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Why Was Lovelady at the Dallas Police Department, prior to 2 PM?

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UPDATE - - 5/21/12 - - PLEASE NOTE: the thesis advanced in this post is incorrect.

Please see my detailed post on the thread started by Backes about the source of the film showing Oswald being marched by Lovelady. In a nutshell: Lovelady was one of several TSBD employees brought to the DPD on 11/22, and the reason is simple: The DPD were the "first responders" and were conducting the investigation.

* * *

Most students of the Kennedy assassination know that Billy Lovelady (as seen in the Altgens photograph) bears a striking similarity to Lee Oswald. On November 22, 1963, and in the days and weeks following the assassination, there was a serious issue as to whether the image in the doorway was possibly Oswald.

The stakes were high. If the image in the doorway was Oswald, then obviously Oswald was not President Kennedy’s assassin, because the Altgens photograph would then have been proof that Oswald was downstairs watching the parade, and not upstairs firing a rifle at Kennedy.

Within a day, the FBI was poring over the photograph. They immediately interviewed Lovelady, and he identified himself as the man in the doorway. Other employees also said that Lovelady was downstairs, on the steps. No one said that Oswald was on the steps. Not a single person.

On 12/2/63, the Associated Press circulated the picture, with a circle around the image of the “man in the doorway,” and asking the obvious question: who was it?

According to newspaper reporter Dom Bonafede, who wrote the first major story about the Altgens photograph (5/24/64, in the New York Herald Tribune) and the striking similarity between the two images, the FBI agents were visibly relieved when Lovelady identified himself, and, in effect, said, “Yeah, that’s me.”

I don’t think anyone who has studied the assassination carefully, hasn’t gone through a period where he or she didn’t pay close attention to the issue. I remember ordering very high quality photographs of the Altgens picture, and spending a lot of time poring over it with a magnifying glass.

The FBI concluded it was Lovelady, based on their interviews of Lovelady, and co-workers who were on the steps of the TSBD. And the Warren Commission arrived at the same conclusion.

One small (and unresolved) issue was that Lovelady maintained that he was wearing a red and white striped shirt that day—and actually showed up in such a shirt when the FBI asked him to appear in February, 1964, and took pictures of him in that shirt. No one in the doorway is wearing any such shirt.


In 1972/73, I played a small role in the controversy. I held the position of “researcher” on the film Executive Action. The producer was Ed Lewis, the film editor was Ivan Dryer, and we ordered all available film footage of the Kennedy assassination from New York film libraries. We needed all the footage because, in the movie, JFK “played himself,” via extensive use of newsreel footage, so we had to know what was “out there.”

I personally reviewed most of the footage on a 16 mm movieola. One such film strip showed Oswald, after his arrest, being marched off the elevator on the third floor of the Dallas Police Department building, and towards Fritz’ office. As a cameraman followed this small procession, who should be seated there, with the clock showing about “2:03” pm, but Billy Lovelady!

Seeing both of them in the same film frame settled it for me: obviously, they were similar, but they were in fact wearing different shirts. Suddenly, the mystery of the Altgens photograph evaporated.

I made slides of individual frames of the movie, and showed them to Robert Groden; and subsequently, he studied the whole matter closely, interviewed Lovelady, photographed him, and concluded that the man in the doorway was Lovelady. Around January, 1977, I showed the same slides to HSCA attorneys, when I met with them. Ultimately, they too concluded the man in the doorway was Lovelady.


Recently, Jim Fetzer—and his associate Ralph Cinque—have raised the issue again. They argue that Oswlad was in the doorway “after all,” and have argued that through some complex photographic manipulation, that has been concealed. It is really Oswald in the doorway, they maintain, but he is wearing Lovelady’s clothing, or some variant of this.

FWIW: I don’t buy their argument at all. But --and this is very important--I am not writing this thread to re-argue any of that. I strongly disagree with their view; but its their right to believe it.

So then: why am I writing this thread? Here’s why: I am writing this thread to address the problem differently: not “who was in the doorway,” but rather: “Why was Billy Lovelady sitting outside of Fritz’ office, when Oswald was brought in?”

That’s my question—or rather, that’s the question I am asking, and will attempt to address, in this post.

Fetzer and Cinque apparently believe that Lovelady is really not sitting there, on the third floor of the Dallas Police Department, and near Fritz’ office (“in the bowels” of the building, as Ralph Cinque often says, in his posts). Rather, he (and Fetzer) subscribe to the proposition that motion picture footage showing Lovelady sitting there, as Oswald is marched by, has been altered, and that Lovelady has been “embedded” in that footage.

THE “Lovelady has been emb edded” hypothesis

Again, I disagree. That’s Lovelady, all right—and I’m not proposing to debate that point. However, I am proposing to discus a closely related question: what’s he doing there? Why is he there?

That’s a fair question, and is one I propose to address.

THE “RULES OF THE GAME” (that I am proposing, re this post)

If you wish to pursue the matter of “photo alteration”—either in the case of the Altgens photograph, or in the matter of the film footage showing Lovelady seated on the third floor of the DPD, then please continue that debate on the other thread, which was started by Prof. Jim Fetzer.

On the other hand, f you believe (as I do) that its Lovelady, and if you believe (as I do) that Lovelady was seated outside Fritz’ office when Oswald was brought in (as I do) , and if you have wondered about this remarkable resemblance, and have questions about it, then I invite you to read this thread, and I welcome your comments.

To repeat: this is a thread that will primarily address the question of “why” Lovelady is seated somewhere outside of Fritz’ office, at around 2:03 PM (according to the clock that is in the picture)—and NOT whether the film footage has been altered to make it appear that he is there.

To repeat: I don’t believe any of that film footage was altered, and having stated my belief, let me now proceed.


Here are questions that have been asked—one by Don Jeffries, a moderator, and another by Cinque and Fetzer.

Let me state the question(s):

(1) Isn’t it odd that, at the Texas School Book Depository, a man was employed who looked so similar to Oswald? Is that really a coincidence? If not, what other explanation might there be?

(2) If something fishy isn’t going on, then why was Lovelady outside of Fritz’s office, when Oswald was brought in at 2:03 PM?? What was he doing there? (This question has been asked repeatedly by Ralph Cinque, who uses it as part of his argument that (a) Lovelady really was not there and (b ) therefore, the motion picture footage showing him there is a fabrication.

I disagree. Lovelady is there all right—and, as mentioned above—I’m not writing this post to engage I a debate as to whether the photographs have been altered. Rather, I’m addressing the question from the standpoint that the photographs have not been altered—and that its really Lovelady who is seated there.


Yesterday, prompted by these questions, I was taking another look at this situation, and discussing it at length with another JFK researcher who has have 25 years or more experience. And it was during that discussion that I came up with what I believe to be a possibl answer—or at least a hypothesis worth considering.

It will not answer all the questions, but it goes a long way towards de-mystifying what is going on here (or, more exactly) what went on back in November, 1963.

FIRST QUESTION: Was it a coincidence that Lovelady was employed at the TSBD?

This question was raised (more or less) by moderator Don Thomas. He asked if it could really be a coincidence that, at the location where Oswald was employed, another person could be employed, who bore such a striking resemblance to Oswald.

My answer (and this is just my opinion) is “Yes.” : Yes, I think it is pure coincidence that, at the scene of the crime, and at the building where the alleged assassin—in my opinion, the pre-selected patsy in the Kennedy assassination was employed, there was another man who looked sufficiently like him to cause the confusion that (and the controversy) that has arisen surrounding the Altgens photograph.

Personally, I do not think there’s anything sinister about Lovelady; and I don’t believe that this similarity in looks is indicative of anything. In short, I don’t believe that Billy Nolan Lovelady had anything to do with the assassination of President Kennedy.

Now that’s just my personal opinion, but then, that leads to the second (and to me, the far more important) question:

What was Lovelady doing on the third floor of the Dallas Police Department, and somewhere outside Fritz office?

This is where the discussion gets rather interesting—albeit a bit conjectural—and here is the crux of my thinking, and why I decided to write this post.

So now, let’s proceed.


I have always believed that there was, to some extent, a certain amount of DPD “foreknowledge” of Oswald.

A most striking instance of this—and the first time I had this sense—was when I carefully examined the DPD tapes of the radio transmissions. When Inspector Sawyer first transmitted the “description” of the suspect to the Police Dispatcher, he said he was 5 ft 10 and 165 pounds.

Here is the exact quote: “The type of weapon looked like a 30-30 rifle or some type of Winchester.”

Then came this exchange:

DISPASTCHER: It was a rifle?

SAWYER: A rifle, yes.

DISPATCHER: . . . any clothing desription?

SAWYER: . . About 30, 5’10”, 165 pounds.

The dispatcher then repeated the transmission, in the fashion of “calling all cars!”. Here’s what he said:

QUOTE: “Attention all squads; the suspect in the shooting at Elm and Houston is supposed to be an unknown white male, approximately 30, 165 pounds, slender build, armed with what is thought to be a 30-3 rifle. Repeat. . . “ (WCE 1974, p. 170)

In BEST EVIDENCE, I then pointed out the problem.


“Oswald was definitely of “slender build.” But the information transmitted from Inspector Sawyer to the dispatcher did not include that. All men who are 5’ 10” and 165 pounds are not necessarily of of “slender build,” and if the dispatcher, in the few seconds between the time he received the information from Sawyer and when he broadcast it, himself drew that inference, that might be a sign of good police work. But the addition of those two words could be a sign that, like thw witness who provided information to the police in Dealey Plaz, someone had provided the fact, “slender build,” to the dispatcher of the Dallas Police Department.” (pp 368-369 of B.E.; which is about ¾ of the way through Chapter 14).

I then dropped a footnote, and, besides crediting a good friend (Steven Bailey) with having made that discovery, I wrote: “The addition “slender build” actually appears in the FBI transcript of the Channel 1 and Channel 2 transmissions, but it is more striking when actually heard on the tape.

All very well. . .and my point is obvious: did the DPD have a certain amount of “advance information” about Oswald. . . not (necessarily) a whole lot, but some.

Now. . let us return to the question I have asked.


What was Lovelady doing on the third floor of the DPD, at about 2:03 PM, when Oswald, who was arrested at the Texas Theater, was brought in?

I happen to agree with Oswald’s mother—who has said publicly (in the spring of 1964, on the Phil Donahue radio show)—that she believed her son was supposed to be shot dead in the TSBD. If so, then Oswald getting out of the building, alive, posed a serious problem for the plotters.

And the question would have been: “where the heck is he?”

Of course, by about 1:18 PM, that question began to be resolved. Officer Tippet was shot, a pursuit ensued, and Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater, and brought in to the DPD.

However, prior to that time, and when only fragmentary information was available, matters were ripe for confusion. If all the DPD had was some sort of imperfect profile of Oswald, it seems to me that is not unreasonable that someone—some person who only had an imperfect description, but not a name—might have focused on Lovelady.

As a consequence of that mis-identification, Lovelady was “brought in”.

As soon as he arrived at the DPD, one or more of the higher-ups—i.e., someone “in the know”—basically said “No, that’s not him” and then, having a bit of a hot potato on their hands, someone said, “hey you, sit here.”

And so Lovelady was told to sit down and wait—in the manner of an unnecessary call being “placed on hold”. . .and so there he was, sitting on the third floor of the DPD, at 2:03 PM, when the true pre-selected patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald, was picked up at the Texas Theater, and marched right by Lovelady, on the way to Fritz’ office.


Many of the Dealey Plaza witnesses to the assassination were brought to the Sheriff’s Office, just off Dealey Plaza, and that’s where their statements were taken: e.g., Jean Hill, Mary Moormn, Charles, Brehm, Betzer, etc. You can see them all laid out in the Sheriff’s file. And there is a striking photograph of a room-ful of these witnesses in Sheriff Decker’s office.

But Lovelady was not brought to that location, and this is important, indeed, it is very important.

Lovelady was brought to the Dallas Police Department, at Harwood and Main.

Let me spell this out: witnesses were brought to the Sheriff’s department.

The suspect Oswald was brought to the Dallas Police Department.

And that’s where Lovelady was brought—prior to the arrest of Oswald.

Somehow, and for some reason, Lovelady was brought to the vicinity of the Dallas Police Department.


I am suggesting that sometime between about 12:40 PM and 2 pm, Lovelady was incorrectly “fingered” –by someone, somehow, and based on the similarity of looks to Oswald—and was brought to the place where “the suspect” would later be brought.

And that is why he was seated there, somewhere near Fritz’s office, when Oswald, the pre-selected patsy, was brought into the Dallas Police Department.

That moment is captured on camera—not because Lovelady was “embedded” in the film, at some later time.

The moment is captured on camera because Lovelady was really there.


Lovelady passed away many years ago, but if he was alive, the question that we would want to ask him is: who brought you to the DPD? And what were you told at the time?

And it breaks down into roughly two parts:

(a) Who initially told you that they wanted to “take you in” and what reason was given—both at the tiem, and en route to the Dallas Police Department?

(b ) When you arrived at the Dallas Police Department, and specifically, on the third floor, when did it become apparent that you were “brought in” by mistake? What conversations did you hear—or hear about—from anyone?

These questions were never asked (I think) because the film footage that I discovered around 1972/73, when working for the producers of Executive Action, was never examined, and so the possible implications of Lovelady being at the DPD, prior to the time that Oswald arrived there (about 2:03 PM, per the clock that is in the picture) was not even known.

Personally: I know of no FBI report that talks about that footage, or of Lovelady seated there, or raises any such question—and certainly, Lovelady wasn’t volunteering information about that subject, either in any of his FBI interviews, or when questioned by the Warren Commission.

IN A NUTSHELL: I believe that Lovelady’s presence at the DPD, and on the third floor of the DPD, is a conscience of the similarity of appearance of Oswald and Lovelady, and constitutes circumstantial evidence of early (and decidedly premature) “profiling” of the patsy, prior to the time of his actual arrest.


It is clear from the Dom Bonafede article, in the New York Herald Tribune, that Lovelady was thoroughly spooked by the similarity between himself and Oswald. He did not want to be photographed—at all—and when JFK researcher Jones Harris hired a photographer to photograph Lovelady (this is around April, 1964), they got in a fight. They were brought to the police station, and the photographer was told to leave Dallas. As in “immediately”.

I now believe that a reasonable answer to why Lovelady told people he was wearing a red and white striped shirt—rather than the plaid shirt he was obviously wearing that day—is that (a) he was spooked by this experience and (b ) wanted to create distance between himself and Oswald.

He had a taste of what it was like—even for a brief moment—to be a “suspect” in this case; and to be on the hot seat; and he didn’t want to ever get near that again.

And so he said he was wearing a red and white striped shirt, and actually appeared in such a shirt, when he was asked to appear at the FBI office and be photographed in February, 1964.


Witnesses were brought to the Sheriff’s office. Suspects were brought to Captain Fritz’ office. The Sheriff’s office was at Dealey Plaza, at the southeast corner of Main and Houston. The Dallas Police Department was at Harwood and Main, well over a mile away.

The fact that Lovelady was at the DPD, by 2:03 PM, is (to me, anyway) circumstantial evidence that –at that early hour—he was briefly treated as a suspect (and certainly not as a “witness”.

The question is “why”.

And the answer I am proposing: “Because he ‘looked like’ Oswald, that’s why.”

As I said at the outset of this post, this discussion addresses the matter of the Lovelady/Oswald similarity from the standpoint that neither the Altgens photograph has been altered, nor has the film footage showing Oswald being marched by Lovelady.

I believe the answer I am proposing makes more sense than the complex hypotheses –involving all kinds of implausible photo alteration--offered by Jim Fetzer and Ralph Cinque.

Not only does it explain why Lovelady was seated on the third floor of the Dallas Police Department prior to the arrival of Oswald; it also explains why Lovelady lied about the shirt he was wearing—something which has always bothered me, and which I noted in previous posts on the London Forum.


It is possible that confided to members of his family precisely what happened to him that afternoon, and why he was brought in to the DPD, at such an early hour. If so, I would hope that, with the passage of time, such information might be available, and if anyone has such information, I hope they will post it on this forum.


5/20/12; 9:30 AM

Los Angteles, California

Edited by David Lifton
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Thanks for this interesting analysis, David. I think you were referring to me when you said "Don Thomas." I do wonder about the odds of Oswald having a co-worker who physically resembled him so closely, especially in view of the fact there were other "Oswalds" running around in an apparent attempt to frame him before the assassination.

Your question of why Lovelady was where he was, at that time, is a very good one. If Lovelady was in the doorway, he was not an especially important witness in any sense of the word, so the DPD bringing him in at that early stage is rather baffling.

If Oswald was supposed to be killed in the TSBD, I think that notion is contradicted by the fact he was seen getting into a Rambler shortly after the shooting, by several unconnected witnesses. Who was supposed to kill him, since those who picked him up in the Rambler would presumably have been part of the conspiracy?

Anyhow, you've provided some great food for thought here.

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An interesting hypothesis from David Lifton. Three questions in response:

1) To which location where others suspected of involvement taken that day? Where, for example, was Molina taken?

2) Why, if Lovelady was detained for the reasons outlined in David's speculation, is there no mention of this perfectly harmless episode within either his own statements, or those of the FBI etc?

3) Why, if Lovelady was as described, the consistent and determined efforts of the DPD to prevent any of the early critics from interviewing and photographing him?

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Here's the dpd photo of witnesses. David...originally from Robin, thanks....b

Here's the dpd photo of witnesses. David...originally from Robin, thanks....b

Am I not correct, Bernice, that these witnesses were over at the Sheriff's office, as I indicated in my post? Please clarify, if you know. Thank you. DSL

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Page 63 of CE 1381, which is on page 662 of Warren Commission Volume 22, is a two page statement from Billy Nolan Lovelady. It clearly states on the second page that “at about 1:45 p.m. I and several other employees accompanied a police officer to City Hall for questioning.” So, yes, I would say Lovelady was in the Dallas Police Department prior to 2:00 p.m.


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Page 63 of CE 1381, which is on page 662 of Warren Commission Volume 22, is a two page statement from Billy Nolan Lovelady. It clearly states on the second page that “at about 1:45 p.m. I and several other employees accompanied a police officer to City Hall for questioning.” So, yes, I would say Lovelady was in the Dallas Police Department prior to 2:00 p.m.


Thanks, Joe. I would like to know who the "several other employees" were, who the police officer was, and why they were brought to the Dallas Police Department "for questioning." If you come upon such information in any document, please do post it.


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