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Revisiting the Carroll Jarnagin story


Greg Doudna
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1 hour ago, Greg Doudna said:

Benjamin Cole, do you know the circumstances of how Thomas Peasner came to be a North Korean POW, whether he was captured unwillingly along with other soldiers or whether he voluntarily surrendered? I cannot find anything on that.

Greg D.---

The reports indicate Peasner was "separated from" his company, and was captured with (as I remember) two other soldiers. It seems odd that a radio operator and ammo carrier (that is Peasner) would become separated from the unit. I would guess Peasner would stay in the unit, but then things happen in wartime, and early in the K. war US soldiers often took a beating.

I do not know if the other soldiers captured with Peasner also used Safe Conduct Passes.

It is remarkable that Peasner, while onboard the US Navy vessel and going home, would voluntarily tell Army intel that he surrendered using a Chinese Communist Force (CCF) SCP, since as I recall even having a SCP was a court-martial offense. Having such a pass suggests one voluntarily would surrender, or even defect, rather than fighting, hiding in the bushes or trying to escape.

The fact that Peasner so easily offered that he surrendered using a CCF SCP  may suggest Peasner had "permission" to carry the pass, as he was on a recon mission, and chances of capture were high, and execution if captured a possibility. Having the SCP might have spared Peasner's life. 

There are certainly interesting parallels in Peasner's and LHO's life. I sure wish the remaining documents on Peasner were legible and unredacted. 

Again speculation, but Peasner had a good disability pension. Why bounce a check to buy a gun (paper trail) and then disappear on Nov. 9? Perhaps Peasner was a "fallback plan" for someone to make the patsy. 

Peasner knew Ruby, and Larry Hancock posits Ruby was doing unwitting advance work for the Miami hit squad. 

Anyway, this is deep into the land of speculation....but fun. 

 

 

 

 

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On the Jarnagin polygraph, in the opinion of Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade, the polygraph showed Jarnagin to be sincere but untrue. Wade explained Jarnagin's polygraph to the Warren Commission not as having detected intentional deception but as having determined that Jarnagin's statements though he believed them to be true were factually untrue. I have never before heard a law enforcement official claim that a polygraph was capable of distinguishing truth from untruth in a sincere witness who believes both to be true.  

Mr. Wade. (. . .) I know one of them during the trial was a lawyer there in Dallas, which I presume you all got his four-page statement, said he heard them discussing killing Connally a week before then, came out to my house and that had been sent to the FBI, and that was during the trial, and I gave him a lie detector which showed that he didn't have, this was a fanciful thing.

Mr. Rankin. You found that was not anything you could rely on.

Mr. Wade. I didn't use him as a witness [in the Ruby trial] and after giving him the polygraph I was satisfied that he was imagining it. I think he was sincere, I don't think he was trying--I don't think he was trying to be a hero or anything. I think he really thought about it so much I think he thought that it happened, but the polygraph indicated otherwise. (5H232)

That polygraph did not show Jarnagin was knowingly speaking falsely, according to District Attorney Wade. The polygraph was able to determine, instead, according to Wade, that what Jarnagin said and believed to be true, was imagination not real. Later,

Mr. Wade. He talked to me at length there at my house, just us, and I would say at 11 o'clock at night. It was on a Sunday night I know (. . .) I read that statement over. It is a rather startling thing. It didn't ring true to me. It all deals with a conversation between Oswald and Ruby about killing John Connally, the Governor of Texas, over, he says, they can't get syndicated crime in Texas without they kill the Governor. I know enough about the situation, the Governor has practically nothing to do with syndicated crime. It has to be on a local, your district attorney and your police are the ones on the firing line on that, and they discussed at length killing him, how much they are going to pay him, 'He wants five thousand, I believe or half of it now, and half of it when it is done.' (. . .) 

He told me this is what happened, and I said, 'I can't put you on the stand without I am satisfied you are telling the truth because,' I said, 'We have got a good case here [against Ruby], and if they prove we are putting a lying witness on the stand, we might hurt us,' and I said, 'The only thing I know to do I won't put you on the stand but to take a polygraph to see if you are telling the truth or not.' He said, 'I would be glad to.' And I set it up and I later ran into him in the lawyers' club there and he handed me another memorandum which amplified on the other one, which all have been furnished to the attorney general or if we didn't lose it in the shuffle. This was during the trial actually, and then when the man called me he took a lie detector. There was no truth in it. That he was in the place. He was in the place, in Ruby's Carousel, but that none of this conversation took place. He said he was in one booth and Ruby was in another booth.   

Edited by Greg Doudna
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Just to be clear, I am not saying Jarnagin's story was entirely reliable. The main problem is he wrote down a reconstructed conversation the best he could from what he remembered two months earlier, and did so post-assassination in which the post-assassination narrative clearly corrupted his narrative. In addition he had been drinking and may have been partly intoxicated at the time, although his companion told the FBI he was not drunk. And most of all, what he saw had nothing--nothing--to do with a sighting of Oswald in the Carousel Club as Jarnagin thought. Henry Wade was perfectly correct in not using Jarnagin as a witness for the prosecution in the trial against Ruby. His testimony would have added nothing to Wade's prosecution case and Jarnagin's testimony would have been ripped to shreds on cross-examination. None of this is contested.

What has hardly been considered is something else, of much interest, that Jarnagin was a witness--an imperfect, flawed witness as many witnesses to actual history are, but a witness--of an early encounter between Ruby and Larry Crafard, of significance in light of what Jarnagin heard. The Jarnagin story is a distorted, imperfect version of an event that happened, as opposed to an invention or fabrication. That is the key point. The polygraph, rather than measuring lying, may have been measuring self-doubt on his answers, not the same thing. Perhaps that is what Henry Wade meant when he said Jarnagin was sincere and believed his story but the polygraph showed it did not happen. But self-doubt on his answers (if that is the correct interpretation of that polygraph) is not the same thing as not true.

Jack Ruby: What do you want?

"Lee" ["Larry"]: I need some money

Jack Ruby: Money?

"Lee" ["Larry"]: I just got in from New Orleans. I need a place to stay, and a job.

From dancer Joyce McDonald, stage name Joy Dale, associate of Crafard who knew him before introduction to Ruby, and who came to the Carousel at about the same time as Crafard, in the WFAA-TV interview the day after Crafard left Dallas and the same day that Ruby had killed Oswald.

"Well, I have a friend out here that came to Dallas, unemployed, know--not knowing anyone. He had met Jack once. Jack gave him a place to stay until he found him a job, gave him money to live off of until he went to work, until he could move out." (24 H 796)

I think these are two versions of the same thing and the same person. 

In Crafard's Warren Commission testimony, he gives a story of having talked on the phone for hours the night of Nov 22/23 to a woman he claims he had never previously met and could not remember her name. That hours-long conversation was followed by Crafard being picked up at around 5 am by Ruby followed by a sudden decision to hitchhike to Michigan, after almost no sleep that night, according to Crafard's testimony. Though the Warren Commission sought from questioning to identify the woman of Crafard's phone call story it was hopeless; Crafard was not giving up any verifiable information on that point. 

I think the woman Crafard talked to the night of Fri/Saturday whom he would not identify to the Warren Commission may have been Joyce McDonald. He did say goodby to someone--Joyce McDonald, and then Ruby at 5 am. He told Joyce how he wanted his departure explained to people, and on Sunday Nov 24, the next day on WFAA-TV, she did.  

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Have read this thread as well as the innocence of Oswald in Tippit case with interest.

It has bugged me that someplace I read about Crafard, but couldn't remember in what book.  After days of brain freeze I found it.

Scheim's 'Contract on America' (p247) states that Larry 'had no front teeth', was 'creepy' and 'looked like a bum'.

Maybe Jarnagin wouldn't notice the teeth in a dark club, but certainly Laura Kittrell would notice, unless he had false teeth.

Another witness is quoted 'Crafard had sandy hair'.

Edited by Pete Mellor
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5 hours ago, Pete Mellor said:

Have read this thread as well as the innocence of Oswald in Tippit case with interest.

It has bugged me that someplace I read about Crafard, but couldn't remember in what book.  After days of brain freeze I found it.

Scheim's 'Contract on America' (p247) states that Larry 'had no front teeth', was 'creepy' and 'looked like a bum'.

Maybe Jarnagin wouldn't notice the teeth in a dark club, but certainly Laura Kittrell would notice, unless he had false teeth.

Another witness is quoted 'Crafard had sandy hair'.

Hi Pete, although he was said to have had teeth knocked out in a fight in early October do any witnesses actually say they saw Crafard going around with no front teeth? I cannot think of any immediately. If he was missing front teeth maybe he wore dentures? Is it certain he was missing front teeth? That Laura Kittrell told memories of encounters with Larry Crafard (as well as of Oswald) is certain, and I do not recall Laura Kittrell noting anything about missing front teeth though she noted other details. A number of disparate people who saw Crafard including in good lighting and who did not have prior history of knowing Crafard or Oswald did believe mistakenly post-assassination that the Crafard they had seen had been Oswald, so this is not a matter of someone saying today they don't think that would have happened, though it is a relevant question in each specific case. On hair, I have the impression most witness descriptions including the FBI's report of physical description had Crafard with brown or darker brown hair slightly darker and fuller than Oswald's which is in agreement with the Crafard color photos of the Warren Commission exhibits. Of course witness descriptions can vary but sandy hair does not sound quite right for Crafard.   

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11 hours ago, Greg Doudna said:

Hi Pete, although he was said to have had teeth knocked out in a fight in early October do any witnesses actually say they saw Crafard going around with no front teeth? I cannot think of any immediately. If he was missing front teeth maybe he wore dentures? Is it certain he was missing front teeth? That Laura Kittrell told memories of encounters with Larry Crafard (as well as of Oswald) is certain, and I do not recall Laura Kittrell noting anything about missing front teeth though she noted other details. A number of disparate people who saw Crafard including in good lighting and who did not have prior history of knowing Crafard or Oswald did believe mistakenly post-assassination that the Crafard they had seen had been Oswald, so this is not a matter of someone saying today they don't think that would have happened, though it is a relevant question in each specific case. On hair, I have the impression most witness descriptions including the FBI's report of physical description had Crafard with brown or darker brown hair slightly darker and fuller than Oswald's which is in agreement with the Crafard color photos of the Warren Commission exhibits. Of course witness descriptions can vary but sandy hair does not sound quite right for Crafard.   

Greg, Again Scheim's book has two notes on the missing front teeth.  CE2403 & Karen Karlin Exhibit 5318. (sic)

Also, although Ruby denied to FBI & Warren that he attended the Lucas B.& B. on the morning of 22nd November, Mrs Mary Lawrence stated that Ruby, who she knew well, was there with Oswald.  Crafard stated that he & Ruby had breakfast there that morning.  Mrs Lawrence described the man with Ruby had 'a small but deep scar on his left cheek'.  However, nothing about missing teeth.

Edited by Pete Mellor
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  • 2 weeks later...

On the timeline of Larry Crafard's arrival to Dallas

Attorney Carroll Jarnagin, writing to J. Edgar Hoover on Dec. 3, 1963 said he witnessed an unkempt young man, newly arrived in town, asking for Jack Ruby in the Carousel Club on Friday, October 4, 1963. I believe it is certain that the person Jarnagin saw with Ruby that night was neither Oswald nor a fabrication but was Larry Crafard. The only issue is interpretation of which details were garbled, but the Crafard identification itself to me is just plain.

Jarnagin simply misheard Crafard telling Ruby to call him "Larry", heard by Jarnagin as sounding like "Lee" (Oswald's first name), Jarnagin mistaken.

I have just found this from Greg Parker written in 2016 concerning research on Crafard. This research of Greg Parker had nothing to do with the Jarnagin story. Greg Parker, commenting on when Crafard arrived in Dallas, independently arrived at a suggestion of October 4, 1963. (http://www.prayer-man.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/rokc forum/www.reopenkennedycase.org/apps/forums/topics/show/13311315-crafard-puzzle2679.html?page=1 [post of Feb 13, 2016 6:06 am])

"Crafard stated in that Nov 28 [1963] FBI interview that he met Ruby on or about Oct 21. Having read his [Warren Commission] testimony, I have to believe that is in error (. . .) The [Texas State] Fair--and the Hollywood show opened on October 5. Two or three days after that, Crafard meets Ruby. The FBI interview has them meeting two or three days after the R & R show ended. I think the FBI agent just got his notes confused. Two or three days after the R & R show ended was when Crafard officially started working for Ruby.

"Crafard doesn't say exactly when he arrived in Dallas--only that he started work at the Hollywood show when it opened. I have checked multiple sources. It did open on Oct 5, so it is possible, maybe even likely that he arrived the day before--October 4.

"Whilst October 15 was the date Oswald started work at the depository--October 4 is an interesting date too. It is the date Oswald (also) arrived in Dallas."

This is indeed a startling coincidence--the suggestion on grounds independent of Jarnagin that Crafard arrived in Dallas the same day Jarnagin saw Crafard show up at the Carousel Club, newly arrived from out of town, asking for Ruby and in need of money and a place to stay.

(Note: Oswald actually arrived in Dallas from Mexico City on Wed Oct 2 according to the accepted timeline, staying at the Dallas YMCA Wed and Thu nights Oct 2-3, then at Ruth Paine's house Fri, Sat, and Sun nights Oct 4-6.)

Greg Parker's reconstruction is very reasonable.

In other words, Jarnagin's story of what he witnessed at the Carousel Club on Fri Oct 4 was not derived backward from reading a story in a newspaper of a timeline of Oswald (who had nothing to do with Ruby or the Carousel Club). It was a witnessing of Crafard (who had a lot to do with Ruby and the Carousel Club) meeting Ruby when Crafard first got into town (returned to Dallas).

Jarnagin by total accident witnessed that.

And Greg Parker nailed it on the timeline, on grounds independent of Jarnagin.

Edited by Greg Doudna
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  • 3 weeks later...

Frances Hise and "Ossie" in the Carousel Club

I believe I have identified another Carousel Club sighting of Crafard mistaken for Oswald, exactly analogous to that of Jarnagin, and thereby removing one more mistaken claim of a witness seeing Oswald in the Carousel Club: Frances Hise. Frances Hise appears in many books as a witness claiming to have seen Oswald and Ruby together in the Carousel Club. But whereas Oswald almost certainly never was in the Carousel Club, Crafard was living there on October 23, 1963, the date Frances Hise, a young woman applying for a job with Jack Ruby, reported the following (this is from an FBI document dated Nov 28, 1966):

"On November 28, 1966, Inspector Gino Marionetti of the San Francisco Police Department made available a copy of his report regarding the above mentioned interview [with Frances Hise on Nov 26, 1966]. (. . .) According to the aforementioned police department report, Frances Hise advised she was (<lines blocked out>) She indicated that on October 23, 1963 she was in Jack Ruby's place in Dallas, Texas. She described his place as being across the street from the Dolphus Hotel on Commerce Street and next to the Colony Club in Dallas. She indicated she was talking to Ruby about employment as a cocktail waitress when a person she described as white, male, American, five feet five inches, dark hair and approximately thirty years of age came on to the premises.

"Continuing, Frances Hise advised Inspector Gino Marionetti that Ruby referred to this man as 'Ossie' and told him to go into the back room. He then joined this man immediately and Miss Frances Hise left the premises.

"Finally in the aforementioned police report, Inspector Marionetti stated that Miss Hise advised him that there was no doubt in her mind that 'Ossie' and Lee Harvey Oswald were one and the same person." (https://maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=60403#relPageId=108&search=frances_irene hise)

Physical description: the 5'5" is shorter than both Oswald and Crafard, but her 5'5" height memory estimate is less discrepant with Crafard's 5'8" than Oswald's 5'9". Crafard was an inch shorter than Oswald. The "dark hair" is consistent with other witness testimonies of Crafard's hair as dark brown and darker than Oswald's. 

What he was doing there: Miss Hise saw Ruby greet the man and direct him to "the back room". Crafard was living in a room next to Ruby's office. 

Identification by Miss Hise of the man as Oswald: in agreement with other post-assassination retroactive confusions of Crafard with Oswald, Frances Hise simply made the same mistake, because the man she saw with Ruby (and having no idea otherwise who he was) had some resemblance to Oswald later in the news. Just as was the case with Jarnagin and others.

And what about her remembering Ruby greeting the man as "Ossie"? When this incident is recounted in some assassination-conspiracy books I have noticed it is misspelled "Ozzie". "Ozzie" is how "Oswald" would be shortened in sound. But the document does not say "Ozzie". There was no "Ozzie". What she said Ruby said was "Ossie", sort of like "horsey", or in this case, it is clear (since the man had to have been Crafard, and not Oswald) that she heard Ruby addressing Crafard as "L. C." . . . for "Larry Crafard" . . . "LC"--remembered by Miss Hise as "Ossie"!

And from this routine Crafard sighting a ton of mystification developed over another alleged Ruby-Oswald sighting in the Carousel Club. It was not Oswald. But it did involve a truthful witness who simply was mistaken concerning the identification. No Oswald double. No impersonation. Nothing complicated. Just Crafard.

All of the above is a report of what Frances Hise herself told a law enforcement officer. In addition, there is this hearsay from a man who says Frances Hise told him this when she (Miss Hise) was drunk: "Hise was quite drunk and informed him that she had been working in Ruby's bar in Dallas, Texas. He noted that she informed him that Lee Harvey Oswald came into the bar and asked her if he could buy her, Hise, a drink. Later Ruby took Oswald into his office in the back of the bar according to the story Hise related to Tooze" (https://maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=60403#relPageId=111&search=frances_irene hise). Again this agrees with Crafard, who chatted up women and drank alcohol (and was present in the Carousel Club where he was living on Oct 23, 1963), none of which agrees with Oswald.

Edited by Greg Doudna
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Carroll Jarnagin August 1968 interview with Barry Ernest

This is an interview of Carroll Jarnagin on August 1, 1968 by Barry Ernest published in The Girl on the Stairs, 2018 edition (first published 2012), pp. 114-117. In this interview Jarnagin sticks to his story, shows fear of talking, shows no motivation whatever to have fabricated or invented the story, and tells the details of what Jarnagin interpreted as an attempt on his life related to his attempt to give testimony concerning what he had seen and heard at the Carousel Club that night of Oct 4, 1963.

But before Barry Ernest got Jarnagin to talk in Aug 1968, he first tried to get him to talk in March 1968 and failed. Here is Barry Ernest telling of his first failed attempt (pp. 80-81):

"One of the leads Penn Jones provided to me was Carroll Jarnagin, a Dallas attorney who claimed he had seen Oswald in Jack Ruby's Carousel Club not long before the assassination (. . .) My phone calls to Jarnagin went unanswered. So I decided to visit his office at 511 North Akard Street in the midtown section of Dallas. I expected to find a typically busy legal practice. But when I opened the door, I walked into an eight-foot by eight-foot room. A few feet ahead was a single chair for visitors. To my left, a startled man rose from a small metal desk so quickly that his chair slammed into the wall inches behind. Jarnagin was working out o a broom closet.

"Jarnagin was a frail person and of average height. Probably in his early forties, he wore glasses and a business suit. He smiled as I entered. He then offered me his hand, no doubt expecting me to be another--maybe his only--client. As he sat back down, I told him the nature of my visit. Would he mind answering a few questions?

 "The smile left his face more quickly than it would have taken to traverse his meager office. He motioned for me to sit down as he reached for a cigarette. I settled into his only other chair. Minutes of silence drifted by. 'i don't want to talk about it,' he finally said. 

"I told him I only wanted to know what it was that made him so sure the man he saw was Oswald. He refused to answer. Instead, he nervously puffed on one cigarette, then another, and another. The guy was making me uneasy.

"After ten minutes of this, I got up to leave. Jarnagin motioned for me to sit again. He apologized for his silence, saying he had already provided the FBI with a full statement. That agency had disbelieved him, he said, labeling it a case of 'misidentification'. 

Comment: The FBI believed Jarnagin's story was a "misidentification"? That is not lying or fabrication. If the FBI believed it was misidentification, that is exactly what it in fact was. But if the FBI or other law enforcement did think it was a misidentification, someone other than Oswald discussing with Ruby a contract killing by rifle from a building on a parade route in Dallas of the governor of Texas two months before shots were fired from a rifle in a building on a parade route that wounded the governor of Texas and killed the president of the United States sitting next to him--would not that have been of interest to investigate? However nothing in the FBI reports that I have seen mentions a misidentification interpretation as explanation for Jarnagin's story. There is no evidence that the FBI, or any other law enforcement agency or the Warren Commission, believed Jarnagin had misidentified someone else for Oswald who had discussed those things with Ruby--even though that is exactly what happened. 

"'And that is the way I'm going to accept it,' he added. He stared at me intensely. Then he averted his eyes, as if it was me giving him the creeps.

"Hoping to break the ice, I said it was Penn Jones who had mentioned his name. He immediately asked how many deaths had occurred to witnesses up to that point. I told him Jones had the number pegged at forty-five. 'I don't want to be number forty-six,' he muttered.

"That was when it hit me. Jarnagin wasn't toying with me. He wasn't playing games. He was scared.

"'Well, if I make you uncomfortable...' I said.

"He did nothing to stop me from leaving this time. Jones told me there were people in Dallas who would be afraid to talk. I had just met one of them.

Five months later Barry Ernest tried again with Jarnagin and this time succeeded. After telling of a chilly reception he had received talking to Sheriff Bill Decker in the Criminal Courts Building in Dallas, in July 1968, Ernest writes:

"It wasn't much better when I knocked at another office. The response I got was meek. 'Come in.'

"When I did, Carroll Jarnagin glanced up from his desk with a smile. His pleasantness left when he recognized who had entered.

"'Remember me?'

"He reached into his desk drawer and quickly removed and opened a pack of cigarettes, extracting and then igniting a cigarette. I certainly brought out a most unhealthy reaction in this guy. He waved his free hand toward the chair, indicating I should sit. Jarnagin had done nothing to decorate the place. It smelled and looked the same as it had when I was here last, five months ago. 'I remember you,' he said. He proceeded to tell me my name, where I was from, and the exact date and time of our previous meeting. He brought forth details of my past I had not remembered telling him during the idle chatter I apparently had lapsed into while we had talked last March. Then he gave me a verbatim recitation of the questions I had asked him back then, and the answers he had provided, all without benefit of notes. The man had total recall.

"'So,' I began, 'can I get you to talk a bit about seeing Oswald at the Carousel Club?'

"Jarnagin returned to his shell, puffing profusely on what seemed like an endless supply of cancer sticks. 'How many deaths now?' he suddenly blurted out. 'What?' 'How many deaths of witnesses does Jones show now?' 'I don't really know,' I said honestly. 'I haven't been in touch with him yet.' 'I'm sure it's higher than the forty-five you mentioned the last time you were here.' I had forgotten the number.

As usual, Jarnagin refused to answer my questions. He even declined my idea of simply nodding yes or no in lieu of a verbal response. After fifteen minutes of this nonsense, I got up to leave. Jarnagin raised his index finger and coughed out a plea.

"'Wait,' he gasped. 'Please sit down.' He studied me a bit longer, then broke his silence.

"'It was Oswald I saw that night at the club.'

"I asked how he could be so sure. Was his eyesight as sharp as his memory? He said he was able to see the man distinctly, since Oswald occupied the booth next to where Jarnagin was sitting, and based on the tantalizing conversation he heard, the attorney had begun to pay close attention.

Comment: my impression was the seating was at tables, not booths. Jarnagin's letter and narrative to the FBI in 1963 refers to tables and eye contact and line of sight to Ruby and the other man at the next table.

"That was October 4, 1963. When Oswald's picture appeared on television and in the papers nearly seven weeks later, Jarnagin said he immediately recognized him as the man he had seen with Ruby. 'Were there any other witnesses to what was beng said?' I asked. 'I was accompanied by a young woman,' he answered. 'Her name was Shirley Mauldin, but she denies it now.'

Comment: In the FBI interview of Shirley Mauldin (26H259-60, https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1142#relPageId=295), she did not deny that she accompanied Jarnagin that night. According to the FBI report, she said "she overheard no conversation in the Carousel Club between Ruby and anyone, and she could recall no discussion regarding the shooting of the Governor of Texas ... she was definite in her recollection that she and Carroll did not engage in any conversation regarding the reporting of anything they had overheard to the proper authorities." This simply says Jarnagin did not discuss what he overheard with her; he never said he did, and given what he was hearing that is not surprising. Shirley Mauldin did not deny she was with Jarnagin; she did not deny that Ruby was at the table next to them (according to the FBI report; no record she was asked); did not deny that Ruby was talking to a man at the next table (according to the FBI report; no record she was asked). She denied only that she had heard anything, or that Jarnagin had told her anything about it. What Jarnagin is saying here that Shirley Mauldin was denying is a little unclear. The conversations and quotes told by Barry Ernest are identified as from written notes.

"Jarnagin said much of the conversation he overheard centered on a plot by Chicago gangsters to eliminate Kennedy. The plot was successful, he felt, because of Ruby's connections to organized crime.

Comment: I do not recall Jarnagin's original account saying anything about "Chicago' as the location of the implied organized-crime interests behind the discussed contract killing of Governor Connally. It could be "Chicago" is Jarnagin's comment in clarification based on assumption, not a detail learned or heard from the overheard conversation.

"'You're not writing a book, am I right?' he asked. "'No,' I said. 'I'm here strictly for my own curiosity'.

"'Good,' he said, 'because I'm afraid that if I talk publicly about it, they will get me too.' Jarnagin was concerned for his life because of a previous incident. During Jack Ruby's trial in early 1964, Jarnagin said he was awakened in the middle of the night by a car idling just outside his bedroom window. As he drew the curtains aside to investigate, he noticed a hose attached to the exhaust pipe of the vehicle. The hose snaked its way over to the air-conditioning unit he had running in his window. Carbon-monoxide gas was filling his room. Whoever had set up the contraption must have discovered he was awake, Jarnagin said, because seconds later the car sped away, dragging the hose behind it. The next morning, Jarnagin found an empty can of ether sitting outside the window. He discovered that it too had been poured into his air-conditioning fan. Had he not been awakened, he would have been overcome by the combined fumes. 'Fortunately, the only consequence was a three-day headache.'

"Did he associate the attempt on his life with what he had seen at the Carousel Club? 'Most definitely,' he replied. 'I have absolutely no other reason for why it occurred.'

"'And you never told any of this to the Warren Commission?' 'They never contacted me,' Jarnagin answered. 'I notified the FBI right after the assassination about what I had seen and heard at Ruby's club, but I guess they weren't interested either. Other than Penn Jones, you're the only person I've really talked to.'"

Skipping over some recapitulation of Wade's Warren Commission testimony re Jarnagin (which I discussed earlier), resuming:

"I asked Jarnagin why he chose to talk to the district attorney if he feared for his life. 'I thought I could help,' Jarnagin replied. 'And the attempt on my life did not occur until after I had offered my information to Henry Wade.'

"'And the polygraph test?' I asked. 'Wade told the Commission it showed you were not telling the truth.'

"Jarnagin shrugged. 'What can I say? The polygraph is notoriously unreliable ... and I was very nervous. I was aware of how the government was describing the relationship between Ruby and Oswald, and I knew different.'

"Suddenly Jarnagin went mute, perhaps sensing he had said enough, or too much. I decided to leave after one final question.

"'How do you know, in all honesty and with such certainty, without any doubt at all, that the man you saw talking with Jack Ruby that night was Lee Oswald? Could you possibly have been mistaken?'

"The attorney took a final, long puff on his cigarette, then slowly snuffed out what remained of it in the ashtray. He leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands behind his head, and without expression, looked me squarely in the eyes for what seemed like several minutes.

"'It was Oswald,' he answered. 'I know it was him.'" 

Carroll Jarnagin 1988 interview with Jim Marrs

This is an interview of Carroll Jarnagin in the summer of 1988 by Jim Marrs published in Marrs, Crossfire, 2013 edition, pp. 393-394. The key points of interest are Jarnagin's sticking to his story--making no profit from it, seeking no publicity from it, no identifiable self-interest served by it--twenty years after the Barry Ernest interview, still sticking to his story despite its having been disbelieved and the reported failure on the polygraph test. So it is a judgment call: does this sound like a witness who made up this story? Or does it sound like a witness who did witness an interaction of Crafard and Ruby but got some details garbled, chief of which was a mistaken identification of Crafard as Oswald? 

"Jarnagin explained to this author that he visited Ruby's Carousel Club on October 4, 1963, to discuss a legal case with one of Ruby's strippers.

Comment: Marrs' telling has some mistakes. The woman Jarnagin was with was not a current employee of Ruby though said she had previously worked for Ruby.

"While seated in a booth at the club, Jarnagin overheard Jack Ruby--whom he knew well--talking with another man. Jarnagin heard the man tell Ruby, 'Don't use my real name. I'm going by the name of O. H. Lee.' This, of course, was the name Lee Harvey Oswald used to rent a room on North Beckley in Oak Cliff.

Comment: There are the booths again, just as in the 1968 interview with Barry Ernest.  On not using his real name, Curtis LaVerne Crafard (or Craford after 1964) was using a different name "Larry", and my assumption is Jarnagin's claim to have heard "O.H. Lee" was some misunderstanding of an overheard "Larry", that is, Ruby addressed Crafard one way, and Crafard corrected him and asked to be called Larry, misunderstood by Jarnagin as "Lee". Also, the original claim of Jarnagin in 1963 of the name he heard was not "O.H. Lee" but "H.L. Lee". One can see how the memory of the initials was "shaped" by the belief that it was Oswald, such that 25 years later the initials were now remembered to match all three of Oswald's names.  

"Jarnagin described this meeting: 'These men were talking about plans to kill the governor of Texas. Ruby explained, 'He [Governor Connally] won't work with us on paroles. With a few of the right boys out we could really open up this state, with a little cooperation from the governor.' Then Ruby offered Lee a drug franchise. Ruby also said that the boys really wanted to kill Robert Kennedy. Lee offered to go to Washington to do the job. They then discussed using public lockers and pay telephones as part of hiding their plot. Ruby assured Lee that he could shoot Connally from a window in the Carousel Club and then escape out a back door. Lee was asking for money. He wanted half of the money in advance, but Ruby told him he would get one lump sum after the job was done.'

Comment: the "drug franchise" offer is new (not in Jarnagin's 1963). The mention of "using public lockers and pay telephones" is new.

"One thing that sets Jarnagin's story apart from the others is that he contacted authorities with his information prior to the assassination. The day after he heard Ruby's conversation, Jarnagin telphoned. Nothing came of this.

Comment: Actually Jarnagin said he made two telephone calls anonymously (without giving his name) to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (state highway patrol), or the Texas Rangers, in Austin anonymously trying to get a warning message to Gov. Connally, but neither of those agencies confirmed those calls were received. In light of the parallel example of the destruction of an Oswald note delivered to the Dallas FBI two weeks before the assassination, although that is a different and unrelated agency it illustrates a bureaucratic incentive to deny receipt of anything unusual, particularly in the nature of a warning not acted upon, relative to Oswald prior to the assassination. So Jarnagin's claim and the Texas Dept. of Public Safety's denial could be interpreted either way, a "he says versus they say" conflicting claim. Since Jarnagin said he refused to give his name when making the two phone calls to Austin, is it also possible although the officers answering may have been polite and humored the caller, they internally regarded it as a crank call and did no paperwork on it? (was it procedure to have paperwork on every call including crank calls? I don't know.) One highly relevant point would be whether phone records confirmed whether or not Jarnagin made phone calls to Austin that day from his home phone, and to what numbers--that could have confirmed or disconfirmed that matter straight up--but there is no record that the FBI made that check (why not?).

"Jarnagin stated, '[After Ruby shot Oswald] I definitely realized that the picture in the November 23, 1963, Dallas Times Herald of Lee Harvey Oswald was a picture of the man using the name O. H. Lee, whose conversation with Jack Ruby I had overheard back on Octobver 5, 1963." 

Comment: See my above on Frances Hise, same thing. Whereas Oswald almost certainly never was in the Carousel, Crafard met Ruby about this time and Ruby invited him to live at the Carousel. It was no impersonation, no double, nothing complicated. The stories of witnesses Hise and Jarnagin were true in that they saw a person. They misidentified that person as Oswald when it was actually Crafard, due to an accident of similar physical description and appearance. Again Jarnagin uses the initials "O.H. Lee" instead of what he informed the FBI in 1963 he heard: "H.L. Lee" (assuming Marrs is quoting Jarnagin accurately here, which I assume is the case).

"After the assassination, Jarnagin again contacted the authorities, this time the Dallas police and the FBI. He was interviewed but his startling account of a Ruby-Oswald plot was buried deep in the volumes of the Warren Commission and never mentioned in its report.

Comment: Jarnagin contacted the FBI, in the form of a letter directly to J. Edgar Hoover personally, within days of the assassination, but there is no record that he contacted the Dallas Police Department. He did later talk to Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County (and former law school classmate of Jarnagin's), when Wade was preparing the prosecution of Ruby for the murder of Oswald. 

"In fact, the Warren Commission quickly dismissed rumors circulating throughout Dallas in 1963-1964 that Ruby and Oswald knew each other by stating, 'All assertions that Oswald was seen in the company of Ruby or anyone else at the Carousel Club have been investigated. None of them merits any credence.'

Comment: I believe that Warren Commission statement is accurate.

"Jarnagin said when he tried to tell the FBI what he knew, agents accused him of having hallucinations. The attorney huffed, 'It was clearly abuse of a witness.'

Comment: There were two central problems with Jarnagin's story. The first was the mistaken identification in which Jarnagin thought he saw Oswald. He didn't. That was the question of interest to the Warren Commission and Jarnagin was wrong on the identification, but not wrong on having seen the interaction of Ruby and the man itself. What Jarnagin did see was Crafard and Ruby, which in itself would not be too significant or surprising if it were not for what Jarnagin said he heard them saying, not realizing that it was Crafard. That is the actual importance of the Jarnagin story--what he said he heard in light of the correct identity that it was Ruby and Crafard. The second problem is the polygraph, reported failed by Jarnagin, which I do not have a good explanation for other than in this case, based on the total picture, I just think that polygraph report is not reliable or in error, with the polygraph perhaps measuring self-doubt of Jarnagin concerning what he saw. It is a little difficult for me to believe that Jarnagin would intentionally carry out an elaborate lie of this nature--all the way to a serious letter to J. Edgar Hoover which if it was a fabrication would risk loss of his license to practice law. And what was going on with District Attorney Wade, who should have understood what polygraph examinations measure--denying under oath that he believed Jarnagin had intentionally lied, even though Jarnagin failed the polygraph? Wade's interpretation was Jarnagin believed what he was saying was true but it was his imagination, and that the polygraph detected that instead of deception--that is what Wade told the Warren Commission in his testimony, even though it makes no sense. Was Wade trying to be nice to an old law school fellow classmate? (By giving something other than accurate truth under oath concerning what polygraph tests measure?) Who knows.

Edited by Greg Doudna
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