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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XIII - Page 19« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of James Robert Leavelle)

Mr. Hubert.
And you think it was during the interrogation by the two agents on December 10, 1963, that you mentioned about your suggestion that the route should be through the first floor of the Main Street entrance of the municipal building coming out the Main Street door?
Mr. Leavelle.
That's right.
Mr. Hubert.
But, that those agents told you that that was not important?
Mr. Leavelle.
They didn't need it for that particular form.
Mr. Hubert.
I see.
Mr. Leavelle.
To the best of my knowledge, of course, my reason for double-crossing--my reasons for wanting to handle it the other way, I thought it would be done quicker and easier and I was fed up to my chin, in a way, with these news people, and they--as soon as we could get rid of them the better, was my sentiments, and I didn't have any desire to parade through them with the prisoner in tow. However, I can understand why the chief wanted to let them take the pictures.
Mr. Hubert.
Had it been your decision you wouldn't have done it that way, is that it?
Mr. Leavelle.
Either as I suggested, or at a different hour.
Mr. Hubert.
Say move him in the morning early?
Mr. Leavelle.
Yes, I brought Ruby down in safety and I don't think there was any--as long as it was successful, I don't think you can argue with success.
Mr. Hubert.
Did yon transfer Ruby?
Mr. Leavelle.
Yes, I did.
Mr. Hubert.
It was done at an unannounced hour?
Mr. Leavelle.
Well, sir; it was so unannounced that the chief didn't know about it and neither did Sheriff Decker. I don't know whether they will admit that or not, but no one knew it but Captain Fritz and myself and three or four officers directly involved.
Mr. Hubert.
You all Just decided to do it, and that was it?
Mr. Leavelle.
Well, the captain called me and asked me about it and told me what he was thinking about doing and he wanted to know if I thought it would work and I said, "Yes, I think it will the way it has been set up," and he said, "I haven't asked the chief about it," and I said, "All you can do is get a bawling out, but a bawling out is better than losing a prisoner."
Mr. Hubert.
Did you get bawled out about it?
Mr. Leavelle.
I didn't. I did not know whether he did or not. I doubt it. Because I am sure the chief was relieved to be rid of the responsibility.
Mr. Hubert.
How was Ruby removed, then, just for the record?
Mr. Leavelle.
Well, this would be on Monday morning, I guess, the next Monday morning around 11, around the same hour that Oswald was transferred. The captain had not showed up and I--he called on the telephone and asked for me and his secretary called me to the phone, and I was in the squad room where several officers were, and asked me if I was in a position where I could talk, and I said, "No, not really," and he said, "Well--" told me to go into his office and take the phone in there, which I did, and he said, "I am down at the Greyhound Bus Station, and I have Officers Graves and Montgomery with me."
He had run into them on the street. Said, "We have cased the jail and it looks clear. I am going to make a suggestion to you, and if you don't think it will work I want you to tell me."
Said--he said, "We'll pull through the basement of the city hall," said, "You go get Ruby out of the jail anyway you want to, on a "tempo" or whatever you think best, and bring him down to me, down in the elevator and we'll pull through the basement at some given time, and we'll load him up and whisk him right on down and let another squad follow us and we will take him right on down to the county jail."
Said, "The sheriff--I haven't called Decker or the chief about it, either." Said, "Do you think it will work?"
I said, "Yes." Said, "How many men--got enough there to help you with him?"
I said, "Yes, there is three or four here I can get."
"Don't tell anybody where you are going. Just get them like you are going
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