vincent Bugliosi Published in 2007 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110

HSCA conclusions

“Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Tex, November 22 1963.”

Page 97 Ruby – Oswald links

Page 149 Ruby – Mafia links

Page 156 AGVA and phone calls

Page 156157

Ruby’s entry to the DPD basement Warren Commissions conclusions regarding Ruby’s means of entry to the basement.

The Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy: Chapter 5 page 222

EVENTS DOWN IN THE BASEMENT

FBI statement of Terrance McGarry dated the 4 th of December 1963 H 24 C.E. 2050

Letter to Chief Curry from Lieutenant Wallace dated the 7th of December 1963

Regarding an interview with Officer W.J. Harrison on the 1st of December 1963:

Part of Warren Commission Exhibit 2002

FBI statement given by William J. Harrison dated the 6 th of December 1963 20 C.E. 5029

Detective W.J. Harrison’s polygraph test.

H14 C.E.2002 page 107

The Warren Commission testimony of William J. Harrison.

H12 pages 250 to 255

The Warren Commission testimony of James Turner.

H13 pages 135 and 136

The HSCA regarding the ‘alley theory’ The HSCA Appendix to hearings Volume 9 page 143

William J. Newman

H12 pages 331 to 334

William J. Newman memo to Lieutenant Revill dated the 6 th of December 1963

H20 Newman Exhibit No.5038 A and B

EVENTS AT THE TOP OF THE MAIN STREET RAMP

FBI interview of Roy E. Vaughn dated 2 nd of December 1963

H11 Vaughn Exhibit No. 5335

Napoleon Daniels Affidavit dated 29 th of November 1963

H14 C.E. 2002 page 82

FBI interview of Napoleon Daniels dated the 4 th of December 1963

H19 C.E. 5326 page 421

Warren Commission testimony of Napoleon J. Daniels

H12 page 231

Warren Commission dismisses Napoleon Daniels’s evidence

The report of the President’s commission on the Assassination of President

Kennedy, Chapter V, page 221

Polygraph test on Roy Vaughn

H14 C.E. 2002 page 180

Polygraph test on Napoleon Daniels

H14 C.E. 2002 page 83

Warren Commission testimony of Roy Vaughn

H12 page 361

Warren Commission testimony of Rio S. Pierce

H12 page 340

Warren Commission testimony of James A. Putnam

H12 page 346

Warren Commission testimony of Billy Joe Maxey

H12 page 287

Warren Commission testimony of Harry Tasker

H15 page 681 and page 683

Jack Moriarty interview of Sergeant Flusche

HSCA Volume 4 Testimony of Jack Revill, Captain of Police, Dallas Police Department, page 594

THE STATEMENTS OF JACK RUBY

Sergeant Dean reports Ruby in the basement for 3 minutes

H14 C.E. 2002 page 51

RUBY’S CLAIMS

Warren Commission Testimony of James A. Putnam

H12 page 345

Warren Commission Testimony of Rio S. Pierce

H12 page 339

Warren Commission Testimony of Billy Joe Maxey

FBI interview of Napoleon Daniels dated the 4 th of December 1963

H19 C.E. 5326 page 421

Warren Commission testimony of Harry Tasker

H15 page 681

FBI interview of Jack Ruby dated the 21 st of December 1963

H20 Hall Exhibit No. 3

A QUESTION OF TIMING

Timing details

H14 C.E. 2002 page 50

Loitering’ comments

The report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, Chapter 5 ‘The Detention and Death of Oswald’ page 221

Archer – chance to see Oswald

H 24 C.E 2002 page 51

H12 page 287

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Gary Mack sent me this link that members might find interesting:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.conspir...%22gary+mack%22

VINCENT BUGLIOSI SAID (IN HIS 2007 BOOK "RECLAIMING HISTORY"):

"The virtual proof that Ruby came down the Main Street ramp is

that within a half hour of his arrest...Ruby told Dallas

police...detectives that he had entered through the Main Street ramp

and had seen Pierce driving out of the ramp.

"How could Ruby possibly have known this if he hadn't, in fact,

been at the entrance to the Main Street ramp? I mean, Pierce himself

didn't even receive instructions to drive out of the Main Street ramp

until around 11:15 a.m., just six minutes before Ruby shot Oswald."

DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

"Given the fact that Jack Ruby was still transacting business at

the Western Union office at 11:17 AM and then shot Oswald just four

minutes later at 11:21 AM, I think it's only logical to assume that

Ruby almost certainly had to have slipped into the basement via the

Main St. ramp just as Vaughn stepped away from the ramp for a brief

moment to allow Lt. Pierce's car to exit the basement."

GARY MACK SAID (VIA AN E-MAIL TO DVP):

DATE: 2/1/2008 6:10:06 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Hi Dave .... Vince's answer is just one possibility - but

there's another that is even more likely. That back entranceway, as

shown in TMWKK (and which is STILL there!), works just as well if not

better.

"According to the uninterrupted KRLD video tape of the basement

scene, Rio Pierce started driving up the ramp exactly 48 seconds

before Ruby shot Oswald. This means that as long as Ruby was in the

basement and anywhere near the car, he could have seen and identified

Pierce before or as his car started moving. A good defense attorney

would have handed Vince a defeat on that issue.

DVP THEN SAID:

DATE: 2/1/2008 7:54:33 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Dave Von Pein

TO: Gary Mack

"Wasn't that door locked AND GUARDED by a DPD officer?

GARY MACK THEN RESPONDED:

DATE: 2/4/2008 2:31:17 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Dave .... No, not then or ever. It was simply a back entrance

near an area where the public arrives to do business. At that time,

City Hall was where you bought licenses, paid fines and water bills.

"In fact, once you were inside the main corridor on the ground

floor, the doorway to the basement was marked Basement and was easily

accessible. Anyone could have walked down the stairs into the

basement, for the door could only be locked from the garage side, not

the stairway side (fire code, of course).

"So {DPD Sergeant Patrick} Dean testified accurately that the

door was locked from his side, but he didn't think about the other

side. Then, and now, one simply pushes the bar on the door to open it

from inside.

"I strongly urged Nigel Turner, for all the above reasons, to

include the scene in TMWKK showing how Ruby could have, and probably

did, enter. Once he arrived in the basement, no one would have noticed

him because their backs were facing that door. By walking straight

from the door to near the railing, Ruby could have seen and recognized

Pierce driving his car up the Main Street ramp.

"That also explains why two DPD detectives, as told to NBC's Tom

Pettit, pointed to the railing and the "green car" as the spot where

Ruby came from - that is exactly where Ruby would have wound up IF he

had taken the stairway rather than the ramp.

GARY THEN FOLLOWED UP WITH THIS E-MAIL:

DATE: 2/4/2008 4:13:37 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Dave .... I guess that back door possibly should have been

locked, for at that time, it led to an alleyway between two buildings.

It was not the normal entrance the public used. The DPD did have

guards at the public entrances, but they were farther away than either

the Main Street ramp or the side door.

"But Ruby did frequent the police station fairly regularly and

could easily have known about that back entrance. Was it by chance

the door was still open? Possibly. If it were locked, he would have

had to walk around....which would have delayed him significantly.

"But once he was inside, he only had to walk about 35 feet to

get into the main hallway, and the door to the basement is right

there.

"It appears from the existing record that no one even considered

the possibility Ruby took the back entrance.

DVP THEN RESPONDED:

DATE: 2/4/2008 9:12:21 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Dave Von Pein

TO: Gary Mack

"Interesting theory....except for one HUGE problem -- Jack

Ruby's own version of how he entered the DPD basement/garage.

"Via the scenario of a LONE-NUT named Ruby entering the basement

in the manner you suggest via the back entrance (and NOT a person

named Ruby who was AIDED by the cops or anyone else in order to get

into the basement), there would have been absolutely NO REASON under

the sun for Ruby to lie to the police afterward and say he entered by

way of the Main Street ramp vs. the way he would have actually

entered--via the back entrance.

"Can you think of one good reason why a "LONE-NUT RUBY" would

want to lie about such a thing? I can't.

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I agree with John. Great article, Tony.

One question: Do you know the reason why the Sergeant Don Flusche statement would not be available to the WC, but later was available to the HSCA? Who would have made that particular determination?

Thanks Mark,

When Don Flusche was interviewed by the HSCA he stated that he had informed his superior, Lieutenant Knox, about his observations soon after the event. It appears that Lt. Knox did not pass on the information to the Dallas Police team investigating Oswald's shooting, the FBI or the Warren Commission. This appears to be the reason why the Warren Commission knew nothing about the important observations made by Sergeant Flusche.

The question is then why did Lt. Knox not pass on the information to any of the investigating bodies? I can find no answer to this question. Did he simply forget? Did he think that the information was not very important? or was it because the Dallas Police Department had quickly developed an official position on the question of how Ruby got down into the basement and were the members of the Department under pressure not to supply information which might contradict the official position?

Or was there some other reason? This is all just speculation of course, I did not come across any record of Lieutenant Knox being interviewed about this matter and giving his explanation.

Tony

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I agree with John. Great article, Tony.

One question: Do you know the reason why the Sergeant Don Flusche statement would not be available to the WC, but later was available to the HSCA? Who would have made that particular determination?

Thanks Mark,

When Don Flusche was interviewed by the HSCA he stated that he had informed his superior, Lieutenant Knox, about his observations soon after the event. It appears that Lt. Knox did not pass on the information to the Dallas Police team investigating Oswald's shooting, the FBI or the Warren Commission. This appears to be the reason why the Warren Commission knew nothing about the important observations made by Sergeant Flusche.

The question is then why did Lt. Knox not pass on the information to any of the investigating bodies? I can find no answer to this question. Did he simply forget? Did he think that the information was not very important? or was it because the Dallas Police Department had quickly developed an official position on the question of how Ruby got down into the basement and were the members of the Department under pressure not to supply information which might contradict the official position?

Or was there some other reason? This is all just speculation of course, I did not come across any record of Lieutenant Knox being interviewed about this matter and giving his explanation.

Tony

Thanks, Tony. I guess the full story behind the early official oversight of Sergeant Flusche's statement will never be known but I take note of your observations concerning possible explanations.

One other part of your fine research was also quite intriguing:

Additionally, security at the relevant point in the basement was not airtight. Patrolman Alvin R. Brock had been assigned to watch the door leading from the fire escape to the nearby elevator doors, but he was reassigned by Sergeants Putnam and Dean at 10:45 am.”

I wonder on whose orders Putnam and Dean were acting when they reassigned Patrolman Brock from guarding the fire escape door a mere 36 minutes before the shooting of LHO? I suppose the answer to that was also lost in the confusion, but it further indicates collusion, imo.

p.s. I fully agree that careful analysis of Ruby's movements and actions, despite the confusion injected by those who had something to hide, is a more direct route to the identity of the conspirators than most other aspects of the case.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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Gary Mack sent me this link that members might find interesting:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.conspir...%22gary+mack%22

VINCENT BUGLIOSI SAID (IN HIS 2007 BOOK "RECLAIMING HISTORY"):

"The virtual proof that Ruby came down the Main Street ramp is

that within a half hour of his arrest...Ruby told Dallas

police...detectives that he had entered through the Main Street ramp

and had seen Pierce driving out of the ramp.

"How could Ruby possibly have known this if he hadn't, in fact,

been at the entrance to the Main Street ramp? I mean, Pierce himself

didn't even receive instructions to drive out of the Main Street ramp

until around 11:15 a.m., just six minutes before Ruby shot Oswald."

DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

"Given the fact that Jack Ruby was still transacting business at

the Western Union office at 11:17 AM and then shot Oswald just four

minutes later at 11:21 AM, I think it's only logical to assume that

Ruby almost certainly had to have slipped into the basement via the

Main St. ramp just as Vaughn stepped away from the ramp for a brief

moment to allow Lt. Pierce's car to exit the basement."

GARY MACK SAID (VIA AN E-MAIL TO DVP):

DATE: 2/1/2008 6:10:06 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Hi Dave .... Vince's answer is just one possibility - but

there's another that is even more likely. That back entranceway, as

shown in TMWKK (and which is STILL there!), works just as well if not

better.

"According to the uninterrupted KRLD video tape of the basement

scene, Rio Pierce started driving up the ramp exactly 48 seconds

before Ruby shot Oswald. This means that as long as Ruby was in the

basement and anywhere near the car, he could have seen and identified

Pierce before or as his car started moving. A good defense attorney

would have handed Vince a defeat on that issue.

DVP THEN SAID:

DATE: 2/1/2008 7:54:33 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Dave Von Pein

TO: Gary Mack

"Wasn't that door locked AND GUARDED by a DPD officer?

GARY MACK THEN RESPONDED:

DATE: 2/4/2008 2:31:17 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Dave .... No, not then or ever. It was simply a back entrance

near an area where the public arrives to do business. At that time,

City Hall was where you bought licenses, paid fines and water bills.

"In fact, once you were inside the main corridor on the ground

floor, the doorway to the basement was marked Basement and was easily

accessible. Anyone could have walked down the stairs into the

basement, for the door could only be locked from the garage side, not

the stairway side (fire code, of course).

"So {DPD Sergeant Patrick} Dean testified accurately that the

door was locked from his side, but he didn't think about the other

side. Then, and now, one simply pushes the bar on the door to open it

from inside.

"I strongly urged Nigel Turner, for all the above reasons, to

include the scene in TMWKK showing how Ruby could have, and probably

did, enter. Once he arrived in the basement, no one would have noticed

him because their backs were facing that door. By walking straight

from the door to near the railing, Ruby could have seen and recognized

Pierce driving his car up the Main Street ramp.

"That also explains why two DPD detectives, as told to NBC's Tom

Pettit, pointed to the railing and the "green car" as the spot where

Ruby came from - that is exactly where Ruby would have wound up IF he

had taken the stairway rather than the ramp.

GARY THEN FOLLOWED UP WITH THIS E-MAIL:

DATE: 2/4/2008 4:13:37 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Gary Mack

TO: DaveVonPein @ aol.com

"Dave .... I guess that back door possibly should have been

locked, for at that time, it led to an alleyway between two buildings.

It was not the normal entrance the public used. The DPD did have

guards at the public entrances, but they were farther away than either

the Main Street ramp or the side door.

"But Ruby did frequent the police station fairly regularly and

could easily have known about that back entrance. Was it by chance

the door was still open? Possibly. If it were locked, he would have

had to walk around....which would have delayed him significantly.

"But once he was inside, he only had to walk about 35 feet to

get into the main hallway, and the door to the basement is right

there.

"It appears from the existing record that no one even considered

the possibility Ruby took the back entrance.

DVP THEN RESPONDED:

DATE: 2/4/2008 9:12:21 PM Eastern Standard Time

FROM: Dave Von Pein

TO: Gary Mack

"Interesting theory....except for one HUGE problem -- Jack

Ruby's own version of how he entered the DPD basement/garage.

"Via the scenario of a LONE-NUT named Ruby entering the basement

in the manner you suggest via the back entrance (and NOT a person

named Ruby who was AIDED by the cops or anyone else in order to get

into the basement), there would have been absolutely NO REASON under

the sun for Ruby to lie to the police afterward and say he entered by

way of the Main Street ramp vs. the way he would have actually

entered--via the back entrance.

"Can you think of one good reason why a "LONE-NUT RUBY" would

want to lie about such a thing? I can't.

John,

Thanks to you and Gary for that interesting link. It's funny, but I can't think of a good reason why a "LONE-NUT RUBY" would lie about such a thing either, but then I have to say I don't believe Ruby was an angry lone-nut.

PS.

Did you know that 'VINCENT BUGLIOSIS' is an anagram of 'INVINCIBLE GUSTO'

......Well, the man may have plenty of gusto but he is not invincible

Tony

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  • 5 months later...

It was brought to my attention that the section: "Events at the top of the Main Street Ramp" did not appear to read correctly. I had a check and found that some paragraphs were missing. For some reason they might not have uploaded when the article was put on. I have used the edit function to put the paragraphs back in the article. Apologies to those of you who read the article and found this section a little confusing. Hopefully, it will read correctly now.

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