The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, continued



THE COURT: Before you proceed, Mr. Alcock, I have two statements I wish to make.

No. 1, at the request of the news media, I would, at 3:00 o'clock take a five- minute recess.

No. 2, the State and the Defense have spoken to me several times concerning the question of whether we will or will not hold Court February 18th, tomorrow one week. It has been pointed out to me by both State and the Defense of the great problems witnesses would have in transportation in the City, particularly those people coming in from out of town and at their suggestion, although I previously stated that I would work Mardi Gras Day, at their request we will not work Carnival Day and I am making that decision on the request of both State and Defense.

You may proceed, Mr. Alcock.

Q: Now, Perry, did you follow me during the course of that reading of your statement?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Have you the statement with you now?

A: Yes.

Q: Referring to the statement, are there any inaccuracies in the statement?

A: Several.

Q: Would you tell me what the first one you have noted is?

A: Page 1, paragraph 2 the sentence reads, part of it does, "He went to Landry's house to try to locate him and he was told at that time by Landry's mother that Ferrie had taken Landry out of the country." I'm not sure that is essentially what was said. This is essentially what was said, out of the country to Canada, Mexico, Cuba, but she didn't exactly know where and probably he was taking her son along with him and that is what she said.

Q: Going down further do you note any other?

A: Not offhand on page 1.

Q: On the following page?

A: On page 2 you have to go back up to page 1, "After the demonstration," it's right at the bottom, "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." Now these I don't recall him showing Landry that, it would have been repetitious and I am sure he showed them to Landry before and I don't think I said that to Sciambra in Baton Rouge.

Q: Any others?

A: On the last paragraph of page 2 "Russo said that one night he and Landry and Tim Kirshenstine, who lives on 2061 Pelopidas, phone number 943-8490 and possibly Niles Peterson were in the Interlect," and I don't think I called it the Interlect, I think I said a bar and some sort of penny arcade was next to it. Peterson, Landry, and myself were there at that time. I may have told Sciambra, I think it is called the Interlect now.

Q: Continue one.

A: Where it says "He also said that Ferrie eventually confessed to him --"

MR. DYMOND: Where is that?

THE WITNESS: At the bottom of the paragraph -- "He also said that Ferrie eventually confessed to him that he used hypnosis for sexual purposes. Ferrie never said that.

Q: Never did what?

A: Used hypnosis for sexual purposes.

Q: Did you tell Sciambra he did or did not?

A: Probably I made a deduction to that effect but I don't think I said it and said that Ferrie said it.

Q: On page 3 it says right towards the top of the first paragraph: "He said that one day he was driving his car on the Veterans Highway and he noticed that he was starting to get a flat tire." At that time, and even to today, I am not sure of what the trouble was, whether I was getting a flat tire or a battery. I testified a few months ago I thought it was battery that had discharged and I'm not sure whether it was one or the other.

Q: What about anything else?

A: That flat tire?

Q: About that service station?

A: No, everything else is essentially about right except that down towards the middle "he said that he would have to get $150.00 a roll for the film." I don't think I said that and I don't know where the 150 came out, that price.

Further on in the paragraph about midway down: "Russo said he took this film and sold it to someone who he believes eventually sold it to a seaman." No, that is a misunderstanding that Sciambra had. I took the film and a guy asked me would I sell it to him and I did and he also was a seaman in Baton Rouge.

Q: Go ahead.

A: Towards the bottom of that paragraph further, "He also admitted to Russo for the first time that he was a homosexual and wanted to know if Russo would be willing to take the drug." Ferrie never admitted that.

Q: He never admitted what?

A: That he was a homosexual.

Q: Did you tell, or do you recall having told Sciambra that?

A: There was a lot of discussion along those lines and probably it was a conclusion but who said it, but Ferrie never said it and I am sure of that.

In the next paragraph "Russo said one day he and Kenny Carter, a colored boy who used to attend Loyola University and who he believes attends Louisiana State were in his apartment on Elysian Fields when Ferrie came in with two Cubans who were dressed in green fatigues." That was a deduction on my part as Kenny Carter used to play basketball for Xavier and as the time, probably around this time he was either going to Loyola or L.S.U. because he went to both.

There were several other friends and they had basketball teams and we merged and played games at Rosenwald Gymnasium and several others around town in competition. We used to play against Kenny Carter and I don't believe I said that Kenny Carter was there but that possibly he might remember some of these guys.

Q: You find any other discrepancies?

A: The essence of that next paragraph is confusing to me. We went into a discussion on Ferrie's opinions about Cuba --

MR. DYMOND: What page is this?

THE WITNESS: Page 4 and the paragraph begins with the part about Kenny Carter, you know on page 3, and where it begins, is that right?

Q: Yes.

A: And the essence of that paragraph sort of sloughs over some of the things Ferrie said but some are crucial and it says there that I mentioned Bastista, that Ferrie had mentioned Batista, but what I said was that Ferrie talked at great length, and I went into some of these details and probably this was confusing to him.

Ferrie talked at great length about Che Guevara of Cuba and Raoul Castro. Raoul he wasn't too hot about and this is what I told Sciambra and I said that Che Guevara though he was extremely powerful and he figured, and which is not included on here, but we went into a lot of detail of why and he figured that Guevara would probably by the next replacement for Castro since Castro had served some purpose and that Guevara would take his place and I don't see Che Guevara's name here at all.

Q: Anything else?

A: The next paragraph, same page 4 where it says "Russo said that he did not see Ferrie again until he went into his Louisiana Avenue Parkway Apartment with Kenny Carter looking for him." No, that is incorrect.

Q: In what way?

A: Essentially again I probably went with Kenny Carter, I'm not sure of that but I'm almost sure that I told Sciambra that in Baton Rouge that Kenny Carter was around me in several capacities and I would not say that was the next time I saw Ferrie was when I went with Kenny Carter to the Louisiana Avenue Parkway Apartment.

Q: Perry, was Kenny Carter with you when you met Ferrie's roommate?

A: To my recollection there was nobody with me the first time I met his roommate.

Q: This would be incorrect?

A: Possibly the confusion is that Kenny Carter's name was mentioned parallel with all of this.

Q: Go ahead.

A: Toward the middle of the paragraph, "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." A couple of things are not exactly right. The dirty blond hair and husky beard, exactly what I said, but I did mention husky trying to pick the right word to represent his facial growth classification but his hair was not dirty blond but more brown or black and the husky beard --

Q: In what respect would it be inaccurate, referring to the husky beard, what respects would that be inaccurate?

A: Well, when I talked with Sciambra I told him this guy had a growth of beard, call it a beard, and I didn't use the word husky. It was a growth of beard and he was dirty and probably at one time husky came in the conversation but it was possibly when I was pulling for a name or some type of adjective and to this day I haven't found the right adjective to describe the beard.

Q: Now, Perry, anything else?

A: All right. Uh, it was the middle of that paragraph on page 4, "He mentioned this to Ferrie and Ferrie told him not to worry about it because he was a funny guy and he didn't talk to anybody, all he did was sit down on the porch in the dark and think and read books all the time."

No. When I first arrived, the first time I ever saw the roommate he was on the porch as I drove up rocking, and at that time it was night and he was rocking on a rocking chair or sitting up there and that to me is apparently a pensive person. Ferrie did tell me he was not very talkative, not very social and did read a lot.

Q: All right.

A: He also said that his roommate did not get along with his Cuban friends." I said to Sciambra that Oswald and I didn't get along and Oswald to me was a peculiar bird 'cause he seemed to me to pick and choose who he would get along with and it wasn't just a blanket putting out all Cubans because some people he'd get along with and some people he didn't." Further on: "Ferrie repeated that these Cubans who were coming to his apartment were jungle fighters and would help liberate South America."

This for sure, Sciambra will remember this --

MR. DYMOND: We object to what the witness thinks Mr. Sciambra will say.

THE WITNESS: I went into an explanation at that time telling him as to what I thought constituted, that everything out of the United States was South America in the Western Hemisphere except Canada which would have included Nicaragua, or Guatemala or Panama and I made this point to him in Baton Rouge, that all of these were South American countries to me although they were technically not.

Q: Would Cuba be South America?

A: Canada would be North America but Guatemala, Panama and the rest would be South America.

Q: All right.

A: "Russo said that he believes 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 believes it was somewhere between May and October. The essence of the paragraph and the bottom sentence is incorrect. The whole episode of Ferrie's stuff was between May and October, the end of school and the beginning of school and essentially and although that seems to give off the impression that it was not that time, this particular thing contained in that paragraph, it is not so. Then on page 5 where it says that Ferrie also talked, and I told Sciambra this in Baton Rouge, also talked about a poisoning of a person that you wanted to execute --

THE JUDGE: What part of page 5?

THE WITNESS: I'm trying to find the place but it is an omission and it would be part of page 5, about killing a President, and they were not talking about Kennedy but they were mentioning Eisenhower or Mateos of Mexico and another thing mentioned was the poisoning setup and if he knew food and chemicals, he would have to know food and chemicals as well that he knew he could do this because he did and there is an omission and whether he did bring it in here I don't know.

The middle of the paragraph -- Russo said "that he remembered once going to the Nashville Street Wharf to hear JFK make a speech and he remembers that he saw a Secret Service man guarding the president every five or ten feet." That was a deduction that was made up in Baton Rouge and they were around there because of that car that came in there, they were around protecting him -- and -- "Russo knew these were Secret Service men or F.B.I. men because they were the only people not facing JFK when he was talking" -- and that again was a deduction and the only person that I saw that was not facing the President, and the only person I noticed because I was in the back, was the Defendant.

Q: All right.

A: Now this bottom part of this paragraph, talking about the perfect murders and talking about chemicals and Ferrie talking about chemicals that could be injected, and at that time he showed me a series of papers with carbon compounds on them and the different molecules and so forth and said that this chemical essentially could cause a blood clot, and then you see on the next page "that would result in extensive brain damage or blood clot and eventually death." This was not in relation to President Kennedy but this was in relation of a perfect murder and this was about the time I had entered law school and the last time I saw him and he brought it up 'cause I was reading a criminal case about a murder and he started talking about the perfect murder. "Russo said that in September and October," and this is page 6 the top paragraph, "Russo said that in September and October of 1963 Ferrie got worse in his speeches about an assassination." Again this is my word, "speeches," as I used that and Sciambra didn't -- he included that and maybe I didn't make a clear explanation of what I meant. Ferrie wouldn't make speeches but he would monopolize the conversation and it was a one-way conversation the whole time and he'd sort of get on a soap box and start ranting about one thing or another. "Russo said that he hasn't spoken with Ferrie since the assassination." That is not correct. I don't know how that got in there. That is at the end of the paragraph on page 6.

Q: Page 6?

A: "The first person he picked out was Arcacha Smith and he says that Arcacha looks very much like the Cuban in the pornographic film." The first person was not Arcacha Smith, the first person I picked was Dave, David Ferrie that was picked out in the photographs.

The middle of that paragraph "He then called his brother, Steve, over to look at Arcacha's picture and asked him if that face was familiar to him and his brother, Steve, said 'Yes, it looks like the guy in the film.'" The brother of course needs an explanation. As at that time, this time I was talking to Sciambra I was in Baton Rouge but prior to this I had lived in New Orleans and I don't want to use a used expression but I used to go to Soul concerts, musicians and everybody was a soul brother, I don't know if that is good or bad.

Q: I didn't understand.

A: James Brown, Solomon Burke, stuff like that at the Auditorium and I considered everybody a soul brother.

Q: Mr. Derby was not your brother?

A: Perhaps we are related but not strictly as brother, no. Towards the middle of the paragraph the last picture identified was Clay Shaw. That name was not mentioned in Baton Rouge at all. He said I saw the man twice and this was strictly an error and I pointed that out to James Phelan and told him this was an error as I saw him three times, and I didn't say in Baton Rouge possibly four which would have been at the Republican Headquarters, I didn't mention that in Baton Rouge but I did say three times.

Where it says here that the first time was when I pulled in Ferrie's service station, this seems to me to indicate something earlier and I know that the first time I saw him was the Nashville Wharf and it is possible that I could have seen him in Republican Headquarters in the late 50's. I remember seeing him again at the Nashville Street Wharf when I was going to see J.F. Kennedy. The continuity is wrong and I didn't see him at the station first and then go to the wharf, it is backwards. And I said down towards the middle two-thirds of the page that "Shaw had on a corduroy jacket." I told Sciambra it was a striped jacket and he offered a couple of things like corduroy and another style and I said probably corduroy but I don't know. "The third picture that Russo identified was that of Lee Harvey Oswald." This leaves out quite a few other pictures of Emilios Santos, Arcacha Smith and I think he mentioned there a third picture but there were more than three, several more. Towards the bottom again "He indicated the fact that the roommate was always so cruddy and had a bushy beard. The word "cruddy," I didn't use that and I might have said dirty and looked like a beatnik. On page 7 the top line, it starts on page 6 the bottom line "Robert Lemoyne who lives in the vicinity of Nichols High School because he was in contact with Perry around that time," -- no, that is incorrect. It was around the time I left New Orleans and went to Baton Rouge, around that time. It is incorrect. Right at the end of that paragraph he said I had been hypnotized like this before and this it "helped him to recall and that he would be glad to do it for us," I had stated, and the only two people that ever attempted seriously was one Ferrie and I doubt whether he accomplished anything and the other man was Irwin Moreau, and he said he did and I say he didn't and that I have never been hypnotized before and that is not correct.

Q: Perry, you stated a moment ago that the name Clay Shaw was never mentioned by either yourself or Sciambra in Baton Rouge. What if any name did you give to the picture of Shaw?

A: When I picked the picture up I said I knew him, where I had known him at different places and I said his last name was Bertrand and I had to think about his first name and I think it was Clem as I think the way he was introduced and an argument ensued as to whether it was Clay or Clem and I said Clem, I am sure of it.

Q: Perry, did you tell Sciambra about the meeting in Ferrie's apartment in mid-'63 between Ferrie, Oswald and the Defendant?

A: At the end -- not at the end of the evening but one hour before he left I talked with Sciambra -- we were talking going over things and he took very few notes and it was a meeting and he was more interested in Dave Ferrie and the quotes about he knows the thing could be done and "We will kill him and it won't be long," but I did mention in the meeting to Sciambra on the 25th, I think it was, the Saturday --

Q: Is that Perry the meeting you have related to court and jury today?

A: Essentially but not in every great detail and actually there wasn't but a couple of questions after that about it.

Q: Did you tell, did you tell James Phelan when you spoke with him that you had mentioned this to Sciambra?

A: I, the meeting lasted for three hours with Phelan in Baton Rouge right after the 20th of March, after the preliminary hearing, and I told him distinctly I had not mentioned the party to Sciambra in Baton Rouge and I told him that I called everything a meeting because I was involved with the Republicans to a great extent and I mentioned meeting and all of these guys got around and would be talking about shooting President Kennedy.

Q: Perry, prior to your coming down at New Orleans speaking with members of the District Attorney's staff did you know the name or ever hear the name Clay Shaw?

A: I never heard the name of Clay Shaw and not exactly when in that week, there was so much questioning and answers and after a couple of days in New Orleans and I heard someone mention that was Clay Shaw's picture.

Q: Up until that time Perry, having picked this picture out, who did you think the person in it was?

A: The same way I identified it in Baton Rouge, Bertrand.

Q: Clem?

A: Clem Bertrand.

MR. ALCOCK: I tender the witness.


Back to the top





Back to Shaw trial testimony

Search trial database chronologically

Additional resources on the trial of Clay Shaw


Search this site
    powered by FreeFind

Back to JFK menu

Dave Reitzes home page