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Jim Leavelle

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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


No I have no idea where Mary's papers are going. I hope not to Lancer. And I'm sorry, but I wouldn't give anything to Ms. Conway. I have no affiliation with JFK/Lancer anymore. I would consider some organization run by teens. I used to have one but since I had children, I quit. Pretty much everything. But I still read. I guess I'm just not a constant member of the community.


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Guest Stephen Turner

. 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.

Carrie, sorry to butcher your post, but I assume this is an ironic comment?

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Carrie, sorry to butcher your post, but I assume this is an ironic comment?


No, not ironic. I really mean that. See, I'm getting out of all of this. I'd rather spend time with my kids. I really just got on here to find someone to give all of my research materials too. I don't need them anymore. Since you guys still have the passion I've lost, I didn't want these things to go to waste. I find myself responding to topics on here but I'm staying away from the conspiracy stuff. I'll be gone in a few days. I promise! :D

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I don't have room for 5,000 books, but if you can't find anyone to take your interview notes, I would take them.

Steve Thomas


:D I'll keep you in mind.


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No I have no idea where Mary's papers are going. I hope not to Lancer. And I'm sorry, but I wouldn't give anything to Ms. Conway. I have no affiliation with JFK/Lancer anymore.

Why the hostility towards JFK Lancer?


A very long story from a while back. All I will say is that it involves the death of Jean Hill. I won't elaborate because it does nothing but cause more hard feelings. I will also say the 6th Floor Museum ad the Conspiracy Museum are out of teh running. For the record. I believe I'll just give them to Nic as she is young and I believe she too will put them to good use. She has the passion that I put into my kids now.

Thanks for asking though!



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Guest Stephen Turner


Carrie, sorry to butcher your post, but I assume this is an ironic comment?


No, not ironic. I really mean that. See, I'm getting out of all of this. I'd rather spend time with my kids. I really just got on here to find someone to give all of my research materials too. I don't need them anymore. Since you guys still have the passion I've lost, I didn't want these things to go to waste. I find myself responding to topics on here but I'm staying away from the conspiracy stuff. I'll be gone in a few days. I promise! :)

Carrie, I can understand your reasons,most of the happiest times in my life have been spent with my children(23, and 21 now so hardly children :( )But it was mainly for them I have contiued my research, I did not want them to grow up in a World were truth had become nothing more than an optional extra, and justice another commodity, for sale to the highest bidder. Anyway, best wishes for the future.....Steve.

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  • 8 years later...
Guest Robert Morrow


Dallas detective still answering questions about JFK assassination
August 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

(Editor’s Note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On Nov. 22, 1963, many lives of a generation were changed by the assassination. ECM Political Editor Howard Lestrud, an avid JFK item collector for more than 50 years, is writing a series of articles on Kennedy leading up to the assassination observance. The first in the series was on Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, and his father, Orville Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture under Kennedy. With this piece, Lestrud writes about his friend, former Dallas Police Detective J.R. Leavelle, known as the man in white handcuffed to Oswald when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. Lestrud plans to visit Dallas over the Nov. 22 anniversary to attend special observances planned by the city of Dallas and by the Sixth Floor Museum.)

by Howard Lestrud
ECM Political Editor

Nearly 50 years have passed since our 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, on the streets of Dallas, Texas.

To this date, many people still believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Many theories have evolved over the years. Those theories have never been proven, however, and evidence still points to Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin.

Today, a former Dallas Police detective who interrogated Oswald after Oswald allegedly shot a policeman and the president, still believes that the 24-year-old Oswald was the lone assassin of Kennedy. He is James R. Leavelle, familiar to most as the man dressed in a light tan suit and Stetson hat, handcuffed to Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby. The shooting, captured in a now historic photograph, occurred just two days after Kennedy’s assassination as Oswald was being transferred by Leavelle and other law enforcement officers from the Dallas Police Department to a county jail just down the street.


Dallas Police Detective James R. Leavelle stands with U.S. Secret Service agent Clint Hill at a recent speaking engagement. Hill is the agent who jumped onto then President John F. Kennedy’s limousine after three shots had been fired at it. (Photo courtesy of James R. Leavelle)

Leavelle, who just turned 93, is enjoying relatively good health and still openly talks about the events surrounding the assassination of Kennedy.

Leavelle said he has already granted maybe 10 interviews that apparently will be shown near the anniversary date. Three of the interviews were done by media outlets from London, England. He said he has no plans at this time to participate in any anniversary events on Nov. 22, 2013.

When contacted at his assisted living complex in Garland, Texas, Leavelle was asked if he thought he would be answering questions about the JFK assassination 50 years later.

“I didn’t think I would be answering questions six months later,” he said in his strong Dallas dialect. “I thought it would be over quickly,” he added.

Leavelle said he still gets an average of three letters per week from all over the world, most recently from the Republic of Macedonia, a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.

Those who contact Leavelle by mail often ask him to write a synopsis of his thoughts about the assassination.

“I don’t do that,” he said.

Over the years, Leavelle has been very agreeable to visit the classrooms of young students and answer their questions about this time in history.

Asked 10 years ago if his recollections of those four days in November were just as clear today as they were then, Leavelle remarked, “Time moves on, but nobody has let me forget what happened; it stays with me.”

Leavelle fields most questions posed to him, but there’s one inquiry that irritates him.

“Reporters often ask me, ‘What was going on in your mind when you saw Ruby shoot Oswald?’ I knew exactly what was happening and immediately moved to solve it. I saw Jack Ruby before he made his move toward Oswald. I jerked back and tried to pull Oswald behind me. I did manage to turn his body and he was hit about three-four inches left of the navel.”

Leavelle said he saw Ruby coming around the corner of the police station. Leavelle tried to save the prisoner, he said.

“I just wanted to get the heck out of there,” Leavelle said.


Detective James R. Leavelle (Photo courtesy of James R. Leavelle)

Leavelle logged 26 years with the Dallas Police Department and was on duty on Nov. 22. He was dispatched to the police station, where he interrogated Oswald for the shooting of Dallas Police officer J.D. Tippit.

Only one other former Dallas detective working the weekend of the assassination is still living, Leavelle said: Elmer Boyd. Leavelle said Boyd, about 10 years his junior, was leading Oswald from the jail hallway to the captain’s office and was seen in video and still photos.

Leavelle loves to tell his story, and over the years, it has been consistently the same.

“Had we gone to trial, based on the evidence, we would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Oswald was the single gunman,” Leavelle told this writer 10 years ago on the 40th anniversary of the assassination.

Leavelle believes Oswald wanted to be someone important and thus decided “to do something spectacular.” He also believes Jack Ruby also wanted to be a hero by shooting Oswald.

Leavelle still has his guns he owned at the time of the assassination and has loaned his famous hat, suit, tie and handcuffs for display at the Sixth Floor Museum located in the former Texas School Book Depository building, believed to have been Oswald’s shooting perch.

Acknowledging there are still people writing books on assassination conspiracy theories, Leavelle said these people want the assassination to be a mystery so it can be solved.

Leavelle has made talks on the assassination from Alaska to Florida and from Maine to Hawaii.

“When I am finished talking, people often thank me for answering their questions,” Leavelle said. He is quick to add that he believes everyone has the privilege to believe anything.

Leavelle still enjoys telling his story to young people in the classroom.

“Youngsters have interested minds, and I don’t mind sharing thoughts with them,” Leavelle said. “I try to teach by telling youngsters what the truth is and oftentimes point out errors that have been made in many books recounting the assassination,” Leavelle said.

Leavelle has continued to be a longtime friend of a student who heard him talk in Oregon on the assassination 20 years ago. She is married now with two children and lives in Amarillo, Texas.

“She calls me Grandpa Jim because she said she did not get to know her grandfathers,” Leavelle said.


With his niece, Dallas Police Detective James R. Leavelle attends a recent law enforcement show. Leavelle retired from the Dallas Police Department in April 1975. He served on the department 25 years. (Photo courtesy of James R. Leavelle)

Leavelle and his wife Timi met in California. She once resided in Aitkin, Minn., but hasn’t been back to visit for some time, Leavelle said. They met soon after another unforgettable world event: the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Leavelle had been stationed there since 1940 and, when injured in the bombing, was sent to a Naval hospital in California. There, he met his wife, a nurse.

Much of Leavelle’s recollections of the events surrounding the assassination are a matter of public record. He gave lengthy testimony to the Warren Commission, which submitted a report in September of 1964 saying Oswald was the lone gunman.

Comments made to this writer by Leavelle on the 40th anniversary of the assassination:

• “Oswald didn’t kill John F. Kennedy; he killed the president of the United States. He went after the office and didn’t live long enough to enjoy it.”

• Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assassin, was a similar type of individual to Oswald, Leavelle said. “When we wrestled him to the ground after he shot Oswald, he said he did it to be a hero. He also said, ‘I guess I messed it up.’”

• Ruby was previously known by many Dallas Police officers, including Leavelle. Leavelle recalls meeting him 13 years earlier at a dance hall he ran in South Irving, Texas. Ruby told Leavelle then that he was always ready to protect police officers who came to his establishment and said that someday he might save an officer’s life.

• Leavelle personally doesn’t believe Oswald and Ruby knew one another and doesn’t think Oswald believed he might be shot when he was being transferred from the Dallas Police Department to the county jail.

• “Some people have said that they could tell by the expression on Oswald’s face that he knew Ruby when Ruby lunged forward at him with a gun. Oswald didn’t recognize Ruby, he recognized the sight of a gun and showed fear of that.”

• Ruby was transferred to the same county jail a few days later and he was fearful he would be shot. “He wanted to wear my hat and suit during the transfer. I told him he wasn’t worth killing.”

• Leavelle dismissed conspiracy theories, marveling at how sharp memories become as time goes by. Many of the authors of these conspiracy books were not even born at the time of the assassination, Leavelle said.

Leavelle has never written a book on his Dallas police work, but he is never shy in telling what he says is the truth about what happened Nov. 22-24, 1963. He was there.

Howard Lestrud can be reached at howard.lestrud@ecm-inc.com.

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Guest Robert Morrow

James R. Leavelle was on BBC 4 yesterday attacking those who support conspiracy theories. One of the crazy things he said was that he did not know anyone in Texas who hated JFK and that he was completely surprised by the assassination in Dallas.

As you know, and has been well documented, there was much hatred, particularly in Dallas, for John Kennedy. And even more so among the political/economic elite as well as the Dallas Police Dept, the oil executives and Lyndon Johnson personally who seemed unable to mention Robert Kennedy's name privately without an accompanying death threat.

Here is how inner circle LBJ and Texas oil felt: When JFK was slaughtered, Russia’s Khrushchev was literally crying, fearing nuclear war. Cuba’s Castro worried and feared an US invasion and gave an impressive speech the next day deconstructing the CIA’s deception provocation for war. Meanwhile at Clint Murchison’s home, their family maid May Newman describes the scene: “The mood in the Murchison family home was very joyous and happy. For a whole week after like champagne and caviar flowed, every day of the week. But I was the only one in that household at that time that felt any grief for his assassination."

LYNDON JOHNSON HAD A MURDEROUS ATTITUDE TOWARDS ROBERT KENNEDY - "I'll cut his throat if it's the last thing I do."

Robert Caro describes the LBJ-RFK relationship post 1960 Democratic convention, where RFK had moved heaven and earth attempting to keep LBJ off the 1960 Democratic ticket. Caro:

John Connally, who during long days of conversation with this author was willing to answer almost any question put to him, no matter how delicate the topic, wouldn't answer when asked what Johnson said about Robert Kennedy. When the author pressed him, he finally said flatly: "I am not going to tell you what he said about him." During the months after the convention, when Johnson was closeted alone back in Texas with an old ally he would sometimes be asked about Robert Kennedy. He would reply with a gesture. Raising his big right hand, he would draw the side of it across the neck in a slowing, slitting movement. Sometimes that gesture would be his only reply; sometimes, as during a meeting with Ed Clark in Austin, he would say, as his hand moved across his neck, "I'll cut his throat if it's the last thing I do." [Robert Caro, "The Passage of Power," p. 140]

Not to mention what Fort Worth CIA David Atlee Phillips felt about the Kennedys - his immense hatred of them was a family issue with his brother who suspected David in the JFK assassination.

H.L. Hunt:

We may have lost a battle but we are going to win a war.” H.L. Hunt to Madeleine Brown, LBJ’s girlfriend, upon Lyndon Johnson losing the Democratic nomination to John Kennedy in 1960.

H.L. Hunt: “How long are we going to let this go on? Are we goin’ to have to shoot those mafia bastards to get them out of office?” [Texas in the Morning, p. 163]

Jackie Kennedy on LBJ begging JFK to go to Texas:

"Both Bobby and Adali Stevenson warned Jack it was dangerous landing in Texas. But Johnson practically begged him to go and save his own political neck."

LeMoyne Billings:

I didn't want him to go to Dallas. I was afraid for him. A lot of people in the south and a hell of a lot of people in Texas hated Jack. They'd like to see him dead, and there are a lot of guns in Texas. Up to the last minute, I begged him not to go. I claimed he could plead illness with his back. He appeared almost fatalistic on our final night together. He told me, "If God wants me to end my life on Texas soil, then so be it."

John Kennedy to his good friend George Smathers:

"God dammit, I hate flying to Texas. I had to practically wring Jackie's neck to get her to go with me. I just hate to go. I have a terrible feeling about going."

Lyndon Johnson 11/21/63 to Madeleine Brown:

“After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again- that’s no threat- that is a promise!” [Texas in the Morning, p. 166]

Lyndon Johnson on the morning of 11/22/63 to Madeleine Brown:

“That son-of-a-bitch crazy Yarborough and that g__dd__m f____g Irish mafia bastard Kennedy, will never embarrass me again!” [Texas in the Morning, p. 167]

Lyndon Johnson on the morning of 11/22/63 to Madeleine Brown:

"His snarling voice jolted me as never before - "That son-of-a-bitch crazy Yarborough and that goddamn _____ Irish mafia bastard, Kennedy, will never embarass me again!"

I managed to say, "I'm looking forward to tonight," when he blasted out even louder, "I've got about a minute to get to the parking lot to hear that bastard!", and he slammed down the phone. I was startled ... an uneasiness gripped me over Lyndon's actions and temper." [Madeleine Duncan Brown, Texas in the Morning, p. 167]

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I remember a podcast on BreakForNews where Dunne (the reporter) mentioned that Leavelle was in the position where Oswald practically could not protect himself should he be attacked thanks to the positioning/posturing of his and Oswald's arms/hands with the cuffs. I thought that was very interesting....If we examine a few tidbits that day in the basement we have the 'interesting' 2-sounding car horns, we have Fritz's very odd position/posture and behaviour moments before the shooting and we have Oswald completely unable to defend himself if even a slight attack were upon him and top it off with Ruby's being let in the basement. Very dubious scenario.

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