Chapter 8: Pieces of Work
Chapter 8: Pieces of Work
a look at the witnesses in front of and inside the Texas School Book Depository
Down in Front
We now finally take a look at the statements of those standing directly in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building, many of them Oswald’s co-workers. While reading these statements, one should keep in mind the words of Harvard Psychophysics Professor David Green, after studying the way shots were heard in Dealey Plaza for the HSCA. He said “there are certain locations that are best for observing certain shots and in the general region of the book depository, right on the street beneath it, in our opinion it was extremely easy to tell it came from the book. There was a massive sound to the right and rear that sort of crawled down the building, presumably due to scatter on the regular surface of the building and it was quite evident.”
Joyce Stansbury (3-24-64 statement to the FBI, 22H674) “I am a female caucasian, born November 14, 1920...During November 1963, I was employed for American Book Company having offices on the third floor of the Texas School Book Depository...On November 22, 1963, I recall I left the Depository building at approximately 12:15 PM and took up a position on the curbside on the north side of Elm Street leading into the triple viaduct about thirty feet west of the corner. I recall that I left my office alone to view the Presidential motorcade and although I know there were other employees of the depository nearby, I am unable to recall specifically who was at my elbow…I don’t recall having ever observed Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: another statement in which the witness said as little as possible. Too vague.
Danny Garcia Arce (11-22-63 affidavit to Dallas County, CD 87 p286) "At iunch time at 12:00 noon, I went down on the street to see the parade and get a look at the president. I was standing on the corner of Elm and Houston, and three shots ring out. I didn't know what had happened until I heard a woman scream out that the President had been shot." (11-22-63 signed statement to the FBI, CD205 p7) After his 10:00 break) 'I returned to my work on the sixth floor where I remained until about 11:50 AM when I along with other employees went down to the first floor and then outside the building...we expected the President of the United States...to pass by the building. As I stood on a corner, across the street from 411 Elm Street, I observed a large automobile pass, the President of the United States and his wife seated on his left, being on the back seat. The President’s automobile had passed and was a short way down Elm Street towards the underpass when I heard something like a gunshot and then a second and third shot close together.” (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p781) "Arce was working on the sixth floor with the others at the time that Oswald called to them to send one elevator back up. Arce was standing on the corner in front of the building at the time of the assassination." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H634) “when president John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing on the grassy area directly in front of the Depository Building approximately thirty feet from the President’s car. However I could not see the car when the shots rang out. To the best of my knowledge there were three shots and they came from the direction of the railroad tracks.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H365-367) “I seen him when he turned the corner and when he went down that underpass thing and I heard them shots and I couldn’t see anything." (When asked how many shots he heard) "Three." (When asked the direction of the sound) "I thought they came from the railroad tracks to the west of the Texas School Book Depository." (When asked where he was standing) "I was directly in front, but then I walked a few steps down to the west side…there’s a little sidewalk right across the street and there’s some grass and things up there and that’s where I was at…I guess you could say I was in front of the building but not directly in front of it.” (When asked again from where he thought the shots were fired) "From the tracks on the west deal." (When asked how many shots he heard) "Three." (When asked if he looked back at the building) "No, I didn't think they came from there. I just looked directly to the railroad tracks and all the people started running up there and I just ran along with them." (8-8-68 report on a phone call with Tom Bethel and Al Oser, investigators working on behalf New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison) "Arce stated...that he heard three shots and they all sounded the same, and they sounded as though they had come from the railroad tracks to the west of the Book Depository." (4-13-78 Arce-penned memo found within the HSCA's files) "The incident surrounding the elevator situation isn't very clear. What I recall is the following: before lunch period we went down on the East end elevator. At that time L. Oswald asked to ride with us. He came down in the elevator with us and we let him off on the 4th or 5th. Can't remember." (July-August 1988 interview recounted in American History Illustrated, November 1988) "I was right on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository when the motorcade came along. Just after the President's car passed, I heard a shot. Then two more shots. It seemed to me the shots came from the grassy knoll. I went over there. A lot of people ran there, I wanted to know who was doing the shooting. When Oswald was arrested, I didn't see how he could be the right man. I thought the police made a mistake. Oswald could have been a perfect guy to hang this on." Analysis: Arce’s words indicate that Kennedy had just passed his position, and that the last two shots were close together. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Note that I have highlighted Arce's disparate descriptions of where he was standing. It's hard to explain for someone who's never been there, but the are two streets out in front of the school book depository, both named Elm. Coming from the east, Elm Street crosses Houston Street and heads straight across the front of the school book depository. But that leads to a parking lot. In reality, then, the bulk of the traffic traveling west along Elm veers to the left as it crosses Houston, and heads down an almost s-shaped road to the underpass. That is the Elm on which Kennedy was traveling when shot, Well, this means there is a peninsula, so to speak, between the two Elms, the one heading to the parking lot and the one heading to the underpass. Well, Arce has chosen to call the far east edge of this peninsula the corner of Elm and Houston, when it was not--as it was actually a bit west of Houston. In any event, it is fortunate that Arce can be made out in the background of Altgens photo number 6, just where he said he was--at the end of the row of spectators along Elm--the one that heads down to the underpass.
Here he is, at the left edge of the LBJ back-up car... (None of the other witnesses in this image, to my knowledge, have been identified.)
Now, to be clear, the rest of the witnesses we'll be looking at in this chapter were in the school book depository, standing on the steps in front of the depository, or on Elm Street in front of the depository--and by Elm Street I mean the one that heads to the parking lot.
Alright, I know this is freaking confusing. So here's an image I've created using the Secret Service's 12-5-63 plat of Dealey Plaza. I hope this helps. (On second glance, I realize that this is also confusing, as it fails to show that a number of witnesses were in the street arching from Arce's presumed location across the front of the depository building and even across Houston.)
We now enter Zambanini country. Researcher Linda Giovanna Zambanini studied the assassination films, such as those shown below, and was able to identify a number of witnesses. And for that the online research community owes her a debt. (Bravo, Linda!)
Here is a screen grab from the Tina Towner film capturing JFK's ride past the front steps of the school book depository. The witnesses to be discussed are observed over the trunk of the limousine. Note the three women in orange (actually red). Now note that the third of these women, as Towner pans from right to left, is wearing a white blouse and an orange (actually red) skirt. To her left (our right) is woman all in red. To her right (our left) is a woman in a light brown coat. The appearance of these three women is the key to matching up the next few images.
Now here is a photo taken by Hugh Betzner from in back of Tina Towner as she took her film. In this image, the white-bloused woman and the brown-coated woman can be seen over the left shoulder of Jim Towner, Tina Towner's father, who stands to Tina's left.
Now here's a crop from a frame from the Bell film showing JFK's limo passing directly in front of all these fine folks (along with those further to the east). We've looked at this before to note the fine folks on the wall--from L to R, Amos Euins, Howard Brennan, the woman with Toni Glover (presumably her mother), and Toni Glover, the girl in blue. Now note the fine folks across the street. The woman all in red, the white-bloused woman, and the woman in the brown coat are just to the left of Howard Brennan's hardhat.
Now, if we could only get a better look at these women, right?
Well, we can. Linda Zambanini studied the news footage of cameraman Dave Wiegman, and compared the faces of the women standing in the street out in front of the the depository to the faces of known depository employees, using yearbook photos, etc.
And she got some hits. In time, she was able to identify five of the the eight women above. (While she was unable to identify the women marked with numbers 3, 6, and 8, I have placed Judy Johnson, Betty Dragoo and Bonnie Richey as numbers 3, 6, and 8, respectively.)
From left to right, 1 to 8...
Lupe Whitaker (aka Lucy Whitaker) worked on the third floor of the depository building. (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 19 of the Dallas JFK Archive) (She) "got back to the steps of the building on the Elm Street side. This was the Texas School Book Depository Building. This was about 12:30 PM. She saw the motorcade pass and then heard two shots...She did not recall ever having seen Oswald...She stated the shots sounded like they came from the west of the building but they did sound as if they came from above." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H681) "I am 24 years of age, born March 28, 1939...I am a white female and am employed as a stenographer at the MacMillan Company...At the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing on Elm Street directly south of the main entrance of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was with Patricia Ann Lawrence...I left the Texas School Book Depository between 2:00 PM and 2:30 PM in the afternoon of November 22, 1963.” Analysis: only heard two shots.
Patricia Lawrence (11-24-63 FBI Report, 22H841): “When the motorcade passed she stated she was looking at Mrs. Kennedy who was looking to the other side of the car. The President was looking in her direction and she had waved. She heard the shot fired as the president was waving. Thereafter she heard two additional shots, shots which seemed to have come from right over her head.” (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.48) "Subject also stated that she was standing on the front row of persons on Elm Street at the time of the assassination."(2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.57) "Subject heard the three shots that were fired but could not tell where they came from."(3-20-64 statement to FBI, 22H660) “I am a caucasian female born March 8, 1943...I am a stenographer for the MacMillan Company...at approximately 12:15 P.M...I took up a position along the parade route on Elm Street about seven feet west of Houston Street and viewed the motorcade in company with Lucy Whitaker...I recall that when the car in which the president was riding passed my position I was looking at Mrs. Kennedy who was looking to the other side of the car. President Kennedy was looking in my direction and I waved. A few seconds following this I heard a shot and following this shot two more shots. I thought the shots had come from right over my head, but I looked up and did not see anyone shooting...I left my office at about 2:00 PM on November 22, 1963, went downstairs and after being checked out by the police, I left the building at about 2:15 PM.” (11-20-11 appearance in JFK: The Lost Bullet under the name Patricia Ann Donaldson) (She is near the Highway 80 sign on the north side of Elm looking out at a limousine some 40-50 feet past her. This appears to be the location of the limo around Z-150 to Z-160.) "This is approximately where - I - the car was in this position when I heard the first shot. And when I heard the first shot fired, I turned to my left and looked up at the building. I knew it came from over my head and from that building. And then I turned back around and there was two shots rapidly and I saw that – that Kennedy was hit." (When asked if the second two shots were closer together than shots one and two) "Oh, yes. The first shot, and there was a a pause, and then there was Bam-Bam.” Analysis: as Lawrence reports that Kennedy had passed her position and was waving at the time of the first shot, she is probably talking about a shot circa Z-190. Her grouping the last two shots together is at the same time indicative of what is now clearly the dominant scenario. Although her appearance in JFK: The Lost Bullet suggests the first shot was fired before Z-190, she said this was an approximate. As this approximate failed to correlate with a moment in which Kennedy was waving, moreover, we can assume it was incorrect. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Now, ironically, these two women were photographed a second time on 11-22-63, and in almost the exact same location... Here, in a photo by newsman William Allen taken around 2:15, are, I believe, (from L to R, down to up) an unidentified woman--presumably Mary Sue Dickerson, who was 32 at the time and worked on the third floor with the other women in the photo--Patricia Lawrence, and Lucy Whitaker. The woman back behind them in the shadows has been identified as Madie Reese, who worked with Lawrence and Whitaker.
The next six women worked for the Texas School Book Depository. (To be clear, for those not immersed int this stuff, the building was called the Texas School Book Depository Building, or Texas School Book Depository, or even TSBD, for short. It housed the Texas School Book Depository, a privately-owned school book distributor. But it also housed offices for a number of outside publishing companies. These next six employees, then, worked for the TSBD, the same company Oswald worked for, and not for any of the outside publishing companies.)
Judy Johnson (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H656) “I am of the caucasian race, 20 years of age...On November 22, 1963, I left my office...about 12:15 P.M. to go outside to watch the President's motorcade...I was with Miss Jeannie Holt…and Miss Stella Jacob...We walked to the southwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets and were joined by Mrs. Bonnie Richey...Mrs. Carolyn Arnold...and Mrs. Betty Dragoo...I was standing at this point on the sidewalk near the edge of Elm Street at the time President John F Kennedy was shot. I heard three explosions which sounded to me like firecrackers. I did not immediately recognize these sounds as gun shots...I do not know Oswald and do not recall ever having seen him.” Analysis: another employee working in the school book depository who didn’t know Oswald from Adam. Too vague.
Mrs. Donald Baker (maiden name Virgie Rackley) was the brown-coated woman in the images above. (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, CD5 p.66-67) “She was standing across the street immediately in front of the building…She observed President Kennedy’s car pass…and almost immediately thereafter heard three explosions spaced at intervals which she at first thought were firecrackers. It sounded as though these sounds were coming from the direction of the Triple Underpass and looking in that direction after the first shot she saw something bounce from the roadway in front of the Presidential automobile and now presumes it was a bullet bouncing off the pavement.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H635) “I am a caucasian female born on September 7, 1945...At approximately 12:15 P.M. on November 22, 1963, I left the...building to watch the presidential motorcade...I was accompanied by Betty Dragoo, Carolyn Arnold, Judy Johnson and Bonnie Richey...I recall that moments after the Presidential car passed I heard three loud reports, which I first thought to be a prankster throwing firecrackers.” (7-22-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H507-515) “well, after he passed us, then we heard a noise and I thought it was firecrackers, because I saw a shot or something hit the pavement…I thought there were some boys standing down there where he was—where the President’s car was…close to the underpass.” (When asked if she could see the Stemmons Freeway Sign) “No, I couldn’t see the sign because it was angled—we were stepping out into the street then and it was approximately along in here, I presume, the first sign.” (When asked if it was near the first sign) “As I can remember, it was…I thought it was a firecracker. It looked just like you could see the sparks from it and I just thought it was a firecracker and I was thinking that somebody was fixing to get in a lot of trouble and we thought the kids or whoever threw it were down below or standing near the underpass or back up here by the sign” (When asked if it would have been near the underpass or the sign) “It was near the signs” (When asked how close to the opposite curb it was) “It was approximately in the middle of the lane” (When asked where it hit compared to the car) “I thought it was—well—behind it.” (When asked how many shots she heard) “three” (When asked where she believed they came from) “it sounded like it was coming from—there was a railroad track…so I guess it would be by the underpass.” Analysis: Mrs. Baker is another one of those witnesses that LPM theorists and conspiracy theorists alike love to use to demonstrate that there was a first shot miss. A close look at her statements should lead one to question this, however. In the FBI report she merely mentioned seeing something hit the street in front of the limousine. When re-questioned in March, and given a statement to sign, she doesn’t mention a bullet striking the street, only hearing firecrackers. It isn’t until July—eight months after the shooting, that she begins to state she saw sparks or something hit the street behind the limousine. Since she thought the people throwing the firecrackers were in front of the limo, moreover, it's possible she didn't mean behind the limousine on the street, but behind the limousine from her perspective, i.e., in front of the limousine, as she'd previously told the FBI. In any event, even if she saw a first shot miss, and a bullet strike the street behind the limousine, her statements do not support the LPM scenario. She placed the limo down near the first sign—the Thornton Freeway sign--when the first shot rang out. This is past Kennedy's location at frame 160. Kennedy, in fact, passed the sign around Z-207. She also said the bullet or whatever struck the middle of the lane beside the car, behind the car, and that she thought the shots were coming from the underpass. This would indicate that the sparks or whatever she saw exploded along the asphalt in the opposite direction of a shot coming from the sniper’s nest, right in front of Officers Martin and Hargis. Well, why didn’t they or anyone else nearby see this? Not coincidentally, Mrs. Baker was asked during her testimony to put a mark on a photo of Dealey Plaza to indicate where she saw these "sparks" hit the street. This is exhibit 354. Not surprisingly, her mark is a good 70 feet or so further down the road than Kennedy at frame 160. This undoubtedly suggests she did not see the first shot miss proposed by far too many. First shot hit 190-224.
Mrs. Robert A. Reid (aka Jeraldean Reid) (11-22-63 Affidavit to Dallas County, 24H223) “I was standing on the front steps of the building, as the parade drew near I walked closer to the street…Just after the President passed by I heard three shots. The first thing I thought of was someone was shooting at the President. I remarked to Mr. Campbell who was standing nearby that I thought the shots had come from our building. But I heard someone else say no, I think it was farther down the street. I went back into our building...” (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p.27) “She had observed the Presidential motorcade proceed down Elm Street from a position in front of the Texas School Book Depository, and had heard three shots which she later determined came from the above building…The only thing she noted was that the three shots had come from above somewhere.” (12-4-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service, CD87 p798) "As the motorcade drove by I heard what sounded like three shots. I thought at the time that the shots had come from the School Book Depository Building." (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p785) "Mrs. Reid was standing on the street in front of the building and she heard three shots fired. She thought the shots had come from within the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p. 78) "I was born on August 24, 1912...and am a member of the white race...When President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mr. O.V. Campbell and Mr. Roy Truly." (3-25-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H270-281) (When asked if she was standing directly in front of the main entrance to the depository building at th etime of the shots) "That is correct." (When describing the shots) "I was naturally watching for the car as the President came by. I looked at him and I was very anxious to see Mrs. Kennedy. I looked at her and I was going to see how she was dressed and she was dressed very attractive and she put up her hand to her hat and was holding it on, the wind was blowing a little bit and then went on right on by me and that is the last as far as the parade, I mean as far as they were concerned. I did see Johnson, and that was it. I can't even tell you any more about the parade because after the shots I didn't know any part about that...I heard three shots...And I turned to Mr. Campbell and I said, "Oh, my goodness, I am afraid those came from our building," because it seemed like they came just so directly over my head, and then I looked up in the windows, and saw three colored boys up there, I only recognized one because I didn't know the rest of them so well...James Jarman." Analysis: Mrs. Reid’s statements are consistent with the LPM scenario as well as many others. If one is to interpret her original Affidavit's “just after” as implying "within a second or two," her statements are more consistent with a shot at frame 160 than at 190. Still, her testimony, in which she acknowledges seeing Vice-President Johnson when the shots were fired, suggests the opposite. At frame 160, we should recall, Johnson was still in the intersection. On the other hand, she could have been looking forward into the motorcade when looking at Johnson, only to turn away at the first shot. As she walked back into the school book depository building just after the shots and went back to work, moreover, and told Lee Harvey Oswald that "someone has shot the president," it seems highly unlikely she'd thought the shots had come from the building all along, as purported in her statements to the Secret Service and Warren Commission. Possible LPM scenario. Possible first shot 190.
Betty Dragoo is presumed to be the white-bloused woman in the Wiegman frame above. (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H645) “I am a white female, age 27...On November 22, 1963...I left my office...to watch the motorcade...I was with Mrs. Bonnie Richey...Mrs. Carolyn Arnold....Mrs. Virgie R. Baker...and Miss Judy Johnson, all employees of the Texas School Book Depository. I walked just across the street in front of the building entrance. I was standing at this point when President John F. Kennedy was shot. Analysis: too vague.
Carolyn Arnold is presumed to be the woman in red, standing on the right of white-bloused woman in the images above. (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p41) "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 hall way 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 felt it was and believed the time to be a few minutes before 12:15 P.M. She stated thereafter she viewed the presidential motorcade and heard the shots that were fired at the President; however, she could furnish no information of value as to the individual firing the shots or any other information concerning Oswald, whom she stated she did not know and had merely seen him working in the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H635) “I am 20 years of age...I am a white female...at the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository. I was with Mr. O.V. Campbell...Mrs. L.C. (Bonnie) Richey....Mrs. Barney (Betty) Dragoo...Mrs. Don (Virgie) Baker...and Miss Judy Johnson...I left the Texas School Book Depository at about 12:25 P.M. November 22, 1963, and never returned to this building on that date.” (3-31-64 radiogram from FBI HQ to Dallas FBI, FBIHQ file 62-109060, sec 55 p42) "Re Bureau airtel, March sixteen, last and your airtels March twenty-five and twenty-eight, last relating for commission's request for signed statements from individuals known to have been in Texas School Book Depository on November twenty-two, nineteen sixty-three. Before statements can be disseminated to the commission, following corrections necessary: statement of Mrs R.E. "Carolyn" Arnold, paragraph six, line two, time indicated as 12:25 A.M. should be "P.M." If this is typo bureau will handle." (11-19-78 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Mrs. Carolyn Johnson...told The News recently that she saw Oswald on the second floor as she was on her way out of the depository at about 12:25 p.m. to watch the motorcade. Five minutes later, the shots rang out. Mrs. Johnson said she never read the FBI reports of two interviews with her, but she was surprised to learn there was no mention of her sighting Oswald in the lunchroom." (11-26-78 article in the Dallas Morning News referencing the 11-19-78 article written the week before) (On what Oswald was doing in the lunchroom) "'I do not recall that he (Oswald) was doing anything,' Mrs. Johnson said. 'I just recall that he was sitting there...in one of the booth seats on the right hand side as you go in. He was alone as usual and appeared to be having lunch. I did not speak to him but recognized him clearly.'" (November, 1978 interview with Anthony Summers published in Conspiracy, 1980--the second part of this quote comes from the 11-26-78 article published in the Dallas Morning News) "About a quarter of an hour before the assassination...about 12:15, it may have been later... I went into the lunchroom on the second floor for a moment...Oswald was sitting in one of the booth seats on the right-hand side of the room as you go in. He was alone as usual and appeared to be having lunch. I did not speak to him but I recognized him clearly." Analysis: As Mrs. Arnold claimed to have seen Oswald on the lower floors of the depository building at a time when he was supposedly upstairs, her words are quite controversial. So why wasn't she called to testify before the Warren Commission? Just as important...since the 1978 interview in which she claimed the FBI misrepresented her 1963 statements was published during the HSCA's lifetime (The 3-31 FBI radiogram confirms that her 3-18 statement was changed by the FBI before it was forwarded to the commission), why didn't they talk to her? Too vague.
Now, let's continue east, starting with the woman to the east of the woman in red.
Bonnie Richey (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H671) “I am 20 years of age...I am a white female...At the time President Kennedy was shot I was standing in the roadway directly south of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was with Mr. O.V. Campbell...Mrs. Carolyn Arnold...Mrs. Virgie Baker...Mrs. Betty Dragoo...and Miss Judy Johnson.” Analysis: too vague.
Ochus Campbell (11-24-63 FBI report, 22H845) “he and several other associates were together stationed about 30 feet in front of this building facing away from the building observing the passing motorcade containing President Kennedy. At this time, he heard a loud report, which at first he considered to be a firecracker or some such object set off by a crank and believed the noise came away from his building…After hearing two more such reports, he realized that they must have been rifle shots and since President Kennedy’s car had advanced just out of his vision, he went forward a few feet to observe this automobile, inasmuch as he feared that the rifle shots were in connection with an attempt upon President Kennedy’s life. He then observed the car bearing President Kennedy to slow down, a near stop, and a motorcycle policeman rushed up. Immediately, following this, he observed the car rush away from the scene.” (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p336) "Mr. Campbell advised he had viewed the Presidential Motorcade and subsequently heard the shots being fired from a point which he thought was near the railroad tracks located over the viaduct on Elm Street." (2-17-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 4 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "We then walked across Elm Street and stood on the curb near the parade as it turned from Houston Street down under the underpass. I heard the shots, it sounded like they came from the knoll near the railroad tracks. I thought it was fire crackers." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H638) “Mr. Truly and I decided to view the motorcade and took up a position next to the curb on Elm Street adjacent to the street signal light...I recall that shortly after the car in which the President was riding passed the Texas School Book Depository I heard shots being fired from a point which I thought was near the railroad tracks located over the viaduct on Elm Street…I have had occasion to view photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald and to the best of my recollection never saw him while he was employed at the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: as Campbell was the VP of the TSBD, his statement that he’d never seen Oswald, despite Oswald’s having worked there for six weeks, is revealing. There were just too many companies in the building, with too many employees, for people to notice whether or not the people in the building actually belonged there. His statement that the car had already passed the Depository when the shots rang out is an argument against a shot at frame 160, where the limousine was directly in front of the building. His initial grouping of the last two shots together is also informative. First shot 190.
Roy Truly (11-22-63 memo from FBI agent Nat Pinkston to Dallas SAIC Gordon Shanklin found in the Dallas FBI files and available online on the Weisberg Archives website) "Roy S. Truly...says that he was outside on the street at the time the shots were fired. He saw an officer start toward the entrance of the building and he came in with the officer just a few seconds after the shots were fired. They started up the stairs in the building and on the second floor, they looked into a snack bar for the employees and Oswald was in there. They then went on up, searching throughout the building." (11-23-63 FBI report based upon the 11-22-63 interview with Pinkston, CD5 p322) “Shortly after 12:30 PM, as the President’s procession did pass in front of the building, he heard what he believes to be three shots. He was unable to place exactly the source of these shots but believed they came from the area of the railroad yards adjoining the depository building. He then noticed a Dallas police officer wearing a motorcycle helmet and boots running toward the entrance of the depository building, and he accompanied the officer into the front of the building. They saw no one there and he accompanied the officer immediately up the stairs to the second floor of the building where the officer noticed a door and stepped through the door, gun in hand, and observed Oswald in the snack bar there, apparently alone...The officer pointed to Oswald and asked if Oswald was an employee of the company and he, Truly, assured the officer that Oswald was an employee." (11-23-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 24H227) “After the President passed, we heard what sounded like an explosion. I heard three such explosions. Then I realized they must have been shots. I saw an officer break through the crowd and go into our building. I realized he did not know anything about the building, so I ran in with him. The officer and I went through the shipping department to the freight elevator. We then started up the stairway. We hit the second floor landing, the officer stuck his head into the lunch room area where there are coke and candy machines. Lee Oswald was there. The officer had his gun on Oswald and asked me if he was an employee. I answered yes.” (11-23-63 FBI report based upon an 11-23-63 interview with Kenneth Jackson, CD5 p324) "He saw the President go by and at about that time heard three explosions. The crowd of people in the area began to surge back toward the building at 411 Elm Street and he realized that what he had heard must have been shots. He moved toward the building and thought at first the shots the shots came from behind the building. He saw a police officer in uniform approaching the building and realized he probably knew nothing of the building and therefore, Truly ran into the building with him. They stopped at the freight elevators and, observing that these elevators were not on the first floor, they ran up the stairway after he showed the officer where the stairway was. As they reached the second floor landing, the officer opened the door to a small lunch room next to the business office on that floor, and stuck his gun in the door. Lee Oswald was in the lunch room. The officer asked him if he was an employee, to which Oswald replied that he was. Truly and the officer gave this no further consideration, inasmuch as Oswald was an employee..."
(12-2-63 FBI report on an investigation performed 11-25-63, CD385, p.7) "Mr. ROY S. TRULY, Warehouse Manager, TSBD, was exhibited an Associated Press photograph described as "DN 5, 11/22/63, Dallas, Texas," depicting an individual standing in the entrance of the TSBD who resembled Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Truly, after viewing this photograph, stated, "That picture resembles Oswald, but it's not Lee Oswald, it's Billy Lovelady." (12-4-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service, CD87 p793) "I heard three shots fired and moments later a man who I believed to be a motor cycle policeman came running up to the entrance of the building, and I accompanied him inside. He asked me something about the location of the stairway, and I accompanied him to the rear of the building. We paused momentarily by the freight elevator but since neither were on this floor, we ran up the back stairway to the second floor. I had started to go up the stairway to the third floor when I noticed that the officer was not following, and I heard him say something. I then went back and found that he was standing near the entrance to the lunch room, and he had drawn his weapon. Just inside the lunch room door, Lee Oswald was standing and the officer was facing him. At that time, the officer asked me if this man worked here to which I replied 'yes.' The officer and I then proceeded to the stairway." (12-7-63 Secret Service report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p778) "Mr. Roy S. Truly...has been interviewed on several occasion between November 26 and December 4, 1963...the President's automobile passed his location at about 12:30 P.M., and a moment later three shots rang out." (1-31-64 FBI Airtel, Shanklin to Hoover, found in the Malcolm Blunt Collection) "Roy Truly has identified Lovelady as the individual resembling Oswald appearing in the doorway of TSBD." (As quoted in Red Roses from Texas, by Nerin Gun, published February 1964) "'I didn't know," he says, "that the shots came from our building, but I saw a man run in there and go to the telephone, and then a policeman dash in. I thought he wanted to go up on the roof, to get a full view of the scene. I caught up with him and said 'Come on, I'll show you the way.'" (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H677) “At the time President John F. Kennedy was shot I was standing with Mr. Campbell in the street just in front of the building entrance. I heard three shots fired...” (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H212-241) (When asked where he was standing when the shots were fired) "I would judge out in Elm Street, 10 to 15 or 20 feet from the front steps. We first stood on the steps, the bottom steps a few minutes, and then we walked out in the line of spectators on the side of Elm Street." (He was told to mark an "I" on Exhibit 361 showing his location. But the only identifiable mark on this exhibit as published by the Warren Commission appears to be on the north side of the Elm Street extension directly in front of the building, 20-30 feet west of the steps, across the extension from where Campbell claimed they'd been standing.) (When describing the turn of the limo onto Elm Street) “the driver of the presidential car swung out too far to the right, and he came almost within an inch of running into this little abutment here, between Elm and the Parkway. And he slowed down perceptibly and pulled back to the left to get over into the middle lane of the parkway. Not being familiar with the street, he came too far out this way when he made his turn." (When asked the speed of the limousine) "he picked up speed along here, and then seemed to have fallen back into line, and I would say 10 or 12 miles an hour in this area." (When asked what happened next) "I heard an explosion, which I thought was a toy cannon or a loud firecracker from west of the building. Nothing happened after the first explosion. Everything was frozen. And immediately after two more explosions, which I realized that I thought was a gun, a rifle of some kind. The President’s—I saw the President’s car swerve to the left and stop somewheres down in this area. It is misleading here. And that is the last I saw of his car, because this crowd, when the third shot rang out--there was a large crowd all along this abutment here, this little wall, and there was some around us in front--they began screaming and falling to the ground. And the people in front of myself and Mr. Campbell surged back, either in terror or panic. They must have seen this thing. I became separated from Mr. Campbell. They just practically bore me back to the first step on the entrance of our building." (When asked how long the limo stopped) "It would be hard to say over a second or two or something like that. I didn't see, I just saw it stop. I don't know. I didn't see it start up." (9-26-64 interview with William Manchester, as represented in The Death of a President, 1967) (On the uncomfortable fact so many Secret Service agents failed to recognize the first shot as a shot) "It was comprehensible that Roy Truly should dismiss the first shot as a cherry bomb..." (3-21-68 interview with Barry Ernest recounted in The Girl on the Stairs, published 2011) "He had been standing outside when the motorcade passed. Truly 'distinctly heard three shots,' he said, and then accompanied a 'running' police officer, Marrion Baker, into the depository." (11-09-83 AP article found in the Indiana Gazette) "Twenty years later, he refuses to talk about what he saw on Nov. 22,1963. "That's something that was in the past and you don't talk about," Truly said politely. "Everybody who was there has lived through it and that's all I want to say." Analysis: as Truly groups the last two shots as two more explosions, he probably heard them bunched together. While he said that people fell to the ground after the third shot, there was almost certainly a slight delay before the panic reached his location. Probable first shot 190. Last two shots probably bunched together.
James Worrell was apparently in back of these witnesses.
James Worrell (11-23-63 affidavit to Dallas County, 16H959) “I was standing on the sidewalk against a building on the corner of Elm and Houston Streets watching the motorcade of the President. I heard a loud noise like a fire cracker or gun shots. I looked around to see where the noise came from. I looked up and saw the barrel of a rifle sticking out of a window over my head about 5 or 6 stories up. While I was looking at the gun it was fired again. I looked back at Mr. Kennedy and he was slumping over. I got scared and ran from that location. While I was running I heard the gun fire two more times. I ran from Elm Street to Pacific Street on Houston. When I was about 100 yards from the building I stopped to get my breath and looked back at the building. I saw a w/m, 5’8” to 5’10”, dark hair, average weight for height, dark shirt or jacket open down front, no hat, didn’t have anything in his hands, come out of the building and run in the opposite direction from me.” (Undated Report on Officer's Duties by DPD Officer K.L. Anderton, 24H294) "I came to work about 3:00 P.M. November 23, 1963. At about 5:00 P.M. I took an affidavit of Fact from James Richard Worrell...He stated he was standing under the window where the shots were fired and that he was looking at the rifle barrel when the second shot was fired. James Worrell said he got scared and ran down Houston Street to Pacific Street. When he stopped for breath, he stated he was on the North side of the Texas School Book Depository and he saw a man run out of the building in a southerly direction." (3-6-64 UPI article on Worrell in the Dallas Times-Herald) "He said he was standing directly below the sixth floor of the depository when he heard a shot. 'I looked up real quick and saw the barrel fire again. I looked to see where it hit and saw President Kennedy hit in the back of the head. Then I looked up again and saw it fire a third time. I was 'moving out' by then and didn't see where it hit,' he said. The youth, currently unemployed and no longer enrolled at Thomas Jefferson High School, also claims he heard a fourth shot as he ran around the corner. 'I heard four shots, I don't care what they say,' he said." (3-10-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 2H190-201) “as they went by me, they got, oh at least another 50, 75 feet on past me, and then I heard the shots…I looked up and saw the rifle…I looked to see where he was aiming and after the second shot and I have seen the President slumping down in the seat…I looked up again and turned around and started running and saw it fire a third time…I did it all in one motion, I looked up, turned around, and ran, pivoted…everybody was screaming and saying “duck”…Just as I got to the corner I heard the fourth shot…they were right in succession…I turned the corner, went right down beside the building on the sidewalk and when I got to the corner…Of this building (The Texas School Book Depository) (I) ”Cut directly across, kind of at an angle…I rested there… approximately three minutes before I saw this man come out the back door.” (When asked to estimate the time span of the shots) “best estimate 5, 6 seconds” (When asked how he knew the rifle fired the second shot) “I saw what you might call a little flame and smoke.” (When asked about the third shot) “Same thing, a little flash of fire, and then smoke.” (When asked about the man he saw run from the building) "it is going to be within 3 inches, 5-7 to 5-10." (When asked his weight) "155 to 165." (When asked his height) "5-7, 5-10." (When asked his age) "Well, the way he was running, I would say he was in his late twenties or middle I mean early thirties. Because he was fast moving on." (Race) "White." (Hair) "Black...Well, I will say brunette...I didn't see his face, I just saw the back of his head and it was full in the back. I don't know what the front looked like. But it was full in the back." (When asked how he was dressed) "Dark, like a jacket like that." (When asked if this means a suit jacket...) "Yes." (Or a sports jacket?) "Sports jacket." (When asked if his coat matched his trousers) "No." (The color?) "It was dark in color. I don't know whether it was blue, black, or brown, but it was dark, and he had light pants. And that is all I can say on his clothes, except his coat was open and kind of flapping back in the breeze when he was running...He wasn't holding nothing when he was running. He was just running." (When asked what else he did) "Well, when he ran out here, he ran along the side of the Depository Building and then when he got--" (At this point Worrell was interrupted by Arlen Specter and asked to mark the man's route on CE 361. The problem is that CE 361 fails to show the route of anyone running from the back of the building, and bears none of the notations asked of Worrell during his testimony.) (When asked where Worrell last observed this man) "Well, he went on further."
Analysis: while the Warren Commission used Worrell to establish that the shots were fired from the sniper’s nest, they ignored that he said there were four shots. His statement that the last two shots occurred while he was running a short distance is indicative they were fired close together in time. His statement that the shots were fired in succession is perhaps indicative of the extreme stress he was under as he ran from the building—people routinely over-estimate the duration of stressful activity by 50% or more. If this was a factor, then the last two shots might have seemed in cadence with the first two. Or perhaps Worrell simply encountered a previously un-noticed echo as he ran out into the street. Still, as he heard screaming after the third shot, and there was little, if any, screaming reported prior to the head shot, his recollection of another shot after the screaming began is consistent with the words of many of the closest witnesses. The extra shot heard by Worrell would then be an extra shot heard in the beginning or the middle of the shooting scenario. As he says Kennedy slumped after the second shot, and Kennedy slumped forward after frame 224 of the Zapruder film, this part of his story is consistent with both the LPM scenario and a scenario whereby Kennedy was hit at Z-190 and again at Z- 224. While he says he saw the second shot fired, perhaps Worrell, as Euins, saw the rifle and heard the sound and incorrectly connected the two. In any event, it appears that by the time Worrell testified, he had come to remember seeing the smoke he'd previously claimed to see with the third shot, with the second shot as well. Heard four shots. Two early shots. Last two shots probably bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot).
And now we climb onto, and up, the steps...
Climbing the Steps
Above: a cropped image taken from the famous Altgens photo showing Kennedy's reaction to the first shot. Secret Service agents John Ready and Paul Landis are in the foreground. Some witnesses along Elm Street are at the bottom, and on the left. That leaves the witnesses in the distance near the middle of this image. Believe it or not, these witnesses were standing 100 feet or so behind those along Elm, on the front steps of the depository building...
Madie Reese is the woman sunning her eyes near the bottom of the image above. (11-24-63 FBI report based upon an 11-23-63 interview, CD5 p.59) “Mrs. Reese…heard three shots or what seemed…to be shots. At first she thought the shots came from the alcove near the benches.” (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.47) "The subject stated that on the day of the assassination she was on the steps in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building, waving at the motorcade as it passed the building. She stated that she heard three reports, distinct and separate and knew that they were reports of gunfire." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H669) “I am a female caucasian, born January 13, 1903...I have been employed by the MacMillan Company...for the past nineteen and one-half years...I…took up a position on the second step from the bottom (in front) of the main entrance of the Depository Building…Mrs. Dean was standing directly to my left at the time of the assassination…and we both heard the three shots…I do not recall having ever consciously seen Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository Building.” Analysis: once again, someone who’d worked in the same building with Oswald for six weeks but who’d never noticed him. Too vague.
Mrs. Joseph Eddie Dean aka Ruth Dean (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, 22H839) “President Kennedy had just looked in their direction and waved when she heard a rifle shot. Shortly thereafter she heard another rifle shot and then a third. During these moments, she observed President Kennedy slump down into the car. After the first or second shot, she observed President Kennedy reach to the back of his neck just before he slumped down.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.53) "Subject stated she was standing on the front steps of the building when President J. F. Kennedy was assassinated." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950 p.55) "Subject further stated that she heard the three shots fired by the assassin. Subject stated that she thought the first shot was a firecracker exploding. After the second shot, subject stated that she knew it was gun shots. Subject further stated that after the third shot, she knew they came from above, but she did not see anyone." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H643) “I am a white female, born June 24, 1915....I...am employed as a receptionist by the MacMillan Publishing Company...On November 22, 1963...I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository building with Mrs. Madie B. Reese, also an employee of MacMillan…As the motorcade passed by I heard three shots and observed the President slump over in the automobile in which he was riding.” (No More Silence, p.70-72, published 1998) “The view where we were was very good. But the motorcade went a little bit beyond us before the shooting started. I heard three shots with two being close together and one a little further apart…I remember seeing Jacqueline Kennedy climb over the back and on to the turtle back of the car, and the Secret service man jumped up and made her get back in the car.” Analysis: her statement that two shots were closer together is a little vague. Which two? Similarly, as Kennedy looks in her direction and waves in the middle of the Towner film, 5 seconds or so before frame 160 or 190, her statements that he had just looked in their direction can’t be taken literally. Too vague.
Carl Jones (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p781) "Jones watched the Presidential motorcade from a point directly in front of the Depository building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H657) “When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was sitting on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository. With me were Mr. Roy Truly, Mr. O.V. Campbell, Mrs. R.A. Reid, and Billy Lovelady...I heard three shots just after President Kennedy passed by in his car and I saw him slump in his seat.” Analysis: too vague.
Mrs. Avery Davis (11-23-63 interview with FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "On 11/22/63 she was standing on the front steps of the building when the president passed and she then heard three explosions. She did not realize they were shots and did not see anyone with a gun and immediately returned to the building and to the elevator to her fourth floor offices. She does not recall ever having seen Oswald before." (11-23-63 interview recounted in 12-10-63 FBI report, CD7 p.23) “she was standing on the front steps of the building when the president passed and she then heard three explosions. She did not realize they were shots.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3, folder 19, file 6 of Dallas JFK Archive) "She saw the motorcade pass her location. From her location she heard the three shots but thought they came from the railroad to the west." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H642) “I am a caucasian female born April 13 (1916?)...At about 12:15 P.M. on November 22, 1963, I left the depository building and took up a position on one of the lower steps of the building entrance to view the Presidential motorcade as it passed on Elm Street. I recall that Judy McCully...was standing by me, I believe, on my left...A moment after the car in which President John F. Kennedy was riding passed, I heard three explosions. At first I did not realize these explosions were gun shots…I did not know from which direction the shots had come but thought they were from the direction of the viaduct which crosses Elm Street west from where I was standing.” Analysis: too vague.
Judy McCully (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p. 432) "On November 22, 1963, McCully was watching the Presidential Procession from the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building and just after the Presidential Car had passed the building, she heard a noise, which she thought to be a shooting. She did not know from which direction the shot was fired. At that time, she did not observe any suspicious activity on the part of anyone in the Texas School Book Depository Building, or among the persons in front of this building. McCully stated she is not acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald and does not recall ever having seen him in the Texas School Book Depository Building." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 13 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "Miss McCully stated that on November 22, 1963, she and Mrs. Avery Davis were standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository at 12:30 PM, and were watching the Presidential parade. She saw the President's car go by, and as the car proceeded down toward the triple underpass, she heard three shots. The shots sounded like they came from the right side of the building in the arcade. She stated that she started running to see what was happening and saw the President's car speed off. She heard a woman scream, and then she went back into the building. She then started to leave the building and was stopped by the police who had entered the building after the shooting..." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H663) “I am a white female, born on August 13, 1943...On November 22, 1963...I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mrs. Charles Davis, also an employee of Scott-Foresman, to watch the motorcade bearing President John F. Kennedy pass by the building. As the motorcade passed, I heard some shots fired, but did not know the direction from which they came...(Additional note following her statement) Miss McCully advised that when she was previously interviewed by FBI agents on November 24, 1963, she recalls telling them she was standing on the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository watching the Presidential motorcade pass by the building; however, she stated she wished to clarify this point by stating she was actually standing on the steps of the main entrance to the building and immediately following the shooting returned to the fourth floor." Analysis: Confusing. Too vague.
Otis Williams (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.64) “at the time the Presidential procession passed the Texas School Book Depository Building, Williams was on the front steps of the building. The Presidential car had just passed the building a few seconds and was out of sight over the embankment when Williams heard three loud blasts. He thought these 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. A few minutes later, Detectives came into the building and he went with a Detective to check the second floor of the building.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box folder 19 file 20 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "He heard three shots that sounded like they were coming from the west side of the Texas School Book Depository. 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) “On November 22, 1963, at the time the Presidential motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository, I was standing on the top step against the railing on the east side of the steps in front of the building. I do not recall who was standing at either side of me, but I do know that Mrs. Robert E. Saunders, also an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, viewed the motorcade. Just after the presidential car passed the building and went out of sight over the Elm Street embankment I heard three loud blasts. 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.” (No More Silence p.116-120, published 1998) “when the motorcade came around the corner and then made that bend to get to the underpass, I had a clear view as it passed by of the President and all in the car, and then it went behind a little wall going toward the underpass. Probably five or ten seconds later is when I first thought I heard the shots. The first one I assumed someone threw a firecracker… It was about five or ten seconds before he was hit when he went out of my sight. I definitely heard three shots. Fact is, as soon as the third shot happened, and everybody commenced milling around, 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." Analysis: even though Williams’ location for the shots appears to have changed (perhaps the FBI simply screwed up in their 11-24 report) he was consistent all along that the limousine had been out of his view for a number of seconds before the first shot was fired. This indicates the first shot rang out after frame 160. First shot 190-224.
William Lovelady stood on the front steps of the depository building and is easily identified in James Altgens' photo of the assassination, with the President's limo in the foreground and the front steps of the depository in the background. Due to Lovelady's resemblance to Oswald, however, some have tried to claim it is not Lovelady on the steps but Oswald--a claim refuted by everyone standing in the area. (11-22-63 sworn affidavit, 24H214) “When the President came by, Bill Shelley and I was standing on the steps in front of the building where I work. After he had passed and was about 50 yards past us I heard three shots. There was a slight pause after the first shot then the next two was right close together. I could not tell where the shots came from but sounded like they were across the street from us. However, that could have been caused by the echo. After it was over we went back into the building and I took some police officers up to search the building.” (11-22-63 FBI report, CD5 p332-333) "On November 22, 1963, Lovelady and his foreman, Bill Shelley, were standing on the front doorstep at 411 Elm Street at about 12:30 P.M. watching the Presidential motorcade pass. At about this time he heard three shots. At first he thought it was a firecracker or the backfire of a motorcycle. He could not tell from which direction the shots came. He said immediately after hearing the shots he and Shelley started running towards the Presidential car but it sped away west on Elm Street under the triple underpass. He and Shelley then returned to the Texas School Book Depository Building." (12-2-63 FBI report on an investigation performed 11-25-63, CD385, p.8) "Mr. Billy Nolan Lovelady, 7722 Hume, Dallas, Texas, was exhibited an Associated Press photograph described as "DN 5, 11/22/63, Dallas, Texas," depicting an individual standing in the entrance of the TSBD who resembled Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Lovelady advised that he is an employee at the TSBD and is acquainted with Oswald. Lovelady immediately identified himself in the above-described photograph as being the individual who resembled OSWALD and stated he had observed himself previously in this photograph in the newspaper and was saving it. Lovelady stated there who was no question whatsoever but that this was a photograph of him." (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p780) "Lovelady was in one of the elevators coming down from the sixth floor at about noon and he heard Oswald ask them to send one of the elevators back up." (1-31-64 FBI Airtel, Shanklin to Hoover, found in the Malcolm Blunt Collection) "Roy Truly has identified Lovelady as the individual resembling Oswald appearing in the doorway of TSBD and Lovelady upon interview has stated that this is a picture of him." (3-2-64 FBI report on an investigation performed 2-29-64) "Billy Nolan Lovelady appeared at the Dallas FBI office at which time he consented to be photographed. Lovelady advised that on the day of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963, at the time of the assassination and shortly before, he was standing in the doorway of the front entrance of the Texas School Book Depository...He stated he was wearing a red and white vertical striped shirt and blue jeans...Lovelady stated his picture has appeared in several publications which picture depict him on the far left side of the front doorway to the TSBD. Lovelady was exhibited a picture appearing on pages 4-5 of the magazine entitled Four Dark Days in History...He immediately identified the picture of the individual on the far left side of the doorway of the TSBD as being his photograph...Mr. Lovelady stated his close resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald has become somewhat embarrassing." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H662) “At the time the presidential motorcade passed the Depository building heading west on Elm Street I was standing on the top step to the far right of the wall to the entrance way to the Texas School Book Depository Building. At this time I recall that William H. Shelley...and Mrs. Sarah Stanton...both of whom are likewise employed at the Texas School Book Depository, were standing next to me. I recall that following the passing of the Presidential motorcade, as the car in which the President was riding traveled down the Elm Street extension, I heard several loud reports which I first thought to be firecrackers, and which appeared to me to be in the direction of the Elm Street viaduct just ahead of the motorcade. I did not at any time believe the shots had come from the Texas School Book Depository Building. I am acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald as a fellow employee only and I recall that on the morning of November 22, 1963, I was on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository putting down a new wooden floor when Oswald came over to me and asked where a certain book was stored. I don't recall name of the book but told him that book was out of stock. That is the last time I saw Oswald prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy...I recall that following the shooting, I ran toward the spot where President Kennedy's car had stopped. William Shelley and myself stayed in that area for approximately five minutes when we then re-entered the Depository building by the side door located on the west side of the building.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission (in the person of Counsel Joseph Ball, at 3:50 P.M.), 6H336-341) (When asked who was with him on the front steps when the shots were fired) "Bill Shelley and Sarah Stanton and right behind me..." (When asked what he heard) “I thought it was firecrackers or somebody celebrating the arrival of the President. It didn’t occur to me at first what had happened until this Gloria came running up to us and told us the President had been shot." (When asked from where he thought the shots had been fired) "Right there around that concrete little deal on that knoll...to my right. I was standing as you are going down the steps, I was standing on the right, sounded like it was in that area...Between the underpass and the building right on that knoll." (When shown Exhibit 369--a photo by James Altgens of the shooting with President Kennedy's limo in the foreground, and Lovelady on the front steps of the book depository in the background, and asked to mark the picture and identify himself.) "Right there at the entrance of the building standing on the top of the step, would be here (indicating)...It would be your top level." (When asked what Gloria Calvery told him) "She had been right close to it to see and she had saw the blood and knew he had been hit." (When asked what he and Shelley did after talking to Calvery) "We went as far as the first tracks and everybody was hollering and crying…and we said we better get back into the building, so we went back into the west entrance on the back dock that had that low ramp and went into the back dock back inside the building.” (When asked how far they traveled toward the tracks) "Well, I would say a good 75, between 75 to 100 yards to the first tracks." (When asked if they saw anything while they were down there) No, sir; well, just people running...And hollerin." (When asked why they went down there) "I don't know, because everybody was running from that way and naturally, I guess--" (When asked how long they spent there) "Oh, just a minute, maybe minute and a half." (When asked how long it was before they spoke to Gloria Calvary) "Oh, approximately 3 minutes, I would say." (When told three minutes is a long time) Yes, it's--I say approximately; I can't say because I don't have a watch; it could." (When asked "Right after you talked to Gloria, did you leave the steps and go toward the tracks?") "Yes." (When asked if they ran or walked) "Medium trotting or fast walk."
(5-23-64 UPI article found in the 5-24-64 New York Times) "Billy Lovelady, an employee of the Texas Schoolbook Depository, identified himself today as the man seen in a doorway in a photo taken moments after President Kennedy was shot. 'I recall standing in the doorway and I have about 20 witnesses who were there near me,' he said. 'They will verify it was me.' Many newspapers in Europe published in weekend editions an American photograph taken a split second after Mr. Kennedy was shot last Nov. 22. The picture purported to show a man who looked like Lee H. Oswald, the accused assassin, standing in the doorway of the depository building. Newspaper descriptions said the man 'bears an extraordinary resemblance' to Oswald, who was shot two days later by Jack L. Ruby. Authorities said that minutes after the shooting Oswald was seen in a second-floor lunch-room of the building. The shots were fired from the sixth floor. The newspapers asked, 'If the man in the doorway was Oswald, who, then, fired the bullets which killed the President?' Mr. Lovelady, a stock clerk, said he had given testimony about the photo to agents of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination. He said he had also cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said that investigators for both the F.B.I. and the Warren Commission were satisfied it was he and not Oswald in the doorway. Mr. Lovelady said the F.B.I. had taken pictures of him from various angles and that he had been shown a three-by-four foot blowup of the doorway picture and asked if he was in it. 'I immediately pointed to myself in the doorway,' Mr. Lovelady said. He said he was about 15 to 20 pounds heavier than Oswald and about three inches shorter. Asked whether there was any resemblance to Oswald, he replied, 'I’m fatter in the face.' ''It was me in the doorway,' he said. 'If anyone doesn’t believe it, they will just have to take my word.' Dallas authorities said the photograph had been examined carefully after the assassination." (5-24-64 article by Dom Bonafede in the New York Herald-Tribune) (While discussing the person in the Altgens photo some claim is Oswald) "Lovelady maintains it is he standing in the doorway at the moment of the assassination. 'I was standing on the first step,' he told me when I interviewed him in Dallas two weeks ago. 'Several people saw me. That lady shielding her eyes works here on the second floor.' (While discussing the shots) "He said that while watching the motorcade from the doorway of the Book Depository he distinctly heard three shots--'there was one, then a pause, then two fast ones.'" (11-21-71 article in the Dallas-Times Herald built upon an interview with Lovelady) "Some of us were on the sixth floor and at first we were going to watch from the windows there. At the last minute we decided to go down to the front of the building. As the freight elevator passed the fifth floor we saw Oswald still at work. The elevator was slow and we yelled at him through the iron gate and asked him if he wanted to watch the parade. He said he would be down later. That was about 12 o'clock, I guess...Just as the motorcade turned on Elm off Houston and traveled about 25 feet on Elm, I heard the first shot and thought somebody was celebrating with a firecracker. Then I saw the president slump, and there were two more shots. For a second or two I couldn't think. I thought the shots came from my right, which would be near the railroad tracks, and everybody began running that way. All of a sudden I wondered what in the world we were doing running toward a gunman. We turned around and ran back and entered the depository through a rear door. There was confusion everywhere. It was only minutes before the police were all around and everyone was accounted for except Oswald. We were taken to the police station for depositions and were still there when the police brought him in handcuffed" (Later, when discussing an 11-22 visit from the FBI) "on Sunday, Nov. 24, they came again with the Altgens photograph and I identified myself in it." (7-5-78 interview with an HSCA investigator, as found on the youtube channel of Denis Morrissette) (When asked what kind of shirt he wore to work on 11-22-1963) "an ordinary work shirt... a red plaid shirt...an ordinary cotton plaid shirt" (When asked if Oswald was dressed the same in pictures taken after work as he had been at work) "Sure" (When asked the last time he saw Oswald before the shooting) "Ten minutes to twelve, on the fifth floor." (When asked how many shots) "Three. (When asked how they sounded) There was one shot, a pause, and then two fast ones." (When asked where he thought they came from) "To my right....to my right, toward the railroad tracks." (When asked the distance) "150, 200 yards." (When asked if he heard anything from above, from the sixth floor window) "No." (When asked if he smelled gunpowder) "No, I sure didn't." (When asked if he saw smoke from the tracks) "No." (When asked what he thought) "I thought it was somebody celebrating on the parade and the president. It sounded like a loud firecracker or something..." (When asked what he saw when he ran over to the tracks) "People shouting." (When asked what he and Bill Shelley did after reaching the railroad tracks) "We came in through the back entrance to the building." (When asked again about the timing of the shots) "(claps) One shot, pause (waits about 3 seconds), and then (claps two more times about a second apart). More rapid. The second and third were closer together." Analysis: Lovelady’s testimony that he returned to the building through a western entrance, an entrance unknown to Warren Commission counsel Joseph Ball, is one of the more surprising moments of the testimony. As there was no mention of this entrance being sealed off by the Dallas Police Department in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it’s possible someone could have escaped through this door for some time after the shooting. Otherwise, Lovelady’s description of the shots, and of where the limousine was at the time of the shots, supports the scenario described by the bulk of the witnesses. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
There's another aspect to Lovelady's testimony, moreover, that deserves our attention. He claimed that he was on the front steps in the famous Altgens photo, and not Oswald. Well, he was obviously telling the truth. Look back at the Altgens photo above. Note that the figure on the front steps facing the camera (that some pathetically claim was Oswald) was wearing a plaid shirt.
Now note that it's Lovelady, and not Oswald, who was caught in not one but two home movies taken 10 minutes or so after the shooting, standing on the front steps, and wearing that very same plaid shirt.
And now note that Lovelady was still wearing this shirt an hour and a half later when Oswald was led past him at the police station.
It was Lovelady on the steps in the Altgens photo, and not Oswald. Fact. Not fiction.
Joe Molina (Undated notes by B.L. Senkel found in the Dallas Police Department's files and made public on the University of North Texas website) "Heard shots didn't know what they were. Heard three of them." (11-23-63 report by B.L. Senkel of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 15 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "He states that he heard three shots; he did not know where they came from." (3-25-64 statement to the FBI, 22H664) “the car in which President Kennedy was riding passed the building…Just after his car disappeared from my view I heard three shots.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H368-373) "I was standing on the front steps...Right next left of me was Mr. Williams and close to there was Mrs. Sanders." (When asked what happened after the car passed) "I heard the shots…Sort of like it reverberated…kind of came from the west side…Of course, the first shot was fired then there was an interval between the first and second longer than the second and third.” Analysis: the familiar scenario. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
William Shelley (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 24H226) “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… 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." (11-22-63 FBI interview written up on 11-23-63, CD5 p371) "Mr. William H. Shelley...furnished the following information...On the morning of November 22, 1963, Harvey Lee Oswald, who is an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, appeared at work as usual and went about his occupation filling orders for school books. He saw Oswald on two or three occasions during the morning and last saw him sometime between 11:45 A.M. and 12 noon, when he, Shelley, went to lunch." (11-23-63 FBI teletype, Shanklin to Hoover, summarizing the case against Oswald, FBI HQ file, sec 9, p53) "Mr. William H. Shelley, Department Manager, TSBD, observed Oswald at work on first floor of that building sometime between eleven forty-five AM and noon on November twenty two last." (1-31-64 FBI Airtel, Shanklin to Hoover, found in the Malcolm Blunt Collection) "On 1-30-64, a copy of the magazine entitled 'Four Dark days in History' was obtained by the Dallas Office. A photograph of the Presidential motorcade passing by the Texas School Book depository (TSBD)...appearing in this magazine, was shown to William H. Shelley...who readily identified a man standing just inside the doorway on the left, as TSBD employee Billy N. Lovelady. Shelley advised he was standing beside Lovelady when the photograph was taken but was not in view of the camera." (2-1-64 FBI Report, CD 385, p.9) "a photograph...of the presidential motorcade passing the Texas School Book Depository...was exhibited to William H. Shelley, Assistant Manager, TSBD, who readily identified the individual standing just inside the entrance of the TSBD on the left as TSBD employee Billy N. Lovelady. Shelley advised that he was actually standing next to Lovelady when this photograph was taken, but he was not in view of the camera." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H673) “as the Presidential motorcade passed I was standing just outside the glass doors of the entrance. At the time President Kennedy was shot, I was standing at this same place. Billy N. Lovelady who works under my supervision at the Texas School Book Depository was seated on the entrance steps just in front of me. I recall that Wesley Frazier, Mrs. Sarah Stanton, and Mrs, Carolyn Arnold, all employees of the Texas School Book Depository, were also standing in this entrance way near me at the time Pres. Kennedy was shot. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the time Pres.Kennedy was shot. I did not observe any strangers in the building at any time during the morning of November 22, 1963. 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. I remained in the building until about 1:30 PM when I was asked to go to the Dallas Police Dept. to furnish an affidavit. I returned to the Texas School Book Depository about 5 PM. I did not leave the building until about 7 PM that day." (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission (in the person of Warren Commission Counsel Joseph Ball, at 4:10 P.M.), 6H327-334) (When asked with whom he had lunch out on the front steps) "Well, there was Lloyd Viles of McGraw-Hill, Sarah Stanton, she's with Texas School Book, and Wesley Frazier and Billy Lovelady joined us shortly afterwards." (When asked where they were standing) "Just outside the glass doors there." (When asked what he heard) “I heard something sounded like it was a firecracker and a slight pause and then two more a little bit closer together…Sounded like a miniature cannon or baby giant firecracker, wasn’t real loud…Sounded like it came from the west… (When asked what happened after the shots) "Gloria Calvary from South-Western Publishing Co. ran back up there crying and said 'The President has been shot' and Billy Lovelady and myself took off across the street to that little, old island and we stopped there for a minute." (When asked what happened next) "Well, officers started running down to the railroad yards and Billy and I walked down that way." (When asked if he saw Roy Truly and Officer Baker enter the building) "Yeah, we saw them right at the front of the building while we were on the island." (When asked how much time had passed before he saw Truly and Baker race to the building) "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." (When asked if Gloria Calvary had spoken to him at the front door) "Yes." (When asked how it was he saw Truly and Baker) "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." (When asked what happened after he saw Truly and Baker) "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…in the side door into the shipping room… I saw Eddie Piper… He was coming back from where he was watching the motorcade in the southwest corner of the shipping room.” (When asked how he got to the island out in front of the building) "I believe we trotted out there." (When asked "Did you stay very long?") "Oh, it wasn't very long...Maybe a minute or two." (NOTE: Billy Lovelady was questioned by Joseph Ball just before Shelley, and he indicated they went straight down to the railroad yards. IOW, this 1 1/2 to 2 minute vacation on the 'island'--which had not once been mentioned by Lovelady and Shelley before Shelley's testimony--was either something cooked up between these interviews, or something Shelley cooked up separate from Lovelady) (When asked how far he traveled down Elm toward the train tracks) "Approximately 100 yards." (When asked how he traveled) "We were walking but it was a pretty fast walk." (When asked how long they watched the police search the parking lot) Not very long...I wouldn't say over a minute or minute and a half." (George and Patricia Nash-penned article The Other Witnesses, published in the 10-12-64 issue of The New Leader) "Bill Shelley. Oswald's foreman. and others who worked in the building told us that Charles Givens was missing from the sixth floor work crew. Shelley said he was sent outside in an unsuccessful attempt to locate Givens. and there was talk of sending out an 'all-points bulletin' on the missing man... (On the timing of Baker's entry into the building) "Bill Shelley told us that Truly and Baker entered five or six minutes after the shooting." (On the possibility the assassin escaped without being noticed) "Shelley told us, 'Any one of a thousand different people could have entered or left the building and nobody would have known it.'" (7-28-95 Sixth Floor Museum oral history of assassination witness John Templin) (When asked if he'd discussed the assassination with other witnesses) "I also met Bill Shelley. I don’t know if you’ve met Bill or are familiar with Bill Shelly, but he was an employee down here at The Sixth Floor, and he went before the Warren Commission and apparently, from what I gathered from him, he was one of the employees that helped the FBI to go up the stairs or the elevator, whichever they went, and found the rifle...So, apparently, he escorted them up because he did work here." (When asked if Shelley had said anything about Oswald) "I think Bill indicated that he slightly knew Oswald ‘cause I don’t think Oswald had been here very long, but he..." (When asked if he had an opinion about Oswald's guilt) "No, I don’t think Bill had any opinion. I think he was of the opinion that the Warren Commission was probably right because I think he could... he heard three shots also." (When asked if Shelley said he was outside when the shots were fired) "I believe Bill... I believe Bill was maybe on the front steps. Yeah, there were a lot of the employees out there. As best as I recall, that’s where he said he was. Then of course, when it happened, he rushed back inside the building." Analysis: Shelley places the limousine too far down Elm at the time of the first shots to be a reference to frame 160. He also heard the second two shots closer together. Note also his ever-changing estimate for how much time passed before he re-entered the building. As discussed in Chapter 4, there was a reason for that. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
We have now reached the limits of the Altgens photo. Using our eyes, and our powers of deduction, we can isolate six individuals standing on the front steps in the photo, and name them all. (The identification of these individuals was a group effort, coming to fruition over a number of years, but Linda Zambanini, once again, deserves special credit.)
Here are the six individuals.
Individual 2 is a white man, who looks exactly like Billy Lovelady, and is dressed exactly like Billy Lovelady was dressed on the day of the shooting. He has also been identified by numerous witnesses, including Billy Lovelady himself, as Billy Lovelady. He is thereby Billy Lovelady.
Individual 6 is a middle-aged white woman, who looks exactly like photos of Madie Reese. She is thereby Madie Reese.
Individual 1 is a black man, who looks exactly like photos of Carl Jones. He is thereby Carl Jones.
Individual 3 is a white man, wearing a suit. He is standing by Billy Lovelady. As Bill Shelley claimed he was standing by Billy Lovelady, and was subsequently photographed wearing a suit, he is almost certainly Bill Shelley.
Individual 4 appears to be a middle-aged white man, wearing glasses. Otis Williams was a middle-aged white man, who wore glasses. He is thereby, almost certainly, Otis Williams.
Individual 5 appears to be a white man. He appears to be dressed as an office worker. He is thereby, by process of elimination, almost certainly, Joe Molina.
We have now reached the shadows...
Sarah Stanton (11-23-63 interview with FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "she was standing on the front steps of the building as the President passed and shortly thereafter, she heard three explosions, however, she did not know where they came from and immediately went into the building, caught the elevator and went to the second floor offices and into the office of the Southwestern Publishing Company, located there, to try to look out the window and see what was happening. She then went to the restroom and later returned to her desk." (11-23-63 interview recounted in 12-10-63 FBI report, CD7 p.20) “Sarah Stanton...advised that she is employed in the second floor office of the Texas School Book Depository...and at about 12:30 on November 22, 1963, she was standing on the front steps as the President passed and shortly thereafter, she heard three explosions; however, she did not know where they came from and immediately went into the building, caught the elevator, and went to the second floor offices, and into the office of the Southwestern Publishing Company, located there, to try to look out the window and see what was happening. She then went to the restroom and later returned to her desk.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H675) “I was born on 6-9-22..I am a white female...when President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository with Mr. William Shelley…Mr. Otis Williams…Mrs. T.B. Saunders…and Billy Lovelady. I heard three shots after the President’s car passed the front of the building but I could not see the President’s car at that time. I cannot say positively where the shots came from. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time or at any time during that day.” Analysis: while Stanton's statements help debunk the surprisingly resilient claim it was Oswald, and not Lovelady, in the Altgens photo, they do little to prove she was on the top step, and was most probably the shadowy figure sometimes called "Prayer Man" (who some believe was Oswald). No, for that we need the statements of the next two witnesses. Too vague.
Buell Wesley Frazier was Oswald's only friend at the school book depository. He gave Oswald a ride to work on the morning of the assassination, and was rounded up as a suspect that afternoon. (11-22-63 affidavit for Dallas County, 24H209) “I was standing on the front steps of the building when the parade came by, and I watched the parade go by. After President Kennedy had got out of my sight, I heard three shots. I stood there, then people started running by, and I turned, and went back in the building.” (12-5-63 sworn statement to the U.S. Secret Service, CD87 p796) "I was standing on the front steps when the parade passed in front of the building. When the shooting occurred, I did not realize the shots were really shots until the second one. At first I thought it was backfire. I did not realize the shots had come from this building but thought they had come from somewhere around the triple underpass or railroad tracks." (3-11-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 2H210-245) (On his location during the shooting) "I was standing on the steps there and watched for the parade to come by and so I did and I stood there until he come by." (On who was with him at this time) "I stayed around there pretty close to Mr. Shelley and this boy Billy Lovelady and just standing there, people talking and just talking about how pretty a day it turned out to be, because I told you earlier it was an old cloudy and misty day and then it didn't look like it was going to be a pretty day at all." (Anybody else?) "There was a lady there, a heavy-set lady who worked upstairs there whose name is Sarah something, I don't know her last name." (On the shooting) “just right after he went by he hadn’t hardly got by, I heard a sound and if you have ever been around motorcycles you know how they backfire, and so I thought one of them motorcycles backfired…but it wasn’t just a few seconds that, you know, I heard two more of the same type of, you know, sounds, and by that time people was running everywhere, and falling down and screaming, and naturally then I knew something was wrong…to be frank with you I thought it come from down there, where that underpass is.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H647) “At the time President Kennedy was shot I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository. I was with William H. Shelley…and Billy Lovelady.” (2-13-69 testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) (On where he was standing when the shots were fired) "I watched the parade from the top of the steps there, the main entrance into Texas School Books." (When asked to point out this location on an exhibit) "Right here. It is the main entrance right here. There in the shadows you have several steps and a rail, and I was standing right there at the top of the rail." (When asked who he was standing with) "When I was standing there at the top of the stairs I was standing there by a heavyset lady who worked up in our office, her name is Sarah, I forget her last name, but she was standing right there beside me when we watched the motorcade." (Anyone else?) "Right down in front of me at the bottom of the steps my foreman Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady were standing there." (On the shooting) “Just right after they made the turn there was several motorcycle policeman leading the motorcade and right after they turned, after the car made the turn, it sounded like the motorcycles were backfiring… Shortly after there were two more in rapid succession.” (When asked if he knew they were rifle shots) "Well, the two that come in fast succession by that time, like I said, people were hollering, and then I recognized them, they were rifle shots." (When asked the time lapse between the first and second shots) "It was just a few seconds." (When asked the time lapse between the second and third) "When I heard the second noise, the third was followed nearly just right back to back. It was fired in rapid succession." (He was then asked to demonstrate the spacing of the shots by clapping his hands, but the spacing of his hand claps was not noted on the transcripts of the trial)
Above: Buell Wesley Frazier on the day of the shooting, presumably before being threatened by the Dallas Police. The detective behind him is Gus Rose.
(10-21-77 interview with HSCA investigators Moriarty and Day, transcribed from two two-hour interview tapes put online by Denis Morrissette) (Towards the end of the first tape, which commences around 2 hours into the YouTube video of the two tapes) (When listing those standing with him on the top steps) "There was one large heavy-set lady. She was blonde-headed then. I can't remember her name. I know Bill Shelley did know her, because she'd worked there for years. We were all right there." (When asked if he was standing on the top of the steps back by the front door when the motorcade passed) "When we first went out there we was out there close...When we were first there, we was standing out in the sun but then it looked like the parade was gonna be a little bit late so we stepped back in, several of us, stepped back into the shadows there, and waited... (When discussing the approach of the motorcade) "We could tell by the sound of the people, we could tell the parade was coming, so we stepped out down on, out onto the steps...I know some of the girls that worked there, y'know, in the offices above, they stepped out into the sunlight with me there. I know the big heavy-set lady, she was right there, I was right there always close to her." (The second tape, first up on the youtube video of the two tapes) (On the lead motorcycles) "As they was turning off Houston Street onto Elm Street, it seemed they made their motorcycles backfire...As they was just turning onto Elm, the motorcycles backfired, and they came on around onto Elm and was going down toward the triple underpass. We saw the President as the limousine turned off of Houston Street onto Elm...They was going down toward the triple underpass. Then I heard what sounded like a motorcycle backfire, but it wasn't. It had a different sound. From where I was standing, there was some trees and people--so I actually couldn't see. But what actually happened was the first shot. And I knew it wasn't a motorcycle backfire. I compared the two and it didn't happen...It didn't have the same sound. And there wasn't any motorcycles close to me...So I knew it didn't. And I was thinking that--how different the two sounds were--then I heard two in succession. Then I realized--as people were beginning running--and it became quite a chaos, that what I had previously heard was not more motorcycles backfiring, but someone was firing a weapon." (When asked if he heard any more backfires) "No, sir, I did not. I heard three shots. I heard one, and then two bangs in succession. All I heard was three." (When asked if he could tell from what direction the shots had come) "I knew it didn't come from my left-hand side. It came from my right-hand side. It sounded, y'know, back up off to the right...A lot of people say to the underpass or the knoll...It sounded like it came from up above. That was only my personal opinion at the time. I didn't know...All I know is that the sound did come from the right, and it sounded like it come from a higher level...I'm not sure that it came from the grassy knoll." (When asked if the three shots sounded like they came from the same area) "The noises that I heard...was all similar...They sounded all three the same and were made by the same type of weapon or instrument...They were all similar. Like I say, the first one was fired and then it seemed like a lull of a few seconds. And then it was one, and then another." (When asked later how long he stayed outside after the shooting.) "We stood there for a good while." (When asked if he saw Oswald leave the building.) "No, sir, I'll be honest with you, I didn't see him...When I found out Lee was not there was when we actually had the head count." (When asked when he was told he could leave) "Around 1:30." (When asked if Lovelady and Shelley came back up to talk to him after the shooting) "Not directly. They came back out in a few minutes." (When asked about the bag he saw in Oswald's possession) "The bag itself was made of ordinary brown wrapping paper...with the same type of brown tape you would use in packaging..." (On the length of the bag) "Somewhere around two feet, give or take an inch here or there...roughly two feet give or take an inch." (When asked, around 1:13 on the tape, where he was standing when the motorcade came by) "I was standing right next to this large heavy-set lady there that I had mentioned previously. I can't recall her name but I was standing right by her there and if I remember correctly it was right there close by where you would walk out to the sunlight there, where you'd go back to the stairs there. Because she was right out there." (When asked if it's Billy Lovelady in the Altgens photo) "The pictures I've seen, I think it was Billy Lovelady."
(11-20-83 article in the Dallas Morning News) "Frazier was standing on the book depository's steps, and he got a clear view of President and Mrs. Kennedy when they passed by. He did not see the assassination. 'I heard the shots. A lot of people thought it was the backfire from a motorcycle. The motorcycle patrolmen that day - you could tell they were happy even though they were (all) business, because they were getting close to the freeway, and they knew they had done their jobs. I think they'd begun to relax, and they were playing around with their motorcycles. But then there were two (shots) in rapid succession, and people began to realize there was something going on that wasn't supposed to have been going on," Frazier says. "People began to scream and run." (7-23-86 testimony in televised mock trial, On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald) (When asked how many shots he heard) "Three." (When asked if he thought the shots came from the railroad) "Yes, sir, from the knoll there." (When asked again about the direction of the shots) "I thought they came from the knoll here." (He is then asked to write the words "grassy knoll" on a map of Dealey Plaza and put an X where he thought the shots had come from. He writes the words on the map to the west of the arcade, and then puts an X by these words at the northernmost point of the picket fence, in the railroad yards to the west of the arcade.) (6-19-02 oral history with the Sixth Floor Museum. Note that this interview is incorrectly identified as having taken place on 6-21-02 on both C-SPAN and YouTube) "I was standing at the top of the steps, the entrance, to the Texas School Book Depository. I was standing in the shadows...When they turned from Houston Street onto Elm there, and started down to the underpasses there, I remember I remarked to myself, I said, 'well, they look just like they do in the pictures'... (When asked how long it was after the limo had completed its turn onto Elm Street and started heading away that he heard the first shot) "It wasn't very long before there was a shot. And, as I said earlier, from listening to the motorcycles that was leading the President's car that had been backfiring, at first I thought it was a backfire from a motorcycle..." (When asked if the shot sounded like backfires) "Yes. But then shortly after, there was two more. By that time there was really chaos. There was people running and everything and you knew something wasn't right...I couldn't actually see what was going on in the President's car...After they had passed and dropped out of sight, I couldn't see what was going on." (When asked when he first realized Kennedy had been shot) "By the time the second and third shot was fired, I realized it wasn't a motorcycle backfire, because it had a different sound to it. And I realized someone was firing, and people was, as I said in that whole area there was running and falling down..." (When asked from where he thought the shots were fired) "The sound to me at that time sounded like it was coming from up above...the only thing I can say is that I realized it was gunfire, but to be specific as to what building it was coming from other than saying it was coming from up above where we were standing, I can't be more specific than that..." (When asked how many shots) "I heard three shots. There was one, and then there was, the other two was much closer in succession." (When asked the length of the shooting) "I don't know exact, but probably, I would probably say all, and this is probably, I don't know for a fact, I would probably say all three shots was taken within 15 seconds...There was the first one, and then the second and third one was just almost just back to back. It was very fast." (When asked the time between the last two shots) "I would probably say, maybe five seconds, if it was that long." (When asked if there could have been more or fewer than three shots) "Not fewer than three...I heard three." (When asked where the car was when the first shot was fired) "It wasn't very far after it dropped out of my sight...I couldn't see the car...The car was out of my view when the first shot was fired...(When attempting to clarify his approximation of 15 seconds for the shooting) "If you take and fire a shot say like for instance on the first second, and then the second shot might not have been somewhere until like the 8th to 10th seconds, and then the third one I would say somewhere between the 10th and 15th." (When asked if anyone was standing 'back there' with him on the top landing of the stairs) "There was a lady that worked up in one of the offices. I do not remember her name." (When asked if she was off to his right or left) "Left." (When asked who else was out there with him, besides Billy Lovelady) "Bill Shelley, and there were some women that had worked in the offices there. Several of them were there." (3-27-13 appearance at the Irving Central Library, video found online) "I heard the shots...I was standing back in the shadows there--when you walk into the Texas School Book Building today, if you walk up in there, there's a space there, and I was standing there watching the parade back in the shadows. You can't see me, but I was there. After the third shot, it was really mayhem there...Sarah, the lady I was standing by up on the top step back in the shadows, we looked at one another. We really didn't have a lot to say." (7-13-13 appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, as shown on C-Span) (When asked how many shots he heard) "Shots. I heard three. In that presidential parade--it was being led by--and there was motorcycle policemen, and these motorcycle policemen were cutting their motorcycles on and off. If you know anything or you ride motorcycles you know that you can do that and make 'em backfire...So when the first shot occurred, I thought it was just a motorcycle backfiring. Then it wasn't long after that that there was two and the two were closer in succession than between the first and second. And then I realized that that wasn't a motorcycle backfire, it was somebody shooting a weapon. And down here in Dealey Plaza, it was total chaos. People was running and screaming and falling down and hollering." (When asked if he had a sense where the shots were coming from) "The first one, when I was standing back on the top of the steps, sounded like it come to my right down where the motorcade was, But then the second and third sounded much closer..." (When describing what happened after the shots, after a crying woman came up to him and the woman standing next to him and told them the President had been shot.) "We looked bewildered. I turned to Sarah and she said 'She said somebody has shot the President.' And I said 'I thought that's what she said.' She said 'She did say that.''' (Frazier had thereby confirmed that Sarah Stanton was standing with him on the top of the steps both before the shots, and for some time after.)
(Frazier's account in Where Were You?, a book released to accompany the NBC program Where Were You?, 2013) "When the presidential motorcade came by the Texas School Book Depository, I was standing on the top step, on the first floor when you go out the front of the building...While we were out watching the parade, I didn't see Lee...When the motorcade was turning the corner, they were being led by a group of motorcycle policemen, and they were cutting the motorcycles on and off, making them backfire. At the first shot, I thought it was someone still doing the backfiring. But when the second and third shots came, I realized it was no longer backfire, and the acoustics down in the Dealey Plaza--how the sounds bounce off one building onto another--has given the impression to some people there were more shots than three. A lady came running up the sidewalk to right where Elm goes down to the underpass. She was coming right up by where we were standing, at the steps, and she said 'Somebody has shot the President.' It was real bad. People were running and hollering and falling down...I stayed right there in the step area. Billy and Mr. Shelley said they were going down to see if they could learn more about what had just happened...I stayed there outside, the steps there for a while with some people." (Interview conducted for 11-22-13 NBC program Where Were You?, found online 11-7-13) "I was standing on the top step on the first floor when you go out of the Texas school book building... And I was in the shadow..." (As to who was in the Altgens photo) "It was Billy Lovelady." (On the shots) "The first shot, when they were turning the corner there, they were being led by a group of motorcycle policemen, and they were cutting their motorcycles on and off and making them backfire. The first shot I thought it was someone (Tom Brokaw finishes his sentence "backfire") But then with the second and third I realized that it was no longer a backfire." (11-18-13 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, for which Pierce Allman was also interviewed) (On the shooting) "'The car turned, and boom — that first sound, that you never forget,' Allman said. 'It wasn’t the crack sound of a rifle. It was a loud boom sound.' Frazier also heard the sound, thinking one of the motorcycles escorting the limousine had backfired. 'And then shortly after that, I heard two more, and I realized then what I heard was someone firing a firearm,' Frazier said." (11-22-13 Associated press article by Christopher Sullivan and Jamie Stengle, for which Frazier and others were interviewed. This was found in the Taft Midway Driller.) "Up ahead was Dealey Plaza and a corridor of buildings including the book depository, where Buell Frazier stood on the front steps, taking a break with co-workers — though not Lee Oswald. Quickly the motorcade glided by, enveloped by more cheers ahead. But then came another sound that Frazier first thought was a police motorcycle backfiring. Then another pop. And another. Frazier recognized the sound of gunfire. Instantly, all was mayhem. “People were running and screaming and hollering,” Frazier says. “Somebody came running by as we were standing there on the steps and she says, ‘They’ve shot the president.’ ”
(11-22-13 interview with Tom Meros found on YouTube) (On his reaction to seeing Mrs. Kennedy as she passed by) "The lady who was standing next to me--her name was Sarah, she worked for one of the publishing offices...I turned to Sarah and I said 'Look at that. Look at how beautiful she is." (On the shooting) "When the motorcade was coming down Houston Street--before they made the turn--it was being led by motorcycle policeman. And they were cutting their engines on and off and making them backfire...Shortly after it turned I heard a sound. At first it sounded like it was a motorcycle backfire. But then when the second and third--shot--then I realized I wasn't listening to a motorcycle backfire anymore, it was someone actually firing some type of firearm." (When asked the number of shots) "If you ask me, all there was was three shots because the sound was ricocheting off one building and another. And I think that's where some people are confused--that there was more than three shots. There was only three shots." (When asked from where the shots were fired) "The thing is, the first shot, I thought came from the right. But now knowing what I know now and the way the wind can ricochet--and those sounds off the buildings...the second and third shot sounded much closer. But again that's the way the wind was blowing--and the sound ricocheting off the buildings." (9-27-14 appearance at the AARC Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, video found on vimeo) (On seeing Jacqueline Kennedy) "I mentioned to a lady by the name of Sarah, when I was standing on the top steps of the school book depository, as the presidential parade come by. And I said to her 'Isn't she beautiful? She looks just like she does in the pictures.'" (When asked by Robert Groden the name of the person standing next to him at the time of the shooting) "The person standing next to me there during the parade and before the parade was a lady that worked upstairs and her name is Sarah...and her last name I don't remember right off. And then down in front of me was Mr. Shelley, a little bit over to my left. And real in the very bottom down there was my good friend Billy Lovelady. (Later) Billy was standing down there at the bottom of the steps in that famous picture...That was Billy Lovelady. And that pops up more than you want to know, and people try to say that that was Lee Oswald. But it was not." (11-21-15 appearance at the JFK Lancer Conference) "Shortly after they went past our view, that's when the first shot rang out, then there was a second and third, and the second and third was closer." Analysis: while Frazier, Oswald’s car-pool buddy, placed the limousine close enough to the corner to suggest the LPM scenario in his testimony at the Shaw trial, he originally specified that the car was much further down the street and out of his sight. His grouping of the last two shots together supports this earlier statement. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Pauline Saunders (11-24-63 FBI report, 22H844) “advised she arrived at work at 8:45 A.M. on November 22, 1963 and immediately reported to main office where she was employed...she went outside to watch the presidential parade about 11:25 A.M...she stood in the last line of spectators nearest the door to the School Book Depository building…she could not recall the exact time but immediately after the Presidential parade passed she heard three loud blasts and she immediately realized that the shots or whatever it was came from the building above her…Mr. Campbell, Office Manager, arrived shortly after the police officer entered the building and she told him the blasts came from the upper part of the building however he insisted the shots came from the embankment.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H672) “I am a caucasian female...I...was born November 6, 1908...At approximately 12:20 PM on November 22, 1963, I left the lunchroom on the second floor of the building and went out the front entrance to await the arrival of the presidential motorcade which I knew was due to pass the Depository about 12:30 PM. I took up a position at the top of the front steps of the Depository building facing Elm Street. To the best of my recollection, I was standing on the top step at the east end of the entrance. I recall that while standing there I noticed Mrs. Sarah Stanton standing next to me, but I am unsure as to the others. Mrs. Stanton is likewise an employee of the Texas School Book Depository. To the best of my recollection I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at any time on November 22, 1963, and although I knew him by sight as an employee of the building I did not know him by name and had never spoken to him at any time. I do not recall seeing any strangers in the Texas School Book Depository Building at any time on the morning of November 22, 1963. After the motorcade car carrying President John F. Kennedy passed, I remained a moment on the steps, then walked out to the concrete island in front of the Depository Building to see what had happened. I remained there a moment and then returned to the Depository Building through the main entrance. I then walked to the second floor where I usually worked.” Analysis: Although Mrs. Saunders tells us almost nothing on how the shots were fired, her brief statements are at least of some assistance in clearing up some other mysteries. For one, she says she left the lunch room at 12:20, but has no recollection of seeing Oswald on the day of the shooting. This works against Oswald's being in the second floor lunch room at that time. For two, she says she stood on the east side of the top step, and noticed Sarah Stanton standing next to her. This places Sarah Stanton on the very top step of the stairs, a fact that was corroborated by Buell Frazier. Well, so what, you might say. Big deal. Sarah Stanton was on the top step. Amazingly, a cult of researchers has convinced themselves that a shadowy figure on the top step near Frazier was in fact one Lee Harvey Oswald. That this figure was more probably Stanton--who they can't quite place anywhere else--eludes them. Too vague.
Now, here is a screen grab from one of the frames of the Darnell film showing the front steps of the building mere seconds after the shooting.
And here is a close-up of the steps in this frame. Note that there appears to be three figures on the top of the steps. The one on our right is in sunlight, and appears to be a woman. This is quite possibly Pauline Saunders, who said she stood on the east side of the steps. The one to her right, in the middle, partially in the shadows, is Buell Frazier. (On some of the other frames, one can actually make out his face.) Well, that leaves the one on the left, in the corner.
While many have convinced themselves this figure looks like Lee Harvey Oswald, it is, much more logically, IMHO, Sarah Stanton, who both Saunders and Frazier claimed was with them on the top steps. I mean, beyond that no one recalled seeing Oswald on the front steps during the shooting, the figure (dubbed "Prayer Man" by those refusing to believe it could be a woman) is too short and stocky to be Oswald.
And that's not all. As shown in the high-contrast image above, found online, the right arm of prayer man/prayer woman is much lighter than this person's chest. Well, how could this be Oswald? He was either wearing a dark brown long-sleeved shirt, a light reddish long-sleeved shirt, or a white t-shirt. Is it not more logical to assume this person is wearing a dress? Than to assume this person is wearing a long-sleeved shirt where the right arm below the elbow is for some strange reason much lighter than the rest of the shirt?
That's my 98 cents, anyhow.
Above: the view of Elm Street from just inside the front door of the school book depository. This was, presumably, the view of Roy Lewis on 11-22-63--minus all the people, of course.
Roy Lewis (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p781) "Lewis was standing out in front of the building at the time the shots were fired." (12-9-63 FBI report, CD205, p23) “viewed the Presidential motorcade and heard the shots…but could offer no information as to where the shots had come from.” (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p.54) "Subject stated that he was in the entrance of the building when the president was assassinated."(3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H661) “On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:25 PM, I stood by myself on the inside of the entrance to the Texas School Book Depository to watch President John F. Kennedy come by the building in a motorcade. I heard three shots fired from somewhere above me, but was unable to see the person who fired them. I was acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald, but he was not with me at the time I heard the shots.“ (No More Silence, p.84-89, published 1998) “I was standing with some ladies from up in the offices right in the middle of the steps in front of the building that led to the sidewalk beyond the glass door. As the motorcade came by, I remember seeing Kennedy brushing back his hair. That’s when all hell broke loose! I heard BOOM!... BOOM!... BOOM! with the second and third shots being closer together. The people down in front of me hit the ground then everybody started running toward the grassy knoll… I didn’t see any smoke or smell any gunpowder, nor could I tell the direction of the shots because it was like an echo there. But no way did I suspect anything coming from the Texas School Book Depository.” Analysis: Lewis’ recent recollection differs quite a bit from what he told the FBI. Perhaps he was trying to keep the names of the women on the front steps out of his statement to the FBI. Or perhaps he later changed his story so he wouldn't have to admit he failed to see much of anything. Still, Lewis said the last two shots were grouped together. So that was something. Probable first shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together.
In the Building
If the LPM scenario is to be accepted then certainly the majority of those closest to the shooting, some only a few feet from the sniper’s nest, would have heard the shots as laid out by Lattimer, Posner, and Myers, with a five second gap between the second and third shots…
Eddie Piper (11-23-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 19H499) “I went to a front window on the first floor and ate my lunch and waited for the Presidential parade to go by. I saw the President pass and heard some shots…The shots seemed to me like they came from up inside the building.” (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p780) "At about 12 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...Piper did not see Oswald again." (12-20-63 FBI report, CD206 p13) "Approximately 12:30 P.M., he was standing inside the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository looking out the window at the crowd of people who had gathered to view the Presidential motorcade. While looking out the window, he heard what he believed to be three shots and saw people running, and later determined the President had been shot. He did not view the Presidential motorcade itself inasmuch as the crowd was in his line of sight, and did not see Lee Harvey Oswald after the shots were fired." (2-17-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p45) "Subject gave the following information..."During the presidential parade, I was standing by a window on the lower floor at the front of the building watching the cars pass when I heard this shot. It shook the window and I moved away from the window and looked at the clock. It was exactly 12:25 P.M. Some more shots were fired. I distinctly heard three shots in all. Some one said they were coming from the railroad tracks, I said no they are coming from the top of the building." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H668) “When President John F. Kennedy was shot, I was sitting on a box on the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository watching the parade from the window. I could not see the president’s car from where I was sitting but I heard three shots ring out and saw people looking up at the building. It seemed to me the shots came from inside the Texas School Book Depository.” (4-9-64 FBI memorandum based in part upon a 3-23-64 interview with Piper, CD789, p4) "Mr. Piper stated at the time President Kennedy was shot, he was eating lunch on the first floor of the TSBD Building and was near the southwest corner of this building looking out a window in an attempt to observe the Presidential motorcade." (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H382-386) (When describing the end of his noon encounter with Oswald) "I got my sandwich off of the radiator and went on back to the first window of the first floor." (When asked "The first window on the first floor?" which suggests he had already gone over this with his questioner, Commission Counsel David Belin) “No, not the first window--but on the first floor about the second window of the first floor. I was intending to sit there..." (When then asked if this was from the corner) "Well, from the front door...it’s the second window from the corner…" (On the shooting) "I couldn’t see anything--too many people…I heard one shot, and then the next shot went off--the one that shot him-- and I got up and went on back--back where they make coffee at the end of the counter--where I could see what happened (NOTE: we can presume there was a radio on the coffee counter and that Piper meant that he was gonna turn on the radio and find out what had 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 bossman and a policeman or something.” (When asked if he could tell where the shots came from) “No, sir, not for sure.” Analysis: Piper's telling the DPD that he looked at the clock after the first shot suggests there was a larger gap between this shot and the second than between the second and the third, but is a little too vague.
Troy West worked and ate lunch at a wrapping table on the first floor. (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p785) "at the time of the president's assassination, he was just starting to eat his lunch on the first floor of the building near where he normally works. He heard the shots fired and stated that before he could leave the building, many people came in, including many police officers." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H679) "When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was on the first floor making coffee for the employees. I was alone at the time and did not know at the time that President Kennedy had been shot. I was walking toward the front of the building when people rushed in the building and told me that someone had shot President Kennedy." (4-9-64 FBI memorandum based in part upon a 3-23-64 interview with West, CD789 p5) "He stated when he went to work on November 22, 1963, he prepared coffee as he usually does, and at the time President Kennedy was shot on this date he was preparing another pot of coffee for the employees of the building. He advised he was alone at the time working at the coffee pot located on the first floor of the TSBD building." (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H356) (When asked 'Now, after you quit for lunch, you made the coffee then?' --an out-of-the-blue question suggesting that West's questioner--David Belin--had already run through these questions with West) "Yes, sir...I made the coffee right there close to the wrapping mail table where I wrap mail." (When asked what he did next) "Well, I sit down to eat my lunch...I had just, after I made coffee, I just had started to eat my lunch because I was a little hungry - I didn't anything that morning before I went to work - and I had started to eat my lunch. But before I got through, well, all of this was, I mean, the police and things was coming in, and I was just spellbound. I just didn't know what was the matter. So I didn't get through eating. I had to eat about half my lunch, and that is all." (When asked if he heard any shots) "I didn't hear a one. Didn't hear a one." (When asked if he saw anyone else on the first floor while he was eating his lunch) "It wasn't anybody. I didn't see anybody around at that time." (When asked again if he saw anyone while making coffee or eating his lunch) "No, sir; I didn't see." (When asked "Who was the first person you saw on the first floor after you - while you were eating your lunch? Someone came in the building?") "Yes; before I got through. The officers and things were coming in the front door." (When asked if he saw Roy Truly come in with the police, and if he knew Roy Truly) "Yes, sir; that is the boss, the superintendent." (When asked again if he saw Roy Truly come in with the poiice.) "Yes, sir; I think he came in with the police." (When asked if he faced the elevators while eating his lunch) "No, sir; I was always - I mean I would always be with my back kind of, you know, towards the elevators and facing the front side over on the side... Toward Elm Street side." (When asked if he knew of anyone using the elevators) "No, sir; I don't." (When asked if knew of anyone using the stairs) "No, sir; I don't." Analysis: It seems apparent that West was not the sharpest tack in the box. Either that or that he saw too much, and was pretending to be a tad slow. As far as the shots themselves... First he hears 'em then he don't. What's that about? Too vague.
Now, should one have trouble visualizing where West and Piper were within the building (I know I did), one might find the following illustration helpful. It's the FBI's depiction of the first floor in CD 496 created for the Warren Commission. Elm Street is at the bottom, and Houston Street is on the right. The numbers with arrows demonstrate the camera locations for the photos included in CD 496. In any event, I have added the presumed location of West (in blue, in the vicinity of the wrapping tables and coffee pot), along with arrows demonstrating the direction in which West (blue) and Piper (red) were looking in the minutes before and just after the shooting.
Now, here's the second floor...
Geneva Hine was manning the phones in the second floor offices of the Texas School Book Depository, on the east side of the building, facing Houston Street. (11-23-63 FBI report, CD5 p369-370) "Mrs. Hine advised that sometime between 12:25 PM and 12:35 PM she was alone in her office on the second floor of the company building...At approximately that time she heard what she described as three shots. She heard these very distinctly and believes they came from somewhere inside the building, inasmuch as it sounded to her that the shots originated above and to the west of her." (11-23-63 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 1 folder 8 file 52 of the Dallas JFK Archives) "Was in the office alone the day of the shooting heard three shots and did not know what happened until the Police came in the office and told the president had been shot." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H651) "I am 52 years of age...I am a white female...At the time President Kennedy was shot I was on the second floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. I was alone at the time. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the time President Kennedy was shot." (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H393-397) “I could see it from the east window of our office…I saw the President's car coming and I saw the President and saw him waving his hand in greeting up in the air and I saw his wife and I saw him turn the corner and after he turned the corner I looked and I saw the next car coming. Just at the instant I saw the next car coming up was when I heard the shots…Three…they came from inside the building…the building vibrated from the result of the explosion coming in...they sounded almost like cannon shots they were so terrific." (When asked if she was standing at the window at the time of the shots) "Yes, sir; that is when I was at the window, because the next car, you see, was coming up and turning and I looked. Of course I looked when I heard the shots. I just stood there and saw people running to the east up Elm Street. I saw people running; I saw people falling down, you know, lying down on the sidewalk.” Analysis: Ms. Hine’s testimony, if taken literally, would indicate the first shot missed somewhere back before the beginning of the Zapruder film sequence of the motorcade on Elm, at a time when Tina Towner was still filming the Presidential limo's turn onto Elm. Perhaps, by the “next car”, then, she simply meant that the next car holding a politician was coming up to the corner when the first shot was fired. This would be the Lincoln holding Vice-President Johnson. If so, then her words are more compatible with the LPM scenario than with a first shot 190 scenario. Her statement that "Of course, I looked when I heard the shots" and her description of people falling down at this point--when this did not happen until after the head shot--suggests, moreover, that she was not paying much attention at the time of the first shot. The reliability of her statements is weakened, furthermore, by the fact she never mentioned looking out the window until 4 1/2 months after the shooting. Possible LPM scenario.
Mrs. Carol Hughes (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H654) “I am of the caucasian race, 27 years of age...I am employed by the South-Western Publishing Company, Room 203, Texas School Book Depository...On November 22, 1963, I went to south window near my desk which overlooks Elm Street to watch the Presidential motorcade pass along Houston and Elm Streets. I was standing looking out this window when President John F. Kennedy was shot. I was alone in the office as all the other people had gone to the street to watch the motorcade pass. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time. I do not know Oswald but I had seen him in the building several times prior to this day.” Analysis: too vague.
Now, onto the third...(The MacMillan offices were on the west side in the area herein labeled "McGraw Hill.")
Steven Wilson was in Allyn & Bacon's main office on the third floor at the time of the shooting. (1-9-64 FBI report, based upon a 12-30-63 interview, CD329 p.27) “Due to a large tree being in the way he could not view the entire procession, but as his view became obstructed, he heard three distinct shots which he thought came from a rifle.” (3-25-64 statement to the FBI, 22H684) “the fatal shots at the President were fired from a storage area which is three floors directly above my private office…I left my private office and went in my company’s main office…From my position, I watched the motorcade as it approached, moving north on Houston Street, and turned west on Elm street…As the motorcade proceeded, my view of President Kennedy and his car and the other occupants, became obscured by some trees which are on Elm Street. In a matter of ten seconds or less after the President’s car and occupants were obscured from view by the trees, I heard three shots…It is my opinion there was a greater space of time between the second and third shots than between the first and second. The three shots were fired within a matter of less than five seconds…At that time it seemed the shots came from the west end of the building or from the colonnade located on Elm Street across from the west end of our building…at the time the President’s car and its occupants went out of my view, being obscured by the trees, as mentioned above, the car was not as far as 100 yards from me.” (8-8-68 report on an interview performed by Tom Bethel or Al Oser, investigators working on behalf New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison) "Mr. Wilson positioned himself in the window of his secretary...Mr. Wilson related to me a story that while seated in this window he heard no more nor less than three gun reports...He also stated that the difference in time between the explosions of the reports was more between the second and third as opposed to being between the first and second shot. He also stated that the reports appeared to have come from his right which would have meant the end of the west portion of the Texas School Book Depository or the concrete pagoda area of the grassy knoll." Analysis: since the shots occurred “In a matter of ten seconds or less” after the limousine disappeared and the shots themselves were fired within a five second span, Wilson implies the shots began several seconds after the limo disappeared behind the tree. It did so around 160. So no first shot miss at 160. On the other hand, he said the first shots were bunched. Possible LPM scenario. Probable first shot 190.
Doris Burns worked for the MacMillan Co. on the west side of the third floor of the Depository Building. (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, FBI file 105-82555, Sec 23, p19. Note: this document was not published by the Warren Commission in its 26 volumes, nor in its documents, but can be found in the commission's key persons file on Burns) "When the President's motorcade passed the building, Mrs. Burns said she had walked from her office to that of Allyn and Bacon, also on the third floor of the building, in order to view the motorcade from the windows of this firm. As she walked to the office of Allyn and Bacon, Mr. Wilson, the manager, whose first name Mrs. Burns did not know, stated, 'My God, there's been a shooting.' Mrs. Burns stated that she had not seen the shooting of the President nor had she heard shots fired. After being informed of the shooting by Mr. Wilson, she stated that she had returned to the office of MacMillan Company in order to listen to reports coming over the radio and thereafter went to the women's restroom on the third floor, a restroom located next to the back stairs. While in the restroom, she heard someone running down the steps. She had, of course, no idea as to the identity of this individual nor could she see whether there was more than one." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19, file 2 of Dallas JFK Archive) "Miss Burns had the radio on and heard the motorcade was close to her location. She walked to Mr. Wilson's office on the third floor facing Elm Street. The window was open and she heard the last shot before she got to the window. Mr. Wilson said someone had been shot. She said she hoped no one had been hurt. She came back to her office. In a little while, officers came by and talked to her." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H637) “I am a white female and I was born on June 12, 1907...at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was walking from my office…While walking I heard one loud noise which sounded like a shot.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H397-399) “I went around to American Book Co., which is the office closest to us that had a window looking out on Elm. There was nobody in there, so then I started down the hail to Allyn and Bacon. As I went down this hall towards the windows that looked out on Houston Street, I heard a shot, but I didn't think much about it. I didn't, of course, know it was a shot because when you hear tires backfire and all, they all sound alike to me, so I didn't think a thing about that… It must have been the last one because I didn't hear any more…it just sounded as though it was back of me. You see, I was going towards Houston Street. I was facing east and it sounded to me as it came toward my back. (When asked if she'd heard anyone running down the steps) "Yes...It was after that; I went to the restroom." (When asked how long after) "I imagine maybe it was 25 minutes. I imagine it was the policeman or somebody; of course, I don't know who it was. ” Analysis: Miss Burns’ statements support that the final loud noise came from west of the building. Too vague.
Sandra Sue Elerson (11-25-63 FBI report based upon an 11-24-63 interview, CD5, p. 433) "On November 22, 1963, she was assigned for work by the Kelly Girl service at the MacMillan Company in the Texas School Book Depository Building...When the President's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository building, Mrs. Elerson stated that she was looking out the third floor window on the south side of the building. She saw the President turn the corner at Elm. She failed to hear any shots fired." (2-18-64 report by the Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence Section on Sandra Sue Kramer AKA Sandra Sue Ellison) "Subject stated that she was on the third floor of the Texas School Book Depository standing at the north window at the time President Kennedy was shot. She stated that she heard the noise but did not realize it was shooting until she was told." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p. 29) "I am a white female and was born on 8-14-41...When President Kennedy's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository building, I was looking out the third floor window trying to get a view of the President's car. I am nearsighted and I am not sure if I saw the President's car. However, I did see a car turn down Elm Street from Houston Street that may have been the President's car. I was standing at the window with an elderly woman from the MacMillan Company office. I cannot recall her name. I did not hear any shots or any loud sounds that sounded like rifle fire...I learned that President Kennedy had been shot after I returned to my desk." Analysis: too vague.
Mrs. Edna Case (11-24-63 FBI report based upon an 11-23-63 interview, CD5, p. 431) "At the time the President's motorcade passed, she advised she was on the third floor of the building at her desk. She stated that she was looking out the west side of the building and not the front. She said she had not heard the shots." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, CD950, p.51) "The subject stated that on November 22, 1963 she was in the offices of the MacMillan Publishing Company on the third floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building at the time the Presidential motorcade was passing the building. She stated that she had only heard of the shooting after it had occurred. She stated that she did not know Lee Harvey Oswald and that, as far as he knew, she had never seen him around the building." (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p.16) "I am a white female, born on November 20, 1909...On November 22, 1963, at the time the motorcade was passing the Texas School Book Depository Building and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was at my desk on the third floor looking out the window located on the west side of the building. I did not hear any shots and the only person in the same area with me was Mrs. Sandra Elerson, who was a temporary employee with the Kelly Girls organization." Analysis: nothing to go on. Too vague.
Eight on Fourth
The next 8 witnesses were employees of Scott, Foresman, and Company, and viewed the motorcade from its fourth floor offices on the south side of the depository building, facing Elm.
Here, from Warren Commission Document 496, is a diagram of the fourth floor.
Note that the left side/west side of the front of the building was a supply room and that the back half/northern half of the entire floor was open storage space, with two windows on the west side of the building. This is more significant than you might suspect.
Mrs. Yola Hopson (12-4-63 FBI report, 24H521) “she was looking out a window on the south side of the fourth floor of the TSBD Building when the motorcade of President John F. Kennedy passed in front of the building…Immediately after he passed, she heard two or more loud shots which she thought were firecrackers. She stated that she thought they had been set off on the street below…at the time she heard these shots she could not see the presidential car since there were some trees along the edge of the street which blocked her view…She stated that it did not sound to her like the shots were coming from her building…she does not know Lee Harvey Oswald and does not recall ever having seen him.” (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H653) “I am a white female and I was born on Feb. 16, 1899...On November 22, 1963, at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was at the middle double window on the fourth floor office of Scott, Foresman and Company...I was with Mrs. Ruth (Cleve) Nelson...when I heard an unrecalled number of loud noises which I thought sounded like firecrackers. I could not view the position of President John F. Kennedy due to the trees in front of the building.” Analysis: too vague.
Ruth Smith Nelson (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box folder 19 file 16 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "she went to the fourth window from the east side of the building facing Elm Street. She stood up and watched the motorcade. She heard the three loud reports and thought they were part of the celebration." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H665) “I am a white female and was born 2/14/97...at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was viewing the motorcade from the fourth window on the east side on the fourth floor along with Mrs. Yola Hopson…I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at this time and have not to my knowledge ever seen Lee Harvey Oswald.” Analysis: too vague.
Elsie Dorman (11-24-63 FBI report based upon an 11-23-63 interview, CD5 p.34) “She stated that she had never seen Lee Harvey Oswald in the building and failed to recognize his photographs when shown on television. When the President’s motorcade passed, Mrs. Dorman advised she was looking out the window on the fourth floor…It was at this time she heard sounds which sounded like shots. She felt that these shots were coming from the area of the Records Building.” (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H644) “I am of the Caucasian race, age 57...I was using my husband’s camera and was not too familiar with its operation. As the motorcade turned onto Houston Street from Main Street, I started taking photographs…as the motorcade turned from Houston Street on to Elm Street I became excited and did not get any more photographs. I was at this window attempting to photograph the motorcade when I heard a noise like gunshots…I do not know Lee Harvey Oswald and have no recollection of having seen him.” Analysis: Dorman’s film is one of the least understood or analyzed pieces of evidence surrounding the assassination. While there is a blur on the film a second or so after Rosemary Willis runs by the fountain, which could have come as a result of a shot at frame 160, Mrs. Dorman stopped filming at this time, raising the possibility the blur was caused by her stopping the film. Even so, as her film shows camera car #3 and H.B. McLain approaching Elm Street 10 seconds after we last see Miss Willis, Mrs. Dorman’s film is invaluable in debunking the dictabelt evidence. Too vague.
Victoria Adams (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p.39) “as the car…was passing, she heard three loud reports which she first thought to be fire crackers…and she believed the sound came from toward the right of the building…After the third shot she observed the car containing President Kennedy to speed up and rush away. She had not been able to fully observe the President at the exact moment he was shot, inasmuch as her view was partially obstructed. She and her friend then ran immediately to the back of the building to where the stairs are located and ran down the stairs. No one else was observed on the stairs at this time, and she is sure that this would be the only means of escape from the building from the sixth floor.” (2-17-64 statement to the Dallas Police Department, box 3 folder 19 file 3 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "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." (3-23-64 statement to the FBI, 22H632) “I am a Caucasian female, born February 8, 1941...On November 22, 1963...I went to the the sixth window from the left to watch the Presidential motorcade. Also viewing the parade with me were Elsie Dorman, Sandra Styles, and Dorothy Garner...I recall that at about 12:30 PM, just after the car carrying President Kennedy had passed on the street below, I heard three loud reports which I first thought were firecrackers…After the third shot I observed the car carrying President Kennedy speed away.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H386-393) “I watched the motorcade... proceed around the corner on Elm, and apparently somebody in the crowd called to the late President, because he and his wife both turned abruptly and faced the building… from our vantage point we were able to see what the President’s wife was wearing, the roses in the car…Then we heard—then we were obstructed from the view…A tree. And we heard a shot, and it was a pause, and then a second shot, and then a third shot. It sounded like a firecracker or a cannon at a football game, it seemed as if it came from the right below rather than from the left above. Possibly because of the report. And after the third shot, following that, the third shot, I went to the back of the building down the back stairs, and encountered Bill Shelley and Bill Lovelady on the first floor on the way out to the Houston Street dock.” (When asked if she'd walked or ran to the back stairs) "I was running. We were running." (When asked if she saw anyone from when the shots were fired until she reached the ground floor) "Outside of our office employees, no." (2-2-02 interview with Barry Ernest recounted in The Girl On The Stairs, published 2011) "As they rounded the corner, they turned toward our building, waving and smiling. The car continued moving slowly and a tree obstructed my view. That is when I heard what I thought was a firecracker go off. As the car came back into view I saw that something was wrong and watched as Mrs. Kennedy appeared to be trying to climb out of the car. I saw a Secret Service man jump in and the car began speeding toward the triple underpass. Before it reached that I turned to Sandra and I said, 'I want to see what is going on.' We ran to the back of the office and down the stairs. We ran down the stairs. Wee were both in high heels. No one was there. We would have heard other steps. The noise on the steps is very obvious. And remember, the elevator cables were not moving. It was very quiet. We ran outside and noticed a lot of people running toward the railroad tracks. The railroad yard behind the grassy knoll was quite a distance away. I could not see anything other than people running toward the railroad cars and I tried to run that way, too. But a policeman stopped us. I didn't get very far--maybe 10 or 20 feet from the depository building. So we turned back to Houston and to the front of the building." Analysis: Adams’ testimony that she saw Kennedy suddenly turn to his right before the first shot confirms Mary Woodward’s account and that the first shot rung out around frame 190. Her mentioning a pause after the first shot, but not between the second and third suggests the last two were bunched together. She is, of course, most famous for her claim she raced down the stairs after the shots, but failed to see, or hear, Oswald. This was discussed in great detail in an earlier chapter, Pinning the Tale on the Oswald. First shot 190. Last two shots bunched together.
Sandra K. Styles (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H676) “I am a white female, born February 6, 1940...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.” (Appearance in the Travel Channel program America Declassified: JFK Exclusive Access, 11-3-13) "The motorcade turned left onto Elm Street, and as it got just past the turn we heard the three shots. The presidential car stopped. We could see Mrs. Kennedy's hot pink suit moving around and that was about all that we could see. My co-worker Vickie Adams said let's go down and see what's happening. While I was in the stairwell we did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at all." (Alternate edit of interview available on the website of the Travel Channel to accompany program first broadcast on 11-3-13) "The motorcade turned right off of Main onto Houston, and then left onto Elm Street from Houston. Houston at that time dead-ended into Elm Street. And then they turned left onto Elm Street. And as it got just past the turn we heard the three shots coming from we didn't know where. So we went down the stairs to the second floor, out the back door, and around the west side of the building around to the front where we encountered a motorcycle policeman who asked us where we came from and we told him the fourth floor. And he said go back the way you came. So we immediately went back up the stairs, and back to our office. Except for my co-workers I did not see or hear anyone else on the stairwell that day. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at all or hear any sound to indicate that there was anyone on the stairwell. He could have been behind us. He could have been ahead of us. I have no idea." Analysis: no recollection of Oswald. The Warren Commission's failure to pursue Styles to see if she supported Adams' story represents one of its greatest failures. Heard three shots. Too vague.
Dorothy Ann Garner (3-20-64 statement to the FBI, 22H648) "I am a caucasian female...I was born on August 20, 1938...(I) "was watching the Presidential motorcade through a window…the fifth window from the east end of the (Texas School Book Depository) building. I recall that Mrs. Elsie Dorman was sitting next to me at that time looking out the sixth window and that Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles were both standing next to Mrs. Dorman… I recall that moments following the passing of the Presidential car I heard three loud reports which I first thought to be fireworks but only seconds later realized something had happened on the street below although at the time of the shots, the Presidential car was out of view behind a tree. I thought at the time the shots or reports came from a point to the west of the building…I do not recall ever having seen Lee Harvey Oswald at any time prior to the assassination.” (6-2-64 letter from U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders to Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin, as first discussed in The Girl on the Stairs, 2011) "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." (6-27-11 interview with Barry Ernest as recounted in his 2011 online article Another Ignored Witness Found) "The focus of my call to her, of course, was Victoria Adams, whether Mrs. Garner was indeed in a position to have seen Baker and Truly or anyone else on the back stairs, and who she had made the comment to that appeared in the Stroud document. "I was at the window with Elsie Dorman, Victoria Adams, and Sandra Styles," she said. Did Miss Adams and Miss Styles leave the window right away, I asked her. "The girls did," she responded. "I remember them being there and the next thing I knew, they were gone." They had left "very quickly…within a matter of moments," she added. What did Mrs. Garner do after that? "There was this warehouse or storage area behind our office, out by the freight elevators and the rear stairway, and I went out there." Her move to that area clearly put her into a position where she could have observed activity on the back stairs as well as on the elevators. But how fast had she arrived there? Mrs. Garner said she immediately went to this area, following "shortly after…right behind" Miss Adams and Miss Styles. She couldn't remember exactly why she went out there, other than to say, "probably to get something." Mrs. Garner said she did not actually see "the girls" enter the stairway, though, arriving on the fourth-floor landing seconds after. When I asked how she knew they had gone down, Mrs. Garner said, "I remember hearing them, after they started down. I remember the stairs were very noisy." Were the freight elevators in operation during this time? "I don't recall that," she answered. "They were very noisy too!" Mrs. Garner said she remained at that spot and was alone for a moment before "several came out back from the office to look out those windows there." The presence of other employees at the west windows was confirmed by Bonnie Ray Williams who, with Harold Norman and James Jarman, had watched the motorcade from the fifth floor and then, after several minutes, made their way to the first floor by way of the stairs. Williams testified he arrived on the fourth floor "where we saw these women looking out of the window." If Victoria Adams went down the stairs when she said she did, and Mrs. Garner was now confirming that, perhaps Miss Adams had descended those stairs so fast she was ahead of Oswald." Analysis: yet another employee of the school book depository who had no recollection of Oswald whatsoever and who would therefore have had no idea what a stranger in the building would look like. Garner's importance comes mainly from her statement to Sanders, where she said she saw Truly come up the stairs after Adams and Styles went down. This shot a hole in the commission's conclusion Oswald raced down the stairs just after the shots, for how could Oswald be on the second floor as Truly came up, if he hadn't raced down beforehand, and how, if he'd raced down beforehand, could Adams and Styles have failed to hear him? Too vague.
Mary Ann Hollies (11-23-63 interview of Mrs. Avery Davis by FBI agent Nat Pinkston recounted in an 11-29-63 memo found in the Dallas FBI files at the Weisberg Archives) "She stated that Mary Hollis with whom she is employed, told her that she was watching the president go by from the fourth floor office windows and immediately after the shots were fired, she thought she heard footsteps running across the floor directly above her; however, she did not see anyone fire any shots or anyone with a gun in his possession." (2-18-64 report of the Dallas Police Department, box 3, folder 19, file 11 of the Dallas JFK Archive) "On November 22, 1963, Miss Hollies was on the fourth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, and was standing with Alice Foster looking out a window, watching the presidential parade. At about 12:35 PM, Miss Hollies heard three shots, just as the President's car was headed down toward the triple underpass. She stated the shots sounded as if they were coming from inside the building. Miss Hollies stated that she never left the building. The police came and talked to her afterward. Miss Hollies states she did not know Oswald, but had seen him in the lunchroom of the Texas School Book Depository on numerous occasions." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H652) "I am a white female, born on March 25, 1939...On November 22, 1963…I was standing at the window of the Scott-Foresman offices overlooking Elm Street…As the motorcade passed by I heard three shots and observed the President slump over in the automobile in which he was riding." (July-August 1988 interview recounted in American History Illustrated, November 1988) "Around the time of the motorcade, our employees were told to go outside. Instead, another woman and I decided to go upstairs to the fourth floor--to get a better view. We rang for the freight elevator. It was the open-gate kind you could see into. Oswald was on it. He didn't stop for us. He went on up to the sixth floor. We kept ringing for it, but it didn't come down. So we just walked up the stairway to the fifth floor. As the President's car went down Elm Street we heard three shots. We thought they were cannon fire. We looked down to see where the cannon was. The President had slumped over. We ran to get the elevator back to the fourth floor. We pressed for it. It came down, with Oswald in it. He went right past us. He did not stop for us. I think the elevator went all the way to the ground floor." (Oral History for the Sixth Floor Museum, 1-8-11) "Dorothy Garner was the supervisor at Scott Foresman, and she announced that we were all to leave the building. However, Alice and I—the two of us were stock girls—we were in the stock room and we never heard the announcement (chuckling). So everybody left except two elderly ladies that worked there, Ruthie and Alma, and Dorothy Garner. They stayed in the actual office, and Alice and I were in the stock room and decided to go up to the fifth floor. So we didn’t leave the building. That’s how come we heard so much and saw so much (laughing)...We were in the stock room, and we became aware that the crowd was gathering down on the street. There was a lot of people, and we said that it must be close to time. And she checked the time, and she said, “Oh yes, it’s close to time. Let’s go up to the fifth floor.” So we walked across the floor, which is a wooden floor. We walked across the floor to the freight elevator, and we rang and rang for the elevator and it didn’t come and it didn’t come. And finally, the elevator came, and Lee was on the elevator but he didn’t stop for us. He kept going. So, we were kind of miffed with him, and we hollered up the shaft, “Hey, you could’ve stopped for us, you know.” But he kept on going to the sixth floor, and then he locked the elevator up there. We were stuck waiting and waiting till another elevator came because there were two, you know, back-to-back, and then the second elevator came and we got on that one and went up to the fifth floor...Well, when we got on the fifth floor, we opened a window and we were sitting on the window ledge, and we heard clack, clank, clank—you know, that elevator makes a lot of noise—and somebody was coming down. And we had heard the footsteps coming across, and we thought, well, why is Lee leaving now, now when the motorcade’s going to come? So we went to see who it was, and it was a black dude coming down. He was also a worker at the School Book Depository building, and we didn’t think anything of it. We went on back to the windowsill and sat there. We had the perfect place to sit and watch. We were going to see a good view, and sure enough, here came the motorcade down Houston Street. And it turned and went down Elm Street. And then we heard the fatal shots. And (shaking head) we thought a cannon had gone off, it was so loud. And we were looking all over the ground to try and find this cannon, and we couldn’t find it. It didn’t occur to us that it was going on upstairs. So, we sat there and then we decided to go back to the elevator to go back down to the fourth floor and see what all was happening, you know, because we saw the motorcade come down Houston and we saw the president slump over. And we saw Jackie Kennedy getting on the back of the car. She was hysterical. I would say she was hysterical because she was crawling out of the motorcade. And we saw the police officers in their... their motorcycles behind them and everything. It was just terrible (shaking head), a terrible thing. So we went back to the elevator to go back down to the fourth floor. Everybody in the building was going crazy. People that were outside came into the building that worked in the building, and they were all going wacky, you know. So we went to get the elevator, and here comes Lee down the elevator and, of course, didn’t stop for us again (chuckling). So we ended up thundering down the stairs to get back to the fourth floor because we were very excited over everything that was happening. And everything was just a big, big mess because people were running all over like chickens with their heads cut off, you know."
Analysis: Hollies doesn’t tell us anything about when Kennedy's slump occurred in relation to the shots. And, oh yeah, by the way, her latter-day story about seeing Oswald heading down on the freight elevator after the shooting smells real bad. The freight elevator you could call was on the fifth or sixth floor when Marrion Baker and Roy Truly ran to the back of the building a minute or so after the shots, and not the first. While this leaves open that Oswald came down in this elevator as Baker and Truly ran up, this just doesn't work, either. You see, Baker and Truly saw Oswald on the second floor as they started up the stairs. So, no. Unless... Unless... The man she saw in the elevator was not Oswald but someone who looked like Oswald. But, wait a second, there's another problem with her story, isn't there? She says they saw a black dude--most logically Bonnie Ray Williams--come down to the fifth floor just before the shots. This was the east elevator. The one you couldn't call. So this elevator would have still been there on the fifth floor after the shots. And, sure enough, this was the elevator still on the fifth floor when Baker and Truly ran up the stairs. So why didn't Hollies take this elevator down when Lee came down on the west elevator? Oh, wait, there's another unless... Suppose Hollies went over to the elevators a few seconds after Baker and Truly took the east elevator up to the seventh floor. Suppose the man who looked like Oswald came down from the sixth floor via the west elevator just as Baker and Truly started up from the fifth to the seventh floor on the east elevator. Na. Not going for it. Hollies would almost certainly have seen Baker and Truly if she was on the floor as long as that. And that's not even to mention Norman, Jarman and Williams, and, if you believe he was on the fifth floor at this time, Jack Dougherty. None of these men saw Hollies and Foster on the open fifth floor before or after the shots. And there's a reason for this. They (Hollies and Foster) weren't there. Too vague.
Now, seeing as there are some who persist in using Hollies' latter-day statements to push their theories, we should further explain why her latter-day recollections are nonsense. Starting with the only known statement of her supposed accomplice on that day...
Betty Foster (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, CD706, p31) "I, Betty Alice Foster, make the following statement...I was born on 12-20-35...I am a white female...When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was standing in the stockroom on the fourth floor watching the motorcade. I was with Mary Hollies...I heard something that sounded like fireworks after the President's car turned down Elm Street but I wasn't sure what it was. I did not know what had happened. I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time or anyone who looked like him." Analysis: Foster's statement pretty much sinks Hollies' latter-day story. They watched the motorcade from the supply room or "stockroom" at the southwest corner, and not from the fifth floor, where Hollies later claimed they were watching. Too vague.
O.K. Hollies came to claim that she and Foster had hung out an open window on the fifth floor. And Foster said they viewed the motorcade from the stockroom/supply room. Well, are there any photos showing them hanging out a window on either one of these floors?
Yes. A person can be made out in the stockroom window in both the Weaver photo taken before the shooting and the Powell photo taken after the shooting.
But the best look at this person comes from the Dillard photo, taken seconds before the Powell photo. (Curiously, this window is also almost always cut off the photo.)
Well, notice the shape in the far left window on the fourth floor from the top (which was also the fourth floor from the bottom). Let's take a closer look.
And an even closer look...
Now, I don't know if that's Hollies or Foster but it's definitely a woman. Well, it follows then that Foster told the truth, and that Mary Hollies was not on the fifth floor at the time of the shooting.
As a consequence, then, we can only conclude that Hollies' story about going up to the fifth floor and seeing Oswald going past her in an elevator is nonsense. Rubbish.
Jack Dougherty is a bit of a puzzle. He is widely believed to have taken an elevator to the sixth and then fifth floors before hearing a loud noise presumed to have been a shot, and yet he saw no one, and heard no one running across the fifth floor or down the stairs after hearing this loud noise. Even more curious, the three men known to have been on the fifth floor failed to note Dougherty's presence on the fifth floor when they ran to the west side of the building after the shooting. It seems possible, then, that the purportedly simple-minded--and easily confused--Dougherty was not really on the fifth floor at the time of the shooting, but came up afterward. (11-22-63 Affidavit to Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 24H206) “I am employed at the Texas School Book Depository at 411 Elm and have been since 1952. I was working on the sixth floor today. There was six of us working on the floor. The others were Bill Lovelady, William Shelby, Danny Arce, Bonnie Williams, and Charles Givens. 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 except the people I named. There was another employee that is named Lee Oswald that I saw on the sixth floor. He works all over the building, but I saw him on the sixth floor shortly before noon. I didn't see Oswald in the building after lunch.” (11-22-63 statement to the FBI, 19H621) “I recall vaguely having seen Lee Oswald (who started to work for the Texas School Book Depository about 3 weeks ago) when he came to work at about 8:00 AM. today. I saw Oswald again at about 11:00 AM today and do not recall seeing him again after 11:00 AM. I was working on the fifth floor of the building at 411 Elm Street at about 12:45 PM or 1:00 PM when I heard a loud explosion which sounded like a rifle shot coming from the next floor above me. I did not see anyone running from the building and did not see anyone fire the shot which I heard.” (12-7-63 Secret Service report based upon interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p781) "On November 22, 1963, Dougherty was working with the crew laying the new floor on the sixth floor, and descended in the elevator with them a few minutes before noon. When Dougherty was interviewed, he seemed to be very confused about times and places. Mr. Truly 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. Dougherty was therefore not questioned further." (12-19-63 FBI report, CD 206, p.11) “Dougherty stated that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been working there just a few weeks, at approximately 8:00 AM, when he, Oswald, arrived. He stated that he saw Oswald again at approximately 11:00 AM on the 6th floor but did not see him again after that. Dougherty stated that just prior to 12:00 PM he and five other men were working on the 6th floor...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…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 if he had heard a loud noise.” (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H645) "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 the time." (4-8-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H373-382) (When asked about what time he went to the sixth floor) "At about 12:40--it was about 12:40." (When asked what happened next) "Well, when I got through getting stock off of the sixth floor, I came back down to the fifth floor…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…"(When asked if he’d previously told the FBI the sound was of a rifle shot) “Well, I believe I told them it sounded like a car backfiring.” (When asked if he’d said it was from the floor above him) “No.” (When asked if it did sound like it came from the floor above him) “Well, at the time it did---yes.” (When asked where he was when he heard this sound) “Well, I was about 10 feet from the west elevator---the west side of the elevator…I was getting some stock.” Analysis: heard but one shot? Too vague.
Since there has been virtually no support for the LPM scenario so far, one might assume that the closest witnesses, those in the windows just below the sniper’s nest, would offer some support that the first shot missed, or that there was a five second gap between the second and third shots. Wrong.
Above: a crop from a photo taken by Tom Dillard as the convertible in which he was riding was turning from Houston Street onto Elm Street. This photo is believed to have been taken within a few seconds of the final shot fired on President Kennedy's limousine. The window at top right is the window through which Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly fired these shots. Now note that, just below this window, sitting in open windows, are three of Oswald's co-workers, whose appearance becomes clearer when one brightens the image. These co-workers, from left to right, are James Jarman, Bonnie Ray Williams, and Harold Norman.
Now, one of the odd things about this photo was that these men were not standing in the open windows above, but crouching. The top three floors of the depository building were set aside as storage space. The windows weren't even two feet off the floor. It is to their credit, then, that the Warren Commission cleared up this confusing point by having Jarman, Williams, and Norman re-enact their crouched positions for the photo below, which was then entered into evidence as Commission Exhibit 485.
In any event, the statements of these men should have been clear from the get-go--there were three extremely loud well-spaced shots fired from just over their heads--should Oswald have been, in fact, the sole shooter at the President, firing a rifle whose muzzle was outside of the building.
But their statements were clear as mud.
James Jarman was the order checker who double-checked Oswald's orders for accuracy. Portions of his story beyond his account of the shots are presented so one can properly assess his credibility, along with those of the two men beside him. (11-23-63 affidavit to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, CD87 p274) "The first time I saw Lee Oswald on Friday, November 22, 1963 was about 8:15 a.m. He was filling orders on the first floor. A little after 9:00 a.m. Lee Oswald asked me what all the people were doing standing on the street. I told him that the President was supposed to come this way sometime this morning. He asked me, "Which way do you think he is coming?" I told him that the President would probably come down Main Street and turn on Houston and then go down Elm Street. He said, "Yes, I see." I only talked with him for about three or four minutes. The last time I saw Lee Oswald on Friday, November 22, 1963 was between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon when he was taking the elevator upstairs to go get some boxes. At about 11:45 a.m. all of the employees who were working on the 6th floor came downstairs and we were all out on the street at about 12:00 o'clock noon. These employees were: Bill Shelley, Charles Givens, Billy Lovelady, Bonnie Ray (last name not known) and a Spanish boy (his name I cannot remember). To my knowledge Lee Oswald was not with us while we were watching the parade." (11-24-63 FBI report, CD5 p334-335) “Jarman stated that on November 22, 1963, he observed Oswald on the first floor of the TSBD Building, around 8:15 a.m. He stated Oswald had filled an order for books that was not correct and that he, himself, told Oswald to obtain the right book inasmuch as he, himself, is an order checker. He said he next saw Oswald about 9 a.m., or possibly a little later. Jarman said Oswald looked out the window and observed that people were gathering outside the building and asked him why they were there. Jarman told him the President of the United States was supposed to come by sometime that morning. He stated Oswald asked him which way the procession would be going and Jarman told him he thought probably it would be going down Main street, turning on Houston, and then on Elm street. He said he next saw Oswald between 11:30 a.m. and 12 noon, when Oswald was taking the elevator to an upper floor, at which time they had no conversation. Oswald had an order-filler pad. Jarman said that as the president passed by, he, himself, was watching the procession from a fifth floor window of the TSBD building...He said that he heard a shot and then saw President Kennedy move his right hand up to his head. After an elapse of three or four seconds, he heard a second shot and then the vehicle bearing President Kennedy speeded up and he was unable to observe any more about the presidential vehicle. He said a third shot was heard by him closely following the second shot possibly within a second or two afterwards. He said these shots sounded to him to be too loud to have been anywhere outside the TSBD building. Jarman said that he and Harold Norman and Bonnie Ray (LNU) went to the west side of the building on the fifth floor where they discussed the shots. He said they decided the shots had come from inside the building because they were too loud to have come from outside the building. He said that Harold Norman stated at that time that something had fallen from above him and that a piece of debris, in addition, had hit him in his face...” (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p785) "about 9:00 A.M., Oswald had asked Jarman why all the people were standing in front of the building. Jarman replied that the parade would probably come down Main street, turn on Houston, and then go down Elm street. Oswald's reply was 'yes, I see.' Jarman later saw Oswald taking an elevator and going up. This was after 11:30 A.M. Jarman and the other members of the floor-laying crew returned to the first floor by elevator shortly before noon for the lunch period...After eating lunch, Jarman went with Williams and Norman to the fifth floor...Jarman was standing near Williams in a front window overlooking Elm street when the parade went by and a moment later he heard three shots...Jarman further stated that he did not hear the shells fall to the floor, nor did he hear the bolt action of the rifle." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H655) “At the time President Kennedy was shot I was at the third window from the east side on the fifth floor. I was with Harold Norman…and Bonnie Ray Williams.” (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H198-211) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) "It was between 9:30 and 10 o'clock, I believe...In between two rows of bins...On the first floor...Well, he was standing up in the window and I went to the window also, and he asked me what were the people gathering around on the corner for, and I told him that the President was supposed to pass that morning, and he asked me did I know which way he was coming, and I told him, yes; he probably come down Main and turn on Houston and then back again on Elm. Then he said, "Oh, I see," and that was all." (On whether he saw Billy Lovelady out front shortly before the shooting) "Yes, sir...Standing on the stairway as you go out the front door." (On the shooting) “After the motorcade turned, going west on Elm, then there was a loud shot, or backfire, as I thought it was…A backfire or an officer giving a salute to the President. And then at that time I didn’t, you know, think too much about it. And then the second shot was fired, and that is when people started falling on the ground and the motorcade car jumped forward, and then the third shot was fired right behind the second one…after the third shot was fired, I think I got up and I run over to Harold Norman and Bonnie Ray Williams, and told them, I said, I told them that it wasn’t a backfire or anything, that somebody was shooting at the President...Hank said, Harold Norman, rather, said that he thought the shots had came from above us, and I noticed that Bonnie Ray had a few debris in his head. It was sort of white stuff, or something, and I told him not to brush it out, but he did anyway...He (Norman) said that he was sure that the shot came from inside the building because he had been used to guns and all that, and he said it didn't sound like it was too far off anyway. And so we ran down to the west side of the building...I couldn’t say that I saw him actually hit, but after the second shot I presumed that he was…I saw him lean his head…(When asked from where he’d heard the shots) “I thought at first it had came from below…I am sure it came from the left. (When asked if he had any doubt that the sounds he heard were gunshots, given that he’d had 8 years in the military) “Not after the second shot.” (When asked at what point he realized the shots came from above) "After we had ran down to this last window on the west side of the building, and we was discussing it. And then after I got to thinking about all the debris on Bonnie Ray's head, and I thought about that, also. And so I told Hank, I say, "That shot probably did come from upstairs, up over us," and Hank said, "I know it did, because I could hear the action of the bolt, and I could hear the cartridges drop on the floor." And I told him there we better get the hell from up here." (Interview with CBS, aired 9-27-64) (On what happened after he heard the shots) "Then, after that, I noticed Bonnie Ray had some debris in his hair." (Interview with CBS, aired 6-25-67) (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) "I was talking to him around ten o'clock. On the outside of the building, some people had gathered. And he asked me what was they gathering around out there for, and I told him that the President was supposed to come by there that morning. And he asked me what time, and I didn't know what time it would be but some of the people had started gathering around. And he asked me which way would the President be coming, and I told him. And so he said, "Oh, yeah?" And I said "Yeah." Then he turned and walked off." (9-25-77 interview with HSCA investigators Al Maxwell and William Brown) "around about 11:20, 11:25, we went up to the fifth floor...a couple of minutes later, another one of the workers joined us which was Bonne Ray Williams...we all kneeled down and waited for the motorcade and when the motorcade arrived, and just as it was turned to go west under the triple under pass, that's when I heard what sounded like a backfire to me and, I counted the times that it backfired, and it was three times and then, after that, after I heard this second or third backfire, in which I thought it was--the president then, he reached up to his temple like, and I thought he was brushing his hair back, but then, I realized someone was shooting at him, then we ran to the west side of the building to see which way the motorcade was going to go then, and the limousine that he was in, it took off at a high rate of speed, so we ran back to the center of the building, and I noticed that Harold Norman had a bunch of debris in his head, which I imagine was dust from above, upstairs there on the sixth floor, and told Bonnie Ray, I said 'Man, you see all that debris in Hank's hair,' he said 'yeah man' Hank said "Man them shots came from upstairs, what we gone do?" (When asked from where he thought the shots were coming) "Well, I thought it was out on the street at first." (On Oswald's reaction earlier in the day after he'd been told why the crowd was gathering outside) "He just said, 'Oh, I see,' and went on and walked away." (When asked the number of mistakes Oswald had made that day) "I'd say about three or four." (When asked what floors Oswald worked on) "First, fifth, sixth, seventh." (When asked the time of Oswald's last mistake) "11:25, 11:30, then he went and got the book and brought it back and that was the last time I saw him inside the building." (When asked if a stranger could have walked into the depository building and made it to the sixth floor without being noticed) "Very easily...that day the dock door was up and the side door was open...(A stranger could) "just walk inside the building, step on the elevator, pull the gate down and go on up stairs." Analysis: as Jarman heard the last two shots close together and saw both Kennedy “lean his head” and people fall to the ground after the second shot, he is a strong witness that the last shot was fired after the head shot. Jarman's story is inconsistent on other points, however. Apparently, he couldn't remember upon whose head he saw the "debris" after the shots. He also told the HSCA that he saw Oswald on the first floor after he'd taken the elevator upstairs around 11:30--something he'd previously never admitted, or remembered. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together (with the last shot after the head shot).
Now, another confusing point about the fifth floor witnesses and the Dillard photo is that there are really two Dillard photos--the first one, shown above, taken with a camera equipped with a wide-angle lens, and a second one, taken seconds later, by a camera equipped with a telephoto lens. This second photo was entered evidence by the Warren Commission as Dillard Exhibit A. It is shown below. As the car in which Dillard was riding had moved a short distance between the two photos, moreover, this second photo shows a bit more of Harold Norman, in the window at right.
Now, the Warren Commission took a second photo in which the positions of these witnesses was re-created, that focused on the positions of Williams, and Norman. This photo was entered into evidence as Commission Exhibit 486, and is shown below.
The Bonnie Situation
Bonnie Ray Williams is on the left in Dillard Exhibit A. (11-22-63 affidavit to Dallas County, 24H229) “We worked up until about 10 minutes to 12. Then we went downstairs. We rode the elevator to the first floor and got our lunches. 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. I heard 2 shots it sounded like they come from just above us. We ran to the west side of the building. We didn't see anybody.” (11-23-63 FBI report, CD5 p330-333) “At approximately 12 noon, Williams went back upstairs to the sixth floor in the elevator with his lunch. He stayed on that floor only about 3 minutes, and seeing no one there, descended to the fifth floor, using the stairs at the west end of the building. There he joined two other men known to him as Hank and Junior.They were looking out windows on the south side of the building approximately at the middle of the building and saw the car of President John Kennedy come north on Houston Street and then make a turn going west on Elm Street down into the triple underpass directly in front of the Texas School Book Depository. While they were watching this car pass, Williams heard two shots which sounded like they came from right over his head…He stated he and the other two men ran to the west end of the building where they looked out and they did not realize the President had been shot.” (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p784) "as he and the others were coming down from the sixth floor for lunch before noon, Oswald called to them from either the fifth or sixth floor and asked them to send up an elevator. Williams stated that the elevator was not sent up. After Williams picked up his lunch on the first floor he returned to the sixth floor... As soon as he finished his lunch, Williams went to the fifth floor and he estimated the time to be prior to 12:15 P.M. ...he can recall having heard only two shots. He felt that the shots came from the sixth floor but he did not hear the shells fall to the floor nor did he hear the bolt action of the rifle." (3-19-64 statement to the FBI, 22H681) "As the presidential motorcade passed by the building on Elm Street below I heard three shots which sounded like they came from directly above me. At first I thought the noises I heard were firecrackers. I looked up when little pieces of cement hit me on the head, but saw no one. I did not know that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. When I saw all of the confusion on the street below I ran to the west end of the building to get a better view. Hank and Junior who were on the floor with me also ran to the west end of the building."
(3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H161-184) “After the President’s car the last thing I remember seeing him do, you know—it seemed to me he had a habit of pushing his hair back. The last thing I saw him do was he pushed his hand up like this. I assumed he was brushing his hair back. And then the thing that happened then was a a loud shot—first I thought they were saluting the President, somebody even maybe a motorcycle backfire. The first shot—there was two shots rather close together. The second and the third shot was closer together than the first shot and the second shot, as I remember…the first shot—I really did not pay much attention to it, because I did not know what was happening. The second shot it sounded like it was right in the building, the second and third shot. And it sounded—it even shook the building…Harold was sitting next to me...He said it came directly over our heads...I can even hear the shell being ejected from the gun hitting the floor...I heard three shots, but at first I told the FBI I only heard two--they took me down--because I was excited, and I couldn't remember too well. But later on, as everything began to die down, I got my memory even a little better than on the 22nd. I remembered three shots, because there was a pause between the first two shots. There was two real quick. There was three shots.” (When asked where they ran after running to the west side of the fifth floor) "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." (Interview with CBS, broadcast 9-27-64) "The last thing I saw the President do was push his hair back, and the only comments made about the President were that his tan was beautiful, and also that his health was looking good that day." (On what happened after people started falling on the ground) "So we said, “Well, somebody’s shooting at the President.” And then—at first we didn’t believe it, because it just seemed so untrue, you know—and then the other fellow, Harold Norman, said, “Yes, I believe he’s been shot at...Jim Jarman said I had this cement in my hair, and that he saw a gun, you know. So it was caused by some kind of sound or something that shook the old building to make this fall down into my hair. And therefore we decided this came from the sixth floor, because the only floor above us was the sixth floor. ” (Interview with CBS broadcast on 6-25-67, additional portions broadcast in 1992) “When the President came around, we remember seeing him standing up and waving. And then when he turned to go down Elm Street we heard a shot and we saw the President slump. And then after we saw him slump, we said--I think one guy, I don't remember which one it was-- said "I believe they're shooting at the President and I believe it came from right up over us."...Prior to that we’d decided they were firecrackers and everything, y'know.” (When asked how many shots) “I heard three. The first and the second were further apart than the second and the third. In other words there was a bang and a bang-bang.” (7-28-95 Sixth Floor Museum oral history of assassination witness John Templin) (When asked if he ever discussed the assassination with other eyewitnesses) "Over the years, I have. I met a gentleman named Williams. No, Bonnie Ray Williams was his name. Bonnie worked here at the building. I met him at General Motors, parts depot, after I started driving for Merchant’s Freight Lines here in Dallas and had some conversation with him. And Bonnie Ray, he was always... he was scared because so many people had died that had anything to do with that thing mysteriously. And he was a little bit leery all the time about it...He really didn’t offer anything other than he was here, and he was on the fifth floor. And that’s about it. He didn’t elaborate on it that much." Analysis: as Williams initially mentioned but two shots, it seems obvious he only recalled hearing two clear shots. After being told by everyone there were three shots, and given time to analyze how the shots sounded, however, he switched to saying the last two shots were very close together (so close together that he referred to them as an "it" in his Warren Commission testimony). He said they were "bangbang". Whether he only heard two shots or whether the last shots were simply bunched together, however, doesn’t matter, as far as our analysis of the LPM scenario goes, as both suggest there was more than one shooter in Dealey Plaza. Williams was only ten feet from the sniper’s nest and yet he heard only two bursts of gunfire! His statement that the last thing he saw Kennedy do was push his hand up is probably a reference to Kennedy’s wave circa Z-190. He would have to have seen Kennedy for several seconds past Z-140, when Kennedy last brushed back his hair. Williams' original affidavit is also intriguing, as it suggests he was trying to hide that he'd been on the sixth floor. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots bunched together.
Now, here's a photo demonstrating what not to do. Although three witnesses sat in open windows directly beneath the presumed sniper's nest, none of these witnesses were brought in for questioning...except by accident... The photo below captures the rounding-up-and-bringing-in of three depository employees--from L to R, Danny Arce (the long coat), Bonnie Ray Williams (the dirty shirt), and William Shelley (getting into the car), around 1:30 P.M. on the day of the shooting. Detective J.D. Hutchison stands behind Arce. So why were Arce, Williams and Shelley brought in? Because the three of them, along with Billy Lovelady, who was brought in separately, and Charles Givens, who failed to return to the building after lunch, had worked on the sixth floor earlier in the day. Incredibly, Williams' companions on the fifth floor (Jarman and Williams)--two of the three men closest to the sniper's nest at the time of the shooting--were not brought in, and were not questioned, on 11-22-63.
Norman, Is That You?
Harold Norman (11-26-63 FBI report, CD5 p26) (On the shooting) "Harold Dean Norman...stated around noon, November 22, 1963, he and fellow employees James Jarmon and Bonnie Ray Williams, were watching the Presidential Motorcade from the windows on the fifth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. He stated that about the time the car in which the president was riding turned on to Elm Street, he heard a shot. He said he thought the shot had been fired from the floor directly above him. He further stated at that time he stuck his head from the window and looked upward toward the roof but could see nothing because small particles of dirt were falling from above him. He stated two additional shots were fired after he had pulled his head back in from the window.” (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) “He further stated he cannot recall whether he saw Oswald at the Texas School Book Depository during Friday, November 22, 1963." (12-4-63 affidavit to the Secret Service, 17H208) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) "On November 22, 1963, to the best of my memory, the last time I saw him was about 10:00AM when we were both working on the first floor of the building. I did not speak to him at that time." (On the shooting) “Just after the President passed by I heard a shot and several seconds later, I heard two more shots. I knew that the shots had come from directly above me, and I could hear the expended cartridges fall to the floor. I could also hear the bolt action of the rifle. I also saw some dust fall from the ceiling of the fifth floor and I felt sure that whoever fired the shots was directly above me. I saw all of the people down on the street run toward the west side of the building, so I went to that side with Williams and Jarman.” (12-7-63 Secret Service Report based on interviews conducted between 12-2 and 12-5, CD87 p783) "Just after the President passed their position, Norman heard a shot fired and several seconds later, he heard two more shots spaced closely together. Norman claims that he knew immediately that the shots had come from directly above his position, since he heard the bolt action of the rifle and he also heard the expended shells fall to the floor. Norman also claims that some dust fell from the ceiling of the fifth floor which convinced him that there was some type of activity taking place directly above him." (3-18-64 statement to the FBI, 22H666) “I was with James Jarman and Bonnie Ray Williams watching the motorcade bearing President John F. Kennedy pass the Texas School Book Depository Building when I heard three shots fired from, I believe, the floor directly above me.” (3-24-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H186-198) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) (I saw him) "around about 10 or 10:15, somewhere in the neighborhood of that...Over in the bins by the windows, I mean looking out, you know, at Elm Street, towards Elm Street...(On) The first (floor)...I was looking out the window. He happened to come by to fill orders." (When asked if he said anything to Oswald and if Oswald had said anything to him) "No, he didn't...No" (On who else was out front when he and Jarman went outside) "Well, I believe Billy Lovelady, I think. He was sitting on the steps there." (On the shooting) “About the time that he got past the window where I was, well, it seems as though he was, I mean you know, brushing his hair. Maybe he was looking at the public…I can’t remember what the exact time was but I know I heard a shot, and then after I heard a shot, well, it seems as though the President, you know, slumped or something, and then another shot and I believe Jarman or someone told me, he said “I believe someone is shooting at the President,” and I think I made a statement “it is someone shooting at the President, and I believe it came from up above us. Well, I couldn’t see at all during the time but I know I heard a third shot fired, and I could also hear something sounded like the shell hulls hitting the floor and the ejecting of the rifle.” (When asked if he saw any dirt or dust falling) "I didn't see any falling but I saw some in Bonnie Ray Williams hair...I believe Jarman told him that it was in his hair first. Then I, you know, told him it was and I believe Jarman told him not to brush it out his hair but I think he did anyway." (When asked what happened after that) "Well, we ran to the farthest window facing the expressway."
(Interview with CBS aired 9-27-64) “Then the motorcade got to Elm and it turned and it started towards the triple underpass. The President, he was waving at people as he went by and occasionally he would brush his hair back." (Later in the same broadcast) “When I heard the second shot that’s when I saw the people start falling on the ground."(Later in the same broadcast) "But before the third shot was fired I told the guys that, you know, I believed the shot came from the building above us. And eventually, I guess, they agreed with me, because one of the guys said “I believe you’re right.” And I said “I know I’m right” because I could hear something sound as though the shells were hitting the floor and I could hear the ejection of the rifle, clicks like that, you know. (Later in the same broadcast) “Well, I was looking out the window and the first shot was fired. Well, y'know, I didn't think much of it, because it, shook the building a little bit. Really, it was just that powerful. Then after the second shot was fired, well, I saw the people. They were all falling on the ground. And I told one of the fellows. I say, “That shot came from this building.” And then by that time I heard the third shot. And one of the guys told me, he said, “I believe you’re right.” And I say “I know it did." And then I could, you know, also hear the hulls, empty hulls, the cartridges, hitting the floor, and I could hear the ejection of the rifle, whatever it was. And the first thing we thought is we better get down from here because I know I didn’t want to be involved in anything like that because I didn't have anything like that on my mind…” (Late 1966 interview with Lawrence Schiller recounted in The Scavengers and the Critics of the Warren Report, published 1967) "When the President came around, he was waving, seemed to be happy. About that time I heard a shot, and one of the guys said "Somebody's shooting at the President." And I said : "Well, he sure is, because I know that's a shot." And another shot was fired. Then another shot. I saw the President slump over and the Secret Service men and the policemen, they seemed to not recognize where the shots came from. There was a passenger train over by the railroad track and everybody was running that way. That's where they thought the shots came from at first. But I knew it was someone, the shots came from above us. I didn't know who it was or where but I know they were above us because I could even hear the cartridges hitting the floor and I knew the shots came from above...They were right over me. I was sitting almost directly under the window that the shots came from and I could hear them very plainly...One of the guys, some of the debris had dropped one one of the fellows' head, in his hair, and he mentioned it to the other fellow and we looked and there it was, in his hair." (Schiller interview as presented on the Capitol Records release, The Controversy, 1967) "When the President came around, he was waving, seemed to be happy. About that time I heard a shot, and one of the guys said 'Somebody's shooting at the President.' I knew it was someone, the shots came from above us. I didn't know who it was or where but I know they were above us because I could even hear the empty cartridges hitting the floor and I knew the shots came from above us. They were right over me. I was sitting almost directly under the window that the shots came from and I could hear them very plainly. They just sounded like (unintelligible) just as rapidly as the shots were fired. And I know BOOM, you could tell it wasn't no backfire. BOOM then clack clack BOOM clack clack BOOM. That's about how I think it was." (This re-enactment takes about 3 seconds). (Interview with CBS broadcast 6-25-67, additional portions broadcast in 1992) (On seeing Oswald earlier that day) "On that particular morning there were three or four of us standing by the window, and Oswald came over and said, "what's everybody looking at, what's everybody excited about?" And so I - we told him we was waiting on the President. So he just snudged up and walked away." (On the shooting) "And then I think about that time, Jarman says "Somebody's shooting at the President." And I told Jarman, I said "I know it is" because I could hear it being above me and I could hear the shots and everything. And I could even now hear the empty cartridge hit the floor I mean after the shots had been fired. And so, after the shots were fired, well all the officers and everyone else seemed to think it came from down the track down by the underpass cause that's where everyone ran over thatta way. But just like I've said, I've been hunting enough to know the sound of a rifle from a backfire or a firecracker, especially this close to me." (When asked how many shots he heard) “Three.I’d say just about like this BOOM…click click…BOOM…click click BOOM. Something similar to that.”
(10-20-77 interview with HSCA investigators Al Maxwell and Clarence Day) (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) "Well a few more friends of mine, we were over by the window, main entrance coming into the building, and we were looking out and he came over and made the statement to us and asked what was everybody excited about because the president was coming to town." (On Oswald's behavior after making out that the president's visit was nothing to get excited about) "he left, and I never turned around or paid much attention. I don't know which way he went." (When asked a bit later if he saw Oswald come in to work) "No...There's one thing I do recall now was when he ask us what was everybody so excited about the president coming to town. Then when he turn around to leave, you know how a kid would do when he's playing cowboys and Indians?...He did like this: 'pow.'" (When asked if he meant that Oswald behaved as if he were a "cowboy firing two guns') "Yes." (On the shooting) "just as the motorcade came around...3 shots was fired...Boom, clack-clack, boom, clack-clack, boom. One at a time. I see the President fall back and do high hand." (When asked if that was in response to the first shot) "No, I didn't think it was the first shot. I can't recall. (When asked if he saw the president react to the first shot) "No, I didn't because I really didn't know who was shooting--who somebody was shooting at. I mean, I heard the shots, but not thinking that, you know, that that was what was happening--that the president had been hit." (When asked from where he thought the shots were being fired) "From right up above me. I was on the fifth floor. And I knew the shots had to be on the 6th floor, you know, or even on the top of the roof." (When asked if heard any cartridges fall) "I heard three." (When asked if Jarman had pointed out any debris in his hair) "Yes...I didn't feel it. It was just something that must have been lightly--debris. It wasn't nothing, you know, that I really could feel...I feel like it was coming from either somebody moving around or something that had to cause the debris to fall down in my hair like that." (When asked again from where he thought the shots were being fired) "Well, I myself, I knew all the time that they came from above, why you could just hear it, I mean, you know, you know somebody's up there..." (When asked if he'd heard the elevator moving while he was waiting for the president to arrive) "Yeah..." (When asked if he'd heard it stop above him) "I knew it stopped but I couldn't see if it stopped on that floor or the first floor." (On the comments of Jarman and Williams, after they ran to the west side) "Well, at one time somebody made a statement that somebody was shooting at the president or they thought someone was shooting at the president. And I think I made the statement 'Yes, I knew somebody was shooting at him.'" (When asked if he heard anybody on the stairs as he ran down to the fourth floor and stopped to talk to some women) "No." (When asked if he saw Roy Truly after continuing down to the first floor) "I can't recall if he was there." (When asked if he came straight home after being released from the depository) "I came home...I took the bus and came home." (When asked if he knew anyone who'd bought their lunch from the lunch truck on the day of the shooting) "Williams was the only one that I knew that bought some chicken from that truck." (When asked if he spoke to any police on the day of the assassination) "As far as I can remember, the only policeman who ever talked to us was when they finally decided to let us go home. They got our addresses and everything and then told us not to leave or go nowhere until they contacted us somehow." (When asked if the police were aware he'd been up on the fifth floor) "I don't think so." (When asked if Howard Brennan had pointed him out to the police as someone who'd been in the fifth floor window) "No. I don't recall. I remember Truly identifying us as working there. But I don't recall them bringing anybody in." (Note: this was confused questioning and confused answering--Brennan had testified to seeing two colored "boys"--who turned out to be Norman and Jarman--leave the building as he was being questioned outside--and Norman and Jarman had both testified to being sent back inside after going outside and being ID'ed by Brennan. So, yes, Norman was right, no one was brought in to ID him. But he was wrong. He'd been ID'ed outside. In any event, the Dallas Police screwed up by failing to immediately question Norman and Jarman as to what they'd observed on the fifth floor) (When asked if he recalled any contacts with the police between 11-22-63 and 1-22-64) "No, I don't recall." (When asked specifically if he'd ever been interviewed by the Dallas Police) "No." (After being read the 11-26-63 FBI report on his recollections and asked if it was accurate) "I really don't recall giving a statement to the FBI." (Later. perhaps even on a second tape recorded 10-23-77) (When asked if he saw the president hit) "Well, I feel like that he had been hit. I mean I feel like this because I only--he went back in some type of way, he did his hand or something, I don't know if he was falling or reaching for it or what, but I felt like that he had been hit there." (11-09-83 AP article found in the Indiana Gazette) "'I didn't see the gun barrel but I did see the debris that fell in one of my friend's hair. I could hear a gun going off above us, and the debris fell each time there was a shot," said Norman. The debris was dust and tiny pieces of concrete broken loose by the concussion of the rifle, he said. "I sure do see that scene — sometimes pretty regularly. Sometimes I'll be driving down the street and thinking about it," he said. "I can close my eyes and see President Kennedy again. One minute he's smiling and waving and then he's slumped back and wounded.'' Norman said he never believed a conspiracy was involved in the assassination, but he also never fully believed his coworker —Oswald—was the trigger man. 'I won't say he did it,' Norman said. 'I just won't.'" (7-23-86 testimony in a televised mock trial, On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald) "Well, I heard a shot when the motorcade came by. The first shot, it made the President slump. Then I heard two more shots." (When asked if he heard a total of three shots) "Yes, sir." (When asked how he could tell the shots came from above) "Yes, sir...Because I could hear the empty hulls--that's what I call them--hit the floor and I could hear the bolt action of the rifle being pushed back and forward." (When asked how many hulls he heard hit the floor) "Three." (When asked by the defense to describe the rhythm of the sounds) "As I recall, the rhythm of the sounds of the shots was Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click." (When asked by the defense if he thought there was an armed man directly above him) "I can't say that I thought that." (When asked if he thought there was somebody up there) "I thought there was somebody up there, sir."
Above: Harold Norman points himself out during the 1986 mock trial of Oswald.
(Oral history interview performed for the Sixth Floor Museum, 7-31-91) (When asked if he ever talked to Oswald) "No, no more than that particular morning. James Jarman and myself we were down here on the first floor and we were filling orders and we kept going back and forth to the window ya know waiting for the motorcade to come through, cause we had planned we was gonna go up on the fifth floor and watch it, and he asked us what was everybody waiting on, looking at you know and we just told him you know we just trying to wait 'til the president come through. Prior to that that's all he said and didn't say anything else. Matter of fact I didn't see him no more that day you know until the thing went by." (When asked about the shooting) "Well as I recall as the limousine came down Houston Street and exited on Elm, I was looking down. And about (that) time anyone at the building could see the president waving to the crowds of people, and all the sudden you know you hear this noise, and then you know I kind of move right in and ya know and then heard another shot. The next time I think I might have told Jarman that I believed that somebody was shooting at the president you know, and by the time the third shot was fired well I guess they recognized, secret service man he recognized it because that‟s when they... someone jumped on the motorcade on the president‟s car and they accelerated and they speeded away going up to Stemmons, taking him to Parkland, but I guess they didn‟t recognize really where the shots came from at that particular time because they all, majority of them all ran over here on the railroad tracks over here by the trains, and then when they couldn't find anybody there then I guess they recognized this is where the shots come and then they all form in the building here." (When asked where he thought the shots had come from) "Well I initially thought they were coming from above at the beginning." (When asked why) "I could hear somebody moving around, and that‟s what made me think, and then you could hear the bolt action of the rifle when he was ejecting the shells and you could hear the empty shells in the floor. So this is what made me you know think that they came direct up above us." (When asked if, after he ran down to the other end of the floor, he had any concerns about the shooter above him) "Well no...I didn't think... I just thought perhaps it was somebody that was up there, I didn't you know didn't think about how they was gonna try, I mean they was gonna escape or anything. I just had the feeling that somebody was up there." (When asked if he'd had any thoughts about stopping the shooter) "No I didn't, I don't know if they, I didn't. It definitely..." (When asked if he heard three shots) "Yes, that‟s correct three and only three." (When asked how they were spaced) "Snap boom, snap boom, snap boom." (When asked if they were pretty well measured) "Right." (When asked if he'd heard the cartridge hit the floor each time) "Right."
(1-19-92 interview with Gerald Posner, reported in Case Closed, 1993) "When the first shot came, I heard boom, then click-click, boom, click-click, boom. I could hear the sound of the click. I could hear the sound of the shells hitting the floor. I could hear everything. Three shots. No doubt in my mind." (6-13-93 Interview with PBS Frontline) (On seeing Oswald earlier in the day) "We were looking out towards Elm Street, so he walked up and asked us, said, "What is everybody looking for? What's everybody waiting on?" So we told him we was waiting on the President to come by. He put his hands in his pocket and laughed and walked away, so I don't know where he went, or if he went upstairs or downstairs or where." (On the sound of the shots) “We was sitting on the fifth floor, directly under the sixth floor windows. The shots came from above and there was a gun and the shots were sounding, "Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click. Boom! Click, click." So there was three shots fired right up over us when we were sitting on the fifth floor.” (Intriguingly, the transcription of the first part of this Frontline interview, when published in Gus Russo's 1998 book Live by the Sword, had a few extra lines.) In Russo's transcription, between Norman's saying Oswald "laughed and walked away" and his saying "I don't know where he went" he says "I thought maybe he's just being happy that morning or something. He was glad the President was coming through. He acted as though he didn't know, but I kind of think he did know." (Russo's transcription of the second part of the interview, in which Norman describes the shots, was also considerably different than the interview shown on TV, and far more expansive.) "At the time of the shooting, James Jarman and myself were on the fifth floor. Somehow he (Bonnie Ray Williams) lost us. But he did come down to find us just before the motorcade came through. So he joined us and we pulled up some cartons, standing in the window waiting on the motorcade. And as the motorcade came by, we started looking and we had a good view. And all of a sudden, we hear something. 'Boom, ack, ack, boom, ack, ack, boom.' I told Jarman, 'I believe somebody's shooting at the President.' And he said, 'Yeah, that certainly sounds like it.' And then by this time we looked over and there was some debris or dirt or something fell on top of Jarman's head. And that was three of the shells I heard on the floor. And when the police officer asked about it, we told them about it and they went up there and that is what they found up there on the sixth floor. Three empty cartridge shells up there." (Article by Bill Hendricks in the San Antonio Express News, as found in the 11-20-93 Moscow-Pullman Daily News) "Norman was a 25-year old employee at the Texas School Book Depository when Kennedy was shot to death Nov 22 1963. One of his co-workers was Lee Harvey Oswald, whom police later arrested as a suspect in the killing. Now, 30 years later, Norman is unemployed, although he sells copies of JFK Today, a tabloid-sized newspaper for $3 a copy to tourists at Dealey Plaza...'I knew him,' Norman said of Oswald--but not well. The two never talked, except to exchange a brief greeting. Norman recalled seeing Oswald shortly before the president's motorcade reached Dealey Plaza. That was on the fifth floor of the depository, Norman noted, adding that he and another worker, James Jarman, were leaning out of a window with a view of Dealey Plaza. 'He walked over to us and asked what we were doing,' Norman said of Oswald. 'We said we were waiting for the president's motorcade. He laughed and walked away.' A few minutes later, Norman said, he heard three shots fired from the sixth floor window directly above the one he was using to view the parade."
(6-15-94 telephone conversation with Walt Brown as presented in Brown's JFK Chronology, 2013) "The Editor of this Chronology was contacted by Harold Norman in June, 1994, in a collect call from the former Texas School Book Depository building, where Norman had continued to work as a municipal employee. I told him to give me another number where he could be reached, and I called it, and it had the feel of a boarding house. We spoke at length—guardedly at my request—but Norman indicated there was a lot more to the doings of November 22, 1963 than had been made public. I suggested he write down everything he could remember. I promised to contact him shortly, as I was going through the day-by-day slow death of my father-in-law, Raymond Povinelli, who died on July 6, 1994. Harold Norman died not long after, at Parkland Hospital, of brain cancer. His wife died shortly after that. Time permitting, I’ll transcribe the tape of our conversation and use it as an Appendix at the end of this Chronology. Point of emphasis: Harold Norman repeated his “boom-click-clicks” for me during what I believe was our second phone conversation, and I asked him, are you certain that is exactly what you heard? “Yes, suh. I know what I heard.” I told him there had to be another click-click because the third [expended] shell was found in the area directly above his head, and that when found, the rifle had a live round in the chamber. There had to be an extra “click-click” unless the third shell at the scene was a stage prop, or else the bolt was worked as the “assassin” was in flight, an unlikely possibility, since the alleged expended cartridge was found under Norman’s window. Norman thought for a second and then made some comment along the lines that he had never realized that it would have had to be that way—but still, that wasn’t what he heard." (1994 conversation with Walt Brown as presented later in Brown's mammoth JFK Chronology, 2013) "On one weekend day when I was home, tending to the dog and the crops—three tomato plants—while Jill was at the hospital for fifteen hours, I got a phone call which my caller i.d. told me was either “School Book Depository” or “Sixth Floor Museum.” Either way, I knew which building it was coming from. It was Russell McLean, and he had found Harold Norman, and he wanted to talk to me. I’d met Norman in 1992, in the plaza and told him there was more to plaster falling on someone’s head and “boom-click-boom” as he testified before the Warren Commission and at the Spence—Bugliosi trial of Oswald, video-taped in England. He listened patiently, but then cast his gaze over one of his shoulders to the former Book Depository and told me, “See that building? I likes my job.” The yellow sclera in his eyes punctuated his seriousness. He couldn’t afford to talk in 1992. Two years later, he was out of work and wanted to talk, but I told him we couldn’t have any conversations on a phone in that building, and asked him to give his phone number to Russell, who would communicate it to me. A few days later, I called Harold Norman, and based on the way the phone was answered and he was summoned, I suspected that he and his wife lived in a boarding house. I introduced myself, and he interrupted me to say he was familiar with my work and that Robert Johnson, from the A.I.C. and possibly the Conspiracy Museum, had recommended me to him. We had a very interesting talk, the highlight of which was the fact that there were things he wanted revealed that had never been revealed. So I told him, “Put it all down on paper, even if it’s grocery bags. And tell me everything about Harold Norman in 1963—favorite foods, sports, women—the whole story, because a snippet about the assassination would have a half-life of about two hours in the mainstream media.” A more complete story might have lasted one day. We yacked about the known facts. He had seen the motorcycle helmet of the officer (Marrion L. Baker) as he exited the stairway on the fifth floor and continued onward to the next stairs to take him to the sixth and seventh floors. I stopped him there. “Could he have seen you, Bonnie Ray Williams, and Junior Jarman?” Norman thought the answer was an unqualified “yes,” so I asked him, “Why, then, didn’t he go running over to you—three black men in Dallas in 1963—and stick a gun in your ribs until you were determined to be “clean.” He thought it was a good question and one that hadn’t occurred to him. I also told him to tell me again exactly—exactly—what he testified to hearing on the floor above him. He said, “Boom, click, boom, click, boom.” “That’s all?” “That’s all…” “Here’s the problem, Harold, and it’s two-dimensional. There were three shells found, which means that there would have had to have been a third “click” to match up to the third “boom.” He followed the logic. “The only other explanation would have been that there was an already-fired empty cartridge in the gun, which could have been ejected up there ten minutes earlier, and you wouldn’t have heard it. But then the “boom” count is wrong, because when found, the gun had a live round in it, not a cartridge. So you would have had to hear a click, or only two shots were fired, and there still should have been a final click.” He didn’t follow closely, but I guess he figured the way I rattled it off quickly, it had to be correct. So we left it, because I couldn’t get to him in Dallas with Raymond in the hospital, that he would put everything on paper, and I’d get there as soon as my own emergency came to an end. I still prayed for a miracle, but in Raymond’s case, a miracle meant “still alive the next day.” After Raymond’s passing, I called Harold Norman again, and nobody on his end of the phone seemed to know much about him. So I called Russ McLean and asked him to get down to the plaza and see if he could find Harold Norman haunting the place, and get a new contact number. Within three days, I would learn that Harold Norman had died in Parkland Hospital, age 56, of brain cancer."
Analysis: as Norman’s earliest statements indicate he heard three booms but only one or two shells ejected (Williams quoted him as saying “shell”), his words leave open the possibility that only two shots were fired from directly above him. As he testified to two shots—a first one that hit—and a second one that was apparently the last shot, and then back-tracked and said “I couldn’t see at all at the time but I know I heard a third shot fired” it certainly seems his memory of this third shot is unclear. As Bonnie Ray Williams initially left out a shot altogether, there’s reason to believe Norman barely remembered this same shot. As Norman’s earliest statements mention “two additional shots” and “two more shots,” without mention of a five second gap between them, and as the Secret Service noted that he'd said they were "spaced closely together", it certainly seems reasonable to assume he initially thought these last two shots were close together. There was so much talking going on amongst the three men on the fifth floor, however, that it’s hard to say for sure. What one can say for sure, thanks to Norman’s second CBS interview of 9-27-64, is that he agreed with Jarman that people hit the dirt after the second shot. As the Zapruder film and the statements of the eyewitnesses indicate that no one hit the dirt till after the head shot, this indicates he heard a shot after the head shot. Finally, while some use Norman's latter day statements as proof that all three shots came from above, they fail to mention that Norman said he could only tell that the shots came from above by the sound of the hulls hitting the floor, and that he didn't quantify the number of clicks of the rifle or hulls falling to the floor as three until many years after the shooting. They also fail to reveal that Norman has repeatedly changed his story. Between March and September 1964 Norman changed his story about whether it was he or Jarman who first said the shots came from above. In 1967 he changed it back, only to change it back again in the Frontline interview cited by Russo. Far stranger, Norman testified to a discussion regarding debris on Bonnie Ray Williams' head; he then told the HSCA the debris discussed was on his own head; he then told Frontline it was on James Jarman's head. Far worse, on 11-26-63 Norman denied even seeing Oswald on the 22nd, only to change his story by March 64 and testify that he saw him around 10 o'clock but did not speak to him, only to modify his story yet again and tell CBS, the HSCA, and Frontline that he not only saw him but was with a group of people that spoke to him. Even worse, he told the HSCA that Oswald had simulated a gunfight as he walked off from this group. This is something one would be unlikely to forget. So then why did he tell Frontline that Oswald had put his hands in his pockets at this time? And why did he, in his 1993 interview with Hendricks, indicate he'd spoken to Oswald on the fifth floor shortly before the shots were fired? The constant changes in Norman's story, whether simple misunderstandings or deliberate deceptions, reveal Norman to be unreliable, and thus no witness upon which to build a case.
Now this could explain Frontline's editing of his interview... Unless Russo concocted the transcript in his book, Norman, with this interview, not only changed his story yet again as to who first said the shots had come from above, but on whose head debris had fallen. More significantly, he changed his description of the shots between takes from "boom ack ack boom ack ack boom" to "boom click click boom click click boom click click." Having the sound end with a "click click," of course, suggests that the sniper ejected a third bullet, and re-chambered a fourth, which fits the single-assassin scenario. (If only two click-clicks were heard, it would be hard to explain how three shots could have been fired, and three bullets found on the floor). One can only wonder, then, if someone "coached" Norman to add this extra click-click back into his story between takes.
Norman's statements to Frontline are intriguing for yet another reason. As there are no edits in between Norman's lines in the first part of the televised interview, and Russo's transcription of the first part of the interview has three sentences between "walked away" and "I don't know," we can assume that either 1) Russo, who'd worked on the program, had access to an alternate take of the interview (as suggested by his widely divergent transcription of the second part of the interview), or 2) Russo invented these lines to help sell his theory that Oswald was eagerly anticipating Kennedy's arrival, so he could kill him. As the second part of the interview as published by Russo is so damaging to Norman's credibility, I believe we should suspect the former. First shot hit 190-224. Last two shots probably bunched together, with the last shot after the head shot.