Jump to content
The Education Forum

The Tippit Shells


Recommended Posts

THE TIPPIT SHELLS
By Gil Jesus ( 2021 )

https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/shells.png
 

...the cartridge cases found near the scene of the shooting were fired from the revolver in the possession of Oswald at the time of his arrest, to the exclusion of all other weapons.." ( WC Report, pg. 176 )

Based on the evidence I've seen, I would concede that the empty shells currently in evidence were, in fact, fired from the revolver also in evidence. I base this opinion on the fact that the breech and firing pin markings on the shells in evidence matched the breech and firing pin markings on the test shells fired by the FBI.
But I cannot accept that they were fired at the Tippit murder scene. I believe that there is sufficient evidence that police tampered with these shells by means of substitution.
Back in 1964, at least one member of the Warren Commission suspected this.

A QUESTION OF SUBSTITUTION
Warren Commission member Rep. Boggs began a line of questioning of FBI expert Cortlandt Cunningham that suggested that Boggs suspected evidence tampering by police. 

He asked Cunningham if the Oswald bullets were the same bullets used by police departments: 
Representative BOGGS. Is this a police weapon as well? 
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Yes; and a very good one. Not in that particular caliber. In other words, the caliber---- 
Representative BOGGS. That is what I meant. 
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. 38 S&W is not a popular cartridge in this country. The .38 Special is. 
Representative BOGGS. 38 Special is? 
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Yes, sir. That cartridge. 
Representative BOGGS. With police forces? 
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. We use it. Most of your larger police forces use the . 38 Special. It is a better cartridge. 
( 3 H 478 ) 

Boggs' line of questioning was then cut off by assistant counsel Eisenberg, who changed the subject. 

WITNESS IDENTIFICATION
But there IS evidence that the shells currently in the National Archives my not be the shells that were found at the murder scene.
Four shells were found at the scene: two by Domingo Benevides, which he gave to Officer J.M. Poe. One by Barbara Davis, who lived in the corner house, which she gave to Capt. G.M. Doughty  and the last by her sister Virginia Davis later that day, which she gave to an unidentified Dallas Officer. ( they say C.N. Dhority )
Commission Exhibit 2011 is the FBI report on the shells recovered at the Tippit murder scene. It says that NONE of the three witnesses who found the shells were able to identify the shells currently in evidence as the shells they found.
In addition, Officer Poe, who marked the shells with his intials, was unable to find his initials on ANY of the shells and thus could not identify the shells as the ones Benevides gave him.
https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/discovery.png
 
In spite of this lack of evidence that the shells were found near the Tippit scene, the Commission accepted the identification of officers who handled the shells further down the chain of possession as evidence that the shells were found at the murder scene.
Of course, they never considered the shells may have been switched.

THE SHELLS AT THE SCENE INDICATE....
More evidence of substitution comes in the radio broadcast of Sgt. Gerald Hill. He allegedly got two shells from Sgt. Pete Barnes who got them from Officer Poe. 
Sawyer Exhibit A is a transcript of the Dallas Police radio traffic. In that transcript, Sgt. Hill radioed that "the shells at the scene indicate the suspect is armed with an automatic 38 rather than a pistol."
https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/shells-indicate.jpg
 
The fact that he used the terminology "the shells indicate" says he read them.
Over the years, Hill has admitted making a mistake in his description of the shells. He claimed that he saw "38" and assumed they were automatics.
But this is not a mistake a veteran detective could have made because these shells like all shells are clearly headstamped with identification.
https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/shell-markings.jpg
 
38 automatic shells are marked "38 AUTO", 38 Special shells are marked "38 SPL" and regular 38 shells are marked "38 CAL".
One would think that if he were assuming the shells were one thing or another, he would assume that they were the more popular shell. But in this case, he assumed that they were the less popular automatics.
I find that hard to believe.
And yet with all this evidence of substitution by police there is still more evidence: the bullets removed from Tippit's body do not match the shells.

THE MATCH GAME
Four bullets were removed from Tippit's body, one at the hospital so the Dallas Police would have a "known" for their bullet tests and the other three at his autopsy. Three of the bullets in evidence are Winchester-Westerns and the fourth is a Remington-Peters.
But of the four shells in evidence, two are Winchester-Westerns and two are Remington-Peters.
shells.png
 
How is it that the shells don't match the bullets ? The Commission and its apologists theorize that there was a fifth shot ( a Remington-Peters ) that missed and a Winchester-Western shell that was never found.
But missed shots don't vanish into thin air. They hit things.
What did it hit ? A house ? A tree ? A car ?
In order to prove a missed shot, you have to show where it hit, like the shot that missed in Dealey Plaza. That hit the curb.
Otherwise, the theory that a shot missed is just that---- a theory. 

 

Not evidence.
 

All of these many years later, no evidence of a missed shot has ever surfaced. You would think that the fame associated with the discovery of that bullet would drive any Dale Myers wannabe to his local TruValue store for a metal detector.
Finally, there's the Dallas Police broadcast that the killer was armed with an automatic pistol.
https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/32-automatic.jpg

 

THE UNFIRED ROUNDS
The Dallas Police claimed to have retrieved 5 unfired 38 special cartridges from the shirt pocket of Lee Harvey Oswald. but upon closer examination of these cartridges, we see corrosion on the shell part.
https://gil-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/38.bullets.jpg
 
For those of us who have carried guns or worked with guns know that this corrosion is a result of the cartridge having been in a gunbelt or bullet slide for a long period of time. Before the days of speed loaders and bullet pouches, this was the way we carried extra ammunition for revolvers.
Oswald owned neither a bullet slide nor a gunbelt. 
But the police did.

CONCLUSION
There seems to be enough evidence here to question whether or not the Dallas Police tampered with the shells in this murder.

 

The witnesses who found the shells could not identify the shells in evidence as the shells they found.
 

The first police officer who came into possession of the shells and marked them could not identify the shells as the ones he received.
 

A veteran detective Sergeant identified the shells as automatics.
 

The shells do not match the bullets in number and type.
 

38 Special ammunition was commonly used by police departments at that time and readily available to anyone who wanted to make a switch. 
 

The unfired rounds show corrosion consistent with having spent a long time in a gunbelt or bullet slide both of which Oswald didn't own but were commonly used by police officers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You add this excellent post to the CE 399 bullet story, and one comes to the sad conclusion that some evidence was introduced into the evidentiary record, in the JFKA and related Tippit murder.  

In particular, I do not believe that Sgt. Hill, following the murder of a brother officer, would mistakenly misidentify shells and then radio to HQ and other field officers the mistake. Yes, humans make mistake, even professionals make mistakes in their area of expertise. 

But after the murder of a brother officer? Seems likely Hill took a long, long hard look at the shells and then radio'ed what he saw, which was .38 autos. Someone monkeyed with the evidence afterwards. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Gil Jesus said:

But there IS evidence that the shells currently in the National Archives my not be the shells that were found at the murder scene.
Four shells were found at the scene: two by Domingo Benevides, which he gave to Officer J.M. Poe.

THE SHELLS AT THE SCENE INDICATE....
More evidence of substitution comes in the radio broadcast of Sgt. Gerald Hill. He allegedly got two shells from Sgt. Pete Barnes who got them from Officer Poe. 

 

A veteran detective Sergeant identified the shells as automatics.
 

Gil,

Hill's ID of the shells as coming from an automatic wasn't the first.

At 1:34 PM, Patrolman H.W. Summers sent out this broadcast:

 

221

Might can give you some additional information. I got an eye-ball witness to the get-away man. That suspect in this shooting is a white male, twenty-seven, five feet eleven, a hundred sixty-five, black wavy hair, fair complected, wearing a light grey Eisenhower-type jacket, dark trousers and a white shirt, and (. . . ?). Last seen running on the north side of the street from Patton, on Jefferson, on East Jefferson. And he was apparently armed with a 32 dark-finish automatic pistol which he had in his right hand.

 

This broadcast preceded Gerald Hill’s broadcast of a .38 caliber, also broadcast at 1:34 PM.

 

Benevides told Poe that he saw the suspect hold those shells in his hand. He gave them to Poe. Poe gave them to Pete Barnes. Barnes was dusting Tippit's car for fingerprints. He had a fingerprint kit in his hands.

To the best of my knowledge, Barnes did not dust those shells for fingerprints.

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Steve Thomas said:

This broadcast preceded Gerald Hill’s broadcast of a .38 caliber, also broadcast at 1:34 PM.

Steve (or anyone else who might know), are there any easy visual cues that would tell you the difference between a 32 caliber and a 38 caliber automatic hand gun?  I have no experience with guns, but could easily tell the difference between an automatic and a revolver, however not much more.

As an somewhat unrelated question, I scanned the dispatch record at the McAdams site just to see the relevant information being given.  At 1:35 there is a transmission about the "Governor's wife" flying in from Austin.  Then at 1:52 "39" listed as a single occupant car states "I'm in the sergeant's car and 39 has the tower radio.  "4" identified as Asst. Chief N. T. Fisher then asks, "Well, where is he?", to which "39" replies, "He has gone with the State unit to pick up the governor's wife."

What is all this about?  The Governor's wife as most would know was in the car along with her husband and the President.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Richard Price said:

 

As an somewhat unrelated question, I scanned the dispatch record at the McAdams site just to see the relevant information being given.  At 1:35 there is a transmission about the "Governor's wife" flying in from Austin.  Then at 1:52 "39" listed as a single occupant car states "I'm in the sergeant's car and 39 has the tower radio.  "4" identified as Asst. Chief N. T. Fisher then asks, "Well, where is he?", to which "39" replies, "He has gone with the State unit to pick up the governor's wife."

What is all this about?  The Governor's wife as most would know was in the car along with her husband and the President.

Richard,

I am going on memory here, so forgive me if I'm a little rusty.

39 was assigned to two patrolmen:

James F. Butcher was a Patrolman in the Patrol Division, Northwest Area Substation, Second Platoon

Love Field was assigned to the Northwest Area Subdivision.

https://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh19/pdf/WH19_Batchelor_Ex_5002.pdf

page 9

Charles W. Comer was a Patrolman in the Patrol Division, Southwest Area Subdivision, Second Platoon

https://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh19/pdf/WH19_Batchelor_Ex_5002.pdf

page 10

To make matters a little more confusing, there was also a Car39 Car 2. You can see this reflected in the Tapes where callers are asking which Car 39 various people are in. If I remember right, this was a station wagon.

I believe the "Governor's wife" the Dispatcher's Tapes are referring to is either the Governor's mother, or the wife of the former Governor. I don't remember which.

Steve Thomas

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Benjamin Cole said:

You add this excellent post to the CE 399 bullet story, and one comes to the sad conclusion that some evidence was introduced into the evidentiary record, in the JFKA and related Tippit murder.  

In particular, I do not believe that Sgt. Hill, following the murder of a brother officer, would mistakenly misidentify shells and then radio to HQ and other field officers the mistake. Yes, humans make mistake, even professionals make mistakes in their area of expertise. 

But after the murder of a brother officer? Seems likely Hill took a long, long hard look at the shells and then radio'ed what he saw, which was .38 autos. Someone monkeyed with the evidence afterwards. 

 

 

Good point. I doubt anybody investigating the murder of a brother officer would assume anything. These were either the lousiest most incompetent detectives who couldn't find a criminal in a state prison, or the worst XXXXX and con artists ever to don a police uniform.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, here's another point you don't hear anyone raising: if only four shots were fired, why didn't the unfired rounds drop out of the cylinder when the killer went to unload ? Those rounds were heavier than the empty shells. Why did the lighter empty shells fall to the ground but the heavier unfired rounds stay in the gun ?

Doesn't sound right to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on this Ed Barker CBS interview of Gerald Hill which seems to be from Nov. 22, 1963 (?), http://www.aarclibrary.org/notices/SGTHILL1.pdf, Hill says Poe's two shells were already in the cigarette package held by Poe when he came on the scene and that Hill never took the shells out or handled them. Therefore Hill could not have read the 38 AUTO marking on the bottom of the shell, as his source of information for saying they were automatic. Since the bullet taken from Tippit's body and tested by the FBI that night showed it was .38 Special (as did the three later ones examined months later), Hill's statement (in keeping with other howlers of Hill on matters of fact, not all sinister) seems a very inadequate basis upon which to assume there were automatic bullets fired by the Tippit gunman. Hill's statement that an automatic was used "from the shells" seems well explained not as based upon holding the shells and looking at a marking 38 AUTO underneath (which never happened), but rather from a misunderstanding based on reasoning from the shells having been ejected at all, and/or Callaway authoritatively saying the "pistol up" position observed of the gunman had looked from a distance like a reloading of an automatic. The automatic seems to be a red herring, founded on nothing substantial. 

I think the evidence shells came from Oswald's revolver but the bullets in Tippit's body came from a different .38 Special which produced the four shells originally found. Those shells originally found were marked by Poe, also by Barnes, and turned in, but substitutions of shells fired from Oswald's revolver occurred sometime between Sat Nov 23 and Wed Nov 27, with imitation attempts of replacement officers' markings, not perfectly done. The FBI lab accurately found what it found based on what was submitted to them by the Dallas Crime Lab. Later Poe could not find his marks not because he did not mark but because the marks which he did write he could not find on the evidence shells. Barnes also marked originally and could not recognize his own marks for sure and guessed. Neither Dhority nor Doughty testified under oath to the WC identifying their marks to specific shells that they marked either. Somehow the shells that went from the officers, with their markings, into the Dallas Police department Crime Lab on Fri Nov 22 were not the same shells that were submitted from that Crime Lab on Thu Nov 28 to the FBI for forensic examination. 

It has also been noted how odd it is, under the common narrative, that Oswald would eject shells at the scene openly which could easily be traced to his revolver, then not ditch the revolver but have it found on his person at the Texas Theatre. But disidentifying the killer of Tippit from Oswald renders this sensible at both ends. The killer manually ejected shells (necessary in order to reload to prepare for the next killing) close to the scene because it did not matter that the shells would be found; they could be traced to the firearm not to him, and he did not plan to remain in Dallas or keep the firearm in his possession after his work was done. He executed Tippit, first mission accomplished, then reloaded and headed to the Texas Theatre to execute Oswald, after which the murder weapon, untraceable via serial number to him and wiped clean of prints, would have been abandoned the moment its purpose had been fulfilled. The second execution, of Oswald--with that vehicle with engine running out back of the Texas Theatre with no identifiable driver in sight noticed by police when they arrived--did not happen however due to the accident of the Brewer and Postal phone call and rapid police response, though that failure on Friday was remedied on Sunday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Greg Doudna said:

Based on this Ed Barker CBS interview of Gerald Hill which seems to be from Nov. 22, 1963 (?), http://www.aarclibrary.org/notices/SGTHILL1.pdf, Hill says Poe's two shells were already in the cigarette package held by Poe when he came on the scene and that Hill never took the shells out or handled them. Therefore Hill could not have read the 38 AUTO marking on the bottom of the shell, as his source of information for saying they were automatic. Since the bullet taken from Tippit's body and tested by the FBI that night showed it was .38 Special (as did the three later ones examined months later), Hill's statement (in keeping with other howlers of Hill on matters of fact, not all sinister) seems a very inadequate basis upon which to assume there were automatic bullets fired by the Tippit gunman. Hill's statement that an automatic was used "from the shells" seems well explained not as based upon holding the shells and looking at a marking 38 AUTO underneath (which never happened), but rather from a misunderstanding based on reasoning from the shells having been ejected at all, and/or Callaway authoritatively saying the "pistol up" position observed of the gunman had looked from a distance like a reloading of an automatic. The automatic seems to be a red herring, founded on nothing substantial. 

I think the evidence shells came from Oswald's revolver but the bullets in Tippit's body came from a different .38 Special which produced the four shells originally found. Those shells originally found were marked by Poe, also by Barnes, and turned in, but substitutions of shells fired from Oswald's revolver occurred sometime between Sat Nov 23 and Wed Nov 27, with imitation attempts of replacement officers' markings, not perfectly done. The FBI lab accurately found what it found based on what was submitted to them by the Dallas Crime Lab. Later Poe could not find his marks not because he did not mark but because the marks which he did write he could not find on the evidence shells. Barnes also marked originally and could not recognize his own marks for sure and guessed. Neither Dhority nor Doughty testified under oath to the WC identifying their marks to specific shells that they marked either. Somehow the shells that went from the officers, with their markings, into the Dallas Police department Crime Lab on Fri Nov 22 were not the same shells that were submitted from that Crime Lab on Thu Nov 28 to the FBI for forensic examination. 

It has also been noted how odd it is, under the common narrative, that Oswald would eject shells at the scene openly which could easily be traced to his revolver, then not ditch the revolver but have it found on his person at the Texas Theatre. But disidentifying the killer of Tippit from Oswald renders this sensible at both ends. The killer manually ejected shells (necessary in order to reload to prepare for the next killing) close to the scene because it did not matter that the shells would be found; they could be traced to the firearm not to him, and he did not plan to remain in Dallas or keep the firearm in his possession after his work was done. He executed Tippit, first mission accomplished, then reloaded and headed to the Texas Theatre to execute Oswald, after which the murder weapon, untraceable via serial number to him and wiped clean of prints, would have been abandoned the moment its purpose had been fulfilled. The second execution, of Oswald--with that vehicle with engine running out back of the Texas Theatre with no identifiable driver in sight noticed by police when they arrived--did not happen however due to the accident of the Brewer and Postal phone call and rapid police response, though that failure on Friday was remedied on Sunday.

Greg D. Thanks for you clarifying comments. 

"The FBI lab accurately found what it found based on what was submitted to them by the Dallas Crime Lab."--GD

Are you sure the switch did not happen inside the FBI? That is, DPD sent the "real" shells to the FBI, and inside the FBI someone did a switch?

I ask this due to the history of CE 399. 

thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Benjamin Cole said:

Greg D. Thanks for you clarifying comments. 

"The FBI lab accurately found what it found based on what was submitted to them by the Dallas Crime Lab."--GD

Are you sure the switch did not happen inside the FBI? That is, DPD sent the "real" shells to the FBI, and inside the FBI someone did a switch?

I ask this due to the history of CE 399. 

thanks

That's a good point Benjamin, I need to think about that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, David Andrews said:

It seems odd that Oswald, concealing his escape in so much tradecraft, would toss shells in the grass instead of waiting for a better concealment opportunity.

Good point. And if it were an automatic weapon and it jammed, it would look like he was reloading to the untrained eye.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...