The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, continued




THE COURT: Is the State ready and the Defense ready to proceed?

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, sir.

MR. DYMOND: We are ready.

Q: Perry, going back to this occasion which you saw Oswald at Ferrie's apartment after this conversation, again, who was present on this occasion?

A: Oswald and Ferrie.

Q: And what was said on this occasion?

A: They were having a private discussion, I did not feel I was part of it, the only thing I understood from the discussion --

MR. DYMOND: I object to it as being a purported conversation between two other parties when no prima facie case for conspiracy has been proven and it is out of the presence --

THE COURT: The Court overrules that objection.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling, if the Court please, Counsel for the Defense reserves a bill of exception, making the question propounded by the State, the answer, Counsel's objection, the ruling of the Court, and the entire record of the proceedings up to this point, a part of the bill.

THE COURT: Before you proceed, Mr. Alcock, I just want to note in the minutes of the Court, I will cite the articles and cases as my reasons for my decision at a later time. I don't want to hold it up now, but I wish to cite certain articles. You may proceed.

Q: Continue, Mr. Russo.

A: Ferrie said that Oswald had said he was having trouble with his wife, and Ferrie told him, "I will take care of it."

Q: At this occasion or prior to this occasion, did you know that Oswald was married?

A: Yes.

Q: How did you know that?

A: He had a wedding ring on.

Q: Now, Perry, in addition to this occasion, did you again at any time see Oswald, either at Ferrie's apartment or any other location?

A: I saw him one other time.

Q: Approximately when was that?

A: Oh, a few days later, I am not exactly sure.

Q: Where was that?

A: At Ferrie's apartment.

Q: Who was present on this occasion?

A: Ferrie and Oswald.

Q: What, if anything, took place on that occasion?

A: Oswald was leaving town.

Q: And what, if anything, was said either by Oswald or Ferrie on that occasion?

A: He was leaving town, had stuff packed up, and I don't remember the exact words, but Oswald either said, or Ferrie mentioned it, that he had gone to Houston.

Q: Can you recall, Perry, anything else that was said between the two on that occasion?

MR. DYMOND: I would like the record to show the same objection, the same bill applies to this entire line of testimony.

THE COURT: The same ruling.

Q: Can you recall, Perry, whether or not anything else was said between the two on that occasion?

A: No, not really.

Q: Perry, on this occasion, what was the physical appearance of Oswald?

A: I did not get a great look at him except that he was clean, he had a white shirt on, a tie he had turned sideways like that, and he was relatively clean in comparison with before.

Q: Specifically, Perry, with reference to his face, was there anything different than there was before?

A: I didn't take a great note, except that it was the same man, just walked in, and, you know, that was about it, I looked at him and left. As I remember, I didn't take a really great notice of his physical appearance except he was clean.

Q: Approximately, Perry, how long were you in his presence on this occasion?

A: That time?

Q: At that time, right.

A: Five, ten minutes at the most.

Q: Did you actually see him leave Ferrie's apartment on that occasion?

A: No.

Q: During the course of this encounter with Oswald and Ferrie, did Ferrie at any time leave the apartment and thereby just leave you and Oswald in the apartment?

A: No.

Q: How long did you remain in the apartment on that occasion?

A: About five or ten minutes.

Q: Perry, do you recall whether or not anyone was with you on that occasion?

A: No, I am almost sure I was alone.

Q: Now, Perry, going back to the occasion you saw Oswald in Ferrie's apartment, after the time you saw the Defendant present, that would be the first time you saw him after that, was anyone with you?

A: At that time, no.

Q: Referring now to the first time that you saw Oswald present in the apartment, cleaning the rifle that you have testified to, was anyone present with him?

A: The first time that I came up or went up there?

Q: Right.

A: No.

Q: Perry, subsequent to this time in the middle of September, 1966, did you have occasion to see the Defendant again before the year 1967?

A: Yes, once.

Q: Now, where was this?

A: This was at a Gulf Station on Veterans Highway.

Q: Would that be a gasoline station?

A: A gasoline station, yes.

Q: Do you recall approximately when that was?

A: It was in early 1964.

Q: And what was the occasion for your seeing him there?

A: Well, I had trouble with my automobile, and I pulled into a service station just by chance, and it happened to be Ferrie's Service Station or he was working there, and these two attendants came to the car and they asked me what was wrong, I think it was the battery, it was bad or they told me just to pull it over on the side and Dave Ferrie walked up and said, "What are you doing," and I said something, you know, "Long time no see."

Q: At this time, I don't think it appropriate that you say what was said since this was the year 1964. What, if anything, did you do or say on this occasion?

A: Well, I pulled the car up on the side, as I was instructed by the attendants, and I just sat there with the door open while they worked on the car, and I at that time saw Ferrie was sitting in the car next to mine, and he was talking with a man at that time.

Q: And do you see the man that he was talking with at that time in the courtroom?

A: I do.

Q: Would you point to him, please.

A: (Indicating.)

Q: Would that be the Defendant, Clay Shaw?

A: It is.

Q: Approximately, Perry, how long were you at that gas station?

A: I am not sure of that.

Q: Approximately how long did you look at the Defendant and Ferrie talking in this automobile?

A: I looked on and off, you know, I was really just mad about the car, and I was in a rush to get out of there, maybe three, four, five minutes.

Q: Can you recall, Perry, who was sitting behind the wheel of the car and who was sitting on the other side or the back, or wherever the other individual was sitting?

A: Oh, the Defendant was sitting at the wheel and Ferrie was sitting closer to me toward my car with the door opened on his, just slightly adjoining.

Q: Was the Defendant wearing a hat on that occasion?

A: No.

Q: Perry, did you remember on that occasion that the man that you saw talking to Ferrie was the same man that you had seen --

MR. DYMOND: I object to that as leading.

THE COURT: Rephrase your question.

Q: Did you recall ever having seen the man talking to Ferrie on a prior occasion?

A: I have seen him on a couple of occasions, one at Dave Ferrie's apartment, and one at the Nashville Wharf and perhaps another time at the Republican Headquarters.

Q: Did you at any time during the course of this encounter engage in conversation with the Defendant?

A: At the gas station?

Q: At the gas station.

A: No.

Q: Was there any reason why you didn't?

A: Well, I was in a rush, just conversation, I was not going to go over there and start a conversation when I was in a rush to get out.

Q: Perry, do you recall how you first made contact with the District Attorney's Office?

A: Oh, in February, I wrote the District Attorney's Office a letter, to New Orleans, I was living in Baton Rouge at the time.

Q: Do you recall approximately on what date that you wrote that letter?

A: About the 21st of February.

Q: Would that be 1967?

A: '67, yes.

Q: Do you recall, Perry, on what date you mailed the letter?

A: Oh, two days, approximately two days later. I didn't have a chance -- I didn't mail it that night, something came up the next day and I was involved with school and some other things, and I didn't mail it that next day either, I think I mailed it the 23rd.

Q: Perry, did you have an occasion either that day or the next day or the following day to have a conversation with Mr. Andrew Sciambra, the gentleman seated to my right?

A: On the 25th of February he came up to Baton Rouge.

Q: And what did you tell Mr. -- now, you can't say what Mr. Sciambra told you, but what did you tell Mr. Sciambra on this occasion?

A: Well, I identified photographs that he showed me, told him to my recollection how I had known the people that I had identified the photographs, and where and approximately what years and at what instances or circumstances that I -- under which I knew these people.

Q: What pictures did you identify, Perry?

A: Initially I identified -- well, Dave Ferrie, I identified Dave Ferrie, Oswald, I identified Bertrand, I identified Sergia Arcacha, I identified Emile Santana.

Q: What, if anything, Perry, did you tell Mr. Sciambra about where you knew Bertrand or Shaw from?

A: Oh, I told Mr. Sciambra the first time I had met Shaw or Bertrand was at the Nashville Wharf.

Q: Did you tell him anything in addition to that?

A: I told him that the next time that I had met him, I recollect it was at the gas station, and then finally I told him I had seen him up at Ferrie's apartment.

Q: Did you relate to him, Perry, essentially what you have related to this Jury about the time that you saw this Defendant at Ferrie's apartment?

MR. DYMOND: I object to that as being much too general a question, asking him whether he related to him substantially what he told the Jury.

THE COURT: I will overrule the objection.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling, if the Court please, Counsel for the Defense reserves a bill of exception, making the question, the objection, the testimony of the witness, the ruling of the Court, the reason for the objection, and the entire record up to this point a part of the bill.

(Whereupon, the pending question was read by the Reporter.)

THE WITNESS: Not in a great detail, but in essence, yes.

Q: Do you recall, Perry, I think you have testified that you identified a picture of Clay Shaw. Did you identify the picture as Clay Shaw, or what?

A: Well, at that time I never heard of the name of Shaw, and Mr. Sciambra showed me the picture and there was a bunch of pictures and I picked it up and I said, "I know this man, I met this man," and then I went on subsequently to give his name, and I said it was Bertrand, he asked me the first name, and I said it was, I had to think about it, I said I think it was Clem, and he said are you sure of that --

Q: Well, now, you can't say what Mr. Sciambra said.

A: I was asked, I told him I was sure of it, and, oh, it is hard to give one side of a conversation.

Q: Would that be C-l-e-m?

A: C-l-e-m, right.

Q: Perry, directing your attention to approximately March 21, 1967, did you ever have any conversations, without going into their substance at this time, with a man be the name of James Phelan?

A: I did.

Q: That is P-h-e-l-a-n. Is that correct?

A: Right.

Q: Perry, did you ever tell this man that he wanted to --

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, we object at this time to this witness testifying as to what he told James Phelan.

THE COURT: On what grounds?

MR. DYMOND: It could very well be a self-serving declaration in addition to corroborating this witness by his own testimony.

MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor, I assume the objection is going to be hearsay, certainly a witness can testify to what he said, and that is all I am attempting to elicit from this witness, what he told James Phelan. He is subject to cross-examination if Mr. Dymond feels it is a self-serving declaration.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling, if the Court please, Counsel for the Defense reserves a bill of exception, making the question, the entire testimony, the objection, the reasons for the objection, the ruling of the Court, and the entire record up to this point part of the bill.

Q: Mr. Russo, did you ever tell Mr. Phelan --

THE COURT: You are leading the witness, now, Counsel.

Q: Can you recall essentially what you told Mr. Phelan on your first encounter with him in relation to the testimony that you had given at the preliminary hearing, if you can recall it?

MR. DYMOND: We object, unless the question includes a designation of when this alleged conversation took place.

MR. ALCOCK: I said March 21, on or about March 21, 1967.

THE COURT: It is a statement that the witness made to Mr. Phelan?


THE COURT: I will permit that.

MR. DYMOND: Same objection.

Q: Can you recall, Perry, what you told James Phelan on that occasion relative to what transpired at the preliminary hearing?

A: I was shown a transcript or a memoranda, rather, of an initial interview which Mr. Sciambra conducted in Baton Rouge the previous month, and there were certain discrepancies pointed out in that as opposed to the preliminary hearing testimony, and so I told him, I attempted to --

MR. DYMOND: We call for the production of this memorandum to which the witness has referred. We are entitled to follow him on that.

MR. ALCOCK: I will produce the memorandum, Your Honor. At this time I have a Xerox copy of this memorandum; however, some areas are rather indistinct, and perhaps if I could send someone to the office for a more legible copy, it might better suit the purpose of the Court.

THE COURT: Do you think we could get Mr. Hull to do that for us?

MR. ALCOCK: I can ask some more questions, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Proceed.

Q: Perry, do you recall where this conversation with James Phelan took place?

A: It took place at 311 East State Street, Baton Rouge.

Q: And what is that?

A: That was my home at that time.

Q: Do you recall approximately what time of day or night it took place?

A: It was -- it took place in the evening.

Q: What do you call "evening"?

A: From 6:00 to 10:00, 6:00 to 12:00.

Q: And, Perry, who was present during the course of this conversation?

A: There were several people intermittently present, there was one man that came up with Mr. Phelan, I think his name was Matt Herron, he was a photographer, and there was Mr. Phelan, myself, the neighbors from next door, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Fiser, and for a few minutes, anyway, and there were several other people that came in and left, stayed a few minutes and left.

Q: Were you living at that location at the time?

A: 311 East State, yes, I was going to school.

Q: Did you have any roommates at that time?

A: Steve Derby.

Q: Do you recall whether or not he was there?

A: He was there just for a little while.

Q: You mentioned that the persons were there intermittently, and what do you mean by that?

A: Well, a Phil O'Neill for one passed over, he just dropped in, stayed a little while and left, several other friends of mine up there at that time just came on over and they stayed a few minutes and they would leave.

Q: Besides yourself and James Phelan, was there anyone there the entire time that you spoke to Phelan?

A: Well, was there anyone else present the entire length of Mr. Phelan's stay?

Q: That's right, besides yourself and Mr. Phelan.

A: Not talking, Matt Herron was there taking photographs.

Q: Other than yourself, Herron and Phelan, was there anyone within earshot the entire time that Mr. Phelan was there?

A: No.

Q: Approximately how long was Phelan in your apartment?

A: Approximately three hours.

Q: Perry, did you know that Phelan was coming to your apartment?

A: I knew that he was supposed to have been there or supposed to have been at my place the day before, something -- he did not arrive the day before, he did arrive that day, I had communicated with the District Attorney's Office and had found out that he was coming, and that he would try to be there on such a day, which he never showed up, he came the next day.

Q: You say you communicated with the District Attorney's Office. Was there any particular individual within the office, without saying what he said, that you communicated with?

A: Andrew Sciambra.

Q: Would that be the man to my right here?

A: Right.

MR. ALCOCK: I can't proceed much further without the statement.

THE COURT: Well, how long do you think it will take Mr. Hull to get back with it?

MR. ALCOCK: He has long legs, it's not too far, he should be back at any time. I have copies, but some of the portions are indistinct, and they cannot be read.

THE COURT: I might suggest if you wish, Mr. Alcock, you get on the phone and call your office and see if they are having any difficulty in getting the copies. That might help the situation.

MR. ALCOCK: Very well, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Tell Mr. Alcock we have them. Do you want time to study that, Mr. Dymond?

MR. DYMOND: We would like to look this over, yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I don't believe you can proceed until he has an opportunity to read the exhibit, and how many pages is it?

MR. ALCOCK: Seven pages, 3500 words, as I recall.

MR. DYMOND: Six pages, Judge.

THE COURT: Take the Jury upstairs. The Court will be in recess. Would you advise me when you are ready to proceed, I will be in recess.

MR. DYMOND: Yes, Your Honor.

MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor --

THE COURT: Gentlemen, I understand the status of the case as of this moment is that Xerox copies, that the State has the copies, the Defense has copies, and a copy has been given to the witness to read and it is about five minutes to 12:00 and the agents are here and I will ask Mr. Russo to continue reading this statement during the noon recess.

Gentlemen, I am going to turn you over to the Sheriff's representative and I must admonish you one more time not to discuss the case amongst yourselves until it is finally given to you for decision.

(Whereupon, a luncheon recess was taken.)


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