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Former Ft. Gordon Investigator Age 82, Claims Signal Corps murder Suspect Named Oswald in 1962.

Guest Tom Scully

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Guest Tom Scully

More evidence supporting the opinion that from the time the FBI became involved in this April, 1962 Oklahoma bank robbery and missing person investigation, through the days after the Warren Commission Report was published and its determinations unconvincingly defended, were not the Bureau's finest hours.:


An AWOL leads to a Fort Gordon murder mysteryBy Kyle Martin

Staff Writer

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011

In early 1962, soldiers Willie Joe King and Joseph Poye disappeared from Fort Gordon.

(Former investigator at Ft. Gordon, Felix Garrett explores the bridge where the body of Joseph Poye was dumped in 1962. )

That wasn’t unusual, as four or five soldiers out of the thousands of signal corps troops would go absent without leave every day, hoping the Army wouldn’t find them.

But King and Poye weren’t two young privates fleeing military life. They were two men who would become part of one of the most infamous criminal cases in Fort Gordon history.....


Wide Search Underway For Missing Soldier .‎

Rome News-Tribune - Jul 17, 1962

... robbery has told of accidentally killing Poye and disposing of his body. ... the provost marshal > office as identifying this soldier as Bulie Joe King.


...When pressed about Poye’s whereabouts, King gave several stories to state police and the FBI:

First, he said they went to Bir­mingham, Ala., where two sailors abducted Poye and dissolved his body in acid.

Then he claimed they traveled to New Orleans, where Poye escaped to Cuba with a Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. King had seen Oswald handing out pamphlets and remembered his name for future alibi purposes, according to Felix Garrett, one of the criminal investigators at Fort Gordon on the case. Garrett said the FBI told him that agents ruled that story out because

they already had the future presidential assassin under surveillance.

The last story was closer to the truth: Poye was accidentally shot. King said he dismembered the body and hid the parts along roads from Fort Gordon to Macon, Ga., where he stuffed the remains down a dry well. But that grisly claim would eventually fall apart, too.

Garrett was the chief warrant officer over the Criminal Investigation Division at Fort Gordon. He retired from the Army in 1966, not long after the case was resolved, and eventually settled off Peach Orchard Road. Newspaper coverage of the case was extensive and detailed at the time, but Garrett, 82, offers new details and theories in the almost 50-year-old case.

But even Garrett, who spent hours with King, doesn’t know the whole story.

“The only thing he told me after­ward was, ‘You got all the facts, you just don’t have the right order,’ ” Garrett said. “He told me one day he would write me a letter and tell me everything that happened, but he never did.”

King’s story began to unravel after authorities sent Poye’s car back to his family in Many, La., near the Texas border. The family discovered a quarter-inch of caked blood under the floor mat that the FBI had missed. They called criminal investigators at nearby Fort Polk, who contacted CID at Fort Gordon after the blood type matched Poye’s.

That evidence opened the murder investigation against King.

Exactly what happened the night of April 7, 1962, remains a mystery, but two years of investigations and King’s trial lay out several clues....


Day 3: A trial reveals others reasons for slaying

By Kyle Martin

Staff Writer

Monday, Sept. 5, 2011

The court-martial of Willie Joe King for the murder of fellow Army Pvt. Joseph Poye often brought more questions than answers.

King and Poye had gone absent without leave from Fort Gordon in April 1962, but it became clear that there was more to their disappearance after blood was found in Poye’s car. King, who was caught after a bank robbery in Oklahoma 13 days after going AWOL, confessed to accidentally shooting Poye.

The recovered skeleton of Poye showed two bullet wounds, however, not one.

Two years later, in March 1964, King was taken back to Fort Gordon for his trial on charges of premeditated murder, two cases of grand larceny and 27 cases of forgery.

“Perhaps the annals of Rich­mond County crime have never seen a more complex figure than Willie Joe King,” Chronicle-Herald reporter Prentice Palmer wrote after the trial.

Prosecutors claimed King shot Poye to get the $1,000 in his bank account and his car so he could impress a woman in Mobile, Ala.

“King is the type of man who, when he says he will have a bank account, will have a bank account,” Capt. Charles Fairall, the chief prosecutor, said in the trial. “Pvt. Joseph Jacob Poye Jr. stood in his way and had to be eliminated.”

The defense stuck to the story of the accidental shooting and painted King as a lonely and confused man.

“It was natural that he became confused and took flight,” Capt. John Bell said.

What couldn’t be readily explained was the second bullet hole in Poye’s body. An Augusta pathologist, Dr. James Teabeaute II, testified that the wound in Poye’s back was probably fired first. He said the contents of the skull indicated that the head wound followed the back wound.

The small courtroom at Fort Gordon was packed for the fourth day of trial, when the six-man court-martial board delivered a guilty verdict and sentenced King to death by the electric chair. King showed no emotion during the delivery of the verdict, but his wife, mother and sister took the news of the verdict “real hard,” a newspaper account stated.

King appealed his case through the courts and, eventually, his sentence was commuted to hard labor. His arguments that the crime was not “service-related,” that the trial was unconstitutionally delayed and that he was not mentally fit for trial were all rejected.

A spokeswoman at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where King was sentenced, recently could find no records of his imprisonment but suggested he was moved to the federal prison system. An inmate locator didn’t turn up King with either of his aliases.

Felix Garrett, the chief warrant officer at Fort Gordon’s Criminal Investigation Division who found Poye’s body, retired from the Army not long after the case was resolved and started a new civilian career. He still thinks about the King case, though, when he reflects on his time in the service. There were so many twists and turns, so many deceptions and lies, he said, that it was definitely one of the most interesting cases he worked on.

“You can’t let it worry you, but sometimes I think, ‘My goodness, what ever did happen to him?’ ” Garrett said.

...and the murder suspect who named Oswald to FBI and U.S. Army investigators in a 1962 alibi, seems now to have unavailable U.S. Army prison records.

Edited by Tom Scully
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Guest Tom Scully


From the excerpt of the very recent account published by the Augusta Chronicle, as displayed in my last post. Consider that Billy Joe King was apprehended while driving Joseph J. Poye's vehicle shortly after the Webbers Falls, Okla. State Bank was robbed on April 20, 1962. :

...When pressed about Poye’s whereabouts, King gave several stories to state police and the FBI:

First, he said they went to Bir­mingham, Ala., where two sailors abducted Poye and dissolved his body in acid.

Then he claimed they traveled to New Orleans, where Poye escaped to Cuba with a Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald. King had seen Oswald handing out pamphlets and remembered his name for future alibi purposes, according to Felix Garrett, one of the criminal investigators at Fort Gordon on the case. Garrett said the FBI told him that agents ruled that story out because

they already had the future presidential assassin under surveillance....

When the following information is compared to the above account, IMO there is no basis for the Augusta Chronicle to publish the account above, attributed to former Army CID Felix Garrett, considering that it was not possible for King to have seen Oswald in New Orleans passing out pamphlets, or to have heard about Oswald in the media. Billie Joe King would have been providing no misleading alibi referring to Oswald, related to Poye's disappearance any later than several weeks after his April 20, 1962 arrest, and it is certain not after Oklahoma court officials transferred King temporarily to Georgia to assist in the search for Poye's remains. We can fix the final date when there would be even the slightest possibility that King would be linking Poye to Oswald as September 9, when Poye's remains were found with his military dog tags.

It is possible that Felix Garret is simply a confused/ demented old man, or a still sharp and calculating attention story teller who found an audience in the Augusta Chronicle news room and the Chronicle reporter and editor were remiss in comparing Garret's minimization and dismissal of King's alleged naming and description of Oswald with what is known about where Oswald was and what he had been doing before September 9, 1962.

Discovery shows killing was no accident | The Augusta Chronicle


By Kyle Martin

Staff Writer

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011

– The two privates had gone AWOL in April 1962, but investigators suspected ... On the morning of Sept. 9, 1962, they returned to the creek and climbed down the banks. ... With a flourish, he pulled Poye's dog tags out of the sand: The positive ... The skull was located farther downstream, and the bullet hole...


Parole Jeopardizes Life So Prisoner Refuses It

Pay-Per-View - Hartford Courant - Sep 20, 1964

Authorities following King's direction* couldnt find Poyei body But in September 1962 Poye's body was discovered near Jewell Ga King pleaded guilty....

Forgive my laziness, posting from this controversial article, in support of my points.


Lee Harvey Oswald

....Adult life and early crimes....

....In March 1961, Oswald met Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova, a 19-year-old pharmacology student; they married less than six weeks later in April.[n 4][42] The Oswalds' first child, June, was born on February 15, 1962. On May 24, 1962, Oswald and Marina applied at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for documents enabling her to immigrate to the U.S. and, on June 1, the U.S. Embassy gave Oswald a repatriation loan of $435.71.[43] Oswald, Marina, and their infant daughter left for the United States, where they received no attention from the press, much to Oswald's disappointment.[clarification needed][44]

[edit] Dallas

The Oswalds soon settled in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where his mother and brother Robert lived, and Oswald began a memoir on Soviet life. Though he eventually gave up the project, his search for literary feedback put him in touch with anti-Communist Russian émigrés in the area.[citation needed] In testimony given before the Warren Commission, Alexander Kleinlerer said that the Russian émigrés sympathized with Marina, while merely tolerating Oswald who they regarded as rude and arrogant.[45][n 5]

Although the Russian émigrés eventually abandoned Marina when she made no sign of leaving Oswald,[46] Oswald found an unlikely friend in 51-year-old Russian émigré George de Mohrenschildt, a well-educated petroleum geologist with intelligence connections.[47] (A native of Russia, de Mohrenschildt told the Warren Commission that Oswald had a "...remarkable fluency in Russian.")[48] Marina, meanwhile, befriended Ruth Paine,[49] a Quaker who was trying to learn Russian, and her husband Michael who worked for Bell Helicopter.[50] (Ruth Paine said that she first met the Oswalds at a party arranged by George de Mohrenschildt.)[51]

In July 1962, Oswald was hired by Dallas' Leslie Welding Company; he disliked the work and quit after three months. (Warren Commission exhibit CE 1891 [52] states that Mrs. Virginia Hale of Fortune Road, employed in the Fort Worth office of the Texas Employment Commission, sent Oswald out on the job to the Leslie Welding Company.) In October, he was hired by the graphic-arts firm of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall as a photoprint trainee.[n 6] (George de Mohrenschildt's wife and daughter said that it was George de Mohrenschildt who secured the job at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall for Oswald.)[53] Oswald's inefficiency and rudeness at his new job were such that fights threatened to break out,[n 7][clarification needed] and he was seen[by whom?] reading a Russian publication, Krokodil.[n 8] He was fired during the first week of April 1963.[54] He may have used equipment at the firm to forge identification documents.[55]...

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Interesting the bit about seeing him hand out pamphlets. Surely, if that was all, he'd use something like 'commie'? Lee specifically qualified himself as a Marxist leninist in the radio interview(s). It seems to me there may be more to this.

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Guest Tom Scully

What caught my eye initially was the Army component to this yarn, and the issue of what was described as the old man's dismissal of the "alibi" involving Oswald. On the surface is the accusation that this was a very sly and skilled suspect, with the implication, I think, that he had come across Oswald passing out pamphlets in person in NOLA, and filed that knowledge away to be used later as part of some deception. The alternative was the murder suspect King had become aware of Oswald the Marxist via the media.

My initial hunch was confirmed, if any of the Oswald related comments attributed to the old man are true, Billie Joe King could not likely have worded an alibi from routine or anecdotal exposure to Oswald.

It seems to follow, that if it is at all true that King stated to investigators during the period between April 20 and September 9, 1962, that the missing Private Joseph J. Poye had met with Oswald in NOLA and run off with that Marxist to Cuba, that this is an instance of another Army connected person besides Dr. Col. Jose A. Rivera relaying details about Oswald to a person with seemingly unimpeachable background and credentials who would communicate these odd instances, much, much later.

Add the oddity of former Army General Edwin Walker, and the smaller twist of King and Poye being described as Signal Corps troops, and it seems the tires deserve a good kicking.

A troubling thing is that the Oswald association seems to have been used by the Augusta Chronicle as merely a "hook". They hooked me in, but all I see from them is incuriousness, a lack of familiarity, and poor editing.

The dismissal of the potential importance of the Oswald dimension in the 82 years old man's story, it appears by the old man, himself, is the story. Or, his story is a fabrication. The 1962 news reporting describes the statements of King after his arrest being extracted after he had been assigned to a hospital mental ward. Edwin Walker knew what that was like, too.

The Oklahoma records need a good going through,


Muskogee County (Muskogee)

Box/Folder # Folder Title/Description


Bank robbery: April 20, 1962, victim: Webbers Falls State Bank, criminals: Billy Joe King and 15-year-old companion, King convicted for murder of Joseph J. Poye in Georgia, while AWOL from Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1964...

....and the Army prison record of King should at least be located. There is a record of his appeal of his Army court martial and life sentence available online, but the language of the court was that there was no need to rehash the peculiarities of the case.....

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I don’t see how your reply really answered my question but thanks for pointing out that Poye and King went AWOL before LHO moved to NO so Garrett’s story doesn’t make much sense.

You're absolutely right, Len. The timeline doesn't fit the known--and UNDISPUTED--facts about where Oswald was in 1962. Had the murder occurred in 1963, the story might've been plausible. But for '62, as Johnny Cochran might've said, "the glove doesn't fit."

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