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A Person of Interest

The Man on the Sixth Floor

Copyright © 2007, M. Duke Lane

All Rights Reserved

Jack Dougherty was a man in whom the police, FBI, Warren Commission and all other investigatory bodies took little notice and no interest with regard to his possible involvement in the JFK assassination. This despite the fact that not only did he work in the TSBD and have full run of the place - just as did the accused killer Lee Oswald - but he was also unquestionably and admittedly in all the "right" places at all the "right" times to have been involved in one capacity or another. We shall soon see that his actions can be considered suspicious in light of his usual habits and the events leading up to and following the shooting.

While the case against Lee Oswald requires hurried if not harried stealth, split-second timing, superb acting skills, mistaken witnesses, proof against his supposed "lies" about his whereabouts during the shooting (corroborated by others), and faith that minute details tend to incriminate rather than exonerate him, building a case against Jack Dougherty requires no such circumlocutions: he all but admitted to the possibility of his involvement, far more so than Lee Oswald ever did. Indeed, other than his failure to actually implicate himself, all that Jack said he did dovetails exactly with what a suspected assassin - or assassin's assistant - might be expected to do.

We will see that Jack was in a much better position than Oswald to have either or both committed the murder on Elm Street and/or abetted in its commission. The ONLY factor that argues even remotely successfully against Jack's involvement is his apparently diminished mental and/or emotional capacity. Even if Jack wasn't smart enough or stable enough to have planned, executed and masked his involvement in the shooting, that hardly constitutes proof that he wouldn't have or couldn't have simply kept his mouth shut for the rest of his life. His infirmities were such that, should he have "tripped up" in testimony (as he did), it would have been understandable, even expected, and thus excused by his questioners (as it was).

In terms of the classic profile of a murder suspect - having the means, motive and opportunity - Jack certainly had both means and opportunity: a rifle was unquestionably on the sixth floor (regardless of how it might have gotten there: nobody has been able to state with certainty how Oswald may have been able to get it there either), and Jack was also on the fifth and sixth floors, apparently alone and unobserved, throughout the period leading up to and immediately following the assassination. That he was actually not alone will be seen later.

Only Jack's motive is indiscernable ... as, in fact, was Lee Oswald's. Even the Warren Commission, which investigated Oswald's background extensively, concluded that "[t]here remains the question of what impelled Oswald to conceive and to carry out the assassination of the President of the United States. The Commission has considered many possible motives .... None of [them] satisfactorily explains Oswald's act if it is judged by the standards of reasonable men." It was only "a large amount of material available in his writings and in the history of his life which does give some insight into his character and, possibly, into the motives for his act." [Report, pp375-76]

In truth, the speculation that led the WC to its conclusion that Lee was at least capable of shooting the President could be said to apply equally if not more so to Jack Dougherty: "Perhaps the most outstanding conclusion of such a study is that [he] was profoundly alienated from the world in which he lived. His life was characterized by isolation, frustration, and failure. He had very few, if any, close relationships with other people and he appeared to have great difficulty in finding a meaningful place in the world." [R376]

Its similar conclusions based on Oswald's military service and defection to the Soviet Union, his dissatisfaction with and alienation from the world around him - "he would not be happy anywhere, 'only on the moon, perhaps'" [ibid] - might equally apply to Dougherty, whose stint in the Army at the start of WWII was cut short and may have left him, if only in his own mind, "less of a man" for not having fulfilled his patriotic duty like most other men of his age.

Jack's motives are no more or less certain than Lee's. History tells us little more about Jack or his background, largely because it was never examined, much less investigated to the extent that Oswald's was. We know only that Jack was 40 years old in 1963, born August 12, 1923, and got out of Sunset High School in 1937, apparently at the age of 14 without graduating. He enlisted in the Army on October 24, 1942, and remained in the service for "two years, one month and 17 days, to be exact," or until about December 9, 1944. His entire term of service was spent at Seymour, Indiana, pulling guard duty and other menial jobs; he saw no active service in the theaters of war.

Despite having denied it under oath, Jack was given a medical discharge from the Army before the war ended. He returned home to live in his parents home, and apparently remained unemployed until 1952 (i.e., from age 21 to age 29), when he began work at TSBD. In 1963, at age 40, Jack still lived with his parents. As far as is known, he continued to do so for the rest of his life.

We know of his medical discharge from the Army and his emotional or mental problems only from his father, who accompanied Jack to his interviews with the FBI following the assassination, on November 23 and December 19, 1963. Appended to the FBI reports of Jack's interview were his father's statements that Jack "received a medical discharge from the U.S. Army" and "had considerable difficulty in coordinating his mental facilities with his speech." The elder Dougherty "assisted [Jack] in furnishing answers to questions asked" during the December interview because Jack "had difficulty in coorelating his speech with his thoughts." [see Dougherty Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C at 19H618, et seq.]

(Despite this, when Jack was asked by Warren Commission assistant counsel Joseph Ball if he'd ever had "any difficulty with your speech," Jack twice stated that he did not. What is not apparent from either his written testimony or FBI reports is that Jack had a habit of "smacking his lips" when he spoke, according to former TSBD employees. One thus imagines Jack's responses to Ball's queries about his speech as being along the lines of "[smack] no [smack]." Jack also denied having "any difficulty in the Army with any medical treatment or anything of that sort" when further questioned by Ball.)

While Jack's whereabouts during the noon hour are not in serious question, he was unable or unwilling to account for them accurately. The only consistencies in his estimates of the times where he was, was that he was anywhere but on the sixth floor during the shooting, and that he didn't see Lee Oswald at any time after 11:00 a.m.

The latter seems unlikely inasmuch as Jack claimed to have been on the fifth and sixth floors just prior to the lunch hour, and had seen the men who were laying flooring there then [6H377]. We know from various testimonies that Oswald was likewise there, and lingered after they had "raced" downstairs in the elevators, calling after them to send an elevator back up to him. Jack likewise remained on the upper floors until about 12:00, taking an elevator down from the fifth floor to the first for lunch [6H378]. Was this elevator actually intended for Lee's return trip downstairs, or did it arrive back there after he had already decided to walk down?

While Jack stated that he ate lunch on the first floor in the domino room - a fact corroborated by Danny Arce [6H365] - and that he remained in the domino room "just a short length of time" and then went back to work [6H378], he also variously claimed that he went back to work at 12:30, 12:40 and 12:45. Jack "usually" took the entire 45 minutes of the lunch break [6H377]; on Friday, November 22, he went directly "back to work," to the sixth floor, almost as soon as he finished eating [ibid].

(He also claimed that he "would have went out and watched" the parade, but "the steps were so crowded - there was no way in the world I could get out there" ... but admitted that he didn't even go outside to have known that. [6H378] This tidbit was offered as an explanation why he'd gone directly back to work, gratuitous and untrue.)

On this one day, when most of the other employees in the building, including management, had gone outside to watch the parade or were eating lunch, Jack Dougherty alone claimed to have gone back to work against his usual custom of taking the entire 45 minutes of the lunch break. Even Lee Oswald was apparently eating lunch during this timeframe, according to both his own presumed statements to the police, as well as the testimony of others who saw him on the first and second floors of the Depository between 12:00 and 12:15 or 12:20.

Only Jack Dougherty was AWOL during this crucial period, and he himself acknowledged having been on the same floor as where shots were apparently fired from, and in a position to have known if anyone had come down the stairs or attempted to use one of the elevators after the shooting. His actions during the latter timeframe, from "a short length of time" after eating lunch until after JFK had been shot, will be the subject of a further installment.

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I'm working on it. It's funny how, no matter the fact that you've got stuff in your head, all of these myriad details and how they correlate to each other, they never simply flow out onto paper (so to speak). Of course, there's the added burden of citations, not simply saying "Joe Schmoe said this and did that," which slows things down even more.

Duke, I know full well what you're talking about above. Great job, and eagerly await future installments.

Jack was one of three employees who could have put a paper bag together without fear of being seen or questioned as to what they were doing. Piper and West were the other two.

Jack was one of three whose whereabouts could not be, or simply were not, confirmed for the shooting (not including LHO who's alibi I believe has been verified). Piper and West again. There testimony put them in the same spot just after the shots, yet each claimed to be alone.

Both Piper and West were "elderly Negroes".

Of the three, only two were fingerprinted by the FBI. Piper was odd man out.

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I suggest the sixth floor shooter was not an employee of the TSBD.

Tim,

here is what Duke said, "all that Jack said he did dovetails exactly with what a suspected assassin - or assassin's assistant - might be expected to do."

If he did have any role, I go with the latter... pending any blockbuster evidence presented by Duke pointing more to the former.

Any theory which leaves out some complicity on the part of one or (more likely) more employees of the TSBD has a difficult task in proving means and opportunity. All they're left with is motive - the least necessary of the three to prove a case.

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Greg, thanks for the post.

Is it your position that no non-employee of the TSBD could have gained access to the building and shot at JFK from the sixth floor (east or west window, take your pick)? I do not find that hard to believe. What about the witnesses who saw someone fleeing out the back door?

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Greg, thanks for the post. Is it your position that no non-employee of the TSBD could have gained access to the building and shot at JFK from the sixth floor (east or west window, take your pick)? I do not find that hard to believe. What about the witnesses who saw someone fleeing out the back door?

Sit back and relax.... B)

We'll be looking at "two-elevator monte" next ....

As Greg pointed out, I'd said "all that Jack said he did dovetails exactly with what a suspected assassin - or assassin's assistant - might be expected to do." I suspect him more as an "inside man" than a "mastermind," a facilitator and look-out, and as a shooter only for the sake of having a rifle fire - well-aimed or otherwise - and thus to make him absolutely complicit and possibly feed his ego.

More on all of that later....

Edited by Duke Lane
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Greg, thanks for the post. Is it your position that no non-employee of the TSBD could have gained access to the building and shot at JFK from the sixth floor (east or west window, take your pick)? I do not find that hard to believe. What about the witnesses who saw someone fleeing out the back door?

Sit back and relax.... B)

We'll be looking at "two-elevator monte" next ....

As Greg pointed out, I'd said "all that Jack said he did dovetails exactly with what a suspected assassin - or assassin's assistant - might be expected to do." I suspect him more as an "inside man" than a "mastermind," a facilitator and look-out, and as a shooter only for the sake of having a rifle fire - well-aimed or otherwise - and thus to make him absolutely complicit and possibly feed his ego.

More on all of that later....

Duke,

An extremely interesting article and developing hypothesis. I eagerly wait additional installments.

There is a lot of contentious behavior on the forum these days. It is sad that the other arguments (which are, in no way, advancing the case) have to some degree overshadowed this research. Work like this is precisely what this forum is all about. Bravo!

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NOTE: Once again, readers responding to this post are requested NOT to copy the entire post into your replies as the material is copyrighted and should be expected to undergo several revisions before being considered complete. Thank you for your consideration and cooperation.

A Person of Interest

The Man on the Sixth Floor

Copyright © 2007, M. Duke Lane

All Rights Reserved

Part II

The Texas School Book Depository Company moved its offices and shipping departments to 411 Elm Street sometime during 1961. The company also operated a warehouse about a block-and-a-half north on Houston Street. During October and November, 1963, as the "slow season" came upon it, men were moved from their regular positions as warehouse personnel and order-fillers and -checkers to work as laborers laying new flooring on the fifth and sixth floors, where books were stored prior to shipping. They had spent about four weeks refurbishing the fifth floor, and had begun laying flooring on the sixth floor just a few days before November 22. It was at about the time that the fifth floor was begun that Lee Oswald was hired as an order-filler, on October 15, 1963.

By November 22, they had only completed about one fifth, or about 20 feet, of the sixth floor from the west wall. Boxes that had occupied that portion of the floor had been moved toward the east side of the building and were stacked several tall, effectively blocking the view of the eastern portion of the floor. At sometime between five and ten minutes before noon, the "boys" who'd been working on the flooring - Billy Lovelady, Danny Arce, Bonnie Ray Williams, James "Junior" Jarman, and Charlie "Slim" Givens - broke for lunch and "raced" each other to the first floor on the elevators. The east elevator, incidentally, won.

There were two elevators serving the upper floors of the Depository (a third one, located at the front of the building, served only the first and second stories). They were situated near the northwest corner of the building, east of the stairwell, and were installed back to back; that is, the gates into each elevator faced away from each other, easterly and westerly. The east elevator was designed as a passenger elevator, had just one gate, and operated using a hand lever; it only operated when someone was in it. The west elevator was designed for freight and operated with a push-button, had two gates, and could be called from one floor to another even when nobody was in it as long as the gates were closed.

Hank Norman had also been on the floor, just shooting the breeze with the boys before the lunch hour began. Lee Oswald was also there, gathering stock to fill an order. According to Hank, as the boys were descending in the elevators, Lee was standing south of the elevators and called to them to wait for him, or to send the elevator back up to him when they'd gotten downstairs; Billy Lovelady, Charlie Givens and Bonnie Ray Williams also noticed Lee, although their descriptions of where he was - on the fifth or sixth floor - and exactly what he'd said vary.

(Since Lee Oswald didn't live to testify to his own actions, we cannot state for certain whether he was on the fifth or sixth floor when the boys elevator-raced downstairs, but since his supervisor Bill Shelley and others testified that Oswald "mostly" pulled orders for the Scott-Foresman Company - it was the only company whose books Lee had been trained to pull, Shelley said. The majority of their books were stored on the sixth floor, the remainder being on the first floor. It would thus seem more likely that Lee was on the sixth floor rather than the fifth, especially considering the fact that Oswald's clipboard - found by order-filler Frankie Kaiser a few days later and discussed below - contained three unfilled orders, all of which were for Scott-Foresman books [CD7, p381].)

In any case, Slim Givens went to the washroom after arriving on the first floor, washed up, got a drink of water and noticed that he'd left his cigarettes upstairs. He rode the east elevator up to the fifth floor, and crossed to where he'd left them by the third set of windows on the west side of the building. On his way back down, just as he was getting ready to get on the elevator, he noticed Lee Oswald walking toward him from the east side of the building with a clipboard in his hand. He asked Lee if he was going down; Lee said that he wasn't, but asked Slim to make sure the gate on the freight elevator were closed.

Slim rode the elevator down to the first floor and went around to check the gate on the freight elevator, but it wasn't there. He then walked toward the domino room where he met up with Hank Norman and Junior Jarman and went outside to watch the parade; Danny Arce went with them. Givens walked up the street to meet with two of his friends; Norman and Jarman stayed in front of the Depository with Danny Arce.

After coming downstairs at a few minutes before noon, Hank and Junior had also washed up and eaten their lunches: Hank ate his in the domino room - he couldn't recall who else was in there with him, but thought that there were others - while Junior got his lunch from the domino room and ate it out on the main floor by the bins. Danny Arce had also eaten his lunch in the domino room, where he'd also seen Jack Dougherty eating his lunch at the same time. (Lee Oswald also told police that he'd eaten in the domino room while the others were there.)

As for the others who'd been working on the sixth floor, Bill Shelley also recalled having seen Oswald after he - Shelley - had come downstairs for lunch, which he ate part of in his office, and saved the rest for later. Billy Lovelady had come downstairs, washed up, retrieved his lunch from the domino room - where he said nobody was at the time - went to the second floor lunchroom to get a coke, and ate on the front steps.

Bonnie Ray Williams got his "chicken-on-the-bone" sandwich from the domino room, pulled a Dr Pepper out of the Dr Pepper machine on the first floor, and rode the passenger elevator back up to the sixth floor, and ate it near the third set of windows from the southeast corner facing Elm Street. We will return to Bonnie Ray's actions later.

As we have seen previously, Jack Dougherty had also been on the sixth floor before lunch "to get some stock" (his standard answer for any question about what he was doing upstairs at any time). While he is not mentioned by any of the boys who'd been upstairs - perhaps because he hadn't called out to them about an elevator, and perhaps simply because nobody'd asked them about him - his testimony leads the reader to presume that he was upstairs before they had broke for lunch and gone downstairs. If so, his denials of seeing Lee Oswald ring hollow.

Jack testified that he'd been on the sixth floor immediately before lunch, and had ridden the freight elevator downstairs "alone" when he was done. He ate lunch in the domino room where he remained "just a short length of time" before he returned to work, contrary to his usual habit of taking the full 45-minute lunch period to eat and relax. Thus a couple of scenarios present themselves:

Scenario "A" suggests that Jack had been on the sixth floor getting stock and had called the freight elevator back up at the same time that Slim Givens was getting ready to come back downstairs with his cigs, or while Slim was actually riding down on the passenger elevator (other testimony establishes that the elevators were not noisy and could not necessarily be heard moving: Hank Norman said that if you were listening for it, you could hear the passenger elevator when it stopped because it made a "bang" when the hand lever was moved to the "stop" position; Roy Truly also was unable to hear the elevator operating later during his rush up the stairs with Officer Baker, or during their ride on the freight elevator to the seventh floor); or

Scenario "B" has Jack finishing his lunch and riding the freight elevator to the sixth floor while Givens was either upstairs, or on his way up or down in the elevator.

Either scenario belies Jack's claim to not having seen Lee after 11:00 that morning since he would have been on the opposite side of the elevator shaft as Givens and Oswald were having their exchange about making sure the gates were closed when Givens got downstairs, or had arrived there shortly after Givens had descended in the passenger elevator. In that case, the freight elevator that Oswald was going to call upstairs so he could ride it down arrived even before Lee had called for it, and he took it downstairs when Jack got off. (This is a possibility that will be explored later.)

Scenario "C" is that someone else altogether, whose identity or identities remain unknown, was on the freight elevator. That could include TSBD employees working in the third or fourth floor offices who had called the elevator so they could come down to watch the parade, or someone who had come in the back door of the Depository and gotten directly onto the elevator and gone up. The only TSBD employee who was in a position to be able to see the gates to the freight elevator was Troy Eugene West, but he testified that he usually sat at his wrapping table facing Elm Street, with his back to the elevators.

It is known - or can at least be deduced - that Lee went from where he'd been last seen by Slim Givens to the freight elevator. Givens saw him coming diagonally toward the east elevator from the southeastern section of the sixth floor, clipboard in hand; days later, Frankie Kaiser - another TSBD order-filler who'd had the day off on November 22 to go to the dentist - found Lee's clipboard on the floor in the corner between the up and down staircases, in line with the freight elevator door. He may have lain it down knowing he wouldn't need it during lunch - he wasn't bringing any books down with him, completing any orders - and gotten aboard the elevator that he'd requested and was expecting ... or he may have walked down the stairs. Or ...?

(To be completely fair with all possibilities, he may also have remained on the sixth floor to go shoot JFK, but in any case, he had apparently gone to the immediate vicinity of two egresses from the sixth floor before setting his clipboard down. That he was seen downstairs by Carolyn Arnold at 12:15 or even later shows the last possibility to be unlikely. Still another scenario will be introduced later.)

Since according to Slim's testimony, he and Hank Norman and Junior Jarman had gone outside immediately after Givens' arrival back on the first floor (and Hank and Junior's testimony that Danny Arce was with them when they'd gone out), it is clear that the other three had finished their lunch before going outside, a fact they all testified to. Therefore, if Jack was in the domino room eating at the same time Danny Arce was, then the "missing" freight elevator when Givens went to make sure the gate was closed was NOT a result of Jack getting ready to come downstairs to eat at noon.

Thus it would appear that when the boys had finished their "race" downstairs, Jack had recalled the freight elevator and ridden it down alone, just as he said he did, leaving Lee Oswald upstairs. This occurred while the boys were washing up and getting their lunches, and would have been invisible to them since the doors to the freight elevator were out of sight from the main portions of the floor (see CE362), including the washroom and the domino room.

The question remains who was using the freight elevator when Slim Givens went to make sure the gates were closed so Lee could call it back up to the sixth floor. Since Jack testified that he had, in fact, remained "only a short length of time" in the domino room before returning to work, and that the others who'd eaten in the domino room had also finished their lunches, it seems likely that the elevator was "missing" when Givens went to check it because Jack Dougherty was riding it back upstairs to, he said, the sixth floor.

Maybe.

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Interesting, but can you speculate on motive or 'influence' a bit more. Thanks for this. Peter

Realizing that it will of necessity be speculation, I will be getting around to that, not in terms of terms of what made Jack tick, but also possibly why nobody "heard anything" upstairs after the shooting, what they may have seen, how "diversions" were set up up there, and - for even broader speculation! - why, ultimately, Kennedy was killed (this is somewhat a function of who the players were). I may also even be able to show that people may have even seen the shooters after the fact, but before they got out of the building.

Where I lose it is how they also got Oswald out of the building without anyone noticing: the end play may have been relatively easy, but if he wasn't a willing tag-along, how did they manage to get him out against his will?

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The Texas School Book Depository Company moved its offices and shipping departments to 411 Elm Street sometime during 1961.

Duke,

I've seen references to it moving to 411 Elm that range between 1960 right up to 1963. What I had considered probably the most reliable was that given by Jerry Organ. In his essay Murder Perch to Museum, he states In 1963, the year the company consolidated most of its operation in the former Sexton Building...

Jerry unfortunately did not provide citations. However, other information contained in his piece helped identify the source. Moreover, it shows he was not giving the complete picture.

The information, it appears, came from an FBI interview with Roy Truly on 11/23/63.

As can be seen, it quite clearly states that, according to Truly, the building had been occupied by the Texas School Book Depository for only "a few months." Is it any wonder this question never arose in testimony? This timing is particularly interesting to me as my own research of late has centered on the Dallas Host Committee... where some very interesting connections are cropping up.

In any case, Slim Givens went to the washroom after arriving on the first floor, washed up, got a drink of water and noticed that he'd left his cigarettes upstairs.

I assume you're aware this account of returning to the 6th floor is absent from all accounts rendered prior to his WC testimony?

According to Hank, as the boys were descending in the elevators, Lee was standing south of the elevators and called to them to wait for him, or to send the elevator back up to him when they'd gotten downstairs; Billy Lovelady, Charlie Givens and Bonnie Ray Williams also noticed Lee, although their descriptions of where he was - on the fifth or sixth floor - and exactly what he'd said vary.

According to at least Williams, it was Givens who called out to LHO on the way down. This is another reason to disbelieve Givens went back up. To believe it, you'd have to believe he forgot all about it until he got before the commission and that he had the same conversation with Oswald twice within a matter of minutes.

The person I suspect did see him on one of the upper floors was Eddie Piper. But this is yet another work in progress...

Bonnie Ray Williams got his "chicken-on-the-bone" sandwich from the domino room, pulled a Dr Pepper out of the Dr Pepper machine on the first floor, and rode the passenger elevator back up to the sixth floor, and ate it near the third set of windows from the southeast corner facing Elm Street. We will return to Bonnie Ray's actions later.

Another who forgot he went back to 6th floor until his turn before the WC. As with Givens, I believe his earliest account to be the honest one.

Concerning the freight elevator... I have read something recently (though can't find it at the moment) that the freight elevator made a hell of a screech when operating. FWIW.

edited to correct typo and an error on a date.

Edited by Greg Parker
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Were I lose it is how they also got Oswald out of the building without anyone noticing: the end play may have been relatively easy, but if he wasn't a willing tag-along, how did they manage to get him out against his will?

I will answer that question if you can answer this one:

If he wasn't a willing tag-along, how did they know that he would not step outside to watch the parade, where he might be photographed. I think he is reported as having said he was on the first floor when the President went by. He may have been standing in the shadows inside the front door, behind a group of co-workers.

But how could it have been forseen that he might not step outside, just to get the sunshine?

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The Texas School Book Depository Company moved its offices and shipping departments to 411 Elm Street sometime during 1961.

Duke, I've seen references to it moving to 411 Elm that range between 1960 right up to 1963.... As can be seen, it quite clearly states that, according to Truly, the building had been occupied by the Texas School Book Depository for only "a few months." Is it any wonder this question never arose in testimony? This timing is particularly interesting to me as my own research of late has centered on the Dallas Host Committee... where some very interesting connections are cropping up.

I've done a little looking around - by no means necessarily extensive - and you're right that several dates crop up, and possibly interpretations as to what "occupied" means: they entered the lease, the started putting things in, people started working there, the executive offices relocated there.... The date is by no means critical to my deal, so I'll just leave it out.

Might I recommend to you - if you don't already have it - a little but very timely book called The Decision Makers: The Power Structure of Dallas (Carol Estes Thometz, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, First Printing: October 1963; Second Printing: November 1963; 103 pp.)? I got my copy off the net a few years ago for about US$5.00, I think. It does not name the individuals it discusses, but only identifies them by profession. A little knowledge of who was who then will fill in the blanks. I suspect you'll find many of them connected with the Host Committee.

In any case, Slim Givens went to the washroom after arriving on the first floor, washed up, got a drink of water and noticed that he'd left his cigarettes upstairs.
I assume you're aware this account of returning to the 6th floor is absent from all accounts rendered prior to his WC testimony?
Yes, but I don't find that surprising or even noteworthy. People's testimonies were not constrained by many of the factors that did earlier accounts, such as that most affidavits and statements fit on single pages and sometimes two; were generally transcribed by others who may not have found some points "important;" and required actual writing on the affiants' and/or transcribers' parts (vice stenography), which has constraints of its own (keeping up with the speaker, writer's cramps or the desire not to have them).

There was likewise no room for clarification, such as may be in a case like this where Givens may have made a statement like "we went downstairs and washed up, I realized I forgot my cigarettes, so went upstairs to get them, and then we went outside." Either he or the transcriber - whoever was doing the actual writing (or even typing) - decided a more succinct way of getting the substantive details on paper was to say "we came downstairs, I got my cigarettes, and we went outside." Would you as an affiant have a problem signing that? Especially if you were a black man in 1963 being told by a cop, "okay, sign this?"

When given the opportunity to go into more detail by speaking, most people did, even if they didn't say everything they might have been able to if it was just free-flowing discussion rather than deposition.

According to Hank, as the boys were descending in the elevators, Lee was standing south of the elevators and called to them to wait for him, or to send the elevator back up to him when they'd gotten downstairs; Billy Lovelady, Charlie Givens and Bonnie Ray Williams also noticed Lee, although their descriptions of where he was - on the fifth or sixth floor - and exactly what he'd said vary.
According to at least Williams, it was Givens who called out to LHO on the way down. This is another reason to disbelieve Givens went back up. To believe it, you'd have to believe he forgot all about it until he got before the commission and that he had the same conversation with Oswald twice within a matter of minutes.
If more than one person had said that anyone had spoken with Oswald in any way prior to their "racing" downstairs, I might consider it a reason to question the account, but I'm not sure I'd find it reason to "disbelieve" it. As it is, nobody else said that anyone said anything to Oswald - most in fact stressed that they did not speak with him when counsel would ask about them "talking" to or with Lee upstairs. I've got a cite somewhere for this particular thing, and if I find it, I'll put it here in red, but I'm pretty confident that it's in one of the four guys' testimony (Williams, Norman, Jarman or Givens).

Something to remember is that about four months had gone by between the event and the testimony, four months of four black guys working - and talking - together, so I'm not going to give particular weight to something someone said about someone else ... especially in light of the "rule" that "earlier accounts tend to be more accurate" about one's own actions!

Bonnie Ray Williams got his "chicken-on-the-bone" sandwich from the domino room, pulled a Dr Pepper out of the Dr Pepper machine on the first floor, and rode the passenger elevator back up to the sixth floor, and ate it near the third set of windows from the southeast corner facing Elm Street. We will return to Bonnie Ray's actions later.
Another who forgot he went back to 6th floor until his turn before the WC. As with Givens, I believe his earliest account to be the honest one.
For reasons stated above, I don't consider "honesty" to necessarily be an issue in most cases. These guys' accounts are among them.
Concerning the freight elevator... I have read something recently (though can't find it at the moment) that the freight elevator made a hell of a screech when operating. FWIW.
I'll see what I can learn about this, but as for what's on the record, the only thing anyone said - Norman, I think - was that the passenger elevator made a "bang" or a "bump" when you moved the hand lever, and that, really, the only time you'd necessarily hear either of the elevators was if you were "listening for the boss."

Either that, or it made a helluva racket that nobody mentioned - and would've disturbed the people on the lower floors as it went by! - and a very effective lube job was done after the fact so the WC folks wouldn't notice.

Also consider the fact that both Truly and Baker said that they didn't hear the elevator descending as they were running upstairs. Sure they were making some racket, but a screeching elevator ...?

I'll see what turns up.

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In any case, Slim Givens went to the washroom after arriving on the first floor, washed up, got a drink of water and noticed that he'd left his cigarettes upstairs.
I assume you're aware this account of returning to the 6th floor is absent from all accounts rendered prior to his WC testimony?
Yes, but I don't find that surprising or even noteworthy. People's testimonies were not constrained by many of the factors that did earlier accounts, such as that most affidavits and statements fit on single pages and sometimes two; were generally transcribed by others who may not have found some points "important;" and required actual writing on the affiants' and/or transcribers' parts (vice stenography), which has constraints of its own (keeping up with the speaker, writer's cramps or the desire not to have them).

I do not mean to disrupt the flow of this thread, which deals with Jack Daugherty, but this seems a good juncture to take another look at Sylvia Meagher's 1971 article on Charles Givens.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.conspir...a027305b50cc932

While Duke's comments about brief affidavits Vs extended depositions is a valid comment about Commission witnesses generally, I think the sinister comments of Jack Revill must be noted in the case of Givens, as must the most peculiar manner in which David Belin "handled" this particular witness, by failing to confront Givens with his previous statements.

Sylvia Meagher accused Givens of perjury, and she accused Belin of suborning perjury. If Belin did not suborn perjury then Meagher's article was a very grave libel indeed. Any lawyer with a modicum of respect for his own reputation would have sued for libel, yet it is a fact that David Belin decided not to. Perhaps Belin feared that, being a public figure, he would have difficulty proving Actual Malice on Meagher's part, or perhaps he did not sue because he knew that Truth would be Sylvia Meagher's defense.

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I do not mean to disrupt the flow of this thread, which deals with Jack Daugherty, but this seems a good juncture to take another look at Sylvia Meagher's 1971 article on Charles Givens. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.conspir...a027305b50cc932

While Duke's comments about brief affidavits Vs extended depositions is a valid comment about Commission witnesses generally, I think the sinister comments of Jack Revill must be noted in the case of Givens, as must the most peculiar manner in which David Belin "handled" this particular witness, by failing to confront Givens with his previous statements.

Sylvia Meagher accused Givens of perjury, and she accused Belin of suborning perjury. If Belin did not suborn perjury then Meagher's article was a very grave libel indeed. Any lawyer with a modicum of respect for his own reputation would have sued for libel, yet it is a fact that David Belin decided not to. Perhaps Belin feared that, being a public figure, he would have difficulty proving Actual Malice on Meagher's part, or perhaps he did not sue because he knew that Truth would be Sylvia Meagher's defense.

Oddly, I don't find Meagher's treatise to be particularly compelling, especially since she seems to have made more than a handful of errors, at least insofar as is compared with testimony. In particular, the times that the boys on Six broke for lunch: in testimony, they were confused over a five-minute period, from ten before noon to five before noon. She quotes as early as 11:30. Shelley, I recall, said that he'd seen Oswald "around noon" downstairs; she says ten till, which is the same time Shelley later testified to their having broken for lunch (or maybe five till ... but not in time to also see Lee downstairs "later" at ten till).

More importantly, she seems concerned about Givens' "willingness" to say that he'd seen Oswald "over by the window" - or words to that effect - while reading his testimony shows that he actually said no such thing, but only that Oz was approaching the elevator from the eastern portion of the building, and actually - if I'm not mistaken - from books that were just to the east of the elevators. So if he "implicated" Oswald at Belin's behest, he immediately qualified it and made it an innocuous rather than sinister thing.

Sylvia also doesn't seem to consider the possibility that "changing testimony for money" could work several ways, not only in favor of the WC, i.e., Belin would suborn perjury, but nobody else anywhere else would or could "lean on" Givens with any other, um, "incentives?" Nor that Revill - not necessarily a white knight in this drama - was merely attempting to discredit or dismiss Givens as a potential witness?

There may have been other instances where reporting officers simply ignored witnesses, saying that they "saw nothing" and hence were never interviewed. Imagine someone saying, for instance, that Donny Benavides didn't go to the lineup and wasn't interviewed further because he "didn't see anything." What would the effect on his testimony be if, say, Sylvia had read a report that he would've "changed his testimony for money?" Should we then, in such an instance, dismiss everything he said about even being at 10th and Patton?

I do agree that the "cross examination" aspect was lacking almost entirely throughout the proceedings, but there are those on the staff - possibly Liebeler? - who say they were pulled quickly back in line when they tried stuff like that (witness the Patrick Dean debacle). To have reconciled the stories between Revill and Givens would have been about the same thing (tho' they were, in fact, certainly hostile to some witnesses).

In the end, we will see that neither what time or even whether Slim Givens went upstairs to retrieve his cigarettes has much actual bearing on what transpired later or determining what times things happened. (Part III is coming up fairly soon .... :) )

As to Belin's reaction to being accused of subornation (or lack thereof), it is not at all dissimilar to that evidenced by Arlen Specter, whom Hal Weisberg accused multiple times of multiple sins and even dared him to sue. While there is truth to the old saying that the best defense is a strong offense, sometimes it's also true that the best defense is no defense at all, i.e., not dignifying it with a response.

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