DALLAS (Spl.) — Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, was charged for murder with malice in the slaying of President John F. Kennedy at 11:56 p.m. Friday night.
Henry Wade, the district attorney making the announcement in Dallas City Jail, said the charge was made on “physical evidence.”
“It was no one else but him.”
Oswald denies killing the president. He said, “The only thing I knew about it was when reporters asked me.”
The slightly built brown-haired man defected to Russia in 1959. He returned to the United States in 1962 after denying the alien status offered by Russia.
Earlier, he was charged with the Friday murder of a Dallas policeman. The officer, J. W. Tippett, was shot in Oak Cliff about 40 minutes after the president was killed.
Six witnesses identified Oswald as the officer’s murderer. Wade said it is a capital offense, and he would seek the death penalty on both charges.
Oswald was arraigned for the murder of Tippett in David L. Johnson’s Precinct 2 Justice Court.
The Italian-made gun believed to have been the assassination weapon was sent
to Washington for a ballistics check.
Oswald’s Russian wife Marianne said she thought she had seen a rifle of this type in her husband’s possession, Jesse Curry, Dallas chief of police, said.
“I do not think so,” Curry said when asked if Dallas police thought the man had a Communist background.
Oswald is said to be pro-Castro and chairman of a “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.” He has been arrested in New Orleans for his Committee demonstrations, a Dallas policeman said.
Oswald said he is not a Communist but a Marxist.
He will be arraigned for the presidential killing at City Hall tomorrow. The prisoner will stay at Dallas City Jail until Monday, and, then, be taken to the county jail.
Murder is not a federal charge, and if brought to trial, he will be tried in a Texas district court, presumably in Dallas. “He offers no alibis,” Wade said, “but denies both killings.”
“You are against me because I like Russia,” he said as policemen escorted him to an elevator.
Newsmen from all over the world jammed the hall.
The small blue-eyed man wore a brown shirt, a white tee shirt and dark pants.
Over his left eye was a gash. His right eye was bruised and cut. Police said he got both from a scuffle, when officer M. N. McDonald arrested him for Tippett’s murder. He had a .88 caliber pistol stuffed in his belt.
Officer McDonald apprehended him in the downstairs middle section of the Texas Oak Cliff Theater.
Oswald ran into the theater, witnesses said, after shooting Tippett. The theater was one and a half blocks from where Tippett was believed to have been shot.
“War is Hell” and “Cry of Battle” are playing at the theater which was filled with school children observing a holiday due to the President’s visit.
Lt. Carl Day, head of the Dallas Crime Laboratory, said the rifle was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Will Fritz, captain of the Dallas homicide bureau, told newsmen that Oswald was definitely in the building when the President was shot.
The gun was found lying on a carton of books about six feet from the back stairs. Chicken bones and other pieces of food were on the floor surrounding the window. The end window on the building’s south side was the site used by the slayer.
Cardboard cartons were stacked in a semi-circle in a shield-like manner around the window. Three smaller cartons were stacked directly in front of the window. Lt. Day said the dent on the top carton is where he thought the man rested the gun.
Oswald’s mother, wife and brother spent most of the afternoon at the jail. Oswald said he did not have an attorney and was being denied legal counsel. Wade said he didn’t know if he had legal counsel, but he thought his family was taking care of it.
His wife, a small brown-haired woman, barely speaks English.
She and his mother walked through the crowd of newsmen without commenting on the situation. The wife held a small baby wrapped in a white blanket.
City Detective Ed Hicks said Oswald’s wife lived in Irving, but he did not know if the couple were separated.
TWO MONTHS IN DALLAS
Oswald’s mother lives in Fort Worth and his brother in Denton. He has been in Dallas about two months, Curry said.
He has been living in a rooming house in Oak Cliff.
Mrs. Erlene Roberts, who manages the house Oswald lives in, said he would leave about 7:30 or 8 a.m. returning in the evening. He lived there under an assumed name, O. L. Lee.
“He did not know anybody and didn’t have much to say,” Mrs. Roberts said. “If you got a good grunt out of him, it would be a miracle.”
Oswald is believed to have been originally from New Orleans. He attended Ridlega Elementary School in Fort Worth.
His mother told a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter that he had always been persecuted. She said he did not have a father and suffered from it. The father died when Oswald was a child.
The grand jury will not convene until next Wednesday.
It is believed he was an expert marksman in the Marines.