Jack Ruby: Voices from History

All Exhibits

Jack—Why?

Ruby Cell
Bill Winfrey Collection

After the shooting, police detectives arrested Ruby and took him to a fifth-floor holding cell in the city jail. A jailer stripped him to his underwear and searched his clothes. Ruby was charged with murder after Oswald died at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Shortly after noon, Police Sergeant Patrick Dean, the officer responsible for security in the basement, escorted Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels to Ruby's cell. Sorrels' visit was to get background information on Ruby. When Sorrels left, Dean and the other detectives remained with Ruby. Dean, based on Sorrels' interview, later presented damaging testimony, at Ruby's trial.

One Good Reason

About two hours after meeting with Sorrels, Ruby met privately with Tom Howard, the first of his many defense attorneys. After visiting with Howard, Ruby would claim his sole reason for shooting Oswald was so Jackie Kennedy would not have to come back to Dallas for Oswald's murder trial.

Mafia Ties?

Ruby was known to have low-level ties with the Mafia, such as the mob-influenced American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) union the strippers joined. However, few people who knew Ruby believed he killed Oswald as part of a conspiracy. Ruby denied any involvement in the Kennedy assassination or that he knew Oswald.

Letters of Praise

Beginning the day of his arrest, telegrams and letters from all over the world were sent to Jack Ruby. Most praised Ruby for his crime—some even suggested he receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. A few condemned him for what many believed was an act of vigilante justice typical of a place like Dallas.