Lee Harvey Oswald

American former marine who assassinated John F. Kennedy

Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939 – November 24, 1963) was, according to five government investigations, the sniper who assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.[1]

Lee Harvey Oswald
Oswald when he served in the US Marine Corps
Background information
Born(1939-10-18)October 18, 1939
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedNovember 24, 1963(1963-11-24) (aged 24)
Parkland Memorial Hospital
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Spouse(s)Marina Prusakova
(m. 1961–1963, his death)

A former U.S. Marine who lived in the Soviet Union[1] for almost 3 years, Oswald was first arrested for the murder of police officer J. D. Tippit (1924-1963), who had been shot on a Dallas street shortly after Kennedy was killed. He was also soon suspected in the death of Kennedy as well.

Soon after he was arrested, Oswald talked to reporters in a hallway. Oswald shouted, "I didn't shoot anybody," and, "They've taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!" (a scapegoat or someone who is blamed for something someone else actually did). Later, at a press meeting, a reporter asked, "Did you kill the President?" and Oswald answered, "No, I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question." As he was led from the room the question was called out, "What did you do in Russia?" and, "How did you hurt your eye?"; Oswald answered, "A policeman hit me."[2][3][4]

Two days later, while being moved from police headquarters to the county jail, Oswald was shot and mortally wounded by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, in full view of television cameras broadcasting live.

Warren Commission studyEdit

In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy, a conclusion reached previously by the FBI and Dallas Police. In 1979, The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations agreed that Kennedy was killed by Oswald, but also concluded Kennedy`s death was probably as a result of a conspiracy. The members of this probable conspiracy were not identified.

Family historyEdit

Oswald had been born in New Orleans, 2 months after his father died,[1] and his mother moved him and 2 brothers to several different towns, while marrying a third husband for 3 years, 1945-48. After attending 12 schools, around Fort Worth, New York City, and New Orleans, Oswald dropped out of 10th grade, at age 16, and worked as a office clerk/messenger. Moving back to Texas in July 1956, Oswald entered 10th grade in Fort Worth, but quit school again, at age 17 in October, to join the U.S. Marines, as had his brother Robert, after their half-brother John Pic joined the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1959, Oswald received a hardship discharge (for mother's health) to quit the Marines, but defected to the Soviet Union, for nearly 3 years. Having married Marina, the daughter of a Soviet security official, he re-defected back to the U.S. with her and their daughter, in June 1962.

They settled in Dallas, with his mother and brother Robert.[1] Oswald worked 3 months in a welding company, then worked in a printing shop from October until being fired in April 1963. Oswald was later suspected of the April 10 attempt to shoot General Edwin Walker, using a rifle (and handgun) he received through mail-order in March. Oswald and Marina quickly moved to New Orleans in April, but she returned to Dallas in late September 1963, when he traveled to Mexico with failed plans to go to Cuba and the USSR. Instead, he returned to Dallas and began working at the Texas School Book Depository on October 16, 1963. The FBI was investigating Marina as a possible Soviet spy. That was one month before the shootings of President Kennedy and Officer Tippit.

Oswald died on November 24, 1963, from gunshot wound by Jack Ruby.[1] He was survived by his wife Marina, 2-year-old daughter June, and 1-month-old daughter Rachel.

a cry of anguish from Oswald Oswald slumped to the concrete paving, as his manacled hands clutched at his abdomen and writhing with pain, moaning. He lost consciousness shortly thereafter[5] The crowd outside the headquarters burst into applause when they heard that Oswald had been shot.[6] a police detective Billy Combest suddenly recognized Ruby and exclaimed: "Jack, you son of a bitch!"[7] A moaning Oswald was carried back into the basement level jail office. Combest asked Oswald, “Do you have anything you want to tell us now?” Oswald shook his head.[8]:184–185 He lost consciousness shortly thereafter.

Prayer manEdit

Researchers Greg Parker and Sean Murphy have given attention to a man standing on the Depository front steps in the Wiegman and Darnell films during the assassination, called "Prayer Man", named as the man is holding his hands in front of him as if praying. It has been suggested that Oswald was the figure, and Oswald’s wife, Marina also expressed her belief.[9] Researchers have argued that the official record of Marrion Baker and Roy Truly encountering Oswald in the TSBD second floor lunchroom was false and point to an account where Baker originally said he saw a man walking away from a stairway on the 3rd or 4th floor, and Baker testifying taking the 5th floor elevator only just “one or two floors up” after his official Oswald encounter on the second floor, indicating there was a 4th floor encounter.[10] Also noted that on the day of the assassination, Truly was overheard by reporter Kent Biffle, informing Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz (chief of homicide) that he had seen Oswald in “a storage room on the first floor”. Occhus Campbell (the vice President of the TSBD) also told the New York Herald Tribune the same day that he saw Oswald “shortly after the shooting” in the first floor storage room. Fritz even wrote that Truly saw Oswald “immediately after the shooting somewhere near the back stairway”. The storage room on the first floor was located near the back stairway.[11][12] In addition, notes taken down by FBI Special Agent James P. Hosty and Fritz during the first interrogations of Oswald on November 22, indicate that when Oswald was asked to account for himself at the time of the assassination, he claimed that he “went outside to watch P. Parade” (referring to the presidential motorcade), and that he was “out with [William Shelley, a foreman at the depository] in front”. [13] According to postal inspector Harry Holmes, Oswald said that he was at the “front entrance to the first floor” when he encountered a policeman who told him to “step aside”.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Appendix 13", Warren Commission Report, 1964, web: WCR-A13.
  2. Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 20, p. 366, Kantor Exhibit No. 3 – Handwritten notes made by Seth Kantor concerning events surrounding the assassination.
  3. Lee Oswald claiming innocence (film) at YouTube.
  4. Lee Oswald's Midnight Press Conference at YouTube, YouTube.com.
  5. The Nook: An Investigation of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Official Autopsy Report of Lee Harvey Oswald Archived 2019-02-26 at the Wayback Machine, November 24, 1963. Accessed January 9, 2013.
  6. Posner 1993, p. 399
  7. "Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XX". History Matters Archive. p. 429. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  8. "Testimony of Billy Combest". Warren Commission Hearings. 12.
  9. Prayer Man: The Exoneration of Lee Harvey Oswald By Stan Dane (2015), p. 101.
  10. Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 3, p. 258, Testimony of Marrion L. Baker.
  11. Dallas Police Department file on investigation of the assassination of the President, "Interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald", vol. 4, p. 265.
  12. FBI Report of Capt. J.W. Fritz, Warren Report, appendix 11, p. 600.
  13. Prayer Man: The Exoneration of Lee Harvey Oswald By Stan Dane (2015), p. 124.
  14. Testimony of Harry D. Holmes, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 7, pp. 306.