Death of Jack Ruby; intimidation and deaths of friends, associates and mob bosses Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli

ISGP section: Suspicious deaths index | Main article: JFK assassination


- Summary of Ruby's death
- Jack Ruby's ties to mafia bosses Giancana, Roselli and Trafficante - and all their CIA ties, including to Frank Sturgis
- Jack Ruby's deep ties to the entire Dallas Police Department
- Jack Ruby's statements after his arrest (conspiracy, doctors, death)
- Death and intimidation of Ruby's friends and associates: Senator (scared), Droby (intimidated), Howard, Koethe and Hunter
- Oswald and Ruby indirectly associated but no evidence for more

Summary of Ruby's death

Two days after Lee Oswald shot president Kennedy, Jack Ruby walked into Dallas Police Headquarters and fatally shot Oswald while on a transport. Ruby's reason defense always involved a case of temporary insanity and his desire to spare Jackie Kennedy a lengthy trial of the man who shot her husband. There have been a few doubts about these motives.

Ruby was put in jail. In March 1964 he was sentenced to the electric chair, despite having a nationally renowed laywer pleading his case for free. It took Ruby two years, until early October 1966, to overturn this sentence and receive a new trial for February 1967. It never got that far. Around mid-October 1966 he started coughing and vomiting. In mid-November 1966 his situation worsened. Prison doctors, primarily Dr. John W. Callahan, who took over from a previous doctor in October, kept treating him for a "cold", despite the vomiting, increasing chest pains, lack of fever, and statements of family members that Ruby began to look like a corpse.

Ruby was finally taken to Parkland Hospital on December 9, after he himself demanded an x-ray, with family members and probably others around him noticing how bad the situation was. Curiously, earlier that day Dr. Callahan had checked up on him and claimed he thought Ruby was actually "improving". In any case, on December 10 Ruby learns he has end stage lung cancer. At some point it is also discovered that he has a massive and seemingly unrelated blood clot that moved to his lungs, which will kill him just the same.

His sister makes it very clear at this point that she doesn't trust the prison doctors or anyone at Parkland Hospital. Later on, she, together with Ruby himself apparently, will be among those who suspect that Ruby has been injected with cancer cells, something only possible with a severely compromised immune system and even then maybe not too practical. A cough medicine inhaler with 1/27 of a microgram (1/27 of a millionth of a gram) of plutonium would have caused lung cancer. Asbestos would sooner or later also have caused lung cancer. There's been plenty of indication that Sidney Gottlieb over at the CIA's Technical Services Staff (TSS) department was overseeing research into poisons and other substances that would cause cancer and blood clots. It's also possible that cancer cells were injected while viruses of Gottlieb severely weakened Ruby's immume system. The thing is, lung cancer can be a very fast killer. Three weeks from diagnosis to death is not unheard of. While Ruby didn't smoke, he would probably have inhaled plenty of cigarette smoke at his Carousel Club.

In the end, as usual, anything is possible. One problem is that black CIA research along these lines is still cloaked in secrecy. All we are left with are strong indications that Ruby's health was neglected by the prison doctors, that a retrial was coming up with potential more bombshells of Ruby (that LBJ was involved and forces bigger than him), and that there were influential persons, from mafia leaders to the CIA and the Dallas Police Department, who wanted him dead. Ruby had been Sam Giancana's representative in Dallas for paying off the police and had worked alongside Santos Trafficante, Army Intelligence and the CIA's Frank Sturgis in army Castro, an operation nobody wanted to be reminded of.

In his deathbed interview, Ruby once again reversed much of what he stated earlier. He claimed that he no memory of carrying out the attack. After he entered the police station, he more or less woke up from a trance when police officers were working him to the ground. On December 19 the Associated Press put out a report that Ruby explicitely asked the American people to believe him that it was him and him alone behind the murder of Oswald and that there is no larger plot. He had stated these things earlier. When finally given a polygraph test in July 1964, which he had been asking for since December 1963, Ruby stated there was no conspiracy, that he had not been pressured, that he indeed acted to spare Jackie Kennedy a lengthy trial of Oswald, and that he had never done any business with Castro. All of a sudden the anti-Jewish he saw everywhere had disappeared also. Even more incredible, FBI polygraph expert, Bell P. Herndon, who was administrating the test, claimed Ruby passed all relevant questions with flying colors. But on other instances to the Warren Commission, to his psychiatric evaluators, and even in a brief media conference, Ruby kept alluding to greater powers at work, including a hint to LBJ, and in private also admitted his guilt over the Castro operations. So, what's going on with Ruby?

Hard to say, but in 1979 the HSCA concluded that Herndon, as a good J. Edgar Hoover boy, had used every trick in the book to help Ruby pass the test. He had enormously turned down the sensitivity of the polygraph machine, wore Ruby's emotional responses to lying down by asking more than three times the absolute maximum number of relevant questions, asked wrong control questions that helped mask lies to relevant questions, and just basically lied and manipulated to reach many of his conclusions.

Most likely Ruby was fully aware that the FBI would work this way and that it would help him in his trial and later effort to get a retrial. As for the situation in his final weeks, one would imagine everyone from the mafia and the Dallas Police to LBJ and the CIA putting the squeeze on him - "talk too much and your family will die" - but, as usual, this cannot be proven. Also don't be surprised if, apart from the standard manipulation, Oswald and Ruby were early Sirhan Sirhan's.

Ruby died on January 3, 1967, age 56.

Jack Ruby's ties to mafia bosses Giancana, Roselli and Trafficante - and all their CIA ties, including to Frank Sturgis


Jack Ruby's deep ties to the entire Dallas Police Department


Jack Ruby's statements after his arrest (conspiracy, doctors, death)

1965, Dr. Werner Tuteur, 'Psychiatric Examination of Jack Ruby' report (portions appeared in the Sunday Times of August 25, 1974)

Note: Ruby, having received the death penalty had every reason to act crazy. In October 1965 he got his retrial, but in December was diagnzed with lung cancer and died in January 1966. At the same time the psychologist, obviously, is completely disinterested in any type of conspiracy claims.

Dates of examinations, July 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th, 1965. ... Reason for examination: The purpose of this examination is to determine the present state of sanity--of the defendant.

The initial encounter with Mr. Ruby was of interest. ... Ruby had been informed by his sister about my pending arrival. He shook hands willingly and was friendly. ... He was disappointed that we could not immediately enter the examining room, looked at me and said, "Du bist von Deitschland?" ... I answered in the affirmative, which seemed to have Ruby's approval. Soon later we entered the interview room. Here Ruby rather circumstantially and ritualistically placed the only two chairs close to each other, facing the wall. He placed them at a considerable distance from the table, since he was convinced of the presence of a microphone immediately below the table. ... I was always sitting to Ruby's right and he would whisper into my left ear. His attitude of secrecy and circumstantiality prevailed during all of our meetings. Yet, Ruby was by all means friendly, but not always cooperative. He was to be the one to do the talking by giving endless orations. Attempts at interrupting him were met with, "Please hear me out, you must listen to me." He then proceeded by indicating that he was sane and that his mind was functioning adequately. ...

Presently Ruby is very much preoccupied with his death sentence and his fear of dying. This became particularly pronounced when I made preparations to leave the interview of one hour and a half. Both of us had noticed an attorney who obviously needed the examining room for a client. Ruby exclaimed, "You are leaving a man who has been sentenced to death?" Practically all his statements were colored by marked fear. He considers himself the victim of a conspiracy and was "framed" to kill Oswald, so that Osweld could never say who made him kill President Kennedy. This "framework," of course, is very complicated and must be guarded with the greatest secrecy. It involves the strip teaser, his employee who, on the fatal morning of November 24, 1963, "made him go to Western Union to wire her money." She had just timed it right so he had to shoot Oewald. It involves also high government agencies and his attorneys whom he considers to be members of the plot. They wanted then and want now to harm him seriously. It is in these areas where the patient's grasp of reality is completely absent. Such ideations are fixed false beliefs, where argumentation and even proof of falsehood are in vain.

Ruby is extremely sensitive in matters referring to antisemitism; there are many fixed false beliefs in this area. ... There were silences during the interviews, when Ruby would hold his head in his hands and would carefully listen to incidental noises, such as the skueaking of a door or the shuffling of feet by other inmates. He would then look at me, moving his chair somewhat, have a mournful expression, and say, "Hoerst du weinen?" (Do you hear crying?). He was convinced Jewish women and children were being slaughtered right there and then. This came to a climax when during the last interview a crew of plumbers began to dismantle a piece of equipment with heavy hammer blows, creating a great noise. Here Ruby had found "proof" of his allegation of the manslaughter of Jews on premises. At other times he would repeatedly say with great feeling, "What a terrible thing I did by killing that man...." ... Now he was convinced that Jewish women and children were being killed in the adjoining room and all over the United States. ...

He finally stated that there was absolutely no difference between the United States, Auschwitz, Treblinka and Maidanek, all infamous Hitler extermination camps. What Ruby is doing here is popularily called applying "mental shortcuts." It is a sign of severe malfunctioning of his mind. According to him, all Jews are presently being tortured and killed on account of his misdeed. Now he convinced that his family has been annihiliated on account of him. Repeatedly he asked me to call members of his family - he provided me with the telephone numbers in writing - to convince me that they were dead. Again his false beliefs expanded rapidly; I was also to call New Yorkers bearing Jewish sounding names, which I was to select from the telephone book, and convince myself that they were dead because "there will be a goyish (gentile) voice" answering the phone, making evasive statements about the whereabouts of these people who, according to Ruby, had boon murdered. "Call Senator Goldwater and have him make a geschrei (noise) to save the Jews." Most members of the government are mamsorim (literally translated: illegitimate children, bastards). As long as they have the Army behind them, they can do as they please.

He considers the present government antisemitic because it sent arms to Egypt. When reminded that even Roosevelt was friendly to the Arabs during World War II, to provide oil for the United States, he would not listen to reason. Here again his lack of logic becomes very apparent. The noises made by trains and planes are frequently heard in the jail, since it is located in the vicinity of the railroad station and the airport. Ruby is convinced that the sole function of these trains and planes is to remove Jews to death camps.

All this does not prevent Ruby from also turning his feelings of being innocently persecuted against the Jews themselves: his sister Eva was working against him during the years prior to the assassination and there were Jews who had undermined his business during that period. They put the "squeeze" on him.

The call from Fort Worth on the morning of November 24, 1963, directing him to go to the Western Union, was his "Nemesis." He then drew a sketch of the downtown street system of Dallas, demonstrating how he could or should have taken another route which would have delayed him and would have prevented the murder of Oswald. There is considerable guilt about the fact that he sent guns to Cuba; he feels he "helped the enemy" and incriminated himself. "They got what they wanted on me." Ruby insists he knows who had President Kennedy killed. They want him (Ruby) to be insane so no one will believe his story. For him the assassination was an act of overthrowing the Government. Than followed, as is so frequently the case in disorders or this nature, a discourse on his supernatural powers. Ruby is not able to follow a logical stream of thought and he frequently jumps from one subject to another. At one time he states that the war in Vietnam is merely a diversion maneuver distracting the American people from the things that were happening within the United States, such as the mass slaughtering of Jews, then he suddenly related that he cannot possibly divulge how he was framed into killing Oswald. He becomes annoyed by questions asking for explanations because he cannot produce them. A veil of secrecy then descends on the statements he has just made.

There are, of course, many islands of reality left in Ruby, as is so frequently the case in his particular mental illness. It must be remembered that only a part of his person is insane at this time. He relates well about his early development and other circumstances available from the Warren Report. He avidly reads the newspaper every day and carries on a reasonable conversation as long as he or others avoid his sensitive areas where the mental illness is located: antisemitism, the murder of Oswald, and the conspiracy regarding the Presidential assassination. His judgment and decision making are greatly impaired, as is his critical thinking.

He did not fail to warn me and instruct me that I would be followed the moment I would leave the jail and that my phone would be tapped henceforth. Other times, particularly during the third interview, he would at times only communicate in writing. He closed the series of interviews with the statement, "I am doomed. I do not want to die, but I am not insane. I was framed to kill Oswald."

Ruby is the son of a Cossack, the type of Russian soldier known for his courage and inclination towards violence. Rudy was practically born into violence. The home was early disrupted on account of the father's drinking and the mother's mental illness. [1] There were eight children and Ruby ranked fifth among them. All of them at one time had to be placed into foster homes. Eventually the mentally ill mother had them returned to her, sometime after the father had left the home. Such an environment during childhood makes for insecurity then and in later life. The growing human personality resembles a sapling which needs a pole on which to lean in order to grow straight. In the absence of such support it frequently grows crooked and remains weak and unable to weather the storms which are yet to come. Insecurities nurtured in a youngster render him extremely vulnerable for the reverses of later life.

Jack Ruby, according to many reports, has never amounted to anything, although he has always been ambitious and has applied himself. He is a classical example of failure. His financial status has been chaotic. [2] Stigmatized early as a Jew, this has remained an extremely sensitive area. [3] This sensitivity, under the influence of the mental illness, is now being magnified into unrealistic proportions. Hence his constant referring to autisemitism in connection with his being "framed." Being hated as a Jew had been Ruby's most sensitive part of his personality all his life. When mental illness developed, this part was hurt most, being the weakest. All of us have at least one weak part in our bodies. This may be the stomach, the lungs, or auy organ. This is the part having the least resistence end it usually falls ill first under adverse conditions or mental strain and stress.

Ruby's mental illness is the illness of the one who suffers a lifelong feeling of unimportance and unaccomplishment. Finally then, with the help of the illness, he reaches a state of importance by feeling persecuted and/or believing he has supernatural powers. The hearing of voices, technically called hallucinating, applies strongly in his case. It is another sign of his illness and is frequently observed. Illogical thinking, [4] rage, [6] superficiality, circumstantiality, hostility, [5] alternating with endearment, are all well known symptoms of his disease. In addition, there is the well known incapability to differentiate between friend and foe, [5] as it is so characteristic in Ruby's instance. Ruby at this time definitely shows a break with reality.

Jack Ruby is suffering from schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type. There are sufficient elements of unreality within his thinking. which justify this diagnosis. It may be stated once more that in such instances only a part of the person succumbs to mental illness. To use a popular comparison, he does not function on "all cylinders." No one would buy or drive such a car which "runs wrong" and not "right." Yet, many other parts of the car are intact.

The onset of paranoid schizophrenia is slow and insidious. It is felt that in Ruby's case it has been existing for at least four to fifteen years. This is borne out by his hostilities; his suspicions, his violent behaviior and his extreme vulnerability and sensitivity long before the Presidential assassination and its ramifications. There was a mental breakdown in 1952. [7] Further, his mental illness has established itself by now to such a severe degree that it must have existed for years. Such conditions are treatable and Mr. Ruby at this time is in urgent need of such treatment.


Death and intimidation of Ruby's friends and associates: Senator (scared), Droby (intimidated), Howard, Koethe and Hunter

In the evening of November 24, 1963, a group of seven men visited the house of Jack Ruby, who had just been arrested for shooting Oswald at Dallas Police Department Headquarters. The group tagged along with George Senator, Ruby's roommate, whose release the group had been awaiting at a bar close to the same Dallas Police Department Headquarters where Ruby shot Oswald.

Senator gave the police the basic story that Ruby had felt sorry for Jackie Kennedy and by killing Oswald he hoped to spare the family a painful trial. Three members of the group, Constine Droby, Jim Martin and Tom Howard, had done legal work for Ruby. It was Howard, who was present at the Oswald shooting, who came up with the idea that Ruby felt sorry for the Kennedy family. Ruby's brother, however, eventually went with famous lawyer Melvin Belli, who worked for free and tried to argue that Ruby's family had a history of insanity. As a result Ruby was sentenced to the electric chair in March 1964, upon which Belli was fired. On October 5, 1966 Ruby finally received a retrial, but died of cancer and a blood cloth a few months later.

Journalists Jim Koethe and Bill Hunter were also part of the entourage. They were looking to interview Senator. Another member of the group, Willie Allen, had shot the mysterious "Tree Tramps" photos, which for over 50 years would be used as disinformation in the Kennedy assassination.

While any subsequent deaths and threats are unlikely to be directly related to the apartment visit, the facts still are:

  1. George Senator was scared to reside at home that night and left with the others. Why? Ruby shot Oswald. The police caught Ruby and later released Senator. What could he have been afraid of?
  2. Constine Alfred Droby volunteered to be Ruby's layer. However, he was threatened that his wife would be killed and his house blown up if he took up this function.
  3. April 23, 1964: Bill Hunter is shot and killed by a Dallas police officer. Initially the police officer claimed he accidentally dropped his gun, but later changes this to an accidental firing during a game of quick draw. Both officers involved are fired and receive a sentence of three years probation.
  4. September 19, 1964: Jim Koethe is murdered at home by a robber. Droby appears to suspect it is related to the Ruby case.
  5. March 27, 1965: Tom Howard, age 48, dies of a heart attack, 13 days after Ruby has been sentenced to the electric chair. Known as the best lawyer in Dallas, many believed he would have been able to get Ruby 5 years at the most or even a suspended sentence by getting Ruby charged with murder without malice, instead of murder with malice. Howard was present at the police station when Ruby shot Oswald, was the person person Ruby consulted with after the shooting, and most likely would have headed the effort to get Ruby's sentencing overturned.


1966, Joachim Joesten, 'The Gaps in the Warren Report', p. 206:

... Martin didn't act as Ruby's lawyer. The first man who took that job was Constine Alfred Droby, President of the Criminal Bar Association of Dallas who was interviewed by Jean Campbell [American correspondent] for the London Evening Standard of October 7, 1964:

"I said I would defend Jack," he told me ... "but I had to give it up before I really started as my wife's life was threatened by anonymous phone calls and we were told our house was to be blown up by dynamite."

However, Droby told me that as Ruby's attorney he had rushed around to Ruby's apartment soon after the shooting with Jim Koethe, a Dallas news reporter.

"The place was in chaos. I think we were the first people to see it."

"You remember anything especially?" I said.

"No, just chaos and newspapers," Droby answered.

"I wonder if Jim Koethe saw anything?" I asked.

Mr. Droby folded his hands and leaned forward: "Koethe's murdered," he said. "He was choked to death the Monday before last."


1969, Joachim Joesten, 'Oswald: the truth', p. 124:

"He was choked to death the Monday before last."' At the time, I didn't pay much attention myself to this paragraph which actually had been inserted by my publisher just before the book went to press. The names of Droby and Koethe didn't mean much, if anything, to me then. It was not until I read Penn Jones Jr.'s remarkable series of articles in The Midlothian Mirror, which he later combined in his book Forgive My Grief, that I realized the extraordinary significance of the Koethe murder."


1993, Bill Sloan, 'JFK: Breaking the Silence', pp. 68-80:

Being, as Koethe had observed, the only beer joint within walking distance of the City Hall [where Dallas Police headquarters were, were Ruby shot Oswald] that was open on a Sunday evening, the TV Bar was moderately crowded when Koethe and Hunter arrived. Almost immediately, Koethe spotted three lawyers of his acquaintance— C. A. Droby, Jim Martin, and Tom Howard, all three of whom had done legal work for Jack Ruby in the past— sitting together at one of the tables with an out-of-town writer whose identity is unclear today. Having already seen Howard earlier at the police station, where he had gone to confer with Ruby, Koethe and Hunter struck up a conversation with the group. They quickly learned that the lawyers were waiting for Ruby's roommate, George Senator, who had spent most of the afternoon at the Homicide Bureau undergoing questioning by detectives.

Droby, who still maintains a law office near the Dallas County Courthouse, reconstructs the situation as follows: "Senator had been held at the police station for four or five hours, and when they finally turned him loose about 6 PM, he came over and met us at the TV Bar. One of the reporters who was there wanted a picture of Jack, so we decided to go over to the apartment on Ewing and see if we could locate one."

[They were accompanied by William "Willie" Allen, who shot the photos of the "Three Tramps" in he aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, which have been used for 50 years now as disinformation.]

They all arrived at the apartment around 8 PM, and were there for possibly an hour. According to Droby, there was no evidence to indicate that anyone besides Senator had been in the apartment since Ruby himself had left at a little after 10 o'clock that morning [later that day shooting Oswald], taking his dog, Sheba, with him en route to the Carousel Club. (The last remark Senator remembered Ruby making just before leaving was, "That poor family!" an apparent reference to Jackie Kennedy and her children.) "The place definitely hadn't been ransacked or anything," Droby recalls, "and we just assumed the police hadn't gotten around to searching it yet. We looked around, but we were never able to find any pictures of Jack. In fact, we didn't find much of anything. So after a while, we left and went over to Jim Martin's place and had dinner. I remember that Senator was scared to stay there at the apartment by himself, and he ended up spending the night at Jim's."

Although Droby recalls Koethe "making some notes" while they were at the apartment, no reference to the visit appeared in the next day's editions of the Times Herald. In talking later with his newspaper colleagues about the visit to Ruby's place, Koethe seemed unimpressed. "It was just a dumpy apartment." ...

[However] homicide detective Gus Rose arrived at Ruby's apartment at about 2 PM that Sunday [6 hours before the private group] ... accompanied by two other Dallas officers and armed with a search warrant issued by Justice of the Peace Joe Brown, Jr. "I showed the manager the warrant and she let us right in," Rose recalled in an October 1992 interview. "We were there for about an hour and a half, and we searched the place thoroughly." ... According to Rose, the search failed to turn up anything of significance ... "We collected a few notes and telephone numbers that had been written on pads, but that was about all we took. Once we were finished, we just locked the place back up and left again." ... "If Rose was there in the afternoon, he was there long before we were," Droby concludes. "I just never realized it because nothing was messed up. ...

At approximately 2 AM on the morning of April 23, 1964, Hunter was sitting at his desk in the press room of the Long Beach police station and reading a mystery novel entitled 'Stop This Man,' when two detectives -- both of whom were later described as "friends" of Hunter -- came into the room. Initially, there was considerable confusion over exactly what happened next. One officer was first quoted as saying he dropped his gun, causing it to discharge as it struck the floor. Later, he changed his story to say that he and the other detective were engaged in "horseplay" with their loaded weapons when the tragedy occurred. Whatever the case, a single shot suddenly rang out, striking Hunter where he sat. An autopsy later showed that the .38-caliber bullet plowed straight through Hunter's heart. He died instantly, without ever moving or saying a word.

"My boss called me at 2 AM and told me Bill Hunter had been shot," Bill Shelton recalls. "He wasn't satisfied with the story that the cop had dropped his gun, and as it turned out, that wasn't what happened at all." The newspaper charged police with covering up the facts in the case, which Long Beach Police Chief William Mooney vigorously denied. Detectives Creighton Wiggins, Jr., and Errol F. Greenleaf were relieved of their duties and subsequently charged with involuntary manslaughter. In January 1965, both were convicted and given identical three-year probated sentences. Two weeks after the shooting, in a letter of resignation to his chief, Detective Wiggins wrote: "It is a tragic thing that this must come about in this manner, for I have lost a wonderful friend in Bill Hunter and so have all the police officers of the department ... he was truly the policeman's friend." . . . While Hunter's death made sensational headlines in California, it was scarcely noted 2,000 miles away in Dallas. Jim Koethe surely mourned his friend, but if he connected Hunter's death in any way with their visit to Ruby's apartment five months earlier, he didn't mention it to any of his acquaintances at the Times-Herald.

Rosenfield was the editor of the Sunday magazine and Koethe's boss. "Yeah, but Paul hasn't heard from him, either. He's going to call Koethe's landlady and have her check on him." A short time later, alerted by the near-hysterical landlady, police entered Koethe's apartment at 4115 San Jacinto and found the newsman's body lying on his bedroom floor wrapped in a blanket. The Dallas County medical examiner would later rule that Koethe died sometime between late Saturday night and dawn Sunday, although the cause of death was at irst unclear. There were no visible wounds on the body, but an autopsy eventually showed that Koethe's neck had been broken, apparently by a single karate-style blow to the throat. Homicide Detectives Charles Dhority and E. R. Beck described the apartment as being in disarray. There were signs of a scuffle, they said, and several items, including two rifles, a pistol, and Koethe's wristwatch, were unaccounted for. Koethe's car— a British-made Woolsley, which was almost certainly the only automobile of its type in Dallas— was also missing. It became the object of a citywide search until a motorcycle policeman found it parked in the 4600 block of Victor Street several blocks from the apartment. Investigators dusted the interior of the car for fingerprints but were unable to find any prints at all, not even Koethe's. On the afternoon of September 22, 1964— ten months to the day after the assassination of President Kennedy and one day short of five months since the death of Bill Hunter— Koethe was buried at his hometown of Seymour, after funeral ...

While it has no apparent relationship to the Kennedy assassination, the fact that Koethe was the first of four Times Herald newsmen to be mysteriously murdered between 1964 and 1976 is certainly worth noting. The other victims were Eugene Lewis, Hoyt Spurlock, and Ot Hampton, and as of this writing, no one has ever been indicted in any of these slayings.) For obvious reasons Ben Stevens seemed especially concerned, but he wasn't the only one. Keith Shelton and Paul Rosenfield also were eager for an early arrest in the case. Meanwhile, George Carter, the paper's veteran senior police reporter, pressed hard to get information through his contacts in the department, especially homicide Captain Will Fritz, the man who had taken personal charge of questioning Oswald and who was now directing the Koethe investigation. For more than a week, Stevens and one or two staffers who had been friends of Koethe's scoured the bars and beer joints that Koethe had been known to frequent in search of any kind of leads. Armed with a picture of the dead reporter, they buttonholed bartenders, waitresses, and regular patrons, asking if they remembered seeing the man in the photograph. They were particularly interested in finding out where Koethe might have been on the Saturday evening before he was killed and whom he might have talked to. "Jim was a real outdoor nut," Stevens mentioned at one point. "He liked to talk about hunting and fishing and stuff like that, and the drunker he got, the more he talked, even to total strangers. If he mentioned those guns of his to some punk who was looking for something to steal, that could be the key to the whole thing." In the end, though, the quest by Koethe 's colleagues turned up nothing.

Several months later, an ex-convict named Larry Earl Reno was linked to the Koethe killing after being arrested in an unrelated incident. One of Koethe's guns had reportedly been found in the man's possession, and he had no alibi for the time period in which Koethe had been killed. But as the case was being prepared by District Attorney Henry Wade's staff for submission to the Dallas County Grand Jury, some strange undercurrents began to develop. As the courthouse reporter assigned to Wade's office, Stevens quickly picked up on these developments. Some people in the DA's office say this is looking more and more like a 'queer deal,'" Stevens told friends, "and they say some of Koethe's relatives are pressing them to drop the case against Reno to keep from embarrasing the family." Stevens was personally outraged at the idea. "Jim Koethe was no homosexual," he said unequivocally. "I spent too much time with him not to know if he was." Questioned today, others who were closely associated with Koethe agree with this assessment. "I knew Jim both at Wichita Falls and then in Dallas," says Dan Martin, a former Dallas Morning News reporter and now a Baptist minister at Penland, North Carolina, "and I never remember him doing anything that didn't seem totally straight to me." Bill Shelton is even more vehement on the subject. "All this stuff about Jim being gay was just bullshit," Shelton says. "I know because I lived with the guy for a while. It is only fair to note, however, that none of Koethe's friends and acquaintances from the 1950s and '60s can remember him ever having a regular girlfriend or even dating a woman. This was a time when being revealed as a homosexual could have cost an individual his career and his entie future. It follows that if Koethe did have homosexual tendencies, he would have gone to great lengths to conceal them...

On the other hand, there was solid evidence to indicate that Koethe had just stepped out of the shower when he surprised an intruder in the apartment. At any rate, when the case went to the grand jury, the evidence against Reno was highly circumstantial at best and, perhaps understandably, the prosecution didn't push as hard as it might have for an indictment. Reno was no-billed, only to be re-arrested early in 1965 and charged with the robbery and attempted murder of an Oak Cliff hotel clerk. He was subsequently convicted of this crime and sent to prison. ...

As a final bit of irony, there is the case of Tom Howard, the attorney who was convinced he could set Jack Ruby free— and who just might have done so if circumstances had worked out differently. In those early 1960s, there were many noted and colorful defense lawyers in Dallas, but none was better known or more respected as a courtroom strategist than Howard. Newspaper reports indicate that Howard was one of the first civilians to talk to Ruby after the shooting. A dispatch filed by Bill Hunter himself and published the next day in the Long Beach Press-Telegram identifies Howard as one of the two lawyers who conferred with Ruby "within minutes of Ruby's execution of Oswald before the eyes of millions watching (on) television." It came as no surprise a short time later when Ruby asked Howard to head up his defense. There were some in Dallas who believed Howard was the only man who could have saved Ruby from the death penalty.

Ben Stevens, the former Times Herald courthouse reporter and close friend of Koethe's, was well acquainted with Howard, as well as with C.A. Droby and Jim Martin, the other two lawyers who were with Koethe and Hunter at Ruby's place. Writing in November 1973, on the tenth anniversary of the assassination, Stevens offered a pointed observation about Howard. After Ruby's conviction," he wrote, "Dallas attorneys, including Droby and Martin, agreed on one thing: Tom Howard, a shrewd and innovative defense lawyer, would have convinced the jury that a moderately long prison term would have been punishment enough for Ruby."

Stevens speculated that, because of their presence at Ruby's apartment the night after his arrest, Koethe and Hunter may have picked up a hint of what that trick might be. While many people at the time undoubtedly harbored a killing rage against Ruby, they were were less angered by the fact that Ruby had executed Oswald then by the resulting embarrassment to the Dallas police and the "black eye" suffered by the whole city. Because of these feelings, Howard sought unsuccessfully to move the trial out of Dallas.

Oswald and Ruby indirectly associated but no evidence for more

Not reliable it appears, although, behind all the smoke, they may have been acquainted from an operation or two. Jack Ruby's circle of friends is peculiar, filled with shady types and apparent bullshit artists who for some reason even seem to have aided the Kennedy cover up. Bettie Mooney MacDonald, Bill Demar, Carroll Jarnigan, Richard Carr (contacted the FBI about a seemingly bogus shooter he saw at the TSBD and escaping, but only after talking to Ruby acquaintences) and others come to mind.

At a higher level there appears to have been a connection. Ruby and Oswald both were involved in anti-Castro operations alongside the mafia and CIA. During his final days Ruby was in contact with a representative of Louisiana mafia boss Carlos Marcello, who cooperated closely with Oswald handler David Ferrie, together with lawyer G. Wray Gill.