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


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Posted (edited)

[originally posted this Oc 6, 2021 on another topic thread, "An argument for actual innocence of Oswald in the Tippit case". I repost it because I believe it merits stand-alone attention--gd]

 

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

by Greg Doudna

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 [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=95957#relPageId=228]) 

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. From his Warren Commission testimony (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=38#relPageId=246) :

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 Tippit 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 [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57689#relPageId=117]). 

"He had a gray jacket, I believe ... no, sir [it was not C162], I remember its being gray" (Linnie Mae Randle, Warren Commission testimony [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=38#relPageId=258]). 

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. (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=38#relPageId=258)

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 (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=37#relPageId=134) :

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 C162 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 [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=1139#relPageId=507])

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." (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57698#relPageId=174)

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. Whaley:

"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." (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=38#relPageId=263)

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 (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=38#relPageId=268) :

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." (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=35#relPageId=449)

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 GolzHere 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.'" (https://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t371-suspect-behind-the-texas-theatre)

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.’” (page 8 at http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/F Disk/Fensterwald Bernard 1990/Item 004.pdf)

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 [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57742#relPageId=19 and https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=11133#relPageId=261])

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 17, 1963 [https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57742#relPageId=19])

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. 17, 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 Tippit 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 Tippit killer light-gray jacket/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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I think the evidence you've laid out suggests another scenario as well. It seems likely Oswald knew he was in deep and was going on the run. Perhaps he put on a blue jacket at the rooming house, with the gray jacket on top. He then dumped the gray jacket after shooting Tippit. He then took off the blue jacket at the theater. When this second jacket was discovered, and IDed by Marina, the police were totally perplexed. One of them told Whaley they'd thought maybe Oswald had been wearing two jackets. Whaley later regurgitated this, even though Oswald had not put on the second jacket until he'd visited the rooming house. In any event, the police, perhaps in league with the SS, then arranged for this second jacket, the blue jacket, to be found at the TSBD.

For this possibility to hold true, of course, one would have to have been able to put the gray jacket on over the blue jacket. Has anyone done a size comparison? Was one jacket slightly larger than the other?

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3 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

I think the evidence you've laid out suggests another scenario as well. It seems likely Oswald knew he was in deep and was going on the run. Perhaps he put on a blue jacket at the rooming house, with the gray jacket on top.

Pat,

Where's the proof of a grey jacket?  A medium grey jacket?  Light or medium gray that looks like CE 163 the blue, Russian jacket.  There's evidence or a light tan/grey jacket of the short waisted kind exhibited in the Hunter Photo.  Not a longer jacket such as CE 163.  Marina says she washed these jackets and they were never sent to the cleaners.  There's always a problem with her veracity.  But, why would she lie about washing jackets and not sending them to the cleaners.  Particularly, when a cleaning tag was found in one of the jackets.  Surely, she would have went along with the story if it was important at the time.

What did this medium grey jacket look like.  Is there a photo representation of it?  I haven't seen any evidence of a medirm gray jacket so how can Greg postulate a 3 jacket theory?

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3 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

I think the evidence you've laid out suggests another scenario as well. It seems likely Oswald knew he was in deep and was going on the run. Perhaps he put on a blue jacket at the rooming house, with the gray jacket on top. He then dumped the gray jacket after shooting Tippit. He then took off the blue jacket at the theater. When this second jacket was discovered, and IDed by Marina, the police were totally perplexed. One of them told Whaley they'd thought maybe Oswald had been wearing two jackets. Whaley later regurgitated this, even though Oswald had not put on the second jacket until he'd visited the rooming house. In any event, the police, perhaps in league with the SS, then arranged for this second jacket, the blue jacket, to be found at the TSBD.

For this possibility to hold true, of course, one would have to have been able to put the gray jacket on over the blue jacket. Has anyone done a size comparison? Was one jacket slightly larger than the other?

Critical to this is the prior issue of whether Oswald was the killer of Tippit. The three main arguments that he was are eyewitnesses, the shell casings at the site match to his revolver, and circumstantially incriminating scenario (Oswald found with a revolver in the direction the killer was last seen running). In my other thread (Argument for actual innocence of Oswald in the Tippit case) I developed my own arguments that Oswald is exonerated. The witnesses are not stronger than any of the numerous cases of witnesses claiming to have seen Oswald when it was mistaken identification. The physical descriptions of the witnesses arguably fit Larry Craford better than Oswald on a couple of details in which Craford and Oswald differed a little; it is independently known that witnesses were confusing Craford for Oswald elsewhere so why not a few more witnesses making the same mistake at the Tippit crime scene, or in one more instance, Brewer's look at the man in front of his store who entered the theatre. On the shell casings matched to Oswald's revolver there is a non-frivolous argument for some DPD slight cooking of some evidence in order to better assist at court getting Oswald wrapped up tight and put away legally. And while other literature has previously developed much of that, I may have pioneered in proposing a narrative explanation for why Oswald is in the theatre where the killer is last seen headed--because the killer (Ruby's man Craford?) was headed there to kill Oswald. But Oswald's life was saved by the fortuitous and timely arrival of police and his arrest. Craford having failed in the task, Ruby simply did it himself two days later.

Arguing positively for exoneration of Oswald are some serious independent things: the lack of any sense for why Oswald would be on 10th Street at all is a big one, the lack of witnesses seeing him walk there is another, timing factors while disputed seem to be still another. But there is more than that. The most important one was ironically brought out by the man who wrote the book on Oswald's guilt in the Tippit case, Myers. The Tippit killer left his fingerprints on the Tippit cruiser's right front passenger door and also at the right front bumper as the killer went around the front of the car shooting Tippit. While those fingerprints have never been matched to an identification--actually no record of any effort ever to do so, with the exception of checking for an up or down verdict on a match to Oswald's fingerprints!--Myers obtained an experienced fingerprint examiner who found two things, extremely--extremely--important, prima facie exoneration of Oswald provided only that no further experts impeached this expert's findings, which has never happened. The first finding was that the fingerprints on the right door were made by the same person who left the fingerprints on the right bumper. That confirms it was the killer. And the second is that that person who left those fingerprints in both places exactly where the killer would have, was not, repeat not, Oswald. Oswald was excluded as having been the individual who left those fingerprints which did come from the killer.

Myers reports all this. He just thinks the fingerprints might not have come from the killer. But nobody has paid much attention to it. I think I am about the only one who has tried to say, "hey people, this here is important, you might want to take a look at this!"

The other thing and I can barely do justice in words to how important, indeed stunning, this is, provided there is not some mistake in the basis of the claim itself, which I have checked up and down and it stands: the murder weapon of the Tippit killing. FBI documents attest to the DPD having had a citizen find and turn in a .38 Special snub-nosed revolver, the exact kind of weapon that killed Tippit, abandoned in a paper bag with some fruit on a street in downtown Dallas not too far from the Carousel Club, found early Sat morning Nov 23. Who abandons a .38 revolver by throwing it out of a car window? It was abandoned because it had just been used. How was it used? Well there was one, and only one, handgun shooting known in the entire Dallas region in the previous 36 hours: the Tippit killing, done with exactly that kind of weapon. And by a complete coincidence, for absolutely unexplained or unknown reasons, there is no report of that handgun, the exact kind used in the only handgun murder in Dallas the previous day, was ever investigated or sent to the FBI lab for analysis. It just wasn't considered of interest? And its disposition and present whereabouts is not known today. 

If this was a bogus story that would be one thing. But unlike other bogus stories, this one is not a bogus story. This one is in FBI documents. Others know this and I gave the links and details on the other thread (Argument for actual innocence...). 

Larry Craford fled Dallas the same morning that handgun was found abandoned. I think Craford was driven away from the Carousel Club to begin his flight from Dallas in the 4-6 am range, several hours earlier than later claimed. He was picked up and driven from the Carousel Club about 4 am. Ruby, who was among the people picking him up, explained he wanted Craford's help taking some photographs, normal request to make waking someone up at 4 in the morning. In a detail I did not post, I found that the location of the .38 revolver thrown out on the downtown street, is located not far from the Carousel Club (where Craford was picked up) and in the expected direction/route a car would take to get Craford to a freeway out of town. I think that .38 revolver thrown out of a car window sometime before 7 am that morning and just used in a homicide was thrown out of the car carrying Craford from the Carousel Club. I think that .38 revolver was the murder weapon of the Tippit killing, and that is why the weapon was being ditched (one does not want a murder weapon found on one's person or among one's belongings if arrested and searched, after the deed is done). I think this is a pretty good argument that Oswald is exonerated of the Tippit killing because the real killer was in that car carrying Craford in the early hours of Sat morning Nov 23. Yet this line of analysis has never, so far as I can tell, been seriously pursued. I laid it out on my topic thread on the Tippit killing and it has seemed to go nowhere.

So, that is some background on why there is more substance to an argument that Oswald was innocent of Tippit than meets the eye. The argument for innocence reinforced by the "gray then blue" narrative sequence of jackets Oswald wore Fri Nov 22, which means the Tippit killer's abandoned light-gray (almost whitish) jacket was not an Oswald jacket.

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5 minutes ago, John Butler said:

What did this medium grey jacket look like.  Is there a photo representation of it?  I haven't seen any evidence of a medirm gray jacket so how can Greg postulate a 3 jacket theory?

That Oswald had a medium gray jacket is not a matter of any dispute. Marina told of it, Wesley Frazier saw Lee wearing it every time he drove him to work, coworkers at the TSBD saw Oswald wear it. That it was a "medium" or darker than near-white, tone of gray, is indicated from witness testimony. So that is established. The only issue is is it the same as C162 the Tippit killer's abandoned light-gray/near-white jacket. If it is, then there is a photo of it. But if Oswald's medium-gray jacket was not C162, then you raise a good question of is there a photo of it. Not whether the jacket existed, but what became of it and is there a photo of it. It certainly is not logged in as any physical evidence.

I identify Oswald, as part of a larger pattern of deception in his movements getting away from the TSBD (interpreted by me as not escaping police as much as escaping the assassins of JFK), as having changed his jackets and clothing and feinting opposite-direction movements in order to confuse being able to track him. In my argument I traced Oswald's gray jacket from starting wearing it in Irving that morning through to the cab ride with Whaley, but then Oswald does not have it going in the door to the rooming house. I conclude he ditched the jacket somewhere in the several blocks on or close by Beckley in walking to the rooming house. What became of it after that is unknown, no report known to me of a find of such a jacket at that time in that neighborhood. I just assume if and when it was found it was not realized it was Oswald's and that is the end of that, gone to history. 

As for a photo, I had thought no photo existed of Oswald's gray jacket, but you posted a photo that seems to be of Oswald in Minsk wearing a jacket that I think could be a first picture of that gray jacket. I studied the photo you posted. I first think I confirmed (I think) that it is a genuine Oswald photo (because I could not find it anywhere and ou cited no source, so that was my first question) by means of comparing other genuine photos of Oswald in Minsk with his other friends or coworkers, that group shot, and I think I see one of Oswald's friends in those photos as the same individual who is with Oswald in the photo you posted. Also, by comparison of the jacket in that photo Oswald is wearing with the known photos of Oswald's blue jacket (C163) I excluded them as being identical. Also, Marina says Oswald had both of his jackets including the gray one while in Minsk. I conclude that the jacket Oswald is wearing in that photo you posted, may be of the Oswald gray jacket which he certainly possessed but of which prior to your photo I knew of no photo of it.

The term "3 jacket theory" refers to 2 of Oswald plus 1 of the Tippit killer. I am separating Oswald from the Tippit killer. That's all that is about.

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On 5/8/2022 at 7:59 AM, Pat Speer said:

I think the evidence you've laid out suggests another scenario as well. It seems likely Oswald knew he was in deep and was going on the run. Perhaps he put on a blue jacket at the rooming house, with the gray jacket on top. He then dumped the gray jacket after shooting Tippit. He then took off the blue jacket at the theater. When this second jacket was discovered, and IDed by Marina, the police were totally perplexed. One of them told Whaley they'd thought maybe Oswald had been wearing two jackets. Whaley later regurgitated this, even though Oswald had not put on the second jacket until he'd visited the rooming house. In any event, the police, perhaps in league with the SS, then arranged for this second jacket, the blue jacket, to be found at the TSBD.

For this possibility to hold true, of course, one would have to have been able to put the gray jacket on over the blue jacket. Has anyone done a size comparison? Was one jacket slightly larger than the other?

Your online book covers the "rare" video footage of Oswald being arrested in the theater, right?

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That's right Michael Crane on the testimony of two, not just one, witnesses that Oswald was in the theatre significantly earlier than the arrival of the Tippit killer who entered and went up into the balcony. (The other being theatre patron Jack Davis who said Oswald was sitting near him at the time of the opening credits of the film which started at 1:20.)

The general manager of that region of the the theater chain, John Callahan, was present that day and sold the tickets before the movie started and would have sold Oswald his ticket. For unexplained reasons there is no record of a DPD, FBI, or Warren Commission interview of any kind with him, who was only the manager present at the time of Oswald's arrest. How could it be he was not considered of sufficient interest by any law enforcement or investigative body to even ask what he may have remembered of Oswald in the theatre or if Oswald was one of the tickets he had sold? Or was it he was asked and his answer was not considered helpful, which is why there is no record of him having been asked. I wonder what became of John Callahan and if he ever later did speak or was interviewed regarding the day Oswald was arrested in his theater in Oak Cliff.

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