December 15, 1960


West Palm Beach, Florida (JFK+50) Secret Service agents arrested a retired postal worker from Belmont, New Hampshire here in West Palm Beach today on charges that he plotted to kill President-elect John F. Kennedy.

The craggy-faced man has been identified as Richard Paul Pavlick.

The Secret Service learned that on December 11, as Mr. Kennedy & his family prepared to leave the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port for church, Pavlick waited outside in a car loaded with dynamite.

Pavlick told the agents questioning him that he backed out of his plan when he saw the President-elect was with his wife & children.

When asked why he wanted to kill JFK, Pavlick said:

“Kennedy money bought the White House & the presidency.  I had the crazy idea I wanted to stop Kennedy from becoming president.”*

Pavlick, who is 73 years old & has a history of bizarre behavior, had received treatment in a mental hospital.

*Secret Service Chief U.E. Baughman later said that the aborted attempt “ranks with the closest calls any President ever had.”

Pavlick apparently had written threatening letters to other presidents.

Former Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine was posted at the door of the church in Palm Beach when Pavlick had attempted to get access to JFK.

In “The Kennedy Detail”, Blaine saw Pavlick walk into the church where JFK was worshiping. 

Pavlick caught Blaine’s attention because he was “disheveled.”

Blaine was able to escort him out of the church whereupon Pavlick got in his car & drove away.  

Agent Blaine was able to get the license plate # & report it to Palm Beach police.

*A new ebook is available on this topic. 

 It is titled “Near Miss: The Attempted Assassination of JFK” by Steve B. Davis. 

The book sells for $8.99 at Amazon, Borders, & Barnes & Noble.

Steve also has a posting on his excellent website:


The charges against Pavlick were dropped in the aftermath of JFK’s death, but he was not released from the mental hospital until 1966.

Richard Paul Pavlick died at the VA Hospital in Manchester, NH in 1975.



About jfkplusfifty

I grew up in the 60s & JFK became my hero. JFK's Presidency ushered in an era of hope & promise. JFK 50, posted daily since November 2010, highlights the key events relating to JFK in an "on this day in history" format with postings reading as if published in a newspaper on the day of the event.
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