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
-- 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 that 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
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
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
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
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 the
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, that's
--Do you feel harm could come to you?
Holt: Of course, but I'm certainly not going to shrink from it.
|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.