A. Nathan Darby's Affidavit

The following sworn affidavit was given by fingerprint expert A. Nathan Darby this past spring.

Those following recent developments in the JFK case will recall that Darby, who holds certification by the Internal Association for Identification, concluded that previously unidentified fingerprints taken from cartons on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963, were those of Malcolm E. "Mac" Wallace, a convicted killer with ties to Lyndon Johnson. (See Fair Play #23, July-August 1998.)

Darby's identification was made "blindly" --- that is, without his knowing the identity of Wallace, or of the implications of naming him. After making the ID and learning all that was involved, however, Mr. Darby stuck to his conclusions.

Thanks to Walt Brown and JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly for a copy of this affidavit.

9 March 1998



County of Travis

1.    My name is A. Nathan Darby. I am a resident of Austin , Texas , and I am fully competent to make this affidavit.

2.    I have been active in law enforcement for many years, starting with the Texas Department of public Safety as a State Trooper in 1938. I then served with the Austin , Texas Police Department from October 1940, and including my military service, I was with the Austin Police Department until my retirement in August 1979. During that period of service, I rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. I am presently an expert in fingerprint identification, and I hold the designation of Certified Latent Fingerprint Examiner (#78-468), which is issued by the Internal Association for Identification, pursuant to the attached Exhibit DAN #1.

3.    I first became interested in fingerprint work in 1942. My direct work in fingerprint identification began soon after, during my military service. I joined the U.S. Army in October 1943 and graduated from Officer Candidate School as a lieutenant in February 1945. I was immediately put in charge of preparing a fingerprint identification system for the Philippine Commonwealth. For my work of setting up their Central Fingerprint Bureau, I was awarded the Philippine Military Merit Medal, the Philippine Commonwealth's highest non-combat award for foreign military personnel. The United States Army also awarded me the Army Commendation Medal. This achievement was further recognized in the 1946 textbook, Lectures in Fingerprints by Fred C. Luchico, then Chief of the Identification Division with the Department of Justice, where he states that I "provided a modern, current, and complete fingerprint file for the Philippine Commonwealth." By 1946 I had risen to the rank of Captain. When my tour of Duty was completed in the Philippines , I returned to the Austin Police Department in November 1946.

4.    On 1 January 1948 I was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Identification Section of the Austin Police Department. On 7 July 1953 I was promoted to lieutenant. In 1956, I was made supervisor of the four employees of Identification and Criminal Records Section of the Austin Police Department. At this time I handled the classification of 176,000 cards and expanded the section to fourteen employees, training and supervising all personnel. In 1970, I worked on advanced record-keeping with the Kodak Miracode system and developed the fingerprint and photograph coding method for the system. During this time I also served on the board of directors of the Texas Division of the International Association for Identification. I hold an Advanced Certificate in Law Enforcement and an Instructor Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. I have been a member of the Texas Division of the International Association for Identification since November, 1946.

5.    Since 1949, I have testified in numerous cases in the State and Federal Courts about fingerprint identification. This testimony included the preparation of latent charts as exhibits. There was never a mistrial or appeal based on my testimony. Attached is Exhibit DAN#2. This exhibit shows the opinions of two District Judges, Travis County , Texas regarding my testimony experience.


6.    Fingerprints are an important part of law enforcement because no two prints are alike. Although no person has been able to calculate the likelihood of a mismatch with statistical certainty, the courts accept the admissibility of evidence from fingerprints. Human fingerprints are from unique ridges, which are useful for gripping and holding. An inked fingerprint is the reproduction of the ridges of the finger. An inked fingerprint is provided by putting black ink on the finger and then placing the finger on a suitable contrasting background surface, such as white paper. A latent fingerprint is the production of ridges when the finger has been placed on a surface. The ridges of the finger leave a residue, body fluids, and chemicals on the surface touched. The latent prints are recovered and compared to the inked prints.

For an expert to identify a latent print with an inked print, matching formations must be found on both prints. The ridge lines between the matched formation are then counted. This ridge count must be the same count for both the latent and the ink print. There is no fixed documented limit on how many matching points must be made. The identifying marks on the Ink print and the latent print are then marked and numbered. A conclusion and identification is then made based on the location of the characters on the prints, their formation, and the ridge count between them.

7.    Recently I received a photocopy of an inked print along with a photocopy of a latent print from [ Texas researcher]. After careful and extended examination of the inked print photocopy and the latent print photocopy given to me, I have their identifying characteristics marked and numbered. The inked print is Exhibit DAN #3, and the latent Print is Exhibit DAN #4.

8.    In addition to exhibit DAN#3 and exhibit DAN#4, [researcher] gave me a photocopy of a standard form fingerprint card. This is exhibit DAN#5. Exhibit DAN#5 is from an unknown source and has fingerprints of an unknown person to me. The space#10 on exhibit DAN#5 is the same inked print as DAN#3. Space #10 on exhibit DAN#5 is the space used for the left little finger. There are other indications that the print in space #10 on Exhibit DAN#5 is the left little finger.

9.    Based on my comparison, I conclude that the unknown person to me who produced the inked fingerprint Exhibit DAN#3 produced the latent print Exhibit DAN#4, and produced the print in space #10 on exhibit DAN #5.

/s/ A. Nathan Darby

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 12 day of March, 1998.

/s/ [not easily read]

Notary Public for Texas




JFK Breakthrough?

Text by John Kelin; photograph Copyright 1998 by Mike Blackwell

A Texas-based assassination research group has publicly named a man believed to have left a previously unidentified fingerprint on a box making up the so-called "sniper's nest" on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

At a May 29 press conference in Dallas, researcher and author Walt Brown said that the fingerprints belong to Malcolm E. "Mac" Wallace, a convicted killer with ties to Lyndon Baines Johnson. The fingerprints have been officially unidentified since President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Walt Brown presenting fingerprint data; Malcom Wallace (inset)

Brown presented data showing a 14-point match between Wallace's fingerprint card, obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the previously unidentified print, a copy of which was kept in the National Archives. The match was made by A. Nathan Darby, an expert with certification by the International Association of Identifiers.

The Texas researchers forwarded their findings to the Dallas Police Department, who passed it on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Copies have also gone to Assassination Records Review Board, the federal panel created to oversee the identification and release of records relating to the JFK assassination.

DPD print (left) matched by Darby to unidentified print from TSBD (right)

Malcolm Wallace, convicted in a 1951 murder and suspected in others, has been linked to the 1961 death of U.S. Department of Agriculture investigator Henry Marshall. Marshall was reportedly close to connecting Lyndon Johnson to fraudulent activities involving businessman and convicted swindler Billy Sol Estes.

Estes alleged in 1984 that LBJ ordered the killings of Marshall, President Kennedy, and half a dozen others, and that Wallace carried them out. A grand jury decided that same year that Henry Marshall was murdered as a result of a conspiracy involving then-Vice President Johnson, his aide Clifton Carter, and Wallace. No charges were possible since all three men were by then deceased.

Wallace was killed in a single car automobile accident in January 1971.

Barr McClellan, a Houston attorney and part of the Texas research team, told Fair Play that he began to focus on Wallace during his work as attorney-partner with Ed Clark, whom he described as an Austin power broker and one of those behind the assassination. "John Cofer, Wallace's attorney from the start, was our partner specializing in criminal cases," McClellan said. "From that position of insight, I knew Wallace played a key role in the assassination."

In the petition filed with the ARRB, McClellan wrote: "My direct involvement with Clark as his law partner and sole attorney occurred when he sought an additional payoff for the assassination." Negotiations for the payoff, McClellan told Fair Play, were "in May 1974 in a secret meeting with two members of the Railroad Commission."

The Wallace fingerprint match by Darby has been disputed by Glen Sample, who represents California-based researchers whose investigation parallels the Texas research. While Sample says the California group still believes Wallace "was one of the shooters" of President Kennedy, they do not believe his fingerprints are those from the TSBD box.

In support of this, Sample offers fingerprint experts of his own. "Both of our experts are working police I.D. officers," he wrote on his web page. "They go to court on a regular basis, testifying as expert witnesses. They said that the print was CLEARLY not a match. But what about the 14 points? They said that it is NOT uncommon to have a set of prints that have many matching points, but when they find points that DO NOT match, these negate the matching points." Sample characterized this finding by his experts as "bad news."

Walt Brown countered by saying that Sample's experts "were local i.d. bureau guys from San Bernadino, and not in the category of either Nathan Darby or the people that it was hoped would examine the originals within the law enforcement communities charged with the proper investigation."

The California researchers, nevertheless, call Wallace "the key figure in the Kennedy assassination." They quote sources who say that in addition to being a Dealey Plaza gunman, Wallace also recruited Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby into the plot. The Californians' work, entirely separate from that of the Texas group, resulted in a 1995 book called The Men on the Sixth Floor, by Sample and Mark Collum.

Darby is a Certified Latent Print Examiner with many years experience. He affirmed in a notarized affidavit that he found 14 matches between a National Archives "unknown" print, taken from what the Warren Commission designated Box A in the Texas School Book Depository, and a fingerprint card submitted "blindly" for comparison, which bore the fingerprints of Malcolm Wallace. That card was obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety in July of 1996.

The findings of the Texas group were given to the Assassination Records Review Board last spring. In a cover letter dated May 28, attorney McClellan told the Board that "this hard evidence establishes a conspiracy was behind the assassination and suggests important new areas for your review." An accompanying eight page petition cites the Wallace fingerprint match; 1984 Texas grand jury action linking Wallace, LBJ, and Carter to Henry Marshall's death; McClellan's personal knowledge of the case; and other evidence in support of the Texas group's allegations.

Left unanswered by the Wallace revelations are details such as Lee Oswald's true role, the placement of other Dealey Plaza shooters, and the identity of who financed the assassination.

There are suggestions that Wallace had ties to the world of Intelligence. The Texas researchers are formally urging the Review Board to highlight areas for further investigation, including disclosure of Wallace's employment records, and records of investigations of Wallace by the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Department of Defense.





Mac Wallace Update

The following statement was received by Fair Play in late March. It was sent to us by Barr McClellan, the Houston attorney involved with a Texas research group investigating this aspect of the assassination. For background on the Mac Wallace identification, please see issue #23, "JFK Breakthrough?"

Briefly, that story outlined a match made by leading expert A. Nathan Darby, between a known fingerprint of convicted murderer Malcolm E. "Mac" Wallace, and a previously unidentified print found on a carton on the TSBD at the time of the JFK assassination.

* * *


1.    FBI REPORTS NO PRINT MATCH: We were advised Monday that the National ID Center of the FBI in Washington's review of independent print expert A. Nathan Darby's fingerprint match between the left little finger of Mac Wallace and latent print #29 on box "A" from the "sniper's nest" on the sixth floor had concluded there was no match. We regret this decision. We know the FBI's review process was incomplete and should not be accepted.

2.    OBTAINING THE FBI REPORT: The "no match" report was verbal and not supported with any documentation to either the FBI's Dallas office or to the Dallas Police Department. We have no documentation yet. The FBI's review process is also unknown to us. The struggle to get the full report, if any, and the process of review leading to that report has started.

3.    SOME OBVIOUS FBI ERRORS: The initial problems with the FBI review was that they violated their key written standard of backing certified experts. The FBI also violated the important related standard of reviewing any match with the right granted to the certified expert to explain his conclusions to another certified expert. Although repeatedly made available to the FBI, they acted without talking to Mr. Darby.

We will be seeking not just the report but all participants in the FBI's review process. Why this review took almost a year is also unacceptable. The FBI was provided the prints in May 13, 1998 and simply took its time. We know many people had to be involved. We believe it vital to see who participated and how. We do not expect an easy or a quick response to our freedom of information requests along these lines; however, we are pushing forward.

4.    CHALLENGE FOR INDEPENDENT REVIEW: What is also needed in the print review process is independent, unbiased review. We also need to make the standards clear for the review. We are proposing a further review where the government is not acting in judgment of itself, where the FBI is not defending its prior actions in the assassination, and where the known complications of solving the most terrible crime in our Nation's history can be judged properly, not by some unattainable standard no other criminal would be judged by.

5.    UNDERSTANDING PRINT EXPERTISE: In addition to proposing an independent review, we are also preparing a full and complete response to print identification. Mr. Darby has taken the initiative and his report will be made available as soon as it is finalized. Then the research community and the public can make their own decision based on the facts. There is judgment involved in print identification. With our report, the public will see why no two prints are alike, even from the same person, and we will see the vital role played by experts, particularly in a crime where there are key eyewitnesses. The FBI has forced us to put the entire expertise of fingerprint identification on trial. We are prepared to go forward as the FBI has forced us to do.

6.    WE HAVE A SOLID MATCH: We assure everyone following this vital issue that we stand by our expert and his careful, independent, and unbiased identification. We fully support his honest and his sound judgment.

We will keep you advised of further developments.


  Contact Information  tomnln@cox.net


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