An exhaustive look at an inadequate look
"The So-Called Evidence"

In the preceding chapters it has been demonstrated that the Warren Commission’s conclusion Oswald fired all the shots on Kennedy was not supported by the statements of those who'd actually heard the shots. It was also demonstrated that Oswald was not the experienced and practiced sniper he would almost certainly have to have been to shoot President Kennedy twice in the time allotted for the shooting...by those who'd studied the assassination films.

But that doesn't prove Oswald's innocence. Witnesses can be mistaken. Inexperienced and/or out of practice shooters can get "lucky."

What it does prove, however, is that the Warren Commission was a whitewash. Its members and staff were dedicated to finding and exposing the truth about the assassination, all right--as long as that truth was that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

They ignored or dismissed much of the evidence suggesting a different truth entirely.

Well, this leads us nowhere. The days when we can pick up where they left off and look under the rocks where they refused to look are long passed.

But we can clean up some of the stuff they spewed--so that the historical record is such that future historians can look at multiple sides on this issue, and not repeat the mistakes of the past--where historians felt obligated to recite the Warren Commission's conclusions under the presumption they were conclusions derived by men sincerely interested in telling the public the truth.

I mean, really, if those tasked with deducing the truth about the assassination couldn't even acknowledge that the first shot hit Kennedy (when that was the immediate impression of the vast majority of witnesses), and couldn't even admit to the public that Oswald's ability to fire the shots in question was, in fact...highly questionable, well, then, why should we trust them on any of their many conclusions related to the case?

We shouldn't. And most of us don't.

In the next few chapters, then, we will review the evidence the Warren Commission used to sell Oswald's guilt.

We will start by reviewing the statements and testimony used by the commission to suggest Oswald was in the sixth floor sniper's nest at the time of the shooting, and ran down the back stairs after the shots.

We will do this, moreover, without pretending there's a presumption of innocence. To the commission or its staff, that is. I hope you're not offended by the L word, because I'm gonna let it blast a few times.

Let's reflect. Oswald's murder while in the protective custody of the notoriously right-wing Dallas Police Department had raised reasonable questions on whether he had, in fact, been framed, and that someone or some group had conspired to ensure his silence. If he had been framed, of course, it would explain the most damning piece of evidence against him: that his rifle had fired the shots. To avoid conjecture that their conclusion Oswald acted alone was, well, unWarren-ted, then, the Warren Commission needed solid evidence that:

1. Oswald was on the sixth floor before the shooting, putting together his rifle and building the sniper's nest.

2. Oswald was in the sniper's nest window at the time of the shooting, with his rifle.

3. Oswald fired a rifle on 11-22-63.

Without convincing evidence these purported events took place, after all, there was room to doubt Oswald's involvement in the actual shooting. Without this evidence, all the Warren Commission had to suggest Oswald shot Kennedy was that his prints were found in the sniper's nest, his gun was found in the building, he fled the scene after the shooting, he soon thereafter shot a police officer, and was purported to have lied to the police in the unrecorded interrogations conducted before he could find an attorney. All this damning evidence, (and it is indeed damning evidence should it be accepted without reservation) could be explained, however, by the not-unreasonable proposition Oswald fled for his life once he realized he'd been set up as the president's assassin.

So let's take a look at the evidence the Warren Commission found so compelling.

(Note: Before sinking one's teeth into this triple-decker information sandwich, one should familiarize oneself with with the basic layout of the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository. This is shown below.)



Solving the Puzzle of Where was Oswaldo

First, we look into the question of whether or not Oswald was on the sixth floor in the moments leading up to the shooting. There were two major hurdles to coming to the conclusion Oswald was on the sixth floor at this time. One was that Oswald was seen downstairs during the lunch period leading up to the shooting by a number of witnesses. And the other was that Oswald was not seen on the sixth floor during the lunch period by the one man claiming to have had lunch on the sixth floor.

Let's begin by reviewing Oswald's own claims. Captain Will Fritz's typed up notes on his first interrogation of Oswald reflect that, at the time of the shooting, Oswald said "he was having his lunch about that time on the first floor." (24H265)

Oswald was asked about this again the next day. This time, however, he was asked if anyone could confirm he'd spent his lunch period on the first floor. According to Fritz's typed-up notes, Oswald said he'd "ate lunch with some of the colored boys who worked with him. One of them was called 'Junior' and the other man was a little short man whose name he did not know." (24H267) The report of Secret Service Inspector Thomas Kelley, who was present at this second interrogation, confirms this account, moreover, stating "He said he ate his lunch with the colored boys who worked with him. He described one of them as 'Junior,' a colored boy, and the other was a little short negro boy." The report of FBI agent James Bookhout (WR622), who was also present for this interrogation, however, gives a slightly different account of Oswald's statements. Bookhout relates: "Oswald stated that on November 22, 1963, he had eaten lunch in the lunch room of the Texas School Book Depository, alone, but recalled possibly two negro employees walking through the room in this period. He stated possibly one of these employees was called 'Junior' and the other was a short individual whose name he could not recall, but whom he would be able to recognize." Bookhout's version in which Oswald did not eat lunch with these men, but merely saw them walk by, for that matter, receives solid support from an unexpected source: Fritz's original notes. In his hand-written notes, discovered after his death, Fritz reports that Oswald "saw two negroes come in one Jr. - & short negro" and says nothing about Oswald's claiming to have had lunch with these men.

In either case--whether Oswald claimed he'd had lunch with these men, or that he'd simply seen them walk by while he was eating--those investigating the assassination of President Kennedy were now tasked with finding out if James "Junior" Jarman or his lunch companion, Harold Norman (almost certainly the "short negro" in question), or anyone, for that matter, could confirm that Oswald had been in this first floor lunch room (aka the domino room) in the moments before the shooting, and, if not, whether anyone could place him on a higher floor during this same time period.

So let's retrace their footsteps and see what these men saw.

An 11-22-63 affidavit signed by Oswald co-worker Charles Givens reveals "I worked on the sixth floor today until about 11:30 A.M. Then I went downstairs and into the bathroom. At twelve o'clock I took my lunch period." (24H210) After signing this affidavit, Givens was interviewed by the FBI. A report on this interview further details “Givens observed Lee reading a newspaper in the domino room where the employees eat lunch about 11:50 A.M.” (CD5 p329)

The FBI report on Givens thereby confirmed Oswald's story he'd spent at least part of his lunchtime in the domino room.

And Givens wasn't the only one of Oswald's co-workers confirming Oswald came down for lunch.

An 11-23-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Dept. signed by depository janitor Eddie Piper confirms: “Yesterday, at 12:00 noon, this fellow Lee says to me 'I’m going up to eat' and I went on to my lunch. I went to a front window on the first floor and ate my lunch and waited to see the President's parade go by. I saw the President pass and heard some shots and looked at the clock there and saw it was 12:25PM.” (19H499)

So, okay. That's two men claiming they saw Oswald downstairs. Piper says he saw Oswald at 12:00. That still leaves Oswald a half hour to scamper back upstairs and prepare to shoot the President.

But then the timeline closed considerably...

An 11-26-63 FBI report on Mrs. Caroline Arnold adds “As she was standing in front of the building, she stated she thought she caught a fleeting glimpse of Lee Harvey Oswald standing in the doorway between the front door and the double doors leading to the warehouse, located on the first floor. She could not be sure that this was Oswald, but said she felt it was and believed the time to be a few minutes before 12:15 pm.” (CD5 p41)

Now, as we go through the historical record related to the investigation of Kennedy's assassination we will encounter a number of suspicious omissions. (For ease of digestion, I have decided to mark these as "Suspicious Omission #1," "Suspicious Omission #2, etc.")

First and foremost among these omissions is that Carolyn Arnold was never re-interviewed about her belief she saw Oswald on the first floor during the time the Warren Commission would come to claim he was upstairs. Not by the FBI. Not by the Warren Commission. While the FBI report said she could not be sure she saw Oswald, this is unduly vague, and may have reflected that she'd actually told the FBI she was 99.44% sure.

Suspicious Omission #1                                                                                             March '64--September '64. The Warren Commission fails to call Carolyn Arnold to testify, even though she told FBI investigators she believed she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15.

Now, if you find this omission shocking--and you should--you must prepare yourself. We're just getting started.

In describing an interview with Eddie Piper, a 12-7-63 Secret Service report on Oswald's co-workers relates "At about 12:00 noon on November 22, 1963, Piper last saw Oswald on the first floor and at that time Oswald said 'I'm going up to eat lunch.' Piper stated that he ate lunch on the first floor and was still on that floor at the time of the shots, that he looked up at the clock, and it was 12:25 P.M." (CD87 p780) Now, this was a repeat of what Piper told Dallas County on 11-23-63. It confirmed that he saw Oswald on the first floor 25 minutes or so before the shooting. (The shooting took place at 12:30, so his clock must have been off.)

But this wasn't the only gem in the 12-7 report.

Further down the page from its discussion of Eddie Piper, the 12-7-63 Secret Service report on Oswald's co-workers describes an interview of William Shelley, Oswald’s direct boss. It relates: "Mr. Shelley last saw Oswald at about 11:50 A.M., at which time Oswald was working at his normal duties on the first floor." (CD87 p780)

The strange wording of this report requires some discussion. While some might think Shelley's claiming he saw Oswald "working at his normal duties" means he saw Oswald working and about to head up to the sixth floor, this is blown out of the water by the fact Shelley was both Oswald's boss and the leader of the sixth floor work crew, which, by all accounts, (except Charles Givens', which varied quite a bit), came down for lunch around 11:45, passing Oswald on the fifth floor.

So what would Oswald be doing as part of his "normal duties" after everybody else had quit for lunch? Well, here, my own personal experience is of help. I've pulled orders in warehouses, and checked orders, too. Oswald was an order puller, tasked with gathering books that have been ordered, and bringing these books to a shipping table, where the order could be checked against the pick list, wrapped, and shipped. In reporting that Shelley said Oswald was working at his normal duties on the first floor, then, the Secret Service was quite possibly reporting that Shelley saw Oswald delivering an order to the shipping table--perhaps, even, an order of books just retrieved from the fifth floor.

In any event, by 12-7-63, it would have to have been clear to those investigating the assassination that Oswald came down for lunch, if only for a few minutes.

Now, here comes some murk.

On 12-20, the FBI finally gets around to interviewing Eddie Piper. This is not a shocking development. In what can only be considered a shocking development, however, the report on this interview omits or conceals that Piper spoke to Oswald around 12:00. Instead, it declares that Piper "advised he came to work at his usual time, 10 A.M., November 22, 1963, and during the course of his employment had seen Lee Harvey Oswald, a fellow employee, filling orders on the first floor. He did not recall the specific time he saw Oswald, stating it was shortly after he got to work and stated that this was the only time he saw Oswald on that particular day."
(CD206 p13)

Suspicious Omission #2
12-20-63. The FBI omits from its report on an interview with Eddie Piper that Piper
feels certain he saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:00.

So what's all this about? Was the FBI embarrassed by the fact they'd never interviewed Piper? Were they desperate to discount the importance of his recollections? And, to that end, were FBI agents Richard Harrison and William Johnson tasked with diluting Piper's consistent claim he saw Oswald around noon?

Or had Piper changed his recollections?

Not the latter. On 2-17-64, when interviewed by the Dallas Police, Piper repeated "At around 12:00 noon, I told Oswald that I was going to eat my sandwich. Oswald mumbled something that he was going up to eat. This was the last time I saw Oswald."

So there it is. The statements of Oswald's co-workers strongly support that he came down for lunch.

So why is this important?


The Strange Reliance on Charles Givens

Since the only man identifying Oswald as the shooter in the sixth floor window, Howard Brennan, said he couldn't identify Oswald as the shooter on 11-22-63, and only did so in December, weeks after Oswald's death, after being prodded by the FBI, the statements placing Oswald downstairs in the forty-five minutes before the shooting represented a major problem for those seeking to blame him for the shooting. There was no hard evidence suggesting Oswald was the man seen in the window minutes before the shooting. If Oswald had been downstairs, moreover, there was no evidence he went back up. Joseph Ball and David Belin, the Warren Commission attorneys tasked with building a case against Oswald, then, needed to explain how Oswald was able to build the sniper’s nest and re-construct his dismantled rifle in the short time between his last being seen downstairs and the arrival of the motorcade.

Except they didn't. As we've seen, they didn't even talk to Carolyn Arnold, whose belief she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15 was a big big problem for the commission's working hypothesis Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor at 12:30.

But it's worse than that. Incredibly, they decided to argue Oswald never came down for lunch.

No, I'm not kidding.  Here is the relevant passage.

From the Warren Report, page 143.

Oswald's Presence on Sixth Floor Approximately 35 Minutes Before the Assassination

Additional testimony linking Oswald with the point from which the shots were fired was provided by the testimony of Charles Givens, who was the last known employee to see Oswald inside the building prior to the assassination. During the morning of November 22, Givens was working with the floor-laying crew in the southwest section of the sixth floor. At about. 11:45 a.m. the. floor-laying crew used both elevators to come down from the sixth floor. The employees raced the elevators to the first floor. Givens saw Oswald standing at the gate on the fifth floor as the elevator went by. Givens testified that after reaching the first floor, "I discovered I left my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it." He saw Oswald, a clipboard in hand, walking from the southeast corner of the sixth floor toward the elevator. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2707, p. 142.) Givens said to Oswald, "Boy are you going downstairs? * * * It's near lunch time." Oswald said, "No, sir. When you get downstairs, close the gate to the elevator." Oswald was referring to the west elevator which operates by pushbutton and only with the gate closed. Givens said, "Okay," and rode down in the east elevator. When he reached the first floor, the west elevator--the one with the gate was not there. Givens thought this was about 11:55 a.m. None of the Depository employees is known to have seen Oswald again until after the shooting. (WR p143)

Now, why would they make such an argument? Why flim-flam the public when taking a more honest route might lead to the same conclusion--that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed President Kennedy?

The thought occurs that they did this because it was easier--that they were just too freakin' busy pounding square pegs into round holes to think outside the box, and recognize the true shape of the evidence before them.

When one re-reads the testimony leading up the commission's conclusion Oswald never came down for lunch, for that matter, and re-reads the internal documents of the commission from early March '64--when the commission's workload doubled or even tripled--this actually makes a lot of sense.

On 3-2-64, let's recall, Howard Willens reported that "Most of today was consumed by two staff meetings regarding the proposed schedule of testimony before the Commission and by depositions taken by the staff. The draft memorandum for the members of the Commission which I prepared was distributed to members of the staff and was discussed at the initial meeting beginning at 11:30 a.m. The discussion quickly centered on the problem whether staff members should be permitted to interview witnesses in advance of the witness giving a deposition or testifying before the Commission. This argument went on for two hours or so and for an additional two hours or so at a continuation of the meeting beginning at 4 o’clock. Mr. Shaffer was not there and therefore his eloquence could not be brought to bear on this topic. As a result of the meetings, a set of procedures is to be made up by a committee including Messrs. Liebeler, Belin and Redlich. Mr. Redlich and Mr. Eisenberg were the most forceful proponents of the proposition that staff members should not be permitted to interview witnesses without a court reporter present. Mr. Belin was strongly opposed and Mr. Liebeler urged a somewhat intermediate position."

So, okay. Belin really wants to pre-interview his witnesses.

On 3-4-64, , this ongoing debate within the commission's staff led Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin's top assistant Norman Redlich to put his feelings down in a memo. On the issue of whether or not commission attorneys should interview witnesses before their testimony, and in effect prepare them for their testimony, Redlich complained: "I feel that an unrecorded interview with a witness creates the inevitable danger that the witness will be conditioned to give certain testimony." Redlich then added "If we compound the lack of cross examination with the pre-conditioning of a witness, we will be presenting a record which, in my view, will be deceptively clean..."

Redlich's objection was shot down, moreover, and by the Chief Justice, no less. A 3-10-64 journal entry from Rankin's other top assistant, Howard Willens, reports that he'd had a meeting with the top staff and Earl Warren, during which Warren "indicated that he wanted to get our lawyers on the road as quickly as possible to interview witnesses. In the course of stating his views on this, the Chief Justice stated that he had complete faith in all of the members of the staff and wanted them to be free to have unrecorded interviews with the witnesses. Although he did not elaborate on his views in this matter, the Chief Justice apparently had been briefed on the staff discussions on this subject by someone, possibly Mr. Rankin or Mr. Ball."

Willens then briefly discussed Warren's wishes regarding who should be questioned next. He then added: "After the above meeting various members of the staff gathered in my office to make their suggestions regarding alterations in the schedule. Present were Messrs. Redlich, Eisenberg, Ball, Belin, Stern, Liebeler and Ely. As usual there was considerable debate among the members of the staff regarding the function of the Commission and the definition of what constitutes a thorough job. Apparently during the day’s testimony the Chief Justice had indicated his readiness to receive a clean record and not pursue in very much detail the various inconsistencies. Mr. Ball agreed with the approach suggested by the Chief Justice completely and Mr. Specter thought that we would have to amend our approach to correspond with that of the Chief Justice. Mr. Redlich and Mr. Eisenberg took a strong and articulate contrary view."


Now, it seems clear from this that Howard Willens suspected Ball was behind all this. I mean, first he says he suspects Ball may have been the one to brief Warren on the ongoing debate, and then he notes that Ball was in complete agreement with Warren's ultimate decision.

So...let's get this straight. David Belin, who has been tasked with determining (and presumably demonstrating) Oswald's guilt, has been pushing Rankin and Redlich to allow him to pre-interview and thereby shape the testimony of his witnesses... while at the same time, Joseph Ball, Belin's senior partner, has been lobbying Chief Justice Warren, whom he has known for decades, about the benefits to be derived from pre-interviewing witnesses, in order to receive as "clean" a record as possible.

Of the 14 assistant counsel for the commission, Ball and Belin are the only two tasked with demonstrating Oswald's guilt, and they are also the only two itching to pre-interview their witnesses.

Well, hell's bells. If this isn't a clear indication Ball and Belin were up to something I don't know what such an indication would look like. Unstated but implicit in Redlich's memo is that pre-interviewing witnesses in the manner subsequently proposed by Warren leads to a deceptively "clean" record through two processes. One is that the witness learns what the lawyer wants him to say, and is more likely to say it. And two is that the lawyer learns what questions shouldn't be asked, because the answers might lead to more questions, or even a direction opposite the preferred direction. That Ball and Belin were so gung-ho about pre-interviewing their witnesses, then, is a red flag. It cries "Future historians, look at our behavior--look at the questions we didn't ask (at least on the record), and the witnesses we never called."

And yes, should you be wondering, Ball and his junior counsel Belin did indeed pre-interview their witnesses. In his 2011 book, The Girl on the Stairs, Barry Ernest details a conversation he had with witness Vickie Adams, in which she described the technique employed by David Belin. She said Belin told her he wanted her to answer his questions without elaboration, answering only the questions asked. He then began questioning her. She said that after going through these questions, Belin announced that this was all off the record. He then began questioning her again, on the record.

Well, it seems clear from this that Belin was actively trying to weed out problematic comments and details. 

So let's take a closer look at the behavior of Messieurs Ball and Belin.

Now I must say, researching and writing what you are about to read was an agonizing experience. But it led me to an understanding of the Warren Commission and how it got it wrong that had previously eluded me...

And, I dare say, still eludes most Americans...

To sum up, when confronted with the conflicting statements about Oswald's whereabouts at the time of the shooting, and facing the possibility someone other than Oswald was Kennedy's assassin, Ball and Belin repeatedly pulled the chicken switch, and opted to stuff all the square pegs they could find into round holes.

While we don't know why they did this--in that we don't know whether Chief Justice Warren personally asked them to do this--such speculation seems reasonable given Ball's long-time relationship with Warren, and we've already demonstrated that Warren approved of Ball's stuffing these holes.

(Sorry if that sounds nasty.)

In any event, with 20/20 hindsight, or more accurately, 2017 hindsight, we can see just how Ball and Belin attempted, and largely succeeded, to "clean" up the record regarding Oswald's activities just before the shooting... 

They didn't do it all at once, mind you. They did it in steps...


Step 1: The 3-24-64 Testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams,

An 11-23-63 FBI report on Bonnie Ray Williams declared: “At approximately 12 noon, Williams went back upstairs to the sixth floor with his lunch. He stayed on that floor only about three minutes, and seeing no one there, descended to the fifth floor using the stairs at the west end of the building.” (CD5 p330)

Now that was simple enough. A guy went upstairs to the sixth floor, saw nothing, and left, long before shots were fired from the far left corner of the floor.

A 12-7 Secret Service Report on an interview with Williams, however, went into more detail. It declared: "After Williams picked up his lunch on the first floor he returned to the sixth floor...Williams said he spent just a few minutes eating his lunch and that during that time he did not see anyone else or hear anything on the sixth floor. As soon as he finished his lunch, Williams went to the fifth floor of the building and he estimated the time to be prior to 12:15 P.M." (CD87 p784)

Well, this is interesting. What had been but 3 minutes could now be as much as 14 minutes... of Williams sitting alone on the sixth floor... with no Oswald in sight... This could be a problem for those wanting to sell that Oswald stayed up on the sixth floor during lunch.

It seems probable, then, that an FBI report on a 1-8-64 interview with Williams was written in an attempt to solve this problem. It declared that Williams "recalled that he ate lunch about noon on November 22, 1963 on the sixth floor of the TSBD Building and about that time he heard James Earl Jarman Jr. also known as 'Junior' and Harold 'Hank' Norman on the fifth floor and he joined them there by going down on the west elevator about 12:05 P.M." (CD329, p13)

Well, okay... This time of 12:05 is more than a little suspicious, and is quite possibly the approximation of Special agents Carter and Griffin, the writers of the report, and not Williams. Williams made it clear, after all, that he only came down to the fifth floor after hearing Jarman and Norman on the floor below. On 1-8-64, agents Carter and Griffin spoke to both Jarman and Norman. Jarman said he thought he went up to the fifth floor around 12:25 (CD329, p12) and Norman said he went up to the fifth floor "about 12:10 to 12:20" (CD329, p14).

From this one can gather that Williams was on the sixth floor as recently as 5-10 minutes before the shooting at 12:30.

Aha! Perhaps this explains why Williams' signed statement from the afternoon of the shooting suggests he was at first too scared to say he'd been on the sixth floor at all. There, Williams declared that, after he came downstairs to get his lunch, "I went back on the fifth floor with a fellow called Hank and Junior, I don't know his last name. Just after we got on the fifth floor we saw the President coming around the corner on Houston from Main Street." (24H229)

In any event, on 3-19-64, Williams, who'd originally stated he heard but two shots, made a statement drawn up by the FBI (but apparently unsigned by Williams) asserting that he'd heard three shots. He also asserted that "The last time I saw Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963 was at about 11:40 A.M. At that time Oswald was on the sixth floor on the east side of the building. I did not pay particular attention to what he was doing." (22H681)

Well, wait a second. This directly contradicted Williams' affidavit to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department signed on the afternoon of the shooting. There, he claimed "I didn't see Oswald anymore, that I remember, after I saw him at 8 A.M."

Still, it seems possible this 11:40 is a reference to the elevator race, in which Williams heard but did not see Oswald yell out from the fifth (or sixth) floor as the floor crew (Williams, Arce, Lovelady, Givens) descended to the first floor via both freight elevators. While most of those involved placed the time for this race at 11:45, there's no reason to believe Williams had committed this time to memory, and would recall it without error 4 months after the fact.

If the FBI and Warren Commission thought this signaled a new and improved Williams, one who would help them make their case that Oswald stayed on the sixth floor when everyone else came down for lunch, however, they had another think coming. When Williams testified on 3-25-64 he stated that the sixth floor crew had quit working at 5 to 12 (his statement on the afternoon of the shooting said 10 to 12) and that he had went back up to the sixth floor looking for others after grabbing his lunch. He testified further that he ate lunch by himself for “5, 10, 12 minutes…no longer than it took me to finish my chicken sandwich” before heading back down to the fifth floor. When pressed further on what time he came down to the fifth floor, he responded "I finished the chicken sandwich maybe 10 or 15 minutes after 12. I could say approximately what time it was." He then told them something no one could have been expecting: "Approximately 12:20, maybe." Later, when asked by Commissioner Dulles if he had heard anything on the sixth floor while he was eating, he responded "I felt like I was all alone. That is one of the reasons I left--because it was so quiet." (3H161-184)

As Williams sat 10 yards or so from the sniper’s nest and did not see or hear anyone else on the sixth floor, it suggests that, after spending the bulk of his lunch time downstairs, Oswald did not immediately head back up to the sixth floor, if at all.

So now let's take a closer look at Williams' testimony.

Here, look at what happened after he dropped his bombshell about being on the sixth floor till 12:20.

Mr. BALL. Well, now, when you talked to the FBI on the 23d day of November, you said that you went up to the sixth floor about 12 noon with your lunch, and you stayed only about 3 minutes, and seeing no one you came down to the fifth floor, using the stairs at the west end of the building. Now, do you think you stayed longer than 3 minutes up there?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am sure I stayed longer than 3 minutes.
Mr. BALL. Do you remember telling the FBI you only stayed 3 minutes up there?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I do not remember telling them I only stayed 3 minutes.
Mr. BALL. And then on this 14th of January 1964, when you talked to Carter and Griffin, they reported that you told them you went down to the fifth floor around 12:05 p.m., and that around 12:30 p.m. you were watching the Presidential parade. Now, do you remember telling them you went down there about 12:05 p.m.?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I remember telling the fellows that--they asked me first, they said, "How long did it take you to finish the sandwich?" I said, "Maybe 5 to 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes." Just like I said here. I don't remember saying for a definite answer that it was 5 minutes.
Mr. BALL. Well, is it fair to say that you do not remember the exact time now?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. You do remember, though, that you ate your lunch and drank your pop, your Doctor Pepper, before you came down?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.

Ball was trying to discredit him... This was to no avail, moreover, as Ball questioned James Jarman later that day, and Jarman testified that he didn't reach the fifth floor until "12:25 or 12:28." (3H198-211) Williams, we should recall, was clear in that he left the sixth floor when he heard Jarman and Norman on the fifth floor...

Now, it's not as if Williams was a difficult witness, who refused to budge on the slightest point. As we've seen, on 11-23-63, the FBI claimed Williams told them he'd come down from the sixth floor to the fifth via the stairs. This was a problem. The east elevator was later found on the fifth floor. If Williams hadn't brought it there, well, then, who had? Jarman and Norman claimed they'd reached the fifth floor via the west elevator. Motorcycle Patrolman Marrion Baker and Oswald's boss Roy Truly claimed that after racing to the elevator shaft, they found that both elevators were locked up on the upper floors. They said they then climbed the stairs up to the fifth floor, and rode the east elevator from the fifth floor to the seventh floor. So how did it get to the fifth? On 1-8-64, Williams was re-interviewed and now said he'd taken the west elevator from the sixth to the fifth. Oops. That didn't help matters.

Now check out how Ball cleared this up.

Mr. BALL. Now, I want to call your attention to another report I have here. On the 23d of November 1963, the report of Mr. Odum and Mr. Griffin, FBI agents, is that you told them that you went from the sixth floor to the fifth floor using the stairs at the west end of the building. Did you tell them that?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I didn't tell them I was using the stairs. I came back down to the fifth floor in the same elevator I came up to the sixth floor on.
Mr. BALL. You did?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Now, also, on January 14th, did you remember talking to a couple of agents named Carter and Griffin?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I can't remember their names, but I am sure I did.
Mr. BALL. You talked to a good many of them?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Well, they reported here that you went down to the fifth floor, and you did so by going down on the west elevator.
Mr. WILLIAMS. The east elevator. The reason I was able to determine whether it was the east elevator is because I think when you questioned us the other day, the other fellows--I told you I didn't remember which elevator first. But the other fellows said they had the west elevator. There are only two elevators. If they are sure they had the west elevator up, that only leaves the east elevator.
Mr. BALL. When you got to the fifth floor and left the elevator, at that time were both elevators on the fifth floor?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Both west and east?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir, as I remember.
Mr. BALL. The other day, when I talked to you in Dallas, on Friday 20 March--
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. And at that time were you able did you remember which elevator it was?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Which elevator I had?
Mr. BALL. What you had come down from six to five on.
Mr. WILLIAMS. As I remember, I first said I wasn't sure. After the fellows said they brought the west elevator up, I said I must have the east elevator.
Mr. BALL. Is it fair to say now that you don't have any definite memory as to whether it was the east or west elevator?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir. I believe that would be true.

Ball reminded Williams of his prior statements, and put these on the record so the commissioners would know Williams was not to be trusted.

And that's not the last of the Williams switcheroos. In his 11-22-63 affidavit, signed but hours after the shooting, Williams swore that along with Jarman and Norman he ran to the west end of the fifth floor after hearing the shots and seeing the crowd below run towards the grassy knoll. He then declared: "We stayed there and in a little while some officers came up. They left and then we took an elevator to the fourth floor." (24H229). Well, this wouldn't do. In the scenario ultimately proffered by the FBI and WC, to be clear, there was no elevator on the fifth floor 4-5 minutes after the shooting.

So let's see what Williams said the next day. An 11-23-63 FBI memo on an interview with Williams reports: "While they were standing at the west end of the building on the fifth floor, a police officer came up on the elevator and looked all around the fifth floor and left the floor" and that furthermore "he and Hank and Junior were standing where they would have seen anyone coming down from the sixth floor via the stairs and that they did not see anyone coming down. He stated someone might have been coming down on the elevator and they would not have noticed that. He stated that after the police officer left the fifth floor, Williams went down to the fourth floor where there were a lot of women around the west end of the floor." (CD5, p330-333) Okay. No switcheroo yet.

So what did Williams say to the Secret Service a few weeks later? "While they were still on the fifth floor, Williams saw a policeman near the stairway at the back of the building, but he did not know whether the policeman was going up or down the stairway. The policeman did not speak to Williams and apparently did not see him. Williams estimated that about five minutes had passed between the time of the shots and the time he and the others started down the stairs to the first floor." (CD87, p784) Aha! There's the switch. No elevator. Not even a stop on the fourth floor.

And here's Williams again in a statement to the FBI from 3-19-64: "While we were standing at the west end of the building on the fifth floor, a police officer came up on the elevator and looked all around the fifth floor and left the floor. I did not see anyone come down from the stairs." (22H681)

Now, that's strange. The police officer (presumably Marrion Baker) has once again arrived via elevator.

And here's Williams' 3-24-64 testimony regarding this police officer:

Mr. BALL. Now, when you were questioned by the FBI agents, talking to Mr. Odum and Mr. Griffin, they reported in writing here that while you were standing at the west end of the building on the fifth floor, a police officer came up on the elevator and looked all around the fifth floor and left the floor. Did you see anything like that?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Well, at the time I was up there I saw a motorcycle policeman. He came up. And the only thing I saw of him was his white helmet.
Mr. BALL. What did he
Mr. WILLIAMS. He just came around, and around to the elevator.
Mr. BALL. Which elevator?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I believe it was the east elevator.
Mr. BALL. Did you see anybody with him?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I did not.
Mr. BALL. You were only able to see the top of his helmet?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. You could only see the top of his helmet
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir; that is the only thing I saw about it.
Mr. BALL. They reported that you told them on the 23d of November that you and Hank, that is Hank Norman, isn't it--
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. And Junior--that is Junior Jarman--were standing where they would have seen anyone coming down from the sixth floor by way of the stairs. Did you tell them that?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I could not possibly have told him that, because you cannot see anything coming down from that position.
Mr. BALL. And that you did not see anyone coming down.
Mr. WILLIAMS. No, sir. An elephant could walk by there, and you could not see him.

And here's Williams' testimony regarding their descent to the first floor.

Mr. WILLIAMS. After we stood at the west window for a while, we decided to go down. Then we left.
Mr. BALL. How did you go down?
Mr. WILLIAMS. By stairs.
Mr. BALL. Where did you go?
Mr. WILLIAMS. We went to the fourth floor first. Then we paused for a minute there, where we saw these women looking out of the window. Then we decided to go down to the first floor, and we ran on down.

(3-24-64 Testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams, 3H161-184)

Williams had originally claimed they'd descended via the elevator, but now claimed they'd left by the stairs.

Well, what about Jarman and Norman? Did they support Williams' original statements? Or his subsequent testimony?

A 12-7-63 Secret Service report on Jarman relates: "He went with Williams and Norman to the west side of the building where they looked out those windows for a few minutes and then went down the back stairway to the first floor. He did not see any police officer on the stairway, but says that he did see a woman looking out a window on the west side of the fourth floor as they went down...Jarman estimated that they remained on the fifth floor for about five minutes after the shots, before they started down the stairway." (CD87 p785) And a 12-4-63 affidavit by Harold Norman confirms that after they (Jarman, Norman, and Williams) reached the west side of the building, "We discussed the shots, and where they had come from, and decided we better go down stairs. We walked down the stairs to the first floor and did not see anyone else on the stairway as we went down. From the time of the shots until we started downstairs was about five minutes." (CD7, p783)

On 3-24-64, just after Williams, Norman and Jarman would similarly testify that they ran down from the fifth floor, with Jarman even specifying that they looked for an elevator, but found none were available.

It seems clear, then, that Williams was quite flexible with his recollections. And that, even so, he stood strong about his being on the sixth floor until 12:20 or so. And was correct in doing so...

This leads us, then, to the testimony of Williams' fifth floor companions, James Jarman and Harold Norman.

Step 2: The 3-24-64 Testimony of James Jarman and Harold Norman...

The testimony of James Jarman and Harold Norman was of vital importance to the commission. Oswald had cited them as witnesses to his being downstairs in the moments before the shooting. Commission Counsel Ball and Belin, then, needed Jarman and Norman to refute Oswald's claim.

They got some help from Jarman, but not much. In his 11-22 Affidavit to Dallas County, Jarman remembered last seeing Oswald "between 11:30 A.M. and 12:00 noon when he was taking the elevator upstairs to go get boxes." Jarman then added: "At about 11:45 A.M. all of the employees who were working on the sixth floor came downstairs and we were all out on the street about 12:00 noon." (24H213)

Now, this was nothing if not vague. Jarman said he saw Oswald go upstairs between 11:30 and 12:00, and that the sixth floor crew came down around 11:45. In sum, then, he couldn't remember whether or not he saw Oswald go upstairs before or after the sixth floor crew came down for lunch. But we needn't be so confused. As the sixth floor work crew remembered seeing and hearing Oswald upstairs when they came down for lunch, it's more than likely Jarman saw Oswald go upstairs just ahead of lunchtime. It's far more reasonable, after all, to assume someone who was seen going somewhere went there before he was seen in that location by others, than to assume he went there, was seen in that location by others, then came back, and then returned.

Still, for some, this was beside the point. On 3-24-64, Jarman testified before the Warren Commission and told them what they almost certainly wanted to hear. He told them that, although he'd been in the domino room after quitting for lunch at 5 to 12, he didn't remember seeing Oswald at this time. (3H198-211)

Now, we've already demonstrated why this wasn't as damaging for Oswald as at first it might appear. Oswald's boss William Shelley, the leader of the sixth floor work crew Jarman saw come down to the first floor around 11:45, had by the time of Jarman's testimony acknowledged seeing Oswald on the first floor around 11:50. And Charles Givens had apparently told the FBI he saw Oswald in the domino room around this same time. And Eddie Piper had repeatedly claimed he saw Oswald on the first floor shortly after this, around noon. And Carolyn Arnold had purportedly claimed she thought she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15.

So it's hard to see how Jarman's testimony buried Oswald...

When one considers Jarman's subsequent statements, moreover, this is even harder to see. While those seeking to pin the blame for the assassination on Oswald, and Oswald alone, inevitably use Jarman's claim he didn't see Oswald in the domino room as evidence for Oswald's guilt, they never, and I mean never, acknowledge that Jarman spoke to federal investigators working for the HSCA on 9-25-77, and that, by then, his story had changed a bit. In this interview, to be clear, Jarman now recalled that he'd sent Oswald upstairs to correct a mistake around 11:25, or 11:30, and that Oswald had returned with the proper book shortly thereafter.

Now this is interesting, in several respects. For one, it seems Jarman now remembered, as a fact, seeing Oswald come down from the upper floors just before the shooting. While he could have been mistaken about this, we can't dismiss another possibility--that he'd been afraid to say this in 1963 and 1964, and had only got the gumption to say it after the passage of time. I mean, who knows? Perhaps Jarman had come to realize Shelley and Piper had also seen Oswald on the first floor. Perhaps, by 1977, he felt free to tell the truth. We really don't know, now do we?

But there is something we do know. While Jarman's story had changed a bit--from Oswald's going up to get boxes to his going up to correct a mistake and then coming back downstairs--his story was consistent on one key point--that Oswald had had a legitimate reason to go upstairs, and that this errand wasn't so arduous it would have interfered with his coming back down for lunch with the rest of the work crew.

So, in this light, Jarman's statements and testimony were more suggestive of Oswald's innocence, than his guilt.

The statements and testimony of Harold "Hank" Norman, Jarman's "short" companion, were even less suggestive of Oswald's guilt. In his 3-24-64 testimony, Norman admitted "I ate my lunch in the domino room." When asked if anyone had been in there with him, moreover, he answered in an odd manner: "I think there was someone else in there because we usually played dominoes in there but that particular day we didn't play that morning."  (3H186-198)

Now, look at Joe Ball's follow-up question.

Mr. BALL. Why didn't you play that morning?
Mr. NORMAN. Well, didn't nobody show up there to play like the guys usually come in to play.
Mr. BALL. You usually play dominoes during the noon hour?
Mr. NORMAN. Noon hour and the break period.

Ball never asked Norman how his not playing dominoes made him think there was someone else in there!

Suspicious Omission #3                                                                                             3-24-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to follow up with witness Harold Norman and find out how his not playing dominoes at lunch made him think someone else was in the room--an inquiry that almost certainly would have led to Norman's saying he thought this someone else was Oswald.

So, let's see if we can answer for Norman. How would Norman's normally playing dominoes but not on that day make him think someone else was in the room? Well, after reading everything I could about the domino room I think I found the answer. This answer is contained in a 12-7-63 Secret Service Report on the depository employees, in which Billy Lovelady is quoted as follows: "The other employees usually play dominoes during their lunch period after they have eaten, but Oswald never showed any interest in taking part in the games." (CD87 p780)

So, yeah, Norman's statement about the dominoes is a clear indication the "someone else" Norman thought was in the domino room was someone in particular, someone who didn't play dominoes, someone named Lee Harvey Oswald.

Now, let's debunk some junk... Vincent Bugliosi, in his monster tome Reclaiming History, dismisses the possibility Oswald was in the break room with Norman by claiming "But Danny Arce told the Warren Commission that he and Jack Dougherty ate their lunch in the domino room during the period Norman described. In fact, Arce was one of those who joined Norman and Jarman when they walked outside a moment later. Obviously, Arce and Dougherty were the 'someone else' Norman had referred to."

Except not so fast, Mr. Over-zealoous Prosecutor. Arce in fact testified that he went outside "With Billy Lovelady and Mr. Shelley and I was out there with Junior." Well, this indicates that he did not leave the break room with Norman and Jarman, as suggested by Bugliosi, but that he only saw Jarman outside. Even worse, Arce specified that he did not see Norman in the break room. In fact, when asked if he had seen Bonnie Ray Williams downstairs, Arce responded: "No, he stayed upstairs with Hank." Hank is Norman. If Arce thought Williams was upstairs with Hank, it follows that he did not see Hank in the domino room, and that he left the room before Hank's arrival. Bugliosi's dismissal is therefore so much moonshine, and the point he claims is "obvious" is obvious BS.

Well, then, what about Jack Dougherty? Here we enter uncharted territory. Jack Dougherty was a co-worker of Oswald's with some sort of mental disorder. It was claimed he'd been confused by the shooting, and it's clear he had a hard time during his testimony. Even so, he would ultimately testify that he ate his lunch in the domino room, but did not see Oswald. Now, for some, this debunks Oswald's claim he was sitting in the domino room at the time of the shooting. Except... it really doesn't. Dougherty also testified that he spent "just a short length of time" in the domino room after finishing his lunch. So, yeah, it's entirely reasonable to suspect that Dougherty, as Arce, ate his lunch very quickly, and left the domino room before Oswald's arrival. 

So, let's get back to Norman. After making his comment about the dominoes, Norman told the commission that he got together with Jarman after finishing his lunch and that the two of them went outside around "12 or 12:10." (3H186-197). As Norman was of small stature and was almost certainly the short man Oswald claimed he saw with Jarman, for that matter, it appears that Oswald actually did see Norman and Jarman together at this time... or that he'd made an incredibly lucky guess.

There is another alternative, however.

Let's go back for a second. Agent Bookhout's report on Oswald's interrogation, let's recall, did not claim Oswald had said he'd eaten lunch with Jarman and Norman, as presented by Capt. Fritz. It said: "Oswald stated that on November 22, 1963, he had eaten lunch in the lunch room of the Texas School Book Depository, alone, but recalled possibly two negro employees walking through the room in this period. He stated possibly one of these employees was called 'Junior' and the other was a short individual whose name he could not recall, but whom he would be able to recognize." Perhaps, then, Oswald had seen Jarman and Norman not when most assume he claimed he'd seen them--when he first came down for lunch--but later, when they came back in the building and went back upstairs. I mean, that only makes sense. If the police ask you who can vouch that you weren't at the scene of a crime, you tell them the names of the LAST people who might remember seeing you somewhere else, and not those who saw you 30 minutes or more before the crime occurred.

With this in mind, then, it seems a bit of a coincidence that, according to Jarman's testimony, there were "too many people standing on the stairway" in front of the building when he and Norman decided to go back inside and view the motorcade from an upstairs window, and that he and Norman had thereupon re-entered the building by its north entrance. In doing so, by golly, they would have passed directly in front of the open door to the domino room, where Oswald claimed he was sitting at the time of the shooting.

Here, see for yourself. The diagram below has been cropped from the Warren Commission's diagram for the first floor of the school book depository. The domino room is on the right, in the northwest corner of the building. A toilet is to its left. The north entrance from the loading dock is the door to the left of this toilet. From the street, one can reach this entrance in two ways. There are steps from the sidewalk on the east side of the building that lead up onto the dock and then an overhead door just a few feet from the entrance by the toilet. And there are steps from where the trucks park that lead to a door cut at an angle to the loading dock, that is also quite close to the entrance by the toilet.






Should that not suffice, moreover, there's an FBI photo taken for the specific purpose of depicting the relationship between the north entrance and domino room. (I've searched in vain for a memo indicating who, specifically, ordered this picture, and can only assume it was Warren Commission counsel Joseph Ball and David Belin, the men tasked with establishing Oswald's guilt. Now, if this is so, well, then, it more than suggests they knew full well that Jarman and Norman passed right in front of the open door to the domino room.)

In any event, this photo is presented below. (It can be found in the commission's records in CD496, p 19) The rear entrance from the loading dock is the door on the left and the door to the domino room is the door on the right.



Let's now note that Jarman, in his 3-24-64 testimony, claimed that he and Norman re-entered the building via its north or rear entrance "about 12:20...between 12:20 and 12:25"...

Well, then, who's to say that Oswald wasn't sitting in the domino room when Jarman and Norman came in the back door? And that he wasn't still sitting there five to ten minutes later, as shots were being fired upstairs?

Certainly not the Warren Commission... They were supposed to get at the facts. And reveal them to the public. And yet right here is a total major fact that (if we are to give them the benefit of the doubt) eluded them, and went unreported...

Let this soak in...

Jarman and Norman were the only two depository employees to admit coming in the north entrance when Oswald claimed he was sitting right by this entrance, and they were the only two depository employees Oswald recalled seeing while he was sitting there.

What are the odds?

I'll tell you the odds. The odds are that Oswald was indeed where he sad he was, when he said he was.

So what did Ball and Belin do when they stumbled upon this fact? Did they write the commissioners a letter saying "Hey, maybe our working thesis--that Oswald put together his rifle in the sniper's nest, just before shooting Kennedy--is in error"?

Nope. That Jarman and Norman admitted walking past the domino room when Oswald said he was in the domino room was never discussed, as far as one can tell from studying the records of the commissioners and their staff.

Suspicious Omission #4                                                                             3-24-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to point out during testimony or subsequently acknowledge that Jarman and Norman's claim they re-entered the building via the back door supported Oswald's claim he'd been sitting in a room with a view of the back door area, and had observed Jarman and Norman at this time.

Now, strangely enough, this wasn't the last time the testimony of one of Oswald's co-workers regarding Oswald and the domino room would be ignored.

But, before we move on to that. Let's add another little piece into our timeline.

On 4-7-64, depository foreman William Shelley testified and made it clear that when he last saw Oswald, it was after Shelley and those under his command had quit for lunch. When asked if he'd seen Oswald at work on 11-22-63, Shelley volunteered: “I do remember seeing him when I came down to eat lunch about 10 to 12.” (6H327-334)


Step 3: The 4-8-64 Testimony of Eddie Piper

There are questionable conclusions, and there are conclusions so questionable they are suspicious. And the conclusion Oswald never came down for lunch was (and is) the latter.

We've already shown how Eddie Piper, within hours of the shooting, swore he talked to Oswald on the first floor around noon. And we showed how he repeated this claim.

So it should come as no surprise then that on 4-8-64, Piper testified before the Warren Commission and once again claimed he saw Oswald on the first floor around noon. 

But that's not all Piper said. Here, in testimony taken 4 1/2 months after the killing of President Kennedy, Piper finally said where on the first floor he saw Oswald. Now, it's not as if anyone asked Piper this incredibly important detail. And it's not as if Piper volunteered it when they didn't. It just kinda...came out. Here, see for yourself.

Mr. BALL. What time did you go to work that day?
Mr. PIPER. 10 o'clock.
Mr. BALL. That was your usual time to go to work?
Mr. PIPER. Yes.                                                                                                                Mr. BALL. And, did you see Oswald that morning?
Mr. PIPER. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Where?
Mr. PIPER. Down on the first floor filling orders.
Mr. BALL. Did you ever see him again that day?
Mr. PIPER You mean all day---the rest of the day?
Mr. BALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. PIPER. No.
Mr. BALL. Was that the last time you saw him?
Mr. PIPER. Just at 12 o'clock.
Mr. BALL. Where were you at 12 o'clock?
Mr. PIPER. Down on the first floor.
Mr. BALL. What was he doing?
Mr. PIPER. Well, I said to him---"It's about lunch time. I believe I'll go have lunch." So, he says, "Yeah"---he mumbled something---I don't know whether he said he was going up or going out, so I got my sandwich off of the radiator and went on back to the first window of the first floor.          

(4-8-64 Testimony of Eddie Piper, 10:20 AM, 6H382-386)

Piper saw Oswald by a radiator.

Now, let's stop right here and point out that Piper is not sure Oswald said he was "going up," as originally reported, and that he now says Oswald could have said "going out." Now, some will claim it makes no difference because no one saw Oswald go up or out. But this is short-sighted. As we've seen, no one saw Oswald between 12:00, when Piper saw him, and a few minutes before 12:15, when Carolyn Arnold thought she saw him on the first floor, near the front door. Well, this suggests the possibility that, after talking to Piper, Oswald went out the back of the building to take a walk. And that he returned 15 minutes later. And that he even considered going out front with his co-workers upon his return, but saw the crowded steps outside, and thought better of it.

And no, this isn't pure conjecture. In his 11-22-63 affidavit to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, William Shelley, Oswald's boss, opted to add a little detail about Oswald that has been largely over-looked. He revealed: "This man stayed by himself most of the time, and would go for a walk at noon time. Lee would bring his lunch and usually eat with us in the lounge and read the paper." (CD87, p273)

So, there you have it. Oswald's going "out" at noon, and then returning to sit by himself in the domino room, while sipping on a drink and reading the paper, would not have been a deviation from his usual routine. It WAS his routine.

We now return to Ball's questioning of Piper...

Mr. BALL. The first window on the first floor?                                                                     Mr. PIPER. No, not the first window---but on the first floor about the second window on the first floor. I was intending to sit there so I could see the parade because the street was so crowded with people---I didn't see anything.

It's curious, to say the least, that Ball failed to follow-up on Piper's claim he saw Oswald at 12 by a radiator by asking him the precise location of this radiator, and that he oped instead to change the subject from the relevant issue of Piper's discussion with Oswald to the barely relevant issue of which window Piper chose to sit behind while watching the motorcade.

But if Ball was trying to lure Piper to sleep so he could circle back and undermine Piper's testimony he saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:00, he was in for a surprise.

Mr. BALL. What time was it that you spoke to Oswald and said you thought you would have your lunch?
Mr. PIPER. Just about 12 o'clock.

Mr. BALL. And do you remember exactly what he said?
Mr. PIPER. No, sir; I don't remember exactly. All I remember him was muttering out something---I didn't know whether he said he was going up or going out.
Mr. BALL. He said something like that?
Mr. PIPER. Yes--something like that.

Now, apparently, this ticked Ball off. If he gets Piper to say Oswald said he was going "up", the Commission can conclude Oswald did just that--went back "up"...to the sixth floor.

Piper's refusal to specify "up" as opposed to "out", then, could only have been seen as a set-back for Ball. Now, look how he responds.

Mr. BALL. Now, that day, you went over to the sheriff's office and made a statement, didn't you?
Mr. PIPER. Yes, sir---no, sir; not that day.
Mr. BALL. Did you the next
day?                                                                                      Mr. PIPER. Saturday.
Mr. BALL. Did you go to the sheriff's department?
Mr. PIPER. I went to the county---yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. And did you tell them at any time that you saw Lee about 12 o'clock?
Mr. PIPER. Yes.
Mr. BALL. And that Lee said, "I'm going up to eat?"
Mr. PIPER. He said either "up" or "out"---that's the way I reported it.
Mr. BALL. That's what you told them?                                                                               Mr. PIPER. Yes, sir. 

(4-8-64 10:20 AM, 6H382-386)

Now, this is important in light of subsequent developments... When Piper didn't testify in the manner most damaging to Oswald, and most supportive of what we can only assume was Ball's presumption Oswald acted alone, Ball reminded Piper of his previous statements, and undermined Piper's credibility to the Commissioners tasked with studying Piper's testimony. 

And he did this, moreover, at the expense of asking the far more relevant question of where it was on the first floor Piper saw Oswald.

It wasn't until 2017, for that matter, that I realized Piper's claim he got his "sandwich off of the radiator" (after briefly talking to Oswald) had actually answered the question Ball had failed to ask.

Here's an FBI photograph of the domino room, entered into evidence as Kaiser Exhibit B. (20H334) The radiator is on the left. Note that Oswald's jacket was later discovered by this radiator.


And here's another FBI photo of the radiator. Note that the window sill is used to store found items and lunch bags. Presumably, Piper brought a hot sandwich for lunch and placed it on the radiator to keep warm.

Note also that this version of the photo was marked with an X by depository employee Frankie Kaiser, to show where he found Oswald's jacket weeks after the shooting. This version of the photo was entered into evidence as Kaiser Exhibit C (20H335).


While some might prefer to believe Ball had no idea what Piper was telling him when he said he picked his sandwich off the radiator and went back to the front window after talking to Oswald, and that it was just an oversight on Ball's part that he failed to put on the record that Piper was thereby confirming Oswald's claim he came down for lunch and went to the domino room... there's no good reason for us to do so. Kaiser Exhibits B and C, photos of the domino room in which the radiator is obvious, were entered into evidence on 4-8-64, roughly 4 hours after Piper testified. Kaiser's testimony, as Piper's, was taken by Joe Ball. Ball personally handled Kaiser Exhibits B and C. As a consequence one can only assume these photos were in Ball's briefcase when he took Piper's testimony.

So, yeah, you can bet you bippy Ball knew full well that the radiator discussed by Piper was the radiator in the domino room.

And that it was no coincidence Ball failed to put this on the record.

Suspicious Omission #5                                                                                              4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Eddie Piper where on the first floor he saw Oswald at 12:00, and thereby conceals from the Commission and public that Piper felt certain he saw Oswald just where Oswald said he was during the lunch period--in the domino room.

Now, here's a third photo showing the radiator in the domino room. (CD 496, p 24) Note that there was a shower in the domino room.


Some of the questions about who was in the domino room, and when, and why didn't so-and-so see such and such, might have been answered should the FBI agents and Warren Commission counsel tasked with getting to the bottom of what happened have asked detailed questions about when Oswald and his co-workers used the bathrooms and shower. But, alas, few, if any, of these questions were asked.

In any event, Piper's statements were consistent, and indicative Oswald was in the first floor lunch room (or domino room) around noon. (As Piper's original statement indicates he thought the President was shot around 12:25, when he was actually shot around 12:30, moreover, it's reasonable to assume the clock he was looking at was a bit slow, and that he actually saw Oswald around 12:05. Under no circumstances can it be taken to suggest he failed to see Oswald at all, or that he actually saw him much earlier in the day.)

Piper was a credible witness who was ultimately ignored. That's bad.

But there's something far worse... A lying witness who is treated like a credible witness...by attorneys who really have to--and I mean really have to--know their witness is lying.


Step 4: The 4-8-64 Testimony of Charles Givens

We now arrive at the 4-8-64 testimony of Charles Givens (6H345-356). There are four problems with Givens' testimony that would almost certainly have come to light should Oswald have been provided a defense, or even if Ball (and his junior partner Belin) had found his testimony at odds with the Oswald-did-it conclusion.

The first problem bubbles up near the beginning of his testimony.

Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what time you got to work that day?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes; I got to work around about a quarter to eight.                                                      Mr. BELIN. Where did you go when you got to work?
Mr. GIVENS. I went in a little lunchroom that we have downstairs.
Mr. BELIN. Is that what you call the domino room?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. You carry your lunch with you?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. You put your lunch there?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you wear a jacket to work that day?
Mr. GIVENS. I wore a raincoat, I believe. It was misting that morning.
Mr. BELIN. Did you hang up your coat in that room, too?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.

Now, this is clear, right? Belin asked Givens about a jacket, and Givens corrected Belin and told him he'd wore a raincoat, and that he'd hung it up in the domino room.

Belin then asked Givens about his seeing Oswald on the morning of the 22nd. Givens said he saw Oswald on the first floor around 8:30. Belin then asked Givens about the next time he saw Oswald.

Here is his response: “Well, it was about a quarter till 12, we were on our way downstairs, and we passed him, and he (Oswald) was standing at the gate on the fifth floor. I came downstairs, and I discovered I left my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it."

Well, wait a second. This bit about the jacket is not only in conflict with Givens' earlier testimony he hung up his raincoat (not jacket) in the domino room, it's in conflict with a statement Givens provided the FBI on 3-18-64, in which he asserted that he was a block away from Dealey Plaza when the President was shot, but that "After the President was shot I returned to the Texas School Book Depository Building, and was told by a Dallas policeman that I could not enter the building. About an hour later, I went to the Dallas Police Department and was questioned by the police for about forty-five minutes. Then I returned to the Book Depository Building about 5 o'clock that same afternoon to pick up my hat and coat. I left the building a few minutes after I picked up my hat and coat." (22H649)

Okay. Let's get this straight. Givens said he went to the sixth floor to get cigarettes from his jacket. No jacket was found on the sixth floor. It follows then that Givens took his jacket with him when he went to lunch. Now, he also claimed he returned to the building to get his coat. Well, the only way Givens' statements and testimony can make any sense, then, is if we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wore both a coat and jacket to work on 11-22-63.

Now, should we give him that benefit? Absolutely not. Givens was a warehouse worker. He did not work in a jacket. So, why should we believe he wore a raincoat to work over a jacket, removed this raincoat in the domino room, and then removed the jacket up on the sixth floor? I repeat, he was a warehouse worker. He would know, upon entrance into the building, that he wasn't gonna need a jacket while working up on the sixth floor. It follows, then, that he would have left his jacket (if he was even wearing a jacket) with his coat in the domino room. I mean, think about it. The order pullers and floor crew with access to the sixth floor were not allowed to return to that floor after the shooting. Some of them--Harold Norman, Bonnie Ray Williams, and Billy Lovelady come to mind--were captured in photographs during or just after the shooting. And yet none of them were wearing jackets when photographed. And yet none of their jackets were found on the sixth floor.

Givens' claim he left a jacket on the sixth floor is simply not credible.

Belin's failure to clarify Givens' testimony regarding his raincoat and/or jacket is also strange, if not suspicious...

Suspicious Omission #6                                                                                                4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to follow-up and clarify the record when Charles Givens testifies to leaving his coat in the domino room upon his arrival at work, but then going back up to the sixth floor to get his jacket after everyone else had left for lunch--a brand new addition to Givens' story that allowed Belin and the Commission to place Oswald in the proximity of the sniper's nest shortly before the shooting.

This brings us to the second problem with Givens' testimony.

Givens continued: "When I got back upstairs, he was on the sixth floor in that vicinity, coming from that way…Toward the window up front where the shots were fired from…he had his clipboard in his hand…He was coming towards the elevators…He said…'When you get downstairs, close the gate to the elevator.'" 

Now, this is the centerpiece of Givens' testimony. He changed his story from seeing and hearing Oswald yell out to close the gate when the floor crew was heading down to lunch to his seeing Oswald on the sixth floor (and hearing Oswald yell out to close the gate) after the floor crew had gone down to lunch and he (Givens) had returned to the sixth floor.

And Belin knew this. A 3-18-64 Ball/Belin memo outlined the topics to be explored in Givens' upcoming testimony. Under the subject heading "Elevator," Belin noted: "Oswald was on the fifth floor. Oswald called for them to stop. Oswald yelled at Givens to close the gates so that Oswald could have the elevator to return to the sixth floor." Well, heck. That's almost shocking. But a few weeks before Givens testified to Oswald's yelling out when he (Givens) came down alone, Ball and Belin were planning to spin that Oswald's yelling out when the floor crew came down meant he wanted to use the elevator to go back up to the sixth floor.

In any event, when Givens testified to returning to the sixth floor on his lunch hour, seeing Oswald on the sixth floor near the sniper's nest, and hearing Oswald yell out when he (Givens) descended to the first floor, Belin failed to remind Givens of his prior statements. Or even the testimony of his co-workers, Bonnie Ray Williams, Danny Arce, and Billy Lovelady, who claimed Oswald yelled out when Givens first headed down for lunch.

Suspicious Omission #7                                                                                4-8-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to point out in testimony or subsequently acknowledge that Givens' new story was in conflict with both his previous recollections, and that of his co-workers.

Oh, that's right. Williams, Arce and Lovelady. Williams had testified in March. Arce and Lovelady had testified on 4-7-64, but one day before Givens. All three had said they'd heard Oswald yell out to Givens when Givens came down for lunch, and said nothing about Givens going back up to get his cigarettes or anything like that. Still, let's look at their exact words.

Bonnie Ray Williams, 3-24-64:"We always had a little kids game we played racing down with the elevators. And I think one fellow, Charles Givens, had the east elevator, and me, and I think two or three more fellows had the west elevator. And we was racing down... On the way down I heard Oswald--and I am not sure whether he was on the fifth or the sixth floor. But on the way down Oswald hollered "Guys, how about an elevator?" I don't know whether those are his exact words. But he said something about the elevator. And Charles said, "Come on, boy," just like that. And he (Oswald) said, "Close the gate on the elevator and send the elevator back up." (3H161-164)

Danny Arce, 4-7-64: (When asked if he saw or heard Oswald as the elevator descended from the sixth floor) "Yeah, he was up there and I believe someone asked if he wanted to go down." (When asked what floor he was on at the time) "That's what I'm not too sure; I believe he was on (the fifth) or the sixth floor. I am not too sure but we were going down and I believe he was on the fifth; I am not too sure." (When asked Oswald's words) "He said "You all close the door on the elevator, I will be down," or somethin'. I didn't pay too much attention. He said to leave the elevator (gate) down." (6H363-367)

Billy Lovelady, 4-7-64: "I heard him holier to one of the boys to stop, he wanted the elevator. They said, 'No; we're going down to lunch.'" (6H336-341)

Well, wait a second. The statements of these three witnesses, taken in sum, indicate that Oswald wasn't trying to get Givens to make an elevator available (via pulling down the gate) so he could call it back up to the sixth floor and expedite his escape after the shooting, but stop, and let him on the elevator, so he could go down for lunch, along with everybody else. And that Givens refused to stop.

And, no, Oswald's asking Givens to stop the elevator wasn't a latter-day embellishment by Lovelady. The FBI interviewed Lovelady on 11-22-63, within hours of the shooting. The report on this interview reflects that Lovelady's last contact with Oswald at work was "about 11:50 AM, when Lovelady, Charles Givens, a Negro employee, Danny Arce (phonetic), and another Negro male started down from the sixth floor on the two elevators to take their lunch break. As they passed the fifth floor, Lovelady heard Oswald call for them to stop, but one of the four told him "We're going to wash our hands" and did not stop for him." (CD5, p332-333)

Well, this suggests Oswald's innocence. I mean, if Givens had stopped for Oswald, and Oswald had descended with his co-workers, would he have raced back up later? I mean, what would be the point? Why come down in the first place if he'd planned on killing Kennedy with a rifle that could be traced back to him with very little effort?

That Belin failed to appreciate the significance of Williams' and Lovelady's testimony, and made no attempt to reconcile their claim Oswald asked Givens to stop but was told no with Arce and Givens' recollection Oswald asked merely that Givens make the west elevator (in which he was not even riding!) available upon his descent, is yet another suspicious omission.

Suspicious Omission #8                                                                             4-8-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to clarify the record regarding Givens' discussion with Oswald as Givens headed down for lunch in an elevator, or even acknowledge that 2 of the 3 witnesses to their exchange claimed Oswald asked Givens to stop the elevator and let him on, but that Givens had blown him off.

So, yikes, this was a huge problem for Ball and Belin, the Warren Commission counsel tasked with identifying the assassin firing from the sniper's nest. They needed Oswald to be on the sixth floor in the moments leading up to the shooting, putting his rifle together and stacking up the boxes in the sniper's nest. Not downstairs with his co-workers.

So it was quite fortuitous then that Givens, testifying the day after Lovelady even though he was originally scheduled to testify the same day, suddenly remembered 1) seeing Oswald near the sniper's nest, 2) asking Oswald if he wanted to come down on the elevator, and 3) having Oswald refuse his offer but ask him to close the gate on the elevator (and thereby make the elevator accessible to Oswald on the sixth floor) when he reached the bottom.

Now for some it seems fortuitous that Arce backed up Givens' story, or at least a small part of it, by claiming someone had offered Oswald a ride but that he'd told them no, and told they should instead leave the gate down on the elevator so he could call it back up. I mean, that's a far cry from Williams' and Lovelady's testimony in which Oswald wanted to come down but was told no. But we have reason to doubt this snippet of Arce's testimony.

To be clear, Arce's early statements fail to describe the encounter. His 11-22-63 signed statement does declare, however, that the other employees liked to tease Oswald, and that "I last saw Lee Oswald...at approximately 11:50 A.M., this being on the fifth floor near the elevators." Well, this suggests that Arce, and Givens, saw Oswald after the race described by Williams was already underway. And that Oswald asked them to stop the elevator, but was rejected. (They were in a race, after all.) And, yes, Arce's testimony backs this up. When asked on what floor it was he he heard Oswald, he replied: "I am not too sure but we were going down and I believe he was on the fifth; I am not too sure."

There's stink and then there's stank, and Givens' claim he went back up and saw Oswald on the sixth floor is the latter. It just boggles the mind. How could Givens fail to tell investigators he last saw Oswald standing near the sniper's nest, prior to his testimony, 4 1/2 months after the shooting? And how could Belin not note the monumental change in Givens' story?

When then asked the time of his return to the first floor, Givens responded "Well, I would say it was about 5 minutes to 12, then because it was---" But Givens would never get to explain his reasoning. David Belin interrupted him with a question about what he did next. Givens testified "When I got down to the first floor Harold Norman, James Jarman and myself, we stood over by the window, and then we said we was going outside and watch the parade, so we walked out and we stood there a while, and then I said, "I believe I will walk up to the parking lot."

This leads us, then, to a third problem with Givens' claim he saw Oswald after going back to get his cigarettes... It seems likely that, great gosh a mighty, Givens couldn't have seen Oswald from where he claimed he was standing when he saw Oswald!

Mr. BELIN. Just a second, where did you go? Where were you when you saw him on the sixth floor?
Mr. GIVENS. I had went and got my jacket and was on my way back to the elevator.
Mr. BELIN. All right, just a second. I am going to get a plan of the sixth floor, if I have one, and try and have you point that out to me.
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Well, I don't seem to have a sixth floor plan here, but perhaps we can use another plan here to help us. Here is a diagram of the front of the building. This is the Elm Street side, and you can see the arrow pointing north. This perhaps would be a diagram of the third floor. You notice that there are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven sets of windows, right?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. On the Elm Street side, seven pairs of windows?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. You notice the two freight elevators toward the rear. Now did you see--when you first saw him on the sixth floor there, were you standing near any of these windows?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir. I was over here by the elevators.
Mr. BELIN. You are pointing your finger to a spot which would be somewhat to the east of the east elevator, is that correct?
Mr. GIVENS. That's correct.
Mr. BELIN. At a spot which is about on the same line as what I call the south side of the east elevator, and about as far cast of the front part of that elevator as the distance from the front of the elevator to the back of the east elevator, is that about as far east of the front part of that elevator, is that about right?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. You were standing at that point, and where did you see Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. GIVENS. Well, I was along here [indicating].
Mr. BELIN. All right, you are pointing at a spot you say along in here?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. That would be near the east wall of the building,                                                              Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.                                                                                                                    Mr. BELIN. You can see a scale here that is from 0 to 20 feet. Well, it would be about 30 to 40 feet north of the south wall of that building, is that right?                                                                                 Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.                                                                                                                    Mr. BELIN. And around 10 feet or so away from the east wall, is that about right?

(4-8-64 9:00 AM, 6H345-356)

Okay. Givens claimed he was near the east elevator, and Oswald was in the first aisle 10 feet from the east wall at a point 30-40 feet north of the south wall.

Now, let's see if we can figure out what Oswald would look like from Givens' location.

Here's a drawing of the sixth floor, made by the Dallas Police, showing the approximate locations and directions from which they took their crime scene photos. I have added a G and an O to this drawing to designate the approximate locations of Givens and Oswald when Givens supposedly saw Oswald.

Well, this is helpful in two ways. It establishes that Givens, by his own estimation, was about 60 feet from Oswald when he supposedly saw Oswald. And that he would have been looking at Oswald at an angle, about 30 degrees to the left from straight down the aisle.

Now, let's look at photo 2. This was taken down the first aisle towards the sniper's nest. This was purportedly taken from a location 85 feet north of the sniper's nest window. Givens claimed he was roughly this distance back from the front of the building when he saw Oswald, only two and a half aisles over. He also claimed Oswald was less than halfway up this aisle. Unfortunately, there is no photo of the sixth floor taken from such an angle.

Still, what photos do exist are enough to give us doubt Givens saw Oswald as claimed. Note that there's an awful lot of stock on the right side of this first aisle. Note also that the highest stack appears to be at the distance of the third post from the camera. If so, it seems possible this stack would have blocked Givens' view of Oswald, who was, according to Givens, within five feet or so of the fourth post away from the camera.

Now, let's look at photo 4. This one was taken in the second aisle. The Dallas Police claimed this photo was taken from 40 feet north of the front window. Givens, as we've seen, claimed he saw Oswald heading north along the aisle to the left, at a location 30 to 40 feet from the front window. And that he saw this from the back of the aisle to the right.

And yet... There are high stacks of boxes on the left and the right. While there are some gaps in these stacks, the rows are double-wide between aisles. This means there are 4 rows of boxes between the third aisle where Givens claimed he was standing and the first aisle where he claimed Oswald was walking. When looking towards Oswald, for that matter, Givens would be viewing these boxes at an angle. This angle would serve to distort the width of these boxes, and block out an additional 25-30% of what lay behind.

Yes, there's no escaping it. There's reason to doubt Givens saw Oswald as claimed.

Now let's look at photo 5. The Dallas Police said they took this one looking down the third aisle, from 45 feet north of the windows.

Well, that doesn't do much to relieve our doubts, now does it? Look back at the photo of the second aisle. The left side of this aisle down by the windows is largely open space. The left side of the next aisle over in the photo above, however, is heavily populated by boxes. There's also this. The wooden post on the left side of the photo above is in line with the right side of the aisle to the left. There is no such post on the right side of the second aisle. This proves there was an aisle between these two aisles that was not photographed by the Dallas Police. And this means there were actually five or six rows of boxes stretching from north to south between Givens' purported location when he saw Oswald, and the location he claimed for Oswald..

There was a wall of boxes on the left side of this de facto third aisle, for that matter, that would have blocked Givens' view of Oswald for much of the first aisle. There was a wall on the right side of the fourth aisle as well.

And yet, it seems possible Givens' line of sight passed to the north and to the east of these boxes, and that the stacks along the northern half of these aisles were shorter. And that this allowed Givens to get a clear view of Oswald.

Only not so fast. Photo 11 shows the west elevator, with the northernmost section of aisle 2 (or is it 3? or 4?) in the background.

Now, it's too dark in the background to see these boxes, so I took the liberty of cropping the area to the right of the wooden post and left of the boxes, and lightening it up.



First, pardon the size of this image. But I wanted to be sure you could make out the multiple rows of boxes in the background, and that there appears to be a wall of boxes at the depth of the third or second aisle that would have interfered with Givens' purported line of sight.

Of course, it remains possible there were overlapping gaps in the fourth, third and second aisles through which Givens could have seen Oswald for a second or two while he was walking up the first aisle.

But Givens didn't say he got a glimpse of Oswald for a second or two. He said he saw all of him, while he was walking. And that Oswald had a clipboard in his hand.

Mr. GIVENS. He was between the stock and the window, coming towards the elevators.
Mr. BELIN. Coming towards the elevators?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see all of his body or not?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir; he had his clipboard in his hand.
Mr. BELIN. He had his clipboard in his hand?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Was that kind of an aisleway over there right next to the east wall that he was walking along, or what?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir; they have aisles.
Mr. BELIN. Now, was there stock in back of him as well as in front of him? Were you there where you had stacked it up, or not, or don't you remember?
Mr. GIVENS. Well, it was already some books stacked there.
Mr. BELIN. Were there books stacked between where you saw him and the window itself?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. All right, he was walking with his clipboard from that southeast corner?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Where did you see him walking? What direction did you see him walking in?
Mr. GIVENS. He was coming towards the elevators.
Mr. BELIN. From the Elm Street side of the building?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, Sir.
Mr. BELIN. So that would be walking in a northerly direction?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Now, you said that he had a clipboard in his hand?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes; he had his board with his orders on it.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see the orders on the board?
Mr. GIVENS. Well, yes, sir; he had it in his hand.

Givens' claim he had a clear view of Oswald from half-way across the building is just not credible.

And Belin knew it. On 3-24-64, Belin asked book depository boss Roy Truly if he could see the southeast corner of the sixth floor from the east elevator. This was roughly ten feet to the west of where Givens claimed he was standing.

Mr. BELIN. Could you see the southeast corner of the sixth floor from there?
Mr. TRULY. I don't think so; no, sir. You could not.

The commission took numerous re-enactment shots showing where Bonnie Ray Williams, Harold Norman and James Jarman were standing when the shots were fired. They even took pictures of Howard Brennan, sitting where he claimed to have been sitting. But they took no pictures of anyone where Givens claimed he saw Oswald from where Givens claimed he was standing when he saw Oswald if only to see, y'know, whether their new star witness was completely full of crap.

Suspicious Omission #9                                                                                4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin, the man behind a number of re-enactments, fails to re-enact Givens' purported sighting of Oswald, to see if Givens could actually have seen Oswald where he said he saw him.

Now let's sink our teeth into a fourth problem with Givens' testimony.

After discussing Givens' hanging up his coat in the domino room, and his seeing Oswald on the first floor around 8:30 PM, Belin asked Givens about seeing Oswald in the domino room.

Mr. BELIN. Did you see him come into the domino room at all?
Mr. GIVENS. Not that morning, no, sir; I didn't.
Mr. BELIN. When did you leave the domino room to go up to the sixth floor?
Mr. GIVENS. 8 o'clock.
Mr. BELIN.. At 8 o'clock?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. So you don't feel he came in the domino room before 8 o'clock?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir; not that morning he didn't.

Now that might go unnoticed. But Belin later returned to the domino room.

Mr. BELIN. Did you see Lee Oswald anywhere else in the building between 11:55 and the time you left the building?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir.
Mr. BELIN. On November 22d?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see him in the domino room at all around anywhere between 11:30 and 12 or 12:30?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see him reading the newspaper?
Mr. GIVENS. No; not that day. I did--he generally sit in there every morning. He would come to work and sit in there and read the paper, the next day paper, like if the day was Tuesday, he would read Monday's paper in the morning when he would come to work, but he didn't that morning because he didn't go in the domino room that morning. I didn't see him in the domino room that morning. 

And this wasn't the last time Belin brought up the domino room.

Mr. BELIN. Did you ever tell anyone that you saw Lee Oswald reading a newspaper in the domino room around 11:50, 10 minutes to 12 on that morning on November 22nd?
Mr. GIVENS. No, sir.

So what in blazes was going on?

Belin was clearly referencing the FBI's initial report on Givens, in which it was claimed "Givens observed Lee reading a newspaper in the domino room where the employees eat lunch about 11:50 A.M.”

So was Belin pushing Givens into disputing this report?

Apparently so. Still, surprise surprise, he may not have been wrong to do so.

In February 2012, I stumbled across the FBI's first teletype regarding Givens. (This teletype can be found in FBI file 62-109060 sec 9 p54 on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website.) Here, only hours after he'd been interviewed, it was claimed "Charles Douglas Givens, Employee, TSBD, worked on sixth floor until about eleven thirty A.M. Left at this time going down on elevator. Saw Oswald on fifth floor as left going down. Oswald told him to close the gates when he got to first floor so Oswald could signal for elevator later. Givens stayed on first floor until twelve o'clock and then walked out of the building to watch the parade pass. Oswald was reading paper in the first floor domino room seven-fifty A.M. November twenty two last when Givens came to work."

Well, heck. What's this? Here in this summary of its interview with Givens it is claimed Givens told the FBI he saw Oswald at 7:50 A.M., not 11:50 A.M.

This led me to re-read the FBI's report on this interview. I then realized that the sentences I cut out of Givens' statement at the beginning of this chapter were far more important than I thought, and helped provide the proper context for Givens' statement about seeing Oswald in the domino room. Here is the oft-quoted statement in its proper context: "Givens said that during the past few days Lee had commented that he rode to work with a boy named Wesley. Givens said all employees enter the back door of the building when Jack Dougherty, the foreman opens the door about 7 A.M. On the morning of November 22, 1963, Givens observed Lee reading a newspaper in the domino room where the employees eat lunch about 11:50 A.M.” Within this context, the "about 11:50 A.M." represents the time the employees eat lunch, not the time Givens saw Oswald. Givens had thereby claimed he saw Oswald in the domino room EARLY in the morning. Before starting work. And not during lunch, as most assume.

So let's sum this up. Givens told the FBI he saw Oswald before work. A poorly-worded FBI report made it seem as though Givens saw him during lunch, however. In his testimony, Givens denied seeing Oswald during lunch. This was consistent with the FBI's original teletype. The problem, then, is that Givens also denied seeing Oswald before work.

No matter how one twists it, Givens' testimony was in conflict with what the FBI claimed he'd told them.


Belin, the Generous?

So why didn't Belin read Givens the FBI report, and ask Givens for an explanation? Or follow up with the FBI and ask them if the report could have been mistaken? The Warren Commission's counsel were tasked with acting as both prosecutor and defense attorney. Truth was (supposedly) their only client. So why did Belin fail to challenge his witness with a report in conflict with his testimony?

I mean, it's not as if Belin's partner Joseph Ball was averse to challenging their witnesses. As we've seen, Ball pretty-much manhandled Bonnie Ray Williams and Eddie Piper over the inconsistencies contained within their purported statements.

So why didn't Belin push Givens' on his inconsistencies?

Suspicious Omission #10                                                                                          4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin goes against the precedent established during the testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams and others and allows Charles Givens to dispute the claims of an FBI report--without putting the source of these claims on the record.

There really is no answer here other than that Belin was trying to shield a friendly witness...and that Ball and Belin did their damnedest to harass witnesses whose recollections were unsupportive of their Oswald-did-it conclusion, while treating those whose recollections were supportive of their conclusion--no matter how dubious--with kid gloves.

If Belin had avoided the subject of Givens' seeing Oswald in the domino room, after all, one might believe he was simply asking questions and letting Givens tell his story. But he asked numerous questions about the subject. And was clearly trying to get Givens to refute the FBI's report...without actually citing the report. Well, this gives up the game. It seems clear Belin was aware of the problems with Givens' credibility, but was unwilling to expose them in testimony he knew would be read by the commissioners tasked with weighing Givens' credibility.

And this, when added to Belin's far more significant failure to expose Givens' changing his story from his seeing Oswald as he went down for lunch to his seeing Oswald when he went back up to get cigarettes from his jacket pocket, and then topped off by Belin's failure to confront Givens on the fact he said he'd left his coat in the domino room, but then claimed he was retrieving cigarettes from his jacket pocket when he saw Oswald on the sixth floor, suggests Belin was complicit in Givens' lies. He, as the public's representative, either had reason to believe Givens was lying, and had refused to put it on the record, or had actually helped arrange the lies.

With that in mind, then, it seems a wee bit curious that Belin's partner Joe Ball was supposed to take Givens' testimony on 4-7, but that this was changed at the last minute. (Source: 3-24-64 Ball-Rankin memo found on the website of Howard Willens.)

In any event, Belin chose to treat Givens as a credible witness, and pollute the Warren Report with one of its worst passages (and that's saying a lot).

Here it is again:

Additional testimony linking Oswald with the point from which the shots were fired was provided by the testimony of Charles Givens, who was the last known employee to see Oswald inside the building prior to the assassination.

The highlighted section above is a whopper of epic proportions. Ball and Belin and most everyone involved in the writing of the report would have to have known that Eddie Piper, from the outset, said he'd spoken to Oswald at 12:00, five minutes after Givens would eventually claim he saw Oswald on the sixth floor. And that's not even to mention that within days of the shooting Carolyn Arnold told the FBI she thought she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15, but was never re-interviewed by the FBI or called by the commission.

So what happened? They wouldn't just lie about this, would they?

Well, yes and no. They would have lied, if they'd needed to. But they didn't. No, it seems clear to me that they hadn't planned on writing something that was provably untrue, but had instead decided to obfuscate (aka bullshit). Catch the lawyerese in the last sentence of this paragraph: "None of the depository employees is known to have seen Oswald again..."  "Is known..." Well, that could be said about anything, right? None of the Warren Commissioners is known to have actually read their report before signing it... None of the Warren Commission's staff is known to have given a rat's ass about doing a good job... You get the point.

In any event, I suspect that one of those tasked with re-writing the report (perhaps Norman Redlich, perhaps one of the commissioners), tried to insert the lawyerese from the end of the paragraph ("None of the depository employees is known") into the beginning of the paragraph, and created an awkward phrase that was almost certainly false ("Givens was the last known employee") in the process.

That Belin was a liar, however, is supported by his behavior when the inconsistencies of Givens' testimony came to light. In 1973, Belin published November 22, 1963: You are the Jury!, a defense of the Warren Commission. Here, he presented Givens as credible, never mentioning the inconsistencies he had previously acknowledged. Here, on at least three separate occasions, he claimed Givens was the last to see Oswald in the building before the shooting. Here, he never once mentioned Eddie Piper, the janitor who had consistently and from the beginning claimed to see Oswald on the ground floor around noon, five minutes after the time Givens had claimed to see Oswald. Piper's claim he saw Oswald at noon had been discussed, moreover, in a February 24, 1964 memo authored by Belin. This memo had in turn been discussed by Sylvia Meagher in an August 1971 article in the Texas Observer, upon which Belin had negatively commented. Piper's April 8, 1964 testimony had been taken, for that matter, by Joseph Ball, Belin's partner in the investigation. There is simply no way Belin was unaware of Piper's testimony, and his failure to acknowledge it in his book was inexcusable.

And that's but one example of Belin's slipperiness. In February 1976, in an extended article published in the National Review, Belin once again defended his behavior regarding Givens. Here, he claimed Givens had first said he saw Oswald on the sixth floor with a clipboard months before his testimony, when he spoke to the Secret Service in December. Belin thereby suggested that Givens' testimony about seeing Oswald on the sixth floor was just a clarification of an earlier story, and not a brand new concoction worthy of cross-examination. 

Let's take a look at the Secret Service's report on Givens: "On November 22, 1963, Givens, along with other employees working on the sixth floor, was laying the new plywood floor. Givens stated that he saw Oswald on the sixth floor at about 11:45 A.M. on that date, and that Oswald was carrying a clipboard that appeared to have some orders on it. Givens felt that Oswald was looking for some books to fill an order, which is his job, and did not give the matter further thought. Shortly, thereafter, Givens and the other employees working on the floor-laying project quit for lunch and they took both elevators. They were racing the elevators to the first floor and Givens heard Oswald call to them to send one of the elevators back up. It is Givens' recollection that Oswald was wearing a brown shirt, when he last saw him." (CD 87, p780).

Jinkies! Belin failed to tell his readers that Givens had also told the Secret Service he saw Oswald on the sixth floor BEFORE he--Givens--went down for lunch, and not after he returned to get his cigarettes, as he would later testify. As a number of witnesses, including Givens himself when first interviewed by the FBI, claimed they saw or heard Oswald on the fifth floor as they went down for lunch, there is a world of difference in the stories, as one places Oswald on the fifth or sixth floor about 11:45--and asking for access to an elevator--and one places Oswald on the sixth floor just before noon--and refusing to come down on an elevator. It's hard to believe, moreover, that Belin would fail to appreciate the significance of this change in the story, and think it of such little importance he would fail to tell it to his readers. It follows, then, that he was being willfully deceptive. 

But enough about Belin. He repeated his claim Givens was the last to see Oswald in his 1988 book Final Disclosure, and was either a big fat liar or cognitively impaired.

Let's go back to Givens.

Shadow of a Lie

Subsequent to his testimony, the FBI decided to interview Givens yet again. The 6-4-64 FBI report (CD1245 p182) on this meeting reflects that Givens stood by his Warren Commission testimony and that “he now recalls he returned to the sixth floor at about 11:45 A.M. to get his cigarettes which he had left there. Givens stated it was at this time that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald, known to him as Lee, standing in the southeast corner of the building on that floor. He said Oswald had orders and a clip board in his hand and in response to a question by Givens whether or not Oswald was going to come downstairs, Oswald responded "No, not now." Givens stated he then got on the elevator and as he was leaving the sixth floor Oswald yelled at him to close the gates on the elevator so that he, Oswald, could have the elevator returned to the sixth floor.”

Well, first of all, this report is strange in that it fails to even address the question of whether or not Givens saw Oswald in the domino room on the afternoon (or morning) of the shooting, and Givens' contradiction of the FBI's initial report on this question in his testimony.

And, second of all, this report is strange in that it fails to provide much context to Givens' new and improved recollection. Givens, nearly five months after the shooting, "now recalled" seeing Oswald after going back up to get his cigarettes from the sixth floor, and having Oswald yell out to him as he left, and, apparently, no longer recalled having Oswald yell out to him from the fifth floor when the floor crew came down for lunch. This was the story Givens had been telling for a number of months. It was backed-up by the other members of the floor crew. And yet there is no evidence anyone pointed this out to Givens, And there was no follow-up with those who came down with Givens, to see if they could vouch that the exchange with Oswald Givens now recollected as occurring while he was alone, was different than the one they observed when they were with him in the elevator, or even that he returned upstairs. I mean, one or more of them could have remembered his doing so, if in fact he did so, or that he hadn't left his jacket upstairs because, well, it just wasn't done. But no, none of them were contacted to support, or back-up Givens' story. He'd told Belin and the Commission what they'd wanted to hear and that was that.

The FBI's 6-4-64 report is helpful in one way, however. It provides us with yet another example of Givens' acute unreliability. Whereas Givens, in his 3-18-64 statement to the FBI, declared that he went to the Dallas Police Dept. about an hour after the shooting (i.e., about 1:30), that he was questioned for about 45 minutes, and that he "returned to the Book Depository Building about 5 o'clock that same afternoon to pick up my hat and coat," he now said he was taken to the police station "between 1:30 and 2:00 PM," that he and the other TSBD employees were released "around 3:00 or 3:30 PM," and that he then returned to the TSBD, where he "picked up his hat and coat." Some way, somehow, 1 1/2 to 2 hours had disappeared from his timeline!

Well, what is one to think of this? Maybe Givens had a bad memory. Maybe Belin realized this and exploited it, so he could claim both that Oswald never intended to come down for lunch, and never did come down for lunch.

Was Givens' new and improved recollection, separate from Belin's spin on his new and improved recollection, so significant we should think he was lying?

There are reasons to believe not. Givens’ assertion that he went back upstairs and encountered Oswald shortly after 11:45, when taken with Shelley’s and Piper’s statements, after all, suggests only that Oswald followed Givens back downstairs and made a phone call. Certainly, one can not take Givens' delayed recollection that he returned to the first floor "about 5 to 12" as evidence that Shelley failed to see Oswald at 10 to 12 or that Piper was wrong about seeing him at 12.

Well, at least no one reasonable. Beyond Belin and the Warren Commission, few have insisted Givens was the last to see Oswald in the building before the shooting.

An exception would be Vincent Bugliosi. In Reclaiming History Bugliosi argues that we should believe that Shelley and Piper--who saw Oswald on the first floor at "10 to 12" and "12", respectively, had in fact seen Oswald several minutes before Givens--whose sense of time he inexplicably trusts--saw him on the fifth floor "about a quarter to 12". But this is hoo-ha. It seems much more likely that Givens was off by a few minutes and had returned to the first floor before 5 to 12, and/or that Shelley was off by a few minutes and saw Oswald after 10 to 12, than that Piper was off by more than 15 minutes in a statement signed the day after the shooting, and had completely mis-remembered the circumstances under which he saw Oswald. Piper, after all, knew when he went to lunch, and felt certain he saw Oswald as he went to lunch. This is the kind of thing that a janitor would be likely to know.

Still, let's not pretend. The likelihood is and has been (since this issue was first explored by researcher Sylvia Meagher) that Givens flat out lied when he said he'd went back up to the sixth floor after he came down for lunch. The 11-23-63 FBI teletype reporting on its interview of Givens, after all, claimed that after coming down for lunch "Givens stayed on first floor until twelve o'clock and then walked out of the building to watch the parade pass." The 12-7-63 Secret Service Report  summarizing an interview with Givens, for that matter, not only failed to mention that he'd went back upstairs and encountered Oswald, it actually had him stating that he saw Oswald with the clipboard and heard him yell out before he came down for lunch. (CD87 p780)

So how can he suddenly change his story to his not staying on the first floor after first coming down for lunch, and to his hearing Oswald yell out after going back up for his cigarettes? He can't. Or at least shouldn't.

Now this raises a question. Did someone pressure or pay Givens to change his story?

A 2-9-64 article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram gives us reason to believe this occurred. According to the article, written by Thayer Waldo, a Secret Service agent had boasted that a negro witness, who "had been arrested in the past by the Special Services office of the Dallas Police for gambling" had come forward, and had claimed to have seen Oswald actually fire the shots that killed Kennedy. According to Waldo, who claimed to have sat in on a conversation between this agent and another man, the agent said "Wait till that old black boy gets up in front of the Warren Commission and tells his story. That will settle everything. Yes, sir. He was right there on the same floor, looking out the next window; and, after the first shot, he looked and saw Oswald, and then he ran. I saw him in the Dallas Police station. He was still the scaredest nigger I ever seen. I heard him tell the officer, 'Man you don't know how fast fast is, because you didn't see me run that day.' He said he ran and hid behind the boxes because he was afraid that Oswald would shoot him." As Givens was the only school book depository employee with a notable police record, and was also one of the very few to have seen Oswald in the hour before the shooting, the "negro witness" described in the article is most certainly Givens.

Since Givens never signed a statement or offered testimony describing these events, however, it suggests that either Givens had lied to the police, the agent was lying to Waldo, or that Waldo himself had embellished his story. Perhaps the agent, who Waldo would later reveal to be Mike Howard, had merely indicated that Givens' story was damaging to Oswald, and Waldo had filled in the blanks. 

On 2-13-64 the FBI looked into this story. They contacted Jack Revill, a Lieutenant in the Dallas PD's Special Service Bureau. Revill told them the man described in the article was most logically Charles Givens. Revill told them that Givens had a history of drug use and “would change his story for money”. Revill told them, furthermore, that although he thought the character in the story was Givens, "that when Givens was interviewed immediately after the assassination, he stated he was not in the building at the time of the assassination." The FBI report then recounts Givens' earlier story that he came down for lunch around 11:30, and that, as he came down, he heard Oswald yell out and ask to have the elevator sent back up. (CD735, p295-296).

Months later, after Waldo's story was dredged up by Mark Lane as an indication the Secret Service had been planting false stories in the press, the FBI re-investigated. On May 28, 1964, the FBI wrote a report after talking with agent Mike Howard. (25H844-845). While Howard admitted that he and his brother, Deputy Sheriff Pat Howard, had had a conversation with Waldo, he claimed they did not know he was a reporter, and that they'd never discussed a negro witness to the shooting. On this same day Waldo signed a sworn statement backing his published version of the story. (25H846-848). A few days later, the Bureau contacted Pat Howard, and he admitted that he and his brother had told Waldo about a negro employee with a criminal record who had fled the building after the shots, for fear he would be implicated. (25H849-850) This is clearly a reference to Givens. If the Howards were telling the truth, and they just mentioned Givens because they thought his flight was an "amusing incident," it seems an incredible coincidence that Givens would shortly thereafter change his story and help the Warren Commission put the rifle in Oswald's hand.

Yes, you read that right...I wrote shortly thereafter. You see there is reason to believe that, although Givens first officially told his tale on 4-08-64, that he began to change his story within days of Howard's talking to Waldo. The February 21, 1964 cover story of Life Magazine, which treated Oswald's sole guilt as a proven fact, revealed "A few minutes after noon, as the President and his wife were pulling away from the airport in the open presidential limousine, an employee in the school book building, Charles Givens, saw Oswald on the sixth floor and said 'Let's go down and watch the President go by.' 'Not now,' Oswald responded. 'Just send the elevator back up.'"

So, hmmm...a story sneaks out that a black man with a criminal record is gonna implicate Oswald; a report is then written indicating that this man is Charles Givens, that he will change his story for money, and that he really doesn't know anything; a thoroughly-biased article then appears in a prominent magazine citing Givens as the source of previously undisclosed information, and that this information is extremely damaging to Oswald; this info, furthermore, is inconsistent with Givens' sworn testimony months later. Well, from this one might gather Life paid Givens for his story, and that he lied to them, or that someone paid or pressured Givens to lie to them. One can not reasonably assert or assume his cloudy memory suddenly became clear. 

Adding to the mystery surrounding Givens' sudden change of mind is the fact that only a few hours after Givens testified Dallas Police inspector J. Herbert Sawyer testified about the events leading up to his putting out an APB for someone matching Oswald's description (4H315-325)...and that his words appeared to confirm Givens' story. When asked if he'd put out an APB for anyone besides the white male observed in the sniper's nest, he replied "There is another broadcast in there somewhere, though. I put out another description on the colored boy that worked in that department...He is one that had a previous record in the narcotics, and he was supposed to have been a witness to the man being on that floor. He was supposed to have been a witness to Oswald being there."  He was then asked if this man was Charles Givens, and replied "Yes, I think that is the name, and I put out a description on him." When asked the vital question of how he found out Givens had seen Oswald, he replied: "Somebody told me that. Somebody came to me with the information. And again, that particular party, whoever it was, I don't know. I remember that a deputy sheriff came up to me who had been over taking these affidavits, that I sent them over there, and he came over from the sheriff's office with a picture and a description of this colored boy and he said that he was supposed to have worked at the Texas Book Depository, and he was the one employee who was missing, or he was missing from the building. He wasn't accounted for, and that he was supposed to have some information about the man that did the shooting." 

Now, it must be pointed out that Sawyer's story not only supported Givens' brand new spanking story, but was a brand new story in itself.

And yet Belin failed to challenge Sawyer on his story.

Suspicious Omission #11                                                                                             4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin allows Dallas Police Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer to testify as though Charles Givens' new-found story (about seeing Oswald near the sniper's nest after everyone else had left the sixth floor) had been common knowledge on 11-22-63, when Belin knows this wasn't true.

This point can't be over-emphasized. Before 4-8-64 no reports or testimony existed claiming or supporting that Charles Givens had seen Oswald on the sixth floor after everyone else had gone down for lunch. And then, suddenly, not one but two witnesses, Givens and a Dallas Police Inspector, said or suggested as much.

David Belin owed it to the public to get to the bottom of this onslaught of new information. Was the similarity of these two new stories a coincidence? And, if not, who was behind it?

Since Belin was pre-interviewing his witnesses, moreover, we can only assume he knew these stories were coming. So why didn't he stop them, or at the very least put on the record that these stories were new, and contradicted by all previously available information?

The question re-surfaces... Was Belin the one behind Givens' new and improved story?

Now, I've already weighed in on this. But let me restate it in case I wasn't clear.

I have no doubt that David Belin was a liar, and that he supported the perjury of Charles Givens on 4-8-64. He may not have told Givens to lie, but he undoubtedly knew he was lying and failed to cross-examine him as he would if Givens had suddenly popped up with something suggesting Oswald's innocence.

Now, Sawyer is another matter. His claim the police were looking for Givens (a convicted felon, who never came back to the depository after lunch) because he saw Oswald on the sixth floor is so much hooey.

Still, there's something intriguing about Sawyer's testimony.

Assuming he was telling the truth, or at least the truth as he knew it, who was this "somebody" who knew that Givens had seen Oswald? Givens had not talked to anyone in the building after the shooting. Therefore, it must have been someone who'd talked to him after he'd come down from the sixth floor, but before he left the building...someone who'd spoken to the Dallas police on 11-22, or who'd spoken to someone who'd spoken to the police. This person could very well be James Jarman. While Jarman did not sign an affidavit until 11-23, he almost certainly spoke to his boss Roy Truly (who spent a considerable amount of time with the police on 11-22) about the so-called line-up of depository employees, in which it was discovered that both Oswald and Givens were missing. Jarman had also spoken to Givens after Givens had come down for lunch. It seems reasonable then to suspect that the two spoke about Oswald sometime around noon, before Givens walked up the street, and that Jarman had told this to Truly when both Oswald and Givens went missing. (When Jarman testified on 3-24-64, he was not asked about any conversations with Givens.) Perhaps Givens had told Jarman that Oswald had asked for someone to send the elevator back up for him when the sixth floor crew came down for lunch. And that no one had done so.

Of course, there's two sides to the "perhaps" game. Perhaps Givens had mentioned going back up to the sixth floor to get his cigarettes, and his seeing Oswald still up there.

But I doubt it. It seems highly unlikely that the Warren Commission, desperate to prove that Oswald had stayed up on the sixth floor during his lunch period, would fail to provide a corroborating witness for Givens' latter-day story that he saw Oswald at 5 to 12, should there have been one. It appears, therefore, that Jarman--or whomever--remembered Givens saying that he saw Oswald when he came down with the others, and not that he saw him after going back up for cigarettes.

In any case, Sawyer's testimony suggests 3 possibilities: 1) that Sawyer's memory was accurate and that Givens had told someone he saw Oswald on the sixth floor when he went back up for cigarettes, but that the Warren Commission had failed to identify and interview this person; 2) that Sawyer lied to bolster Givens' testimony by pretending the Dallas Police were aware that Givens' had had important information on Oswald all along; and 3) that Sawyer incorrectly remembered why they were looking for Givens. As Givens was the only convicted felon working in the building and as he just so happened to disappear after the shooting, it only makes sense that they'd be looking for him. The Dallas Police tapes of Sawyer's conversation about Givens, in fact, reflect that he explained why he wanted Givens to be located, and had said simply "He is a porter that worked on this floor up here. He has a police record and he left.” So perhaps Sawyer was simply mistaken.

At this point, I'm leaning toward option number three. On his website, single-assassin theorist Dale Myers makes a reasonably convincing argument that Sawyer was just clutching at straws, and had no real recollection of why they were looking for Givens. 

But there are reasons to suspect option two--that Sawyer deliberately lied in order to help prop up Givens' newfound story. On 5-13-64, Detective Jack Revill, who had warned the FBI on 2-13-64 that Givens would "change his story for money," testified before the Warren Commission in support of Givens' newly-changed story. In his testimony, Revill discussed his actions in the hours just after the shooting. Amazingly, he testified that within hours of the shots, "I talked to a negro by the name of Givens...I asked him if he had been on the sixth floor, and as well as I recall, and Detective Brian was present at this same time, he said yes, that he had observed Mr. Lee over by this window. Well, I asked him who Mr. Lee was, he said, a 'It is a white boy.' He didn't know his full name. So I turned this Givens individual over to one of our negro detectives and told him to take him to Captain Fritz for interrogation." (5H33-47).

Detective Brian testified just after Revill. Brian was never asked about Givens in his testimony.

Suspicious Omission #12                                                                                         5-13-64. Dallas Police Detective Jack Revill testifies in support of Givens' new-found story, and offers Dallas Police Detective V. J. Brian as a witness to his discussion with Givens, only to have Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin fail to ask Brian about Givens in testimony taken just after Revill dropped his smelly surprise.

When Captain Fritz testified he was also not asked about Givens. Even stranger, there is no record that Givens--who Revill, in his testimony, would have us believe was an important witness--was extensively interrogated on 11-22-63, or that he said he saw Oswald by the window. Givens' signed statement from 11-22-63, in fact, never even mentions Oswald. We should recall as well that Revill, when interviewed by the FBI on 2-13-64, failed to say anything about Givens' seeing Oswald by the window. He had, in fact, been dismissive that Givens knew anything about the shooting.

Now, strangely enough, at least one member of the Commission's staff also came to suspect Revill committed perjury when testifying before the Commission. Warren Commission counsel Howard Willens, in his 2013 book History Will Prove Us Right, offers up his own reasons for believing Revill lied. On the day of the shooting, FBI agent James Hosty and Revill had a brief discussion about Oswald, in which Hosty acknowledged he was supposed to have been keeping tabs on Oswald. Revill told this to Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry, and soon it was out that the FBI was responsible for Kennedy's death, because it knew Oswald was dangerous, but failed to stop him from killing Kennedy. This drove FBI Director Hoover nuts, of course, and he soon thereafter stopped cooperating with the Dallas Police Department. 

Well, this set the stage for Hosty's testimony, in which he denied ever telling Revill he knew Oswald was dangerous. And then Revill's testimony, in which he swore he'd written a report on Hosty's comments within an hour of their discussion, and presented this report to the Commission. Now, here's the kicker. Revill said his report was part of the DPD's Oswald file. Well, a copy of his file was provided the Commission months before, and it failed to include Revill's report. And Revill's report wasn't signed and swore to be true until April, around the time someone leaked the contents of this report to the press.

So yeah, it's clear from all this that Willens--and quite possibly his boss Rankin--thought Revill a big fat liar.

Ultimately, however, whether or not Givens or Sawyer or Revill lied is not as important as the fact that the Commission accepted Givens’ inconsistent and incredible testimony as evidence Oswald never came down for lunch. By doing so, the commission defiantly disregarded the consistent statements of the far more credible Shelley, Piper and Arnold. As we've seen, the commission's report asserted that Givens saw Oswald at 11:55 and “was the last known employee to see Oswald inside the building prior to the assassination.” This was a flat-out lie, no matter what Belin would come to claim later. Piper, of course, repeatedly claimed he saw Oswald at 12:00. 

While I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, I just can't believe the Warren Commission's actions on this matter were innocent. When an official report, re-written numerous times by men supposedly versed in the facts, makes an almost certainly false claim, based on the statements of someone who has repeatedly changed his story, and then supports the relevance of this claim by making a demonstrably false claim, it seems reasonable to assume that a decision has been made to deceive the public and obstruct its search for truth. 

Particularly when there's other false claims supporting this same almost certainly false claim...

In its report, the Commission supports Givens' story by claiming:

"The significance of Givens' observation that Oswald was carrying his clipboard became apparent on December 2, 1963, when an employee, Frankie Kaiser, found a clipboard hidden by book cartons in the northwest corner of the sixth floor at the west wall a few feet from where the rifle had been found. This clipboard had been made by Kaiser and had his name on it. Kaiser identified it as the clipboard which Oswald had appropriated from him when Oswald came to work at the Depository. Three invoices on this clipboard, each dated November 22, were for Scott Foresman books, located on the first and sixth floors. Oswald had not filled any of the three orders."

Let's break this down... There are three deceptions in the paragraph.

The first of these deceptions is a subtle one. The significance of Givens' story about the clipboard did not become apparent when Kaiser found the clipboard, as contended in the report. Kaiser found the clipboard on 12-2; none of the statements by Givens or memos on Givens mentioned Oswald's having a clipboard until 12-7, when Givens was reported to have said he saw Oswald with the clipboard as he (Givens) first came down for lunch. By implying Givens' story about the clipboard preceded Kaiser's finding of the clipboard, of course, the Commission gives the impression Givens had told the story he first told more than four months after the shooting--about going back up to get his cigarettes and running into Oswald on the sixth floor--from the beginning. They knew this wasn't true.

The second deception is more concrete. The clipboard was not hidden by book cartons, as contended. The discoverer of the clipboard, Frankie Kaiser, testified that the clipboard was "just laying there in the plain open...you see, we've got a pretty good space back there and I just noticed it laying over there...it was laying on the floor." When asked further if there were "any boxes between the wall and the clipboard?" he answered directly "No, not between the wall and the clipboard--there wasn't." When asked the more concrete question if there were any "boxes between the stairway and the clipboard?" he answered "No, you see, here's---let me see just a second---here's the stairs right here, and we went down this way and here's the stairs this way going up and here's the--and it was laying right in here by the cards--there are about four or five cards, I guess, running in front of it--just laying between the part you go down and the part you go up....right there in the corner." (6H341-345). Neither Kaiser nor his boss, William Shelley, nor the FBI's Nat Pinkston, who also saw the clipboard in this location, ever described it as being "hidden". The photo of the boxes by which the clipboard was found, moreover, marked by Kaiser and submitted into evidence as Kaiser exhibit A, shows that this clipboard would have been laying between two short rows of books with an open end, whereby anyone standing at the end of these rows, or even passing by, could see the clipboard laying right there on the floor. It was not hidden.

The third deception is also significant. The clipboard was found more than "a few feet" from the rifle. It was more like 12-15 feet, across an aisle and a row of boxes. By saying "a few feet" the report implies that Oswald most probably stashed the clipboard at the same time he was stashing the rifle. This is simply not  true. The clipboard location was in fact past the entrance to the down staircase from the rifle location. That Oswald would walk out of his way to hide a clipboard containing orders that gave him a legitimate excuse to be on the sixth floor, while in flight for his life, makes little sense. It's more logical to believe Oswald left these orders unfilled, and planned on returning to them after lunch. The clipboard location was, after all, close to both the elevator and the staircase.

The relative locations of the rifle and clipboard are best demonstrated in Commission Exhibit 2707 (26H78).


This brings us to a fourth deception... While the report suggests there is something suspicious about the orders on the clipboard all being unfilled, the reverse is true--it is exactly as one would expect should Oswald have been innocent. An order-puller, after all, would take his completed orders downstairs to the shipping and billing department when he came down for lunch. As all three orders found on the clipboard were for books found on the sixth floor, moreover, there is no reason to believe Oswald wasn't intending to come back and fill those orders after lunch. These books, moreover, could very well have been found within a few feet of the clipboard location; the Commission doesn't say. As no real effort was made to determine what orders Oswald HAD filled on the 22nd, furthermore, there is no reason to believe Oswald hadn't filled an order for a book stored near the clipboard location, quit for lunch, put down his clipboard, and transported the order downstairs. The Commission's implying the clipboard's being found in this location supported Givens' story, when it quite possibly had an innocent explanation, and may have actually supported Oswald's innocence, was unreasonable and unfair.

There was just no reason to trust Givens. The line in the 11-23 FBI report about Givens seeing Oswald in the break room on the morning of the shooting is quite clear, once read in the proper context. And it's not as if the FBI agent taking the notes was thinking of somebody else. At the very least, the Commission counsel tasked with this line of inquiry, David Belin and Joe Ball, should have called the FBI and Secret Service agents who’d interviewed Givens in the weeks after the shooting to see if they had notes on their meetings with Givens, and would vouch that Givens had made the statements attributed to him in their early reports. That the Commission's counsel did not, and lustily accepted Givens’ sudden recollection 4 months later that “Oh yeah, I saw Oswald on the sixth floor about 5 to 12,” is to their everlasting shame. 

But their shame was destined to be shared. On June 25, 1967, CBS News debuted part 1 of a 4 part investigation of the Warren Commission’s findings. As to whether or not Oswald was on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting CBS relied on the statements of one man: Charles Givens.  Eddie Barker of CBS introduced Givens as the “last man known to have seen Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination.”  Givens then repeated his story of seeing Oswald standing in the middle of the sixth floor with orders in his hand, and of Oswald asking him to close the door on the elevator when he got to the bottom, so that Oswald could call it when needed. When Barker asked Givens “This would be about what time?” however, Givens’ gave a new response, indicating that someone, somewhere, had alerted Givens to Piper’s testimony. Givens told Barker “Well, about one or two minutes after twelve.” Not surprisingly, CBS failed to alert their viewers that Givens had thereby changed his story, yet AGAIN, and that Bonnie Ray Williams, cited elsewhere on their program, had testified he was on the sixth floor from about noon to 12:20 and had seen neither Givens nor Oswald.

A final note on Givens... Although Edward Shields, Givens' lunch partner on 11-22-63, was interviewed by the FBI on 3-23-64, and signed a statement saying he'd left the building where he worked "about twelve o'clock noon" in order to watch the parade with Givens, he was more specific when talking to the HSCA on 10-23-77. Instead of lending credence to Givens' latter-day story--the story that only emerged after Shields had been interviewed--Shields told his HSCA interviewer that he'd met up with Givens on the street around 10 to 12.

From the sum of the evidence, then, the HSCA refused to accept Givens' story about seeing Oswald on the sixth floor at 5 to 12, and concluded instead that Oswald's whereabouts at 12:00--a half an hour before the shots were fired--were irrelevant as to his guilt.

So, yeah, we caught another one. Neither the Warren Commission's staff nor the FBI had the gumption to re-interview Shields after Givens coughed up his story about seeing Oswald near the sniper's nest after everyone else had left for lunch...if only to, y'know, see if someone they'd decided to prop up as a key witness was actually totally full of it.

Suspicious Omission #13                                                                        4-8-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to follow-up with Givens' lunch partner, Edward Shields, to see if he will confirm Givens' claim he saw Oswald on the sixth floor around 11:55.

So...PHEWWW. I know this has been exhausting. But we're only half-way through this chapter.

So let's pull a Howard Cosell and sum up what's happened so far.

The first half demonstrated how Ball, Belin, and their backers on the Warren Commission (including but not necessarily limited to Earl Warren himself) shoe-horned the evidence regarding Oswald's actions and whereabouts before the assassination of President Kennedy into the shoes of a guilty man, when there was actually quite a bit to suggest his innocence.

They did this in steps, moreover.

Step 1. They attempted to minimize the damage done to their position by Bonnie Ray Williams, and his claim he spent the bulk of his lunch period on the sixth floor, but didn't see Oswald, by making it seem as though Williams may have spent just a few minutes on the sixth floor, and ignoring that James Jarman and Harold Norman had confirmed Williams' recollections.

Step 2. They attempted to debunk Oswald's alibi--that he was in the domino room at the time of the shooting, and saw James Jarman and Harold Norman (Jarman's "short" companion) shortly before the shooting--but failed to follow-up when Jarman and Norman gave them reasons to believe Oswald's alibi.

Step 3. They dismissed the testimony of Eddie Piper, in which he claimed he'd talked to Oswald at 12:00 after Oswald came down for lunch, but failed to acknowledge that an uncalled witness named Carolyn Arnold had told the FBI she thought she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15, and Oswald's boss William Shelley had also confirmed that Oswald came down for lunch.

Step 4. They drummed up a witness--Charles Givens--who helped them place Oswald on the sixth floor in the moments before the shooting--but failed to point out during Givens' testimony, or even in the Commission's report, that Givens' testimony was in opposition to both all his previous statements, and those of his co-workers. (One of these co-workers, Edward Shields, could have shot down Givens' testimony in a few seconds, should he ever have been interviewed by the Commission or the FBI on behalf of the Commission. So, of course, he wasn't called.)

Still, as ruthless and sleazy as Ball/Belin were when questioning witnesses as to Oswald's activities before the shooting, they were even more ruthless and sleazy when questioning witnesses as to what happened directly after the shooting.



The Ghost in the Elevator, and the Girls on the Stairs

As we've seen, Ball and Belin, and by extension the commission that hired them, both cherry-picked the statements of their witnesses, and avoided certain lines of questioning altogether, in order to prop up their conclusion Oswald acted alone. When less-than-friendly witnesses like Williams and Piper told them what they didn't want to hear, they rubbed their faces in their earlier statements. But when suddenly friendly witnesses like Givens, Sawyer and Revill popped up with a new story in which Givens saw Oswald near the sixth floor sniper's nest after everyone else had left for lunch, they failed to challenge them.

That this was not a coincidence, but part of a larger pattern, moreover, becomes obvious when one studies the bigger picture, and realizes that Ball and Belin had additional evidence supporting that someone or somebody--perhaps the actual assassin or assassins--had come down from the top floors on an elevator just after the shooting...but chose to hide this by propping up the highly dubious theory Jack Dougherty was on this elevator, and that Oswald himself ran down the stairs.


The Dougherty Problem (in which the Warren Commission manipulates and distorts the statements of a mentally handicapped person to hide that President Kennedy's assassin or assassins could easily have escaped the school book depository)

Let's re-read the final paragraph in Howard Willens' March 10, 1964, journal entry.

Only this time let's highlight the last line...

"After the above meeting various members of the staff gathered in my office to make their suggestions regarding alterations in the schedule. Present were Messrs. Redlich, Eisenberg, Ball, Belin, Stern, Liebeler and Ely. As usual there was considerable debate among the members of the staff regarding the function of the Commission and the definition of what constitutes a thorough job. Apparently during the day’s testimony the Chief Justice had indicated his readiness to receive a clean record and not pursue in very much detail the various inconsistencies. Mr. Ball agreed with the approach suggested by the Chief Justice completely and Mr. Specter thought that we would have to amend our approach to correspond with that of the Chief Justice. Mr. Redlich and Mr. Eisenberg took a strong and articulate contrary view."

Well, from this one might assume Redlich and Eisenberg were concerned...that this new approach would lead to a less-than-thorough investigation. And that they would soon thereafter record their concerns in memorandums...

Well, guess what? They did.

March 12, 1964

MEMORANDUM
TO: J Lee Rankin
FROM: Melvin A. Eisenberg
SUBJECT: Identity of Assassin

I think a thorough investigation should he run on a TSBD employee named Jack Dougherty.

On the morning of November 22, Dougherty was part of a crew laying a new plywood floor on the sixth floor of the TSBD. This crew consisted of Danny Arce, Dougherty, Charles Givens, James ("Junior") Jarman, Billy Lovelady, and Bonnie Rae Williams, all regular employees in the TSBD shipping and. order-filling department.

They were apparently working under the direction of William Shelley the senior employee in that department.

In a written statement to the Dallas Police on November 22,

Dougherty gave the following story: On the morning of November 22, he had worked [with the floor laying crew] on the sixth floor until 12:00, when he went down to the first floor to eat his lunch. After lunch he returned to work (on the sixth floor) and then went down to the fifth floor "to get some stock," when he heard a shot, which sounded as if it had come from inside the building. He then went down to the first floor and asked Eddie Piper, the TSBD Janitor, whether Piper had heard anything. Piper said yes, he had heard 3 shots. Dougherty then returned to the sixth floor. 

SA Blake of the Secret Service, who interviewed Dougherty between December 2 and December 5, reported that "when Dougherty was interviewed he seemed to be very confused about time and places. Mr. Truly [Roy S. Truly, Superintendent of the TSBD] furnished the information that although Dougherty is a very good employee and a hard worker, he is mentally retarded and has difficulty in remembering facts, such as dates, times, places, and. has-been especially confused since the assassination."

I am suspicious of Dougherty for several reasons.

(1) He has no alibi. Of the six employees on the floor laying crew, Givens claims to have been with a friend at a parking lot several blocks away when the assassination took place; Williams and Jarman were together on the fifth floor with another employee named Norman; Lovelady was standing outside the TSBD (and was photographed); and Arce claims to have been standing outside the TSBD.

Dougherty was inside the TSBD and all alone.

(2) His story is very thin.

(a) It does not make sense that Dougherty, one of a six-man floor laying crew, should begin working before the other five members returned from lunch.

(b) It is questionable that Dougherty would have had to go to the fifth floor to get "stock" in connection with the floor-laying project.

1/ Dougherty’s father told the FBI that Dougherty had received a medical discharge from the U.S. Army and had considerable difficulty coordinating his mental facilities and his speech.

(c) Jarman, Norman, and Williams, who were at the southeast window of the fifth floor at the time of the assassination, and ran from there to the southwest window, make absolutely no mention of having seen Dougherty on the fifth floor.

(d) It does not seem credible that Dougherty would have gone down to the first floor, found out that the three shots had been fired, and then casually returned to the sixth floor.

(e) No report indicates that Dougherty or anyone else was on the sixth floor when that floor was searched.

(f) Since Dougherty heard the shots on the fifth floor, and since the shots were fired at approximately 12:32, Dougherty must have returned to the sixth floor, allegedly to go back to work, before 12:30. This seems odd, since the TSBD lunch period extends until 12:45.

(3) If Dougherty is “mentally retarded,” it may explain some of the inconsistencies in his story. On the other hand, the “mental retardation” may be an emotional problem, which would itself be grounds for suspicion. In this connection, I find disturbing Truly’s comment that Dougherty “has been especially confused since the assassination.”

cc: Ball
Belin
Craig
Adams
Specter
Redlich


And Eisenberg wasn't the only one concerned Ball and Belin would miss something, who thought interviewing Dougherty was a very good idea.


March 25, 1964

MEMORANDUM

TO: Messrs. Ball, Belin, Craig

FROM: Norman Redlich

SUBJECT: The Mystery of the West Elevator

This memorandum results from a discussion between Mr. Belin and myself on March 24, following Roy Truly's testimony.

Roy Truly has testified that when he and Patrolman Baker ran to the rear of the first floor, neither elevator was there. Truly pressed the button for the west elevator and shouted up the shaft asking that the elevator be released. It was necessary to do this since the elevator would not work if the gate was open. Once the gate was closed the elevator would come if the button was pressed. Truly did not try to get the east elevator, because this operates only by hand and can be run only by a person who is in it.

Truly claims that he looked up the shaft and saw that both elevators were together on the same floor.

As part of this picture we should also remember that approximately 15 minutes before the assassination Jarman and Norman took the west elevator up to the fifth floor.

Truly and Baker started climbing the stairs no more than two or three minutes after the assassination. (Mr. Belin timed it at less than two minutes.) At each landing Truly and Baker looked to see whether an elevator was present and they did not see one. They certainly would have noticed the west elevator because this was most directly in line with their vision at each landing.

It was only when they reached the fifth floor that they saw an elevator, but, surprisingly enough, it was the east elevator which they saw. The west elevator was not present on the fifth floor where Truly thought he had seen it from below, and where it could have been expected to be found since Jarman and Norman had taken it there to have their lunch.

Truly testified further that he and Baker took the east elevator to the seventh floor. The west elevator was not on the seventh floor when they reached that floor. He cannot say that the west elevator was not on the sixth floor at this time.

Truly and Baker then looked around the roof and took the east elevator back down from the seventh floor. On the way down he noticed that the west elevator was on the fifth floor again.

There are several alternative explanations for the movements of the west elevator.

First, let us assume that Truly was correct in his first observation that the east and west elevators were both on the fifth floors of approximately two minutes after the assassination. This means that by the time Truly and Baker reached the fifth floor, it was gone. We know that someone would have had to close the gate during this period, because Truly was unable to get the elevator by pressing the button when he was on the first floor. This person then might have taken the elevator up to the sixth floor while Truly and Baker were running up the stairs. At this moment, however, we have Jarman, Williams and Norman who say that they didn't hear any elevator. Moreover, they have never admitted that anyone else was on the floor.

It is also possible that someone got on the elevator on the fifth floor at this time and headed down while Truly and Baker were running up the stairs. Here again, Jarman, Norman, and Williams didn't hear anyone and it is quite unlikely that Truly and Baker would not have noticed the elevator moving as they reached each landing.

While it is possible, therefore, that a worker moved the west elevator either up or down from the fifth floor during this period, we don't know the name of such a worker and we have the problem of Jarman, Williams and Norman who have to be questioned again as to whether they heard anyone on the floor and whether they heard the elevator move.

The second possible assumption is that the elevator was not on the fifth floor at all, but was on the sixth floor with the gate open at the time that Truly rang for it on the first floor. This would mean that someone on the sixth floor would have had to close the gate and take the elevator down-- either directly to the fifth floor where Truly saw it after he was on the roof, or to some lower floor and then back up to the fifth floor. In either case, it would mean that someone got on the west elevator on the sixth floor just a very short time after Oswald left the floor via the stairway. Significantly, none of the investigations appears to have turned up anyone who admits to being on the west elevator at this time.

Truly thinks that Dougherty was working there at this time. I know that Messrs. Ball and Belin plan to question Dougherty, who would have to explain why he was up there working so soon after the shots were fired. A previous memorandum on Dougherty, written by Mr. Eisenberg, raises questions about Dougherty which should be looked into on the next trip to Dallas.

If Oswald was not acting alone, it is very likely that an employee of the TSBD building was his accomplice. It is also possible that an employee of the TSBD might have information and for some reason be afraid to come forward. Through persistent questioning on such matters as the elevator locations we might be able to locate the person or persons who may know more than they are telling.

I have discussed this matter with Mr. Belin and he shares my feeling that this matter will be the subject of questioning when Messrs. Ball and Belin travel to Dallas again.


So, let 's sum this up. Baker and Truly said the west elevator was not on the fifth floor when they got there. This meant either that someone came down as they ran up--OR that this elevator was on the sixth floor as they rode the east elevator up to the seventh floor. And was brought down later...by persons unknown...

This was upsetting to Redlich. And justifiably so. I mean, here it was, four months after the assassination of the President of the United States, and only now does it occur to him--or anyone investigating the assassination--that it was possible the assassin, or at the very least someone involved in the assassination, took an elevator down while the first policeman to run into the building ran up, and then walked right out of the building.

The commission let this dangle for several weeks. Apparently, they were thinking up the best way to resolve this issue.

Here is how they resolved this and a number of related issues in the Warren Report.

Oswald's Actions in Building After Assassination


In considering whether Oswald was at the southeast corner window at the time the shots were fired, the Commission has reviewed the testimony of witnesses who saw Oswald in the building within minutes after the assassination. The Commission has found that Oswald's movements, as described by these witnesses, are consistent with his having been at the window at 12:30 p.m.

The encounter in the lunchroom.

The first person to see Oswald after the assassination was Patrolman M. L. Baker of the Dallas Police Department. Baker was riding a two-wheeled motorcycle behind the last press car of the motorcade. As he turned the corner from Main onto Houston at a speed of about 5 to 10 miles per hour, a strong wind blowing from the north almost unseated him. At about this time he heard the first shot. Having recently Heard the sounds of rifles while on a hunting trip, Baker recognized the shots as that of a high-powered rifle; "it sounded high and I immediately kind of looked up, and I had a feeling that it came from the building, either right in front of me [the Depository Building] or of the one across to the right of it." He saw pigeons flutter upward. He was not certain, "but I am pretty sure they came from the building right on the northwest corner." He heard two more shots spaced "pretty well even to me." After the third shot, he "revved that motorcycle up," drove to the northwest corner of Elm and Houston, and parked approximately 10 feet from the traffic signal. As he was parking he noted that people were "falling, and they were rolling around down there * * * grabbing their children" and rushing about. A woman screamed, "Oh, they have shot that man, they have shot that man." Baker "had it in mind that the shots came from the top of this building here," so he ran straight to the entrance of the Depository Building. Baker testified that he entered the lobby of the building and "spoke out and asked where the stairs or elevator was... and this man, Mr. Truly, spoke up and says, it seems to me like he says, 'I am a building manager. Follow me, officer, and I will show you.' " Baker and building superintendent Roy Truly went through a second set of doors and stopped at a swinging door where Baker bumped into Truly's back. They went through the swinging door and continued at "a good trot" to the northwest corner of the floor where Truly hoped to find one of the two freight elevators. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1061, p. 148.) Neither elevator was there. Truly pushed the button for the west elevator which operates automatically if the gate is closed. He shouted twice, "Turn loose the elevator." When the elevator failed to come, Baker said, "let's take the stairs," and he followed Truly up the stairway, which is to the west of the elevator.

The stairway is located in the northwest corner of the Depository Building. The stairs from one floor to the next are "L-shaped," with both legs of the "L" approximately the same length. Because the stairway itself is enclosed, neither Baker nor Truly could see anything on the second-floor hallway until they reached the landing at the top of the stairs.

On the second-floor landing there is a small open area with a door at the east end. This door leads into a small vestibule, and another door leads from the vestibule into the second-floor lunchroom. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1118, p. 150. ) The lunchroom door is usually open, but the first door is kept shut by a closing mechanism on the door. This vestibule door is solid except for a small glass window in the upper part of the door. As Baker reached the second floor, he was about 20 feet from the vestibule door. He intended to continue around to his left toward the stairway going up but through the window in the door he caught a fleeting glimpse of a man walking in the vestibule toward the lunchroom.

Since the vestibule door is only a few feet from the lunchroom door, the man must. have entered the vestibule only a second or two before Baker arrived at the top of the stairwell. Yet he must have entered the vestibule door before Truly reached the top of the stairwell, since Truly did not see him. If the man had passed from the vestibule into the lunchroom, Baker could not have seen him. Baker said:

"He [Truly] had already started around the bend to come to the next elevator going up, I was coming out this one on the second floor, and I don't know, I was kind of sweeping this area as I come up, I was looking from right to left and as I got. to this door here I caught a glimpse of this man, just, you know, a sudden glimpse ... and it looked to me like he was going away from me. ...I can't say whether he had gone on through that door [the lunchroom door] or not. All I did was catch a glance at him, and evidently he was--this door might have been, you know, closing and almost shut at that time."

With his revolver drawn, Baker opened the vestibule door and ran into the vestibule. He saw a man walking away from him in the lunchroom. Baker stopped at the door of the lunchroom and commanded, "Come here." The man turned and walked back toward Baker. He had been proceeding toward the rear of the lunchroom. Along a side wall of the lunchroom was a soft drink rending machine, but at that time the man had nothing in his hands.

Meanwhile, Truly had run up several steps toward the third floor. Missing Baker, he came back to find the officer in the doorway to the lunchroom "facing Lee Harvey Oswald. Baker turned to Truly and said, "Do you know this man, does he work here?" Truly replied, "Yes." Baker stated later that the man did not seem to be out of breath; he seemed calm. "He never did say a word or nothing. In fact, he didn't change his expression one bit." Truly said of Oswald: "He didn't seem to be excited or overly afraid or anything. He might have been a bit startled, like I might have been if somebody confronted me. But I cannot recall any change in expression of any kind on his face." Truly thought that the officer's gun at that time appeared to be almost touching the middle portion of Oswald's body. Truly also noted at this time that Oswald's hands were empty.

In an effort to determine whether Oswald could have descended to the lunchroom from the sixth floor by the time Baker and Truly arrived, Commission counsel asked Baker and Truly to repeat their movements from the time of the shot until Baker came upon Oswald in the lunchroom. Baker placed himself on a motorcycle about 200 feet from the corner of Elm and Houston Streets where he said he heard the shots. Truly stood in front of the building. At a given signal, they reenacted the event. Baker's movements were timed with a stopwatch. On the first test, the elapsed time between the simulated first shot and Baker's arrival on the second-floor stair landing was 1 minute and 30 seconds. The second test run required 1 minute and 15 seconds.

A test was also conducted to determine the time required to walk from the southeast corner of the sixth floor to the second-floor lunchroom by stairway. Special Agent John Howlett of the Secret Service carried a rifle from the southeast corner of the sixth floor along the east aisle to the northeast corner. He placed the rifle on the floor near the site where Oswald's rifle was actually found after the shooting. Then Howlett walked down the stairway to the second-floor landing and entered the lunchroom. The first test, run at normal walking pace, required 1 minute, 18 seconds; the second test, at a "fast walk" took 1 minute, 14 seconds. The second test followed immediately after the first. The only interval was the time necessary to ride in the elevator from the second to the sixth floor and walk back to the southeast corner. Howlett was not short winded at the end of either test run.

The minimum time required by Baker to park his motorcycle and reach the second-floor lunchroom was within 3 seconds of the time needed to walk from the southeast corner of the sixth floor down the stairway to the lunchroom. The time actually required for Baker and Truly to reach the second floor on November 22 was probably longer than in the test runs. For example, Baker required 15 seconds after the simulated shot to ride his motorcycle 180 to 200 feet, park it, and run 45 feet to the building. No allowance was made for the special conditions which existed on the day of the assassination--possible delayed reaction to the shot, jostling with the crowd of people on the steps and scanning the area along Elm Street and the parkway. Baker said, "We simulated the shots and by the time we got there, we did everything that I did that day, and this would be the minimum, because I am sure that I, you know, it took me a little longer." On the basis of this time test, therefore, the Commission concluded that Oswald could have fired the shots and still have been present in the second-floor lunchroom when seen by Baker and Truly. That Oswald descended by stairway from the sixth floor to the second floor lunchroom is consistent with the movements of the two elevators, which would have provided the other possible means of descent. When Truly, accompanied by Baker, ran to the rear of the first floor, he was certain that both elevators, which occupy the same shaft, were on the fifth floor. Baker, not realizing that there were two elevators, thought that only one elevator was in the shaft and that it was two or three floors above the second floor. In the few seconds which elapsed while Baker and Truly ran from the first to the second floor, neither of these slow elevators could have descended from the fifth to the second floor. Furthermore, no elevator was at the second floor when they arrived there. Truly and Baker continued up the stairs after the encounter with Oswald in the lunchroom. There was no elevator on the third or fourth floor. The east elevator was on the fifth floor when they arrived; the west elevator was not. They took the east elevator to the seventh floor and ran up a stairway to the roof where they searched for several minutes.

Jack Dougherty, an employee working on the fifth floor, testified that he took the west elevator to the first floor after hearing a noise which sounded like a backfire. Eddie Piper, the janitor, told Dougherty that the President had been shot, but in his testimony Piper did not mention either seeing or talking with Dougherty during these moments of excitement. Both Dougherty and Piper were confused witnesses. They had no exact memory of the events of that afternoon. Truly was probably correct in stating that the west elevator was on the fifth floor when he looked up the elevator shaft from the first floor. The west elevator was not on the fifth floor when Baker and Truly reached that floor, probably because Jack Dougherty took it to the first floor while Baker and Truly were running up the stairs or in the lunchroom with Oswald. Neither elevator could have been used by Oswald as a means of descent. Oswald's use of the stairway is consistent with the testimony of other employees in the building. Three employees James Jarman, Jr., Harold Norman, and Bonnie Ray Williams were watching the parade from the fifth floor, directly below the window from which the shots were fired. They rushed to the west windows after the shots were fired and remained there until after they saw Patrolman Baker's white helmet on the fifth floor moving toward the elevator.

While they were at the west windows their view of the stairwell was completely blocked by shelves and boxes. This is the period during which Oswald would have descended the stairs. In all likelihood Dougherty took the elevator down from the fifth floor after Jarman, Norman, and Williams ran to the west windows and were deciding what to do. None of these three men saw Dougherty, probably because of the anxiety of the moment and because of the books which may have blocked the view. Neither Jarman, Norman, Williams, or Dougherty saw Oswald.

Victoria Adams, who worked on the fourth floor of the Depository Building, claimed that within about 1 minute following the shots she ran from a window on the south side of the fourth floor, down the rear stairs to the first floor, where she encountered two Depository Shelley and Billy Lovelady. If her estimate of time is correct, she reached the bottom of the stairs before Truly and Baker started up, and she must have run down the stairs ahead of Oswald and would probably have seen or heard him. Actually she noticed no one on the back stairs. If she descended from the fourth to the first floor as fast as she claimed in her testimony, she would have seen Baker or Truly on the first floor or on the stairs, unless they were already in the second-floor lunchroom talking to Oswald. When she reached the first floor, she actually saw Shelley and Lovelady slightly east of the east elevator. Shelley and Lovelady, however, have testified that they were watching the parade from the top step of the building entrance when Gloria Calverly, who works in the Depository Building, ran up and said that the President had been shot.

Lovelady and Shelley moved out into the street. About this time Shelley saw Truly and Patrolman Baker go into the building. Shelley and Lovelady, at a fast walk or trot, turned west into the railroad yards and then to the west side of the Depository Building. They reentered the building by the rear door several minutes after Baker and Truly rushed through the front entrance. On entering, Lovelady saw a girl on the first floor who he believes was Victoria Adams. If Miss Adams accurately recalled meeting Shelley and Lovelady when she reached the bottom of the stairs, then her estimate of the time when she descended from the fourth floor is incorrect, and she actually came down the stairs several minutes after Oswald and after Truly and Baker as well. (WR 149-154)


So, there you go. By the publication of the Commission's report, the once suspect Jack Dougherty had been transformed into a useful hole plug. The Commission needed to explain how the west elevator made its way down from the fifth (or sixth) floor as Baker and Truly ascended the stairs, and they needed to put a name to the person inside. So they picked Dougherty.

So, now, let's go back and see if this makes sense.

Here is how Dougherty described his actions in an 11-22-63 affidavit to Dallas County: "I went back to work at 12:45 p.m. I had already gone back to work and I gone down on the fifth to get some stock when I heard a shot. It sounded like it was coming from inside the building, but I couldn't tell from where. I went down on the first floor, and asked a man named Eddie Piper if he had heard anything and he said yes, that he had heard three shots. I then went back on the sixth floor. I didn't see anyone on the floor..." (24H206)

And here is how he described his actions in an 11-22-63 statement to the FBI: "I was working on the fifth floor of the building at 411 Elm Street at about 12:45 P.M. or 1:00 P.M., when I heard a loud explosion which sounded like a rifle shot coming from the next floor above me."  (19H621)

And here is how his actions were described in a 12-19-63 FBI report based on an interview with Dougherty:"Dougherty stated that he worked on the 6th floor until 12:00 PM at which time he went to the 1st floor to eat his lunch. He said he went back to work at approximately 12:45 PM, at which time he returned to the 6th floor. He stated that as soon as he arrived on the 6th floor, he went down to the 5th floor to get some stock. Dougherty stated that it was while he was on the 5th floor that he heard a loud noise. He said that it appeared to have come from within the building but could not tell where. He said that he went down to the 1st floor and saw a man, Eddie Piper, and asked him if he had heard a loud noise, and Piper told him he had heard three loud noises. He also told him that someone had just shot the President. Dougherty stated that he then went back up to the sixth floor. He said that he used the elevator to go up and when he went back up there, there was no one on the sixth floor." (19H619)

And here is what he apparently agreed to in a 3-19-64 statement to the FBI: "At the time President Kennedy was shot, I was at a point about 10 feet from the elevator on the fifth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was alone at this time." (19H618)

Now, this fits the commission's needs to a tee (in that it places Dougherty on an elevator after the shooting), except for two things: one is that Dougherty said he returned to work and went back upstairs at 12:45 or afterwards; and the other is that Dougherty fails to say which elevator he used to go upstairs.

If Dougherty says he used the east elevator...well, this strongly suggests he used this elevator AFTER Baker and Truly returned to the first floor in this elevator around 12:40, and supports Dougherty's recollection he went upstairs at this time. Of course, this also leaves the occupants of the west elevator as Baker and Truly charged up the stairs a mystery...a mystery the Commission couldn't afford to leave unsolved...

Let us look then at Dougherty's 4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission. (While that sounds grand and all, it was really just Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball, Dougherty,  and a court reporter.)

Mr. BALL - Now, what time did you go back to work?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Oh, at 12:30.
Mr. BALL - Did you know that the President was going to pass in a motorcade that noon?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, they said something about it.
Mr. BALL - Did you intend to go out and watch him?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I would have loved to have went out and watched him but the steps were so crowded---there was no way in the world I could get out there.
Mr. BALL - Did you take a look at it---did you go out and take a look at it, or didn't you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well---no, sir.
Mr. BALL - Now, you were on the first floor in the domino room when you finished your lunch, didn't you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - And did you stay there any length of time after you finished your lunch?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir---just a short length of time.
Mr. BALL - Then what did you do?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, then, I went back to work.
Mr. BALL - And where did you go to work?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Let me see---oh, up to the sixth floor.
Mr. BALL - Did you go to the sixth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - About what time?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - At about 12:40---it was about 12:40.
Mr. BALL - Had you heard any shots before that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes---I heard one---it sounded like a backfire.
Mr. BALL - Where were you when you heard that shot?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I was on the fifth floor.
Mr. BALL - You were on the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.

Now, Dougherty's testimony should have set off alarm bells. On 3-24-64, Dougherty's boss Roy Truly testified to seeing Dougherty (who never mentioned going back to work on the fifth floor after hearing this "backfire") at work on the fifth floor as he and Baker descended from the roof "between 5 and 10 minutes after the shooting," according to Truly, which was a bit shy of Baker's estimate of spending 5 to 10 minutes up on the roof alone, and 15 minutes or so in the building overall.

Here, see for yourself...

Mr. BELIN. When you got to the fifth floor, as I understand it, the west elevator was not there, but when you started up from the first floor, you thought it was on the fifth floor.
Mr. TRULY. No. When I came down from the second floor---from the seventh floor with the officer, I thought I saw Jack Dougherty on the fifth floor, which he would have had plenty of time to move the elevator down and up and get some stock and come back.
Mr. BELIN. But when you got to the fifth floor that west elevator was not there?

And then later...
Mr. BELIN. I believe you said when you first saw the elevators, you thought they were both on the same floor, the fifth floor.
Mr. TRULY. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Then how do you explain that when you got to the fifth floor, one of the elevators was not there?
Mr. TRULY. I don't know, sir. I think one of my boys was getting stock off the fifth floor on the back side, and probably moved the elevator at the time somewheres between the time we were running upstairs. And I would not have remembered that. I mean I wouldn't have really heard that, with the commotion we were making running up the enclosed stairwell.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see anyone on the fifth floor?
Mr. TRULY. Yes. When coming down I am sure I saw Jack Dougherty getting some books off the fifth floor. Now, this is so dim in my mind that I could be making a mistake.
But I believe that he was getting some stock, that he had already gone back to work, and that he was getting some stock off the fifth floor.
Mr. BELIN. You really don't know who was operating the elevator, then, is that correct?
Mr. TRULY. That is correct.
Mr. BELIN. What is your best guess?
Mr. TRULY. My best guess is that Jack Dougherty was.
(3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H212-241)

Well, think about it. The convergence of Dougherty's thinking he descended from the fifth floor 10 minutes or more after 12:30 (when the shots were actually fired), and Truly's thinking he saw Dougherty at work on the fifth floor 10 minutes or so after the shooting, more than suggests the possibility Dougherty did in fact come down from the fifth floor around 12:40. In such case, Truly may have seen Dougherty after Dougherty had heard the loud sound he claimed he heard, but before he decided to come downstairs and talk about it with Eddie Piper.

Now, this is quite startling. It follows from this that the real assassin (not Oswald, as he was spotted by Baker on his way up the stairs), or assassins, descended from the sixth floor via the west elevator after the shooting as Baker and Truly were running upstairs or even after Baker and Truly reached the roof (thereby leaving this elevator on the first floor, where Dougherty discovered it a few minutes later.)

Perhaps, then, what Dougherty thought could have been a shot wasn't a shot at all but was instead a sound related to Baker and Truly's coming down from the roof.

Let's return, then, to Dougherty's testimony, and see 1) if he says which elevator he used to go upstairs; 2) how he describes the "shot;" and 3) if he admits going back to work on the fifth floor after returning downstairs and talking to Eddie Piper.

Mr. BALL - Now, When you left your lunch, did you go to the fifth floor or the sixth floor to go back to work?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I went on the fifth floor when I was getting ready to go down to eat lunch.
Mr. BALL - Yes; and then what happened?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, at that time--I was about 10 feet away---
Mr. BALL - Wait a minute---did you hear the shots before or after you had your lunch?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Before---before I ate my lunch.
Mr. BALL - You heard shots before you ate your lunch?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Let's see---yes, I believe I did.
Mr. BALL - Well, now, you remember having your lunch, do you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Do you remember after you had your lunch, you went back to work that day?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - When you talked on the day this accident happened, on the 22d of November 1963, in a statement made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, Mr. Dougherty, you told them you went down to the first floor to eat your lunch?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - That's right.
Mr. BALL - And that you went back to work?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - And you told him on the 19th day of December, Mr. Johnson, that you went back to work on the sixth floor, and as soon as you arrived on the sixth floor, you went down to the fifth floor to get some stock?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir; that's right.
Mr. BALL - And while you were on the fifth floor, you heard a loud noise?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - That's right---it sounded like a car backfiring.
Mr. BALL - And did you hear more than one loud explosion or noise?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No; that was the only one I heard.
Mr. BALL - You only heard one?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - And where did it sound like it came from?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - It sounded like it came from overhead somewhere.
Mr. BALL - From overhead?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.

Mr. BALL - How did you get to the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Elevator.
Mr. BALL - You were on the fifth floor when you heard this, were you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Which elevator did you take?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, you see, there's one on this side and one on this side the one on this side is the one I took.
Mr. BALL - Well, now, "The one on this side and the one on this side," doesn't mean much when it's written down.
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I know it.
Mr. BALL - Can you tell me whether it was the east side or the west side elevator?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - East side.

Mr. BALL - Is it the one that you punch a button on?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - Or the one that you use a control on?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - It's the one you push a button on.
Mr. BALL - The one you push a button on?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - I believe that is the west side, isn't it?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, I believe it is.

Mr. BALL - Now, that's the one you took up?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.

One can almost see Ball breath a sigh of relief at this point.

Mr. BALL - Where did you take that---to what floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I took it up to the sixth floor.
Mr. BALL - Then what did you do?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, when I got through getting stock off of the sixth floor, I came back down to the fifth floor.

Mr. BALL - What did you do on the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I got some stock.
Mr. BALL - Then what happened then?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, then immediately I heard a loud noise---it sounded like a car backfiring, and I came back down to the first floor, and I asked Eddie Piper, I said, "Piper, what was that?" I says, "Has the President been shot?'. He said, "Yes."
Mr. BALL - You didn't say--did you say, 'Has the President been shot?"---you told the FBI agent that you went down to the first floor and you saw a man named Eddie Piper and asked him if he heard a loud noise.
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I asked him that too.
Mr. BALL - And Piper said he had heard three loud noises and told you that somebody had Just shot the President; is that right?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - That's right.
Mr. BALL - Who mentioned the fact that the President had been shot first--- you or Eddie Piper?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Eddie Piper.
Mr. BALL - Did you say anything to Piper about the President being shot?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir.
Mr. BALL - When you talked to Eddie Piper, did you know that the President had been shot?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir; I didn't know that at the time.
Mr. BALL - When is the first time you heard that the President had been shot?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - When Eddie told me that.

Mr. BALL - Eddie told you that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.

So here is yet another indication Dougherty came down from the fifth floor 10 minutes or so after the shooting. If Dougherty had descended from the fifth floor just after the shots were fired, Piper may very well have told him he'd heard three shots. But he wouldn't have told him the President had been shot. This is something he wouldn't have known for several minutes after the shooting, after witnesses who'd seen the impact of the shots--or who'd talked to someone who'd seen the impact of the shots--came pouring back into the building.

Mr. BALL - You told Mr. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that when you were on the fifth floor, you heard a loud noise and it appeared to have come from within the building, but you couldn't tell where you told him that on the 19th; did you tell him that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - On the day that this happened, on the 22d of November, you told the FBI agents Ellington and Anderson that you heard "a loud explosion which sounded like a rifle shot coming from the next floor above me." Now, did you tell them that it sounded like a rifle shot, coming from the next floor above you, or didn't you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well; I believe I told them it sounded like a car backfiring.
Mr. BALL - Well, did you tell them it sounded like it was from the floor above you, or didn't you tell them that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No.
Mr. BALL - You did not tell them that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No.
Mr. BALL - Did it sound like it came from the floor above you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, at the time it did---yes.

Mr. BALL - Tell me this---when you heard that explosion or whatever it was--- that loud noise, where were you on the fifth floor-tell me exactly where you were?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I was about 10 feet from the west elevator---the west side of the elevator.
Mr. BALL - That's the elevator that uses the push button; is that right?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - And what were you doing?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I was getting some stock.
Mr. BALL - And what did you do then?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I came on back downstairs.
Mr. BALL - How did you come downstairs?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I used that push button elevator on the west side.
Mr. BALL - Did you hear Mr. Truly yell anything up the elevator shaft?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I didn't hear anybody yell.
Mr. BALL - Or, did you see Mr. Truly?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, when the FBI men---I imagine it was who it was---he showed me his credentials, but he asked me who the manager was, and I told him, "Mr. Truly." He told me to go find him. Well, I didn't know where he was so I started from the first floor and Just started looking for him, and by the time I got to the sixth floor, they had found a gun and shells.
Mr. BALL - When you went up to the sixth floor, it was after they found the shotgun and shells?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, sir
; and I found out later he was on the fourth floor, which I didn't find.

Now, this is interesting. No follow-up. In Dougherty's 11-22-63 affidavit, it was claimed he'd returned to the sixth floor after speaking to Piper, but saw no one. This was repeated in the FBI's 12-19-63 report on Dougherty. It seems obvious, then, that Ball would ask Piper about this in his testimony. But it is never mentioned elsewhere. It seems apparent, then, that Ball felt the question and answer above had covered that aspect of Dougherty's testimony, and that Dougherty had not, in fact, raced right back upstairs after talking to Piper, as one would assume from reading the affidavit and report.

(And, yes, should you be wondering, there is some support for Dougherty's claim he tried to help an FBI agent, but that this was after the discovery of the rifle and shells. While Nat Pinkston, the first FBI agent in the building, failed to write a report on his visit to the building, he did eventually grant an interview with the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, and admit that by the time he reached the sixth floor, the rifle had already been discovered.)

Ball then proceeded to ask Dougherty about Oswald. To which Dougherty had little to add.

Mr. BALL - Did you ever see a gun around there?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir; I sure didn't.
Mr. BALL - Did you ever see anybody with a gun in the place?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir.
Mr. BALL - Did you see any strangers in the building that day?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir.
Mr. BALL - Did you ever see Lee Oswald carry any sort of large package?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I didn't, but some of the fellows said they did.
Mr. BALL - Who said that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, Bill Shelley, he told me that he thought he saw him carrying a fairly good-sized package.
Mr. BALL - When did Shelley tell you that?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, it was--the day after it happened.
Mr. BALL - Are you sure you were on the fifth floor when you heard the shots?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes, I'm positive.
Mr. BALL - Did you see any other employee on the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir; I didn't see nobody---there wasn't nobody on the fifth floor at all---it was just myself.

Mr. BALL - You told me that just before you heard the shots, you had been on the sixth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - And then you went down to the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - That's right.
Mr. BALL - Did you see anybody on the sixth floor when you were there, before you went to the fifth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Oh, yes; I did.
Mr. BALL - Who?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, there was Bill Shelley, Billy Lovelady---
Mr. BALL - That was in the morning, wasn't it?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - That wasn't after lunch, was it?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir.
Mr. BALL - After lunch, did you ever see them on the sixth floor?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - No, sir; I didn't.
Mr. BALL - Now, did you hear this shot either before or after lunch?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - It was before lunch it was before lunch.
Mr. BALL - You think it was before lunch you heard the shot?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - I believe it was--yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - And you were alone, were you?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - That's all I have to ask you, and this will be written up and if you would like to come down and read it and sign it, you can, or you can waive your signature.
What do you want to do?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, whatever you want to do---it doesn't make any difference.

(The 4-8-64 Testimony of Jack Dougherty, 10:50 A.M. 6H373-382)

And that's it. Dougherty was tired of explaining stuff to Ball. And Ball was tired of questioning someone who couldn't be trusted to tell him what he wanted to hear.

Dougherty had testified to being on the fifth floor around 12:40, not 12:30, when the Commission needed him to be on the fifth floor.

The possibility someone descended on the west elevator as Baker and Truly ran upstairs remained just that, a possibility.

One would think, then, that somewhere in the Warren Commission's records is a memo outlining why this possibility should be rejected, or accepted.

But one would be wrong.

Suspicious Omission #14                                                                                                4-8-64. Ball, Belin, and the Warren Commission fail to explore the possibility Dougherty went upstairs to work after the shooting, after someone else had taken the west elevator to the ground floor.

It falls upon us, then, to do their work for them...more than fifty years after the fact.

Here, then, is a discussion of the elevator issue. Questions challenging the possibility Dougherty heard a sound around 12:40 are asked, and then answered.

The Dougherty Memo Never Written

1. It was claimed Dougherty was mentally handicapped. His initial affidavit said he returned to work at 12:45. Why should we trust his testimony in which he claimed he heard a loud sound from above him in the building at 12:40?
ANSWER: We shouldn't trust his testimony, but look at it within a broader context. Dougherty was used to taking his lunch break from 12:00 to 12:45. On 11-22-63, however, William Shelley, the foreman, let the work crew off at 11:45, so they could clean up, eat their lunches, and get in position for the motorcade. It seems evident that Dougherty was a bit confused by this, and that Dougherty, ever loyal, and ever anxious to prove his worth to his employers, returned to work at 12:30, after taking his customary 45 minute break. (It should be noted, for that matter, that Dougherty was probably on the autistic spectrum as opposed to being slow. I spoke to Buell Frazier at the JFK Lancer Conference on 11-18-17 and he told me Dougherty was smart and friendly, and was a big bear of a man who enjoyed play fights with his younger and smaller co-workers, particularly Frazier and Billy Lovelady.)

2. Dougherty appeared to be confused in his testimony. He swore he heard this loud sound before lunch. In this same testimony, he'd said he'd already eaten his lunch and returned to work before he heard this loud sound. Was he just daft? Or is there a logical explanation for this?
ANSWER: The latter. Dougherty opened up the building in the morning. He arrived before 7:00, more than an hour before most everyone else. It seems likely, then, that he would sometimes eat his lunch a bit early. He knew, however, that the other employees normally ate their lunches between 12:00 and 12:45. If he went back to work around 12:33 or so, and then went up to the sixth and then fifth floors, as he claimed, before coming down, he would have come down around 12:38 or so.

And what would he have seen upon his descent?

Mr. BALL - Put a circle to show the general area where you and the rest of them stood around and talked.
Mr. FRAZIER - Right in there is right around near the telephone and we were just right around in there.
Mr. BALL - Where did you go?
Mr. FRAZIER - We left, you know, after we stood and talked with some guys there, some of them had eaten and some of them didn't, some of them had sandwiches in their hands, so naturally I felt like eating and I walked around the bin and walked down the steps there.
Mr. BALL - Got your lunch?
Mr. FRAZIER - Right.
Mr. BALL - Come back up?
Mr. FRAZIER - No, sir; I didn't come back up. I was sitting eating my lunch. I looked at my watch and didn't have but 10 minutes, so I naturally ate faster than normal, so I was eating a couple of sandwiches, and eat an apple or something and come right back up and the guys, the people who worked there, standing around on the first floor, some of them eating their lunches and others merely talking.
Mr. BALL - You never went back to work?
Mr. FRAZIER - No, sir; we didn't. I didn't work any more that day.
(The 3-11-64 Testimony of Buell Wesley Frazier, 2H210-245)

So Dougherty was telling the truth, for at least some of his co-workers. He'd heard the loud sound before they'd eaten their lunch.

3. Baker and Truly raced up the stairs shortly after the shooting, and then took possession of the east elevator for the next 10 minutes or so. If Dougherty didn't take possession of the west elevator until after someone else had come down, he would have taken possession of this elevator at 12:34 or so, and have maintained possession of this elevator for 6 minutes or so. Did anyone else claim they used this elevator at this time, and, if not, who was the first person other than Dougherty to use this elevator after the shooting?
ANSWER: The first person known to ride the west elevator after 12:30 outside Dougherty was Dallas Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney, who spent a number of minutes searching the area around the railroad tracks before being told to search the depository. Mooney claimed he ran into the west elevator with two women, and that the elevator took them to the second floor and broke down. That the elevator did in fact break down, was confirmed, moreover, by Vickie Adams. She returned to the building around 12:38, and claimed that after talking about the shooting with a number of employees on the second floor, she tried to take the west elevator back up to the her office on the fourth floor, but that she couldn't get it to work.

So let's say this was 12:41. And that Mooney rode the elevator at 12:40. It still remains possible that Dougherty returned to work at 12:34, took the west elevator up to the sixth floor, grabbed a box, went back down to the fifth floor around 12:36 (after Jarman, Norman, and Williams had raced down), heard a loud sound above him as he was grabbing another box, was observed by Roy Truly as Truly descended at 12:38, descended to the first floor, and spoke to Eddie Piper around 12:40, just as Mooney ran into the elevator. 

4. Why should Truly's Dougherty sighting cause us to re-examine the theory Dougherty descended from the fifth floor after hearing a shot? Can't we just assume Dougherty returned to work after talking to Piper?
Answer: No. Dougherty never said he went back to work after hearing the loud sound and talking to Piper. While Dougherty did say he returned to the sixth floor after hearing the loud sound and talking to Piper, his testimony clarified that he didn't return to the sixth floor until after the rifle was found at 1:22. While this by no means proves Dougherty didn't return to work after talking to Piper, it is undoubtedly more logical to assume Dougherty was correct about hearing a loud sound around 12:40, and then descending from the fifth floor, than to assume he was wrong about the time he heard the sound, wrong about his descending right after hearing this sound, and neglectful for not telling us that after talking to Piper, and finding out the President had been shot, he went right back to work. The pieces fit in one scenario. But not the other. There's also this... Mooney's testimony suggests that he found the west elevator on the first floor around 12:40--12:41. Baker and Truly's testimony suggests they descended in the east elevator around 12:38. It follows, then, that, Dougherty, should he have been working on the fifth floor when Truly descended, as claimed, quit working within a minute or so of Truly's descent. Well, this, in turn, suggests that he quit due to an interruption--such as his hearing a loud sound.

5. If the sound Dougherty heard wasn't a shot being fired, why didn't he hear a shot being fired?
ANSWER: He was somewhere deep within the building. Troy West, the shipping clerk, was eating lunch and drinking coffee at his table near the middle of the first floor; he testified that he didn't hear any shots. If Dougherty was sitting in the domino room, or in the bathroom, when the shots were fired, he would not have heard any shots, either. If he was relying on the same clock as Eddie Piper, which was five minutes slow, moreover, he would have gone back to work at 12:35, just in time to enter the west elevator after its descent from above.

Of course, we can only guess that Dougherty walked right onto this elevator, because, amazingly, he was NEVER asked, at least not on the record, if he had to call the elevator to the first floor, as presumed. Perhaps this was because there was no upside in asking this question... If Dougherty had said he'd called the elevator down from the fifth floor, after all, the best the commission could hope for was a sigh of relief. But if Dougherty had said the other thing--that he'd walked onto an anxiously waiting elevator that had somehow come down from the fifth floor without anyone's noticing who'd taken it down, well, then, all hell would have broken loose.

So, no, I don't think Ball's failure to ask Dougherty this question was an oversight.

Suspicious Omission #15                                                                                          4-8-64. Warren Commission Attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Jack Dougherty if he called the west elevator to the first floor or if it was on the ground floor waiting for him, something that Dougherty may not have remembered, but something that was of vital importance and needed to be asked.

6.
What did Dougherty hear if it wasn't a shot?
ANSWER: Well, one possibility is that he heard a sound related to Baker and Truly's running around on the roof, and subsequent descent using the east elevator. Was it the slamming of the door to the roof?

The exact nature of this door remains a bit of a mystery. But it appears it was some sort of trap door or hatch.

Mr. BELIN - Officer Baker, I am going to hand you what the court reporter, what the Commission reporter, has marked as Exhibit 507 which purports to be a diagram of the seventh floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building and on that diagram you will see at the top the marks of two elevators and then, what looks to be the south, a stairway marked "Ladder to the roof."

Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What is the fact as to whether or not this stairway marked "Ladder to the roof" is the stairway that you took to go to the roof?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir; it would be.
Mr. BELIN - All right.



There is a photo of the roof on the Baylor University website, from its Jack White collection, that supports Baker's testimony, moreover. (Thanks to Robin Unger for bringing this photo to my attention.) Here it is.


The County Records Building, sitting on the southeast corner of Houston and Elm, is in the background, on the right side of the photo.

The white building on the left side of the photo is a small building which in 1963 sat atop the elevator shaft. The small shack in front of it then would have to have covered the outlet to the roof from the "Ladder to Roof" on the seventh floor diagram. 

There wasn't enough room to stand up in this shack. It appears from this, then, that the outlet onto the roof was in the form of a trap door, or hatch...that would have quite possibly made a loud noise should it have been slammed shut.

It should be noted here, while we're at it, that at least one other Dealey Plaza witness heard a loud sound around the time Baker and Truly descended from the roof. This was J.C. Price, an employee of the General Services Administration. Price watched the motorcade from the roof of the U.S. Post Office Terminal Annex Building. This was on the south side of the Plaza, and Price's recollections reflect that he was viewing the motorcade from some distance. On the day of the shooting, he presented the Dallas County Sheriff's Department with a signed statement. He asserted: "I was on the roof of the Terminal Annex Bldg on the NE corner when the presidential motorcade came down Main to Houston, North on Houston and then West on Elm. The cars had proceeded west on Elm and was just a short distance from the Triple underpass, when I saw Gov. Connally slump over. I did not see the president as his car had gotten out of my view under the underpass. There was a volley of shots, and then much later, maybe as much as five minutes later, another one." 

Now ain't that something. The only witness to make a statement who'd watched the motorcade from the roof of a building was also the only witness to claim he'd heard a loud sound around the time Baker and Truly came down from the roof of the depository building. The Terminal Annex Building is directly across the Plaza from the school book depository. It's about the same height... It's near certain a loud sound on the roof of the depository would be heard across the way. And was...

In any event, it seems probable that the sound heard by Dougherty came from the roof of the building as Baker and Truly returned to the seventh floor to take the east elevator down.

The sound Dougherty heard, after all, came from above him, not from the southeast windows of the fifth floor, off to his side. These were open windows but a few feet below an open window through which a high-powered rifle had supposedly fired three shots. Should shots have been fired while he was on the fifth floor, he would have heard these shots from the sniper's nest through these windows. That only makes sense.

So, okay, there's another one. Why wasn't this point ever brought up by Ball? Or Belin? And why wasn't this tested?

Suspicious Omission #16                                                                           4-8-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission failed to test whether or not a rifle shot from the sixth floor sniper's nest window could have been heard by Jack Dougherty, standing near the opposite end of the building, as a sound coming from above him.

Yeah, I know. It's really confusing. But this scenario certainly makes more sense than what Ball, Belin, and the Warren Commission ultimately pushed upon the public--that Dougherty: 1) was wrong about going up to the sixth floor around 12:40, as he had actually taken the elevator up to the sixth floor at 12:25 or earlier; 2) was on the one-room sixth floor at the same time as the assassin or assassins, but did not notice him or them; 3) only heard one of the three shots fired from the floor above him after going down to the fifth floor; 4) believed this "shot" came from above him, even though he would have heard a shot fired from the sniper's nest through the open windows in the southeast corner of the building; 5) was on the one-room fifth floor the same time as Jarman, Norman, and Williams, but did not notice them or hear them, even as they excitedly exchanged comments after the shooting and raced over to the west end of the building; 6) failed to do anything but stand by the elevator shaft for the one to two minute period between the time the shots were fired and the time Baker and Truly began their ascent on the stairs; and 7) failed to hear his boss Roy Truly yell up to him to release the elevator, even though he was standing but a few yards from the elevator shaft.

Let's review items five and six.

Here, again, is the conclusion of the Warren Commission contained in the Warren Report.

Three employees James Jarman, Jr., Harold Norman, and Bonnie Ray Williams were watching the parade from the fifth floor, directly below the window from which the shots were fired. They rushed to the west windows after the shots were fired and remained there until after they saw Patrolman Baker's white helmet on the fifth floor moving toward the elevator.

While they were at the west windows their view of the stairwell was completely blocked by shelves and boxes. This is the period during which Oswald would have descended the stairs. In all likelihood Dougherty took the elevator down from the fifth floor after Jarman, Norman, and Williams ran to the west windows and were deciding what to do. None of these three men saw Dougherty, probably because of the anxiety of the moment and because of the books which may have blocked the view.

Well, that's another whopper.

Here again is Dougherty's testimony regarding his position on the fifth floor when he heard the loud sound.

Mr. BALL - Tell me this---when you heard that explosion or whatever it was--- that loud noise, where were you on the fifth floor-tell me exactly where you were?
Mr. DOUGHERTY - Well, I was about 10 feet from the west elevator---the west side of the elevator.

Dougherty didn't mention leaving this location before taking the west elevator down to the first floor. Since this elevator did not begin its descent from the fifth (or sixth floor) until Baker and Truly ran up the stairs, moreover, the Commission was forced to conclude Dougherty did not begin his descent for 90 seconds or more after the shooting. They just left him standing there for more than a minute. Meanwhile, Jarman, Norman, and Williams raced across the floor along the front windows, from the front windows in the southeast corner to the front window in the southwest corner. They then moved over to the second window from the front on the west side of the building..

This is where historians got lucky. Since Jarman, Norman, and Williams claimed they failed to see Oswald race downstairs at this time, the Commission was anxious to prove he could have raced down the stairs without their seeing him, and had photographs taken from their position by the west window toward the stairs and elevator, with the three men standing back by the north window between the stairs and elevator.

The photo that became CE 492 is presented below.



Note that one can easily make out that someone is standing in front of the north window. This window is about ten feet to the west of the west elevator, which puts it right by where Dougherty claimed he was standing at the time. Dougherty was purportedly a big fella. If so, it seems highly unlikely Jarman, Norman, and Williams would fail to notice him back there. Williams, by far the tallest of the three, claimed he saw Marrion Baker walk from the stairs to the east elevator from this location. In doing so, Baker would have been in his line of sight for just a few seconds. So how can we believe he failed to see Dougherty, who by nature of his claiming he was standing 10 feet from the west side of the west elevator, and his not using the elevator for 90 seconds or more after the shooting, would have been far easier to spot than Baker?

Or that, even worse, Dougherty failed to notice three excited, if not semi-hysterical, black men, racing across the front of the building by the windows, and thereby blocking out much of the light streaming in at the end of the aisle or aisles before him?

And that's not even to mention the incredible hypocrisy shown by the commission in pushing that Givens could see Oswald across a crowded sixth floor from three aisles over, but that Williams could not be expected to see Dougherty across a less-crowded fifth floor from one or two aisles over.

Or that... Wait a second...

Here is the Warren Commission's diagram for the fifth floor of the school book depository, taken from Commission Document 496. I have added JD to represent the location of Jack Dougherty when he heard the loud sound the Warren Commission insisted was a shot. I have also added BRW to represent the location of Bonnie Ray Williams after he raced to the west end of the building.



And here's the photo that was used to create CE 491, a photo purportedly presented in support of CE 490 and 492, which showed Bonnie Ray Williams' view as he looked toward the stairs. This shows the position of Williams, Norman, and Jarman, from our L to R, as they stood by the north window.


Now think about the location of the photographer. The west side of the west elevator would be directly at his right, in line with the large beam hovering in the foreground above Williams', Norman's, and Jarman's heads. Well, heck, this picture was taken from within a few feet of where Jack Dougherty claimed he was standing when he heard the loud sound.

Now look to the left of Williams. Those stairs lead up to the sixth floor. Those are the stairs down which Oswald was purported to have either run, or descended quickly, within a minute of the shooting. He is purported to have come down these stairs, and then curled to his right, and then continued down the stairs concealed behind the wall of boxes on the left side of the photograph.

Let's figure this out. The Warren Commission did two re-enactments in which Secret Service agent John Joe Howlett got up from the sniper's nest, hid a simulated rifle by the stairs in the northwest corner of the sixth floor, and descended the stairs to the second floor lunch room. One re-enactment took 78 seconds, the other took 74. If these re-enactments were reasonably accurate, then, it seems clear Oswald would have come down these stairs and then out into the open some 50-60 seconds after the shooting.

Well, then, what about Dougherty? The Warren Commission re-enacted Baker's actions after the shooting as well. They found that he reached the area outside the second floor lunch room--where he first saw Oswald--75 to 90 seconds after the shooting. At a minimum. That means he reached the freight elevator shaft--where Roy Truly looked up and saw the west elevator up on the fifth or sixth floor--about 60 to 75 seconds after the shooting. At a minimum.

Of course, that's assuming the elevator started its descent just as Baker and Truly raced for the stairs. The reality is that it may not have begun its descent--assuming that it descended from the fifth floor and contained Dougherty--for another 45 seconds or so, after Baker confronted Oswald, and Baker and Truly continued up the stairs to the fifth floor.

It seems obvious, then, that in the Commission's scenario, Dougherty remained on the fifth floor in the vicinity of the west elevator for somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes after the shooting.

Well, that proves it then. Something that's been overlooked for years... If Dougherty rode the fifth floor elevator down as Baker and Truly ran up--as claimed by the Commission--he would have been standing near this elevator when Oswald raced down the stairs but 20 feet or so away...on a route that would have taken him out in the open.

And yet Dougherty...saw nothing. And heard nothing... from Oswald... Or Jarman, Norman and Williams...

There's just no reason to believe Dougherty was on the fifth floor at this time. It actually defies belief.

Suspicious Omission #17                                                               4-8-64--September 1964. Attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin and the Warren Commission as a whole fail to acknowledge that their conclusion Jack Dougherty rode the west elevator down to the first floor as Baker and Truly ran upstairs places Dougherty on the fifth floor as Oswald raced past him across an open stretch of  floor.

When you think about it, moreover, Ball and Belin's twisting of Dougherty's 4-8-64 testimony represents the Warren Commission at its worst. Here was a mentally-handicapped man--in that he had difficulty expressing himself--whose testimony was largely ignored (e.g. the time he went back to work, the time he heard the loud sound) so they could insert him into a scenario in which the movement of the west elevator as Baker and Truly climbed the stairs had an innocent explanation.

That Ball and Belin had little interest in the truth is supported, moreover, by the questions asked Dougherty (and about Dougherty). As we've seen, Ball never asked Dougherty if he called the west elevator from the fifth floor (where it was left by Jarman and Norman), or whether he'd found it on the first floor. Just as unbelievably, he never asked Eddie Piper, who'd testified just before Dougherty, anything about the conversation he'd supposedly had with Dougherty after Dougherty descended from the fifth floor. I mean, did this conversation take place a few seconds after Piper had witnessed Baker and Truly run up the stairs, as in Ball and Belin's scenario, or 5 to 10 minutes later, as in the scenario we are herein exploring?

And, yeah, that's another one. That Ball failed to ask Piper anything about his conversation with Dougherty, even though Dougherty mentioned this conversation in both his 11-22-63 affidavit (24H206) and his 12-18-63 FBI interview (19H619) before Piper testified, and then again in his testimony just after Piper testified, is a real head-scratcher...and hair-puller.

Suspicious Omission #18                                                                                          4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Eddie Piper about his discussion with Jack Dougherty, something that was desperately needed for the establishment of Dougherty as the passenger coming down in the west elevator after the shooting.

And should one think it unfair for me to second-guess Ball in this manner, well, lucky for us, Warren Commission counsel Howard Willens shared some of the Commission's internal documents on his website for a short period surrounding the 50th anniversary of the assassination, and one of these was a 5-6-64 memo from Ball to Commission counsel J. Wesley Liebeler outlining what questions Liebeler should ask when re-interviewing a number of witnesses. Apparently, Ball was hoping to shove these interviews off on Liebeler on Liebeler's upcoming trip to Dallas.

Here is Ball's section on Piper:

"Eddie Piper. The deposition of Eddie Piper was taken in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday April 8, 1964. Piper is a janitor employed by the Texas School Book Depository. He watched the motorcade from the first floor window which opens on to Elm. After he heard the shots he walked away from the window; he saw Truly and some officer (Baker) run into the building and up the stairway. Ask Piper if he saw Jack Dougherty come to the first floor immediately afterwards. Dougherty has testified that he was on the fifth floor when he heard the shots; that he came to the first floor by way of the west elevator; that the first person whom he saw was Eddie Piper; that Piper then told him that the President had been shot."

Now here's a surprise. Or maybe not. Ball himself took Piper's testimony on 5-14-64, and failed to ask Piper if he even talked to Dougherty on 11-22-63.

And yet, here, once again, question or no question, when Eddie Piper spoke the truth somehow slipped out...

Mr. PIPER. Well, Mr. Truly and this fellow run up the steps. He just hollered for the elevator and I said, "I don't know where it is at," and I'm still standing over there by that table and he ran up on up the steps with this police officer--him and another fellow and I was standing there and the people began swarming out and around--different ones coming in, but it was where nobody could come out.
Mr. BALL. They were the first ones to go up the steps?
Mr. PIPER. That's right.
Mr. BALL. Had anybody come down the steps before they went up the steps?
Mr. PIPER. No, sir.
Mr. BALL. They weren't the first ones to come down?
Mr. PIPER. Yes; and when the elevators come down---I really don't know who brought the elevators down, but I know nobody ever come down the steps.

(The 5-14-64 Testimony of Eddie Piper, 7H388-390)

So, there it is. Piper didn't know who brought the elevators down. He couldn't confirm that Dougherty brought the west elevator down just after Baker and Truly ran up the stairs, even though he watched Baker and Truly run up the stairs a minute or so before.

Well, this is damning. That Ball was supposed to ask Piper about this, but failed to ask him about this on the record, strongly suggests that Ball asked Piper this question in the pre-interview, and really, really didn't like Piper's answer, and opted to leave Piper's refusal to back up that Dougherty came straight down after the shooting (or perhaps even Piper's clear recollection Dougherty came up to talk to him some 10-15 minutes after the shooting) off the record.

And, no, it's not mean or irrational or any other TV pundit term for us to assume Ball's failure to ask Piper about Dougherty (or Shelley, or Lovelady) on the record was deliberate. Piper's answers may very well have shot down the scenario Ball and the rest of the commission staff had already decided upon--that no one besides Oswald could have fired the shots from the sixth floor and gotten out of the building before Baker and Truly arrived at the back stairs. And Ball couldn't have that.

That Ball and Belin had it in for Piper, and had decided to undermine his credibility, is confirmed, for that matter, by their subsequent discussion of the elevator problem in the Warren Report. On page 153, they wrote: "Jack Dougherty, an employee working on the fifth floor, testified that he took the west elevator to the first floor after hearing a noise which sounded like a backfire. Eddie Piper, the janitor, told Dougherty that the president had been shot, but in his testimony Piper did not mention either seeing or talking with Dougherty during these moments of excitement. Both Dougherty and Piper were confused witnesses. They had no exact memory of the events of that afternoon."

Wait-what??? Ball and Belin failed to follow up with Piper to see if he would back up Dougherty's story, and they blamed it on Piper? They used THEIR FAILURE to do their job and ask the questions they'd outlined for Liebeler as a means of discrediting Piper?

I mean, there are lies and then there are damned lies, and the commission's claim Piper had no exact memory of the events of that afternoon, when Piper was actually one of the more consistent witnesses, is a damned lie.

Suspicious Omission (or, in this Case, Commission) #19             5-14-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball not only fails to ask Eddie Piper questions he'd admitted needed to be asked, but uses the failure of Piper to provide answers to these never asked questions as a means of discrediting him.

Now, that's pretty sleazy, and indicative of just how low the commission's staff were willing to go to sell that no one came down from the sixth floor using the elevator after the shooting, and that Oswald musta dunnit...alone.

But, wait, it gets worse...


The Adams Problem (in which the Warren Commission bent over backwards to dismiss a problematic witness so it could pretend Oswald ran down the stairs)

The complicity of Ball, Belin, and their bosses on the commission in a cover-up of the evidence becomes clear when one studies the commission's treatment of Victoria Adams.

To begin, a 2-25-64 Ball and Belin memo (retrieved from the Archives by researcher Barry Ernest) reveals that, from the start, before they'd even taken one day's testimony, Ball and Belin had recognized that
Oswald "had to descend to the second floor in a short space of time in order to meet Truly and Baker" in the second floor lunch room within 90 seconds of the shooting. And that, as a consequence, Adams' claim she and Sandra Styles ran down the stairs Oswald would have to have used, at the same time he would have had to have used them, was a problem. And that, as a result, they needed to "pin down this time sequence."

So let's see how they "pinned" it down.

But first, an acknowledgement. There are legitimate reasons to doubt Adams and her testimony claiming she raced down the stairs but didn't see Oswald or anyone else. The main cause for doubt is that she claimed she saw William Shelley and Billy Lovelady at the bottom of the stairs after she'd raced down the stairs, and they claimed they went over to the train yards for a spell just after the shooting, and then re-entered the building via a loading dock on the west side of the building. Well, the assumption is that this would have taken Shelley and Lovelady 4 minutes or more. If so, they would have re-entered the building after Baker and Truly had started their run up the stairs. If so, Adams would have to have run down the stairs after Baker and Truly had run up the stairs past her floor. And that
would open up a minute or so before they ran up the stairs, for Oswald to run down the stairs to the second floor lunch room, where he was observed by Officer Baker.

But what's that they say about assumptions?

Mr. BELIN - What did you see and what did you do as you ran into the building?
Mr. BAKER - As I entered this building, there was, it seems to me like there was outside doors and then there is a little lobby.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Mr. BAKER - And then there are some inner doors and another door you have to go through, a swinging door type. As I entered this lobby there were people going in as I entered. And I asked, I just spoke out and asked where the stairs or elevator was, and this man, Mr. Truly, spoke up and says, it seems to me like he says, "I am a building manager. Follow me, officer, and I will show you." So we immediately went out through the second set of doors, and we ran into the swinging door.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Now, during the course of running into the swinging door, did you bump into the back of Mr. Truly?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. BELIN - Then what happened?
Mr. BAKER - We finally backed up and got through that little swinging door there and we kind of all ran, not real fast but, you know, a good trot, to the back of the Building, I was following him.
Mr. BELIN - All right. Then what did you do?
Mr. BAKER - We went to the northwest corner, we was kind of on the, I would say, the southeast corner of the Building there where we entered it, and we went across it to the northwest corner which is in the rear, back there.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Mr. BAKER - And he was trying to get that service elevator down there.
Mr. BELIN - All right. What did you see Mr. Truly do?
Mr. BAKER - He ran over there and pushed the button to get it down.
Mr. BELIN - Did the elevator come down after he pushed the button?
Mr. BAKER - No, sir; it didn't.
Mr. BELIN - Then what did he do?
Mr. BAKER - He hollered for it, said, "Bring that elevator down here."
Mr. BELIN - How many times did he holler, to the best of your recollection?
Mr. BAKER - It seemed like he did it twice.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Then what did he do?
Mr. BAKER - I said let's take the stairs.
Mr. BELIN - All right. Then what did you do?
Mr. BAKER - He said, "Okay" and so he immediately turned around, which the stairs is just to the, would be to the, well, the west of this elevator.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Mr. BAKER - And we went up them.

(3-25-64 9:50 AM, 3H242-270)

Now, this testimony--of racing to the back of the building--yelling up the elevator shaft, and racing up the stairs--was pretty much a repeat of what Roy Truly had testified to the day before.

Well, then, what about Shelley and Lovelady? Did they race?

Perhaps not. There's this... "Immediately following the shooting, Billy N. Lovelady and I accompanied some uniformed police officers to the railroad yards just west of the building and returned through the west side door of the building about ten minutes later." (The 3-18-64 statement of William Shelley to the FBI, 22H673)

But then there's this...

Mr. BALL - Did you see Truly, Mr. Truly and an officer go into the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yeah, we saw them right at the front of the building while we were on the island.

Mr. BALL - While you were out there before you walked to the railroad yards?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Do you have any idea how long it was from the time you heard those three sounds or three noises until you saw Truly and Baker going into the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - It would have to be 3 or 4 minutes I would say because this girl that ran back up there was down near where the car was when the President was hit.
   Mr. BALL - She ran back up to the door and you had still remained standing there?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes.

Well, we're off to a heckuva start. Simply incredible. On March 20, Ball's partner Belin timed a re-enactment of Marrion Baker's actions after the shooting, from his hearing the first shot to his observing Oswald on the second floor. Baker testified that they performed this re-enactment twice, with the re-enactment taking 90 seconds the first time and 75 seconds the second, when they sped things up a little. Now, this is key--according to their re-enactment, Baker reached the front of the building within 15 seconds of the first shot.

So what's this mean? It has long been noted that stress has a negative impact on our perception of time, and that witnesses to a stressful or traumatic event will usually over-estimate the length of the traumatic event they'd witnessed, often by a factor of 3 or more. (One 1977 study, by Dr. Robert Buckhout, published in Criminal Defense, reported that subjects over-estimated the duration of a video they'd been asked to view of a staged assault on a college campus by a factor or almost 2 1/2 to 1...on average.) So Shelley's testimony isn't all that surprising. He has recalled a series of events that would subsequently be re-enacted in 15 seconds--(but probably took more like 30 seconds)--as taking 3 or 4 minutes. For him, time slowed down by a factor of 6 or more.

Now this, in turn, suggests Shelley and Lovelady returned to the building through the west side door about 90 seconds after the shooting, not 10 minutes.

Hmmm... Baker testified that the 75-90 second time for the re-enactments was the "minimum" amount of time for the actual event, seeing as they failed to re-enact his slowing down to make his way through the crowd by the entrance to the building, etc.

Well, this puts Shelley and Lovelady, entering from the west side of the building, in a virtual tie in a race to the back of the building with Baker and Truly, entering via the front steps.

So let's read on and see if we can figure out who got there first.

Mr. BALL - Going to watch the rest of the parade were you?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - The Vice President hadn't gone by, had he, by your place?
Mr. SHELLEY - I don't know. I didn't recognize him. I did recognize Mr. Kennedy and his suntan I had been hearing about.                                                                                     Mr. BALL - How did you happen to see Truly?
Mr. SHELLEY - We ran out on the island while some of the people that were out watching it from our building were walking back and we turned around and we saw an officer and Truly.
Mr. BALL - And Truly?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Did you see them go into the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - No; we didn't watch that long but they were at the first step like they were fixin' to go in.
Mr. BALL - Were they moving at the time, walking or running?
Mr. SHELLEY - Well, they were moving, yes.
Mr. BALL - Were they running?
Mr. SHELLEY - That, I couldn't swear to; there were so many people around.
Mr. BALL - What did you and Billy Lovelady do?
Mr. SHELLEY - We walked on down to the first railroad track there on the dead-end street and stood there and watched them searching cars down there in the parking lots for a little while and then we came in through our parking lot at the west end.
Mr. BALL - At the west end?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes; and then in the side door into the shipping room.
Mr. BALL - When you came into the shipping room did you see anybody?
Mr. SHELLEY - I saw Eddie Piper.
Mr. BALL - What was he doing?
Mr. SHELLEY - He was coming back from where he was watching the motorcade in the southwest corner of the shipping room.

Mr. BALL - Of the first floor of the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Who else did you see?
Mr. SHELLEY - That's all we saw immediately.

So let's see what Piper had to say about this when Ball questioned him the next day.

Mr. PIPER. I heard one shot, and then the next shot went off---the one that shot him and I got on up and went on back, back where they make coffee at the end of the counter where I could see what happened and before I could get there, the third shot went off, and I seen the people all running and in a few minutes someone came in the building, and I looked up and it was the boss-man and a policeman or someone.

And then later...

Mr. BALL. Did you look out the window later?
Mr. PIPER. No more no, sir; I didn't go back to any window.

Mr. BALL. You mentioned you saw Truly?
Mr. PIPER. I don't know whether it was a policeman or FBI or who it was, but another fellow was with him.

Mr. BALL And where were you?
Mr. PIPER. Standing right there where they make coffee.

So let's get this straight. Shelley claimed that when he and Lovelady came in from the western dock he saw Piper heading back from the front window...and Piper said he left his spot at the front window and went back to the coffee counter, that Roy Truly came in "a few minutes" later when he was at the coffee counter, and that he failed to return to the front window after Truly came in.

Well, this is a clear indication Shelley and Lovelady arrived at the back of the building before Baker and Truly.

Now, let's go back to Shelley's testimony... and reflect a little... Ball has asked Shelley if he saw Roy Truly enter the building, but has failed to ask him if he saw Truly in the building after his own return to the building. It's hard to believe this was a coincidence.

Suspicious Omission #20                                                                                           4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball asks William Shelley if he saw Roy Truly enter the depository building, but fails to ask him the more important question if he saw Truly at a later point, before Truly and officer Baker ran up the back staircase.

Still, it's not as if Ball failed to ask Shelley about Adams.

Mr. BALL - Did you ever see Vickie Adams?
Mr. SHELLEY - I saw her that day but I don't remember where I saw her.
Mr. BALL - You don't remember whether you saw her when you came back?
Mr. SHELLEY - It was after we entered the building.

Mr. BALL - You think you did see her after you entered the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes, sir; I thought it was on the fourth floor awhile after that.                Mr. BALL - Now, did the police come into the building?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes, sir; they started coming in pretty fast.
Mr. BALL - Did you go with them any place?
Mr. SHELLEY - Yes; Mr. Truly left me guarding the elevator, not to let anybody up and down the elevator or stairway and some plainclothesmen came in; I don't know whether they were Secret Service or FBI or what but they wanted me to take them upstairs, so we went up and started searching the various floors.

(4-7-64 Testimony of William Shelley, 4:10 PM 6H327-334)

Now, I suspect most of those reading this have assumed Shelley is talking about the freight elevator in the back of the building. But why should we do that? There was an elevator in the front as well. Most of those using elevators in the building used this elevator. Anyone coming in from the street and wanting to use an elevator would want to use this elevator. It seems probable then that this is the elevator Truly asked Shelley to guard.

Let's see if this is supported by any of Shelley's previous statements. Here's a beauty: “The President’s car was about halfway from Houston Street to the Triple Underpass when I heard what sounded like three shots. I couldn’t tell where they came from. I ran across the street to the corner of the park and ran into a girl crying and she said the President had been shot. The girl’s name is Gloria Calvery who is an employee of the same building. I went back to the building and went inside and called my wife and told her what had happened. I was on the first floor then and I stayed at the elevator and was told not to let anyone out of the elevator. I left the elevator and went with the police on up to the other floors. I left Jack Dougherty in charge of the elevator." (The 11-22-63 affidavit of William Shelley to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 24H226)

Now this gives us a number of things to think about. One is that Shelley never even mentioned stopping off in the train yards in his initial statement. This supports our belief he really spent very little time there. Another is that he said he made a phone call to his wife. Appparently, he thought she'd be worried. Well, that could explain the haste with which he returned to the building. Another is that he said he guarded an elevator--singular, not plural. This supports that he did in fact guard the front elevator. And yet another is that he said he left Jack Dougherty in charge of this elevator. While this supports that Dougherty was on the first floor just after Baker and Truly went upstairs--which could mean he descended as they rose--Dougherty claimed he turned around and went back up to the sixth floor after coming down from the fifth floor and talking to Piper. So that's a no go. Assuming, that is, that Shelley went upstairs and left Dougherty in charge of the elevator within a few minutes of the shooting.

While Dougherty's minding the front elevator is also problematic to the belief he went upstairs via the rear elevator a few minutes after the shooting, this isn't as big a problem as it seems. Outside of Shelley, no one ever mentioned Dougherty's guarding any elevator. Well, this suggests that within a short time of Shelley's ascent, Dougherty got bored or confused and simply returned to work. (It bears repeating here that Dougherty claimed he was unaware Kennedy had been shot until told as much by Piper.)

There's also this. And it's a big one so get ready. In the story pushed by Ball and Belin, let's recall, Dougherty was working on the fifth floor, unaware of anyone else on the floor. He then heard a loud sound. from above him, even though he would have heard a shot from the sniper's nest window on the sixth floor, through the open windows just below the sniper's nest, directly to the east of where Dougherty was standing when he heard this sound. He then went into some sort of time warp, whereby he thought he took the west elevator down from the fifth floor to the first floor to find out what happened, but where he actually waited 90 seconds or more before doing so. It should be noted, furthermore, that Dougherty was unseen and unheard by Jarman, Norman, and Williams--who were looking out the west windows of the depository but sixty feet or so away from where Dougherty said he was standing when he heard this loud sound--during the last of these 90 seconds. In any event, in Ball and Belin's story--the one pushed in the Warren Report--Dougherty then descended to the first floor, talked to Eddie Piper, and then took the elevator back up to the sixth floor, but saw nobody.

Let's now recall that Roy Truly, who is purported to have run up the stairs as Dougherty came down to talk to Piper, testified to seeing Dougherty on the fifth floor as he came back down on the east elevator. Now, those desperate to defend the Warren Commission myth composed by Ball and Belin, will say, but of course, Dougherty went back to work on the fifth floor after going up to the sixth floor to look around. But they're missing something. Two somethings, actually. One is that Dougherty testified to not going back up to the sixth floor until after the rifle had been discovered. And two is that Shelley's initial statement makes it crystal clear Dougherty was on the first floor when he (Shelley) took Truly's cue and raced up the stairs with the police.

Well, when was this, you might ask? How do we know Shelley didn't go upstairs 10-15 minutes after the shooting, after Truly had come back downstairs, with Dougherty behind him?

If only we knew the name of one of the "plainclothesmen" Shelley led upstairs, we might straighten this out, right?

Well, guess what? We do. The first plainclothesman to storm into the building was Dallas Police Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer. He testified the day after Shelley.

Mr. SAWYER. I heard Sheriff Decker come on the radio and tell the dispatcher to get all of his men over to, and I thought he said Texas School Book Depository, but at least that was the overall gist of the conversation. That is what I gathered. He may not have said Texas School Book Depository, but the Texas School Book Depository was mentioned in the broadcasts that were made at that time.
Mr. BELIN. Was this on Channel 1 or Channel 2 if you remember?
Mr. SAWYER. Channel 2, I am sure.
Mr. BELIN. Did Sheriff Decker have any particular call number at all, or not, in your police number system?
Mr. SAWYER. No. I was wondering why he come on our radio, but then I think that he was with Chief Curry and probably using that radio.
Mr. BELIN. All right, in any event, a call was made from Chief Curry's car?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, this I don't know either. I don't know what car it was made from, but I think it was Sheriff Decker talking. I could recognize his voice, yes.

Mr. BELIN. What did you do then?
Mr. SAWYER. Then I went on down to the Texas Book Depository.
Mr. BELIN. Where did you park your car?
Mr. SAWYER. In front of the Texas School Book Depository.
Mr. BELIN. In front of the main entrance there?
Mr. SAWYER. In front of the main entrance.
Mr. BELIN. What did you do then?
Mr. SAWYER. Immediately went into---well, talked to some of the officers around there who told me the story that they had thought some shots had come from one of the floors in the building, and I think the fifth floor was mentioned, but nobody seemed to know who the shots were directed at or what had actually happened, except there had been a shooting there at the time the President's motorcade had gone by. And I went with a couple of officers and a man who I believed worked in the building. The elevator was just to the right of the main entrance, and we went to the top floor, which was pointed out to me by this other man as being the floor that we were talking about. We had talked about the fifth floor. And we went back to the storage area and looked around and didn't see anything. 

So let's jump in here and point out that Shelley was almost certainly the man Sawyer believed worked in the building. The only other TSBD employees to admit guiding policemen upstairs were Billy Lovelady and Jack Dougherty, and neither of them indicated that they did this within a few minutes of the shooting.

Also telling is this... The top floor for the front elevator was the fourth floor, where Shelley thought he might have talked to Adams.

Mr. BELIN. Now you took an elevator up, is that correct?
Mr. SAWYER. That's right.
Mr. BELIN. The route that you took to the elevator, you went to the front door?
Mr. SAWYER. Right.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you do?
Mr. SAWYER. We got into the elevator. We run into this man.
Mr. BELIN. Well, when you say you got into the elevator, where was the elevator as you walked in the front door?
Mr. SAWYER. It was to the right.
Mr. BELIN. To the right?
Mr. SAWYER. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Was it a freight elevator or a passenger elevator?
Mr. SAWYER. The best of my recollection, it was a passenger elevator.
Mr. BELIN. Did you push for the top button in that elevator?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, I don't know who pushed it, but we went up to the top floor.
Mr. BELIN. You went up to the top floor that the elevator would go to?
Mr. SAWYER. That's right.
Mr. BELIN. You got off, and were there officers there?
Mr. SAWYER. There was one or two other officers with me.
Mr. BELIN. Now when you got off, you say you went into the back there into a warehouse area?
Mr. SAWYER. Storage area; what appeared to be a storage area.
Mr. BELIN. Did you go into any place other than a warehouse or storage area?
Mr. SAWYER. No.
Mr. BELIN. Was there anything other than a warehouse or storage area there?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, to one side I could see an office over there with people in it. Some women that apparently were office workers.
Mr. BELIN. Now Inspector, what did you do then?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, I didn't see anything that was out of the ordinary, so I immediately came back downstairs to check the security on the building.

Belin then did something unexpected...his job.

Mr. BELIN. Would it be fair for me to assume then that you had not at least completely left your car by 12:34 p.m?
Mr. SAWYER. Correct.
Mr. BELIN. Then when you got to the Texas School Book Depository, well, you got out of the car and talked to some people or to some officers?
Mr. SAWYER. Officers.
Mr. BELIN. And then what did the officers tell you?
Mr. SAWYER. That their information was that the shots had come from the fifth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
Mr. BELIN. Did any officers give you any other information about the source of the shots other than the fact that it came from the Texas School Book Depository, at that particular time?
Mr. SAWYER. I can't say whether it was officers or who, but there was a reference also made to the overpass.
Mr. BELIN. All right, in any event--pardon me, do you have anything else to add?
Mr. SAWYER. Also, there was a broadcast here in the transcript about the railroad yard.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. SAWYER. And this could be part of what I was thinking about, or what I had heard, was this broadcast on the radio about the railroad yard.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you do? You went inside the building, is that correct?
Mr. SAWYER. We immediately went inside the building. I took--I believe Sgt. Harkness may have gone with me. I am not positive of that.

(Note: nor should he be. Harkness claimed he stayed outside.)

Mr. BELIN. Was the elevator on the first floor when you got there, or did you have to wait for it to come down?
Mr. SAWYER. Best of my recollection, it was there.
Mr. BELIN. You got to the elevator, went up, looked around back there. How long did you spend up there at the top floor that the elevator took you to?
Mr. SAWYER. Just took a quick look around and made sure there was nobody hiding on that floor. I doubt if it took over a minute at the most.
Mr. BELIN. To go up and look around and come down?
Mr. SAWYER. To look around on the floor. How long it took to go up, it couldn't have been over 3 minutes at the most from the time we left, got up and back down.
Mr. BELIN. Then that would put it around no sooner than 12:37, if you heard the call at 12:34?                                                                                                                                             Mr. SAWYER. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. Then you got down and what did you do?
Mr. SAWYER. I asked the Sergeant to doublecheck the security around the building, and then I took two patrolmen and stationed them at the front door and told them, with instructions not to let anybody in or out.

Mr. BELIN. Now up to the time you did this, had anyone else sealed off the building, that you know of?
Mr. SAWYER. When I arrived, the sergeant told me he had the building sealed off. There were officers all around the building. To the best of my recollection, there was no officer actually stationed on the front door, at the front door. There was some on the sidewalk in front of the front door, and also, as far as I know, had no instructions been issued to anyone to let anybody in or out.
Mr. BELIN. So yours would have been the first instructions to stop traffic from coming in and out of the front door, am I correct in that?
Mr. SAWYER. That's right.

Mr. BELIN. All right, anybody that would have been seen leaving the building would have been stopped and interrogated by the officers that were there? Even before you instructed them?
Mr. SAWYER. Yes, because they were looking for something or anything, and I know that anybody coming out of the back doors, from what the Sergeant told me, they would have stopped them, too.
Mr. BELIN. What happened at the front door now. There were people standing. out on the area of the steps, were there not?
Mr. SAWYER. No. There were some people around, yes.
Mr. BELIN. Do you know whether or not any of those would have been stopped?
Mr. SAWYER. For sure, no; I don't.
Mr. BELIN. Now after you got down and you issued these orders, then what did you
Mr. SAWYER. I set up a command post in front. The various officers were bringing up different witnesses who had seen various things, and I saw that this was quite an involved situation. It was so many of these people that had information, that I knew I didn't have time to take this information down, and by this time several deputy sheriffs were standing there, and one of them, I think he was a supervisor, I had his name at one time, I can't think of it now, was there, and he offered the use of an interrogation room of Sheriff Decker's office, I think he said, for interrogating these people.

(Note: this was Chief Criminal Deputy Sheriff Allan Sweatt.)

Mr. BELIN. That is located down the street a little bit there?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, it is catty-corner across the street.
Mr. BELIN. All right.                                                                                                                       Mr. SAWYER. It is southeast across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, at least from the corner, and so we set up a group of officers and deputy sheriffs who were to take charge of the witnesses and take them over to see that affidavits were taken from them. They were more or less an escort service so the witness wouldn't get away. And then as our detectives began to show up, I sent them over to the Sheriff's Office to assist in taking these depositions or affidavits.
Mr. BELIN. How many witnesses were there around there during this period of time that you talked to?
Mr. SAWYER. Well, during the entire period of time that I was there, I would venture to say between 25 to 50 different people had come up with information of one kind or another.
Mr. BELIN. Now, on this radio log, Sawyer's Deposition Exhibit A, do you notice your number there for any calls at all that might have come in? What number did you use?
Mr. SAWYER. I used No. 9. That is my regular call No. 9.
Mr. BELIN. I notice here a No. 9, the first time that appears to come in here is at 12:40 p.m.; is that right?
Mr. SAWYER. That is the first one after 12:40, sir.
Mr. BELIN. The first one after 12:30?
Mr. SAWYER. The first one after 12:30, yes, that is true.

(4-8-64, 3:45 PM, 6H315-325)

So, yikes. By Sawyer's account, Shelley led him upstairs a short time after 12:34. (It was probably more like 12:36. Sawyer said he arrived about 12:34, and talked with some officers before going inside. He also said he spent about 3 minutes in the building, and that he got back on his radio about 12:40...) In any event, Sawyer (and Shelley) went upstairs well before Roy Truly returned from the roof with Baker. It only follows, then, that if Truly spoke to Shelley and told Shelley to guard the elevator before Shelley guarded the elevator and gave Sawyer and two unnamed policemen a tour--as Shelley claimed--that he did so when he first came into the building. And that--Ta-da!--Shelley was in the building BEFORE Baker and Truly.

Now, some might wish to believe that Sawyer was just wrong about this, and that he'd actually went upstairs with Shelley after Baker and Truly had come down from the roof, and Truly had had a chance to talk with Shelley.

Except, no go.

Mr. BELIN. Now, after you got down from the seventh floor, you then went down to the sixth floor with Officer Baker?
Mr. TRULY. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Did he look around on the sixth floor at all or not?
Mr. TRULY. Just before we got on the elevator on the seventh floor, Officer Baker ran over and looked in a little room on the seventh floor, and glanced around on that floor, which is open, and it didn't take much of a search. And then we reached the sixth floor. I stopped. He glanced over the sixth floor quickly.
Mr. BELIN. Could you see the southeast corner of the sixth floor from there?
Mr. TRULY. I don't think so; no, sir. You could not.                                                                          Mr. BELIN. Then what?
Mr. TRULY. Then we continued on down, and we saw officers on the fourth floor.
I don't recall that we stopped any more until we reached the first floor. But I do recall there was an officer on the fourth floor, by the time we got down that far.

Mr. BELIN. All right. And then you got down eventually to the first floor?
Mr. TRULY. That is right.

Now that's interesting. But how do we know this was Sawyer?

Mr. BELIN - When you got back down from the roof to this top floor, did you have any occasion to notice whether or not the west elevator was on that top floor or not?
Mr. BAKER - No, sir; I still didn't look at the elevator. I was following Mr. Truly and every time I had a chance I would look around over the building.
Mr. BELIN - You would look over the floor itself rather than the other elevator?
Mr. BAKER - That is right.
Mr. BELIN - You then got on the elevator to go on back down?
Mr. BAKER - That is correct.
Mr. BELIN - And I believe you said it was the east elevator, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER - That is correct.
Mr. BELIN - How far did you take the east elevator down?
Mr. BAKER - As we descended, somewhere around--we were still talking and I was still looking over the building.
Mr. BELIN - As the elevator was moving?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir; downward.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Mr. BAKER - The next thing that I noticed was Inspector Sawyer, he was on one of those floors there, he is a police inspector.
Mr. DULLES - City of Dallas Police?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir. And he was on, I really didn't notice which floor he was on, but that is the first thing I saw as we descended how this freight elevator, you know, it has got these picket boards in front of it and it has got it open so far, and it seemed to me like we stopped for a moment and I spoke to him and I told him that I had been to the roof, and there wasn't anything on the roof that would indicate anybody being up there, and then we started on down.
Mr. BELIN - Did you stay on the elevator while you spoke to him?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Do you remember what floor it was that you spoke to him on or how many floors down that you went from the top before you saw him?
Mr. BAKER - No, sir; not at that time. It seemed to me like it was on either the third or the fourth floor.
Mr. BELIN - Do you remember about how long you stayed on the roof?
Mr. BAKER - It was a little over 5 minutes.
Mr. BELIN - When you continued moving on the elevator after you talked to Inspector Sawyer how far did you go on the elevator?
Mr. BAKER - We went to the, I believe it would be the first floor there.
Mr. BELIN - All right. You got off the elevator then?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Did you leave Mr. Truly or did you stay with him?
Mr. BAKER - I left Mr. Truly there.

Well, that's it, people. If Shelley and Lovelady were in the building when Baker and Truly came in and headed to the back elevators, well, then, it follows that they could have been there when Vickie Adams and Sandra Styles came down from the fourth floor, moments earlier...

And that--ta-da! ta-da!--Vickie Adams was probably telling the truth about running down the back stairs just after the shooting... and not seeing Oswald...

So...what's Lovelady got to say about all this?

Well, at first glance it appears that Lovelady, as Shelley, felt he'd spent too much time in the railroad yards to arrive at the back elevator before Baker and Truly, and be observed by Adams. Let's recall that a 3-18-64 statement to the FBI prepared for Shelley's signature says he and Lovelady "accompanied" some police officers over to the railroad yards and returned to the building "about ten minutes later" (22H673). Now realize that a similar statement prepared for Lovelady's signature said they stayed in the railroad yards "for about five minutes" before returning to the building (22H662).

So let's take a second glance...

Mr. BALL - When Gloria came up and said the President had been shot, Gloria Calvary, what did you do?
Mr. LOVELADY - Well, I asked who told her. She said he had been shot so we asked her was she for certain or just had she seen the shot hit him or--she said yes, she had been right close to it to see and she had saw the blood and knew he had been hit but didn't know how serious it was and so the crowd had started towards the railroad tracks back, you know, behind our building there and we run towards that little, old island and kind of down there in that little street. We went as far as the first tracks and everybody was hollering and crying and policemen started running out that way and we said we better get back into the building, so we went back into the west entrance on the back dock had that low ramp and went into the back dock back inside the building.
Mr. BALL - First of all, let's get you to tell us whom you left the steps with.
Mr. LOVELADY - Mr. Shelley.
Mr. BALL - Shelley and you went down how far?
Mr. LOVELADY - Well, I would say a good 75, between 75 to 100 yards to the first tracks. See how those tracks goes---
Mr. BALL - You went down the dead end on Elm?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - And down to the first tracks?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Did you see anything there?
Mr. LOVELADY - No, sir; well, just people running.
Mr. BALL - That's all?
Mr. LOVELADY - And hollerin.
Mr. BALL - How did you happen to go down there?
Mr. LOVELADY - I don't know, because everybody was running from that way and naturally, I guess---
Mr. BALL - They were running from that way or toward that way?
Mr. LOVELADY - Toward that way; everybody thought it was coming from that direction.
Mr. BALL - By the time you left the steps had Mr. Truly entered the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - As we left the steps I would say we were at least 15. maybe 25. steps away from the building. I looked back and I saw him and the policeman running into the building.

Mr. BALL - How many steps?
Mr. LOVELADY - Twenty, 25.
Mr. BALL - Steps away and you looked back and saw him enter the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Then you came back. How long did you stay around the railroad tracks?
Mr. LOVELADY - Oh, just a minute, maybe minute and a half.

Mr. BALL - Then what did you do?
Mr. LOVELADY - Came back right through that part where Mr. Campbell, Mr. Truly, and Mr. Shelley park their cars and I came back inside the building.
Mr. BALL - And enter from the rear?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes, sir; sure did.                                                                                                  Mr. BALL - You heard the shots. And how long after that was it before Gloria Calvary came up?
Mr. LOVELADY - Oh, approximately 3 minutes, I would say.

Mr. BALL - Three minutes is a long time.
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes, it's---I say approximately; I can't say because I don't have a watch; it could. 

Hmmm... Shelley and Lovelady have both made an approximation for the time it took Gloria Calvery to run up to them, and have grossly inflated this time beyond what Ball and Belin purport to be true, based upon their re-enactment of Baker's actions. Ball knows this. And yet does nothing to correct the record on this point. He fails to mention the re-enactment in Shelley's and Lovelady's testimony. He fails to clarify this issue through a re-enactment of their movements after the shots. And he fails to even call Calvery as a witness.

Suspicious Omissions #21-23                                                              4-7-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin fail to interview Gloria Calvery and re-enact the actions of William Shelley and Billy Lovelady after the shooting, even though Ball and Belin know from their testimony that Shelley and Lovelady's sense of time for the moments immediately following the shooting are at odds with the re-enactments Ball and Belin had previously performed of Officer Baker's actions after the shooting.

And it wasn't just their re-enactment of Baker's actions that Ball and Belin were ignoring. News footage of the front steps of the depository taken about 30 seconds after the last shot was fired show Shelley and Lovelady walking away from the steps towards the west end of the building...before Baker runs up to the front steps.

Here is a brilliant piece of work by Gerda Dunkel, in which she matches up the news footage of Malcolm Couch and Jimmy Darnell, and proves Shelley and Lovelady were walking west as Baker ran towards the steps, and that this all took place just seconds after the shooting. (The press car moving slowly down the street at the end of the clip was but 6 cars behind the limo in the motorcade.)


And here is a comparison of the tiny figures of Shelley and Lovelady in the clip above with larger images taken later in the day. (Images and Inspiration: Bart Kamp).



Suspicious Omission #24                                                                                4-7-64--September 1964. Ball and Belin fail to consult newsreel footage which could help them establish the timing of Shelley and Lovelady's walk around the building, which could, in turn, help them establish the credibility of Vickie Adams' claim she ran down the back stairs just after the shooting, and failed to see or hear Oswald on the stairs.

Mr. BALL - Had people started to run?
Mr. LOVELADY - Well, I couldn't say because she came up to us and we was talking to her, wasn't looking that direction at that time, but when we came off the steps--see, that entrance, you have a blind side when you go down the steps.
Mr. BALL - Right after you talked to Gloria, did you leave the steps and go toward the tracks?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Did you run or walk?
Mr. LOVELADY - Medium trotting or fast walk.

Mr. BALL - A fast walk?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - How did you happen to turn around and see Truly and the policeman go into the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - Somebody hollered and I looked.
Mr. BALL - You turned around and looked?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.

Mr. BALL - After you ran to the railroad tracks you came back and went in the back door of the building?                                                                                                                                       Mr. LOVELADY - Right.

Well, hello. Shelley and Lovelady both testified to seeing Baker run up to the steps after they'd started heading west. Now, both the Warren Commission's re-enactment of Baker's actions and the news footage from 11-22-63 prove this happened around 30 seconds or so after the shooting. And this proves Shelley and Lovelady's claim this happened three minutes or so after the shooting to be nonsense.

This should have been clear to Ball and Belin, for that matter.. When one gets past Lovelady's obviously incorrect approximation for the time elapsed before Gloria Calvery ran up to him, one can see that Lovelady has testified that the time he and Shelley spent around the railroad tracks was about half as long as the time elapsed before Gloria Calvery ran up to them, and that Baker and Truly ran into the front of the building AFTER she ran up to them. This then suggests Shelley and Lovelady spent but fifteen seconds or so over by the railroad tracks.

Let's think about this. Shelley and Lovelady circled around from the front of the building and then re-entered the building from the west. They had a head start on Baker and Truly and were moving at a medium trot. It only makes sense, then, that they could beat Baker and Truly to the location of the freight elevators within the building. I mean, Baker and Truly would have to have spent some time discussing things, such as the fact the front elevator doesn't go to the roof. They also had a brief exchange with Eddie Piper about the elevators. It certainly seems possible then that Shelley and Lovelady were standing by these elevators when Adams and Styles came down the stairs. And that Baker and Truly ran up to Shelley and Lovelady a few seconds later.

Mr. BALL - Did you go in through the docks, the wide open door or did you go in the ordinary small door?
Mr. LOVELADY - You know where we park our trucks--that door; we have a little door.
Mr. BALL - That is where you went in, that little door?
Mr. LOVELADY - That's right.

Mr. BALL - That would be the north end of the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - That would be the west end, wouldn't it?
Mr. BALL - Is it the one right off Houston Street?
Mr. LOVELADY - No; you are thinking about another dock.
Mr. BALL - I am?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes; we have two.
Mr. BALL - Do you have a dock on the west side and one on the north side of the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - East, and well, it would be east and west but you enter it from the south side.
Mr. BALL - Now, the south side---
Mr. LOVELADY - Elm Street is that little dead-end street.
Mr. BALL - That's south.                                                                                                   Mr. LOVELADY - I drive my truck here (indicating) but we came in from this direction; that would have to be west.
Mr. BALL - You came into the building from the west side? 

Mr. LOVELADY - Right.

Note that Lovelady is talking about the little door to the left of the car port in the photo below.


Mr. BALL - Where did you go into the building?
Mr. LOVELADY - Through that, those raised-up doors.

Mr. BALL - Through the raised-up doors?

Mr. LOVELADY - Through that double door that we in the morning when we get there we raised. There's a fire door and they have two wooden doors between it.

The layout of this part of the building--strangely never depicted in the Warren Commission's diagrams of the building--is depicted below.

Oh wait, that's another one.

Suspicious Omission #25                                                               4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission's diagrams for the first floor of the school book depository strangely fail to include the west loading dock, through which Shelley and Lovelady re-entered the building, which was presumably left unsecured for some time after the shooting.


Illustration by R.B. Cutler.

It should be pointed out as well that Ball was completely clueless about the layout of the building, and had assumed Shelley and Lovelady had returned to the building through the north dock. While this might give him a partial excuse for failing to believe Adams, it shines a brighter light on his over-all investigation--and proves he didn't have a good grasp of the facts.

And that's not to mention that Ball failed to properly explore the facts about this side door, and find out if and when it was locked up after Shelley and Lovelady entered.

Mr. BALL - You came in through the first floor?
Mr. LOVELADY - Right.
Mr. BALL - Who did you see in the first floor?
Mr. LOVELADY - I saw a girl but I wouldn't swear to it it's Vickie.

Notice how Lovelady jumps right in--"I wouldn't swear to it it's Vickie". It's clear from this he's already discussed this issue with Ball, and that Ball has told him Adams has said she saw him when she came down the stairs. Notice also that he's using lawyerese--"I wouldn't swear to it". This suggests that Ball has coached him away from saying he's fairly certain or strongly believes, and has pressured him into weakening his testimony, so that the commission could turn around and say Adams wasn't very reliable.

Mr. BALL - Who is Vickie?
Mr. LOVELADY - The girl that works for Scott, Foresman.
Mr. BALL - What is her full name?
Mr. LOVELADY - I wouldn't know.
Mr. BALL - Vickie Adams?
Mr. LOVELADY - I believe so.
Mr. BALL - Would you say it was Vickie you saw?
Mr. LOVELADY - I couldn't swear.
Mr. BALL - Where was the girl?
Mr. LOVELADY - I don't remember what place she was but I remember seeing a girl as she was talking to Bill or saw Bill or something, then I went over and asked one of the guys what time it was and to see if we should continue working or what. 

Wait. There's two points of interest here. The first is that Lovelady remembers seeing the girl he thinks was Vickie interacting with Shelley in some way. As we shall see, Lovelady did not follow Shelley up to the fourth floor. It seems clear then that this must have happened on the first floor. Adams was on the first floor but twice--when she first came down just after the shooting, and when she returned to the building 8 minutes or so later, at a time when Shelley was presumably helping the police search the building upstairs. It seems probable then that she saw or spoke to Shelley when she first came down, precisely as she claimed.

This brings us to the second point. Lovelady said he spoke to some guy about whether or not they should go back to work. Well, what guy? Could this have been Dougherty? Did Lovelady and Dougherty discuss whether or not they should go back to work? Did Dougherty, not realizing what all the hub-bub was about beyond that the President had just passed by, then take the west elevator upstairs and return to work?

We don't know because Ball failed to ask Lovelady about Dougherty.

Suspicious Omission #26                                                                                           4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Billy Lovelady any of a number of relevant questions regarding Eddie Piper and Jack Dougherty's actions after the shooting.

Mr. BALL - Did you see any other people on the first floor?
Mr. LOVELADY - Oh, yes; by that time there were more; a few of the guys had come in.
Mr. BALL - And you stayed on the first floor then?
Mr. LOVELADY - I would say 30 minutes. And one of the policemen asked me would I take them up on the sixth floor.
Mr. BALL - Did you take them up there?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes, sir; I sure did.
Mr. BALL - Mr. Lovelady, your testimony will be written up and it can be submitted to you for your signature if you wish and you can make any changes, or you can waive signature and we will make this your final---
Mr. LOVELADY - I want this to be the final one.
Mr. BALL - All right; you waive signature?
Mr. LOVELADY - Yes.
Mr. BALL - Thanks very much.

(4-7-64, 3:50 PM 6H336-341)

And that's it. BALL NEVER ASKED LOVELADY IF HE SAW TRULY AND BAKER IN THE BUILDING EITHER BEFORE THEY WENT UPSTAIRS OR AFTER THEY CAME DOWN.

He was supposed to be clearing up what happened on the back stairs and back elevators, but has done anything but... There's just no excuse for this.

Suspicious Omission #27                                                                                          4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball also fails to ask Lovelady if he saw Roy Truly and Officer Baker run up the stairs.

This omission is particularly egregious and suspicious in light of subsequent events. On 7-5-78, Billy Lovelady was interviewed by an HSCA investigator, accompanied by an HSCA photo analyst (Robert Groden). While the tapes of this interview were not transcribed, copies of the tapes were eventually acquired by researcher Richard Gilbride and placed on Youtube. Towards the end of Tape 1, Lovelady is asked "what did you see inside the building" after he and Shelley returned to the building. He says he saw some co-workers, but does not name them. He is then asked to describe what the police did as they ran into the building. His response is blurred as the tape runs out. At the beginning of Tape 2, however, he repeats for posterity what he was describing as the tape ran out. He repeats: "One policeman (and) Mr. Truly had run up the steps...I guess they went up the steps when they couldn't get the freight elevator to go upstairs." Lovelady is then asked "What else did you see that went on at that time after the police came in?" He responds "At that time, after Mr. Truly and (the) officer ran up, there were more Secret Service and FBI, I guess it was, that came in." Well, this is clear. Lovelady (and Shelley) were inside the building when Truly and Baker ran up the stairs.

So yeah, it 's painfully clear that the commission's argument (in which Shelley and Lovelady's recollections were at odds with Adams' recollections, and somehow refuted her recollections) was nothing but smoke, and that their recollections actually supported her recollections.

Let us look beyond them, then, and see if there are any other statements and testimony supporting that Shelley and Lovelady were at the bottom of the stairs when Adams said they were, and/or that Adams came down the stairs when she said she did.

Here's one...

SENATOR COOPER - Did you see anyone else while you were in the building, other than this man you have identified later as Oswald, and Mr. Truly.                                                           Mr. BAKER - On the first floor there were two men. As we came through the main doorway to the elevators, I remember as we tried to get on the elevators I remember two men, one was sitting on this side and another one between 20 or 30 feet away from us looking at us.                                                                                                                                                  Mr. DULLES - Were they white men?
Mr. BAKER - Yes, sir.

Every employee working in the school book depository building on 11-22-63 was interviewed by the FBI. No one said anything about running back to the elevators in the seconds after the shooting. No one said anything about coming out of an office and casually walking over to the elevators, either. It should be noted, moreover, that no white men were known to have been on the first floor at this time. Well, it follows, then, that these men were probably Shelley and Lovelady.

And, if not, men of great interest...

One should rightly wonder, then, why no effort was made to find out the identity of these men.

Suspicious Omission #28                                                                            3-25-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin fail to follow-up on Officer Baker's claim he saw two white men by the elevators when he came into the building, at a time when no white men besides Baker and Truly were known to be on the first floor.

It's worth noting, moreover, that the existence of these men only slipped out because a couple of the commissioners decided to do their job, that is, to ask questions, and not just swallow whatever Ball and Belin were feeding them.

This brings us, then, to Miss Adams' testimony.

Mr. BELIN - When you got to the bottom of the first floor, did you see anyone there as you entered the first floor from the stairway?                                                                             Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Who did you see?
Miss ADAMS - Mr. Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady.
Mr. BELIN - Where did you see them on the first floor?
Miss ADAMS - Well, this is the stairs, and this is the Houston Street dock that I went out. They were approximately in this position here, so I don't know how you would describe that.
Mr. BELIN - You are looking now at a first floor plan or diagram of the Texas School Book Depository, and you have pointed to a position where you encountered Bill Lovelady and Mr. Bill Shelley?
Miss ADAMS - That's correct.
Mr. BELIN - It would be slightly east of the front of the east elevator, and probably as far south as the length of the elevator, is that correct?
Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - I have a document here called Commission's Exhibit No. 496, which includes a diagram of the first floor, and there is a No. 7 and a circle on it, and I have pointed to a place marked No. 7 on the diagram. Is that correct?
Miss ADAMS - That is approximate.
Mr. BELIN - Between the time you got off the stairs and the time you got to this point when you say you encountered them, which was somewhat to the south and a little bit east of the front of the east elevator, did you see any other employees there?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Any other people prior to the time you saw them?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Now when you were running down the stairs on your trip down the stairs, did you hear anyone using the Stairs?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Did you hear anyone calling for an elevator?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Did you see the foreman, Roy Truly? Did you see the superintendent of the warehouse, Roy S. Truly?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir; I did not.
Mr. BELIN - What about any motorcycle police officers?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.

Mr. BELIN - Now what did you do after you encountered Mr. Shelley and Mr. Lovelady?                     Miss ADAMS - I said I believed the President was shot.                                                                     Mr. BELIN - Do you remember what they said?

Miss ADAMS - Nothing.
Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do?
Miss ADAMS - I proceeded out to the Houston Street dock.
Mr. BELIN - That would be on this same diagram? It is marked Houston Street dock, and you went through what would be the north door, which is towards the rear of the first floor, is that correct?
And down some stairs towards the rear of the dock?
Miss ADAMS - That's correct.
Mr. BELIN - Where did yougo from there?

Miss ADAMS - I proceeded--which way is east and west?
Mr. BELIN - East is here. East is towards Houston, and west is towards the railroad tracks. You went east or west? Towards the railroad tracks or towards Houston Street?
Miss ADAMS - I went west towards the tracks.
Mr. BELIN - How far west did you go?
Miss ADAMS - I went approximately 2 yards within the tracks and there was an officer standing there, and he said, "Get back to the building." And I said, "But I work here."
And he said, "That is tough, get back." I said, "Well, was the President shot?" And he said, "I don't know. Go back." And I said, "All right."

Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do?
Miss ADAMS - I went back, only I went southwest.

Mr. BELIN - Well, did you come back by way of the street, or did you come back the same entrance you went out?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - You went back in through the front entrance, through the front of the building?
Miss ADAMS - Well, I didn't go back in right away.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do then? There is a street that would be a continuation of Elm Street that goes in front of the building, and Elm Street itself angles into the freeway. Did you go back either of those streets?

Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir. I went by the one directly in front of the building.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do when you got there?
Miss ADAMS - When I got there, I happened to look around and noticed several of the employees, and I noticed Joe Molina, for one, was standing in front of the building, and also Avery Davis, who works with me, and I said, "What do you think has happened?" And she said, "I don't know." And I said, "I want to find out." I think the President is shot.

Okay, then. Let's see if the statements of Davis and Molina can help us figure out what time this was. Davis was never asked to testify. Molina's testimony was taken at 2:15 by Joseph Ball in the same office and on the same day Adams' testimony was taken by Ball's partner David Belin at 4:50. And yet Molina wasn't asked about her. Not one question. He was asked about Baker and Truly, however, and verified that Truly ran into the building "maybe 20 or 30 seconds" after the shots. He was also asked about Gloria Calvery, but only remembered her talking about the shooting after the she re-entered the building. (6H368-373)

Well, what about their earlier statements, then? An FBI report on an 11-23-63 interview of Davis says she "immediately returned to the building and to the elevator to her fourth floor offices" after the shooting.  (CD7, p23) Hmmm... That doesn't sound like she waited around much. A 2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department (found in box 3, folder 19, file 6 of Dallas JFK Archive) similarly claims that, after the shooting, Davis "went back to work on the fourth floor." Still, that's a little vague. A 3-20-64 statements to the FBI by Mrs. Davis, however, gives us a little more detail. There Davis claimed that after the shooting: "I, along with others, started to move forward in the direction of the President's car, but after moving about fifteen feet I turned and returned inside the Depository Building." (22H642) 

It's pretty clear from Mrs. Davis's statements, then, that she would have told the Commission she talked to Vickie Adams 3 or 4 minutes after the shooting, as Adams was claiming, and not  6 minutes or more after the shooting, as Ball, Belin, and the Commission were pushing. It only follows, then, that one should consider their failure to ask Davis about Adams suspicious.

Suspicious Omission #29                                                                            4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to ask Mrs. Avery Davis about Vickie Adams even though it has reason to suspect she would confirm Adams' claim she was outside on the front steps within a few minutes of the shooting.

Well, then what about Molina? An 11-23-63 report by the Dallas Police Dept. holds that, after the shooting, Molina "went down the embankment toward Commerce Street, saw officers closing the gate to the parking lot to the west of the School Book Depository Building...then went back into the building and stayed on the first floor." So that's not much help. Molina's 3-25-64 statement to the FBI similarly holds that, after the shooting, "he remained outside for a few moments and then went back inside the Texas School Depository Building." While not exactly convincing, it should nevertheless be observed that Molina's statements mirror Davis's statements in that they suggest Adams arrived on the front steps within a short time of the shooting, as opposed to six minutes or more afterwards.

Suspicious Omission #30                                                                            4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to ask Joe Molina about Vickie Adams even though it has reason to suspect he would confirm Adams' claim she was outside on the front steps within a few minutes of the shooting.

We now return to Adams' testimony.

Miss ADAMS: There was a motorcycle that was parked on the corner of Houston and Elm directly in front of the east end of the building, and I paused-there to listen to the report on the police radio, and they said that shots had been fired which apparently came either from the second floor or the fourth floor window, and so I panicked, as I was at the only open window on the fourth floor.
Mr. BELIN - Did they say second floor or second floor from the top?
Miss ADAMS - It said second floor.
So then I decided maybe I had better go back into the building, and going up the stairs---

Now, hold it right there. Adams' recollection of this broadcast has created a time-stamp by which we can approximate the time she returned to the building.

Let's turn, then, to the testimony of motorcycle patrolman E.D. Brewer.

Mr. BELIN. Handing you what has been marked Sawyer Deposition Exhibit A, which appears to be a transcript of a police log of the Dallas Police Department, you see this exhibit here?
Mr. BREWER. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Your call number that day was?
Mr. BREWER. 137.
Mr. BELIN. I notice here that the first time there appears Call No. 137, after 12:30 is at 12:38 p.m.
There is a call from 137 to 531. You want to read what it says there?
Mr. BREWER. "A witness says he saw 'em pull the weapon from the window of the second floor on the southeast comer of the Depository Building."
Mr. BELIN. Would that have been the second floor or the second floor from the top?
Mr. BREWER. I don't know.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember any witness talking to you at all?
Mr. BREWER. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what he said?
Mr. BREWER. He said that he had saw him pull a weapon from the window from that building.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what window he said?
Mr. BREWER. I don't remember specifically which window he indicated, but I immediately told that to the dispatcher and proceeded on up to the building.

(4-9-64 testimony of E.D. Brewer 10:00 A.M., 6H302-308)

It follows, then, that Vickie Adams was standing in front of the depository at 12:38.

Mr. BELIN - Now at this time when you went back into the building, were there any policemen standing in front of the building keeping people out?
Miss ADAMS - There was an officer on the stairs itself, and he was prohibiting people from entering the building, that is correct. But I told him I worked there.
Mr. BELIN - Did he let you come back in?
Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do ?
Miss ADAMS - Following that, I pushed the button for the passenger elevator, but the power had been cut off on the elevator, so I took the stairs to the second floor.
Mr. BELIN - You then went all the way back to the northwest corner of the building and took the same set of stairs you had previously taken to come down, or did you take the stairs by the passenger elevator?
Miss ADAMS - By the passenger elevator.
Mr. BELIN - Do those stairs go above floor 2?
Miss ADAMS - No, sir; they didn't.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do when you got to the second floor?
Miss ADAMS - I went into the Texas School Book Depository office and just listened for a few minutes to the people that were congregating there, and decided there wasn't anything interesting going on, and went out and walked around the hall to the freight elevator meaning the one on the northwest corner.
Mr. BELIN - Would it have been the west or the east? The one nearest the stairs or the other one?
Miss ADAMS - Yes; the one nearest the stairs.

Note: it seems apparent that Adams and her companion for most of this trip, Sandra Styles, have separated by this point. A 3-19-64 statement by Styles relates that upon heading round the front of the building, "I then re-entered the building through the front door, took the elevator to the fourth floor, and returned to my office." (22H676) One would have to presume, moreover, that this was the elevator by the front stairs--the one Adams would later testify was without power on the first floor.

Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do?
Miss ADAMS - I went into the elevator which was stopped on the second floor, with two men who were dressed in suit and hats, and I assumed they were plainclothesmen.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do then?
Miss ADAMS - I tried to get the elevator to go to the fourth floor, but it wasn't operating, so the gentlemen lifted the elevator gate and we went out and ran up the stairs to the fourth floor.
Mr. BELIN - Then you went back to the Scott Foresman Company offices?
Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir.
                                                                                                                   Mr. BELIN - Now trying to reconstruct your actions insofar as the time sequence, which we haven't done, what is your best estimate of the time between the time the shots were fired and the time you got back to the building? How much time elapsed? If you have any estimate. Maybe you don't have one.                                                                                                                                           Miss ADAMS - I would estimate not more than 5 minutes elapsed.

It should be noted that this was in keeping with the estimate she offered the FBI on 11-24-63, where she is purported to have said "that the time between her departure from the building and her return to the building was about four or five minutes." (CD5, p40)

Well, this places her exit from the building around 12:33. Or 12:34. And for this to have been accurate she'd have to have started down the stairs around 12:32 or 12:33, at a time when Baker and Truly were purported to be either just below or just above her location.

Mr. BELIN - Is there any particular reason why you make this estimation?
Miss ADAMS - Yes, sir; going down the stairs toward the back, I was running. I ran to the railroad tracks. I moved quickly to the front of the building, paused briefly to talk to someone, listened only to the report of the windows from which the shot supposedly was fired, and returned to the building.
Mr. BELIN - How long do you think it was between the time the shots were fired and the time you left the window to start toward the stairway?
Miss ADAMS - Between 15 and 30 seconds, estimated, approximately.
Mr. BELIN - How long do you think it was, or do you think it took you to get from the window to the top of the fourth floor stairs?
Miss ADAMS - I don't think I can answer that question accurately, because the time approximation, without a stopwatch, would be difficult.
Mr. BELIN - How long do you think it took you. to get from the window to the bottom of the stairs on the first floor?
Miss ADAMS - I would say no longer than a minute at the most.
Mr. BELIN - So you think that from the time you left the window on the fourth floor until the time you got to the stairs at the bottom of the first floor, was approximately 1 minute?
Miss ADAMS - Yes, approximately.
Mr. BELIN - As I understand your testimony previously, you saw neither Roy Truly nor any motorcycle police officer at any time?
Miss ADAMS - That's correct.
Mr. BELIN - You heard no one else running down the stairs?
Miss ADAMS - Correct.
Mr. BELIN - When you got to the first floor did you immediately proceed to this point where you say you encountered Mr. Shelley and Mr. Lovelady? Well, you showed me on a diagram of the first floor that there was a place which was south and somewhat east of the front part of the east elevator that you encountered Truly and Lovelady?
Miss ADAMS - I saw them there.
Mr. BELIN - I mean; you saw them?
Miss ADAMS - Yes.
Mr. BELIN - Would that have been a matter of seconds after you got to the bottom of the first floor?
Miss ADAMS - Definitely.
Mr. BELIN - Less than 30 seconds?
Miss ADAMS - Yes.

And then later...

Mr. BELIN - Is there any other information that you can think of that might be relevant to anything, connected with the assassination?
Miss ADAMS - At the time I left the building on the Houston Street dock, there was an officer standing about 2 yards from the curb, and about from the curb across the street from the Texas School Depository, and about 4 yards from the corner of Houston and Elm, and when we were running out the dock, going around the building, the officer was standing there, and he didn't encounter us or ask us what we were doing or where we were going, and I don't know if that is pertinent.

Well, there's another one. Belin should have looked into this. If he had maybe he'd have realized Adams was telling the truth.

Suspicious Omission #31                                                                         4-7-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to follow-up and establish the identity of a policeman observed by Vickie Adams just after the shooting, even though the identification of this policeman could help the Commission establish the veracity of Miss Adams claim she raced down the back stairs just after the shooting.

Mr. BELIN - No one stopped you from getting out of the building when you left?
Miss ADAMS - That's correct.
Mr. BELIN - That is helpful information. Is there any other information you have that could be relevant?
Miss ADAMS - There was a man that was standing on the corner of Houston and Elm asking questions there. He was dressed in a suit and a hat, and when I encountered Avery Davis going down, we asked who he was, because he was questioning people as if he were a police officer, and we noticed him take a colored boy away on a motorcycle, and this man was asking questions very efficaciously, and we said, "I guess he is maybe a reporter," and later on on television, there was a man that looked very similar to him, and he was identified as Ruby.

(4-7-64 2:15 P.M., 6H386-393)

Well, nobody's perfect. On this issue, Adams was obviously confused. The man driving the "colored boy" around on his motorcycle was Dallas Police Sgt. D.V. Harkness, and the man with the hat asking questions was Dallas Police Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer.

Mr. HARKNESS - I had started west on Main Street to the, I don't know what they call this area here.
Mr. BELIN - Plaza.
Mr. HARKNESS - On the plaza area with the crowd to observe the President as he went west on Elm Street.
Mr. BELIN - How many shots did you hear?
Mr. HARKNESS - Three.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do after you heard those noises? Did you know they were shots, by the way?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What did you do?
Mr. HARKNESS - When I saw the first shot and the President's car slow down to almost a stop----
Mr. BELIN - When you saw the first shot, what do you mean by that?
Mr. HARKNESS - When I heard the first shot and saw the President's car almost come to a stop and some of the agents piling off the car, I went back to the intersection to get my motorcycle.
Mr. BELIN - You were in the process of doing that when you heard the second and third shots?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Where did the shots sound like they came from?
Mr. HARKNESS - I couldn't tell. They were bouncing off the buildings down there. I couldn't tell.
Mr. BELIN - You mean the reverberations?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes.
Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do
Mr. HARKNESS - I went west on Main to observe the area between the railroad tracks and Industrial.
Mr. BELIN - Why did you go down there?
Mr. HARKNESS - By the way the people, when I went into this area, everybody was hitting the ground, and someone led us to indicate that the shots were coming into the cars.
Mr. BELIN - You mean from some point in front of the cars?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes.
Mr. BELIN - Do you know who that someone was?
Mr. HARKNESS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What did that person do that indicated that?
Mr. HARKNESS - I don't remember.
Mr. BELIN - Then what did you
Mr. HARKNESS - I went down to Industrial to see if I could see anyone fleeing that area.
Mr. BELIN - What did you see?
Mr. HARKNESS - I didn't see anyone, so I come back to the front of the Book Depository and went around to this fence that was across the street from Elm Street.
Mr. BELIN - What do you mean across the street from Elm Street?
Mr. HARKNESS - Again, I will have to--near the railroad track.
Mr. BELIN - Behind the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - No, sir; this area right here. See, Elm Street goes down.
Mr. BELIN - What you are really saying---
Mr. HARKNESS - This area.
Mr. BELIN - You are pointing to a place between what would be the extension of Elm that doesn't go down into the parkway but the actual extension of Elm?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes; to the plaza area.
Mr. BELIN - The plaza area?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What did you find there?
Mr. HARKNESS - I found a little colored boy, Amos Euins, who told me he saw the shots come from that building.
Mr. BELIN - Now you just picked out a little small book, one of those little pocket notebooks?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Or a notepad from your pocket here. Is that the original notation that you made?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - When did you make that notation?
Mr. HARKNESS - Immediately after the shooting.
Mr. BELIN - Is that your own record that you have kept in your possession since then?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir. I turned.
Mr. BELIN - You turned what?
Mr. HARKNESS - After I took his name and address and put this information on the radio, I then took him on the back of my three-wheel motorcycle and put him in Inspector Sawyer's car.
Mr. BELIN - Now you mentioned that you put something on the radio here, and I hand you here what has been marked as Sawyer Deposition Exhibit A. Before doing that, do you remember what call number you used, you were using on that day?
Mr. HARKNESS - I believe 260.
Mr. BELIN - Well, I notice here that there is a call with a notation at 12:36 p.m., 260 to 531. 531 is your office in the main station?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What does it say there on that transcript?
Mr. HARKNESS - "Witness says shots came from fifth floor, Texas Book Depository store at Houston and Elm. I have him with me now and we are sealing off the building."
Mr. BELIN - All right, that was at 12:36 p.m.?

Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Had the building been sealed off at that time?
Mr. HARKNESS - Not to my knowledge. There were several officers around it, but I don't know whether it had been sealed off or not.
Mr. BELIN - In the process of sealing off the building, what did you do?
Mr. HARKNESS - Asked for a squad.
Mr. BELIN - How long did it take you after that to have the back part sealed off?
Mr. HARKNESS - The guard was arriving by the time I got off my motorcycle. There was already additional squads en route.
Mr. BELIN - How soon after 12:36 p.m., would you say the building was sealed off?
Mr. HARKNESS - It was sealed off then because I was back there and two other men.
Mr. BELIN - You are talking about the back part of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - What about the front part of the building? When was that sealed off?
Mr. HARKNESS - Inspector Sawyer and two officers were there.
Mr. BELIN - By the time you got around to the front part of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir; by the time I put the witness in his car, I went immediately to the back.
Mr. BELIN - In other words, as I understand the sequence, you first went to the back of the building and had that sealed off first, or not?
Mr. HARKNESS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - You tell me what happened then.
Mr. HARKNESS - I had this witness with me. I didn't want to lose this witness.
Mr. BELIN - All right.
Mr. HARKNESS - So I took him to the car.
Mr. BELIN - To Inspector Sawyer's car?
Mr. HARKNESS - To Inspector Sawyer's car, which was right in front.
Mr. BELIN - Which was parked in front of the Texas School Book Depository?
Mr. HARKNESS - And left the witness there and went around to the back.
Mr. BELIN - On whose radio did you call? Did you call in before or after you left the witness in the car?
Mr. HARKNESS - I don't remember in exact sequence there, but it was in the process of going to the car there.

(4-9-64 Testimony of D.V. Harkness, 11:30 A.M. 6H308-315)

So...hmmm... Adams, in the company of Davis--who she and Styles encountered out in front of the building, (after Adams and Styles had already been to the railroad yards) saw Harkness questioning Euins, before putting him on his motorcycle and wheeling him over to Sawyer's car, and talking on the radio at 12:36. This puts Adams and Styles outside at 12:33 or so, and strongly supports that she raced directly down the stairs before Truly and Baker raced up the stairs.

And that's not all Harkness told us.

Mr. BELIN - Then what did you do?
Mr. HARKNESS - See, here is the thing. The radio traffic was heavy at the time, and it depended on how long you had to wait to get in.
Mr. BELIN - All right, in any event, after you made the call, what did you do on the radio? And after you got the man in the car?
Mr. HARKNESS - Well---
Mr. BELIN - The witness in the car, what did you do?
Mr. HARKNESS - Stayed at the back of the building until I was relieved by a squad.
Mr. BELIN - So you then went to the back of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes.
Mr. BELIN - When you were at Inspector Sawyer's car, did you see him there?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Was he at his car?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir; he was by his car, near his car.
Mr. BELIN - Do you know whether or not he had gone inside the building.
Mr. HARKNESS - No, sir.
Mr. BELIN - You mean you don't know?
Mr. HARKNESS - Don't know whether he had gone in or not. Actually, he was standing there in front taking information. All the information was being funneled to Inspector Sawyer.
Mr. BELIN - Did you tell him you had a witness?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - In his car?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - At that time, had the building been sealed off yet when you told him that?
Mr. HARKNESS - At that time?
Mr. BELIN - When you told Inspector Sawyer that you had a witness that said the shot came from the building, up to that particular moment, had the front part of the building been sealed off yet?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - It had already been sealed off?
Mr. HARKNESS - There was two officers with Inspector Sawyer at the front.
Mr. BELIN - Were they stopping people from going in and out?
Mr. HARKNESS - I don't know.

Mr. BELIN - You don't know?
Mr. HARKNESS - No, sir; I don't know that, because I didn't go up and talk to them.
Mr. BELIN - Did you notice whether or not people were coming in and out of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - No. I was interested in getting around to the back of the building to make sure it was.
Mr. BELIN - Then am I correct that your testimony is that you didn't notice whether people were coming in and out? Did you notice, or did you not notice whether people were coming out of the building at that time?
Mr. HARKNESS - Several officers at the area, and it was a lot of people around. I don't know whether they were going in or out or not. I couldn't say that.
Mr. BELIN - Then you went around to the back of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN - Was anyone around in the back when you got there?
Mr. HARKNESS - There were some Secret Service agents there. I didn't get them identified. They told me they were Secret Service.
Mr. BELIN - Then did you say around the back of the building?
Mr. HARKNESS - Yes; I stayed at the back until the squad got there.

(4-9-64 Testimony of D.V. Harkness, 11:30 A.M. 6H308-315)

No Secret Service agents were in the vicinity. This is curious, to say the least.

When one reads the testimony of witness James Romack, morever, what was curious becomes faintly eerie.

Mr. BELIN. Well, you heard the shots, and then what did you do?
Mr. ROMACK. Well, I knew something was wrong. I mean, I could sense that with in my own self.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. ROMACK. And I looked up and I felt kind of chilly looking down towards the which I am facing the Houston entrance, and I looked down toward where all the people were standing along, the motorcade was passing by, and just immediately after I heard the shots, I saw a policeman running north towards me. He was running to look to see if somebody was running out of the back of this building.
Mr. BELIN. What building?
Mr. ROMACK. Texas School Book Depository Building. And he didn't stay but just, oh, he was just there to check and he runs back. Well, sensing that something is wrong, I automatically take over watching the building for the man.

Mr. BELIN. What part of the building were you watching?
Mr. ROMACK. The back
Mr. BELIN. Could you see that back dock in the back part?
Mr. ROMACK. Well, I mean, they got it sealed off. I could see as much as anyone could see.
Mr. BELIN. Could you see---there are some stairs that go up to the back dock, aren't there?
Mr. ROMACK. Right here.
Mr. BELIN. You are pointing to a first floor plan of the Texas School Book Depository?
Mr. ROMACK. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Did you watch those stairs?
Mr. ROMACK. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. How long did you watch them after you saw the policeman leave?
Mr. ROMACK. Well, I watched them all the time until someone arrived, and the only time I did take my back off, turn my back to the building was Sam Pate with his KBOX news, he arrived before any of the police or anyone.
Mr. BELIN. Is that KBOX
Mr. ROMACK. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Is that a radio or television station?
Mr. ROMACK. It is a radio station.
Mr. BELIN. How long did you take your eyes off then?
Mr. ROMACK. He was driving up and they were having a little high---the city has ,a piece of wood that they use to stop traffic coming through, and I'd taken that so he could come through, drive his truck.
Mr. BELIN. How long did you leave your post?
Mr. ROMACK. I didn't leave. That was right there, even closer than what we were. But all I did was let that down for him, and then we
Mr. BELIN. Would that have taken less than a minute?
Mr. ROMACK. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Less than 30 seconds, do you know?
Mr. ROMACK. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. How long did you stay after that watching that back door?
Mr. ROMACK. Well, we were all there watching it then.
Mr. BELIN. How long a period of time?
Mr. ROMACK. Pardon?
Mr. BELIN. Did you see a policeman go up there?
Mr. ROMACK. I saw policemen up in there. I didn't see anyone come up the back. They came in the front, all---most of them.
Mr. BELIN. Did you see any employees walk up the back way?
Mr. ROMACK. There was two other gentlemen which I never said anything about, that taken over. They were FBI or something standing right here at the very entrance, and just stood there.
Mr. BELIN. You are pointing again to the back stairway that leads up from the street to the dock on the north side of the building?
Mr. ROMACK. Right.

Note: there were two different flights of stairs leading to this dock, one leading directly from the street on the east side of the dock, and one in the corner between the south and west sections of the dock.


Mr. BELIN. See anyone else?
Mr. ROMACK. No, sir; other than all the motorcycle officers and squad cars. They started coming in, I would say, in 4 minutes from the time that this happened. They were swarming the building, which naturally. I quit watching anything particular.
Mr. BELIN. In other words, about 4 minutes after the shots came you quit watching it? Would that be accurate, or not?
Mr. ROMACK. Well, I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 minutes, 4 or 5 minutes. That would probably be true. I stayed there, but I wasn't particularly watching.
Mr. BELIN. In other words, then as I understand your testimony, you said that from about the time of the shots until about 5 minutes after the shots, you watched the back door of the building?
Mr. ROMACK. Right.
Mr. BELIN. What is the fact as to whether or not you saw anyone leave the building?
Mr. ROMACK. They wasn't anyone left the building.
(4-8-64 testimony of James Romack 11:30, 6H277-284)

Now let's be clear about this. There were NO Secret Service or FBI agents at the Texas School Book Depository when Harkness and Romack thought they saw two of them standing by the back door. The first Secret Service agent to reach the depository was agent Forrest Sorrels. He testified before the Commission on 5-7-64 and said he arrived at the depository around 12:50. The first FBI agent to reach the school book depository, and the only one to go up to the sixth floor and look around, that has ever come forward anyhow, was Nat Pinkston. Pinkston filed no reports on his activities on 11-22. His presence on the sixth floor was acknowledged, however, by an FBI memo listing the names of the men who'd been on the sixth floor and had possibly handled the sniper's nest boxes, so their fingerprints could be checked against the unidentified prints on the boxes. And Pinkston admitted he was there in both an 8-5-94 Sixth Floor Museum Oral History, and a 7-19-07 interview conducted for the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (found online). What is surprising, however, is that Pinkston said that upon his arrival on the sixth floor, he saw Lt. J.C. Day handling the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle purportedly owned by Lee Harvey Oswald. This rifle, of course, wasn't even discovered until 1:22. So, yeah there were NO Secret Service agents or FBI agents standing outside the back of the depository when the two men presumed to be Secret Service agents or FBI agents were observed by Harkness and Romack.

And should one wonder if any other Secret Service agents were spotted where no Secret Service agents actually were...

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you turn to watch the motorcade? Did you turn to watch the President as the motorcade went by?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir; I glanced around and was watching the crowd to make sure they stayed back out of the way of the motorcade, and also to make sure none of the cars started up or anything. Then I heard the shots, and I immediately proceeded from this point.
Mr. LIEBELER. Point 4 on Commission Exhibit No. 354?
Mr. SMITH. I started up toward this Book Depository after I heard the shots, and I didn't know where the shots came from. I had no idea, because it was such a ricochet.
Mr. LIEBELER. An echo effect?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir; and this woman came up to me and she was just in hysterics. She told me, "They are shooting the President from the bushes." So I immediately proceeded up here.
Mr. LIEBELER. You proceeded up to an area immediately behind the concrete structure here that is described by Elm Street and the street that runs immediately in front of the Texas School Book Depository, is that right?
Mr. SMITH. I was checking all the bushes and I checked all the cars in the parking lot.
Mr. LIEBELER. There is a parking lot in behind this grassy area back from Elm Street toward the railroad tracks, and you went down to the parking lot and looked around?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir; I checked all the cars. I looked into all the cars and checked around the bushes. Of course, I wasn't alone. There was some deputy sheriff with me, and I believe one Secret Service man when I got there. I got to make this statement, too. I felt awfully silly, but after the shot and this woman, I pulled my pistol from my holster, and I thought, this is silly, I don't know who I am looking for, and I put it back. Just as I did, he showed me that he was a Secret Service agent.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you accost this man?
Mr. SMITH. Well, he saw me coming with my pistol and right away he showed me who he was.

Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember who it was?
Mr. SMITH. No, sir; I don't--because then we started checking the cars. In fact, I was checking the bushes, and I went through the cars, and I started over here in this particular section.

(The 7-23-64 testimony of Dallas Police Officer Joe Marshall Smith, 7H531-539)

We should be clear about this as well. Romack's claim no one came out the back is refuted by the fact Vickie Adams and Sandra Styles came out the back. Perhaps then Romack focused his attention on the steps leading down to the street and missed Adams and Styles as they scampered out the door in the photo above, which would have been the door closest to the train yards to which they were fleeing. Romack was, we mustn't forget, 100 yards or more away when he first started watching the back door. There was a lot of people running about. It seems likely then that he focused on just the one exit.

Still, who was this officer Romack saw run over to the back of the building?

After much study, I've concluded that he's Welcome... Dallas policeman Welcome Eugene Barnett, that is.

Mr. BARNETT - When the first shot was fired, I thought it was a firecracker, and I looked across the street. In fact, I scanned the whole area to see where people would jump or move or make some action.
Mr. LIEBELER - You couldn't tell specifically where it had come from?
Mr. BARNETT - Not the first one, but I thought it was a firecracker. But none of the people moved or took any action, whereas they would have if a firecracker went off. And when the second shot was fired, it sounded high. The sound of the second one seemed to me like it was coming from up high, and I looked up at the building and I saw nothing in the windows. In fact, I couldn't even see any windows at that time.
Mr. LIEBELER - In the Texas School Book Depository?
Mr. BARNETT - No, sir; because I was standing to close, was the reason. And I looked back again at the crowd, and the third shot was fired. And I looked up again, and I decided it had to be on top of that building. To me it is the only place the sound could be coming from.
Mr. LIEBELER - What did you do when you concluded that the shots were coming from that building?
Mr. BARNETT - I ran to the back of the building.
Mr. LIEBELER - Ran down Houston Street?
Mr. BARNETT - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - There is a door in the back of the Texas School Book Depository. Does it face on Houston or around the corner?
Mr. BARNETT - It is around the corner from Houston Street.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you go in the building?
Mr. BARNETT - No, sir; I didn't get close to it, because I was watching for a fire escape. If the man was on top, he would have to come down, and I was looking for a fire escape, and I didn't pay much attention to the door. I was still watching the top of the building, and so far as I could see, the fire escape on the east side was the only escape down.
Mr. LIEBELER - Since you surmised that the shots had come from the building, you looked up and you didn't see any windows open. You thought they had been fired from the top of the building?
Mr. BARNETT - That's right.
Mr. LIEBELER - So you ran around here on Houston Street immediately to the east of the Texas School Book Depository Building and watched the fire escape?
Mr. BARNETT - I went 20 foot past the building still on Houston, looking up. I could see the whole back of the building and also the east side of the building.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see anybody coming off the fire escape up there, or any movement on top of the building?
Mr. BARNETT - Not a thing.
Mr. LIEBELER - What did you do after you went around behind the building?
Mr. BARNETT - I went looked behind the building and I saw officers searching the railroad cars. I looked around in front towards the front of the building and I saw officers going west.
Mr. LIEBELER - Going west down the little street there in front of the School Book Depository Building?
Mr. BARNETT - Yes; but there was no sign they were going into the building or watching the building, so
I decided I was the only one watching the building. So since this was the only fire escape and there were officers down here watching the back door, I returned back around to the front to watch the front of the building and the fire escape. Then I decided maybe I had been wrong, so I saw the officers down here searching.
Mr. LIEBELER - You mean the officers went on down toward No. 5 on your Exhibit No. 354?
Mr. BARNETT - When I got to the front, some of the officers were coming back toward me, started back toward me.
Mr. LIEBELER - You were still back near the intersection of Elm and Houston?
Mr. BARNETT - Yes, sir; I was back where No. 8 is then. That was probably 2 1/2 minutes after the last shot was fired. About that time, my sergeant came up from this way, from the north of Houston Street and asked me to get the name of that building. I broke and ran to the front and got the name of it. There were people going in and out at that time. I ran back and told him the name of it, and about that time a construction worker ran from this southwest corner of the intersection up to me and said, "I was standing over there and saw the man in the window with the rifle." He and I and the sergeant all three broke and ran for the door. I kept the man there with me. The sergeant ran to the back to make sure it was covered. I kept the man there until they took him across the street to the courthouse. I was there until 3 o'clock, at the door there with one of the other officers, J.D. Smith.
Mr. LIEBELER - You didn't actually go into the building at the time?
Mr. BARNETT - No.
Mr. LIEBELER - How long do you think it was from the time the last shot was fired until the time you were at the front door keeping people from going in and out?
Mr. BARNETT - It was around 2 1/2 minutes. Maybe between 2 1/2 or 3 minutes. 


(7-23-64 testimony of Welcome Eugene Barnett, 3:50 P.M., 7H539-544)

Now I suspect you've guessed the location of number 8.

That's right. It is EXACTLY where Adams said she saw a policeman..when she and Styles first came out the back of the building.

Here is a crop from CE 354. The number 8 is at the northeast corner of Houston and Elm, across from the school book depository, where Adams claimed she saw an officer when she exited the building. (FWIW: i thought I was the first to realize Barnett was the officer observed by Adams, but subsequently discovered Tony Fratini had been making this argument since 2015, 2 years before I came to my "realization".)



So hmmm... Adams and Styles would have to have exited the rear of the building about 12:32...when no one was watching the back, in order to catch a glimpse of Barnett when he said he was at position 8. IF Baker and Truly reached the stairs just after them, moreover, then, whoever was descending in the elevator as they went up would have reached the bottom around 12:34, and been outside within a few seconds.

Did Eddie Piper see these men?

Is that why he was never asked about the elevator that came down as Truly and Baker went up?

Or was Piper somewhere else when the elevator descended?

While reading through the statements and testimony of the depository employees and the Dallas police, I came across two bits of testimony which lead me to believe Truly asked Piper to go out on the loading dock by the back door, to make sure no one ran out of the building, or got into the building, if they didn't look like they were with law enforcement. Let's recall that Truly asked Shelley to guard the front elevator, and that Dougherty ended up taking Shelley's place, if only for a minute. Well, it only follows that Truly would ask Piper, another long-time employee, to "guard" the back door.

The first to observe Piper in his "guard" location was Clyde Haygood, one of the motorcycle officers from the motorcade, who jumped off his bike and ran around the grassy knoll gathering witnesses before being told to go the depository. Here is his testimony.

Mr. HAYGOOD. Yes. My original call number is 142.
Mr. BELIN. I have here a Sawyer Deposition Exhibit A, which appears to be a transcript of a police radio log, and I notice that at 12:35 p.m., there is a call from 142 to 531. 531 is your station headquarters?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Right.
Mr. BELIN. Do you want to read what you said?
Mr. HAYGOOD. "I talked to a guy at the scene who says the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository Building with the Hertz Rent A Car sign on top."
Mr. BELIN. Is that what you said?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Approximately. I don't recall the exact words.
Mr. BELIN. There was a response to you. What does it say there?
Mr. HAYGOOD. "Get his name, address, phone number and all information you can."
Mr. BELIN. Did you do that?
Mr. HAYGOOD. No, I never.
Mr. BELIN. What happened?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Because I was told to go to the School Book Depository Building. I instructed the three different people to come to the front of the School Book Depository Building and remain there until they were talked to.
Mr. BELIN. You took these people that you had with you?
Mr. HAYGOOD. I did not take them, no.
Mr. BELIN. You instructed them to go there?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. In front of the School Book Depository?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And remain there until someone talked to them?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Right.
Mr. BELIN. You don't know the names of these people?
Mr. HAYGOOD. No, I don't.
Mr. BELIN. Do you know who talked to thereat all?
Mr. HAYGOOD. No; I don't.

Mr. HAYGOOD. At that time I went to the School Building at the rear location of it, which would be
Mr. BELIN. To the back door?
Mr. HAYGOOD. North side of it, yes.
Mr. BELIN. Where that door leads out there to the dock?
Mr. HAYGOOD. Yes; on the northeast corner there.
Mr. BELIN. What did you do then?
Mr. HAYGOOD. At that time I talked to the colored male that was standing at the door and asked him how long he had been there, and he said he had been there some 5 minutes or so. And I asked him if anyone had came out that door, and he said that they had not.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember his name?
Mr. HAYGOOD. No; I don't.

(4-9-64 testimony, 9:15 A.M. 6H296-302)

The second man to spot Piper in this location, for that matter, was Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels, who was a passenger in the lead car of the motorcade, who then raced back to the crime scene from Parkland Hospital.

Mr. STERN - Just a minute. How much time do you think elapsed from the time the shots were fired until the time you returned to the Book Depository?

Mr. SORRELS - I don't believe it could have been over about 20 minutes, because we went to the hospital just as fast as we possibly could, and I wasn't there very long. And we came back as fast as we could. Of course we didn't get back as fast as we went out there, because traffic was moving. The other way it was just cleared out to the Trade Mart. We had clear sailing from the time that the shots were fired until we got to the Trade Mart, because that was the route that we were going to go anyway. And that was cleared out. But coming back, of course, there was traffic. We did come back under lights and siren, as fast as we could. But there was traffic that slowed us up some.
Mr. STERN - So you estimate not more than 20 minutes?
Mr. SORRELS - I don't believe it could have been more than 20 or 25 minutes at the very most.
Mr. STERN - Then you arrived at the Book Depository Building, and did you see any police officers outside the building?
Mr. SORRELS - Yes; there were officers. I recall seeing officers. I could not say any specific one. Now, as I came into the back of the building, there was a colored man standing on the rear platform, a loading platform. And he was just standing there looking off into the distance. I don't think he knew what happened. And I said to him, "Did you see anyone run out the back?" He said, "No, sir." "Did you see anyone leave the back way?" "No, sir."
Mr. STERN - Did you get his name?
Mr. SORRELS - No, sir; I did not. I did not stop to do that, because I figured he was an employee of the building.
I went on the inside of the building and asked someone for the manager and they pointed to Mr. Truly. I identified myself to Mr. Truly.
Mr. STERN - Just a minute. Did you establish how long that man had been on the loading platform?
Mr. SORRELS - No, sir; I did not.
Mr. STERN - There was no policeman stationed at the loading platform when you came up?
Mr. SORRELS - I did not see one; no, sir.
Mr. STERN - And you were able to enter the building without identifying yourself?
Mr. SORRELS - Yes, sir.

(5-7-64 Testimony of Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels, 9:45 A.M., 7H332-360)

That this "employee" was in fact Eddie Piper is supported, for that matter, by Piper himself. When called back to testify on 5-14-64, in the session where Joseph Ball inexplicably forgot to ask Piper about Jack Dougherty, even though he'd written Wesley Liebeler a memo on 5-8-64 describing the importance of his being asked about Dougherty, Ball did remember (of course, of course) to ask Piper about Vickie Adams.

Mr. BALL. Did you ever see Vicki Adams come down the steps?
Mr. PIPER. No, sir; I don't know about that, if she said she did, it was after I got over here and walked over to the back door.
Mr. BALL. Did Vicki Adams come down before Truly and the man went up the steps?
Mr. PIPER. No, sir, no, sir; she didn't do it.

(The 5-14-64 Testimony of Eddie Piper, 7H388-390)

Well, we can ignore Piper's claim Adams (and Styles) didn't come down the steps before Truly (and "the man") raced up the steps, for two reasons. For one, it's clear this is coached testimony, and that Joe Ball has talked this over with Piper, and told him what he wants him to say. I mean, c'mon, Ball asks the same question twice in order to draw out a more definitive response from Piper. And c'mon, this transcript was but 2 pages long. It's pretty much "hello, please put on the record that Vickie Adams is lying, goodbye." For two, there's no way Piper would make such a definitive response unless he'd been coached into doing so. Let's remember that he was drinking coffee at the wrapping table in the middle of the floor when Truly (and "the man") came in the building, and his attention was immediately attracted to them.

So, yeah, we can ignore Piper's comment about Adams. But we cannot ignore his comment about "walking over to the back door."

Let's recall here that Jack Dougherty claimed that, after hearing a loud sound, he decided to go down to the first floor and find out what was going on. Let's recall that the only person he mentioned talking to at this time was Eddie Piper. Well, it's reasonable to assume from this that Piper was near the elevators at this time, and not in the front of the building by the window or sitting over with Troy West drinking coffee in the middle of the building. The back door was, as we have seen, close to the elevators.

While Sorrels claimed the man presumed to be Piper had told him he hadn't seen anyone go out the back way, for that matter, this cuts two ways. One of these ways is that it proves this man, purported to have been in position for five minutes before Haygood came over to the building, i.e. since around 12:33 or 12:34, didn't see Adams and Styles leave the building. If this man was Piper, as presumed, and he was asked to "guard" the rear door by Truly, as presumed, well, this suggests that Adams and Styles came down the stairs before Baker and Truly went up.

If Piper was "guarding" the back door from the moment Baker and Truly went upstairs, and told the truth to Sorrels, of course, it also suggests that the occupant or occupants of the elevator that descended as Baker and Truly ran up the stairs didn't walk out the back door. Perhaps, then, he or they went out the side door through which Shelley and Lovelady had entered the building. Or perhaps he or they walked out the front door and wasn't stopped. As we've seen, Inspector Sawyer testified that the front door wasn't officially blocked off before 12:37--12:40. Although he suspected someone leaving the building prior to that would have been stopped by the policemen outside, we know this isn't true. Let's not forget that Lee Harvey Oswald left the building without being stopped. Now realize that a person descending on the west elevator as Baker and Truly ran up the stairs and then heading out the front door would have been but seconds behind Oswald.

Now, some might object here, and argue "Well, no one saw anyone suspicious walk out the front door at this time!" But that misses the point. The point is this. No one saw Oswald walk out the front door at this time either.

And besides, what is "suspicious"? Perhaps the assassin or assassins had fake IDs, or, perhaps, even scarier, REAL ones, that allowed them to pass out the front door without harassment from the Dallas Police officers gathering outside.

When one reads the statements and testimony of everyone known to have been in the building after the shooting, moreover, one finds numerous references to cops and sheriff's deputies who were observed in the building shortly after the shooting who never filed a report or made a statement detailing their activities in the building. One also finds references to unnamed officers and deputies who may or may not have been among those whose names were mentioned, but who never filed a report (such as Inspector Sawyer's reference to two unnamed policeman who raced into the building at his side, and immediately started searching the building).

For all we know, one or more of these individuals was in the building BEFORE the shooting, was involved in the shooting, and then took advantage of the chaos by blending in with their fellow officers and pretending to look for the "real" shooter.

We just don't know enough about what happened in the building to say this didn't happen, or even that it probably didn't happen.

One of the things we do know, however, is that Vickie Adams, and Eddie Piper, were treated like hostile witnesses and unfairly maligned so that Joseph Ball and David Belin--not to mention their backers on the Warren Commission-- could feed the world a fantasy.

That this was so becomes crystal clear, moreover, when one realizes that Adams was not the only one who'd been on the back stairs when Oswald was purported to have been on them. And that these other witnesses were not even called before the Commission...

The first of these witnesses was Adams' companion on that day, Sandra Styles. Styles was not called before the Warren Commission to shed light on Adams' testimony, even though Adams had cited her in support, and Styles had offered her that support on 3-19-64 (almost three weeks before Adams' testimony) in the following statement:

“On November 22, 1963, I was in my office at a window facing Elm Street watching the Presidential motorcade at the time President Kennedy was shot. Also present at this window with me were Dorothy Garner, Elsie Dorman, and Victoria Adams...I never knew Lee Harvey Oswald, not even by sight as an employee at the building…I heard shots but thought at the time that they were fireworks. I was unaware of the place the shots came from. I saw people running and others lie down on the ground and realized something was happening but did not know exactly what was happening. Victoria Adams and I left the office at this time, went down the back stairs, and left the building at the back door. We then went around to the side of the building where we saw a policeman talking to someone whom I did not recognize. I was told by a policeman to go around to the front of the building and out of that area. I then re-entered the building through the front door, took the elevator to the fourth floor and returned to my office.” (The 3-19-64 statement of Sandra Styles to the FBI, 22H676)

After that, Styles pretty much disappeared. It appeared she might die an enigma. But then, for the 50th anniversary of the assassination, she stepped into the light and raised her voice to confirm that she and Adams (since passed) had in fact raced down the back stairs within a minute of the shooting...and did not see or hear Lee Harvey Oswald racing down the steps in front of them or behind them.

Suspicious Omission #32                                                                                            March 1964--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to call Sandra Styles to testify, even though she could confirm Vickie Adams' claim she raced down the back stairs just after the shooting and didn't see Oswald.

The second of these witnesses was Otis Williams. Williams made a number of statements suggesting he was on the back stairs within a few seconds of Adams and Styles--but did not see Oswald. So, of course, he was never called before the Warren Commission.

(11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.64) “He thought (the) blasts came from the location of the court house. He did not look up and immediately went back into the building into his office on the second floor.” (2-18-64 statement by Williams included in a report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3, folder 19, file 20 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "The president's car had gotten out of Mr. Williams' view when he heard the shots. Mr. Williams then came back into the building, and went to his office on the second floor. He then went to the fourth floor after hearing that the President had been shot. He used the stairway to go to the fourth floor, but stated that he did not see anyone on the stairway." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H683) “I thought these blasts or shots came from the direction of the viaduct which crosses Elm Street. I did not then know that President Kennedy had been shot. I remained momentarily on the steps and then returned inside the building.”

Williams was finally interviewed, however, by researcher Larry Sneed.

(No More Silence p.116-120, published 1998) (On the shots) “I thought it came from the underpass. I entered the building immediately, climbed up the stairs back where the warehouse elevator was which led to the sixth floor and went up to the fourth floor, which was the first one I could see from to see the underpass. After I got up there and saw that nothing was going on on the underpass, I turned around and came back down to the office and called my wife. Soon, while we were talking, people came in, officers rushed in, and I had to get off the phone... I could have gone down the steps while Oswald came down, but he came down on the elevator. Anyway, I walked down the steps but didn't see him or anything.”

It should be acknowledged here that Williams may have simply slipped through the cracks. His initial statements did not specify that he'd taken the back stairs to the second floor, and then the fourth. And, from what can be gathered, the Dallas police report on his activites, in which he specified going up to the fourth floor via the back stairs (the front stairs only go up to the second floor) was never forwarded to the commission.

Oh, wait, why the heck wasn't this report sent to the commission? On 2-17, and 2-18, 1964, members of the Dallas Police intelligence Division, along with several homicide detectives, interviewed a number of those who'd been working in the school book depository building on 11-22-63. They then prepared some of these interviews as statements from these witnesses... but somehow failed to forward all of these reports/statements regarding a crime they weren't officially investigating, to the commission appointed by the President of the United States to officially investigate this crime.

To be clear, when one looks through the contents of Box 3, File 19 of the Dallas Police JFK Archives, one will find roughly 20 different reports on TSBD building employee interviews conducted on 2-17-64 and 2-18-64. Some, but not all, of these reports were forwarded to the Warren Commission by the Dallas Police as part of Commission Document 950, a collection of Dallas Police documents forwarded to the Commission by Chief Jesse Curry on 5-19-64. The report on Williams is among those not included in CD 950.

I repeat, why the heck wasn't Williams' "statement" forwarded to the Commission. I mean, even if one assumes Williams took the elevator to the second floor, he acknowledged using the back stairs to go to the fourth floor. How soon was this after the shooting? Did he see Oswald on the stairs? Adams and Styles? Baker and Truly? Jarman, Norman, and Williams? The failure of the Dallas Police to alert the Commission to this interview/statement, or the failure of the Commission to put this interview/statement into its records, either way, has no good excuse.

So, yes, it's quite suspicious that the Dallas Police Dept.'s report on Williams never made it into the 26 volumes...particularly when you realize one of the other "missing" reports/statements belonged to Miss Vickie Adams... (Beyond Williams and Adams, the other "missing" reports--on Doris Burns, Ochus Campbell, Avery Davis, Mary Ann Hollies, Judy McCully, Joe Molina, Ruth Nelson, and Lupe Whitaker--appear to have been of little importance.)

In any event, here is Vickie Adams' statement", as prepared by Det. Jim Leavelle.

STATEMENT OF VICKIE ADAMS

I talked with Vickie Adams at 8:10 pm this date, February 17, 1964. The following statement is what she said happened November 22, 1963.

My name is Vickie Adams, 3909 Cole, Apt. D., no phone. My job is office service representative. I reported to work that day about 8:30 am, and I worked in that capacity until noon.

A friend of mine, Elsie Dorman, who lives in Oak Cliff and works in the office, wanted to take some moving pictures of the motorcade. I opened a third floor window about the third one from the front of the building. She took pictures of the motorcade. When the President got in front of us I heard someone call him, and he turned. That is when I heard the first shot. I thought it was a firecracker. Then the second shot. I saw the Secret Service man run to the back of the President's car. After the third shot, I went out the back door. I said, "I think someone has been shot." The elevator was not running and there was no one on the stairs. I went down to the first floor. I saw Mr. Shelly and another employee named Bill. The freight elevator had not moved, and I still did not see anyone on the stairs.

I ran out the back door of the depository and around to the front. I started down toward the railroad tracks when an officer stopped me and turned me back. I asked the officer if the President was shot, and he said he did not know. As I turned back I saw another employee Molena standing by the front of the building facing Elm Street. I stopped and talked with Avery
Davis another employee. I saw two men in street clothes, one was gesturing with his hands and asking questions. I asked Mr. Davis who he was. I later saw Jack Ruby on TV and thought it was the same man. No one had surrounded the building at that time. I went back into the building and the passenger elevator, but the power was off. I went to the back to the freight elevator. There were two plainclothes men on it. However, the power on it also was turned off. I went up the stairs to the fourth floor to my office. We were later told to leave.

This concludes Miss Adams' statement to me.

J. R. Leavelle

Suspicious Omission #33
5-19-64. The February 17-18 statements of Vickie Adams, who claimed she raced down the stairs just after the shooting, and Otis Williams, who claimed he raced up to the fourth floor shortly after the shooting (and who later claimed he'd taken the back stairs up to the second floor just after the shooting),
are inexplicably missing from a batch of interviews conducted by the Dallas Police that have been belatedly provided the Warren Commission.

Lillian Mooneyham is yet another witness whose statements were damaging to the Ball/Belin scenario of Oswald racing down the stairs, who was strangely (or not so strangely) never called to testify.
 
She watched the assassination and aftermath from an upper floor of the courthouse on the northeast corner of Main and Houston. She was interviewed by the FBI on 1-8-64. Here is a segment of the report on this interview.

"Mrs. MOONEYHAM and Mrs. CLARK left Judge KING's courtroom and went to the office of Judge Julien C. Hyer on the third floor of the Records Building, where they continued to observe the happenings from Judge HYER's window. From Judge HYER's window, Mrs. MOONEYHAM noted a number of bystander running toward the cement pavilion which borders Elm Street between the railroad viaduct and the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD). Mrs. MOONEYHAM estimated that it was about 4 to 5 minutes following the shots fired by the assassin that she looked up towards the sixth floor of the TSBD and observed the figure of a man standing in a sixth floor window behind some cardboard boxes. This man appeared to Mrs. MOONEYHAM to be looking out of the window, however, the man was not close up to the window but was standing slightly back from it, so that Mrs. MOONEYHAM could not make out his features. She stated that she could give no description of this individual except to say that she is sure it was a man she observed, because the figure had on trousers. She could not recall the color of the trousers."

She said she saw someone in the sniper's nest "4 to 5 minutes" following ths shots, which, of course, could really mean she saw someone a minute or so after the shots. In either case, this couldn't have been Oswald because in the commission's scenario Oswald was already on his way down the stairs.

Mooneyham should have been called to tesify, but was not called.

Suspicious Omission #34
                                                                                          March 1964--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to call Lillian Mooneyham to testify, even thought she told the FBI on 1-8-64 that she saw a man standing in the sniper's nest at a time when Oswald was presumed to have been running down the back stairs.

There is an even better witness who wasn't called. Her name was Dorothy Ann Garner.

In his 2011 book The Girl on the Stairs, Barry Ernest revealed that within the Warren Commission's files was a 6-4-64 letter from the office of U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders to Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin that read "Mr. Belin was questioning Miss Adams about whether or not she saw anyone as she was running down the stairs. Miss Garner, Miss Adams' supervisor, stated this morning that after Miss Adams went downstairs she (Miss Garner) saw Mr. Truly and the policeman come up."

Apparently, Sanders' assistant, Martha Stroud, who'd help co-ordinate the testimony of numerous witnesses, including Adams, in Sanders' office, had decided to drop by Vickie Adams' office in the depository building in order to get her to sign off on a transcript of her testimony, and had started up a conversation with Adams' boss, Miss Garner, who informed Ms. Stroud that she could vouch for the fact Adams and Styles ran down the stairs before Baker and Truly ran up the stairs, and that Oswald hadn't run down the stairs in between.

And yes, it's shocking. But all too true. Rankin, Ball, and Belin failed to follow up on Stroud's letter and ask Miss Garner a single question. Ms. Stroud's letter was put into Vickie Adams' Warren Commission file, and was never seen again until uncovered by Barry Ernest decades later.

Stroud's letter, like a paper plane thrown by a disobedient child, single-handedly collapsed the Warren Commission's house of cards. So they filed it away.

Suspicious Omission #35
6-4-64--September 1964. Vickie Adams' boss, Dorothy Ann Garner, lets it be known she'd be willing to testify in support of Adams' and Styles' claim they raced down the stairs after the shooting, and goes one step further by claiming she saw Baker and Truly run up the stairs after Adams and Styles ran down the stairs.  And is totally blown off by the Warren Commission.


The Suspicious Omissions in Chronological Order

From reviewing the suspicious omissions, and placing them in chronological order, one can get a sense of where the Commission went astray. It went astray because it wasn't willing to get it right. It seems clear, moreover, that, prior to taking any testimony, Messieurs Ball and Belin had already decided to push a scenario in which Oswald stayed upstairs during lunchtime and raced downstairs after the shooting, and Jack Dougherty rode the elevator from the fifth floor on down as Baker and Truly raced up the stairs to the fifth floor.

12-20-63. The FBI omits from a report on an interview with Eddie Piper that Piper feels certain he saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:00.

March '64--September '64. The Warren Commission fails to call Carolyn Arnold to testify, even though she told FBI investigators on 11-26-63 that she believed she saw Oswald on the first floor around 12:15.

March 1964--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to call Lillian Mooneyham to testify, even though she told the FBI on 1-8-64 that she saw a man standing in the sniper's nest at a time the Commission presumes Oswald to have been running down the back stairs.

March 1964--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to call Sandra Styles to testify, even though she could confirm Vickie Adams' claim she raced down the back stairs just after the shooting and didn't see Oswald.

3-24-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to follow up with witness Harold Norman and find out how his not playing dominoes at lunch made him think someone else was in the room--an inquiry that would have almost certainly led to Norman's saying he thought this someone else was Oswald.

3-24-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to point out during testimony or subsequently acknowledge that James Jarman and Harold Norman's claim they re-entered the building via the back door towards the end of their lunch time supported Oswald's claim he'd been sitting in a room with a view of the back door area during lunch time, and had observed Jarman and Norman.

3-25-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin fail to follow-up on Officer Marrion Baker's claim he saw two white men by the elevators when he came into the building with Oswald's boss Roy Truly, at a time when no white men besides Baker and Truly were known to be on the first floor.

4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Billy Lovelady any of a number of relevant questions regarding Eddie Piper and Jack Dougherty's actions after the shooting.

4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball also fails to ask Lovelady if he saw Roy Truly and Officer Baker by the elevators, and could be one of the white men observed by Baker.

4-7-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball asks William Shelley if he saw Roy Truly enter the depository building, but fails to ask him the more important question if he saw Truly and officer Baker by the elevators, and could be one of the white men observed by Baker.

4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission's diagrams for the first floor of the school book depository strangely fail to include the west loading dock, through which Shelley and Lovelady re-entered the building, which was presumably left unsecured for some time after the shooting.

4-7-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin fail to interview Gloria Calvery and re-enact the actions of William Shelley and Billy Lovelady after the shooting (in order to develop a timeline for Shelley and Lovelady's return to the building, which is essential to their assessing the credibility of Vickie Adams), even though Ball and Belin know from their testimony that Shelley and Lovelady's sense of time for the moments immediately following the shooting are at odds with the re-enactments Ball and Belin had already performed.

4-7-64--September 1964. Ball and Belin fail to consult newsreel footage which could help them establish the timing of Shelley and Lovelady's walk around the building, which could, in turn, help them establish the credibility of Vickie Adams' claim she ran down the back stairs just after the shooting, and saw Shelley and Lovelady on the first floor.

4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to ask Mrs. Avery Davis about Vickie Adams even though it has reason to suspect she would confirm Adams' claim she was outside on the front steps within a few minutes of the shooting.

4-7-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to ask Joe Molina about Vickie Adams even though it has reason to suspect he would confirm Adams' claim she was outside on the front steps within a few minutes of the shooting.

4-7-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to follow-up and establish the identity of a policeman observed by Vickie Adams just after the shooting, even though the identification of this policeman could help the Commission establish the veracity of Miss Adams' claim she raced down the back stairs just after the shooting, and didn't see Oswald.

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to follow-up and clarify the record when Charles Givens testifies to leaving his coat in the domino room upon his arrival at work, but then going back up to the sixth floor to get his jacket after everyone else had left for lunch--a brand new addition to Givens' story that allowed Belin and the Commission to place Oswald in the proximity of the sniper's nest shortly before the shooting.

4-8-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to point out in testimony or subsequently acknowledge that Givens' new story was in conflict with both his previous recollections, and that of his co-workers.

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin goes against the precedent established during the testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams and others and allows Charles Givens to dispute the claims of an FBI report--without putting the source of these claims on the record.

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Eddie Piper where on the first floor he saw Oswald at 12:00, and thereby conceals from the Commission and public that Piper felt certain he saw Oswald just where Oswald said he was during the lunch period--in the domino room.

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Eddie Piper about his discussion with Jack Dougherty, something that was desperately needed for the establishment of Dougherty as the passenger coming down in the west elevator after the shooting.

4-8-64. Warren Commission Attorney Joseph Ball fails to ask Jack Dougherty if he called the west elevator to the first floor or if it was on the ground floor waiting for him, something that Dougherty may not have remembered, but something that was of vital importance and needed to be asked.

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin allows Dallas Police Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer to testify as though Charles Givens' new-found story (about seeing Oswald near the sniper's nest after everyone else had left the sixth floor) had been common knowledge on 11-22-63, when Belin knew this wasn't true.

4-8-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to follow-up with Givens' 11-22-63 lunch partner, Edward Shields, to see if he will confirm Givens' claim he saw Oswald on the sixth floor around 11:55.

4-8-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney David Belin, the man behind a number of re-enactments, fails to re-enact Givens' purported sighting of Oswald, to see if Givens could actually have seen Oswald where he said he saw him.

4-8-64--September 1964. The Warren Commission fails to test whether or not a rifle shot from the sixth floor sniper's nest window could have been heard by Jack Dougherty, standing near the opposite end of the building, as a sound coming from above him.

4-8-64--September 1964. Ball, Belin, and the Warren Commission fail to explore the possibility Dougherty went upstairs to work after the shooting, after someone else had taken the west elevator to the ground floor.

4-8-64--September 1964. Attorneys Joseph Ball and David Belin and the Warren Commission as a whole fail to acknowledge that their conclusion Jack Dougherty rode the west elevator down to the first floor as Baker and Truly ran upstairs places Dougherty on the fifth floor by the west elevator as Oswald crossed an open stretch of floor before him.

5-13-64. Dallas Police Detective Jack Revill testifies in support of Givens' new-found story, and offers Dallas Police Detective V. J. Brian as a witness to his discussion with Givens, only to have Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin fail to ask Brian about Givens in testimony taken just after Revill dropped his smelly surprise.

5-14-64--September 1964. Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball not only fails to ask Eddie Piper questions about Jack Dougherty he'd admitted in a memo needed to be asked, but uses the failure of Piper to provide answers to these never asked questions as a means of discrediting him. 

5-19-64. The February 17-18 statements of Vickie Adams, who claimed she raced down the stairs just after the shooting, and Otis Williams, who claimed he raced up to the fourth floor shortly after the shooting (and who later claimed he'd taken the back stairs up to the second floor just after the shooting), are inexplicably missing from a batch of interviews conducted by the Dallas Police that have been belatedly provided the Warren Commission.

6-4-64--September 1964. Vickie Adams' boss, Dorothy Ann Garner, lets it be known she'd be willing to testify in support of Adams' and Styles' claim they raced down the stairs after the shooting, and goes one step further by claiming she saw Baker and Truly run up the stairs after Adams and Styles ran down the stairs.  And is totally blown off by the Warren Commission...