Saturday, November 22, 2008

With Malice: The Tippit Murder 45 Years Later

by DALE K. MYERS / November 22, 2008

Forty-five years ago today, Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit was gunned down on an Oak Cliff side street leaving a family and friends to grieve.

In 1998, I wrote With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit (Oak Cliff Press, 1998) in an effort to dispel the myths surrounding Tippit’s tragic death and create a factual resource that future generations could turn to in their quest for answers about this pivotal event in the JFK assassination story.

Today, the tool of choice for learning about this controversial subject is the Internet. Unfortunately, this technological marvel has made it easy to perpetuate many of the myths surrounding Tippit and his murder. Undocumented postings on conspiracy-oriented newsgroups, sensationalistic websites, and easy access to long outdated first generation conspiracy books have kept much of the misinformation alive and well.

Here are just two of the subjects covered in With Malice that have been twisted or misrepresented over the last ten years and the truth as I determined it:

The Wallet Story

The allegation that Oswald's wallet was found at the Tippit murder scene first appeared in Assignment Oswald (Arcade Publishing, 1997), a book by former Dallas FBI agent James P. Hosty, Jr. My interest in the tale was immediate because I knew that news film footage taken at the Tippit scene on the afternoon of November 22nd showed officers handling a wallet.

I published the results of my investigation into the wallet story in With Malice and true to my prediction (more on that in a moment) conspiracy theorists peddling the theory that Oswald was framed for the Tippit murder managed to mangled and distort the facts about the wallet allegation beyond recognition. Conspiracy fans ate it up.

While my work on this story is too detailed to repeat completely here (see With Malice, pp.287-304 for the full story), the essential elements are this:

FBI agent Robert M. Barrett observed Dallas police handling a wallet at the Tippit murder scene shortly before Oswald's arrest at the Texas Theater six blocks away. Television news footage shot at the scene supports this basic fact.

Fifteen years later, while having dinner with fellow agent James Hosty, Barrett recalled that Dallas police Captain W.R. Westbrook asked him at the Tippit scene whether he knew a “Lee Harvey Oswald” or an “Alek Hidell?” While Barrett assumed the names were taken from identification in the wallet, he never saw the identification or handled the wallet.

Despite Barrett's credibility on a wide variety of assassination related details, his recollection about what Westbrook asked him at the scene runs counter to the official (and well-documented) version of events which relates that Oswald's wallet was removed from his own pant’s pocket immediately after his arrest at the Texas Theater. Identification cards in the names “Oswald” and “Hidell” were subsequently found in Oswald’s arrest wallet.

A comparison of the wallet filmed at the Tippit murder scene by WFAA-TV cameraman Ron Reiland and the wallet removed from Oswald's pocket after his arrest, which I had examined and photographed at the National Archives, shows the two wallets to be similar in style, but not identical. When you boil it all down, the only thing connecting Oswald to the wallet filmed at the Tippit shooting scene is Barrett's recollection that Captain Westbrook asked him about the names “Oswald” and “Hidell” while Barrett was at the scene.

I concluded in With Malice that it is more likely that Barrett was asked the questions about the names Oswald and Hidell back at City Hall after Oswald's arrest, not at the scene of Tippit’s murder.

Conspiracy critics have since taken the facts I presented in my book and spun them into a series of distortions and half-truths that have transformed the wallet filmed by WFAA-TV as a "plant," left behind at the murder scene by Tippit’s “real killer” in order to frame Oswald.

The suggestion of an Oswald frame-up is preposterous and flies in the face of an avalanche of indisputable facts that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Oswald murdered Tippit.

One of the principle reasons that the frame-up theory defies belief, is the fact that not one word – I repeat, not one word – about Oswald’s wallet being found at the Tippit murder scene was ever published in the newspapers or broadcast on radio or television at the time of the killing even though there were several radio and television reporters at the scene that afternoon.

Does anyone seriously believe that the discovery of Oswald’s wallet at the Tippit shooting scene would not have been front page news, broadcast around the world by late Friday afternoon, had his wallet actually been found there?

The only reason this story is worth one second of any serious attention is the reputation of the man making the allegation – former FBI agent Robert M. Barrett.

To get at the truth of this allegation, I sought out and interviewed Barrett at length about his activities on November 22nd and despite his help we were unable to substantiate his recollection. I know it perplexed Mr. Barrett and it bugged the hell out of me too because I found him to be honest, candid, and amazingly accurate when it came to recalling the details of an afternoon more than three decades earlier.

Despite my personal belief that the wallet story, as Mr. Barrett told it, was exactly the way he remembered it, I could not in good conscience conclude that a wallet with Oswald’s name was found at the Tippit shooting scene. There is simply too much eyewitness testimony as well as a very strong contemporary paper trail that weigh against Mr. Barrett’s memory.

On the other hand, it is relatively easy to see how the chaotic circumstances surrounding this episode might have led to the creation of a false memory. For instance, consider these four facts:
  1. There was a wallet in police hands at the shooting scene; the television news film is proof of that much. But whose wallet was it? More than likely it was Tippit’s wallet. Television news cameraman Ron Reiland, who filmed the wallet, reported it as such the day of the shooting.

  2. Barrett acknowledged that he never handled the wallet and never held or saw the identification in it. His belief that the wallet at the scene contained identification in the names “Lee Harvey Oswald” and “Alek Hidell” is based entirely on his recollection that Captain Westbrook asked him about those names while at the scene.

  3. Barrett did come into contact with Westbrook at Dallas Police Headquarters following Oswald’s arrest. By then, Oswald’s wallet had been removed from his pocket and the identification cards in the names “Lee Harvey Oswald” and “Alek Hidell” discovered by police. Westbrook was known to have seen the identification before running into Barrett in the hallway.

  4. Barrett, who had a reputation for writing highly detailed after-action reports, containing details other FBI agents wouldn’t bother to have included, didn’t mention anything about police finding Oswald’s wallet at the Tippit shooting scene in the report he filed that day, and again failed to mention it when he had the opportunity a decade later while testifying about his activities on November 22.
The only charitable explanation is that Barrett misremembered where he was when Westbrook asked him about the names Oswald and Hidell, and that’s what I wrote.

While working on the wallet story, I predicted that some theorists would hijack Barrett’s tale and turn it into yet another conspiracy theory – evidence that a wallet had been planted at the Tippit murder scene to frame the hapless Oswald. It didn’t take long for my prediction to come true.

Immediately after the publication of With Malice, conspiracy theorists seized on the wallet story, claiming that it was yet another example of the alteration of evidence. One theorist jumped to Barrett’s defense, claiming that I had recklessly besmirched the distinguished career of an outstanding FBI agent. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is Mr. Barrett worked with me over the course of several months in an effort to establish the bonafides of his recollection. Despite considerable efforts we were unable to uncover any contemporary record that would support Barrett’s memory of the events surrounding the alleged recovery of Oswald’s wallet at the Tippit scene including – and this is key – Barrett’s own report and testimony.

Those who want to believe that Barrett’s recollection somehow trumps the considerable contemporary record on this issue, including his own reports and testimony, in order to fuel support for some kind of half-assed conspiracy theory of an Oswald frame-up do so at the peril of having to also acknowledge that Barrett himself believed that it was Oswald (not some unknown conspirator) who left his wallet behind after murdering Tippit in cold blood.

Typically, conspiracy theorists want to have it both ways with the wallet story – Barrett is right about the wallet, but wrong about Oswald’s guilt.

In addition to the charge that Mr. Barrett’s recollections hadn’t been given their due, conspiracy theorist and author John Armstrong claimed in his book Harvey and Lee (Quasar Ltd., 2003) that a trail of multiple Oswald wallets clutter the shelves at the National Archives and serve as even more evidence of the plot to frame Oswald for the Tippit shooting.

According to Armstrong there are no less than four Oswald wallets in the official record – one found at the Tippit scene, one taken from Oswald after his arrest, and two more found at the Paine residence.

“What man has four wallets?” Armstrong and his supporters mockingly ask.

In fact, there are three wallets in the official record – the wallet removed from Oswald’s pocket following his arrest, a red billfold that belonged to Marina Oswald, and a black wallet that Oswald’s mother Marguerite obtained from a bank promotion. None of this is as odd as Armstrong and others suggest as all three wallets were described and pictured in With Malice.

When it comes to the wallet story, conspiracy theorists have made a proverbial mountain out of a mole hill. Despite all their foot stomping over the last ten years, there is no believable evidence that a wallet with Oswald’s name in it was recovered from the Tippit murder scene.

If such a wallet had been found it would have been trumpeted by the world press that very afternoon, held up for the world to see by the Dallas police that weekend, and would have served as prima facie evidence in the Warren Commission’s case against Lee Harvey Oswald.

Why Tippit stopped Oswald

No one can be one hundred percent certain of the exact reason Tippit stopped Oswald on Tenth Street. The Warren Commission speculated that the description of the suspect wanted in connection with Kennedy's murder, which was put out over the police radio, led to Tippit stopping Oswald. Conspiracy theorists questioned whether such a meager description ("white male, approximately 30, slender build, height five feet, ten inches, weight 165 pounds") would have led Tippit to focus on Oswald as opposed to any one of hundreds of other white males who fit that description.

In With Malice, I suggested the possibility that Oswald had been walking west on Tenth Street and upon seeing Tippit's approaching police car spun around and began walking east. Such an overtly suspicious action might have caused Tippit to stop Oswald and investigate.

My thesis was the result of a close examination of the detailed accounts of eyewitnesses Jimmy Burt, William A. Smith, Jack R. Tatum, Helen Markham, and William Scoggins. A sixth witness to Oswald's direction of travel was discovered among FBI files after publication of my book.

This sixth witness was William Lawrence Smith, a brick mason and foreman working at an apartment complex one block east of the Tippit shooting scene. Smith told the FBI that while walking to a café on Marsalis for lunch he passed a man he believed was Oswald heading west on Tenth.

Jimmy Burt and friend William A. “Bill” Smith (no relation to the brick mason) were standing across the street from the apartment complex at about the same time. Burt later said that he too saw Oswald walking west on Tenth.

About one minute later, Jack R. Tatum was driving along Tenth Street when he saw Officer Tippit stopping Oswald as he walked east along the sidewalk. Helen Markham also said that Tippit stopped Oswald as he was walking east.

So here were two groups of eyewitnesses claiming that Oswald was walking in two different directions prior to the shooting – the first group said he was walking west; the second group said he was walking east.

The testimony of William Scoggins, a cabdriver parked and eating lunch at the corner of Tenth and Patton, turned out to be the key to resolving the conflict.

According to Scoggins, Tippit drove across in front of his cab as he headed eastbound on Tenth Street. Scoggins watched as Tippit pulled to the curb 50 yards further down the street. It was then that Scoggins noticed Oswald standing on the sidewalk nearby, facing west.

Scoggins told the Warren Commission that he couldn't be certain of Oswald's direction of travel before Tippit stopped him because when he first saw him he was standing still on the sidewalk, facing west. This raises an interesting and very important question. If Oswald was walking east prior to the shooting, as the Warren Commission later claimed, why didn't Scoggins see him pass in front of his cab, just as he had seen Tippit do?

Scoggins' cab was parked at the corner of Tenth and Patton – 150 feet west of the shooting scene. The front bumper of the cab was nearly blocking the crosswalk along the path that Oswald would have taken had he been walking east. That means that Oswald's pant leg would have nearly brushed up against the front bumper of Scoggins’ cab as he passed in front of him.

How could Scoggins have missed such an event? By Scoggins own account, he was sitting in his cab eating lunch while observing the area. It seemed incredible that Scoggins could have missed seeing Oswald pass right in front of him if he were indeed walking east as early investigators believed.

It becomes abundantly clear why Scoggins didn’t see Oswald cross in front of his cab when you realize that the two witnesses who observed Oswald walking eastbound – Markham and Tatum – only did so after noticing Tippit's squad car pulling to the curb some 150 feet east of where Scoggins’ cab was parked.

Given Scoggins’ testimony, there seems to be only one explanation as to what happened on Tenth Street – Oswald was walking west just as brick mason William Lawrence Smith and eyewitness Jimmy Burt observed, but changed direction and began walking east before he reached Scoggins' cab.

Based upon the speed of Tippit's squad car (an estimated 10 mph, according to Scoggins) and the point at which Tippit stopped Oswald, we know that the change in direction would have occurred just east of the corner of Tenth and Patton, as Oswald and Tippit's approaching squad car would have become visible to one another.

Was Oswald’s change in direction the reason that Tippit stopped Oswald? As I said at the onset, no one can be one hundred percent certain of the reason why Tippit stopped Oswald. However, the idea that Oswald changed directions reconciles the conflicting testimony of two groups of eyewitnesses, explains why Scoggins didn't see Oswald pass his cab, and provides a reason for Tippit to stop Oswald.

Like everything else in the Kennedy case, my suspicion that Tippit stopped Oswald because he changed his direction of travel has been challenged over the last ten years.

In Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (W.W. Norton, 2007), the former Los Angeles prosecutor discounted the idea that Oswald changed direction writing, “Myers may very well be right, but there isn’t too much evidentiary support for his position, his three sources being somewhat weak.”

Bugliosi went on to dismiss Jimmy Burt’s account of seeing Oswald walking west because he did not mention it in his 1963 FBI interview. Bugliosi wrote, “The new story the twenty-year-old Burt came up with five years later obviously cannot be given too much credence, though Myers speculates that Burt may not have told the truth to the FBI out of fear of becoming involved.”

In fact, what I reported in With Malice regarding Burt’s account of the shooting was not speculation at all. Bugliosi failed to tell his readers that Jimmy Burt was AWOL from the U.S. Army, that his friend William A. “Bill” Smith was on probation for grand theft auto at the time of Tippit shooting, and that both men withheld their eyewitness accounts from the Dallas police for those very reasons.

It turns out that Burt's conflicting accounts, given over a five year period, were a product of Burt's fear sprinkled with a liberal dose of imagination. My personal interviews with Bill Smith (Burt died in 1983) helped separate fantasy from fact. In the end, it was clear to me that Burt and Smith were on Tenth Street and witnessed the shooting.

Burt was not the only witness to claim Oswald was walking west prior to the shooting. Brick mason William Lawrence Smith also reported that he saw Oswald walking westbound on Tenth Street shortly before the murder.

And there remains that nagging problem about Scoggins not seeing an eastbound Oswald pass his cab. How does Mr. Bugliosi deal with Scoggins’ testimony?

While Bugliosi acknowledged that Scoggins testimony is the “only credible evidence” that Oswald may have been walking west on Tenth – a point he mistakenly attributes to assassination researcher Bill Drenas rather than my book – he suggests that Oswald probably crossed Patton at Tenth before Scoggins returned to his cab to eat lunch.

But Bugliosi’s suggestion must be wrong. Simple grade school math* shows that if Oswald had indeed been walking eastbound on Tenth, as Bugliosi contends, he would have passed Scoggins’ cab just fifteen seconds before Tippit’s squad car drove by.

Does Bugliosi really believe that Scoggins would have been able to return to his cab, climb inside, retrieved his lunch, take one or two bites out of his sandwich, and swallow a few gulps of Coca-Cola (as he testified he did) in less than fifteen seconds?

The timing issue alone is reason enough to discard Bugliosi’s scenario, but here’s another reason to reject the former prosecutor’s theory – Scoggins not only had a clear, uninterrupted view of the Tenth and Patton intersection after he returned to his cab, but he also had the area under observation during the few minutes before Tippit drove up on the scene and still, Scoggins never saw Oswald cross Patton on Tenth.

Just before the shooting, Scoggins walked back to his cab to eat lunch after spending time at the Gentleman's Club, a popular domino parlor located a block south of Tenth and Patton. While walking back to his cab, the entire intersection of Tenth and Patton was visible to Scoggins. So was the area to his east on Tenth Street, where Oswald was later stopped.

Yet despite the clear field-of-view that Scoggins had of the entire intersection of Tenth and Patton on his return trip to his cab, he failed to notice Oswald as he crossed in front of him. Does that sound reasonable?

Another big problem with the suggestion that Oswald was originally walking west on Tenth Street, according to Bugliosi, is the distance he would had to have covered in order to be traveling westbound.

Bugliosi cites researcher Bill Drenas who claimed that the shortest route between Oswald's rooming house and the Tippit murder scene which would have allowed him to be traveling westbound on Tenth was one that took Oswald south on Beckley to Davis, east to Crawford, southeast on Crawford to Ninth, northeast on Ninth to Marsalis, south on Marsalis to Tenth, and finally west on Tenth to the scene of the murder.

Drenas told Bugliosi that it took sixteen minutes and thirty-five seconds to cover that route and assuming Oswald left his rooming house at 1:00 p.m. he couldn't have made it to the Tippit scene in time to commit the murder.

Many conspiracy theorists have used the timing argument in an effort to exonerate Oswald, claiming he couldn't have reached the murder scene in the allotted time and therefore couldn't have been Tippit's killer.

Of course, the physical evidence coupled with the eyewitness testimony shows Oswald to be the killer beyond all doubt. Hence, Bugliosi argues that since Oswald was obviously Tippit's murderer, the timing of the shooting is a strong reason to reject the notion that Oswald was traveling westbound on Tenth prior to the shooting.

However, Bugliosi and Drenas, as well as many other researchers who have rejected the notion that Oswald was traveling westbound immediately before the shooting, fail to realize that the shortest route between the Beckley rooming house and the Tippit murder scene is not one that has Oswald circling the area of the shooting scene (as the Drenas route does). The shortest route would be the one that has Oswald walk right passed the scene where he would kill Tippit, then, double-back on his route.

The shortest route, which ends with Oswald headed westbound on Tenth, would have Oswald leaving his rooming house headed south on Beckley to Davis, east to Patton, southeast on Patton to Tenth, and east on Tenth to a point near Marsalis Avenue. At that point, Oswald would double back on his route, heading back west on Tenth to the scene of the Tippit shooting at 404 E. Tenth. The total time for the trip would be about 13.5 minutes – which fits the time period available.

The primary reason that most researchers reject this most direct and shortest route between Oswald's rooming house and the killing scene is because the route takes Oswald right past the positions where several eyewitnesses – Helen Markham, William Scoggins, Jimmy Burt, William A. Smith, and brick mason William Lawrence Smith – were located at the time of the shooting. Surely, these eyewitnesses would have seen Oswald had he used this route, right?

Wrong. None of the Tippit eyewitnesses mentioned above would have been in their reported positions at the time that Oswald first passed those locations. For instance, when Oswald was traveling south on Patton he wouldn't have passed Helen Markham because she hadn't left her home at Ninth and Patton yet. Nor would Oswald have encountered cab driver William Scoggins, who was still at the Gentlemen's Club watching television. Likewise, Jimmy Burt and Bill Smith hadn't left Burt's brother's home at Ninth and Denver at the time Oswald was headed eastbound on Tenth. And brick mason William Lawrence Smith hadn't stopped work to go to lunch at a Marsalis Avenue cafe yet.

It was only on Oswald's return trip, back westbound on Tenth, that the Tippit eyewitnesses had moved to the locations reported in their testimony – William Lawrence Smith had started east on Tenth to go to lunch, Jimmy Burt and Bill Smith had walked from Ninth and Denver to Burt's home on Tenth Street, William Scoggins had walked back to his cab at Patton and Tenth, and Helen Markham had left her home and had walked south on Patton to the corner of Tenth.

So in fact, the route described above fits the timing available to Oswald, puts him westbound on Tenth, and matches the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses to the shooting.

Mr. Bugliosi’s final argument against my thesis has to do with the consistency of Oswald's actions after the assassination. Bugliosi writes “ would seem that Oswald’s seeing Tippit and suddenly turning around and walking in the opposite direction would be inconsistent with Oswald’s conduct that day. In the lunchroom of the Book Depository Building with Officer Baker just forty-five minutes earlier, we know that Oswald acted perfectly innocent. And even a child would know that turning around and walking in a different direction when seeing a police officer makes one look guilty of something. Though the possibility cannot be dismissed, it seems unlikely to me that Oswald would have changed directions...”

Bugliosi’s argument is more gut feeling than evidentiary. One could just as easily argue that criminals more often than not do and say stupid things that lead to their arrest. The police blotters are filled with thousands of examples.

Many conspiracy theorists have argued Bugliosi’s point over the years, rejecting the idea that Oswald would have been stupid enough to act so suspicious, especially in light of his calm demeanor in the Depository lunchroom ninety-seconds after the JFK assassination.

My argument is that Bugliosi and the conspiracy crowd hasn’t given enough consideration to the fluidity of Oswald's state-of-mind between his lunchroom encounter and his run-in with Tippit on Tenth Street.

Certainly, in the ninety-seconds between the assassination and his lunchroom encounter with Officer Baker, Oswald had little time to think about the consequence of his actions. However, by the time of his encounter with Officer Tippit, Oswald had forty-five minutes to ponder his fate.

Had anyone seen him in the sixth floor window? (Howard Brennan had, and a description had been broadcast on the police radio based on Brennan's observation.) Had anyone noticed that he was missing from the building? (His supervisor Roy Truly had.) Were police aware of his room in Oak Cliff? (They weren't, but would be in a few hours.) Were police already looking for him? (Oswald couldn't be sure.)

Considering the amount of time that had elapsed and Oswald's own knowledge of what he had done, I don't believe anyone can safely assume that Oswald would have acted calm and cool in the presence of any Dallas police car. In fact, we know that in the wake of the Tippit shooting Oswald threw caution to the wind – ditching his jacket, acting suspicious in front of Hardy's Shoe store, and slipping into the Texas Theater without buying a ticket. To think that Oswald might have spun around when he spotted Tippit's approaching squad car hardly seems to be a stretch of logic under the circumstances.

While it should be emphasized that only Officer Tippit knows why he stopped Oswald, thirty-years of research and the preponderance of evidence suggests that Oswald was walking west on Tenth Street, spotted Tippit’s approaching squad car, spun around, and began walking east.

This act would have been more than enough to raise a suspicion in Officer Tippit's mind and lead to his confrontation with Oswald.

Forty-five years of controversy and sorrow

If Officer J.D. Tippit had died on any other day, Oswald’s conviction would have been swift and sure. The only reason we’re still talking about this senseless crime four and a half decades later is because of the other killing Oswald was involved in that day – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Keeping the controversy and myths alive has become a parlor game for many, a reason to get together, attend conferences, post messages on the Internet, and ponder the many ways the various puzzle pieces might fit together.

For the Tippit family, it is a raw, open wound that will never completely heal.

Allegations that J.D. Tippit was part of a conspiracy to murder the president or kill Oswald are false and malicious and in no way recall the man his friends and family knew and remember. I wish I could say that they are spared the pain that such thoughtless and irresponsible notions cause. They are not.

In the wake of the publication of With Malice, I worked closely with the Tippit family to create a website that we hoped would help debunk some of the misinformation available elsewhere on the Internet and provide a true portrait of the boy from Clarksville, Texas, whose fun-loving spirit was extinguished so abruptly in 1963.

While the reaction to the website has been overwhelmingly warm and positive, there are the inevitable reminders that myths die hard.

One such myth that sprung up around the Tippit name was the falsehood that Officer Tippit’s initials “J.D.” stood for “Jefferson Davis” and that the Texas native had been named after the former West Point graduate who became the President and inspirational leader of the Confederate States during the American Civil War. Of course, those who hang this false moniker on J.D. Tippit don’t mean it as a compliment.

I was never able to pin down exactly how this began, but I did determine the truth of the matter and published it in With Malice. The family told me that Edgar Lee Tippit named his son after “J.D. of the Mountains,” a character in a book he had read once while on a hunting trip. The initials never stood for anything. In fact, it was rather common in the south and west, and has been for nearly 250 years, to name offspring using only initials.

One time, J.D. had trouble completing a credit application because the company insisted that a name, not initials, be used on the form. They ended up inserting “John” on J.D.’s behalf in order to fulfill their policy. At least one document in J.D.’s police file also uses this name. Neither document is evidence of his true name, which by all accounts was simply, J.D.

Despite the publication ten years ago of the truth about the origins of J.D.’s name, this silly myth continues to find an audience. Believe it or not, I spotted a website recently that treated the family’s explanation as just another unsubstantiated allegation.

It seems the myths and controversy will never end.

Last Friday, 80-year-old Marie Tippit, widow of the slain police officer, made a rare public appearance in Dallas at the unveiling of a keepsake medallion to honor her late husband and raise money for a fund used to aid the families of other police officers killed in the line of duty.

Her remarks to a television news crew remind us all of the real tragedy of November 22.

“Oh, there is so much to tell,” she said of her relationship with J.D. “How much I loved him, how much I miss him I guess is what comes to mind first. If it wasn’t for the Lord, my faith in God, I just wouldn’t make it.

“Just as Mrs. Kennedy told me when she lit the flame for Jack that she would considered that it would always burn for my husband too. Well, I consider that this [medallion] is in memory of all the Dallas police officers that have been killed as well.

“If he hadn’t been such a good husband, it wouldn’t be so hard to be without him, but he was and I was thankful for that. I have to be thankful for that.”

Today we share in her family’s sorrow and honor the memory of J.D. Tippit, who liked Clark Gable movies, the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, bushy Christmas trees, and clowning around with friends and family.

He was the funny brother, the favorite uncle, the lovable guy.

Lest we forget.

[*Walking at an average rate of four mph (5.9 feet-per-second), Oswald would have covered the 150 foot distance between Scoggins’ cab and the point at which he was stopped by Tippit in twenty-five seconds. Officer Tippit, driving at an estimated speed of 10 mph (14.7 feet-per-second) would have covered that same distance and overtaken Oswald in just ten seconds. Therefore, according to the Bugliosi scenario, an eastbound Oswald would have passed Scoggins’ cab just fifteen seconds before Tippit’s squad car passed the cab.]


Anonymous said...

Well said, Dale. I have read "With Malice" and "Reclaiming History", and I believe, as you do, that Oswald was in fact walking west, then switched directions and walked east.

Thanks for the post. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Dale. I have read "With Malice" and "Reclaiming History", and I believe, as you do, that Oswald was in fact walking west, then switched directions and walked east.

Thanks for the post. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

duGoing back to the wallet that two police officers have in hand in the WFAA tape, I assume that is Tippet's wallet. I also assume Tippet's wallet is in the Archives along with Oswald's wallets?

Bugliosi also makes other errors in regards to the Tippet murder. Oddly, he states that two women in a nearby apartment building witnessed Oswald reloading his revolver and ejecting the spent cartridges on the lawn near their building. But I believe the spent cartridges were found on the street at the scene of Tippet's murder, correct? Bugliosi can be spot-on and at other junctures he goes off the road. It pays to read more than one book!

Dale K. Myers said...

Regarding the comment above, first, Tippit's wallet is not in the National Archives. Second, Bugliosi is correct about the Davis women who saw Oswald eject shells from his revolver as he crossed the lawn in front of their house. While there are several errors of fact in Bugliosi's monumental book (which can be expected in any book that size) and a few opinions I disagree with (hey, no book is going to get everything 100% right), it remains a tremendous resource for factual information on the assassination and its aftermath.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the points you make, and would offer this speculation (...which has probably been offered up already): It would be reasonable to expect a responsible police officer to question any person that resembled the description of the suspect if for no other reason than to cover themselves for the remote possibility it was the wanted person. Who would want to face their sergeant and have to explain how they missed the suspect walking through his beat? Obviously he has no idea if it is the suspect, but he has definitely covered himself if he does indeed stop that person and ask a few questions.

Unknown said...

Mr. Myers, you write, "The shortest route, which ends with Oswald headed westbound on Tenth, would have Oswald leaving his rooming house headed south on Beckley to Davis, east to Patton, southeast on Patton to Tenth, and east on Tenth to a point near Marsalis Avenue. At that point, Oswald would double back on his route, heading back west on Tenth to the scene of the Tippit shooting at 404 E. Tenth."

But why would Oswald have suddenly turned around as he headed east on Tenth near Marsalis, and walk west? I can't find any police squad car that would have been in that area at the time that might have scared Oswald before Tippit arrived. (CE 2645, 25 H 909-915)

Except maybe Unit 91, W. D. Mentzel, who according to police radio transcripts seems to have gotten out of his lunchtime cafe at 430 W. Jefferson and back into his car by 1:07 p.m., and was called to 817 W. Davis at 1:11 p.m. Between 1:07 and 1:11, did Mentzel remain parked at the cafe, or was he cruising district 91 and got spotted by Oswald?

Dale K. Myers said...

You asked, "But why would Oswald have suddenly turned around as he headed east on Tenth near Marsalis, and walk west?"

There are a number of possibilities only one of which might be Oswald reacting to the presence of a law enforcement vehicle other than Tippit's. It may have been that he simply changed his mind about his ultimate destination. Only Oswald, of course, would know why he changed direction.

There is no record of Officer Mentzel being anywhere near Tenth Street at that time. Dallas County Sheriff vehicles were known to be in the area on routine patrol but there is no known connection between any of them and Oswald's actions.

Hideji Okina said...

Dear Mr.MYERS.
I'm Japanese assasination resercher HIDEJI OKINA.
In 2000 I publish my book "JFK ASSASINATION:Conspiracy and Cover-up".
I read your book "With Malice"
shortly after the book was published.
This book is most excellent book in this case!!
Recently few book published about a JFK case.
But these book written a little about a Tippit Murder.
doesn't write at all.
I read again and again this book,
I think Mr.DAVID KAISER is very
excellent historian,it's unbelievable.
What do you think this absurd

Dale K. Myers said...

Dear Hideji,

Most JFK assassination writers don't want to go anywhere near the Tippit case because of the disturbing questions it raises about the notion that Oswald might be innocent in the Kennedy killing. If they do discuss it, you'll typically read about long ago disproven allegations that automatic shells were found and switched by police, that the discarded jacket couldn't be linked to Oswald, and - God forbid - that a wallet was planted at the scene to frame poor Lee. I believe I addressed these and many other false allegations in With Malice completely and succinctly. I wouldn't change a word. Thanks for your interest and post.

Thalia said...

Why was Tippit assigned to Oak Cliff specifically? The whole of Dallas was left patrol car free except for this one little suburb? Why was Tippit outside his vehicle to supposedly apprehend a suspect unknown to him without his gun drawn? The record store sighting? No, I am afraid there is much much more to Tippit and his death than the way you present: an innocent copper just going about his business, discovering a guy walking along the street that doesn't match the actual description of the man in the window of the TSBD and finding himself a victim of history.

curtjester1 said...

I just would like to say that like your article, there are too many assumptions that people take for granted when the write. What you don't consider for one, is where the wallet was found, not just merely filmed. Good investigative technique would bring that at the Tippit Murder Scene and not the Texaco jacket scene which is the big misnomer. Ron Reiland filmed scenes at the Tippit murder scene, as well as the Texas Theater, and the Texaco. All the officers on film at the Texaco were present at the Tippit murder scene, except one, and his name is Kenneth Croy, who was given at first the wallet by a civilian then he gave it to Owens. Croy was to have gone home after his work, and there is no mention that he ever went over to the Texaco. I say this, because if your going to investigate something, get down to the bottom of it. There are just so many aspects, and the east-west one is very interesting. 'Oswald' was seen as far down E. 10th as far as it would make it almost half the walk from the roominghouse to the murder scene. Then one has to consider doubling the time and distance with a 'walk back'. Mr. Mike Griffith supports the wallet find, and many more things that Dale Myers is purported not to bring up, and suggest a free online reading of this.

Dale K. Myers said...


Officer Tippit's routine patrol assignment was in southern Oak Cliff. He was ordered to patrol central Oak Cliff fifteen minutes after the Kennedy shooting so that he would be in a position to respond to police calls in his own district or those closer to downtown because many officers had been ordered to report to the scene of the assassination, thus draining the outlying districts of available officers. This is well known.

Contrary to your assertion, there is no reason to believe that Officer Tippit was preparing to arrest Oswald when he exited his squad car. All of the officers I spoke with felt that Tippit probably was planning to simply question him further.

It is not certain that Officer Tippit stopped at the Top Ten Record shop. This is an allegation made by two eyewitnesses whose veracity has been questioned. In particular, the timing of the incident as reported by the principle eyewitness places the encounter as having occurred after Officer Tippit was killed.

Finally, the description of the Kennedy and Tippit suspects are similar (and both close in description to Oswald); a fact that was even commented on by police before Oswald's arrest.


All of this was detailed in my book, "With Malice." It's good reading. Try it.

Dale K. Myers said...


Your claim that I failed to address the wallet story adequately is completely false. I investigated that story thoroughly and was the first to report on it in "With Malice" in 1998. The key question is whether a wallet with the Oswald/Hidell identification in it was found at all at the Tippit murder scene. I concluded that the facts didn't justify that conclusion and explained why in considerable detail in my book.

The allegation that Reserve Officer Kenneth Croy was given a wallet (purportedly one with Oswald/Hidell ID) by an unidentified civilian was first reported in John Armstrong's 2003 book "Harvey and Lee" - citing a 2002 interview by Jones Harris. Curious that Croy didn't report such a significant event (nor did anyone else) during his Warren Commission testimony, isn't it?

As for Michael Griffith's half-baked critique of my work, I dealt with that when it was first posted.

curtjester1 said...

First of all, I don't want to claim you didn't address the issue. All I want to say is your most likely dead wrong on the issue of the wallet. It seems odd that 3 or 4 men can be seen looking at a wallet prior to the announcement that Oswald was in the theater. That is on a WFAA tape by Ron Reiland. Secondly, Kenneth Croy said he was given the wallet by a civilian at the crime scene. All you attempt to do is introduce a time element for discredibility. It sure does dovetail with FBI SA Robert Barrett's learning of the Hidell-Oswald identity then as well. So, there is two now corroborations for the Tippit murder scene on 10th Ave. Now, Reiland was making all sorts of film that day, and if one looks at the order of the day, one will find him back at the Tippit murder scene right before they get the call to go to the Texas Theater. On the film itinerary after the jacket/Texaco incident he is back describing the Tippit stuff, then shows the 'wallet' which is obviously the throw-down wallet. So, as far as what your doing DM, is just scenarioizing while attempting to dismiss the hard evidence about this 'extra wallet.' Also, if one tries to take the Reiland wallet sighting as Tippit's at the murder, scene, that wallet was extracted a few minutes later at Methodist Hospital from his back pocket. I will leave, some interesting cites in a subsequent, posting shortly.


curtjester1 said...


There is much more to the case than just casual observation. Mentzel was the assigned person for central Oak Cliff that day, and where is he in all this? Didn't even show up at the theater or anywhere that is documented?

Did Oswald know Tippit? According to a restaurant owner in Oak Cliff, Tippit, Oswald, and drumrolls, Jack Ruby not only ate there with some regularity, they ate together at breakfast time.

With Oswald documented to be in the Theater prior or circa the Tippit killing, and Tippit? honking in front of Oswald's roominghouse, and Tippit parking his car at the Top Ten Record Store, a stones throw from the Texas Theater, can you imagine what really happened, that isn't the 'official story'?


Dale K. Myers said...


You haven't added anything of value to this discussion, and I don't propose to debate the Tippit case in the comments section of this blog.

Each and every one of the questions you've raised have been addressed head-on in my book which runs 700+ pages. You'll find the answers there. If you can't find a copy for sale, get one on loan from a library. It's free.

I've omitted your proposed list of "cites" which are largely composed of second-hand, conspiracy-oriented opinions. There is plenty of that kind of crap available online. Just Google it.

Dale K. Myers said...

As for your remarks to Thalia, what do you know of the true facts regarding Officer Mentzel's activities after the Tippit shooting? Or whether Tippit was acquainted with Oswald or Ruby? Or the time of Oswald's arrival at the Texas Theater? Or the story of the honking squad car in front of Oswald's rooming house? Or of the Top Ten Record store encounter?

Not much it seems. What you do seem to be well steeped in is the conspiratorial flim-flam that has been floating around for better than four decades. Wise up.

Unknown said...

Some conspiracists like to make hay over the fact that at 1:54 p.m. on Nov. 22 the Dallas police dispatcher gave a different address for J.D. Tippit (7500 S. Beckley) than his family's home (238 Glencairn), and that the dispatcher spoke of "his wife's house". The allegation is that the Tippits were separated and living apart. I've seen nothing else to support that allegation. What's the real story?

Dale K. Myers said...

The Tippit's lived at 238 Glencairn in south Oak Cliff. The 7500 block of S. Beckley was an area in close proximity to their subdivision.

The allegation you mentioned is unfounded.

Anonymous said...


Excellent work. But just one question. Your current position is that Oswald had time to walk to the scene of the murder of Tippit from his boarding house.

However, a few years ago you were of the opinion (in a PBS documentary on Oswald) that he must have been driven to the location. What made you change your mind?

Dale K. Myers said...


In 1993, I appeared in the PBS program "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald," and expressed the opinion that Oswald must have gotten a ride to the Tippit scene.

During the next five years, I re-examined that opinion while researching the subject for my book "With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit."

I came to the conclusion that Oswald's presence on Tenth Street at the time of the Tippit murder was not dependent on getting a ride, as I expressed five years earlier on PBS.

This was largely based on a reconstruction of the time that elapsed between Oswald's departure from the Book Depository and his arrival at his room in Oak Cliff. As I discussed in "With Malice," (pp.664-665) Oswald's arrival at his room could have been as early as 12:56 p.m., considerably earlier than postulated by conspiracy advocates. Further, it is not known exactly how long Oswald remained in his room, or the speed with which he traversed the distance between the Beckley rooming house and the shooting scene.

My best estimate was that Oswald could have reached the shooting scene on foot between 1:09:45 and 1:16:15 p.m.

Tippit's killer was spotted about 90 seconds before the shooting at 1:14:30 p.m. - which means Oswald could have gotten to the scene without getting a ride as I previously opined.

John M. said...


I find your theory that Oswald was initially moving west down 10th street plausible because he continued moving in a westerly direction after the shooting, changing directions only to get off the main road.

From the J.D. Tippit website it appears Oswald’s movements are fairly consistent after the shooting (i.e. in a general westerly direction) Do you think he had a specific destination in mind?



Dale K. Myers said...


I'm not sure he had a specific destination in mind (after the Tippit shooting) other than to get as far away from the shooting scene as possible. Perhaps he thought he could hide out in the Texas Theater for awhile. Who knows?

John M. said...

I was assuming when I made my last post that Oswald’s boarding house was a in a straight line intersecting the location of the murder scene and ending at the Texas theatre. In other words when he set out from the boarding house he had a specific destination in mind (to meet a friend/go to a safe house etc). But I see from a map in Anthony Summer’s book Conspiracy that Oswald’s place was North West of the murder scene. If this is right, he started out in a South Easterly direction and then after the Tippit murder went in a westerly direction.
This seems to indicate that he had no coherent escape plan. He probably was so amazed that he had actually succeeded in assassinating JFK that the idea of planning to avoid detection had never occurred to him.



Anonymous said...

i would like to point out that you fail to mention three very important witnesses to the tippit killing,domingo benavides,acquilla clemmons(who both seen two men who then ran in two different directions)and of course t f bowley,they failed to identify oswald as either men(not a surprise so that warren showed no interest in them as two men would mean conspiracy)as for howard brennan(explain how a discription he gave of oswald between 12.55pm and 1.00pm was broadcast between 10 and 15 minutes before he actually gave it)

Dale K. Myers said...


The article above mentioned, "Here are just two of the subjects covered in With Malice that have been twisted or misrepresented over the last ten years and the truth as I determined it..."

Obviously, there has been a lot more twisted and distorted over the years by conspiracy believers including the statements of Benavides, Clemmons, Bowley, and Brennan - all of which were discussed at length in my book. Read it.

Anonymous said...

I have been a student of 11/22/63 for most of my life, yet have never had the good fortune of reading this excellent book from you, Mr. Myers. Do you intend to have it re-printed?

Dale K. Myers said...

Yes. Meanwhile, check out a copy at your local library.

Brad T. said...

I have been interested in everything I can find about the JFK assassination for years. I have just found out about your book "With Malice," Mr. Myers, and I have tried to find a copy of it to buy. I have found only a few used copies on the internet and none for less than $100. What is the reason for this? Were there a limited number of copies, and is a first edition very rare? I am trying to increase my collection of JFK assassination books but am having trouble locating a first edition of your book. Thanks

Dale K. Myers said...

Brad T.,

Thanks for your interest in my work.

With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit (1998, Oak Cliff Press) is currently out of print. I hope to have it back in print at some future date. For now, if you spot a copy, grab it. The collector price will only go up.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever seen this question addressed anywhere before.

Auto mechanic Domingo Benavides, witness to the Tippit shooting, said he was on a service call beforehand. A man's car had stopped "in the middle of Patton", Benavides said, between 10th Street and Jefferson; in other words, just a half block around the corner from the Tippit shooting site.

A pump in the carburetor needed to be replaced, so Benavides got back into his truck to get the part. He drove east down the alley that ran between Patton and Denver, turned left (north) and drove to 10th Street, and turned right (east) on 10th. He had almost reached the parts shop at Marsalis and 10th when he realized he had not gotten the part number from the broken carburetor. So he drove into a driveway, turned around, and headed west on 10th Street toward Patton, when he saw the Tippit shooting.

Now, that trip (almost) to and (almost) from the parts shop was less than 6 blocks total. Couldn't have taken very long, not more than 2 minutes.

What became of the man with broken-down car on Patton Street?

Oswald would have walked right by him. So would have Ted Callaway and Sam Guinyard going in the opposite direction. His car would have been a short distance from William Scoggins' taxicab. He probably had the hood of his car up, which would have made him all that more conspicuous.

I'm not implying anything sinister about this man, or about witnesses failing to see him (I know Helen Markham failed to see William Scoggins, and Scoggins failed to see Markham, even though they were only cater-corner from each other). I just found it mysterious, and wondered if you had thought about it too.

Dale K. Myers said...

I talked about this in "With Malice."
I don't know what happened to the man with the broken-down car, and as far as I know, no one else does either.

Barry James Mead said...

Mr Myers having seen your cgi i have to disagree especially in light of my own research, butyou and others like you seem of some intelligence therefore i would ask you this. Would you be able to make any sort of case in Lees defence? no smoke without fire which is why there is any debate at all therefore i would love even an opinion on whether you believe you could make a case for reasonable doubt ?

Dale K. Myers said...

Obviously, not. But then if you really knew anything about my work on the Kennedy and Tippit murders, you would already know that was the case.

Pops said...


I have read "With Malice" three times and agree that it is THE definitive account of Oswald's murder of Tippit. I teach AP United States History and I have always taught that Tippit undoubtedly stopped Oswald because LHO's behavior would have arroused Tippit's suspicions. What did Tippit and Oswald talk about? To me this is easily predictable. Tippit surely must have asked Oswald for identification. Oswald KNEW that he had an ID that said Lee Harvey Oswald and one that said Hidell. If he produced the Oswald identification Tippit might have already been told on the radio that Oswald hadn't returned to work at the TSBD, and therefore might heighten the officer's suspicions. If he produced the Hidell identification Oswald knew that the murder weapon left behind at the TSBD would soon be linked to a purchase and PO Box belonging to Hidell therefore he was hesitant to reveal THAT identification as well. So when asked for ID, I think Oswald said he didn't have any, which would have aroused Tippit's suspicions ever further--WHO doesn't have ID in 1963? Then Oswald simply panicked and killed Tippit.

MIchael said...

Hello Mr. Myers -

First of all, I have to tell you that I loved "With Malice". And I have a question regarding Oswald's route prior to the Tippit murder.

I am a Dallas resident and recently traveled to and from Mexico by bus. On the return, we stopped at a bus station on Jefferson, which I later realized was almost directly south of the Tippit murder scene.

I have never seen anyone mention whether or not this station was at that location in 1963. If it were, it would explain a great deal about Oswald's intentions that afternoon. Not only would it explain why he was walking in that direction - it could very well have been the fastest way for him to get to Mexico - but its location on the block, between Marsalis and Beckley, could explain why he doubled back on 10th as he approached Marsalis. Perhaps he wasn't sure of the quickest way to get from that part of the neighborhood to that block of Jefferson.

This is, of course, all speculation on my part. I am curious to hear of your thoughts, and what information you've come across about this.

Dale K. Myers said...

Michael - As far as I know, the bus station (do you mean stop?) you described was not there in 1963. If you mean a bus stop, yes, there was one there in 1963. However, as pointed out in With Malice [pp.358-59], Oswald had a bus transfer on him that was good for only one bus stop - the one at Marsalis and Jefferson. Had he taken that bus south he could have made connections to Mexico via the Greyhound bus line through Laredo, Texas. The Warren Commission figured Oswald had just enough money on him to reach Mexico and might have been able to use his pistol to acquire more. This escape scenario made it to the August 7 draft of the final report but was cut for being speculative rather than factual. No doubt the Commission was anxious to dodge the international implications as well.

curtjester1 said...

I would like to know why a bus transfer is good for only a stop that Oswald would never use to get to his roominghouse? Also, why wouldn't a transfer be used for any they were only good for 15 minutes after deboarding? There is also something written on the McWatters bus about the witness who ID'd Oswald, who would have ridden the same bus by their usual places of business, and that he would have gotten off one stop past Oswald's stop. I don't think Jones's stop was close to Marsalis and Jefferson. There is also evidence from the barbershop owner about Oswald's path as he went past his barbershop from the Jefferson Ave. direction making him much more down E. Tenth than what the Tippit murder lone nut researchers are willing to accept. His last name was Clark which makes Oswald's timeline to Tippit murder scene way beyond the realm of possible. Actually Willam Smith already does, but this shows he didn't walk at all from the roominghouse.

Dale K. Myers said...

The transfer in Oswald's pocket was good for any other bus route that crossed the issuing bus route's line for a period up to 15 minutes after the transfer was issued or the next available bus. Oswald's transfer was marked for 1:00 pm, meaning it had been issued at about 12:45 p.m. and was good until 1:00 p.m. The only bus stop in the vicinity of the Tippit shooting that the transfer would have been good at was the one at Marsalis and Jefferson because the next available bus - a southbound Lancaster Road bus - wasn't scheduled to pass that stop until 1:30 p.m. The Lancaster Road bus would have taken Oswald south to Greyhound bus connections which could have taken him to Mexico through Laredo, Texas. Oswald religiously took public transportation and was well aware of the bus schedules in that immediate area.

As for the Tenth Street barber, the incident you refer to occurred "the morning of 11/22/63", not in the afternoon at the time of the Tippit shooting. [FBI RIF 124-10143-10407]

And while the testimony of construction worker William Lawrence Smith (not to be confused with William A. "Bill" Smith, a friend of eyewitness Jimmy Burt) places Oswald on Tenth Street walking west away from the location of the bus stop, Oswald's location and direction at that time does not preclude him from being able to get to the Tippit shooting scene. On the contrary, the identification of Oswald by Smith, and his direction of travel, as reported by Smith, places Oswald one block east of, and heading in the direction of, where Tippit will be murdered only one to two minutes later. Certainly, this establishes that Oswald was in fact able to traverse the distance required to arrive in the area of Tenth and Patton in time to shoot Tippit. And as With Malice establishes in spades, there is an abundance of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony that proves beyond any and all doubt that Oswald was indeed the person who murdered Tippit.

bizzarobrian said...

Just from alot of reading I`ve done,I do not believe for a second that the man in question was Oswald.Tippet was murdered as part of a plot to paint a more monsterous portrait of Lee.I think Oswald knew something horrible went down & probably knew the President was shot & his reason for entering the theater was he was suppose to meet a contact there & was totally blind sided by a group of police.He looked totally bewildered when questioned by the media.An event that never should have taken place.He quickly realized that he had been set up.Tippet was murdered for no other reason then trying to make Oswald look more sinister.Probably by an undercover agent of some sort.Probably by the flunky look a like they used as his double in photos.

Anonymous said...


I am based in the UK and have read various books on the assasination of JFK, I have been looking to obtain your book (the website that details to book is very good)do you know if it will be re-published in the near future?

Dale K. Myers said...

Yes, an announcement will be made about a reprint date in the near future.

BT George said...

Of course, no one can know for sure just WHERE Oswald was trying to go as he was fleeing from 1026 N. Beckly. However, it is possible that he was deliberately taking a circuitous route to wherever he had in mind, or was just "snaking" through various nearby streets to keep on the move while he decided where he should try to go.

In such a scenario, one need not posit absolute logic as to why he would start out heading east only to double back and go west and then (maybe) west again when he saw Tippet's squad car. I tend to favor that overall view, and believe he may well have been seen by Tippet making a rapid course change that got the officer's attention.

The only thing that bugs me about the whole thing, is that the fact that Jack Ruby's apartment was pretty much on a straight line a little more than a mile further down 10th. Some CT's insist this is where Oswald was headed, and the only defense is what you are suggesting (i.e., he was really headed WEST when he first saw Tippet) or else one has to write it off as another "coincidence" in a case that already has so many.

Dale K. Myers said...

BT, Ruby's apartment at Ewing and the R.L. Thornton Freeway was southeast of the Tippit shooting to be sure, but so were several cafes, barbershops, and other potential destinations. Was Oswald looking for a meal? A haircut? Probably not. There certainly is no evidence to connect him with any of those destinations, nor - and this is the key point - was there any connection between Oswald and Ruby prior to Ruby's impulsive act two days after the Tippit shooting. At least, no one has come up with any believable evidence of an Oswald-Ruby connection in the past 50 years. That says a great deal in and of itself. No, I don't think Oswald's presence on Tenth Street had anything to do with Jack Ruby. Thanks for sharing.

curtjester1 said...

BT, there can be several scenarios and issues. Some have Oswald leaving in Rambler from DP, and others a bus/taxi. One Oswald got dropped off at a laundromat in a Rambler by Clinton St before 1:00 and walked from there. That's a long way from Ruby, E.10th. If one uses an Oswald was on E. 10th from the roominghouse scenario, he is by the cafe at least and the barber further down claims he saw him. That's about a 3 minute walk from the murder scene. Most feel he couldn't have got to the Tippit murder scene straight from the roominghouse much less make 2 3 minute walks. Three people have also by clockpiece identified Tippit shot at 1:06 which leaves out a roominghouse scenario. If he came from the cafe/barber area, that was only about a block and a half from Ruby's. Earl Crater a restauranteuer in Oakcliff says Ruby, Tippit and Oswald were fairly regular breakfast customers sittng together in his restaurant. Dave Reitzes has an online paper with a littany of Ruby-Oswald sightings by witnesses. John Armstrong has a supressed phone company record of an Oswald long distance call to the Carousel. Ain't research fun?

BT George said...


You know I don't buy the multi-Oswald scenario's---or any of John Armstrong's "Harvey and Lee" theories. Occam's Razor, quickly tells me that there NO way anything as elaborate as that occured. Moreover, no one has yet shown anything that looks credible to me in support of NOT going with Occam on this.

As for the timeline, I'll defer to an expert like Dale for detailed defence, but I know too many witnesses have to be wrong about when they saw Tippet leave the gas station and when they saw/heard him get shot to prop up such an early time. Whatever the exact time, too many people saw LHO do the deed or flee from the scene to believe in any "Oswald" innocence scenario. (Heck, even your boy Armstrong has "Lee" clipping off Tippit and setting up "Harvey" for the deed.)

At any rate, this isn't the place to debate it further, unless Dale has any comments to chip in.


Jo said...

Dale, I apologize but I haven't been able to locate your book anywhere so I don't know if this was discussed. Oswald was seen leaving his boarding house around 1:00 while W.H. Burroughs and Jack Davis saw him arrive at the Texas Theater minutes after the 1:00 movie started, initially sitting right next to Davis. What makes the witnesses to the Tippit murder that identify Oswald more important than Burroughs and Davis? This is my main problem with this case. Not to mention Burroughs and Bernard Haire saw a 2nd man arrested from the theater who according to Burroughs looked extremely similar to Oswald like they could be brothers. Also, the official Dallas police homicide report on Tippit says the suspect was arrested in the balcony of the Texas Theater. But Oswald was on the main floor. These are my questions regarding this case. Thank you.

Dale K. Myers said...


An updated 2nd Edition has just been released. You can order it here:

The answers to all of your questions are found in the book.

The short answer is that Burroughs, Davis, and Haire are not credible given the entire documented record.

Kansas City said...

Very interesting discussion. Dale is very knowledgeable. However, from one trying to be an objective overserver, the conclusion that Oswald walked east on 10th, then turned around to walk west on 10th, and then turned around again when he saw Tippit seems complicated and illogical, i.e., even if you accept that Oswald would make the obvious mistake of turning around when he saw a police car, why would he had turned around the first time after he was closing in the and most logical presumed destination - the bus stop on Jefferson and Marsalis? Dale acknowledges above that there was no other police car in the area that would have affected his direction. It also seems like a forced explanation for how Oswald could so quicky have gotten to the shooting scene. But Dale is much smarter than me on these issuses.

By the way, I found Tippit's presence on Houston Street at the service station at about 12:45 to be especially weird. It reflects he falsely reported his location when asked at 12:45, he had moved to the more northern patrol area before being ordered to do so, and he had stationed himselr at a point where he would observe persons (including Oswald) traveling from Dealey Plaza to Oswald's neighborhood. Very weird.

Dale K. Myers said...

Kansas City writes: "...Dale acknowledges above that there was no other police car in the area that would have affected his [Oswald's] direction..." referring to my July 6, 2009 comment: "...Dallas County Sheriff vehicles were known to be in the area on routine patrol but there is no known connection between any of them and Oswald's actions..."

Obviously, that means that there were Sheriff vehicles in the area that could have spooked Oswald and caused him to change direction - just as he most likely did again a few minutes later in Tippit's presence. Nothing complicated or illogical, just a repetition of behavior.

BTW, the factoid about Tippit being at the Glo-Co service station at 12:45 p.m. observing Oswald's escape from downtown Dallas has been around a long time and was dealt with in detail in With Malice. In short, Tippit didn't arrive at the station until after he had been ordered into central Oak Cliff by the dispatcher at 12:46 p.m.

The allegation that Tippit lied about his reported position to cover his tracks is a baseless charge made by conspiracy theorists attempting to inject mystery into something that is not mysterious at all. Now that's weird.

Kansas City said...

Thanks. I will read the book. But I don't see how Tippit could get to the CLO-CO station from his assigned patrol area if he did not move until being ordered into central Oak Cliff at 12:46.

I bet the answer is in your book. ;)

I know you are confident that you have accurately figured things out, but from a person with much less knowledge, the facts throughout the day are very weird (as well as very sad).

Dale K. Myers said...

Kansas City, True enough. You'll find that most of the mystery disappears when you know the facts. You'll find those abundant in With Malice. Get the 2013 Edition for the latest updates. Order at while they last. Thanks for your interest.

Kansas City said...

Thanks again. I'm intrigued that even you say only "most of the mystery disappears,' suggesting some mystery remains.

Dale K. Myers said...

There's always mystery in everything, Kansas City. Even in a case like this that has been raked over the coals for fifty years - but what mystery remains doesn't add up to anything worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

This book would make an excellent movie or documentary - has anyone ever shown interest in making it into either? There is obviously still interest after all these years.

Dale K. Myers said...

George, Looking forward to hearing from your Hollywood contacts, but none so far. Thanks for your interest.

Anonymous said...

I guess that shouldn't surprise me, maybe you can rewrite it to include several conspirators, zombies and scantily clad women.

JFK & Tippit zombies chasing Oswald with a bunch of half naked women around should get you that movie

Anyway I really appreciate the great work you did getting out the facts of the JFK & Tippit murders, it's sad that some of these nutty theories ever took hold but I'm glad there are people like you to counteract them.

Billycal said...

Mr. Meyers. I've read all of the materials on LHO and his movements after the death of JFK. Yet, I have never read this: Why is it not part of the public record that Officer Tippit was killed only 150 Yards from Jack Ruby's Apartment (222-225 S. Ewing)?

I find it pretty incredible that we can have all this discussion about a Wallet, Officer Tippit, etc...and then nobody have picked up on this. It appears, at least on the surface, that this part of the murder(s) investigations have been compartmentalized and completely overlooked. Thoughts?

Dale K. Myers said...


The proximity of Ruby's apartment to the Tippit murder scene (which was 0.7 miles or 1,232 yards - not 150 yards) has been discussed ad nauseum ever since Ruby shot Oswald. The Warren Commission addressed the issue of whether Oswald was heading to Ruby's apartment at the time of the Tippit encounter on page 650 of their Report. Bottom line: There's no believable evidence that Ruby and Oswald knew each other, or that Ruby and Tippit knew each other.

Anonymous said...

Seems Bugliosi did what many of the CT crowd do and inferred way too much from the Baker lunchroom incident and tried to use it to support his position.
Once Oswald was on the run and in full "Oh Crap What Now" mode the thought of him changing direction when seeing a police car is very easy to believe.
What the witnesses saw or did not is much better evidence than his perceived behavior 45 mins earlier.
Why Tippit checked out Oswald will always be guesswork but witnesses to his movements along with a little human nature....a reasonable assumption can be made.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Myers...

I don't know how I'd never heard of With Malice before, considering I've been reading up on the JFK assassination since the early 1990s. Bugilosi's book, to date, has been the best I've ever read and most thorough. But I will certainly make an effort to read yours as well. You argue with logic and common sense, and clearly worked hard to get your facts straight.

Dale K. Myers said...

Get the 2013 Edition at for the latest updates. You'll enjoy the read.

Peter said...


I recently purchased the new edition of With Malice and noticed that you suggest it's likely Helen Markham developed her story that Oswald fled down the alley second hand from Jimmy Burt through her son and Bill Smith's association. However in the FBI Report on Frank Cimino's account of events, Cimino jumped up put his shoes on and ran outside after hearing the shots and saw a women in a waitress outfit (Markham) who told him the the man who shot Tippit ran west on Tenth and pointed to the alley. It would appear by this that her version that the assailant ran across the vacant lot to the alley is one that she had from the outset. It should also be noted that in her affidavit of the 22nd she states that he ran west on Tenth across Patton St and out of site as opposed to down Patton to Jefferson.

Although I believe there are issues with many aspects of the evidence against Oswald in the Tippit case and don't necessarily share your views Dale, I would recommend your book to anyone interested in the subject.

Dale K. Myers said...

Peter -- Frank Cimino's statement, which was given on December 4, 1963, says Markham pointed in "the direction of an alley which runs between Tenth Street and Jefferson off Patton Street," but of course, at the time Cimino couldn't have known whether Markham was gesturing toward the alley in particular as opposed to the general direction of Oswald's escape, south on Patton. Cimino himself says that after "people came up from all directions" and after he had examined Tippit's body, he walked south on Patton to the alley "but could not see anyone running up the alley." We know from Jimmy Burt and Bill Smith's account that they did the same thing at about this time (i.e., ran down Patton and looked up the alley). Burt and Smith said that they did see Oswald running west in the alley (obviously after he had re-entered the alley after ditching his jacket behind the Texaco service station - I say obviously, since there are a great number of witnesses that saw Oswald flee south on Patton to Jefferson (not the alley) and proceed west on Jefferson to nearly Crawford, where he ducked behind the Texaco station and dumped his jacket). Cimino said that he saw no gunman anywhere on Patton or in the alley. Where, then, did he get the idea that the gunman had fled down the alley (now known to be an erroneous assumption)? I believe that the erroneous idea of an escape down the alley was born out of Burt and Smith's observation (and perhaps unknown others), which then was repeated by Markham and Cimino in later statements. Of course, this is all a minor point, since we know for a fact that Oswald fled south on Patton to Jefferson before heading west. Thanks for writing.

Peter said...

Hi Dale

Thanks for replying. I probably should have worded my previous post better and stated that I don't necessarily disagree with your views either. I am just not convinced either way on the official version of the Tippit case. For me, there are too many discrepancies between witnesses, too many inconsistencies and contadictions in some witnesses own accounts. For some witnesses their stories evolve and change from what they initially said to what they told the WC and have stated later.
I take your point that Markham was pointing in the general direction of the assailants escape and Cimino may have misunderstood but we also have Officer Poe's report of Nov 22 to Chief Curry which states in general terms there were 6 to 8 witnesses and they all saw the subject running west in the alley. We know Markham was the first witness Poe spoke to so it is quite likely that she was one of these witnesses especially as Poe told the WC that Markham gave him the direction the subject fled the scene.
You say that both Burt and Smith claim they saw Oswald in the alley but I have never seen Smith mention the alley in his evidence. I believe it is only Burt who claims this and Smith has never corroborated the fact. As you would know for two people who were supposedly together at the time they gave two completely different accounts to the FBI. I can understand Smith not wanting to involve Burt because he was AWOL but Burt's version that they were at his brothers house and drove to the scene is quite strange. To fabricate a story that places your vehicle at the scene of a police shooting seconds after it happened is decidedly odd. In my opinion Burt's interview with Chapman probably raised more questions than it answered. I have to admit I am not exactly convinced on Jimmy Burt's credibility.
I absolutely agree with you that an assailant possibly Oswald ran down Patton and along Jefferson but Markham's story of the assailant running across the vacant lot certainly ties in with other early evidence.
Anyway you have probably heard all this many times before and are sick to death of responding to it but I do appreciate your feedback.

Dale K. Myers said...

Peter -- Yes, I have heard all the arguments both pro and con many times, which is why I spent a good part of my life investigating both sides and committing the same into the 1998 book "With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit" (updated in 2013). It's all there - warts and all. Ted Callaway's very credible account (backed up by five other eyewitnesses) puts an end to any speculation about whether Oswald ran across a vacant lot and entered the alley (as Markham later claimed) or continued on toward Jefferson. And yes, there were reports (including on the police radio) that Tippit's killer was fleeing west in the alley but that was after police had arrived in force and Oswald had already been observed by Burt and Smith (and presumably the others referred to in Poe's report) - Burt's credibility notwithstanding. By the time those reports were broadcast, Oswald had already dumped his jacket behind the Texaco service station and was making his way west in the direction of the Texas Theater, most likely via the alley.

Anonymous said...

Tippit had no reason to stop Oswald and Oswald knew it. But Oswald may have suspected that Tippit was there to kill or arrest him as the patsy, which he was. Oswald, attempted to avoid being killed by Tippit, or being arrested by Tippit, so he as the patsy could avoid being sucfessfully falsley prosecuted for the assasination. So he may have changed directions to avoid Tippit for those reasons, if he did at all. Then, eventually the encounter took place?

Dale K. Myers said...

Oswald's "patsy" comment to reporters in the hallway of police HQ after his arrest was related to his "having lived in the Soviet Union" (Oswald's own words), not because he was allegedly setup by co-conspirators. Oswald's actions before, during, and after the assassination betray his "consciousness of guilt," all supported by mountains of physical evidence and eyewitness testimony. Hence, Oswald's encounter with Tippit was a predictable continuation of what had come before and what would happen in the Texas Theater when police moved in to make the arrest.