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Abundant Life Temple


Lee Forman
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Thanks Lee!

I think a reasonable case can be made for this being where the real perp was hiding out. Less certain, but still possible is Nick McDonald obtaining the pistol from the perp here and then rushing off to the TT to try and plant it on Oswald before killing him. His movements prior to the TT (as far as they can be ascertained) as well as what can be pieced together of the arrest, do not preclude, and may even suggest this scenario.

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I think a reasonable case can be made for this being where the real perp was hiding out. Less certain, but still possible is Nick McDonald obtaining the pistol from the perp here and then rushing off to the TT to try and plant it on Oswald before killing him. His movements prior to the TT (as far as they can be ascertained) as well as what can be pieced together of the arrest, do not preclude, and may even suggest this scenario.
You've got some good points here, but some difficulties with the screenplay, as I see it.

The temple was first mentioned after Sgt. Cal Owens 1:33 report that they were "shaking down these old houses" located behind Ballew's Texaco, which the perp had last been seen running behind some 20-25 minutes before. This report was followed by a request to "send [a] squad over here to Tenth and Crawford to check out this church basement," the church being the Abundant Life Temple. A Patrolman F.S. Williams, with call sign #66, responded.

About 30 seconds later came the call that a "suspect" had been seen entering the library over at Marsalis, several blocks away. According to the testimony given about this later, it generated a significant response from those DPD units - some 40 of them, not counting nearly 20 sheriff's deputies and an unknown number of constables, whose office was (and is) at 12th & Beckley - who were in Oak Cliff, including McDonald.

McDonald's receipt of the gun could be supported by the contention that he did not, in fact, respond to the library call despite his testimony to the contrary, but instead remained behind at the temple. The primary difficulty with that scenario, however, is that it was McDonald who made the call requestion a squad "to check out this church basement."

A further contention could be that McDonald was letting C.T. Walker (who made the call about "the suspect" being in the library) that he was in place at the temple, and that Walker should make the diversionary call to get patrols away from the church. This might get more traction, however, if McDonald had simply reported that he was going to check out the church himself, rather than to have called for backup.

While we might reasonably agree that a call that the suspect was actually seen somewhere would cause most of the cops in the area to abort fruitless searches for a cop-killer in favor of his presumed capture - as it did, incidentally - there is no guarantee that some officers wouldn't have remained behind to continue the search.

There were, after all, nearly 40 DPD units in Oak Cliff at that point, along with another 15-20 sheriff's deputies and an untold number of county constables, whose headquarters was (and is) just blocks away at 12th & Beckley. With 60-plus uniforms concentrated in central Oak Cliff, it's not unreasonable to think that at least some of them would have (and possibly may have) decided that there were more than enough other officers available to respond to the library call while they pursued other potentially promising leads.

McDonald's call for assistance fairly well exonerates him from at least this role in the "frame up" since, if he'd remained behind and Williams among others had responded to his request, he'd have been either stymied or caught in his attempt to take possession of the gun during the library diversion. A call that he was going to check out the basement could have initiated the same diversion without alerting other officers.

McDonald's passing off the gun during his altercation with Oswald in the theater would have been clumsy at best, especially in terms of his getting the webbing of his fingers caught in the breech, and potentially lethal at worst if he'd attempted to palm it off while cocked (thus getting his hand caught).

The same is not true, however, if another officer had attempted to make it appear as if Oswald had the gun in his hand and had shot McDonald during the struggle. There are at least two other viable candidates for such an enterprise.

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Here's another photo of the Temple:

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