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🚨Jack Ruby Sentenced to Death

Mar. 14, 1964 - Jack Ruby was sentenced today to die in the electric chair for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President Kennedy.

The jury in Dallas, Tex., deliberated 2 hours and 19 minutes. The speed with which the verdict was returned and read at 12:20 p.m. to those assembled in the courtroom and to a television audience by Judge Joe Brown brought an impassioned protest from chief defense counsel Melvin Belli. Before the jurors or the dazed-looking defendant were led away, he cried out to the jurors: “May I thank this jury for a verdict that is a victory for bigotry? I assure everyone on this jury I will appeal this to a court where there is justice and due process of law!”

Guards leaped to the front of the trial room between the press and the counsel tables, while others surrounded Ruby and ran him out to the prison elevator. As the 52-year-old defendant was pushed past him, Belli shouted: “Don’t worry, Jack! We’ll appeal this and take it out of Dallas!”

In a rear bench beneath the cameras which were allowed to film the judging of the man who committed the world’s first televised murder were Ruby’s sister, Mrs. Eileen Kaminsky of Chicago, and his brother Earl, who owns a dry-cleaning store in Detroit. “Oh God!” Mrs. Kaminsky wept.

Earl put his arm around her and waved away a reporter, but she looked up at the newsman and said: “What can we tell you? He didn’t get a fair trial, that’s what we can tell you!”

Above the pandemonium, Belli cried: “I hope the people of Dallas are proud of the jury they shoved down our throat!” Vowing to quit practicing law if he didn’t reverse the verdict, he went on: “This is the greatest railroading kangaroo court of law in history! Do you believe this is a part of the United States? If this venomous infection spreads throughout the country, God save us all!”

He then called Dallas “a little bit of Russia” and said the jurors “had their minds made up — and they have made this city a shame forevermore. Even in darkest Africa you wouldn’t argue for a man’s life after midnight.” Belli had asked the court to recess last night and let the lawyers argue this morning, but the request was denied.

Belli, a San Franciscan, said that “never, never, never will travelers come to Dallas again and remember it as anything but a city of shame!”

Belli had pleaded with the jurors to acquit Ruby of murder as a sick man with brain damage who shot Oswald on Nov. 24 in the City Hall basement while in a blackout caused by psychomotor epilepsy. He had argued that Dallas, on the defensive over President Kennedy’s assassination, would condemn Ruby to death to prove it is not a lawless city. Ruby will remain in his maximum-security cell on a top floor of the Criminal Courts and Jail Building, where he was tried, while his case is appealed.

If the appeal fails, he will be moved to death row at the State Penitentiary in Huntsville. A spokesman for the Dallas District Attorney’s office said it would be at least two years before Ruby was executed, assuming that appeals were filed and dismissed promptly.


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