Shortly after dark on Sunday
night November 24, 1963, after Ruby had killed Lee Harvey Oswald,
a meeting took place in Jack Ruby's apartment in Oak Cliff, a
suburb of Dallas, Texas. Five persons were present. George Senator
and Attorney Tom Howard were present and having a drink in the
apartment when two newsmen arrived. The newsmen were Bill Hunter
of the Long Beach California Press Telegram, and Jim Koethe
of the Dallas Times Herald. Attorney C.A. Droby of Dallas
arranged the meeting for the two newsmen. Jim Martin, a close
friend of George Senator's, was also present at the apartment
This writer asked Martin if he thought
it was unusual for Senator to forget the meeting while testifying
in Washington on April 22, 1964, since Bill Hunter, who
was a newsman present at the meeting, was shot to death that
very night. Martin grinned and said: "Oh, you're looking
for a conspiracy."
I nodded yes and he grinned and said,
"You will never find it."
I asked soberly, "Never find it,
or not there?"
He added soberly, "Not there."
Bill Hunter, a native of Dallas and an
award winning newsman in Long Beach, was on duty and reading
a book in the police station called "Public Safety Building."
Two policemen going off duty came into the press room, and one
policeman shot Hunter through the heart at a range officially
ruled to be "no more than three feet." The policeman
said he dropped his gun, and it fired as he picked it up, but
the angle of the bullet caused him to change his story. He finally
said he was playing a game of quick draw with his fellow officer.
The other officer testified he had his back turned when the shooting
Hunter, who covered the assassination
for his paper, the Long Beach Press Telegram, had written:
"Within minutes of Ruby's execution
of Oswald, before the eyes of millions watching television, at
least two Dallas attorneys appeared to talk with him."
Hunter was quoting Tom Howard
who died of a heart attack in Dallas a few months after Hunter's
own death. Lawyer Tom Howard was observed acting strangely to
his friends two days before his death. Howard was taken to the
hospital by a "friend" according to the newspapers.
No autopsy was performed.
Dallas Times Herald reporter Jim
Koethe was killed by a karate chop to the throat just as
he emerged from a shower in his apartment on September 21, 1964.
His murderer was not indicted.
What went on in that significant meeting
in Ruby's and Senator's apartment?
Few are left to tell. There is no one
in authority to ask the question, since the Warren Commission
has made its final report, and The House Select Committee has
closed its investigation.
Dorothy Kilgallen was another
reporter who died strangely and suddenly after her involvement
in the Kennedy assassination. Miss Kilgallen is the only journalist
who was granted a private interview with Jack Ruby after he killed
Lee Harvey Oswald. Judge Joe B. Brown granted the interview during
the course of the Ruby trial in Dallas--to the intense anger
of the hundreds of other newspeople present.
We will not divulge exactly what Miss
Kilgallen did to obtain the interview with Ruby. But Judge Brown
bragged about the price paid. Only that was not the real price
Miss Kilgallen paid. She gave her life for the interview. Miss
Kilgallen stated that she was "going to break this case
Photo by Wide World
Lee Harvey Oswald--murdered
| Dorothy Killgallen--murdered
|Lee Bowers died from "a
strange sort of shock"
Photo by Wide World
|Jack Ruby, diagnosed with
pneumonia, died 28 days later of cancer
She died on November 8, 1965. Her
autopsy report took eight days. She was 52 years old. Two days
later Mrs. Earl T. Smith, a close friend of Miss Kilgallen's
died of undetermined causes.
Tom Howard, who died of a heart
attack, was a good friend of District Attorney Henry Wade, although
they often opposed each other in court. Howard was close to Ruby
and other fringes of the Dallas underworld.
Like Ruby, Howard's life revolved around
the police station, and it was not surprising when he and Ruby
(toting his gun) showed up at the station on the evening of the
assassination of President Kennedy. Nor was it unusual when Howard
arrived at the jail shortly after Ruby shot Oswald, asking to
see his old friend.
Howard was shown into a meeting room
to see a bewildered Ruby who had not asked for a lawyer. For
the next two days--until Ruby's brother, Earl, soured on him,
and had Howard relieved--he was Jack Ruby's chief attorney and
Howard took to the publicity with alacrity,
called a press conference, wheeled and dealed. He told newsmen
the case was a "once-in-a-lifetime chance," and that
"speaking as a private citizen," he thought Ruby deserved
a Congressional medal. He told the Houston Post that Ruby had
been in the police station Friday night (November 22, 1963) with
a gun. Howard dickered with a national magazine for an Oswald
murder story. He got hold of a picture showing the President's
brains flying out of the car, and tried to sell it to Life magazine.
Ruby's sister, Eva Grant, even accused Howard of leaking information
to the DA. It was never quite clear whether Howard was working
for Ruby or against him.
On March 27, 1965, Howard was taken to
a hospital by an unidentified person and died there. He was 48.
The doctor, without benefit of an autopsy, said he had suffered
a heart attack. Some reporters and friends of Howard's were not
so certain. Some said he was "bumped off."
Earlene Roberts was the plump
widow who managed the rooming house where Lee Harvey Oswald was
living under the name O. H. Lee. She testified before the Warren
Commission that she saw Oswald come home around one o'clock,
go to his room for three or four minutes and walk out zipping
his light weight jacket. A few minutes later, a mile away, officer
J. D. Tippit was shot dead.
Mrs. Roberts testified that while Oswald
was in his room, two uniformed cops pulled up in front of the
rooming house and honked twice--"Just tit tit," she
The police department issued a report
saying all patrol cars in the area, except Tippit's, were accounted
for. The Warren Commission let it go at that.
After testifying in Dallas in April 1964,
Mrs. Roberts was subjected to intensive police harassment. They
visited her at all hours of the day and night. Earlene complained
of being "worried to death" by the police. She died
on January 9, 1966 in Parkland Hospital (the hospital where President
Kennedy was taken). Police said she suffered a heart attack in
her home. No autopsy was performed.
Warren Reynolds was minding his
used car lot on East Jefferson Street in Oak Cliff in Dallas,
when he heard shots two blocks away. He thought it was a marital
quarrel. Then he saw a man having a great difficulty tucking
"a pistol or an automatic" in his belt, and running
at the same time. Reynolds gave chase for a short piece being
careful to keep his distance, then lost the fleeing man. He didn't
know it then, but he had apparently witnessed the flight of the
killer (or one of the killers) of patrolman Jefferson David Tippit.
Feeling helpful, he gave his name to a passing policeman and
offered his cooperation. Television cameras zeroed in on him,
got his story, and made him well known. Warren Reynolds, the
amiable used car man, was making history.
Reynolds was not questioned until two
months after the event. The FBI finally talked to him in January
1964. The FBI interview report said, " . . . he was hesitant
to definitely identify Oswald as the individual." Then it
added, "He advised he is of the opinion Oswald is the person."
Two days after Reynolds talked to the
FBI, he was shot in the head. He was closing up his used car
lot for the night at the time. Nothing was stolen. Later after
consulting retired General Edwin Walker (the man Oswald allegedly
shot at before he assassinated President Kennedy), he told the
Warren Commission Counsel that Oswald was definitely the man
he saw fleeing the Tippit murder scene.
A young hood was arrested for the murder
attempt. Darrell Wayne Garner had called a relative bragging
that he shot Reynolds. But Garner had an alibi, Nancy Jane
Mooney, alias Betty McDonald, who said Garner was in bed
with her at the time he was supposed to have shot Reynolds. Nancy
Jane had worked at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. Garner was freed.
Nancy Jane was picked up a week later
for fighting with a girlfriend. She was arrested for disturbing
the peace. The girlfriend was not arrested. Within hours after
her arrest, Nancy Jane was dead. Police reports said she hanged
herself with her toreador pants.
Reynolds and his family were harassed
and threatened. But upon giving the Warren Commission a firm
identification of Oswald as being the Tippit murder fugitive,
he said, "I don't think they are going to bother me any
Hank Killam was a house painter
who lived at Mrs. A.C. Johnson's rooming house at the same time
Lee Harvey Oswald lived there. His wife, Wanda, once pushed cigarettes
and drinks at Jack Ruby's club.
Hank was a big man, over six feet and
weighing over 200 pounds. After the assassination, federal agents
visited him repeatedly causing him to lose one job after another.
Killam was absorbed by the assassination,
even obsessed. Hours after the event, he came home, "white
as a sheet." Wanda said he stayed up all night watching
the television accounts of the assassination. Later he bought
all the papers and clipped the stories about Kennedy's death.
Before Christmas, Killam left for Florida.
Wanda confessed where he was. Federal agents hounded him in Tampa,
Florida where he was working selling cars at his brother-in-law's
car lot. He lost his job.
Killam wrote Wanda that he would be sending
for her soon. He received a phone call on St. Patrick's day.
He left the house immediately. He was found later on a sidewalk
in front of a broken window. His jugular vein was cut. He bled
to death en route to the hospital.
There is no mention of Killam by the
Warren Commission. A number of FBI documents on Killam relating
to the assassination were withheld, along with documents prepared
by the CIA. What is clear is that SOMEBODY considered Hank Killam
a very important guy.
William Whaley was known as the
"Oswald Cabbie." He was one of the few who had the
opportunity to talk alone with the accused killer of President
Kennedy. He testified that Oswald hailed him at the Dallas Greyhound
bus station. Whaley said he drove Oswald to the intersection
of Beckley and Neches--half a block from the rooming house--and
collected a dollar. Later he identified Oswald as his fare in
a questionable police line-up.
Whaley was killed in a head-on collision
on a bridge over the Trinity River, December 18, 1965; his passenger
was critically injured. The 83 year old driver of the other car
was also killed. Whaley had been with the City Transportation
Company since 1936 and had a perfect driving record. He was the
first Dallas cabbie to be killed on duty since 1937. When I went
to interview the manager of the cab company about Whaley's death,
he literally pushed me out of the office, "If you're smart,
you won't be coming around here asking questions."
Domingo Benavides, an auto mechanic,
was witness to the murder of Officer Tippit. Benavides testified
he got a "really good view of the slayer."
Benavides said the killer resembled newspaper
pictures of Oswald, but he described him differently, "I
remember the back of his head seemed like his hairline went square
instead of tapered off . . ."
Benavides reported he was repeatedly
threatened by the police who advised him not to talk about what
In mid-February 1964, his brother Eddy,
who resembled him, was fatally shot in the back of the head at
a beer joint on Second Avenue in Dallas. The case was marked
Benavides's father-in-law J. W. Jackson
was not impressed by the investigation. He began his own
inquiry. Two weeks later, J.W. Jackson was shot at his home.
As the gunman escaped, a police car came around the block. It
made no attempt to follow the speeding car with the gunman.
|David Ferrie died of
|Guy Bannister--heart attack
One by one Jim Garrison's
witnesses met premature deaths
| Hank Killam's jugular
vein was cut and he bled to death
The police advised that Jackson should
"lay off this business." "Don't go around asking
questions; that's our job." Jackson and Benavides are both
convinced that Eddy's murder was a case of mistaken identity
and that Domingo Benavides, the Tippit witness was the intended
Lee Bowers's testimony is perhaps
as explosive as any recorded by the Warren Commission. He was
one of the 65 witnesses who saw the President's assassination,
and who thought shots were fired from the area of the Grassy
Knoll. (The Knoll is west of the Texas School Book Depository
Building.) But more than that, he was in a unique position to
observe some pretty strange behavior in the Knoll area before
and during the assassination.
Bowers, then a towerman for the Union
Terminal Co., was stationed in his 14 foot tower directly behind
the Grassy Knoll. He faced the scene of the assassination. He
could see the railroad overpass to his right. Directly in front
of him was a parking lot and a wooden stockade fence, and a row
of trees running along the top of the Grassy Knoll. The Knoll
sloped down to the spot on Elm Street where the President was
killed. Police had "cut off" traffic into the parking
lot, Bowers said, "so that anyone moving around could actually
Bowers made two significant observations
which he revealed to the Warren Commission. First, he saw three
unfamiliar cars slowly cruising around the parking area in the
35 minutes before the assassination; the first two left after
a few minutes. The driver of the second car appeared to be talking
into a "mic or telephone"; "he was holding something
up to his mouth with one hand and he was driving with the other."
A third car with out-of-state license plates and mud up to the
windows, probed all around the parking area. Bowers last remembered
seeing it about eight minutes before the shooting, pausing "just
above the assassination site."
Bowers also observed two unfamiliar men
standing on the top of the Knoll at the edge of the parking lot,
within 10 or 15 feet of each other. "One man, middle aged
or slightly older, fairly heavy set, in a white shirt, fairly
dark trousers. Another man, younger, about mid-twenties, in either
a plaid shirt or plaid coat or jacket." Both were facing
toward Elm and Houston in anticipation of the motorcade. The
two were the only strangers he remembered seeing. His description
shows a remarkable similarity to Julia Ann Mercer's description
of two unidentified men climbing the Knoll.
When the shots rang out, Bowers's attention
was drawn to the area where he had seen the two men; he could
still make out the one in the white shirt: "The darker dressed
man was too hard to distinguish from the trees."
Bowers observed "some commotion"
at that spot . . .," " . . . something out of the ordinary,
a sort of milling around . . . which attracted my eye for some
reason which I could not identify." At that moment, a motorcycle
policeman left the Presidential motorcade and roared up the Grassy
Knoll, straight to where the two mysterious gentlemen were standing.
Later, Bowers testified that the "commotion" that caught
his eye may have been a "flash of light or smoke."
On the morning of August 9, 1966, Lee
Bowers, vice president of a construction firm, was driving south
of Dallas on business. He was two miles south of Midlothian,
Texas when his brand new company car veered from the road and
hit a bridge abutment. A farmer who saw it, said the car was
going about 50 miles an hour, a slow speed for that road.
Bowers died in a Dallas hospital. He
was 41. There was no autopsy and he was cremated. A doctor from
Midlothian who rode to Dallas in the ambulance with Bowers, noticed
something peculiar about the victim. "He was in some strange
sort of shock." The doctor said, "A different kind
of shock than an accident victim experiences. I can't explain
it. I've never seen anything like it."
When I questioned his widow, she insisted
there was nothing suspicious, but then became flustered and said,
"They told him not to talk."
Harold Russell was with Warren
Reynolds when the Tippit shooting took place. Both men saw the
Tippit killer escape. Russel was interviewed in January 1964,
and signed a statement that the fleeing man was Oswald.
A few months after the assassination,
Russell went back to his home near David, Oklahoma. In July of
1965, Russell went to a party with a female friend. He seemingly
went out of his mind at the party and started telling everyone
he was going to be killed. He begged friends to hide him. Someone
called the police. When the policemen arrived, one of them hit
Russell on the head with his pistol. Russell was then taken to
a hospital where he was pronounced dead a few hours later: cause
of death was listed as "heart failure."
Among others who died strangely were
James Worrell, who died in a motorcycle accident on November
9, 1966. He saw a strange man run from the back door of the Texas
School Book Depository shortly after the assassination.
Gary Underhill was shot. This
death was ruled suicide on May 8, 1964. Underhill was a former
CIA agent and claimed he knew who was responsible for killing
Delilah Walle was a worker at
Ruby's club. She was married only 24 days when her new husband
shot her. She had been working on a book of what she supposedly
knew about the assassination.
William "Bill" Waters died
May 20, 1967. Police said he died of a drug overdose (demerol).
No autopsy was performed. His mother said Oswald and Killam came
to her home before the assassination and her son tried to talk
Oswald and Killam out of being involved. Waters called FBI agents
after the assassination. The FBI told him he knew too much and
to keep his mouth shut. He was arrested and kept in Memphis in
a county jail for eight months on a misdemeanor charge.
Albert Guy Bogard, an automobile
salesman who worked for Downtown Lincoln Mercury, showed a new
Mercury to a man using the name "Lee Oswald."
Shortly after Bogard gave his testimony
to a Commission attorney in Dallas, he was badly beaten and had
to be hospitalized. Upon his release, he was fearful for his
safety. Bogard was from Hallsville, La. He was found dead in
his car at the Hallsville Cemetery on St. Valentine's day in
1966. A rubber hose was attached to the exhaust and the other
end extending into the car. The ruling was suicide. He was just
41 years old.
Jack Ruby died of cancer. He was
taken into the hospital with Pneumonia. Twenty eight days later,
he was dead from cancer.
David Ferrie of New Orleans, before
he could be brought to trial for his involvement in the Kennedy
assassination, died of brain hemorrhage. Just what caused his
brain hemorrhage has not been established. Ferrie was to testify
in the famous Jim Garrison trial, but death prevented him.
Dr. Mary Stults Sherman, age 51,
was found stabbed and burned in her apartment in New Orleans.
Dr. Sherman had been working on a cancer experiment with Ferrie.
Another Ferrie associate, Eladio Cerefine
de Valle, 43, died on the same day as Ferrie. His skull was
split open; he was then shot. DeValle had used Ferrie as a pilot.
DeValle had been identifying some men in a photo taken in New
Orleans for Jim Garrison. One of the men in the photo was Lee
Paul Dyer, of the New Orleans
Police force died of cancer. He was the first police officer
to interview Ferrie. Martin got sick on the job and died a month
later of cancer. He had just interviewed David Ferrie.
News reporters were not exempt either.
Two lady reporters died strangely. Lisa Howard supposedly
committed suicide. She knew a great deal about the "understanding"
which was in the making after the Bay of Pigs, between President
Kennedy and the Cubans.
Marguerite Higgins bluntly accused
the American authorities of the November 2nd, 1963 killing of
Premier Diem and his brother Nhu. A few months after her accusation,
she died in a landmine explosion in Vietnam.
On Saturday November 23, 1963, Jack
Zangetty, the manager of a $150,000 modular motel complex
near Lake Lugert, Oklahoma, remarked to some friends that "Three
other men--not Oswald--killed the President." He also stated
that "A man named Ruby will kill Oswald tomorrow and in
a few days a member of the Frank Sinatra family will be kidnapped
just to take some of the attention away from the assassination."
Two weeks later, Jack Zangetty was found
floating in Lake Lugert with bullet holes in his chest. It appeared
to witnesses he had been in the water one to two weeks.
Lou Staples, a radio announcer
who was doing a good many of his radio shows on the Kennedy assassination,
lost his life sometime on Friday night May 13, 1977. This was
near Yukon, Oklahoma. He had been having radio shows on the assassination
since 1973 and the response to his programs was overwhelming.
Lou's death was termed suicide, but the
bullet ending his life entered behind his right temple and Lou
was left handed. He joined Gary Underhill, William Pitzer
and Joe Cooper whose "suicides" were all done
with the "wrong hand" shots to the head.
Lou had been stating that he wanted to
purchase some property to build a home. He was lured out to a
wheat field and his life ended there. I have been to the spot
where Lou died.
Karyn Kupcinet, daughter of Irv
Kupcinet, was trying to make a long distance call from Los Angeles.
According to reports, the operator heard Miss Kupcinet scream
into the phone that President Kennedy was going to be killed.
Two days after the assassination, she
was found murdered in her apartment. The case is unsolved. She
Rose Cherami, 40, was an employee
of Jack Ruby's club. She was riding with two men on a return
trip from Florida carrying a load of narcotics. She was thrown
from the car when an argument began between her and one of the
men. She was hospitalized for injuries and drug withdrawal. She
told authorities that President Kennedy was going to be killed
in Dallas. After her release from the hospital, she was a victim
of a hit and run accident on September 4, 1965 near Big Sandy,
Robert L. Perrin was a gun runner
for Jack Ruby. His wife, Nancy testified before the Warren Commission
that Robert took a dose of arsenic in August 1962.
Guy Bannister was a private detective
who was closely involved in the Jim Garrison trial. Guy and his
partner, Hugh Ward, died within a 10 day period as the
Warren Commission was closing its hearings. Guy supposedly died
of a heart attack, but witnesses said he had a bullet hole in
George deMohrenschildt was another
man who was to give testimony but never made it. DeMohrenschildt,
in his final days, became suspicious of everyone around him,
even his wife, and was nearing a nervous breakdown some thought.
He died of gun shot wounds. The verdict was suicide. But deMohrenschildt
was a member of the White Russian society and very wealthy. He
visited Lee Harvey Oswald and Marina Oswald when they lived on
Neely Street. Marina visited the deMohrenschildts when she and
Lee Harvey Oswald were having some of their disagreements.
Cliff Carter, LBJ's aide who rode
in the Vice President's follow up car in the motorcade in Dealey
Plaza where President Kennedy was gunned down, was LBJ's top
aide during his first administration. Carter died of mysterious
circumstances. Carter died of pneumonia when no penicillin could
be located in Washington, D.C. in September 1971. This was supposedly
the cause of death.
Buddy Walthers, Deputy Sheriff,
was at the kill sight of President Kennedy He picked up a bullet
in a hunk of brain matter blown from the President's head. Walthers
never produced the bullet for evidence.
Walthers was also at the Texas Theater
when Oswald was arrested. In a January 10th, 1969 shooting, Walthers
was shot through the heart. In a shootout Walthers and his companion
Deputy Alvin Maddox, were fired upon by Cherry, an escaped prisoner.
Walthers and Maddox were trying to capture Cherry when Walthers
was shot through the heart. Walthers's widow received $10,000.00
for her husband dying in the line of duty.
Clay Shaw, age 60, died five years
after he was charged by Jim Garrison for his involvement in the
Kennedy assassination. Some reports have it that he had been
ill for months after surgery for removing a blood clot. Other
newspaper reports of his death stated he had cancer. It was revealed
that Shaw was a paid contact for the CIA. A neighbor reported
that an ambulance was seen pulling up to the Shaw home. Then
a body was carried in and an empty stretcher brought out. A few
hours later, Shaw was reportedly found dead in his home. Then
he was given a quick embalming before a Coroner could be notified.
It was then impossible to determine the cause of death.
On May 15, 1975, Roger Dean Craig
died of a massive gun shot wound to the chest. Supposedly, it
was his second try at suicide and a success. Craig was a witness
to the slaughter of President Kennedy. Only Craig's story was
different from the one the police told.
Craig testified in the Jim Garrison trial.
Before this, Craig had lost his job with the Dallas Police Dept.
In 1961, he had been "Man of the Year." Because he
would not change his story of the assassination, he was harassed
and threatened, stabbed, shot at, and his wife left him.
Craig wrote two manuscripts of what he
witnessed. "When They Kill A President" and "The
Patient Is Dying."
Craig's father was out mowing the lawn
when Craig supposedly shot himself. Considering the hardships,
Craig very well could have committed suicide. But no one will
John M. Crawford, 46, died in
a mysterious plane crash near Huntsville, Texas on April 15,
1969. It appeared from witnesses that Crawford had left in a
Crawford was a homosexual and a close
friend of Jack Ruby's. Ruby supposedly carried Crawford's phone
number in his pocket at all times. Crawford was also a friend
of Buell Wesley Frazier's, the neighbor who took Lee Harvey Oswald
to work on that fatal morning of November 22, 1963.
Hale Boggs was the only member
of the Warren Commission who disagreed with the conclusions.
Hale Boggs did not follow Earl Warren and his disciples. He totally
disagreed. Hale Boggs was in a plane crash lost over frozen Alaska.
Nicholas J. Chetta, M.D. age 50,
Orleans Parish coroner since 1950, died at Mercy Hospital on
May 25, 1968. Newspaper reports were sketchy. It was said he
suffered a heart attack.
Dr. Chetta was the coroner who served
at the death of David Ferrie.
Dr. Chetta was the key witness regarding
Perry Russo against Clay Shaw. Shaw's attorney went into federal
court only after Dr. Chetta was dead.
Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered,
then his assassin not captured until over a year later. Dr. King
was the only hope this country had for bringing about equality.
The death of Robert Kennedy, only
shortly after Dr. King's death on June 5th, 1968, was a brazen
act which gave notice to this entire nation. It became imperative,
when Senator Kennedy became a threat as a Presidential candidate,
that he had to be killed.
There is evidence that two persons, a
man, and a woman were with the accused killer, but authorities
have found no trace of them. Coroner, Dr. Thomas Noguchi told
the Grand Jury the powder burns indicated the murder gun was
fired not more than two to three inches from Kennedy's right
ear. Witnesses testified that Sirhan was never closer than four
or five feet to the Senator.
I have not, by any means, listed "all"
of the strange deaths. I have a complete list in my books. I
have listed the most significant ones that occurred after the
assassination. The strange deaths after the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy, in my estimate, numbered over 100,
but I am certain I know of only a fraction.
Many strange deaths occurred after the
assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, and Senator Robert
F. Kennedy. No one knows the exact number.
Penn Jones, Jr. resides in Waxahachie,
Texas, publishes a monthly newsletter on the assassination of
JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and is the author
of numerous books on the subject.