Friday, October 28, 2016

Who killed Lee Harvey Oswald? James Bookhout vs. Jack Ruby (Part 1)

by Judyth Vary Baker

Researcher Ralph Cinque has sometimes brought forth useful and interesting information about the Kennedy assassination.  However, his recent declaration that FBI agent James Bookhout–not Mafia nightclub manager Jack Ruby–shot Lee Harvey Oswald, cries out for correction. 
NOTE: You can read Cinque’s article here: 'The Case against FBI Agent James Bookhout for murdering Lee Harvey Oswald', (October 9, 2016).

Clever arguments based on false assumptions have been foisted on us before, such as claims that Lee Oswald wasn’t actually shot in the police garage that dismal day of November 24, since there was no blood spatter on the pavement.  In fact, the bullet that killed Oswald was a dum-dum that tumbled and ricocheted after it entered his abdomen, where it did considerable damage before coming to rest without exiting.  

Most entry bullet wounds do not release significant blood, and Oswald’s black sweater would have hidden any blood that did erupt. Oswald’s autopsy describes every severed artery and sliced-up internal organ in great detail.  The speculation that Oswald wasn’t shot in the garage is an example of how ignorance can lead a well-meaning person astray.  Ralph Cinque unfortunately has provided us with another example of how ignorance can lead the unaware to false conclusions.  Cinque introduces his “discovery” with this:  
“Getting to know that James Bookhout was the real shooter of Lee Harvey Oswald was a two-step process.   The first step was just realizing that Jack Ruby wasn’t the shooter. And that is supported by many things, the clincher being collages like this one by Staffan Westerberg which shows a vivid deal-breaker in trying to equate Ruby with the shooter. You can’t do it. It doesn’t work. The discordance is too great. The backs of their heads don’t match.”


    Let us look at the “collages” that Cinque calls “the clincher”:

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Cinque: “At the time, Jack Ruby was scruffy at the back of his neck, meaning scruffy hair growth which darkened his neck. The shooter wasn’t that way. His neck was clean.”  

JVB: Observe that the photo on the right has flashbulb over-exposure so that we can’t see details.  The flesh is “white” compared to the “gray” flesh of the photo on the left. The photo on the right cannot be used to “prove” there is no hair growth on the back of Ruby’s neck. Later, in this article, we’ll show you the back of Bookhout’s neck.

Cinque says of this blurred photo: “… the shooter had hair growing closer to his ears. Ruby had a wide margin. You could drive a truck through there.”

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JVB: Let’s take a section of the above photos and look more closely at them:

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The shadow behind the ear on the photo to the left might—or might notbe hair. When viewed as magnified, it can be argued that this is a shadow, not a clump of hair.
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Cinque: “Also, note that the shooter must have had a round face. His whole head looks very round. But, Ruby’s face was not that round.”  

JVB: A Fedora covers most of the head of the shooter on the right.  As for Cinque’s statement that “Ruby’s face was not that round,” Cinque then shows us, in the very next photo, that his own statement is in error. In fact, Jack Ruby did have a round face:

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Cinque: “OK, so on that basis, we know the shooter wasn’t Ruby.” 

JVB: “OK,on that basis, we cannot say the shooter WASN'T Ruby.”  What we do know is that Cinque has an opinion and has tried to turn it into a fact.    

We will ignore Cinque’s comment that Jack Ruby said he didn’t remember shooting Lee Oswald. Ruby originally claimed insanity, too, as a reason for his actions.  Let us move on:


James Bookhout was an FBI agent who was involved in the investigation of Oswald from the very beginning. He attended the first interrogation of Oswald, and he attended several others. He was there for the last interrogation of Oswald that Sunday morning right before the shooting, except that he claimed to only watch it through a glass wall.

First, note that there is only one piece of footage that captured the image of James Bookhout. And, as I’ll demonstrate, his image in that footage was altered. But, it still provides some valuable information. James Bookhout was short, just like the Garage Shooter.” 

Cinque’s vague description focuses on Bookhout as being “short, just like the Garage Shooter.” Cinque contends that Bookhout was “short, just like the Garage Shooter,”—in support of which argument Cinque has to jump through several hoops and has to contend that various photographs have been altered, which is a favorite excuse Cinque makes when his theories don’t match photos. 

First, let’s address Cinque’s comment that there is only one piece of footage 
that captured the image of James Bookhout.”  Cinque also claims we have no photos of Bookhout’s face, and that what we do have are altered, but he errs.  In fact, we have footage of Bookhout that does show his face, such as this frame from film, where he is in shadow, holding Lee Oswald’s left hand as Lee is being loaded into the ambulance:

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Lee Oswald’s clenched fist shows he is not yet unconscious, in opposition of what has been claimed by many. Note: Bookhout wears a Fedora. Under ordinary lighting, his Fedora looks darker than Jack Ruby’s, but Cinque latches onto this Fedora as part of his “evidence” that Bookhout is the shooter. Below, we have flipped Cinque’s photo of Bookhout’s Fedora so it can be more easily compared to Jack Ruby’s:

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Ruby’s Fedora tends to reflect more light than Bookhout’s Fedora. It is also a somewhat smaller hat.

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Here are other photos of Jack Ruby’s Fedora:

The first photo shows the actual color of Jack Ruby’s Fedora. The photo to the right shows Ruby’s Fedora in black and white. Below is another photo of Bookhout’s Fedora, compared to Ruby’s:

Bookhout’s Fedora seems taller than Ruby’s Fedora.  Below is a front-on photo of Bookhout in his Fedora: compare to Jack Ruby’s:

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Inline image 21 Bookhout Inline image 22 Ruby

When Bookhout’s Fedora and Ruby’s are shown at approximately the same size, Bookhout’s Fedora also seems taller in the back. This is the brightest shot of Bookhout’s Fedora: it nearly matches the gray of the Fedora worn by Ruby. But the height of Bookhout’s Fedora differs from Ruby’s, as can be seen in this photo supplied by Cinque in his own article:

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It is difficult to view these two photos together, which is what Cinque himself did, and then dare to conclude that the Fedora on the right is the same as the Fedora on the left.
  But we will use the photo on the left, which Cinque claims shows the back of Bookhout’s neck, one more time, to drive our point home:

Cinque claims that this photo cannot be of the back of the head of Jack Ruby, because the back of Ruby’s neck was “scruffy” while Bookhout, as an FBI agent, would have a clean-shaven neck.  Cinque makes that argument in “Part 2” of his paper, claiming that the photo on the left has to be of Bookhout’s neck. Keep that in mind when you look at the photos below.

The final nail in the coffin can be found here, in Cinque’s “Part 2” :
Bear in mind that, at least officially, there are no images of James Bookhout from the time of the assassination or thereafter. Which is strange considering that Bookhout attended more Oswald interrogations than anyone else apart from Captain Will Fritz, who was conducting them. 
But Cinque is wrong. Besides the photo we have already provided, showing Bookhout holding Lee’s left hand when Lee was being loaded into the ambulance, here are additional photos of Bookhout vs. Ruby:

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Regarding Cinque's opining that the man to the left is not Bookhouit, we ask: which "back of the neck" is most likely to represent a clean-cut FBI agent?

Note the back of Bookhout’s neck is naked.  It does not resemble the dark shiny hair on the back of the neck of the “Garage Shooter.” Cinque has to deny that the photo on the left is Bookhout. He says:
“The only confirmed images we have of Bookhout, therefore, are school pictures of him from when he was much younger. Since that is all we have, that is what we have to use, where further finds of other photos may provide further proof or disconfirmation.” 
NOTE: For "Who killed Lee Harvey Oswald: James Bookhout vs. Jack Ruby (Part 2)", click here. 

Judyth Vary Baker was Lee Harvey Oswald's girlfriend in New Orleans the summer before he moved to Dallas and was hired at the Texas School Book Depository. She has several books about her experiences, including Me & Lee (2011) and David Ferrie (2014).


  1. perps say determined to find something on me, anything to put me away

  2. Jim,

    I'm confused. On October 24, you were listed as the co-author (with Ralph Cinque) of an article that claimed James Bookhout (and not Jack Ruby) shot Oswald on November 24, 1963.

    Now, there appears on your blog this two-part article by Judyth Baker, which asserts that you and Ralph are wrong both in your premises and your photographic analytical skills.

    So, how would you like your readership determine the truth about who shot Oswald? A coin toss???

  3. Well, rational criticism is our most reliable access route to the truth, as Sir Karl Popper has emphasized. No one has a greater interest in who shot Lee than Judyth, who was his girlfriend in New Orleans the summer before Dallas. We need to have both sides presented. I believe that Ralph has found something significant, but I invited Judyth to present her critique in response. I expect to have a rebuttal from Ralph in the near future to add to the mix. This is a fascinating turn of events in the history of research on the death of JFK.

    1. While I don't agree with Ralph's basic premise, I do acknowledge that this is an eye opener. I still believe Ruby killed Oswald, though.

  4. I would not classify Judyth Baker’s or Ralph Cinque’s pieces as “research.” Neither writer draws upon the eyewitnesses (journalists and police officers) who witnessed the killing of Oswald in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on November 24, 1963. Ruby was so familiar to the press and the police that there was no confusion whatsoever in identifying him as the killer, based on extant accounts among the one hundred police officers and newsmen present in the garage basement on November 24, 1963.

    Understanding the identity of Oswald’s murderer is not a philosophical conundrum to be resolved by the critical rationalism of Karl Popper. Neither is it a question of probabilities or actuarial work. Rather, it is a question for the historian to synthesize corroborating facts of visual, aural, forensic, and written evidence. Neither Baker nor Cinque expresses the slightest interest in the historical evidence.

    In all four articles submitted by Baker and Cinque, there are no footnotes or source materials. The two writers are only positing subjective interpretations of photographs. From his computer, Cinque invariably draws upon degraded photos or film stills with no regard to the provenance of the images. And, in the case of Baker’s articles, most of the photos have yet to appear on the screen as of November 2!

    Yet somehow, you call this “a fascinating turn of events in the history of research on the death of JFK." I suspect that Karl Popper would refer to that statement as an example of hyperbole.

  5. Giving any credibility to this absurd declaration that Bookhout was the garage shooter makes me question any time I have ever agreed with Fetzer. It discredits the truth movement. It’s embarrassing.