FBI reports say that one year before President Kennedy was assassinated, my grandfather, Edward Grady Partin, and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa plotted to kill the president’s little brother, US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy by either plastic explosives tossed into his family’s home or recruiting a lone sniper that would shoot him as he rode through a southern town in his convertible. Hoffa said that if they used a sniper, they must ensure he couldn’t be connected to the Teamsters. Almost 12 months later, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by a sniper rifle as he rode through Dallas, Texas, in his convertible.
In 1962, before anyone suspected that Kennedy would be assassinated, my grandfather was a local Teamster leader in jail for kidnapping and being indicted for manslaughter, but he called the FBI and they called Bobby Kennedy and Bobby got him out of jail to monitor Jimmy Hoffa. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Hoffa was said to be the most well known person in America that wasn’t a Kennedy. Almost 1 out of every 60 Americans were in his Teamsters Union – anyone who drove a truck, 18 wheeler, forklift, or golf cart could be a Teamster, and if you omit women, children, and retirees, almost half of working class America was a Teamster under Hoffa. He could slam the American economy to a halt by calling a strike, and he had been using monthly Teamsters dues paid by millions of men every month to fund Hollywood films and Las Vegas Casinos, lending the money to the newly formed American mafia, organized crime that was only just then being recognized by the Kennedy administration as a potential threat to America. In exchange, Teamsters were given contracts to transport movie equipment and actors and operate all on-set cars and carts, and to bring building materials to the newly formed city of Las Vegas casinos in the desert; and, though less publicized, to transport guns, drugs, and money from Cuba to Vegas via the port of New Orleans, where my grandfather ran the southeast Teamsters under Hoffa, and was an associate of Cuban President Fidel Castro and New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello. At the time, President Kennedy was preparing to begin what would become a 60+ year trade embargo against Castro’s Cuba, which probably sparked J. Edgar Hoover’s interest in monitoring Hoffa and my grandfather’s conversations. That, plus Hoffa’s threat to the American economy, led the president to appoint his little brother, the highest ranking figure of American justice, to head a task force focused on nothing but brining down Hoffa, and in the fall of 1963 J. Edgar Hoover presented his preliminary findings from 1962 surveillance to both Bobby and the president and advised the president to forgo riding in an open convertible, but the president proceeded, anyway.
On November 22nd, 1963, at 12:30 PM Central Standard Time, President Kennedy was shot by a 6.35mm rifle bullet fired from a surplus Italian army carbine that had a scope added by a Dallas gunsmith almost a year before. The president was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital 30 minutes later, and another 6.5mm bullet was found near the Texas governor, who, along with his wife, had been shot while riding through downtown Dallas with the president. That date would be remembered around the world as a defining moment when people remembered where they were when they heard; I was still eight years away from being conceived, and, to the best of my knowledge, have no recollection of where I could have been when Kennedy was killed.
70 minutes after the president was shot, a former marine from New Orleans named Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for shooting and killing a Dallas police officer as he left a movie theater near the infamous grassy knoll and 6th floor school book depository where police had found the abandoned Italian carbine. It was quickly discovered that Oswald had a long history of mental illness dating back to elementary school and continuing throughout his service in the U.S. marines. He had received a less-than-honorable discharge, and had defected to Russia and married a Russian woman before returning to New Orleans with a new bride and baby; inexplicably, the FBI had paid for his return plane ticket home, and, even more explicably, had allowed him to travel to Mexico City a few months before Kennedy’s death to try to reach Castro and get support for Oswald’s anti-America, pro-Cuba organization in New Orleans.
Oswald had purchased the carbine from a mail order catalog a year before using an alias, and had it sent to Dallas to add a scope. He had posed with it in a now famous photograph that’s been enhanced to show distinct marks that match the carbine found in the Dallas book depository, and forensic analysis would show, without reasonable doubt, that the 6.5mm bullets had been fired from Oswald’s rifle, and that the bullets matched other bullets recovered earlier that year from a failed assassination attempt against a famous army general, General Walker.
Two days after the president was shot and killed, on Sunday, November 24th at 11:21 AM, almost 147 million people were watching police escort Oswald out of the Dallas police station in handcuffs on live television when they saw Jack Ruby walk up to Oswald and remove a Colt Cobra snub-nosed .38 special revolver from his pocket and shoot Oswald in the stomach from only a few feet away; even though it was broadcast on live television internationally, the well-timed newspaper photograph of Ruby’s outstretched hand and middle finger wrapped around his Colt’s trigger and Oswalds open-mouthed gasp as he was shot would become one of the 20th centuries most famous photographs and how most people would remember Ruby and Oswald, especially because it was the first time so many people had seen someone die in real time.
Oswald was rushed to Parkland Hospital and pronounced dead at 1:07 PM only a few floors from where President Kenndy’s body was being kept for autopsy. The world turned its attention to Ruby. There could be no doubt of his guilt – there had been 147 million witnesses seeking to have their voices heard – but people began suspecting a larger plot, a coordinated conspiracy with theories ranging from retaliation by organized crime to a communist led assassination by Russia or Cuba. Almost all theories assumed Ruby was involved and killed Oswald to prevent him from testifying.
Jack Ruby was a 52 year old Dallas nightclub owner and air force veteran with a long history of mental illness. He claimed he was distraught, that he loved Kennedy and decided Sunday morning to kill Oswald and save Kennedy’s widow the grief of a long trial. He had owned the Colt Cobra, a small concelable “detective gun” chambered with the FBI standard the time, .38 special, enough to kill someone at close range, and Ruby knew enough to keep it in his coat pocket and to use his middle finger to pull the trigger, a detail that would show up in photo evidence. He was rumored to be a low-level mob associate, relatively harmless but prone to outbursts of emotion. The FBI tested him with lie detector machines as he swore he acted alone in a burst of emotion, and his defense team tried to use a new concept of “temporary insanity,” but Ruby kept contradicting himself, like saying he had planned to shoot three times but police tackled him and took the gun before he could fire again, and the jury saw enough evidence of premeditation that he was found guilting of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, where he would continue to change his story and tell people that the government was trying to kill him by injecting him with cancer cells. He died of pulmanary embolism secondary to lung cancer that had spread to his brain and liver in Parkland Hospital on January 3rd, 1967. He was 56 years old, and had been a lifelong smoker.
The United States does not try deceased people, so we relied on an investigation into Oswald’s presumed guilt overseen by the highly respected Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Earl Warren. He had more than 30 years of experience as a prosecutor, and had already received almost universal admiration from politicians across the spectrum for his controversial rulings on issues such as abortion and education in Roe vs Wade and Brown vs the Board of education, and the ubiquitous Miranda vs Arizona that led to the now famous Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent when arrested. Ten months after Kennedy died, The 888 page Warren report detailed interviews with 542 witnesses and the latest forensic evidence by the FBI and independent experts, and concluded that “Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot and killed President John F. Kennedy.” But, despite Warren’s prestige, few people believed that one mentally ill man could kill the American president, insisting that even expert marksmen couldn’t shoot the notoriously innaccurate Italian carbine from that distance and pointing to omitted witnesses and unaddressed theories. To this day, a majority of Americans surveyed believe that some type of conspiracy must have existed.
Most of J. Edgar Hoover’s report on Hoffa and my grandfather remained classified throughout the Oswald investigation, being witheld from even Earl Warren. But, in a courtroom drama ostensibly separate from the Kennedy’s, a jury tampering trial against Jimmy Hoffa in Chatanooga was being monitored by national media. He was still daily news in America, especially since the president’s death, and his feud with Bobby Kenndy and his FBI task force was so fierce and public that America called it The Blood Feud. The public would read anything about Hoffa, and shortly Hoffa’s jury was selected Hoover endorsed my grandfather’s lie detector test stating that Hoffa had planned to kill Bobby Kennedy, and my family was plastered across national magazines along with the new first-family of former Vice President Johnson. One headline in Life magazine said, “Plot to kill Bobby Kennedy: Inside Hoffa’s savage kingdom,” and showed photos of my grandfather laughing and playing with my dad, uncle, and aunts. They had photos of him shirtless and in boxing gloves, and mentioned his marine service, though they omitted his dishonorable discharge or his multiple crimes, including burglury, rape, extortion, kidnapping, and adultury – he had a second family in addition to mine. But, he was handsome and charming, and he spoke eloquently of listening to Hoffa ask him to obtain plastic explosives so that the Teamsters could kill Bobby, and saying that he refused because he didn’t want to harm Bobby’s children, and detailing the beatings and stabbings he endured in order to bring the truth to the American people, and when he stood up in the Chatanooga courtroom as a surprise witness against Hoffa, Hoffa simply said, “Damn. It’s Partin,” and he knew that he was in trouble. The jury trusted my grandfather over the most famous man in America, and found Hoffa guilty of attempting to bribe a juror by asking my grandfather to pay him $25,000 in cash. No money had ever exchanged hands, and Hoffa was convicted based solely on my grandfather’s testimony. The judge sentenced him to 11 years in prison. No one mentioned the second part of Hoover’s report about a sniper and a convertible in a southern town.
Hoffa fought his conviction and my grandfather’s testimony all the way to the Supreme Court where his case, Hoffa vs. The United States, was coincidently overseen by Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was the only one of the nine U.S. Supreme Court judges to vote against using my grandfather’s testimony, especially because he knew that Supreme Court cases became predicates for decisions in lower courts and Warren had discovered that not only had my grandfather been removed from jail, his record continued to be modified and scrubbed clean, and even his recent charges for – ironically, Warren emphasized – jury tampering and perjury were inexplicably being purged; and, he had uncovered that my family was being paid a monthly salary by the federal government. He called my grandfather “a jailbird, languishing in a Baton Rouge jail cell,” and said that he was incentivised to lie, that “a motive for his doing this is immediately apparent – namely, his strong desire to work his way out of jail and out of his various legal entaglements with the State and Federal Governments. And it is interesting to note that, if this was his motive, [Partin] has been uniquely successful in satisfying it. In the four years since he first volunteered to be an informer against Hoffa he has not been prosecuted on any of the seriuos federal chargeds for which he was at that time jailed, and the state charges have apparently vanished into thin air.” And, according to Warren, my family became America’s first paid witnesses, noting that my grandmother was being paid a monthly salary by the federal government, adding another layer of conflicting interests in my grandfather’s testimony. Warren wrote a three page rebuttal against his eight peers and their verdict, permanently attached to the court record, saying the future of American justice is at stake if we allowed the unverifiable testimony of incredulous paid witnesses to sentence citizens to prison. Only 80 or so of dozens of thousands of Supreme Court applications is tried, and to this day, Hoffa vs. The United States is cited as a precident for lower courts to justify using paid informants or informants of dubious character. Few attorneys citing that case would investigate it further.
My grandfather returned to Baton Rouge Teamsters Local #5 and continued leading the southeast Teamsters for another 15 years. In 1971, his 17 year old son, Edward Grady Partin, met a young lady down the street named Wendy Anne Rothdram, a 16 year old girl of a single mother who had immigrated to Baton Rouge from Canada, and I was born 10 months later on October 5th, 1972, coincidently the most common birthday in America. But, court records show that I was soon removed from my family for abandonmnet and my family’s intemperence, an inability to act with moderation or restraint, and I was placed into the Louisiana foster sytsem under the guardianship of a man coincidentally also named Edward, Mr. Ed White, my PawPaw. Jimmy Hoffa was released from prison a early, and famously disappeared a few months later, in 1975. His body has never been found.
I remained with PawPaw until 1979, which was coincidentally the year that the United States Congressional Committee on Assassinations concluded that, contrary to the Warren Report, the assassination of President Kennedy had likely been a conspiracy and that the three leading suspects with the motivation and resources to execute such a plot were Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and T????; that report included the 1962 FBI records of Hoffa and my grandfather plotting to kill Bobby – who had been assassinated in 1968 – and they commented on the similarity between the eventual real assassination of the president. But the congressional report was kept confidential despite the 1976 Freedom of Information Act, and President Jimmy Carter and every president since him has been allowed to review the report and choose which parts, if any, to release to the public.
My grandfather died in 1990. He was still a minor celebrity, and major newspapers covered his Baton Rouge, mostly becasue Hoffa’s disappearance and was still a national topic and people suspected that my grandfather knew more than he had said. We never learened if he did.
Newly elected President Bill Clinton released the first part of the JFK Assassination report in 1992, in part because of public demand following a successful 1992 film by Oliver Stone, JFK, that missed a lot of facts. It’s a huge report, a living document that built upon the Warren report and details every contradiction in witness testimonies, conflicts of interest, changes to reports and memories, and new forensic evidence. But, the first part was delayed for 30 years after Kennedy’s death, and, in a way, there was too much information to make sense of it all, and it may have only fueled more conspiracy theories.
In 2004, men claiming to be federal agents asked the Baton Rouge police department to hand over all evidence from Ed Partin’ 1962 arrest and phone calls. They did, and the FBI denied involvement. The incident made national news, and the records haven’t been seen since.
Everything I wrote so far has been available publicly for decades, available in the National Archives and Supreme Court records and other reputable internet sites, and even my childhood court reports were put online in the 2,000’s. (A long time ago I realized I should have an alias for questions that allow access to my bank accounts and personal data – every answer I could truthfully give was public knowledge.) I don’t have much, if anything, to add; but, I’ve always wanted to write a memoir about growing up in and out of my Partin family, and this will be it.
Go to the Table of Contents.