David E. Scheim has published two books claiming that the Mafia were responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He believes that it was organized by Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante and Jimmy Hoffa. This theory is based on the idea that the Mafia were angry with both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy for their attempts to destroy organized crime. Scheim's theory was supported by Trafficante's lawyer, Frank Ragano, who published the book Mob Lawyer, in 1994. The theory is also supported by the investigative journalist, Jack Anderson.
G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel and staff director to the House Select Committee on Assassinations from 1977 to 1979, published The Plot to Kill the President in 1981. In the book Blakey argues that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved but believes that there was at least one gunman firing from the Grassy Knoll. Blakey came to the conclusion that the Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, organized the assassination.
Anthony Summers is the author of The Kennedy Conspiracy. He believes that Kennedy was killed by a group of anti-Castro activists, funded by Mafia mobsters that had been ousted from Cuba. Summers believes that some members of the CIA took part in this conspiracy. Summers speculated that the following people were involved in this conspiracy: Johnny Roselli, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Sam Giancana, David Ferrie, Gerry Patrick Hemming, Guy Bannister and E.Howard Hunt.
In his book, JFK: The Second Plot (1992), Matthew Smith points out that Thomas H. Killam, a man who worked for Jack Ruby, claimed that there was a link between his former employer, Lee Harvey Oswald and the Mafia. He told his brother, "I am a dead man, but I have run as far as I am running." Killam was found dead in an alley with his throat cut in March, 1964.
Stephen Rivele argued in the 1988 television documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy that the Kennedy's assassination had been organized by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles. He also claimed that Lucien Sarti had been one of the gunmen.
In October, 1991, Chauncey Holt confessed to John Craig, Phillip Rogers and Gary Shaw about his role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He claimed Peter Licavoli, a leading figure in the Mafia in Detroit, had organized the conspiracy and named Charlie Nicoletti, Charles Harrelson and Charles Rogers as the gunmen.
In 1992 the nephew of Sam Giancana published Double Cross: The Story of the Man Who Controlled America. The book attempted to establish that Giancana had rigged the 1960 Presidential election vote in Cook County on John Kennedy's behalf, which effectively gave Kennedy the election. It is argued that Kennedy reneged on the deal and therefore Giancana had him killed.
The next crime figure to confess to the crime was James Files. He claimed that two Mafia leaders, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli organized the assassination. Charlie Nicoletti was identified as the other gunman. The story was eventually appeared in a video The Murder of JFK: Confession of an Assassin (1996).
Open Debate on the Kennedy Assassination
Bissell, Reflections of a Cold Warrior
(The Mafia-connection aspect) did not originate with me - and I had no desire to become personally involved in its implementation, mainly because I was not competent to handle relations with the Mafia. It is true, however, that, when the idea was presented to me, I supported it, and as Deputy Director for Plans I was responsible for the necessary decisions.... Sheffield Edwards, the director of the Agency's Office of Security - and his deputy became the case officers for the Agency's relations with the Mafia. Edwards was frank with me about his efforts, and I authorized him to continue... I do not recall any specific contact with the Mafia, but Doris Mirage, my secretary at the time, does...
I hoped the Mafia would achieve success. My philosophy during my last two or three years in the Agency was very definitely that the end justified the means, and I was not going to be held back. Shortly after I left the CIA, however, I came to believe that it had been a mistake to involve the Mafia in an assassination attempt. This is partly a moral judgment, but I must admit it is also partly a pragmatic judgment.
What did the Mafia do for the CIA?
Edward Reid interviewed Edward Becker for his book, The Grim Reapers
It was then that Carlos Marcello's voice lost its softness, and his words were bitten off and spit out when mention was made of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was still on the trail of Marcello. "Livarsi na petra di la scarpa!" Carlos shrilled the cry of revenge: "Take the stone out of my shoe!" "Don't worry about that little Bobby, son of a bitch," he shouted. "He's going to be taken care of!" Ever since Robert Kennedy had arranged for his deportation to Guatemala, Carlos had wanted revenge. But as the subsequent conversation, which was reported to two top Government investigators by one of the participants and later to this author, showed, he knew that to rid himself of Robert Kennedy he would first have to remove the President. Any killer of the Attorney General would be hunted down by his brother; the death of the President would seed the fate of his Attorney General.
No one at the meeting had any doubt about Marcello's intentions when he abruptly arose from the table. Marcello did not joke about such things. In any case, the matter had gone beyond mere "business"; it had become an affair of honor, a Sicilian vendetta. Moreover, the conversation at Churchill Farms also made clear that Marcello had begun to move. He had, for example, already thought of using "nut" to do the job. Roughly one year later President Kennedy was shot Dallas - two months after Attorney General Robert Kennedy had announced to the McClellan committee that he was going to expand his war on organized crime. And it is perhaps significant that privately Robert Kennedy had singled out James Hoffa, Sam Giancana, and Carlos Marcello as being among his chief targets.
Why did Carlos Marcello target John Kennedy rather than Robert Kennedy?
Edward Becker, interviewed by House
Select Committee on Assassinations (8th November, 1978)
My account of the meeting and discussion with Marcello in 1962 is truthful. It was then and it is now. I was there. The FBI (their agents in Los Angeles) have tried to discredit me. They've done everything except investigate the information I gave Reid. They apparently have always said it was not the truth, but they've never investigated it to arrive at that judgment?
How, according to Edward Becker, did the FBI react to his information about Carlos Marcello?
(H4) G. Robert Blakey, House Select Committee on Assassinations (September, 1978)
Becker stated that Marcello had made his remarks about the Kennedy brothers after Becker said something to the effect that "Bobby Kennedy is really giving you a rough time." He could not recall the exact words Marcello used in threatening President Kennedy, but believed the account in Reid's book "is basically correct."Marcello was very angry and had "clearly stated that he was going to arrange to have President Kennedy murdered in some way." Marcello's statement had been made in a serious tone and sounded as if he had discussed it previously to some extent. Becker commented that Marcello had made some kind of reference to President Kennedy's being a dog and Attorney General Robert Kennedy the dog's tail, and had said "the dog will keep biting you you only cut off its tail," but that if the dog's head were cut off, the dog would die.
Becker stated that Marcello also made some kind of reference to the way in which he allegedly wanted to arrange the President's murder. Marcello "clearly indicated" that his own lieutenants must not be identified as the assassins, and that there would thus necessity to have them use or manipulate someone else to carry out the actual crime.
Becker told the committee that while he believed Marcello had been serious when he spoke of wanting to have the President assassinated, he did not believe the Mafia leader was capable of carrying it out or had the opportunity to do so. He emphasized that while he was disturbed by Marcello's remarks at the time, he had grown accustomed to hearing criminal figures make threats against adversaries.
What did Carlos Marcello mean by the phrase: "the dog will keep biting you you only cut off its tail"?
(H5) Robert G. Blakey, House Select Committee on Assassinations (September, 1978)
evidence shows that the FBI's failure to investigate the allegation
that Marcello had discussed assassinating President Kennedy constituted
a violation of the Director's promise to investigate all circumstances
surrounding the President's murder even after the official Warren
Commission investigation had ended in 1964. In his appearance before
the Commission on May 6, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had
personally affirmed that promise stating:
I can assure you so far as the FBI is concerned the case will be continued in an open classification for all time. That is, any information coming to us or any report coming to us from any source will be thoroughly investigated, so that we will be able to either prove or disprove the allegation.
The FBI's failure to take seriously the alleged Marcello threat was all the more disturbing given the time at which the Bureau learned of and discarded the allegation - less than 2 months after the leadership of the Bureau had been faulted by President Johnson himself not pursuing another allegation by an underworld informant that Mafia figures and Cuban agents might secretly have been involved in President Kennedy's assassination.
Who did G. Robert Blakey blame for the failure to investigate the allegation that Carlos Marcello was planning the assassination of John F. Kennedy?
(H6) An unnamed criminal was quoted by Michael Dorman in his book, Payoff: The Role of Organized Crime in American Politics (1972).
You know, the Federal government has been harassing Carlos (Marcello) for the last ten years, and it's all because of politics.... In 1960, when Bobby Kennedy was managing his brother's presidential campaign, he sent a guy down here to see Carlos. This was before the Democratic National Convention. He wanted Carlos to use his influence to swing the Louisiana delegation for Kennedy at the convention. Carlos said that he was sorry, but that he'd already promised his support at the convention to Lyndon Johnson. The Louisiana delegation went for Johnson. Even though Jack Kennedy got the nomination and picked Johnson for Vice President, Bobby was pissed off at Carlos and promised he'd get even. When he became attorney general, the first thing he did was start a campaign to put Jimmy Hoffa in the pen. The second thing he did was go after Carlos's ass... All the Feds have been harassing Carlos ever since... Once these things get started in Washington, it's hard to stop them no matter who's President.
According to this account, why did
Robert Kennedy persecute Carlos Marcello?
(H7) In 1989 David E. Scheim was asked by Blaine Taylor who killed President John F. Kennedy.
The three people are Carlos Marcello, the Mafia boss of New Orleans... The second figure is Santos Trafficante, who was the Mafia boss at Tampa, Florida. The third is Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters' boss who was killed... Like Carlos Marcello, each of the other two had spoken openly of assassination plots against the Kennedys, and this all occurred in the summer months of 1962. All three of them were very close friends, and, when we look at Jack Ruby's telephone records, we find an astonishing peak in the number of out-of-state calls in the months before the assassination - it's actually 25-fold greater than in the month of the previous January. Most of those calls are to organized crime figures, in particular to top associates of Marcello, Trafficante, and Hoffa.
Who did David E. Scheim believe organized the assassination of John F. Kennedy?
Matthew Smith, JFK: The Second Plot (1992)
The Mafia had strong reasons for wanting Kennedy dead. They had lost their huge gambling interests in Havana when Castro seized power, and had been standing on the touchline waiting for action by die Kennedy administration which would reverse the situation and give them their casinos back. It never happened. Instead they watched their government embrace a policy of détente towards Castro's Cuba with growing dismay and anger. Nor was this the only reason for their disenchantment with Kennedy. John appointed his brother, Robert, Attorney General, and Robert had opened up
an all-out war against the Mafia. Never before had such success been obtained by the forces of law against mobsters who, for years, had evaded prosecution. It had also a gathering momentum, for law enforcement agents in many cities in the United States were so impressed by Robert Kennedy's campaign they began bringing cases against their local mobsters which past experience of failures had made them reluctant to prosecute. The local success rate also boomed, and the Mafia were shaken. Their instincts were to kill Robert Kennedy, but they knew that this would only cause the President to increase the pressure, leaving the only way to kill the President. If the President was removed, the Attorney General would be replaced, since the appointment was one of patronage.
Chicago mobster, Sam Giancana, was high on Robert Kennedy's hit list, and he was well aware of it. He claimed to have had connections with the Kennedy's father, Joe, who made his fortune as a bootlegger in the days of prohibition. His dealings with Joe Kennedy, he claimed, earned him privileges from the President rather than the persecution to which he was being subjected. In a book. Double Cross: The Story of the Man Who Controlled America, published in Britain in 1992, Sam Giancana's brother and nephew sought to establish that Giancana had rigged the Presidential election vote in Cook County on John Kennedy's behalf, which effectively gave Kennedy the election. This was to ensure a 'relationship' between the President and Giancana, on which the President reneged, and Giancana killed the President for his double cross. It is a spicy, imaginative tale for which no substantiation is provided at any level.
According to Matthew Smith, what motive did the Mafia have for assassinating John F. Kennedy?
(H9) G. Robert Blakey was interviewed by Frontline in 1993.
Q: Was there a connection between Oswald and organized crime?
A: At this point in time, New Orleans was corrupt, and the principle figure behind that corruption, gambling etc, was Carlos Marcello. Oswald at this time brushed up against organized crime in its worst forms. Oswald's uncle, a man named Charles "Dutz" Murret, was an ex-prize fighter and promoter who was also a bookie. He was under the control of Carlos Marcello, who at that time was the head of the Mafia in New Orleans. These were the people who were in the sphere of Lee Harvey Oswald's life as a child.
Q: Mobsters talked of their hatred of Kennedy. Could you talk about that - which mobsters, what did they say?
A: There is a story told by a man named Edward Becker, of a conversation with Carlos Marcello, in which Carlos Marcello talks about getting, he speaks in Sicilian, "getting the stone out of my shoe," and talking about getting a nut to kill, not Bobby Kennedy, who was his nemesis, but John Kennedy, who was the man behind the nemesis. We took that statement very seriously and investigated Becker and Becker's credibility. Was he associated with the people he says he was? Was he in New Orleans at the time and place he says he was? Our judgment was that Becker's story was true.
More significantly, in recent days, a man named Frank Ragano, who was a long-time lawyer for Santo Trafficante, tells the story that Trafficante, shortly before he underwent a serious operation, confided to him that "Carlos messed up." He said that "we should have killed Bobby and not Giovanni." This evidence is of extraordinary significance.
Q: A number of Mafia leaders have been overheard either threatening or boasting about having a hand in killing Kennedy. What was the evidence?
A: We took very seriously the possibility that organized crime had a hand in the President's death. I personally did not believe it at the time. I thought we could prove that they didn't. The FBI had an illegal electronic surveillance on the major figures of organized crime in the major areas in this country... in New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo and elsewhere. We did a survey of that illegal electronic surveillance: Eight months before the assassination and six months after. We were looking for some indication in these men's conversations that would connect them to the assassination - to either Lee Harvey Oswald, or to Jack Ruby. We found no evidence in it to connect them to Oswald or Ruby. On the other hand, what we did find, shockingly, is repeated conversations by these people that indicated the depth of their hatred for Kennedy, and actual discussions saying: "he ought to be killed," "he ought to be whacked."
Q: But you're pointing the finger towards Carlos Marcello and organized crime rather than the equally violent anti-Kennedy elements in the anti-Castro Cuban movement.
A: You don't have to separate the anti-Castro Cubans and organized crime. There are substantial overlaps. Santo Trafficante (who some claim had met Ruby) from Tampa was in Cuba, and many of his associates in illegal businesses are Cuban and were people who were thrown out of Cuba by Castro. They're both organized crime and anti-Castro Cubans. On the other hand, not every anti-Castro Cuban is involved in organized crime. Indeed most are not. They were legitimate ex-patriots.
What evidence does G. Robert Blakey put forward to support his theory that Oswald was connected to the Mafia?
(H10) G. Robert Blakey was interviewed by ABC News in 2003.
ABC News: In your book you point the finger squarely at Carlos Marcello and his organization. Why would he want to kill Kennedy?
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....
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.
Why does G. Robert Blakey believe Carlos Marcello wanted to have John F. Kennedy killed?
(H11) Judith Campbell Exner, People Magazine (10th November, 1999)
Before Monica Lewinsky, the was Judith Campbell Exner. Nearly 25 years ago, with the myth of Camelot still nearly intact, Exner stepped forward to reveal the first account of an affair that would tarnish the image of President John F. Kennedy. At her death from cancer on Sept. 24 in Duarte Calif., Exner, 65, was still energetically defending her story.
It was one she first told in 1975, when Senate investigators began probing reports, never proved, that Kennedy had enlisted Chicago Mod boss Sam Giancana in a plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Exner told investigators that, as a young party girl from Los Angeles, she had been introduced to Kennedy in Las Vegas in 1960 by mutual friend Frank Sinatra. Within a matter of weeks, she said, she was in bed with JFK at New York City's Plaza Hotel, beginning a two and half year affair. "When you talked to Jack, he talked just to you." Exner told People in 1988.
Reports of the liaison, leaked to the press in 1975, stirred enormous controversy. Kennedy loyalists accused Exner of making it all up. Yet evidence showed that Exner had visited the President on several occasions in the White House and had spoken to him some 70 times by phone. "I was crucified because I had had the audacity to have an affair with Jack Kennedy," said Exner.
What evidence did Judith Campbell Exner provide that Sam Giancana was working for John F. Kennedy?
(H12) Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy (1980)
Judith Campbell Exner's account cannot be dismissed. It is specific in dates and details and supported by travel documents, by her annotated appointment book, and by official logs recording three of her visits to the White House. A credible source has said Exner told him the gist of her story soon after the events in question. Giancana's half-brother Chuck has also claimed to know of contacts between the mafioso and Kennedy, and of the go-between role played by Exner.
Meanwhile, a source far more likely to be believed has stated that Robert Kennedy, supervising anti-Castro operations for his brother, ordered the CIA to assign a case officer to meet with Mafia figures. Sam Halpern, a former senior Agency official on the Cuba desk, said Kennedy himself supplied the Mafia contacts.
If such allegations - and especially Judith Exner's claims - are true, then President Kennedy was playing a horrendously dangerous game. For, throughout the presidency, his brother was vigorously pursuing his investigation of the Mafia - not least of Giancana himself. Giancana and other top mobsters evidently hoped for leniency under a Kennedy administration, as a quid pro quo for their support during the election that brought Kennedy to power. But Giancana would be overheard on an FBI wiretap saying, "The President will get what he wants out of you... but you won't get anything out of him."
If top Mafia bosses now felt double-crossed, their law - the law of the mob - might demand vengeance.
Judith Campbell was involved with both John F. Kennedy.
Why did Sam Giancana feel double-crossed by John F. Kennedy?
(H13) Godfrey Hodgson, Judith Campbell Exner, The Guardian (27th September, 1999)
Judith Campbell Exner, who has died of cancer, aged 65, in a Los Angeles hospital, became notorious in the middle 1970s when she claimed that she had had an affair with President John F Kennedy from 1960 until 1962. She said she and Kennedy made love in New York hotels, at Kennedy's home and even in the White House. After her affair with the president ended, she had a brief relationship with Sam Giancana, the capo of the Chicago Mafia.
In her 1977 memoirs, My Story, she described how she arranged a meeting between Kennedy when he was running for the presidency and Giancana in April 1960, as a result of which the mobster sent an aide, Paul "Skinny" D'Amato, to West Virginia to buy support for Kennedy in the Democratic Party primary election there. She also hinted that Giancana had helped Kennedy carry Illinois, which he won by a few thousand votes in the Chicago area.
For many years, rumours circulated that Judith Campbell had also been involved in a plot hatched between her two lovers, Kennedy and Giancana, to kill the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. In 1991 she came forward and described how she had sat on the edge of the bathtub in a Chicago hotel while the president and the Mafia don talked in the bedroom.
In April, with Jackie Kennedy away in Florida, Campbell was seeing Kennedy at his house on N Street in Georgetown, the upmarket Washington DC suburb. One night Kennedy asked Campbell to put him in touch with Sam Giancana, and within the week JFK was meeting the Mafioso at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach to arrange mob help with his Democratic primary campaign in West Virginia. After the break-up of her affairs with Kennedy and Giancana, Campbell was afraid for her life and kept her archives under the bed at her house in Newport Beach, California, guarded by a large dog, with a pistol under her pillow.
Kennedy's involvement with the Mob in a plot to kill the Cuban president has often been put forward as one of the reasons for his own assassination in Dallas in November 1963.
Why does Godfrey Hodgson believe the Mafia killed John F. Kennedy?
Rivele, transcript from The Men Killed Who Kennedy (1988)
The initial turning point was the first meeting that I had with the French narcotics trafficker at Leavenworth Penitentiary. His name was Christian David. He had been a member of the old French Connection heroin network. He had then been a leader of the Corsican drug trafficking network in South America known as the Latin Connection. And he had also been an intelligence agent for a number of intelligence services around the world. In exchange for my help in finding him an attorney to represent him against the possibility of his deportation to France after he finished his sentence at Leavenworth, he agreed to give me a certain amount of information concerning the assassination based upon his own knowledge. The first thing that he told me, very reluctantly and only after four or five hours of my arguing with him, was that he was aware that there had been a conspiracy to murder the president, and indeed in May or June of 1963 in Marseilles, he had been offered the contract to kill President Kennedy. That was the initial breakthrough, if you will. He was eventually deported to France. I remained in contact with him. I went to Paris to interview him in two prisons in Paris. And in the fear that he would be either committed to an asylum or that he would be convicted of an old murder charge, he gradually gave me additional information about the assassination.
David’s position was that there were three killers, and that they had been hired on a contract which had been placed with the leader of the Corsican Mafia at Marseilles, a man named Antoine Guerini. Guerini, he said, was asked to supply three assassins of high quality, experienced killers to murder the President, and that Guerini did so. In the course of one of the first significant conversations I had with David on this subject, he told me that he had been in Marseilles in May or June of 1963, and that every evening he went to Antoine Guerini’s club on the old Port of Marseilles to meet people who owed him money. And one evening, Guerini sent for him, asked him to come to the office which was above the club. Guerini told him that he had an important contract, and he asked David if he were interested. David said, "Who’s the contract on?" Guerini said, "an American politician." David asked, "Well is it a congressman, a senator?" And Guerini said, "higher than that... The highest vegetable." At that point of course David knew who he was talking about. David asked him where was the contract to be carried out. And when Guerini said it would be done inside the United States, David refused on the grounds that that was much too dangerous.
Why did Christian David refuse the
contract to kill John F. Kennedy?
Bloody Treason (1998)
In May or June of 1963, he was offered a contract by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles, to accept a contract to kill "a highly placed American politician" whom Guerini called the "biggest vegetable"- i.e., President Kennedy. The president was to be killed on US territory. David told Rivele that he turned down the contract because it was too dangerous. After David turned down the contract offer, he said it was accepted by Lucien Sarti, another Corsican drug trafficker and killer, and two other members of the Marseilles mob, whom he refused to name. David said he learned what happened about two years after the assassination in a meeting in Buenos Aires, during which Sarti, another drug trafficker named Michele Nicoli, David, and two others were present. During the meeting, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was discussed. This is how the assassination was carried out as David told it to Rivele.
About two weeks before the assassination, Sarti flew from France to Mexico City, from where he drove or was driven to the US border at Brownsville, Texas. Sarti crossed at Brownsville where he was picked up by someone from the Chicago mafia. This person drove him to a private house in Dallas. He did not stay at a hotel, as not to leave records. David believes that Sarti was traveling on an Italian passport. David said the assassins cased Dealey Plaza, took photographs and worked out mathematically how to set up a crossfire. Sarti wanted to fire from the triple underpass bridge, but when he arrived in Dealey Plaza the day of the assassination, there were people there, so he fired from a little hill next to the bridge. There was a wooden fence on that hill, and Sarti fired from behind the wooden fence. He said Sarti only fired once, and used an explosive bullet. He said Kennedy was shot in a crossfire, two shots from behind, and Sarti's shot from the front. Of the two assassins behind, one was high, and one was low. He said you can't understand the wounds if you don't realize that one gun was low, "almost on the horizontal." The first shot was fired from behind and hit Kennedy in the back. The second shot was fired from behind, and hit "the other person in the car." The third shot was fired from in front, and hit Kennedy in the head. The fourth shot was from behind and missed "because the car was too far away." He said that two shots were almost simultaneous.
David said that Kennedy was killed for revenge and money. He said the CIA was incapable of killing Kennedy, but did cover it up. He said the gunmen stayed at the private house in Dallas for approximately two weeks following the assassination, then believes they went to Canada, that there were people in Canada who had the ability to fly them out of North America.
According to Noel Twyman, who killed John F. Kennedy?
As a result of his research Stephen
Rivele came to the conclusion that
the plot to kill John F.
Trafficante and Lucien Sarti.
My own conviction at this point is that the contract probably originated with Carlos Marcello of New Orleans who placed it in Marseilles through his colleague Santo Trafficante, who had the closest relations with Antoine Guérini. Beyond that, it seems reasonable that Giancana of Chicago was involved if we accept Christian David and Michel Nicoli’s idea that the assassins were met at the border by representatives of the Chicago Mafia. And the fact that Sarti’s customers were primarily in New York, and the fact that the assassins evidently moved out of the United States through the Montreal corridor, which was very closely linked to the New York Mafia, also suggests that Gambino may have been involved.
Who did Stephen Rivele believe organized the assassination of John F. Kennedy?
Select Committee on Assassinations
(September 28, 1978)
In 1967, 1971, 1976, and 1977, those 4 years, columnist Jack Anderson wrote about the CIA-Mafia plots and the possibility that Castro decided to kill President Kennedy in retaliation. Mr. Anderson even contends in those articles that the same persons involved in the CIA-Mafia attempts on Castro's life were recruited by Castro to kill President Kennedy. The September 7, 1976 issue of the Washington Post contains one of Mr. Anderson's articles entitled, "Behind John F. Kennedy's Murder," which fully explains Mr. Anderson's position. I ask, Mr. Chairman, that at this point this article be marked as JFK exhibit F-409 and that it be entered into the record at this point.
Mr. Trafficante, I want to read to you just two portions of the article I have just referred to, after which I will ask for your comment. According to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Whitten in this article, it says: Before he died, Roselli hinted to associates that he knew who had arranged President Kennedy's murder. It was the same conspirators, he suggested, whom he had recruited earlier to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. By Roselli's cryptic account, Castro learned the identity of the underworld contacts in Havana who had been trying to knock him off. He believed, not altogether without basis, that President Kennedy was behind the plot. Then over in another section, it says: According to Roselli, Castro enlisted the same underworld elements whom he had caught plotting against him. They supposedly were Cubans from the old Trafficante organization. Working with Cuban intelligence, they allegedly lined up an ex-Marine sharpshooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been active in the pro-Castro movement. According to Roselli's version, Oswald may have shot Kennedy or may have acted as a decoy while others ambushed him from closer range. When Oswald was picked up, Roselli suggested the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S. crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald making it appear as an act of reprisal against the President's killer. At least this is how Roselli explained the tragedy in Dallas.
How does Jack Anderson's theory differ from the one put forward by Robert Blakey?
The Reinvention of John Liggett
After viewing Nigel Turner's 2003 edition of The Men Who Killed Kennedy, I developed a passing interest in a section of part 1 - The Smoking Guns. For 17 minutes the program centered on embalmer John Liggett and focused on the unsubstantiated theory that he might have been summoned by nefarious individuals to reconstruct JFK's bullet shattered head. In order for Mr. Turner to support this theory, he provides on camera interviews of three individuals who seem to know something. But what and where is the proof?
I have always approached Turner's investigative work with caution. In an episode of his original The Men Who Killed Kennedy, laced with much innuendo but little of provable substance, he provided "evidence" that Frenchmen Sauveur Pironti and Roger Bocognoni were members of "the" Kennedy assassination hit team. Turner got into hot water with the British Parliament when it was shown, at the time of the assassination, Pironti was aboard a French naval minesweeper as a crew member and Bocognoni was in a French jail. It appears Turner might have used similar conventions in the current tale.
Charles Smith, who is identified as a mortician, appears in Turner's new program briefly. Smith supplies unconfirmed information that Liggett, as the narrator puts it, "was a highly skilled embalmer."
"If he had to build a lip or nose or build an eye orbit or ear he may work all night long doing the re-constructive work on someone that had been maybe shot in the face or automobile accident. He was the best, he would tell you he was the best, and when he finished it the families would tell him he was the best."
The Smoking Guns' narrator next takes us to "a small town in Oklahoma" where we meet Liggett's "former wife" Lois. We are told:
"Lois married him in Dallas after a whirlwind romance only three months before Kennedy's assassination."
Lois tells us "John was a very charming person. And I found him to be very attentive and considerate and very, very sweet to me. I loved him. I fell in love with him."
Back to the narrator - "On the day of the assassination John was with Lois at Restland (Cemetery in Dallas) attending the funeral service of her late aunt. He was suddenly called from the gravesite."
"John went to the office and came back very shortly and explained to me that the President of the United States had been shot. And that he was called to go to Parkland Hospital. I went home after the funeral and it was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon and John called me from Parkland. I could hear confusion in the background and I asked him what was going on . . . he said the president has died. And I said well did Restland get the job? And he said no - some other funeral home got the job but he said 'I've got a lot of work to do. Don't try to call me, I'll call you as soon as I can.' And it was about 24 hours before I heard from him."
The stepdaughter, Debra Godwin, seems to do more talking about Liggett's activities than Lois.
"John came into our lives less than a year after our own father, Charles Godwin, had been killed in a private plane crash. And John was not real welcomed by my two older sisters, my brother, and myself. And he had a ready-made cover. And that's what I've always thought is that we were a convenient cover for a man who needed . . . needed that."
The Social Security Death Index shows Charles Godwin was born on January 24, 1924 and died in July of 1962 at age 38. Debra had at least two older siblings, Char-Lee and Bennie. Doing a little math, I tend to believe we are being asked to accept the sometimes quite vivid memories of a woman who was a teenager when these events were presumably taking place.
Dallas Morning News ~ July 12, 1962 ~ Page B1
Charles F. (Charlie) Age 38, 2717 Ave. B, Fort Worth. Residence: Rt. 2, Grapevine. Survived by: Mrs. Lois Godwin; mother, Mrs. Johnnie Andrews, Dallas; father, Grover C. Andrews, Dallas; son, Charles F. Godwin Jr.; daughters, Char-Lee, Bennie, Debra; sister, Mrs. Elmer Longwell, Garland; five brothers. Services: 3 p.m. Thursday, Mt. Auburn Assembly of God Church, 703 South Beacon, Dallas. Rev. Delbert Taylor officiating. Internment Grove Hill. Pallbearers: Jack Cannon, Wilbur Ard, Billy Mayo, Chuck Carroll, Dale Wagoner, Bob Bohm, Hommer Fulton, Carroll Hubbard.
Meissner Funeral Home
|For eight minutes or so there is
discussion of John rushing home, demanding the family pack up and
leave, a "high speed journey" to Austin and then San Antonio, and along
the route there are clandestine meetings with Liggett's relatives and
What is Lois' take on this peculiar story?
"Throughout this journey there were conversations that went on between John and his relatives and friends that I did not feel like I was privy to. That they were . . . they knew something I didn't know. And I didn't understand what was going on."
Narrator: "In the early hours of Sunday morning November 24th the family finally checked into a motel near Corpus Christi. John had a further meeting, this time with his elder brother Malcolm."
Lois: "Here again they had conversations that made me feel like I didn't belong. That they knew something I didn't know. I don't know why we were there but it seemed to be very important to John that we were there."
One year following this 2003 broadcast, as part of "a federal lawsuit against A&E Networks, the company operating The History Channel", Malcolm Liggett provided evidence that he was in California at the time of Lois' claims of clandestine meetings.
Back to Debra who indicates that John was watching the TV news intently and she was with him when John saw Ruby kill Oswald.
Lois interjects, "The minute he saw that he looked at me and said everything's OK now. And you could just see his face. It was like all the pressure had been taken off of him."
The story continues that they return to Dallas where Liggett comes into money and develops a new lifestyle "moving (the family) into luxury home." Liggett becomes a "big time gambler hosting some of the wildest poker parties in Dallas."
Later Debra discusses an "occasion that my sister Bennie and my mother both recall of a visit from one of John's rather eccentric friends from New Orleans and he was a rather freakish character and my sister claims we made merciless fun of him, the kids my brother my sister, because he was rather odd with the painted on eyebrows and the wig this rather freakish man. John said to us that this was a friend of his from the Civil Air Patrol that they had been in Civil Air Patrol together. And we believe that this was David Ferrie."
But this becomes an interesting change of view. Debra goes from third party story teller ("my sister Bennie and my mother both recall") to first party witness ("we made merciless fun of him"). So why doesn't Lois support Debra's information on camera by saying that she too remembers him?
Lois comes right out and says she believes her late ex-husband (Lois divorced Liggett in 1966) was involved in the Kennedy assassination and "His role was to do something to the body. How - alter it fix it - I have no idea. Now he may have gone with it to Bethesda. I think his job was to do something with that body - of John F. Kennedy."
In less than three years Lois instigates a divorce from this "very charming person" who she originally "found … to be very attentive and considerate and very, very sweet. . ." We are never told why.
The narrator claims that, "In 1974, out of the blue, Liggett was arrested for attempted murder." And we are told that Dorothy Peck, supposedly a friend of Liggett, was beaten and left for dead in her Garland, Texas home. Before dying of her injuries, she identified Liggett as the assailant. He was then arrested and later linked to other brutal murders in the Dallas area.
But no evidence is offered to support the claim that Peck was a friend of Liggett. The Dallas Morning News reported that he might be "a man who reportedly accompanied Mrs. Peck home from a Greenville Avenue nightclub."
Lois indicates sometime in 1993 she was summoned to a meeting in a park in Austin initiated by John's brother Malcolm. Malcolm warned her to keep away from John "if you care anything about your children or yourself." She felt Malcolm was keeping her from corresponding with John because John would "tell her something either Malcolm or someone Malcolm knows didn't want John to tell me." Lois was so frightened by this she moved to Lubbock, Texas "and a few weeks later I got a call from a friend there who told me John had been shot in the back - and was dead."
So here we have Lois, whose whirlwind romance (and marriage) only three months before Kennedy's assassination ended in divorce three years later, claiming continued contact with Liggett and his brother Malcolm.
Interestingly enough, Debra is brought on camera again. She is asked to look at a picture provided by someone whom we do not know but we quickly find out why. Debra claims it is a photograph of Jack Ruby with Malcolm Liggett and his wife Suzanne. I guess this is to provide some sort of link between Ruby, John Liggett, and the assassination. The whole scenario soon imploded. As mentioned above, Malcolm Liggett filed a federal lawsuit against A&E Networks, the company operating The History Channel." Liggett was able to show the photograph used was not of him and his wife and they had never met Ruby.
"A settlement was reached in March (2004) but the terms are confidential, according to (Richard) Brown (Liggett's attorney) and The History Channel."
Narrator: "On the morning of February 14, 1975 Liggett was being transferred with other prisoners from the courthouse in downtown Dallas to the nearby county jail. The police vehicle had entered the garage when Liggett, using a hidden key, slipped out of his handcuffs and made a bid for freedom. A single shot in the back, fired by a sheriff's deputy killed him instantly."
Newspaper reports show this claim is inaccurate. "Liggett fell face down on the sidewalk. Deputies said he had a "faint heartbeat" when he was loaded into an ambulance."
As sometimes happens with this type story, there are interlopers who want to get into the act.
First up is convicted swindler Billie Sol Estes.
In JFK, The Last Witness (Flammarion, 2003) by William Reymond and Billy Sol Estes, Estes declares a connection between Liggett and Dorothy Peck, the widow of Jay Bert Peck (1902 - 1969).
Estes claims Jay Bert Peck was Lyndon Johnson's "official" double and that "Peck would have replaced Lyndon B Johnson in the night of November 21 to 22, 1963. Peck would have passed for LBJ in Fort Worth. This was where Johnson was staying the day before the assassination according to the Warren Report. In that way the vice-president could travel incognito to Dallas to regulate the details of an operation aimed at assassinating John F. Kennedy." Also according to Billie Sol Estes, Jay Bert Peck would later have been murdered by John Liggett, who would then be arrested for the attempted murder of Peck's widow.
Next from the JFK Lancer forum we have Ron Ecker who, on March 2, 2005 claims Liggett was a victim of la ley fuga:
"This was a form of execution commonly used in Mexico (the victim would be shot "while trying to escape"), and was known as la ley fuga. I believe la ley fuga was supposed to be applied to Oswald right after the assassination, but apparently something got lost in the translation from Spanish to English.
Internet web sites define la ley fuga as a type of execution used in Mexico over 100 years ago during the Mexican Revolution. The prisoner's restraints are removed and he is given the opportunity to flee. If the firing squads bullets do hit the prisoner and he escapes - he is free man. The possibilities of escape under these conditions are virtually impossible.
Mr. Ecker, as will be shown in the newspaper articles, may be off the mark when he interprets Liggett's shooting as la ley fuga or the law flight.
Here are the newspaper reports surrounding Liggett's death and the Dallas police department's interest in him. Maybe, just maybe, Lois' very attentive, considerate and very, very sweet ex was potentially a serial killer.
|What caused Ligget's death?|
Dallas Times Herald - Saturday, February 15, 1975 page 1B
Deputy kills prisoner in break for freedom
By Jim Hardin Staff Writer
A 41-year-old county jail inmate who was facing four felony charges was shot and killed Friday after he freed himself from a 12-man jail chain and ran from the old Dallas County Jail building.
John Melvin Liggett died on a Parkland Hospital operating table at 3:30 p.m. Friday about 30 minutes after he was shot in the back by Deputy Joe Crawford of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.
The shooting occurred on the Houston Street side of the old jail, just outside the sally port that serves as a loading dock for taking prisoners in and out of the old detention facility.
Deputies said the incident occurred after Liggett and 11 other prisoners had been transported back to the old jail after making court appearances in the Dallas County Courthouse.
During the one block ride, deputies said Liggett somehow freed himself from his handcuffs. When the paddy wagon doors were opened, according to officers, Liggett bolted out and ran outside the sally port.
Officers said Liggett was running north along alongside Houston Street when Crawford ordered the man to halt. When Liggett did not heed the command, deputies said, Crawford fired one shot from his .9mm pistol.
Liggett fell face down on the sidewalk. Deputies said he had a "faint heartbeat" when he was loaded into an ambulance.
Crawford, 27, a former public service officer for the Dallas Police Department, has been a sheriff's deputy 15 months. Deputy Ronald McWilliams was assisting Crawford in the transfer.
Liggett was facing charges of robbery, arson, assault with intent to commit murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The Dallas Morning News - Saturday, February 15, 1975 page 10C
Police Kill Escapee, Prowler in 2 Incidents
A fleeing Dallas County jail inmate and a man thought to be burglarizing an off-duty policeman's car were shot and killed by local law enforcement officers in separate incidents Friday.
John Melvin Liggett, 41, in the Dallas County jail awaiting trial on indictments for intent to murder, arson and aggravated robbery, was shot by Deputy Joe Crawford when he fled from a jail chain while being returned to the old county jail from a court appearance at 2 p.m. Friday.
And Nathan Drew Miller, 26, of 4323 Brown, was shot and killed by off-duty Dallas police officer James Jolly, 23, after Jolly surprised Miller in the act of stealing a city-issed shotgun from the officer's car early Friday morning.
Liggett was arrested last March and the charges against him stemmed from the March 26 attack on Mrs. Dorothy Peck, 44, at her home at 1202 Melrose in Garland.
Friday, Liggett was taken to Judge Ed Gossett's Criminal District Court No. 5 for a pre-trial hearing. The hearing was reset for Feb. 20, and Liggett was being returned to the old jail on a chain with 11 other prisoners when he slipped from the handcuff.
Crawford, 27, ordered him to halt, but the prisoner kept running, and Crawford fired a single shot from his 9-millimeter automatic.
In the incident involving the Dallas officer, Jolly told detectives he was awakened about 2:30 a.m. in his apartment at 4329 Congress in the Oak Lawn area by the sound of breaking glass.
Jolly peered from a bedroom window and saw a man leaning through a window in Jolly's car. As Jolly reached the parking lot, the man was standing at the rear of the car holding the shotgun.
Jolly said he shouted, "Police, freeze it." He said he fired his revolver one time as the man turned to face him and leveled the shotgun.
|What was the offense that put Liggett in jail? Here, again, are the local newspaper accounts:|
The Dallas Morning News - Wednesday, March 27, 1974 page 9B
Woman Left For Dead In Beating
By Dan Watson Staff Writer
Garland - A 44-year-old woman was beaten and left for dead in a burning bed at 1202 Melrose Tuesday by an assailant described by police as a "middle-aged man."
Dorothy A. Peck staggered from her burning home about 7 a.m. and asked a neighbor to summon police and firemen. The woman, suffering from multiple injuries of the head and face, was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital where she was reported in satisfactory condition after surgery Tuesday afternoon.
Garland Police Sgt. Bob McCraw said the man, who accompanied her home from a Greenville Avenue club Monday night, took Mrs. Peck's 1971 Plymouth when he left the house.
At 10:30 a.m. the vehicle was discovered burning behind an abandoned structure in the 7700 block of Greenville.
McCraw said the fire was started from clothing which had been stuffed beneath the bed where Mrs. Peck was beaten. The flames destroyed the bed and scorched the room before firemen doused them.
Crime scene search officers reported finding a hammer near the bed.
Dallas Times Herald - Wednesday, March 27, 1974 page 8B
Man questioned in hammer beating
A suspect in the hammer-beating of a garland woman will be questioned by Dallas police about the bizarre sexual mutilation slaying of a legal secretary whose apartment was set afire to conceal the homicide, authorities said Wednesday.
Garland police arrested the 40-year-old suspect about 1 a.m. Wednesday in connection with the Tuesday beating of Mrs. Dorothy Peck, who was left for dead when her assailant set fire to her residence.
Bleeding from severe beatings on her face and head, Mrs. Peck stumbled from her home about 7 a.m. Tuesday and asked a neighbor to call police and an ambulance.
She was in serious condition at Presbyterian Hospital.
Investigators said her attacker's method of operation was similar to the one used in the Feb. 10 slaying of Susan Thompson Payne, a 41-year-old Dallas legal secretary found in the remains of her apartment at 7749 Willow Stream Court.
At first thought to be a fire fatality, Mrs. Payne's death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy revealed several chest stab and slash wounds. She also had been sexually mutilated, a spokesman for the medical examiner said.
As in the Tuesday incident, Mrs. Payne's car was found burning several blocks from her home. Garland police said Mrs. Peck's vehicle, flames leaping from its interior, was discovered about 10 a.m. Tuesday in the 7700 block of Greenville Avenue.
Garland police Sgt. Bob McCraw said Mrs. Peck apparently met her assailant at a lounge and went with him to her home. There she was beaten with a hammer and left on the bed while the man stuffed clothing beneath the bed and set it on fire.
McCraw declined to reveal what led officers to arrest the man early Wednesday.
Mrs. Payne was found by firemen after they had extinguished a two-alarm, $50,000 fire at Willow Creek Apartments.
Arson investigators said two fires had been set in her apartment, one in the living room and the other in a hallway leading to a bedroom.
The Dallas Morning News - Thursday, March 28, 1974 page 16A
Dallas Murder Suspected Attacker To Be Questioned
Staff Special to The News
Garland - A 40-year-old man, held here for the attempted murder and burning of Dorothy A. Peck, is also wanted for questioning about a mutilation-burning killing in Dallas.
The man held under bonds totaling $130,000, is to be charged Thursday with criminal attempt for the offense of murder, aggravated robbery and arson Sgt. Bob McCraw reported.
Garland detectives arrested the suspect, described as an unemployed undertaker, at his apartment in the 9700 block of Plano Road in Dallas at 1:07 a.m. Wednesday. About 18 hours earlier, a man who reportedly accompanied Mrs. Peck home from a Greenville Avenue nightclub beat her about the face and head in her home at 1202 Melrose and left her on a burning bed.
After the man had driven away in Mrs. Peck's 1971 Plymouth, she staggered from her flaming house to summon aid. Her car was found three hours later burned behind a closed tavern on Greenville.
Mrs. Peck, 44, was reported in satisfactory condition at Presbyterian Hospital Wednesday evening.
Detective Tom Sewell and Loyd Richy of the Dallas homicide unit conferred with Garland detectives Wednesday. They announced they will wait until Garland completes its investigation before attempting to question the suspect about the Feb. 10 mutilation-burning death of 41-year-old divorcee Susan Thompson Payne, a legal secretary.
Her apartment at 7749 Willow Stream Court was destroyed by a $50,000 blaze which went to two alarms before being brought under control. Firemen found Mrs. Payne'' body on a charred bed. Her car, parked two blocks away, was also burned.
An autopsy showed evidence of numerous stab wounds plus other brutal acts.
Dallas Times Herald - Thursday, March 28, 1974 page B9
Suspect held in assault
Garland police have arrested a 40-year-old Dallas man suspected of beating and stabbing a Garland woman and leaving her in her burning bed Tuesday night.
Dorothy Peck, 44, was threatened with the loss of an eye, police said. She was taken to a Garland hospital after she ran from the house, alerting neighbors to what had happened. She had been beaten about the head and stabbed in the abdomen.
When police searched her house, they discovered clothing had been stuffed under her bed and set afire, The fire burned the mattress, box springs, carpet and bed linens.
Police arrested the suspect Wednesday.
|The Dallas Morning News - Sunday, March 31, 1974 page 11A|
|Dave Perry 11/17/2005|