Commemorating 50 years: The Man in the White Hat - Tucson News Now

Commemorating 50 years: The Man in the White Hat

Jim Leavelle, the man who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald Jim Leavelle, the man who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald
DALLAS, TX (KLTV) -

It was only 88 minutes after the President was shot that the Dallas Police Department had their man.

They didn't know it yet, but the only official suspect in the murder of the president was sitting in an interrogation room being interviewed by a detective named Jim Leavelle.

Leavelle was talking to Lee Harvey Oswald about the shooting of a Dallas police officer when other detectives walked in and told Leavelle that Oswald was the assassin they had been looking for.

But Leavelle was not only the first detective to speak on the record with Oswald...he was also the last.

Two days later, it was Jim Leavelle, today known as "The Man in the White Hat," who was handcuffed to Oswald in a jail transfer that went very wrong, very quickly.

Twenty years ago this month, I had the chance to interview Leavelle in his home in the Dallas area, as we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the assassination.

Leavelle remembers that final conversation with Oswald, just seconds before they stepped out, handcuffed to one another. Leavelle said he was joking when he said, "Lee, if anybody shoots you, I hope they're as good a shot as you are."

Leavelle said that Lee just smiled and said, "Oh, nobody's going to shoot at me."

On that day twenty years ago when I visited with Leavelle, who is now 93-years-old, he still had his white suit and Stetson there in his home. It is now safely stored in the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas where you can see it, too, along with some 40,000 other items related to the assassination.

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