Transcript of NBC Interview with Don Jordan, 1967
NBC interview with Don Jordan [all ellipses as in original]
(background conversation -- buzzer --)
Q. What is your name, please?
A. Don Jordan.
Q. Don, you're a prisoner at this point, in the Parish prison in New Orleans, is that right?
Q. Now, are you appearing with me here today voluntarily?
Q. I believe that you're in, in jail right now on a criminal charge -- will you tell us a little bit about what you're charged with?
A. I'm charged with theft and attempted theft, and I received eighteen months with one year, running concurrently.
Q. That means that you're serving two sentences at the same time, is that right?
Q. Um, do you know a man named Perry Raymond Russo, or have you ever known anyone by that name?
Q. Can you go back and tell us when you met this man, and can you give us a little background on it?
A. I met him in 1962, at his, er, at his house (clears throat), through a friend of mine, er, I used to go to his house pretty regular [sic].
Q. For, over what period?
A. For seven, eight, maybe nine months, you know, I used to go to his house, and, er . . .
Q. Did you know him well?
A. Yes, for the time that I knew him, I knew him well.
Q. All right, tell us a little bit now about the things you experienced and saw at the time of your association with him, in 1962 and '63.
A. Well, he used to, he used to, like, hypnotize people, and I witnessed a hypnotizing [sic] a girl named Sandra.
Q. Sandra Moffett?
A. Sandra Moffett, yes, and, er, he tried to hypnotize me one time and I faked it, I didn't really get hypnotized.
Q. Why did you fake it?
A. Because I was scared of what he might do. 'Cause I'd seen what he used to do with her under.
Q. Would you like to tell us about that?
A. Well, he used to get her to do funny things, you know, like stick pins in her arm and see if she could take the pain . . . tell her that her arm wouldn't feel any pain, and then he would stick a pin in it, then tell her . . . he would get a bottle of ammonia and say that this is going to smell like a bed of roses, and he would stick it under her nose and she'd wake up . . . it wouldn't smell like a bed of roses.
Q. Did it appear to you that he wasn't a very good hypnotist from that?
A. Yes, that's what it appeared to me.
Q. Tell me about this whole hypnotism thing. Was he fascinated by this whole hypnotism subject?
A. He liked it . . . hypnotism . . . he liked that subject, and blues . . .
A. Music . . . music . . . and he had all kinds of records. He liked to read; he was studying law all the time. He told me he was going to go to law school, and this, that and the other, but he, er, he also talked about his mind. A lot of times I'd be talking, talking with him, and he'd skip subjects, and he told me once he had a split personality. A psychiatrist told him he had a split personality. And, er --
Q. (Over Jordan.) Did you believe him?
A. I believed him.
Q. Beside hypnotism, what did Perry show an interest in?
A. In blues music, and he, sometimes he talked about his mind.
Q. His mind, in what way?
A. He, he, he mentioned that a psychiatrist had told him that he had a split personality.
Q. Did you believe that?
Q. What made you believe that Perry might have had a psychological problem of some sort?
A. Because he slashed his wrist one time. When I was at his house.
Q. Tell me a little bit about that . . . what led up to it?
A. Well, I came into his house about eight o'clock. I don't remember the date or the day or anything like that, but I, I noticed him, he was, er, you know, he was just different. He didn't have the record player on, and he was sitting at his desk and he was talking with a Negro.
Q. Was it a Negro friend of his?
A. Friend of his, yes. All of a sudden he jumped up and run into the bathroom, and the Negro got up and ran to the bathroom, and I got up and ran to the bathroom, and when I . . . I seen him slicing his wrist with a razor blade. So I left . . . I was scared . . . so I left.
Q. Did you call, er . . .
A. I didn't call anybody. I just left. I only lived two blocks away. I went home.
Q. What happened at that point?
A. What do you mean, what happened at that point?
Q. Er, after the wrist-slashing attempt, did someone call a doctor?
A. I don't know, I don't know, I came back two days later.
Q. What did you see then?
A. A bandage on his arm . . . I don't know, I don't know even if he had stitches on it or anything.
Q. Did you think, from what you saw there, that he was honestly trying to take his life?
A. It looked that way to me . . . he was slicing (slashing?) his wrists.
Q. Did you see blood?
Q. Did he say anything which might have, er, explained his action?
A. No . . . he jumped up and ran there and did it.
Q. Was he talking to the Negro at that point? Before he went in?
A. Yes, he was, he was just talking about, I think he was talking about basketball. If I'm not mistaken, I think it was about basketball.
Q. There was no argument, no violence?
A. No violence, no nothing.
(Discussion with Questioner.)
Q. Were there any other examples which, which, er, happened during that period which might have led you to believe he had problems of some sort?
A. (Deep sigh.) Well, I don't think there was any other things beside that.
Q. Did he have any interests that seemed unusual to you?
A. Taking photographs of naked women . . . that was unusual.
Q. Did he do this quite often?
A. All the time, had hundreds of 'em . . . whole shoe box full of 'em.
Q. Besides what you saw in this regard . . . did you ever see him take any of these photographs? Did he ever take any photographs of you with women?
A. No, he never took 'em of me, but I've seen him take 'em of one woman, Sandra Moffett, just one woman, and I've seen pictures of Sandra with all kind [sic] of different males . . . both Negro and white.
Q. Any other women?
A. One other woman, I don't know her name, but I've seen her in a picture with her.
Q. With Sandra and this other woman.
A. Yes, a lesbian --
Q. (Over Russo.) A sexual situation?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. Did Perry tell you why he liked to take these pictures, did he ever explain it to you?
A. No . . . no . . . I thought it was his kick, you know. He . . . liked to take pictures.
Q. What did he do with them . . . show them to people?
A. Kept them in a big shoe box, and when somebody'd come over, you know, he'd look at 'em, you know, they'd look at 'em together. He liked cameras, he used to sometime [sic] he'd take a picture, see, and he'd get a camera with a different lens, and then he'd take a picture with a far-away lens, and take a picture. You know how, I don't know too much about cameras, but they got cameras that will take 'em in the dark, you know, cameras that will stop, you know, in action, and they'll stop it, and he used to do it to see if it'd work, and he used to tell them, turn over, and he'd take a picture . . .
Q. You're talking about these people in the sexual . . . situation.
A. Yes . . . yes -- he'd stop 'em, in motion . . . and then take a picture.
Q. Did he impress you as a perverted, er, person in this regard? Did he seem to have an unusual interest in this kind of sexual exploit?
A. Yes . . . he . . . he was a weirdo.
Q. Don, have you known other people like Perry? Have you associated with other people like this, have you ever known anybody like this?
A. No . . . no . . . he's one on his own.
Q. Can you tell me under what circumstances you ended your relationship with him?
A. Well, I was arrested. I was a juvenile. And I was sentenced to LTI (?) and then I didn't see him anymore.
Q. Training Institute?
A. Training Institute.
Q. And you never saw him after that?
Q. Now, about when did your association end with him? In 1963?
A. October . . . October '63.
Q. Now, let's go back a little bit to your original relationship with Perry. Er, tell me about some of the people he associated with. Who are the names, who are the kinds of people he associated with?
A. (Clears throat.) Well, he . . . prostitutes, homosexuals, some Negroes, I don't remember their names, but he associated with many Negroes. One night we were together, me and Perry and three other Negroes, and, er, we were riding in a car, and another one of his kicks was trying to integrate places that wasn't [sic] integrated. You know, that wasn't really integrated. So he stopped at a Royal Castle, and we walked into it and we sat down. I stood up, they down, we didn't have enough seats, and the people that owned the place called the police, and they wouldn't serve the Negroes, so we got up and left, and then, er, as we were leaving, the police run [sic] us down and they asked us a lot of questions, and said the people at the Royal Castle wasn't [sic] gonna [sic] charge, wasn't gonna press any charges, and then they let us go. But that was another thing he liked to do. He liked to go to Negro places and such.
Q. Did you ever see him with any Cubans?
Q. I'm going to throw out some names and see if any of them ring a bell from your association with him. Did he ever mention anyone named Lee Harvey Oswald?
Q. Do you know who Oswald is?
Q. Did he ever mention, er, David Ferrie?
Q. Did he ever mention Clay Bertrand, or Clay Shaw?
Q. Did he ever mention anyone named Leon?
Q. Not Leon Oswald . . . that name doesn't ring a bell? What about, er, his political views? Did he ever talk to you about politics?
A. Yeah, he said he wanted to be Governor, or something like that. He was always talking about, you know, because I was a good friend of his, he always said, er, he used to joke around and say, yeah, when I become Governor, I'll give you a good job -- position. He said, I'll make you head of something.
Q. Did he take part in elective politics, do you know?
A. No . . . all he told me was that he was gonna [sic] go to law school. That's all he kept saying, he wanted to be a lawyer . . . he wanted to be a lawyer.
Q. Was he interested in law and courts and testimony and things like that?
A. Oh, no, he didn't . . . you mean study up on it and things like that?
A. Trials and things . . . no, he didn't do anything like that.
Q. Guess it was just kind of an abstraction . . . he liked law.
A. Yeah . . . the most he ever did was he listened to records, and do [sic] his homework and he'd read books.
Q. What kind of books?
A. Oh, I don't know . . . well, he had a book about hypnotism, and he had a whole library full of books, all different kind [sic] of books.
Q. Now, going back to the, er, to his sex life at this point. Er, describe the atmosphere that existed in Perry Russo's apartment. What kind of place was it? Who were the people who came there . . . what did they do?
A. Well, all my friends came there to go to bed with the broad, Sandra. That's all we, my friends ever came there for.
Q. Was this sort of an attraction he offered to his male friends?
A. They all knew it, the word spread fast. They had this girl over here, you know, and everybody was going to bed with her all over the place, all over the neighborhood.
Q. How . . . in what way . . . I mean, was this sort of an open-door policy with him?
A. Yeah, it didn't cost you anything, or anything like that, it was free. I mean, you could do it.
Q. Is that why you frequented his home?
A. I went over there once, the first time I went over there for that purpose, I heard the news, you know, that he was doing that. So I went over there, and I got to like him, you know?
Q. What did you like about him -- what made you like Perry Russo?
A. Well, he seemed intelligent, you know. He was older than me, he seemed intelligent, you know, and he had plenty of records and everything, and I liked to talk to him, you know, he played baseball and a lot of basketball.
Q. Did he mention flying? Was he interested in flying?
A. No . . . he never mentioned anything about no flying [sic].
Q. Was there anything about Perry which would lead you to believe that he had an exceptionally good memory?
Q. Was he interested in the subject of recalling events through, let's say, hypnosis?
A. He used to try, not, not to recall an event, sometimes he would get a clock [sic] . . . and he would back-time it, he would say, this clock [sic] is going back and back and back and back, and he would stop it on a birth-date -- yours or the person he was hypnotizing, whoever he was hypnotizing, you know, he would stop it on a date and he would say, this is your fifth birthday . . . what . . . what's happening now . . . what are you doing on the morning of your fifth birthday?
Q. Did it work?
A. It was me, it didn't work.
Q. This was the time you faked it?
A. Yeah . . . it didn't work, it was me. He told me to stop it on my fifth birthday. I could have told him, because I remember on my fifth birthday about it . . . about what happened.
Q. But you didn't try to.
A. No, I just told him, I just popped open my eyes and said it's not working . . . it's no good. He had a little box . . .
Q. A metronome?
A. A little box that goes click, click, click, you know . . . and he had a flashlight with a cardboard [sic] wrapped around it to a point, and he would dial it straight to your eyes, and when he'd start that thing and turn off all the lights, and he'd really think he was hypnotizing somebody, but he (laughing) never hypnotized me.
Q. Did he ever hypnotize Sandra?
A. To the point where he had her smell ammonia, and she woke up, he could never get her past that point.
Q. But he could put pins in her arm and . . .
A. Yeah . . . he'd stick a pin in her arm, all the way down, and then pull it out.
Q. Did he seem to enjoy that?
A. He must . . . he did it every time . . . no matter who it was.
Q. Did he ever get her to perform any unusual acts under hypnosis? Or anyone?
A. No . . . he was going to hypnotize a girl named Joanne one time and put the thought in her mind to go to bed with him, see . . . because he always told me that you couldn't get a person to do, under hypnosis, what he normally, or she normally, would do in real life, but he knew that she had already done it and he was gonna [sic] ask her to do that. But I wasn't there and I don't know if it worked, he never told me.
Q. Was she unwilling to go to bed with him at that point?
A. Yeah . . . she didn't want to.
Q. What kind of a man was Perry Russo . . . was he interested in women?
A. Yeah, he was interested in women . . . Sandra was there almost all the time, yes, she was there almost all the time.
Q. How about other women, did he --
A. Joanne used to come around once in a while, and there was this other one, I can't remember her name . . . big, fat one, I don't remember her name, though.
Q. Now, did he ever, would you describe just a little bit his relationship with Sandra? Did she seem to be in love with him?
A. Yes . . . she was in . . . she said she was, she claimed she was . . . that she loved him.
Q. Did you know anything about a pregnancy involving Sandra?
A. Yeah, she got pregnant.
Q. Do you think . . . do you know who might have been the father?
A. (Laughing.) No . . . no, I couldn't tell you who the father was . . . so many of them, you'd never know who the father was. They, they was [sic] scared, wondering what color it was going to be, not who the father was . . . they was [sic] wondering if it was gonna [sic] come out white . . . they was [sic] really scared about it.
Q. What kind of a person was Sandra . . . did she make up stories . . . did she lie?
A. Whooo . . . she lied all the time. She lied constantly. About she was gonna [sic] do this, she was gonna do that . . . and that, er, she lived with a lesbian for a little while and denied it to Perry for about two weeks, and the whole time she was living with her.
Q. How about Perry . . . did he ever lie to you?
Q. Did you ever talk about the truth to Perry Russo . . . what was his view of the truth?
A. What do you mean, his view of the truth?
Q. Did you ever discuss things like, what is truth? Things like that . . .
A. No . . . he used to discuss, er, on [sic] these weird, weird subjects, you know, but they weren't with me. He would . . . but I never would understand what they were talking about. They was [sic] way, way out there, you know, they'd get on a kick about stars or something like that, you know, and they'd talk about [sic]. One thing he'd like to talk about was evolution. He used to believe that, er, what would people come back to if, if, if evolution was true. But I didn't . . . I didn't listen at all . . .
Q. Did he ever talk about revolution?
A. No, no revolution.
Q. Did he show any interest in revolutionary politics, like Castro and the revolution in Cuba or anything of that sort?
A. No, nothing like that . . . he used to talk about wars . . . about who . . . if we had a war with Russia, about who would win, or something like that.
Q. Did you ever discuss President Kennedy with him?
Q. Did he, he ever express any feeling at all about President Kennedy -- what kind of President he was, or anything like that?
A. Not with me.
Q. Let's stop for a second.
Q. Don, when did you first come in contact with, er, Sal Panzeca [spelled "Panziger" throughout transcript]?
A. While I was in here?
Q. What was the circumstance under which he came to see you?
A. (Clears throat.) To ask me if I mind giving him a statement . . . about Perry Russo. Did I know Perry Russo and would I mind giving him a statement, and I said, no, I wouldn't mind . . . I'll give it to you.
Q. You gave him a statement on the first meeting that you had with him?
A. No, the second meeting. The second meeting I had, I gave him a statement.
Q. Now, did you give him a statement about Perry Russo?
A. Yes, I told him where I met him, how long I knew him, what I knew of him.
Q. Now, was this, what day of the week when you gave him the statement?
A. Er . . . I think it was on a Thursday, I'm not sure.
Q. You gave Panzeca a statement toward the end of, of, er, the week?
[Page 19 is missing.]
Q. Now . . . what happened after that?
A. (Deep sigh.) I had a visitor about a week and a half later from the District Attorney's office.
Q. What was his name?
Q. Lynn Loisel?
A. Lynn Loisel.
Q. Describe your meeting with Lynn Loisel.
A. He came into the . . . this office, and . . . then he called me into it . . . and he entered this office and he says, er, would you mind telling me about your talk with Sal Panzeca? I said, yes, I do mind. He says, well, it's your fight . . . he says, when's your roll-out date?
Q. What does that mean?
A. When do you get out of here . . . you know? What's your date to leave here. I said, November 14th. He said, forget about it. He walked out . . . got up and walked out.
Q. That was the extent of your conversation?
A. That was it.
Q. How did you interpret your meeting with Lynn Loisel?
A. Uh . . . he had me scared . . . the end part of it, the way he was talking there, he told me to forget about it.
Q. Did you feel he was threatening you?
A. Yes . . . that's the way it sounded to me. He told me to forget about when I was getting out of here.
Q. What could someone do to you in terms of --
A. I could lose my good time.
Q. Which would mean how much extra time in jail?
A. A good eighteen months . . . and I get out [sic] nine with good time. Without it I do nine more. I'd have to do the full eighteen months. (Clears throat.)
Q. Do you feel at this point that the District Attorney's office will exert any influence to see that you serve that entire eighteen months?
A. I don't know, but he told me if I ever get in trouble again, I was going to get a maximum of whatever I did. If I ever fell again, ever got charged with anything again, I'd be a three-time loser, a multiple offender. He'd make sure I'd get the maximum. That would be probably, the maximum of the penalty, double-bill me, and then give me multiple offender. This could be twenty more years, besides what I've already got.
Q. Were you frightened?
Q. Are you frightened now?
A. No . . . not unless he comes and tells me something again . . . because if he comes in here and starts howling again . . . I don't think he will.
A. I don't think he will, because I just said what he has done . . . and I don't think he'll come back and do it again.
Q. Why didn't you want to talk to the DA's people about the statement?
A. Well, I . . . just . . . didn't . . . you know, it's the same way when I get arrested. I just felt the same whenever I get arrested. I never tell the police what I did . . . I never sign a statement on myself or anything else. I'm protecting my interests, you know. And he asked for . . . he was asking for a statement. He wanted to know what I talked to Panzeca about, and I didn't want to answer him.
Q. Did you fail to trust him?
A. Yes . . . that's, that's exactly what it is. I didn't want to trust him.
Q. How do you feel about law officers in general?
A. Law officers in general?
Q. Law officers.
A. Law officers? Well, they leave me alone, I'll leave them alone. I mean, when I get in trouble or something like that, I go do my time for it.
Q. Do you feel, in a case like this, er, the law officer involved here, there might have been reason to have been afraid of them more than in any other case?
A. Yes. I feel it . . . afr [sic] . . . because of what he's doing, he's got, er, like he's got Vernon Bundy locked up in the docks, you know. He can't go anyplace else but right here . . . that's the only place he can go.
Q. What about Miguel Torres?
A. Well, Miguel Torres -- he's in the hospital . . . you know, he's doing all right . . . he's got a job . . . like a trustee, you know. He works in the radio (?) department. I've got a job.
Q. Have you ever heard from anybody in this jail that pressure might be placed on a prisoner to, to lie about the testimony or anything of that sort?
Q. Has anyone approached anyone that you know of to testify in the, in the investigation that Mr. Garrison is conducting?
Q. Have you ever talked to Vernon Bundy?
Q. What was the nature of your conversation with Bundy?
A. Just . . . talking with him, you know. I just, er . . .
Q. Did you discuss his testimony in the . . .
A. No . . . I . . . I told him, I asked him, I said, you stated that when you heard the two people talking on the lakefront, and that you were there and you had no tie (?) on you, and you were getting ready to shoot dope right there on the lakefront . . . two people got . . . jumped out of a car with suits on and started walking towards you . . . and you just stayed there and listened to what they were saying, I said, er, don't you, I mean, if you're sitting there with narcotics, with suits step [sic] out of the car, I'd, I'd think they were police.
Q. Is this your natural reaction when you see somebody with a suit and tie on?
A. If they stopped in front of me, and I was shooting dope on a lakefront, and two people with a suit [sic] jumped out, I don't care who they was [sic], if they was [sic] priests, I'd just have threw [sic] it away -- threw everything away and started running. I'd get away from there . . . and I just think he . . . was lying . . . you know, because he just said that he stayed there and finished what he was doing and talked to the people -- not talked to them, but listened to them . . . listened to the conversation.
Q. Did you ever hear of any trouble involving Bundy in this jail?
A. No . . . not as long as he . . . he's been in the docks, he can't go anyplace else.
Q. Let's go back a little bit on your original contact with Loisel. Describe to me the attitude and the tone of voice and the things that Loisel said to you when he brought you into this office.
A. At first he was talking kind of fast, especially when he introduced himself . . . he was talking fast, like he didn't want me to catch his name . . . you know, I'm Lynn Loisel . . . the District Attorney's Office, boom, he sat down. And then he said, er, and then he asked me the question, would I mind telling him about what relation I had with Sal Panzeca, and I said, yes, I do mind. And then when I said that, he boiled over and he got mad . . . he said, it's your fight . . . and slapped his books together and he got . . . he said, when's your roll-out date . . . and I said, November 14th, and he said, er, forget about it, and he walked out.
Q. What was the statement you gave Sal Panzeca?
A. The same that I told, told you, that, er, I met Russo in six, six . . . 1962, through a friend of mine, at his house, and that I witnessed him slicing his wrist, and that I knew Sandra Moffett, and that, er, he was . . . liked to hypnotize . . . the same things that I told you . . . basically the same thing.
Q. It is not a very pleasant picture of Mr. Russo, I'd say.
A. No . . . I wouldn't, er, you couldn't say I was his character witness. I was just the opposite.
Q. Do you think that the DA's people knew what kind of statement you had given about Perry Russo?
A. I don't know, they said, er, what you know is minor, minor to this investigation, because what we know is, er, we know everything that you've told him, you know, and, er, it's minor, and I asked him, well, what are you doing messing with me if it's so minor? He boiled over and he, he got mad.
Back to interviews menu
Back to Perry Russo menu
Back to Jim Garrison menu
Back to JFK menu
Dave Reitzes home page