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Car parking in Dallas

Greg Parker

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A discussion earlier this year with Robert Charles-Dunne led me to check the testimony of the car park attendants. Unfortunately, their testimonies did not help answer the questions Robert's ideas posed regarding the parking stub, and it's possible importance in determining the exact time Ruby arrived, but served to add further questions. At the bottom of the post, I have what I think may be at least one answer.

Here is some of the testimony from Daniels:

Mr. HUBERT. Well, I am talking about the time you went to work.

Mr. DANIELS. Time I went to work?

Mr. HUBERT. Yes.

Mr. DANIELS. Somewhere around 12 o'clock, I believe it was. I never did pay much attention to the time.

Mr. HUBERT. Where did you come from when you went to work?

Mr. DANIELS. I came from home.

Mr. HUBERT. You hadn't been hanging around the Main Street prior to that, had you?

Mr. DANIELS. No; I hadn't been hanging around there.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, what time----

Mr. DANIELS. I lived about a street--I was staying at the Pacific Hotel, and had the radio on and heard about the shooting and got up and come on out of there then, about 2 blocks from there.

Mr. HUBERT. In other words you were in your home at the Pacific Hotel on Pacific Avenue, Pacific Street and turned the radio on and heard the shooting?

Mr. DANIELS. That's right.

Mr. HUBERT. Then you came down to the parking lot?

Mr. DANIELS. Ambulance came by blowing, and I got up and came on down to the parking lot then.

Mr. HUBERT. You saw the ambulance go by?

Mr. DANIELS. I heard it blowing.

Mr. HUBERT. Oh, I see.

Mr. DANIELS. They had the sirens blowing was all.

Mr. HUBERT. I see. Do you know Mr. Jack Ruby?

Mr. DANIELS. No, sir; I don't know him.

Mr. HUBERT. Do you know anything about the parking of his car on Mr. Norton's lot?

Mr. DANIELS. No, sir; car was parked next lot to it.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you see it?

Mr. DANIELS. Yes; I seen the car.

Mr. HUBERT. How did you know it was Mr. Ruby's car?

Mr. DANIELS. Well, detectives come down and picked up the car. Me and this Jackson was there together and he put a ticket on the car so me and him went over to the car and he got a dime to call--to bring the key down there to unlock the car.

Mr. HUBERT. Who did that?

Mr. DANIELS. One of the detectives brought that letter you all sent to me.

Mr. HUBERT. He got a key, you say?

Mr. DANIELS. He called back to the city hall for them to bring Jack Ruby's key down. They searched the car good. The car was open. He had a dog laying in the car.

Mr. HUBERT. The windows were open?

Mr. DANIELS. One was cracked, and didn't lock the car. The trunk was locked.

Mr. HUBERT. The trunk was locked but the doors of the car were not locked and there was a little crack in the window for air, I suppose, for the dog?

Mr. DANIELS. Yes, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, when the detectives came they could open the car? They didn't need a key for that, did they?

Mr. DANIELS. No, sir; they didn't.

Mr. HUBERT. Did they get a key from anybody?

Mr. DANIELS. I don't know if the key ever come. I think one of them had a key fit it or something.

Mr. HUBERT. Fit what?

Mr. DANIELS. They unlocked the trunk before the man got back with the key or something. I could tell, so they said, "We'll take the car. Call for the dog wagon to come and get the dog." Then they decided they'd take the car on down to the pound, the city pound.

Mr. HUBERT. And the dog was taken?

Mr. DANIELS. Take the dog with them.

Mr. HUBERT. They took the dog with them?

Mr. DANIELS. That's right.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, about how long after you got to work did the detectives come to the car?

Mr. DANIELS. Oh, in maybe an hour.

Mr. HUBERT. An hour?

Mr. DANIELS. Yes, sir; something like that.

Mr. HUBERT. So, you think they got there about 1 o'clock?

Mr. DANIELS. I don't know. Somewhere could have been a little later than that when they got there.

Mr. HUBERT. What time was it when they left with the car?

Mr. DANIELS. I don't know. The boy didn't punch the ticket out. He just picked it off, because they didn't pay the ticket out. I don't know what time, exactly.

Mr. HUBERT. How long were the detectives there from the time they first came until they left?

Mr. DANIELS. They stayed there about 5 or 10 minutes, and then the key, one of them had a key fit it. Must have been his car keys or something, and they left with the car.

Mr. HUBERT. You don't know where they found that car key that fit the car, do you?

Mr. DANIELS. No; I really don't know, because I walked back on over there. They raised the trunk up and looked in it.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you look in the trunk?

Mr. DANIELS. When they stared looking in the trunk they said, "Well, we'd better take the car on over to the pound." And searched the car there.

Mr. HUBERT. They did not take anything out of the car at that time?

Mr. DANIELS. Didn't take anything out of the car.

And here from Jackson:

Mr. HUBERT. Were you on duty working at the All State Parking lot on Main Street on Sunday, November 24, 1963, which was the Sunday after the President got shot?

Mr. JACKSON. Well, I don't know if it were Sunday. I was on duty when Mr. Ruby shot Oswald. I mean, I was on the lot the Sunday he shot him, but he was already parked there.

Mr. HUBERT. You don't remember what date it was but you do remember that it was the Sunday that Oswald was shot?

Mr. JACKSON. Uh-huh, his car was parked on my lot.

Mr. HUBERT. Whose car was parked on your lot?

Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Jack Ruby.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you know him before that time?

Mr. JACKSON. No, I didn't.

Mr. HUBERT. Never seen him before?


Mr. HUBERT. What time did you get on duty that day?

Mr. JACKSON. Around noon, always come down around noon.

Mr. HUBERT. Is it correct to say then when you came on duty Oswald had already been shot?

Mr. JACKSON. I think he had already been shot, because it was a lot of people around the city hall up there and John L. Daniels--John L. Daniels was already on duty. He was working the Norton block right next to it.

Mr. HUBERT. What?

Mr. JACKSON. Belonged to Ralph Norton, Mr. Ralph Norton.

Mr. HUBERT. How do you spell that name?

Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Ralph Norton.

Mr. HUBERT. Ralph North? N-o-r-t-o-n?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir; R-a-l-p-h.

Mr. HUBERT. In other words, Daniels worked on the parking lot next to the one you were working on?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. And that parking lot belonged to this Ralph Norton?

Mr. JACKSON. Uh-huh.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, you say Daniels was already on duty when you came on duty?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, he was there when I got there.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you talk to him?

Mr. JACKSON. No, I didn't.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, you say Mr. Ruby's car was already parked on your lot?

Mr. JACKSON. It was parked on my lot.

Mr. HUBERT. How did you know that?

Mr. JACKSON. Well, I didn't know whose car it was until these two detectives came down and was searching the car.

Mr. HUBERT. Well, will you describe what kind of an automobile it was?

Mr. JACKSON. It was an Oldsmobile, two-door sedan, white.

Mr. HUBERT. Had you ever seen it before?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. How can a person park on your lot without there being any attendant there?

Mr. JACKSON. Well, they pull in and leave their car, and take the key and lock it up if you are not there.

Mr. HUBERT. Was there anybody on duty before you got there?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir; I unlocked the door and opened up.

Mr. HUBERT. Opened up? Well, the parking lot is not a closed parking lot?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir; it is open 7 days a week.

Mr. HUBERT. It is an open lot so that when you unlocked the door, what do you mean?

Mr. JACKSON. The office door.

Mr. HUBERT. Are there any chains or anything to keep a person from driving right on in so that before anyone comes on duty any person can drive in and leave his car?

Mr. JACKSON. Drive in and leave it.

Mr. HUBERT. And if they depart before one of the attendants comes, well, then, they don't pay anything?

Mr. JACKSON. They pay it when they get back. I put a ticket on the car.

Mr. HUBERT. No, you misunderstood me. If they leave before you get there, then, of course, you----

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. There would be no payment, but if you find a car there when you get there----

Mr. JACKSON. If it is not monthly.

Mr. HUBERT. Someone that pays by the month and those cars you would recognize, or have some sort of a seal on them to indicate that they pay by the month?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, I know.

Mr. HUBERTT. You know the cars?


Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Ruby did not park by the month there?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. When you came up and saw this car did you put a ticket on it?

Mr. JACKSON. I put a ticket on it.

Mr. HUBERT. Were there any other cars parked in the lot?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir; about, oh, I guess about six--about six more besides his, five or six more, I disremember.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, and you put a ticket on the car, did you notice whether the car was open, or closed?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir; I didn't. I just looked at the car and the key was gone. The keys wasn't in the switch, and I just got a ticket, just stamped the ticket and put it on the windshield.

Mr. HUBERT. Was there a dog in the car?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir; I think so. It was--yes, it was a dog in the car.

Mr. HUBERT. Was there any window open so that the dog could get some air?

Mr. JACKSON. I never looked whether there was or not.

Mr. HUBERT. Did that seem strange to you that there--somebody had a dog in the parked automobile?

Mr. JACKSON. Well, it did, two detectives came down, and they started searching the car, but they were looking for a key.

Mr. HUBERT. Were they able to open the door of the car?

Mr. JACKSON. I don't think the car was locked up, because they came down, well, they wasn't--it couldn't have been locked up, because they were looking for the key to the switch, because they wanted to take the car to the pound.

Mr. HUBERT. Before we get to that, how long after you got on duty and put the ticket on Mr. Ruby's car, did the detectives arrive?

Mr. JACKSON. Oh, about an hour or so, I guess. I believe about an hour or so.

Mr. HUBERT. Well, did they have any difficulty in opening the doors of the car?

Mr. JACKSON. I never even noticed them until they was out there to the car. I was listening to the radio about it.

Mr. HUBERT. What did you say with reference to the detectives, what they were doing?

Mr. JACKSON. They were searching--they searched the car.

Mr. HUBERT. The doors were open by the time you saw it?

Mr. JACKSON. They was searching the car.

Mr. HUBERT. Well, now, answer my question, were the doors open or do you remember?

Mr. JACKSON. When I seen them they were searching they must have been open.

Mr. HUBERT. When you say "searching," do you mean they were searching the back?

Mr. JACKSON. Looking for a key. They said they were looking for a key.

Mr. HUBERT. Key to what? The ignition?

Mr. JACKSON. The ignition key, and I think the trunk key, and they opened up the trunk and there was a bunch of sacks in the trunk. I don't know what was in them, and after they told me they was detectives, that was Jack Ruby's car, and I just took the ticket off the car and they were going--said they was going to take the car to the pound, and said something or another about calling somebody.

Mr. HUBERT. Doing what?

Mr. JACKSON. Said something or another about calling somebody, some of his relatives or something to see what they wanted to do with his dog. They were going to take the car to the pound.

Mr. HUBERT. Did they do anything with this dog, that you know of?

Mr. JACKSON. I don't know. They took the car to the pound.

Mr. HUBERT. What happened to the dog? Was it still in the car when they took it?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes; the dog was still in the car.

Mr. HUBERT. Did they make any calls that you knew of?

Mr. JACKSON. They went over and used the other telephone in John L. Daniels' office.

Mr. HUBERT. I see.

Mr. JACKSON. See, I don't have one in mine.

Mr. HUBERT. But you say you got to work about 12 o'clock?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes; around noon.

Mr. HUBERT. Had you been hanging around before going on duty, or come directly.

Mr. JACKSON. No; I come directly from home and went to work.

Mr. HUBERT. You didn't pass by the jail, or look around the jail?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. Are you sure it was 12 o'clock, and not 11 o'clock, that you went on duty, sir?

Mr. JACKSON. It was around noon somewhere. I don't know--I don't know just what time it was, because I usually come down around 1 o'clock, but sometimes I get down there a little earlier.

Mr. HUBERT. It was after half past 11 in the morning?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir; I'm pretty sure it was after.

Mr. HUBERT. When did you first find out that Oswald had been shot?

Mr. JACKSON. Well, we had a boy that run the lot during the day through the week and had a radio down there, and I usually turned it on when I come in, and when I put it on that was what was on.

Mr. HUBERT. The news was that he had already been shot?

Mr. JACKSON. Yes, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you know a man by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir; I didn't.

Mr. HUBERT. Now, have you ever been interviewed by any member of the President's Commission staff?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. Never been interviewed by me before?

Mr. JACKSON. No, sir.

Mr. HUBERT. All right, Mr. Jackson, I think that is all. Thank you very much.

Jackson's testimony that there were only about 5 or 6 cars in the lot when he arrived at noon is the key. Since half the world's press was over at City Hall, and the street was packed with onlookers... how likely is it that such a convenient car park would be so empty of cars? This part of his testimony suggests to me that he and Daniels were ordered to lie about their time of arrival at work in order to get around the problem of the parking stub showing the time Ruby really arrived. Fortunately Jackson seems to have forgotten to adjust the number of cars to a more realistic noon figure, and gave the actual number of parked cars on his arrival - at say sometime between 8 and 9:30 am. Typically, the stub was not taken as evidence, but was allowed to be taken away by Jackson.

Of course, if some old Dallasite can recall that car parking lots were normally only staffed by attendants in the afternoons on a Sunday... I guess it's back to the drawing board.

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