Perry Raymond Russo, Grand Jury testimony
March 22, 1967, continued
Q. After this, did you have occasion to meet Dr. Chetta, Coroner, and Dr. Fatter?
Q. On February 28 [sic], 1967, did you undergo sodium Pentothal?
A. Mercy Hospital.
Q. Dr. Chetta was there?
A. Yes, Dr. Chetta, two other doctors and a clerk, me, you, and . . .
Q. You were given sodium Pentothal in the hospital?
Q. Then after this, did you have occasion to be placed under hypnosis by Dr. Fatter?
A. Yes. I was in Dr. Chetta's office downstairs a couple of days after, I am not sure of the date. On three occasions.
Q. Three occasions, right. First time in Dr. Chetta's office, his private office? In the Coroner's Office?
Q. The second time was in Charles Ward's office in the DA's office?
A. Yes. Well, I made a mistake on the stand -- he asked me where they were, and I said Dr. Chetta's office -- I remembered later one was upstairs -- I made a mistake -- I just said all in Dr. Chetta's office.
Q. And the third time?
A. Downstairs in Dr. Chetta's office.
Q. And during that time, Dr. Chetta was always present?
Q. And Dr. Fatter was the one who put you under hypnosis?
A. Yes -- there were always other people present.
Q. Yes, I was there sometimes.
A. And Sciambra.
Any questions, gentlemen?
I would like to ask this -- because this is what the defense will hammer at: one, you seemed to associate with unquestionably undesirable people, you know, they are going to try to discredit you, I think they tried in the preliminary hearing. I got to admit they have a point. Why would you, knowingly, associate with bums like this, and why would you bring a young lady to this house, you said Miss Moffett went to this house, with you, to this completely crummy individual's place -- what prompted you to associate with people like this?
A. Well, it's a hard thing to explain. My mother, at this time, had been operated on back in '59, '58, something like that, and they knew it was cancer, she always wanted to have people around, and I got in the habit, I guess during High School, because I was president of the School, president of this, and I collected money for the Key Club . . .
Q. What school?
A. McDonogh on Esplanade. And I was always in group things, always doing something, in plays or something, and I got in the habit of never condemning anybody for any trouble that ever happened to them -- because there were a lot of boys and girls at McDonogh who got in trouble for disciplinary reasons, and I just thought, these people are good; just because they got into trouble, as long as they don't violate the law, if they got booted out of school, then I said then there was something I had to forget -- not that I am a psychiatrist, because I am not -- because C. G. Mitchell, a boy my age, he is 24 now -- one year younger than I am, he wouldn't go to McDonogh under any circumstances . . . I got him to finish at least the tenth year, or ten and a half year, and Mrs. Mitchell . . . she wants [sic] me to come over and eat all the time, and that kind of stuff. I went out of my way to keep him from running away from home, things like that, regardless of what anybody says, he is a good boy -- I am talking about Mitchell now, this is just another example of a similar type case. I never, never put the skids under anybody because of something they had done in the past, which I don't believe in. But now, getting more to the point, I . . . during this time, 1959-60, always had a bunch of people around me, some of them were unsavory characters, but the great majority of the people I had time to go see and meet weren't unsavory characters, they were people -- some of my friends are lawyers now, doctors, Schorndorff, the doctor, Jim Clark works with WWL, they were people that, to me, we did crazy things, but we never stole hubcaps, we never used narcotics, we never went out throwing bricks at people, jumped on Negroes, all we did was play basketball and baseball - there were times we had a game that played against Ernest Cato's team, and he is a singer in New Orleans, if he is still down here. And there was nothing real criminal about us -- nobody had any money -- I had $8.00 per week to go on to college with and I had to cover my gas and eating money, my mother and father had been having arguments and everything else, and my father was tightening up on me because I was taking her side in some of this, and so we went like this -- nobody ever had any money, we would play cards -- we were just having fun -- play blackjack, poker -- and I was never one that would run anybody away from the house -- There . . . Now Ferrie had certain things that appealed, he was smart, he was extremely smart, and you could never tell what he would do next. I was young in those days, right now I would think twice about it . . .
Q. You said he was a homosexual? You had no question about that.
A. Landry denied it all the way up to the time they broke.
Q. Now, didn't you say that he put somebody under hypnosis and had sexual relations with them?
A. No -- you see, Al -- Mr. Landry told me that Ferrie was a queer. Then Al, I asked Al about it, and Al wouldn't tell me the truth - -he said, no, that's family, fight, fight, fight -- so anyway, about a month after he broke up with Ferrie, I thought it was to his best interest that he should, the man had a domination over him, he was just screwing him up, so I persuaded him, with my cousin and Lefty, and we would work on him every night -- and we would say, what the hell you doing, you don't even come around here and play ball anymore, I said, what's going on, you don't go to school anymore, you don't do anything right anymore, I said you want us to associate with you, so anyway, he broke up with Ferrie -- once after that he told me, he said Ferrie used to hypnotize the guys in the Civil Air Patrol and have sexual relations with them. I was always suspicious of Ferrie, but he never admitted that to me.
Q. Did you believe Landry's story, or did you doubt it?
A. When he said that, I believed him.
Q. You believed him? Well, after you believed that this fellow was this type of individual, what would prompt you to associate with him, go to his house, and bring a young lady to his place? And associate with people like him?
A. It wasn't association, that is what I'm trying to get across now -- it was not whether -- in other words, somebody . . .
Perhaps it would be easier for the Grand Jury to understand if you would explain to the gentlemen the physical set-up of your apartment and how these meetings came about, and the nature of these meetings and how many people were involved.
A. Well, you see, over on Elysian Fields, that's 4607, it's a regular house, and in the back and on the side is a little apartment, which is a little small thing, but it was nice. My father did not want me to bring my friends in for fear they might hurt the furniture or hurt something, wreck the place, so I said OK, I did not bring anybody into the house, and I was out in a side apartment. I also had meetings when we were running for office in High School, I worked a little bit distributing pamphlets for Chep Morrison and stuff like that. I worked -- it was just me and my friends -- it was big strategy -- we would talk about the importance of it and all that. I have pictures in the apartment now of Goldwater, Rockefeller, and stuff like that. I keep it -- I have books and books -- I used to do all my studying out there. So this place was always open to anybody who dropped by at any time. Now, at times, there would be conflicting people, I was sensitive to that, and I did not want anybody to do any fighting or anything illegal -- if you wanted to come, you were invited, and you were invited, but if you all conflicted, the man that initiated the conflict had to leave. Now, Dave never, never did that. He got along well with anybody. Now, my cousin George and I drove him home one night he came over -- don't know how he got there -- we gave him a ride home, and we laughed after he got out of the car, I said, boy, that's one nut, you don't know, but he is a real nut. Because he had that glued-on hair, but he wouldn't help you -- like if you were worried about something in school and you hadn't read this book or that one, he had read it and he knew it, he could tell you the page it was on -- and if he hadn't read it, he could look through it like this for a while and read the headlines or the bylines, and he would tell you what was in it because he had read some other book by the same man, it was a lot easier because you could put everything continuously together. Now, I had been during this period of time, and numerous people I went with, there was on Bourbon St., Clarence "Frogman" Henry, the singer, he and I had known each other seven or eight years -- he was a nice guy with six or eight kids, something like that, and whenever I had any money at all, that's the place I would go -- not strip shows or Al Hirt, because I didn't have that kind of money -- if I had money, I would go up to see Frogman -- he was located at the Court of Two Sisters, and later on at 545 Bourbon St.
Clarence "Frogman" Henry
I would go there and sit and talk with him, and he showed me real odd nuts that come to the French Quarter, so then I had to catch the bus home at night, but it was just the type of people who came over -- I wanted people over, I wanted people around -- tomorrow morning we might need nine guys on the baseball team, and I am sure I would not throw anybody out if I needed nine guys on the baseball team. Now, we played all kinds of games -- I have records that date back to 1957 on all kinds of teams.
Q. Now, you witnessed this entire plot being discussed in front of you -- and you saw this thing happen, and you certainly read about it and thought about it, saw it on television, and you didn't come forth with any information on it for a very long time afterwards?
A. Well, all the while, I just sat there -- I was riding on Broadway and S. Claiborne when I heard the guy say on the radio, I am not sure of this report, but the President has been shot in Dallas. I turned around automatically and went back to Father Clancy at Loyola, he is a Political Science teacher, and of all teachers at Loyola, I got along with him best. He would fight you with tooth and nail -- he loved to fight about things -- but I went over there, and he got all broke up about it, and I felt sorry for him -- and I was walking around in a daze for a while trying to see what had happened, so I went home and saw it on TV, listened to the radio, read the newspapers, and right then I thought about it. And I said, yes, no, yes, no -- and all that -- and I said, me, I am still in school, and I say, did I ever come as close as that -- I said no, the man looked familiar, and maybe he has the same last name to me, but I was working with the Republicans at this time and all during '63, we were campaigning for Lyons' election, then in '64 with the Goldwater thing, and I am just a Republican down through and through, and so we had all these names, you know, IBM cards we had to get ready, and all that kind of stuff -- I had my own personal cards that I kept on all the people in the 8th Ward -- people I could call on -- I was the 8th Ward Leader in 1964. Then the TV said the FBI said Lee Harvey Oswald did it all by himself. Then I said, well, if he did it all by himself, then it might not be the same guy for all I know -- he had different first name [sic]. And I said to myself, I am not going to mess up my education to go sit in some courtroom for three weeks for something I regret right now -- because I will flunk out of LSU for this thing. And I just regret it to this point right now. There is a limit as to how much a person can do, Andy said to me when I got down here, you have become very important in this case, and I said, I don't care how important I am, who is going to talk to my boss when I get fired -- I say comes out my name in the paper [sic] associate with a bunch of queers, and he said, we will talk to him and see how he feels about it -- and they talked to him, and Mr. Kenney here in New Orleans said, don't worry about it, we are backing you a 100% [sic], you cooperate -- well, it doesn't make up for a lost month. That is what it amounts to. So I am sitting there, and I am three or four months [sic] younger than I am now -- to me a lot more mature, I have my eyes set on what I want in life, I am trying to aim toward that, and I am sitting there when I am 21 or 22 years old -- trying to graduate from school, trying to organize a political campaign for months ahead, and then I am going to go and sit in somebody's office -- and I say if they say it's right, it's right -- who am I to argue -- there's nobody else, there's a bunch of nuts calling up right now to say yes, I knew him, but I shot him -- I used to read these detective cases, and these guys would go in and claim they did the murder. Well, you know something, I did know something, but if the FBI is going to put me in the nut group with everybody else, then I am not interested. I guarantee you, I feel deep down about this now, the lady next door said as soon as my name got in the paper, fifty people came over to her house, nearly knocking the door down, and all that kind of stuff. And then her little boy, who is about thirteen -- now this is a by-product of this -- he saw a wreck on East State St., and the kid came in and said, I saw a wreck, and the mother said, no, you didn't, you did not see a wreck. And that's the way I felt. Do I sacrifice everything because I knew a guy -- well, I met a guy up in LSU Saturday of the baseball game, and he sat down next to me, and Miguel Cruz is his name, and he got in a fight with Oswald on Canal St., and I said, didn't the FBI contact you, and he said, no, did anybody contact you, no -- so I called Mr. Sciambra, and I said, Andy, there is a man up here claims he is a . . . claims he rode in a police car with Oswald . . . and I think he is telling the truth, I know him from a baseball game years back, and I said, you want to come talk to him -- he will talk, but he doesn't want his name in the paper, and he doesn't want to sacrific schooling, he does not want to get involved. Unless I am 100% sure that I saw a man pull a trigger, and I am so sure of it -- then to h--- [sic] with it -- that's what I thought to myself. Because I say if it took 22 hours on the stand the other day, and he asked me so many questions -- he didn't ask the questions that were important to me, I was willing to tell him that -- but do I believe in God? Is that relevant -- of course I believe in God -- perhaps my God is not the same as yours -- I am talking to Father Monsigneur at Loyola, and we had hours and hours -- and we used to fight tooth and nail -- and I said he couldn't prove it to me by Thomas Aquinas that Jesus Christ was the Savior -- he couldn't prove to me that God existed by his belief -- and I told him, you expect me to believe Thomas Aquinas -- I can't believe Thomas Aquinas -- I said I have my own belief, but it's not the same as yours, but I said I could not condemn a Buddhist. I'm 1921 [sic] now, and I figure to myself, just starting to register, and one day I might run for the House of Representatives in the 8th Ward, and I am going to be classified as one screwball. The only reason they got me -- and I regret that I said the first thing about it now. Because it just takes hours -- I can't make up for the lost time -- and I am $5600.00 in debt, and unless somebody wants to come pay my bills, which they are not paying, and I am sure Shaw is not paying, I have to pay for it, and unless somebody does, I am the one who is suffering, and I am not that interested. Who was involved and who wasn't -- I am willing to get up and make a statement to them, I will make it to the Judge, and I will make it to you all, now, if someone doesn't want to believe, then to hell with it. As far as I am concerned for [sic] if they don't want to believe, it is their business. I have had enough of this. In the past -- you just get involved -- and your life is not yours anymore. At home, Dymond's investigators are snooping around up there, they have asked my friends if they are willing to testify -- what are they going to testify to -- that I rob hubcaps, I am a homosexual, I am a drug addict -- the DA knows everything about me, and my past, and I told them this, I said, I am not going to let you all get caught with your drawers down, because there are a couple of errors in my past, because, like, I went to a psychiatrist -- but don't make a big issue of it, because you might get the psychiatrist on the stand, and he will tell you -- I say, there is a bunch of humbug in my family, I flunked a couple of tests at Tulane, I said I went to him because I needed to talk to somebody, and I told them so they would know it beforehand. I am telling you what I know and that is it. But I am the one getting stung by this, and I am the one on trial. That is what it is going to amount to, and when this trial is over -- and if it is going to be a month -- I can't take a month. I am not saying I will disappear -- but all I can say is what I saw. And he is not going to shake me; he might accuse me of everything in the book, but he is not going to shake me. And I can't be any better than that. I told Mr. Garrison, I told him, they can bring anything in, but they are not going to shake me from that. The man has got a muscle face, speaks intelligently, he is well read, I have met this man, now, I am not accusing him of anything -- if they give him a $100,000.00 reward, I don't care -- I am not bloodthirsty, that I want him to go to jail, because it just does not make that much difference to me. I am more interested in some of the stuff getting finished -- and just living -- it's just wrecked my life -- now, I am really sorry, and I know there are hundreds of other people that have been up there -- can get up there and tell something about Ferrie, but you think they are going to come up there and tell what they know -- my aunt and my uncles said to me, you are a damn fool for getting in this, what do you want, and I said, I don't want anything, and they said, they are going to hound the hell out of you -- and I thought twice about it now -- I have my second thoughts about it now, but I can't get out of it now, because I have made my statement, and I stand by my statement -- I will never change it, because that is the way I remember it. And I have a 153 IQ, and I should be able to remember something, and I remember it that way. And nobody can shake me from it. But if I am going to get my whole life just stung and burnt because of this humbug, I am not interested. I am not even . . . because Shaw's twenty years in jail or Shaw's life could not make up for a day that I lost in my life, because I am trying to get out on my own -- I was $6800.00 in debt on November 11, 1966; I am now $5416.00 in debt -- I keep a card on everything -- I can't go out on dates -- I have everybody come to my house, it's a lot easier, because you are paying rent anyway, so let them come over. We have parties in Baton Rouge -- now, if they want to get a bunch of people testifying against me about parties, they can -- I don't care -- but they cannot change my mind. I was there, and I saw it. That man was there, that man took part in the conversation, and I was there and saw him; now, I don't care if a thousand people come up here and say Clem Bertrand or Clay Shaw . . . they are not going to change my mind, and I don't care what you all think; if you all think adversely, well -- I am not going to change if I go to jail for it. To me, it's reality the way I saw it, and I have suffered enough for it, and I expect at the trial -- I am so bitter about this -- and so mad about that -- I called up here yesterday in a nice way to ask Andy about something and such and such, and what about a permit to carry a gun, because I don't want anybody coming over to my house and messing me up, because when a man calls me up, or calls the office, and says, will you come out here and write $100,000.00 life insurance, I am on my way, but the same day, this March 13, when this man, Hugh Marrero called the office and asked that I come out to his house, which is very rare, you don't often have a man call you and say come out and write me $100,000.00 -- this just doesn't happen, but he called the office and he was a Cuban exile -- I talked to him on the phone when I got back, seven days later, I called his office . . . his house, and I said, this is Perry Russo, and he said yes, and he barely spoke English, he said, my father, who doesn't speak any English, wants a hospitalization policy, so I said, well, what time would be convenient, I am losing not just a sale from other sales I would be making, but I am losing preferred leads, which you can't estimate what that is worth [sic]. You just have to guess them. You are losing a big hunk of money over the next ten years, so now, I went out to his house, about five times I rode around his house, and the only reason I went into his house is because he had his name on his mailbox. Hugh Marrero, that was his name. And I said, if this guy puts his name on his mailbox, I guess he is not going to shoot me. So I went in, and we talked, and he asked me all about Garrison and the probe and all that, and I just shot the breeze with him. I would like to get the story, I told him, the father was 58 and did not speak English -- I suppose he was telling the father the things I was telling him, but I talked a while, and they talked in Spanish back and forth -- and that was that. I am sorry I got involved.
Q. Mr. Russo, going back to 1963, and the second visit to Ferrie's apartment, when you, Lefty and Sandra went up there, was [sic] Sandra and Lefty also introduced to Clay [sic] Bertrand?
A. No, they weren't. They were not introduced to anybody. Here is the thing; I was the leader of my group, and I was the one who always spoke -- they were there -- I don't recall, they could say his name, maybe they could, but you see, Ferrie always made it a point to make me feel at home, because he knew I was the outlet for what he wanted, I guess; that's the way I look at it back now [sic].
Q. What do you mean, outlet for anything he wanted?
A. Well, in other words, I was always suspicious of the guys I mentioned before, but the only one [sic] ever accused Ferrie of that was Landry; he said, yes, it happened with Ferrie at the CAP and all that kind of stuff. So I said OK to that, although he was suspicious, he was a weird character, don't associate with young boys for, you know, unless some purpose . . . I got a lot of young kids playing for me in a baseball team, but there is a purpose to that, and when a baseball game is over, they go on, I tell them, go on home, and when they are late, I get mad and fuss and all that kind of stuff . . . but what happened was, he brought up the stuff about this drug and Ferrie's roommate, but he never accused himself either, but he got to be the biggest indictment he made against himself . . .
Q. He never made any advances to you?
A. No, never; he knew that if he would, the antagonism he caused before, he was treading on thin ice, then, the stuff with Landry, I broke them up, but they were lovers or something . . .
Q. You say he came to your house at 2:00 in the morning?
A. Well, you see, I was studying all hours of the night --
Q. What was the purpose of these visits?
A. He just dropped in.
Q. What did you talk about?
A. Any number of things, just normal conversations . . .
A. Yes -- just depends on what kind of mood I was in -- if I wasn't in the mood to tolerate him, he would leave; if I had finished a book and was tired, I would stop studying, light a cigarette and start shooting the breeze.
Q. Did other people you met at Ferrie's house impress you as being homosexual?
A. Well, of course, Bertrand, but I had not [sic] from meeting him, no, at the wharf, he did. Now, I took it for granted that the roommate was -- I got the impression that he was married, too.
Q. Do you know who owned this service station you referred to? Did Ferrie own it?
A. I don't know if he owned it or was just working there -- it was a Gulf station -- I hadn't seen Ferrie for some months -- I just drove in. He had a little Gulf hat on -- I don't know if he owned it or not, but I think the name was Dave & Al -- I think that was the name up there.
Q. You don't really know that this was Dave Ferrie's gas station?
A. Oh, no, he didn't say that.
Q. What kind of gas station was it? Gulf?
A. Gulf, yes.
Q. Now, you said Dave had a Gulf hat on?
A. Yes, Gulf.
Q. A Gulf station hat -- not a golfing hat.
A. Yes -- I hadn't seen him for some months. Ferrie was the type, you would see him three weeks at the time [sic], and then you wouldn't see him at all. He was a very mysterious fellow. This was real important to me; I was trying to interpret Ferrie; he was broke the whole time I knew him he was a broken down old man [sic], from having a mind that could perhaps put on . . .
Q. This was what attracted you to him, perhaps?
A. No, no, in '64? Well, I only [sic] him maybe five or six times in '64.
Q. That was after Kennedy was killed?
A. Maybe a little more, but I doubt it.
Q. You never discussed the fact that . . .
A. We never discussed anything -- he was still at the filling station, and he asked me, are you still at Elysian Fields? Well, I might drop over, and he said . . . and he brought over some films, hard core pornography, one roll -- one night about 10:00 o'clock [sic] or 11:00 o'clock [sic]. And he said he got this from Cuba, said he could get all he wanted, that kind of bunk, and so I said, yes, yes, yes -- and I started rolling it with my hand, just to see how it looked, what it was like, and this guy he [Andrew Sciambra] showed me a picture of [Sergio Arcacha Smith], I said he [Arcacha] was one of the guys in the film; anyway, I just kept the films . . .
Q. Clay Bertrand?
A. No, no, this other guy -- this Cuban guy -- I forget his name [Arcacha] -- and that is the first time I ever saw anything like that.
Q. You said that the night you overheard this plot that you were sensing that these people were supposedly homosexuals, you mean that they were not trying to make anybody, they were just talking about trying to kill somebody?
A. At the party?
Q. After they all left -- wasn't there any pairing off or something like that?
A. No -- you see, Bertrand, he was kind of dignified -- Ferrie was too smart -- now, the other guy, Oswald, I mean, I . . .
Q. Wasn't that out of character for the whole three?
A. For these three, it was, but they were a particular brand that you didn't meet every day -- like Ferrie, he made that slip once, about his roommate, saying the roommate had made love to him, became very amorous, that's the way he put it, but didn't remember anything afterwards, and I said if he didn't remember anything, what did he do? He didn't cover that. I didn't ask him. Why should I ask him, that's the way I felt.
Q. Was the roommate Oswald --
A. Yes, that was the only roommate he ever had that I knew of -- before he lived with his mother out in Kenner.
Q. By the way, you mentioned his mother, and I notice that when he died, nobody claimed his body -- does his mother live here?
A. Well, his mother died. She died in 1963.
Q. You say that Oswald was the only roommate Ferrie ever had?
A. That I ever knew. The only one I ever run [sic] into. I guess he had a lot of others, because there are some crazy guys.
Q. Even though he introduced him as a roommate, you don't know that Oswald actually stayed up there?
A. Oh, no. When we drove up in his car -- the guy was sitting out on the porch, and he had mentioned before about the drug and stuff, and I had never met that guy -- and he said, that's my roommate.
Q. You never saw the man spend the night there or anything?
A. No. Never have.
Q. The last time you saw Ferrie was in '64?
A. Yes, I doubt if it was in 1965 -- but possibly one time in '65, you know -- he was always a dynamic -- you knew what [sic] he stood on everything --
Q. You mean about five times in '64, when the President was killed? Even though you said that you had this feeling when the President was killed, that you -- you never tried to discuss it with Ferrie at all on those five or four occasions? You must have thought about it a great deal, and wanted to talk about it?
A. Well, I thought about it, but you see, I graduated in '64 -- and I was getting ready for law school, and I was not particularly interested in Ferrie's fantasies anymore -- at that time of my life. The fantastic world of curing cancer, curing leukemia and everything else -- you know, that was for the storybooks, and all of this stuff before of [sic] eight months or a year -- and Ferrie didn't bring it up, if he talked at all -- I would see him for about five minutes here, ten minutes there, all that kind of stuff, and he talked about Jefferson Parish, the DA, he didn't mention Garrison, but everybody was harassing him, the FBI was after him, and I thought he was becoming paranoiac or something. He was becoming well persecuted [sic], and he was broken, in other words, you say something, and he would attack you right away; he knew all the ways to attack, and he would say, well, what did you say, what did you do -- and you were on the defensive, and he would have you up against the wall -- until he makes a big fool of you. So I learned that the first few minutes of meeting with him, you didn't argue with him, he knew everything . . .
Q. You said you met him about five times, at least on five occasions in '64; how much time did you spend with him on these five occasions?
A. No longer than ten minutes -- I can't remember any long period of time, except maybe once, when he talked about the police -- I remember one distinct time I spent a little time with him -- he mentioned G. Wray Gill's name. He was an investigator or he was a lawyer for him -- he couldn't get a law degree, but he was something for G. Wray Gill, and I don't know if I met him in '65 or not, maybe I did -- I don't know . . .
Q. And you said he was broke by then? Financially?
A. When he was living on La. Ave. Parkway. I knew something had happened -- I didn't know what had happened -- I didn't know the Civil Air Patrol was busted up, I didn't know he was fired from Eastern Airlines. I just assumed all these things. Because you didn't ask Ferrie questions. You don't ask him, he will tell you if he wants to, and if he doesn't want to, forget it. That's the way he was.
Q. In all these meetings, he never made a play for you?
A. I think he had ideas. He suggested he wanted to try me with that drug -- I said no -- and that is the nearest he ever came to it. I said, I don't take drugs unless my doctor gives them to me.
Q. Al Landry obviously lived with him for a while?
A. Now, I don't know that; now, Landry has never told me that, and Ferrie never told me that. Now, Landry went out to the country with him; Landry told me he went out to the country with him.
Q. How old was Landry -- about your age, younger or older?
A. I don't know how old -- I think he is 23 now -- I think he is two years younger than I.
Q. The time you are talking about, he was about eighteen?
A. Yes, about eighteen -- you see, I think he had written notes to his family, saying this old man -- stuff like that . . .
Q. Were you surprised to learn that a man of Ferrie's evident abilities [sic] working in a service station?
A. Everything was surprising about Ferrie. The biggest surprise of all to me was that Ferrie, with a mentality -- I haven't met a man yet with the mentality he had -- or like him up here -- and he was making money for Eastern -- Landry told me he was making $1800.00 a month with Eastern Airlines -- I don't know if that is true or not, that's a big amount to me -- but he was so many contrasts, he was all of these things, and yet, he had airplane glue, it looked like to me, and stick [sic] on his head -- he could have gotten an expensive wig -- how much, $300,00, a real good one -- but he didn't do that -- he stuck out, and you never could forget Ferrie.
Q. The night of the party, when everyone left, and they started discussing this plot, I just wonder how Ferrie was able to reassure them as to your presence, for this is a very serious plot, and the fact that you were not part of this group, and they had obviously discussed it before, and the fact that he could say he was OK, it is surprising that they would accept you for something as serious as what they went on to discuss in front of you. For how long did they continue the discussion?
A. First, this discussion must have lasted a couple of hours. I'd be out on the porch smoking . . . back in . . .
Q. How did you get home that night?
A. I think I caught the bus; I don't think anybody ever left -- they never left -- I did not ask for a ride; I never ask anybody for a ride; he knew I was waiting. To ask why did -- you see, Ferrie was so all prevailing -- if Ferrie said it, you went the long way to fight him about it; now, I don't know if or how many occasions they had discussed this before; as I looked at it, there were three quacks sitting down discussing it, that was all.
Q. Is that the way you viewed it -- three quacks?
A. Three quacks -- Ferrie was a quack -- now, Bertrand was the only one that didn't fit the quack description, but, as everybody says why did I associate with such a bunch for -- killed by association -- Oswald was a quack. He was so detached, he didn't care about anything. Ferrie just dominated everybody; you didn't have room to argue; if he said it was that way, you accepted it for what he said or got off the boat. That's all there was. And for somebody to have said Ferrie couldn't have done that -- Mr. Dymond made reference to how in the hell could a man so intelligent as Shaw and so well read as Oswald was supposed to be -- I think he was kind of well read -- could they have said they would take the word of Ferrie. Well, a man who would say that couldn't have known Ferrie. You have to know Ferrie to get across what I mean. I met quite a few people, and I have always been one to agitate a group and lead a group, to run for office -- we sold candy bars in High School, Nestles Crunch, we bought 1600 of these things for fifty cents a box -- I sold 1400 of them. By one means or another. Get a person to listen to you. Ferrie was not just getting a person to listen to you, it was charm -- you didn't have any choice, although he did not put you at ease, he was . . . he did not put you at ill at ease [sic], he was smart enough to handle you that way. They probably didn't like it -- they didn't like it in the very beginning -- they didn't join in the conversation until later -- Oswald and I didn't like each other from the beginning -- it was just one of those things, I just didn't specifically sit down like this -- like you all are sitting around the table now -- looking at each other. I didn't sit like that.
Q. Was this a monologue on Ferrie's part?
A. Most of it, except when they would differ as to what they should do about it -- do it this way differently, it would be better this way -- no, we can't do it this way because . . .
Q. Did you contribute any ideas?
A. No, except I was getting up and saying, I want to go home. I might have made those kinds of remarks.
Q. Did you have any occasion to hear anyone say what was the motivating fact for doing in the President?
A. Now, you would have to back up a couple of years with Ferrie. It was Ferrie again. I don't know if it was the motivating factor with Bertrand and Oswald was -- but I can tell you the motivating factor of Ferrie was. Back in 1962, I guess, whenever the blockade started, all before that he was all -- Castro had to go, Castro was this and this and all that kind of stuff -- Castro had served his purpose, he had helped get rid of Baptista [sic], he had helped get rid of private property, he had helped get rid of all these private enterprise things, I don't know if Ferrie was a communist or not, but anyway he had reached a point now that he couldn't go any further, he would never let the government go kapoot and disappear, he was always going to be be [sic] there and if it wasn't him it was going to be Raoul, if it wasn't Raoul it would be (inaudible), or somebody like that -- I knew the whole Hierarchy of Cuba -- all right, then Kennedy came along and put a blockade in and then Ferrie turned the most violent -- he never talked that much about Kennedy before, he turned around like a pfoof [sic] -- and all the hate, I don't mean hate, but the idea of Castro wanting to get rid of him turned into hate against Kennedy, for he idolized the Spanish people -- Kennedy was now starving the Spanish people, all this bullshit about letting medicine go through was a bunch of bullshit, he said he knew because he had been down there and there [sic] wasn't letting medicine go through he said he was starving the Cuban people, said he had already bankrupt them by American tourists not going there and spending their money -- and he said now he was getting this organization of Americas [sic] States he said they would put all these economic sanctions and all that stuff, and he said Kennedy was a real no-good fellow, he didn't phrase it that way, but that's what he meant. Well, you know what provoked that -- because I was critical of Kennedy's policies in that area, I was critical of the fact that he allowed the Russians to build up and all that. I would say the first word and he would start talking for hours, hours and hours. This was when he was at the height of his glory I guess. And he changed from this anti-Castro program, get rid of Castro, to get rid of Kennedy, get him out of the picture, he said Johnson would be a better president anyway as he was more concerned with domestic problems. He said he knew how to handle the Senate, had been in it for years, said he was a majority leader and all that kind of humbug, and he said, listen, if we get rid of Kennedy, he said, Johnson will make a much better President; he said he knows much more about Congress, and he'll be a much better President. He said he's not that much [sic] anti-Cuban, says he is more for the people. Ferrie was interested in that, and whether that was the motive or not, I don't know. And whether this is by luck or chance they all got together, I don't know. But Ferrie was, you know . . .
Q. Were these three the only people involved?
A. No, I didn't get the impression they were involved. I got the impression that they had other people involved. Ferrie was the brains, and these two guys were the Lieutenants. That's the way I got it.
Q. You think there were more people involved?
A. I think so. But I don't know who they may be -- it could be the guys at the party, I don't know. I never saw these guys at a party again.
Q. You think these were the master plotters and there were some other people involved?
A. Well, I got the impression Ferrie would fly out if he was assassinated, but Ferrie was not going to pull a gun -- pull a trigger -- I got that impression because he said, I am the pilot and I know all about this; this was back in -- at the party, and Bertrand said, you are all washed [sic], you can't fly, and all that kind of stuff.
Q. He didn't take exception to that?
A. Well, that is the only comment I can remember Bertrand getting hot and bothered about -- and Ferrie, look, you get all you want off with Ferrie, but he is going to put you down -- in a nice way. He didn't say anything bad back. He said, if you don't like that, he said, then make sure we are in the public eye. What could be more logical than that?
Q. Do you recall anything that Bertrand contributed to the argument?
A. He argued with Ferrie, said we can't go by Mexico -- we get down there, and the Mexican authorities will stop us.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q. Did you get the impression that Shaw or Bertrand were [sic] being financed?
A. Yes -- there was a bit about that -- I wondered about that.
Q. What made you wonder about that?
A. I have to think about that -- something was said about that, now you bring that money business up -- I got to remember what was said -- you see, all of these were derelicts, none of them worked, that I got the impression -- Bertrand, he looked like he worked -- maybe something was said -- if I took a little time . . .
Q. Did Ferrie have any income at the time?
A. I just assume that he didn't -- he had just moved from that nice house in Kenner, and now he was in an apartment on La. Ave. Parkway, and that place was always upside down.
Q. What kind of refreshments did you have there?
A. Beer, sometimes; I never did see whiskey, but I am sure it was around; coffee; and there were always plates around with ashes, cigarettes stuck in them, coffee cups, and all around the side of the coffee cup -- evidently, coffee from the night before -- evidently somebody had been up there, and they had sat and shot the breeze, and always, cigarette butts just stumped in the coffee cups. I took a Coke -- I wasn't drinking that much; I didn't drink that much, period. I used to drink, when I had money, but I left college, and thought of paying off college, I don't drink, period. I'll drink a beer every once in a while, a vodka Collins, something like that.
Q. Ferrie's apartment must have been in pretty bad shape?
A. Oh, it was always -- I never saw it cleaned up. He had a piano there, and one night I went out there, and he could play -- could play Tchaikovsky -- just get up there and bang on the piano, and he knew all these songs by heart, I mean, you know -- he hadn't played in seventeen years, and he played all of these famous tunes -- I could recognize the tune, I had heard it before . . . said he hadn't played in seventeen years . . .
Q. Perry, did you get the impression from the conversation among the four [sic], when it first started, that perhaps they had discussed this or similar matters prior to this?
A. It had to be, but it just started off by -- these guys had already talked -- you just don't start off a conversation -- like a guy I know, Wayne Luke, called me and said, we going [sic] to have a baseball team this summer, and I said, yes, OK, we going [sic] to have Joe Doakes and Harry Jones . . . I had to talk to him first -- we have to have a first meeting to see who will sponsor and all, and how we are going to do it -- and that's what I took for granted -- they had discussed it -- three crackpots -- they had to, you just don't start a conversation and everybody know [sic] what is going on. Because he said, Oswald, shut up, he knows what he is doing. He'll handle that end of it. They had to have.
Q. Would you say they are the top men, or do you think there is somebody else? Higher up?
A. Well, at this time I did not know, it was so far removed -- so remote -- you know what I mean, I didn't think about it. I didn't think who were the top men or not.
Q. Well, would you say they were the instigators of this thing?
A. I have tried to think about it lately, and I figure that Ferrie just doesn't impress me as the top man. But, of course, Bertrand fits me as below Ferrie -- that's the way I put them, I put Bertrand and Oswald together, I put Ferrie up here, although he could have these grandiose plans, he just didn't seem to have the money or the real will, maybe . . . or something.
Q. The fact that you knew this and didn't say anything about it until the investigation, I'd like to ask, how does that have you as accessory after the fact -- does that come into the question? That you knew this, and you didn't tell anyone or report it? I just want to get clear on that point of law.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Let me explain that. You have got to do something and further assist and aid and abet the crime. I can be present in the discussion of an armed robbery, but if I don't participate or help in a direct way, I am not guilty as accessory -- now, if I hide the gun or do something like that -- you have to assist in some way.
A. Now, the first time I came down here, I said, do you think I need a lawyer? What does this entail? And they said, if you think you should have one, all right. I said, well, for one thing, I don't consider myself guilty of anything -- and I said, I am always willing to help you all. If you want information from me, I will give you everything I know about it. And about my own affairs and about Ferrie. And all that -- now, I just wanted to ask you all right here -- people that I have known somewhere -- the man right here, I do not recall your name, but I will recall it -- the man there at the table . . . and the man here. Now, from one acquaintance to another, I remember you all from somewhere. I remember faces real well. I have no recollection, though, but I just want to throw it in, because I am going to think of it. And I will send you all a letter saying this, because I know you all from somewhere, and as soon as I figure it out, nobody can shake me from that, either. And that's the best I can do here.
Q. Have you ever been in Bertrand's apartment at all?
A. No, the nearest I got to it was over on Dauphine, at the front door. The patio door.
Q. The night of the party, when they discussed the plot, was this rifle that you had seen there previously, was this anywhere in the apartment?
A. Well, I have tried to think about that -- because Garrison asked me, Dymond asked me, and I tried to think about it, but I couldn't place it -- so many people around, and everybody moving around, and there was this Spanish record of some guy making a speech, and all this loud stuff, and this guy shrieking like Hitler, you know. And I didn't see it. I tried to think of that, and I couldn't place it.
Q. After the assassination, Oswald's picture was all over the papers, TV, everywhere; didn't that ring a bell with you?
A. Yes, that's when I first started putting two and two together, but now, Mr. Dymond made a big point of that, and it's not valid. I saw four photographs of Oswald -- except the mug shot they showed me -- a bunch of mug shots just straight forward like this -- four photographs of Oswald -- I told Mr. Dymond I saw these four photographs hundreds of times, but I did not see hundreds of photographs -- and what were they -- I saw a guy standing up holding a gun, it was in a magazine or television [sic] or something, and he was squinting. Then I saw a baby picture of him, and I saw a picture of him on Canal St. or [sic] International Trade Mart distributing pamphlets. Part of a film clip or something. Those were the four ways, I never saw him before -- I never saw him as a baby --
Q. Were they the only ones that came out?
A. The only ones I can remember -- there were probably thousands of them -- but I didn't even see that picture they have of him walking down the hallway in the Dallas Police Station -- well, I saw it a few days before the trial. I was either right after midterm examinations or in the middle of them. November 22-23 and all that. And Lee Harvey Oswald got shot -- I didn't know a Lee Harvey Oswald -- and I don't now -- I know a Leon Oswald. Like I don't know a Clay Shaw -- I knew a Clem Bertrand. I don't care what Mr. Dymond says about that. I know what I know.
I, Maureen B. Thiel, do hereby certify that the preceding transcript is a true and correct copy of the testimony given, under oath, on the 22nd day of March, 1967, and reduced to typewriting by me.
[signed] Maureen B. Thiel
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