Jack Leon Ruby (born Jacob Leon Rubenstein; (c.[1][2] April 25, 1911 – January 3, 1967) was an American nightclub owner and alleged associate of the Chicago Outfit. He murdered Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963, two days after Oswald was accused of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Dallas jury found Ruby guilty and sentenced him to death. Ruby's conviction was later appealed, and he was to be granted a new trial; however, he became ill in prison, was diagnosed with cancer, and died of a pulmonary embolism on January 3, 1967.

Jack Ruby
Mugshot of Jack Ruby taken November 24, 1963, after his arrest for killing Lee Harvey Oswald.
Jacob Leon Rubenstein

c.[1][2] (1911-04-25)April 25, 1911
DiedJanuary 3, 1967(1967-01-03) (aged 55)
Resting placeWestlawn Cemetery, Norridge, Illinois
41°57′29″N 87°49′37″W / 41.958110°N 87.826853°W / 41.958110; -87.826853
OccupationNightclub owner
Known forMurder of Lee Harvey Oswald
Criminal chargeMurder with malice[3]
Criminal penaltyDeath (overturned)

In September 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Ruby acted alone in killing Oswald, shooting him on impulse and out of grief over Kennedy's assassination. These findings were challenged by various critics who suggested that Ruby was involved with major figures in organized crime and that he was acting as part of an overall plot surrounding the assassination of Kennedy.

Early life and career Edit

Ruby was born Jacob Leon Rubenstein[4] on or around March 25 or April 25, 1911,[2] in the Maxwell Street area of Chicago, the son of Joseph Rubenstein and Fannie Turek Rutkowski (or Rokowsky), both Polish-born Orthodox Jews from Sokołów. Ruby was the fifth of his parents' 10 surviving children. While he was growing up, his parents were often violent towards each other and frequently separated; Ruby's mother was eventually committed to a mental hospital.[5] His troubled childhood and adolescence were marked by juvenile delinquency with time being spent in foster homes. At age 11 in 1922, he was arrested for truancy. Ruby eventually skipped school so often that he had to spend time at the Institute for Juvenile Research. Still a young man, he sold horse-racing tip sheets and various novelties, then acted as a business agent for a local refuse collectors union that later became part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).[6]: 332 

From his early childhood, Ruby was nicknamed "Sparky" by those who knew him.[7] His sister, Eva Grant, said that he acquired the nickname because he resembled a slow-moving horse named "Spark Plug" or "Sparky" in the contemporary comic strip Barney Google. ("Spark Plug" debuted as a character in the strip in 1922, when Ruby was 11.)[7] Other accounts say that the name was given because of his quick temper.[7] In either event, Grant stated that Ruby did not like the nickname Sparky, and was quick to fight anyone who called him that.[7]

In the 1940s, Ruby frequented race tracks in Illinois and California. He was drafted in 1943 and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, working as an aircraft mechanic at U.S. bases until 1946. He had an honorable record and was promoted to Private First Class. Upon discharge, in 1946, Ruby returned to Chicago.[5]

In 1947, Ruby moved to Dallas, purportedly because of the failure of merchandise deals in Chicago and to help operate his sister's nightclub.[7] Soon afterward he and his brothers shortened their surnames from Rubenstein to Ruby. The stated reason for this was that the name "Rubenstein" was too long and that he was "well known" as Jack Ruby.[8] Ruby later went on to manage various nightclubs, strip clubs, and dance halls. He developed close ties to many Dallas Police officers who frequented his nightclubs, where he provided them with free liquor, prostitutes and other favors.[9]

Ruby never married and had no children.[10] At the time of the assassination, Ruby was living with George Senator, who referred to Ruby as "my boyfriend" during the Warren Commission hearing, but denied the two being homosexual lovers. Warren Commission lawyer Burt Griffin later told author Gerald Posner: "I'm not sure if Senator was honest with us about his relationship with Ruby. People did not advertise their homosexuality in 1963".[11]

Illegal activities Edit

Some critics have said that Ruby was involved in criminal activity[12][6][13] and linked to organized crime.[14][15][16] He had been involved in illegal gambling, narcotics, and prostitution.[17]

A 1956 FBI report stated that informant Eileen Curry had moved to Dallas in January with her boyfriend James Breen after jumping bail on narcotics charges. Breen told her that he had made connections with a large narcotics setup operating between Texas, Mexico, and the East, and that "James got the okay to operate through Jack Ruby of Dallas."[18]

Dallas County Sheriff Steve Guthrie told the FBI that he believed that Ruby "operated some prostitution activities and other vices in his club" in Dallas.[13]

On March 11, 1959, FBI agent Charles W. Flynn of the Dallas Office approached Ruby to become a federal informant due to his job as a night club operator, since he "might have knowledge of the criminal element in Dallas".[19] Ruby was willing to become an informant and was contacted by the FBI eight times between March 11, 1959 and October 2, 1959, but he provided no information to the Bureau; he was not paid, and contact ceased.[20][21]

Dallas disc jockey Kenneth Dowe testified that Ruby was known around the station for "procuring women for different people who came to town".[22]

Character Edit

According to the people interviewed by law enforcement and the Warren Commission, Ruby was desperate to attract attention to himself and to his club. He knew a great number of people in Dallas, but he had only a few friends. His business ventures remained unsuccessful and he was heavily in debt.[11]

The commission received reports of Ruby's penchant for violence. He had a volatile temper, and often resorted to violence with employees who had upset him. He acted as the bouncer of his own club and beat his customers on at least 25 occasions. The fights would often end with Ruby throwing his victims down the club's stairs.[11]

Government officials also heard stories of Ruby's eccentric and unstable behavior. He sometimes took his shirt or other clothes off in social gatherings, and then either hit his chest like a gorilla or rolled around the floor. During conversations, he could change the topic suddenly in mid-sentence. He sometimes welcomed a guest to his club, but on other nights forbade the same guest from entering. He was described by those who knew him as "a kook", "totally unpredictable", "a psycho", and "suffering from some form of disturbance".[11]

During the 1970s, prominent psychiatrist Irene Jakab, who was known for her use of art therapy in diagnosing and treating patients with mental illness, analyzed artwork that had been created by Ruby while he was in jail. While assessing one of Ruby's drawings, which had been included as part of art exhibits at the World Congress of Psychiatry meeting in Waikiki, Hawaii and the University of Hawaii in late August and early September 1977, she observed that his work conveyed "repressed aggression and secretiveness," adding:[23]

"Notice how he really constricts himself so as not to reveal himself. He hides behind all those geometrical lines and pointed edges. You can feel his controlled aggression."

John F. Kennedy assassination Edit

November 21 Edit

The Warren Commission attempted to reconstruct Ruby's movements from November 21, 1963, through November 24.[24]: 333  The Commission reported that he was attending to his duties as the proprietor of the Carousel Club located at 1312 1/2 Commerce St. in downtown Dallas and the Vegas Club in the city's Oak Lawn district from the afternoon of November 21 to the early hours of November 22.[24]: 333 

November 22: assassination of Kennedy Edit

According to the Warren Commission, Ruby was in the second-floor advertising offices of the Dallas Morning News, five blocks away from the Texas School Book Depository, placing weekly advertisements for his nightclubs when he learned of the assassination around 12:45 p.m.[24]: 334–335  Ruby then made phone calls to his assistant at the Carousel Club and to his sister.[24]: 334  The Commission stated that an employee of the Dallas Morning News estimated that Ruby left the newspaper's offices at 1:30 p.m., but indicated that other testimony suggested that he had left earlier.[24]: 334–335  According to the Warren Commission, Ruby arrived back at the Carousel Club shortly before 1:45 p.m. to notify employees that the club would be closed that evening.[24]: 336–337 

John Newnam, an employee at the newspaper's advertisement department, testified that Ruby became upset over an anti-Kennedy ad published in the Morning News that was signed by "The American Fact-Finding Committee, Bernard Weissman, Chairman". Ruby was sensitive to antisemitism and was distressed that an ad attacking the President was signed by a person with a "Jewish name". Early next morning, Ruby noticed a political billboard featuring the text "IMPEACH EARL WARREN" in block letters. Ruby's sister Eva testified that Ruby had told her that he believed that the anti-Kennedy ad and the anti-Warren sign were connected and were a plot by a "gentile" to blame the assassination on the Jews.[11]

Ruby was seen in the halls of the Dallas Police Headquarters on several occasions after Oswald's arrest for the murder of Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit on November 22, 1963. He was present at an arranged press meeting with Oswald. A reporter asked Oswald, "Did you kill the President?" and Oswald answered, his voice breaking, "No, I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question."[25] A reporter told Oswald that he had been charged and Oswald looked shocked.[26] Newsreel footage from WFAA-TV (Dallas) and NBC shows that Ruby impersonated a newspaper reporter during a press conference held by District Attorney Henry Wade at Dallas Police Headquarters that night.[6]: 349  Wade briefed reporters that Oswald was a member of the anti-Castro Free Cuba Committee. Ruby was one of several people there who spoke up to correct Wade, saying, "Henry, that's the Fair Play for Cuba Committee", a pro-Castro organization.[27][28][6]: 349–350  Ruby later told the FBI that he had his Colt Cobra .38 revolver in his right pocket during the press conference.[29][30][6]: 3501 

November 24: killing of Oswald Edit

Photo taken by Robert H. Jackson showing Ruby shooting Oswald, who is being escorted by Dallas police detective Jim Leavelle (left)

On November 24, Ruby drove into town with his pet dachshund Sheba to send an emergency money order at the Wells Fargo on Main Street to one of his employees. The time stamp was 11:17 a.m. for the cash transaction on the money order. Ruby then walked half a block to the nearby Dallas police headquarters, where he made his way into the basement via either the Main Street ramp[31] or a stairway accessible from an alleyway next to the Dallas Municipal Building.[32] Authorities were escorting Oswald through the police basement at 11:21 a.m. CST to an armored car that was to take him to the nearby county jail, when Ruby emerged from a crowd of reporters with his .38 Colt Cobra revolver[33] aimed at Oswald's abdomen. Ruby shot him at point blank range, mortally wounding him.[34] The bullet entered Oswald's left side in the front part of the abdomen and caused damage to his spleen, stomach, aorta, vena cava, kidney, liver, diaphragm, and eleventh rib before coming to rest on his right side.[35] Oswald made a cry of anguish and his manacled hands clutched at his abdomen as he writhed with pain, and he slumped to the concrete paving, where he moaned several times. Police detective Billy Combest recognized Ruby and exclaimed: "Jack, you son of a bitch!"[36][37] Ruby was immediately subdued by police as a moaning Oswald was carried back into the basement level jail office. Combest asked Oswald, "Do you have anything you want to tell us now?" Oswald shook his head.[38]: 184–185  He lost consciousness shortly after and was taken by ambulance to Parkland Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where Kennedy had died two days earlier. Oswald died there at 1:07 p.m.[4]

The crowd outside the headquarters burst into applause when they heard that Oswald had been shot.[39] A network television pool camera was broadcasting live to cover the transfer; millions of people watching on NBC witnessed the shooting as it happened and on other networks within minutes afterward.[40] Several photographs were taken of the event, capturing the moments around when Ruby pulled the trigger. In 1964, Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for his image of the shooting of Oswald.[41]

Prosecution Edit

Jack Ruby after his arrest

After his arrest, Ruby said that he had been distraught over President Kennedy's death and had helped the city of Dallas "redeem" itself in the eyes of the public, and that he was "saving Mrs. Kennedy the discomfiture of coming back to trial".[42]: 198–200  He also claimed that he shot Oswald on the spur of the moment when the opportunity presented itself, without considering any reason for doing so.[42]: 199  Ruby told the FBI that he was "in mourning" Friday and Saturday. He said that he cried when he heard that the President was shot, "cried a great deal" Saturday afternoon, and was depressed Saturday night. He explained that this grief was caused by him being an admirer of President Kennedy and the Kennedy family. The anguish over the assassination, Ruby stated, finally "reached the point of insanity", suddenly compelling him to shoot when Oswald walked in front of him in the basement that Sunday morning.[43] At the time of the shooting, Ruby said that he was taking phenmetrazine, a central nervous system stimulant.[42]: 198–199  Ruby asked Dallas attorney Tom Howard to represent him. Howard accepted and asked Ruby if he could think of anything that might damage his defense. Ruby responded that there would be a problem if a man by the name of "Davis" should come up. Ruby told his attorney that he "had been involved with Davis, who was a gunrunner entangled in anti-Castro efforts".[44][45]

Later, Ruby replaced attorney Tom Howard with prominent San Francisco defense attorney Melvin Belli, who agreed to represent him pro bono. Ruby broke into tears at his bond hearing in January 1964, as he talked to reporters regarding the assassination of Kennedy. He said that he could not understand "how a great man like that could be lost". On March 14, 1964, Ruby was convicted of murder with malice and was sentenced to death.

Ruby's conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on the grounds that "an oral confession of premeditation made while in police custody" should have been ruled inadmissible, because it violated a Texas criminal statute.[46] The court also ruled that the venue should have been changed to a Texas county other than the one in which the high-profile crime had been committed.[46]

During the six months following Kennedy's assassination, Ruby repeatedly asked to speak to the members of the Warren Commission. The commission initially showed no interest, but Ruby's sister Eileen wrote letters to the commission and her letters became public. The Warren Commission then agreed to talk to Ruby. In June 1964, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Representative (and future President) Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, and other commission members went to Dallas to see Ruby. Ruby asked Warren several times to take him to Washington D.C., saying that "my life is in danger here" and that he wanted an opportunity to make additional statements. He added that the people from whom he felt himself to be in danger were the John Birch Society of Dallas, including Edwin Walker, who he claimed were trying to falsely implicate him as being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the President.[42]: 194–196  He added: "I want to tell the truth, and I can't tell it here."[42]: 194  Warren told Ruby that he would be unable to comply, because many legal barriers would need to be overcome, and public interest in the situation would be too heavy. Warren also told Ruby that the commission would have no way of protecting him, since it had no police powers. Ruby said that he wanted to convince President Lyndon Johnson that he was not part of any conspiracy to kill Kennedy.[42]: 209–212 

Eventually, the appellate court agreed with Ruby's lawyers that he should be granted a new trial. On October 5, 1966, the court ruled that his motion for a change of venue before the original trial court should have been granted. Ruby's conviction and death sentence were overturned. Arrangements were underway for a new trial to be held in February 1967[47] in Wichita Falls, Texas, but Ruby was admitted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas on December 9, 1966, suffering from pneumonia. A day later, doctors discovered cancer in his liver, lungs, and brain. His condition rapidly deteriorated. According to an unnamed Associated Press source, Ruby made a final statement from his hospital bed on December 19, 1966 that he alone had been responsible for the murder of Oswald.[48] "There is nothing to hide," Ruby said, "there was no one else."[49]

Death Edit

Headstone at Ruby's grave in Westlawn Cemetery

Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism on January 3, 1967 at Parkland Hospital, the same facility where both Oswald and Kennedy died.[50][51] He was buried beside his parents in the Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.[52][53][54]

Official investigations Edit

Warren Commission Edit

The Warren Commission found no evidence linking Ruby's killing of Oswald with any broader conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy.[24] In 1964, the Warren Commission provided a detailed biography of Ruby's life and activities to help ascertain whether he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy.[55] The Commission indicated that there was not a "significant link between Ruby and organized crime"[56] and said he acted independently in killing Oswald.[57][24]: 373–374 

Warren Commission investigator David Belin said that postal inspector Harry Holmes arrived unannounced at the Dallas police station on the morning that Ruby shot Oswald and, upon invitation by the investigators, had questioned Oswald, thus delaying his transfer by half an hour.[58] Belin concluded that, had Ruby been part of a conspiracy, he would have been downtown 30 minutes earlier, when Oswald had been scheduled to be transferred.[58]

In Gerald Posner's book Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, Ruby's friends, relatives and associates claimed that he was upset over President Kennedy's death, even crying on occasions and closing his clubs for three days as a mark of respect.[59] They also disputed the conspiracy claims, saying that Ruby's connection with gangsters was minimal at most and that he was not the sort of person who would be entrusted with an important assassination as part of a high-level conspiracy.[59]

Dallas reporter Tony Zoppi, who knew Ruby well, claimed that one "would have to be crazy" to entrust Ruby with anything as important as a high-level plot to kill Kennedy since he "couldn't keep a secret for five minutes ... Jack was one of the most talkative guys you would ever meet. He'd be the worst fellow in the world to be part of a conspiracy, because he just plain talked too much."[59]: 361, 399  He and others described Ruby as the sort who enjoyed being at "the center of attention", trying to make friends with people and being more of a nuisance.[59]

Some writers, including former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, dismiss Ruby's connections to organized crime as being highly minimal: "It is very noteworthy that without exception, not one of these conspiracy theorists knew or had ever met Jack Ruby. Without our even resorting to his family and roommate, all of whom think the suggestion of Ruby being connected to the mob is ridiculous, those who knew him, unanimously and without exception, think the notion of his being connected to the Mafia, and then killing Oswald for them, is nothing short of laughable."[60]

Bill Alexander, who prosecuted Ruby for Oswald's murder, equally rejected any suggestions that Ruby was involved with organized crime, claiming that conspiracy theorists based it on the claim that "A knew B, and Ruby knew B back in 1950, so he must have known A, and that must be the link to the conspiracy."[59]

Ruby's brother Earl denied allegations that Jack was involved in racketeering Chicago nightclubs, and author Gerald Posner suggested that witnesses may have confused Ruby with Harry Rubenstein, a convicted Chicago felon.[59] Entertainment reporter Tony Zoppi was also dismissive of mob ties. He knew Ruby and described him as a "born loser".[59]

Author Norman Mailer and others have questioned why Ruby would have left his two beloved dogs in his car if his killing of Oswald had been planned.[61]

Other investigations and dissenting theories Edit

Many critics have not accepted the conclusions of the Warren Commission and have proposed several other theories.

Ruby's motive Edit

White House correspondent Seth Kantor was a passenger in Kennedy's motorcade. He testified that he had visited Parkland Hospital after Kennedy was shot, and that he felt a tug on his coat as he entered the hospital at about 1:30 p.m. He turned around to see Jack Ruby, who called him by his first name and shook his hand.[62]: 78–82 [44]: 41  He said that he had become acquainted with Ruby while he was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald newspaper.[62]: 72 [44]: vi  According to Kantor, Ruby asked him if he thought that it would be a good idea for him to close his nightclubs for the next three nights because of the tragedy, and Kantor responded without thinking that doing so would be a good idea.[44]: 41 [63][62]: 80 

Ruby denied that he had been at Parkland Hospital and the Warren Commission dismissed Kantor's testimony, saying that the encounter at Parkland Hospital would have to have taken place in a span of a few minutes before and after 1:30 pm, as evidenced by telephone company records of calls made by both people. The commission also pointed to contradictory witness testimony and to the lack of video confirmation of Ruby at the scene.[24]: 335–337  The Commission concluded that "Kantor probably did not see Ruby at Parkland Hospital" and "may have been mistaken about both the time and the place that he saw Ruby".[24]: 335–337 

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations re-examined Kantor's testimony and stated, "the Warren Commission concluded that Kantor was mistaken" about his Parkland encounter with Ruby, but "the Committee determined he probably was not."[64]: 158 [6]: 458–459 

Kantor also reported that Ruby might have tampered with evidence while at Parkland.[44]: 192  Kantor researched the Ruby case for years. He wrote in Who Was Jack Ruby?:

The mob was Ruby's "friend." And Ruby could well have been paying off an IOU the day he was used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Remember: "I have been used for a purpose," the way Ruby expressed it to Chief Justice Warren in their June 7, 1964 session. It would not have been hard for the mob to maneuver Ruby through the ranks of a few negotiable police.[44]: 18 

The House Select Committee on Assassinations wrote in its 1979 Final Report:

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 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.[64]: 157–158 

Lieutenant Billy Grammer was a dispatcher for the Dallas Police Department. He said that he received an anonymous phone call at 3 a.m. on November 24 from a man who knew his name. The caller told him that he knew of the plan to move Oswald from the basement and warned that, unless the plans were changed, "we are going to kill him". After Oswald was shot, Grammer claimed to have recognized Ruby as the caller. Grammer believed that Ruby's shooting of Oswald was "a planned event".[65][66]

Detective Don Archer testified to the Warren Commission that he said to Ruby, "Jack, I think you killed him." He stated that Ruby looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well, I intended to shoot him three times." Kantor believed that Ruby's response to Archer did not suggest a spontaneous reaction, and the word "intended" implied having prior intention.[44]: 192 

Ruby's explanation for killing Oswald would be exposed "as a fabricated legal ploy", according to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Ruby wrote a note to attorney Joseph Tonahill: "Joe, you should know this. My first lawyer 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?"[64]: 158 [67][6]: 353 [43]

G. Robert Blakey, who was chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations from 1977 to 1979, said: "The most plausible explanation for the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby was that Ruby had stalked him on behalf of organized crime, trying to reach him on at least three occasions in the forty-eight hours before he silenced him forever."[68]

Russell Moore, an acquaintance of Ruby, testified to the Commission that Ruby expressed no bitterness towards Oswald and called him "a good looking guy," comparing him to Paul Newman.[69][70]

David Scheim noted in his book Contract on America that some people claimed that Ruby was upset over the weekend of the assassination, while others said that he was not. On Friday night, TV newsman Vic Robertson Jr. saw Ruby at police headquarters and said that he "appeared to be anything but under stress or strain. He seemed happy, jovial, was joking and laughing".[71][43] Announcer Glen Duncan also said that Ruby "was not grieving" and seemed "happy that evidence was piling up against Oswald".[43]

Scheim also suggests that Ruby made a "candid confession" when giving testimony to the Warren Commission.[43] During his testimony, Ruby teared up when talking about a Saturday morning eulogy for Kennedy, but after composing himself, inexplicably said, "I must be a great actor, I tell you that."[42]: 198–199 [43] Ruby also remarked that "they didn't ask me another question: 'If I loved the President so much, why wasn't I at the parade?'" (referring to the presidential motorcade) and "it's strange that perhaps I didn't vote for President Kennedy, or didn't vote at all, that I should build up such a great affection for him".[72]: 564–565 [43] Scheim noted that Jada, a stripper at Ruby's club, during an interview with ABC's Paul Good, remarked "I believe [Ruby] disliked Bobby Kennedy".[43]

Schiem also noted several people who knew Ruby who claimed that the patriotic statements which Ruby professed were quite out of character. Ruby's gambling business partner Harry Hall told the FBI that "Ruby was the type who was interested in any way to make money," and he also said that he "could not conceive of Ruby doing anything out of patriotism".[73][43] Jack Kelly had known Ruby casually since 1943, and he "scoffed at the idea of a patriotic motive being involved by Ruby in the slaying of Oswald." He said that he "could not see Ruby" killing Oswald "out of patriotism," but rather "for publicity or...for money".[43] Ruby's friend Paul Jones told the FBI that he doubted that Ruby "would have become emotionally upset and killed Oswald on the spur of the moment. He felt Ruby would have done it for money."[43]

Ruby's lawyers, led by Sam Houston Clinton, appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after his 1964 conviction, the highest criminal court in Texas. Ruby's lawyers argued that he could not have received a fair trial in Dallas because of the excessive publicity surrounding the case. Ruby conducted a brief televised news conference in March 1965, a year after his conviction. He stated: "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 who 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." A reporter asked, "Are these people in very high positions, Jack?", and he responded, "Yes."[74]

Kantor speculated in 1978 that the man by the name of "Davis" that Ruby mentioned to attorney Tom Howard may have been Thomas Eli Davis III, a CIA-connected mercenary.[6]: 359–361, 226 [75]

Dallas Deputy Sheriff Al Maddox claimed: "Ruby told me, he said, 'Well, they injected me for a cold.' He said it was cancer cells. That's what he told me, Ruby did. I said you don't believe that bullshit. He said, 'I damn sure do!' One day when I started to leave, Ruby shook hands with me and I could feel a piece of paper in his palm." It was a note in which Ruby claimed that he was part of a conspiracy, and that his role was to silence Oswald.[76] Not long before Ruby died, according to an article in the London Sunday Times, he told psychiatrist Werner Teuter that the assassination was "an act of overthrowing the government" and that he knew "who had President Kennedy killed". He added: "I am doomed. I do not want to die. But I am not insane. I was framed to kill Oswald."[76][77][6]: 341 

David Scheim presented evidence that Mafia leaders Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante, Jr. and organized labor leader Jimmy Hoffa ordered the assassination of Kennedy. Scheim cited in particular a 25-fold increase in the number of out-of-state telephone calls from Jack Ruby to associates of these crime bosses in the months before the assassination.[78] According to author Vincent Bugliosi, both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations determined that all of these calls were related to Ruby seeking help from the American Guild of Variety Artists in a matter concerning two of his competitors.[79] The House Select Committee on Assassinations report stated that "most of Ruby's phone calls during late 1963 were related to his labor troubles. In the light of the identity of some of the individuals with whom Ruby spoke, however, the possibility of other matters being discussed could not be dismissed."[80]

Bill Bonanno, son of New York Mafia boss Joseph Bonanno, stated in Bound By Honor that he realized that certain Mafia families were involved in the JFK assassination when Ruby killed Oswald, since Bonanno was aware that Ruby was an associate of Chicago mobster Sam Giancana.[81]

Associations with organized crime and gunrunning allegations Edit

The House Select Committee on Assassinations undertook a similar investigation of Ruby in 1979, 15 years after the written report, and said that he "had a significant number of associations and direct and indirect contacts with underworld figures" and "the Dallas criminal element," but that he was not a member of organized crime.[82]

Ruby was known to have been acquainted with both the police and the Mafia. The HSCA said that Ruby had known Chicago mobster Sam Giancana (1908–1975) and Joseph Campisi (1918–1990) since 1947, and had been seen with them on many occasions.[83][6]: 346  After an investigation of Joe Campisi, the HSCA found:

While Campisi's technical characterization in federal law enforcement records as an organized crime member has ranged from definite to suspected to negative, it is clear that he was an associate or friend of many Dallas-based organized crime members, particularly Joseph Civello, during the time he was the head of the Dallas organization. There was no indication that Campisi had engaged in any specific organized crime-related activities.[84]

G. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel for the HSCA, called Campisi "the No. 2 man in the mob in Dallas." He wrote in a 1993 article for The Washington Post: "It is difficult to dispute the underworld pedigree of Jack Ruby, though the Warren Commission did it in 1964.[85] Similarly, a PBS Frontline investigation into the connections between Ruby and Dallas organized crime figures reported the following:

In 1963, Sam and Joe Campisi were leading figures in the Dallas underworld. Jack knew the Campisis and had been seen with them on many occasions. The Campisis were lieutenants of Carlos Marcello, the Mafia boss who had reportedly talked of killing the President.[86]

On the night before Kennedy was assassinated, Ruby and Ralph Paul had dinner together at the Egyptian Lounge run by Joe and Sam Campisi.[87] After Ruby was jailed for killing Lee Harvey Oswald, Joe Campisi "regularly visited" him.[87]

Howard P. Willens was the third-highest official in the Department of Justice[88] and assistant counsel to J. Lee Rankin. He helped organize the Warren Commission. Willens also outlined the commission's investigative priorities[89] and terminated an investigation of Ruby's Cuban related activities.[90] An FBI report states that Willens' father had been Tony Accardo's next-door neighbor going back to 1958.[91] In 1946, Tony Accardo allegedly asked Jack Ruby to go to Texas with Mafia associates Pat Manno and Romie Nappi to make sure that Dallas County Sheriff Steve Gutherie would acquiesce to the Mafia's expansion into Dallas.[92]

Ruby went to see a man named Lewis McWillie in Cuba four years before the assassination of Kennedy. McWillie had previously run illegal gambling establishments in Texas, and Ruby considered him one of his closest friends.[42]: 201  McWillie was supervising gambling activities at Havana's Tropicana Club when Ruby visited him in August 1959. Ruby told the Warren Commission that his August trip to Cuba was merely a social visit at the invitation of McWillie.[42]: 201  The HSCA later concluded that Ruby "most likely was serving as a courier for gambling interests".[64]: 152 [93][6]: 337  The committee also found circumstantial but not conclusive evidence that "Ruby met with Santo Trafficante in Cuba sometime in 1959."[64]: 152–153 [6]: 338 

James E. Beaird, who claimed to be a poker-playing friend of Ruby, told The Dallas Morning News and the FBI that Ruby smuggled guns and ammunition from Galveston Bay, Texas to Fidel Castro's guerrillas in Cuba in the late 1950s. Beaird said that Ruby "was in it for the money. It wouldn't matter which side, just the one that would pay him the most." Beaird said that the guns were stored in a two-story house near the waterfront, and that he saw Ruby and his associates load "many boxes of new guns, including automatic rifles and handguns" on a 50-foot military-surplus boat. He claimed that "each time that the boat left with guns and ammunition, Jack Ruby was on the boat."[94][95][6]: 335 

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Birth records were not officially kept in Chicago prior to 1915, and among school records, driver's licenses, and arrest records, there were six different dates, ranging from March to June 1911.
  2. ^ a b c The Warren Commission found that various dates were given in the records for Ruby's birth; the one most used by Ruby himself was March 25, 1911 (The Warren Report: Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1964). His tombstone at Westlawn Cemetery, Chicago, IL, has April 25, 1911, as his birthdate.
  3. ^ "Jack Ruby sentenced to death for murdering Lee Harvey Oswald".
  4. ^ a b Bagdikian, Ben H. (December 14, 1963). Blair, Clay Jr. (ed.). "The Assassin". The Saturday Evening Post (44): 26.
  5. ^ a b Capshaw, Ron (December 3, 2018). "Inside Jack Ruby's Jewish Paranoia". Tablet. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Summers, Anthony (1998). Not in Your Lifetime. New York: Marlowe & Company. ISBN 1-56924-739-0.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Appendix 16: A Biography of Jack Ruby". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. p. 786.
  8. ^ Bugliosi, Vincent (2007). Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 9780393045253.
  9. ^ Ruby's Friendships with Police Officers, House Select Committee on Assassinations – Appendix to Hearings, Volume 9, 5, pp. 127–30.
  10. ^ Wrone, David R. "Ruby, Jack L. (1911–1967), assassin". American Council of Learned Societies. Archived from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d e Posner, Gerald (2013). Case Closed : Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. Open Road Media. ISBN 9781480412309.
  12. ^ Fontaine, Ray La; Fontaine, Mary La (August 7, 1994). "THE FOURTH TRAMP". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "FBI Report" (PDF). history-matters.com. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  14. ^ "Assassination Archive and Research Center". ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  15. ^ "Twenty-Four Years | Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald? | FRONTLINE | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Jew who killed JFK's killer". blogs.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Secret Life of Jack Ruby" (PDF). New Times. January 23, 1978.
  18. ^ "FBI interview" (PDF). history-matters.com. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  19. ^ Kihss, Peter (May 13, 1976). "Oswald Not in 1963 Million‐Name Secret Service File". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  20. ^ "FBI Oversight Hearings to the Subcommittee on Civil Rights" (PDF). brennancenter.org/. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  21. ^ Cartwright, Gary (November 1975). "Who was Jack Ruby?". Texas Monthly. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  22. ^ "TESTIMONY OF KENNETH LAWRY DOWE". mcadams.posc.mu.edu.
  23. ^ Knoefler, Tomi. "Art Is a Tool of Psychiatrists." Honolulu, Hawaii: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 31, 1977, p. 30 (subscription required).
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Chapter 6: Investigation of Possible Conspiracy". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964.
  25. ^ "Oswald's Ghost | American Experience | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  26. ^ Bugliosi, Vincent (2008) Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy pp. 300
  27. ^ Testimony of Henry Wade, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 5, p. 223.
  28. ^ Warren Commission Hearings, vol V, p. 189 aarclibrary.org
  29. ^ FBI Notes of Conference btwn. Ruby and FBI Hall & Clements in Dallas Jail, December 21, 1963, Warren Commission Document 1252, p. 9.
  30. ^ House Select Committee on Assassinations – Hearings, volume 5, p. 179.
  31. ^ "Chapter 5: Detention and Death of Oswald". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. pp. 219–222.
  32. ^ "I.C.". Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1979. pp. 156–157.
  33. ^ "The Gun That Killed Lee Harvey Oswald:  .38 Colt". HistoricalFirearms.info.
  34. ^ The Nook: An Investigation of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Official Autopsy Report of Lee Harvey Oswald Archived February 26, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, November 24, 1963. Accessed January 9, 2013.
  35. ^ "Autopsy Shows Oswald Healthy; Little of History of Slayer Is Revealed". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. AP. November 30, 1963. p. f. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  36. ^ "President's Assassin Shot To Death In Jail Corridor By A Dallas Citizen; Grieving Throngs View Kennedy Bier". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  37. ^ "Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XX". History Matters Archive. p. 429. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "Testimony of Billy Combest". Warren Commission Hearings. 12.
  39. ^ Posner 1993, p. 399
  40. ^ Bergreen, Laurence (1980). Look Now, Pay Later: The Rise of Network Broadcasting. New York: Doubleday and Company. ISBN 978-0-451-61966-2.
  41. ^ Fischer, Heinz-D; Fischer, Erika J. (2003). "Prizes for Pictorial Journalism Areas". The Pulitzer Prize Archive: A History and Anthology of Award-Winning Materials in Journalism, Letters and Arts. Vol. 17 Complete Historical Handbook of the Pulitzer Prize System 1917–2000. Munich: De Gruyter. p. 206. ISBN 978-3-11-093912-5.
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Testimony of Jack Ruby". Warren Commission Hearings. 5 – via aarclibrary.org.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Scheim, David (1988). Contract on America. Shapolsky Publishers. ISBN 978-0-933503-30-4.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g Kantor, Seth (1978). Who Was Jack Ruby?. New York: Everest House Publishers. ISBN 0-89696-004-8.
  45. ^ "Possible Associations Between Jack Ruby and Organized Crime". Appendix to Hearings. House Select Committee on Assassinations. 9 (5): 183 – via aarclibrary.org.
  46. ^ a b Rubenstein v. State, 407 S.W.2d 793, 795 (Tex. Crim. App. 1966).
  47. ^ Waldron, Martin (December 10, 1966). "Ruby Seriously Ill In Dallas Hospital". The New York Times. p. 1.
  48. ^ "Ruby Asks World to Take His Word". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 20, 1966. p. 36.
  49. ^ "A Last Wish". Time. December 30, 1966. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008.
  50. ^ "Phil Burleson, 61, Jack Ruby's Lawyer". The New York Times. June 1, 1995. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  51. ^ "This Day in History: November 22". history.co.uk. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  52. ^ "Ruby Buried in Chicago Cemetery A longside Graves of His Parents". The New York Times. November 7, 1967. p. 15.
  53. ^ "Ruby Called 'Avenger' at Rites in Chicago". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. January 7, 1967. p. 4.
  54. ^ "Ruby Services Limited to Family, Few Friends". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. January 5, 1967. p. 20.
  55. ^ Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Appendix 16 1964, p. 779.
  56. ^ Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Appendix 16 1964, p. 801.
  57. ^ Pomfret, John D. (September 28, 1964). "Commission Says Ruby Acted Alone in Slaying". The New York Times. p. 17.
  58. ^ a b Munns, Roger (December 15, 1991). "Warren panel's counsel: Stone's 'JFK' film a 'big lie'". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. AP. p. A12. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  59. ^ a b c d e f g Posner, Gerald (1993). Case Closed. Warner Books.
  60. ^ Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy p. 1130.
  61. ^ Mailer, Norman (1995). Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery. Random House. ISBN 9780679425359.
  62. ^ a b c "Testimony of Seth Kantor". Warren Commission Hearings. 15.
  63. ^ Kantor Exhibit No. 7 – Kantor Exhibit No. 8, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 20, pp. 428–437.
  64. ^ a b c d e House Select Committee on Assassinations. Final Assassinations Report – via history-matters.com.
  65. ^ Douglass, James W. (2008). JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and why it Matters, Volume 2. Orbis Books. p. 368. ISBN 9781608330690., citing Grammer interview from Central Independent Television's The Men Who Killed Kennedy; Grammer comments extract here
  66. ^ Fulsom, Don (March 27, 2009). "Did Jack Ruby Know Lee Harvey Oswald?". Crime Magazine. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017.
  67. ^ "A Note from Jack Ruby". Newsweek. March 27, 1967.
  68. ^ Goldfarb, Ronald (1995). Perfect Villains, Imperfect Heroes: Robert F. Kennedy's War Against Organized Crime. Virginia: Capital Books. p. 281. ISBN 978-1-931868-06-8.
  69. ^ Testimony of Russell Lee Moore (Knight), Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 15, pp. 257.
  70. ^ "Book on Kennedy assassination offers interesting facts". CBS News. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2017. When he first observed Oswald at Dallas police headquarters the day after JFK's assassination, hanger-on Ruby thought Oswald a handsome individual who resembled the actor Paul Newman.
  71. ^ RobertsonV Ex 2 - Copy of an FBI report of an interview with Victor F. Robertson, dated June 9, 1964., Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 21, pp. 312.
  72. ^ "Testimony of Jack Ruby". Warren Commission Hearings. 14.
  73. ^ CE 1753 - Secret Service report dated December 4, 1963, of interview of Harry Hall at Terminal Island Federal, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 23, pp. 363.
  74. ^ Green, David B. (January 3, 2013). "[Unknown title]". Haaretz.
  75. ^ Douglass, James (2008). JFK and the Unspeakable. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 357–358. ISBN 978-1-4391-9388-4.
  76. ^ a b Marrs, Jim (1989). Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy. New York: Carroll & Graf. pp. 431–432. ISBN 978-0-88184-648-5.
  77. ^ "[Unknown title]". The Sunday Times. August 25, 1974.
  78. ^ Scheim, David E. (1988). Contract on America: The Mafia Murder of President John F. Kennedy. Shapolsky Publishers. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-933503-30-4. Telephone records showed the striking, 25-fold increase in his out-of-state calls, peaking in early November and then plummeting during his final weeks of activity in Dallas.
  79. ^ Bugliosi, Reclaiming History, page 1103
  80. ^ Labor Difficulties with the American Guild of Variety Artists, Early 1960s, House Select Committee on Assassinations—Appendix to Hearings, vol. 9, 5E, p. 201.
  81. ^ Bonanno, Bill (1999). Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story. New York: St Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-20388-7.
  82. ^ Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Chapter I, Section C 1979, p. 148.
  83. ^ HSCA Appendix to Hearings, vol. 9, p. 336, par. 917, Joseph Campisi. Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index [database on-line], Provo, Utah, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Ancestry.com, Texas Death Index, 1903–2000 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  84. ^ HSCA Appendix to Hearings, vol. 9, p. 336, par. 916, Joseph Campisi.
  85. ^ Blakey, G. Robert (November 7, 1993). "Murdered By The Mob?". Washington Post.
  86. ^ Frontline: Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?, 1993.
  87. ^ a b HSCA Appendix to Hearings, vol. 9, p. 344, par. 919, Joseph Campisi.
  88. ^ "Oswald 201 File, Vol 32". Maryferrell.org. Assassination Archives and Research Center; Mary Ferrell Foundation. 1993. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  89. ^ McAdams, John C. "Testimony Of Howard P. Willens". Mcadams.posc.mu.edu. The John F. Kennedy Assassination Information Center. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  90. ^ Kantor, Seth. The Ruby Cover-Up, (New York: Zebra Books, 1980), p. 247. ISBN 0821739204
  91. ^ Assassination Archives and Research Center (1993). "FBI Warren Commission Liaison File (62-109090)". Maryferrell.org. Mary Ferrell Foundation. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  92. ^ "The Lost Boys". AmericanMafia.com. April 1, 2002. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  93. ^ Possible Associations Between Jack Ruby and Organized Crime, House Select Committee on Assassinations – Appendix to Hearings, Volume 9, 5, p. 177.
  94. ^ Golz, Earl (August 18, 1978). "Jack Ruby's Gunrunning to Castro Claimed". The Dallas Morning News.
  95. ^ FBI document 602-982-243, June 10, 1976.

  This article incorporates public domain material from Warren Commission Report, Appendix 16: A Biography of Jack Ruby. National Archives and Records Administration.

Further reading Edit

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