Durham man came face to face with Lee Harvey Oswald - WNCN: News, Weather

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>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

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