One of the defining events of its era, the assassination of President Kennedy remains a remarkably controversial one, even today. Conspiracy theories abound as to who shot Kennedy and why.
While the official story, that Lee Harvey Oswald did it, with the rifle, in the book depository, is plausible, it is also notably incomplete – there are any number of holes and anomalies in it. The murder of Oswald only two days later, before he could stand trial, has done nothing to quell these uncertainties.
On a symbolic level, the death of Kennedy was the end of an era in many ways. Quite aside from the idealism that he brought to the nation, his death marked a change in the way America saw itself – no longer the lily-white paladin, but more the grim avenger willing do the dirty work no one else would – although in fairness, this change of self-image would take the rest of the decade to be complete.
On November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby changed the course of history when he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald before Oswald could stand trial for the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Since Oswald was in police custody at the time, Ruby was swiftly arrested and brought to trial.
Throughout the course of his trial and later statements, Ruby gave a number of contradictory statements regarding his motives for the murder. One point on which he did remain solid over the years was his insistence that he had acted alone, and was no part of any conspiracy to kill the President. In trial, he was convicted and sentenced to death, a sentence he managed to have overturned in 1965.
However, before his case could be retried, Ruby entered hospital on December 9, 1966. Although he complained only of a cold, doctors diagnosed him with cancer, and he died less than a month later, convinced that his cancer had been artificially created and that he was being murdered.