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[5.0] The Assassination (1)

v1.2.2 / chapter 5 of 32 / 01 nov 13 / greg goebel / public domain

* On the morning of Friday, 22 November 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald came into work at the Texas School Book Depository and then made himself scarce. He was seen on the sixth floor of the TSBD around lunchtime, not long before the presidential motorcade was to come by; when the motorcade did come by, nobody could attest that Oswald was in the crowd watching. Several shots were then fired to hit JFK and Governor Connally, with a half-dozen witnesses identifying the shots as coming from the corner of the sixth floor of the TSBD.

In the confusion that followed, Oswald made his way out of the TSBD, being accosted by Dallas police officer Marrion Baker on the way out. Oswald got on a bus; when it got stuck in traffic, he got off and picked up a cab, taking it to near the boardinghouse where he was living. He dropped into his room and left, having put on a jacket, walking rapidly south.


[5.1] THE SIXTH FLOOR OF THE TSBD
[5.2] OSWALD'S WHEREABOUTS
[5.3] THE SCENE AT DEALEY PLAZA / MOTORCADE SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS
[5.4] THE SHOOTINGS
[5.5] OSWALD LEAVES THE TSBD
[5.6] OSWALD'S FLIGHT
[5.7] THE POLICE AT DEALEY PLAZA

[5.1] THE SIXTH FLOOR OF THE TSBD

* The flooring on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository was being replaced and the only people with particular business up there that day were the workmen; they were all TSBD employees, the work wasn't contracted out. The floor still had plenty of books and boxes that had been moved to the sides, and so there was no reason to be particularly suspicious of Oswald when he came upstairs. One of the workmen, Charlie Givens, told the Warren Commission that Oswald was still there when the workers went down the elevator to the lunchroom at about 11:45 AM; Givens had to go back up to get a pack of cigarettes he had left and saw Oswald again closer to noon.

Conspiracists like to cite a report provided later that day by an FBI agent, in which Givens supposedly claimed he actually saw Oswald in the first floor lunchroom at about 11:50 AM. However, the report was casual, not a signed affidavit by Givens, and there is good reason to think it was a garbling of what Givens said -- for the simple reason that the Dallas police had talked to Givens before the FBI did, and what Givens told Dallas cops up front was consistent with what he told the Warren Commission later.

The sixth floor had two elevators and a staircase at the west side. There were six double windows at the east side, overlooking Elm Street, where the president's motorcade was to pass by. That afternoon, investigators would find boxes arranged in what was described as the "sniper's nest", featuring boxes piled up as a wall to get them out of the way, providing useful concealment for a shooter, and boxes piled up next to the southeast window, where they could support a rifle. Another TSBD employee named Bonnie Ray Williams actually ate his lunch on the sixth floor around noon, but said that the piles of boxes provided plenty of concealment for someone trying to hide there. At around 12:05, Williams went down to the fifth floor, where he met up with two other workers, James "Junior" Jarman and Harold Norman, to watch the presidential motorcade come past. The three men were directly below the sniper's nest.

Conspiracists have raised a number of arguments to demonstrate that Oswald wasn't on the sixth floor at that time. One suggested that the seventh floor would have been a more likely choice for a sniper, since it had an enclosure on the southeast corner -- but the enclosure had a glass door, making it worthless for concealment. In addition, the window sills were high and there was a ledge between the sixth and seventh floors that partly blocked the line of fire.

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[5.2] OSWALD'S WHEREABOUTS

* The TSBD employees had formed up in little groups for the event; none of them reported Oswald among them. Indeed, to the extent that anyone recalled seeing Oswald around at all that morning, they suggested that he seemed to be making himself more scarce than usual. After his arrest, Oswald tried to claim he was in the first floor lunchroom with James Jarman. Jarman said he didn't see him. The TSBD employees had broken early for lunch so they could watch the motorcade -- even if Oswald had actually eaten lunch with Jarman, since Jarman had made it back up to the fifth floor, it would have hardly been difficult for Oswald to have then made it to the sixth.

Conspiracists have persistently invoked witnesses who placed Oswald in the first floor lunchroom, but to the extent that anyone did say they'd seen him there, it was before the arrival of the presidential motorcade, long enough to have given Oswald plenty of time to go back upstairs -- even the anomalous report the FBI supposedly obtained from Givens that placed Oswald in the first floor lunchroom did so at 11:50, well before the arrival of the motorcade. 15 years after the event Carolyn Arnold, one of the secretaries at the TSBD, said she had seen Oswald in the second floor lunchroom at 12:25, as she was going out to watch the motorcade. This observation was not corroborated by other TSBD employees, in fact it wasn't even corroborated by Oswald, who as noted claimed he was in the first floor lunchroom. Pauline Sanders, another TSBD employee, said she had been in the second floor lunchroom, leaving at about 12:20, and hadn't seen Oswald.

A grainy photo taken by a reporter of people standing in the doorway of the TSBD seemed to show Oswald among them -- but the person turned out to be a TSBD employee named Billy Lovelady, who actually did resemble Oswald slightly. Incidentally, Lovelady was one of the employees working on the sixth floor of the TSBD, replacing the flooring. When the picture made the rounds, Lovelady identified himself as the subject, with several other people who were present backing him up. Despite this, conspiracists persistently claimed the person in the doorway was Oswald, much to the annoyance of Lovelady, who commented: "Hell, I'm better looking than he was."

Even today, a few conspiracists still make a fuss over Lovelady, claiming he was just a "ringer" used by a conspiracy to conceal the fact that Oswald was really in the doorway. The main rationale for this was that the FBI took shots of Lovelady wearing a short-sleeved shirt with broad dark and white stripes, while the picture of the man in the doorway had a long-sleeved dark plaid shirt on. Lovelady was wearing the short-sleeved shirt when he was photographed by the FBI on 29 February 1964, and due to a mixup the FBI reported to the Warren Commission that was what he had been wearing on 22 November 1963. Lovelady actually showed up in two other photos on 22 November 1963, following the assassination, wearing the long-sleeved dark plaid shirt.

Billy Lovelady & Lee Harvey Oswald

Although some conspiracists still claim it was Oswald in the doorway, most eventually accepted that it was Lovelady and not Oswald in the picture. Actually, although some conspiracists insist that the "Doorway Man" looks more like Oswald than Lovelady, anybody unbiased observer comparing a photo of Lovelady and a photo of Oswald to the "mystery" figure in the door would conclude without much doubt that the figure is Lovelady, who had a longer, bonier face and a higher hairline than Oswald -- the HSCA went through a more formal analysis to come to the same conclusion. Besides, as noted above, Oswald told the police he was in the first floor lunchroom during the shootings -- not watching the motorcade from the TSBD doorway. Lovelady died of a heart attack in 1978, an event that conspiracists have labeled "mysterious", though there was no evidence of foul play.

* Along with claims that Oswald wasn't on the sixth floor of the TSBD when the presidential motorcade came past, other reports surfaced of spottings by observers outside of the TSBD of different people who were supposedly on the sixth floor or thereabouts:

However, Robert Edwards, a college student, and Ronald Fisher, a county auditor, were standing at the corner of Elm & Houston and waiting for the presidential motorcade, when Edwards saw a figure standing at the window of the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the TSBD. Edwards nudged Fisher, who looked up and also saw the man. The description they gave later matched Oswald, with Edwards saying the figure was standing in front of a wall of cases and boxes. Edwards found the figure puzzling because of his lack of animation: "He was just staring out the window."

Yet another witness, Howard Brennan, a 44-year-old steamfitter, was in the crowd nearby and noticed Williams, Jarman, and Norman, leaning out a window of the TSBD and chatting cheerfully among themselves; he then noticed a white guy in the window above, sitting quietly all by himself. Brennan thought that was odd, since everybody else seemed to be watching in groups with some excitement. The fact that Brennan correctly noted the presence of the three black men on the fifth floor window below the "sniper's nest" suggests that he had a grasp of details.

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[5.3] THE SCENE AT DEALEY PLAZA / MOTORCADE SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS

* There was a crowd around Dealey Plaza by noon, waiting for the presidential motorcade to come through. At roughly a quarter past the hour, there was a fuss when a man in the crowd had an epileptic fit and was hauled off to Parkland Hospital in an ambulance. Conspiracists liked to claim the incident was "staged" as a diversion to allow assassins to take up positions unnoticed, citing as evidence that no patient corresponding to the incident was logged in hospital records. Actually, the FBI got curious about the incident as well and tracked down the epileptic the following May. His name was Jerry Belknap; he had been taken to the hospital emergency room, but it was packed and he realized he wasn't going to get treatment any time soon. He felt better after taking water and an aspirin, and so he left without registering. As evidence for his story, records showed he had paid a $12.50 USD ambulance charge.

It was 12:29 when the first car in the motorcade turned off Main Street onto Houston and rolled toward the TSBD, with this car carrying Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry, Sheriff Bill Decker, and Forrest Sorrels, the local chief of the Secret Service. The presidential limousine followed about two car lengths behind. The driver was Secret Service Agent William Greer, with his colleague Roy Kellerman alongside. Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie were in the fold-down jump seats in the middle, while the president and the first lady were in the rear. The president and his staff had insisted that the plastic bubble top be pulled off so the crowd could see the dignitaries; there were no Secret Service men on the running board in the rear. There were four motorcycle escorts, at a comfortable distance behind.

Conspiracists make much of the security arrangements, claiming for example that the bubble top was removed without Kennedy's say-so. Actually, the bubble top was not bullet-proof, it was just for protection against the weather; the weather was warm and sunny, and JFK was there to be seen, so it was removed. It must be admitted, however, that if it had been raining and the bubble top had been installed, it might have obscured JFK enough to make him a poorer target, and the bubble top was stiff enough to have thrown a bullet off trajectory.

Conspiracists still express skepticism that JFK wanted the bubble top removed, but it is very easy to find photos of Kennedy riding in the back of an open-top limousine, for example in Berlin and Rome, even standing up to work the crowd. The guy was a politician, after all; what was the point of the motorcade if he stayed "behind glass" all the way from Love Field to the Trade Mart? The route had been announced so people would come out in crowds to see him. It would be unthinkable for a president to ride around in public in an open-top car today, but it wasn't before 22 November 1963.

As far as security procedures went, it is clear from photos of other JFK motorcades that security had been tighter in the past -- or at least it was at least up to early November. JFK was responsive to criticisms that his motorcades and security blocked city traffic and made life troublesome for locals, so when he had visited New York City on 14 November, his motorcade featured relaxed security and even stopped for traffic lights. Secret Service men were not at all happy, but JFK was the boss, and if he said his chauffeur was going to stop for traffic lights, it would be done.

L. Fletcher Prouty, a retired US Air Force officer turned conspiracist, claimed that buildings overlooking a presidential motorcade were closed up until the president passed as a matter of "standard procedure", but that was absurd. It would have been completely impractical in the downtown of a city of any size, and photos of people in various cities leaning out of balconies to watch JFK pass by are not hard to find. In Dallas, once again, the president wanted to be seen, and in fact had ordered the limo stopped twice to greet the crowd. The fact that Kennedy was, by his own decision, proceeding at low speed through a city in an open-topped car, which in itself presented him with a level of threat not heavily balanced by any consideration of where various security personnel were situated.

Indeed, the route of the motorcade was selected on the basis of the maximum exposure of the president to the public. Security was a secondary consideration. JFK aide Kenny O'Donnell told the Warren Commission:

BEGIN QUOTE:

[JFK's] view was that a demented person who was willing to sacrifice his own life could take the president's life ... I think he felt that was a risk that one assuming the office of the Presidency of the United States inherited. It didn't disturb him at all.

END QUOTE

O'Donnell added, on a somewhat eerie note, a recollection of what JFK had said just before leaving Fort Worth:

BEGIN QUOTE:

... [JFK's] interpretation of [the Secret Service's function on the trip] was to protect him from crowds, and to see that an unruly or sometimes an overexcited crowd did not generate into a riot, at which the President of the United States could be injured. But he said that if anybody really wanted to shoot the President of the United States, it was not a very difficult job -- all one had to do was get a high building some day with a telescopic rifle, and there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such an attempt on the President's life.

END QUOTE

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[5.4] THE SHOOTINGS

* The presidential limousine was followed by a Cadillac convertible loaded with Secret Service men and presidential aides. Vice-President Johnson was in the next car with his wife, Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough, and Secret Service men. The rest of the motorcade carried local dignitaries, press cars, and finally two buses -- one for VIPs and one for the press.

The presidential limousine turned onto Elm Street, right in front of the depository. It was 12:30. The crowd was enthusiastic and Nellie Connally turned to tell JFK: "Mr. President, you can't say that Dallas doesn't love you."

Kennedy replied something along the lines of: "No, you certainly can't." Those were his last reported words.

After the limo completed the turn, a shot rang out; many witnesses thought it was a backfire or fireworks, with one witness named Virgie Rachley, who worked at the TSBD, seeing sparks fly off the pavement behind the presidential limousine as if a firecracker had been tossed. Secret Service men weren't sure what was going on but they assumed an attack, with Johnson's Secret Service escort ordering him to get down, to then cover the vice-president with his body.

Connally was an enthusiastic hunter and immediately judged the sound to be a rifle shot, locating the origin as back and up to the right. He turned around to his right. Next to the TSBD, a witness named James R. Worrell heard the shot, to look straight up and see a rifle muzzle sticking out of the window; one of the photographers in the president's press entourage, Bob Jackson, saw the rifle muzzle sticking out of the window as well. Howard Brennan, who had noticed the solitary white man in the window earlier, rechecked the window and saw the man there aiming a rifle to then fire a second shot. The president's arms then jerked up to his neck level while Connally felt the blow of the impact of a bullet, crying out: "Oh no, no, no!". Nellie Connally pulled him down into her lap, with the governor exclaiming: "My God, they're going to kill us all!"

Greer, in the driver's seat of the limousine, was confused for a moment, not knowing what was going on, and actually let off the gas while he turned around to look at the president -- an error of judgement that conspiracists would also make much of. At that moment a third shot rang out, with Howard Brennan watching the shooter, and the right side of the president's head exploded in an ugly splash of blood and tissue.

Secret Service Agent Glenn Bennett, in the follow-up car behind the presidential limousine, had a meticulous and unforgettable memory of the scene. After hearing a sound like a "firecracker", indicating the first shot, Bennett told the Warren Commission:

BEGIN QUOTE:

I looked at the back of the President. I heard another firecracker noise and saw that the shot hit the President about four inches down from the right shoulder. A second shot [the third overall] followed immediately and hit the right rear of the President's head.

END QUOTE

Jackie Kennedy started to crawl over the back of the limousine, the story being later rendered that in a hysterical reaction, she was trying to get the pieces of her husband's head so she could fit them back together. She actually couldn't explain later what she thought she was doing, telling the Warren Commission later: "You know, then, there were pictures later on of me climbing out the back. But I don't remember that at all."

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who had dashed out of the car behind, shoved her back in; Kellerman shouted at Greer to go, and Greer stepped on the gas while Hill tried to shield the president and first lady with his body. The limousine sped out of Dealey Plaza. Brennan saw the man in the window pause for a moment after the third shot, as if to make sure he had done the job, and then disappear.

* In the TSBD, below the sniper's nest, Jarman jumped up as the shots rang out: "That's no backfire! Someone's shooting at the president!"

Williams got to his feet: "No bullshit!"

Norman said: "I think it came from above us -- I'm sure of it." They went to the west side of the building, observing the railroad yard, throwing open a window to observe the excitement. Jarman then noticed plaster dust in Williams' hair: "That shot probably did come from above us."

Norman, who liked to hunt, commented: "I know it did. I could hear the action of the bolt and the cartridges hitting the floor." As Norman described it later: "When the first shot came, I heard BOOM, then klik-klik BOOM, klik-klik BOOM."

This testimony would be useful later in establishing the source and number of shots, and not surprisingly conspiracists have nitpicked at it. Why didn't the three men hear the shooter stepping across the floor above after he fired the shots? Because after the shots were fired, there was so much commotion that they couldn't have heard the footsteps.

Why did the three go to the west side of the building when they thought the shots came from above? Because they were baffled as to why people were running there, with Norman much later telling Gerald Posner that he was thinking: "Where the hell are they going? The guy who shot is right up there." Being unarmed themselves, they were also sensibly hesitant to go upstairs to confront someone who was clearly armed and very dangerous.

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[5.5] OSWALD LEAVES THE TSBD

* The shooting in Dealey Plaza threw the crowd there into mass confusion. Marrion Baker, a Dallas motorcycle policeman well behind the presidential limousine, kept his head, reacting immediately on hearing the first shot. He thought the the shots were coming from the TSBD and also noticed a flock of pigeons flying off the building, as if startled. Baker gunned his motorcycle up to the front steps of the depository, dismounted, and ran inside, where he met supervisor Roy Truly; they tried to take the elevator up, but it didn't come down, and so they decided to take the stairs at the rear of the building.

On the second floor, Baker noticed a man through a window in a door and aimed his pistol at him, shouting: "Come here!" Baker noted the man was moving rapidly, but was not winded; on the policeman's command, he came over. Truly was going up to the third floor but stopped and came back down; Baker asked him: "Do you know this man?" The man was Oswald, Truly knew him, and told Baker: "Yes."

Oswald didn't seem jumpy or apprehensive in the least -- in hindsight, a slightly puzzling lack of reaction since a cop had just come out of nowhere to point a gun at him -- but at the time there seemed nothing suspicious about him, so Baker and Truly decided to keep on going up the stairs. Ultimately they ended up on the roof, where Baker had thought the shots had come from; there he discovered that the walls around the edge were too tall to shoot over, and there was no place above them where a shooter could have taken up a position.

Meanwhile, Oswald went through the office area and took the front stairs from the second floor to the main floor, on his way out the front. Had he tried to go out the back, he would have been intercepted, since two workers, George Rackley and James Romack, had decided to keep an eye on the rear exits, and were relieved by police a few minutes later. Nobody went out the rear exits. In contrast, the front exit was left unattended for at least ten minutes. On his way across the second floor, Oswald walked past another worker there, Mrs. Robert Reid, who had come back to her desk in a panic. She told Oswald that somebody had shot at the president, but he just mumbled something and didn't break stride. She noticed he was carrying a full bottle of Coke; he had apparently bought it in the second-floor lunchroom after the confrontation with Baker.

Three minutes after the shooting, Oswald was out of the TSBD. Reporter Robert MacNeil, then with the JFK press entourage and later a well-known TV news anchor, was running into the building to find a phone and ran into a young man who was going out. MacNeil later suspected the man was Oswald, though he wasn't certain. Later Oswald would say under interrogation that he had run into a Secret Service man when he left, possibly misinterpreting MacNeil's press badge. No Secret Service man reported crossing paths with anyone leaving the TSBD, and under the circumstances they would have had good reason to notice somebody trying going out the door.

* Otherwise, no witnesses recalled seeing Oswald leave the building. Some witnesses claimed they saw other individuals not matching any description of Oswald leaving the TSBD in a rush after the shooting, but given the excitement there's no reason to read too much into any such claims. One Richard Randolph Carr claimed he saw a man with a hat, tan sport coat and hornrimmed glasses leaving the TSBD in a hurry heading south after previously spotting the same man on the 6th floor of the building.

As corroboration of this report, conspiracists like to cite James Worrell, who as noted previously looked up to see a rifle barrel sticking out of a window of the TSBD. Worrell also saw a man leaving the TSBD in a hurry, heading south, but said the man was wearing a dark sports coat and had no hat. There are problems with both testimonies -- Carr was hundreds of yards away, while the details of Worrell's report were contradicted by other witnesses. There is a particular difficulty with reading much into the matter since the mysterious person or persons described by both were headed south. That would have taken them towards the excitement instead of away from it, inconsistent with fleeing the scene of a crime. Carr and Worrell may have seen someone or other, but there wasn't much to get excited about in their testimonies even on the face of it.

Worse, Carr continued to embellish his story over the years, with later versions contradicting earlier ones and Carr adding in features such as government agents telling him to "keep his mouth shut" if he knew what was good for him. He didn't, but nothing happened to him, though he claimed that there had been repeated attempts on his life, that he had even killed one of his assailants. Carr finally passed away in 1996. Apparently if there was a ruthlessly efficient plot to kill JFK, the assassins had such trouble with Raymond Randolph Carr that it took them 33 years to do him in.

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[5.6] OSWALD'S FLIGHT

* A short time after Oswald left the TSBD, a young man got onto a bus at a stop not too far from Dealey Plaza. There were only a handful of passengers on the bus; by coincidence, one was Mary Bledsoe, who had thrown Oswald out of her boarding house a few weeks earlier. Bledsoe recognized him as the man who got on. Incidentally, nobody saw Oswald that afternoon carrying a bag of "curtain rods".

The bus got bogged down in traffic; the driver of the car in front of the bus said the jam was because the president had been shot. Oswald decided to get off the bus. A few minutes later, at the Greyhound bus station two blocks away, cab driver William Whaley picked up a young man. Although Whaley was puzzled by all the police cars racing around, the passenger said nothing and Whaley didn't ask him about it. Whaley let the passenger out some distance from boarding house where Oswald had been staying.

Shortly thereafter the housekeeper there, Earlene Roberts, saw "O.H. Lee", as she knew Oswald, enter and go into his room in a hurry, "almost running". He left in a hurry as well, having put on a jacket despite the fact that the day was now clearly too warm for one. Roberts was watching TV coverage of the assassination, but Oswald paid it no attention as he went back out the door. The jacket wasn't the only thing Oswald picked up at the boarding house. It was about 1:00 PM. Nobody would ever figure out where Oswald thought he was going.

* Roberts later added an unsettling touch to her recollections. She testified in April 1964 that while Oswald was there, a police car parked by the boarding house, honked its horn, and drove off. In a report obtained by the Dallas police dated 5 December 1963 and in a conversation with a reporter that day, she made no mention of it, though she did report that about a half hour later the police came to the boarding house looking for Oswald. After she came forward with her story about the police car in April 1964, she changed it in June, saying the police car honked its horn after Oswald left the apartment building, without Oswald paying the matter any mind.

In addition, Roberts had poor vision -- the deposition for her April testimony records her as saying that she couldn't "see too good how to read" and waiving her signature of it -- but she reported that the license plate number gave it as "car 207". Records indicated that car 207 was nowhere near the boarding house at the time she said she saw it. She then said it was "car 106" -- no, it wasn't around either -- and then "car 107" -- again, no joy. She had actually spoken with various Dallas reporters after the assassination but never mentioned the incident, and when the reporters found out about her revised story they looked her up again. One asked her why she hadn't said anything; she simply got "very flustered" and couldn't give a straight answer.

Roberts' employer at the apartment, Gladys Johnson, told the Warren Commission that Roberts had some "bad habits". On being asked to elaborate, Johnson said that Roberts had a custom of "making up tales .... just a creative mind, there's nothing to it, and just make up and keep talking until she makes a lie out of it .... she is a person who doesn't mean to do it but she just does it automatically .... I don't understand it myself."

Not only was Roberts' testimony dubious, but even assuming it was true, it was hard to fit the incident into any coherent conspiracy theory. According to the story, the police didn't come into contact with Oswald -- and if honking a horn was supposed to have been some sort of important signal to Oswald, what would have happened if somebody just driving by had honked a horn for whatever other reason instead?

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[5.7] THE POLICE AT DEALEY PLAZA

* While Oswald was making his way to his boarding house, law enforcement people were swarming over Dealey Plaza. Howard Brennan had given the police a general description of the shooter he had seen in the sixth-floor window of the depository, though Brennan couldn't describe the shooter's clothes well. At 12:45 the police sent out an all points bulletin (APB) on their radio net:

BEGIN QUOTE:

Attention all squads, the suspect in the shooting at Elm and Houston is supposed to be an unknown white male, approximately 30, 165 pounds, slender build, armed with what is thought to be a 30-30 rifle. Repeat, unknown white male, approximately 30, 165 pounds, slender build. No further description at this time or information.

END QUOTE

Notice the "no further description" comment. Although some conspiracists claim the police sent out an alert for "Lee Harvey Oswald", the authorities hadn't linked the shooter to him at that time. The matter became confused later because relevant witnesses testified to the effect that:

-- when they actually meant:

The police also had another witness, a 15-year-old black lad named Amos Euins, who said he had seen the shooter in the TSBD window, with Euins originally claiming he was a black man; then saying he wasn't so sure and couldn't describe the shooter, though he was still certain he saw somebody shooting from that location.

The Texas School Book Depository quickly became the focus of investigation. By 12:45 it had been sealed off, with police searching the building. At 1:22 PM, Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney found the sniper's nest on the sixth floor, with three expended cartridge cases on the floor, but no weapon. He called up his colleagues; the cases were photographed where they were lying and then dusted for fingerprints by Lieutenant Carl Day, boss of the Dallas crime scene search unit. The dusting did not reveal fingerprints, but as Day pointed out later: "That's routine. You can handle them and still not leave a mark."

Day also dusted the windowsills, but he knew it was probably hopeless; they were covered with dry cracked paint, which doesn't take prints well. No prints were revealed, but dusting the box used as a prop for the weapon revealed a clear and fresh palm print. Ultimately, several palmprints and fingerprints matched to Oswald were found in the "sniper's nest" and validated by multiple qualified analysts. However, of course Oswald carried around cartons in the TSBD as part of his job, and so the prints discovered there were not strong evidence in themselves that he had anything to do with the assassination.

The FBI ultimately found 25 other prints that were legible enough to be analyzed in the area, with all matched to TSBD employees whose whereabouts during the assassination were known, except for one palmprint that was never identified. The unidentified palmprint was not too surprising, since the cartons had been shipped from elsewhere and handled in the course of their trip to the TSBD. Reporters also canvassed the sixth floor of the TSBD over the days following the assassination and may have moved some things around.

* In any case, at 1:22, Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone and Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman found a rifle wedged between boxes by the rear stairwell. They didn't touch it, allowing Day to give it a look-over. He pulled it out carefully by its sling, with a local news camera man filming him as he did it. The weapon was old and weathered and Day knew it was unlikely to that prints would take on it. It still contained one round of ammunition. The police also recovered an improvised paper bag, which the police assumed was used to carry the disassembled rifle, in the sniper's nest, and Day found it had a nice palm print on one end. He finally gathered up the evidence and went back to his lab.

It should be noted that on 2 December, a TSBD worker discovered a clipboard that had been left behind a stack of books not far from where the rifle was from. It was the clipboard that Oswald had been carrying around on the morning of 22 November, with paperwork for orders he had been assigned to fulfill.

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