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Testimony Blues

Greg Parker

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CE 2003 tells us that Inspector Sawyer issued an alert for Charles Givens on the basis that he was missing from work at the TSBD and had a criminal record. He was found within a couple of hours and taken to police HQ where he made a formal statement saying that he had left the 6th floor at about 11:30, had gone to the washroom, and then to lunch, which he sppent waiting for the motorcade at a parking lot with a friend. His statement included nothing about going back to the 6th floor to retrieve his coat and cigarettes, nor any encounter with Oswald.

Givens gave virtually the same story later that day to the FBI; the only difference being that this time he did include an encounter with Oswald. He told the FBI he had seen Oswald reading a paper in the Domino room at 11:50.

By the time Givens came before the WC however, his story had changed dramatically.


He was asked that very question. You can make up your own mind whether or not his answer constitutes a negative response, whether or not "coat', "jacket" and "raincoat" are all interchangeable terms, and whether or not he wore a coat or jacket under his raincoat.

Mr. BELIN. Where did you go when you got to work?

Mr. GIVENS. I went in a little lunchroom that we have downstairs.

Mr. BELIN. Is that what you call the domino room?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. You carry your lunch with you?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. You put your lunch there?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. Did you wear a jacket to work that day?

Mr. GIVENS. I wore a raincoat, I believe. It was misting that morning.

Mr. BELIN. Did you hang up your coat in that room, too?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

If he was not wearing a coat or jacket under his raincoat, it follows that he had no need to retrieve one from anywhere -- let alone the 6th floor.

Yet Givens went on to give the following account:

Mr. GIVENS. Well, it was about a quarter till 12, we were on our way downstairs, and we passed him, and he was standing at the gate on the fifth floor. I came downstairs, and I discovered I left my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it. When I got back upstairs, he was on the sixth floor in that vicinity, coming from that way.

Mr. BELIN. Coming from what way?

Mr. GIVENS. Toward the window up front where the shots were fired from.

Mr. BELIN. Just a second, where did you go? Where were you when you saw him on the sixth floor?

Mr. GIVENS. I had went and got my jacket and was on my way back to the elevator.

And elaborates on the above:

Mr. BELIN. Now, did you notice whether or not there were any cartons stacked up around the southeast corner of that sixth floor?

Mr. GIVENS. Well, I didn't pay any attention about any being stacked, because we had taken all that stock from that side of the building and ran it down that side.

Mr. BELIN. You had taken stock down from the west part of the sixth floor where you were working and put it there?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes; ran it down the side right in front of the window.

Mr. BELIN. Was he between that stock and the window, or was he on the other side of the window?

Mr. GIVENS. He was between the stock and the window, coming towards the elevators.

Mr. BELIN. Coming towards the elevators?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

Next, he related his attempt to reenter the TSBD after the shooting, an encounter with Junior Jarman, and being recognised by Officer Darwson, leading to being taken "downtown" to make his statement.


Mr. BELIN. How many shots did you hear?

Mr. GIVENS. Three.

Mr. BELIN. What did you do when you heard them?

Mr. GIVENS. Well, we broke and ran down that way, and by the time we got to the corner down there of Houston and Elm, everybody was running, going toward the underpass over there by the railroad tracks. And we asked--I asked someone some white fellow there, 'What happened ?" And he said, "Somebody shot the President." Like that. So I stood there for a while, and I went over to try to get to the building after they found out the shots came from there, and when I went over to try to get back in the officer at the door wouldn't let me in.

Mr. BELIN. Did you tell him you worked there?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes; but he still wouldn't let me in. He told me he wouldn't let no one in.

Mr. BELIN. This was the front of Elm Street?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes. So I goes back over to the parking lot and I wait until I seen Junior.

Mr. BELIN. Is that Jarman?

Mr. GIVENS. Yes. They were on their way home, and they told me that they let them all go home for the evening, and I said, "I'd better go back and get my hat and coat."

So I started over there to pick up my hat and coat, and Officer Dawson saw me and he called me and asked me was my name Charles Givens, and I said," yes."

And he said, "We want you to go downtown and make a statement."

And he puts me in the car and takes me down to the city hall and I made a statement to Will Fritz down there.

Givens found no help in this revision from Jarman. Not that contradictions mattered one iota to the commission. Here, they merely change the subject when Jarman confirms Givens did not get back inside.

Mr. BALL. You ran to the front door?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir; and out on the street.

Mr. BALL. You and who?

Mr. JARMAN. Harold Norman.

Mr. BALL. You and Harold went out there?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Did you ever see a fellow named Brennan?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Where did you see him first?

Mr. JARMAN. He was talking to a police officer.

Mr. BALL. How was he dressed?

Mr. JARMAN. He was dressed in construction clothes.

Mr. BALL. Anything else, any other way to describe him?

Mr. JARMAN. Well, he had on a silverlike helmet.

Mr. BALL. Hard-hat?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Did you stay out there very long?

Mr. JARMAN. Just a few minutes.

Mr. BALL. Then where did you go?

Mr. JARMAN. We heard him talking to this officer about that he had heard these shots and he had seen the barrel of the gun sticking out the window, and he said that the shots came from inside the building, and I told the officer that I believed that they came from inside the building also, and then he rushed us back inside.

Mr. BALL. The officer did?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. How did you know this fellow was Brennan?

Mr. JARMAN. Well, at that time I didn't know him at all --

Mr. BALL. Have you learned that since?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Who told you that the man in the hard-hat was Brennan?

Mr. JARMAN. Well, they have had him down there at the building a couple of times.

Mr. BALL. Were you taken to the police station?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Did you make a statement?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. When?

Mr. JARMAN. That Saturday morning.

Mr. BALL. The next day?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. How long did you stay in the building, the Texas School Book Depository building that afternoon?

Mr. JARMAN. I'd say it was somewhere between two and two-thirty when they turned us loose and told us to go home.

Mr. BALL. When you were there did you notice whether any of the employees were missing?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. When did you notice, and who was missing?

Mr. JARMAN. When we started to line up to show our identification, quite a few of us asked where was Lee. That is what we called him, and he wasn't anywhere around. We started asking each other, have you seen Lee Oswald, and they said no.

Mr. BALL. Was there anybody else missing?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes.

Mr. BALL. Who.

Mr. JARMAN. Charles Douglas Givens, I believe.

Mr. BALL. Charles Givens?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Anybody else?

Mr. JARMAN. I can't recall.

Mr. McCLOY. Had Givens been in the Depository that morning?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir; he had.

Mr. McCLOY. He had been there?

Mr. JARMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Did Givens come back later?

Mr. JARMAN. He didn't come back to the building until they picked him up.

Mr. BALL. He did come back to the building before you left, did he?

Mr. JARMAN. No, sir.

Mr. BALL. He didn't?

Mr. JARMAN. No, sir.

Mr. BALL. He was not there when you left?

Mr. JARMAN. No, sir.

Note also that Jarman had vital evidence of the shots coming from the 6th floor -- yet he is allowed to go home, and not required to make a statement until the next day.

For yet another take on Givens and his post-assassination hijinx, look no further than Revill.

Mr. RANKIN. Did you know that Oswald had been arrested?

Mr. REVILL. No, sir; at that time I did not.

Mr. RANKIN. You just knew about the someone by the name of Lee, didn't


Mr. REVILL. Yes, sir; Lee. And this was told to me by a colored employee of the School Book Depository. Myself and Lieutenant Frank Dyson took charge of the search of the building and we must have had 75 or 80 men in the building assisting in this search. I talked to a Negro----

Mr. DULLES. Were you in charge of that?

Mr. REVILL. Yes, sir; I was in charge of that phase of the search. I talked to a Negro by the name of Givens, and we had handled this person in the past for marijuana violations and I recognized him and in talking to him I asked him if he had been on the sixth floor, and as well as I recall, and Detective Brian was present at this same time he said, yes, that he had observed Mr. Lee, over by this window. Well, I asked him who Mr. Lee was, he said, "It is a white boy." He didn't know his full name. So, I turned this Givens individual over to one of our Negro detectives and told him to take him to Captain Fritz for interrogation, and while going to the city hall, or the police station I passed this detective and Givens, and they came into the homicide and robbery bureau shortly after Hosty and I did, so I am sure Captain Fritz did talk to Mr. Givens.

Possibly the "Officer Dawson" referred to by Givens was the "Negro detective" (hey, I'm impressed the DPD had ANY blacks at all -- let alone a detective) referred to by Revill. But even if that is the case, it still amounts to yet another different version.


1) Givens missing and APB made for him to be picked up (Sawyer)

2) Givens meeting Jarman outside before attempting to get back inside to (for the second time) retrieve his coat/jacket/raincoat, whereupon he was recognised by "Officer Dawson" and taken immediately to make his statement (Givens)

3) Not meeting Jarman outside, but being noticed missing as everyone was lining up to leave at about 2:00pm (Jarman).

4) Getting back into the TSBD and being recognised by Revill, and telling Revill he had seen "Mr Lee" on the 6th floor by the window... before being escorted by a detective to City Hall for for his statement - which, as shown at the start of this thread, contained NOTHING about going back to the 6th floor, let alone anything about seeing Oswald/"Mr Lee" on that floor.

On a final note: The WC asked Givens if he had ever told anyone he'd seen Oswald reading a paper in the domino room at 11:50 on the day of the assassination. Givens denied it. The WC it seems, wanted that denial on the record and were not in the least inerested in testing the veracity of that denial by doing something they had done on numerous occasions with other witnesses whose memory they wanted refreshed; confronting him with the FBI report containing that statment.

Edited by Greg Parker
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Considering everything that must have happened at the TSBD on and around 11/22/63, I also find it difficult to believe that all TSBD employees interrogated by the FBI, DPD and WC spoke the truth.

I'm sure there are other flaws in other individuals' testimonies, such as Danny Arce's and the other men's that were on the 5th floor around 12:30 that day.

So, who buys the TSBD testimonies that nobody saw anyone who wasn't an employee of the TSBD immediately before or after the shots were fired?

I don't.

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