Waggoner Carr was born in Fairlie, Hunt County, on 1st October, 1918. Educated at Lubbock High School and Texas Technological College. During the Second World War he served in the United States Army Air Corps.
Carr graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1947. He established his own law office with his brother Warlick. The following year he was appointed assistant district attorney in Lubbock. He was also and from 1949 to 1951 as county attorney for Lubbock County (1949-51).
A member of the Democratic Party, Carr won a seat in the Texas House of Representatives (District 19) in 1950. He served for the next ten years and during this period focused on issues such as water, tourism, industrial development. Carr also helped establish a code of ethics for legislators and lobbyists. This included two consecutive terms as Speaker of the House.
In 1960 Carr left the Texas House of Representatives to run for the post of Attorney General, but lost to the incumbent, William Wilson. He stood again in 1962 and this time he was elected. Over the next few years he was involved in the prosecution of Billie Sol Estes and Jack Ruby.
Carr led the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and participated in the work of the Warren Commission. Carr testified that Lee Harvey Oswald was working as an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was receiving $200 a month from September 1962 until his death in November, 1963. However, the Warren Commission preferred to believe J. Edgar Hoover, who denied Carr's affirmations.
After leaving public office Carr went into private practice and eventually joined the Austin law firm of DeLeon and Boggins. However, in 1970, Carr was indicted on charges of fraud, conspiracy and filing false reports to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Acquitted of all charges in 1974, Carr wrote about the case in his book, Waggoner Carr, Not Guilty (1977).
Waggoner Carr died on 25th February, 2004.
(1) Waggoner Carr, interviewed by J. Lee Rankin and Allen W. Dulles for the Warren Commission (8th June, 1964)
J. Lee Rankin: Were you here when Henry Wade was testifying with regard to a conversation between himself and yourself, this morning?
Waggoner Carr: Yes, sir.
J. Lee Rankin: Would you relate to us that conversation as you recall it, both what you said and what he said?
Waggoner Carr: As I recall, it was around 8 or 9 o'clock at night on November 22, 1963, when I received a long-distance telephone call from Washington from someone in the White House. I can't for the life of me remember who it was. A rumor had been heard here that there was going to be an allegation in the indictment against Oswald connecting the assassination with an international conspiracy, and the inquiry was made whether I had any knowledge of it, and I told him I had no knowledge of it. As a matter of fact, I hadn't been in Dallas since the assassination and was not there at the time of the assassination. So the request was made of me to contact Mr. Wade to find out if that allegation was in the indictment. I received the definite impression that the concern of the caller was that because of the emotion or the high tension that existed at that time that someone might thoughtlessly place in the indictment such an allegation without having the proof of such a conspiracy. So I did call Mr. Wade from my home, when I received the call, and he told me very much what he repeated to you today, as I recall, that he had no knowledge of anyone desiring to have that or planning to have that in the indictment; that it would be surplusage, it was not necessary to allege it, and that it would not be in there, but that he would doublecheck it to be sure. And then I called back, and - as I recall I did - and informed the White House participant in the conversation of what Mr. Wade had said, and that was all of it.
J. Lee Rankin: Was there anything said to you at any time by anybody from Washington that if there was any evidence that was credible to support such an international conspiracy it should not be included in the indictment or complaint or any action?
Waggoner Carr: Oh, no; absolutely not. There was no direct talk or indirect talk or insinuation that the facts, whatever they might be, should be suppressed. It was simply that in the tension someone might put something in an indictment for an advantage here or disadvantage there, that could not be proved, which would have very serious reaction, which the local person might not anticipate since he might not have the entire picture of what the reaction might be...
Allen W. Dulles: Was there any indication in the call from the White House as to whether this was a leftist, rightist, or any other type of conspiracy or, as far as you recall, was just the word "conspiracy" used?
Waggoner Carr: As far as I recall, it was an international conspiracy. This was the idea, but I don't know whether the word "Communist" was used or not, Mr. Dulles. It could have been, or maybe I just assumed that if there was a conspiracy it would only be a Communist conspiracy. I don't know which it was, but it was a perfectly natural call. The circumstances that existed at the time, knowing them as I did, and the tension and the high emotion that was running rampant there, it was not inconceivable that something like that could have been done, you understand., without any thought of harming anyone or any thought of having to prove it, as long as you didn't know that under our Texas law you have to prove every allegation made in an indictment. If you didn't know that, it might seem logical that someone might put something like that into an indictment, factual or not.