1 minute read

Jack Ruby Trial: 1964

Most Jurors Saw The Shooting

Nationally known lawyer Melvin Belli, planning to write a book and produce a movie about the trial, undertook the defense of Jack Ruby free of charge. Belli tried but failed to get a change of venue from Dallas. Ultimately he had to accept, among the 8 men and 4 women jurors, 1 who, watching television at that instant, had witnessed Ruby's act.

Twenty prosecution witnesses testified during the trial. Of those, Detective James R. Leavelle, who had been handcuffed to Oswald, testified that as he lay bleeding, Ruby said, "I hope the son-of-a-bitch dies." Officer D.R. Archer testified that he told Ruby, "I think you killed him," and Ruby's reply was, "I intended to shoot him three times."

Jack Ruby under escort. (AP/Wide World Photos) Jack Ruby under escort. (AP/Wide World Photos)

Officer Thomas D. McMillon testified that he heard Ruby say, "You rat son-of-a-bitch, you shot the president." A review of television tapes, however, showed that, as Ruby fired at Oswald, McMillon was far to the rear and looking away from the action and therefore couldn't have heard anything.

Sergeant Patrick T. Dean's testimony was damaging. Ten minutes after the shooting, he said, Ruby told him that on Friday night, "when he noticed the sarcastic sneer on Oswald's face," he thought he would kill him.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Jack Ruby Trial: 1964 - A Police Buff, Most Jurors Saw The Shooting, Psychomotor Epilepsy, Eeg Tracings, Suggestions For Further Reading