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An argument for actual innocence of Oswald in the Tippit case


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TIPPIT BALLISTICS

In not a single instance in the published record—whether in the Warren Commission report or exhibits or in any other venue—are any of the four evidence shells Q74, Q75, Q76, and Q77 (supposedly the four shells ejected from the Tippit killer's revolver found at the scene of the crime) identified under oath by an officer who originally marked them, on the basis of identification of his mark, as the shell he marked. 

The observation above (which is from me) is true and startling, but has been so little noticed that, for example, awareness of this lacuna in published evidence is not even mentioned in the usually scrupulous Myers, With Malice (and the same comment is applicable to other published studies). 

The FBI lab found that the evidence shells turned over to the FBI labeled as the shells found at the Tippit crime scene—Q74, Q75, Q76, Q77—had been fired from Oswald’s revolver to the exclusion of any other weapon (3H466). This is the linchpin of the case against Oswald. The problem with this is there is no clear evidence those shells were the ones found at the Tippit crime scene. 

There are officers testifying to the Warren Commission that they marked shells at the scene (without identifying their mark on evidence shells shown to them). There is an unsigned FBI report to the Warren Commission stating that three Dallas Police officers confirmed to an FBI agent identification of their marks on evidence shells to that FBI agent (but there is no signed document or testimony or known report from that FBI agent reporting that). There is an officer testifying under oath that he had been shown the four evidence shells earlier (not while under oath), and on that occasion he had identified two shells that he had marked (but without stating an identification of his mark on an evidence shell in present time in that testimony). (He testified under oath that he had formerly said something, but not that what he had said was accurate.) All of this can be found in the Warren Commission testimony. 

But there is no instance of any of the five Dallas police officers who marked the four shells found at the scene prior to turning them into the Crime Lab for safekeeping, under oath in testimony to the Warren Commission, or in sworn written statement, or in any other setting under oath, having been shown any of the evidence shells, identified their mark on it, and identified that shell on the basis of their mark, as the same shell they had received and marked at the scene of the crime. 

It is such an odd lacuna, so easily missed—and it is systematic across the board, applying to all five officers and all four of the shells found at the Tippit crime scene. 

But the other claims—thirdhand statements from other than the marking officers themselves—that those officers identified their marks on the evidence shells read so smoothly that the truth of the short statement at the top of this section—almost as if by some sleight of hand—is not "seen". 

To cut to the chase

The theory of the case developed here is that there were three corruptions in the Dallas Police Department handling of the ballistics evidence in the Tippit case.

(1) The Dallas Police Department did not hand over to the FBI but withheld three of four bullets taken from Tippit's body, after being instructed to hand over all physical evidence in their possession and stating that they had done so.

(2) The four ejected .38 Special shells found at the scene of the crime from the killer's revolver and marked by officers were replaced, sometime between Sat Nov 23 and Tue Nov 26, by person or persons within the Dallas Police Crime Lab, by four substituted shells fired from Oswald's revolver. Marks were scratched on the substitute shells attempting to imitate, not entirely successfully, the officers' marks on the original shells. Following this, the newly-marked shells fired from Oswald’s revolver were handed over to the FBI on Thu Nov 28 to examine whether they were fired from Oswald’s revolver, in order to find out whether Oswald was guilty.

(3) Three live .38 Special cartridges of Winchester-Western manufacture of six taken from Oswald's revolver were replaced by three of the same kind of Remington-Peters manufacture. 

In this reconstruction there were no substitutions in the four body bullets of Tippit, the revolver of Oswald, or the five shells found by officers Boyd and Sims in Oswald's pants pocket. There was no planting of shells at the scene. There was no corruption in the FBI lab with respect to these items. The FBI lab reported accurately on the basis of what they received. There was no intent to be dishonest or willingness to lie under oath with respect to these items on the part of the five officers who originally scratched their marks on those shells.

This is not an argument merely over whether evidence would have held up in court or justified a legal conviction of Oswald. That is not really the issue here. This is an argument that Oswald was actually innocent of the Tippit killing; that whatever else Oswald may or may not have done he did not kill officer Tippit, and on that specific charge he should be exonerated.

Method

One way to test theories is to ask: on the assumption that this theory were true, what would one expect to happen, if so?

If, for example, the theory of the case to be developed here is correct, one might expect to see in the known evidence and testimony:

  • Officers noticing otherwise-unidentified marks on the shells which may resemble their own but which look different from their own, causing some confusion or uncertainty in identifications of their marks.
  • Officers when asked prior to their testimony if they were prepared to make a positive identification of their mark on a shell expressing reluctance to do so under oath, and responsive to this, if called to testify are not questioned on that point.
  • One way of dealing with an inability to obtain direct testimony under oath from officers identifying their marks on shells would be to "conceal" that by workarounds.

On the other hand, if the four shells handed over by the Dallas Police Department to the FBI were the same four shells found at the scene of the crime—a straightforward, clean handling and conveyance of those four shells—one might expect:

  • Officers who marked those shells, in their testimony before the Warren Commission would be shown a shell, asked if they could identify their mark on the shell, and then asked if they could identify the shell as the one they had marked, stated clearly under oath, as part of the vast quantity of other Warren Commission testimony.
  • Officers who marked those shells would normally be expected to be able to find and identify their own marks without difficulty, and would so testify under oath.

Following is an examination of the testimonies of the five officers who marked the four shells ejected from the killer’s revolver at the scene of the Tippit killing, before those shells entered the custody of the Crime Lab at the Dallas Police station. 

Warren Commission testimony of the five officers who marked the four ejected shells from the killer’s revolver found at the scene of the Tippit killing

Patrolman J. M. Poe

Mr. Ball. Did you put any markings on the hulls?

Mr. Poe. I couldn’t swear to it; no, sir. 

(…)

Mr. Ball. What did you do with the hulls?

Mr. Poe. I turned the hulls into the crime lab, which was at the scene.

Mr. Ball. Do you know the name of the man with the crime lab or from the crime lab?

Mr. Poe. I couldn’t swear to it. I believe Pete Barnes, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

(…)

Mr. Ball. Now, I have here a package which has been marked “Q”—FBI lab. Q-74 to Q-77. Would you look those over and see if there is any identification on there by you to indicate that those were the hulls given to you by [citizen] Benavides?

Mr. Poe. I want to say these two are mine, but I couldn’t swear to it.

Mr. Ball. Did you make a mark?

Mr. Poe. I can’t swear to it; no, sir.

Mr. Ball. But there is a mark on two of these?

Mr. Poe. There is a mark. I believe I put on them, but I couldn’t swear to it. I couldn’t make them out any more.

Mr. Ball. Now, the ones you said you made a mark on are you think it is these two? Q-77 and Q-75?

Mr. Poe. Yes, sir; those two there.

Mr. Ball. Both marked Western Special? They both are marked Western Special? How long did you stay there?

Mr. Poe. At the scene?

Mr. Ball. Uh-huh.

Comment: Poe does make a tentative identification though he “wouldn’t swear to it” of two evidence shells that he thought he had marked out of the four, even though—very oddly (assuming he marked)—he cannot identify his marks. But the marks are the basis for identification, so if Poe cannot find his marks, how is he tentatively identifying at all? That is not asked. It appears Poe was guessing concerning which two he thought he marked, or possibly was influenced by marks which most closely resembled his own on two shells even though he did not think he made those marks. All of this is consistent with an officer encountering forged attempts to imitate his marks on substituted shells.

Under oath, Poe, the first officer to take possession of shells ejected from the killer’s gun at the scene, has testified he is not able to identify marks he remembered making on any of the four shells. The following account from Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, 152-55, is so jaw-dropping I can do no better than quote it at length.

“In 1984, Poe explained to the author that he was absolutely certain that he marked the shells. Indeed, he could not be certain of a single other instance during his twenty-eight years of police work when he had failed to properly mark evidence. He indicated that he became aware that he could not find his markings prior to his Warren Commission testimony ‘when the FBI came down and interviewed us … We were down in the [FBI] office, and I just could not be absolutely positive that my mark was in there.’ While Poe did not specifically say that he was pressured to ‘find’ his marks in the hulls, he volunteered this comment about his experience: ‘I wasn’t going to lie to the man and say I saw my mark when I didn’t. I still wouldn’t do that.’

“Officer Poe insisted to the author that even though he could not find his identifying marks, he felt certain that the hulls were the ones he had taken into evidence at the scene of the Tippit murder. Poe recalled one explanation that he had not mentioned to the Warren Commission two decades earlier. He stated that the reason he was not able to find his markings might have been that so many other identifying marks had been placed in the cartridge hulls, actually on top of his identifying marks, thus obscuring his markings in the thicket of marks from other officials through whose hand the evidence passed. Stated Poe: ‘When it came to [my] looking at them again, there were so many marks in there that I couldn’t find mine … In a better light, or [with] a magnifying glass, I might be able to pick it out.’

“Soon after Poe made this statement, the author examined the cartridge hulls at the National Archives with a lighted magnifying glass. Only Officer Poe can state whether his identifying mark is on the hulls, and he has stated that he cannot find it because it appears lost among so many other marks. What is readily apparent to anyone who examines the hulls is that while there are several identification marks scratched in them, in no case is a marking obliterating another marking. Moreover, in each hull at least 50 percent of the surface area around the inside rim has no marking at all, leaving ample space for even additional identifying marks. There is no conceivable reason for any marking to be placed over another marking.

“The markings in the hulls are distinctive and clearly seen—even with the naked eye. It seems impossible that if Poe’s marks were actually there, he could not find them. Confronted with this, Officer Poe flatly stated, ‘I [have] talked to you all I’m going to talk to you. You already got your mind made up about what you’re going to say. I know what the truth is.’ He then hung up the telephone, refusing to discuss the matter further.

“Dallas Police Sergeant Gerald Hill, a key figure in the arrest of Oswald, was one of the first policemen to arrive at the scene of the Tippit slaying (. . .) At the scene, Sergeant Hill inspected the cartridge hulls and ordered Officer Poe to mark them as evidence and turn them over to the crime lab.

“In 1984 the author interviewed Hill, who rose to the rank of lieutenant before his retirement from the police force (. . .) When asked if he believed the official version on Tippit’s death, he dismissed the question with bombast, stating that the cartridge hulls from the scene, proved to have been fired in Oswald’s pistol, sealed the case.

“The author referred to the grave inconsistencies concerning Poe’s identification of the hulls, suggesting the possibility that they might have been replaced by hulls not discovered at the scene and marked by Poe. The implication, of course, is that when the hulls marked by Poe were tested in the lab and were found not to have been fired from Oswald’s pistol, they were replaced by hulls that had been fired from Oswald’s pistol—after it came into the custody of the police. (. . .)

“Hill dismissed the suggestion with the following statement: ‘If they did that [replaced the cartridge hulls], they would also have forged Poe’s marks.’

“It was pointed out to Hill that, as the facts prove, it made no difference that Poe’s marks could not be found. The evidence still became the cornerstone of the case against Oswald in the killing of Tippit. Hill acknowledged that the circumstances concerning the apparent disappearance of Poe’s marks made it appear that something like this might have been done. Then, Hill added, ‘If it were any other police department in the United States, I would say that is possible. But this department is so clean that it scares me.’” 

Sergeant W. E. Barnes 

Mr. Belin. Now you mentioned out there that some cartridge cases were found, is that correct?

Mr. Barnes. That is true.

Mr. Belin. Sergeant, I will ask you to examine Commission Exhibits Nos. Q-74, Q-75, Q-76, and Q-77, and ask you to state whether or not there appears to be any identification marks on any of these exhibits that appear to show that they were examined or identified by you?

Mr. Barnes. I placed “B”, the best that I could, inside of the hull of Exhibit 74—I believe it was Q-74 and Q-75, as you have them identified.

Comment: “I believe it was” suggests some hesitation or uncertainty. Does he not know for sure? How strong is his belief? Belin does not follow up but goes to other matters.

(. . .)

Mr. Belin. Now all four of these exhibits appear to be cartridge case hulls, is that correct?

Mr. Barnes. .38 caliber.

Mr. Belin. .38 caliber pistol?

Mr. Barnes. Yes. 

Mr. Belin. They are kind of silver or chrome or grey in color? You can identify it that way?

Mr. Barnes. Yes.

Mr. Belin. How many of these hulls, to the best of your recollection, did you identify out there?

Mr. Barnes. I believe that the patrolman gave me two, and Captain Doughty received the third.

Mr. Belin. The two that the patrolman gave you, were the ones that you put this identification mark on the inside of?

Mr. Barnes. Yes.

Mr. Belin. What instrument did you use to place this mark?

Mr. Barnes. I used a diamond point pen.

Mr. Belin. You put it on Q-74 and Q-75?

Mr. Barnes. It looks like there are others that put their markings in there too.

Comment: Does not answer the question. The question calls for a yes or no answer. Belin accepts the non- or ambiguous answer to the question without followup or clarification and turns to another topic. Barnes does not clearly state that he marked Q74 or Q75. The “too” might be parsed as implying an unspoken affirmative answer to Belin’s question but it is not straightforward and Belin does not seek to have it clarified.

The FBI later reported that Barnes had changed his mind on one of the two shell identifications that he believed he had marked, from Q75 to Q77 (CE 2011). According to this FBI report, Barnes retracted his belief expressed in sworn testimony that he had marked Q75. An anonymous author of the FBI report, not under oath relays secondhand from FBI Special Agent Bardwell from whom no signed document or testimony is known on this matter—meaning the FBI report is relaying thirdhand (and unsworn) hearsay from Barnes. According to this anonymously-authored FBI report relaying thirdhand from Barnes, Barnes identified Q77, not Q75, as the second of the two shells he marked, as well as Q74. That is the latest known word from believed to be from Barnes concerning shell identification.

Going back to the Warren Commission testimony (when Barnes said he believed he had marked Q74 and Q75), Commission Counsel Belin, asking the questions, was very concerned about the issue of marks, referring to them repeatedly in his questioning. The very purpose of the marks is to establish that an item in evidence is the same that was from the scene of the crime. It is therefore extraordinarily odd, with Barnes directly being questioned, and Belin having the four evidence shells physically presented to Barnes to examine, and Belin asking Barnes repeated questions about marks, that Belin does not ask the one question that most matters, the reason marking is done in the first place: could Barnes identify his mark on a shell he was looking at in front of him? In all the verbiage of his questioning of Barnes, Belin never asks that question of Barnes, which is sort of the whole point of the thing.

These oddities are what one might anticipate—they become comprehensible—if Barnes had marked shells at the crime scene and then, like Poe, sees marks on the evidence shells which do not look like he made them. But Barnes reasons those marks must be his because where else could his marks be. The reactions of Poe and Barnes are in agreement with a scenario of honest officers being confronted with forged marks on substituted shells. The reactions are not so easily in agreement with what would be expected if the marks were genuine.

Note finally that the two evidence shells Poe said he thought he had marked (Q75, Q77), the two Barnes under oath believed he had marked (Q74, Q75), and the two Barnes was later reported thirdhand to have identified (Q74, Q77), differ from each other, even though Poe and Barnes marked the same two shells at the scene of the crime. There is the impression something is amiss here.

Captain G. M. Doughty

He received and marked the third of the four shells found at the Tippit crime scene. He was not called to testify before the Warren Commission. No known sworn testimony or signed statement from Doughty exists with respect to identification of his mark on an evidence shell. (But see below on CE 2011.) 

Detective C. N. Dhority

He was one of two officers who received and marked the fourth of the four shells found at the Tippit crime scene.

Mr. Ball. Now, what did you do with the empty hull that was given to you, that Virginia gave you?

Mr. Dhority. I gave it to Lieutenant Day in the crime lab.

Mr. Ball. Do you know whether or not Virginia or Jeanette Davis found an empty shell—did she tell you she found an empty shell—Jeannette Davis?

Mr. Dhority. I don’t recall—it seems like she told me she had found one earlier and gave it to the police out there, as well as I remember.

Mr. Ball. Gave it to the police that day?

Mr. Dhority. Yes; I believe so.

Comment: That is all of the questions asked by Mr. Ball about the shell, as he turned to other matters. Dhority is not asked about marking the shell or identification of his mark or identification of one of the evidence shells as the one he marked. (Why?)

There is the appearance that none of these oficers were willing to commit perjury, which means they were not willing to say they recognized marks as theirs which they did not recognize as theirs. The simple reason the Warren Commission did not obtain simple and direct identification-of-evidence-shell testimony from these officers is because these officers were not willing to commit perjury.

Detective C. W. Brown

Mr. Brown. Lieutenant Wells ordered my partner, G. N. Dhority, and I, to go to the Davis residence where Mrs. Barbara Davis handed my partner this spent hull at approximately 7 p.m. that evening. That was brought to the homicide and robbery bureau by myself and Detective Dhority.

Mr. Belin. Was it brought to that bureau at the time you brought the two women?

Mr. Brown. At the same time the Davis women were brought to the office for affidavits and identification.

Mr. Belin. Who did you turn that cartridge shell over to?

Mr. Brown. That went to the crime lab, Dallas Crime Lab.

Mr. Belin. Did you, yourself, turn it over?

Mr. Brown. No; Detective Dhority handled that.

Mr. Belin. Detective Dhority handled that?

Mr. Brown. We were keeping this evidence in a chain there. Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis handed him the spent cartridge. He gave it to the crime lab himself which was initialed by both of us.

Mr. Belin. Anything else, sir?

Comment: That is all of the questions asked of Detective Brown concerning identification of evidence shells, which is to say nothing. Brown testifies that he marked, but never identifies or is asked to identify his marking on one of the evidence shells. As with the case with Dhority, there is the appearance that the lack of questioning to Brown concerning identification of an evidence shell as the one he marked, is because there was knowledge on the part of the Commission counsel that Brown would not offer the identification wanted. (Otherwise he would have been asked.)

The third-hand anonymously-authored FBI report, CE 2011

“On June 12, 1964, four .38 Special cartridge cases, designated as Exhibits C47-50, were shown to Captain G. M. Doughty of the Dallas Poilce Department by Special Agent Bardwell D. Odum, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Captain Doughty identified his marking on one of these cases which also bears a marking ‘Q76’. Captain Doughty stated this is the same shell which he obtained from Barbara Jeanette Davis at Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. (. . .)

“On June 12, 1964, the same four cartridge cases, designated as Exhibits C47-C50, were shown by Special Agent Bardwell D. Odum to Detective C. N. Dhority, Homicide Division Dallas Police Department. Detective Dhority identified his marking on one of these cartridge cases which also is marked ‘Q75’. He stated this is the same cartridge case which he obtained from Virginia Davis, Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. (. . .)

“On June 12, 1964, four .38 Special cartridge cases, designated as Exhibits C47-C50, were shown to Dallas Police officer J. M. Poe at his home at 1716 Cascade, Mesquite, Texas, by Special Agent Bardwell D. Odum. Officer Poe stated he had received two similar cartridge cases on November 22, 1963, from Domingo Benavides at Dallas, Texas, and had on the same date given them to Pete Barnes, Crime Laboratory, Dallas Police Department. He stated he recalled marking these cases before giving them to Barnes, but he stated after a thorough examination of the four cartridges shown to him on June 12, 1964, he cannot locate his marks: therefore, he cannot positively identify any of these cartridges as being the same ones he received from Benavides. 

“On July 6, 1964, Officer J. M. Poe, Dallas Police Department, advised Special Agent Bardwell Odum that he marked the two cartridge cases on November 22, 1963, ‘J.M.P.’

“On June 15, 1964, the same cartridge cases, designated as Exhibits C47-C50, were shown by Special Agent Bardwell D. Odum to Pete Barnes, an officer of the Dallas Police Department assigned to the Crime Laboratory, and he identified his marking on two of these cases, which also bear the markings “Q74” and “Q77”. He advised these are the same two cartridge cases which he received from officer J. M. Poe of the Dallas Police Department at Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.” (CE 2011)

Comment: CE 2011 is an unusual document. Dated July 7, 1964 and issued from FBI, Dallas, anonymously authored and unsigned, it states its purpose is to respond to the President’s Commission’s request for tracing various items of physical evidence. Its content consists of description of what FBI agents, such as Bardwell Odum in the case of the Tippit physical evidence, learned from various witnesses. If any error or misrepresentation were to come to light, it is difficult to see that there would be accountability, since information from witnesses is presented in the form of thirdhand hearsay authored anonymously and with no known supporting interview-report documentation. There are bizarre things about CE 2011 which have come to light related to wilful misrepresentation in that document of witness testimony on another ballistics issue and a denial by Bardwell Odum that he had anything to do with several interviews attributed to him in that document; see Aguilar and Thompson at http://whokilledjfk.net/magic_bullet.htm

A pattern to what is missing

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, “Silver Blaze”, Sherlock Holmes studying a case suggested attention be given to “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. But, he was told, the dog did nothing in the night-time. “That was the curious incident,” said Sherlock Holmes. The point is it is noticed that something did not happen which should have happened.

Is it not just obvious what was going on? The Warren Commission was functioning like a prosecutor making a case in court. They did not suborn perjury, but presented the best case based on the evidence they had. The Warren Commission hearings and exhibits have no testimony from any of the five officers identifying their marks on shells Q47-Q50 because no such testimony was obtainable from those officers. CE 2011 was a fallback, a document without name attached and layers of deniability, with specific and shocking corruption already found in one other instance in CE 2011. CE 2011 asserts unsworn thirdhand hearsay identifications of physical evidence from officers none of whom were willing to state such directly in their own name under oath. The missing sworn testimony from an officer concerning identification of his mark on any of those evidence shells was rather successfully disguised such that the systematic lacuna on this critical point went largely unnoticed. 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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The larger question of the JFK assassination and why Oswald went to the Texas Theatre 

Here is what puzzles me. Oswald just looks like he's an operative working for the US side, even if it was expected he would be recruited in the Soviet Union and it would make sense that he could have gone along with that in a double agent role (i.e. pretending to be recruited on the Soviet side). When he returns to the U.S. he does all the provocative actions as Larry Hancock and others have brought out like running the one-man FPCC chapter in New Orleans without being told by FPCC to do so, writing the US Communist Party, etc., all at a time when it is known US agencies are trying to infiltrate and subvert the FPCC. If Oswald were a real communist or Marxist it would seem he would seek out or make friends with real communists or Marxists, but that never happens in even a single case in the U.S.--his activity looks like theatre. The real Oswald shows no signs of being a right-winger, but he could be a pro-Kennedy Cold War liberal working as an operative (in keeping with many other Cold War liberals). But here is my puzzle--Oswald SEEMS like he is actually on the side of the U.S. But Marina, for a lot of reasons (notably the business about not disclosing how well she knew English, other things) looks LIKE a Soviet plant on Oswald to come to the U.S., and there is no realism at all to an idea that Marina ever "flipped" (speaking of pre-assassination) over to working for a US agency.

I have a little difficulty wrapping my mind around how that works in real life: how can a spy (if so) working one way have a marriage and children with a spy (if so) working for the opposing side, in the Cold War? Do people purposely have children with an enemy side, without taking them into their confidence? Well, a woman might if there was a payoff to it, for her and her children. And a man such as Oswald might, if he loved Marina and she convinced him she wanted to leave the USSR and support him in his pro-U.S. work, which he and she would agree to pretend she knew nothing about. (I have this vague idea of the spooks on the Soviet side, ostensibly having a turned Oswald and their person Marina, never actually convinced Oswald was really with them and suspecting or thinking he was a double agent, but playing along with it for a bit for their own reasons...)

Of course the big question is what does any of that activity of Oswald (if so) have to do with him getting mixed up in the JFK assassination? That basically goes one of two ways: one, he turned crazy and just decided on his own to off a president just because he could (toward whom he had no known animosity), which is the conventional narrative; or, two, something Operation Northwoods, agent provocateur, false casus bellus, in continuity with Oswald's former intelligence operative work. Under this second line of possibility, which corresponds with known thinking/ops on the US side, it would only make sense in terms of an operative like Oswald, if he were wittingly part of an Operation Northwoods kind of action, that it would be (so he would understand) a foiled or fake assassination attempt, one that would be blamed on Castro but which did not succeed. Then, like the plotters planning to kill Hitler ran it through Operation Valkyrie, somebody ran a real assassination of JFK where Oswald thought it was supposed to be a pretend assassination attempt pinned on Castro.

In this scenario, the moment Oswald in the TSBD realized or learned there actually had been shots fired striking targets in the presidential limousine, which would be learned via word of mouth within perhaps thirty seconds if he did not see it personally, Oswald would have realized "this wasn't supposed to happen" and then, "uh oh, this does not look good for me". In this scenario, it may be that Oswald had been tipped off, prior to the event, of a Plan B which he was to follow "if anything goes wrong", which was to get to the Texas Theatre to meet a trusted contact at 3 pm. I am pulling the "3 pm" detail out of the air but it is a hunch explained below.

Rather than do what he was supposed to do (remain in the TSBD and let himself be found and arrested?) Oswald's every movement from that moment on is well interpreted as designed to evade pursuit and not be tailed or identified. The bus not on his direct line home with a transfer; having the cab let him off not where he wants to go and Oswald intentionally having himself seen by the cabbie walking in the opposite direction of the rooming house where he is headed; in and out of the rooming house as quickly as possible to change clothes (change physical description), and revolver; standing at the northbound bus stop on N. Beckley where he knows housekeeper Earlene will look out the window and see him headed north, another feint, after which, out of her sight, he actually takes a bus south to the Theatre.

The Theatre "fallback option" appointment "in case something goes wrong", while also risky, he decides to keep that appointment mainly because of no other good options combined with maybe trust in whoever told him that Plan B, so he chances it. But alas, his attempts to conceal his movements and direction did not succeed; unknown to him he ispotted and identified and his whereabouts going into that Theatre are known. A killer, given word that Oswald was in the Theatre, killed officer Tippit (perhaps the conveyer of the information to the killer that Oswald was confirmed in the Theatre?--not necessarily, but ironic if so), and reloaded on the run going to the Theatre to kill Oswald, knowing Oswald is there. The killer entered the Theatre but cannot kill Oswald because police converged on the Theatre so quickly, saving Oswald's life by arresting him, before the killer in the Theatre could carry out the killing of Oswald.

Under arrest Oswald's prior training perhaps would have told him to "stonewall, and we will get you out of there", but the promised rescue never came, and Oswald was hung out to dry--before he met the same fate as Tippit of being killed, by Ruby on Sunday morning because the attempt at the Theatre on Friday had failed.

So Oswald's actions after the assassination do show foreknowledge, but arguably that foreknowledge did not necessarily include knowledge that anyone was going to actually be shot and killed.

The T. F. White car sighting: a new proposal in explanation

Now about the "3 p.m." detail in the above, here is where I come up with that. It is speculation but anyway. This gets into the whole story of Carl Mather of Collins Electronics, and mechanic T.F. White's writing down of the license plate of a car registered to Carl Mather seen about 2 pm Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, with a man looking like Oswald at the wheel, in the parking lot of the El Chico restaurant located on N. Beckley about midway between Oswald's rooming house and the Texas Theatre, close to the time of Oswald's movements to the Theatre. (aka "The Wise allegation" discussed in the HSCA report, vol. 12, 37-41: https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=84#relPageId=41&search=mather_collins ).

The license number was written down by mechanic T. F. White working for Pate's Auto Garage, who after later seeing Oswald on television thought Oswald looked like the man he had seen in that car. In all the discussions of who that person in that car was, I am not aware that the identity of the driver of that car has been proposed to be the registered owner of that car and the individual known to have driven that car from his home in Garland that morning: Carl Mather. Mather was at work at Collins Electronics (far from Oak Cliff) that morning until the time of the assassination but left after news of the assassination. I have checked the timeline and there is time for him to have left following the assassination, gone to Oak Cliff--where he did go, based on the evidence of that license plate--and returned again to his home in Garland, and then he and his wife and children return again to Oak Cliff in their other car to spend several hours consoling their past acquaintance Mrs. Tippit whose husband had just been killed. Discussions of this matter are filled with talk about strange "Oswald doubles" and impersonations and whatnot (as if there would be any point served by impersonating someone in a car parked out of the way that is not likely to be noticed). It was no impersonation. It was Carl Mather, pure and simple, mistakenly thought to be Oswald by the mechanic based on a mistake of physical appearance. I have looked up Mather's military photo at age 18 (the only photo I could find for Mather) and although it is 18 years before 1963, the face looks strikingly like Oswald's to me--by sheer accident (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/112039484/carl-amos-mather). No impersonation going on with that mechanic's thinking he saw Oswald; just a mistaken identification. But the license plate number he wrote down was no mistake.

But what on earth would Carl Mather, an executive from Collins Electronics far from Oak Cliff, be doing sitting parked on N. Beckley in Oak Cliff ca. 2 pm the day of the assassination, doing nothing, just sitting in a parked car? 

I lived and worked in Denmark for four years. One of the cultural differences I quickly became accustomed to was an emphasis upon punctuality with dinner invitations. In America, at least in my midwestern upbringing, one shows up within a half hour or hour or so of a general time on the invitation--informal, laid back--and then after everyone trickles in and socializes, there is the dinner. Not so in Denmark. I am not exaggerating--one shows up no more than five minutes earlier, and no more than five minutes later, max, than the time on the invitation or it is a significant faux pas. One must show up practically to the minute to be a guest in good standing. Well, how does one show up to a place across town on the exact minute? If you're in a car, you drive to near the host's house, then simply park a couple of blocks away and sit waiting in the car until it is time to appear at the host's door. I have experienced this many times. Exactly what Carl Mather looked like he was doing.

Carl Mather worked for Collins Electronics, which did a lot of work for the Navy. As noted by others, George DeMohrenschildt wrote in I'm a Patsy that, in late 1962, after Oswald's return from the Soviet Union, DeMohrenschildt introduced Oswald to retired Navy Admiral Chester Bruton, an executive at Collins Radio, with an idea of helping Oswald get a job there.

Fast forward to Oct 7-14, 1963, and Mary Bledsoe, landlord for Oswald during that week, told the FBI that Oswald told her that week that he was attempting to obtain work at Collins Radio (WC Exhibit 1985). 

But the most interesting reference is an item in a notebook kept by Curtis Laverne "Larry" Crafard (as then spelled), recent hire by Jack Ruby living in the Carousel Club with self-professed hitman experience. Crafard was questioned by the Warren Commission about a series of phone call notes taken down by Crafard in a notebook at the Carousel. Crafard was asked about this entry (14 WC 32):

Mr. Griffin. And that page 16 is a half sheet of paper and there is noting more on the page, and turning it over on the back part of that half sheet of paper there is an entry. What is that?

Mr. Crafard. "Mr. Miller Friday 15 people Collins Radio Co." It would be somebody called in for reservations for 15 people.

To my knowledge there is no further information whatsoever known of this alleged party from Collins Radio Co. at the Carousel, nor is the date of that Friday in Crafard's notebook identified. Whatever it was, it was an incoming phone message to the Carousel, taken down by Crafard answering the phone.

I have a theory, impossible to prove or verify, but a theory about that item. "Friday" is Friday, Nov 22, 1963. "15 people" is 1500 hours or 15 o'clock which is 3 pm. "Collins Radio Co." is a man from Collins Radio Company. I am suggesting this is information related to Oswald meeting a contact from Collins Radio Company at 3 pm in the Texas Theatre. It is information  from an unknown caller or source stovepiped directly to who I believe was the killer of Tippit and would-be killer of Oswald in the Texas Theatre--whose employer at the Carousel, Ruby, killed Oswald two days later on Sunday morning.

In this scenario, when Oswald realizes real shots at the presidential limousine were fired and the ensuing shock and panic, he fled the TSBD in accord with a preexisting Plan B if anything went wrong, told to him in advance by a trusted contact. That was to get to the Texas Theatre and meet a contact there at 3 p.m. and he would be taken to safety.

Carl Mather would appear to be the contact Oswald would have met at 3 pm. The reason Mather was parked in the El Chico Restaurant parking lot near the Texas Theatre, just waiting, is for the same reason I spent time in cars in Denmark parked waiting, before showing up for an appointment or dinner engagement. Mather in the car would have been listening to the radio (being in the business of Naval electronic communications with Collins, Mather could have had police radio or other electronic communications in his vehicle--unknown). At the point Mather learned that Oswald had been arrested in the Theatre, the planned meeting clearly was off and Mather needed to be gone now. He returned to his home in Garland, then returned again with his family to Mrs. Tippit's home in Oak Cliff later that afternoon. Mather would not wish to speak of or reveal his relationship with Oswald, or why he was in Oak Cliff at ca. 2 pm when spotted by mechanic White. The timing in this scenario agrees with the 2 pm time mechanic White said he saw a person in Mather's car who he thought looked like Oswald, i.e. Mather, sitting in that parking lot, waiting, before suddenly driving off at high speed.

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On 9/6/2021 at 5:12 AM, Greg Doudna said:

 

(Part 2 o 3)

There are THREE classes of evidence commonly believed to implicate LHO which, per argument, are inverted or reversed to add weight in favor of exculpation of LHO. The arguments in these three cases are removed as incriminating arguments against LHO.

1. Witnesses => examination of cases, both of witnesses who identified the killer as LHO and those who did not; assessment. It is argued that those witnesses who identified the killer as Oswald erred in those identifications and that some credible witness testimony may be exculpatory.

Too much to even outline here, but suffice it to say there have been many wrongful convictions in which DNA has established actual innocence, of persons who wrongly served many years in prison on the basis of eyewitnesses. It is an unfortunate and sad fact that there is a long history of eyewitnesses being fallible, for many reasons including desire to assist law enforcement in convicting people believed to be guilty, and so on.

2. Jacket abandoned by fleeing killer => argument for exculpation

The argument here is that of LHO's two jackets (light and dark blue), he wore his light jacket to work that morning from Irving, based on credible testimony of Wesley Buell Frazier, also Marina (who said he arrived in his light jacket in Irving the evening before; she was sleeping and did not see what he was wearing the next morning when he left). He left the TSBD with that light jacket on (based on arguably being seen with it on a bus and in a cab), but ditched that jacket at some point before he went into his rooming house on N. Beckley. There at Beckley, as Earlene Roberts told, he entered in shirt-sleeves and left zipping up a dark jacket, this being his dark blue and warmer one. He went to the Texas Theatre with his dark blue jacket, took off the jacket inside the theatre due to the warmth inside the theatre. When he was arrested he was not wearing the blue jacket. The blue jacket would have been left behind in the Theatre probably on some seat. That dark blue jacket, securely identified as Oswald’s on the basis of hair analysis, was reported found a few days later at the TSBD and eventually turned in to the FBI. One possibility is it was found at the Theatre and turned in to police (or found by police directly in the search that continued after Oswald was arrested and driven away), who, realizing it was Oswald's, arranged for it to be reported found a few days later at TSBD. Oswald's actual wearing of his light jacket to work that morning combined with not having that light jacket on when he entered his rooming house in shirt sleeves, and then leaving zipping up a dark jacket differs from Oswald being the killer who wore and then abandoned in flight a light jacket, exculpatory. Also, the killer's jacket had a dry cleaning slip which could not be matched, despite investigative effort, to any dry cleaning establishment in Dallas or New Orleans, suggesting it had been dry cleaned outside of Dallas or New Orleans. If so, that is also exculpatory. Also, the killer's jacket was size M whereas LHO always wore size S according to Marina, and that is consistent with witnesses thinking the Tippit killer, while about the same height as Oswald, was a bit heavier.

3. Location of Oswald at time of arrest in the Theatre in Oak Cliff => alternative narrative explanation

The existing narrative is that LHO was arrested in the Theatre in the direction in which the killer was last seen headed before disappearing, then seen going into that very building, because the killer was Oswald. The alternative narrative accounts for the same facts in an arguably credible alternative way, namely, that the killer of Tippit, after carrying out a professional hit or execution of Tippit, reloaded and went next to the Theatre with intent to kill Oswald there, with intent to do then what his employer did do two days later.

* * * * *

There are THREE classes of claimed argument for LHO incrimination which are removed as weight in favor of incrimination, without positive weight in favor of innocence.

1. Paraffin test on hands => weak or no positive weight in favor of incrimination.

A paraffin test found nitrates on Oswald's hands consistent with gunpowder residue and recent firing of a handgun. But the nitrates are also consistent with non-incriminating explanations such that this is indecisive, so much so that a weight argument is not substantial, let alone proof.

2. Two fibers found in killer's jacket armpits were of the same kind and color as LHO shirt => weak or no positive weight in favor of incrimination

Dark colored shirts are so common that this agreement from fiber color gives little positive weight in favor of incrimination. There never was a lab claim of an exclusive match of those fibers to an item of clothing of Oswald's. The Tippit killer was arguably wearing a dark-colored shirt which would be a source of similar color of fibers. 

3. Resistance of arrest => indeterminate

LHO apparently punched an officer, there was a scuffle and a struggle over his gun, he was alleged to have attempted to shoot the revolver (that is contestable). The argument is that if he had not shot Tippit he would not have resisted arrest but would have surrendered without resistance. This is a subjective assessment and is judged here insubstantial, since innocent people have also resisted arrest.

Greg,

Concerning the laundry tag, it's not surprising that the FBI failed to trace it since, according to Marina, this was an old jacket that she had always washed for her husband.  Likely then that the laundry (or dry cleaning) tag was old.  The label in the jacket was that of a California maker or store, which suggests he may have purchased the jacket and later had it cleaned in that state when he was stationed there in 1959. (Or possibly had it cleaned in Russia before he met Marina.) The FBI apparently didn't search for records in California.  The fact that the FBI couldn't trace it to Dallas or New Orleans actually fits Oswald quite well and not some random guy who would've had his jacket cleaned locally.  

showDoc.html (maryferrell.org)

 

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8 hours ago, Jean Davison said:

Greg,

Concerning the laundry tag, it's not surprising that the FBI failed to trace it since, according to Marina, this was an old jacket that she had always washed for her husband.  Likely then that the laundry (or dry cleaning) tag was old.  The label in the jacket was that of a California maker or store, which suggests he may have purchased the jacket and later had it cleaned in that state when he was stationed there in 1959. (Or possibly had it cleaned in Russia before he met Marina.) The FBI apparently didn't search for records in California.  The fact that the FBI couldn't trace it to Dallas or New Orleans actually fits Oswald quite well and not some random guy who would've had his jacket cleaned locally.  

showDoc.html (maryferrell.org)

 

I think the laundry tag in itself is indecisive though weighing in favor of not-Oswald. The interpretation of it will depend on whether one already believes, on other grounds, that Oswald was the Tippit killer or not. If one comes to the laundry tag already knowing or thinking that the gunman's abandoned jacket was Oswald's, then I think the explanation would more likely be a recent Dallas dry cleaner not identified despite FBI effort and inquiries to so identify. The idea of a stapled laundry tag on the inside lining remaining intact and legible reading 'B 9738" through countless washings since 1959 does not strike me as very likely. But if one does not start with the assumption or conclusion that the gunman's jacket was Oswald's, then the dry cleaning tag with legible inked numbers--more likely recent?--not identified in Dallas or New Orleans despite what seem to have been comprehensive inquiries by the FBI, I assume mostly in the form of letters--seems to me, all else being equal, to weigh in favor of not-Oswald. (Not decisive since the true dry cleaner might not have come forward or been found despite the inquiries.) The person I suspect was the Tippit killer, Crafard, had spent time in California and in his work as a traveling carnie was in cities outside of Dallas including recently before Nov 1963 such that, if the jacket were his, it could easily have been dry cleaned outside of Dallas, less well explained for Oswald. Crafard was reported by the FBI as weighing about 10-13 pounds more than Oswald while being an inch shorter than Oswald (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1136#relPageId=377 ), compatible with the "M" size of that jacket for a slightly fuller or heavier person than Oswald's "S" size on all of his known clothes. According to current information from store websites I see, men's jacket size is based on chest measurement more than anything else, with S being chest 35-37 inches and M being chest 38-39 inches. Ruth Paine, who knew Oswald but not Crafard, when shown a photo of Crafard noted resemblance but that Crafard had broader shoulders, again seeming more consistent with the M rather than S jacket size. 

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Greg - I really appreciate your line of inquiry regarding Oswald’ movements and Larry Crafard. You make a very logical if unproved assumption that Crafard was working for Ruby, that he shot Tippit (presumably to cover a trail) and was going to shoot Oswald. Let me ask you to speculate - do you think Ruby was taking these actions on orders from mafiosi? Or someone else? In addition to his mob ties (which I’m not sure are very well documented) he also had ties to others in the Dallas milieu like McClendon, and to local cops. He mentions Edwin Walker by name while in custody. What’s your take on Ruby and his henchman Crafard? 

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Thanks Paul, my take on Ruby is he was mobbed-up to his ears even though operating business legally himself, and was representing Mob interests such as Marcello, Trafficante, and Hoffa (http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/R Disk/Ruby Jack As Gangster Related/Item 01.pdfhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1979/02/25/did-the-mob-kill-kennedy/b684d171-36b7-474e-9f7d-40a619aede46/). And Ruby was basically pleading for the then-equivalent of federal witness protection in order to flip, which Earl Warren simply blew off. But it was not Mob figures deciding on their own to declare war on the US government, rather there was a green light with deniability to Mob interests to carry out what Mob interests knew how to do, professionally carried out with a patsy who was killed, in exchange for favors or quid pro quo in the carrying out of a regime change. I am also suspecting that the right-wing haters of JFK, the Milteers, the anti-Castro Cubans, etc. though they talked of assassination were not part of the assassination which did happen. It is like the old TV series "Dallas", in which the first season ended with "Who shot J.R. Ewing?" There were a hundred people with motives, but only one that actually happened. Under normal circumstances a Mob crime would be prosecuted and brought to justice, but not this one. This is my larger picture, which is not necessary to be correct or to resolve to go to the specifics of the Tippit case. 

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On the offering of a sympathetic explanation for false incrimination of Oswald in the Tippit case

Here is a belief expressed that shells from bullets fired from Oswalds revolver were substituted to replace the shells found at the scene of the Tippit killing, in the Dallas Police Crime Lab in order to incriminate Oswald--from a Dallas Police officer at the time who makes it almost sound like it was the compassionate thing to do under the circumstances:

"Most Dallas policemen interviewed by the author either do not want to discuss the Tippit case or say that they have no reason to doubt the official version of their comrade's death. However, one officer, now retired, asserted flatly and without prompting that he believed Tippit was killed as a result of a volatile personal situation involving his lover and her estranged husband. He added, 'It would look like hell for Tippit to have been murdered and have it look like he was screwing around with this woman. ... Somebody had to change the tape. Somebody had to change the cartridge hulls. Somebody had to go to the property room and change those hulls and put some of Oswald's hulls in there--hulls that fit Oswald's gun.'" (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt: Investigation into the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy [1985], 168) (With thanks to Stu Wexler for calling this to attention.)

High-level law enforcement officials in Dallas covered up identity of a highly relevant witness to the Tippit case--reported by Dale Myers.

"According to sources, a Dallas police officer was involved in a tryst with a married woman on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, in a house that overlooked the Tippit murder scene. At the sound of the shots, the officer looked out a window and observed the killer fleeing the scene. Reportedly, the officer positively identified the gunman as Lee Harvey Oswald; however, the story never crept beyond a handful of lawmen for fear of unintentionally exposing the relationship. The story was confirmed in 1996 [to Myers] by a high ranking Dallas official who stated that the 'information received was sufficient to cause belief. This person's credibility level was high,' the official remarked, 'because after all is said and done, you're not going to get yourself any favorable publicity from it. There's no motive for saying it if it weren't true.' Only a handful of people were aware of the story and as far as the official knew it was never made available to officers investigating Tippit's death.'" (Myers, With Malice [2013 ed.], 374)

Never mind the question of whether stories of these affairs as affecting police handling of the Tippit case could themselves be decoy stories. Never mind the question of whether the above two versions of an illicit affair as sympathetic rationale for police coverup ("this is not to condone it, but surely you can now understand and sympathize") could be two versions from the same origin varying in the telling.

None of that matters here so much as the expressions of a normalcy in rationale for police coverup and/or alteration of physical evidence in the Tippit case--held by insiders. And though for all we know the affairs could be wholly true as stated, no affair explains the movements of the killer that day who, gun freshly smoking from having killed Tippit, headed straight to the Texas Theatre where the soon-to-be-accused assassin of President Kennedy was watching a movie.

It is of course frustrating that the anonymous officer quoted by Hurt, or the anonymous source of the high-ranking Dallas official quoted by Myers, are anonymous. But in the case of the Henry Hurt source, I have a hunch who it might be. I wonder if the anonymous officer source of Hurt is identified (not intentionally by Hurt) in Hurt's book.

Officer R. C. Nelson was the other officer besides Tippit in the famous dispatcher transmission at 12:45 pm to those two officers to "move into central Oak Cliff"--famous because seemingly anomalous ("Not only was such an inexplicable instruction believed to be unique in the Dallas Police Department, it also had not been in the first transcript. Moreover, none of the police supervisors who testified earlier [to the Warren Commission] indicated that they knew anything about it. But there it was..." [Hurt, 160]). Hurt contacted Nelson hoping to interview him, explaining that Nelson had never been questioned by the Warren Commission or HSCA and told Hurt he had a story to tell. But Hurt claimed Nelson would not talk to him without being paid, and that negotiations over that "had not materialized as this book went to press". 

'In 1984, the author located R. C. Nelson, who stated that it was surprising to him that no official investigation had ever sought his account of what he knew about the day of the assassination and the murder of Oswald. (. . .) 'I've been waiting a long time to tell my story,' Nelson said. He explained that since his account of events had never become part of the public record, he felt his story had a monetary value. He wanted to come to some agreement before granting a full interview. However, in the initial encounter with Nelson--standing in a parking lot in Corsicana, Texas, where Nelson is in private business [i.e. retired]--the author asked, "Did you get the call to go to central Oak Cliff? Did you hear the dispatcher';s orders telling you to go there?'

"'I'm not sure what you mean,' Nelson said. A little more of the circumstances were explained, and Nelson then said, 'I had rather not talk about that.' He said he considered that to be a part of the story he was willing to negotiate--a willingness that, despite several efforts, had not materialized as this book went to press." (Hurt, 162)

Hurt's representation is (a) Nelson had a story to tell, but (b) Hurt was unable to get Nelson to talk (with a plausible explanation of why). Several pages later Hurt then refers to the anonymous retired officer with the sensational story of the Tippit affair and suggestion that Dallas Police altered physical evidence in the case in order to defend the reputation of their fallen fellow officer and out of respect for the widow. I have noticed that journalists when citing anonymous sources with sometimes-sensational information often will actually name the source elsewhere in the same news article with an attributed less-sensational quote, without identifying to the reader that the named quote and the anonymous source are one and the same. Is that the case with Hurt and R. C. Nelson? In which the story of inability to close a financial deal with Nelson who wants to talk, is a device on Hurt's part by which to protect confidentiality of Nelson who actually did, on promise of confidentiality, talk to Hurt? If so there would be Hurt's source, being protected by Hurt. 

I can find no mention of an interview of Nelson in the book of Myers, who interviews so many other first-hand sources, practically comprehensive in his attempts. The other major Tippit case book--while I do not agree with points of argument it includes valuable interviews of sources--Joseph McBride, Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit [2013]), reported being unable to locate Nelson for an interview (p. 431).

Whereas interviews in both the Myers and McBride books confirm an affair of Tippit with a waitress who may have had a child by Tippit, Greg Lowrey quoted in McBride noted that the whole story of the Tippit affair started with an anonymous letter sent to Garrison in New Orleans in 1968, and argued that the affair had nothing to do with the Tippit killing (the jealous husband theory).

"If you're looking at Tippit, don't believe the jealous husband story. It came from an anonymous letter. Think of the mileage they've gotten on this. I've done my damnedest to expose it. Someone has concocted these little things, by design or not, to obscure the identification of the Tippit killer. Some people definitely have an agenda to keep people from knowing the identification of Tippit's killer. I suspect there may be a hundred people inside the Dallas Police Department who know that Oswald didn't kill Tippit, and so to defuse interest in that case, they plant a damn effective rumor. From 1968 to date, that's the only thing that's been done on the Tippit case." (Lowrey quoted at McBride, 294)

Edited by Greg Doudna
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There is also this early, excellent book on the Tippit case. Gary Murr, The Murder of Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit (1971), 91 pp., unpublished, available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15957gAzFZ5wYLbefq4F7cm7sm07ACY8N/view

It is a solid compilation of primary source documents and evidence with analysis, focusing on the forensic aspects and witnesses of the case. Murr concluded there was a substitution of shells.

"The obvious disappearance of the officers' markings [Poe, Barnes] is something that the Commission should have been highly critical of. It remains to this day, an unanswered question. The possibility of a switch in physical evidence in this instance would appear to be a realistic conclusion. (. . .) CE594 [the four shells Q74 through Q77] were probably fired from CE143 [Oswald revolver], to the exclusion of all other weapons. But, the big question is whether or not CE594 represents the shells actually recovered from the scene of the Tippit murder (. . .) The Dallas police who handled and marked them were unable to find their identifying marks, therefore they too were unable to pick them from CE594. They made a good effort, undoubtedly for the Commission's benefit, but guessed wrongly. There exists not a semblance of a chain of possession for the empty shells after they got to the Dallas Police Crime Lab. What specifically the Crime Lab did to them is unknown. The possibility of a switch in empty shells i[s] the only logical alternative. Give the FBI four empty shells knowingly fired rom CE143. It makes the task of proving that they were fired from CE143 "to the exclusion of all other weapons" light-years easier." (pp. 58, 64)

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Steve Roe, I always respect what you have to say, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable on details and cross-examination. On Crafard at the Carousel Club at the time of the Tippit killing, the basis for your conclusion on that is the testimony of long-term loyal Ruby employee Andy Armstrong who vouched for Crafard being there, full stop. (Apart from Ruby potentially also could have testified as a second witness backing up his employee Crafard's alibi for the purpose of showing Crafard was not in Oak Cliff trying to kill Oswald two days before Ruby did so.) Whether Andy Armstrong's support for a Crafard alibi is the truth is the question. If there were more witnesses or a disinterested witness the alibi would be stronger. But there aren't. Therefore if one already knows or believes Oswald killed Tippit on other grounds, Andy Armstrong's testimony, which reads credibly otherwise, will be accepted here. But if there is a question as to Crafard's whereabouts on other grounds, a single long-time Ruby loyalist and proven and trusted team player providing Crafard's alibi might reasonably be assessed as falling short of being decisive exculpation for Crafard. 

Apart from the slender reed of Andy Armstrong (and Ruby) being the only support for Crafard's alibi, there are a couple of things that might call even that already somewhat-weak alibi further into question. 

Everyone in America of sound mind remembered what they were doing that day in the aftermath of Kennedy being shot. But Crafard, in his Warren Commission testimony, claimed Andy Armstrong had woken him up early that morning, Fri Nov 22, when bringing in beer. According to the Andy Armstrong FBI interview reports in the link you give (Armstrong Exhibit 5310-G), Andy Armstrong took a city bus leaving his home at 11:53 am going to downtown Dallas, then walked to the Carousel arriving about 12:30 pm. He never went to the Carousel Club earlier. Yet Crafard claimed he had. Of the two conflicting stories, I judge Andy Armstrong's as the more credible, which raises the question of whether Crafard was being untruthful or mistaken in that discrepancy. An interpretation of mistaken seems somewhat questionable given the significance of that day, though I suppose that could go either way. If Crafard's discrepancy with Andy Armstrong was from being untruthful (not a mistaken memory), that raises a red flag, because why be untruthful on a trivial matter like that for no reason. 

There are also possible "Oswald" sightings in Oak Cliff on Fri Nov 22 in the hours before the Tippit killing which could be Crafard sightings (given that they cannot have been Oswald sightings).

  • James Oliver Clark of the Tenth Street Barber Shop, corner of Ewing and Tenth, saw a man walk by his shop on Friday morning Nov 22 whom he would "bet his life on" was Oswald (an FBI interview report of James Oliver Clark dated 11/29/63, document cited Myers, With Malice, 399 and n. 1207 [I am unable to find on the Mary Ferrell site]).
  • An FBI interview report of Dec. 3, 1963 concerning a story that Oswald had been seen in the Top Ten Record shop Friday morning Nov 22 buying a ticket for a Dick Clark concert that evening, later confirmed by the owner of the Top Ten Record store who said he sold Oswald a ticket that morning (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=16240#relPageId=7).

In each of these cases these could be mistaken identifications other than Crafard (it is not possible that either of these actually are Oswald). If Crafard was at the Carousel Club and the killer of Tippit was Oswald, then the two cases above would be extraneous mistaken identifications of no relevance. But if the "Oswald" identified by witnesses as the killer of Tippit was not Oswald, then all three "Oswald" sightings could be of the same person, Crafard mistakenly believed to be Oswald in keeping with other known witness confusions of Crafard and Oswald. 

Andy Armstrong was trusted and tested over time as a reliable assistant manager at the Carousel, despite Andy Armstrong's description of Ruby's volatile temper. It is fairly clear from Andy Armstrong's testimony that he knew everybody and everything that went in and out of the Carousel Club, the people there, the contacts, the money going in and out, concerning which he asked no questions, kept his mouth shut and simply did his job. If he was asked by Ruby or someone associated with Ruby as a favor to provide a simple alibi for Crafard's whereabouts on Nov 22, by people who had been good to Andy Armstrong and who he would in any case not wish to cross, after Crafard had left Dallas such that there was little risk of falsification or a perjury prosecution, it may be Andy Armstrong would be about as reliable as anyone to do that small favor.

Again, it is not that Andy Armstrong's alibi for Crafard placing him in the Carousel Club on Nov 22, 1963 could not be true if there are other grounds to know the killer of Tippit was Oswald. It is that, like a number of other elements, this is the kind of thing which falls short of certainty in itself. There is no non-Carousel witness alibi for Crafard, nor additional Carousel witness alibis for Crafard, though you are right, there is Andy Armstrong, otherwise credible. But arguably not disinterested. And no other corroboration. Do you fundamentally assess this witness assessment issue differently in principle?

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Greg, You speak of the "gunman's abandoned jacket." Oswald reportedly left his rooming house zipping up a jacket, yet witnesses at the Texas Theater said he wasn't wearing one when they saw him, so Oswald apparently abandoned a jacket in that same area.  Odd coincidence, or what? Strangely enough, the police tapes report the finding of only one abandoned jacket.

 

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It's fascinating to consider Tippet's murder unrelated to Kennedy's.

Occam's Razor is a blunt instrument when it comes to the JFK assassination, I reckon.

Still I looked up homicide statistics for Dallas in 1963.

https://www.centraltrack.com/dallas-annual-homicide-count-for-every-year-since-1930/

113 murders for the year. Less than one every three days, on average. Here you have two within the hour.

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On 10/1/2021 at 8:41 PM, Jean Davison said:

Greg, You speak of the "gunman's abandoned jacket." Oswald reportedly left his rooming house zipping up a jacket, yet witnesses at the Texas Theater said he wasn't wearing one when they saw him, so Oswald apparently abandoned a jacket in that same area.  Odd coincidence, or what? Strangely enough, the police tapes report the finding of only one abandoned jacket.

Jean I have a long piece about ready to post which I think will address your question. I would be interested in whether you find that it does.

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Posted (edited)

The Jackets as exculpation of Oswald as the Tippit killer: an analysis

First the starting fact: Oswald had two, and only two, jackets, one gray and one blue. This starting fact is not in dispute. Note below that “light” (Oswald’s gray jacket) and “heavy” (Oswald’s blue jacket) do not refer to color tone but rather to the weight or warmth of the jacket.

“Marina was questioned further concerning clothing jackets which had been owned by Lee Harvey Oswald. She said to the best of her recollection Lee Harvey Oswald had only two jackets, one a heavy jacket, blue in color, and another light jacket, grey in color. She said she believes Oswald possessed both of these jackets in Russia and had purchased them in the United States prior to his departure for Russia. She said she cannot recall that Oswald ever sent either of these jackets to any laundry or cleaners anywhere. She said she can recall washing them herself. She advised to her knowledge Oswald possessed both of these jackets at Dallas on November 22, 1963.” (FBI interview, April 1, 1964) 

But from this agreed-upon starting point diverge significantly differing narratives of the two jackets of Oswald and the one from the Tippit killer. The standard, conventional, narrative can be called the Two Jackets Theory, to be compared here with what I will call the Three Jackets Theory.

 

TWO JACKETS THEORY (Warren Commission)

·      Tippit killer light-gray jacket (C162) = Oswald gray jacket

·      Oswald dark blue jacket (C163)

 

Narrative (“blue then gray”)

·      Oswald wore blue jacket (C163) from Irving to Texas School Book Depository (TSBD)

·      Oswald left TSBD without jacket

·      Oswald in cab to Oak Cliff without jacket

·      Oswald entered rooming house without jacket

·      Oswald left rooming house wearing light-gray C162

·      Oswald killed Tippit and abandoned light-gray C162 in flight

·      Oswald entered Texas Theatre without jacket

·      Oswald arrested in Texas Theatre without jacket

·      Oswald blue jacket (C163) later found TSBD

 

THREE JACKETS THEORY

·      Oswald gray jacket

·      Oswald dark blue jacket (C163)

·      Tippit killer light-gray jacket (C162)

 

Narrative (“gray then blue”)

·      Oswald wore his gray jacket from Irving to Texas School Book Depository (TSBD)

·      Oswald left TSBD with his gray jacket

·      Oswald in cab to Oak Cliff with his gray jacket

·      Oswald abandoned his gray jacket en route to rooming house

·      Oswald entered rooming house without jacket

·      Oswald left rooming house wearing blue jacket (C163)

·      Oswald went to Texas Theatre and entered with blue jacket (C163)

·      Oswald took off blue jacket (C163) inside Texas Theatre

·      Oswald arrested in Texas Theatre without jacket

·      Oswald blue jacket (C163) later found TSBD

 

Buell Wesley Frazier

He knew what jacket Oswald wore very well having driven Lee back and forth to Irving many times and the morning of Fri Nov 22, and saw Oswald’s jacket sitting next to him in the car. Frazier said two things very clearly: first, that he had always seen Oswald wear only his gray jacket (not the blue) back and forth from Irving and that that was the case the morning of Fri Nov 22. And second, when shown C162, the Tippit killer's light-gray jacket, Frazier said definitely that was not Oswald’s gray jacket.

Mr. Ball. On that day [morning of Fri Nov 22, 1963] you did notice one article of clothing, that is, he had a jacket?

Mr. Frazier. Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball. What color was the jacket?

Mr. Frazier. It was a gray, more or less flannel, wool-looking type of jacket that I had seen him wear and that is the type of jacket he had on that morning.

Mr. Ball. Did it have a zipper on it?

Mr. Frazier. Yes, sir; it was one of the zipper types.

Mr. Ball. It isn't one of these two zipper jackets we have shown? [C162, the killer's light-gray jacket; C163, Oswald's dark blue jacket]

Mr. Frazier. No, sir.

This testimony of Wesley Frazier is strong testimony, as credible testimony as it gets. Frazier gave that negative answer repudiating that C162 was Oswald’s jacket without qualification. 

Linnie Mae Randle

"On the morning of November 22, 1963, Mrs. Randle stated that she looked out of a window of her residence and observed Oswald walking up her driveway, and to the best of her recollection Oswald was wearing a tan shirt and grey jacket" (FBI interview, Dec 5, 1963). 

"He had a gray jacket, I believe ... no, sir [it was not C162], I remember its being gray" (Linnie Mae Randle, Warren Commission testimony). 

After saying Oswald's jacket that morning was “gray” and no color other than “gray” several times, Linnie Mae was asked, if she had to choose between C162 and C163, the Tippit killer's light-gray jacket or Oswald's blue one, which one did she see Oswald wear to work that morning. (The true answer being neither.) Forced to choose between two false alternatives, Linnie Mae answered, "I would choose the dark one [C163] ... but I, you know, didn't pay an awful lot of attention to his jacket". Whereupon Mr. Ball, counsel for the Warren Commission, misrepresented Linnie Mae Randle’s answer on that point into the record. 

Mrs. Randle. It was gray, I am not sure of the shade. 

(. . .)

Mr. Ball. Here is another jacket [C162, the Tippit killer’s jacket] which is a gray jacket, does this look anything like the jacket he had on?

Mrs. Randle. No, sir, I remember its being gray.

Mr. Ball. Well, this one [C162] is gray but of these two the jacket I last showed you is Commission Exhibit No. 162, and this blue gray is 163, now if you had to choose between these two?

Mrs. Randle. I would choose the dark one [C163].

Mr. Ball. You would choose the dark one?

Mrs. Randle. Yes, sir: that I remember. But I, you know, didn't pay an awful lot of attention to his jacket. I remember his T-shirt and the shirt more so than I do the jacket.

Mr. Ball. The witness just stated that 163 which is the gray-blue is similar to the jacket he had on. 162, the light gray jacket was not.

Comment: Mr. Ball is not representing accurately. He forced an identification choice for Linnie Mae between two alternatives neither of which was the jacket she saw Oswald wearing that morning. Forced to choose, Mrs. Randle picked C163 between two false choices, after consistently saying several times up to that point that the jacket she saw Oswald wearing that morning was gray (not blue). The explanation for why Linnie Mae Randle picked the blue C163 instead of the light-gray C162 would be the same reason that, when shown C162 which was so light a shade of gray that it was almost white, she said “no, sir, I remember it’s being gray”. Oswald’s gray jacket—that Linnie Mae saw Oswald wearing that morning—was a darker shade of gray than the light-gray C162 (she did not say in response to C162, “no, Oswald’s was blue”).

Linnie Mae did not remember the gray jacket of Oswald as being as light in tone as C162, so, forced to choose, she defaulted to the only other alternative, the darker but equally inaccurate C163 (blue), even while never wavering from saying, repeatedly, that the jacket she saw on Oswald was gray. Mr. Ball misrepresented Mrs. Randle's forced choice between two wrong alternatives as if that represented a positive identification of one of those two alternatives, whereas an accurate representation of her answer would be that she judged C163 looked less dissimilar than C162 to the jacket she saw on Oswald that morning. In an accurate representation of Linnie Mae Randle’s testimony there is no positive weight toward identification of C163 as the jacket the witness saw Oswald wear that morning, contrary to Mr. Ball’s paraphrase of the witness’s testimony as if there was.

Marina Oswald

On the other hand, in contradiction to Buell Wesley Frazier’s testimony, Marina Oswald in her Warren Commission testimony did identify C162, the Tippit killer’s light-gray jacket, as the gray jacket of Lee. Commission counsel Rankin displayed one item of genuine clothing of Lee after another and Marina was identifying those items one after another then this:

Mr. Rankin. 162?

Mrs. Oswald. That is Lee’s—an old shirt.

Mr. Rankin. Sort of a jacket?

Mrs. Oswald. Yes.

(. . .)

Mr. Rankin. Do you recall any of these clothes that your husband was wearing when he came home Thursday night, November 21, 1963?

Mrs. Oswald. On Thursday I think he wore this shirt.

Mr. Rankin. Is that Exhibit 150?

Mrs. Oswald. Yes.

Mr. Rankin. Do you remember anything else he was wearing at that time?

Mrs. Oswald. It seems he had the jacket, also.

Mr. Rankin. Exhibit 162?

Mrs. Oswald. Yes.

This is it from Marina Oswald concerning identification of C162 as belonging to her husband (the significance of that to become clear momentarily). Looking at these two Warren Commission testimony identifications directly, the first one in which Marina is shown C162 and said it was “an old shirt”, raises the question of how close the item was to Marina when it was shown her, and how carefully Marina looked before answering. Nevertheless, she did make the identification.

But the second identification in her Warren Commission testimony above, of thinking she saw Oswald with C162 on Thursday night in Irving—the night before the assassination—cannot be correct under the Warren Commission’s reconstruction of the case. For the Warren Commission claimed Oswald wore his blue jacket, C163, to Irving Thursday night and back to Dallas Friday morning, then left C163 at his workplace, went to the rooming house in Oak Cliff and picked up the light-gray C162 there, then killed Tippit and abandoned C162 in flight to the Texas Theatre. To my knowledge no defender of the Warren Commission narrative has considered Marina’s second C162 identification as other than simply wrong and mistaken on Marina’s part. That leaves Marina’s first identification as the positive argument—actually the sole, solitary witness testimony in support of—the Warren Commission “blue then gray” narrative in which C162 is a jacket of Oswald. 

Under normal circumstances an identification from a wife, Marina, would seem to outweigh testimony that conflicts, given that she lived with and knew her husband, washed his clothes and would be in the best position to know her husband’s clothes. But the most important item of information here is not what Marina stated to the Warren Commission, but what is missing: any identification from Marina of C162 as Lee’s in an FBI interview prior to her Warren Commission testimony. The significance of this has been little-remarked but prima facie is a significant omission. The FBI which had that jacket of the Tippit killer as well as other physical evidence interviewed Marina many times in the days and weeks following the assassination. A confirmation from Marina that C162, the light-gray jacket abandoned by the Tippit killer, was Lee’s, would be a significant corroboration (from investigators' point of view) that Lee had killed Tippit. It appears extraordinary that no such question or opportunity to make such an identification of C162 would have been presented to Marina. But in all of the FBI reports of interviews of Marina, there is no record that that question was asked. Either Marina never was asked or it was not reported in writing if she was. It does not inspire confidence that an identification by Marina of C162 as belonging to her husband was obtained for the first time as late as her Warren Commission testimony.

Here is Marina identifying C163, Lee’s blue jacket, to the FBI:

“A faded blue cloth jacket with padding bearing label ‘Sir Jac’ with zipper front was exhibited to Marina. She immediately identified this jacket as being the property of her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald. She said she recognized the jacket because she has handled it and washed it for Oswald.” (FBI interview, Dec 19, 1963)

That is straightforward, concerning a jacket with no association with the killing of Tippit. It is exactly this kind of straight question and answer concerning C162 which is missing in any record of an FBI interview of Marina. In terms of the known documentary record, Marina was asked about C162 for the first time many months later—in her Warren Commission testimony in which she gives yes, yes, yes, yes answers to genuine items of Lee’s clothing and then C162 another yes, before she immediately threw her own identification of C162 into disarray by saying she thought she saw Oswald wearing C162 in Irving the night before the assassination.

The argument that Marina was mistaken in her first identification of C162 as well as her second one, in her Warren Commission testimony, is powerfully and independently supported from these two items not to be underestimated: first, the missing FBI interview question and answer from Marina on that identification in the time period between the assassination and Marina’s testimony before the Warren Commission. And second, the sober testimony of Buell Wesley Frazier saying exactly the opposite concerning C162 than the more stressed and mercurial Marina. It is fair to say without much dispute that most investigators have judged Wesley Frazier a more reliable witness than Marina as a general statement—and Frazier testified with certainty that C162 was not Oswald’s gray jacket.

In light of these factors, the testimony of Wesley Frazier that C162 was not Lee’s gray jacket is judged here as of greater weight (more likely to be correct) than Marina’s identification of C162 as Lee’s gray jacket in her Warren Commission testimony. The mechanism of the mistake would be that Marina knew Lee had a gray jacket and Marina assumed that C162 shown her from an unknown distance was that item and answered agreeably.

Marina’s saying she thought she saw C162 on Lee Thursday night, even if incorrect, nevertheless supports Oswald having had his gray jacket Thursday night (mechanism for mistake: similarity of color), in agreement with Wesley Frazier’s testimony that Oswald wore his gray jacket on the return trip to Dallas Friday morning.

At the Texas School Book Depository

Charles Givens. “He [Oswald] never changed clothes the whole time he worked there, and he would wear a grey looking jacket.” (6H349)

Bonnie Ray Williams: “to the best of his recollection, Lee Harvey Oswald was wearing a grey corduroy pair of pants and a greyish looking sport shirt with long sleeves on November 22, 1963.” (FBI interview, Dec 5, 1963, https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=10408#relPageId=317 )

Most analysts have correctly interpreted Bonnie Ray Williams’ statement of remembering a greyish looking shirt, as Oswald’s gray jacket. I am not aware of any coworker testimony at the Texas School Book Depository that Oswald wore a blue jacket that morning (or any other morning there). 

Whaley and the cab to Oak Cliff

Minutes after the assassination, at about 12:35 pm Fri Nov 22, Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository wearing the same gray jacket which he wore from Irving that morning to work, on the evidence of Whaley the cab driver who drove him to Oak Cliff. Whaley’s testimony has been garbled and misunderstood. From a Nov 23, 1963 FBI interview: 

"[Whaley] recalled that the young man he drove in his cab that day was wearing a heavy identification bracelet on his left wrist, he appeared to need a haircut and was dressed in gray khaki pants which looked as if they had been slept in. He had on a dark colored shirt with some light color in it. The shirt had long sleeves and the top two or three buttons were unbuttoned. The color of the shirt nearly matched the pants, but was somewhat darker. The man wore no hat."

Comment: As will become clear why, I think there can be little dispute that the reporting FBI agent above miswrote "shirt" (in the final bolded) where Whaley meant "the color of the jacket" (not the color of the shirt which was dark colored). It was Oswald's jacket (not his shirt) which “nearly matched” Oswald's gray pants—this is what Whaley said or was trying to say. That this is so can be seen by comparison with Whaley's Warren Commission testimony. Note the parallel in wording with the above.

"He was dressed in just ordinary work clothes. It wasn't khaki pants but they were khaki material, blue faded blue color, like a blue uniform made in khaki. Then he had on a brown shirt with a little silverlike stripe on it and he had on some kind of jacket. I didn't notice very close but I think it was a work jacket that almost matched the pants."

A “jacket that almost matched the pants” is what Whaley saw on the passenger in his cab who was Oswald. It was Oswald’s gray jacket which "nearly matched the pants" or "almost matched the pants" which in Whaley's original statement and in agreement with other testimony were gray pants (not faded blue). (Oswald wore gray pants to work that day.) Gray pants and gray jacket except the jacket was a little darker shade of gray than the pants is what Whaley saw on the basis of his earliest account. Continuing with Whaley’s Warren Commission testimony: 

Mr. Hall. Here is Commission No. 162 [Tippit killer’s jacket] which is a gray jacket with zipper.

Mr. Whaley. I think that is the jacket he had on when he rode with me in the cab.

Comment: although the jacket Oswald wore in Whaley's cab cannot have been C162 under either reconstruction, Whaley is responding to the color gray, Oswald’s gray jacket.

Mr. Ball. Look something like it? And here is Commission Exhibit No. 163 [Oswald’s dark blue], does this look like anything he had on?

Mr. Whaley. He had this one on or the other one.

Mr. Ball. That is right.

Comment: Although both the stenographer and Mr. Ball heard "or", based on what follows did Whaley actually say "over", "he had this one on over the other one"?

Mr. Whaley. That is what I told you I noticed. I told you about the shirt being open, he had on the two jackets with the open shirt.

Mr. Ball. Wait a minute, we have got the shirt which you have identified as the rust brown shirt with the gold stripe in it.

Mr. Whaley. Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball. You said that a jacket—

(I am putting interpretive comments in brackets below.)

Mr. Whaley. That jacket [Tippit killer’s light gray, nearly white C162] now it might have been clean [lighter in tone because it has been cleaned], but the jacket he had on [Oswald gray jacket] looked more the color, you know like a uniform set [matching jacket and pants in color], but he had this coat here [C163 dark blue] on over that other jacket [over the Oswald gray jacket which Whaley mistakenly thinks is C162], I am sure, sir. 

Mr. Ball. This is the blue-gray jacket, heavy blue-gray jacket [C163].

Mr. Whaley. Yes, sir.

Comment: Whaley is certainly not correct that Oswald was wearing both of his jackets at the same time, his dark blue one over his gray one. In his original FBI statement Whaley said nothing of a second jacket (the dark blue one) but referred only to Oswald wearing one jacket that "nearly matched his [gray] pants", even though in that early FBI statement Oswald’s gray jacket was mistakenly termed "shirt". Whaley's testimony as to Oswald wearing a gray jacket was accurate. Months later in his Warren Commission testimony, Whaley added the part about the dark blue jacket being worn over the gray one (and also changed the color of Oswald’s pants from accurate gray to inaccurate faded light blue). Why Whaley later added the part about wearing the blue jacket over the gray jacket, who knows. But his earliest description was correct, his earliest description had no second jacket, and the gray jacket was always there in his testimony.

At the rooming house on N. Beckley

After Whaley dropped off Oswald on N. Beckley a few blocks from his rooming house, Oswald intentionally let Whaley see him walk in the opposite direction before making his way to the rooming house. Lee entered the rooming house with no jacket, per housekeeper Earlene Roberts. The gray jacket which Oswald had on in the cab (evidence of Whaley) he did not have on when he entered the rooming house (evidence of Earlene). Therefore Oswald abandoned his gray jacket at some point after leaving Whaley’s cab but before he entered the rooming house. What became of Oswald’s gray jacket is unknown, presumably found at some later point by some private party who never was aware that it had been Oswald's.

Entering the rooming house Oswald went to his room and emerged again seen by Earlene zipping up a jacket on his way out which Earlene described as dark. 

“Oswald did not have a jacket when he came in to the house and I don’t recall what type of clothing he was wearing. Oswald went to his room and was only there a few minutes before coming out. I noticed he had a jacket he was putting on. I recall the jacket was a dark color and it was the type that zips up the front. He was zipping the jacket up as he left.” (Earlene Roberts, affidavit taken by Secret Service, Dec 5, 1963. https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=41#relPageId=449)

In her later Warren Commission testimony, when shown the Tippit killer's light gray jacket C162, Earlene objected, 

"it seems like the one he put on was darker than that." 

After Oswald entered the rooming house not wearing the gray jacket worn that morning, Oswald has now picked up his warmer dark blue jacket, confirmed by Earlene, the only witness who saw Oswald enter and leave the rooming house that day. She saw Oswald leave in a dark jacket (not light gray or nearly white), which is to say, Oswald’s dark blue jacket, C163.  

Inside the Texas Theatre

After leaving the rooming house, Oswald intentionally stood at the northbound bus stop where he knew Earlene would see him out the window, a feint as if heading north, before out of Earlene's sight taking a bus south to the Texas Theatre where he bought a ticket as a paying customer, entered and took a seat. However, when he was arrested thirty or so minutes later in the theatre he had no jacket on. 

That he would have no jacket on in the theatre despite wearing one to the theatre is not unusual; inside a warm theatre most people take off their jackets, especially a heavier, warmer jacket such as C163. The anomaly therefore is not that Oswald had no jacket on inside the theatre after arriving with a jacket, but rather a different question: what became of the jacket he wore leaving the rooming house--the blue jacket, C163--which would have entered the theatre with Oswald before he took it off. 

The dark blue jacket that Earlene saw Oswald putting on as he left the rooming house (identified by Earlene as dark, color unknown), unless he abandoned it for some reason before entering the theatre, he would have taken off inside the theatre and set somewhere. As it happens there appears to be a heretofore-unrecognized witness account from a theatre patron who saw Oswald inside the theatre that day wearing a jacket before he took it off.

This is from George Applin who was sitting only a few rows away when Oswald was arrested, the one theatre patron taken downtown that day by police to give a statement. This is from typed interview notes dated Dec 2, 1978, identified as statements of George Applin, apparently written by reporter Earl Golz (https://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t371-suspect-behind-the-texas-theatre ). Here is Applin according to these typed notes:

"'Big, heavyset plainclothes officer with a cowboy hat on asked Oswald, "Did you kill him." 'It look[ed] like he was trying to knock a home run through his back,' Applin says he told Warren Commission attorney or police officers. 'He, he (Oswald) didn't yell police brutality. What I said is what he said. The officer asked him why he shot the president, why he killed the president or shoot the president. And he said, "Hell, I ain't shot nobody." (. . .) I was on the third aisle setting about seven rows down. Almost in the middle section. I seen his face. And there was just nothing about it. I believe he was wearing a suit ... it was a dark suit. I know that much. What color a dark--it could have been gray or it could have been light blue.'" 

Oswald was not wearing a suit but this sounds like Applin seeing Oswald wearing a jacket, his dark blue jacket, C163, mistaken for a suit jacket in a darkened theatre. Applin seems to be seated and Oswald is walking toward him (since Applin sees his face). After finding his seat Oswald might have taken the jacket off, but where Oswald would have set it or left it is not clear. According to witnesses Oswald left his seat to buy popcorn and moved around to several different seating locations after his arrival.

Ordinarily we would assume a jacket would be on a seat next to the theatre patron. But there is no report of officers seeing a blue jacket with Oswald at the time of the arrest. The whereabouts of the blue jacket therefore may be considered in the context of Oswald’s other acts of evasiveness that day—feints of wrong directions of travel, and the jacket change at the rooming house altering physical description. In keeping with this it can be conjectured that he might take off the jacket and stash it somewhere removed from him. It is not that the jacket would not have been found soon after Oswald’s arrest, but if it was it may not have been immediately associated with Oswald as distinguished from some other theatre patron’s lost jacket. 

Although there was said to be a search of the theatre after Oswald’s arrest at the time police were writing down patrons’ and staff names and addresses so they could be interviewed, there is no police record of a finding of a blue jacket or any other jacket of Oswald. There is also no police record of those theatre patron names officers wrote down. Also, it is not obvious that an item associated with Oswald found by police in that theatre would necessarily be logged in as evidence. There is a witness account of a knife having been found after Oswald's arrest in the area where Oswald had been seated, by an officer heard to say to a fellow officer that it must belong to Oswald, but that knife was not turned in.

“Police at this time were searching the area around the seat [Oswald] was sitting in. They found a switchblade knife (. . .) we had come back from the managers office to the theater area, and an officer was looking down the aisle where Oswald had been sitting. He bent over and picked up a knife and showed it to another officer standing a few feet away. That officer said, ‘That’s where he was. Must be his.’” (http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/F Disk/Fensterwald Bernard 1990/Item 004.pdf page 8, 2nd and 3rd columns)

The blue jacket (C163) turns up in the Texas School Book Depository

Oswald’s blue jacket later did turn up. A dark blue jacket was turned in to the FBI on Dec 17, 1963, by Roy Truly, Superintendent of the Texas School Book Depository, with Truly first explaining that the blue jacket had just been found the day before (Dec 16) in the course of cleaning in the first-floor “domino room” used by employees. On March 7, 1964, interviewed again, Truly said the jacket had been brought to him three or four days after the assassination (i.e. about Nov 26) by an employee whose name Truly could not remember, not said to have been in the course of cleaning. According to this second version, Truly held on to the jacket for about three weeks and then turned it in to the FBI agent who understood Truly to have told him it had been found the day before. (FBI interviews of Truly of Dec 17, 1963 and Mar 7, 1964)

This blue jacket, C163, was positively identified by Marina as Lee’s blue jacket in an FBI interview of Dec 20, 1963, noted above. In addition to that, “Several head hairs were found in the debris removed from the Q350 [blue C163] jacket. These hairs match in microscopic characteristics the previously submitted K7 hair sample of Oswald and originated either from him or from another Caucasian person whose head hairs exhibit the same microscopic characteristic. It is pointed out that hairs do not possess enough individual microscopic characteristics to be positively identified as originating from a particular person to the exclusion of all others.” (FBI lab report, Dec 31, 1963, https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=96524#relPageId=53)

But despite this find of Oswald’s blue jacket, C163, in the Texas School Book Depository after the assassination, none of Lee’s coworkers remembered ever having seen Oswald wear that jacket that he had supposedly left there.

"Truly said that he had been unable to ascertain through inquiry among employees that this was Oswald's jacket or that anyone had specifically observed Oswald wearing it.” (FBI interview, Dec 18, 1963)

This is a surprising piece of information--that a jacket of Oswald (as it later turned out confirmed to be) would be found at his workplace but nobody who worked with him could remember seeing him wear it. It agrees with a reconstruction which is the reconstruction here that that blue jacket of Oswald’s had originally been found in Oak Cliff and relocated to the Texas School Book Depository to be newly found. The impact of the failure to find even a single Oswald coworker who remembered Lee wearing that jacket was however softened by Truly. Truly "stated, however, that he himself had a vague recollection of having possibly seen Oswald wear a jacket similar to that one in the past” (same FBI interview, Dec. 18, 1963).

The reconstruction here is the dark blue jacket (C163) left the rooming house with Oswald, went inside the Texas Theatre with Oswald, Oswald was seen inside the theatre with the jacket by Applin, then Oswald took it off inside the theatre, set by Oswald intentionally some place physically removed from where Oswald was seated watching the movie. The jacket may have been found or turned in to police that day, although it is also possible someone else found it later and turned it in to the police. Either way (as reconstructed) it came into the hands of police but was not logged in as evidence, and instead was relocated to the Texas School Book Depository to be “found” there.

At the time the police converged on the Texas Theatre the light-gray jacket abandoned by the killer had been found (C162). In the aftermath of Oswald’s arrest the police believed they already had Oswald's jacket, since it was believed that Oswald was the Tippit killer who had abandoned the C162 jacket and entered the theatre without a jacket. If an Oswald jacket inside the theatre did come to police attention following the Oswald arrest, it would come close to being exculpatory, or at least create a serious problem in interpretation of how one killer, seen entering the theatre with no jacket, could have a second jacket belonging to him inside the theatre.

But it is not necessary to suppose the police were immediately confronted with that dilemma, even if the jacket were to come quickly to their attention. What may have happened is the blue jacket of Oswald was found somewhere else in the theatre and taken by police and not reported until someone could figure out what to make of it and sort out what was going on. It may not have been immediately clear it was Oswald’s. At some point it would become a sort of hot potato item of physical evidence, difficult to explain why it had not properly been processed as evidence and potentially exculpatory to Oswald if verified to be Oswald's, so the solution was to have it found at the Texas School Book Depository where it was then handed off to the FBI to deal with. 

Conclusion

The Warren Commission/standard reconstruction of Oswald's jackets that day was a “blue then gray” sequence. That sequence has only two items in its support: a premise that the Tippit killer’s light-gray C162 jacket was Oswald’s; and the find of the blue jacket in the Texas School Book Depository. This is contradicted by overwhelming and compelling testimony of witnesses at every stage of Oswald’s movements that day, concerning the color of jacket he was wearing, which in clear signal testify to an opposing “gray then blue” sequence.

The “gray then blue” sequence of the Oswald jackets on Nov 22, 1963 is established on the basis of the strength of the witness testimonies. The C162/Oswald gray jacket identification is rejected and the find of C163 in the Texas School Book Depository combined with no one there remembering having seen Oswald wear that jacket, is consistent with a police relocation of that jacket under obscure circumstances from an actual find in Oak Cliff to the Texas School Book Depository to be found there. 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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On 10/2/2021 at 12:14 AM, George Govus said:

It's fascinating to consider Tippet's murder unrelated to Kennedy's.

Occam's Razor is a blunt instrument when it comes to the JFK assassination, I reckon.

Still I looked up homicide statistics for Dallas in 1963.

https://www.centraltrack.com/dallas-annual-homicide-count-for-every-year-since-1930/

113 murders for the year. Less than one every three days, on average. Here you have two within the hour.

George, yes. Alternative explanations for the Tippit murder such as the jealous husband or the local street gang, do not explain why the killer of Tippit went to the Texas Theatre where Oswald was arrested. The Tippit killer going to the same theatre where Oswald was inside means one of only two things: either he went there to kill Oswald, or he was Oswald. 

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