Kennedy’s Other Assassin


Richard Paul Pavlick was a regular speaker at the public meetings in the small town of Belmont, New Hampshire. He could be heard ranting on a variety of topics, from the improper display of the American Flag to the dangers of the Catholic Church on American life. Many of his rants focused on the Catholic Kennedy family and their wealth.

Pavlick was a retired postal worker and World War 1 veteran from Boston. He had retired in the mid-1950s and moved to Belmont. He had no apparent family and lived alone.

In November of 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in the Presidential race. This was just too much for Pavlick to take. He turned his property over to a local youth camp, loaded his meager possessions into his 1950 Buick, and disappeared. He started sending bizarre postcards to the postmaster of Belmont. The postmaster noticed that the cards matched the movements of President Elect Kennedy and notified the Secret Service.

Meanwhile, Pavlick had purchased a significant amount of dynamite and had turned his Buick into a bomb. He was following Kennedy around looking for a place to attack. He almost set off his device when he saw Kennedy in Palm Beach, but the future President was with his wife and kids so Pavlick pulled back. The Secret Service were now aware of his actions and were actively searching for him. Palm Beach PD had been notified and were also on the lookout for Pavlick.

On December 15, 1960, Palm Beach Police Officer Lester Free observed Pavlick’s car and conducted a car stop. Pavlick freely admitted his plan. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital and indicted for the threat. His charges were dismissed after Kennedy’s assassination due to Pavlick’s mental state. Pavlick was institutionalized for the remainder of his life. Pavlick died in 1975 at the age of 88 in a Veterans Administration Mental Hospital in New Hampshire.

Christopher Flanagan


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