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Did Oswald know?


Guest Eugene B. Connolly
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Guest Eugene B. Connolly

Lee Harvey Oswald was asked by reporters several times if he had killed or shot

President Kennedy. I have counted at least four times.

1/

Q: Did you kill the President?

A: No. I have not been charged with that. In fact, nobody has said that to me yet.

2/

Q: Did you shoot the President?

A: I didn't shoot anybody, no sir.

3/

Q: Did you shoot the President?

A: I work in that building.

Q: Were you in the building at the time?

Oswald's Reply: Naturally if I work in that building....Yes, sir.

4/

Q:Did you shoot the President?

A: No. They're taking me in because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union.

I'm just a patsy...

Q: Did you shoot the President?

Oswald made no audible reply.

My question is:

Was it possible that Oswald did not know that President Kennedy had been shot and killed?

If he was saying he didn't know of the assassination then he must have been lying.

Mrs Robert Reid who worked in the TSBD said that she had told Oswald that the President had been shot.

Is there any data on this?

EBC

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Eugene,

Lee Harvey Oswald was asked by reporters several times if he had killed or shot

President Kennedy. I have counted at least four times.

Is there any data on this?

If you read through Fritz's and Hosty's interrogation notes, I don't think anyone in an official capacity spoke to Oswald about the assassination of JFK until he was arraigned for the crime around 11:30 PM. Coming out of that midnight "press conference", he was stunned.

Steve Thomas

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Steve, Eugene: There is also a piece of film in which he says "I don't know what dispatches you people have been given, but I have committed no act of violence"

Sorry I don't have a source for that.

Re MRs. Reid: It is clear from both her original affidavit and her WC testimony that Mrs. Reid told him that she didn't know if the president had been hit.

Ray

"Do not block the way of inquiry" C. S. Peirce

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I've also seen the following attributed to Oswald:

"You're the police; you figure it out..."

Anyone know the source for this quote? Did he really say this? If so, when and under what circumstances?

I can't find this quote in Mae Brussell's compilation.

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Roger,

I've also seen the following attributed to Oswald:

"You're the police; you figure it out..."

Anyone know the source for this quote? Did he really say this? If so, when and under what circumstances?

Yes, the source for this is Detective Guy Rose and his testimony before the Warren Commission at 7H229. Rose was one of the first people to talk to Oswald when he was brought down to police headquarters.

Oswald's answer was in response to Rose's question about where he (Oswald) lived.

Mr. Ball: Did you ask him what his address was?

Mr. Rose: Yes, but from there, he wouldn’t tell me – He just said, “You just find out”.

Steve Thomas

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Ron,

If Oswald didn't know, why did he try to shoot a policeman when he was being arrested?   

He didn't.

Here's a 2003 piece I wrote in the Lancer Forum called, "The Snap That Never Was."

"The Snap That Never Was"

I have always taken it on faith that during his arrest at the Texas Theater, Lee Harvey Oswald took out his gun and attempted to shoot arresting Officer M.N. McDonald. This is based on accounts of an audible "snap" that was heard. Later, we read accounts that the only reason Oswald's attempted murder of McDonald didn't succeed because of a bent primer or a "misfire"

I would like to contend that perhaps the "snap" that was heard was either the sound of something else, or was accidently caused by the officers seeing the gun and immediately reacting to take it away from Oswald and that Oswald did not attempt to shoot Officer McDonald.

I say this for the following three reasons:

1)

Here are the accounts of the arresting officers filed with Police Chief Curry on Decembers 2 - 5, 1963.

They can be found in the DAllas Police Archives, Box 2, Folder# 7

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/box2.htm

E.L. Cunningham: "When I reached the seating area on the main floor, several officers were in the process of disarming and handcuffing the suspect. ...I did not see anything that indicated that any more force was used than was absolutely necessary to effect the arrest".

Paul Bentley: "Just as I entered the lower floor, I saw Patrolman McDonald fighting with this suspect. I saw this suspect pull a pistol from his shirt, so I went to Patrolman McDonald's aid immediately"

Bob Carroll: "When I arrived at the lower floor, Lee Harvey Oswald was resisting vigorously"...At this time I observed a pistol with the muzzle pointed in my direction. I grabbed the pistol and stuck it in my belt..."

Ray Hawkins: "The subject stood up and as Officer McDonald started to search him, he struck Officer McDonald in the face. The subject and Offcier McDonald began to fight and both fell down in the seats. Officer Walker and I ran toward the subject and grabbed him by his left arm. The subject had reached in his belt for a gun and Officer McDoanld was holding his right hand with the gun in it".

T.A. Hutson: "As I entered the row of seats behind the suspect he jumped up and hit Officer McDonald in the face with his fist, Officer McDonald was in the seat next to the one in which the suspect was originally sitting, and the suspect was up out of his seat struggling with Officer McDonald. I reached over the back of the seats and placed my right arm around the suspect's neck and pulled him up on back of the seat. Officer C.T. WAlker came up and was struggling with the suspect's left hand, and as Officer McDonald struggled with with the suspect's right hand, he moved it to his waist and drew a pistol and as Officer McDonald tried to disarm the suspect, I heard the pistol snap".

K.E. Lyon: "Enroute to the City Hall, Oswald refused to answer all questions. and he kept repeating, "Why am I being arrested? I know I was carrying a gun, but why else am I being arrested"?

M.N. McDonald: "When I got within a foot of him, I told the suspect to get to his feet. He stood up immediately, bringing his hands up about shoulder high and saying, "Well it's over now". I was reaching for his waist and he struck me on the nose with his left hand. With his right hand, he reached for his waist and both our hands were on a pistol that was stuck in his belt under his shirt. We both fell into the seats struggling for the pistol. ... I managed to get my right hadn on the pistol over the suspect's hand. I could feel his hand on the trigger. I then got a secure grip on the butt of the pistol. I jerked the pistol and as it was clearing the suspect's clothing and grip I heard the snap of the hammer and the pistol crossed over my left cheek, causing a four inch scratch".

As you can see from reading these reports, at no time in the first 10 to 12 days following the assassination, did any of the arresting officers on the scene claim that Oswald tried to shoot M.N. McDonald. If the pistol did go off and cause a "snap" of the hammer falling into place, it was because McDonald jerked it out of Oswald's pants.

2)

When questioned by Captain Fritz on the afternoon of November 22nd, Fritz did not accuse Oswald of trying to shoot Officer McDonald.

Fritz (4H214)

Mr. FRITZ. He told me he went over and caught a bus and rode the bus to North Beckley near where he lived and went by home and changed clothes and got his pistol and went to the show. I asked him why he took his pistol and he said, "Well, you know about a pistol; I just carried it." Let's see if I asked him anything else right that minute. That is just about it.

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him if he killed Tippit?

Mr. FRITZ. Sir?

Mr. BALL. Did you ask him if he shot Tippit?

Mr. FRITZ. Oh, yes.

Mr. BALL. What did he say.

Mr. FRITZ. He denied it---that he did not. The only thing he said he had done wrong, "The only law I violated was in the show; I hit the officer in the show; he hit me in the eye and I guess I deserved it." He said, "That is the only law I violated." He said, "That is the only thing I have done wrong."

3)

If Oswald had attempted to shoot Officer McDonald, why were no charges of attempted murder filed as they were in the case of Governor Connally?

I believe that the account of Oswald trying to shoot McDonald was invented after the fact.

Steve Thomas

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I believe that the account of Oswald trying to shoot McDonald was invented after the fact. (Steve Thomas)

From 'When They Kill A President' by Roger Craig comes the following sentence.

"Oswald was captured by Officer McDonald, who was out cold from one blow from the suspect and woke up to find he had arrested the suspect! (Nice going, Mac)."

If true, that sinks all the MacDonald wrestling with Oswald stories which in turn casts some doubt on everything else that was supposed to happen inside the Texas Theater. Add the initial stories about Oswald being arrested in the balcony and the one where Oswald was arrested and dragged out the back door as witnessed by Bernard Haire, and I believe we have nowhere near the truth about what happened when Oswald was arrested.

James

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Add the initial stories about Oswald being arrested in the balcony and the one where Oswald was arrested and dragged out the back door as witnessed by Bernard Haire, and I believe we have nowhere near the truth about what happened when Oswald was arrested.

Hi James,

Bernard Haire's story has always caught my attention, makes one wonder who that person was who was arrested, I dont recall that arrest ever being in any police reports. I wonder if this person was there to get rid of Oswald or meet with him and his chance to do one or the other went out the window when Oswald got arrested.

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Bernard Haire's story has always caught my attention, makes one wonder who that person was who was arrested, I dont recall that arrest ever being in any police reports. I wonder if this person was there to get rid of Oswald or meet with him and his chance to do one or the other went out the window when Oswald got arrested. (Ryan Crowe)

Hi Ryan,

The fact that this character was taken out the back door seems to suggest several things. One, there was indeed an Oswald impersonator. Two, the original plan itself had run off the rails. Three, the impersonator needed to be surrepticiously removed from the scene.

I guess this is all speculation at best but it sure adds another twist to a tale that is already full of twists.

James

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I believe that the account of Oswald trying to shoot McDonald was invented after the fact.

Steve,

I went back and read McDonald's testimony, and it certainly seems open to question as to whether Oswald actually tried to draw with the intent of shooting him. When you compare his testimony with his obituary, McDonald's story certainly improved with age, like a lot of stories do.

I think it's possible that Oswald tried to draw his pistol with the intent of shooting himself (with "It's all over now" being appropriate last words) but was prevented from doing so in the struggle. I don't know why else he would have slugged McDonald, in a hopeless situation, except to gain time to shoot.

Ron

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Guest Eugene B. Connolly

Re MRs. Reid: It is clear from both her original affidavit

and her WC testimony that Mrs. Reid told him that she

didn't know if the president had been hit.

I read in Marrs' book - if memory serves...- that Mrs Reid

told Oswald that the President had been shot

which, to me, implies she meant the President had

been shot and hit.

If she did not know if the President had been hit

isn't she more likely to have said 'The President

has been shot at?'

If you say someone has been shot

the implication is that s/he has been hit.

Am I wrong in drawing this inference?

EBC

Edited by Eugene B. Connolly
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Ron,

I think it's possible that Oswald tried to draw his pistol with the intent of shooting himself (with "It's all over now" being appropriate last words) but was prevented from doing so in the struggle. I don't know why else he would have slugged McDonald, in a hopeless situation, except to gain time to shoot.

Mine is not a popular position, but I personally believe that McDonald acted badly.

I think he saw Oswald's gun in his pants, probably yelled out "Gun", and made a grab for it. Oswald instinctively tried to protect himself and lashed out. Remember McDonald said that Oswald's hands were shoulder high when McDonald made a grab for the gun.

At least that's my take.

Steve Thomas

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Re MRs. Reid: It is clear from both her original affidavit

and her WC testimony that Mrs. Reid told him that she

didn't know if the president had been hit.

I read in Marrs' book - if memory serves...- that Mrs Reid

told Oswald that the President had been shot

which, to me, implies she meant the President had

been shot and hit.

Am I wrong in drawing this inference?

Eugene: I'm sorry I do not have the citations handy, but I believe that if you check the 26 volumes you will find that Mrs. Reid (like many others at the TOP of Elm St. that day) knew there had been a shooting, assumed that JFK was the target, but was located BEHIND the Limo and not in a position to see JFK's reaction that we can see today from Zapruder's vantage point. There was total confusion for those in her location.

Marrs's book has some original reporting, but is mainly a compendium of material from other secondary sources. His Dealey Plaza material comes mainly from Six Seconds in Dallas by Josiah Thompson, but Thompson's, work for my money is more careful than Marrs.

The answer to your question is in Mrs. Reid's original affidavit of Nov. 22nd, which is somewhere in the 26 volumes. (Cf. "history-matters.com"

Ray

"Do not block the way of inquiry" C.S. Peirce

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Haven't I read that the hammer of LHO's pistol came down on the web of McDonald's hand?....might be apocryphal, sorry.

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