James Kirkwood interviews Miguel Torres



From James Kirkwood, American Grotesque, 1992 ed., pp. 500-05:

It was seven o' clock in the evening. And it was very unusual for a person [in prison] to get a visitor at that time of night . . . I went up to the control room and there were these two people sitting there. Well, I didn't recognize any of them because I'd -- well, I never did meet them before. . . . One of these men was Lynn Loisel. They called him "Pete the Heat." . . . And the other one . . . I'm pretty sure it was Ivon. And when I walked up to them . . . they asked me what was the thing I wanted the most. And I told them . . . matches! That's a silly question, you know. You can't ask a prisoner what do you want the most. Freedom! So Loisel -- this is his exact words, I never forgot the words. He said, "Well, I'll tell you Miguel, we come from the DA's office and you know Jim Garrison is a very powerful man. Now," he said, "you're doing nine years here and you've got three with the Feds. Now he can cut you loose altogether if you cooperate with us. If not, the boss is very powerful and he will be sure to make you do all this time. So the best thing you can do is cooperate with us. . . . They told me, "We're investigating the President Kennedy assassination. And we believe there was a conspiracy." I said, "Man, I don't know anything about this here." They said, "Well, you don't have to know anything about this here. Just cooperate with us and we'll be sure the boss cuts you loose. . . ."

So . . . about a week later they came a got me on a writ of habeas corpus. It was a fictitious writ of habeas corpus. It was for a simple robbery case that happened in 1966. And I'd been in prison since '64, you see. So they came and got me. It was in the evening, about 6 o'clock, and they drove me to New Orleans. We got there about 9:30, 10 o'clock. They took me to Garrison's office. He was sitting in the chair and Bill Gurvich was there and he introduced me, we shook hands, you know. Sit down, Miguel, sit down. I sit down. They sent for some beers. I didn't want to drink beer because I was afraid. I figured they wanted to get me a little dizzy.

So this is what Garrison told me personally. He said, "You do what my men tell you to do, and I will do my best to see that you will be out of prison -- as soon as possible." So I said, "Yes, sir, I'll do anything that you tell me to." They asked me a few questions and they showed me a few pictures. We stayed there about an hour. Different people. I don't remember seeing Clay Shaw at the time. But they showed me pictures of all kinds of Cubans and different people. Anyway, a week later they sent for me. . . . They brought me to the DA's offices and Numa Bertel was there. And they wanted me to let them hypnotize me. And I told them, "No, I can't do that." He said, "Well, if you let us hypnotize you --" Oh, by the way, a deputy brought me down there and Numa Bertel threw me in a little room, a little office, and closed the door. And he said, "You spoke with the boss already. And you already know what's going on. Just do what we tell you to do." So I said, "What do you want me to do?" He said, "Well, what I want you to do is let us hypnotize you." And this is his exact words: "Let us hypnotize you and you will not remember anything until later, when we will ask you some questions."

Well, right away I got suspicious . . . I know something about hypnosis. I know what it can do to a person. So I told him -- no, "I can't do that, man." And he got mad. "Man," he said, "you make a deal with the boss and now you want to turn back. You're going to get the boss mad and the boss is going to fuck you around. Because he can fuck you. He can help you, he can also fuck you." . . . So I told him, "No, I'm sorry, man, I've got to think it over." So I went back to the Parish Prison.

A few days later they sent for me again. And this time it was ]Assistant DA] Mike Karmazon . . . When I got to the office I had an attorney, his name was Kimball. . . . Kimball told me -- he's not a fool, he's afraid . . . I don't know what Karmazon told him, but they knew each other from way back. But I knew he was nervous. So he sits next to me, he tells me, "Do anything he wants you to do, do anything he wants you to do." So I said, "All right, what do you want me to do, Mr. Karmazon?" He said, "Well, you know Clay Shaw, don't you?" "No, I don't know Clay Shaw." "You know Clay Bertrand?" "No." He said, "Yes, you know him, sure you know him. You used to go to his house. Remember the parties you went to? Where sex orgies used to take place? He used to give you money and he used to whip you and you used to do the same to him and all that?" I said, "No, sir." He said, "Oh, come on, Miguel, you going to tell me --"

But now, you see, I'm looking at my lawyer and I'm looking at Mr. Karmazon . . . I said, "Mr. Karmazon, I'm sorry but I've got to have time to think." He said, "Take all the time you want." . . . The lie detector test. They came and got me one night. . . . He set me down and he said, "We're just going to ask you a few questions and everything will be all right." He asked me a bunch of questions. About Cubans and about Clay Shaw and if I knew him and this and that and the other. I don't know the purpose of it . . . And the only time I met Garrison was that one time . . . And then the news [of Garrison's probe] broke loose all over the papers. . . . They started to put the pressure on me. "Come on, you got to testify, man, you've got to -- Clay Bertrand!" And that's when I really got scared. . . . Through I friend of mine, I told him, "I want you to get [Shaw's lawyer] Sal Panzeca." . . . So he came and I told him what these people wanted me to do. . . . you probably know the rest of the story after that. I went on [NBC] TV . . . and I told the people that -- what these people wanted me to do. . . . and it wasn't only me, it was another man, John the Baptist [John Cancler], he had a burglary charge on him. It was a bum rap. They had no burglary charge, they put this on him. You see, because they wanted him to break into Clay Shaw's house. And he refused to do that . . . they charged him with burglary and they got him convicted and they gave him eighteen years . . . They took him one night, Loisel and another one, I think it was Ivon, too, the same that got me. And they wanted him to go to Clay Shaw's house and . . . put some things in there. He refused. So they got him. They took him right in and booked him.

KIRKWOOD. And you met Vernon Bundy?

TORRES. I met him in the Parish Prison. Man, man, man! I was in the hospital in the Parish Prison. . . . And this man comes in here. And I look at him, you know, he's walking up and down. He's not sick . . . he's just nervous . . . So all of a sudden he sits down, he says, "Man, I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do! . . . Man, these people got me, man. If I don't do what they tell me to do, they're going to send me to the joint. . . ." And at the time, I mean -- I did not know . . . that he was involved in this deal, you see? But I knew he was going to do what these people were telling him to do. And later on, when I see him, what he was doing, then I seen the truth, you see?"


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