L. D. Montgomery
Leslie Dell (L.D.) Montgomery was a Dallas Police Department Detective during the investigation into President Kennedy's assassination. He was a key investigator into the Texas School Book Depository and found crucial evidence including the bag Oswald used to transport his rifle, the rifle shells, and was present when the rifle itself was discovered. He was tasked with guarding Oswald on November 24, 1963 and was one of the first policemen to tackle Jacky Ruby following his assassination of Oswald.
Montgomery was thirty years old at the time of the assassination (born 1933) and had been in the service of the Dallas community for nine years. He had been employed for four of those years in the Homicide and Robbery Bureau. He was a longtime resident of Dallas, and lived at 9043 Anaconda Dr.
Timeline of L. D. Montgomery's Involvement in the Case:
Transport of Oswald
"On Sunday November 24, 1963 at 11:15 am Captain Fritz, Lt. R. E. Swain, Det. J. R. Leavelle, Det. L. C. Graves and myself escorted Oswald from Captain Fritz's office to the jail elevator...When we got off the elevator in the basement, Lt. R. E Swain walked out in front of Captain Fritz. Det. Leavelle was to Oswald's right and Det. Graves was to Oswald's left, and I was in the back of Oswald about three feet as we approached the door leaing from the basement and jail office." (FBI File, 226)
L. D Montgomery was one of the three men (Det. Leavelle and Det. Graves included) that surrounded Oswald as he was led from the Dallas Police Department basement to Captain Fritz's car, which would transport him to the county jail. As his testimony describes, Montgomery and the others moved downstairs with Oswald and towards the door. They stopped briefly for Captain Fritz to double check the surroundings and then continued on. Once they were "approximately five feet" from the car Montgomery remembers seeing "a blur of something and [hearing] a shot." (FBI File, 226).
Montgomery was later interviewed by the Warren Commission's Burt Griffin on the murder. Griffin's general inquiry was how did Ruby get into the basement of the Dallas Police Department in the first place and did any police officer tell the public about their plan to move Oswald. Montgomery testified that he was generally kept out of the loop and that he hadn't heard any news prior to arriving to work at 8:10am of the police moving Oswald. (FBI File, Warren Commission 141)
L. D. Montgomery: In the know
L. D. Montgomery is a vital individual for both the assassination of President Kennedy and the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. His social network (shown below) provides key insite into his relationships with other key players and shows how irreplaceable he was in the investigation. Not only do his ties span among the Dallas Police Department's men, but across agencies into the FBI and the Secret Service. The strongest of his ties, to J. W Fritz, B. H. Combest, and Jack Ruby, give a quick suggestion to the content of L. D. Montgomery's accounts.
J. W. Fritz: Captain J. W. Fritz was the lead man in the Dallas Police Department. He was a direct boss above Montgomery and was the individual who instructed Montgomery and his partner (Marvin Johnson) in the Texas School Book Depository on the 6th floor. Fritz was also the man leading Oswald from the Dallas Police Department basement to his car on Nov. 24th.
B. H. Combest: Combest was a Dallas Police detective in the Special Service Bureau. He was one of the points of contact in the basement of the Dallas Police Department when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 24th.
Jack Ruby: Jack Ruby was the individual who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on Nov. 24th, 1963. He was charged with murder and sentenance to prison but died shortly. Ruby was the owner of the Carousal Club, a night club in downtown Dallas.
Was Montgomery hiding something?
L. D. Montgomery, during his Warren Commisssion testimony, was questions about his proceedings on the days on and between November 22 and November 24. During this line of questioning the Warren Commission's investigator, Burt Griffin, asked Montgomery about specifics on the morning of November 24th. Such questions included where he parked, what time he got in to work, did he see any media in the basement, etc. Griffin's intent during this line of questioning was to see if any policeman had leaked to the public that they were planning on moving Oswald around 11:00am.
Montgomery testified that he did see media trucks and a few media personel. However, as Griffin records, Montgomery got defensive during the conversation. Apparently Montgomery "fumbled around a little bit" and stopped talking as much.
Throughout the entire investigation media and conspiracy theorists suggested that Jack Ruby was let into the basement by a police officer, thus allowing him to murder Lee Harvey Oswald. Since L. D. Montgomery had known Ruby before November 1963, this line of questioning was imperative. However, Montgomery testified in the clearest manner that he had no contact with Ruby for a couple years--ever since he no longer patrolled the area surrounding the Carousal Club.
Top Secret: Classified
Although Det. Montgomery's current FBI File, released under F.O.I.A. in October 2017, do not seem to contain any information that may compromise national security, there is obviously a lot of information retained. For example, on page 3 of his FBI file Montgomery testifies:
"At 9:30 am Detective Leavelle and Graves went up to the 5th floor jail and brought Oswald down to Captain Fritz's office at which time Captain Fritz started interrogating him. Present at this interrogation, to the best of my knowledge, were Mr. Kelly of the Secret Service; Mr. Holmes, Postal Inspector; Mr. Sorrells of Secret Service; Captain Fritz, Detectives C. N. Dhority, J. R. Leavelle, L. C. Graves, and myself."
Despite acknowledging that he was present at the interrogation, Montgomery does not mention specifics in any of the 99 pages of his testimony. Montgomery briefly mentions the meeting in his Warren commission testimony:
"Mr. Griffin: Do you remember about what Oswald said and what was said to Oswald during [the interrogation] period?
Mr. Montgomery: I remember they asked him why he shot the President, and, of course, he said he didn't do it...And, I don't recall the exact questions. Just asked him several questions there.
Mr. Griffin: How long did this questioning last?
Mr. Montgomery: Seemed like it was about 25 mintues or an hour that he was in there."
The time difference and other contributing non-specifics are particularly interesting considering this case was, probably, the most important case that Montgomery was a part of. Because of the lack of details, it is possible that some details are withheld.
According to the JFK Records Act (1992) postponment of release is allowed, but is not intendended. These mystery pages are still missing. The consequence of such action had led many conspiracy theorists to assume a possible government cover-up.
The remaining 3,275 pages are set to be released April 26th, 2018...so stayed tuned.
Montgomery, L. D., 11/30/1963 - 9/24/1964, Container 12, Series: Records Relating to Key Persons, 11/30/1963 - 9/24/1964 Record Group 272: Records of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, 1954 - 1965, National Archives at College Park, Maryland. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/7460742.