The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, continued
AFTER THE RECESS:
THE COURT: Is the State and Defense ready to proceed?
MR. DYMOND: We are ready.
MR. ALCOCK: We are ready.
THE COURT: Have Mr. Russo retake the witness stand.
PERRY RAYMOND RUSSO, having been previously sworn, resumed the stand for a continuation of DIRECT EXAMINATION
THE COURT: Your previous oath is still binding. You may proceed.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: Now, Perry, prior to the recess for lunch, you were given a statement allegedly prepared by Andrew Sciambra of the District Attorney's Office. Have you had occasion to read that statement in its entirety?
Q: You have that statement with you at this time?
A: I do.
Q: Now, Perry, before asking you questions relating to that memorandum, let me ask you if you recall on what date Mr. Sciambra interviewed you.
A: That was on a Saturday, February 27th, which is correct.
Q: Would that have been the date that was prepared?
A: February 25th was Saturday and this was prepared on the 27th, excuse me.
Q: Apparently, and I realize this is only an approximation, but how long did Mr. Sciambra speak with you?
A: Two hours, two and a half hours.
Q: During the course of this interview did you notice Mr. Sciambra taking notes?
A: He had a yellow, a yellow legal pad and a couple of little scribbles but no, not no notes.
Q: Would it be a fair statement to say --
MR. DYMOND: I object to the form of this question.
MR. ALCOCK: I haven't asked the question.
MR. DYMOND: But you are about to. You are asking him whether something would be a fair statement which is extended to leading.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: Did Mr. Sciambra take down to your knowledge everything you told him?
A: No. He took down very little of what we talked about.
Q: Again, Perry, referring to the statement you have had an opportunity to read and does that statement reflect everything you told Mr. Sciambra on that occasion?
Q: Referring once again to that statement, does that statement reflect accurately that portion of your conversation with Mr. Sciambra that is recorded here? Does it reflect it completely accurately?
A: It, there is omissions and also some incorrect statements.
Q: Perry, at any time subsequent to this interview did you have occasion to tell anyone that that memorandum was not complete or totally accurate?
A: I had several occasions. One occasion was with Mr. James Phelan of the Saturday Evening Post. At that time I pointed out several glaring errors in the transcript.
Q: Perry, referring again to the memo, and you have had an opportunity to read it, can you tell the Court now what omission you are talking about or omissions?
A: You want to go down sentence by sentence?
MR. DYMOND: We object unless the document is first read to the Jury and we will be glad to join the State in the offer in evidence.
MR. ALCOCK: I don't think it is necessary, but I don't think, I don't think there is a predicate --
MR. DYMOND: The question is: What is left out and the Jury doesn't know what is left out if they don't know what is in it.
THE COURT: I think your objection is well taken, Mr. Dymond. If there is no objection on the part of the State or the Defense, let it be introduced.
MR. ALCOCK: I will read it to the Jury on introduction, Your Honor.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: Mr. Russo, let me just lay a proper predicate. Have you made any notations on the copy of the memorandum that you have?
A: A couple of notations.
MR. ALCOCK: I think it would be more proper to use mine as I have no notations.
MR. DYMOND: Yes, I agree with you.
MR. ALCOCK: And in connection with the testimony of this witness, the State offers to file and introduce in evidence, having marked for purposes of identification, State 20.
MINUTE CLERK: State 20.
MR. ALCOCK: Would that be correct?
MINUTE CLERK: Yes.
MR. DYMOND: We will join in the offer.
MR. ALCOCK: Mark it State and Defense 20 and I would ask at this time permission of the Court to read the statement to the Jury.
THE COURT: You may so do.
MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, in view of the fact that this is a joint offering, I will ask that the Court read it to the Jury.
THE COURT: I think Mr. Alcock's voice is better than mine.
MR. ALCOCK: Is it all right if I use this microphone?
THE COURT: Certainly.
MR. ALCOCK: This document is entitled Memorandum and dated February 27, 1967 to Jim Garrison from Andrew J. Sciambra. It's re the interview with Perry Raymond Russo, 311 East State Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"On February 25, 1967, I interviewed Perry Russo at the above-mentioned address. Russo was very co-operative and said that he was glad to see me as he had been hounded to death by the local news media. He said that he would give us all the help that he possibly could, and that he would furnish us with names of individuals who could be most helpful to us in our investigation.
"He said that one of these persons is Al Landry who lives in Gentilly. He said that Ferrie was 'in love' with Landry. He says in 1962 (the approximate month he cannot remember but he says that it can be ascertained through Landry's mother) he went to Landry's house to try to locate him. He was told at time to time by Landry's mother that Ferrie had taken Landry out of the country and that she did not know where they were. Russo told me later on in the interview that Ferrie had taken Landry out of the country twice and this was the first trip. He said that later on he found out that Ferrie had taken Landry to Canada and to Mexico.
"Russo said that he and Landry and a small group of other boys used to always pal around together and that it was common knowledge to everyone that Ferrie was a homosexual and Russo and his buddies were trying to alienate Landry from Ferrie. Russo said that Landry had some strange fascination for Ferrie and was greatly impressed by Ferrie's intelligence. He says that he is sure that Ferrie had Landry under some sort of spell from time to time. He said that what proved this to him what that in 1962 Landry took him to Ferrie's apartment out in Kenner and Ferrie was having a meeting with about eight or ten young boys who were in the Civil Air Patrol. Ferrie's mother was at the meeting and Ferrie introduced his mother to Russo. Russo said that he went to the meeting because Landry had told him that Ferrie was a great hypnotist and at this meeting Ferrie would demonstrate some of his hypnotic powers.
"Russo said that Landry could furnish us with the names of all the people who were at the meeting and he could also furnish us with a lot of information about Ferrie for he and Ferrie put on a hypnotic demonstration and used Landry as his subject. He said that Ferrie stuck pins in Landry's body and Landry would not feel any pain. He said Ferrie gave a very long lecture on hypnotism and post-hypnotic suggestions and demonstrated his power by using Landry as his subject. After the demonstration Ferrie showed him and Landry five diplomas that he had and said that he had received his Ph.D in two of these subjects. He also had various pieces of machinery in his attic and surgical equipment and bones which he doesn't know if they were human or animal.
"Russo said after the meeting he and Landry went home and he did not see Ferrie for a while. He said a little while later on he went to Landry's house to talk with him and Landry's mother told him that Ferrie had again taken her son out of the country. She told Russo that in her opinion Ferrie was a very strange and weird individual and that she had often told her son to stay away from him but that her son would not listen to her. She said that it was as if Ferrie had some strange power over her son. She asked Russo to help her to try to alienate her son from Ferrie. Russo said that he would try and do this.
"Russo said that the next time he saw Ferrie was a few weeks later when he was standing on the corner of Decatur and Canal with a friend of his by the name of Niles Peterson who presently drives a Yellow Cab No. 792. Ferrie, Landry, and a Spanish guy or Cuban guy with a beard who could speak no English and six or eight kids in khaki uniforms passed them on the street. He said the Cuban fellow was in green fatigues. He said Ferrie and Landry told him hello and Ferrie kept walking with the group, however, Landry stopped for a moment and told him that they were going somewhere but that he would get in touch with him in a few days. Russo asked Landry where had he been, and Landry told him that Ferrie and he had been to Mexico. In a few days Russo contacted Landry and told him that his mother did not like Ferrie and that everyone knew that Ferrie was a homosexual and that he did not think that he should be associating with Ferrie. Landry said that he would think about breaking off his relationship with Ferrie but that it would be difficult. He said that Ferrie was teaching his group the art of fighting jungle warfare and that Ferrie's plan was to help liberate the Sough American countries. He said that Ferrie often referred to wiping out the rest of the Bastista gang in Cuba. Russo said that he and several of his cousins all began to 'bug' Landry about Ferrie, the CAP, jungle warfare, and the liberation of the South American countries. He said that eventually got to Landry and Landry began seeing Ferrie not as much as he normally would have.
"Russo said that one night he and Landry and Tim Kershenstine, who lives on 2061 Pelopidas, phone number 943-8490, and possibly Niles Peterson were in the Interlect which is located on Bourbon Street and they ran into Dave Ferrie. Ferrie said that he would like to talk with Landry privately and Russo told Ferrie that whatever he had to say to Landry he should do it in front of everybody. Russo then told Landry to tell Ferrie to take a walk and that he didn't want to be involved with him any more Landry then told Ferrie that he wanted to break off his relationship. Ferrie then told Landry that he would talk to him about it later and he then turned to Russo and told him that either he or one of his men would kill him for what he had done to him and Landry. Russo told Ferrie to just get away and stay away from Landry because he was no good for Landry. He said that Landry had told him that Ferrie used to hypnotize him and give him post- hypnotic suggestions. He also said that Ferrie eventually confessed to him that he used hypnosis for sexual purposes. Russo said that after this incident on Bourbon Street he said that he did not see Ferrie for about six months and that one day he was driving his car on the Veterans Highway and that he noticed that he was starting to get a flat tire. He pulled his car into a service station and told the two young kids who were working there that he wanted to change his tire. About this time Dave Ferrie came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and told him hello and asked him where he had been as he had not seen him for some time. Russo then said that they exchanged casual remarks and pleasant conversation. Russo said that Ferrie was either the owner or the manager of this service station. He said that Ferrie then left and sat in a white or very light colored compact car and began talking with the individual in the front seat. Russo said that he then pulled his car right alongside of this compact car and that he looked at Ferrie and the individual that he was talking to in the front seat several times while he was waiting there for his car. After the car was fixed and he was about to leave the station Ferrie asked him where was he staying because he wanted to come over and talk with him about a few business deals. Russo told him the address and said that a short while thereafter Ferrie came to his apartment. He said Ferrie brought over to the apartment some pornographic film that he had and that he wanted Russo to sell it for him. Ferrie told him that he had just returned from Cuba and that he could get all of this kind of film that he wanted. He said that he could get more film out of Cuba very easily and if Russo could sell the film for him they could all make money. He said that he would have to get $150.00 a roll for the film because it was pretty risky going in and out of Cuba. Russo said the film consisted of one man and one woman and that the story was essentially that of a woman cheating the man in a game of cards and the man eventually beating her up and raping her for doing so. He said the man in the picture was either Spanish or Cuban, looked to be strong and rather husky and had black hair. He said that he had a patch over one eye. The girl was an American. Russo said that he took this film and sold it to someone who he believes eventually sold it to a seaman. (Russo said that he would try and obtain this film for us.) He said Ferrie then began coming to his apartment on an average of twice a week and that one time he came over to his apartment and told him that he had been working with chemicals and studying their effects on the human body. He said that Ferrie had told him that he had extensive knowledge about drugs and mixtures of drugs and how they would affect the human body. Ferrie showed him a drug that he said he concocted himself and that it was very similar to Aphrodisiac but even better. He said that it would make a person extremely passionate and would enable him to forget all of his inhibitions and obtain a very free and loose attitude about love and sex. He said it would also erase any feelings of guilt that a person might have toward any type of sexual behavior that he might care to indulge in. He said that Ferrie told him that he had used this drug with different friends of his and this is how they reacted to it. He also admitted to Russo for the first time that he was a homosexual and he wanted to know if Russo would be willing to take the drug. Russo said that he did not care to take the drug. Ferrie also told him that he could get all of the heroin that he wanted but that he would not fool with it as it was too hot to handle and that he could concoct drugs that would serve his purpose.
"Russo said that one day he had Kenny Carter, a colored boy who used to attend Loyola University and who he believes attends LSU New Orleans, were in his apartment on Elysian Fields when Ferrie came in with two Cubans who were dressed in green fatigues. One of the Cubans had a beard and the other one didn't. Both of them were very strongly built, had dark complexion and rough looking. Their faces were extremely tough looking. Russo said that they looked as if they could bend a bar of steel. He said that they were around 28 to 35 years old and that Ferrie introduced them but he cannot remember their names. He said that they did not say anything because they could not speak English. He said that Ferrie at this time started making remarks about Cuba and criticizing the United States. He said the people in Cuba are starving to death and they have no medicine and that he blamed the United States for this. He said that the United States is a barbaric nation and no nation as powerful as the United States should be barbaric. He also referred to the two Cubans with him as instructors in the manly art of the jungle warfare. After this conversation Ferrie and the two Cubans left.
"Russo said that he did not see Ferrie again until he went to his Louisiana Avenue Parkway apartment with Kenny Carter looking for him. He said that Ferrie was there and he was with a Cuban guy in green fatigues who was younger and not nearly as powerful looking as the other two Cubans. He said that Ferrie introduced him to someone he called his roommate. He said Ferrie mentioned his name but he can't remember it right now. He said the roommate had sort of dirty blond hair and a husky beard which appeared to be a little darker than his hair. He said the guy was a typical beatnik, and extremely dirty, with his hair all messed up, his beard unkept, a dirty T-shirt on, and either blue jeans or khaki pants on. He said he wore white tennis shoes which were crutty and had on no socks. He said the roommate appeared to be in his middle Twenties. Russo said that he went to Ferrie's apartment about five or six times and he can remember seeing the roommate about two or three times. He said that the roommate never talked to anybody. As soon as anyone would come into Ferrie's apartment the roommate would get up and leave and go into another room by himself. Russo said that one day he tried to make conversation with the roommate by asking him where he was from and the roommate told him from everywhere and so he didn't try to talk to him any more because he appeared to be a real 'punk.' He mentioned this to Ferrie and Ferrie told him not to worry about it because he was a funny guy and he didn't like to talk to anybody and all he did was sit down on the porch in the dark and think and read books all the time.
"Ferrie told Russo that he had tried the Aphrodisiac drugs on his roommate and it worked perfectly. He said that he and his roommate laid in bed naked and he gave the drug to his roommate and his roommate became very passionate and aggressive and had intercourse with Ferrie. He said that after this was over the roommate had no recollection of what he had done. He said that his roommate was a perfect subject for this. He also said that his roommate did not get along with his Cuban friends and that this is the reason why Russo never saw the roommate with any of the Cubans or with anybody else for that matter. Russo said that as soon as he would walk into the apartment, the roommate would walk out without saying a word. Ferrie repeated that these Cubans who were coming to his apartment were jungle fighters and would help liberate South America.
"Russo said that he believed that Kershenstine, Kenny Carter, and maybe Niles Peterson, and Landry would know more about the roommate and be able to recognize him. Russo said that it would be hard for him to pinpoint the time right now but that he knew that this was in 1963 and he believed it was somewhere between May and October.
"Russo said that during the summer of 1963 Ferrie became obsessed with the idea that an assassination could be carried out in the United States very easily if the proper amount of planning was made. Every time Russo talked to Ferrie he told him more and more about how he was the kind of person who could successfully plan an assassination. Russo said that he never referred directly to J.F.K. and always used the President of Mexico or President Esienhower as an example. Ferrie asked him, 'How many times do you remember seeing Eisenhower riding in an open-top automobile exposed to everyone without any protection whatsoever?' He said the limousine usually drives around ten miles an hour and frequently stops at different points. Therefore, it would be extremely easy to shoot somebody. Ferrie said that the whole key to a successful assassination would be the availability of exit and the use of the mass confusion that would result from such a plot. Ferrie said that one person of a small group of people could sit down and plan the whole thing out and get out of the country after it was over before anybody knew what was going on. He said that he was the key to the availability of exit as he could jump into any plane under the sun and fly it out of the country to a place that would not extradite, such as Cuba or Brazil. He said even if for some reason the availability of exit were blocked the people could still escape by making use of the mass confusion that would erupt. He said that he was sure that he could plan the whole thing very easily. Russo said that they got into many discussions about Ferrie's idea on how easy an assassination would be and Russo said that many times he told Ferrie that it would not be as easy as he thought. Russo said that he remembered once going to the Nashville Street Wharf to hear J.F.K. make a speech and he remembers that he saw a Secret Service man guarding the President every five or teen feet. Russo said that he knew that these were either Secret Service men or F.B.I. men because these were the only people not facing J.F.K. when he was talking. These people were looking into the crowd watching for any suspicious activity. Ferrie said that all of these complications could be worked out with the proper amount of planning. Ferrie said that a person could use the mob confusion to help him get away but that the person should not make the mistake of getting messed up in the crowd. Ferrie also said that another way that an assassination could be successfully carried out would be through someone very intimate to the White House who had sophisticated knowledge of medicine and chemicals and how they would cause the human body to react. He said with all the knowledge he had of medicine and its reaction in relationship to the human body he was sure that he could commit a perfect murder and no doctor in the country and no autopsy report in the country could detect it.
"Ferrie said that he had extensive knowledge of medicine and chemicals and their effects on the human body. Ferrie said that he knew that the Coroner and doctors" -- I read that wrong. I'm sorry -- I will read it over -- "Ferrie said that he knew what the coroner and doctors look for when they made their autopsy report, and as a result of what they would find they would have to say that the death was a result of natural causes.
"Ferrie said that one thing that had to be remembered was not to physically disturb the apartment or the house because if the furniture was messed up it may cause some suspicion as to the cause of death and further inquiry might result. He said murders are committed every day, that stupid doctors and coroners term natural deaths. Ferrie said that he knew of a type of drug which once it got into the blood stream would cause physical reaction that would result in extensive brain damage or blood clot and eventual death. He said the physical reaction to this drug would be such that no doctor in this country would call it anything but a natural death. He said the chemical involved would dissipate without leaving any trace at all and the autopsy would say something like 'Blood Clot.'
"Russo said that in September and October of 1963, Ferrie got worse in his speeches about an assassination. He said that for the first time since he began talking about assassinations he began making direct references to J.F.K. Ferrie told Russo on several occasions that, 'We will get him.' (Meaning J.F.K.) And that 'It won't be long.' Russo said that he hasn't spoken with Ferrie since the assassination.
"I then pulled out some pictures and I began to show Russo the pictures asking him whether or not he could identify anyone in the pictures. He picked out three people. I did not disclose the names of any of the people whose pictures I showed him. I merely said, 'Do you know or recognize any of these people?' The first person he picked out was Arcacha Smith and he says that Arcacha looks very much like the Cuban in the pornographic film that Ferrie brought to his apartment and which he sold to a seaman. He then called his brother, Steve, over to look at Archacha's picture and asked him if that face was familiar to him, and his brother, Steve, 'Yes, it looks like the guy in the film.' Russo said he recognized the face because, 'To be perfectly honest I looked at the film quite a bit.' At this point he asked me if anything he was telling me would be used against him. I assured him that it wouldn't. The next picture that he identi- fied was that of Clay Shaw. He said that he saw this man twice. The first time was when he pulled into Ferrie's service station to get his car fixed. Shaw was the person who was sitting in the compact car talking with Ferrie. He remembers seeing him again at the Nashville Street Wharf where he went to see J.F.K. speak. He said he particularly remembers this guy because he was apparently a queer. It seems that instead of looking at J.F.K. speak, Shaw kept turning around and looking at all the young boys in the crowd. He said that Shaw eventually struck up a conversation with a young kid not too far from him. It was perfectly obvious to him that Shaw stared at his penis several times. He said that Shaw eventually left with a friend. He said that Shaw had on dark pants that day which fit very tightly and was the kind of pants that a lot of queers in the French Quarter wear. Shaw had on a corduroy type jacket which was black with white stripes. The third picture that Russo identified as that of Lee Harvey Oswald. When he looked at the picture he began shaking his head and said that he doesn't know if he should say what he's thinking. I told him to go on and tell me what was on his mind and that we would accept this in relationship to all the information we had and it may not be as wild as he thinks it is. He then said that the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald was the person that Ferrie had introduced to him as his roommate. He said the only thing that doesn't make him stand up and say that he is sure beyond the shadow of any doubt is the fact that the roommate was always so cruddy and had a bushy beard. He then drew a beard on the picture of Oswald and said this was Ferrie's roommate. He suggested that I put a beard on Oswald and not say who it was and show the picture to Kenny Carter, Landry, Kershenstine, Peterson, and maybe a few of the people in Ferrie's CAP unit who may have been up to his apartment. Russo was sure that they would say that that was Ferrie's roommate. He also said that we might show the picture to Robert Lemoyne, who lives in the vicinity of Nicholls High School as he was in contact with Ferrie around that time. Russo said the more we took the more comes back to me and he said that the name Leon really rings a bell. He also said that if he were hypnotized he may have total recall on names and places and dates. He said that he had been hypnotized like this before and it had helped him to recall and that he would do it for us" -- I'm sorry, I read that wrong -- I'll read that again -- "-- that he would be glad to do it for us.
"Russo told me that he now works at the Equitable Insurance Company in Baton Rouge, Phone Number 926-5300. He said that the best time to reach him would be around 9:30 in the morning or 4:30 in the afternoon Monday through Friday. He says that on the weekends he usually leaves town mostly coming to New Orleans. I told him that we would be in touch with him."
That completes the statement.
(Whereupon, a recess was taken.)
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