TESTIMONY OF BRUCE RAY CARLIN
The testimony of Bruce Ray Carlin was taken at 4:30 p.m., on April 15, 1964, at the Post Office Building, Fort Worth, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. HUBERT. This is the deposition of Bruce Carlin. Let the record show that his attorney, Mr. Alfred J. Jackson of the firm of Tuchin & Jackson, 705 Fair Building, Fort Worth, Tex., is present and representing Mr. Carlin during the time this deposition is being taken. Let the record show also that Mrs. Bruce Carlin, his wife, is also in the room.
By the way, and this may go on the record, too, Mr. Jackson, you had mentioned to me prior to the beginning of the deposition something about obtaining a copy.
Mr. JACKSON. We don't want one.
Mr. HUBERT. Let me say to you that a copy can be made available to you at the cost which the reporter will charge you for the copy.
(Reporter stated that the price to them would be 35 cents per page.)
Mr. JACKSON. They want one.
Mr. HUBERT. Miss Laidrich, at the end of each of these depositions let there be a statement to the effect that Mr. Jackson--why don't you dictate it.
Mr. JACKSON. Let the record show that Bruce Carlin and his wife, Karen Bennett Carlin, have made it known at this time to the interrogator representing the Warren Commission that each of them would like a copy of their deposition in this matter, that at this time each is financially unable to pay for said deposition and reserves the right to obtain a copy of said deposition at some later date.
Mr. HUBERT. My name is Leon Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the General Counsel of the President's Commission.
Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, the Joint Resolution of Congress No. 137, and the rules of procedure adopted by the Commission,. in conformance with the Executive order and the joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn deposition from you, Mr. Carlin.
I state to you now that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate, and report upon the facts relative to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In particular as to you, Mr. Carlin, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you know about the death of Oswald, and any other pertinent facts you might know about the general inquiry, particularly concerning conversations you had with Mr. Ruby on the 23d and 241h, and your knowledge concerning a telegram by which your wife received $25 from Mr. Ruby.
Now Mr. Carlin, I think you have appeared here today by virtue of a letter addressed to you by Mr. J. Lee Rankin, General Counsel for the President's Commission; is that correct, sir?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you received that, or did you receive that more than 3 days ago?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, would you stand, and I will administer the oath.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. CARLIN. I do.
Mr. HUBERT. Would you state your name.
Mr. CARLIN. Bruce Ray Carlin.
Mr. HUBERT. How old are you, sir?
Mr. CARLIN. Twenty-three
Mr. HUBERT. Where do you live?
Mr. CARLIN. 1312 Fairmont, Fort Worth.
Mr. HUBERT. Well----
Mr. JACKSON. At this time for other address purposes, will you tell us the name of your father?
Mr. CARLIN. H. T. Carlin.
Mr. JACKSON. Where does he live?
Mr. CARLIN. Route 13, Box 258, Fort Worth.
Mr. HUBERT. Are you presently occupied, Mr. Carlin?
Mr. CARLIN. I am not.
Mr. HUBERT. What has been, generally speaking, your occupation?
Mr. CARLIN. I am a salesman.
Mr. HUBERT. You sell any particular product?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes. Except for one job where I worked for a greeting card company, I sell sundries like drugs, hair sprays and headache remedies.
Mr. HUBERT. What companies have you worked with?
Mr. CARLIN. The Blue Bonnet Drug Co. in Arlington, Big State Mercantile in San Antonio, and Motel Drug Service in Fort Worth.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, Mr. Carlin, you were present during the deposition of your wife just within the last hour and a half?
Mr. CARLIN. That's correct----
Mr. HUBERT. I want to cover those areas, if possible, in this way, by asking you if you have any other versions of what she said and testified to on the various points involved. I think in that way we can save time. In other words, if you would prefer, of course, I can go through it, but since you were here, and if it is agreeable to your counsel, we can get at it that way.
Did you hear her say anything which, to your knowledge, you would disagree with, and I don't mean by that of course to put either of you in a position of not saying the truth, but just simply that it is a recognition that witnesses sometimes see things differently than others in complete good faith on the part of both witnesses, you understand?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Any variations that you saw?
Mr. CARLIN. [To Mr. Jackson.] May I ask, at the time that I talked to you, did you make some kind of notes or is that what you are doing?
Mr. JACKSON. I was taking notes of the whole proceedings. Let me ask you, on November 22, 1963, Karen said she heard about the shooting of the President from Andrew Armstrong. Who called and stated that the Carousel
would be closed that night? I think you indicated to me that at the time you or maybe possibly you and she heard about it in some other way prior to that time?
Mr. CARLIN. I myself misunderstood the question--that is correct, but what I thought she said was the way she heard that Oswald was killed.
Mr. JACKSON. All right, to your knowledge, how did she learn that Oswald was killed?
Mr. CARLIN. I was wastcing television and I don't remember the program, but a news bulletin interrupted the program and said a man by the name of Ruby, I believe.
Mr. JACKSON. Jack Ruby?
Mr. CARLIN. I don't remember whether it said Jack or it said Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, had attempted to assassinate Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassinator of John F. Kennedy, and I made the statement, "I bet they mean Ruby."
Mr. JACKSON. You made the statement to whom?
Mr. CARLIN. Karen. I said, "I bet they mean Ruby."
Mr. JACKSON. Why did you make this statement, do you remember?
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Jackson, may I ask him--I have no objection whatsoever to your asking any questions, but I think perhaps for the sake of the record, it would be better if I ask them, and then when we finish asking him, you absolutely have the right to go ahead.
Mr. JACKSON. I was just trying to help you.
Mr. CARLIN. I really don't recall if it said Jack Ruby or not. I don't know what made me say, "I bet that is Ruby," but I know the announcer on TV seemed not to be sure, and said that this was not verified yet. And only a few minutes later the phone rang and it was Tammi True who asked if I had seen television.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you speak to her yourself?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes, I picked the phone up and she said, "Were you watching television?" And I said, "Yes." She said, "Did you know Jack Ruby just killed Oswald?" And I said, "I just made that statement to Karen, I bet that is what the man meant." The only reason that I can think of that I said, "I bet that is Jack Ruby," is the fact that he may have said Jack Ruby, or maybe a man by the name of Ruby running a Dallas strip joint. I think that is the way he said it.
Mr. HUBERT. In any case, what you want to tell now is that you differ with your wife's recollection of how she learned of the shooting of Oswald in that you yourself saw it on television and remarked to her that at least it could have been Jack Ruby, and then it was confirmed by the call?
Mr. CARLIN. This is what she said, except the fact she forgot that Tammi True had called. I don't think she even said in her statement a while ago except for the fact that she was thinking she had seen it on television. Of course, we all saw it so many times.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, Mr. Jackson, do you want to pursue any further?
Mr. JACKSON. No.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you any other aspects of the matter that you would like to comment upon relative to your wife's testimony first?
Mr. CARLIN. A number of times there were a few things, very minor, which a person's memory might be--mine is failing me. There are a few things that were said that I did not know about, that she mentioned. But this is because I was not always at the club.
Mr. HUBERT. What I mean to do by this is to simply ask you this. So far as you have heard it and except in the way you have corrected it, your version of the role you played in the things you did and the things you said and the things you heard is about the same as your wife's, is that correct?
Mr. CARLIN. There are two more things that I can think of right now, and let me state both of them. One is concerning the rent, and one is the fact that I talked to him, which she stated she didn't know what we were saying. But I talked to him in the parking lot that night.
Mr. HUBERT. Take one at a time.
Mr. CARLIN. Concerning the parking lot conversation on the phone. She came back to the table in Co1ony Club and was rather upset about the fact
Jack talked to her that way, and it made me a little upset, and I said I will call him next time. And I called him from the parking lot, and he said, "Bruce, that girl works for me, and she gets paid on a certain day." And I think it was Mondays. But the way I remember it, there were--I mean Sundays, I am sorry--but there were times when they went over to the next day before they got paid. He said, "She works for me and she is to get paid at a certain time and I don't owe the girl anything."
I said, "I realize that, Jack, but we need the money to get back." And he said, "Well, I've got some people here and I can't come down right now." And then he said, "I will just tell the attendant at the parking lot to give you all some money. Let me speak to Karen or to Little Lynn," I believe is the way he said it, and I handed the phone to her, as she said.
Mr. HUBERT. When you spoke to him, were you asking simply for money to get back, or for money to pay rent and buy groceries and so forth?
Mr. CARLIN. At that time we were asking for money to get back. Not working steadily, because by job requires a good car and mine was out of commission, at times this man that I worked for with the Motel Drug Service, which promised me a good job in the future, would come by and pick me up to help me. And one day he might pay me a little bit of money to get along on, and I never knew when I was going to get any, so all we were interested in at the time was getting home. When I gave the phone to her, she stated we needed the money for rent and groceries.
Mr. HUBERT. You heard that yourself? You heard her day that?
Mr. CARLIN. I do not recall whether she said that at that time. As far as the money going for rent and groceries, because I didn't know that I would have to remember, and in fact I talked to Mr. Tom Thomas about it, because somebody from the, some authorities, somebody from the FBI or Secret Service had called to clear up a number of these things on the phone. In fact, they called almost in the middle of the night, and I wouldn't tell them anything. And he said, "Well, if you are not sure who you are talking to, hang the phone up and call me in the office in Dallas," and I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Which night was this?
Mr. CARLIN. I have no idea. We had just come home and the phone rang, and I don't really even remember the man's name. But I called him back at his office so I would know who I was talking to. It was one of the men who had talked to her, I believe. I don't recall his name, but at the time I did.
Mr. HUBERT. What did he want to talk about?
Mr. CARLIN. A number of questions which we had both already answered. But he wanted to get them clear again. And then I don't recall, but for some reason somebody had called up at one time or another which caused us to call Mr. Thomas. I was trying to keep my name, because of my family's respectability, out, and I wanted Mr. Thomas, who also worked for the same company my father did, and I didn't want him brought into it if I could help. And he said they were either going to subpoena him to the trial or get a statement from him. And I called him to tell him this.
Then I mentioned something about the rent. When I took the place I paid 3 weeks in advance, and then maybe I would go a week and then I would pay the week before and a week ahead. There was nothing, there was no particular date that I ever paid the rent. Sometimes ahead and sometimes I was behind. I do not know for sure that the $25 that we asked for went for rent at that time or whether we kept it and paid it when it was due, or whether it went for groceries or medicine, which we both needed.
But to make a long story short, I presume the reason she said rent and groceries was those were the two main factors that we needed to exist. All I am trying to clear up is the fact that I am not sure that I gave the landlord money for the rent at that time.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you concur in your wife's statement that her request to Ruby on the 24th was not made solely for the purpose of rent?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Now did you actually hear her conversation?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And she mentioned rent and groceries?
Mr. CARLIN. It seems to me she said something like rent, groceries and other things, just as you would say everybody else. In other words, we needed money to exist until she could get the rest of her check.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Carlin, the purose of this call to Mr. Ruby was, as you have stated it, is that correct?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. You were not asked by anyone to make this call, is that correct?
Mr. CARLIN. That's correct, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. No one suggested to you other than your wife, of course, and Ruby himself, that this call be made?
Mr. CARLIN. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Insofar as Ruby suggested it be made, he didn't suggest anytime, as far as you were concerned, that it be made?
Mr. CARLIN. If he said this, I didn't hear him saying it to her on the phone. She did ask me to call, I believe, once, maybe twice, before we found the money was there. Just as soon as we found out----
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember how you all decided to call Ruby on the 24th when you did call him?
Mr. CARLIN. Yes. The fact that he said to call, and when we got up, she said that we should call, and then after we heard of Oswald's death, I think just a few minutes, I asked if the money had come in, and they said no, and I think she called and found out later that the money had come in.
Mr. HUBERT. But I mean, the time of the call to Ruby was not planned or fixed in anyway? It was completely gratuitous?
Mr. CARLIN. When we woke up, we called him. We slept late that day.
Mr. HUBERT. No time had been set prior to calling him?
Mr. CARLIN. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Carlin, have you been interviewed by any members of the President's Commission other than myself today?
Mr. CARLIN. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. I suppose we did have what might be considered to be a little interview in some conversation in the hall. Do you recall anything that was said in the hall which has not been brought out in your deposition and your wife's deposition which I understand you have adopted with the amendments that have been made? In other words, I am trying to ask you if there is anything that we talked about that hasn't been put in the record, because if it hasn't we ought to get it in there now.
Mr. CARLIN. I understand, but I cannot think of anything.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, Mr. Jackson, have you anything that you would like to question your client, Mr. Carlin, about, or any statement you wish to make, or observation?
Mr. JACKSON. None.
Mr. HUBERT. That being the case, I think that is all.