The Clay Shaw preliminary hearing testimony of Vernon Bundy, Jr.
VERNON BUNDY, a witness for the State, after being duly sworn, testified as follows:
* * * DIRECT EXAMINATION * * *
BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Now, Vernon, just relax. I want to ask you some questions, but I want you to speak much louder.
A. Repeat that again.
Q. I want you to speak much louder than you're doing because I want to hear your answers, okay?
A. All right.
Q. Do you live in New Orleans?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. How long have you lived here?
A. Oh, all my life.
Q. And how old are you, Vernon?
Q. Twenty-nine. And what is your -- what business are you in?
A. Pressing business.
Q. Press business. Do you remember the year 1963?
A. I do.
Q. Can you remember the summer of that year?
A. The summer of that year?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. I want you to think back to the summer of 1963. Can you remember seeing anything unusual happen out on the lakefront?
A. You want me to explain the whole story just how it happened?
Q. First, just tell me, do you remember anything unusual happening?
A. Yes, I do remember something unusual.
Q. Will you tell us everything that you recall now seeing out there on the lakefront in the summer of 1963?
A. Yeah. Well, for the first thing, I myself left home about quarter to 9:00 or 9:00 o'clock [sic] with two root beer bottles, one filled with water and a top put on it just light enough, just so the water wouldn't spill out of the bottle.
Q. I don't want to interrupt you, Vernon, but just so the Court can understand, you were a narcotic addict at the time, is that correct?
A. That's right.
Q. And you are describing some of the paraphernalia that you left with?
Q. All right. Many of the members of the Court and the attorneys may not understand all of the paraphernalia which you are describing. Could you explain what it's for?
BY JUDGE O'HARA:
Just a moment. Where does he live? Where was he leaving from?
EXAMINATION BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Will you tell the Judge where you were leaving from?
A. I was leaving from 2013 Dumaine.
Q. All right. Go ahead.
A. I went towards Galvez Street, to Galvez Street, and before going to two of the bus stops, I stopped in the drugstore on the corner of Galvez and Dumaine's, Smith's Pharmacy. And, like I say, I had two root beer bottles, one filled with water with a light cap on it, so I could remove it with my finger; the other was an empty bottle. I went into Smith's Pharmacy and I got a root beer, having him open it and put the top back on lightly so that I could, you know, remove it with my finger when I got to my destination. Then I went out with the two bottles in a bag, and caught the Galvez Bus, going towards Franklin. I got off at Franklin and Galvez, catching the Franklin Bus, going to the lake. I did not catch the bus that makes the short turn, in other words, the bus that doesn't go around Camp Leroy Johnson. The bus that makes the short turn; and I got off where it makes this last stop. And I walked off on the greens toward Camp Leroy Johnson and walked up towards the lake.
Q. Now, Vernon, what time of day was this?
A. At this time it was about a quarter after 9:00 or about 20 after 9:00; I'm not too sure of the time at this time.
Q. Can you remember the approximate month in 1963 that this was?
A. Offhand, I don't know; it was either June or July.
Q. Go ahead.
A. Then, like I say, walking up on the greens of Camp Leroy Johnson on the side, I went to the steps of the lake, crossing over the highway.
Q. Is that the seawall?
A. Yeah, the seawall, that's right. I then sit down. I walked towards the colored section of Lake Pontchartrain, say about fifteen or twenty feet; I didn't know just how far. And I sit down.
Q. Did you have any heroin with you?
A. I had two caps of heroin, my outfit in my socks.
Q. What were you planning to do there?
A. I was planning to use the narcotics out on the lake.
Q. Did you have a needle?
A. Yes, the whole thing.
Q. All right. Go ahead.
A. I then was hunting for what you would call a boot -- what we call a boot, a piece of paper to make the boot for the edge of the needle to fit on to the pacifier, which you call the eyedropper. And after about a minute or so, I found the piece of paper. So, I tore it up and I made the boot.
Q. What was the bottle of root beer for? You said that in addition to the bottle of water, you brought a bottle of root beer with you.
A. Yeah, well, I brought -- after using narcotics, I gets kind of thirsty, and you want something to drink.
Q. All right. Go ahead.
A. I then sit down on the steps of the walk and I made the boot. I then emptied the two caps of heroin into this cap; it's like a cap what you would screw on the top of a bottle or something, an empty cap.
BY JUDGE BAGERT:
Was that the cooker?
A. Yeah, what you would call the cooker.
BY JUDGE BAGERT:
A. Afterwards, I'm looking all around because I'm skeptical, and I'm also watching the people, the colored folks, they're out of range; they can't see what I'm doing. At this moment there is a black four-door sedan approaching. It parks in the intersection -- it's not out on the highway -- it's the intersection where you park into. And a fellow then gets out of the automobile and walks towards me. Well, then I am skeptical, because I don't know if this is the police, the vice, or I don't know just what it is.
Q. You say you thought this was a policeman or a vice squadsman?
A. Yeah, that's right. Well, the fellow passes me. And I had the stuff -- well, I had everything up on the paper bag. And I then, because I don't want him to see what I'm doing, I closes [sic] up the bag with the two root beer bottles, my fit, my outfit, and the two caps of heroin into the cooker. The guy passes in back of me. Well, I'm watching him all of the time, because I don't want him to get too close upon me, because I'm planning on, you know, fighting with him or throwing the stuff out into the lake. I don't want him to get his hands on me. He passes in back of me and he tells me, "It's a hot day," you know. He then walks down say fifteen or twenty feet from me.
Q. Would you describe this man for us? What did he look like?
A. He was a tall, settled man, about 6'1" or 6'2". I was sitting down; I can't, you know, offhand, describe the height; I'm not too sure.
Q. How was he dressed?
A. He was distinctively dressed, I mean, full suit, collar and tie.
Q. What color was his hair?
Q. Go ahead and tell us the rest of it.
A. He then went about twenty or twenty-five feet, like I said, down from me. And I was wondering for a while, I said, "Well, I wonder what, you know, what is this guy staying here for." I was wondering what in the hell was he doing, you know, was he going to stay there all day or what. Then he's there about five or seven minutes.
Q. Vernon, was this a white man or colored?
A. White man.
Q. Go ahead.
A. Then from the white section of Pontchartrain Beach, after, I said, about five or seven minutes, this young fellow, I didn't know who it was at the time, but he approaches. I could see him, say, from about a half a mile or a quarter of a mile down the way. He approaches this fellow, and they both conversation [sic], say, for about fifteen minutes. Well, I don't know if they're talking about me or what they're planning to do, but I'm worried because I've got all this stuff in a bag and things, and I just don't know what's going on.
Q. Vernon, describe this second man for us? What did he look like?
A. He was young.
Q. The man who came walking down.
A. Well, he was young, what I would call a junkie or beatnik type of guy.
Q. Why do you say beatnik?
A. Well, from the way he was dressed. He had white jeans on.
Q. What kind of shirt?
A. T-shirt. And what you would call buck shoes, something like what I have on here, but they were more of a high top, and he was in a pretty nasty shape, to tell you the truth about it.
Q. Why do you say he was in a nasty shape?
A. Well, he needed a shave; he may have needed a haircut, too. He looked as though he needed everything.
Q. Were you able to hear them talk when they started talking?
A. No, I wasn't able to hear them talk when they started to talking. And, after about, I would say, fifteen minutes or twenty minutes, this young fellow, he started to come out in an outburst, saying to the older guy, "What am I going to tell her." These were his words.
Q. "What am I going to tell her?"
A. Yeah, as though he was, to me, it referred to, as though he was talking about his wife himself, you know. "What am I going to tell my wife," in other words. And he said, the older guy told him, he said, "Don't worry about it." He said, "I told you I'm going to take care of it." And all the while they thought maybe I overheard the conversation, he was trying to get me -- trying to get him to, you know, kind of quieten down [sic]. And, I'm still looking at them; I'm wondering what they're doing. So, afterwards, this older fellow gives the young guy, to me, what looked like, I can't be too sure, but it looks like a roll of money.
Q. The older fellow gave the younger fellow what appeared to be a roll of money?
Q. All right.
A. The young guy, not counting whatever it was, he sticks it in the back of his right-hand pocket. In his right hand pocket there are a bunch of what you would call these pamphlets, or whatever you call them, with something on them. I don't know just what it is. In fact, at that time, I cannot even see what it is from the distance I was.
Q. Do you remember any of the words that were on these pamphlets in the young fellow's pocket?
A. Well, I'll get to that in a minute.
Q. Go ahead.
A. So, afterwards, he handed him -- the older fellow handed the young guy the money or whatever it was. Like I say, I can't be too sure because I don't know. The older fellow walks back and he passes, and again I think he's coming towards me, and I'm looking at him again, you know, I'm ready to make a break or whatever it is, but he passes me up and he quotes again that it's . . .
BY MR. DYMOND:
If the Court please, we object to this conversation and statements of these people without knowing who they are. It's all hearsay outside the presence of this defendant.
BY JUDGE BAGERT:
Well, up to now it's hearsay; that's true. I agree with you. Up to now it's hearsay.
EXAMINATION BY MR. GARRISON:
Q. Have you been shown any pictures of these two men lately that you are describing?
Q. When were you shown them?
A. Yesterday and today.
Q. Can you identify any of these men in the pictures?
Q. Do you think you could identify them again if you were shown a picture?
Q. Now, Vernon, I have a set of small pictures here, about, roughly 3" by 4". I have marked them S-15, S-16, S-17, S-18, S-19, S-20 and S-21. I want you to look at this set of pictures and tell me if you see in them the two men that you have been describing to us. You have selected picture S-21 and picture S-20. Now, picture S-21 appears to be a young man with a kind of beard. Do you know who he is now?
A. Yeah, I know who he is now.
Q. Who is he?
A. Lee Oswald.
Q. Now, when did you ever see this man before?
A. Well, the first time I saw him -- the first time I saw him, really saw him, was in the morning out on the lake but, you know, I couldn't put two and two together, not at that time. I thought, you know, maybe he was junkie or something, and I had saw [sic] him somewhere or had a connection or something.
Q. But S-21 is the picture that you have identified?
Q. Now, have you been shown this picture before this morning? Did you ever see this before?
Q. Did you make any mark on it?
Q. Do you recognize your mark?
A. Yeah, "VB" on the back.
Q. Now, the other picture which you have picked out, which has been marked State 20, appears to be an older man. Who is that? Where did you see him?
A. This is the fellow, too, that I saw on the lake.
Q. Is this the tall man with the grey hair that you have described?
Q. Do you know his name now?
A. Shaw or something.
Q. How do you know his name now?
A. Well, because it's been in all the papers and everything.
Q. Did you know his name at the time?
A. No, I didn't know his name at the time.
Q. I now show you the larger set if pictures, which are numbered S-22, S-23, S-24, S-25, S-26. These are just for the Court's record. Just look at these large pictures and tell me if you see in these large pictures either of the two men you saw out on the lakefront.
A. That's the only one.
Q. You picked out picture S-26. Now, this man that you have just picked out in S-26, where did you see that man before?
A. The first time that I saw him was on the lake.
Q. All right. Which one of the two men was this?
A. This one here.
Q. I say was this the older man or the younger man?
A. This one.
Q. Tell me. They can't tell from the record unless you say. This picture that I am showing you, was this the older man or the younger man that you saw out on the lake?
A. Was this the older man?
A. This was the older man.
Q. All right. Now, were you shown this picture before by my office?
Q. Did you identify it with an initial?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Will you tell me if you see your initial on the back?
A. Yes, "VB."
Q. So, now that you have identified these two men for us, will you now tell us what you recall them saying? Tell us what you were able to overhear.
A. Well, when the outburst came, like I told you before, the young fellow told the older guy, he say [sic], "Well, what am I going to tell her?" And, like I said, the older fellow told him, he said, "Don't worry. I told you I was going to take care of it."
Q. Now, when you left off a few minutes ago, you were telling us something that the older man said to you when he was passing by, departing. What was it that he said?
A. He says, well, you want me to say the exact words what he said?
Q. As close as you can.
A. "It's a hell of a hot day today."
Q. And then what did you do?
A. What did I do? Well, I watched him get back into his automobile. I didn't know who else was in the automobile. It looked to be one person; it might have been more; I don't know for sure. But I saw him get back into the automobile and drive off toward the colored section of the lake. The young guy was still standing, watching him drive off, too. And then he turned and went towards the white section. Well, I waited until he was far enough out of sight to see what I was doing, and then I continued on with what I was doing.
Q. What did you do then?
A. What did I do then?
Q. After he left, what did you do?
A. Well, after he left, then I shot the dope.
Q. All right. Did you shoot both capsules or just one?
Q. And what did you do after you did that?
A. Well, after that, I cleaned up everything, cleaned my outfit out, took the boot off it, the piece of paper at the end that you would call it, cleaned it out good, and I took both of the bottles in the paper bag and tossed them out into the lake. I then turned, looking for a piece of paper to wrap my works up in, my fit, in other words, to wrap it up in. And I picked up one of these papers or something concerning Cuba. Something about free Cuba. Hell, I didn't know what it was, and I can't recall. It was something about Cuba written on it.
Q. Cuba, C-U-B-A?
Q. Was it written on it by handwriting or was it printed?
A. It was printed.
Q. What color was the paper?
A. It was yellow.
Q. You picked this piece of paper up off the ground?
A. Yeah. There were more than one. He dropped, I don't know if he accidentally dropped them or what, through an accident or maybe he just didn't care, but a couple of the pamphlets came out of his pocket when he, like I say, jugged [sic] this money down in his pocket or whatever it was. It looked to me to be money, you know, from where I was sitting.
Q. You are talking about the young man's pocket?
Q. What color were the papers in the young man's pocket?
A. They were yellow. Some of them may have been another color, but I picked up a yellow one.
Q. What did you do with this yellow piece of paper with Cuba on it?
A. I wrapped my fit, my needle and my syringe, I wrapped it up in it, and I stuck it down in my socks. I then walked towards the colored section of the beach and I stayed out there, for about, after I was loaded, I didn't know just how long I stayed out there; maybe two hours, two hours and a half or more. I then caught the bus and came on home, not coming straight on home, I came in my section of town and stayed around there, and I went home about 3:30 that evening.
Q. Now, have you ever been in trouble, Vernon?
Q. What kind of trouble was that?
A. I don't know if it was simple burglary or something to do with simple burglary of a cigarette machine in the auditorium.
Q. Did you get a sentence?
A. I got a five years probation, and if I violated it, a year in the parish prison.
Q. Did they send you to any hospital?
A. Yeah, they told me to go and check in the Fort Worth Hospital. That was the agreement in my probation.
Q. Did you do that?
A. Yes, I did. My mother accompanied me. She took me to the hospital and entered me into the hospital.
Q. Are you in the parish prison now?
A. Yes, I am.
A. Well, because I felt myself going back on the stuff, and I went and surrendered myself to Mr. Joseph Giarrusso.
Q. The Chief of Police?
A. Not Joseph, Clarence Giarrusso, the one that's over the narcotics. I gets [sic] the two of them mixed up.
Q. You surrendered yourself to the officer who is in charge of narcotics?
A. That's right.
Q. And how long have you been in the parish prison?
A. Saturday before last. I came over not Wednesday past, but the past Wednesday. I've been in about nine days in the parish prison.
Q. Has my office promised you anything for giving this testimony?
Q. Do you recall what time of day this was when you saw these two men out on the lakefront meeting each other?
A. Like I say, it was about 9:30, quarter to 10:00. I can't be too exact about the time. I know about the time I left home and about the time it took me to get to Pontchartrain Beach.
Q. Were you able to see their faces clearly?
A. Yeah, pretty clearly.
Q. Do you know whether or not either or [sic] these two men is in the courtroom today?
A. One of them is.
Q. Where is he?
Q. Which one is that you are pointing to?
A. The grey-headed fellow.
Q. Which one of the two men which you have described is the one that you are pointing to?
A. The older fellow.
Q. All right. Now, Vernon, will you get up from the witness stand. I want you to walk down and stand behind the man that you saw down on the lakefront who gave this money to the younger man, or whatever it appeared to be, and put your hand over his head. You can go back on the stand.
Back to Shaw preliminary hearing menu
Back to Jim Garrison menu
Back to JFK menu
Dave Reitzes home page