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Kennedy Assassination Revisited: A Key Revealed

By Dave Astor

Published: June 25, 2005 10:00 PM ET

GRAPEVINE, Texas Eyewitnesses to the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy have told their stories many times before, but this time the audience was a large group of newspaper columnists.

The speakers included two journalists and former Dallas Police Detective Jim Leavelle, the man in the white hat who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby.

Looking at that iconic photo -- by Bob Jackson of the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald -- it appears that Leavelle was recoiling away from the shooting as Ruby's bullet entered Oswald. But Leavelle said he was trying to protect Oswald.

"I saw Ruby take the pistol out of his coat pocket," Leavelle told National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference attendees, who traveled from their Grapevine, Texas, meeting Saturday to visit The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. "I knew what was happening. I was trying to pull Oswald behind me. If I had been further away, I would have had the leverage. All I ended up doing was turning his body."

Leavelle, now 84, recalled that anonymous threats against Oswald had poured into the Dallas Police Department since he was arrested two days earlier. So when Leavelle was about to escort Oswald, he told him: "Lee, if anyone shoots at you, I hope they're as good a shot as you are."

After the shooting, Leavelle accompanied the dying Oswald in an ambulance, and stayed in the hospital long enough for the doctor to remove Ruby's bullet from Oswald's body for evidence. The bullet had ended up very close to Oswald's skin after hitting vital organs and a rib.

The next day, Leavelle was involved in transferring Ruby. "I told him, 'You didn't do us any favors shooting Oswald,'" remembered the former detective. "He said, 'I just wanted to be a hero.'" Later, said Leavelle, Ruby came up with other reasons for shooting Oswald, such as wanting to spare Jackie Kennedy a trip back to Dallas for Oswald's trial and wanting to show that "Jews have guts."

Leavelle said he has spoken "from Maine to Wyoming" about the day Oswald was shot, but has never asked for anything more than travel expenses to do so. He does keep a memento of that day -- the key to the handcuffs that attached him to Oswald. As several columnists and E&P gathered around Leavelle after his talk, he pulled it out of his pocket.

Why does Leavelle feel Oswald killed the president? "He wanted the publicity," the former detective said. "He didn't shoot Kennedy. He shot the president, who happened to be Kennedy."

Also speaking was Hugh Aynesworth, who's now Southwest bureau chief for the Washington Times. In 1963, he was the science and aviation reporter for The Dallas Morning News. Aynesworth wasn't one of the reporters assigned to cover Kennedy's Nov. 22 visit, but walked over to see the motorcade. Then three shots rang out. Soon, "it was chaos," he recalled. "Children were thrown to the ground. A person was throwing up."

Aynesworth wasn't carrying a reporter's notebook or anything to write with. "I had a couple of utility bills in my back pocket," he said. "Then I spotted a boy with a big pencil and bought it from him for two quarters." Aynesworth ended up following the police to the Texas Theatre, and got there just before Oswald was apprehended.

Two days later, he was at the site where Ruby shot Oswald. "The security was pretty damn good," said Aynesworth. "I was stopped three times. It was a one-in-a-million deal that Ruby got in."

Also speaking was Bert Shipp, who covered the assassination as a TV reporter.

The discussion took place a floor above where Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy in what was formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository building. The seventh-floor space is the site of an exhibit, called "Covering Chaos," about how the print and broadcast media reported on the assassination and its aftermath between Nov. 22 and Nov. 25, 1963. Included are examples of newspapers from those four days, photos, film clips, and more. The show officially opens July 1, and runs through Jan. 31, 2006.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/ne...t_id=1000968579

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Two days later, he was at the site where Ruby shot Oswald. "The security was pretty damn good," said Aynesworth. "I was stopped three times. It was a one-in-a-million deal that Ruby got in."

According to the late researcher and former DPD cop Jay Harrison, it was possible to go from Western Union (where Ruby sent his convenient telegram) to DPD headquarters "totally underground." This is in an article on Harrison in the latest issue of JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly.

Ron

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Sidenote to history:

I once held Jim Leavelle's hand for about 15 minutes.

I remember it being sweaty moist.

The National Enquirer hired two psychics to hold a seance

in Jack Ruby's apartment to try to contact Ruby.

About 8 of us sat around a table holding hands in the

darkness, except for a candle on the table. Included

were the late Mary Ferrell and the late Larry Harris...

and Leavelle.

Jack Ruby failed to show.

Jack :D

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  • 1 month later...

Wow. I hear more about Jim every day. I have heard more theories about that day than I can shake a stick at. Oner of them involves a family member of mine. Do I believe it? No. But I'll share it anyway. My Uncle Don's father in law was a deputy named J.A. Putnam on the Dallas PD. He was a fairly good cop from what other officers have said. He didn't take payoffs or anything. At one time, J.A.'s wife Edith was a stripper when they met. However, as far as I know she was not one of "Ruby's Girls." J.A. sat at a family function in 1965 or 1966, he said that he "Let Jack in through a side door that day. He has coffee and sandwhiches and we all knew Jack. I didn't think much of letting him in. He just wanted to witness history. I never thought he wanted to make it." J.A. spent the next six months or so drinking heavily and then murdered Edith. I THINK Leavelle was the Homicide Detective on the scene. Don't quote me though. He did a short sentence in prison and then got out and spent some time getting close to Aunt Cheryl and my cousin LeaAnne and then he killed himself. Keep in mind I wasn't born when any of this happened and I'm going off of my Grandfather, Smith Perry's diary that we discovered after his death in 1995. Obviously, I didn't get to ask him any questions and I don't speak to my Uncle Don but that's what I know.

As I said, I don't believe it. I've known Jim Leavelle for ten years. I called him in high school at the urging of Jean Hill when I was writing an article for the school paper. I refer to him as GrandPa Jim as I know him better than I ever knew Smith. He was supposed to give me away at my wedding. James and I eloped so that didn't happen. He was the first to know when I had both of my sons. I also have a picture of me that Jim took when I was 16 in his cream colored suit that he wore November 24, 1963. Many people have changed their stories over the years but Jim hasn't. I think maybe he's one ofthe few we should take at face value. I don't doubt anything that Jim has ever told me. You guys shouldn't either. Besides, even IF Vaughn didn't let Ruby in, what does it matter now? Oswald and Kennedy are both gone and the events of November 22nd and November 24th can never be reversed. I used to be the biggest conspiracy theorist known to any of you. I just don't think it matters much anymore. And I no longer look at Jim as a former DPD Homicide Detective. He's just Jim. A husband. A father. A Son. And a cop that had the fortune or misfortune to be in the basement with Oswald that day. He's still just Jim.

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Two days later, he was at the site where Ruby shot Oswald. "The security was pretty damn good," said Aynesworth. "I was stopped three times. It was a one-in-a-million deal that Ruby got in."

Am I the only one that thinks it wasn't an accident that the one person that got by security was Jack Ruby, after being 2 hours late for the transfer? No, I don't think the entire DPD was in on that, but I think Ruby had a source.

So someone claims Ruby got in entirely underground? Has anyone verified this by personal experience?

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Nic-

The story about Putnam has been stated before. I have looked into it as thoroughly as I can through Cheryl and LeeAnne. All they know it what J.A. told them. I wish Smith had said something before his death but he didn't. Now, everyone that could say 100% whether Smith was telling the truth the truth or not is dead. In reality it doesn't matter. The fact is that Ruby DID get in the basement whether let in by J.A., walking past Vaughn or whether a buddy of his from Press Corps got him in. It's kind of like in the game Clue when a noise in heard in the library causing everyone to leave the living room only to discover that the maid was murdered in the living room while they went to investigate the noise. Kennedy was killed in Dealey Plaza. Not the basement of the DPD. Unless you believe Oswald had a hand in it then his murder meant nothing anyway. The only significance I can see is as a distraction in which the entire world was looking at the first murder on live T.V. So, in that case it would be time to look back into Dealey. I've researched for 17 years and started out as one of the most rabid conspiracy theorists around. The more I looked and the more people I spent time with I realized that none of these people had the ability to orchestrate a cover up like that. Jim is a great guy. He's a "straight shooter." in Texas lingo and his story has remained the same since Day 1. Roy Vaughn is one of the most honest cops that is around. Have you seen JFK? Remember Beverly Oliver's character saying, "Mr. Garrison, they killed the President of tegh U-nited States. You think they're gonna think twice about a two bit showgirl like me?" Have you seen Executive Action? Look what happened to Bowers, Ferrie, and countless other witnesses. There is no doubt in my mind that IF a conspiracy took place, those that know the facts took them to their graves. All of the others were just unfortunate witnesses to the crime of teh century. Was Ruby told to knock off Oswald? Maybe. But I think it was just a diversion. I don't think either one of them had a clue. Just an opinion. If you'd grown up with it like I have you'd share my opinion. Regardless, keep seeking your truth. It's the only one that matters in the final analysis. B) .

-Carrie

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Nic-

  The story about Putnam has been stated before. I have looked into it as thoroughly as I can through Cheryl and LeeAnne. All they know it what J.A. told them. I wish Smith had said something before his death but he didn't. Now, everyone that could say 100% whether Smith was telling the truth the truth or not is dead. In reality it doesn't matter. The fact is that Ruby DID get in the basement whether let in by J.A., walking past Vaughn or whether a buddy of his from Press Corps got him in. It's kind of like in the game Clue when a noise in heard in the library causing everyone to leave the living room only to discover that the maid was murdered in the living room while they went to investigate the noise. Kennedy was killed in Dealey Plaza. Not the basement of the DPD. Unless you believe Oswald had a hand in it then his murder meant nothing anyway. The only significance I can see is as a distraction in which the entire world was looking at the first murder on live  T.V. So, in that case it would be time to look back into Dealey. I've researched for 17 years and started out as one of the most rabid conspiracy theorists around. The more I looked and the more people I spent time with I realized that none of these people had the ability to orchestrate a cover up like that. Jim is a great guy. He's a "straight shooter." in Texas lingo and his story has remained the same since Day 1. Roy Vaughn is one of the most honest cops that is around. Have you seen JFK? Remember Beverly Oliver's character saying, "Mr. Garrison, they killed the President of tegh U-nited States. You think they're gonna think twice about a two bit showgirl like me?" Have you seen Executive Action? Look what happened to Bowers, Ferrie, and countless other witnesses. There is no doubt in my mind that IF a conspiracy took place, those that know the facts took them to their graves. All of the others were just unfortunate witnesses to the crime of teh century. Was Ruby told to knock off Oswald? Maybe. But I think it was just a diversion. I don't think either one of them had a clue.  Just an opinion. If you'd grown up with it like I have you'd share my opinion. Regardless, keep seeking your truth. It's the only one that matters in the final analysis. B) .

-Carrie

Unlike you, I DO think Oswald's death matters. He, too, like President Kennedy - was a murder victim in late November, 1963. I'm not going to shove that aside because he wasn't President, or because he wasn't charismatic or conventionally handsome. He deserved to live his life, and his kids deserved to know their father - even if he wasn't the best parent around. He deserves justice, and I'll be damned if all the justice he gets was that a silly mob-wannabe like Jack Ruby kept him from a trial he deserved.

Research has helped, even if it's not by much. We know a little more here in 2005 than we did in 1963.

I've been reading into this case for more years than most of my peers have known it even happened. Since I was roughly twelve years old, I've done everything I could to find out about this case, including listening when people more knowledgeable than I am decide to talk to me about it.

I'm not giving this up. All these people on this board, they're not kids. In twenty, thirty years, sadly - some of these wonderful researchers will be dead. I'm the next generation. I'm living the healthiest life I can, in the hope that I'll be alive long enough to at least convince one more person to look into this - or at least long enough to contribute my research to where it amounts to something.

However, I dislike this arrogant "If you'd been me, you'd realize this was all stupid!" attitude you seem to have. If it's so ridiculous to still be talking about, why are you even here? So you grew up with people who were there that day. Unless you can contribute something more than condescending remarks, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't bother responding to me.

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Nic-

I apologize. I really wasn't trying to be condescending at all. I too am a part of "the next generation." I am only 26. I've been researching since I was 9 which would be 1988. I understand where you are coming from. I've spoken to Marina several times. I agree that Oswald deserved justice.And yes, his death certainly did matter. However, Ruby did stand trial. He did go to prison and he died there. And since you are asking about justice, then what happened with Officer Tippit? He was killed that day too. I don't forget that Oswald was a person. Believe me I don't. I am not saying that your research is stupid by any means. Santayana did say that, "Those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it." I am saying that I believe Oswald's murder was a diversionary tactic. Think about it, how much time have you spent asking who let Ruby in. THAT part doesn't matter in MY opinion. Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. But, how much time have you spent asking "Why was Johnson ducking into the floorboard before he made the turn from Houston onto Elm?" "Why were Jean Hill and Mary Moorman's pictures confiscated?" "Who is the Badge Man?" Why were witnesses mysteriuosly disappearing?"

Nic- If you are interested, since you are one of the "next generation" that Jean Hill so believed in educating then perhaps I can get you in touch with some who were there. After all, the truth about history lay with a school teacher (Jean Hill, deceased), a car salesman (James Tague) a cop (Jim Leavelle), a Russian immigrant (Marina Oswald-Porter) and various others. I do apologize for sounding condescending. Perhaps I worded my thoughts wrong. I think it's great that you are so young and digging as deeply as you are! It's hard being younger though because very few take you seriously. But, I do have some things that you might eb interested in. To be honest, I got on here to connect with some old friends that I haven't spoken to in about 5 years. I don't speak anymore. I haven't given an interview since 2000 which was also the last time I was in Dallas. I am amrried now. I have two little boys. I really don't have time anymore. What I do have is 17 years worth of interview notes, about 5,000 books, Lord knows how many magazines and newspapers. I cherish my relationships with Leavelle, Tague, Porter, the late Jean Hill, the late Madeliene Brown, and Beverly Oliver Masagee. But that is all they are now. Cherished relationships. They are no longer witnesses to me. I call Leavelle "GrandPa Jim". Would you be interested in having any of these things that I mentioned? All I ask is that they aren't sold or misused. You still have the time and energy to do this thing. I don't. E-mail should you have any other questions or should you want these things. Keep up your interest Nic. So few our age do.

-Carrie

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Nic-

  I apologize. I really wasn't trying to be condescending at all. I too am a part of "the next generation." I am only 26. I've been researching since I was 9 which would be 1988. I understand where you are coming from. I've spoken to Marina several times. I agree that Oswald deserved justice.And yes, his death certainly did matter. However, Ruby did stand trial. He did go to prison and he died there. And since you are asking about justice, then what happened with Officer Tippit? He was killed that day too. I don't forget that Oswald was a person. Believe me I don't. I am not saying that your research is stupid by any means. Santayana did say that, "Those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it." I am saying that I believe Oswald's murder was a diversionary tactic. Think about it, how much time have you spent asking who let Ruby in. THAT part doesn't matter in MY opinion. Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. But, how much time have you spent asking "Why was Johnson ducking into the floorboard before he made the turn from Houston onto Elm?" "Why were Jean Hill and Mary Moorman's pictures confiscated?" "Who is the Badge Man?" Why were witnesses mysteriuosly disappearing?"

  Nic- If you are interested, since you are one of the "next generation" that Jean Hill so believed in educating then perhaps I can get you in touch with some who were there. After all, the truth about history lay with a school teacher (Jean Hill, deceased), a car salesman (James Tague) a cop (Jim Leavelle), a Russian immigrant (Marina Oswald-Porter) and various others. I do apologize for sounding condescending. Perhaps I worded my thoughts wrong. I think it's great that you are so young and digging as deeply as you are! It's hard being younger though because very few take you seriously. But, I do have some things that you might eb interested in. To be honest, I got on here to connect with some old friends that I haven't spoken to in about 5 years. I don't speak anymore. I haven't given an interview since 2000 which was also the last time I was in Dallas. I am amrried now. I have two little boys.  I really don't have time anymore. What I do have is 17 years worth of interview notes, about 5,000 books, Lord knows how many magazines and newspapers. I cherish my relationships with Leavelle, Tague, Porter, the late Jean Hill, the late Madeliene Brown, and Beverly Oliver Masagee. But that is all they are now. Cherished relationships. They are no longer witnesses to me. I call Leavelle "GrandPa Jim". Would you be interested in having any of these things that I mentioned? All I ask is that they aren't sold or misused. You still have the time and energy to do this thing. I don't. E-mail should you have any other questions or should you want these things. Keep up your interest Nic. So few our age do.

-Carrie

Officer Tippit deserves justice as well, but Oswald is in the history books as, "assassin." He doesn't even get the benefit of "alleged assassin" or "accused assassin." He's marked as guilty without even the slightest benefit of a doubt, and he DESERVES that. Jack Ruby died in jail yes, but Oswald's name is still being dragged through the mud on flimsy evidence that the vast majority of the public doesn't even believe in anymore.

I don't spend all my time wondering who the Babushka Lady is, or who Badge Man was. I'd like to know, sure, but that's not where my time is spent. Most of my time is spent researching the Paines & Lee Harvey Oswald's time in Russia. However, I like knowing as much as I can about this case. I like asking questions, in the hopes that maybe one person can give me a little more knowledge about it than I had going into the topic. I like answering questions when I can.

I'd love to talk to Mr. Tague ( as the only contact I've had with him was buying things from him on eBay ), and Marina - but I have a habit of people hanging up on me phone-wise. Maybe I sound like a telemarketer.

I'm a Kennedy collector ( in the past 3 years, I've collected 70+ books, 129 magazines, 80+ VHS tapes, 10+ DVDs, and misc. other items including 2 Jackie Franklin Mint dolls & a 1960's black vinyl train case ), and wouldn't sell anything of mine for the world. The closest I'm coming to selling anything is seriously considering a donation to a museum. I want to be an archivist, at the JFK Library. That's my dream, that's what I'm studying for in college, that's the life I want ( whereas my current boyfriend wants to be a rock star ). I was raised with a respect for vintage things ( as silly as it sounds, my mother's obsessed with Cher, so I grew up around magazines from the 60's & 70's ). I add to it every time I get the money. During the 40th anniversary, I drove all the way around Houston looking for a gas station that sold the Dallas newspapers because they had so many issues covering it. My stepfather's parents gave me two uncirculated JFK half dollars. My aunt gave me a 45 she found in the attic of a house they were moving into, of the inaugural address. It's pretty safe to say I'd appreciate anything and it'd be going to a good home.

I'm unmarried ( can't really see myself ever being anyone's wife - I'm too wildly independent ), and I'm never having kids. This case, the Kennedy family, it's my life. The best story I can talk about is during the 40th anniversary, I was taping the 3-hour Frontline on Lee Harvey Oswald in my bedroom, and my mother & stepfather were watching "Porky's."

Nobody takes me seriously. I get people saying, "Nobody that's 18 cares about the Kennedys." I don't know why it fascinates me, I don't know why I'm drawn to it, but I am. However, people can refuse to take me seriously all they want, they can say I'm not dedicated, that I'm not worthy of being here. I guess it's easier to whine at me than know about me first. I haven't had support from my peers or most of my family on this, it really doesn't bother me that people on the internet don't support me either. I'm pretty thick-skinned, I guess.

x

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Nic-

Well, I e-mailed you my number. If you want some pointers I can give them. Tague is great and he'll probably talk to you anyway. You don't need me for that. As for people not taking an 18 year old seriously. I do. That's what I'm trying to tell you. What you said about the other researchers dying out is said but true. I grew up in awe of Jack White, Mark Lane ( I LOVE that guy) and Jim Marrs. But you're right. They are going away. I hate it but they are. That leaves people like you and I. Jean Hill saw that. I think that is why she took me under her wing. Her goal in lfe even when she was so sick was to "educate a new generation." She hated the way certain research groups handled things and used the younger crowd to get to them. She also hated how they tried to use the younger crowd as puppets or parrots repeating what theyw ere told. You're obviously not like that and I commend you. I have a copy of the first artcle I did for my school paper on teh witnesses. My editor was a very nice guy but the word skeptical doesn't begin to describe him. He tore me up. My artcle made it into print with no small amount of fighting for it. You just have to stick to your guns. Don't let people refer to you as a "dumb kid." We both know you're not. I first gt interested in in JFK when my parents failed to change the channel. Mom is Dallas born and raised. Her Dad, Smith, was only a few blocks away from Dealey at work when it happened. Neitehr of them saw anything. Mom was one fo the few kids that day that went to school. And Smith was close enough to hear shots but that's it. Dad thought Kennedy was responsible for Vietnam so he wouldn't let me ask any questions. The enxt day I went to the library and got Mark Lane's Rush to Judgement. I never quit. I also used ot be just as passionate about Oswald, the conspiracy, and such. I used to run a website called Americans for Truth. We had a petition to open the files. We had over one million signatures but events in my life prevented me from doing anything more. Perhaps that's an idea for you. Marina supported teh idea as well as Jean Hill. Well, I think I've strayed from the topic which is Jim Leavelle. Perhaps if you want more info you can contact me via e-mail or phone. Take care Nic.

-Carrie

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Carrie,

What I do have is 17 years worth of interview notes, about 5,000 books, Lord knows how many magazines and newspapers.

Would you be interested in having any of these things that I mentioned? All I ask is that they aren't sold or misused.

You've touched hisdtory in a way that not everyone can.

Have you considered donating your material to an assassination information center?

Steve Thomas

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Steve-

Yes, I have considered donating those things to an assassination information center, but which one? No offense for anyone, but I don't trust those out of Dallas any further than I can throw them. Not to mention the fact that in 1999 I made Jean Hill a promise. Her goal had become to "Educate a new generation." I have done that in the seminars, speeches and buy speaking at over 100 high schools. Nic now has access to the next generation in ways that the great yet aging researchers have lost. Nic is a great person. I spent about an hour on the phone with her and I believe that she will "Pass the torch to a new generation" (Pardon the cheesy quote but in essence that's what I am doing.) I also know first hand that the research centers have all of the information they can stand. However, Steve, if you use the materials to spread your knowledge and passion to others, we can certainly talk. Or do you have a specific organization that you would suggest? It has to be non-profit. I am always open to suggestions!

Thanks!

Carrie B)

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Carrie,

Or do you have a specific organization that you would suggest? It has to be non-profit. I am always open to suggestions!

No, I didn't have a specific organization in mind, but one that does come to mind right now---

Do you know where Mary Ferrell's papers are going?

Perhaps Debra Conway at JFK Lancer would know.

Steve Thomas

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