Friday, December 3, 2010

The Tippit Murder: Why Conspiracy Theorists Can’t Tell the Truth about the Rosetta Stone of the Case Against Lee Harvey Oswald

by DALE K. MYERS


Fig.1. J.D. Tippit’s squad car at Tenth and Patton. (NARA)

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ve come to believe that you can judge a Kennedy assassination book by its handling of the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit.

Most of those familiar with the assassination story know that it was Tippit’s murder forty-five minutes after the assassination that led to the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Tippit murder has been called the Rosetta Stone, the linch-pin, the key to understanding who killed President Kennedy and yet it’s also one of the most overlooked aspects of the assassination – so much so, that few average Americans even know who Tippit is or why his death is such a significant part of our history.

That’s one of the reasons I began researching the Tippit story in earnest in 1975 and why I wrote a book about it – With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit (Oak Cliff Press, 1998) – twenty some years later.

So, when a new book about the Kennedy assassination comes out, I naturally take a look to see how the shooting of the Dallas police officer is handled. More often than not the true facts surrounding Tippit’s death are mangled beyond belief or it’s ignored altogether.

It seems that some authors are so eager to expunge Oswald’s obvious culpability for Tippit’s death that passing off a pack of lies as truth isn’t beneath them.

The most recent publication to offer enlightenment on the subject of the Tippit shooting is Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination (Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2010) by Donald Byron Thomas, who assures us in a free to read 40-page chapter on the Tippit case that all is not as we’ve been told.

My first and immediate reaction after reading through Thomas’ dissertation was: What a colossal waste of time. To say that Mr. Thomas, an entomologist by profession, is way out of his league pontificating on the Tippit case would be an understatement devoid of description.

But I can say this: Thomas’ take on the Tippit murder is the most outrageous, error-riddled, load of crap I’ve read in a long time. It’s hard to believe that anyone with an ounce of sense would believe such nonsense, but hey, if you don’t know what really happened I guess anything – even the kind of bull droppings that Thomas is hawking – can sound plausible.

I mean, really, when an author can’t even get the victim’s name correct (the opening line of Thomas’ Tippit chapter refers to the Dallas policeman as ‘Jefferson Davis Tippit’ despite the fact that Tippit’s own family says that his true name was simply the initials, ‘JD’), you know it’s going to be all downhill from there. And believe me, Thomas doesn’t disappoint in that department.

Accessories after the fact

Mr. Thomas tells readers that the evidence he uncovered implicates J.D. Tippit and his police colleagues “as accessories after the fact” in the murder of the President of the United States [1] – a reprehensible crime punishable by imprisonment or death.

One would think that Thomas must have some pretty hard evidence to back up such a charge. After all, no one with any brains would make such an accusation given the very serious nature of the charge, the tremendous implications for history, and the emotional impact to the surviving families of Officer Tippit and the other policemen allegedly involved in this heinous act, unless they had rock solid evidence, would they?

So, what evidence does Thomas have and where does it lead him?

Mr. Thomas charges in Hear No Evil that Tippit abandoned his assigned patrol area and moved to Oswald’s neighborhood where he had no official purpose, [2] that Tippit stopped and picked up Dallas police officer Harry N. Olsen, [3] that Tippit and Olsen, who were part of an Oswald escape plan that went awry, proceeded to Oswald’s rooming house and honked the horn as some sort of signal while Oswald was inside, [4] that Oswald intended to meet someone at the El Chico Mexican restaurant at Davis and Beckley but changed his mind and headed east into a nearby residential neighborhood, [5] that Tippit pulled his pistol and confronted Oswald at Tenth and Patton without any obvious provocation, [6] that Oswald (apparently acting in self-defense) and a second assailant (identified as possibly Olsen himself) shot Tippit, [7] that the second assailant (who may have been Olsen) dropped a wallet and jacket near the crime scene, [8] that the Dallas police deliberately salted the crime scene with spent shells recovered from Oswald’s pistol at the Texas Theater, [9] that Tippit was shot wearing his Eisenhower jacket and that contrary to medical reports one bullet never entered his body [10] that Dallas FBI agents, a Dallas police detective, and a Methodist Hospital doctor falsified affidavits to cover-up the origin of the bullet that was stopped by Tippit’s jacket button, [11] that a Remington-Peters bullet recovered from Tippit’s body (which may have come from a second gun) couldn’t be matched to Oswald’s revolver, [12] that a station wagon linked to the Kennedy and Tippit shootings was seen speeding away from the El Chico Mexican restaurant, [13] and that the station wagon was owned by Carl Mather, a close friend of Tippit’s who worked for Collins Radio, a CIA front linked to Oswald and CIA backed anti-Cuban exiles. [14]

Whew! Pretty exciting stuff, eh? Any of it true, you ask?

Not a lick.

Tippit’s assigned patrol area

Mr. Thomas claims as fact “that Tippit was not on his routine patrol as the Warren Commission claimed” (a falsehood right off the bat since the Warren Report never wrote such a thing in any of their discussions of the Tippit case. [15]), [16] and that “for reasons that remain suspicious Tippit had left his assigned patrol area in district 78 in south Dallas and had driven to Oswald’s neighborhood,” having been sent there by the radio dispatcher Murray Jackson who, Thomas writes in a footnote, “could not offer a cogent explanation for his action.” [17]

This is absolute rubbish. Murray Jackson has been interviewed more than once on this subject by numerous people (apparently Mr. Thomas didn’t bother, instead opting to quote secondary sources whenever possible), including myself for the book With Malice. There is nothing mysterious about Jackson’s order except why the addle-minded conspiracy crowd cannot accept reality.

Murray Jackson admired J.D. Tippit. As a high school senior, Jackson encountered Tippit and other police officers while working at a Mobil gas station in Oak Cliff. His admiration for Tippit and the uniform he wore led to Jackson’s enrollment in the police academy. In the early 1960’s, Jackson rode with Tippit as a rookie.

One of the first nights Jackson was on his own he had to call for assistance when a squad car full of unruly teenagers decided they didn’t want to go to jail. Tippit was one of the first to respond and jokingly admonished Jackson for having to come and “save his life” his first time out. It was all good natured ribbing. The kind police brothers share every day.

On November 22, Jackson ordered Tippit to move into the central Oak Cliff area during the height of the city wide emergency caused by the Kennedy assassination. From central Oak Cliff, Tippit could respond to any need for more squads in the downtown area or his own district just south of central Oak Cliff.

When Jackson checked in with Tippit just before one o’clock to make sure he was in the central Oak Cliff area, Jackson added, “You will be at large for any emergency that comes in,” a reference back to the night Tippit came to the rookie Jackson’s aid.

It was an inside joke between two cops. “I was going to thank him later for ‘saving me again’,” Jackson told me. “But I never got the chance.” [18]

Jackson’s order, which was in keeping with the state of emergency in existence at the time, and the innocent remark singling Tippit out became the focus of much attention and scrutiny by conspiracy buffs after Oswald murdered Tippit.

Every conspiracy nut-job saw Jackson’s remark as something sinister and even fifty years later the same set of unsupported accusations and outright lies are being fed to a gullible public eager to sink their teeth into anything conspiratorial – real or imagined.

Now, Mr. Thomas piles on, writing that Jackson told author Henry Hurt in 1984 that “he could not remember why he had sent his close friend to his death.” [19]

I don’t know about you, but I wince when I read stuff like that. Honest to God, these conspiracy boobs don’t have any idea of the amount of pain they cause those who were personally touched by that national tragedy. I do. I’ve seen it first hand more than once on the faces of those I’ve spoken with; those poor souls who have had their lives shattered and then tortured in unimaginable ways by careless individuals with a pen. They either don’t know or they just don’t care or they wouldn’t write half the crap they do.

In 1967, Jackson told Dallas newsman Eddie Barker that the police response to the Kennedy assassination was draining Oak Cliff of available officers so he ordered R.C. Nelson and J.D. Tippit from their assigned districts into the central Oak Cliff area.

Reacting to Jackson’s explanation, Thomas writes, “Jackson’s answer was nonsensical. There was no ‘draining’ of officers from Oak Cliff.” [20]

Really? Let’s be direct; Thomas is wrong.

Warren Commission Exhibit (CE) 2645 describes the assignments and activities of officers assigned to the Oak Cliff area immediately after the assassination. It shows that officers assigned to districts 21 (D.P. Tucker and C.R. Graham), 22 (L.L. Hill), and 23 (B.E. Barnes) in northwest Oak Cliff were sent to Dealey Plaza and Parkland Hospital, [21] and that officers assigned to Oak Cliff districts 76 (H.H. Horn), 77 (W.E. Smith), 81 & 82 (J.L. Angell), 93 & 94 (H.M. Ashcraft), and 95 & 96 (M.N. McDonald and T.R. Gregory) also proceeded to Dealey Plaza. [22]

In addition, the Oak Cliff area commander, C.B. Owens, and supervising sergeant, H.F. Davis (who was also assigned districts 80 & 90), were also dispatched to Dealey Plaza after the assassination. [23]

O.H. Ludwig, who was assigned Oak Cliff districts 108 & 109, was on special assignment guarding the president’s hotel after 10:30 a.m. [24]

Recordings of the Dallas police radio transmissions also show that the officers assigned to district 79 (B.W. Anglin) and 87 (R.C. Nelson) went to Dealey Plaza. [25]

That left officers R.W. Walker, W.D. Mentzel, and J.D. Tippit (assigned to districts 85, 86, 91, 92, and 78) to cover Oak Cliff.

How in the world can Thomas claim that there was “no draining of officers from Oak Cliff” considering the facts presented in that report – a report incidentally that Thomas cites and refers to in his book? [26]

William D. Mentzel

One of the chief reasons Thomas assigns suspicion to Jackson’s order for Tippit to move into the central Oak Cliff area is that central Oak Cliff already had its own patrolman there, William D. Mentzel, and that Mentzel was “so disoccupied that he had gone to lunch.” [27]

But, Thomas must know that what he is saying is only half true. Yes, Mentzel had gone to lunch about 12:38 p.m., but while eating at a café on West Jefferson he learned that the president had been shot. He returned to service at 1:07 p.m. and four minutes later was dispatched to an automobile accident in the 800 block of West Davis. [28] Officer Mentzel was at that accident scene at the time of the Tippit shooting.

The fact that Mentzel was on an assignment and not eating lunch at the time of the Tippit shooting underscores the very reason for Tippit being reassigned to the central Oak Cliff area – to help cover a wider area sparsely patrolled. Of course, you’d never know that from the account Mr. Thomas provides since Thomas left out the key passage in the report being referenced. This is a pattern seen again and again in all conspiracy literature and repeated more than once in Thomas’ own work.

R.C. Nelson

The other chief reason that Thomas suspects something is amiss with Jackson’s order for Tippit to move into the central Oak Cliff area is that the other officer Jackson assigned there – R.C. Nelson – reported instead to Dealey Plaza, the scene of the Kennedy assassination. [29]

Thomas writes that Jackson “never tried to contact Nelson” [30] and that even though Oak Cliff commander C.E. Talbert reported that Nelson was assigned to the Book Depository, [31] radio logs show Nelson “had been dispatched to Oak Cliff.” [32] Once again, we get half-truths from Thomas.

When Jackson ordered Nelson and Tippit into the central Oak Cliff area, Nelson reported that he was “going north on Marsalis, [at] R.L. Thornton.” [33] That meant Nelson was already in central Oak Cliff well north of his southern district.

Three minutes later, Nelson reported that he was “on the south end of the Houston Street viaduct,” directly across the Trinity River basin from downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza. A few minutes later, Nelson reported “out down here,” referring to the Kennedy shooting scene.

“Nelson said he was already in central Oak Cliff (headed in the direction of downtown) when I contacted him,” Jackson explained to me. “I figured he’s already headed down there, so I just marked him out there. I knew Tippit was still out in Oak Cliff so why not let Nelson go on.” [34]

At 12:55 p.m., Jackson contacted Tippit to make sure he had remained in Oak Cliff:

Jackson: 78.

Tippit: 78.

Jackson: You are in the Oak Cliff area, are you not?

Tippit: Lancaster and Eighth.

Jackson: You will be at large for any emergency that comes in.

Tippit: 10-4. [35]

So, Nelson was already in central Oak Cliff headed downtown at the time Jackson ordered him there. Nelson proceeded to Dealey Plaza and notified Jackson that he was checking “out” – all facts acknowledged by Jackson at the time.

Incidentally, Nelson wasn’t the only officer to head downtown without a specific order. Officers in Oak Cliff districts 77 (W.E. Smith), [36] 80 (H.F. Dans), [37] 81 (J.L. Angell), [38] 79 (B.W. Anglin), [39] and 95 (M.N. McDonald and T.R. Gregory) [40] all proceeded to Elm and Houston without being ordered by the dispatcher – a normal occurrence given the extreme magnitude of the emergency situation. [41]

And no, Jackson “never tried to contact Nelson,” as Thomas claimed, but that’s because he knew he was out of the car in Dealey Plaza as the radio transmissions show.

And, yes, Oak Cliff commander C.E. Talbert reported that Nelson was assigned to the Book Depository, but that doesn’t contradict the radio logs as Thomas claims. Why? Because after the assassination Talbert “took personal charge of all assignments of his platoon and all officers were told to report to him at the Texas School Book Depository, where he was making individual assignments.” [42] This, of course, included Nelson who was not only a platoon member but had also reported to Dealey Plaza.

And yes, the radio transmission logs include the order for Nelson to “move into the central Oak Cliff area,” but they also include Nelson’s report from the south end of the Houston Street viaduct [43] and his acknowledgement that he was “out” in Dealey Plaza. [44]

Mr. Thomas must know all of this because all of it appears in reports that he cites or refers to in his own book. Instead of facts, however, we get half-truths and more half-truths from Thomas.

Ruby and Nelson

But Mr. Thomas doesn’t stop there. He accuses Officer Nelson of having a role “in both the Tippit shooting and the death of Oswald” and that despite these roles he was “never questioned by the Warren Commission.” [45]

Nelson’s alleged “role” in the Tippit shooting amounts to what you just read above. What was his alleged “role” in Oswald’s death, you ask?

Thomas writes, “… [The Warren Commission and FBI never interviewed Nelson] even though, and perhaps because, during the subsequent internal investigation by the Dallas Police, Nelson was implicated as the officer who permitted Ruby to enter the police station to silence Oswald.” [46]

Turning to the footnote for Thomas’ assertion we find this: “Police Detectives Jay Cutchshaw and Roy Lowery told investigators that Ruby came through the jail office door, a fact supported by video evidence, but the allegation was left out of the subsequent police report because R.C. Nelson, denied it.”

Thomas’ citation for the above footnote is Seth Kantor’s Who Was Jack Ruby? which describes how Dallas detectives Cutchshaw and Lowery reported seeing a pair of WBAP television cameramen – Dave Timmons and John Tankersly – struggling to move a large camera on a dolly tripod through the jail office and out into the basement garage just before Oswald was shot. [47]

Both Cutchshaw [48] and Lowery [49] reported seeing three men pushing the tripod and both later claimed that the third man was Jack Ruby.

Kantor reports that indeed NBC-TV footage taken after the shooting shows Lowery telling a police lieutenant that the man who shot Oswald came into the garage with a TV camera. [50]

However, neither Cutchshaw nor Lowery mentioned their belief that Ruby was the third man pushing the camera dolly in their sworn statements of December, 1963 – statements that did include the fact that both men knew Ruby and that neither had seen Ruby prior to the shooting.

Who was the mysterious third man? Timmons [51] and Tankersly [52] reported that only they – two men – were pushing the tripod, but that detective Lowery helped steady the camera momentarily and that Jimmie Turner, a WBAP employee, joined them and helped push it.

Indeed, Turner confirmed that he was the third man who joined the two cameramen and helped get the camera through the jail office door. [53]

What about the video evidence that allegedly supported the claim that Ruby got into the basement by joining the two men pushing the camera tripod?

Kantor reported viewing KRLD-TV footage of the basement before Oswald’s arrival and wrote that it was impossible to see how many people were pushing the camera as the view was blocked by activity swirling about the basement area. [54]

And how does R.C. Nelson fit into all of this and become the man who allowed Jack Ruby into the basement, as Thomas claims?

It turns out that R.C. Nelson was stationed just outside the basement jail office and observed the cameramen push the camera dolly passed him. [55] And so contrary to Thomas’ earlier assertion, Nelson neither acknowledges nor denies the allegation made by Cutchshaw and Lowery that Ruby helped push the camera dolly into the basement garage area.

Once again, reality fails to live up to the allegations of conspiracy made by Thomas in Hear No Evil.

Harry N. Olsen

As long as we’re skipping down Fantasy Lane, how about the allegations that Thomas makes concerning Dallas police officer Harry N. Olsen?

Olsen gained notoriety when he suggested to Jack Ruby on Saturday night that someone ought to cut Oswald to ribbons. The next day Ruby did, and Olsen ended up under the magnifying glass. It was never proven that Olsen had anything to do with Ruby’s act, other than making the suggestion – a notion that a lot of angry people had that terrible weekend.

Mr. Thomas adds Olsen to his conspiracy fantasy (why is it that every conspiracy theory only involves people that we’ve heard of?) writing that Tippit and Olsen were part of some sort of Oswald escape plan that went awry (it’s never really explained), and that Olsen not only rode to Tenth and Patton with Tippit, but might even have been a “second gunman” in the fellow officer’s death. Holy cow!

And where is the evidence – hell, I’ll even settle for a notion – that any of this actually happened? Nowhere; there’s not one scintilla of evidence, believable or otherwise.

According to Thomas, the first place that Tippit stopped after he drove to central Oak Cliff was the alley way next to the gas station across the street from the apartment of Kathy Kay Coleman, Harry Olsen’s girlfriend.

What evidence does Thomas offer for this claim? He cites page 164 of conspiracy author Henry Hurt’s 1986 book Reasonable Doubt, writing that there were “five witnesses who saw [Tippit’s] squad car there” and that at 11:55 a.m. Tippit reported his location as “‘Eighth and Lancaster’, the corner location of the gas station. Thus Tippit abandoned his assigned patrol area to drive to Lee Harvey Oswald’s neighborhood, apparently stopping to pick up Olsen on the way. What were these men up to?” [56]

Let’s stop right there. First, Henry Hurt never mentions the location of the gas station where “five witnesses” saw Tippit’s squad car parked. The story, however, is quite well known in assassination research circles having been written about in the November, 1966, issue of Ramparts magazine. I know the story well because I interviewed one of the witnesses and wrote about it in With Malice. [57] Apparently, Mr. Thomas never bothered to check that source or the Dallas City Directory.

The Glo-Co service station where Tippit was spotted shortly before 1:00 p.m. was located at 1502 N. Zangs Blvd., near Marsalis, at the south end of the Houston Street viaduct [58] – about 10 blocks north of Kathy Kay Coleman’s apartment (which was located on N. Ewing between Seventh and Eighth Streets). [59]


Fig.2. Map of Oak Cliff depicting the location of events.

There were no Glo-Co service stations located near Lancaster and Eighth in 1963. [60] In fact, there were no service stations at all in the area of Lancaster and Eighth (where Tippit radioed from) or N. Ewing and Eighth (where Coleman’s apartment was located) in 1963. [61]

So where in the devil does Mr. Thomas get the information to support his claims about Tippit’s supposed encounter with Harry Olsen and Kay Coleman? Apparently, he just invents it. But that’s not all.

Honking the horn

Mr. Thomas also alleges that after Tippit stopped and picked up Olsen, [62] the pair proceeded to Oswald’s rooming house and honked the horn as some sort of signal while Oswald was inside. [63] According to Thomas, this was evidence that Tippit and Olsen “were accessories [to the president’s murder] assisting Oswald to escape, or worse, directing him to a fate unknown.” [64]

STOP. I realize that conspiracy theorists, like Thomas, can’t resist the temptation to assign something sinister to the story told by Mrs. Earlene Roberts about a police car honking its horn during the few minutes that Oswald was in his room presumably getting the pistol that was later used to murder J.D. Tippit. But wouldn’t it be nice if they told the whole story? Of course, if they did, there wouldn’t be much of a story to hang a conspiracy on, would there?

The Roberts story was covered extensively in With Malice but you won’t find a whiff of that coverage in Mr. Thomas’ mythical tale.

For instance, you won’t learn that Mrs. Roberts didn’t even tell this story until a week after the assassination, and mind you, police investigators and reporters had been crawling in and out of the boarding house all during that period. [65]

Nor will you learn that Mrs. Roberts offered three different squad car numbers – 207, 106, and 107 – in an effort to identify the policemen riding in the mysterious automobile. None of the squad car numbers checked out. [66]

Nor will you learn that the two policemen she thought it might be honking the horn either denied knowing her or hadn’t worked for the Dallas police since 1957 – six years before the shooting. [67]

Nor will you learn that those who met her described her as having a penchant for being talkative and making stories up. [68] That included the woman she worked for, Mrs. Gladys J. Johnson, who testified to the Warren Commission, “Have you ever seen people like that? Just have a creative mind, there’s nothing to it, and just make up and keep talking until she just makes a lie out of it. Listen, I’m telling you the truth, and this isn’t to go any further, understand that? You have to know these things because you are going to question this lady. I will tell you, she’s just as intelligent – I think she is a person that doesn’t mean to do that but she just does it automatically. It seems as though she, oh, I don’t know, wants to be attractive or something at times. I just don’t know; I don’t understand it myself. I only wish I did.” [69]

Instead, Mr. Thomas complains that “the FBI questioned a grand total of three police officers out of a force of 1,175 men” in what Thomas characterizes as a half-assed investigation into whom – if anyone – might have driven by the rooming house and honked their horn. [70]

In reality, the investigation was quite thorough, boiling the 1,700-plus-man force down to members of the Traffic and Squad Patrol Division, Second Platoon, who were “the only marked units which would have occasion to be in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.” [71] Of those, only five were interviewed because all of the others were accounted for. [72]

Mr. Thomas concludes, “If the FBI report were to be accepted as correct, then there would be no alternative except to believe that J.D. Tippit’s patrol car was the one in front of Oswald’s boarding house.” [73]

Too bad Tippit’s whereabouts are accounted for at the time of the phantom car’s appearance. Five witnesses, supported by Tippit’s movements as documented by Dallas police radio transmissions, demonstrate that Tippit was at the Glo-Co service station at 1502 N. Zangs Boulevard at the time Mrs. Roberts claimed a police car honked its horn. [74]

Apparently, Mr. Thomas never considered the obvious alternative – the incident never happened. Or if it did, the version told by Mrs. Roberts is so scrambled, so skewed from reality, that without additional information it will be impossible to reconcile it with the rest of the facts of the case as we know them.

Broken leg and all

Returning to the Thomas narrative, the part-time sleuth claims that Tippit and Olsen confronted Oswald at Tenth and Patton, [75] and in a bizarre twist, both Oswald and Olsen shot Tippit dead [76] – both killers then fleeing the scene on foot.

Stop, stop, STOP. How in the hell does Harry Olsen flee the Tippit shooting scene on foot?

Apparently, Mr. Thomas is ignorant of the fact that Olsen had fallen and broken his kneecap just before the assassination. On November 22nd, Olsen’s leg was in a cast and he was using crutches. In fact, Olsen was assigned light duty (doing office work) during that period and had the day off. That’s how he happened to be moonlighting on the day of the assassination; acting as a guard at the property of an elderly woman located on Eighth Street, two blocks from the Stemmons Freeway in Oak Cliff. [77]

Does Mr. Thomas tell his readers any of this? Of course, not. According to Thomas, Olsen is not a lame officer on crutches; oh no, in Thomas’ conspiracy fantasy Olsen is making a fast getaway on foot after gunning down a fellow police officer.

The entire episode is so laughable and so completely at odds with the easily discernable facts in this case that one has to wonder what in the world Mr. Thomas hopes to achieve by authoring such drivel? It certainly cannot be credibility.

Finally, Thomas attempts to use a passage from my book With Malice to further support his idiotic belief that Harry Olsen was involved in Tippit’s murder. Thomas writes, “…one might consider a story related by Myers about a policeman who supposedly witnessed the shooting, but who asked that his story be suppressed because he was involved in an extramarital ‘tryst’ with a woman in the neighborhood. The circumstantial evidence points to an officer named Harry N. Olsen.” [78]

The story Mr. Thomas refers to is the one on page 310 of With Malice, which clearly spells out that the extramarital tryst was being carried out on Tenth Street overlooking the scene of the Tippit shooting and that the unnamed policeman involved looked out the window at the sound of the gunshots, saw the gunman fleeing the scene, and later positively identified the gunman as Lee Harvey Oswald. Obviously, the policemen referred to in the story could not have been Mr. Olsen, since Olsen was known to have been guarding a piece of property located more than six blocks away the entire day.

Once again, instead of straight-talk, we’re confounded by Mr. Thomas’ brand of double-talk and fabrication in his retelling of the death of J.D. Tippit.


Fig.3. Four .38 special cartridges found at the Tippit crime scene. (NARA)

The shells at the scene

Anyone familiar with the story of the Tippit shooting knows that police recovered four spent .38 caliber cartridges about 150 feet west of Tippit’s squad car, along Oswald’s escape path.

Two of the shells were found about twenty minutes after the shooting, the other two later that afternoon. All four shells were later proven to have been fired from the revolver Oswald had in his possession at the time of his arrest to the exclusion of all other weapons.

Sounds ironclad, right? The link between Oswald’s Smith & Wesson revolver and the shells in evidence is unshakeable and consequently conspiracy theorists have been forced to create doubt about whether the shells in evidence are indeed the shells recovered at the murder scene.

This has been the heart of every single challenge to the case against Oswald for nearly fifty years and like numerous critics before him Mr. Thomas regurgitates the same familiar arguments with few notable exceptions.

According to Thomas, “the fact that Tippit was shot with two different types of bullets contributes to suspicions that he was victimized by two assailants.” [79]

This is a bit misleading. Tippit wasn’t shot with two different types of bullets he was shot with two different brands of bullets – Winchester-Western and Remington-Peters.

All four empty cartridges recovered at the scene and all four of the bullets that struck Tippit were of the .38 caliber special type. The fact that there were two different brands of bullets is not particularly unusual and might only have some significance if it turned out that Oswald only used one or the other brand exclusively.

Mr. Thomas writes, “At the very least the investigating authorities were obligated to establish whether Oswald was using two different kinds [i.e. brands] of ammunition.” [80]

But, Mr. Thomas, the authorities did establish that Oswald was using the two different brands. Don’t you know this? Of course, Thomas does, because he discusses it later in the chapter.


Fig.4. Four of the six live rounds taken from Oswald’s revolver. (NARA)

Oswald had both brands on his person when he was arrested – his revolver was fully loaded with six live rounds – three Winchester-Western brand cartridges and three Remington-Peters brand cartridges. He also had five additional live rounds manufactured by Winchester-Western in his pocket.

Consequently, the fact that the firearms evidence in this case is comprised of two different brands doesn’t indicate two assailants, as Mr. Thomas hypothesizes. It demonstrates that the firearms evidence is consistent with Oswald as the sole gunman, and hence, only strengthens the case against him.


Fig.5. Five live rounds taken from Oswald’s pocket. (NARA)

Many conspiracy writers have also tried to make hay out of the fact that the mixed brand of spent cartridges doesn’t match up with the mixed brand of bullets recovered from Tippit’s body, and Mr. Thomas follows their lead in Hear No Evil.

Of the four cartridge cases allegedly found at the Tippit scene, two were of Winchester-Western manufacture and two were of Remington-Peters manufacture, while three of the bullets pulled from Tippit’s body were of Winchester-Western make and only one was manufactured by Remington-Peters.

But, as I explained in With Malice, “the discrepancy between the Tippit shells and slugs isn’t that unusual. The number of shots fired could easily have been more than four, and the possibility that some cartridges went undiscovered is not beyond reason.” [81]

In other words, one shot might have missed Tippit and one empty cartridge case might not have been recovered. There is evidence that at least one shell was retained as a souvenir by Barbara and Virginia Davis’ father-in-law. [82] Of course, there are other possibilities, none of which require anymore than Oswald’s involvement.

Like all of the critics before him, Mr. Thomas focuses on the chain of possession of the four recovered spent shells noting that two of the four shells proved problematic when it came to identifying them as those recovered at the scene.

Officer Joe M. Poe, who first handled the shells at the scene and who initially stated he marked them, couldn’t identify his mark. Sergeant W.E. Barnes, who also handled the same two shells at the scene, initially selected one of the other two shells before settling on the pair believe to have been handled by Poe.

Critics have come down hard on this issue, suggesting that Poe’s inability to find his initials, and Barnes’ shifting testimony was the result of police switching evidence to frame Oswald.

Mr. Thomas wraps a new ribbon around this familiar frame-up yarn and singles out the two Remington-Peters cartridges for some police shenanigans, writing, “The two casings that do not bear the markings of any officer who received and marked evidence at the scene of the crime, are the two Remington’s. According to police records, the two Remington casings bear the initials ‘RD’ (Myers interprets the markings as ‘RP’) which do not correspond to any officer known to have been in the chain of possession of this evidence.” [83]

And a page later, Thomas adds, “Dale Myers confirmed that there is no letter ‘B’ on the shells presently in the National Archives.” [84]

STOP right there. That’s a lie. I never “confirmed” that there was no letter ‘B’ on the shells at the National Archives. In fact, the opposite is true. The two Remington-Peters shells – the two handled by Poe and Barnes – do in fact contain a crude letter ‘B’ (for Barnes) as shown in photographs I took and published in With Malice, [85] which means that Sergeant Barnes did mark the two shells after receiving them at the scene.


Fig.6. Pete Barnes’ markings on the inside lip of Q74 (left) and Q77 (right). (Author’s photo)

And no, Poe’s initials ‘JMP’ do not appear anywhere on the shell lip as Poe testified (nor are they likely to be there in that form given the very small space and the fact that no one else used three initials to designate their mark), though I would argue that a crude single letter ‘P’ does appear on the two Remington-Peters hulls and therefore it may very well be that Poe did mark the shells – using a ‘P’ rather than ‘JMP’. [86]

Mr. Thomas is correct about police records indicating that “the two Remington casings bear the initials ‘RD’,” but wrong that they “do not correspond to any officer known to have been in the chain of possession of this evidence.” Dallas police Identification Bureau forms clearly show that Officer Robert Davenport (‘RD’) handled this evidence. [87]

Mr. Thomas is also wrong about me misinterpreting the Davenport markings as ‘RP’. That mistake is due to Thomas’ own misreading of my handwritten notes on page 582 of With Malice in which I identify the Q-77 shell as one of those shells manufactured by Remington-Peters by using the initials ‘RP’.

By the way, isn’t it interesting that Thomas never mentions the observations I made at the National Archives and reported in With Malice about the difficulty in making and identifying the marks made on the spent shells?

First, I noted that “all of the markings associated with the Dallas Police investigation appear on the inside rim of each hull, within a quarter inch of the lip. Black gunpowder residue still adheres to the inside surface of each hull. The markings scratched into this residue appear slightly darker, and are difficult to read with the naked eye due to the lack of contrast between the powder and the markings. This fact, no doubt, is partly responsible for the difficulty officers had in locating and reading their markings in the months after the shooting.” [88]

Secondly, “…the markings themselves are a testament to the difficulty in creating a legible mark on a curved surface where there is minimal access. In a few cases, it appears that multiple attempts were made to create a single legible mark.” [89]

Finally, “…none of the markings on the inside rim of the four hulls could be considered initials in the true sense of the word. In fact, most of the marks appear to be single characters.” [90]

At the end of the day, all of the kicking and screaming by critics over the shell markings amounts to a lot of nothing.

As I wrote in With Malice, “Although Sergeant Barnes had difficulty picking out the two shells given him by Poe, his convoluted identification does not seem terribly unusual given the condition of the cryptic scratchings and the fact that five months had passed since the shooting. Barnes ultimately decided on Q-74 and 77 - two shells manufactured by Remington-Peters. This identification is consistent with both Crime Lab Captain George Doughty and Detective C.N. Dhority, who selected the two Winchester-Western shells as the ones they handled.” [91]

More importantly, there is nothing puzzling or unusual about the two shells discovered by Barbara and Virginia Davis. The chain of custody is clear and direct and both were positively identified by the officers who handled them. Most important, both were later proven to have been fired from the revolver Lee Oswald had in his hand at the Texas Theater.

What does Mr. Thomas make of this fact? Mr. Thomas concedes that the two Winchester-Westerns are authentic but then adds, “Inasmuch as these casings were found at the scene belatedly, after the scene had been searched, they could have been salted at the scene later that afternoon after they had been removed from Oswald’s pistol.” [92]

Of course; according to Thomas, no matter what the chain of possession shows, the evidence was still switched to frame an innocent Oswald.

Really? Does Mr. Thomas know how silly he sounds? If what he says is true, why bother marking the evidence at all? I mean, if the markings don’t mean anything – that is, they don’t establish a chain of possession – what is the point of marking them at all?

Better yet, if you’re going to frame an innocent man why in the world wouldn’t the chain of possession be ironclad – with all of the evidence properly tagged, bagged, and marked?

The fact that the chain of possession contains anomalies isn’t evidence of a sloppy frame up, as the critics would have you believe, but instead is more in keeping with its authenticity – warts and all – as one would expect in any high profile case that faces the kind of scrutiny the Tippit case has faced over the last five decades.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Thomas’ argument in Hear No Evil that “the two Remington casings are of dubious provenance” is nothing but hot air that attempts to shift the blame for Tippit’s murder from his obvious killer – Lee Harvey Oswald – to the police who investigated the crime.


Fig.7. CE602 – a bullet and button removed from Tippit’s abdomen. (NARA)

A bullet and a button

The reason that Mr. Thomas spends so much time on the Remington-Peters cartridges becomes clear when he turns his attention to the bullets that were recovered from Tippit’s body.

Mr. Thomas proclaims that “the fact that two different kinds of bullets were recovered from the victim is of obvious relevance to suspicions that Tippit might have been shot by more than one assailant.” [93]

Of course we know that Thomas is really talking about two different brands of bullets, not two different calibers, but golly it sounds so much more exciting if you simply mislead your readers, right?

According to Mr. Thomas, the Tippit autopsy report was withheld until 1980 and when it was finally made public it became clear why the Warren Commission didn’t include it among their exhibits – “…only three bullets, not four, had been recovered from Tippit’s body.” [94]

Actually, the Tippit autopsy report was never “suppressed,” and has always been available through the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office.

Mr. Thomas writes, “Although Tippit was actually struck four times, one of his chest wounds was only a bruise, that is, a superficial, non-penetrating wound…” [95]

STOP. The wound described by Thomas as “only a bruise” and “non-penetrating” was the wound in Tippit’s lower abdomen, labeled “Wound No.4” in the autopsy report (the numbers did not designate the order in which the bullets struck; only the order in which they were examined). Here’s what the autopsy report says (which Thomas quotes):

‘Wound No. 4 is examined. It is found to be superficial and no penetration of the rib cage is noted. There is hemorrhage beneath the abraded and bruised area adjacent to the wound…“ [96]

Just a minute, Wound No.4 is not a non-penetrating wound, as Thomas claims, but simply failed to penetrate the rib-cage. In other words, it tunneled under the skin, scraping away the skin surface, and caused bruising to the surrounding tissue. We know this because the autopsy report tells us so and we can see the effects of the damage in a pre-autopsy photograph – both of which were published in With Malice. [97]

So, why does Thomas skirt the truth about wound number four? Simple; it allows him to reconcile a contradiction between the autopsy report and a claim later made by one of the ambulance attendants who transported Tippit’s body to the hospital.

Of course, to get this twist on reality to work, Thomas must concoct a host of other falsehoods.

Tippit’s jacket

According to Mr. Thomas, the bullet that caused the wound to Tippit’s abdomen “struck a brass button on Tippit’s jacket, and the button, along with the jacket and the policeman’s sternum, had prevented the bullet from entering his body and causing more than a superficial wound.” [98]

Mr. Thomas tells us that “the bullet, still embedded in the dislodged button, fell out of Tippit’s clothing during the ambulance ride and was found by ambulance attendant Eddie Kinsley on arrival at the hospital.” [99]

Citing page 344 of Jim Marrs’ Crossfire, Thomas repeats Kinsley’s claim as told to reporter Earl Golz in 1978, “I kicked one of the bullets out of my ambulance that went into his button…onto the parking lot of Methodist Hospital,” Kinsley later told reporter Earl Golz. “It didn’t go in the body…it fell off in the ambulance still in this button.” [100]

Mr. Thomas adds, “But in 1963 no one had asked Kinsley about the bullet because the police had not bothered to determine the provenance of the evidence.” [101]

STOP. That’s just not true. The Dallas police knew the provenance of the bullet because they were at Methodist Hospital when it was removed from Tippit’s body, and Thomas knows it.

Shortly after Tippit was declared D.O.A. at Methodist Hospital, Officer Robert A. Davenport, who followed the ambulance to the hospital, was ordered by police headquarters to get a bullet for a ballistic test.

In a 1983 interview, Dr. Moellenhoff told me that he dug the bullet (with the button still wrapped around it) out from the wound with a pair of hemostats, “There wasn’t any trick to get it out; you could feel it as well as you could feel a rib.” [102]

Officer Davenport confirmed the story in a separate interview.

In June, 1964, the FBI asked both Moellenhoff and Davenport to identify the bullet-button in evidence. Moellenhoff stated that it looked like the one he had removed but that he hadn’t marked it and so could not be certain that it was the same. He did say, however, that Officer Davenport was present when he removed it from Tippit’s body and could vouch for its authenticity. [103]

Upon being shown the bullet-button, Officer Davenport identified his mark and consequently was able to state that the bullet-button in evidence – Commission Exhibit (CE) 602 – was positively the same one removed from Tippit’s body by Dr. Moellenhoff. [104]

All of this information was published in With Malice, which Thomas cites and references throughout his Tippit chapter in Hear No Evil.

How does Mr. Thomas deal with these facts? According to Thomas, it’s all a fabrication! That’s right; the FBI fabricated the affidavits from Dr. Moellenhoff and Officer Davenport (who were willing participants, according to Thomas) in order to cover up the fact that the bullet-button, that was allegedly kicked out of the ambulance by attendant Kinsley, never entered Tippit’s body. The jig was up, according to Thomas, when “the long withheld autopsy report revealed that the bullet had never entered the body and that, therefore, the affidavits were false.” [105]

In short, Eddie Kinsley’s story is correct and Dr. Moellenhoff, Officer Davenport, and the FBI are all lying co-conspirators.

Really? I’ve got a question: If Eddie Kinsley kicked the bullet-button out of the ambulance, how did it get into evidence?

Mr. Kinsley didn’t turn it into police. I know, because I interviewed him at length in 1986 In fact, Mr. Kinsley claimed he saw it when he kicked it out but incredibly never picked it up and gave it to authorities. As far as Kinsley knew it was still laying there in 1986. [106]

Even Mr. Thomas concedes that the bullet-button is authentic. [107] So how did the bullet-button get into evidence? Mr. Thomas doesn’t say.

Look, this one is real simple. There’s nothing mysterious here. Kinsley’s story simply doesn’t hold up under examination. Kinsley is wrong and so is the conclusion that Thomas extrapolates from his own truth-twisting:

“The episode demonstrates the willingness of the FBI and the Dallas Police to fabricate evidence, in this case a false affidavit, to cover-up the failings in their investigation.”

Nonsense. The only fabrication going on here is the one being concocted by Thomas to put over on readers of Hear No Evil. And yet, there’s even more.

The most egregious example of Mr. Thomas’ manipulation of evidence in the Tippit murder case is his claim (without any citation) that Tippit was wearing his Eisenhower-style police jacket at the time he was shot and that police failed to recognize that the evidence of a second gunman in the Tippit shooting was hanging right under their noses, so to speak.

“The button bullet is relevant to the issue of a second assailant,” Thomas writes. “A man’s jacket was found hanging inside Tippit’s patrol car. The Dallas Police assumed that this jacket belonged to Tippit. The button bullet proves that Tippit died wearing his jacket.” [108]

Presumably, Mr. Thomas wants his readers to believe that the jacket in the back of Tippit’s squad car belonged to Harry Olsen, who Thomas fingers throughout the chapter as the second gunman in the officer’s death. But once again, Thomas couldn’t be more wrong.

By all accounts, Tippit was not wearing his Eisenhower jacket at the time of the shooting. It was still hanging in the back of his squad car after he had been taken to the hospital as crime scene photographs clearly show. [109]

More importantly, the brass button struck by one of Oswald’s bullets – Commission Exhibit (CE) 602 – was a button from Tippit’s uniform shirt, not a button from a police issue jacket.


Fig.8. Dallas police jacket and comparative button sizes. (Author’s photo)

This is easily proven by comparing the two. Figure 8 is a photograph of an actual Dallas police Eisenhower jacket from the period in question. The inset shows a comparison between the size and design of the brass buttons on the jacket (left) and the back and front of a police shirt button, (right) like the one struck by Oswald’s bullet (see, CE602 inset).

The brass button seen in CE602 is identical in size and design to brass buttons on a police uniform shirt, not a police issue Eisenhower jacket.

This is something that Thomas could have easily checked, and didn’t. But, as conspiracy writers have proven time and again, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

Ballistic matches

As I pointed out in With Malice, numerous ballistic experts have examined the bullets pulled from Tippit’s body in an effort to link them to Oswald’s revolver to the exclusion of all other weapons. The results were mixed.

All of the ballistic experts noted several similarities:

  • The revolver and slugs both had the same class characteristics - five lands and five grooves, with a right twist.
  • The bullets all had similar microscopic scratches found on test bullets fired in Oswald’s pistol.
  • The bullets all bore signs of gas erosion. The erosion is the result of the bullets having been fired through a barrel slightly larger than the diameter of the slug. This was the case in Oswald’s revolver, although the same result might be obtained by firing the bullets through the barrel of a gun that had become oversized due to wear and deterioration.

One ballistic expert, Joseph D. Nicol, did find “sufficient individual characteristics” on one of the four bullets to conclude that it had been fired in Oswald’s revolver to the exclusion of all other weapons. However, none of the other eight ballistic experts who have examined the bullets agree.

Consequently, the majority of ballistic experts have been unable to positively state that the bullets that killed Tippit were fired from Oswald’s revolver to the exclusion of all other weapons.

Conversely, and this is extremely important, Oswald’s revolver could not be eliminated from those weapons responsible for the officer’s death. [110]

While Mr. Thomas is happy to concede that ballistic experts have been unable to positively match the bullets in Tippit’s body to Oswald’s gun, he fails to even mention that Oswald’s revolver could not be eliminated from those weapons that could have fired the bullets.

Instead, Thomas focuses on Commission Exhibit (CE) 604 – the only Remington-Peters manufacturer bullet to strike Tippit – and suggests that it is suspicious that experts couldn’t link it to Oswald’s revolver.


Fig.9. CE604 – A .38 caliber bullet taken from Tippit’s body. (NARA)

“This bullet [CE604] appears to be in at least as good a shape as CE-603,” Thomas writes. “Its striations are visible in the photograph. It is problematic that a ballistic identification to Oswald’s gun cannot be made with these bullets. For contrast, recall the badly mutilated bullet fragments found in the President’s limousine, which bear almost no resemblance to bullets, yet the FBI had no problem relating them to Oswald’s rifle. It is troublesome that the bullet in this photograph fails to manifest the ‘extensive damage’ that allegedly prevents it from being useful for comparison purposes.” [111]

Just a moment. Mr. Thomas is arguing apples and oranges here. He must know that the rifle bullets recovered from the presidential limousine were copper-jacketed and that enough of the jacket survived to allow a ballistic comparison to be made and a match achieved.

In the case of the Tippit bullets, it is not the damage or lack thereof that prevented the bullets from being matched to Oswald’s revolver, but rather, it was the fact that the bullets’ erratic passage through the oversized barrel of a gun – a gun exactly like the kind Oswald was carrying – created random markings that, when viewed under a microscope, defied comparison.

In other words, the fact that ballistic experts couldn’t match the bullets to Oswald’s revolver has got nothing to do with whether the bullets were intact.

The reason Thomas focuses on CE604 – the only Remington-Peters manufactured bullet to strike Tippit – is to plant the idea that it came from a second gun.

But, as we’ve already seen, Thomas doesn’t have any evidence of a second gun in the Tippit murder, except a few wistful notions conjured up in his own fertile imagination.

Fired twice

Case in point: On page 509 of Hear No Evil, Mr. Thomas quotes Sergeant Gerald Hill as telling a reporter the night of Oswald’s arrest that Oswald was carrying “a snub nose thirty-eight that had been fired twice…” [112]

This sets Thomas to wondering, “On what possible basis did Sergeant Hill determine that the gun had been fired twice? It is difficult to conceive of any scenario other than his having found two discharged cartridges in the pistol!” [113]

Really? Is that the only conceivable scenario Mr. Thomas can come up with? Here’s one from With Malice:

Ten minutes before Oswald’s arrest at the Texas Theater, Patrolman Joe M. Poe showed Hill two spent shells that had been found at the Tippit shooting scene. [114] When Hill snapped Oswald’s revolver open in the car after his arrest a few minutes later, he found the revolver fully loaded. [115] Hence, based on his own personal yet limited knowledge, Hill believed Oswald had fired two shots.

Simple, right? No, I’m afraid that when it comes to conspiracy theorists nothing is ever simple. It’s so much more interesting and sinister to invent a complicated series of events to explain the simplest of circumstances.

In Hear No Evil, Thomas concocts a theory that Oswald, after shooting Tippit (Oswald is only one of two killers pumping shots into Tippit; Harry Olsen being the other suspect), couldn’t get two of the spent shells out of his revolver because of the tendency for the casings to expand or split after being fired in a gun like Oswald’s.

Mr. Thomas then says that after Oswald’s arrest Sergeant Gerald Hill pried these two shells out of the revolver (this becomes the basis for Hill telling a reporter that Oswald’s gun had been fired twice), and gave them to other unnamed officers to plant at the Tippit shooting scene. [116]

Why plant evidence, you ask? In the Thomas scenario, Oswald was firing Winchester-Western brand .38 specials and his co-killer (Harry Olsen, according to Thomas) was firing Remington-Peters brand .38 specials.

The way Thomas sees it, in order for the police to cover-up the involvement of a second gunman using Remington-Peters brand ammunition, the Dallas police would want to plant live Remington-Peters ammunition in Oswald’s revolver and “replace the two authentic casings found by Benavides with Remington’s fired through Oswald’s pistol.” [117]

What evidence does Thomas offer to support these serious charges?

To support the suspicion that police planted live .38 caliber Remington-Peters brand ammunition in Oswald’s revolver, Thomas points to the report that Oswald attempted to shoot arresting Officer M.N. “Nick” McDonald in the Texas Theater but that the gun misfired.

According to Thomas, McDonald claimed that Oswald’s gun contained a live cartridge with a dented primer that McDonald marked with an ‘M’, but supposedly none of the live cartridges examined by the FBI had a dented primer, nor did any of the cartridges contain McDonald’s mark. [118]

McDonald’s unsupported claims, according to Thomas, are evidence that police fiddled with the live ammo in Oswald’s pistol.

But as you’ll see, Thomas’ evidence of police collusion is nothing but a house of cards built out of half-truths.

First, FBI ballistic expert Cortlandt Cunningham testified that a nick was found near the edge of the primer on one of the cartridges (Remington-Peters FBI #C138, CE145), although a microscopic examination ‘gave no indication that it was made by a firing pin.’ [119]

So, while Thomas is correct that no indentations were found that were caused by the firing pin, he is dead wrong to imply that the FBI failed to find anything that might account for McDonald’s report.

Second, McDonald testified that he marked both the gun and one of the live cartridges – the one with the dented primer. [120] When shown Commission Exhibit (CE) 145, McDonald located his mark and correctly identified the cartridge “with a small indentation.” [121] In a 1996 interview, Officer McDonald confirmed that the indentation he had referred to was indeed offset from the center of the firing pin, as Cunningham described. [122]

So again, Thomas is dead wrong to claim that none of the cartridges had McDonald’s mark, or to suggest that McDonald fabricated his story.

How could Thomas be so wrong? It’s not as if he had to do much more than consult With Malice in which the entire episode surrounding Oswald’s attempt to kill another police officer in the Texas Theater – including the snap of the pistol, the indentation in the live cartridge, and the evidence both for and against the allegation - was discussed at length. [123]

Instead of offering a factual account, Thomas only tells his readers half of the story for the obvious reason that the other half destroys his position. But, that’s not the end of Mr. Thomas’ shenanigans.

To support the charge that police planted two spent cartridges at the Tippit murder scene, Mr. Thomas offers “acoustical evidence” in the form of a late afternoon Dallas police radio transmission which he claims is the key to understanding Gerald Hill’s remark that Oswald’s pistol had been fired twice

At 2:26 p.m. on the afternoon of November 22, the police radio dispatcher requested that officers search the Texas Theater for two spent shells:

“[Units] 75 (E.G. Sebastian) and 69 (A.R. Brock), return back to the location. They want the theater shaken down good for two hulls. Believe the subject reloaded his pistol in the theater. We need the two hulls, 2:26 p.m.” [124]

In the very next transmission, one that Mr. Thomas doesn’t mention, Officer Joe M. Poe informs the dispatcher, “I have recovered two hulls at the scene and they were turned over to the Crime Lab to Pete Barnes.” [125]

A moment later, another relevant exchange, also ignored by Thomas, is made:

“Do you still need the theater shook down?”

“Disregard at this time, 2:26 p.m.” [126]

What does Mr. Thomas make of all this?

According to Thomas, the request for a shake down of the theater was because someone presumably had reported that two casings had been confiscated from Oswald’s gun after his arrest but had since gone missing and now police wanted to search for them where they were last seen – the Texas Theater. [127]

Where did the two confiscated shells really go? Believe it or not, Thomas says police took them back to the crime scene and planted them there. [128]

“This theory explains both the mysterious reports of two casings in Oswald’s gun at the Texas Theater,” Thomas concludes, “and the mysterious appearance of two [Winchester-Western] casings at the scene of the crime after the crime scene detectives had searched and left the scene.” [129]

STOP. Is he kidding? This is absolute nonsense from top to bottom.


Fig.10. Detective Bob Carroll (left) outside the Texas Theater with Oswald’s revolver in hand. (S.L. Reed)

For one thing, Detective Bob Carroll was the officer who initially had custody of Oswald’s gun. We know this because he testified to this fact and that testimony is supported by a photograph taken outside the Texas Theater that shows Carroll with the pistol in his hand as arresting officers stuff Oswald into the back seat of a waiting squad car. [130]

Detective Carroll handed the pistol to Hill after they got into the squad car outside the Texas Theater. Sergeant Hill opened the gun after they pulled away from the theater entrance and saw that it was fully loaded with six live rounds. This is abundantly documented in With Malice. [131]

So, Hill did not pluck two spent shells from Oswald’s revolver inside the Texas Theater, and consequently the radio dispatcher would have had no reason to send officers back to the theater to look for two confiscated spent shells in the area where they were last seen, as Thomas opines.

Second, two Winchester-Western casings didn’t mysteriously appear at the crime scene “after the crime scene detectives had searched and left the scene.”

As Thomas must know, the first of two Winchester-Western casings found at the Tippit shooting scene (one of the spent shells Thomas insists was planted) was discovered by Barbara Davis and turned over to George M. Doughty of the crime lab at the very moment that Oswald was en route to City Hall. [132]

You’ll recall that Sergeant Hill, who had possession of Oswald’s revolver, was riding in that same squad car with Oswald. Films taken at the arrest scene prove that Hill did not have any opportunity to hand “two confiscated shells” to any other officer, and based on the route they took back to police headquarters and the timing we know that the arresting officers didn’t stop off at the crime scene en route to city hall. So, obviously police could not have planted evidence at the crime scene, as Thomas suggests, even if they had the inclination to do so.

And if that’s not enough, what does Mr. Thomas make of the news film image that shows Sergeant Hill back at police headquarters shortly after Oswald’s arrest holding both the revolver and the six live rounds taken from it? [See, Figure 11]


Fig.11. Sergeant Gerald Hill shows reporters the six live rounds taken from Oswald’s revolver after his arrest. This composite image created from news film footage was published on page 199 of With Malice. (Image source: KDFW-TV Collection / The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; Composite image: Copyright 1998 Dale K. Myers. All Rights Reserved.)

And yes, while the second Winchester-Western casing was discovered by Virginia Davis at about 4:00 p.m., after police had left the scene, the oval shape of the lip of the shell [133] indicates that it was stepped on and thus overlooked during the initial search – not planted by zealous cops.

More importantly, how in the world would police even know what evidence to plant at the crime scene at the time Thomas claims they did?

The autopsy on Tippit’s body didn’t begin until 3:15 p.m. – more than an hour after Oswald’s arrest. Police couldn’t have had any idea what to plant and how much of it. The entire Thomas scenario is preposterous and fails on every level of examination.

Obviously, the Dallas police radio dispatcher’s request to search the theater after Oswald’s arrest stems from the state of the investigation at that time.

You’ll note that the request came about the time that police would have learned that Tippit was shot four times and that two additional spent shells (aside from the two already discover by Domingo Benavides and turned over to Officer Poe) were somewhere between the crime scene and the Texas Theater. [134] The theater would be one of the obvious places to search.

Ultimately, the search was unnecessary because the additional two shells were recovered at the scene of the crime.

Finally, you’ll recall that Mr. Thomas postulated that Dallas police would want to “replace the two authentic casings found by Benavides with Remington’s fired through Oswald’s pistol” to hide evidence of a second gunman. [135]

Yet the two shells that he said were salted at the scene after the crime lab departed were Winchester-Western brand shells not Remington-Peter’s. So isn’t Thomas really arguing that all four shells were switched and all of the markings proving authentication were fabricated? Confused? Don’t worry, so is Thomas.

Look, the true chain of events surrounding the discovery of all four shells in evidence is well documented in With Malice. [136] Mr. Thomas should read it.


Fig.12. A wallet being examined at the Tippit scene. (WFAA-TV, Inc.)

The wallet story

Another part of the Tippit story that Mr. Thomas plays fast and loose with is the alleged discovery of a wallet at the shooting scene.

According to the claim, Oswald dropped his wallet at the Tippit shooting scene but in the subsequent confusion it was assumed that the wallet had been retrieved from Oswald’s pocket after his arrest. [137]

Conspiracy theorists have had a high ole’ time with this one ever since it was first mentioned in James Hosty’s 1996 book Assignment: Oswald so Thomas is not alone.

However, as Mr. Thomas well knows, I thoroughly examined Hosty's allegation in With Malice and determined that the pedigree of the wallet is unknown. It remains to this day, unknown.

But that doesn’t stop Thomas from turning the wallet episode into some half-baked conspiracy theory like all of his brethren before him.

Mr. Thomas writes, “If it were actually true that Oswald’s wallet was found at the scene of the Tippit murder, one could accuse the police of a throw-down.” [138]

Really? If Oswald’s wallet had actually been found at the Tippit scene it wouldn’t it mean that Oswald killed Tippit?

The Texas sleuth continues, writing, “…the allegation was made belatedly by Dallas FBI agent Robert Barrett. The reader may recall that Barrett was identified by his fellow FBI agents as the individual seen in photographs of Dealey Plaza apparently digging a bullet out of the grass.” [139]

Let’s stop right here. Once again, Thomas offers another half-truth to suggest a conspiracy and cover-up in the Tippit shooting.

The mystery man

In an earlier chapter in Hear No Evil, Thomas discusses a series of photographs taken in Dealey Plaza shortly after the assassination that show police officers investigating the area of a sewer cover on the south side of Elm Street. [140]

One man in the photographs, wearing plainclothes, has never been identified. In 1992, conspiracy theorist Mark Oakes claimed that the plainclothesman was an FBI agent, Robert M. Barrett.

Suspecting that the plainclothesman might be Barrett, and hoping to confirm his suspicion, Oakes sent a copy of one of the photographs to Barrett and asked for his autograph. Barrett returned the photo unsigned with an attached note which read: “Mark, This is a photo of me – sorry. Yours truly, Bob Barrett.”

The unsigned photograph and the accompanying note clearly implied that the plainclothesman in the photograph was not Mr. Barrett. However, because of the wording of the note, Oakes telephoned Mr. Barrett and asked for a clarification.

Mr. Barrett confirmed what the unsigned photograph and note implied, “I should have said it’s not [a photograph of me]. I just misworded that. It’s not a photograph of me.” [141]

In an effort to confirm what Barrett had already denied, Oakes contacted Barrett’s former supervisor, Robert P. Gemberling, and conducted a videotaped interview in which Gemberling said that the man did look like Barrett. However, prior to the taping, Oakes suggested to Gemberling that Barrett had confirmed that the unidentified man in the photograph was him. [142]

Not only was Mr. Oakes’ statement to Mr. Gemberling false but suggesting who an unidentified individual is violates the most basic elementary interview technique in seeking the legitimate identification of an individual in a photograph.

Subsequent to the video interview, Mr. Gemberling wrote a letter to Oakes informing him that he had since determined that the unidentified plainclothesman in the photographs was not Mr. Barrett and provided seven reasons for his determination. First and foremost, of course, was Barrett’s own denial – which Oakes had withheld from Gemberling prior to the videotaped interview.

During the course of doing research into the wallet story, I conducted several extensive interviews with Mr. Barrett. During those interviews, Mr. Barrett was presented with clear copies of several photographs (none of which were the sewer cover photographs) which I had unearthed that depicted an individual, thought to be Barrett, in front of the Texas School Book Depository and at the scene of the Tippit shooting.

Mr. Barrett unhesitatingly identified the person in those photographs as himself. That identification was confirmed by a second source, who worked with and knew Mr. Barrett well. Most importantly, the individual Barrett identified as himself is a different individual than the plainclothesman depicted in the sewer cover photographs.

Consequently, there is absolutely no doubt that the mystery plainclothesman, identified by Mark Oakes as Robert M. Barrett, is in fact not Mr. Barrett.

How does Mr. Thomas handle these facts in Hear No Evil?

According to Thomas, “…Gemberling confirmed that it did appear to be Barrett in the picture. Barrett originally admitted it was he but later told Oakes it was not, however, Oakes later found documents showing Barrett was present in Dealey Plaza.” [143] In fact, according to Thomas, Barrett may have been responsible for planting Commission Exhibit (CE) 399 – the single bullet – at Parkland Hospital. [144]

Once again, we get a half-assed version of the full story. And yes, while documents do show that Barrett was present briefly in Dealey Plaza, those same documents show that he didn’t arrive until 1:00 p.m., twenty minutes after the unidentified plainclothesman was photographed.

But who would know that from anything Thomas has written?

More on the wallet story

Returning to the wallet story, we see that half-truths and misleading information is standard practice for conspiracy authors.

Mr. Thomas writes, “According to Barrett, as related in Hosty’s book, it was Captain W.R. Westbrook who found the billfold. “ [emphasis added] [145]

Come now, Mr. Thomas knows very well that the story related in Hosty’s book is not the truth about what happened, according to Barrett himself. The only reason Thomas injects a caveat here is because he knows that Barrett never told Hosty that Captain Westbrook, or any one else for that matter, found the billfold.

Mr. Barrett doesn’t know where the billfold came from and never handled the billfold. I discussed this at length in With Malice. [146]

Mr. Thomas then writes that WFAA-TV film footage taken at the Tippit scene and showing police holding a wallet is “proof positive that the police did find a billfold at the scene.” [147]

STOP. That’s not true. Other conspiracy theorists have made the same claim since I first wrote about the film and the wallet story in With Malice in 1998. But, a hundred theorists spouting a lie don’t make it any truer.

Look, the film simply shows officers handling a wallet at the Tippit shooting scene. The film doesn’t prove anything about the wallet’s origin. To date, the wallet’s origin and owner remain unknown. [148]

The possibility that the wallet was Tippit’s is rejected by conspiracy theorists, including Thomas who writes that “a list of Tippit’s personal effects recovered at Methodist Hospital where his body was taken includes his wallet described therein as a black billfold.”

This is another misleading statement. Yes, Tippit’s billfold is on the list of personal items but so too is his service revolver which appears in the same film footage with the wallet. So the list of personal effects doesn’t necessarily constitute only those items that remained with the body, as Thomas and others suggest.

Mr. Thomas knows this because the fact that the revolver was taken to the hospital and added to the list of personal effects was not only mentioned in With Malice but Thomas cited it. [149]

Mr. Thomas also writes, “Myers speculates that the billfold may have been dropped by a bystander or witness to the shooting.” [150]

That’s not true either. What I kicked around was the idea that police might have checked the identifications of eyewitnesses Ted Callaway and William Scoggins, who took Tippit’s service revolver and attempted to pursue the fleeing Oswald. It seemed possible that police might have checked their I.D. upon their return to the scene; however, as I reported in With Malice, neither man was questioned by police after they returned. [151]

So, what does Mr. Thomas conclude from all of this?

According to Thomas, half-truths, misleading statements and outright fabrications become evidence of the big conspiracy. He writes, “The fact is that the Dallas police covered up the discovery of the billfold, leaving concerns that the wallet, along with the jacket, may have been left behind by the second suspect reported by witnesses.”

And later in his summary of the Tippit case, Thomas adds, “Newsreel footage proves that a billfold was found at the scene of the crime, left there by a person unknown. Contrary to some assertions, it did not belong to Lee Harvey Oswald. The failure of the Dallas police to report on this discovery is further evidence of mishandling of the crime scene evidence in the Tippit shooting, perhaps to cover-up the presence of another police officer at the scene, circumstantial evidence suggesting that it was Harry N. Olsen, the same officer who encouraged Ruby to silence Oswald.” [152]

While some uniformed readers may find Thomas’ arguments compelling, I find them to be a despicable example of the lengths conspiracy advocates are willing to go to sell their ideology in the face of an avalanche of contradictory facts.

The Mexican Restaurant

Finally, Mr. Thomas tells us that while the Warren Commission insisted that Oswald did not have an escape plan or confederates, the evidence for both was “right under their noses.” [153]

What evidence did everyone miss, you ask?

Mr. Thomas writes that cab driver William Whaley dropped Oswald off at the corner of Neely and N. Beckley, one block shy of the El Chico Mexican restaurant, one of a chain of restaurants in the Dallas area.

“Was Oswald to meet someone there, or just hungry for nachos?” Thomas asks. “Perhaps apprehensive about what awaited him at the restaurant Oswald scurried back to his boarding house to get his pistol.”

Stop right there. So, Thomas believes that Oswald planned to rendezvous with his “handlers” at the El Chico restaurant, eh? And the evidence for this is what, exactly? Mr. Thomas offers nothing, except his own clairvoyance regarding the deceased Oswald’s private thoughts. But wait, there’s more.

Mr. Thomas writes, “Leaving his boarding house Oswald retraced his steps and returned to the corner of Eighth and N. Beckley. But instead of entering the Mexican restaurant, Oswald turned east and headed into the neighborhoods.” [154]

Stop. Once again, how does Thomas know that Oswald’s destination was the corner of Eighth and Beckley (as opposed to any other corner along his route) or that he intended to go inside the Mexican restaurant? Instead of facts, we get nothing but assumptions and speculation – Thomas-style.

Again, continuing with the big conspiracy, Thomas writes, “Three short blocks later [actually it’s four blocks according to Thomas’ own map], at Tenth and Patton, Tippit brought him about at gunpoint. Was Tippit trying to retrieve Oswald and force him back to the rendezvous?” [155]

Stop, stop, STOP! Ladies and gentlemen, there is absolutely nothing in the way of facts to support any of this nonsense. It is pure speculation on Thomas’ part. There is no evidence that Oswald intended to meet anyone at the El Chico restaurant or that Officer Tippit was a party to such a rendezvous. It’s bullshit from beginning to end.

Of course, anyone familiar with the Tippit case knows exactly why Thomas is tossing out the idea that Oswald intended to meet someone at the El Chico restaurant.

One of the well-known stories surrounding the Tippit shooting is one that surfaced twelve days after the assassination.

According to the story, at about 2:00 p.m. on the day of the assassination, T.F. White, a mechanic working at Mack Pate’s Garage located next door to the El Chico Restaurant, spotted a spotted a red 1957 Plymouth sedan speeding west on Davis. The car eventually returned to the area and parked next to the El Chico Restaurant adjacent to the garage. The car was slightly hidden by a billboard, and to the mechanic, the driver appeared to be hiding. Suspicious, White crossed the street for a closer look. When he got to within 10 to 15 yards, White got a look at the side of the man’s face. The mechanic jotted down the car’s license number, Texas PP 4537. The man sat in the car for a short period of time, then drove off at high rate of speed heading west on West Davis Street. Despite the mechanic’s suspicions, he did not call police. That night, while watching television coverage of the assassination, White saw a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald and recognized him as the driver of the red Plymouth. The incident was never reported, according to White, because he was afraid. [156]

White later told the FBI that he changed his mind about the car, believing it to be a red 1961 Ford Falcon rather than a red 1957 Plymouth.

An FBI investigation into White’s story, however, determined that the license plate, Texas PP 4537, was issued for a 1957 Plymouth, light blue over medium blue in color, owned by Carl A. Mather. Mr. Mather also owned another car, a 1954 Ford station wagon, white over light blue in color, which was driven primarily by his wife.

Mr. Mather and his wife were friends of the J.D. Tippit family before the Mathers moved to Garland, Texas in 1961.

At about 2:00 p.m. on November 22, Mr. Mather left his place of employment at Collins Radio in Richardson, Texas, drove home to pick up his wife and kids, and proceeded to the Tippit home to offer their condolences.

When the FBI informed White that the license number checked out to be a light blue over medium blue 1957 Plymouth (and not the red 1957 Plymouth or 1961 Ford Falcon reported by White), and that Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater (8 blocks southwest of the restaurant) at about the time he claimed to have seen him, White said that he thought he had obtained the correct plate number and that he thought Oswald might possibly be identical to the man he saw in the red car. [157]

So, how does Mr. Thomas tell the T.F. White story?

According to Thomas, ‘White noticed a car [which Thomas describes as “a light-colored station wagon with a luggage rack”] parked behind the restaurant with two individuals lingering nearby. The mechanic explained that his suspicions were aroused in part by the fact that emergency vehicles were racing through the neighborhood with their sirens blaring, suggesting that the police were searching for someone. There was something surreptitious in their behavior such that White put down his tools and walked across the street to get a closer look. On his approach however, the men jumped in their car and sped away headed west on Eighth Street. One of the men, according to White, who claims to have gotten a good look at his face, looked just like the man that he later saw on television accused of shooting President Kennedy – Lee Harvey Oswald.” [158]

Stop! How does a red 1957 Plymouth sedan with a single occupant turn into a light-colored station wagon with two occupants? Apparently, anything is possible in the fantasy world of conspiracy being created by Mr. Thomas!

In fact, why have the Oswald look-alike merely sitting in his car (as the mechanic reported), when it’s so much more sinister to have him standing outside the car talking with his co-conspirator? Better yet, why have the single occupant sitting in the car for a short period after the mechanic crosses the street and jots down the license plate number (as the mechanic reported), when its much more exciting to have two men jump in the car and speed off just as the mechanic approaches the car?

Why in the world is Mr. Thomas so bent on changing so many aspects of mechanic T.F. White’s story?

Because altering the facts allows Mr. Thomas to make a connection between a white Pontiac station wagon linked to the Kennedy assassination and the Tippit murder.

The station wagon

Shortly after Tippit’s murder, Dallas police were dispatched to a service station on West Davis, located four miles west of the El Chico restaurant. The attendant had called after seeing a rifle or shotgun laying in the backseat of a 1961 or ’62 Pontiac station wagon occupied by two men. The car was last seen heading east on West Davis in the general direction of the El Chico restaurant. [159]

In an effort to make the connection between the gas station attendant’s observation and the Kennedy assassination stronger, Mr. Thomas reminds his readers of Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig’s claim that he saw an Oswald look-alike jump into a light-colored Nash Rambler station wagon with a luggage rack in front of the Book Depository, which then headed off in the general direction of the service station on West Davis. [160]

The gas station attendant, like the mechanic at Mack Pate’s Garage, had written down the license plate number of the suspect station wagon. But just like the mechanic, the number written down by the attendant turned out to be issued for a car other than the Pontiac station wagon he described – in this case, a 1961 Ford Falcon. [161]

When the officer investigating indicated that he was going to head down toward the Tippit shooting scene to join in the search for Tippit’s killer, the dispatcher instructed him to check to see if the station wagon was at the scene of the shooting. [162]

Similar connections were drawn between the Pontiac station wagon and the Tippit shooting by the Dallas County Sheriff’s radio dispatcher, who was obviously monitoring Dallas police radio communications. [163]

Mr. Thomas opines, “To make such an explicit connection between the station wagon and the suspect in the Tippit and JFK shooting there must have been more information available than that heard in the radio log. What did the dispatcher know and when did he know it?”

What in the world makes Mr. Thomas think that there has to be anything more than what is on the police recordings? After all, this is a city wide emergency of the highest order. The president of the United States has been shot and now a Dallas police officer. In that kind of a situation, law enforcement is grabbing at anything and everything that might possibly be connected in an effort to apprehend those responsible.

The big conspiracy

How does Mr. Thomas bring all of this information together into the big conspiracy?

According to Thomas, “The police radio log is the Rosetta Stone of the assassination. Among other clues the radio log shows that Tippit was dispatched to Lee Harvey Oswald’s neighborhood and not on routine patrol when he stopped Oswald as the official version claimed. Moreover, the radio dispatchers had linked suspects in a station wagon to both the assassination and to the Tippit shooting. In subsequent investigation the FBI discovered that suspects in a station wagon belonging to Carl Mather, a close friend of Tippit, were reported lurking at the very location, a Mexican restaurant, identified as Lee Harvey Oswald’s immediate destination following the assassination. The evidence clearly implicates Tippit and his colleagues as accessories after the fact.” [164]

Once again, like everything that has gone before, not one word of this silliness is true.

First, there wasn’t any subsequent FBI investigation that found “suspects in a station wagon belonging to Carl Mather” lurking in the parking lot of the El Chico Mexican restaurant. In fact, according to T.F. White’s story there was only one individual, an Oswald look-alike, sitting in a sedan, not a station wagon.

Second, and more important, the FBI investigation found that the mechanic’s story didn’t check out. The license plate number that White scribbled down was registered to Mather’s light blue over medium blue1957 Plymouth sedan, not a red Plymouth or Ford as the mechanic claimed.

Third, the vehicle with the registered license plate number that the mechanic had written down – Mather’s 1957 Plymouth – was in Richardson, Texas, at the time of the reported sighting. Mr. Mather’s other car was a white over light blue 1954 Ford station wagon, not the 1961 Pontiac wagon described by a gas station attendant – the station wagon Mr. Thomas envisions ferrying assassins between the Kennedy and Tippit shooting scenes.

The only link between the red automobile seen by mechanic T.F. White and the white 1961 Pontiac station wagon seen by a gas station attendant is that both vehicles were seen at businesses located four miles apart on West Davis.

Finally, the only evidence that the El Chico restaurant was Oswald’s destination after the assassination is Mr. Thomas’ own unsupported claim.

Collins Radio and Carl Mather

You might be wondering why all the fuss about Carl Mather?

Conspiracy theorists long ago fingered Carl Mather as part of the big conspiracy because of his employment at Collins Radio, although it’s never been explained exactly how he was involved.

Mr. Thomas writes that Mather’s connection to Collins Radio is “particularly disturbing because Collins Radio was a front for the CIA,” [165] citing conspiracy author Anthony Summers’ 1998 book Not in Your Lifetime, [166] who in turn cites the work of one of the cofounders of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), William E. Kelly, Jr.

According to Kelly, Collins Radio became a major defense contractor during World War II and later supplied and maintained the equipment used by the Voice of America, all of the manned NASA space flights, the Strategic Air Command, and the equipment used for CIA-backed paramilitary operations against Guatemalan and Cuban. [167]

One of those operations, a late October, 1963, raid against Cuba involved the CIA-backed anti-Castro commando group Commandos Mambises and the Rex, a vintage early 1940’s era U.S. Navy patrol boat leased by Collins Radio for electronic and oceanographic research. [168]

Mr. Thomas writes in Hear No Evil (without citation) that among the Commandos Mambises raiders “were some of the same Alpha-66 Cubans” that had been meeting at the home of Jorge Salazar at 3128 Harlandale in Oak Cliff, and that Oswald had been seen there. [169]

Mr. Salazar, an anti-Castro Cuban exile who resided at 3126 Harlandale (not 3128), [170] hosted meetings for the Dallas chapter of three combined anti-Castro organizations: Alpha 66, the Second National Front of Escambray (SNFE), and the Revolutionary Movement of the People (MRP). Contrary to Thomas’ claim, there is no evidence that members of Commandos Mambises attended any of these meetings. [171]

The idea that Oswald had been to Salazar’s Oak Cliff residence was the result of a report filed by Dallas deputy sheriff E.R. “Buddy” Walthers on November 23 and supplemented on November 26.

Deputy Walthers said that an informant (his mother-in-law according to page 45 of Eric Tagg’s 1998 book Brush with History: A Day in the Life of Deputy E. R. Walthers) told him that “for the past few months at a house at 3128 Harlendale (sic) some Cubans had been having meetings on the weekends and were possibly connected with the ‘Freedom For Cuba Party’ of which Oswald was a member,” and that “sometime between seven days before the president was shot and the day after he was shot these Cubans moved from this house. My informant stated that subject Oswald had been to this house before.” [172]

Of course, Oswald was the one-man member of the pro-Castro New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (a chapter of his own creation); the political opposite of the anti-Castro Cubans meeting in Oak Cliff. More important, there has never been any evidence that Oswald had actually been to the house on Harlandale Street, located five miles southeast of his room on N. Beckley Avenue.

Other tenuous links between Collins Radio and the Kennedy assassination have been offered as evidence of some kind of connection including a report that a reservation was made at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club for a large party of Collins Radio employees a week before the assassination, the fact that Oswald’s widow married a former Collins Radio employee, and that Oswald himself reportedly considered getting a job at Collins Radio following his return from the Soviet Union. [173]

So what does any of this have to do with Carl Mather?

Mr. Mather, who died in 2003, told HSCA investigators in 1978 that he had been with Collins Radio for 21 years, had a security clearance, and had traveled overseas for the company on numerous occasions. He was chiefly involved with “the installation of special electronic gear in aircraft. One such assignment caused him to be quartered in Brandywine, Maryland, as he worked for some period of time at Andrews Air Force Base working on Air Force Two – Vice President [Lyndon] Johnson’s plane at that time.” [174]

Mr. Mather’s supervisor described him as “the most competent, dependable man deserving of the highest trust. He considered him outstanding.” [175]

On the day of the assassination, Mather told investigators, he was working at the Collins Radio Shop in Richardson, Texas. [176]

While conspiracy advocates have pitched the HSCA’s May, 1978, request for a grant of immunity for Mr. Mather as some sort of admission that Mather had something to hide, the request was part of a routine legal matter to get around Mather’s previous security clearance oath.

Although the HSCA obtained the grant of immunity, there is no indication that Mather was ever reinterviewed. [177]

Look, there is nothing to indicate that Carl Mather or anyone he knew was connected to the shooting of J.D. Tippit or the assassination of President Kennedy.

The only reason Mather’s name came up is because mechanic T.F. White jotted down the license plate number of a red Plymouth or Falcon that turned out to be registered to a two tone blue Plymouth owned by Mather. Not only didn’t the color match the description given by White, but Mather was in a different part of the city at the time of the sighting. A reasonable person might conclude that the mechanic didn’t get the correct license plate number.

But when have reason and facts ever stood in the way of conspiracy theorists bent on reshaping history?

For instance, William Kelly, the COPA co-founder, claims (without citation) that the FBI falsified a 1963 report on the incident by changing the mechanic’s description of the car from a two tone blue Plymouth (matching Mather’s vehicle) to a red Ford Falcon. [178]

But this is utter nonsense. Wes Wise, the former Dallas mayor who initially brought the T.F. White story to the attention of the FBI in 1963, told the bureau then that White said the car was a red 1957 Plymouth sedan (later thought to be a red Ford Falcon), and Wise was still telling the same story to HSCA investigators in 1977 – the car the mechanic saw was red in color. [179]

I know the mismatch in color spoils the big conspiracy but what else are we to believe? Are we supposed to believe that Wes Wise is in collusion with the FBI to suppress the truth about the car seen by T.F. White?

And what exactly is Carl Mather’s involvement in the alleged plot to kill Kennedy and Tippit? Are we supposed to believe that Mather transferred his own personal license plates to another vehicle in some sort of half-baked black op for the CIA?

Mr. Kelly opines that the reason that the Mather story “was not properly investigated, and remains uninvestigated today, is because such an inquiry actually does lead to the heart of the plot to murder not only Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit, but as many believe, is tied directly to the assassination of President Kennedy.” [180]

Rubbish. Obviously, the Mather lead was investigated – twice! And in both instances the evidence led nowhere. And that’s what really bothers the conspiracy buffs, doesn’t it?

The frame up

It’s a matter of rote among Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists that the Dallas police framed Oswald for the Tippit murder.

Mr. Thomas stays the course in this regard, claiming that “…there are three separate, specific reasons for which the inculpation of Lee Harvey Oswald was in the best interests of the Dallas Police.” [181]

The first reason, according to Thomas, was a matter of self-preservation. Police needed to impress on the public mind that no one gets away with murdering a policeman. “If the real killer can’t be caught,” Thomas writes, “then a suitable patsy will do.” [182]

Yea, sure. The Dallas police simply snatch someone off the street, railroad them through the legal system, and chuck them in the electric chair without a peep from anyone. Can you imagine anything so absurd? Where do people get these notions, from comic books?

The second reason for the police to incriminate Oswald, according to Thomas, was their failure to protect him from an angry public. Allowing Oswald to be murdered by Jack Ruby writes Thomas, “amounts to a lynching.” [183]

The shooting of Oswald was a failure on the part of the Dallas police, to be sure. But how in the world is it a reason to incriminate Oswald for killing Tippit? Didn’t the first reason revolve around a police need to make sure that no one got away with murdering a police officer? Wouldn’t incriminating an “innocent” Oswald allow Tippit’s real killer to get away with murder? In the world of the conspiracy theorists, apparently the appearance of propriety is more important than the real thing.

The third “and most distressing reason” for suspecting the police framed Oswald for the Tippit killing, according to Thomas, are “circumstances that suggest that one or more members of the Dallas police department” were involved in both the Tippit and Oswald murders. [184]

What are these “circumstances” and who are the men of the Dallas police department who supposedly took part in the Tippit and Oswald murders? Mr. Thomas names two men – both deceased – and strings together a handful of events laced with insinuations and outright lies rather than evidence.

History and the truth

There are some awful books that have been written about the Kennedy assassination and then there are the truly god awful books.

Donald Byron Thomas’ spin on the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit easily falls into the latter category. And that’s being kind.

Those who write about American history have a solemn responsibility to do justice to their subject. They hold in their hands the future and fates of millions who will never spend the time or effort to discover what is true and what is not. Yet those same generations, both present and future, will make decisions based upon that history and so it is incumbent upon those who bear the moniker of historian to maintain an unwavering dedication to the truth, whatever that is.

When all is said and done, and the true facts are laid bare, there is really no doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered of J.D. Tippit. In the blink on an eye, Oswald had callously snatched away the life of a dedicated public servant and forever shattered the lives of his wife, children, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and friends and co-workers who had grown to love and admire him.

The search for the truth about the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit has taken the better part of a lifetime. The rewards have been few but of the highest magnitude. I have no regrets.

It is a shame though to see trash published in the name of scientific research and critical thinking; and I have no intention of idling sitting by when any book treats a subject and living persons I know with such disdain.

It’s hard enough for newcomers to this subject to wade through the voluminous materials available on the Internet or in special collections in an effort to determine the truth for themselves without having to deal with knuckleheads like Thomas who are so wed to their ideology that they can’t separate truth from their own self-aggrandizing opinions. [END]


ADDITIONAL ERRATA

Here are some additional misleading and false claims made by Mr. Thomas in “Hear No Evil” presented in no particular order. This collection is by no means all of them, just the ones worth bothering with:


“…the [Tippit] case was never thoroughly investigated by the authorities.” [185]

FALSE. The case never went to trial because of Oswald’s death; however, Dallas police had amassed enough evidence by that time to easily convict him for Tippit’s murder.


“Evidence that Oswald murder Tippit is assembled in a book by researcher Dale K. Myers entitled With Malice. However, a concern not adequately addressed by Myers, nor by the Warren Commission before him, is that a second assailant may have been involved.” [186]

FALSE. With Malice sets the record straight on a number of conspiracy allegations including the notion of a second gunman. To suggest that With Malice failed to adequately address the issue is ridiculous.


“[Tippit was killed] about four miles away from Dealey Plaza.” [187]

FALSE. The corner of Tenth and Patton is 2.5 miles from the Book Depository.


“The shooting occurred a little after 1 o’clock that afternoon, about forty minutes after the assassination.” [188]

FALSE. Tippit was shot at about 1:15 p.m. (not 1:10 p.m.).


“According to the eyewitnesses, who testified to the Warren Commission, the police officer confronted a suspect and on exiting his squad car and drawing his revolver, had himself been shot to death.” [Bold emphasis added] [189]

FALSE. No eyewitness ever claimed that Tippit drew his revolver before Oswald fired the first shot. His revolver was found partially under his body. No rounds had been fired. The eyewitness accounts and the location of revolver indicate that Tippit drew his revolver as he was falling to the ground.


“…there were witnesses who were not asked to testify as part of the official investigation…these witnesses….reported seeing two suspects fleeing the scene…” [190]

MISLEADING. The two eyewitnesses referred to are Acquilla Clemmons and C. Frank Wright whose accounts of the shooting from almost block away not only contradicted each other but differed significantly from five eyewitnesses who were much closer to the shooting scene. Neither Clemmons nor Wright came forward and contacted police, instead relying on others to tell their stories in 1964 and 1966.


“… [Jack Ray Tatum] saw a suspect shoot the fallen officer in the head, execution style. No other witness reported this event, yet Tippit’s autopsy proves that it did happen.” [191]

MISLEADING. Tatum did report that he saw the assailant shoot Tippit in the head and positively identified the assailant as Lee Harvey Oswald, not an unidentified “suspect.” The autopsy report shows all of fatal wounds entering Tippit’s chest and head at varying upward angles (the head wound angle being the steepest). However, all of the fatal wounds could have been inflicted as Tippit was falling away from Oswald. Consequently, the angle of the head wound doesn’t prove Tatum’s account, as Thomas claims.


“The Warren Commission dismissed the housekeeper’s [Earlene Roberts] account on the grounds that there were no patrol units in the neighborhood at the time, conveniently overlooking the fact that Tippit was in the neighborhood.” [192]

MISLEADING. The Warren Commission dismissed Mrs. Roberts’ account only partly because there were no two-man units in the area. In addition, their investigation into the episode determined that no units – regardless of the number of occupants – were in the area at the time she claimed. My own independent study determined that Tippit was at the south end of the Houston Street viaduct at the time.


“Domingo Benavides was also a witness to the shooting but was not able to identify Oswald in the lineup.” [193]

FALSE. Benavides did not attend any lineups, telling police on the day of the shooting that he would not have been able to identify Tippit’s killer. When he testified before the Warren Commission in 1964, Benavides claimed he could have identified Tippit’s killer and that the killer was Lee Harvey Oswald.


“Mrs. Acquilla Clemmons interview in film “Rush to Judgment” recounted seeing two men standing over the dead policeman. They ran off in separate directions. Although most of the Warren Commission’s witnesses said they saw Oswald run down Patton Street, Helen Markham said the killer ran past her on Tenth Street. Another witness who ran into the street at the sound of gunfire said he saw a man running west on Tenth Street, as did Markham.” [194]

FALSE. Acquilla Clemmons said that from a distance of three quarters of a block she saw a man unloading a gun as he fled the scene. He waved at a second man standing across the street from the squad car, as if to say “go on.” They then ran in opposite directions. The other witness referred to by Thomas was C. Frank Wright who saw the aftermath of shooting from a half block away. Wright initially said the gunman jumped into a gray coupe and drove away, then later told Earl Golz that the gunman ran alongside the gray coupe and that eventually they fled in separate directions. The direction of the man on foot was not made clear. Witnesses much closer to the shooting scene dispute both accounts. Mrs. Markham testified that Oswald ran toward her position at the corner of Tenth and Patton, then turned south on Patton away from her. [195]


“At 12:54… [Tippit] gave his location as Lancaster and Eighth, which is the location of a gas station only three blocks from where his life would end.” [196]

FALSE. There was no gas station at Lancaster and Eighth in 1963. Oddly, at the top of this same page, Thomas says the gas station was “two blocks away” from where Tippit was killed. Truth be told, Lancaster and Eighth is five blocks away from the Tippit murder scene.


“Dallas police reconstruct positions of Tippit and his assailant at the scene of the crime.” [197]

FALSE. Actually, this is a photo of FBI agent Robert M. Barrett and a Dallas police officer reconstructing the assault for the FBI.


Footnotes:


[1] Thomas, Donald Byron, Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination, Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2010, p.531

[2] Ibid, p.493, 529

[3] Ibid, p.516

[4] Ibid, p.493, 495, 503, 518

[5] Ibid, p.526

[6] Ibid, p.491-492, 529

[7] Ibid, p.493, 495, 500

[8] Ibid, p.514-515

[9] Ibid, p.500, 512, 529-30

[10] Ibid, p.501-503

[11] Ibid, p.501-503, 530

[12] Ibid, p.506-508

[13] Ibid, p.528

[14] Ibid, p.528-529

[15] Warren Report, pp.6-8; 165-176

[16] Thomas, Op. cit., p.493

[17] Ibid, p.493

[18] Myers, Dale K., With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit, Oak Cliff Press, 1998, p.46

[19] Thomas, Op. cit., p.520

[20] Ibid, p.520

[21] 25H911 CE2645, p.6

[22] 25H913 CE2645, pp.9-10

[23] Ibid, p.9

[24] 25H915 CE2645, p.13

[25] Dallas Police Radio Transmissions, Channel One, 12:52 p.m.

[26] Thomas, Op. cit., p.516, 521 fn109

[27] Ibid, p.520

[28] Warren Commission Document (CD)1108, p.12; DPD Radio Transmissions, Channel One

[29] Thomas, Op. cit., p.521

[30] Ibid, p.521

[31] 25H913 CE2645, p.10

[32] Thomas, Op. cit., p.521

[33] Dallas Police Radio Transmissions, Channel One, 12:46 p.m.

[34] Author’s interview of Murray J. Jackson, November 15, 1999, A-25, p.3

[35] Dallas Police Radio Transmissions, Channel One, 12:55 p.m.

[36] Ibid, 12:43 p.m.

[37] Ibid, 12:44 p.m.

[38] Ibid, 12:44 p.m.

[39] Ibid, 12:52 p.m.

[40] Ibid, 12:53 p.m.

[41] 7H81 Testimony of Calvin B. Owens

[42] 25H910 CE2645, p.4

[43] 23H846 CE1974, p.29

[44] 23H848 CE1974, p.34

[45] Thomas, Op. cit., p.521

[46] Ibid, p.521

[47] Kantor, Seth, Who Was Jack Ruby? Everest House, 1978, pp.70-71

[48] 24H81 CE2002, p.22

[49] 24H127-128 CE2002, p.66

[50] Kantor, Op. cit., p.74

[51] 24H176 CE2002, p.99c

[52] 24H174 CE2002, p.97a

[53] 24H178-179 CE2002, p.100c

[54] Kantor, Op. cit., p.71

[55] 24H144 CE2002, p.78

[56] Thomas, Op. cit., p.516

[57] Myers, Op. cit., p.46

[58] Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, Street and Avenue Guide, 1964, p.683; Myers, Op. cit., p.46

[59] Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, Street and Avenue Guide, 1964, p.211; Note: Coleman testified that she “thought” her apartment was located at 325 N. Ewing. (14H643) However, the 1964 Dallas City Directory lists her address at the Holiday Apartments, 321 N. Ewing, Apt.111, between Seventh and Eighth Streets.

[60] Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, Alphabetical List of Names, 1964, p.589

[61] Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, Street and Avenue Guide, 1964, p.5, 211

[62] Thomas, Op. cit., p.516

[63] Ibid, p.493, 495, 503, 518

[64] Ibid, p.522

[65] Myers, Op. cit., p.54

[66] Ibid, p.51

[67] Ibid, pp.51-53

[68] Ibid, p.54

[69] 10H299 Testimony of Mrs. Arthur Carl (Gladys J.) Johnson

[70] Thomas, Op. cit., pp.516-517

[71] 25H909 CE2645, p.2

[72] 25H914-15 CE2645, p.11-14

[73] Thomas, Op. cit., p.518

[74] Myers, Op. cit., p.46, 54

[75] Thomas, Op. cit., p.491-492, 529

[76] Ibid, p.493, 495, 500

[77] 14H629 Testimony of Harry N. Olsen [Note: Olsen had two accidents which resulted in his leg being broken. The first occurred “several weeks before” the assassination. Olsen told the Warren Commission, “I fell and broke my kneecap.” (14H629) Olsen was treated at Baylor Hospital after the fall. The second accident occurred on December 7th when the car Olsen was driving struck a telephone pole. The second accident resulted in multiple injuries (including re-breaking the kneecap), which were treated during a two and half week long convalescence at Methodist Hospital. In addressing this issue, Thomas writes, “In his Warren Commission deposition Olsen claimed that he took the day off because of a broken leg. But hospital records show that Olsen broke his leg in a car accident on December 7th, two weeks after the assassination, not before.” This is false. Thomas doesn’t actually cite hospital records to back up his claim. (Thomas, Op. cit., p.515, 534 fn 89) Instead he cites the Warren Commission testimony of Kathy Kay Coleman and Harry Olsen. Coleman mentions that Olsen “broke two bones in his leg and he separated his shoulder and he had multiple chest injuries, black eye” when his car hit a telephone pole. (14H653) The date of the accident is not mentioned by Coleman, but it is mentioned by Harry Olsen himself, who testified that he rebroke his leg in several places (including the same broken kneecap), cracked his sternum, and broke some ribs in a traffic accident on December 7. He was in the hospital for two and a half weeks. (14H634) Thomas was aware Olsen was in the hospital for an extended period after the December 7th accident because of an FBI interview conducted with Olsen at Methodist Hospital, which Thomas cited (Thomas, Op. cit., p. 534 fn 90)]

[78] Thomas, Op. cit., pp.514-515

[79] Ibid, p.495

[80] Ibid

[81] Myers, Op. cit., p.273

[82] Ibid, p.272

[83] Thomas, Op. cit., p.499

[84] Ibid, p.500

[85] Myers, Op. cit., pp.262, 264

[86] Ibid, p.582

[87] Ibid, pp.467; 470-471

[88] Ibid, p.263

[89] Ibid

[90] Ibid

[91] Ibid, p.265

[92] Thomas, Op. cit., p.500

[93] Ibid

[94] Ibid, p.501

[95] Ibid

[96] Ibid; Autopsy No.M63-352, p. 2

[97] Myers, Op. cit., pp. 421, 426

[98] Thomas, Op. cit., p.501

[99] Ibid, pp.501-502

[100] Ibid, p.502

[101] Ibid

[102] Myers, Op. cit., p.198

[103] 24H415 CE2011, p.9

[104] Ibid

[105] Thomas, Op. cit., p.502

[106] Author’s interview of Eddie Kinsley, November 6, 1986

[107] Thomas, Op. cit., p.502

[108] Ibid, p.503

[109] Myers, Op. cit., p.164

[110] Ibid, pp.250-252

[111] Thomas, Op. cit., pp.506-507

[112] Thomas cites Warren Commission Exhibit (CE) 2160 (24H804-806 CE2160, pp.1-5) for the Hill comment about Oswald’s gun being fired twice. Actually, the comment comes from an interview given to Bob Whitten of KCRA radio in Sacramento, California. (CD1210, p.6) The interview was the result of a telephone call made to Hill sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. This fact is known because Oswald was interrogated from the time he arrived at police headquarters at 2:05 p.m. until the first lineup conducted at 4:35 p.m. in the basement assembly room. Oswald was then taken to a jail cell on the fifth floor. In the interview with Whitten, Hill mentions that police had “moved [Oswald] upstairs for a little while.” (CD1210, p.6) Since the interview was broadcast over KCRA radio at 6:45 p.m., the interview had to have taken place between 4:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

[113] Thomas, Op. cit., p.509

[114] Myers, Op. cit., p.149

[115] Ibid, p.182

[116] Thomas, Op. cit., p.511

[117] Ibid, p.512

[118] Ibid, pp.509-510

[119] 3H460 Testimony of Cortlandt Cunningham

[120] 3H301 Testimony of M.N. McDonald

[121] 3H302 Testimony of M.N. McDonald

[122] Author’s interview of Maurice N. McDonald, November 12, 1996, p.11

[123] Myers, Op. cit., pp.174-176; 624-625 fn 507

[124] 23H886 CE1974, p.110

[125] Ibid

[126] Ibid

[127] Thomas, Op. cit., p.512

[128] Ibid

[129] Ibid

[130] Myers, Op. cit., pp.180, 399

[131] Ibid, pp.181-182

[132] Doughty cleared the crime scene at 2:05 p.m.

[133] Myers, Op. cit., pp.268, 582

[134] Doughty had recovered one of the two additional shells about twenty minutes before the dispatcher’s request, however, the information was not known beyond the crime scene.

[135] Thomas, Op. cit., p.512

[136] Myers, Op. cit., pp.252-273

[137] Hosty, James P., Jr., Assignment: Oswald, Arcade Publishing, 1996, p.62

[138] Thomas, Op. cit., p.513

[139] Ibid, p.514

[140] Ibid, pp.403, 413

[141] Oakes, Mark, “On the Trail of the Mystery FBI Man,” Dateline: Dallas, Volume 1, Number 4, Winter 1993, pp.31-32; Oakes, Mark, “On the Trail of the Mystery FBI Man,” Internet article, July 7, 1997, pp.1-4

[142] Letter, Robert P. Gemberling to Mark Oakes, November 11, 1992, p.1

[143] Thomas, Op. cit., p.420 fn 114

[144] Ibid, p.416

[145] Ibid, p.514

[146] Myers, Op. cit., pp.288-289

[147] Thomas, Op. cit., p.514

[148] Myers, Op. cit., p.299-303

[149] Ibid, p.300, Evil, p.515, 534 fn 85

[150] Thomas, Op. cit., p.514

[151] Myers, Op. cit., pp. 302-303

[152] Thomas, Op. cit., pp.530-531

[153] Ibid, p.526

[154] Ibid

[155] Ibid

[156] Myers, Op. cit., p.330, 332

[157] Ibid, pp.330-333

[158] Thomas, Op. cit., p.528

[159] Myers, Op. cit., pp.113-114, 119

[160] Thomas, Op. cit., p.524

[161] Myers, Op. cit., p.137

[162] Ibid, p.132

[163] Ibid, pp. 119-120, 128, 133

[164] Thomas, Op. cit., p.531

[165] Ibid, p.529, 535 fn 135

[166] Summers, Anthony, Not in Your Lifetime, Marlowe & Company, 1998, p.405

[167] Kelly, William E., Jr., “The Collins Radio Connections to the Assassination of President Kennedy,” presented at the national conference of the Coalition on Political Assassination (COPA), October 10, 1994

[168] Hinckle, Warren and Turner, William, The Fish is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro, Harper and Row, 1981, pp.137-145

[169] Thomas, Op. cit., pp.526-527, 529

[170] Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, Alphabetical List of Names, 1964, p.1365

[171] Warren Commission Document (CD) 1085u, pp.1-7; CD 853, pp.1-4

[172] 19H534 Decker Exhibit No.5323; Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, W.W. Norton & Company, 2007, Endnotes, p.752 en 1313

[173] Kelly, Op. cit.

[174] Interview of Carl Amos Mather, March 20, 1978, HSCA RIF 180-10087-10360, p.4; Note: Collins Radio installed and maintained all of the radio equipment aboard Air Force One and Two and operated the relay station at their Cedar Rapids, Iowa, headquarters which handled all radio communications on November 22, 1963, between the White House, the Pentagon, Air Force One, Air Force Two, the Cabinet plane and Andrews AFB in Washington. (Kelly, William E., Jr., “The Collins Radio Connections to the Assassination of President Kennedy,” presented at the national conference of the Coalition on Political Assassination (COPA), October 10, 1994)

[175] Interview of James Pickford, December 1, 1978, p.2, HSCA RIF 180-10113-10265

[176] Interview of Carl Amos Mather, March 20, 1978, HSCA RIF 180-10087-10360, p.4

[177] Application for Immunity, HSCA RIF 180-10105-10015, May 19, 1978; Letter, Robert L. Keuch to G. Robert Blakey, May 31, 1978, HSCA RIF 180-10091-10233

[178] Kelly, Op. cit.

[179] FBI report of interview of Wes Wise, December 14, 1963, Warren Commission Document (CD) 205, p.374; Interview of Wes Wise, November 16, 1977, HSCA RIF 180-10112-10151, p.1

[180] Kelly, Op. cit.

[181] Thomas, Op. cit., p.494

[182] Ibid

[183] Ibid, p.494-95

[184] Ibid, p.495

[185] Ibid, p.491

[186] Ibid

[187] Ibid, Fig 14.1

[188] Ibid, p.491

[189] Ibid, pp.491-92

[190] Ibid, p.492

[191] Ibid

[192] Ibid, p.493

[193] Ibid, p.531 fn 8

[194] Ibid fn9

[195] Myers, Op. cit., pp.72-73; 76-77

[196] Thomas, Op. cit., p.521

[197] Ibid, p.492, Fig.14.1 caption

11 comments:

Yankee Cowboy said...

Great work Mr. Myers. A very informative article. Thomas has officially crossed the city limits into kookville. His totally unfounded charges against Tippit and the DPD would be laughable if they weren't so revolting. Thomas clearly has an agenda, and he seems willing to sacrifice any credibilty he might have attained in the last 10 years, in order to push that pro-conspiracy agenda.


p.s.
Apparently, while writing his book, the Texas sleuth/kook had no idea that most serious researchers of the assassination, on both sides, agree that Oswald alone shot Tippit. What does that say about Thomas and his completely unfounded theory about the Tippit shooting?

bvryder said...

I agree Yankee Cowboy.

Thomas should stick to insects, or get into fiction-writing full-time.

Dale's work on the Tippit murder is definitive and without equal anywhere. In many ways 'With Malice' should stand alongside the WC, Clarke, Rockefeller and HSCA reports - it's not merely another assassination book, it is far more than that.

Dale's essay exposes Thomas for what he is - a no-nothing-blow-hard who is looking to up his 'cred' by advancing from fruit-flies to murder investigation.

Dale is right to opine about the current perceptions abroad with regard to Tippit's murder. It's almost frightening how some 'writers' and 'commentators' deal with it.

Just a few days ago I challenged someone who had left a comment on the amazon.co.uk book review page.
The lunatic had written his version of the Tippit murder in response to a book review of Matthew Smith's 'Say Goodbye To America'. The review was written by a lady named Clitheroe. The comment was left by 'Libris'.

If you get a chance, visit the site and read what 'Libris' thinks about Tippit's murder; it's frightening.

Keep up the good work, Dale. Your continued efforts really are appreciated.

Barry
London

David Von Pein said...

This article is absolutely phenomenal. Truly magnificent. It should probably be published as an addendum to Dale Myers' exquisite book on the J.D. Tippit murder, "With Malice" (which has been one of my favorite books connected with the JFK case since I first had the pleasure of reading it in 2004).

Mr. Myers, in step-by-step (and, as always, thoroughly DOCUMENTED) fashion, takes Don Thomas apart, limb from limb, when it comes to Thomas' shameful and outrageous disinformation regarding J.D. Tippit's murder.

I once again salute Mr. Myers and his meticulous work, as he continues the good fight against conspiracy-happy charlatans like Donald B. Thomas.

I will be linking this tremendous article by Dale K. Myers in various places around the Internet in the near future, including providing links to it at some of my own blogs that deal with the Kennedy and Tippit murders.

Mr. Myers, yet again, has demonstrated (via the raw FACTS) just exactly how bankrupt (and pathetic) conspiracy theorists like Thomas are when it comes to the subjects of the murders of both John F. Kennedy and J.D. Tippit.

Thank you, Dale. As always.

David Von Pein
December 5, 2010

Rob said...

In reference to Mrs. Roberts, "Nor will you learn that those who met her described her as having a penchant for being talkative and making stories up. [68] That included the woman she worked for, Mrs. Gladys J. Johnson, who testified to the Warren Commission, “Have you ever seen people like that? Just have a creative mind, there’s nothing to it, and just make up and keep talking until she just makes a lie out of it. Listen, I’m telling you the truth, and this isn’t to go any further, understand that? You have to know these things because you are going to question this lady. I will tell you, she’s just as intelligent – I think she is a person that doesn’t mean to do that but she just does it automatically. It seems as though she, oh, I don’t know, wants to be attractive or something at times. I just don’t know; I don’t understand it myself. I only wish I did.” [69] I found credibility in this, in that the short "Interview" of her in her home explaining Oswald's actions after the assassination, that she was turning on the television when she heard about the President being shot, but in her on camera interview with Eddie Barker, she said, she was watching As The World Turns, the soap opera that was interrupted by Walter Cronkite's News Bulletin. That IMO, weakens Mrs. Roberts credibility regarding the Police car in front of her house "Signaling Oswald"

Paul C. said...

Looney conspiracy theorists cross a reprehensible line when they make open accusations of complicity to murder - this is serious business, not a parlor game. The pain it must cause the families of the men in question is hard to fathom. Great job in challenging and destroying this idiocy.

Michael said...

Dale,

Just because you won an Emmy award doesn't make you an expert of the assassination. I've won awards, too, but it doesn't make me an expert on it either. However, no matter how much you analyze and scrutinize the evidence, we'll never know what really happened that day. The biggest impediment of the truth, of course, was what happened AFTER the assassination when Oswald was gunned down in front of a live TV audience. That single act forever slanted the investigation toward the official version: that a single kook (like those who believe the official version call those who seek an alternative to the truth are called) neatly and tidily killed JFK with three bullets, one neatly and tidily causing seven wounds in two men...case closed. As in life, nothing is ever that neat and tidy, and with with the right lawyers behind him, Oswald himself could have exposed an uglier and messier truth of what happened that day. It never happened and so it goes.

Dale K. Myers said...

Michael, I was honored with an Emmy award for my computer animation work on Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy. My expertise on the case stems from the personal research I conducted at The National Archives, Dallas Police Archives, Texas State Archives, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and LBJ Presidential Library, as well as interviews with eyewitnesses and police officers (many pertaining to the shooting of J.D. Tippit), and numerous visits to the scene of the crime over the course of more than 35 years. I've shared much of what I found on the radio, in book form (With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit), and in this blog. You claim that no matter how much one may "analyze and scrutinize the evidence, we'll never know what really happened that day." That's nonsense. This is the most scrutinized crime of all time. We know far more about this day than any other day in history. If there is an impediment to the truth it is not Oswald's death (a regrettable and devastating event, to be sure). The impediment is the shear volume of details that are known about every aspect of that day. It is in these details that we lose the proverbial forest for the trees. The truth of this case is very simple at its core. The evidence establishes Oswald's guilt beyond question. It's no uglier or messier than that.

Michael said...

Hmm, evidence. Evidence can go both ways. The funny thing about evidence is what's evidence for one side can easily be debunked by the other side, and vice versa. Evidence can be cherry-picked by both sides. You and others often state that conspiracy "kooks" cherry-pick the evidence. Believe me, I've read enough articles, books, watched enough TV shows (including the one you worked on), and done enough research to know that the Warren guys, on up to diehard suppporters of the official conclusions, also cherry-picked the evidence to neatly and tidily fit what the government wanted - to establish the lone assassin conclusion.

It would have been a very messy, lengthy and drawn out trial if Oswald had lived to tell his little tale. Jack Ruby not only helped the conspirators, but also the government in quieting the truth. And you have to know that within hours of Oswald's murder, the government wanted to shut it all down so that, "...the public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial." This from the Assistant Attorney General.

If the mindset of those in power were already thinking along those terms, then the die had been cast, the gauntlet thrown - to make the lone-nut conclusion the official one.

So here it is, almost 48 years later. Millions of papers, words, thoughts, and opinions have been shared. It's the official version vs. the kook version; the official one debunks many of the kooks' theories; the media has consistently, over the past ten years, produced books and TV shows emphasizing - over and over and over again - the official version while ignoring many of the minutae that doesn't quite fit their official versions.

Meanwhile, there are respectable, authoritive citizens and researchers who have their own conclusions and have debunked weaknesses in the official version. But because they don't play along or march to the official version, they're called kooks, conspiracy theorists or worst.

Dale K. Myers said...

More back and forth, Michael? You've already shown your hand and obviously I disagree for all the reasons I've already stated. You, like many conspiracy theorists, seem to think that the case for and against Oswald's guilt is evenly weighted - i.e., Oswald could be guilty or innocent depending on which evidence you present. But that's really not true, is it? While there is not one scintilla of believable evidence that others were involved in Oswald's heinous deed, there is a mountain of believable evidence that he acted alone. It's not a matter of cherry-picking evidence. It's a matter of what is believable, and frankly, the conspiracy crowd has yet to present a believable, cohesive scenario that casts the hapless Oswald as an innocent lamb caught up in a web not of his own making.

Anonymous said...

Is the following true ? - Sergeant Gerald Hill examined one of the shells and radioed the police dispatcher, saying: "The shell at the scene indicates that the suspect is armed with an automatic .38 rather than a pistol."

If LHO was carrying a revolver , why did he leave the spent cartridge cases at the scene of the crime ?

That makes no sense to me !

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous, Oswald discarded the empty shells at the scene as he fled in order to reload his revolver with live ammunition. Numerous witnesses saw him reloading the revolver as he fled. As for Sgt. Gerald Hill's comments, yes it is true, he radioed that the shells at the scene indicate that the suspect was armed with an automatic rather than a pistol. However, you may not be aware that Hill later admitted that he based is comment on the assumption that the shells had been recovered at the scene because they had been ejected by an automatic handgun. Hill was unaware that witnesses had seen Oswald unloading his revolver manually. When Oswald was arrested, the revolver he pulled on arresting officers was fully loaded and Oswald had five additional live rounds in his pocket.