The thing I would like to know more than anything else in this great wide world is: what time did Jack Ruby reach the ramp? If I was going to die tonight, and the Good Lord said I could know one more thing before I expire, that is what I would want to know: what time did Jack Ruby reach the ramp?
I know it wasn't at 11:19 or whatever. Ruby was already squirreled away up on the 5th floor by then, striped to his short, and being questioned for Forest Sorrels, the Secret Service agent, and others.
It had to be before.
This may give us a clue. There is a discrepancy between what Lt. Rio "Sam" Pierce said and what Patrolman Roy Vaughn said:
Mr. HUBERT. When you got to the top of the basement, were there any guards there on the Main Street entrance?
Lieutenant PIERCE. Patrolman Vaughn was stationed at the top of the ramp.
Mr. HUBERT. YOU knew him prior to that time?
Lieutenant PIERCE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. What happened then?
Lieutenant PIERCE. Well, actually, nothing happened outside of the fact that he had to move out of the way to let us out.
Mr. HUBERT. Which way did he move?
Lieutenant PIERCE. He moved toward the street.
Mr. HUBERT. I mean on which side of you?
Lieutenant PIERCE. He moved to my right.
Mr. HUBERT. And toward the street?
Lieutenant PIERCE. And towards the street; yes, sir.
First, note that Vaughn denied going towards the street. He said that he moved on the sidewalk towards Pearl Street. But, as you can see, Pierce said that Vaughn moved towards his right. That means the Harwood Street side, the side from which Ruby was coming.
Pierce is driving. The head of his car is coming up the ramp, and Pierce his behind the wheel and facing the street. Obviously, his right is towards Harwood, not Pearl.
Mr. HUBERT. What did you do when the car came up?
Mr. VAUGHN. The first thing I noticed the car--still standing inside the ramp-and I heard someone at the bottom of the ramp holier, "Watch the car," and when I looked down you could just get a view of the front end of the car coming up the ramp. It had its red lights on, which were in the grill. As it come on up the ramp, I stepped to my right, and it come up the ramp
Mr. HUBERT. You stepped towards Pearl Street?
Mr. VAUGHN. Yes--towards Pearl Street, and I stepped to my right in order to get out of the car's way, and I stepped out on the sidewalk somewhere between the sidewalk and the curb.
So, what do you think of that discrepancy? How do you think it compares to other discrepancies? Who do you think was lying? I think Pierce was lying. I'm not even going to grant the possibility that he just didn't remember it correctly.
And why would he lie? Well remember, Pierce had to make two trips: once for Ruby, and once for Vaughn. And they were quite different. Ruby reported seeing no one else in the car but Pierce. With Vaughan, Pierce had two other officers in the car. With Ruby, he said it was a police car. The car Pierce pulled out in for Vaughn was unmarked. And, Ruby said that officer did what Pierce said Vaughn did- go to the Harwood side and lean into the open window and talk to Pierce. Vaughn, of course, said he went to the Pearl Street side. So, that certainly sounds like two trips.
So, maybe Pierce reported what the first officer did, as though Vaughn had done it.
I am increasingly inclined to think that Vaughn was a straight shooter. For one thing, he got reprimanded. How, if they ordered him to let Ruby get in, could they reprimand him for doing what they told him to do? I don't see how they could.
I'm inclined to think that Ruby came down the ramp and got tackled and hauled off BEFORE Vaughn assumed his duty. Remember that Vaughn was called in to the PD from working on the street downtown somewhere. And when he got to whatever office he was supposed to go to, Pierce wasn't there. But, coffee was there, and other men were there drinking coffee, so Vaughn joined them and waited for Pierce. I would argue that while he was doing that, the arrest of Jack Ruby was going on. I suspect that Pierce pulled up that ramp just waiting for Ruby. He knew that other people were guiding Ruby to that spot, and that people there, loitering at the ramp, would nudge the highly suggestible Ruby down the ramp. All Pierce had to do was sit there and act like he didn't see a thing. Once Ruby got to the bottom, it must have gone very quickly- and quietly. No muss, no fuss. They must have moved Ruby out of there at warp speed. And I doubt that they brought Oswald down. What for? For Ruby's sake? Huh. He was going to believe anything they told him. Ruby came to say, months later, that he remembers seeing Oswald, but Ruby watched the films over and over and over again in court, and he saw Oswald in the films. There is a darn good chance that he was confusing what he saw in the films with what he saw himself.
And when it was done, they quickly sought to normalize conditions in the basement. Pierce went up to the office and told Vaughn to go down to the basement and seek out Sargeant Patrick Dean. He did. Then, Dean apparently told him to go ask Sargeant James Putnam what to do. And, Sargeant Putnam told him to go guard the Main Street ramp.
And guess what? Sargeant Putnam was one of the guys who got in the car to ride with Pierce at the end. He got in the front passenger seat. We don't see him in the KRLD film because, reportedly, he got out to clear the way ahead, and then he got back in again when the car was out of view. And when they got to the top of the ramp, he said that Vaughn was facing them, and he stepped to his right, and he also stepped to the curb. That sounds reasonably consistent with what Vaughn said.
So, let's get back to Vaughn. His key testimony was this:
Mr. HUBERT. Now, about what time did he assign you to the Main Street entrance?
Mr. VAUGHN. I would say, Mr. Hubert, somewhere around 9:30--I couldn't be definite.
I would say, Mr. Hubert, somewhere around 9:30- I couldn't be definite. That's a lot of distancing. First, he stalls by saying Hubert's name. Then he says "around" 9:30. But, he doesn't leave it at that. He adds, "I couldn't be definite."
What all that dis-possessing of 9:30 tells me is not just that it's off but that it's way off. Vaughn was working somewhere downtown. He got a call and was told to come to City Hall. He had to drive there. He had to park. He had to get out and walk wherever he had to go. He had to wait for Pierce. And there was coffee there. And you know how it goes when people stand around drinking coffee, the way time can fly. And then he was told to go to the garage and check with Dean. And after checking with Dean, he was told to check with Putnam. And when he checked with Putnam, Putnam told him to guard the Main Street ramp. I don't see that being 30 minutes. I don't think Vaughn could have started guarding that ramp until 10. And it may not have been until later, say, 10:20.
So, why was he inclined to say 9:30? Because Oswald was scheduled to be moved at 10.
I think Pierce parked himself at the top of that ramp while Vaughn was drinking coffee with the boys. Pierce had an officer filling up his window, with his back towards Harwood Street, so his eyes were facing the other way, towards Pierce. The guy might as well have had a sign on his back with an arrow pointing "this way open". And there were other people there for no other reason except to be provocatuers for the highly suggestible Ruby, to nudge him down that ramp. Ruby went down there. He was immediately swarmed and dragged off; hustled into the elevator. And as they did with Bookhout, they may have had something to cover up his head. Of course, all the reporters and cameramen had been scurried away. And like changing sets between acts in a play, they quickly got everything normalized in the basement to allow the reporters and cameramen back in. Meanwhile, Pierce went back up to the office to mobilize Vaughn and get him on his way. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, when did it actually happen? Well, not before 10, but it may have been as late as close to 10:30.
Ruby said that he recalled sending the money order at 10:17 on Sunday morning. He was corrected, of course, but still, that was his spontaneous recollection.
If the money order was really sent at 10:17, then it means he must have gotten to Western Union about 10. That's not unreasonable or unlikely. I don't put any stock at all at the reported phone call from Karen Carlin at 10. That was claimed just to establish the later timeline. They needed it. The record shows that she talked to Jack Ruby about her money problems on Saturday night. If she called him on Sunday, it could easily have been as early as 9. The phone records were easy to jimmy. Ultimately, it's just writing on a piece of paper.
This is my current thinking on the timing, but naturally, I would love to have it confirmed. Whoever bought that manuscript of Jack Ruby is sitting on a goldmine. I wonder if he or she would have the decency of having it transcribed and posting it online, word for word? It wouldn't reduce the value of his holding; it might even increase it. I wonder if there is a way I might contact him.