this day in crime history: november 24, 1963

On this date in 1963, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot and killed presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald at Dallas Police headquarters. Ruby was arrested on the spot (one of the hazards of committing a crime at police headquarters). He was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His death sentence was overturned on appeal in 1966, and a new trial was ordered. Jack Ruby died in 1967, before he could get a new trial.

Ruby’s motive for the murder has been the subject of much speculation over the last 45 years. Was he carrying out a hit for the mafia? The CIA? The monsters living under Oliver Stone’s bed? Or was he just trying to rid the world of an undesirable? We’ll probably never know.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Jack Ruby

JFK Online – In Defense of Jack Ruby


6 thoughts on “this day in crime history: november 24, 1963

  1. Hard to believe that a professional hitman would carry out a job where there was no chance of escape, unless he had some deep personal motive that would make such a sacrifice acceptable. My guess is that Ruby had a personal desire to avenge the JFK murder. It isn’t unknown for an underworld figure to have a strong sense of patriotism. That doesn’t rule out the possibility that someone egged him on for their own reasons.


    • In James Ellroy’s fictionalized version of the event — from his novel The Cold Six Thousand — the mob had Ruby over a barrel (in debt up to his eyeballs) and bullied him into doing the hit. He agreed to do it figuring that he had a shot at living his life out in a mental hospital, as opposed to sleeping with the fishes. Interesting theory, but I guess we’ll never know.


  2. Since you let me pontificate about the assassination, I’ll throw this out.
    Jack Ruby’s true name was Jacob Rubinstein. He was originally from Chicago, and one of his first jobs as a teenager was as a gopher for a Chicago businessman named Alphonse Capone. He was sent to Dallas by the Chicago Outfit in or about 1948 to look after their interests there.
    Marcello owned Dallas and Ruby ended up working for him. As to why he would kill Oswald with no chance of escape, I don’t know. Probably Marcello had something on him. (Ruby, besides being Jewish, was a homosexual, which wouldn’t be something he’d want publicized in Texas in 1963.)


    • Interesting theory. I was aware of Ruby’s Outfit connections. Pretty much anybody who owned a strip club back in those days was mob-affiliated. It wasn’t like it is today. Pornography has become much more democratized. 😉


  3. John D.:
    I see we share a similarity of mind today…

    Very good post, and the theories behind Oswald and Ruby seem to have a lot of steam in them still.
    There just has to be SO much more that we will never find out about.
    stay safe out there.


    • Those theories will never die. I’ve always found it funny that people seem to know more about those conspiracy theories than they know about the Lincoln assassination, which was a proven conspiracy which led to multiple convictions and executions. I guess the Kennedy theories are sexier that a bunch of pissed-off southerners who were angry over losing the Civil War.


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