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Ball, Belin, and the Depository Witnesses

Pat Speer

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Greetings. To help offset what I suspect will be the disappointment of many over the bulk release of a mountain of mostly inconsequential documents, I've decided to announce something I've been working on, and am currently in the process of reviewing and re-writing.

It's a fresh take on the testimony of the depository witnesses--those used by Joseph Ball and David Belin to suggest 1) Oswald never came down for lunch, and 2)  Oswald raced downstairs from the sixth floor  after the shots, and those whose testimony should have been used to make sense of it all.

Researching and writing this was, for me, quite an eye opener. To put it mildly, I've moved Ball and Belin over to Arlen Specter-land, in that I now suspect they not only pushed nonsense on the public, but did so deliberately. 

Here's a link. http://www.patspeer.com/chapter4b%3A"theso-calledevidence"

I suspect you'll learn as much as I did.

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Not sure why anyone would be surprised at how these highly skilled lawyers were able to create the right record of evidence. They selected the witnesses, prepped them for their testimony (often by telling them what has been learned so they would conform to the script), asked the questions that would lead to the answers they wanted (hint- hypothetical questions to doctors); ignored inconvenient answers, went off the record when witnesses went off script and if necessary threatened witnesses or flat out changed their testimony. Specter and Belin get particularly high grades for these tactics.... 

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Thanks, Lawrence and Mark. In reviewing all the statements and testimony of the depository employees, I realized that April 7 and 8 were the central dates of the commission's investigation and whitewash.

In this 2 day stretch, Ball and Belin took the testimony of:

Shelley and Lovelady, and manipulated their testimony to look like they couldn't have seen Vickie Adams on the first floor prior to the ascent of Baker and Truly on the stairs (when they could have seen her, and did see her).

Adams herself (without the back-up of Sandra Styles, who shared her recollection they raced down the stairs at a time Ball and Belin claimed Oswald was on the stairs)

Jack Dougherty, and failed to ask him the questions that could have helped clear up the timing of his use of the west elevator---they needed this to be a few minutes after the shooting so they could identify the otherwise mysterious and probably guilty passenger of the elevator that descended from the top floors just after the shooting.

Eddie Piper, who was never asked where it was he saw Oswald on the first floor during lunchtime, or asked (on the record at least) when it was he spoke to Dougherty after Dougherty descended in the elevator.(The answer to this crucial question could have led to the commission's concluding someone other than Oswald fired the shots, and then escaped, so they couldn't have that, now, could they?)

Charles Givens, who suddenly popped up with a new story in which he went back up to the sixth floor to get his jacket--and saw Oswald by the sniper's nest--but was not challenged on this.

Dallas Police Inspector Herbert Sawyer, who recalled the police hunting for Givens because he'd seen Oswald near the sniper's nest--something Ball and Belin knew to be untrue which should have been challenged.


So, in the course of two days, Ball and Belin pushed not one not two but three false narratives.

1.That Oswald did not come down for lunch.

2. That Vickie Adams and Sandra Styles did not race down the stairs just after the shooting at a time when they (Ball and Bellin) presumed Oswald was on the stairs.

3. That Jack Dougherty was in the elevator Baker and Truly saw on an upper floor as they ran up, that was missing when they reached the fifth floor.

Ball and Belin had reason to believe all 3 of these narratives were false, but pushed them anyhow, to the extent even that they maligned Dougherty and Piper and essentially called them idiots who couldn't be trusted (when they said Oswald didn't have a package when he entered the building and that he came down for lunch, respectively), but then used them to explain the missing elevator and undermine Adams, respectively.


Edited by Pat Speer
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Testimony you quoted in your write-up:

Mr. BALL - You heard the shots. And how long after that was it before Gloria Calvary came up?
Mr. LOVELADY - Oh, approximately 3 minutes, I would say.

The Darnell film shows that Gloria Calvery was at the TSBD steps -- talking to Billy Lovelady -- just before Officer Baker arrived. So the 3 minutes Lovelady and Shelley testified to was really more like 30 seconds.

From reading all the first-day statements and filling in details-only from the less-reliable WC testimony, it seems clear that the following is what happened with these three characters:

As Kennedy's limo drove down Elm and became harder to see from the TSBD steps, Shelley began to cross Elm Extension for a better view. Lovelady followed, though he may have turned around before getting to the other side. Because immediately after the shots, Gloria Calvery ran toward the TSBD, met Shelley at the corner island where the traffic light is, and they both went immediately to the steps. Shelley went inside and called his wife, and Calvery stopped and spoke with Lovelady, who had resumed his position on the steps.

At that time, officer Baker ran across the extension toward the steps.

You can see Lovelady talking to Gloria Calvery in the right frame:



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Thanks, Sandy. If you read on, you'll see that's exactly what I concluded.

Both Shelley and Lovelady testified to seeing Baker run into the building after they'd spoken to Calvery. The commission had already performed a re-enactment in which they timed Baker's running into the building at--get this--15 seconds. So they knew Shelley and Lovelady were incorrect in thinking they spoke to Calvery 3 minutes after the shooting. But they failed to perform a re-enactment, or even a detailed interview of Calvery, so they could let Shelley and Lovelady's approximations stand...and be used against Vickie Adams.

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In your piece you reference Barry Ernest's Book, The Girl on the Stairs, and you point out the Barefoot Sander's letter that essentially states that Adam's supervisor corroborated her claim of descending the stairway early. A claim which the WC was trying to discredit.

What surprises me is that you didn't mention (as far as I can see) that Victoria Adams told Ernest that she did NOT see Lovelady or Shelley when she arrived at the bottom of the stairs. In other words, the WC changed her testimony to say that she did see them.

IMO every indication is that Lovelady and Shelley weren't there when Adam's arrived on the first floor. Ernest blogged this earlier this year (here):

"Vicki Adams denied seeing William Shelley and Billy Lovelady on the first floor when she arrived there. Sandra Styles provided strong corroboration that those two men weren’t around. Additional evidence backs up and is consistent with the truthfulness of Miss Adams."

As for Lovelady and Shelley, every indication is that they lied in their testimony. The didn't walked down Elm Street extension to the railroad tracks, and enter that TSBD door on the west. I located every single one of their statements regarding this and their story changed each time. Plus their story contradicts what we see in the Darnell film. Their first-day statements, on the other hand, are consistent with what we see in Darnell. And their first-day statements don't say a thing about the walk down Elm Street extension.

That whole Elm Street extension story was fabricated. Victoria Adam's testimony was changed to support it. And Lovelady and Shelley were coached in giving that story. What makes it obvious they were coached is that they both said it took Gloria Calvery three minutes to arrive, when in reality it took only 30 seconds, as is proven by the Darnell film. They got that "3 minutes" from he same script.


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That 3 minute delay was not an approximation on the part of Lovelady and Shelley. It was a WC fabrication they were coached to say. (Either that or their later statements and WC testimonies were all changed like Victoria Adams' testimony was.)

The Darnell film, along with Lovelady's and Shelley's first-day statements (and corroborated by Wesley Frazier's testimony), prove that by the end of the shooting Shelley had already crossed the Elm extension and bumped into Calvery at that corner island. At  which time they went back to the steps and Shelley went inside. In other words, Calvery and Shelley were together within a few seconds after the shots. Nobody could think that was three minutes.


Edited by Sandy Larsen
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1 hour ago, Sandy Larsen said:

[Lovelady's and Shelley's] whole Elm Street extension story was fabricated. Victoria Adam's testimony was changed to support it. And Lovelady and Shelley were coached in giving that story. What makes it obvious they were coached is that they both said it took Gloria Calvery three minutes to arrive, when in reality it took only 30 seconds, as is proven by the Darnell film. They got that "3 minutes" from he same script.

I located every single one of their statements regarding this (the Elm extension stroll and being seen by Adams) and their story changed each time.


I recall that in one of Lovelady's statements he said the he and Shelley went down to where Kennedy's limo had been and they hung around there for a few minutes. Later this part of the story disappeared. This is just one thing that changed over time. It's obvious that the whole story was fabricated to meet the needs of the WC.

I thought I had done a write-up on this. But as it turns out, I only started it and was sidetracked when Tommy Graves and I discovered that Gloria Calvery was standing right in front of Lovelady, talking to him! (I suspected that she had arrived at the steps, but at the time we couldn't identify her. Now we can.)

Following is a post on my unfinished write-up. In it I describe some of the the conclusions the write-up was expected to make.



Edited by Sandy Larsen
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We'll have to disagree, Sandy. To me, the record is quite clear that Shelley and Lovelady told the truth as they knew it. I also think Adams told the truth as she knew it. Over time, however, after being told over and over again that Shelley and Lovelady's statements proved she didn't race down the stairs. she probably came to believe she never said she spoke to them on the first floor. Even though she had.

What most people don't realize, since they've read so much stuff about how the record's been changed, etc, is that the record---the combined statements of the witnesses--absolutely positively supports Adams' story. It has all along. From 1964, long before the recent revelations about Garner, and the re-emergence of Styles.

1. Shelley and Lovelady thought the Calvery incident took up 3 minutes, when it really took up 30 seconds at best. Their sense of time was off by 6 to 1, or more.

2. Although the FBI wrote up statements in which Shelley and Lovelady said they thought they stayed outside for 10 minutes and 5 minutes after the shooting, these statements were never signed, as far as I can tell. Perhaps someone can show us where the mid-March FBI statements were ever signed, because I've only seen unsigned versions of these statements.

3. Lovelady made it clear that he thought they'd spent half as much time over by the train yards as they had out front with Calvery. In other words, just a few seconds. Lovelady also said he remembered Shelley talking to a girl he thought was Adams. Shelley himself said he remembered talking to Adams, but thought this was on the fourth floor..

4. That Shelley and Lovelady were lying about their trip around the back is refuted, moreover, by their claiming they re-entered the building through the side door. This was one of the biggest revelations of the Warren Commission hearings. Ball and Belin didn't even know this entrance existed. It wasn't on their diagrams for the building. As I recall, they had no one who could testify to shutting off this entrance after the shooting. Having Shelley and Lovelady re-entering through this door, for that matter, cut 30 seconds off their trip around the building, and made their arriving in time to see Adams near the elevators far far more likely. In short, there was no upside for the commission to invent a story in which Shelley and Lovelady re-entered through this door.

5. That the WC invented the whole Adams talked to Shelley and Lovelady bit is refuted through another means as well. Adams mentioned talking to Shelley and Lovelady in a February interview/statement to the DPD. For whatever reason, this interview/statement was not forwarded to the WC, or published in its records. If it was a WC creation, well, what was it doing in a statement not created by the commission and never even sent the commission?

6. In any event,  Adams' recalled seeing  a DPD officer standing on Houston that is quite obviously Welcome Barnett, who testified to leaving this location within 2 1/2 minutes of the shooting. This confirms Adams' account of racing down the stairs. She also described hearing a call over a police radio, which was broadcast at 12:38. She said she heard this after racing down the stairs, going out the back door, going over to the train yards, chitty-chatting, and coming back to the front steps, where she engaged in more chitty-chatting. Hearing this broadcast after all this activity supports her timeline, in which she was out of the building by 12:32, and not the timeline of Ball and Belin, who had her heading downstairs at 12:34 or so (after Baker and Truly were up on the fifth floor) and leaving the building at 12:35 or 12:36.

Edited by Pat Speer
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4 hours ago, Lawrence Schnapf said:

Sandy- why would Shelley and Lovelady lie? 


First let me say that whether or not Shelley and Lovelady lied makes no difference to me. I don't have a theory I'm trying to support by showing these guys lied. I'm saying they lied because the evidence clearly shows that they did.

For example, in his first-day statement Bill Shelley said he left the steps almost immediately after the shooting, crossed Elm Street extension, and bumped into Gloria Calvery there. (She was headed toward the TSBD.) Wesley Frazier corroborated this fact, and it is consistent with what we see on the Darnell film. Now compare that to Shelley's WC testimony.  In that he said that he stayed on the steps for three or four minutes before crossing Elm Street extension. And that Gloria Calvery bumped into him there.

There is no way a person can confuse "immediately crossing the street at the sound of gunfire" with "waiting three or four minutes." There is no way a person can confuse bumping into a coworker after crossing the street to waiting three or four minutes on the steps for that coworker to arrive there.

The Darnell film proves that Lovelady and Shelley lied in their later statements and testimony, but not in their early statements.

As for why they lied, clearly somebody got to them. It was important to the WC to discredit Victoria Adam's testimony, and having Shelley and Lovelady hang around the front entrance for three or four minutes before entering the West door of the TSBD to be seen by Victoria accomplished that goal.

Victoria Adam's says that she did NOT see Shelley and Lovelady after she descended from the stairs. Yet the transcript of her WC testimony has her saying that she did see them. Obviously the transcript was changed in order to meet the WC's needs. This issue has been studied in detail by Bart Kamp -- who is considered to be an authority on this topic -- and his conclusions are the same as mine (with one exception).

At one point in time, when I first started studying this topic, I thought I had found a way to explain what I now consider to be Shelley and Lovelady lies. I made the forum thread titled "Maybe Shelley & Lovelady didn't lie after all." But as I was laying out the case, Thomas Graves and I discovered on other threads two things in the Darnell film that showed I was wrong and Bart Kamp was right. First, that Lovelady could still be seen on the steps as Officer Baker arrived; and second, Gloria Calvery could be seen talking to him. (This was within 30 seconds of the shots, not three minutes.) This changed everything. After seeing that and after reading the later statements of Shelley and Lovelady, it became obvious to me that Bart was right after all.


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22 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

What most people don't realize, since they've read so much stuff about how the record's been changed, etc, is that the record---the combined statements of the witnesses--absolutely positively supports Adams' story.


Adam's story is that she did NOT see Shelley and Lovelady upon exiting the stairway on the first floor. Her story is that the WC changed her testimony to say that she did see them.

She didn't see them. They weren't even there.


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FWIW, I don't think Shelley and Lovelady lied about the three minutes. They were wrong about it, but I don't think they lied.

If they were part of some plot to discredit Adams, they would have both been coached to claim they'd spent a number of minutes in the train yards, and not out front.  The WC had performed a re-enactment of Baker's race to the building, and had concluded it took as little as 15 seconds. Both Shelley and Lovelady said they'd already left the front of the building when Baker raced in. They thereby proved their approximations to be nonsense. If they'd provided accurate approximations for the first part of their journey, and grossly over-inflated approximations for the second part, well, they'd have been a lot more credible, and a lot more damaging to Adams' credibility.

In short, then, if they'd been coached to lie about how long they stood on the steps before running around the back, they either had a terrible coach, or one who wasn't coordinating their lies with the WC.

Now this last point is an important one. While it seems possible someone operating without the knowledge of the WC was orchestrating false testimony, my recent deep dive into the statements and testimony strongly suggests to me that Ball and Belin were doing plenty of orchestrating of their own, and didn't need any outside help.

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