Category Archives: Assassination

Witnesses see man with a rifle..

My search into the truth about what happened that day in Dallas 50 years ago has lead me down some very different paths. As a young boy I was intrigued by the assassination and was convinced that there was more than one person involved. The movie JFK came out at about the time I was 11 and this further convinced me to continue to search for answers. As time goes on, we tend to go with the flow sometimes and I was seeing documentary after documentary pointing to one assassin. As I got older, the use of the internet enabled me to search for things that I would not have been able to see because I would have had to go to the archives to look at it. This past week as I was doing my routine search of documents, I came across two witnesses that claim they saw a man carrying a gun case through the streets of Dallas on November 22nd, 1963.

The witnesses that came forward were Phillip Hathaway and John Lawerence.  If you try looking for these individuals in the Warren Commission testimonies you will not be able to find them. It would seem that the Warren Commission decided that witnesses coming forward would not be important to their investigation. I understand that many witnesses have come forward claiming things, but this voluntary statement given by these two gentleman on the afternoon of the assassination would seem to me something that would be important to further investigate.

Phillip HathawayJohn Lawerence

According to the witnesses they state that they were getting ready for the motorcade sometime before 12 noon, when a individual who seemed to be about 6’5 weighing somewhere around 250 pounds came walking through the crowd. In his statement to the Dallas Police, Mr. Hathaway mentioned that he took notice of this man because of the suit he was wearing and the package that the man was carrying. The package was a rifle case and according to the witness it had something in it, because the angle the man was holding the case indicating it had something in it. The direction that the man was heading  towards was Main Street. At first the witness thought the man was a Secret Service agent, but once they realized the president had been shot, they decided to go to the police station.

The importance of these witness statements is because, at some point during the month of November, Oswald was seen at the Sportdome Rifle Range with another individual. The other individual seen with Oswald on a few occasions, was described as being around 6’4 and about 250 pounds. Could this be the same man that these witnesses saw that day? He would have had enough time to make it to the depository and plant Oswald’s gun on the sixth floor. This man would have had the gun, with the palm print on it and been able to have shell casings. At the rifle range, Oswald was seen collecting his shell casings after each shot, trying to catch them as they came out of the gun.

If you have ever been to Dallas you would know that the walk is not that far, and being that rifles have entered the building on occasion, this would not have been anything out of the ordinary. Someone could have easily made it to the depository and planted that gun, making Oswald the patsy he claimed he was. All of the investigative agencies involved failed to look further into this matter, and it is finding witness statements like this that make the search for the truth continue for me.

Sources

[Voluntary Statement by Phillip Ben Hathaway #1], Legal Document, November 22, 1963; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth338788/ : accessed December 27, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Municipal Archives , Dallas, Texas

Warren Commission likes to leave out witnesses..

It has become an almost everyday occurrence to find witnesses that the Warren Commission wanted to ignore. There are many individuals who were in Dealey Plaza on November 22nd, 1963, yet they choose to pick the ones that made their story fit. From the start, the Commission had to find a way to put Oswald in the building and at that window at the time of the assassination.  So they needed to place Oswald in the building at the time, and find a way for him to leave the building. When someone told a different story then the one they had predetermined, they would deem this individual as being mistaken. Today, I want to bring about the statements given by Roger Craig.

In the early afternoon of November 22nd, 1963, Dallas Deputy Roger Craig was standing on Main Street close to Dealey Plaza. As the shots rang out, Craig followed the crowd that was heading up the grassy knoll. He had seen an officer heading into that direction and decided to follow suit. When they arrived they searched the area and were unable to find anything up there. As he was walking  back he encountered Arnold Rowland who was a witness that claimed he saw a man with a rifle on the sixth floor. Not only did he see a man with a rifle at the southwest corner ( Oswald was supposedly at the southeast), he saw another man on the sixth floor as well. Mr. Rowland pointed this out to his wife, and he constantly looked in that direction before the motorcade arrived in Dealey Plaza.. More on the Rowland story in another post, because there is much more to that story then I can fit.

So Officer Craig, listens to the man give his account of the scene and directs him to other officers that are in the area.  About 15 minutes after the shooting, Craig hears someone whistle. At this time he sees a man, that is slender in build, looks to be in his early 20’s running towards a station wagon. Officer Craig gets a good look at this man that is running down the grassy knoll and tries to get the license plate number of the vehicle. His initial reaction at the time was that,why would anyone be running away, when it seemed everyone was running towards the situation. As the scene is unfolding in Dealey Plaza, Officer Craig is told to head into the Texas School Book Depository.  While on the sixth floor, it was him and another officer named Seymour Weitzman along with another officer that find the alleged rifle that was used in the shooting. When the weapon was found, they were told to leave it alone until the identification team could have a look at it. Upon looking at the weapon Weitzman described the weapon as a 7.65 Mauser rifle, and Officer Craig thought the same thing at the time. It wasn’t until pressure from the Warren Commission that Weitzman changed his story. His initial statement to Dallas investigators was that it was a Mauser and he knew weapons from being in the Sporting Goods business.

It was not until later in the evening of November 22nd, that Officer Craig is able to figure out who that man was running down the grassy knoll. He identified him as Lee Harvey Oswald. According to Craig, he went into Police Headquarters to talk to Captain Fritz about what he saw in Dealey Plaza. When told, Fritz and Craig went into the room where Oswald was staying and Fritz asked Oswald about the station wagon. Oswald was quoted as saying ” leave Mrs. Paine out of this, she had nothing to do with it”. A little side note, Ruth Paine was the woman who Oswald’s wife was staying with, and where his rifle was located. At the time, she drove a light green station wagon like the one Officer Craig had seen that day.

So here we have an Officer who sees a man he believes his Oswald about 15 minutes after the shooting, get into a car and take off. The final determination by the Warren Commission was that Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository after the shooting, got on a bus, but when the bus got caught in traffic he took a cab into Oak Cliff. When Oswald was arrested, he had on him a transfer ticket from the bus he was supposedly on. Before November 22nd, 1963, Officer Roger Dean Craig was an outstanding and decorated police officer for the city of Dallas. He was awarded the Man of the year award in 1960 for his work in a jewelry thief arrest. But once word gets out about his talk of Oswald being on the grassy knoll after the shooting, he is quickly ridiculed by his fellow officers. They simple do not believe his story, and he is eventually forced out of the police department by 1967. There were many threats made against his life in the following years, and following being shot at and injured, and driven off the road in an automobile accident, Mr. Craig decided to end his life in 1975. Until the moment of his passing, he believed that the man he saw that day was Oswald.

I am not going to say whether or not I believe this story, but it would be hard pressed not to believe a decorated police officer, who from day one stated he saw Oswald after the shooting. His observations and that of other witnesses fell on deaf ears to the Warren Commission and although he was called in as a witness, Officer Craig’s statements never made it to the final report. The final report will never be final in the eyes of many, and it is stories like this and witness statements from that day which keep this flame burning. I along with everyone else just want to know everything that transpired that day.

Sources:

John F. Kennedy assassination homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol6/page260.php

Simkin, J. (1997, 09). Roger dean craig. Retrieved from http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKcraigR.htm

Another person claims Curtain Rods!!!

I know I may be a little late to this discussion about someone else claiming curtain rods, but I feel the need to share it with everyone who is not familiar. As I was looking through some of the FBI files on the case I found another person that claims he was told by Oswald that he had curtain rods. My journey to this discovery came as I was looking through old telephone records of the home of Michael Paine. In the notes that the FBI had, was a memo that stated a man named Robert Yates voluntarily came into the office on November 26th, 1963. In his statement he claimed that he picked up a hitchhiker in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas on Beckley Street on either November 20th or 21st (Note that Oswald’s rooming house was located on Beckley Street). The man according to the witness had a package with him as he was standing on the side of the road. When Mr. Yates offered him a ride in his pickup truck, he told the man that he could put the package in the bed of the truck. The man stated that he wanted to hold on to him, because they were “curtain rods”.

The witness stated that once he saw the television coverage of the assassination he immediately recognized the man as Lee Harvey Oswald. How could Oswald be in two places at the same time? As the statements given by employees of the Texas School Book Depository mentioned, Oswald was at work on these two days leading up to the assassination. The witness said that he picked this Oswald up at around 10:30am and he was certain it was the Oswald on the television. The witness went on to further say that during the ride, that Oswald was asking him questions about  “if someone could shoot the president”, “ever been to the carousel club”, “you think this rifle in this picture can kill him”. Even questions about the motorcade route of the president were talked about in this less then 15 minute drive into Dallas. The hitchhiker wanted to be dropped off at the intersection of Houston and Elm ( Texas School Book Depository) These kinds of questions raised some suspicion in the witness because when he arrived back to work that day, he mentioned his encounter with the hitchhiker to another co-worker. This witness was never brought before the Warren Commission and was completely left out of the final report. The FBI did not find that Mr. Robert Yates to be telling a lie, because they interviewed the other co-workers who claimed that he did mention to them about the hitchhiker story when he came back to work that day.

So how can there be two Oswald’s doing things at the same time on November 20th or 21st. My guess is that this witness Mr. Yates did not know Lee Harvey Oswald at the time, and that he did not want any fame from this. In the FBI memo, it states that the witness does not want publicity from it. The Warren Commission found this to go against the things they had already thought happened, and they did not want any part of it as well. We know from witness testimony at the Texas School Book Depository ( TSBD), that many of them take lunch at 12:00 but that they do not punch out for their break. Could Oswald have left the building unnoticed and caught a ride to his rooming house to retrieve a different gun to be used in the assassination? Then caught a ride back into the city before his lunch break would be over. Remember, it is only a 15 minute ride to the rooming house. We also know that someone has already brought a rifle into the building a few days before and that everyone was glancing over it. If Oswald was to bring a package in then, nobody would notice.

The real question should be, if he was able to get a gun into the building on either the 20th or 21st, why would he need to bring another package on the 22nd. The story that Buell Frazier mentions is the one that the Warren Commission is so readily wanting to accept instead of Mr. Yates’s story. Could it be that Frazier’s link to getting Oswald the job, and the every Monday car rides seemed so much better. Or are they trying to hide the fact that there was two rifles found that day, and the gun they wanted to find was right where they thought it would be and the other rifle used went missing. I’m not saying that Oswald pulled the trigger, but I do believe that there was involvement on his part, and to figure out what it was is another mystery to uncover. Two Dallas Police Officers make a mention about finding another rifle and not the one that had been shown to the world. They have made statements about finding this other gun but yet again, this gets overlooked. But that discussion will be for another day and time to examine.

Sources:

F.B.I, (1963).  (DL 44-1639). Retrieved from  website: http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/FBI%20Records%20Files/105-82555/105-82555%20Section%20071/71c.pdf

Frazier changes his story

This video is about Buell Frazier explaining the morning of November 22nd,1963. For 50 years he has maintained the curtain rod story, and now it seems he may not think that Oswald had a rifle in the package. Not what he thought back then.

Job Hunting..

In my last post I mention that Jack Ruby was seen outside of the Texas School Book Depository by a few witnesses and yet even though they mention this to the Warren Commission, it just gets swept under the rug. So the question is, did Oswald and Ruby know each other prior to November 22nd, 1963? That question seems to be leaning more and more in the direction that both men were hired for the same job and each of them knew the role of the other. But after the shots rang out in Dallas, something happened that made one of the men want to shut the other person up for good, while the other man was not about to go down without a fight.

On my trip to Dallas, my wife just did not understand why Jack Ruby would just go and shoot Oswald in order to prevent Jackie Kennedy from going to a trial. That was the reason Ruby gave to investigators after he had shot Oswald to death. Her thought was that it does not make sense why he would just go and do that. I think she is right and she wanted me to look into it more. What I found was that Oswald in the days leading up to the assassination was looking for another job in Dallas. This job would be at the Allright Parking lot in downtown Dallas. It just so happens that this parking lot would be on the route of the presidential motorcade that was expected in Dallas in just a few days. It is also a parking lot that Jack Ruby frequents often and was seen there on November 21st, 1963. When Oswald showed up looking for employment, the manager in charge Hubert Morrow , remembered Oswald for several reasons. The first one was that when he was writing Oswald’s name down he misspelled it and wrote “Osburn” and when he addressed Lee with this last name, he was corrected that it was Oswald. The second reason he remembered him was that Oswald was asking about the height of the parking lot and the view it has from the top. He had asked if it had a good view of the city at the top. When the manager saw Oswald on television he immediately knew who he was and contacted authorities.

Allright parkingruby allright parking

This parking lot was the same lot, that Jack Ruby parked his car on the morning of November 24th, 1963 before he shot Oswald. As the authorities have indicated in some of their papers ,Ruby has been seen at this parking lot on several occasions before the assassination. The parking lot could have served as a meeting point between these two men, as they were trying to determine the best location for Oswald to take his shot. The job at the depository which was set up by Buell Frazier who in turn knows Jack Ruby through a mutual friend, would still be the ideal place to make this attempt. Could the job at the parking lot be Oswald trying to think of a better way to escape the ensuing chaos. He knows that if he was to shoot from the window at the sixth floor that he would have to make his way down the stairs to get to the possible getaway car. I think that Ruby’s presence after the assassination spooked Oswald and caused him to return to his rooming house to retrieve his revolver. Because he knew that when he fired the gun, that he only hit Kennedy once, and that he had heard that other rifle go off and that was not part of the plan. Lee Harvey Oswald wanted the fame and notoriety that would come from shooting at the President of the United States, but he was supposed to be alone and he wasn’t.

Sources:

Carroll, Bob K.. [Intelligence Report – Allright Parking Lot Application, January 23, 1964], Legal Document, 1964; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth190240/ : accessed December 06, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Municipal Archives , Dallas, Texas.

Questions Still Linger On…

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As the research into the Kennedy assassination continues into its 26th year for me, it is still easy to find things that are hard to understand. Like most of the assassination, there are things still left to be answered and yet many levels of the government and police agencies have refused to answer. I was recently looking through the Dallas Police files of the assassination and found the statement given by Victoria Adams. In her statement that she gave to Dallas Police detective  James Leavelle, she states that she remembers seeing Jack Ruby outside of the Texas School Book Depository. The statement does not start off as bold as the ending as she mentions that she was with three other employees who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the presidential motorcade. One of the women that was with her at the time was Elsie Dorman. This is the same Elise Dorman that filmed the motorcade as is came up Houston and turned onto Elm street. The Dorman film would not be seen by the public for more than 40 years. After she hears the first shot, she thinks it is nothing more than a firecracker. Then after the second shot, she see the secret service agent run towards the limousine and she knows something is wrong. As she is running towards the elevator she hears the third and final shot.

vickie 1vickie 2

By the time the third shot goes off, they had reached the elevator which is not working. They then use the stairway to get down to the bottom floors. This would be the same set of stairs that the Warren Commission claims that Oswald is using at this exact time to get down to the lunch room where he is found by Officer Baker. The problem is that Vickie Adams and her friends do not hear anyone else on the stairs with them. Once they reached the front of the building they encounter the chaos that has become of Dealey Plaza. She then heads towards the railroad tracks where she is met by a police officer who tells her to go back to where she came from. As she is walking back to the building she notices two men in plain clothes stopping people and asking them questions. One of these men is waving down people and trying to get information from them. One of the men that was asking questions she recognizes on the television a few days later. His name was Jack Ruby. Why would Ruby be at the scene of the crime? Could he have been there to make sure that the job was done and that everyone needed to think that the shots came from the building and not the grassy knoll? This question was not followed up by neither the Dallas Police or the F.B.I and they did not include the testimony of Vickie Adams in there final report. The relationship between Oswald and Ruby seems to be a working relationship and that they both had the job, but they were working on opposite ends of it. It seems the people that Ruby is working for wants everyone to think the shots came from above, and from the window that Oswald was supposed to be at. There are lots of twists and turns in the Kennedy Assassination, and it is hard to think that it could have all been done by one man. These kind of witness statements are the keys to the truth in this investigation.

Sources:

Leavelle, J. R.. [Report concerning interview with Vickie Adams, by J. R. Leavelle], Legal Document, n.d.; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth340453/ : accessed November 30, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Municipal Archives , Dallas, Texas.

Missing Links…

According to the Warren Commission there is only one thing people need to believe from the Warren Report. That is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the death of the president. I will give a pause for the laughter in that statement. It is mentioned several times throughout the report and it seems like they were trying to convince themselves of it. So why would they want us to believe that a lone nut was able to pull off the crime of the century. For starters they do not want to implicate themselves in the cover up, and the fact that Oswald had indeed worked for the C.I.A. at some point. Lee Harvey Oswald had left the United States on several occasions and had ties to many different types of organizations that would want this President of the United States silenced. The perfect candidate for the architects of this plot fell right into there hands, because of the many actions leading up to the assassination. President Kennedy had created many enemies in his short presidency and these individuals had the motive to want to take out the president. I do believe that Oswald was able to make a couple of shots at the President but he did not make the final kill shot that ended the Presidents life.

In that last statement I just made, it would seem that I would believe what the Warren Commission is trying to put out there. However, Oswald was able to get a gun up to that sixth floor and make the attempt on the President’s life but he missed and he knew it. Just like in the case of General Walker where he took that one shot and missed, he thought that two shots this time would do the trick. At the Sports Dome rifle range outside of Irving, Oswald is seen practicing with his rifle by several witnesses. One of these witnesses is a 12 year old boy who notices that as the man is shooting his gun, he is catching the shell casings at the same time. The boy counts the 1st shot, catch, 2nd shot, catch, 3rd shot, catch. A strange thing for someone to be doing and at the rate he was firing the weapon. The catching of the shells is a key part of this statement because 3 shells were found by the sixth floor window after the assassination. So after all of this practice ( Oswald is seen at the range several times) why would there be shell casings laying on the floor? A setup? Who would put the shells there? Someone other than Oswald put the casings there, because in Oswald’s mind he missed the shot, and he had the casings in his pocket. The police missed this or they choose not to look further into the statements of the witnesses at the rifle range.

By the time Oswald is found in the lunchroom by Officer Baker and Roy Truly he is not out of breath because he left the window at the sixth floor in plenty of time. He is startled at the fact that he is found by the policeman so fast and he hurried to his rooming house to retrieve his gun. It would seem that the plan that was made up for the assassination attempt has gone wrong at some point in Oswald’s mind. The part that Oswald was supposed to play in it seems to be out of control and something is wrong. His actions after the assassination seem to dictate this, and he was prepared to go down with a fight. The quote ” its all over now” was something he said while getting arrested at the Texas Theatre, but we know even 50 years after the assassination, that it is clearly not over.

Innocence Lost..

JFK

I come from a generation that was not able to see or hear John F. Kennedy in real life. We only have seen him through the television and in black and white. Just think if we had the chance to see this man or even hear him speak in person. The world we live in now does not let us get close to a President like it was in those days and we will never have a chance unless we donate a significant amount of money to the campaign of that candidate.

Back then this man was real and he wanted the people to be able to see him, let alone hear his voice. Although at the time of his death, his approval rating was not the greatest, it is widely believed that he would have been elected to a second term because he connected to so many people. He was young, smart and had the looks of a movie star. We have looked for a President like him ever since, and every Democratic Presidential candidate since has had to embrace the Kennedy legacy and know that this is what we are looking for. Someone that had vision into the future and had the best interest of the country at all times.

A day like November 22nd, 1963 is one of those days that impacted everyone, much like Pearl Harbor to the generation before and 9/11 to my generation. The world stopped on this day 50 years ago and it seems that we have never been able to move on ever since. The mistrust in government which started on this day has only gotten worse over the years. We still know that there is more to the assassination then what the government has put in the Warren Report and we have not forgiven them for not giving us the answers.

All it takes is to look at the pictures of the motorcade in Dallas to know that this President was loved and admired by many people. Even in a state like Texas which the President’s advisors thought would be difficult,had in fact turned out much larger crowds than expected. Images of people smiling and waving at the president show their excitement. We haven’t had that trust and excitement of a President looking towards the future since, and it is something we all want. Let’s us all teach our children to remember days like November 22nd, 1963, December 7th, 1941 and September 11th, 2001 not just on the big anniversary’s that occur every 5 or 10 years but every year that these days come by. Let us tell them how it impacted the history of this country. It is up to us to keep the memory alive of these events. We will never know what the world would be like if Kennedy lived, but we know that it would have been a better place had he did.

Looking For Answers

Dallas 2013 054

So this past weekend I was able to finally make it to Dallas, Texas. As I was walking around Dealey Plaza it was incredible to realize just how close everyone was to the assassination. When looking at pictures it is hard to visualize it, but when you are there you are taken back in time. The plaza looks just as it did 50 years ago, except that some of the trees have gotten larger. I was able to walk around and inspect the area to see the different angles that the spectators were able to see that day.

I did what any typical tourist would do, I walked the grassy knoll, went behind the picket fence and stood on top of the triple underpass. All of these could have been good vantage points for any potential assassin, but the probability that it happened in one of these locations with the people in the area are unlikely. The main spot that I wanted to visit was the snipers nest on the sixth floor. Going into the building makes you think about the aftermath of the shooting and the route Oswald took inside of the building. Although the building has been modernized, there are still elements of what it looked like in 1963.

Dallas 2013 068

Some of the things that were interesting when I was on the sixth floor, was the fact that I could hear the footsteps of the people in the floor above me. The wood floors make it easy to hear what is going on, and it just so happened that people were moving things around on the seventh floor. This is interesting because on Nov. 22 1963 three workers were on the 5th floor of the depository eating there lunch. They claim to have heard things being moved and the shell casings from the gun hitting the floor. The testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams states that he heard the shots come from the building and that he ran to the other side of the floor thinking they came from there. By being in the building and hearing the things above makes it certain that they could have heard these things. The problem is that there was two other men with Bonnie Ray and the number of shots that they heard differ.

The trip to Dallas was something I will never forget, and I know that I will be back at some point. Going into the museum and doing research inside of the Reading Room, makes me want to go back even more. There are so many unanswered questions regarding the death of the President and Dallas is the main source of the many of the answers.

Bucket List…

At some point in life we learn about death and loss. As hard it is to talk about it is a hard line fact that it will happen to all of us. My grandmother told me a story when I was 8 years old about a young president who died way too young and left so much behind. I just could not understand why someone would do this and I wonder that to this day.

Learning about the life and death of John F. Kennedy became something that was a part of me and it helped me become a better student. When your 8 years old, learning about autopsy’s and bullet fragments is not something that typically happens. As I grew older the interest never faded it only became more expensive because of the material I was buying. I always dreamed as a kid that one day I would be able to go to Dallas to see where he got shot and see the sixth floor museum.

I was too young to go to the 30th anniversary and I promised myself that the 40th anniversary would be the year I go. My youngest daughter was born in October of that year and I was unable to attend that year as well. So here we are, the 50th anniversary is a few weeks away and I was unable to obtain tickets to the memorial. However, my wife pushed me to not give up and that we would still go.

I have always said that going to Dallas would be the top thing on my bucket list of things to do. It’s not often that people get to say that they have done the one thing they have always wanted to do. Dallas means more than seeing the museum or the grassy knoll. It takes me back to my grandmother telling me those stories about him and how it all ended on that sunny day in November.