By Jack Douglas Jr. and Ginger Allen |I-TEAM|

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DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) – The gravestone belonging to one of the most notorious killers in history has been returned to North Texas.

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Wrapped only in a cardboard box and placed in the bed of a Ford F150, Lee Harvey Oswald’s original grave marker was driven nearly 1,000 miles to Dallas from Roscoe, Ill., where it had been displayed in a museum.

Owner David Card said he and a friend picked the famous artifact up personally, because he did not trust anyone else to “bring it home.” Card, owner of Poor David’s Pub near downtown Dallas, had been embroiled in a four-year court battle, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, over who rightfully owned the marker.

“I’m very relieved and happy to have the stone back here in Texas where it belongs,” said Card, standing over the 140-pound granite marker. Like so many other chapters of the Nov. 22, 1963 Kennedy assassination in Dallas, the journey of the accused killer’s grave marker is a strange one.

Oswald was killed two days after he is alleged to have killed the president, and buried in Fort Worth’s Rose Hill Cemetery.

His tombstone – the one now belonging to Card – was subsequently stolen. It was eventually returned to Oswald’s mother, Marguerite Oswald, who, believing it would just be stolen again off her son’s grave, instead placed it in the crawl space of her Fort Worth home. After Marguerite Oswald’s death, Card’s father purchased her home – and all of its “contents” — in the early 1980s.

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The marker, which was discovered by an electrician working under the home, was passed around by Card’s family, eventually landing in the hands of a distant relative who in 2011 sold it for $45,000 to the owner of the museum in Illinois. In litigation, Card argued that the relative did not have the right to sell the marker. The case was settled out of court on July 19, a week before trial was to have begun, returning the gravestone to Card and bringing it back to Texas.

Card says he hopes to have the marker exhibited in the Sixth Floor Museum, located in Dallas’ old Texas School Book Depository building where Oswald is believed to have fired his fatal shots at Kennedy’s passing motorcade. If not the Sixth Floor Museum, Card said he hopes to give it to another worthy exhibit, “maybe the Smithsonian Institute.”

“I don’t want it. I don’t want to profit from it,” he said, adding, though, that he would like to recoup his legal expenses. Card said he has no plans to place the piece of history inside his club, other than to possibly have a “private viewing” for those who have supported his efforts to get it back.

Asked where he is keeping the stone for the time being, Card said wryly, “It’s in an undisclosed location guarded by the hounds from hell.”

If you want to reach CBS 11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at jdouglas@cbs.com. If you want to reach CBS 11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her at gingera@ktvt.com.

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