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Oswald's "escape" from the sixth floor & Baker encounter


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From elsewhere:

... By the way, Oswald could not have been the shooter, cause the time span to shoot, hide the rifle and then move to the second floor to meet Baker at the about 70 to 80 seconds after the last shot Baker needed to be there, is too short to be out of breath (sic).
That, of course, is an opinion that cannot be substantiated either way since the only person who can exactly duplicate what Oswald was capable of doing is Oswald himself. If you or I did this and finished gasping and sweating, it has no more bearing on the actual fact than when DC's "personal trainer" guy - clearly in great shape - did it like he was on a short Sunday stroll.

I've always had issues when people use "experts" to "duplicate" what "lucky" Oswald was supposedly able to do: Oswald was not a guy who shot skeet from the hip, and never won an award for marksmanship in his life (unless you count his bare-minimum qualification in the USMC ... in regard to which a friend of mine who was a Marine DI in the early '60s - and who didn't know whose range book he got a copy of - remarked was "p*** poor" and called the shooter "pathetic." Told whose it was, his response was "no _____ way!").

The telling point is not whether or not Oswald could have run the distance, hidden the gun, etc., but rather the proximity of other near-witnesses (and at least one actual witness if not two) who saw and heard nothing. I'm referring, of course, to Junior Jarman, Hank Norman, Bonnie Ray Williams and Jack Dougherty, in that order.

Hank and Junior were downstairs in front of the building - according to both their own testimonies as well as the corroboration of Roy Truly - until they'd heard that the motorcade was on Main Street. They went upstairs via Houston Street and the west elevator, ostensibly (and probably) to the fifth floor.

Bonnie Ray Williams had been on the sixth floor, supposedly alone, until he thought he heard Hank and Junior downstairs, at which point he rode down the east elevator to the fifth floor and joined the other two at the front window, according to both his own testimony and that of Junior Jarman (Hank Norman "couldn't remember" who was there first).

Jack Dougherty said he went "back to work ... getting some stock" on both the fifth and sixth floors, but saw none of the three black men or anyone else while there. He'd said that he would've "loved to see the President," but that he figured that there were so many people at the door - with all of whom he worked - that he "didn't think he'd be able to get out to see him," an odd comment from someone described by Roy Truly as "a great, big husky fellow."

At the time of the shooting, Jack was standing "ten feet west of the west elevator" - right in between the stairways leading up to six and down to four - and nobody ran by him. He was supposedly loading "some stock" onto the west elevator with the door open, hence prohibiting it from being called downstairs by Truly; the east elevator could not operate remotely. Both elevators were on the fifth floor when Truly called up the shaft to "let loose that elevator;" by the time he and Baker arrived on the fifth floor, it was gone. The two went around to the east elevator without Truly even remarking to Baker that the west elevator had left its previous position. They rode past the sixth floor directly to the seventh; the west elevator apparently did not pass them going downward as they came up.

(Despite that Truly didn't think the shots came from within his building, the missing elevator would seem to be something any responsible person would mention to a copy who did think they had: after all, on the chance that the cop was right, couldn't the bad guys be escaping in it? The WC didn't even question him about this.)

These things lead to an "alternative scenario" that seems to have some merit.

First, we must recall that the motorcade was running behind schedule by at least five minutes. We must also consider that anyone planning to shoot at it would want to be in position before its arrival, even if only to compensate for the possibility of its being early. It's clear, on that basis, that the shooter(s) would want to be in place no later than 12:25 and probably at least 5-10 minutes earlier.

By the time Bonnie Ray Williams finished "washing up" in the men's lavatory (use your imagination!), all of his compatriots had already gone outside. This means that he emerged at roughly 12:10; he then went upstairs.

It's possible that he'd either gotten there - too close to the "sniper's nest" window - after someone else, but not before he could be stopped, or it's possible that he was there before them. In either event, if true, he could hardly be let go for fear of his raising the alarm, upsetting the assassination plans, and getting the perpetrators caught. That being the case, it's possible that he was the black man seen by Amos Euins, the "dust" in his hair - which he later shook out - being mistaken as a bald spot.

The man standing at "parade rest" by another witness could conceivably have been Jack Dougherty, whose wartime service was entirely spent at an air base in Illinois guarding planes. Jack could have let someone into the back door and brought them up on the elevator to the sixth floor where Jack - as easily as Oswald - could have constructed the so-called "sniper's nest" to shield them from view. His role would most likely have been as entree to the building and as a "lookout" to shoo people from the sixth floor - or let the shooter(s) know someone was coming (he'd have been there "legitimately") - a job at which he either failed immediately or was pre-empted from fulfilling. While by no means an idiot, he was apparently not bright enough to hold a more active role. It may well be that his failure to prop open the west elevator door is what allowed Hank and Junior to call it and use it to come upstairs themselves.

Bonnie Ray was effectively their prisoner. Perhaps if someone hadn't come up to the fifth floor below them, he might have been "Oswald's" second victim, shot while "trying to prevent Oswald's escape" (certainly not before, since the noise would've alerted people to the men's presence). One can almost imagine the shooter munching on Bonnie Ray's chicken while pondering aloud "what to do about you."

The sound of the west elevator moving again - now carrying Hank and Junior - would have been Bonnie Ray's salvation: he couldn't be shot after "witnessing Oswald doing the shooting" without alerting someone one floor down, which could have been anyone or any number of other witnesses. There was (it seems) only one "extra" bullet, and no certainty of a "single bullet theory" in killing two other employees on different floors. Instead, the "big husky fellow" Jack was instructed to take Bonnie Ray downstairs - on the east elevator - and contain him and whoever else was there.

He may or may not have been armed. Lanky Bonnie Ray Williams was no match for him mano a mano, nor as it turned out were Junior or Hank in particular, but nobody could have known that at that time. Once to the fifth floor, Jack may have told Bonnie Ray to "get over there with your pals and keep your mouth shut" - which he may or may not have done then, and probably didn't later - while Jack took up a position that would prevent any of them from using either the elevators or the stairs to leave the area.

All he'd need do was to open the gate on the west elevator to prevent it from operating, and the east elevator required someone to be in it to move: the only way anyone could get to the top floors was to come up the stairs.

And then the shooting started. And ended. And Oswald - just as Jack said - did not come running down the stairs past him, which he'd have had to do to make the escape conceptualized by virtually everyone, as if it had anything to do with anything.

Some 45 seconds later, give or take a little, Roy Truly shouted up the shaft to let loose the elevators. Jack did nothing. A short while later, while Baker was sticking his pistol into Oswald's gut, the men upstairs were busy hiding the gun and getting ready to leave, maybe walking downstairs to ride the elevator down with Jack; maybe Jack made a final admonishment to the colored boys and went upstairs on the elevator to collect the others.

In either case, they'd probably have gone up rather than down to avoid potentially being seen by whomever was running up the stairs - and making plenty of racket doing so - and either hope or know that the other elevator would be used to finish the climb upwards, hopefully - or expectedly - going past the sixth floor, from which Jack and the shooter(s) could then have ridden down without attracting much if any attention.

Since the elevators could reach the seventh floor, the mechanisms to operate them most likely would have been mounted on the roof in much the same way that the front passenger elevator - which rode only to the fourth floor - had its motors installed on the fifth floor. That would have insulated the noise of its operation - especially if it was moving at the same time as the east elevator - as it went down. The elevators operated both at the same speed, and it was possible for an operator to move the west elevator down two floors - from the sixth to the fourth, or even just back to the fifth - while the east elevator was going up two floors, from the fifth to the seventh.

The only known danger having passed, the men simply walked down the stairs and out, while Jack rode the elevator down to the ground floor. There is evidence to support such an event, inasmuch as Luke Mooney was riding the elevator up to the second floor from the first in time to meet Sarah Stanton at the second floor on her way upstairs to the fourth floor where she worked. During a reconstruction of her actions with the FBI, it was determined that she'd have gotten to the elevator within two to three minutes of the shooting.

The elevator power was apparently out - or someone didn't know to shut the gate more soundly - so Mooney got off and started upstairs on foot. On the way, he encountered two men descending from above who appeared to be police - they were, Mooney said, "plain clothes, like me." Mooney, who is the first police official credited with being on the sixth floor after Baker had descended and left the building, and the first to actually give it even a cursory search (Baker merely scanned the floor), had not gotten up that far yet, and if no police other than Baker had been upstairs between Baker's departure and Mooney's arrival, who were the "plain clothes" guys Mooney saw coming down?

Bonnie Ray and company, meanwhile, had remained on the fifth floor - and given their location beyond a "wall of books" - were apparently not seen by Baker while going in either direction, even whie Baker's white helmet was seen by one of the men as the race around, upward bound, to get onto the east elevator. After a few minutes had gone by, they walked down to the fourth floor, and then down again a few minutes later to the first.

The men "had some trouble getting back to work" over the next few weeks before settling down following the trauma of having apparently been one floor below where the President had been shot from. Bonnie Ray, according to Roy Truly, was the most "particularly superstitious" of the bunch, But then, if it happened as I've described it, wouldn't you expect him to be?

As for Jack, there are some things to consider about him, chief among them not being that he was "mentally retarded." That is a description used only once by Roy Truly, and then only according to an FBI agent's report. Otherwise, Truly had only ever said that Jack had some issues with his "emotional makeup," which he elaborated saying that Dougherty would become more upset than he needed to be if he'd thought he'd done something wrong for Truly, possibly a little too eager to please, but otherwise "of average intelligence for the work he does."

Likewise, Jack's father, who accompanied him to two FBI interviews, said only that Jack had trouble getting his words to match his thoughts (an interesting observation, as if Jack's father knew Jack's thoughts and thus knew the words he spoke didn't match!). This is as close to "retarded" as anyone came to describing Jack. His other "failings" lie in his being 40 years aold and still living at home with his parents; taking a bus to work and not driving; in having no apparent interest in women; and in having a speech impediment.

(Asked about problems with his speech during his testimony, he'd repliced that he had none. "Are you certain?" he was asked, and he said he was. Not apparent in the written transcript, however, is that Jack had a habit of "smacking his lips" between words while talking. This, together with his still living at home, was the cause of ridicule aimed at him by some of the younger employees at the TSBD, one of whom has remarked that "Jack always acted as if he knew something about the assassination that none of the rest of us did." Indeed.)

Furthermore, Jack had access to the building that few other employees - with the probable exception of management and possibly Eddie Piper, the janitor who worked late - had. According to his testimony, he normally arrived at work at 7:00 a.m., an hour before everyone else. Since the cleaning crew was by then long gone, and there was no overnight security, Jack must have had a key to get in to "check the pipes" and perform his other duties that might have made him feel important, but which were effectively non-essential.

Even so, this fact gave Jack access to Troy West's wrapping table, as well as the paper and tape machine apparently used to construct the "bulky package" said to have contained the rifle, or for him to allow someone else access to it. For his part, Troy West said that nobody - not Oswald or anyone else - could or did get to it or borrow any from him at all the time he was at work.

If, then, in fact the package was made from materials only available at the TSBD and not when West was there to observe it (he said he "never" left his work area except to get water for the coffee machine and probably also, as Harold Weisberg observed, to take care of the "necessities of life"), they must have been obtained and possibly (if not probably) put together under the auspices of someone who had access to the building when West was not at work.

That leaves relatively few people, among those employed by the TSBD Company being: Roy Truly, O.V. Campbell, Jack Cason, Bill Shelley and Jack Dougherty (and possibly Eddie Piper). Since the bag cannot definitively be identified as being associated with Oswald - he had no access to the tape machine and paper and did not apparently bring it to Irving with him on Thursday evening (and it was determined that the paper and tape had been cut with a couple of days of the assassination), and two witnesses each said that it was longer than what Oswald did carry to work on Friday morning (and one witness - Jack Dougherty - said that, when Oswald came in the door, he did not observe him carrying anything) - then it is reasonable to conclude that another of these people had to have constructed it, or that it was constructed by someone else whom one of these people provided access to the building during off hours. Or that Oswald might have somehow gained entry when nobody else was there, but there is no evidence to support or warrant that conclusion.

Finally, in keeping with the reasons previously cited that might cause Jack Dougherty to be considered "less than a man" - his lack of combat experience in the midst of WWII, his relatively minor role during that conflict, his early discharge for medical reasons, his lack of interest in women, living at home with his parents, and not driving (much less having a car of his own) - it might be worthwhile to consider whether he was impressionable enough to be recruited to take part in a "patriotic" operation that would elevate him in many people's eyes to a position of great standing ... tho' "nobody but you, me and the boys here can ever know, okay, Jack? But we WILL know, and that's what matters, Jack."

The chance to fulfill such a "patriotic" mission, to finish the "service to his country" that all the other fellows his age had done "back in The War" - and which he ignominiously had not - might have instilled in him the same sense of "pride" that war veterans today feel on memorial occasions, put him "back in uniform" and standing at "parade rest" holding a rifle while guarding a "prisoner" who might conceivably have "blown" the "patriotic" action he was helping with (ridding the country of a "Communist" president?). It hardly seems as if he could have been alone in such a positon, and certainly couldn't have been both "standing guard" on the fifth floor and shooting from a sixth floor window simultaneously.

It is equally unlikely, if not more so, that Jack could have been all over the fifth and sixth floors and seen none of those who were up there - Oswald or whoever the shooter(s) was or were; Bonnie Ray Williams, Hank Norman or Junior Jarman - was not seen by any of those who were questioned about what they saw, and did not see Oswald scurrying down the stairs when there is no conceivable way that he could have avoided having done so in the narrow, confined area between the stairs, the west elevator, and the "wall of boxes" that supposedly kept the other men on the fifth floor from seeing him.

One question remains, and that is the complicity of Roy Truly in such an operation. Jack was unquestionably Truly's "pet" (witness the special job - and concomitant trust - given him in the mornings, and his reactions to possibly displeasing Truly ... and Truly was quick to commend Jack while concurrently acting as his guide and protector during the investigations, yet still downplaying Jack's emotional and mental capacity such that he was viewed as "incapable" of being involved in any way), and it follows that if Truly were involved in the plot, Jack would enthusiastically support him without letting on that he knew anything about it.

Was Truly's yell up the elevator shaft - and ringing the bell that alerted men upstairs that the elevator was wanted - a signal for those upstairs to "hurry up," that the police had come into the building, they had only a couple of minutes to clean up and get out? More to the point, was Truly's failure to point out the missing elevator to Officer Baker deliberate? How could it be anything else? While he later said that he'd thought it was Jack Dougherty who'd moved the elevator (just like I do!), he clearly could not have known that at that time, or that its absence was for any reason not connected with any shooting, even if he believed it did not.

Did nobody - does nobody - find it odd that on the one day when something major was to take place that he "would've loved to see" but that his being a "great, big husky fellow" would prevent him from doing so, Jack Dougherty alone among all of the TSBD employees decided to "go back to work" and "get some stock" on the fifth and sixth floors, yet saw nothing and wasn't seen? Or that he was a perfect position to help someone into the building when everyone else went outside, uncharacteristically did not respond to Truly's call for the elevator, and then rode an elevator downstairs downstairs undetected almost immediately after the shooting (with or without passengers)?

Or that, in light of all this, that we're still discussing whether Oswald could have run down four flights of stairs in 75 seconds?

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Did nobody - does nobody - find it odd that on the one day when something major was to take place that he "would've loved to see" but that his being a "great, big husky fellow" would prevent him from doing so, Jack Dougherty alone among all of the TSBD employees decided to "go back to work" and "get some stock" on the fifth and sixth floors, yet saw nothing and wasn't seen? Or that he was a perfect position to help someone into the building when everyone else went outside, uncharacteristically did not respond to Truly's call for the elevator, and then rode an elevator downstairs downstairs undetected almost immediately after the shooting (with or without passengers)?

I am hesitant to accuse Jack Daugherty on these circumstances alone. Jack was certainly in a position to help plotters in and out of the building, and to fabricate the paper bag, and his personality suggests that he could be susceptible to influence from someone he held in authority (or someone holding a gun to his beloved Mom's aging head). In later years he acted as though he knew something he could not reveal.

What holds me back is this: If I was plotting the assassination, and decided to recruit Jack Daugherty, I would instruct him to say that he caught a fleeting glimpse -- just long enough to make a positive ID -- of Lee Oswald dashing down the stairs a few moments after the shooting. I would also instruct him to testify that when Lee Oswald showed up that morning, he was carrying a bulky package that looked like it could have held a rifle.

In later years he acted as though he knew something he could not reveal, but isn't there a possibility that his secret knowledge was nothing more than this: Jack Daugherty knew that Lee Oswald was innocent, because if Oswald WAS guilty, Jack would have had to see him running down the stairs.

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In later years he acted as though he knew something he could not reveal, but isn't there a possibility that his secret knowledge was nothing more than this: Jack Daugherty knew that Lee Oswald was innocent, because if Oswald WAS guilty, Jack would have had to see him running down the stairs.

Ray, where did you get this information about Dougherty from?

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Ray, where did you get this information about Dougherty from?

I got that information from Larry Ray Harris, who took a job at the TSBD, and got to know Jack Daugherty, as part of his research on this case. Larry Ray could not get Jack to talk about 11/22/63. Jack would put his fingers to his lips and go "shh"

I believe Larry Ray Harris is also the source for Duke Lane's statement in his post above:

This, together with his still living at home, was the cause of ridicule aimed at him by some of the younger employees at the TSBD, one of whom has remarked that "Jack always acted as if he knew something about the assassination that none of the rest of us did."
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Bonnie Ray Williams had been on the sixth floor, supposedly alone, until he thought he heard Hank and Junior downstairs, at which point he rode down the east elevator to the fifth floor and joined the other two at the front window, according to both his own testimony and that of Junior Jarman (Hank Norman "couldn't remember" who was there first).

Hi Duke.

An excellent post - first off. I think, however, that the fundamental problem here is our expectation that everyone is recounting the events honestly and accurately. Synching everything would be much easier if this were indeed the case.

For example:

1. Ball to Williams - you told the FBI on 11/23 that you took the stairs.

2. Ball to Williams - you told the FBI on 1/14 that you took the west elevator.

3. Ball to Williams - remember our previous conversation about this - for which no record exists - on 3/20? Didn't your memory improve then?

Mr. BALL. Now, I want to call your attention to another report I have here. On the 23d of November 1963, the report of Mr. Odum and Mr. Griffin, FBI agents, is that you told them that you went from the sixth floor to the fifth floor using the stairs at the west end of the building. Did you tell them that?

Mr. WILLIAMS. I didn't tell them I was using the stairs. I came back down to the fifth floor in the same elevator I came up to the sixth floor on.

Mr. BALL. You did?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Now, also, on January 14th, did you remember talking to a couple of agents named Carter and Griffin?

Mr. WILLIAMS. I can't remember their names, but I am sure I did.

Mr. BALL. You talked to a good many of them?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Well, they reported here that you went down to the fifth floor, and you did so by going down on the west elevator.

Mr. WILLIAMS. The east elevator. The reason I was able to determine whether it was the east elevator is because I think when you questioned us the other day, the other fellows--I told you I didn't remember which elevator first. But the other fellows said they had the west elevator. There are only two elevators. If they are sure they had the west elevator up, that only leaves the east elevator.

Mr. BALL. When you got to the fifth floor and left the elevator, at that time were beth elevators on the fifth floor?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Both west and east?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir, as I remember.

Mr. BALL. The other day, when I talked to you in Dallas, on Friday 20 March--

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. And at that time were you able did you remember which elevator it was?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Which elevator I had?

Mr. BALL. What you had come down from six to five on.

Mr. WILLIAMS. As I remember, I first said I wasn't sure. After the fellows said they brought the west elevator up, I said I must have the east elevator.

Mr. BALL. Is it fair to say now that you don't have any definite memory as to whether it was the east or west elevator?

Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir. I believe that would be true.

Just as I do not believe Williams ate a sandwich containing chicken on the bone, I also do not believe his WC version of the details.

Someone else conveniently put it together, so I am borrowing here:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.assassi...2521041c4e762a3

"Inside this cubby hole affair was 3 more boxes so arranged as to

provide what appeared to be a rest for a rifle. On one of these

cartons was a half-eaten piece of chicken." (Deputy Sheriff Luke

Mooney, Supplementary Report 11/23/63)

"I went over & saw the 3 expended shells laying by the window that

faced onto Elm St., along with a half-eaten piece of chicken that was

laying on a cardboard carton." (Deputy Sheriff A.D. McCurley,

Supplementary Report 11/22/63)

"I went over to where [Mooney] was & saw 3 expended rifle shells, a

sack on the floor & a partially eaten piece of chicken on top of one

of the cartons which was used as sort of a barricade...." (Deputy

Sheriff Harry Weatherford, Supplementary Report 11/23/63)

"On top of the larger stack of boxes that would have been used for

concealment there was a chicken leg bone...." (Sgt. Gerald Hill, WC

testimony v7p46)

"[i saw] some chicken bones or partially eaten piece of chicken, or a

piece of chicken [under the SE corner window]" (Officer ED Brewer, WC

testimony v6p307)

"Dallas Inspector JH Sawyer said, 'Police found the remains of fried

chicken & paper on the 5th floor. Apparently the person had been

there quite a while'." (Stockton Record [AP] 11/22/63 p8)

Former WFAA-Dallas newsman Tom Alyea dismisses, outright, Hill,

Brewer, & the deputies. "One officer reported that he saw chicken

bones on the floor near the ["nest"] location. Another said he saw

chicken bones on the barricade boxes, while another reported that he

saw chicken bones on the box which was laying across the window sill.

Some of these officers have given testimony as to the location &

positioning of the shell casings. Their testimony differs & none of

it is true.... There were no chicken bones found on the 6th floor....

There definitely were no chicken bones on or near the barricade or

boxes at the window." (Alyea, in Connie Kritzberg's "Secrets from the

Sixth Floor Window", pp42-3)

Counsel Ball: Now, did you see a chicken bone over near the boxes in

the SE corner?

DPD Crime Scene Detective Robert Studebaker: I don't believe there

was one there.

Ball: One witness, a deputy name Luke Looney [sic], said he found a

piece of chicken partly eaten up on top of one of the boxes. Did you

see anything like that?

Studebaker: No.

Ball: Was anything like that called to your attention?

Studebaker: I can't recall anything like that. It ought to be in one

of these pictures, if it is. (v7p147)

Like the title of Chinua Achebe's book, 'Things fall apart.' What is more logical, it seems to me, is that Williams, Jarman and Norman received significant coaching from Ball prior to their WC testimony - and that loose ends concerning the circumstantial case against Oswald [chicken bones, soda bottle, elevator positions, who was on 5 and 6, etc.] had to be nailed down. What is missing from the actual details of what transpired is that which needed to be concealed.

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... Larry Ray Harris ... took a job at the TSBD, and got to know Jack Daugherty, as part of his research on this case. Larry Ray could not get Jack to talk about 11/22/63. Jack would put his fingers to his lips and go "shh." I believe Larry Ray Harris is also the source for Duke Lane's statement in his post above.
Independent source, former TSBD employee. Corroboration?
Did nobody - does nobody - find it odd that on the one day when something major was to take place that he "would've loved to see" but that his being a "great, big husky fellow" would prevent him from doing so, Jack Dougherty alone among all of the TSBD employees decided to "go back to work" and "get some stock" on the fifth and sixth floors, yet saw nothing and wasn't seen? Or that he was a perfect position to help someone into the building when everyone else went outside, uncharacteristically did not respond to Truly's call for the elevator, and then rode an elevator downstairs downstairs undetected almost immediately after the shooting (with or without passengers)?
I am hesitant to accuse Jack Daugherty on these circumstances alone. Jack was certainly in a position to help plotters in and out of the building, and to fabricate the paper bag, and his personality suggests that he could be susceptible to influence from someone he held in authority (or someone holding a gun to his beloved Mom's aging head). In later years he acted as though he knew something he could not reveal.

What holds me back is this: If I was plotting the assassination, and decided to recruit Jack Daugherty, I would instruct him to say that he caught a fleeting glimpse -- just long enough to make a positive ID -- of Lee Oswald dashing down the stairs a few moments after the shooting. I would also instruct him to testify that when Lee Oswald showed up that morning, he was carrying a bulky package that looked like it could have held a rifle....

Under ordinary circumstances, I probably would too; the question is whether such complexity might not perplex him.

In a perfect conspiracy world, I'd also have made sure that Jack said that he'd seen Oswald on the upper floors while Jack was "getting some stock" on five and six after lunch. The trouble arises if Jack didn't see any of these things and he had to remember details of the web he was asked to weave. "How big was the sack? How was he carrying it? Did he have it the next time you saw him? Where was that? Where had he been? Where on the sixth floor did you see him at lunch time? What was he doing? Did he say anything to you? If so, what? How was he acting? What was he wearing at the time?" etc., ad infinitum.

Better to keep the instructions simple: "Jack, forget everything we're doing here, okay? Tell the cops whatever else you want, but never say a word about this, understand? Never." So whether or not LHO carried something in to work that morning, if Jack didn't see it, it's only because Jack didn't see it, not necessarily because he didn't have anything. If Lee wasn't on the sixth floor at lunch, Jack would be truthful in saying that he wasn't there, which only means Jack didn't see him, not that he wasn't there, etc.

I wouldn't imagine - if this scenario took place - that anyone had only momentary contact with Jack. If his initial role was simply to get shooters in and out, it wouldn't take much coaching, but afterward, just as people accuse WC counsel of "coaching" witnesses (sometimes "extensively") without direct knowledge of when that might have been done other than "before their testimony," what excludes the possibility of coaching by other interested parties who weren't part of the WC? These people weren't under suspicion or surveillance, none were asked to account for their off-work hours and weekends, so nothing excludes that possibility.

Leaving aside the specifics of the case - and the specific case - in any other situation, might we not expect that co-conspirators and accessories might coordinate their stories whenever they knew of a summons? For example, the FBI didn't just show up one day at the TSBD and say "Jack, come with us, we want a statement," and his father suddenly appeared. Maybe he got a day's notice, or a request, "when can you come down?" (I'll ask around about this.) That night, a little dress rehearsal, perhaps? Not outside the realm of possibility.

Nobody we know of knows anything about Jack outside of his work at the TSBD, or his family for that matter. Like ourselves, Jack was probably more than what he was at work: does everyone we work with know how much time we spend on this subject, or have an inkling about all the details we know about the case? Do we know what Jack did, what his politics were, who he hung with (if anybody) after hours? Because he lived at home with mommy and daddy and wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, do we think he simply went home and drooled in front of the television till it was time to go back to work? Maybe read Rolling Readers to get to sleep?

Still, his capacity was at least somewhat diminished from most people's, and even then, sometimes it's best not to try to get someone who doesn't lie easily to lie at all. Tell the truth, but never mention this part of it. Some people can justify - or get others to justify - it not being a "lie" if you simply don't tell it (and don't worry about that "whole truth" thing).

I'm not trying to re-construct Jack in his entirety, or build a complete (and bogus) psychological profile of him. The point is that we know very little about Jack Dougherty and can't rule anything in or out based upon our own particular biases or what we think we might've have told him to do if we were in someone else's shoes since we don't know the realities.

As I'd remarked elsewhere, if this were an on-going investigation (or it was 1963/64) and we had live witnesses to re-interview - and if we wanted a real solution to the case rather than pablum to be fed to the populace - then Jack, along with Hank, Junior and Bonnie Ray and some others, are people whose stories we'd want to re-examine. If that were the case, I don't think any of us would rule out re-interviewing any of these people because we didn't think they fit into our own perception of what happened, or that they didn't do what we'd expect them to do under circumstances we really don't know anything about yet.

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Bonnie Ray is definitely deceased, as is Slim Givens. Hank Norman may be alive, but I recall hearing recently that he's not. To the best of my knowledge, Junior Jarman is still around.

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if this were an on-going investigation (or it was 1963/64) ..- then Jack, along with Hank, Junior and Bonnie Ray and some others, are people whose stories we'd want to re-examine.

Agreed, but Jack's story as it stands in the record right now is evidence that Lee Oswald Did not shoot JFK.

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An excellent post - first off. I think, however, that the fundamental problem here is our expectation that everyone is recounting the events honestly and accurately. Synching everything would be much easier if this were indeed the case.

For example (Bonnie Ray Williams testimony) ... Just as I do not believe Williams ate a sandwich containing chicken on the bone, I also do not believe his WC version of the details. ...

Like the title of Chinua Achebe's book, 'Things fall apart.' What is more logical, it seems to me, is that Williams, Jarman and Norman received significant coaching from Ball prior to their WC testimony - and that loose ends concerning the circumstantial case against Oswald [chicken bones, soda bottle, elevator positions, who was on 5 and 6, etc.] had to be nailed down. What is missing from the actual details of what transpired is that which needed to be concealed.

The WC may well be the grinch here, but it is by no means certain. It would seem a counter-productive thing to call attention to such coaching by bringing up earlier testimony, including reports and affidavits, as the excerpts you quoted do. "Coaching" does not necessarily imply "telling the witness to lie."

While probably not impossible, it is at least difficult to embroider an entirely interwoven story made from disparate lies.

Not everything would require lying either. Why, for example, would Jarman lie about walking around the first floor, eating his sandwich with one hand, holding his coke in the other, putting up his coke bottle and throwing out the trash before going outside? Given that they were all questioned separately, and none told exactly the same story, their being coached together or in coordination seems less likely. To suggest that they lie separately increases the likelihood that they'd trip each other up, and it's really too much to believe that anyone would tell them "okay, you two remember this, while you should 'not recall' anything about it."

If there was coaching of any sort, it would of course have been toward the "conviction" of Oswald. That being the case, why not simply tell them to say they'd caught at least a glimpse of Oswald, whether Bonnie Ray on the sixth floor, or him or any of the other three on the fifth floor? If there was going to be "significant coaching," and especially if there was to be any subornation of perjury, gaining an actual "eyewitness" to Oswald's supposed activities would seem the preferable goal.

That they did not gain an "eyewitness" to Oswald's activities argues against "significant coaching." Why coach anyone toward anything less conclusive? If you can't get the whole enchilada, don't get 'em to lyin' about soft tacos versus hard tacos. Because that's when "things fall apart," when the web gets too tangled.

On the other hand, if my scenario has any validity, then it would seem that they would want to gloss over any number of details that might let on that they knew more than they were saying, tho' it might not be beyond the realm of possibility that any of them might want to drop hints without elaborating. For example, BRW gave several versions, even in his testimony, about how long he'd been upstairs on six: was his longer one perhaps designed to get them to say "hey, wait a minute, didn't you just say --?" That they failed to do so couldn't be rectified without his directly and voluntarily testifying about what what actually occurred ("can't you read between the lines? I'm trying to tell you that ..."), which, if they knew someone else was up there, might get back to whoever they were and have dire consequences.

Better to plead ignorance than open that can of worms. They had plenty of time - starting right after it happened - to agree not to tell anyone what they'd seen, but maybe also not to deny it if they were asked directly.

That nobody said anything about seeing Oswald - whom they needn't fear from the grave - shows either that Oswald wasn't the one who was there, or that he was an extremely lucky guy. It certainly does not put him there despite his not being seen. That they didn't testify to seeing Oswald or anyone else does not eliminate the possibility that someone else was there.

So our questions then become: if it wasn't Oswald, could someone else have done it? If so, how?

(I am particularly adverse to claiming doctored or "coached" testimony because once you start, there's no way to determine where to stop. Then, all testimony is subject to question, and none of it means a thing because you don't know whether all or part of it or none of it is fake. Who was it who said something to the effect that "it's all a lie except the words 'a' and 'the'?")

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Bonnie Ray Williams had been on the sixth floor, supposedly alone, until he thought he heard Hank and Junior downstairs, at which point he rode down the east elevator to the fifth floor and joined the other two at the front window, according to both his own testimony and that of Junior Jarman (Hank Norman "couldn't remember" who was there first).

A story which is markedly different to what he said on 11/22 - as you are well aware, but deem to be the result of confusion amid turmoil on his and/or the part the those taking his statement.

Yet the first statement we have from Norman was taken in December - well after the mayhem of that day and THAT statement is also markedly different to what he would tell the WC. On that basis, I don't think your "chaos" theory holds much water regarding Bonnie Ray et al.

"didn't think he'd be able to get out to see him," an odd comment from someone described by Roy Truly as "a great, big husky fellow."

Isn't he described in an FBI document as 5' 9"? Hardly "great big and husky", though I guess Truly himself was the antithesis of his middle name-sake. But then, it always struck me that Truly was determined to paint JD as a Lennie Small type character.

Did Truly ever buy him a mouse to pet, I wonder?

First, we must recall that the motorcade was running behind schedule by at least five minutes.

Good point! Now let's look at what time Eddie Piper ORIGINALLY said the shots occurred. 12:25pm! How did he know? Why, he ran to the nearest clock at the sound of the shots specifically to see what time it was.

The question is, was the TSBD clock 5 minutes slow... or was Piper setting up an alibi on the basis of the time he THOUGHT the motorcade came by?

Before anyone jumps on me, I'm not accusing Piper of any shooting. I do think he was used and possibly set up and had that over him to keep him quiet. Scapegoats need alibis too, is all I'm saying... especially when they were in fact in the wrong place. Can we say elderly Negro?

Back to that time thing. Yes yes - he did amend that to the far more imprecise 12:27 to 12:30 time-frame once before those seekers of truth at the WC. And yes yes there are those who take WC testimony as far more reliable than anything said before or since. But you can guess where I stand on that issue.

By the time Bonnie Ray Williams finished "washing up" in the men's lavatory (use your imagination!), all of his compatriots had already gone outside. This means that he emerged at roughly 12:10; he then went upstairs.

It's possible that he'd either gotten there - too close to the "sniper's nest" window - after someone else, but not before he could be stopped, or it's possible that he was there before them. In either event, if true, he could hardly be let go for fear of his raising the alarm, upsetting the assassination plans, and getting the perpetrators caught. That being the case, it's possible that he was the black man seen by Amos Euins, the "dust" in his hair - which he later shook out - being mistaken as a bald spot.

If Euins man was Black, it was far more likely to be Piper than Bonnie Ray. And in the event it was Piper, the "bald spot" was likely the reflection from his glasses which he only wore while working, and may have had pushed up on top of his head when not needed.

If Euins man was Caucasian, then there is thread over at Lancer which may have identified him.

The man standing at "parade rest" by another witness could conceivably have been Jack Dougherty, whose wartime service was entirely spent at an air base in Illinois guarding planes.

Except that you have JD as looking like Hulk Hogan... not the cool, svelte figure described by others.

Jack could have let someone into the back door and brought them up on the elevator to the sixth floor

We can speculate till we're blue in the face about who could have. The fact is however, that the only person said by officials to have actually done so was an un-named Black employee who was alleged to have escorted Oswald to the 6th floor. But as we all know from the records... there is Oswald... and there is "Oswald".

The WC spent quite an inordinate amount of time questioning Piper about when and why he ever went above the fourth floor. Do you think maybe they suspected he was actually there on the 6th floor? Yes, I believe they did think that.

Bonnie Ray was effectively their prisoner.

B)

Even so, this fact gave Jack access to Troy West's wrapping table, as well as the paper and tape machine apparently used to construct the "bulky package" said to have contained the rifle, or for him to allow someone else access to it. For his part, Troy West said that nobody - not Oswald or anyone else - could or did get to it or borrow any from him at all the time he was at work.

There were three people who could have made the bag - West, JD and Piper. All had access when no one else was around.

That leaves relatively few people, among those employed by the TSBD Company being: Roy Truly, O.V. Campbell, Jack Cason, Bill Shelley and Jack Dougherty (and possibly Eddie Piper).

Okay. Fair enough, you're right. Why pick on the poor working man? Anyone in management could have done it. And Truly is, let's face it, a suspicious character in all this. But you need to drop the "possibly" from Piper. His hours were different to the others and he did not leave the building until 7 or 8 at night.

Finally, in keeping with the reasons previously cited that might cause Jack Dougherty to be considered "less than a man" - his lack of combat experience in the midst of WWII, his relatively minor role during that conflict, his early discharge for medical reasons, his lack of interest in women, living at home with his parents, and not driving (much less having a car of his own) - it might be worthwhile to consider whether he was impressionable enough to be recruited to take part in a "patriotic" operation that would elevate him in many people's eyes to a position of great standing ... tho' "nobody but you, me and the boys here can ever know, okay, Jack? But we WILL know, and that's what matters, Jack."

The chance to fulfill such a "patriotic" mission, to finish the "service to his country" that all the other fellows his age had done "back in The War" - and which he ignominiously had not - might have instilled in him the same sense of "pride" that war veterans today feel on memorial occasions, put him "back in uniform" and standing at "parade rest" holding a rifle while guarding a "prisoner" who might conceivably have "blown" the "patriotic" action he was helping with (ridding the country of a "Communist" president?). It hardly seems as if he could have been alone in such a positon, and certainly couldn't have been both "standing guard" on the fifth floor and shooting from a sixth floor window simultaneously.

Plausible... possibly even compelling argument... though still speculative, and brings it back to JD playing Lennie to Truly's George.

Was there a dead blonde found in the building? That would nail the case against "Lennie" for sure!

Jokes aside, a lookout role for JD is not an idea that is too way out for precisely the reasons you outline above.

One question remains, and that is the complicity of Roy Truly in such an operation. Jack was unquestionably Truly's "pet" (witness the special job - and concomitant trust - given him in the mornings, and his reactions to possibly displeasing Truly ... and Truly was quick to commend Jack while concurrently acting as his guide and protector during the investigations, yet still downplaying Jack's emotional and mental capacity such that he was viewed as "incapable" of being involved in any way), and it follows that if Truly were involved in the plot, Jack would enthusiastically support him without letting on that he knew anything about it.

Was Truly's yell up the elevator shaft - and ringing the bell that alerted men upstairs that the elevator was wanted - a signal for those upstairs to "hurry up," that the police had come into the building, they had only a couple of minutes to clean up and get out? More to the point, was Truly's failure to point out the missing elevator to Officer Baker deliberate? How could it be anything else? While he later said that he'd thought it was Jack Dougherty who'd moved the elevator (just like I do!), he clearly could not have known that at that time, or that its absence was for any reason not connected with any shooting, even if he believed it did not.

Did nobody - does nobody - find it odd that on the one day when something major was to take place that he "would've loved to see" but that his being a "great, big husky fellow" would prevent him from doing so, Jack Dougherty alone among all of the TSBD employees decided to "go back to work" and "get some stock" on the fifth and sixth floors, yet saw nothing and wasn't seen? Or that he was a perfect position to help someone into the building when everyone else went outside, uncharacteristically did not respond to Truly's call for the elevator, and then rode an elevator downstairs downstairs undetected almost immediately after the shooting (with or without passengers)?

Or that, in light of all this, that we're still discussing whether Oswald could have run down four flights of stairs in 75 seconds?

More good points. The final question is redundant however, not because of anything you've said beforehand, but because Oswald was beyond any doubt, on the first floor at the time of the assassination.

Now if you'd only drop the nonsense about Bonnie Ray and the others... !

I live in hope ;)

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