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Lee Harvey Oswald was a former U.S. Marine who was accused of killing President John F. Kennedy. While in police custody, Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby.
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Born on October 18, 1939, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lee Harvey Oswald eventually joined the U.S. Marines and later defected to the Soviet Union for a period of time. He returned to America with a family, and eventually acquired firearms. Oswald allegedly assassinated President John. F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. While being taken to county jail, on November 24, 1963, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born on October 18, 1939, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Marguerite and Robert Oswald Sr., who died of a heart attack two months prior to Lee's birth. Following her husband's death, Marguerite Oswald sent Lee and his two older brothers to live in an orphanage.
Remarried for a few years, Marguerite eventually moved with her children to the Bronx, New York. With his mother working long shifts, the young Oswald was often left to fend for himself, spending time at the library while developing a habit of playing hooky from his eighth-grade classes. He was eventually picked up and placed in a detention hall, where his social worker described him as emotionally detached, giving off "the feeling of a kid nobody gave a darn about."
Marguerite and Oswald eventually moved back to New Orleans, where Oswald continued to develop his interest in socialist literature, which he'd begun to read in New York. In 1956, he joined the U.S. Marines. He was a better-than-average marksman, yet was court-martialed twice in 1958 for having an illegal weapon and displaying violent behavior. Oswald ended his military service the following year and arranged a trip to Moscow, where he informed Russian authorities that he wanted to move to the Soviet Union. After some debate by government operatives over Oswald's possible role as a spy, he was allowed to stay in the city of Minsk, where he was monitored closely by the KGB.
Oswald wed Marina Prusakova in April 1961. Dissatisfied with the quality of life in the Soviet Union, Oswald returned to the United States in June 1962, bringing his wife and their newborn daughter with him.
The family set up residence in Dallas, Texas, with Oswald taking on the post-office alias of Alek J. Hidell. Around this time, Oswald's interest in communism tranformed into support for Cuba. In early 1963, he ordered a .38 handgun via the mail and later acquired a rifle. He had Marina take a picture of him with the weapons—a document that would later be used as criminal evidence, as Oswald's rifle was eventually identified as the firearm used to murder President John F. Kennedy.
In April 1963, Oswald allegedly tried to shoot right-wing ex-general Edwin A. Walker through the window of his home, but missed. After returning to New Orleans by himself for a short stint, in September 1963, Oswald took a trip to Mexico City, where he attempted to obtain passage to Cuba and the Soviet Union to no avail.
Oswald then returned to the states, where he got a job working at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.
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These individuals have etched their names into history by plotting and executing the murders of prominent people. Whether their motivations were political, obsessive, or just plain insane, their high-profile murders earn them fame, fear and revulsion from the public. John Wilkes Booth shocked the nation when he assassinated Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater, James Earl Ray's assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was a tragic chapter in the civil rights struggle. See our picks, along with full biographies, photo galleries and videos, of these and other infamous assassins, who changed the course of history in the most brutal of ways.
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