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Robert Prudhomme

One Last Thing Before Xmas Eve: 2nd Floor Lunch Room Encounter

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From Holmes' Informal Memorandum / Statement given to "Special Agent" Charles T. Brown on 11/24/63:

“When asked about his whereabouts at the time of the shooting, he stated that when lunch time came, and he didn’t say which floor he was on, he said one of the negro employees invited him to eat lunch with him and stated ‘You go on down and send the elevator back up and I will join you in a few minutes.’ Before he could finish whatever he was doing, he stated, the commotion surrounding the assassination took place and when he went down stairs, a policeman questioned him as to his identification and his boss stated that ‘he is one of our employees’ whereupon the policeman had him step aside momentarily. Following this, he simply walked out the front door of the building. I don’t recall that anyone asked him why he left or where or how he went. I just presumed that this had been covered in an earlier questioning.

From Holmes' WC deposition on April 2, 1964:

Mr. BELIN. Did he say where he was at the time of the shooting?

Mr. HOLMES. He just said he was still up in the building when the commotion-- he kind of----

Mr. BELIN. Did he gesture with his hands, do you remember?

Mr. HOLMES. He talked with his hands all the time. He was handcuffed, but he was quiet--well, he was not what you call a stoic phlegmatic person. He is very definite with his talk and his eyes and his head, and he goes like that, you see.

Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say anything about seeing a man with a crew cut in front of the building as he was about to leave it? Do you remember anything about that?

Mr. HOLMES. No.

Mr. BELIN. You don't remember anything about that. Did he say anything about telling a man about going to a pay phone in the building?

Mr. HOLMES. Policeman rushed--I take it back---I don't know whether he said a policeman or not--a man came rushing by and said, "Where's your telephone?" And the man showed him some kind of credential and I don't know that he identified the credential, so he might not have been a police officer, and said I am so and so, and shoved something at me which I didn't look at and said, "Where is the telephone?"
And I said, "Right there," and just pointed in to the phone, and I
[Oswald] went on out.

Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say why he left the building?

Mr. HOLMES. No; other than just said he talked about this commotion and went out to see what it was about.

[...]

Mr. BELIN. By the way, where did this policeman stop him when he was coming down the stairs at the Book Depository on the day of the shooting?

Mr. HOLMES. He said it was in the vestibule.

Mr. BELIN. He said he was in the vestibule?
Mr. HOLMES. Or approaching the door to the vestibule. He was just coming, apparently, and I have never been in there myself. Apparently there is two sets of doors, and he had come out to this front part.
Mr. BELIN. Did he state it was on what floor?
Mr. HOLMES. First floor. The front entrance to the first floor.
Mr. BELIN. Did he say anything about a
Coca Cola or anything like that, if you remember?
Mr. HOLMES. Seems like he said he was drinking a
Coca Cola, standing there by the Coca Cola machine drinking a Coca Cola.

Mr. BELIN. Anything else?
Mr. HOLMES. Nothing more than what I have already told you on it.

"The Coca Cola is a different question, about a different time." -- LeDoux

A different question about a different time?

Which time would that be, Edward?

Do you mean the time Truly bought Oswald a Coca-Cola (brand name) from the Coca-Cola (brand name) machine in the 2nd floor lunchroom, way back when he hired him in September ?

(For all you naive students and newbie "researchers" out there, I'm just kidding. I think Truly bought him a Dr. Pepper from the machine on the 1st floor, instead. LOL)

It does seem Holmes got his stories mixed up and may have "let the cat out of the bag" regarding Oswald's claiming that he was on the first floor much earlier than the official story says he was, but too late to be Prayer Man, unfortunately, unless by "the commotion" Holmes / Oswald meant the (probably) audible-on-the-sixth-floor crowd noise which must have been increasing in volume as the motorcade approached.

--Tommy :sun

EDIT: Here's a serious idea -- Did Baker and Truly encounter Oswald by the Dr. Pepper machine at the back of the first floor? I mean, that does fit in with Larry Hancock's theory because Larry seems to think Oswald was hanging around the rear door, waiting to br picked up or something.

Edited by Thomas Graves

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"It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled"- attributed to Mark Twain

1) every single item of lunchroom-related evidence has a mundane explanation that supports the incident's reality

Truly had no idea about Baker's "I saw a glimpse through the window" until a day or so before the testimony

Mundane explanation- Truly never asked speculation nor did Baker explain speculation what had motivated Baker to head for the lunchroom. It wasn't discussed during their remaining few minutes together in the Depository speculation and Truly didn't see him again until the March 20 re-enactments.

The mundane explanation does not have to be historically correct, only reasonable. So Bart, when you offer a piece of evidence that seems to you to not be supportive of the incident's reality, I dispute your contention, and offer a reasonable mundane explanation.

We don't jump to the conclusion that Oswald was the sniper's nest shooter because he left his wedding ring behind on Marina'a dresser that morning, do we? And neither should we jump to the conclusion that the lunchroom was hoaxed because Baker didn't mention Oswald when writing his affidavit- there is a reasonable mundane explanation for that. It may have been because he wanted to cut Oswald some slack. It may have been because he heard about the Tippit murder and wanted to give himself an out, and not mention the suspect sitting near him. It may have been because of his limited intellect.

We aren't required to determine the correct reason in order to rebut an argument for the hoax. So the item of evidence that you presented, as without a mundane explanation, does have a mundane explanation.

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From Holmes' Informal Memorandum / Statement given to "Special Agent" Charles T. Brown on 11/24/63:

“When asked about his whereabouts at the time of the shooting, he stated that when lunch time came, and he didn’t say which floor he was on, he said one of the negro employees invited him to eat lunch with him and stated ‘You go on down and send the elevator back up and I will join you in a few minutes.’ Before he could finish whatever he was doing, he stated, the commotion surrounding the assassination took place and when he went down stairs, a policeman questioned him as to his identification and his boss stated that ‘he is one of our employees’ whereupon the policeman had him step aside momentarily. Following this, he simply walked out the front door of the building. I don’t recall that anyone asked him why he left or where or how he went. I just presumed that this had been covered in an earlier questioning.

From Holmes' WC deposition on April 2, 1964:

Mr. BELIN. Did he say where he was at the time of the shooting?

Mr. HOLMES. He just said he was still up in the building when the commotion-- he kind of----

Mr. BELIN. Did he gesture with his hands, do you remember?

Mr. HOLMES. He talked with his hands all the time. He was handcuffed, but he was quiet--well, he was not what you call a stoic phlegmatic person. He is very definite with his talk and his eyes and his head, and he goes like that, you see.

Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say anything about seeing a man with a crew cut in front of the building as he was about to leave it? Do you remember anything about that?

Mr. HOLMES. No.

Mr. BELIN. You don't remember anything about that. Did he say anything about telling a man about going to a pay phone in the building?

Mr. HOLMES. Policeman rushed--I take it back---I don't know whether he said a policeman or not--a man came rushing by and said, "Where's your telephone?" And the man showed him some kind of credential and I don't know that he identified the credential, so he might not have been a police officer, and said I am so and so, and shoved something at me which I didn't look at and said, "Where is the telephone?"

And I said, "Right there," and just pointed in to the phone, and I [Oswald] went on out.

Mr. BELIN. Did Oswald say why he left the building?

Mr. HOLMES. No; other than just said he talked about this commotion and went out to see what it was about.

[...]

Mr. BELIN. By the way, where did this policeman stop him when he was coming down the stairs at the Book Depository on the day of the shooting?

Mr. HOLMES. He said it was in the vestibule.

Mr. BELIN. He said he was in the vestibule?

Mr. HOLMES. Or approaching the door to the vestibule. He was just coming, apparently, and I have never been in there myself. Apparently there is two sets of doors, and he had come out to this front part.

Mr. BELIN. Did he state it was on what floor?

Mr. HOLMES. First floor. The front entrance to the first floor.

Mr. BELIN. Did he say anything about a Coca Cola or anything like that, if you remember?

Mr. HOLMES. Seems like he said he was drinking a Coca Cola, standing there by the Coca Cola machine drinking a Coca Cola.

Mr. BELIN. Anything else?

Mr. HOLMES. Nothing more than what I have already told you on it.

"The Coca Cola is a different question, about a different time." -- LeDoux

A different question about a different time?

Which time would that be, Edward?

Do you mean the time Truly bought Oswald a Coca-Cola (brand name) from the Coca-Cola (brand name) machine in the 2nd floor lunchroom, way back when he hired him in September ?

(For all you naive students and newbie "researchers" out there, I'm just kidding. I think Truly bought him a Dr. Pepper from the machine on the 1st floor, instead. LOL)

It does seem Holmes got his stories mixed up and may have "let the cat out of the bag" regarding Oswald's claiming that he was on the first floor much earlier than the official story says he was, but too late to be Prayer Man, unfortunately, unless by "the commotion" Holmes / Oswald meant the (probably) audible-on-the-sixth-floor crowd noise which must have been increasing in volume as the motorcade approached.

--Tommy :sun

EDIT: Here's a serious idea -- Did Baker and Truly encounter Oswald by the Dr. Pepper machine at the back of the first floor? I mean, that does fit in with Larry Hancock's theory because Larry seems to think Oswald was hanging around the rear door, waiting to br picked up or something.

edited ar the very bottom

bumped for Ed LeDoux or Larry Hancock to comment on

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I am familiar with the hoaxers' complaints of matching up Baker's position with being able to see Oswald- it has led me to conclude that Oswald was up near the glass and flinched away the instant he saw Baker so he goes in and gets the coke and then goes back to the window? On what basis? And no one heard the door and/or saw it swing. Terrible speculation going on here Richard.

Because Bart puts words in my mouth? How did the coke enter the scenario? I have consistently maintained in other posts that Oswald came back from PrayerMan's position to the position behind the plate-glass window. I have postulated that he purchased a second coke (i.e. second soft drink) after the confrontation with Baker & Truly; that explains Mrs. Reid's testimony.

It's your reading comprehension that needs some sharpening here, Bart. Please do not put words in my mouth and oblige me to defend a position I never posited.

Oswald's position inside the lunchroom changed/progressed from sitting at the table, to standing at the coke machine to having a coke standing next to the cupboards... if he had a coke already..

You've fallen for Truly's gambit, which was to shift attention away from the west elevator and onto the lunchroom. speculation Please see Inside Job p. 33 It defies common sense and can be easily dismissed

I assume that you are referring to Truly's gambit as defying common sense (which is defined as "sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training or the like). It appears to me that you interpret common sense, in this instance, as whatever supports a hoax.

How is the following (Inside Job p. 33) easily dismissed?

The key detail the lunchroom hoaxers miss in their reading of Truly's FBI report is that Truly avoided any mention of the west elevator. This was the cat he could absolutely not let out of the bag and so he related that "he accompanied the officer immediately up the stairs to the second floor." Brushing over their difficulties summoning the west freight elevator. One of the paramount requirements of the coverup was keeping this elevator's descent out of the newspapers. Because any schoolkid could have figured it out- if he knew that the west elevator went down while Truly & Baker were climbing the stairs- he could have easily deduced that the real killers escaped the building by the west elevator. This crucial fact remained hidden until alluded to gingerly in the Warren Report. And there, it had no bearing on the case, since, after all, "neither elevator could have been used by Oswald as a means of descent.

Peter Dale Scott wrote that the Kennedy assassination, although immensely difficult, is a solvable crime. By accepting the lunchroom incident's reality you get answers, results, as to what actually happened inside the Depository. By considering that incident a hoax you get no results, only more confusion, only ill-defined tenuous reconstructions that do not stand up to reasoned critiques.

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Tommy, I'm trying to get some details on the actual soda machines and empty pick up crates in the building circa 63. One of the things that complicates matters is in those days many people

referred to any soda as a "coke", coke was a generic term. If somebody went to the trouble of saying Dr. Pepper, that likely means they saw a Dr. Pepper. Right now what I don't

know is if soda machines on the first floor and break room were both stocked with both types of sodas. Working on it.

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Sorry, Baker's testimony going off-the-record 5 times is just another fun fact. It does not take one iota away from the incident's reality. You are reaching. You have no idea what Baker was told by the WC before his testimony went off the record again in all 5 instances

Bart, at least I presented the off-the-record discussions with some context as to what was going on in the testimony when these discussions occurred.

You, on the other hand, blindly assume that these interruptions are supportive of a hoax.

It's well-established that Baker had a limited intellect- that there were deep concerns about the movement of the west elevator- that Oswald's clothing-at-work and Oswald's clothing-after-work were described differently.

There's plenty enough to go off-the-record about, without blindly assuming it must support a hoax. And blindly assume that the WC members spoke to Baker, rather than among themselves, during these breaks.

Assuming they were talking about the lunchroom hoax makes about as much sense as assuming they were talking about March Madness.

Edited by Richard Gilbride

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How did a trained police officer who had climbed up one set of steps comprising just two separate parts (from the first to the second floor,) make the mistake of saying he met the suspect on the third or fourth floor. It doesn't make sense.

The second floor encounter was worked out later. IMO

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This may help you make a little more sense of it, Ray.

Marvin Johnson's statement

I assume that you are referring to WC XXIV p. 307 p.2

"While in the office from 3:00 pm until 2:00 am I answered the phone and took an affidavit from Patrolman M.L. Baker. Patrolman Baker stated in his affidavit that he was riding escort...

...After determining the origin of the shots, he jumped from his motor and ran into the building. He found a man that said he was the building manager. Officer Baker and the building manager then went to a stairway and started up the stairs to search the building...

Note- Marvin Johnson does not mention that Baker had written that Truly "said let's take the elevator. The elevator was hung several floors up so..."

...On about the 4th floor Baker apprehended a man that was walking away from the stairway on that floor. Officer Baker started to search the man, but the building manager stated that the man was an employee of the company and was known to him. Officer Baker later identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man he had seen on the 4th floor of the Texas Book Depository."

We get a detail here- Baker's search of Oswald- that wasn't mentioned in the testimony. If it actually occurred, it adds fuel to the contention that Truly & Baker were inside the lunchroom/vestibule long enough for Adams & Styles to pass by outside.

And note that the affidavit's "third or fourth floor" becomes "On about the 4th floor" in Johnson's report. Baker ran up a bunch of steps to reach the front lobby and for all he knew that was the second floor. Then he ran up a spit-level stairway to the lunchroom and for all he knew that was the third or fourth floor. And Johnson mis-reports Baker's description and lazymindedly includes only the latter half of Baker's guess.

Plain and simple, the argument that Marvin Johnson's report supports a hoax won't hold up in a court of law.

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No I'm referring to Baker's first day affidavit.

"BEFORE ME, Mary Rattan, a Notary Public in and for said County, State of Texas, on this day personally appeared M. L. Baker, Patrolman Dallas Police Department who, after being by me duly sworn, on oath deposes and says:

Friday November 22, 1963 I was riding motorcycle escort for the President of the United States. At approximately 12:30 pm I was on Houston Street and the President's car had made a left turn from Houston onto Elm Street. Just as I approached Elm Street and Houston I heard three shots. I realized those shots were rifle shots and I began to try to figure out where they came from. I decided the shots had come from the building on the northwest corner of Elm and Houston. This building is used by the Board of Education for book storage. I jumped off my motor and ran inside the building. As I entered the door I saw several people standing around. I asked these people where the stairs were. A man stepped forward and stated he was the building manager and that he would show me where the stairs were. I followed the man to the rear of the building and he said, "Let's take the elevator." The elevator was hung several floors up so we used the stairs instead. As we reached the third or fourth floor I saw a man walking away from the stairway. I called to the man and he turned around and came back toward me. The manager said, "I know that man, he works here." I then turned the man loose and went up to the top floor. The man I saw was a white man approximately 30 years old, 5'9", 165 pounds, dark hair and wearing a light brown jacket."

You will note nothing about the second floor anteroom or the lunch room.

Edited by Ray Mitcham

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I checked with my friend Jerry Dealey who knows a great deal about the TSBD, he provided me with the photos and we polled our contemporary

memories of the period. We are both of the opinion that:

Coke and Dr. Pepper were marketed by by separate companies with separate bottlers. They each had their own branded

soda machines. You would find a Dr. Pepper machine that might have had Pepsi, Nehi, Crush etc but not Coke. Coke and Dr. Pepper each had

their own machines and their own distribution - of course Dr. Pepper had an especially strong network in Texas where it originated.

You would find a Coke machine with just Coke products.

The machine on the second floor is clearly a Coke machine; the one by the refrigerator on the first floor is not in our opinion. It's Dr. Pepper. If you wanted

a Dr. Pepper you would get it on the first floor, a Coke on the second. There is not bottle tray by the machine on the first floor although one might be

leaning by the stairway, there clearly is an empty tray by the second floor machine.

For what its worth...

Yes, they were separate brands. The 1st floor was Dr Pepper, although at thetime they may have also had Pepsi, RC, Nehi, or other brands. But NOTCoca-Cola.2nd floor would have been Coke, Sprite and Crush (I think). Not sure fromthe photos exactly what brands, other than back in the day they would onlyallow certain brands in. The machines were owned by the respectivecompanies, and put in under an agreement.

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"1) every single item of lunchroom-related evidence has a mundane explanation that supports the incident's reality"

Except every early 11/22 statement, news account and later statement placing one Lee Oswald on the first floor, front entrance, steps, vestibule, exit.

Stavis Ellis reports what Baker was telling him as a fourth floor encounter with a tan jacket wearing man.

Nothing in Bakers initial account says anything about a DOOR, LUNCHROOM, WINDOW or COCA COLA.
Stairway are the operative word which there are a set in the vestibule.


I called to the man and he turned around and came back toward me.

Because lunch room vestibule doors are sound proof the door must have been .... open, right?

“Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.”
~Samuel Beckett

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Ray, please remember that Baker had been out to Parkland and Love Field and then returned to City Hall to sit down and compose an affidavit about a building he had never been inside before. He had run up 7 steps to the front landing. The building, with those peristyles, gives the impression that it may have a half-floor at the ground level- I'd say that Baker thought that he was at the second floor when he reached the top of the landing. And then with a split-level stairway to reach the lunchroom- he can't be certain whether (on the 2nd-floor landing) he's reached the 3rd floor, or maybe it's the 4th floor.

And then, he describes seeing a man "walking away from the stairway". Well, that's correct, isn't it? The man was not walking toward the stairway. There's not much room on the stairway, for the man not to be in Baker's way. If the man was somewhere on the landing, walking away from the stairway, yes, Baker's description would be an accurate one. But we can account for Baker's inaccurate description by consulting Stavis Ellis' characterization of Baker in No More Silence- "Baker wasn't real bright either... But he was always slow."

The hoaxers are reading too much literally into the words of a man who was at a loss when it came to readin', writin', and 'rithmetic. But he was a damn good cop.

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Baker's fraudulent timings in the re-enactment

I agree that this is a disturbing aspect of the case. But it leads me to conclude that what actually occurred on November 22nd was a mad dash through the warehouse. Baker lied about this. But he was not mentally capable of confabulating an elaborate yarn about a lunchroom incident, had it not actually taken place. This is a deception that is an order of magnitude greater. You are putting Baker on a level with Dulles or LBJ or Fritz, when his dumb cop persona evidences just the opposite.

The fact that Baker never pointed Oswald out as the man he encountered, while dictating his first statement to MJ which would be a mundane explanation for identifying the suspect no?

Please see post #242 as to why Baker did not mention seeing Oswald while writing up his affidavit.

Baker did not ID Oswald in a lineup as MJ claimed

As I mentioned, Johnson's report states that "Officer Baker later identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man he had seen on the 4th floor of the Texas Book Depository."

XXIV p. 249 is a list of Officer Witnesses in the DPD's file on their investigation of the assassination.

At the top is-

M.L. Baker

Solo Motor Officer

Traffic Division

Saw Oswald in building after shooting.

Identified him in lineup.

See affidavit

Bart, you do not know for a fact that Marvin Johnson claimed that Baker ID'd Oswald in a line-up. Baker may well have stated to Johnson personally that Oswald, the man in the back interrogation room, was the man he had seen in the Depository.

XXIV p. 347 lists the various police line-ups and notably does not include Howard Brennan. This is a suspicious omission, of course, since Brennan would not positively ID Oswald as the man he'd seen in the sniper's nest.

But it's well-established that Baker did not attend any line-ups, and whoever compiled that list of officer witnesses (probably Curry or Fritz or whoever was performing their secretarial functions) was under the mistaken impression that Baker had attended a line-up. Granted, that rumor may have been started by Marvin Johnson, but that is not an established fact. Somebody, somehow, heard that Baker had attended a line-up, and this information got incorporated into Baker's blurb (along with 34 other blurbs) for this list of officer witnesses. I'm more inclined to regard this as an innocent mistake. They do happen.

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Baker described the man he saw as "30 years old, 165lbs, dark hair and wearing a brown jacket"

Not only did he not know what floor he was, on but he also described somebody who obviously wasn't Oswald.

Strange that.

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1) every single item of lunchroom-related evidence has a mundane explanation that supports the incident's reality

Ed Ledoux- Except every early 11/22 statement, news account and later statement placing one Lee Oswald on the first floor, front entrance, steps, vestibule, exit

Ed, would you please cite a single example to enlarge upon this generalized statement? I can think of the Kent Biffle story, and don't think that you want to cross swords with me on that.

Stavis Ellis reports what Baker was telling him as a fourth floor encounter with a tan jacket wearing man

Please do me the courtesy of providing a reference to this Stavis Ellis report. Before I die of old age looking for it.

Nothing in Baker's initial account says anything about a DOOR, LUNCHROOM, WINDOW or COCA-COLA.

Baker's crummy description of his whereabouts does not definitively indicate he was referring to a place other than the 2nd-floor landing. You jump to a conclusion by saying this means a hoax occurred. Extraordinary proof is required, not merely a laundry list of ambiguous items of evidence. And Ed, puh-lease, do you not get it that this way of thinking has produced no fruits, i.e. has lead absolutely nowhere, after 10+ years?

Need I remind you that a position paper delineating a hoax has never been produced, and Parker's laughable pre-assassination to post-assassination Reid shift is the rationale offered to account for how & why this ruse was put in place?

Stairway are the operative word which there are a set in the vestibule

Belin said "vestibule going into the lunchroom" (III p. 255) and I will continue to use the word "vestibule" since it is commonly understood among researchers as the foyer or anteroom outside the lunchroom.

[i saw a man walking away from the stairway] I called to the man and he turned around and came back toward me

Again, you are reading too much into the words of a man who was at a loss when it came to readin', writin' & 'rithmetic.

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