Jack Ruby

Jack Ruby

Jacob Rubenstein (Jack Ruby), the fifth of eight children, was born in Chicago on 25th March, 1911. Both his parents were born in Poland but had emigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. His father, Joseph Rubenstein, a carpenter, was a violent man and was frequently arrested for assault and battery charges.

Jack caused trouble at school and at the age of eleven was sent to the Institute of Juvenile Research for psychiatric treatment. It was decided that Jack was not receiving proper parental care and Chicago's Juvenile Court sent him to a foster home. His mother was eventually diagnosed as suffering from psychoneurosis and admitted to Elgin State Hospital.

After leaving school in 1927 Jack did various odd jobs and is rumoured to have worked for Al Capone. He also spent time in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He eventually returned to Chicago and a friend, Leon Cooke, arranged for him to work for the Scrap Iron and Junk Handlers Union. On 8th December, 1939, Cooke was shot dead by John Martin, the president of the union. As a result of this killing Jack Ruby left this job and found employment as a salesman. This included selling plagues commemorating Pearl Harbor.

In May, 1943, Jack Ruby, was called up into the armed services. He served in the United States Army Air Forces at various airbases in America. His behaviour was fairly good but on a couple of occasions he got into fights after comments were made about him being Jewish. Jack Ruby attained the rank of private first class and was honorably discharged on 21st February, 1946.

Jack Ruby returned to Chicago and found work selling small cedar chests for a company owned by his brother, Earl Ruby. In 1947 Ruby moved to Dallas where he managed the Singapore night-club for his sister, Eva Grant. In October, 1947, he was arrested by the Bureau of Narcotics. Steve Guthrie, the sheriff of Dallas, later claimed that Ruby had been sent to criminals in Chicago to manage illegal gambling activities in the city. However, Jack Ruby was eventually released without charge.

Jack Ruby remained in Dallas and after borrowing money from a friend he purchased the Silver Spur Club. He also acquired the Bob Wills Ranch House, a western-style nightclub. These clubs were not successful and in 1954 he became a part-owner of the Vegas Club. His attempts to establish another nightclub, the Sovereign Club, also ended in failure. Ruby now opened the Carousel Club. He employed a master of ceremonies, a small band and four strippers.

In August 1959 Jack Ruby was invited to visit Cuba by the Dallas nightclub owner, Lewis McWillie. At that time McWillie was supervising gambling activities at Havana's Tropicana Hotel. Later, McWillie was involved in the campaign to have Fidel Castro overthrown after he had taken power from Fulgencio Batista.

Ruby's workers were members of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). Ruby had a record of not paying his workers on time and for dismissing them for unreasonable reasons. This behaviour resulted in several disputes with the AGVA. In June 1963 Jack Ruby visited New Orleans where he obtained the services of a stripper known as Jada. After three months she was also dismissed and this caused further union problems. It is claimed that as a result of his problems with the AGVA Ruby made contact with associates of Mafia leaders, Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante, during the summer of 1963.

On 22nd November, 1963, President John F. Kennedy arrived in Dallas. It was decided that Kennedy and his party, including his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John Connally and Senator Ralph Yarborough, would travel in a procession of cars through the business district of Dallas. A pilot car and several motorcycles rode ahead of the presidential limousine. As well as Kennedy the limousine included his wife, John Connally, his wife Nellie, Roy Kellerman, head of the Secret Service at the White House and the driver, William Greer. The next car carried eight Secret Service Agents. This was followed by a car containing Lyndon Johnson and Ralph Yarborough.

At about 12.30 p.m. the presidential limousine entered Elm Street. Soon afterwards shots rang out. John Kennedy was hit by bullets that hit him in the head and the left shoulder. Another bullet hit John Connally in the back. Ten seconds after the first shots had been fired the president's car accelerated off at high speed towards Parkland Memorial Hospital. Both men were carried into separate emergency rooms. Connally had wounds to his back, chest, wrist and thigh. Kennedy's injuries were far more serious. He had a massive wound to the head and at 1 p.m. he was declared dead.

Soon afterwards Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Oswald worked at the Texas Book Depository. They also discovered his palm print on the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that was found earlier that day. Other evidence emerged that suggested that Oswald had been involved in the killing of John F. Kennedy. Oswald's hand prints were found on the book cartons and the brown paper bag. Charles Givens, a fellow worker, testified that he saw Oswald on the sixth floor at 11.55 a.m. Another witness, Howard Brennan, claimed he saw Oswald holding a rifle at the sixth floor window.

The police also discovered that the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was purchased under the name A. Hiddell. When he was arrested, the police found that Oswald was carrying a forged identity card bearing the name Alek Hiddell. The rifle had been sent by the mail order company from Chicago to P.O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas. The Post Office box belonged to Oswald.

While being interrogated by the Dallas Police, Oswald denied he had been involved in the killing of Kennedy. He claimed that he was a "patsy" (a term used by the Mafia to describe someone set up to take the punishment for a crime they did not commit).

On 24th November, 1963, the Dallas Police decided to transfer to Oswald to the county jail. As Oswald was led through the basement of police headquarters Jack Ruby rushed forward and shot him in the stomach. The gunman was quickly arrested by police officers. Lee Harvey Oswald died soon afterwards.

The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald
The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald

After the death of John F. Kennedy, his deputy, Lyndon B. Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relating to the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy." The seven man commission was headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy, Richard B. Russell, John S. Cooper and Thomas H. Boggs.

Larry Craford testified before the Warren Commission that on 23rd November, 1963, he went with Ruby and George Senator to photograph an "Impeach Earl Warren" billboard in Dallas. Ruby said he wanted to photograph the billboard because of its similarity to an anti-Kennedy advert that appeared in newspapers on the day of the assassination. This information created some interest as it had not been mentioned before by either Ruby or Senator.

Nancy Perrin Rich worked for Ruby at his Carousal Club. She told the Warren Commission that Ruby had instructed her to supply free drinks to the Dallas Police Department. Rich added "I don't think there is a cop in Dallas that doesn't know Jack Ruby. He practically lived at that (police) station. They lived in his place."

Ruby told Earl Warren that he would "come clean" if he was moved from Dallas and allowed to testify in Washington. He told Warren "my life is in danger here". He added: "I want to tell the truth, and I can't tell it here." Warren refused to have Ruby moved and so he refused to tell what he knew about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

During his trial Ruby claimed he had killed Lee Harvey Oswald because he "couldn't bear the idea of the President's widow being subjected to testifying at the trial of Oswald". Later he changed his mind claiming that his lawyer, Tom Howard, had put him up to saying it. He now pleaded guilty by reason of insanity. On March 14, 1964, the jury convicted Jack Ruby of killing Oswald and sentenced him to death.

In October, 1964, the Warren Commission reported that it "found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy". It also stated that there was no "significant link between Ruby and organized crime". This information came from friends of Ruby, including Dave Yarras, a Mafia hit man.

Jack Ruby's conviction was later overturned, but he died from cancer on 3rd January, 1967, while waiting for a new trial.

Primary Sources

(1) Report on Jack Ruby by the Institute of Juvenile Research in 1922.

He is egocentric and expects much attention, but is unable to get it as there are many children at home. His behavior is further colored by his early sex experiences, his great interest (in sex) and the gang situation in the street. From a superficial examination of his mother who was here with him, it is apparent that she has no insight into his problem, and she is thoroughly inadequate in the further training of this boy.

(2) The Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

There is also considerable evidence that Ruby tended to dominate his employees, frequently resorted to violence in dealing with them, publicly embarrassed them, sometimes attempted to cheat them of their pay, and delayed paying their salaries. Other employees reported Ruby continually harassed his help, and used obscene language in their presence. However he frequently apologized, sought to atone for his many temper tantrums, and completely forgot others.

One of the many violent incidents that were reported took place in 1950, when Ruby struck an employee over the head with a blackjack. In 1951, after his guitarist, Willis Dickerson, told Ruby to "go to hell," Ruby knocked Dickerson to the ground, then pinned him to a wall and kicked him in the groin. During the scuffle, Dickerson bit Ruby's finger so badly that the top half of Ruby's left index finger was amputated. In approximately 1955, Ruby beat one of his musicians with brass knuckles; the musician's mouth required numerous stitches.

During 1960, Ruby and two entertainers, Breck Wall and Joe Peterson, entered into an agreement that the performers would produce and star in a revue at the Sovereign in exchange for a 50-percent interest in the club. After performing for 2 months, the entertainers complained that they had received neither a share of the profits nor evidence of their proprietary interest. Ruby responded by hitting Peterson in the mouth, knocking out a tooth. The two men left the Sovereign's employ, but they subsequently accepted Ruby's apology and resumed their friendship with him.

In September 1962 Frank Ferraro, the Carousel's handyman, became involved in a dispute at a nearby bar. Ruby told him not to get into a fight, and Ferraro told Ruby to mind his own business. Ruby then followed Ferraro to another club and beat him severely. Ferraro required emergency hospital treatment for his eye, but he decided not to press charges since Ruby paid for his hospital care. In March 1963, during an argument about wages, Ruby threatened to throw a cigarette girl down the stairs of the Carousel.

(3) David Reitzes, In Defense of Jack Ruby (2000)

Many take it for granted that if there was an assassination conspiracy, Jack Ruby must have been involved. In fact, many people believe there was a conspiracy precisely because of Ruby's murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, which had the effect - intentional or not - of silencing the accused assassin.

But whether there was a conspiracy or not, there is no reason to assume that Ruby must have been involved. In fact, logic tells us that no conspiracy could profit by silencing Oswald in a public fashion: What's the point of eliminating one suspect while simultaneously handing the police another? Also, were it Oswald's intention to "talk," he'd already had nearly 48 hours in which to do so. Every minute he waited only diminished the chance that others involved could be apprehended. By that time, any conspirators would have to assume he'd already spilled his guts.

Another factor to be considered is whether Ruby was the type of person to be entrusted with any responsibility, when a single word from him could have resulted in the arrest of others involved. Dallas reporter Tony Zoppi knew Ruby well and says one "would have to be crazy" to entrust Ruby with anything important, that 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."

(4) Melvin Belli, Jack Ruby's attorney, wrote about the case in his book Dallas Justice. At first Ruby claimed he had a mental blackout. Later he claimed he had killed Lee Harvey Oswald to protect Jacqueline Kennedy from having to testify at a court case. .

With a weary gesture, Ruby slapped his hands down on the metal table between us and shook his head impatiently. "What are we doing, Mel, kidding ourselves?" he asked.

I was tired too. "What do you mean, Jack?" I snapped.

"We know what happened," he said. "We know I did it for Jackie and the kids. I just went and shot him. They've got us anyway. Maybe I ought to forget this silly story that I'm telling, and get on the stand and tell the truth."

He was absolutely sincere. At that point, with his mental examination behind him and the outline of our defense clearly established, he was suddenly ready to admit that he had shot Lee Harvey Oswald deliberately and that our contention that the shooting had occurred during a blackout in which he was incompetent to know what he was doing was a fraud.

(5) The Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

Between 1949 and November 24, 1963, Ruby was arrested eight times by the Dallas Police Department. The dates, charges, and dispositions of these arrests are as follows: February 4, 1949, Ruby paid a $10 fine for disturbing the peace. July 26, 1953, Ruby was suspected of carrying a concealed weapon; however, no charges were filed and Ruby was released on the same day. May 1, 1954, Ruby was arrested for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon and violating a peace bond; again no charges were filed and Ruby was released on the same day. December 5, 1954, Ruby was arrested for allegedly violating State liquor laws by selling liquor after hours; the complaint was dismissed on February 8, 1955. June 21, 1959, Ruby was arrested for allegedly permitting dancing after hours; the complaint was dismissed on July 8, 1959. August 21, 1960, Ruby was again arrested for allegedly permitting dancing after hours; Ruby posted $25 bond and was released on that date. February 12, 1963, Ruby was arrested on a charge of simple assault; he was found not guilty February 27, 1963. Finally, on March 14, 1963, Ruby was arrested for allegedly ignoring traffic summonses; a $35 bond was posted.

When Ruby applied for a beer license in March 1961, he reported that he had been arrested "about four or five times" between 1947 and 1953. Between 1950 and 1963, he received 20 tickets for motor vehicle violations, paying four $10 fines and three of $3. In 1956 and 1959, Ruby was placed on 6 months' probation as a traffic violator.

Ruby was also frequently suspended by the Texas Liquor Control Board. In August 1949, when he was operating the Silver Spur, he was suspended for 5 days on a charge of "Agents Moral Turpitude." In 1953 Ruby received a 5-day suspension because of an obscene show, and, in 1954, a 10-day suspension for allowing a drunkard on his premises. On February 18, 1954, he was suspended for 5 days because of an obscene striptease act at the Silver Spur and for the consumption of alcoholic beverages during prohibited hours. On March 26, 1956. Ruby was suspended by the liquor board for 3 days because several of his checks were dishonored. On October 23, 1961, he received another 3-day suspension because an agent solicited the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on licensed premises.

(6) Seth Kantor, Who Was Jack Ruby? (1978)

An hour after the shooting of President Kennedy I encountered Jack Ruby at Parkland Hospital. Ruby was someone I had known at the start of the Kennedy administration, when I had been a reporter on a Dallas newspaper. He sought me out at Parkland, called me by name and, later from jail, wrote me a warm, personal note. But he later denied that he had been inside Parkland Hospital at that critical time. As a result, the Warren Commission questioned both Ruby and me in June, 1964, about the Parkland encounter. In the end, page 336 of the Warren Report declared that "Kantor probably did not see Ruby in Parkland Hospital.

Now, however, after reading this book, Burt W. Griffin, the Warren Commission attorney who developed these conclusions about Jack Ruby for the Warren Report, has changed his mind about Ruby not appearing at Parkland soon after the President had been brought there. Griffin, who since has become a judge in Ohio, now says "the greater weight of the evidence" indicates I did see Ruby at Parkland.

(7) David E. Scheim, The Mafia Killed President Kennedy (1988)

Despite official denials. Jack Ruby had indeed been a "professional gangster." Furthermore, telephone records and other documents showed extensive contacts between Ruby and underworld figures from across the country in the months before the assassination.

It also emerged, disturbingly, that evidence establishing these criminal ties had been repeatedly suppressed or distorted by the Warren Commission, the government body initially charged to investigate Kennedy's murder. For example, the Commission reported that "virtually all of Ruby's Chicago friends stated he had no close connection with organized crime." But a trace of the Commission's cited references revealed that one of these "friends" was a notorious Mob hit man credited with planning some of its more important executions. More than half of these cited friends, in fact, had some racketeering associations.

(8) J. Edgar Hoover made a telephone call to President Lyndon B. Johnson on 29th November, 1963.

This fellow Rubenstein (Jack Ruby) is a very shady character, has a bad record - street brawler, fighter, and that sort of thing - and in the place in Dallas, if a fellow came in there and couldn't pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat the very devil out of him and throw him out of the place... He didn't drink, didn't smoke, boasted about that. He is what I would put in a category of one of these "egomaniacs." Likes to be in the limelight. He knew all the police in that white-light district.... and he also let them come in, see the show, get food, liquor, and so forth. That's how, I think, he got into police headquarters. Because they accepted him as kind of a police character, hanging around police headquarters... They never made any moves, as the pictures show, even when they saw him approaching this fellow and got up right to him and pressed his pistol against Oswald's stomach. Neither of the police officers on either side made any move to push him away or grab him. It wasn't until after the gun was fired that they then moved... The Chief of Police admits that he moved him in the morning as a convenience and at the request of motion-picture people, who wanted to have daylight. He should have moved him at night... But so far as tying Rubenstein and Oswald together we haven't as yet done. So there have been a number of stories come in, we've tied Oswald into the Civil Liberties Union in New York, membership into that and, of course, this Cuban Fair Play Committee, which is pro-Castro, and dominated by Communism and financed, to some extent, by the Castro government.

(9) Matthew Smith, JFK: The Second Plot (1992)

At Parkland Hospital a bullet had obligingly rolled off an unoccupied stretcher. It was a bullet from a Manlicher-Carcano, and the Commission promptly identified it as 'The Magic Bullet'. Commission Exhibit 399, as the bullet was marked, was claimed to have rolled out of Governor Connally's thigh wound and lain on the stretcher until the stretcher was later disturbed. Since the Governor still had fragments of a bullet lodged in his thigh, the idea of a bullet rolling out of the wound was not supported. The hospital staff were unconvinced that Connally had ever occupied the stretcher in question, Darrell C. Tomlinson, the senior technician, testifying to his 'best recollection', that it had rolled off a stretcher 'wholly unconnected with the one of Governor Connally'. And then there was CE399 itself. The bullet was in pristine condition (see photograph) and even a witness 'friendly' to the Warren Commission, Commander Humes, the surgeon who led the Bethesda autopsy team, could not accept it. Questioned by Arlen Specter, a Commission lawyer, about CE399 in relation to all Governor Connally's wounds, Humes replied, 'I think that extremely unlikely . . .' Aware that the Parkland doctors had spoken of fragments of bullet remaining in Connally's thigh, Humes said, '. . . I can't conceive of where they came from this missile.' CE399 was in such pristine condition that had they weighed it then added the weight of the fragments removed from Governor Connally's wrist and thigh they would have been looking at a total weight greater than that of an unused bullet of that type. But, regardless of all this, the Warren Commission clung to its single-bullet theory, for without it, their entire case for asserting that Lee Harvey Oswald had, alone and unaided, shot and killed President Kennedy was totally demolished.

As a consequence of the desperate need to maintain their position on CE399, 'the Magic Bullet', the Warren Commission refused to accept evidence from a reliable witness which might have thrown light on how the pristine bullet really found its way to Parkland Hospital. Seth Kantor, a member of the White House Press Corps, rocked the Commission's boat when he reported having met Jack Ruby, who was to slay Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement car park of Dallas Police Headquarters but 48 hours later, at Parkland Hospital less than an hour after the President was shot. He knew Jack Ruby and reported in some detail their handshake and conversation. Could Ruby have been there for the purpose of planting CE399? The Commission were not disposed to finding out. They ruled Kantor was mistaken.

(10) Hugh Aynesworth, JFK: Breaking the News (2003)

Jack Ruby was the quintessential wanna-be but never-was. Full of big stories, bigger dreams and lusty braggadocio, the strip show operator was first and foremost a lowlife, a man who searched for class as though he understood what it was.

Often he would tell his pals that someday he'd have a club in Las Vegas. That, to him, was class. Once he told his lawyer Stanley Kauffman that when he made it big in the Nevada city, he wouldn't have to worry any more about years and years of difficulties with the Internal Revenue Service. "He said, 'They never bother the big, important guys. You don't see guys hassled once they become somebody in show business.'"

Hardly a week went by in Dallas when you wouldn't see Ruby promoting some inane product, chasing fire trucks, pushing himself into public displays or passing out his Carousel Club calling cards at the fights, in the bars, or on downtown streets.

One time it might be promoting a young black singer/dancer, another time an exercise board, or a potion "sure to make you thinner and more powerful." Once he touted a gangly Arkansas girl as a "dancer," predicting she would be a smash hit at the Carousel. "She'll be the only Jewish stripper Dallas has ever seen," he told Don Campbell, the News ad executive. The girl never graced his stage.

(11) The Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

The Commission has reached the following conclusions concerning the killing of Oswald by Jack Ruby on November 24, 1963:

Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police Department shortly after 11:17 a.m. and killed Lee Harvey Oswald at 11:21 a.m.

Although the evidence on Ruby's means of entry is not conclusive, the weight of the evidence indicates that he walked down the ramp leading from Main Street to the basement of the police department.

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

The Dallas Police Department's decision to transfer Oswald to the county jail in full public view was unsound.

The arrangements made by the police department on Sunday morning, only a few hours before the attempted transfer, were inadequate. Of critical importance was the fact that news media representatives and others were not excluded from the basement even after the police were notified of threats to Oswald's life. These deficiencies contributed to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy. The reasons for this conclusion are:

The Commission has found no evidence that anyone assisted Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. In this connection it has thoroughly investigated, among other factors, the circumstances surrounding the planning of the motorcade route through Dallas, the hiring of Oswald by the Texas School Book Depository Co. on October 15, 1963, the method by which the rifle was brought into the building, the placing of cartons of books at the window, Oswald's escape from the building, and the testimony of eyewitnesses to the shooting.

The Commission has found no evidence that Oswald was involved with any person or group in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, although it has thoroughly investigated, in addition to other possible leads, all facets of Oswald's associations, finances, and personal habits, particularly during the period following his return from the Soviet Union in June 1962.

The Commission has found no evidence to show that Oswald was employed, persuaded, or encouraged by any foreign government to assassinate President Kennedy or that he was an agent of any foreign government, although the Commission has reviewed the circumstances surrounding Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, his life there from October of 1959 to June of 1962 so far as it can be reconstructed, his known contacts with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and his visits to the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City during his trip to Mexico from September 26 to October 3, 1963, and his known contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States.

The Commission has explored all attempts of Oswald to identify himself with various political groups, including the Communist Party, U.S.A., the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and the Socialist Workers Party, and has been unable to find any evidence that the contacts which he initiated were related to Oswald's subsequent assassination of the President.

All of the evidence before the Commission established that there was nothing to support the speculation that Oswald was an agent, employee, or informant of the FBI, the CIA, or any other governmental agency. It has thoroughly investigated Oswald's relationships prior to the assassination with all agencies of the U.S. Government. All contacts with Oswald by any of these agencies were made in the regular exercise of their different responsibilities.

No direct or indirect relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby has been discovered by the Commission, nor has it been able to find any credible evidence that either knew the other, although a thorough investigation was made of the many rumors and speculations of such a relationship.

The Commission has found no evidence that Jack Ruby acted with any other person in the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

(12) Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993)

FBI documents released in 1979 show other instances in which key information was either altered before it reached the Warren Commission, or else withheld altogether. For example, judging from Warren Commission records, the FBI covered up Jack Ruby's connections to organized crime. The Commission did not receive an important interview with Luis Kutner, a Chicago lawyer who had just told the press (correctly) about Ruby's connections to Chicago mobsters Lennie Patrick and Dave Yaras. All the FBI transmitted was a meaningless follow-up interview in which Kutner merely said he had no additional information.

Apparently the FBI also failed to transmit a teletype revealing that Yaras, a national hit man for the Chicago syndicate who had grown up with Ruby, and who had been telephoned by one of Ruby's Teamster contacts on the eve of the assassination, was about to attend a "hoodlum meeting" of top East and West Coast syndicate representatives, including some from the "family" of the former Havana crime lord Santos Trafficante.

(13) G. Robert Blakey was interviewed by ABC News in 2003.

ABC News: Let me ask you: 40 years after the fact and 25 years after your investigation, who killed John F. Kennedy?

Blakey: Lee Harvey Oswald killed John Kennedy. Two shots from behind. The evidence is simply overwhelming. You have to be lacking in judgment and experience in dealing with the evidence to think that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill President Kennedy. That's really not the problem. The problem is: Was there something beyond Lee Harvey Oswald? And now what you do is you look at the evidence.

ABC News: How many shots were fired at Dealey Plaza?

Blakey: What we did is determine that there were in fact four shots. Our scientists looked at a tape we found, and they did a scientific analysis of it, and it indicated four shots in the plaza, three from the depository and one from the grassy knoll. That meant there were two shooters in the plaza, two shooters in the plaza equal a conspiracy.

The first shot from the depository by Lee Harvey Oswald missed. The second shot about 1.6 seconds later, hit the president in the back of the neck. (The bullet exited Kennedy and) hit John Connally. It hit his wrist, hit his leg. Now six seconds from the second shot, we think a shot came from the grassy knoll. It missed the president. The shot from the grassy knoll missed. The X-rays, the autopsy, all of that indicates the president was not hit by a shot from any other direction. Seven-tenths of a second after that, the third shot, fourth in the row, third shot from the depository, hits the president right in the back of the head.

The shot from the grassy knoll is not only supported by the acoustics, which is a tape that we found of a police motorcycle broadcast back to the district station. It is corroborated by eyewitness testimony in the plaza. There were 20 people, at least, who heard a shot from the grassy knoll.

ABC News: In your book you point the finger squarely at Carlos Marcello and his organization. Why would he want to kill Kennedy?

Blakey: Carlos Marcello was being subject to the most vigorous investigation he had ever experienced in his life, designed to put him in jail. He was in fact summarily, without due process, deported to Guatemala. He took the deportation personally. He hated the Kennedys. He had the motive, the opportunity and the means in Lee Harvey Oswald to kill him. I think he did through Oswald.

ABC News: How central is Jack Ruby's murder of Oswald to your understanding of this case?

Blakey: To understand who killed President Kennedy and did he have help, I think you have to understand what happened to the assassin of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. I see Jack Ruby's assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald as a mob hit.

This is in direct contradiction to the Warren Commission. The Warren Commission portrayed, wrongly I think, Jack Ruby as a wild card who serendipitously got into position to kill Oswald. I think in fact he stalked him. I can show you from the Warren Commission's evidence that he tried to get into where he was being interrogated, number one. That he tried to get in where there was going to be a lineup, number two. That he was seen around the garage, where he was announced that he was going to be moved. And we know, from Jack Ruby himself, that he had a gun with him at the time of the lineup.

I believe that Ruby was able to get in to kill Oswald through the corrupt cooperation of the Dallas P.D., that he was let in through a back door and he was given an opportunity to kill Oswald. I see that, therefore, as a mob hit. And if that's a mob hit, there is only one reason for it, and that is to cover up the assassination of the president himself. You kill the killer.

ABC News: Since you believe that Lee Oswald shot the president, and you also believe that Carlos Marcello was behind the assassination, what connections do you point to between Oswald and Marcello?

Blakey: I can show you that Lee Harvey Oswald knew, from his boyhood forward, David Ferrie, and David Ferrie was an investigator for Carlos Marcello on the day of the assassination, with him in a court room in New Orleans. I can show you that Lee Harvey Oswald, when he grew up in New Orleans, lived with the Dutz Murret family (one of Oswald's uncles). Dutz Murret is a bookmaker for Carlos Marcello.

I can show you that there's a bar in New Orleans, and back in the '60s, bars used to have strippers and the strippers circuit is from Jack Ruby's strip joint in Dallas to Marcello-connected strip joints in the New Orleans area. So I can bring this connection.

Did Lee Harvey Oswald grow up in a criminal neighborhood? Yes. Did he have a mob-connected family? Did he have mob-connected friends? Was he known to them to be a crazy guy? He's out publicly distributing Fair Play for Cuba leaflets. If you wanted to enlist him in a conspiracy that would initially appear to be communist and not appear to be organized crime, he's the perfect candidate. Ex-Marine, marksman, probably prepared to kill the president for political reasons.

Could he be induced to kill the president for organized crime reasons unbeknownst to him? I think the answer is yes and compelling.

(14) Dan Rather interviewed Barney Weinstein, The Warren Report: Part 3, CBS Television (27th June, 1967)

Dan Rather: Ruby operated a pair of sleazy nightclubs, The Carousel and The Vegas. In the free and easy atmosphere that seemed to characterize the boom city, Ruby was also a hanger - on of the police, entertaining off - duty officers in his strip joints, often carrying sandwiches over to the Police Building for his on-duty friends.

These are some of the people of Jack Ruby's world - his roommate, a competing nightclub owner, and two of Jack Ruby's girls. Mr. Weinstein, why do you think Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald?

Barney Weinstein: I think it was on the spur of the moment, that he really wanted to make himself look like a big man. And he thought that would make him above everybody else, that the people would come up and thank him for it, that people would come around and want to meet him and want to know him, "This is the man that shot the man that shot the President."

(15) Walter Cronkite, The Warren Report: Part 3, CBS Television (27th June, 1967)

Jack Ruby was convicted of the murder of Oswald, but the conviction was reversed by an Appeals Court which held that an alleged confession should not have been admitted.

Ruby died six months ago of cancer, maintaining to the last that he was no conspirator, that he had killed Oswald out of anger and a desire to shield Jacqueline Kennedy from the ordeal of a trial at which she would have had to appear as a witness.

(16) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)

The Warren Commission's claim that Ruby wanted to spare Mrs. Kennedy the personal ordeal of a trial seems flimsy. When Earl Warren interviewed Ruby in his Dallas jail, Ruby pleaded with the chief justice to let him testify in Washington, where he would tell the real story behind the whole assassination controversy. Inexplicably, Warren denied Ruby's request.

While it is possible to imagine numerous motives for Ruby's act, there is no reliable, independent evidence to substantiate such speculation. Whatever Ruby's reasons, they remain unknown.

(17) Hugh Aynesworth, JFK: Breaking the News (2003)

In my view, were it not for the pervasive influence of a handful of individuals, there would be no plague of conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

The first of these regrettable characters was Jack Ruby, who by stealing the executioner's role, created generations of doubters, and not unreasonably so. It was an audacious, desperate act that would seem to make sense only if Jack Ruby had a very powerful, rational motive for killing Lee Harvey Oswald.

The truth is that he did not; the hard evidence in the case supports no other conclusion.

Based on indisputable facts, I believe that Ruby acted spontaneously in the basement at City Hall. The opportunity to kill Lee Harvey Oswald suddenly presented itself, and Ruby acted accordingly. He could just as well have been driving home from the Western Union office at that moment.

(18) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy Was Killed (1968)

And so Jack Ruby, on December 9, 1966, - exactly one day after he had learned that his new trial was going to be

held in February or March 1967 at Wichita Falls, about 140 miles from Dallas - was stricken with a mysterious disease first diagnosed as a common cold, then as pneumonia and finally as generalized cancer.

For more than three years, with a death sentence hanging over his dead for most of the time, Ruby had been as fit as a fiddle in the custody of Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker. At no time before December 9, had the prison doctor who visited him regularly, detected any flaw in Ruby's splendid health. But now, with a new trial in prospect in a different place, death quickly overtook the man who knew perhaps more than any other living person (with the possible exception of David Ferrie, then still totally unknown to the public at large) about the real background to the assassination. He passed away in the morning of January 3, 1967 - and another inconvenient trial was happily averted.

As always, my critics are likely to counter at this point with the challenge: 'Where is your evidence that Ruby was murdered?'

The evidence is there, plain to see for anyone with an open mind, but it is purely circumstantial, not tangible. (The people who arranged for Ruby's death, as they had previously arranged for the overt murders of President Kennedy, Patrolman Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald, to say nothing of the 20-odd witnesses who have also been disposed of, weren't stupid enough to leave any palpable traces of what they had done.)

(19) Fabian Escalante, Cuban Officials and JFK Historians Conference (7th December, 1995)

Ruby had a coffee business in Cuba in the 1950's. He also engaged in arms trafficking. He is very tied to former president of Cuba, Carlos Prio.... There is a U.S. version of this story that says a Cuban gave a letter to Ruby asking him to sell weapons to Cubans in 1959. We know very little about this incident at this moment. However, we found an ex-officer of our Cuban army who knew of an attempt to sell jeeps on behalf of an American citizen whose name he cannot remember, more or less the same time Ruby was in Havana. That's all we know about this.

(20) Greg Parker, Alternative Ruby Timeline (23rd November, 2004)

The number one cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, representing 85 to 90 percent of all cases. Other causes include exposure to radon, asbestos, nickel, chloromethyl ether, chromium, beryllium and arsenic (a by-product of copper), as well as exposure to passive smoke or "second-hand" smoke. A person is "at risk" of developing lung cancer if they: smoke; are over the age of 50; work in industries where substances such as asbestos, nickel, chloromethyl ether, chromium, beryllium or arsenic are used; have or have had a lung disease; have a family history of lung cancer; are former smokers; have been exposed to second-hand smoke over many years or; have been exposed to radon. (Tenet Health Care Corporation Library)

As a non-smoker, Ruby’s only risk factors would, on the surface, appear to be his age, and long-term exposure to second-hand smoke. In jail, Ruby reported to one of his psychiatrists, Dr Manfred Guttmacher, that he had been to see Dr Ulevich on November 11, 1963 due to a bronchial cough. Dr Ulevitch took x-rays, but Ruby had been too busy to get the results. He believed he had "walking pneumonia". (DPD JFK files)

The previously mentioned, Dr Walter Bromberg, stated in his report that Ruby had felt he suffered pneumonia on and off for a number of years. (DPD JFK files) It was a diagnosis of pneumonia, as we have seen, which resulted in Ruby being sent to Parkland Hospital. "Walking pneumonia" is caused by mycoplasma – the smallest free-living organism known to man. One of the characteristics of these tiny organisms is their ability to completely mimic or copy the protein of the host cell which can cause the immune system to attack the body’s own cells; an event that happens in all auto-immune diseases. First isolated in humans in 1932, it was not until the 1950s that one strain was identified as the cause of atypical ("walking") pneumonia. (Web Article: Mycoplasmas - Stealth Pathogens).

Before death, Ruby’s cancer had spread to both his liver and his brain. This tends to rule out second-hand smoke as the culprit because although small cell lung cancer is the type that spreads quickly to other organs, it is most often found in people who are themselves heavy smokers. (Rhodes Island Cancer Council).

What we are left with then, is some other carcinogen as the probable cause. Beryllium is one logical answer given beryllium dust shuts down the immune system, allowing the lungs to be damaged, and tumors to form and spread to other organs. It also creates ideal conditions for mycoplasma to thrive. (The Unified Health Physics Modelling Scientific Report).

It is not a stretch to suggest that Ruby may have first come into contact with beryllium whilst in the Army Air Force and stationed at Farmingdale where the F-12 was being built, since this heavy metal is much used in the aviation and space industries. His association with the National Research Corporation through John C Jackson provides a second possibility for beryllium exposure to have occurred. The NRC was named in a May 25, 2001 report issued by the US General Accounting Office as being one of the locations where beryllium was used or detected. The evidence however, points only to low grade exposure in the 1950‘s (and possibly back to the 1940‘s), causing atypical recurring pneumonia, and a weakened immune system rather than cancerous tumors (which would have required a higher exposure): nothing lethal if he kept fit and otherwise healthy. That Ruby was a health and fitness fanatic indicates he may have had some knowledge of his exposure.

So what did happened to trigger his cancer ? Alan Adelson tells us in "The Ruby Oswald Affair" that Jack’s sister, Eva Grant, first noticed Jack’s illness as early as June, 1966 , and that by September, he was throwing up every day. If his illness was evident in June 1966, then it is feasible that the onset of cancer coincided with Dr Jolyon West’s visit in April, 1964 to administer hypnosis and drugs. This was the month after the trial ended, and when appeals would be in full swing. It is unfortunately common for such a period of time to pass between onset and when symptoms become manifest. In this case, it took another 7 months after the onset of symptoms before a diagnosis of lung cancer was made. It is possible, but unlikely, that Ruby had the cancer prior to the assassination. This is because of the x rays Dr Ulevitch took of Ruby’s chest on November 11. Though not fool proof, most lung cancer patients show an abnormal x ray. (Cancerline UK).

It is widely known that Ruby believed injections he was being given, were cancer cells. He truly believed he was being murdered in this most unusual manner. And why would he not be paranoid about such a possibility since in January 1964, it was widely reported that elderly patients at the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in Brooklyn had been injected with live cancer cells as part of an experiment conducted by two eminent physicians from Sloan-Kettering? A court battle over the records of patients involved kept the story bubbling until at least 1966. Deputy sheriff Al Maddox claimed to researchers in the 1980s that the doctor who gave Ruby the injections was from Chicago. Though not from Chicago, Alan Adelson said he had met with Dr Jolyon West in the Windy City to discuss the case. (Earl Ruby HSCA testimony)

The last word however, probably should go to the Inspector General in reference to CIA medical experiments: "The risk of compromise of the program through correct diagnosis of an illness by an unwitting medical specialist is regularly considered and is stated to be a governing factor in the decision to conduct a given test. The Bureau officials also maintain close working relations with local police authorities which could be utilized to protect the activity in critical situations." (July 26, 1963 memo from JS Eamon to Director, CIA).

(21) The Guardian (27th November, 2006)

Anti-terrorist detectives are poised to fly to Russia and Italy in an effort to solve the fatal poisoning of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

But as John Reid, the home secretary, said the police inquiry had been upgraded from an "unexplained" to a "suspicious" death, experts voiced doubt at the theory that anyone acting alone could have used the isotope polonium 210 to kill Mr Litvinenko. One scientist said polonium 210 would only kill so quickly if combined into a "designer toxin" with another isotope, beryllium, in a complicated process that would require state sponsorship. Such a process was used by Britain in early atomic weapons in the 1950s.

"No individual could do this," said John Large, an independent nuclear consultant. "What you are talking about is the creation of a very clever little device, a designer poison pill, possibly created by nanotechnology. Without nanotechnology you would be talking about a fairly big pill, a pea-sized pill. Either way you are looking at intricate technology which is beyond the means and designs of a hired assassin without a state sponsor."

He said the likely poison pill that killed Mr Litvinenko would have to have been manufactured in a special laboratory over two or three weeks and then used very quickly - possibly within 28 days - because the half-life of the isotope polonium is only 138 days.

Senior police officers are drawing in experts from the International Atomic Energy Authority, and from the Atomic Weapons establishment at Aldermaston. Every option is being considered, from Kremlin involvement to the theory that Mr Litvinenko's work in the anti-corruption unit of the FSB, Russia's MI5, created enemies with the means and knowledge to assassinate him.