The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, continued




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

MR. DYMOND: Yes, Your Honor.


THE COURT: Please check the bolt action.

Q: I show you a rifle which was exhibited to you yesterday by the State, and I ask you whether you are able to testify that that is the same type rifle that you saw Leon Oswald cleaning upon one occasion in the apartment on Louisiana Avenue Parkway.

A: That it is exactly the same?

Q: Yes.

A: No, I don't know if it would be exactly the same or not.

Q: Are you able to point out any difference between this rifle and the one which you saw him cleaning?

A: I did not look at the rifle very closely, I couldn't point out any difference.

Q: Now, in the course of cleaning it, did he have the rifle dismantled or was it all in one piece?

A: Oh, he was just polishing it or wiping it, it was all in one piece at that time.

Q: Was he polishing or wiping the wooden portion of the rifle or the metal portion, or both?

A: I don't know, I don't know which he was just -- he was just wiping all over, really, could have been polishing or just wiping, probably all over.

Q: And it's your testimony then that all that you can say is a similar rifle. Is that correct?

A: Right, and the bolt action of course, this right here, this sight is more like it, and this kind of a grain to it or plastic, something along this line.

Q: Now, do you recall the rifle that was exhibited to you during the preliminary hearing in this matter?

A: A little bit.

Q: Could you say that rifle was more or less similar to the one which you saw Leon Oswald with than this rifle?

A: No, this was more like it.

Q: Would you point out the points of greater similarity.

MR. ALCOCK: I object unless he is exhibited the rifle he was asking him to compare.

MR. DYMOND: I have asked him whether he remembers the rifle and he said yes.

THE COURT: If the witness has a distinct memory for it, he can answer the question; if he does not, that is something else.

THE WITNESS: As I said in the preliminary hearing, I said the scope on the rifle that I was shown in the preliminary hearing, the barrel was too big and also the end of the stock was indented, and the Oswald rifle was not.

Q: Was not indented. Is this the portion of the stock to which you refer?

A: This part of it. In other words, had an indent on the one that I was shown, a groove, I guess, for the arm or shoulder and it was not that way with Oswald's rifle.

Q: I show you now the rifle which I am informed is the one which was exhibited to you in the preliminary hearing, and I ask you to show us on this rifle the indentation to which you referred.

A: Right here (indicating).

Q: I see, so you would say then that this rifle is less similar?

A: Right.

Q: However, you would not say either one of these rifles is the rifle that you saw Leon Oswald polishing. Is that right?

A: Right.

Q: Now, Mr. Russo, at this meeting of mid-September, 1963, did you see any rifle at that time?

A: At that time, no.

Q: You did not?

A: No.

Q: So the only time that you actually saw a rifle was on a previous occasion when you visited the apartment at 3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway and saw the man whom you say is Leon Oswald polishing a rifle. Is that correct?

A: Well, I saw what appeared to be a rifle bag when I was leaving, but the only time I saw the rifle was the first time you are referring to, yes.

Q: Would you describe the rifle bag to which you have made reference.

A: Well, I am not sure it was a rifle bag or not, and if it would have been, the gun had to have been dismantled.

Q: Approximately how long was this thing that you suspected of being a rifle bag?

A: I guess about three feet.

Q: About three feet long?

A: About three feet.

Q: You said it was not long enough to hold either one of the rifles?

A: No, unless it was taken apart. It may not have been, I am not sure.

MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, yesterday the State said that it would make every effort to locate the original of the letter written by Mr. Russo to the District Attorney. I would like to now be informed whether that letter has been located.

MR. ALCOCK: We have not been able to locate it, Your Honor. I don't know anyone who ever saw the letter.

MR. DYMOND: I take it then we can assume it cannot be located?

THE COURT: Find out from the witness to whom it was addressed and you said to whom it may concern, but how was the letter addressed?

Q: To whom did you address the letter which you wrote on the 21st of February?

A: The inside letter was just "To Whom it may Concern," but the outside envelope was either to the District Attorney's Office or to the District Attorney Jim Garrison, 2700 Tulane Avenue.

Q: 2700 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana?

A: Right, 70119.

Q: 70119. You even had the Zip Code on it?

A: I don't know if I put the Zip Code on it or not, but I know for this area.

Q: You did have the correct address, 2700 Tulane Avenue?

A: Yes.

Q: You have confirmed that is the proper address of this building. Is that correct?

A: Well, I called Information from Baton Rouge to get the address, and that is the address they gave me, I called from Baton Rouge, called Information in New Orleans and that is the address they gave me.

Q: You say the letter was never returned to you. Is that correct?

A: No.

Q: Now, Mr. Russo, I think you testified yesterday that Sandra Moffett was practically a constant companion of yours back in 1963. Is that right?

A: Well, you know, I will say the same thing I said yesterday, in other words, I did essentially the same thing every week, you know, and approximately with the same people, but sometimes, for example, I might not see someone for three weeks, but then I might see them for five days in a row, and at that time and under those circumstances I would consider it a constant thing more or less because no one, to my knowledge, except at certain times, left town, no one -- if I knew they left town, then of course it would not have been a constant thing, but no one, to my knowledge, had left town that I associated with.

Q: Was Sandra the only girl that you were going with at that time?

A: There was another girl, Marilyn Perer, that was on and off for a period of time up to '65.

Q: But you would say that Sandra was your primary or your main female companion at that time. Is that correct?

A: Well, I don't know, maybe. I am not sure of that. That is hard to say, you know, she thought so.

Q: Did Sandra think that you were not going out with any other girls at that time or not?

MR. ALCOCK: Objection.

Q: Did you lead Sandra to believe that you were not going out with other girls at that time?

A: She knew about Marilyn, she did not know that much about Adele.

Q: Adele Marquer?

A: Now, Adele Laporte then.

Q: But you did testify yesterday that Sandra was almost a constant companion.

A: I would consider it that.

Q: How long had this relationship gone on, Mr. Russo?

A: Until 1965.

Q: In other words, you went with Sandra very often then between 1963 and 1965?

A: Oh, no, before that, about 1960.

Q: About 1960 to 1965?

A: Right.

Q: So that would be four or five years?

A: Right.

Q: Is that correct?

A: Right.

Q: Now, where did Sandra live at that time during 1963, Mr. Russo?

A: She lived at several places, she lived around Canal and Broad, she lived uptown, she lived different places.

Q: Now, around Canal and Broad, would you be a little bit more specific?

A: You asked me that in the preliminary hearing and I really didn't know the name of the street. I think it was Cleveland Street, which runs parallel with Canal.

Q: Cleveland Avenue?

A: I think it is that broad Street, I think it is called Cleveland Street, it is one block or two blocks over Canal towards Tulane Avenue.

Q: You went with her for four or five years and did not know what street she lived on, Mr. Russo?

A: Again, well, she did come to my house most of the time.

Q: Well, when you would go up to Tulane, say, to play basketball or go to Loyola to play basketball and Sandra would go with you, wouldn't you go by her house and pick her up?

A: Sometimes, but, you see, she wanted to go over all of the time, from early in the morning or whenever I got home from school, she wanted to go over and sometimes we would pick her up, and I would say maybe two or three times we picked her up at that time.

Q: You only picked her up two or three times. How long did she live there?

A: I don't know how long she lived there.

Q: Approximately, I don't expect you to be exact.

A: I don't know.

Q: Would it be a year?

A: Well, probably a year.

Q: And in the space of --

A: Well, a relative of hers lived there, a relative of hers lived there.

Q: And with her living there almost a year, and she being almost your constant companion, you only picked her up two or three times, you say?

A: Understand, now, that the apartment on Elysian Fields where I lived, that is where all of the time people came over, they always came over there, we would have a small party or have a couple of drinks or something like that, or basketball, after a basketball game, everybody came over to that apartment, and it was just -- that was my routine, I didn't do it any differently.

Q: Now, as I recall your testimony on the preliminary hearing, you could not tell us what street Sandra lived on. How have you since found out it was Cleveland Street?

A: Well, I just went over there and I think it is Cleveland, I am not sure, but I know it is right off of Canal and Broad, and it would probably be the first or second street, and my recollection was that it was a one-way going towards the Lake, which would be Cleveland.

Q: You say you went over there and looked for the house, or what?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you find the house?

A: No, not so I could say it was the house.

Q: When was it approximately that Sandra moved away from that house, Mr. Russo?

A: I don't know.

Q: But your constant, practically constant companion lived in the same house for approximately a year and you could not go back there now and find that house?

A: Well, I went over there two or three times and I am not sure she lived there for a year, I suppose she lived there for a year. She didn't have a phone, she called me.

Q: Now, Mr. Russo, you testified that you saw Ferrie approximately three times in the month of September, 1963. Is that correct?

A: I saw Ferrie?

Q: Right.

A: Oh, a couple more times that that.

Q: How many would you say now?

A: Oh, I don't know, about a little bit more than that, I don't think I testified to three times I saw Ferrie.

Q: Well, if you were asked now how many times did you see Ferrie in September of 1963 --

A: I would say four or five.

Q: Four or five times?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you tell us the first time that you saw Ferrie in September of '63?

A: Probably he came over to my house, I am not real sure, nothing is very distinct about it. It was the same, probably he came over to the house.

Q: You say probably, What are you basing that probability on?

A: Because I don't really recall, it was either, you know, just the same old stuff with baseball, because right around the time, the tail end of September we were playing for Parish Finance baseball team up at the Audubon League, and the League ended in August, I think, and we went on to play additional baseball or exhibition games, and it would probably have been the early part of September, I don't know the exact date or why he came over, just dropped in.

Q: As a matter of fact, Ferrie had free access to your house at any time of the night or day, did he not?

A: He would come over, no one had any keys or could get in without my being there.

Q: But he had an open invitation?

A: Yes.

Q: And you had an open invitation to his house, didn't you?

A: Right.

Q: Were you ever Ferrie's roommate, Mr. Russo?

A: No.

Q: You never were?

A: No.

Q: Now, before mid-September, 1963, do you remember any other specific occasions on which you saw David Ferrie?

A: Before mid-September?

Q: During the month of September.

A: He came to a couple of baseball games, he just stopped for five minutes, did not come to watch the ball game.

Q: Baseball games where?

A: We played at Rhome Park, Pontchartrain Park, Audubon, I don't know which park he came at, just walked up and looked, stayed a few minutes, said hello and left, he came over to my apartment several occasions during the summer.

Q: You are talking about during the month of September now?

A: Oh, no, I thought you were talking about before September.

Q: During the month of September.

A: I don't know if he came to any baseball games during the month of September

Q: Do you remember any other specific occasion upon which you saw him?

A: Definitely I the month of September?

Q: Right.

A: I would be deducting, but I probably saw him a couple more times, but nothing very distinctive about it.

Q: You can't remember any other specific occasions?

A: Except up at his apartment the four times, except those four times you are talking about, right?

Q: Well, when was the first of those four times?

A: Somewhere around the middle of the month.

Q: Around the middle of the month?

A: Yes.

Q: Was that the first time you had seen him in September at his apartment?

A: Oh, no, I don't think that was the first time, that was the first time he had any mention of a roommate, that struck me funny because I never heard him say he had a roommate.

Q: Now, to the best of your recollection, when was the first time during the month of September, 1963, that you saw Ferrie at his apartment?

A: Well, I would say, I mean, give you an approximate, early part of September, I don't know why I would say that, I couldn't associate anything with it, except that I was probably up there in the early part of September.

Q: You can just say you were probably up there, but you cannot say specifically. Is that correct?

A: Right.

Q: Now, prior to the middle of September, can you name any other specific occasions upon which you were at Ferrie's apartment and saw him?

A: Well, nothing specifically, I don't associate it with anything.

Q: Now, Mr. Russo, in an attempt to pinpoint the date of this party and meeting, are you able to relate that to your registering for the September, '63 term of school?

A: No, it is in between a couple of things, the baseball season officially was over in August, and we continued to play and we played in through the first week of September, and then after that it was just practice, no teams were played, everybody was going over to school and between that and registration of the first week of school, that occurred up at Ferrie's apartment.

Q: You remember having registered for school in September of 1963?

A: Not specifically, no.

Q: For your information, registration actually was on September 14, 1963, and does that assist you in trying to pinpoint the date?

A: No, that would be all right.

Q: Can you still not tell us whether the party and meeting which you have described was before or after you registered at Loyola for 1963, the 1963 term in September?

A: No, it was before we got into -- as I just said, the first week of school, whenever we got past the preliminary stuff, registration is just, you know, just several hours you put in up there, sign up for your classes.

Q: Are you able to tell us what day of the week that this was, a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, this party and meeting that you have described took place?

A: No.

Q: Are you able to tell us whether it was on a weekend?

A: No, the weekend and the week days were about the same at that time, you know what I mean.

Q: Are you able to tell us whether it was the first, the second, the third, or the fourth week in September?

A: No.

Q: Are you able to tell us what time of night you got there and what time of night you left?

A: Well, I know it was late in the evening when I got there, I am sure it was after 12:00 o'clock when I left.

Q: Are you certain this was in September, or could it have been in October, Mr. Russo?

A: Could it have been in October?

Q: That is correct.

A: No, we would have been fully in class then, you know, classes would have been --

Q: Well, you still had time off when you were in classes, I mean, you didn't spend every --

A: Really, if someone wanted to pass over, it had to be a quick shot, except under rare circumstances. Again, in April, we would start all over, again playing for the baseball team next April, but not very often, just a five-minute session. If someone wanted to come over -- I did not go too much, except sometimes to basketball games, Tulane basketball games or football games.

Q: Now, it's your testimony that when you left this meeting, Leon Oswald was till there. Is that right?

A: Yes.

Q: Clem Bertrand was still there?

A: Right.

Q: David Ferrie was still there?

A: Right, he lived there.

Q: And you don't know how you got home from this meeting. Is that right?

A: I think I caught a bus.

Q: You don't remember?

A: No.

Q: Could somebody have given you a ride?

A: Probably.

Q: Had all of the other guests left?

A: They had left sometime before.

Q: They had left before you left?

A: Right.

Q: Could Ferrie had given you a ride home?

A: That is possible. But I just don't think so, he was not the type to walk out with people he had around him.

Q: You would not say that Clem Bertrand gave you a ride home, would you?

A: No.

Q: Could Leon Oswald have given you a ride home?

A: Oh, no.

Q: Well, then, would not it be a certainty that nobody gave you a ride home if everybody but those three had left?

A: Well, it is possible that one or the other gave me a ride home, but I am inclined to say I don't think so, I don't remember that. I am not sure how I got home. I could have hitchhiked home.

Q: Mr. Russo, do I understand you correctly that you say these three men, Leon Oswald, Clem Bertrand, and Dave Ferrie were the only ones left at that party when all of the other guests had left except you, and that you are not certain whether one of those men gave you a ride home?

A: If I could explain it this way, a few weeks ago --

Q: Would you please answer it and then explain it.

A: No, I am not certain who gave me a ride home. Last year Art Heyman of -- a basketball player for Pittsburgh, I think he plays for, he jumped into the stands and punched a guy for riding him, you know. I have a habit of riding basketball players just out of general practice, this is right now, I go essentially to the basketball games with the same people, and all of those people that I go with, that particular night they were asking me who I went with and how I got there, but I could not be altogether sure, but I can say Art Heyman jumped in the stands and punched the guy and he hit the wrong guy at that, but probably Joe Jackson was there and probably Philip Hatose was there and probably Niles Peterson was there and probably Cathy Walden and a couple of others, but which one of those I was with, I know I went home that night in my own car, but who said what, I am not sure, these people I associated with every day.

Q: And you would say that that situation is similar to your not remembering whether or not one of the three conspirators to kill the President of the United States rode you home form the conspiratorial meeting. Is that correct?

A: I don't call them conspirators, no, I don't know who rode me home, I may have caught a bus or hitchhiked or not.

Q: You do not call them conspirators?

A: I have never used that word.

Q: You would be reluctant to call them conspirators?

MR. ALCOCK: Objection.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

Q: Now, Mr. Russo, did you say that you have or you have not seen David Ferrie since the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas?

A: Well, you are asking me from Sciambra's memorandum?

Q: I am asking you now --

A: That is absolutely incorrect, I gave the same answer I gave yesterday, I don't know where that came from.

Q: Do you have your copy of the memorandum, Mr. Russo? Now, Mr. Russo, I refer you to the statement contained in the last sentence of the top part on Page 6, to this effect:

"Russo says that he has not spoken with Ferrie since the assassination." Now, you say that is absolutely not true. Is that correct?

A: Yesterday I said that I didn't even know where this came from except in the mass confusion in Baton Rouge. I mean, I have seen Ferrie several times after the assassination.

Q: To your knowledge, did you tell Mr. Sciambra anything that could have been confused or mistaken so as to make him make a definite dogmatic statement like that in this memorandum?

A: No, not to my knowledge. I mean, perhaps it was just confusion.

Q: So you would not know where that statement came from at all, would you?

A: Right.

Q: But it is your testimony now that you did see and you did speak to Dave Ferrie after the President was assassinated?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Did you discuss the assassination with him?

A: I didn't discuss anything with him, no.

Q: You spoke to him, didn't you?

A: Well, again I am saying the same thing I said before, I listened to him, and that is what most of the conversations were about, his conversations.

Q: These meetings that you had with him there, these meetings were the same as many other ones have been. Is that correct?

A: Well, when I saw him afterwards?

Q: Yes.

A: Right. I mean, if he dropped in over at the house on Elysian Fields or something, yes, he would come in, he might be talking about -- well, he could be talking about anything.


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