Mr. BALL. St. Paul? You got on at St. Paul? St. Paul and Elm?
Mrs. BLEDSOE. Uh-huh.
Mr. BALL. And the bus was going in what direction?
Mrs. BLEDSOE. West.
Mr. BALL. After your dispatcher checked you in what time did you leave that corner of St. Paul and Elm?
Mr. MCWATTERS. Well, the best I can remember I don’t recall even picking up a passenger there. I think I discharged one lady passenger there on that, to the best I can recall, because I remember that I had, when I crossed Field Street, I think I had five passengers on my bus.
More than three decades ago Sylvia Meagher came to a controversial conclusion. After pouring over the evidence related to Oswald’s escape from the TSBD she concluded that Mary Bledsoe was never on Cecil McWatters bus. In 2011 there are still many people who believe that Oswald “escaped” Dealey Plaza by public transportation. Many are Lone-Assassin theorists, but some are Warren Commission critics.
The sections of Warren Commission testimony from Mary Bledsoe and Cecil McWatters that I have introduced above are but one piece of evidence that supports Sylvia Meagher’s conclusion that she made all those years ago. McWatters never placed Bledsoe on his bus. He distinctly claimed no memory of ever picking up a passenger at St Paul and Elm.
McWatters memory blank concerning Bledsoe is all the more strange due to the seat that Bledsoe claimed she sat in. This was the seat right opposite him on the left hand side of the bus. This being one of the only seats that McWatters would have full view of without having to do a complete 180 to view. I won’t go into Bledsoe’s testimony concerning seeing Oswald because if she wasn’t on the bus then it’s pointless. The confusing nature of the way he was dressed, not wearing a jacket, with holes in his shirt and buttons missing, and a “maniacal” expression are simply perjury suborned from the Warren Commission counsellors, the FBI and the Secret Service. In an adversarial setting this woman would have been laughed out of court.
When Milton Jones was finally located and an affidavit taken from him he supports Meagher’s conclusion that Bledsoe wasn’t on the bus. Jones stated that after the bus had finally gotten through the traffic congestion at Houston and Elm a lady boarded the bus and sat in the seat that Bledsoe claimed she was sat in. This was the lady who took offence to McWatters and Jones “grinning” when they informed her that the President had been shot. The seat she occupied, according to Milton Jones, was directly in front of him at a 45 degree angle. I find it completely unbelievable that Bledsoe would still be sat where she claimed she was sat on the bus and not recall this incident or alternatively that McWatters or Jones didn’t recall that Bledsoe had this lady sat next to her whilst this memorable event with another passenger was going on. Unless, of course, it was Bledsoe that had this conversation with the pair and she actually boarded the bus on the other side of the Marsalis Bridge towards Oak Cliff, specifically around Marsalis Street. Hardly probable however because Jones said the woman who boarded on Marsalis was 40-45 years of age. Either way Bledsoe was not on the bus when it is claimed that Oswald was on the bus.
Disregarding Bledsoe as a witness, and there’s overwhelming evidence to disregard her, we are left with Jones and McWatters. McWatters original affidavit mentions that, “I picked up a man on the lower end of town on Elm and Houston.” We know this “man” he is talking about is Roy Milton Jones because he goes on in his affidavit to say, “I went on out Marsalis and picked a woman up. I asked her if she knew the President had been shot and she thought I was kidding. I told her that if she did not believe me to ask the man behind her.” The "man" McWatters is referring to we know for definite is Roy Milton Jones. “The man was grinning and never did say anything. The woman said that it was not a grinning matter. I don’t remember where I left this man off. This man looks like the #2 man I saw in a line-up tonight.”
The sinister aspect of this affidavit is the location where McWatters says he picked Roy Milton Jones up. We know for certain that he talking about Jones in the affidavit and in his Warren Commission testimony McWatters came clean about his identification on the evening of the 22nd November. He thought he was identifying Jones in the line-up. However, Jones boarded the bus at Harwood & Elm which is the stop before St Paul and Elm where Bledsoe claimed she boarded. The affidavit states that McWatters picked the “man” AKA Milton Jones, at the “lower end of town on Elm and Houston.” When presented with this during his Warren Commission testimony this is what happened:
Mr. BALL. …Let’s look again at this affidavit.
Mr. MCWATTERS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. “I picked up a man on the lower end of town on Elm around Houston,” as I remember you didn’t stop at Elm and Houston; you stopped at Record and Houston for a pickup.
Mr. MCWATTERS. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Do you remember having picked up any man around the lower end of town at Elm around Houston?
Mr. MCWATTERS. Elm and Houston?
Mr. BALL. Yes.
Mr. MCWATTERS. No, no, sir; I didn’t pick up. I made a statement here I picked up---
Joseph Ball stopped McWatters at this point. The bus driver was quite obviously confused that his affidavit would claim that he picked somebody up at Elm and Houston. He knew the night of making the affidavit that the police prevented any vehicles stopping on Elm and Houston and he had testified to this already during the hearing. Joseph Ball interrupted McWatters, I believe, to stop him from saying that he didn’t actually claim this when the affidavit was taken, when by all accounts he actually did because it's in his handwritten affidavit:
Mr. BALL. Take a look at it, “I picked up a man on the lower end of town on Elm around Houston.”
Mr. MCWATTERS. No, I didn’t. I picked - “I picked a man up at the lower end of town at Elm,” no, sir, I didn’t pick up no man. No, I was tied up in traffic there. Market Street is the - I must not have read that very good when I signed that, because I sure didn’t. No, I didn’t.
Mr. BALL. Did you pick up a man at Record and Houston?
Mr. MCWATTERS. No, Sir.
Mr. BALL. You didn’t?
Mr. MCWATTERS. No, sir; that is not even no stop.
Mr. BALL. In other words, this statement is not an accurate statement?
Mr. MCWATTERS. That’s right, Sir…
The implications of this are that either McWatters couldn’t remember on the night of the assassination that earlier in the afternoon the police prevented any vehicle from stopping on Elm & Houston or alternatively he was pressured into writing Elm and Houston as the place where he picked up the “man.” McWatters had to have known that the “man” he picked up (Roy Jones) actually boarded at Harwood which was 9 blocks away from Houston & Elm.
McWatters testimony, due to the problems inherent within it, has to be discarded. The whole confusing and convoluted way it was collected is an embarrassment. The questioning is appalling and there are sections where McWatters is still confusing Oswald with Jones, places where he separates the pair, places where he says the man he identified at the line-up was Oswald and then the clarification at the end where it becomes crystal clear that he was actually identifying Roy Jones.
For example when Joseph Ball asks McWatters how long the man who boarded at Lamar Street (allegedly Oswald) stayed on the bus for McWatters says:
Mr. MCWATTERS. Two blocks was the only distance.
Mr. BALL. How long did it take you to go those 2 blocks?
Mr. MCWATTERS. Now, he paid as far as from St. Paul Street. I made—there wasn’t any traffic holding me up whatsoever.
McWatters is again talking about Roy Jones. Jones paid from St Paul Street because it was Jones who boarded the bus one block before St Pauls at Harwood. Even after McWatters has made it abundantly clear that it was Jones he identified in the police line-up this exchange happens:
Mr. MCWATTERS. …he was sitting right behind this boy, but I didn’t pay him any particular attention, to the man.
Senator COOPER. You saw him get on the bus?
Mr. MCWATTERS. Yes.
Senator COOPER. Did you see him get off?
Mr. MCWATTERS. Yes; I gave him a transfer when he got off the bus, the same place that was, the same place I was stopped where the man come back and stepped up in the bus and told me what he had heard over his radio in his car, the same place that the lady got off, with a suitcase, is the place that the man got off.
Senator COOPER. The man you later identified in the police line-up?
Mr. MCWATTERS. That is correct; yes, sir.
The whole thing is a farce and, like with Bledsoe, cannot be taken seriously. Once it became apparent to the Warren Commission that McWatters was confusing Jones with the man who allegedly got on the bus at Lamar Street they got the FBI to trace Roy Jones and take a statement. Jones confirmed that a man did in fact board the bus some four blocks before Houston Street but Jones’ statement threw more issues into the mix than it actually solved. Which is why, I believe, Jones was not invited to appear before the Commission. The FBI interviewed Jones on March 30th 1964; 18 days after McWatters gave his testimony. If the Commission really wanted to get to the truth in this matter surely they would have gotten Jones on the stand? The main problem for them was Jones’ introduction into the “story” of a pair of Police Officers who boarded the bus to search the passengers for firearms. Unfortunately, this didn’t jibe with McWatters testimony on the stand. McWatters claimed that it was a motorist from the traffic jam that boarded the bus and told McWatters that the President had been shot. There is no mention of Police Officers during McWatters lengthy testimony. Likewise, Jones doesn’t mention anything about a woman disembarking because she was late for a train. He states that the female passenger got on at the same stop as the man (four blocks from Houston); he also claims the female passenger took a seat further towards the back of the bus and the man sat directly behind him. There is no mention of the female passenger taking the seat directly behind the driver (as per McWatters and Bledsoe’s testimony) and there is also no mention of a train. There is no mention of the lady asking for a transfer either; this is because Jones states the female passenger got off the bus by “rear door.” The male passenger got off, according to Jones, by the front doors, and Jones mentions nothing about the male passenger asking for a transfer.
The way the passengers disembarked makes sense given where Jones places them on the bus. If the female passenger took a seat towards the rear of the bus it makes sense that she would disembark by the rear doors. The male passenger got off using the front doors because he was sat directly behind Jones. Jones seems to remember quite a lot from the day when we read his statement that he made to the FBI and on the surface both he and it appear credible. If there was a passenger sat behind the driver with a suitcase, who Mary Bledsoe and McWatters claimed was late for a train, and then requested a transfer should the bus catch her back up, it was certainly lost on Roy Jones because he didn’t remember any of this.
http://www.maryferre...26&relPageId=46 (Jones Statement)
Mary Bledsoe gave her testimony on April 2nd, 1964. Forrest Sorrels was involved in requesting that Bledsoe used notes during her appearance before the Commission. Some work had obviously gone into what she was going to say prior April 2nd and what she was to say had to support what McWatters had already said. Jones making his claims 18 days after McWatters testimony that contradicted what McWatters had said was a real problem and the fact that Jones had made these claims 3 days prior to Bledsoe’s testimony was probably the reason Jones was given a wide berth concerning asking him to clarify his statement under oath.
McWatters, whatever way you look at it, lied under oath. Same with Mary Bledsoe. Without their testimony you cannot prove Oswald was on the bus. Jones claims a man got on the bus where McWatters claimed a man boarded but without the transfers being issued it is meaningless. Remember, McWatters says he only gave two transfers out that day. One was to the woman who sat behind him, with a suitcase, who was going to be late for a train. The other was a man who got off the same stop as her. Bledsoe backed this part of his testimony up, whilst inserting herself into the story more than was necessary by claiming it was her who advised the woman to walk because the train station was only a short distance away. The main problem with this is McWatters doesn’t remember picking up Bledsoe at the stop she said she got on. He doesn’t remember her being on the bus. He also doesn’t remember her being in the seat she said she was in which was directly facing Jones. Jones, likewise, doesn’t remember Bledsoe. In fact, he says another woman occupied that seat Bledsoe was supposed to be sitting in when she boarded the bus once it had travelled over the Marsalis Bridge. The key point in all of this is that Jones claims the woman got off the bus at the rear, so therefore no transfer.
If there’s no transfer for the woman then it’s hard to imagine that McWatters would remember giving a transfer to the man because it was the memorable woman who kicked his memory into gear concerning only having issued two transfers on that stretch of the route.
The man who boarded the bus was in all likelihood just another passenger and certainly not a deranged assassin fleeing the scene of the crime by stupidly getting on a bus that was going to take him back toward it. Within this entire game of hoopla that was created by the Warren Commission are a couple of key questions that I would like to ask curious people to ask of themselves:
1. Why would Oswald get on the Marsalis bus? The nearest this bus would take Oswald to his rooming house on North Beckley is seven blocks away. Oswald regularly used public transport. Public transport has schedules. Anyone regularly using public transport generally knows these schedules. Knowing the schedules helps in not getting canned from work. Oswald must have known the schedule of the Beckley bus. It left the St Paul transfer point at the same time as the Marsalis/Munger bus that Cecil McWatters was driving. That time was 12:36pm. McWatters claimed that he was probably ahead of the Beckley bus because he couldn’t see it in front of him. If Oswald was heading back to his rooming house why would he get a bus that didn’t take him there? Especially if the one that did take him all the way home was probably right behind it?
2. Why would Oswald even contemplate getting a bus West on Elm Street at 12:40pm? He had just walked from Dealey Plaza and knew this bus was going to be taking him back towards the scene of his alleged crime. The official story tells us that he boarded the Marsalis bus when it was caught up in traffic. Actually boarding at an intersection and not at an authorised bus stop. The implication is then made that he disembarked when the man from a car boarded the bus to tell the passengers that the President had been shot. Are we to believe that Oswald didn’t know this, whether he was the assassin or not? Did Oswald think the traffic had backed up for some other reason and he would soon be on his way through the congestion? If he was the assassin was he sat there thinking the Secret Service was still unawares, 10 minutes after the assassination, that the President was missing a large portion of his head? It makes no sense for Oswald to board that bus, assassin or not, for a good couple of reasons.
3. Why would he need a transfer? I have to completely discount Mary Bledsoe’s testimony because the evidence proves she wasn’t on the bus. Because Bledsoe supports McWatters testimony in regard to the bus transfer given out I have to claim my belief that McWatters testimony on this matter was suborned. Jones mentions nothing about transfers being issued. Therefore the question is “where did Oswald get the transfer” that was in his “possession?” I will answer this question a little later because to answer it I believe you first have to contemplate a more fundamental question. Why did he need one? We know that the transfers given out on Elm Street are only good at designated transfer points. As soon as Oswald allegedly got off the bus he was, within four minutes, in William Whaley’s taxi cab. Oswald allegedly got off the Marsalis bus and headed straight for the Greyhound bus station on Lamar Street and immediately got into a cab. So why the need for a transfer? It would appear he had no plans to use it. So why would he even contemplate getting one?
The bus transfer is the most curious item involved in this whole affair. If he wasn’t on the bus then how did he get it? Why did it take the DPD two hours to find it? How did they find out it was McWatters who punched it?
There is nothing in the record that explains how the DPD found out that it was Cecil McWatters who issued this transfer. It is not contained in any reports that were filed by DPD officers or homicide detectives. We know that Lieutenant Wells sent Dhority and Brown to collect McWatters from the Piedmont line bus that was due outside City Hall at Commerce and Harwood at 6:15pm. He was taken inside where he immediately identified Roy Milton Jones in the line-up, he was then questioned, identified the bus transfer, and then an affidavit taken from him. He was kept in City Hall until the small hours of the 23rd. Considering the incredibly short affidavit he submitted and since we know that the line-up took place at 6:15pm, 6-7 hours is an incredibly long time to be interviewed. What they grilled him on for this length of time is anyone’s guess but for him to include in his affidavit that he picked up his passenger from right outside the TSBD goes some way into trying to understand what they were perhaps “talking” to him about. Especially when McWatters knew he wasn’t allowed to stop where he claims he stopped in his statement.
Similar to us not knowing how the DPD found out about McWatters we also have very little documentation that explains whether the DPD took the full book of transfers from McWatters to gain a grasp on the numerical sequences involved in their issuance. In fact, I was under the impression for years that the only evidence in existence of bus 1213 transfers being collected was this photograph of the one allegedly given to Oswald. Transfer number 004459:
What I have always found curious is that the DPD and the FBI seemed to show little interest in tracing the woman that McWatters and Bledsoe claimed got the transfer prior to Oswald’s. The lady making her way to the train station would have been issued transfer number 004458. Obviously, the likelihood that the individual involved would have still had the transfer is minimal but they made no attempt to even find out (ladies purses do sometimes have a steroetypical knack of holding onto items that enter them), or to find her to corroborate McWatters recollections. Much the same way they failed to look for the old lady that Oswald offered his own cab to at the Greyhound Station who could have corroborated William Whaley’s statements. The simple fact of the matter is, if these people existed, I’m sure they would have been looked for.
Concerning the transfer, I will leave you with this. We do know that the DPD confiscated the book of transfers from Cecil McWatters. Whether it was definitely the same book that Oswald's transfer was allegedly issued from is anyone’s guess because the actual book was never photographed. We do know "a" book was taken because a receipt was given for it. The receipt has the following written on the back“Receipt for the book of transfers from which transfer was issued to Oswald the accused assin of Pres, John F. Kennedy.” What is tantalising about this receipt is what it was written on. What is even more tantalising is the number of the thing it was written on. TRansfer receipt #004451. I’ll leave it up to everyone’s imagination to make their own sense out of what this could potentially mean:
http://www.maryferre...07&relPageId=88 (Transfer Receipt)
Without the full transfer book it's impossible to cast-iron prove anything regarding this little gem but at least this does prove that the DPD had the full transfer book in their possession and they certainly kept this fact out of the reports and out of discussion and if this knowledge does one thing for me, it certainly reinforces the thoughts I have had about the Oswald transfer that I've had for more than 15 years; Oswald wasn't on the bus. Nor was he in the cab. He left Dealey Plaza by other means. The transfer was planted.
Edited by Lee Farley, 18 January 2011 - 09:41 AM.