SEE Bottom paragraph
From Volume I page v.
DEALEY PLAZA CONSPIRACY WITNESS
Staff Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations
U.S. House of Representatives
Ninety-fifth Congress Second Session
In addition to the information from
witnesses regarding what they heard in Dealey Plaza at the time the shots
were fired at the Presidential motorcade, the committee examined the
statements of witnesses in the Plaza, who provided information about the
possibility that other individuals were present in the area who may have
been involved in the assassination. The committee attempted to locate each
of those persons; the search was hampered, however, to a great extent since
the last known information on their addresses and whereabouts often dated
back to 1963 or 1964. Nevertheless, each witness who was located was asked
to read all prior statements he had made to the Warren Commission or law
enforcement officials in connection with the assassination and then to
indicate in a affidavit prepared by the committee whether those statements
were a complete and accurate record of the information related by the
witness. Each witness was given the opportunity to either refute, correct or
delete inaccurate information contained in the statements and testimony.
In the case of those witnesses who could
not be located, the committee still examined their existing statements to
form an opinion about the nature of the information provided as it related
to what had been verified by other witnesses.
I. PRESENCE OF TWO
MEN IN THE UPPER FLOOR WINDOWS OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY
Three witnesses gave statements to law
enforcement agencies after the assassination that they saw two men at the
sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) from which
they believed the assassin had fired.
In an FBI interview on December 5, 1963,
Mrs. Ruby Henderson related that at the time of the motorcade, she was
standing on the east side of Elm Street "just north of Houston Street."(1)
She said that right after an ambulance left the area with a man who had
suffered an epileptic seizure, she looked up at the Texas School Book
Depository; she Saw two men in the window on one of the upper floors.(2) She
could not recall exactly which floor they were on, but stated that she did
not recall seeing any other persons on any floors above the two men.(3).
Mrs. Henderson described one man as being
dark-complexioned, possibly either Mexican or Negro.(4) That man had dark
hair and a white shirt.(5) The other man was taller and was wearing a dark
shirt.(6) According to the FBI report, she also said that "she could not
definitely state that one of the men * * * was not a Negro." (7) Mrs.
Henderson said she only saw the men from the waist up and therefore could
not further describe their attire.(8) They were standing back from the
window, but looking out toward the motorcade.(9)
* Arabic numerals in parentheses at the
beginning of paragraphs indicate the paragraph number for purposes of
citation and referencing; italic numerals in parentheses in the middle or at
the end of sentences indicate references which can be found at the end of
each report or section.
Mrs. Henderson said she saw the two men
in the window before the motorcade reached the corner of Elm and Houston
Streets, but did not know how much before it reached the corner that she was
Mrs. Henderson was not called to testify
before the Warren Commission.
Mrs. Carolyn Walther was interviewed by
the FBI on December 4, 1963, and stated that at the time of the motorcade,
she was standing on the east side of Houston Street, about 50 or 60 feet
south of the south curb of Elm Street.(10) After the ambulance left with the
epileptic, Mrs. Walther looked up at the windows of the Texas School Book
Depository and saw a man in the southeast corner window of the fourth or
fifth floor; according to the FBI report, Mrs. Walther was "positive" the
window as being the "most easterly" on the south side of the building.(12)
Mrs. Walther saw the man was holding a
rifle in his hands; the barrel of the rifle was pointing downward and the
man was looking toward Houston Street.(13) Both his hands were extended
across the window ledge.(14) She described the man as having light brown or
blond hair and wearing a white shirt.(15) She described the rifle as having
a short barrel and being possibly a machine gun. She noticed no other
features of the rifle.(16)
Mrs. Walther said also that she saw at
the same time a second man standing in the same window to the left of the
man with the rifle.(17) This man was wearing a brown suit coat; she could
only see his body from the waist to the shoulders and his head was hidden by
part of the window.(18)
Mrs. Walther told the FBI that almost
immediately after she saw the second man in the window, the presidential
motorcade approached on Houston Street.(19)
Mrs. Walther was not called to testify
before the Warren Commission.
Arnold Louis Rowland testified before the
Warren Commission that he and his wife standing near the corner of Houston
and Main Streets at the time of the motorcade.(20) Rowland said that at
about 12:15 p.m. he looked up at the Texas Book Depository and saw a man in
a sixth floor window in the west corner of the building holding a rifle.(21)
The man was standing back from the window.(22) Rowland described the rifle
as a "fairly high-powered rifle" with scope.(23) He thought it might have
been a .30 size six rifle.(24) Rowland said he noted also that two windows
were open where he saw the man standing.(25) According to Rowland, the man
was holding the rifle in a "port arms" military position, with the barrel at
a 45 degree angle downward across his body.(26)
Rowland described the man as being "tall
and slender in build in proportion with his width."(27) He also said the man
could have weighed 140 to 150 pounds.(28) He appeared to be
light-complexioned with dark hair, possibly "light Latin" or Caucasian, and
his hair was closely cut.(29) Rowland said the man was wearing a very
light-colored shirt with an open collar and a T-shirt beneath, and he had on
either dark slacks or jeans.(30) The man appeared to be in his thirties.(31)
Rowland said that he mentioned to his wife that he had seen a man in the
window, but the man was gone when they looked back.(32) Rowland estimated
the man was standing 3 to 5 feet back from the window.(33)
Rowland testified also that before he saw
the man with the rifle, he saw another man in another window of the sixth
floor.(34) He said that window was in the east corner of the building, "the
one that they said the shots were fired from."(35) Rowland said he believed
it was a "colored" man and that the man was "hanging" out the window.(36)
Rowland said that at that time he noticed there were several people hanging
out of windows; it was then that he looked again and saw the man with the
rifle in the western window.(37) He said he saw both men at about 12:15
Rowland described the man in the window
of the southeast corner of the sixth floor as an "elderly Negro," but could
give no further details on the man's appearance.(39) Rowland said the Negro
man in the window remained there until the motorcade reached the corner of
Main and Ervay Streets at about 12;30 p.m.(40) Rowland said he last saw him
about 5 minutes before the motorcade had reached the corner of Main and
Ervay, the man was gone.(41)
In an FBI interview on November 22, 1963,
Rowland repeated that as he stood on Houston Street at the west entrance of
the sheriff's office at approximately 12:15 or 12:20 p.m., he saw a man
standing in the window of the second floor from the top";(42) there was no
further information in that report about the location of that window. The
man was standing 10 or 15 feet back from the window and was holding a rifle
which appeared to have a scope.(43) The FBI report described the man's
position as "parade rest."(44) According to that report, Rowland described
the man as a white male of slender build with dark hair.(45) He was wearing
a light-colored shirt which was open at the neck.(46)
Rowland told the FBI that he heard the
first shot about 15 minutes after he had seen the man with the rifle at the
window. He said he did not look at the window again after the shots began.
In an FBI interview on November 23, 1963,
Rowland was quoted as saying that the window in which he saw the man with
the rifle was in the southwest corner of the sixth floor, which is nearest
the overpass on Elm Street.(47) That report contains the description of the
man as wearing a light-colored shirt and the rifle as being a .306 with a
telescopic sight.(48) Rowland said he was not close enough to identify the
man and could not say if it was Lee Harvey Oswald.(49)
Rowland also gave a sworn statement to
FBI agents on November 24, 1963. In that statement, Rowland again recounted
that he saw a man with a rifle at about 12:15 p.m. on November 22, 1963.(50)
He described the location as the area of the two rectangular windows "at the
extreme west end of the Texas School Book Depository on the next to the top
floor. * * *"(51) He said again that the man was standing 10 to 15 feet back
from the window.(52) The description he have at this time was consistent
with his earlier reports: Slender in proportion to his height, wearing a
white or light-colored shirt, which was either collarless or open at the
neck.(53) The man had dark hair.(54) Rowland also described the rifle as
having a scope and said that the man was holding it in a "port arms"
position.(55) He also said again that he would not be able to identify the
person because of the distance.(56)
There is no mention in any of the FBI
reports that Rowland said he also saw another man in a window on the eastern
corner of the building. Nevertheless, in his Warren Commission testimony,
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig stated that soon after the assassination of the
afternoon of November 22, 1963, Rowland gave him a description of two men in
sixth floor windows of the depository before the assassination.
Creig testified that after the shots, he
began talking to witnesses in the area of the depository.(57) This is
Craig's description of his conversation with Rowland:
I talked to a young couple and
the boy said he saw two men on the-uh-sixth floor of the Book Depository
Building over there; one of them had a rifle with the telescopic sight on
it-but he thought they were Secret Service agents on guard and didn't report
it. This was about-uh-oh, he said, 15 minutes before the motorcade ever
Craig said he remembered the boy's name to
be Arnold Rowland.(59) He said the conversation with Rowland took place
about 10 minutes after the shots were fired at the motorcade.(60) Rowland
told him that the man with the rifle was located on the west end of the
depository in the second window from the corner.(61) Rowland also told him
that the two men were "walking back and forth" on the sixth floor.(62)
Rowland related that when he looked back a few minutes later, only the man
with the rifle remained.(63) He was holding it at his side and looking out
the window in a southerly direction.(64) Craig said Rowland's wife said she
had not seen the men.(65) Craig also said that at the time he talked to
Rowland, there had not yet been a report that the shots had come from the
depository.(66) In fact, Craig testified that he had a first assisted
officers searching in the area of the railroad tracks before he returned to
the area of the depository building to talk to witnesses.(67)
Rowland also gave a report to the
sheriff's department on November 22, 1963. According to that report, Rowland
said that at about 12:15 p.m. he was a man with a rifle in a window on the
second floor from the top of the depository.(68) The man was about 15 feet
back from the window and was holding the rifle as high powered because it
had a scope on it.(70) He described the man as white, wearing a
light-colored shirt which was open at the neck; he said the man appeared to
be of slender build with dark hair.(71) There is no mention in that report
that Rowland described a second man on the sixth floor before the shots.
II. PRESENCE OF
POSSIBLE GUNMAN ON THE GRASSY KNOLL
The committee also examined information
about the presence of a man near the concrete structure on the grassy knoll
near the area where some witnesses said they believed gunfire had
The photographic evidence panel examined
photographs make by Phillip Willis of the area of the grassy knoll and
concluded that a photograph taken by Willis did show a person standing
behind the concrete wall on the knoll.(72) The panel determined that
photograph was taken at approximately frame 202 of the Zapruder film, which
was after President Kennedy received the neck wound but before the fatal
head shot.(73) According to the results of the panel's photographic
enhancement and analysis, the figure in the Willis photograph was consistent
with that of an adult approximately 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet in height(74)
and wearing dark clothing.(75) The panel also noted that in another
photograph by Willis, which was taken after the Presidential limousine had
left Dealey Plaza, the figure standing behind the concrete wall had
disappeared.(76) The panel concluded that movement by the object was
consistent with the presence of a human being.(77)
The photographic evidence panel also
noted that in the first Willis Photograph, which shows the person standing
behind the concrete wall, there is visible, near the region of the hands of
the person at the wall, "a very distinct straight-line feature," which
extends from lower right to upper right.(78) Nevertheless, because of the
blur of the object in the photograph, the panel was not able to determine
the actual length of the object and could not conclude whether it was or was
not a weapon.(79)
The committee interviewed Willis'
daughter, Rose Mary Willis, on November 8, 1978, at her home in Dallas. Ms.
Willis stated that she was present with her father and a sister in the area
of the grass section of the plaza at the time of the Presidential motorcade
on November 22, 1963.(80) The other was a person who was standing just
behind the concrete wall near the triple underpass.(84)
That person appeared to "disappear the
next instant."(85) Ms. Willis further described the location of this person
as the corner section of the white concrete wall between the area of
photographer Abraham Zapruder's right side and the top of the concrete
stairway leading up to the center of the grassy knoll.(86)
Ms. Willis said she was aware of three
shots being fired.(87) She gave no information on the direction or location
of the shots, but stated that her father became upset when the policemen in
the area appeared to run away from where he thought the shots came from;
that is; they were running away from the grassy knoll.(88)
Committee investigators also interviewed
Ms. Willis' sister, Mr. Linda Pites, on November 7, 1978, in Dallas. Mrs.
Pites explained that she was also present in the plaza at the time of the
shots.(89) The only information she provided relevant to the shots was that
she had a distinct impression that the head wound to President Kennedy was
the result of a front-to-rear shot.(90) She also heard three shots and saw
the President's head "blow up."(91)
Mrs. Pites testified before the Warren
commission of July 22, 1964.(92) During her testimony, she said that she
heard three shots and that she saw the President grab his throat after the
first shot.(93) She was not asked by the Commission about any other activity
she may have seen in the plaza at the time of the shots.
Phillip Willis also testified before the
Warren commission on July 22, 1964. He had positioned himself on the curb in
front of the Texas School Book Depository at the time the President's
motorcade passed.(94) Willis stated that he took 12 pictures of the
motorcade, including of President Kennedy when he was first hit.(95) Willis
said he was certain that three shots were fired and that they came from the
direction of the depository.(96)
During his testimony, Willis was asked if
at the time of the shots he looked in the direction of the railroad tracks
which go across the triple underpass.(97) Willis stated that he saw
policemen and spectators there, but that he saw no evidence of shots coming
from that area.(98) Willis was not asked during the testimony about his
film, which shows a figure behind the concrete wall on the knoll.
III. ACCOUNTS OF
PERSONS FLEEING FROM THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY
Richard Randolph Carr stated to the FBI
on January 4, 1964, that he saw a man looking out of a window on the top
floor of the depository a few minutes before Carr heard shots.(99) He
described the man as white, wearing a hat, tan sport coat and glasses.(100)
He said that at the time of the motorcade, he was standing on about the
sixth floor of the new courthouse which was under construction at Houston
and Commerce Streets.(101) Carr said that from that spot he could only see
the top floor and roof of the depository building.(102) It was from that
location that he observed the man in the depository window.(103) Carr said
that after the shots he was going toward the direction of the triple
underpass; when he got to the intersection of Houston and Commerce Streets,
he saw a man whom he believed to be the same individual he had seen in the
window of the depository.(104)
Carr was not called to testify before the
Warren Commission. He did testify on February 19, 1969 in the Parish County
Criminal District Court in New Orleans in State of Louisiana v. Clay L.
Shaw, a case involving charges of conspiring to assassinate President
Kennedy. According to the transcript of his testimony, Carr stated that he
saw the man in the fifth floor window of the Texas School Book
Depository.(105) He said he later saw the man going down Houston Street;
turning at Commerce Street.(106) Carr also described the hat worn by the man
as felt and said his glasses were heavy-rimmed with heavy ear pieces.(107)
He had on a tie and a tan sport coat.(108) As the man ran, he was
continually looking over his shoulder as though he was being followed.(109)
During his testimony at the Clay Shaw
trial, Carr also reported seeing men in Dealey Plaza at the time of the
assassination who were not mentioned in the report of his FBI interview in
January 1964. Carr was asked during the Shaw trial if he noticed any
movement after the shots which seemed "unusual."(110) Carr then said that he
saw a Rambler station wagon with a rack on top parked on the wrong side of
the street, heading north and facing in the direction of the railroad
tracks, next to the depository.(111)
Carr said that immediately after the
shots he saw three men emerge from behind the depository and enter the
station wagon.(112) He gave a description of one of them: he was "real dark-complected"
and appeared to be Spanish or Cuban; he drove the car away, going north on
During the Shaw trial testimony, Carr
said he had reported this information to law enforcement officers and that
someone had told him not to repeat this information.(114) At that point,
defense counsel objected to hearsay by carr, and no further details were
elicited about the reported coercion of Carr, other than his statement that
he did what the FBI told him to do, "I shut my mouth."(115)
Committee investigators did not locate
Richard Carr to discuss this information with him.
James Richard Worrell also reported to
the FBI on November 23, 1963, that he saw a man leaving the FBI that he saw
the man leave the depository building and run in the opposite direction; at
the time, Worrell said that he was running from Elm to Pacific Street along
Houston.(116) He described the man as white, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10
inches in height, with dark hair and wearing some type jacket and dark
clothing.(117) According to the FBI report, when Worrell later saw Lee
Harvey Oswald on television that night Worrell believed Oswald was the
person he had seen running from the depository.(118)
In an affidavit for the Dallas Police
Department on November 23, 1963, Worrell also related seeing the man run
from the depository in the opposite direction from Worrell. At that time, he
said the man was wearing a dark shirt or jacket which was open down the
front and that he did not have anything in his hands.(119)
When Worrell testified before the Warren
Commission on March 10, 1964, he said he was running along Houston Street
when he saw the man "come bustling out of the door" of the depository.(120)
At that time, Worrell described the man as 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10
inches in height, weighing 155 to 165 pounds, in his early thirties, with
brunette hair.(121) He was wearing a dark sports jacket, which was open, and
light pants.(122) Worrell said the man came out of the "back entrance" of
the depository building.(123)
Richard Worrell died on November 5, 1966,
in Dallas from severe head injuries sustained when his motorcycle went out
IV. ACCOUNTS OF PERSONS
FLEEING DEALEY PLAZA
After the assassination on November 22,
1963, Mrs. Jean Lollis Hill of Dallas gave a notarized statement to the
sheriff's department regarding what she had seen in Dealey Plaza at the time
the shots were fired at the motorcade. Mrs. Hill said that she was standing
at the curb on the south side of Elm Street halfway to the triple underpass
during the parade.(125) After the last shot was heard and the Presidential
limousine sped away, Mrs. Hill looked up the hill of the grassy knoll and
saw a man running toward the monument.(126) She said she began running
toward the man; she was turned back by policemen who had arrived on the
knoll when she got up to the railroad tracks.(127) In the sheriff's
statement, there is no description or further details of the man seen by
An interview report dated November 23,
1963, by the FBI gave only this account for its total report on Mrs. Hill:
--Jean Hill, 9402 Bluff Creek,
telephone EV 1-7419, stated that she on November 22, 1963, was standing on
Elm Street in the vicinity of Texas School Book Depository observing the
Presidential party composed of the President of the United States, his wife
and Governor Connally of Texas, pass, and accompanying her was Mary Moorman,
residing 2832 Ripplewood, telephone DA 1-9390, who with a camera took
pictures of the Presidential party passing down the street.
--Jean Hill advised she heard something like a rifle shot and observed
President Kennedy crumple in his seat in the automobile. She was standing
nearby, as the vehicle was passing the spot where she stood at the time.(128)
The FBI reinterviewed Mrs. Hill on March
13, 1964. In that report, Mrs. Hill was quoted as saying that after the
shots she noticed a white man in a brown raincoat and a hat running west
away from the depository in the direction of the railroad tracks.(129) The
report states that Mrs. Hill said she was stopped by a motorcycle policeman
and lost sight of the man.(130) It also states that she did not get a good
look at the man, but that she described him as being of average height and
According to that report, Mrs. Hill said
that men who were either FBI or Secret Service agents were present later
that afternoon when she was being questioned in the sheriff's office.(132)
Mrs. Hill related that one of the men referred to a bullet hitting the
ground near her feet; she told him she did not recall such an incident.(133)
When she told the men that she had heard four to six shots, one of them
said: "There were three shots, three bullets, that's enough for now.(134)
The report states that despite that remark, Mrs. Hill said no law
enforcement officers attempted to force opinions or statements from
Mrs. Hill testified before the Warren
commission 11 days after that FBI interview, on March 24, 1964. At that
time, Mrs. Hill recounted again the events in dealey Plaza at the time of
the shots. As she discussed the reaction of the crowd to the shots, she
volunteered that she saw a man "running, getting away or walking away or
something- I would say he was running."(136) She said the man was at the top
of the slope near the west end of the depository building. She repeated that
the man was wearing a brown raincoat.(137) She said her attention was drawn
toward him because he was the only thing moving after the shots rang
out.(138) Mrs. Hill also said that at the time she thought, "that's the man
that did it" and began running toward him.(139) She did not recollect seeing
his hands and did not see a weapon.(140)
Mrs. Hill testified that she ran up the
hill toward the railroad tracks after the man.(141) She said when she got in
the area of the railroad tracks, she lost sight of him.(142) At that point
she thought she heard someone say: "It looks like he go away," or words to
that effect; she said that was consistent with the thought in her own mind
that the man she saw running was involved in the assassination.(143)
When Mrs. Hill was first asked during her
Warren Commission testimony by Counsel Specter if she could give a
description of the man she saw running, Mrs. Hill said she did not want to.
She was concerned because she had earlier given statements that the man
looked like Jack Ruby in build and thought this would be viewed as "using a
figure and converting it to (her) story."(144) Later in her testimony, Mrs.
Hill said she had been bothered and laughed at because of the information
she provided, specifically because she had once said she saw a dog on the
seat in the limousine between President and Mrs. President(145)
Nevertheless, she continued to say that the man was about Jack Ruby's height
and wasn't any bigger than Jack Ruby in weight.(146) She said also at that
time that the man had been wearing a brown hat.(147) She estimated that he
was middle-aged, approximately 40 years old, and Caucasian.(148) When asked
by Counsel Specter is she thought the man was in fact jack Ruby, Mrs. Hill
replied that she didn't know.(149)
Mrs. Hill explained in her testimony that
when she mentioned to the law enforcement officers at the sheriff's office
that she had heard four to six shots, one of the men responded that he had
also heard more than three shots, but that they had three wounds and three
bullets, so they were not willing to say that more than three shots had been
fired.(150) She repeated also at that time that a Secret Service man asked
her about a bullet hitting the ground near her feet, but she had not seen a
bullet hit the ground.(151) She said she was not coerced into any statements
by the law enforcement officials.(152)
Mrs. Hill said she had been contacted by
Attorney Mark Lane a few weeks before her Warren Commission testimony.(153)
Among the things she related to Lane was that she had been told by a man
from the FBI or Secret Service not to mention the man she saw running in the
area of the depository.(154) At that point in her testimony, Mrs. Hill also
said that a reporter named Featherstone from the Dallas times Herald had
told her she was wrong about seeing a man running up the hill from the
depository, and not to mention it on the air.(155) It was not further
clarified in her Warren Commission testimony whether it was in fact law
enforcement officers or the reporter, or both, who advised her not to
mention again seeing the man running.
Mrs. Hill said in her testimony that she
had been reinterviewed by the FBI on about March 16 or 17, 1964 because of
statement Mark Lane had made about her when he testified before the
Commission.(156) Mrs. Hill said she had talked to Lane about 4 or 5 weeks
before; she said he took down correctly what she said, but that it was
reported out of context because his account did not reflect his
Mark lane had testified before the
Commission on March 7, 1964. Lane gave this account in his testimony of
information he had been given by Mrs. Hill of the events in Dealey Plaza:
--She said further that after the
last shot was fired, she saw a man run from behind the general area of a
concrete facade on that grassy knoll, and that he ran on to the triple
Mrs. Hill was not located by the
In another voluntary statement to the
sheriff's department dated November 22, 1963, Jesse C. Price of Dallas was
quoted as saying he also saw a man fleeing from the plaza after the
assassination. Price said in his notarized statement that at approximately
12:35 p.m. on November 22, 1963, he was on the roof of the Terminal Annex
Building and saw the Presidential motorcade proceeding west on Elm Street
until it was a short distance from the overpass.(159) After hearing the
volley of shots, Price saw a man run toward the passenger cars at the
railroad siding.(160) In the sheriff's statement, Price described the man as
about 25 years of age with long, dark hair.(161) He was wearing a white
dress shirt with no tie and khaki-colored trousers.(162) Price said the man
was carrying something in his hand and that it may have been a "head
Price was interviewed by the FBI in
Dallas on November 24, 1863. However, that report quotes Price only as
saying he looked in the direction of the overpass at the time of the shots,
but "saw nothing pertinent."(164)
The committee learned that Jesse C. Price
Lee E. Bowers, Jr., reported to the FBI
after the assassination on November 22, 1963, that he had observed three
cars parked in the lot west of the depository building before the
assassination. He said the first arrived at about 11:55 a.m.; it was a 1959
Oldsmobile station wagon, blue over white, with an out-of-State license
plate consisting of six black numbers on a white background.(165) He noted
that the car was extremely dirty.(166) There was one white male in it, who
Bowers said could have been middle aged.(167) the second car arrived at
about 12:15 p.m.(168) It was a 1957 Ford Tudor, black with a gold stripe on
the sides, and had a Texas license plate.(169) Bowers said he thought the
man in that second car was a police officer because he was talking into a
radio telephone or radio transmitter in the car.(170) Bowers described him
as white, about 30 years old.(171) The third car was a 1961 or 1962 white
Chevrolet Impala four-door and it arrived at approximately 12:22 p.m.(172)
Bowers said the license on the third car was like the out-of-State license
on the first, with six black numbers on a white background.(173) That car,
too, was very dirty.(174) The man in it was a white male about 30 years old,
with long, dirty blond hair, wearing a plaid sports shirt.(175)
Bowers told the FBI that after the
shooting he did not see any of these cars in the parking lot.(176)
Lee Bowers, Jr., testified before the
Warren Commission of April 2, 1964, and gave the same account and
descriptions of the three cars.(177) Nevertheless, in his warren Commission
testimony, Bowers also stated that the first car first drove in front of the
depository, circled the area of the tower in the railroad yard "as if he
were searching for a way out, or was checking the area," and then left at
the Elm Street outlet.(178) Bowers stated also that he noticed the car had a
"Goldwater" sticker on its bumper.(179) About 15 minutes later, Bowers noted
the second car; it drove in front of the depository, cruised around the area
for 3 or 4 minutes, and then left.(180) The third car appeared about 8
minutes before the President's motorcade; it circled the area and probed in
the area of the tower, and then slowly cruised back in front of the
depository, at which point Bowers lost sight of it.(181)
Bowers testified that at the time of the
motorcade on November 22, he was located in the Union Terminal Tower in the
railroad yard.(182) When asked what people he noticed standing between the
tower and Elm Street at the underpass on the high ground, Bowers stated that
he saw two man standing within 10 or 15 feet of each other.(183) One of them
was middle aged, heavy set, and was wearing a white shirt and dark
trousers.(184) The other man was in his mid-twenties, wearing either a plaid
shirt or a plaid jacket.(185) Bowers said those two men were directly in his
line of vision toward the mouth of the underpass and appeared to be watching
the progress of the motorcade.(186) Bowers said he saw the man in the white
shirt standing there at the time of the shots, but that he could not see the
younger man in the plaid clothing because of the trees, which made him
harder to distinguish.(187)
Bowers said that at that point a
motorcycle officer ran up the incline toward the trees in the general area
of where the two men were standing; Bowers said there was some kind of
commotion at that place, but that he did not know what had happened.(188)
The committee was told on November 11,
1978, by Bower's parents that he died from injuries sustained in a car
accident 3 years ago.(189) Mr. and Mrs. Bowers, Sr., were unable to provide
any additional information about the events reported by their son; they
mentioned that he was reticent by nature and told them practically nothing
of what he had observed on November 22, 1963.(190)
In a sheriff's department notarized
statement dated November 23, 1963, Malcolm Summers of Dallas reported that
he saw a car speeding from the area of the plaza immediately after the
shots.(191) Summers stated that he was located on the terrace of the small
park on Elm Street when the Presidential motorcade passed in front of
him.(192) After the shots and the president's car had sped away, Summers
went to the area of the railroad tracks because he "knew that they had
somebody trapped up there."(193)
After about 20 minutes, Summers returned
to his truck, which was parked on Houston Street.(194) As he began to pull
away from the curb, an automobile traveling in what Summers described as a
"burst of speed" passed his truck on the right, which Summers thought was
dangerous.(195) Summers said the car then slowed when it got in front of
him, "as though realizing they would be conspicuous in speeding."(196)
Summers said there were three men in the
car; he described them as of slender build.(197) He said they appeared to be
"excited" and were motioning to each other.(198) He described the car ad a
1961 or 1962 Chevrolet sedan, which was maroon in color.(199) The car went
across the Houston Street viaduct, turned off on Marsalis Street, and
continued in the direction of Zangs Boulevard.(200) Summers said he did not
believe he could identify the men again, but that he would recognize the
Summers was not called to testify before
the Warren Commission. No FBI files concerning this information have been
located. Summers was contacted by the committee on October 30, 1978. At that
time, he confirmed the substance of the information provided to the
sheriff's department and signed a statement indicating that the information
was accurate and complete.(202)
The Dallas County Sheriff's Department
had also received another report of a car speeding from the direction of
Dealey Plaza on the afternoon of November 22, 1963. In a report dated
November 22, Deputy Sheriff jack watson reported that he had received
information through the sheriff's office radio about the car. Watson
reported that the Carrollton, Tex., Police Department called in that they
had received a citizen's report that a car had been parked near the Harry
Hines Circle for several days before November 22.(203) According to the
information from the Carrollton police, "very shortly after the shooting"
that car was seen traveling north on Harry Hines Boulevard "at a very high
rate of speed."(204) The Carrollton police described the car as red 1963
Chevrolet Impala with Georgia license plate 52J1033.(205) Watson's report
stated that the information on that car was broadcast to all stations
the committee was unable to locate Jack
Watson to get further details of the car report received by the Dallas
County Sheriff's Department.
According to an FBI report on the car
with the Georgia license plate, the Dallas County Sheriff's Office had
received the call on the radio between 1:54 and 2:11 p.m., and it reflected
that the car had been spotted speeding along Harry Hines Boulevard Just
Prior to that.(207) The FBI was advised on March 27, 1964 by its Atlanta
office that the 1963 Georgia license 52J1033 was listed to J.C. Bradley to
Twin City, Ga.(208) That license was issued for a four-door 1960
The owner of the car and license, James
Cecil Bradley, was interviewed by special agents of the FBI on May 14, 1964.
At that time Bradley informed the FBI that he owned a 1960 Belair
Chevrolet.(210) The color of the car was not given, but Bradley stated that
he has never owned a red 1963 Chevrolet Impala.(211) Bradley said that in
August or September 1963 his 1963 license plate was stolen from his car as
it was parked overnight with a flat tire on Highway 80 between Swainsboro
and Twin City, Ga.(212) Bradley said that he reported the theft to law
officers in Twin City and Swainsboro.(213)
The FBI interviewed the friend who was
with Bradley when Bradley returned to his car to repair the flat and noticed
that the license plate was missing. That friend confirmed that the plate was
in fact missing from the car and that he had advised Bradley to report it
Official records also confirmed the
report by Bradley. Charles Oglesby, the chief of police in Twin City, Ga.,
stated to the FBI that he recalled Bradley reporting the stolen license tag
some time in 1963.(215) According to records of the Georgia State Motor
Vehicle Registration Bureau, ;the original 1963 license, 52J1033, was issued
to Bradley on March 28, 1963, for a 1960 Chevrolet with the vehicle
identification number 1619A154729. A duplicate or replacement tag was issued
to Bradley on September 10, 1963, for use on the same vehicle.(217)
The committee has been unable to locate
any further identification of the persons or car with whom that license was
reported in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
In an interview in Dallas with committee
investigators on August 26, 1978, Tom Tilson reported that he saw a man
running from the plaza immediately after the shots. Tilson stated that on
November 22, 1963, he was off duty from his job as a Dallas Police
Department patrolman.(218) At the time of the motorcade, he was driving east
from Commerce Street and was approaching the triple underpass.(219) He had
already heard the report on his police radio that there had been shooting at
the motorcade and had seen the Presidential limousine travel at high speed
from the underpass.(220) as he was in the are of the triple underpass,
Tilson saw a man "slipping and sliding" down the embankment on the north
side of Elm Street west of the underpass.(221) Tilson said the man appeared
conspicuous because he was the only one running away from the plaza
immediately after the shots.(222) Tilson said that because of his speed, the
man rammed against the side of a "dark" car which was parked there.(223)
Tilson said he then saw the man do something at the rear door portion of the
car, like "throw something inside, then jump behind the wheel and take off
Tilson told the investigators that his 17
years of experiences as a policeman, combined with the radio broadcast of
the shooting and this conspicuous man, caused him to "give chase" to the man
speeding away from the direction of the plaza.(225) He then saw the same
"dark car" going south on Industrial Boulevard, and he followed it.(226) As
the car approached a toll road toward Ft. Worth, Tilson was within 100 feet
and called out the license number, make, and model to his daughter, Dinah,
who was riding with him. She wrote it down on a slip of paper.(227)
Tilson described the man as white, 38 to
40 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches in height, with a round
face.(228) Tilson said he had dark hair and was wearing dark clothing.(229)
Tilson said he know Jack Ruby, and the man looked enough like Jack Ruby to
be his "twin."(230) That impression was so strong in Tilson's mind that he
noted that Ruby showed a lot of "resourcefulness" in arranging to be
identified in a newspaper office at the time of the assassination with a lot
of influential witnesses.(231)
Tilson said he called the homicide office
of the police department and reported the information on the car that
afternoon.(232) He said he never heard any more from the Dallas police
homicide squad about his report.(233) Tilson said he dept the slip of paper
with the information his daughter had written.(234) Nevertheless, Tilson
believes he threw it out about 3 1/2 years ago when he discarded many items
in his home upon the death of his wife.(235) Tilson explained that he never
followed up on the report with the homicide squad because of his perception
that the homicide office was run as a kind of "elite," which resented any
encroachment on its authority.(236)
The committee also examined the
allegation that other men were in Dealey Plaza before the shots were fired
at the motorcade, which was related by Julia Ann Mercer. Ms. Mercer gave
statements concerning the men, including one who was carrying a gun case, to
law officers right after the assassination. Ms. Mercer's report continued to
receive much attention by writers, but has never been resolved. This
committee has been unable to locate Ms. Mercer for further examination of
In a sheriff's department notarized
statement dated November 22, 1963, Ms. Mercer is quoted as saying that on
November 22 she was driving in the area of the plaza going toward the
overpass.(237) When she got to a point just east of the overhead sign for
the right entrance road to the overpass, she noticed a truck parked on the
right-hand side of the street with its hood up.(238) The truck as described
as a green Ford pickup with a Texas license.(239) According to the sheriff's
report, Ms. Mercer said the truck had a sign on the driver's side in black
letters which said "Air conditioning."(240)
In the report, ms. Mercer was quoted
further as saying that a white male, approximately 40 years of age, was
"slouched" over the steering wheel.(241) She was described as heavy set,
with light brown hair, and wearing a green jacket.(242)
The statement also describes another man
who was standing at the rear of the truck; he was reaching over the tailgate
into the truck and took out what appeared to Mrs. Mercer to be a gun
case.(243) She described the gun case as about 8 inches wide at its base, 3
1/2 to 4 feet long, and 4 or 5 inches thick; it was brown.(244) The man
walked up "the grassy hill which forms part of the overpass," and that was
the last Mrs. Mercer saw of him.(245) As he walked up the hill with the gun
case, the case appeared to become stuck momentarily in the grass.(246) She
described the man as a white male, 20 to 30 years old, wearing a gray
jacket, brown pants, and a plaid shirt.(247) He had a wool stocking cap with
a tassel on it.(248)
In the statement, no time is given for
the incident observed by Ms. Mercer. Nevertheless, she noted also that at
that time three policemen were standing near a motorcycle on the overpass
In a letter to committee staff dated July
15, 1977, former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison stated that he
had interviewed Julia Mercer and transcribed corrections made by her to the
purported notarized sheriff's statement.(250) According to the corrections
on garrison's copy of the statement, Ms. Mercer claimed she never said in
the sheriff's statement that the truck had "air conditioning" written on its
side, and the signature at the bottom of the statement was not hers.(251)
Further, she never said that she did not see the driver's face too
clearly.(252) According to the corrections, Ms. Mercer said that she looked
right in the man's face.(253) She also said that "this is why I was able to
recognize him when I later saw him shoot Oswald on TV."(254) Garrison's copy
included Ms. Mercer's signature at the bottom of the corrections.(255) The
corrections were dated January 18, 1968.(256)
In an FBI report dated November 23, 1963,
Ms. Mercer was again quoted as giving the account of the truck parked near
the knoll and of the two men she had described in the sheriff's report,
including the same information of their physical descriptions and gun
case.(257) That report also stated that Ms. Mercer said the truck had the
words "air conditioning" printed on the side.(258) The time given for the
incident in the FBI report is 10:50 a.m. on November 22, 1963.(259)
the copy of that FBI report provided to
the committee by Jim Garrison also included corrections dated January 15,
1968, and the signature Julia Ann Mercer.(260) In the corrections, Ms.
Mercer was quoted by Garrison as saying that she did not tell the FBI that
there was no writing on the truck.(261) Her corrections contain this
--Furthermore, even before Ruby
shot Oswald, when the FBI agents showed me pictures I selected Jack Ruby's
picture as one of those which appeared to be the driver. When one of the
agents turned the picture over I saw "Jack Ruby" on the back.(262)
On that statement, in the margin in the
same handwriting as the Julia Ann Mercer signature, it says that it was on
November 23, 1963, when she selected the photograph of Jack Ruby.(263)
In another FBI report dated November 28,
1963, Ms. Mercer is said to have been shown a group of photographs in an FBI
interview on November 27, 1963.(264) According to that report, Jack Ruby's
photograph was among those viewed by Ms. Mercer.(265) The report states that
Ms. Mercer could not identify any of these photographs as being the picture
of the man she had reported seeing at the driver's wheel of the truck.(266)
Regarding the picture of Jack Ruby, Ms. Mercer is quoted in the report as
saying that the driver had a round face similar to Ruby's, but that she
could not identify Ruby as that person.(267) The report also states that Ms.
Mercer was shown a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, and that she said the
second man she had seen at the truck with the gun case was the same general
build, size and age as Oswald, but that she could not identify Oswald as
In the corrections taken by garrison,
with a Julia Ann Mercer signature dated January 15, 1968, Ms. Mercer is
quoted as repeating that she had selected four photographs of the driver of
the truck and that one of the photographs was a picture of Jack Ruby.(269)
She stated again that she selected the picture of Ruby on November 23, 1963,
the day before Ruby's murder of Oswald was shown on television.(270)
Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig
reported on November 23, 1963, that after the shots, he saw a man run down
the grassy knoll and get into a light-colored Rambler station wagon with a
luggage rack on its roof.(271) Craig said in the report that his attention
had been drawn to the man because he heard a shrill whistle.(272) the
station wagon pulled up to the curb. Craig described the driver as a dark-complected
white male.(273) There was no description of the man Craig reportedly saw
running down the hill.(274) Craig said he tried to stop the car and talk
with the two men, but was unable to reach it because of heavy traffic.(275)
Craig said he immediately reported it to
a Secret Service agent in the area.(276) Later that afternoon, Craig was
told to come to city hall; he said that when he arrived at city hall he
identified the "subject" they had in custody as the same person he saw
running down the hill and entering the Rambler station wagon.(277)
When Roger Craig testified before the
Warren Commission of April 1, 1964, he repeated his account about the
running man. Craig said that the man was in line with the southwest corner
of the depository building, and he started to run toward Elm where it curves
under the overpass.(278) Craig said the station wagon was driving "real
slow" on Elm Street and that the driver was leaning to his right looking up
the hill at the running man.(279)
During his testimony, Craig described the
man running down the hill as a white male in his twenties, 5 foot 8 inches
to 5 foot 9 inches in height, with medium brown, sandy hair.(280) He was
wearing medium blue trousers and a light tan shirt.(281)
Craig described the driver of the car as
very dark complected, with real short dark hair, Craig thought at first that
he was Negro.(282) He was wearing a thin-looking white jacket like a
windbreaker.(283) Craig said he did not get a good look at the driver.(284)
Craig said also that the car looked white
and appeared to have a Texas license.(285)
Roger Craig reportedly committed suicide
on May 15, 1975.(286)
Another person also reported seeing a
Rambler station wagon in Dealey Plaza immediately after the shots. In an FBI
interview on November 23, 1963, Marvin Robinson said that he was traveling
west on Elm Street toward Houston Street after the assassination.(287) Just
as he crossed the intersection of Elm and Houston and was in front of the
depository, a light-colored Nash station wagon appeared before him.(288) He
said the station wagon stopped, and he saw a white male come down the grassy
hill between the building and the street and enter the station wagon.(289)
The car then headed toward the Oak Cliff section of Dallas.(290) Robinson
said he would not be able to furnish a description or identify the man who
entered the station wagon.(291)
Robinson did not testify before the
Warren Commission, and he has not been located by the committee.
The committee also attempted to pin down
information about cars which were parked in the area of the depository at
the time of the Presidential motorcade for any further identification of
cars reported fleeing from Dealey Plaza.
Earle V. Brown was a Dallas Police
Department patrolman at the time of the assassination who was assigned to
stay on the railroad overpass over the Stemmons Freeway and to prevent any
unauthorized persons from standing on the overpass at the time of the
motorcade.(292) In his testimony before the Warren Commission, Brown stated
that he and Officer James Lomax had been ordered after the assassination to
return to the area of the depository and list the license number of all cars
parked in the vicinity.(293) Brown was not asked during his testimony
whether any further investigation resulted from the list of the license
number or what had happened to the list.
Brown was interviewed by the committee in
Dallas on October 26, 1978. At that time, he recalled the assignment to get
the license plate numbers about an hour after the assassination.(294) He
said that about four to five officers were involved.(295) He believed he
turned the list in to Sergeant Howard, who was his supervisor.(296) He gave
no further details concerning the list or the cars parked near the Texas
School Book Depository.
During the interview with the committee,
Brown also added that soon after the Presidential motorcade passed, after
the last shot was heard, Brown saw a man run down the stairs on the west
side of the depository and then turn north away from the front of the
building.(297) Brown estimated that this occurred approximately 15 minutes
after the shots.(298) He said he was not able to follow the path taken by
the man because of an obstructed view.(299)
Brown described the man to the committee
as young, of medium size, fair complexion, and not having dark hair.(300) He
said the man was dressed in light blue work pants and a shirt which was
similar.(301) He did not see anything in the man's hands.(302)
Brown was shown a picture of Dealey Plaza
and the depository during the committee's interview.(303) At that time, he
noted that his view of the west door world have been obscured by an add-on
shed section of the building.(304) Investigation by the committee indicated
that the section was added to the building prior to 1956.(305) There is a
door there at the west side of the building, but the door is hidden by uncut
bushes and trees; no determination was made of the age of the bushes
trees.(306) The doorway does face the trestle on which Brown was standing at
the time of the assassination; the estimated distance to the trestle is
approximately 500 yards.(307)
Brown told the investigators that he had
not mentioned seeing the man leaving the building when he testified before
the Warren commission because he had not been asked by the Commission
counsel, and also because he was not able to identify the man as Lee Harvey
Oswald, although the man was about Oswald's size.(308) Brown said he thought
he had mentioned the incident to his wife and to his partner at the time,
Brown also mentioned that he had
experienced an extrasensory perception premonition before the assassination
about the President being shot by a rifle barrel protruding from a window in
a brick wall.(310)
The committee interviewed James Lomax in
Dallas on October 27, 1978. Lomax had never been interviewed by any law
enforcement officers of the Warren commission about events in Dealey Plaza
at the time of the assassination. During his interview, Lomax gave no
information about the assignment to list the license numbers of cars in the
area of the depository after the assassination. Lomax had no other
information to report about persons fleeing from the depository or dealey
Plaza. When asked by committee investigators about Earle Brown's report of a
man leaving the depository, lomax stated that Brown never mentioned it to
him and that he did not observe the reported incident.(311)
The committee was unable to locate a list
by the Dallas Police Department of cars parked near the depository or any
other reports relating to cars leaving the area.
V. ACCOUNTS OF BULLETS
HITTING IN THE PLAZA AREA
In view of the acoustics analysis that
points to more than three shots being fired at the Presidential motorcade,
the committee undertook to examine evidence that other bullets did in fact
stride in the plaza at the time of the fatal shots. the most useful analysis
of this evidence would have, of course, included a trajectory analysis to
determine the path of those "bullets" and, most significantly, the point
from which they were fired, in order to determine the presence of other
assassins. Nevertheless, based on the reports of those witnesses made soon
after the assassination, insufficient data remained to conduct such a
trajectory analysis. The experts engaged by the committee to determine the
path of missiles in Dealey Plaza have explained that the minimal data
required would include the path of the missile, as well as its point of
impact.(312) In none of the information collected on the presence of other
missiles in Dealey Plaza was that information complete. The committee,
therefore, attempted to set the information out as completely as possible,
even though it was not possible to conclude on the basis of the scant
information remaining what those reports meant in reference to the presence
of other gunmen in Dealey Plaza.
In an FBI interview on November 24, 1963,
Mrs. Virgie Baker (nee Rackley) reported that at the time she heard the
first shot, she looked in the direction of the triple underpass and saw what
she presumed to be a bullet bouncing off the pavement.(313) Mrs. Baker was
located immediately across the street from the depository when she heard the
shots.(314) She thought they came from the direction the triple
underpass.(315) In the FBI report, no further details or information were
given by Mrs. baker about the location or direction of the object she
believed to be a bullet.
Mrs. Baker testified before the Warren
Commission of July 112, 1964. At that time, she stated that the object she
believed to be a bullet hit the pavement in the street at the point of the
Stemmons Freeway sigh on Elm Street.(316) She said it hit in the middle of
the lane on the other side of the street, which would have been the
left-hand lane going in the direction of the triple underpass.(317) At first
Mrs. Baker said the bullet hit behind the President's car. Then she said she
could not remember whether it hit to either side or behind the President's
car.(318) Mrs. Baker said she was sure she saw the object hit before she
heard the second shot.(319)
Committee investigators were unable to
locate Mrs. Bader.
In a sheriff's department notarized
statement dated November 22, 19963, Royce Skelton stated that he also saw a
bullet hit the pavement in the left or middle lane, to the rear of the
President's car.(320) Skelton gave this account of the sequence of events:
--We saw the motorcade come
around the corner and I heard something which I thought was fireworks. I saw
something hit the pavement at the left rear of the car, then the car got in
the right hand lane and I heard two more shots. I heard a woman said "Oh no"
or something and grab a man inside the car. I then heard another shot and
saw the bullet hit the pavement. The pavement was knocked to the south away
from the car.(321)
In his Warren Commission testimony on
April 8, 1964, Skelton said that he saw smoke rise from the pavement when
the bullet hit.(322) Skelton said also that the sound of the gunfire came
from the area of the President's car.(323) Skelton said he was located on
the overpass directly over Elm Street at the time of the motorcade.(324) He
said the sound of the shots definitely did not come from where he was.(325)
Skelton also offered that the smoke he saw rising from the cement when the
bullet hit "spread" in a direction away from the depository; he said the
"spray" of flying cement went toward the west.(326) On the photograph
designated Skelton exhibit No. 1, Skelton marked where on the street he saw
the bullet and in which direction he saw the "spray."(327)
Committee investigators were unable to
locate Royce Skelton.
In testimony before the Warren commission
on July 22, 1964, James Thomas Tague of Dallas stated that at the time of
the Presidential motorcade, he was located near his car at the bridge
abutment of the triple underpass.(328) Tague said that during the shots he
felt something sting him on the cheek; after the shots, a policeman noticed
that Tague had blood on his cheek.(329)
On Commission exhibit No. 354, commission
Counsel Labeler placed a "6" on the photograph to indicate the place Tague
was standing; it is described in Tague's testimony as approximately 3 to 4
feet from the concrete embankment of the bridge going over Main Street.(330)
Tague said he and a police officer discovered a "fresh" bullet mark on the
curb about 12 to 15 feet from the embankment.(331) Tague said the police
officer attempted to go in the direction the mark on the curb seemed to
indicate the she had come from; he talk Tague he had seen "something"
there.(332) The letter "C" was placed on Commission exhibit No. 354 to
indicate the spot the policeman had indicated as the "source" of the shot
which hit the curb.(333) On the photograph, "C" is located in the area of
the railroad tracks. Tague said he was not sure but that he thought he was
hit on the cheek by the second or third bullet.(334)
The piece of curb was examined by
committee experts to determine if neutron activation analysis could
determine the type of metal present at the scar, which might indicate what
kind of bullet or missile hit the curb. Nevertheless the neutron activation
analysis expert was unable to make any comparisons with the curb sample
because it had previously been scraped by the FBI and the remaining metal
was too small for testing purposes.(335) Also, it was felt that the metal
still left on the curb portion would have been too contaminated by cement
material to yield any meaningful results.(336)
During its acoustical reenactment of the
assassination that took place in Dealey Plaza on August 20, 1078, the
committee used the location of the mark on the curb described by James Tague
as one of the "targets" at high ammunition was fired from the sixth floor of
the Texas School Book Depository and the grassy knoll to determine if the
acoustical impulses on the Dallas Police Department radio tape, made
contemporaneously with the shots. The curb target spot used during the
reenactment was described as follows:
* * * measurements used at the
position were devised by measuring to the fifth curb stone slab on the south
curb of Main Street. This is the slab known to have been removed by the FBI
on August 5, 1964.(337)
That spot was designated target 4 during
the reenactment.(338) Gunmen then fired at target 4 from the Texas School
Book Depository and from the grassy knoll.(339) None of the acoustical
impulses that resulted from the shots fired at target 4 during the
reenactment matched the acoustical impulses on the original Dallas Police
Department radio tape that contains the sound of actual gunfire at the time
of the assassination.(340) That indicates that in all probability the mark
on the curb was not made by a direct shot from either supposed assassin
When Richard Randolph Carr testified in
the Kennedy assassination conspiracy trial of Clay Shaw in New Orleans on
February 19, 1969, he stated that heard a shot and then three more shots in
succession at the time of the assassination.(341) When asked if he could
tell where the shots came from, Carr replied that "the last three" came from
behind the picket fence located at the top of the grassy knoll, and that one
of the shots "knocked a bunch of grass up"; he could tell by the way the
grass was "knocked up" that the bullet came from that area.(342) Trying
further to pin down the supposed location of the shots he heard, Carr stated
that the sound came from the end of the cement arcade at the top of the
knoll which was closest to the underpass.(343) When asked if he could
determine from the direction in which the bullet hit the ground which
direction it was traveling in, Carr said that if the bullet had continued,
it would have gone from the area of the picket fence in the direction of the
Criminal Courts Building.(344)
On August 13, 1978, the committee
received information that a person in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, had
noticed a bullet fall to the ground near the motorcade at the time of the
shots. Charles Rodgers of Lake Dallas, Tex. called the committee to report
that he was present in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination with a
friend, Mike Nally.(345) According to Rodgers, Nally's uncle was a
motorcycle policeman riding in the motorcade.(346) The uncle had apparently
related to his nephew that when the shots were fired, he heard a clanging
noise of the fender of his motorcycle.(347) the policeman looked down and
saw a .45 caliber slug roll of into the street.(348) The policeman then had
to leave the area quickly ad the motorcade was speeding from the plaza.(349)
Rodgers said the next day Mike Nally came
to him and said Nally's uncle had instructed him not to report the story and
Nally passed that instruction on to Rodgers.(350)
Based on the data provided by Rodgers,
the committee was unable to locate Nally or to identify Nally's uncle.
On August 5, 1978, the committee received
information from former Dallas policeman Starvis Ellis that Ellis had also
seen a missile hit the ground in the area of the motorcade at the time of
the assassination. Ellis said he rode on a motorcycle alongside the first
car in the motorcade, approximately 100 to 125 feet in front of the car
carrying President Kennedy.(351) Ellis said that just as he started down the
hill of Elm Street, he looked back toward President Kennedy's car and saw
debris come up from the ground at a nearby curb.(352) Ellis thought it was a
Ellis said also that President Kennedy
turned around and looked over his shoulder.(354) The second shot then hit
him, and the third shot "blew his head up."(355)
VI. ACCOUNTS OF
SMOKE IN DEALEY PLAZA AT THE TIME OF THE SHOTS
Several witnesses have given statements
that they saw "smoke" in the plaza that coincided with the gunfire. The
committee considered these statements relevant to the question of whether a
gunman or gunmen were located somewhere other than the depository.
In a Dallas County Sheriff's Department
notarized statement dated November 22, 1963, Austin Lawrence Miller stated
that at the time he heard three shots and saw people in the Presidential
limousine react, he saw "something which I thought was smoke or steam coming
from a group of trees north of Elm off the railroad tracks."(356) At that
time, Miller was standing on the bridge of the triple underpass.(357) Miller
said he did not see anyone in the area of the railroad tracks.(358)
Miller testified before the Warren
Commission on April 8, 1964.(359) At that time, Miller was not asked about
his prior statement to the sheriff's department and did not give information
about the smoke he had earlier reported.
The committee was unable to locate Austin
In an FBI interview on March 17, 1964,
Clemon Earl Johnson, of Dallas, stated that he saw smoke near the pavillion
at the time of the shots.(360) according to the FBI interview report,
Johnson told the FBI that he believed the smoke came from a motorcycle,
which was abandoned near the spot by a Dallas policeman.(361) At the time of
the shots, Johnson was located on the Elm Street viaduct overlooking the
Johnson was not called to testify before
the Warren Commission, and he was not located by the committee.
In testimony before the Warren Commission
on April 8, 1964, S.M. Holland stated that he was employed by the Union
Terminal Railroad at the time of the assassination and was located in the
middle of the overpass at the time of the Presidential motorcade.(363)
Holland stated that between the third and fourth shots, he saw smoke rising
from the trees located at the top of the knoll:
There was a shot, a report, I
don't know whether it was a shot. I can't say that. And a puff of smoke came
out about 6 or 8 feet above the ground right out from under those trees. And
at Just about this location from where I was standing you could see that
puff of smoke, like someone had thrown a fire-cracker, or something out, and
that is just the way it sounded. It wasn't loud as the previous reports or
In a report to the sheriff's department
on November 22, 1963, Holland had also reported seeing the puff of smoke at
the time of the shots. Nevertheless, in that statement, Holland placed the
time of the puff of smoke as coinciding the first "noise":
* * *when they got just about to
the Arcade I heard what I thought for the moment was a firecracker and he
slumped over and I looked over toward the arcade and trees and saw a puff of
smoke come from the trees and I heard three more shots after the first shot
but that was the only puff of smoke I saw. I immediately ran around to where
I could see behind the arcade and did not see anyone running from there. But
puff of smoke I saw definitely came from behind the arcade through the
James L. Simmons, of Dallas, reported to
the FBI that from his location on the Commerce Street Viaduct he saw
"exhaust fumes or smoke" near the embankment in front of the depository
building.(366) In the FBI interview on March 17, 1964, Simmons said that
after the shots he saw a policeman jump off his motorcycle and run up the
hill of the knoll toward the Memorial Arches.(367) It is not clear from the
report if Simmons was describing the smoke as coming from the motorcycle or
Nolan H. Potter was also employed by the
Union Terminal Co. at the time of the assassination and was with Simmons at
the time of the shots.(368) In an FBI interview on March 17, 1964, Potter
said that he heard three shots, saw the President slump over in his car, and
that he also saw smoke in front of the depository, which was rising from the
trees.(369) Potter gave no other details about the location of the smoke. in
the interview, Potter also mentioned seeing the policeman leave his
motorcycle and run up the knoll,(370) but he did not describe the smoke as
being in the area of the motorcycle.
Neither Simmons nor Potter testified
before the Warren Commission.
Based on the statements of these
witnesses, if the smoke they reported was in fact the result of gunfire, it
would have originated in the area of the top of the grassy knoll. There is
no way of determining what type of ammunition was used in that "gunfire" so
that is can be stated conclusively whether the smoke seen by the witnesses
is consistent with smoke produced by the type of ammunition used in any
gunfire from the knoll. Nevertheless, a firearms expert engaged by the
committee explained that irrespective of the exact type of ammunition used,
it would be possible for witnesses to have seen smoke if a gun had been
fired from that arena. According to the expert, both "smokeless" and
smoke-producing ammunition may leave a trace of smoke that would be visible
to the eye in sunlight.(371) That is because even with smokeless ammunition,
when the weapon was fired, nitrocellulose bases in the powder which are
impregnated with nitroglycerin may give off smoke, albeit less smoke than
black or smoke-producing ammunition.(372) In addition, residue remaining in
the weapon from previous firings, as well as cleaning solution which might
have been used on the weapon, could cause even more smoke to be discharged
in subsequent firings of the weapon.(373)
MS. SURELL BRADY,
(1) FBI report, Dec. 6, 1963, contained in
Warren commission Exhibit 2089, pp. 35-36, in Hearings before the President's
Commission of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), volume 24, p. 524 (hereinafter Warren
(10) FBI report, Dec. 5, 1963, contained in Warren Commission Doc. No. 7 (JFK
Doc. No. 013074).
(20) Testimony of Arnold Louis Rowland, Mar, 10, 1964, 2 Warren Report Hearings,
(21) Id. at p. 169
(24) Id. at p. 170
(27) Id. at p. 171
(28) Id. at p. 172
(33) Id. at p. 173
(34) Id. at P. 175
(38) Id. at p. 176
(42) Interview of Arnold Rowland by Wallace Heitman, FBI report, Nov. 23, 1963.
(47) Interview of Arnold Rowland by J. Calvin Rice and John V. Almon, FBI
report, Nov. 23, 1963
(50) FBI affidavit of Arnold Rowland, witnessed by Paul E. Wolff and James W.
Swinford, Nov. 24, 1963.
(58) Testimony of Roger D. Craig, Apr. 1, 1964. 6 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(61) Id. at p. 264
(66) Id. at p. 265
(68) Voluntary statement of Arnold Louis Rowland, Sheriff's Department, Dallas
County, Nov. 22, 1963.
(72) Scientific report of Photographic Evidence Panel, par. 293-302.
(73) Ibid., par. 292.
(74) Ibid., par. 301.
(75) Ibid., par. 295.
(76) Ibid., par. 301.
(78) Ibid., par. 302
(80) Staff interview of Rose Mary Willis, Nov. 13, 1978, House Select Committee
on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 013056).
(88) Id. at p. 2.
(89) Staff interview of Mrs. Linda Pites, Nov. 7, 1978, House Select Committee
on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 002559).
(92) Testimony of Linda Kay Willis, July 22, 1964, 7 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(94) Testimony of Phillip L. Willis, July 22, 1964, 7 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(96) Id. at p. 496.
(97) Id. at p. 497.
(99) FBI interview of Richard Randolph Carr by SA John T. Kesler and Vernon
Mitchem, FBI report, Jan. 14, 1964, file no. DL 100-10461
(102) Id. at p. 2.
(103) Id. at p. 1.
(105) Transcript of proceedings, Tate of Louisiana v. Clay L. Shaw, district
court, Orleans Parish, New Orleans, Feb. 19, 1969 (JFK Doc. No. 002028), p. 4.
(107) Id. at p. 11.
(109) Id. at p. 18.
(110) Id. at p. 17.
(113) Id at pp. 17-18.
(114) Id. at pp. 18-19.
(115) Id at p. 20.
(116) FBI interview of James Richard Worrell, FBI report by SA Louis M. Kelley,
Oct. 26, 1964, file No. DL 89-43.
(119) Affidavit of James Richard Worrell, Jr., Nov. 23, 1963 (JFK Doc. No.
(120) Testimony of James Richard Worrell, Jr., 2 Warren Report Hearings, p. 194.
(121) Id at p. 196
(123) Id. at p. 200
(124) Certificate of death of James Richard Worrell, Jr., Dallas, Tex., Nov. 7,
1966 (JFK Doc. No. 009219).
(125) Voluntary statement of Jean Hill, Dallas County sheriff's Department, Nov.
22, 1963, Decker exhibit No. 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings, p. 479.
(128) Interview of Jean Hill, FBI report by SA Robert C. Lish, Nov. 23, 1963,
file no. DL 89-43.
(129) Interview of Jean Hill, Mar. 17, 1964, FBI report by SA E. Ja. Robertson
and Thomas T. Trettis, file no. DL 89-43, p. 2.
(136) Testimony of Jean Lollis Hill, Mar. 24, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(137) Id. at p. 211.
(141) Id. at p. 213.
(144) Id. at p. 212.
(145) Id. at p. 214.
(147) Id. at p. 215.
(150) Id. at p. 221
(152) Ibid. 28
(153) Id. at p. 217.
(154) Id. at p. 221.
(155) Id. at p. 222.
(156) Id. at p. 217.
(158) Testimony of Mark Lane, Mar. 7, 1964, 2 Warren Report Hearings, p. 42.
(159) Voluntary statement of J.C. Price, Dallas County Sheriff's department,
Nov. 22, 1963, contained in Decker exhibit, no. 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings,
(164) FBI interview of Jesse C. Price, FBI report by SA J. Clavin Rice and
Alfred D. Neeley, Nov. 25, 1963, file No. DL 89-43.
(165) FBI interview of Lee E. Bowers, Jr., FBI report by SA robert M.a Barrett
and John V. Almon, Nov. 22, 1963, file No. DL 89-43.
(177) Testimony of Lee E. Bowers, Jr., Apr. 2, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings,
(178) Id. at p. 285.
(180) Id. at p. 286.
(182) Id. at p. 284.
(183) Id. at p. 287.
(187) Id. at p. 288
(189) Staff interview of Mr. and Mrs. Lee E. Bowers, Sr., Nov. 1, 1978, House
Select Committee on Assassinations JFK Doc. No. 014354).
(191) Voluntary statement of Malcolm Summers, Dallas County Sheriff's
Department, Nov. 23, 1963, Decker exhibit 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings, P.
(202) Statement of Malcolm Summers, Oct. 30, 1978, House Select committee on
Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 014277)j
(203) Supplementary investigation report, Dallas County Sheriff's Department.
Decker exhibit No. 5232, 19 Warren Report Hearings, p. 523.
(207) FBI report, serial No. 105-82555-4354x, p. 185.
(208) Id. at p. 186.
(210) Id. at p. 187.
(214) Id. at p. 188
(216) Id. at p. 189.
(218) Staff interview of Tom G. Tilson, Jr., Aug. 26, 1978, House Select
Committee on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 011374).
(220) Id. at p. 2.
(221) Id. at p. 1.
(225) Id. at p. 2.
(228) Id. at pp. 2-3.
(229) Id. at p. 3.
(232) Id. at p. 2.
(234) Id. at p. 3.
(237) Voluntary statement of Julia Ann Mercer, Dallas County Sheriff's
Department, Nov. 22, 1963, Decker exhibit 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(247) Id. at pp. 283-284.
(248) Id. at p. 284.
(249) Id. at p. 283.
(250) Letter from Jim Garrison to Jonathan Blackmer and enclosures, July 15,
1977 (JFK Doc. No. 002967).
(251) Id. at p. 10.
(257) FBI interview of Julia Ann Mercer, Nov. 23, 1963, Warren Commission Doc.
No. CD 205, p. 8 (JFK Doc. No. 002967).
(264) FBI interview of Julia Ann Mercer, Nov. 28, 1963, p. 9, (JFK Doc. No.
(271) Supplementary investigation report by Roger Craig, Dallas County Sheriff's
Department, Nov. 23, 1963, Decker exhibit No. 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings,
(278) Testimony of Roger D. Craig, Apr. f1, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(284) Id. at p. 267.
(286) Dallas Police Department homicide report, May 15, 1975, as quoted in
"Assassination of JFK by Coincidence or Conspiracy?" Bernard Fensterwald, Jr.,
New York, Zebra Books, 1977, p. 449, fn. 98.
(287) FBI Interview of Marvin Robinson, FBI report by SA John V. Almon and J.
Calvin Rice, nov. 23, 1963, file No. DL 89-43 (JFK Doc. no. 013840).
(292) Testimony of Earle V. Brown, Apr. 7, 1964, 5 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(293) Id. at p. 234.
(294) Staff interview of Earle V. Brown, Oct, 26, 1978, House Select Committee
on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 00634).
(297) Id. at p. 2.
(303) Id. fat p. 3.
(308) Id. at p. 2.
(310) Id. at p. 3.
(311) Staff interview of James A. Lomax, Nov. 17, 1979, House Select Committee
on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 014352).
(312) See scientific report of the photographic evidence panel, trajectory
analysis, par. 110.
(313) FBI interview of Virgie Rackley, FBI report by SA Bardwell Odum and Joseph
G. Peggs, Nov. 25, 1963, file No. DL 89-43, Warren Commission Doc. No. 5.
(316) Testimony of Mrs. Donald Baker, July 22, 1964, 7 Warren Report Hearings,
(317) Id. at p. 510.
(319) Id. at p. 513.
(320) Voluntary statement of Royce Glenn Skelton, Dallas County Sheriff's
Department, Nov. 22, 1963, Decker exhibit No. 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings,
(322) Testimony of Royce G. Skelton, Apr. 8, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(324) Id. at p. 236.
(325) Id. at p. 237.
(326) Id. at p. 238.
(327) Id. at p. 239.
(328) Testimony of James Thomas Tague, July 23, 1964, 7 Warren Report Hearings,
(330) Id. at p. 554.
(334) Id. at p. 555.
(335) A report to the House Select Committee on Assassinations on the subject of
1977 neutron activation analysis measurements on bullet-lead specimens involved
in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Dr. Vincent P. Guinn,
Ph.D., Sept. 1978, pp. 7-9.
(336) Id. at p. 9
(337) Staff memorandum re Dealey Plaza test shooting on Aug. 20, 1978, Aug. 22,
1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 4. (JFK Doc. No. 013285).
(339) Id. at p. 6.
(340) Report of Bolt Beranek & Newman, Inc., analysis of recorded sounds
relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (No. 3947), section
5.3. The acoustics experts compared the results of the test firings in Dealey
Plaza on Aug. 20, 1978, with the acoustical impulses on the original Dallas
Police Department radio tape to determine what correlation coefficients exist
between the two sets of impulses. From that correlation, the acoustics study
determined that none of the impulses from target 4 were consistent with the
known location of the Presidential limousine at the time of the shots, which
would mean that the alleged assassins would not have been aiming at the
limousine at all, but in the opposite direction, to have produced the acoustical
impulse which would have matched that which was produced during the acoustical
(341) See ref. 105, p. 12.
(342) Id. at pp. 12-13.
(343) Id. at p. 16.
(344) Id. at p. 32.
(345) Telephone interview of Charles Rodgers, House Select committee on
Assassinations staff outside contact report, Aug. 13, 1978 (JFK Doc No. 010697).
(351) Staff investigator rough notes, of staff interview of Starvis Ellis, Aug.
5, 1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations (JFK Doc. No. 013841).
(356) Voluntary statement of Austin Lawrence Miller, Dallas County Sheriff's
Department, Nov. 22, 1963, Warren Commission exhibit 2003 (p. 41), 24 Warren
Report Hearings, p. 217.
(359) Testimony of Austin L. Miller, Apr. 8, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings, p.
(360) FBI interview of Clemon Earl Johnson, FBI report by SA Thomas T. Trettis
and E. J. Robertson, Mar, 18, 1964, Warren Commission exhibit no. 1422, 22
Warren Report Hearings, p. 836.
(363) Testimony of S. M. Holland, Apr. 8, 1964, 6 Warren Report Hearings pp.
(364) Id. at pp. 243-244.
(365) Voluntary statement of S. M. Holland, Dallas County Sheriff's Department,
Nov. 22, 1963, Decker exhibit no. 5323, 19 Warren Report Hearings, p.480.
(366) FBI interview of James L. Simmons, FBI Report by SA Thomas T. Trettis and
E.J. Robertson, Mar. 19, 1964, file No. DL 100-10461 (contained in JFK doc. No.
(369) FBI interview of Nolan H. Potter, FBI report by SA Thomas T. Trettis and
E. J. Robertson, Mar. 19, 1964, file No. DL 100-10461, Warren Commission exhibit
1418 (contained in JFK Doc. No. 013291).
(371) Telephone interview of Monty Lutz, Wisconsin Crime Laboratories, Dec. 12,
1978, House Select Committee on Assassinations staff outside contact report (JFK
Doc. No. 013637).