Post by Graveyardbride on Mar 14, 2014 12:15:14 GMT -5
March 14, 1964: Death Sentence in Texas
In a court room in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, March 14, 1964, in what was the first court room verdict to be televised in U.S. history, Jack Ruby was found guilty of “murder with malice” and sentenced to die in the electric chair.
Not quite four months earlier, on November 24, 1963, two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, suspect Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to the more secure county jail. Television cameras were rolling as a crowd of law enforcement officers and press gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald entered the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally shot him with a .38 revolver.
At trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pled not guilty on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy’s murder had caused him to suffer “psychomotor epilepsy” and shoot Oswald unconsciously. Ruby’s motive, according to the Warren Commission, was his desire to spare Jacqueline Kennedy the ordeal of having to return to Dallas to testify at Oswald’s trial.
When Ruby was sentenced to death, no one knew that during the trial, he had passed a note to his attorney, Joe Tonahill, which read: Joe, you should know this. Tom Howard told me to say that I shot Oswald so that Caroline and Mrs. Kennedy wouldn’t have to come to Dallas to testify, OK?
Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had connections to organized crime. He also knew a number of Dallas police officers, which translated to various favors in exchange for leniency in their monitoring of his establishments. There are those who believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. But regardless of why he did it, Ruby was sentenced to death. However, in October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed Ruby’s conviction and death sentence on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.
As everyone knows, the official Warren Commission Report of 1964 concluded neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy, but few believe the Report and for more than a half-century, there have been numerous theories as to what transpired. Just last year, a former exotic dancer claimed Ruby killed Oswald because he had no choice:
In 1963, Gail Raven (above) was the stage name of a precociously mature 20-year-old woman who danced on the national nightclub circuit that included Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas. Ruby took a shine to the lovely, dark-haired dancer and the two became friends. Now in her 70s, Gail Raven is living in the Southern U.S. and in a recent interview, confirmed Ruby never mentioned President Kennedy, but admitted, “He was not in love with the Kennedys and he did not like Robert Kennedy by no means.” This is not surprising, according to journalists and historians who have studied Ruby’s life. Telephone records reviewed by JFK investigators revealed that in 1962-63 Ruby made calls to no less than seven organized crime figures who had been prosecuted by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department. “He [Ruby] had no choice,” Raven insisted. “Jack had bosses, just like everyone else ... he was instructed on what he needed to do, therefore he did it. And when the opportunity presented itself, he went ahead and took it.” When asked if Ruby killed Oswald so that Jacqueline Kennedy would not have to return to Dallas to testify, Raven replied, “That was absolutely made up.”
Political reporter Patrick Howley cites the following reasons as to why Jack Ruby is believed to be involved in the JFK assassination conspiracy:
1. He said so. “Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts, of what occurred, my motives. The people had, that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world,” Ruby said on film after he shot Oswald. Asked if these men were in very high positions, Ruby said, “Yes.”
2. He even suggested Lyndon Johnson ordered him to do it. “When I mentioned about Adlai Stevenson, if he was vice president there would never have been an assassination of our beloved President Kennedy …Well the answer is the man in office now,” Ruby revealed in 1963.
3. He was a known gangster. Jack Ruby ate at mafia-world restaurateur Joe Campisi’s Dallas restaurant the night before Kennedy was assassinated. The House Select Committee on Assassinations found in a 1979 report that Ruby knew Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, a close Kennedy crony and Fidel Castro assassination plot insider who helped Kennedy win Illinois in the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy and Giancana shared the same mistress, Judith Exner. After Kennedy took office, his brother and attorney general Robert Kennedy used the Justice Department to go after organized crime, even saying, “I want that dago Sam Giancana put away for good.”
4. Why was Oswald being led through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters in plain sight, accessible to the crowd? Ruby had easy access to Oswald and nobody tried to stop him before he ran up to the alleged Soviet sympathizer, who was walking while being held on both sides by Dallas police detectives Jim Leavelle and L. C. Graves. “Ruby’s shooting of Oswald was not a spontaneous act, in that it involved at least some premeditation. Similarly, the committee believed it was less likely that Ruby entered the police basement without assistance, even though the assistance may have been provided with no knowledge of Ruby’s intentions,” the House Select Committee on Assassinations found in 1979.
“The committee was troubled by the apparently unlocked doors along the stairway route and the removal of security guards from the area of the garage nearest the stairway shortly before the shooting … There is also evidence that the Dallas Police Department withheld relevant information from the Warren Commission concerning Ruby’s entry to the scene of the Oswald transfer,” according to the committee.
5. Oswald was asking to be silenced. “I’m just a patsy” Oswald shouted to reporters while in custody before being briskly taken away.
6. Richard Nixon recognized Ruby, having hired him at Lyndon Johnson’s request years before. “Nixon said, ‘The damn thing is, I knew this Jack Ruby. Murray [Chotiner] brought him to me in 1947, said he was one of ‘Johnson’s boys’ and that LBJ wanted us to hire him as an informant to the Committee. We did,’” former Nixon operative Roger Stone told The Daily Caller. “I think Nixon immediately recognized that LBJ was using one his operatives to do ‘clean up’ work on the murder of John Kennedy,” Stone added.
7. The Warren Commission wouldn’t let him talk. “I want to tell the truth, and I can’t tell it here,” Ruby told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren in June 1964, after Warren and other commission members including Gerald Ford visited Ruby in Dallas. Warren, whose commission was hastily assembled at the behest of President Johnson to quell conspiracy theories, declined to transport Ruby to Washington, D.C., to testify about what really happened.
Sources: This Day in History; JFK Facts; and Patrick Howley, The Daily Caller.