Quantcast

Durham man came face to face with Lee Harvey Oswald - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Durham man came face to face with Lee Harvey Oswald

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

A man who now lives in Durham was working for a Dallas television station 50 years ago.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Bill Mercer was 37 and working for KRLD. He remembers the day President John F. Kennedy was killed as "chaotic" and "hectic."

Mercer was there as Lee Harvey Oswald was brought before the press at the Dallas police station.

In the brief press conference, Oswald said he had not been charged with killing the president but Mercer was one of the few people who knew official charges had been typed up.

Video shows Mercer telling Oswald, "You have been charged, sir." Oswald remained near emotionless after hearing the news.

"He just kind of had one of those Oswald no-expression faces and turned around and walked out."

Mercer said he was focused on the story and not the man who was he was talking to.

"When he was there, I mean, I was sitting right here looking at him. I didn't even think about what a nasty guy or, 'You're the killer.' All that," Mercer said.

The veteran journalist kept the details of his involvement on that fateful day to himself. He so rarely spoke of it that his family didn't know the full story until Mercer co-authored a book on the assassination.

"It's sort of like the war. You don't start talking about it until you're 60," Mercer said. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

The experience was so painful for Mercer that he moved to sports broadcasting two years later.

"I just decided, 'I don't want to do this. I don't want to cover shootings and all that,'" he said.

Mercer completed his career as a sports broadcaster and even taught broadcasting at the University of North Texas, retiring in 2007.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

  • Durham CountyMore>>

  • Duke University to hold Michael Brown forum Monday night

    Duke University to hold Michael Brown forum Monday night

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:32:26 GMT
    Lesley McSpadden, right, the mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, watches as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds up a family pictureduring a news conference Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Lesley McSpadden, right, the mother of 18-year-old Michael Brown, watches as Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., holds up a family pictureduring a news conference Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
    The issues surrounding the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. will be discussed in the Triangle Monday night when Duke University will hold a town hall forum.
    The issues surrounding the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. will be discussed in the Triangle Monday night when Duke University will hold a town hall forum.
  • Granville Co. farmer donates 'ugly' corn to local charities

    Granville Co. farmer donates 'ugly' corn to local charities

    Saturday, August 30 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-30 21:48:11 GMT
    Nearly $3,000 worth of corn was donated to the Produce Box by farmer Gary Fuller, of Granville County.Nearly $3,000 worth of corn was donated to the Produce Box by farmer Gary Fuller, of Granville County.
    Rather than throw away thousands of ears of "ugly but good" corn, foiled after very wet summer, a local farmer chose to donate them to the needy.
    Rather than throw away thousands of ears of "ugly but good" corn, foiled after very wet summer, a local farmer chose to donate them to the needy.
  • Former Marine closes in on goal to keep coffee shop open

    Former Marine closes in on goal to keep coffee shop open

    Saturday, August 30 2014 1:50 AM EDT2014-08-30 05:50:17 GMT
    Matt Victoriano's military background influenced every aspect of his Durham coffee house and bar, Intrepid Life.Matt Victoriano's military background influenced every aspect of his Durham coffee house and bar, Intrepid Life.
    A business owner and former Marine says he may be able to keep his Durham coffee shop open after receiving an outpouring of support from the community.
    A business owner and former Marine says he may be able to keep his Durham coffee shop open after receiving an outpouring of support from the community.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.