John F. Kennedy assassination
On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrive in Dallas for the last day of a five-city tour through Texas. The president and his wife made the trip to shore up support for his planned 1964 reelection bid. The state, with its large electoral vote, would be important in any bid to secure a second term.
Kennedy is shot and mortally wounded as he is driven through Dealey Plaza in an open car with the first lady, Texas Gov. John B. Connally and Connally’s wife, Nellie. Connally is also struck by a bullet. Later, Connally will recall that he said, “My God, they are going to kill us all.”
Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, of Fort Worth, Texas, is arrested in a movie theater shortly after the fatal shooting of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit. Oswald is also questioned about any connection to the assassination of Kennedy.
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson takes the presidential oath aboard Air Force One at Dallas’ Love Field. In the hastily arranged ceremony, Johnson took the oath upon a missal, a Catholic liturgical book, found on a side table in the president’s airplane bedroom.
FBI handwriting experts reveal that the rifle presumably used to assassinate Kennedy was purchased by Oswald from a Chicago mail-order house for $12.78.
Dist. Atty. Henry Wade makes public that the palm print of Lee Harvey Oswald has been found on the rifle experts believe killed President Kennedy.
An estimated 800,000 mourners line the streets of Washington as the slain president’s casket is taken from the Capitol to the White House, then to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and at last to Arlington National Cemetery, where he is buried with full military honors.
Oswald is quickly and quietly buried near Arlington, Texas, shortly after Kennedy is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Ruby, accused of shooting Oswald, is successfully transferred from Dallas police headquarters to the county jail.
The FBI and the Justice Department launch investigations into Kennedy’s assassination and Oswald’s shooting death.
Gov. Connally, who was wounded during the assassination of President Kennedy, gives his first interview from his hospital bed. “In the space of a few seconds,” he said, “great joy and anticipation was turned to great tragedy.”
President Johnson’s special commission prepares for its investigation into the assassination. Johnson instructs the seven-member panel, whose chairman is Chief Justice Earl Warren, to find the truth “as far as it can be discovered.”
An FBI report concludes that there was no conspiracy between Oswald, who is described as “pro-communist,” and Ruby, the nightclub owner who killed him.
Eight men and four women are chosen to hear the Ruby murder trial. One news account says of the panel: “It is a young and apparently intelligent jury.”
The Ruby murder case goes to the jury, with the state pleading for the death penalty and chief defense attorney Melvin Belli telling the panel, “This poor, sick fellow … and sick he is…. This man should be turned out.”
Ruby is convicted of murder with malice and sentenced to die in the electric chair for killing accused presidential assassin Oswald. “I just thanked [the jurors] for what I thought was a fair and impartial verdict,” Dist. Atty. Wade tells reporters.
Chief Justice Warren visits Ruby in the Dallas County Jail. Warren, chairman of the commission appointed by President Johnson to investigate Kennedy’s assassination, talks with Ruby for three hours.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reverses the conviction and death sentence of Ruby and orders a new trial somewhere other than Dallas. The three-judge court says a change of venue should have been granted in Ruby’s original trial.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Jack Ruby has secretly recorded a denial of any conspiracy in the slaying of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies of cancer in her New York apartment at age 64. The former first lady is later buried alongside President John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sources: Los Angeles Times research
Credits: Maloy Moore, TimelineSetter