Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlos Marcello: Big Daddy In The Big Easy

In the Heart of Texas

"It is as if we all stood in a bad dream, watching the hand of fate write out one of the blackest chapters in our history."

- Dallas Star-Telegram.

President & Mrs. Kennedy (AP)
President & Mrs. Kennedy

The only incontrovertible fact is that at 12.29 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963, on Elm Street in downtown Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. Beyond that is myth and mystery. Lee Harvey Oswald is presented to history as the lone gunman. And yet.

His supposed weapon and all the bullets do not match. The rifle, allegedly the murder weapon, is a cheap, mail order, antiquated bolt-action firearm of a dubious quality. It is fired consequentially at impossible speeds, with unbelievable accuracy by a man known to be a mediocre marksman. Bullets perform impossible, almost magical rites of passage across an air space at times blocked and obscured by trees. The wounds of the president present a confusing pathological mystery.

The killing of the president signals the beginning of one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century, perhaps of all times. Everyone knows exactly where he was and what he was doing at that exact moment. I was driving my car, north through the English countryside heading home after a business trip, and had just switched on the car radio as the announcement came over the airwaves. I was passing a road sign to a city called Biggleswade. My wife, six months pregnant with our first child, was watching television as she did the family ironing. She put the iron down and cried her eyes out. It was the end of innocence for us. In the years to come, of course, we all would learn that we were mourning a myth. The "Court of Camelot" was more of tarnished brass than burnished gold.

There have been over 2000 books written about the assassination of the president. Thousands of documents, reports, newspapers and magazine articles have agonized over the death of this one man. There have been six major government investigations: The Warren Report, the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Church Committee and the CIA. Papers on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy comprise over sixty volumes of documents. Hundreds of millions of words, trying to make sense out of an event that seems at times, without sense.

The evidence appears overwhelming: Lee Harvey Oswald was not, and could not have been the lone killer. Whether the act of violence originated with the [Mafia] or the CIA, or both, the disturbing legacy of Elm Street is not just who pulled the trigger, or triggers. No matter how important this is, a greater mystery is the likelihood that for almost forty years, there has been a curtain drawn to conceal the true nature of the murder of John F. Kennedy. There has been an immense dissimulation of evidence, and a distortion and concealment of facts that hints at some deep and malicious conspiracy to deprive the people of America of the truth.

The last time a president of the United States was assassinated, it occurred in Buffalo-"the Rainbow City"- on September 6, 1901. On that day, a deranged anarchist called Leon Czolosz shot President James A. Garfield twice in the body. The president lingered and finally died eight days later. Nevertheless, there was never any doubt who the killer was or why in fact he carried out his deadly mission. The case was closed and the killer duly executed for murder. There were no loose ends.

The murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is nothing but loose ends.

However, what was not obvious to Americans was apparent to Europeans. Paris Match, the famous French daily newspaper, was reporting in December 1963 "...most likely Kennedy was murdered by the Mafia." The magazine, I'Aurore reported: ".... they must have decided for many months to strike out at the very top — to kill the head of the Kennedy family."

It was not until the summer of 1979, almost sixteen years after the event that the American public were told by the House Assassination Committee that President Kennedy "was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy." It stated that although Oswald may have shot at the president, he was part of a bigger picture; one that could have included Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante Jr. They had, the committee found, "the motive, means and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy." The chief counsel of the committee, Professor Robert Blakey (the man who conceived the RICO section of the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act.) believed that there might have been three gunmen.

The full story about the murder of President Kennedy may never be disclosed. But the links between Oswald, whose uncle and surrogate father, Dutz Murret, worked as a bookie for the Marcello organization, and whose mother, Marguerite, dated members of the Marcello organization. Ruby, his killer, had definite links to the Dallas mob and Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante Jr. These links are plain for all looking to search beyond the mists of obfuscation that lie like some evil swamp gas across the plains of history.

Just as the president was shot down in the prime of his life, across town Carlos was sitting yet again in a courthouse, wondering what the jury were going to decide. Was he going, or was he staying?

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