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Det. Paul Bentley


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On July 21, 2008, retired Dallas Police Detective Paul Bentley, #526, passed away after a lengthy illness. Detective Bentley is best known for his part in the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald inside the Texas Theatre shortly after the shooting of Officer J.D. Tippet. According to Detective Bentleys widow, Mrs. Mozelle Bentley of Dallas, Detective Bentley, along with several other officers had gone into the theatre looking for the suspect who shot their colleague. Oswald was seated in the middle of a row when officers converged on him from all sides and arrested him. Detective Bentley is the plain clothes detective in the now famous photo of Oswald being led out of the theatre. Up until his death, autographed photos of that photo were still being requested from Detective Bentley.

Steve Thomas

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On July 21, 2008, retired Dallas Police Detective Paul Bentley, #526, passed away after a lengthy illness. Detective Bentley is best known for his part in the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald inside the Texas Theatre shortly after the shooting of Officer J.D. Tippet.

Steve Thomas

The New York Times Obituary:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/us/25ben...amp;oref=slogin

This passage from the TImes obit. caught my eye:

Seated in the patrol car to the left of Oswald during the ride downtown, Detective Bentley heard a dispatcher say Oswald was the prime suspect in the Kennedy shooting. “I turned to him, and I said, ‘Did you shoot President Kennedy?’ ” Detective Bentley recalled. “He said, ‘You find out for yourself.’ ”

I don't think Bentley ever said this to the WC, but don't have time to check.

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... And, of course, his Dallas Morning News obituary.

I'd only met Paul Bentley once, and was surprised at his having much less of a gruff demeanor (and being much more soft spoken) than I'd have expected from his cigar-chomping photo in front of the Texas Theater. Of course, it was many years after that photo that I met him; he was older, probably mellower (a grandfather a couple of times over), no longer a cop and with an audience. In all, I found him very pleasant for the short time I was around him.

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Det Paul Bentley and Det.LC Graves were bro in laws..

In another write up........Bentley's grandson related that Bentley woud tease Graves that he had caught

LHO and that Graves let him be shot....

Graves is seen below on the right, with Det.Jim Levealle, leading LHO out to his death...

Bentley with the cigar......and Det.Gerald Hill , the man who was everywhere, on the right......

B.....

Edited by Bernice Moore
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Mislaid my (photo) copy of Sylvia Meagher's index and can't find much about Bentley in the Warren Commission, but it seems he claimed to be a hero at the time.

In this Nov. 23 TV interview Bentley claims that HE prevented LHO's revolver from firing. Funny that he couldn't say whether it was his thumb or his finger that blocked the firing pin. Paul Bentley was a man incapable of feeling pain.

Nick McDonald made a similar claim, and they both claimed that the firing pin dented the shell in the chamber.

McDonald's claims to heroism (& Bentley's as well) were severely deflated when FBI experts said the firing pin had NOT dented any shell in the revolver.

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk...Vol24_0406a.htm

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When several police officers testify to there having been a dent in the shell made by the firing pin of a weapon, and there appears NO dent in the evidence entered, then the taint goes to the evidence, not the deponents.

If, on the other hand, several officers testify that there was NOT a dent, and NO dent appears, but one officer believes that there was such a dent, it is more likely that his memory is mistaken and the evidence is valid.

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When several police officers testify to there having been a dent in the shell made by the firing pin of a weapon, and there appears NO dent in the evidence entered, then the taint goes to the evidence, not the deponents.

If, on the other hand, several officers testify that there was NOT a dent, and NO dent appears, but one officer believes that there was such a dent, it is more likely that his memory is mistaken and the evidence is valid.

Did any officers actually say or testify that THEY SPECIFICALLY saw no dent, i.e. they saw that there was no dent even though they were looking for one?

If not, are you saying that someone somewhere in the chain of evidence substituted an un-dented shell for a dented one?

WHo would have a motive to do such a thing?

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Did any officers actually say or testify that THEY SPECIFICALLY saw no dent, i.e. they saw that there was no dent even though they were looking for one? If not, are you saying that someone somewhere in the chain of evidence substituted an un-dented shell for a dented one? WHo would have a motive to do such a thing?

Well, when you put it that way, who indeed? And why?

I'm not recalling if any of them were asked to identify the ammo, but I'm pretty sure I don't recall any of them saying "hmm, yeah, that looks like one of 'em: it doesn't have a firing pin mark on it. Oh, and this could be another of 'em: it doesn't either!"

Dale Myers quotes Jim Leavelle to the effect that "some officers do things and they get in over their heads," I think it was in reference to Poe's marking the shells he'd received. The same might apply here: do we know for a fact that any of the guys who saw this "firing pin mark" were actually trained to see dents on a cartridge, any more than Poe was trained to scratch his initials on anything?

This is what a lack of training will do. They were clearly in over their heads.

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Just found this peice by Steve THomas in the Lancer Forum called, "The Snap That Never Was."

I have always taken it on faith that during his arrest at the Texas Theater, Lee Harvey Oswald took out his gun and attempted to shoot arresting Officer M.N. McDonald. This is based on accounts of an audible "snap" that was heard. Later, we read accounts that the only reason Oswald's attempted murder of McDonald didn't succeed because of a bent primer or a "misfire"

I would like to contend that perhaps the "snap" that was heard was either the sound of something else, or was accidently caused by the officers seeing the gun and immediately reacting to take it away from Oswald and that Oswald did not attempt to shoot Officer McDonald.

I say this for the following three reasons:

1)

Here are the accounts of the arresting officers filed with Police Chief Curry on Decembers 2 - 5, 1963.

They can be found in the DAllas Police Archives, Box 2, Folder# 7

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/box2.htm

E.L. Cunningham: "When I reached the seating area on the main floor, several officers were in the process of disarming and handcuffing the suspect. ...I did not see anything that indicated that any more force was used than was absolutely necessary to effect the arrest".

Paul Bentley: "Just as I entered the lower floor, I saw Patrolman McDonald fighting with this suspect. I saw this suspect pull a pistol from his shirt, so I went to Patrolman McDonald's aid immediately"

Bob Carroll: "When I arrived at the lower floor, Lee Harvey Oswald was resisting vigorously"...At this time I observed a pistol with the muzzle pointed in my direction. I grabbed the pistol and stuck it in my belt..."

Ray Hawkins: "The subject stood up and as Officer McDonald started to search him, he struck Officer McDonald in the face. The subject and Offcier McDonald began to fight and both fell down in the seats. Officer Walker and I ran toward the subject and grabbed him by his left arm. The subject had reached in his belt for a gun and Officer McDoanld was holding his right hand with the gun in it".

T.A. Hutson: "As I entered the row of seats behind the suspect he jumped up and hit Officer McDonald in the face with his fist, Officer McDonald was in the seat next to the one in which the suspect was originally sitting, and the suspect was up out of his seat struggling with Officer McDonald. I reached over the back of the seats and placed my right arm around the suspect's neck and pulled him up on back of the seat. Officer C.T. WAlker came up and was struggling with the suspect's left hand, and as Officer McDonald struggled with with the suspect's right hand, he moved it to his waist and drew a pistol and as Officer McDonald tried to disarm the suspect, I heard the pistol snap".

K.E. Lyon: "Enroute to the City Hall, Oswald refused to answer all questions. and he kept repeating, "Why am I being arrested? I know I was carrying a gun, but why else am I being arrested"?

M.N. McDonald: "When I got within a foot of him, I told the suspect to get to his feet. He stood up immediately, bringing his hands up about shoulder high and saying, "Well it's over now". I was reaching for his waist and he struck me on the nose with his left hand. With his right hand, he reached for his waist and both our hands were on a pistol that was stuck in his belt under his shirt. We both fell into the seats struggling for the pistol. ... I managed to get my right hadn on the pistol over the suspect's hand. I could feel his hand on the trigger. I then got a secure grip on the butt of the pistol. I jerked the pistol and as it was clearing the suspect's clothing and grip I heard the snap of the hammer and the pistol crossed over my left cheek, causing a four inch scratch".

As you can see from reading these reports, at no time in the first 10 to 12 days following the assassination, did any of the arresting officers on the scene claim that Oswald tried to shoot M.N. McDonald. If the pistol did go off and cause a "snap" of the hammer falling into place, it was because McDonald jerked it out of Oswald's pants.

2)

When questioned by Captain Fritz on the afternoon of November 22nd, Fritz did not accuse Oswald of trying to shoot Officer McDonald.

Fritz (4H214)

Mr. FRITZ. He told me he went over and caught a bus and rode the bus to North Beckley near where he lived and went by home and changed clothes and got his pistol and went to the show. I asked him why he took his pistol and he said, "Well, you know about a pistol; I just carried it." Let's see if I asked him anything else right that minute. That is just about it.

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him if he killed Tippit?

Mr. FRITZ. Sir?

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him if he shot Tippit?

Mr. FRITZ. Oh, yes.

Mr. BALL. What did he say.

Mr. FRITZ. He denied it---that he did not. The only thing he said he had done wrong, "The only law I violated was in the show; I hit the officer in the show; he hit me in the eye and I guess I deserved it." He said, "That is the only law I violated." He said, "That is the only thing I have done wrong."

3)

If Oswald had attempted to shoot Officer McDonald, why were no charges of attempted murder filed as they were in the case of Governor Connally?

I believe that the account of Oswald trying to shoot McDonald was invented after the fact.

Steve Thomas"

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I just sent this email to the Public Editor at the New York Times. I hear you saying "fat lot of good it will do."

Dear New York Times Public Editor:

The author of your 7/25/2008 Obituary for Dallas Detective Paul Bentley made a significant error in this paragraph:

Seated in the patrol car to the left of Oswald during the ride downtown, Detective Bentley heard a dispatcher say Oswald was the prime suspect in the Kennedy shooting. "I turned to him, and I said, 'Did you shoot President Kennedy?' " Detective Bentley recalled. "He said, 'You find out for yourself.' "

It seems the author was relying here on Bentley's oral history at the Sixth Floor Museum, given some 30 years AFTER the event.

There are major problems with relying on Bentley's later memory:

1. Bentley's arrest report (page 77-8 CE 2003 in Vol XX1V Warren Commission Hearings) says nothing about this conversation.

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk...Vol24_0126b.htm

2. A check of the DPD Radio transcripts shows NO statement by the dispatcher during this period suggesting that Lee Oswald was a suspect in the President's murder.

3. Another officer in the same car as Oswald and Bentley CONTRADICTS Bentley's 1994 recollections.

DAllas Police Archives, Box 2, Folder# 7

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/box2.htm

K.E. Lyon: "Enroute to the City Hall, Oswald refused to answer all questions. and he kept repeating, "Why am I being arrested? I know I was carrying a gun, but why else am I being arrested"?

I have been a faithful Times reader for 30 years, but this is by no means the first time I noticed that the Times is an unreliable source of information on the JFK assassination. In particular, Times reporters seem to consistently slant their stories so as to shore up the many weaknesses in the case against Lee Oswald. In this instance, your report gives the FALSE and MISLEADING impression that Lee Oswald did not deny shooting President Kennedy.

The TRUTH is that he denied it passionately up to his dying breath.

By copy of this email, I am asking Gary Mack, Curator of the Sixth Floor Museum, to correct me if anything herein is in error.

Yours, Sincerely,

J. Raymond Carroll

[EDIT]

The Times has already made one correction to the original Bentley obituary:

Correction: July 26, 2008

An obituary on Friday about Paul Bentley, a Dallas detective who helped capture the presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, included an incorrect identification from a museum curator, in some editions, for the brand of hat worn two days later by Jim Leavelle, a Dallas police detective photographed escorting Oswald when he was killed. It was a Resistol, not a Stetson.

And I just received this reply from the Public Editor:

Thank you for contacting the Public Editor. An associate or I read every

message. Because of the volume of e-mail, we cannot respond personally to

every message, but we forward many messages to appropriate newsroom

staffers and follow up to be sure concerns raised in those messages are

treated with serious consideration. If a further reply is warranted, you

will be hearing from us shortly.

Since the Times is so conscientious about the TRIVIAL Brand-name of a man's HAT, we might reasonably expect that they will be at least as diligent in correcting errors/falsehoods that are REALLY significant and that are REALLY LIKELY to MISLEAD readers of the Times.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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Gary Mack's reply:

Mr. Carroll, New York Times Editor,

Two of Mr. Carroll's concerns are unfounded.

First, the absence of the Oswald conversation in Bentley's report cannot be used to prove the discussion never happened. The absence may only show that Bentley did not include every detail.

Second, Officer K.E. Lyon's report suggests that Oswald was asked if he had killed President Kennedy, thus confirming Bentley's oral history statement. For Oswald to have denied killing Kennedy, he must have first been asked if he had done so.

As for the transcript of Dallas Police radio broadcasts, Mr. Carroll is correct. Police dispatchers did not suggest Oswald was wanted for anything. However, someone or something must have prompted Bentley to ask Oswald about killing Kennedy, for Bentley's 1963 police report states he knew only that the possible suspect may be involved with the shooting of Officer Tippit.

Gary Mack

And my response to Gary (cc to NYT Public Editor)

Thank you Mr. Mack for your prompt response, but I must take issue:

[Gary Mack] First, the absence of the Oswald conversation in Bentley's report cannot be used to prove the discussion never happened. The absence may only show that Bentley did not include every detail.

[J.R.C.] Here Mr. Mack is suggesting that Bentley was not very professional when he filed his arrest report. If the suspect actually refused to deny killing the President when given the opportunity, that is an important fact. Indeed it is the ONLY important fact about the assassination that Bentley was aware of.

How likely is it that a professional officer, holding the rank of Detective, will write an Arrest Report that leaves out the ONLY IMPORTANT FACT about the case that is within this detective's personal knowledge?

Think of Jim Garrison and the notorious Sciambra Memorandum.

[GM]

As for the transcript of Dallas Police radio broadcasts, Mr. Carroll is correct. Police dispatchers did not suggest Oswald was wanted for anything.

[JRC] Proof that Bentley's memory was failing in his Oral History for the Sixth Floor Museum.

[GM] Second, Officer K.E. Lyon's report suggests that Oswald was asked if he had killed President Kennedy, thus confirming Bentley's oral history statement.

[JRC] I am afraid I cannot find any such suggestion in Lyon's report. Even if he WAS asked about JFK, where is the corroboration for Bentley's 1994 claim about how Lee Oswald answered this supposed question?

[GM] However, someone or something must have prompted Bentley to ask Oswald about killing Kennedy, for Bentley's 1963 police report states he knew only that the possible suspect may be involved with the shooting of Officer Tippit.

[JRC] This argument sounds like a NON-SEQUITOR to me. The fact is that Bentley's police report says nothing about the conversation Bentley claims in his 1994 Sixth Floor History.

[GM]

For Oswald to have denied killing Kennedy, he must have first been asked if he had done so.

You and I both know that he WAS asked this question, but it was later, after being taken to City Hall, and we both know that he passionately denied killing the President in all his public and private statements. But the Times leaves out these denials and would now have readers believe that, before he ever got to City Hall, Lee Oswald refused to deny killing JFK when he first had the opportunity.

There is no credible basis (except an aging man's failing memory) for the highly prejudicial assertion about Lee Oswald made by the New York Times in the paragraph in question from the recent Obituary for Detective Paul Bentley.

But I am glad to see that the TImes can still distinguish between a MATERIAL FACT and a TRIVIAL FACT. I see the Times has now posted a correction to the Bentley obituary that seems to answer the many burning questions about the brand name of another detective's HAT.

Sincerely,

J.Raymond Carroll

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I'm not terribly sure about this:

... Officer K.E. Lyon's report suggests that Oswald was asked if he had killed President Kennedy, thus confirming Bentley's oral history statement. For Oswald to have denied killing Kennedy, he must have first been asked if he had done so.
Reading Lyon's report of December 4, 1963, regarding the "Arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald," I don't find anything that such "suggests" any such thing, do you? I quote in full:

"On November 22, 1963 at approximately 2:00 p.m., Detective B.K. Carroll and I were instructed by Lieutenant E. Kaminsky to go to the Oak Cliff area where Officer J.D. Tippit had been shot.

"While en route to Oak Cliff, we received information on our police radio that the suspect had entered the Texas Theater, 231 W. Jefferson. When we arrived at the Texas Theater, we were told that the suspect had gone to the balcony. While searching the balcony, I heard someone call from the lower floor that the suspect was down there. I ran down the steps, and as I neared the bottom, I sprained my left ankle.

"I then proceeded to the location where Officers P.L. Bentley, M.N. McDonald, C.T. Walker, and other officers were attempting to disarm Lee Harvey Oswald. During this time, Lee Harvey Oswald kept yelling 'I am not resisting arrest. I am not resisiting arrest. I want to complain of police brutality.'

"Captain W.R. Westbrook then told several of the officers to take Oswald directly to the City Hall.

"Officers B.K. Carroll, Sergeant Jerry Hill, P.L. Bentley, C.T. Walker, and myself transported Oswald to the City Hall.

"En route to the City Hall, Oswald refused to answer all questions, and he kept repeating 'Why am I being arrested? I know I was carrying a gun, but why am I being arrested?'

"Lee Harvey Oswald was released to Captain Fritz at the Homicide and Robbery Bureau by the transporting officers.

"Respectfully submitted,

"K.E. Lyon, #1276

"Patrolman - Vice Section

"Special Service Bureau" [source: Commission Exhibit 2003, page 91, at
]

Of course, officers filed several reports, and this may not be the one that Gary is referring to. If not, a citation is definitely due other than Gary's own off-the-cuff expertise. In any case, I don't see that this report "confirms" any such oral history except as such purveyors of oral histories would like it to.

As for the transcript of Dallas Police radio broadcasts, Mr. Carroll is correct. Police dispatchers did not suggest Oswald was wanted for anything. However, someone or something must have prompted Bentley to ask Oswald about killing Kennedy, for Bentley's 1963 police report states he knew only that the possible suspect may be involved with the shooting of Officer Tippit.
I think the question has always been: yes ... but what? The question that Gary Mack fails to answer (as an expert on the matter, quotable by the New York Times) is what "someone or something prompted Bentley to ask Oswald about killing Kennedy" when there is no actual proof (as opposed to "suggestions") that such a question was ever asked.

According to the "official" line (spin?), nobody had a clue that there was any connection between the crimes until Oswald was brought into DPHQ and identified by co-worker affiants there as also having worked in the building associated with the murder of the President. It was then - and only then - that the connection was supposedly made.

Of course, afterward any cop who "didn't realize" the potential for such a connection was clearly clueless (see Jesse Curry's book extolling the virtues of DPD's investigation). As I think Jerry Rose once put it (to the effect that), "a few minutes and a few blocks away, the connection made sense; 45 minutes later and [just?] three miles away, it wasn't so obvious."

The Times has its answer from The Sixth Floor's expert, it's not going to confuse its readers by arguing facts.

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J.

Seated in the patrol car to the left of Oswald during the ride downtown, Detective Bentley heard a dispatcher say Oswald was the prime suspect in the Kennedy shooting. “I turned to him, and I said, ‘Did you shoot President Kennedy?’ ” Detective Bentley recalled. “He said, ‘You find out for yourself.’ ”

I don't think Bentley ever said this to the WC, but don't have time to check.

The only time I can remember LHO giving this response was in response to a question put to him by Detective Guy Rose concerning his address:

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him what his address was?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; but from there, he wouldn't tell me--he just said, "You just find out."

Steve Thomas

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The only time I can remember LHO giving this response was in response to a question put to him by Detective Guy Rose concerning his address:

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him what his address was?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; but from there, he wouldn't tell me--he just said, "You just find out."

Steve Thomas

Good catch, Steve.

I now realize that my email to the Public Editor forgot to highlight the most important evidence contradicting Bentley's 1994 claim. It is of course Bentley's own arrest report in CE2003. In his original arrest report Bentley wrote:

On the way to City Hall I removed the suspect's wallet and obtained his name. He made several remarks enroute to the City Hall about police brutality AND DENIED SHOOTING ANYBODY.

It should be obvious to the New York Times, and to any reasonably objective person, that if the story Bentley gave to the Sixth Floor Museum in 1994 is true, then he lied or was mistaken in original arrest report.

But since all the other evidence is consistent with his arrest report and shows that, at every opportunity LHO passionately denied shooting anybody, it must follow that Bentley's 1994 recollection -- complete with a dispatcher report that never happened -- is no more than a figment of his imagination.

It is a HISTORICAL FACT, and can be verified throughout the records of the Dallas Police Department and the Warren Commission, that Lee Oswald emphatically denied shooting JFK EVERY TIME HE WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY.

The New York Times is now trying to promulgate FALSE HISTORY by substituting confused 30-year- later memories for the official record of the time.

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Steve & J,

I have a slightly different section of testimony by Det. Guy F. Rose, of the DPD. He is asking Oswald about his name (Hidell vs. Oswald), and he replies: "You find out."

Here it is:

Mr. BALL. What did you say to him or did he say to you?

Mr. ROSE. Well, the first thing I asked him was what his name was and he told me it was Hidell.

Mr. BALL. Did he tell you it was Hidell?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; he did.

Mr. BALL. He didn't tell you it was Oswald?

Mr. ROSE. No; he didn't, not right then--he did later. In a minute--I found two cards--I found a card that said "A. Hidell." And I found another card that said "Lee Oswald" on it, and I asked him which of the two was his correct name. He wouldn't tell me at the time, he just said, "You find out." And then in just a few minutes Captain Fritz came in and he told me to get two men and go to Irving and search his house.

-------------------

Mr. ROSE. I don't remember--I did see McDonald and I did talk to him, but I don't remember whether he was the one that was standing right there at the time or not.

Mr. BALL. After you saw the cards, you asked him which one was his true name?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; I did.

Mr. BALL. What did he say?

Mr. ROSE. He said, "You find out."

228

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him what his address was?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; but from there, he wouldn't tell me--he just said, "You just find out."

http://jfkassassination.net/russ/testimony/rose_g.htm

Also from my memory (so, this is definitely not a worth 2 cents, but here goes): Det. Jim Leavelle, recalls the Oswald interrogation on the "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" -series (done in the 1980's, I guess) and says along the lines that: "When we asked Oswald whether his name was "Hidell" or "Oswald" he replied: "You're the cop, you figure it out.""

Steve Thomas Posted Jul 28 2008, 06:25 PM

J.

QUOTE(J. Raymond Carroll @ Jul 25 2008, 12:02 PM)

QUOTE

Seated in the patrol car to the left of Oswald during the ride downtown, Detective Bentley heard a dispatcher say Oswald was the prime suspect in the Kennedy shooting. “I turned to him, and I said, ‘Did you shoot President Kennedy?’ ” Detective Bentley recalled. “He said, ‘You find out for yourself.’ ”

I don't think Bentley ever said this to the WC, but don't have time to check.

The only time I can remember LHO giving this response was in response to a question put to him by Detective Guy Rose concerning his address:

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him what his address was?

Mr. ROSE. Yes; but from there, he wouldn't tell me--he just said, "You just find out."

Steve Thomas

Edited by Antti Hynonen
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