September 18, 1967
TO: JIM GARRISON, District Attorney
FROM: JAMES L. ALCOCK, Assistant District Attorney
RE: EDWARD JAMES WHALEN, W/M 43
Edward James Whalen was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 10, 1923. He left school after the 9th grade to help support his family. From that time on he has consistently been in trouble with the law, and has spent most of his adult life in prison. His specialty seems to be armed robbery and burglary. He has served time in the state penitentiary in Pennsylvania three times and has been sentenced to the Federal penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia once. Since March, 1965, he has twice been declared incompetent to stand trial in the Federal Courts by members of the staff at the United States Medical Center for federal prisoners at Springfield, Missouri. Whalen also stated that he had received some psychiatric treatment at the state penitentiary in Pennsylvania. He is presently awaiting a compentency hearing on a federal charge of assaulting a United States Marshal and escape.
After being paroled on December 10, 1964 from the Pennsylvania state penitentiary at Huntington, Pennsylvania, Edward Whalen went to Philadelphia to spend some time with his family. While there he became involved in some very serious criminal activity, and had to leave town immediately. He stole a car in upstate Pennsylvania and drove to Columbus, Ohio where he met a friend of his who told him he could make some big money. His friend, whose name he would not give me, placed a call to DAVID FERRIE in New Orleans. WHALEN spoke to FERRIE and FERRIE asked him to come to New Orleans. Before leaving Columbus, WHALEN was told that the big money was to be made by hitting the Jung HOtel and a small jewelry store at the intersection of Baronne and Gravier Streets. WHALEN definitely recalls being in Columbus on February 21, 1965.
EDWARD WHALEN drove to New Orleans in the car he stole in Pennsylvania. It was a 1964 Chevrolet Impala hardtop. This car was abandoned in New Orleans immediately upon WHALEN's arrival. Shortly after his arrival in New Orleans, WHALEN met DAVE FERRIE at the Absinthe House on Bourbon Street. FERRIE, who was shabbily dressed, appeared intoxicated to WHALEN. At this first meeting, FERRIE spoke of his flying ability. WHALEN told FERRIE he needed money since he was on the run from the police. FERRIE assured him he could earn a large sum of money, and, if need be, he, FERRIE, would fly him out of the country. This first meeting lasted about 30 minutes without FERRIE actually telling WHALEN the specific details of his plan.
After this meeting, WHALEN spent the night at an apartment provided by FERRIE. The apartment, as WHALEN recalls, was located near or on Carrollton Avenue near its intersection with Tulane Avenue. FERRIE also provided WHALEN with a 1953 black Galaxie Ford for his use while he was in town. WHALEN was to [the next section is illegible and my transcription may not be entirely accurate] meet FERRIE and the rest at the Absinthe House the next night at [illegible] 11:45 PM[?].
WHALEN arrived at the Absinthe House first the next night. Shortly thereafter, FERRIE and CLAY SHAW arrived and FERRIE introduced SHAW to WHALEN. At this time, SHAW was introduced as CLAY SHAW. At this meeting FERRIE did most of the talking. WHALEN felt SHAW was sizing him up. During the course of the conversation, FERRIE referred to SHAW as CLAY BERTRAND. SHAW became obviously irritated but said nothing directly to FERRIE. Upon leaving the bar, all three drove to FERRIE's apartment in the car being used by WHALEN.
As WHALEN now recalls, FERRIE's apartment was on Louisiana Boulevard [Handwritten note: "actually: Louisiana Avenue Parkway"] and it was a two-story structure with a screened front porch. They entered the rear of the first floor apartment and remained in that apartment the entire time. However, WHALEN recallas FERRIE going upstairs occasionally by the use of a stairway in the room next to the one they were using. WHALEN also remembers PERRY RUSSO walking through the room on one occasion. However, he did not say anything to anyone in the room. WHALEN stated that the furniture in the apartment was old and inexpensive. Also, that the apartment was in a generally shabby condition.
FERRIE finally got around to what he and SHAW wanted WHALEN to do for his money - they wanted someone killed. SHAW was to pay WHALEN ten thousand dollars before the job was done and another fifteen thousand dollars after its completion. Upon completion of the job, SHAW was to provide WHALEN with a phony passport and FERRIE was to fly him to Mexico. SHAW stated that the man to be killed was going to be a witness against him for something that had been done some time in the past and that if this man was not killed he would put SHAW in the penitentiary for a long time. The intended victim's name was not mentioned at this time. WHALEN wanted no part of the deal, but he pretended to string along. Before leaving, SHAW gave WHALEN three hundred dollars spending money.
WHALEN spent that night at a motel on Tulane Avenue near the Fontainebleau. He did not use his real name to register and cannot remember the one he used.
The next day, FERRIE met WHALEN at Moran's Restaurant at 10:30 in the morning. FERRIE suggested they take a ride and talk. While in the car FERRIE asked WHALEN if he had ever heard of Jim Garrison. WHALEN said he had not. FERRIE then told WHALEN that Garrison was the District Attorney and that this was the man SHAW and he wanted killed. WHALEN at this time told FERRIE he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the deal. FERRIE attempted to talk WHALEN into going through with the plan, but WHALEN persisted that he would not have anything to do with it. They then parted with the agreement to meet the next night at the Absinthe House. WHALEN spent that night at a motel on the Airline Highway. He does not remember the name of the motel or the name he registered under.
WHALEN and FERRIE met at the Absinthe House the next night as planned. From there they went directly to SHAW's apartment in the 1300 block of Dauphine Street. WHALEN remembered the apartment was on the first floor but not the color of the front door. He did not remember the courtyard until specifically asked about it. He does not recall any of the interior of the apartment except that it was very lavish.
At first only SHAW, FERRIE and WHALEN were in the apartment, and SHAW and FERRIE were trying to persuade WHALEN to go through with the plan. About one half hour after WHALEN's and FERRIE's arrival, a short fat man wearing dark glasses arrived. This man was introduced to WHALEN by SHAW as DEAN ANDREWS. ANDREWS and SHAW had some conversation away from FERRIE and WHALEN and shortly thereafter ANDREWS left the apartment. SHAW then returned to WHALEN and continued to try to persuade him. SHAW said that he had done some checking on WHALEN and that he knew of WHALEN's crippled daughter - she suffered from polio. SHAW said that if WHALEN would go through with the plan he would get WHALEN's daughter the finest medical treatment money could buy, and also see to it that she was sent to college. However, WHALEN insisted that he would not kill a District Attorney, and he and FERRIE left.
Once outside, FERRIE told WHALEN that CLAY BERTRAND could do a lot for him and that he was making a mistake. Also at this time FERRIE spoke of LEE OSWALD. He said that SHAW (BERTRAND) had done a lot for OSWALD, and that it was only because OSWALD fouled up that he was killed. He intimated that SHAW had given OSWALD some financial support and had contacted some people in Cuba and Mexico for him.
At this time he also mentioned the name of SENATOR JOHN TOWER [Ed. note: This was the John Tower who headed the Tower Commission investigation of Iran-Contra. J.B.] of Texas and DANTE MAROCHINI. FERRIE boasted that he had set up the assassination of John Kennedy. WHALEN stated that he did not believe these statements. He felt FERRIE was merely boasting and name-dropping in an attempt to get him to change his mind. FERRIE also mentioned the meeting between SHAW, JACK RUBY, and LEE HARVEY OSWALD in Baton Rouge, Louisiana [Ed. note: This refers to the testimony of Clyde Johnson and Ed McMillan. J.B.]. FERRIE stated that OSWALD was an agent of the CIA and received money from them at one time. He seemed to take pleasure from the irony of the fact that OSWALD had worked for a United States Government agency at one time and that he later killed the leader of that government. FERRIE also stated that they had been given "inside" information from DEAN ANDREWS that Jim Garrison was about to start an investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WHALEN insisted he wanted nothing to do with the plan before he left.
That night, the night before Mardi Gras [illegible] ... Atlanta, Georgia. That very [illegible] ... an armed robbery of a Federal Savings and Loan Association in West Palm Beach, Florida, and was apprehended. He was convicted of that armed robbery and sentenced to twelve years at the Federal penitentiary at Atlanta. However, his conviction was reversed and while being transported back to Miami for retrial, he escaped. He was quickly recaptured and since then has been bouncing back and forth between the Duval County jail in Jacksonville, Florida and the United States Medical Center at Springfield, Missouri. It was at Springfield that he was twice found not competent to stand trial. WHALEN told the doctors that people were putting things in his food, and that the court, defense and prosecution attorneys and SENATOR JOHN TOWER of Texas were all conspiring against him.
EDWARD JAMES WHALEN identified the following pictures:
1. PERRY RAYMOND RUSSO
2. DAVID W. FERRIE standing by an airplane.
3. DEAN ANDREWS
4. CLAY SHAW
5. LEE HARVEY OSWALD
6. JACK RUBY
EDWARD JAMES WHALEN did not identify the following pictures:
[Long list of anti-Castro Cubans, Ferrie associates, CIA agents,
journalists and attorneys for Garrison suspects (Dymond, Plotkin, ect.)]
WHALEN's attorney is THOMAS S. BIGGS, JR.. Barnett Bank Building, Jacksonville,
Florida - telephone 354-3645.