|Interview with Chauncey Holt
|TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEOTAPED INTERVIEW WITH CHAUNCEY MARVIN HOLT. HOUSTON, TEXAS, OCT. 19, 1991.
INTERVIEWERS PRESENT- JOHN CRAIG, PHILLIP ROGERS, GARY SHAW.
TRANSCRIBED BY WILLIAM E. KELLY, APRIL, 1992. Edited by Raquel Baranow out of concern for the truth.
Chauncey Holt “confesses (below) to be the E. Howard Hunt “Tramp.” Chauncey
probably knew E. Howard Hunt because they both were involved in forging
documents and anti-Castro, anti-Trujillo activities in Miami, Hunt’s home base. Holt
also claims to have printed Lee Harvey Oswald’s pro-Cuba pamphlets he handed out
in New Orleans. Holt “confessed” (below) to being one of the tramps because
conspiracy researchers were accusing Hunt & Sturgis as being one of the Tramps.
[Edit. . . .] -- How many sets of documents were you delivering to Dallas?
Holt: I'd say we had at least ten sets of documents. Some I can remember who they were, some I can't. But we had
some I don't have any idea whether they were there or not. I never saw them. We're talking about individuals like
Rolando Otero. We had documents for Rolando Masferrer. We had some for other Miami based Cubans. I didn't
know if they were produced for this operation or not. I'm confidant the Secret Service ID's were involved in this
operation . Of course we gave them to Harrelson, Charles Harrelson. We gave them to an individual we knew by the
name of Richard Montoya. [Harrelson is allegedly the Sturgis Tramp. He’s the son of actor Woody Harrelson. He was
also a low-level mafia hitman.]
-- Did you know Harrelson and Montoya personally?
Holt: I had seen a lot of pictures of him, because we provided the documents. I knew him by reputation because
according to what was told to us, he was supposedly involved in the gunshop operated by John Masen, and we were
told that and we had furnished a lot of ammunition for them. We were told by a guy, a gunrunner who probably ended
up at Leavenworth,....Harrelson was associated with Masen's Dallas gunshop.
[Edit. . . .] We were supposed to deliver all the [forged] documents and put them in a pickup truck. We already
identified the pickup, with a camper shell and Texas license plates on it. It was supposed to be at the Cabana. If that
didn't work out, if there was a delay for any reason, then we were all to...the pickup truck was to be in the parking lot
at Dealey Plaza, and that's where we found it. They told us it was near the railroad yards behind the picket fence by
the Texas Book Depository, near the tower by the railroad yards. We were suppose to put it in there, the truck, and
we were supposed to wait around. And that ended our responsibility. [Edit. . . .]
-- At what point did you know JFK was going to be in Dallas?
Holt: We knew before we left, sometime probably after November 18th. We were advised that he was going to be in
San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, although we were not privy to the route. We did not known what the route was
going to be. We had been told an incident was going to be created which could be laid at the door of pro-Castro
Cubans. The word attempted assassination was never used. We assumed that from all this light loaded ammunition
that maybe somebody was going to try to take a shot from somewhere, probably the Dal-Tex building, or one of the
buildings around there. But at no time was it ever intimidated to us that an assassination or attempted assassination
on Kennedy, Connally,...there were other targets there as well. Somebody might have wanted to knock off Gonzalez.
We had (been operating on) a need to know basis. [Edit. . . .]
We had been assured that the whole incident would be over by 12:25 and that if anything went untowed or
happened, that created any activity as far as law enforcement or any government agency or anything like that
occurred in that area, that sitting on the siding would be this train. It could be identified as a Rock Island Train.
They said that the train would be locked on one side, but not the other side. It would be unlocked, and it would not be
searched and we could go on the train and we would be concealed, and the train would be moved out almost
immediately, and we could jump off very quickly and that's how we were to exit the situation. [Note: He says “we” here
but below says he was alone.]
No one suggested that we get back to the Oldsmobile and drive out of the parking lot. They should have given us that
option I suppose. But when you receive those types of instructions, you don't really inquire as to the rational or even
inquire. That's how you operate.
-- Where were you when the motorcade went past?
Holt: At the time I was in the parking lot back near the railroad tracks, behind the grassy knoll. I couldn't even see the
motorcade. I saw the lead cars come buy, but we never got a glimpse. I was the only individual back there at the time.
[Emphasis added.] Others were wandering around. There were a lot of people in the area, some were dressed in
suits, others were dressed in work clothes, they had construction workers wandering around there. There were lots
and lots of people around there, but as far as my colleagues went, I was the only one there at the time.
-- You encountered Harrelson and Montoya there, who you knew ?
Holt: Harrelson came up and actually introduced himself to me as though we had just had a business meeting. He
said to me, in his typical Texas accent, "I'm Harrelson." And we shook hands. But at the time this happened (the
assassination), I hadn't seen him. He had been there for awhile I didn't see him at that particular...(moment).
When I encountered him was when I had went back and scooted to the railroad car. I thought probably I would be the
only one there. Then I see Harrelson and the individual I knew as "Montoya", that I had seen three or four times over
a three or four year period.
I met Montoya the first time in 1959. When we were trying to elicit funds from Orlando Peatra, who was Batista's
paymaster. He lived on Pine Tree drive in Miami. And when I went over there, there were a number of individuals,
bodyguards and such. And this individual introduced himself as "Richard Montoya", although I must admit he didn't
look like the rest of the Cubans.
He looked like he might be Latin. He was dark, but he didn't look like....He was a cut away from the other Cubans,
although he spoke excellent Spanish.
At the time of the shooting, the moment the shots were fired, we (I) knew something went awry. We didn't know why,
but from the screaming and carrying on we knew that there had been one hell of a bad incident. At the time, what
went through our minds was, "Hey, we had gotten ourselves into something that is way over our heads." So I scooted
under the train, went under to the other side, encountered Harrelson and Montoya, we searched out the car, which
was not too far from the engine, climbed in it, closed the door and sat there in silence, while I monitored the radio and
listened to what was going on.
We were in the railroad car by 12:31-12:32, almost immediately,...as soon as the shooting started, and there was
pandemonium and people were running all over the place. When actually, we look back on it, we could of easily have
lost ourselves in all of this stuff. We could have gotten right up to the grassy knoll and thrown ourselves on the
ground, like everybody else was, and started screaming, and that would have been the end of it.
We were in the box car a long time. Actually we heard a lot of transmissions. I estimated that it was almost 2 O'clock,
although my watch was still on Arizona time. I had a bad habit of not changing my watch. So I think we stayed in there
till practically 2 O'clock. We were still in there during the time when we heard the transmissions involving Tippit and
back and forth. We heard a lot of other communications. We heard the call that an officer had been dying. I am told
and I believe it was somewhere around 1:15 when we heard about the incident at the Texas theater, although we
didn't know what happened.
So I thought it was possibly 2 O'clock before the train actually started to move. We started to move, backing down the
tracks a little ways. We thought it was going to move. I thought they were going to switch us onto another track.
Then suddenly the thing stopped. They opened the door and there was a whole bunch of police officers with
shotguns and everything else. We saw, the box car was not a fully loaded box car, but in this box car was ammunition,
unusual ammunition. Defcord?, crates that looked like they were possibly claymore mines, drums marked : MUD,
which seemed like drilling mud, which was unusual to be with the rest of this material. Which I assumed to be C-4 or
some plastic explosives.
The officers took us out, we tried to identify ourselves. We said, "Hey, we're federal agents working on this thing," and
they said, "Come with us." So we strolled along and actually we went back, we came out of the yard, we went by the
Texas Depository building, across the street. I would say Harrelson and I were sort of dragging along, but Montoya,
he was really digging out. He was actually right up behind the lead officer. He turned us over to two officers, the
officer in charge, we later learned was Harkness.
In the photos, the individual in front is the individual I knew as Richard Montoya. The individual behind him I knew as
Charles Harrelson. I had reason to believe that's who he actually was, even though I didn't know him that well. I'm
confident that's who it was. And I'm the gentleman in the back, carrying the bag with the radio in it. [An
arresting officer said there was a shirt, pocketknife, spam, a towel/rag in the bag.]
We were not placed under arrest. We were taken across, and someone interviewed us momentarily, and turned us
over to someone else. A person I later learned was Captain Fritz, he said not two or three words to us. He said he
was turning us over to the FBI. His name was Gordon Shanklin.
He asked us who were were, what we were doing there. Just about this time, while were were doing this, there was a
lot of confusion, a lot of pandemonium, and actually a lot of, I would term jubilation on the part of all of the police
officers in there, especially Gordon Shanklin, which led us to believe that our release was because of something that
happened. Although they had said it on a number of occasions, someone else was arrested. They had caught
someone in the Dal Tex building. I heard someone say, "We got one of them." But then when the matter came in that
they had indicated they had got the individual that had killed the cop in Oakland (sic: Oak Cliff), all at once it seemed
to me, even what I considered prematurely, they indicated they had the guy that shot the president too. And at that
time the level of attention on us,...they had some other people they had detained and looked like they were going to
arrest, including Braden.
Jim Braden was there. I didn't recognize him at first, because he had a hat on with some kind of Texas style hat band
on it, and I didn't know him all that well, if you know what I mean. But I knew that I recognized him like I recognize you.
But once we got in there, and these events come off because they happened almost at the time we arrived there.
Then the attention shifted a lot at once, from us to Oswald, who turned out to be Oswald. I assumed that it was their
normal enthusiasm about having captured a cop killer, is what I thought. Because they treat cop killers a hell of a lot
different than they treat killers of anyone else. Not the president of course. But at that point, Gordon Shanklin,...we
hadn't been in there too long. We were there a little while. And all this time, ...then who we are came up, then they
were very careless. We were strolling around, people were coming around. They didn't treat us like dangerous
suspects. They didn't handcuff us. Plus they didn't search us, and we were heavily armed.
-- What building were you taken to?
Holt: We were taken to the Sheriff's Department, right there on Dealey Plaza. Didn't walk far. We didn't make a
statement. Weren't fingerprinted. Weren't taken to the jail (where) I assume we would have been taken. Then Gordon
Shanklin said, "You're free to go."
We left together. They split and I split too. I didn't know what they were going to do. I was going to try to get back to
California. Morgan H. Brown was going to take us to the airport. We (I) called (the Cabana) and they said that he had
checked out at 2 O'clock. So we went down to try to find somebody to drive us out there. Looking back, I don't know
why we just didn't get a cab and get ourselves as far away as we could.
-- Why have you come forward now?
Holt: Several individuals have been wrongly accused of having been the tramps. Possibly some of them deserve
having been accused of that, or something else, and I specifically refer to someone like Frank Sturgis, who
incidentally ran afoul of the law on something else and ended up in prison. Howard Hunt, who was falsely identified as
the person I claim to be.
There's a lot of mystery surrounding the assassination. I felt that my information is from a point of view that probably,
if I am believed, would lay to rest these ideas that Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald were just nuts that passed in
And I always felt a sympathy for Oswald. I just didn't feel it's right, or his children should be stuck with that stigma,
--Do you feel harm could come to you?
Holt: Of course, but I'm certainly not going to shrink from it. END.