In Her Words
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Wife Today
Betty talks with Marina Oswald Porter who still questions her husband’s role in JFK’s death
-Myrna Blyth, Blyth Times
What would it be like to be a 22-year-old wife and mother, living in a strange country where you could not speak the language, and being told that your husband had just committed the crime of the century? That is exactly the experience Marina Oswald Porter lived. She was the young Russian-born wife of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating President Kennedy.
I have known Marina for 20 years. Oddly enough, we have something in common. My husband, a correspondent for the London Daily Mail, covered the assassination. He was standing behind Lee in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters when Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby.
Raised under Stalin, Marina at first thought she would be imprisoned after the assassination. At the time she believed that Lee acted alone and that there was no conspiracy. In the following months, Marina was the star witness against her husband during the Warren Commission hearings investigating the assassination. She told the Commission that Oswald had abused her. “I could not tell them Lee was wonderful,” she said.
But in the ensuing years Marina has changed her mind about Lee’s role. When I talked with her on the 45th anniversary of his murder, she said, “I do not think Lee was the lone gunman. I do not know if he even shot the President.” Was there a conspiracy? “I don’t know. But he said he was a patsy at the time. It was an odd word for him to use. I think he realized he had been set-up.”
Marina, who is now 67, lives a quiet life in a suburb of Dallas. She married Kenneth Porter, a carpenter, in 1966. They divorced, reconciled and have lived together for many years. She had two daughters with Oswald, a son with Porter. “I have a grandchild who is already in college,” she told me.
“I can’t live in the past,” she says but she is reminded of it every time an anniversary of the assassination comes around. She does not read the books or watch the television shows that continue to debate Lee’s role.
“All the books and programs are just trying to convince a new generation of their theories. The more I learn the less I know,” she says. “And that isn’t exactly pertaining to Lee.” But she adds, “I try to weigh this and weigh that. It is an enigma, but I know there are too many coincidences, just too many coincidences.”