Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Tippit murder: The witnesses - Part 2



A continuation of our look into the reliability of the witnesses who identified Oswald as Tippit’s killer.

Ted Callaway and Sam Guinyard

At the time Officer Tippit was shot and killed, Ted Callaway and Sam Guinyard were both working at the Harris bros auto sales used car lot, located on the north east corner of the Jefferson Blvd and Patton Street intersection. Both men allegedly witnessed the killer run down south on Patton Street, and then turn West onto Jefferson Blvd. Like the Davis sister-in-laws, both men were standing near each other when they observed the killer - and like the Davis sister-in-laws, contradicted each other’s observations/recollections.

Let me note that both men viewed a line-up of Oswald together, at approximately 6:30 pm on the day of the assassination, and both of them identified Oswald as the killer. However, there are many reasons to be sceptical about the reliability of their identifications. First of all, consider the fact that during his Warren Commission testimony, Callaway claimed the killer was on the West side of Patton Street when he saw him – whereas Guinyard claimed during his testimony that the killer was on the East side when he saw him!

From Callaway’s testimony:

Mr. Ball
Coming up the sidewalk on which side of Patton?

Mr. Callaway
West side of Patton.

Further on during his testimony:

Mr. Dulles
He was going south on Patton?

Mr. Callaway
On the west side of the street.

From the testimony of Sam Guinyard:

Mr. Ball
Now, where was Oswald when he passed you going south toward Jefferson?

Mr. Guinyard
Well, he was between the alley and the driveway coming off Patton.

Mr. Ball
And he was across the Street from you, wasn't he?

Mr. Guinyard
No; he was on this side of the street.

Mr. Ball
You were on the east side of the street?

Mr. Guinyard
Yes, sir; and he was too--he was on the east side of the street until he got across our driveway and then he got onto the west side.

Mr. Ball
How close was he to you when you saw him?

Mr. Guinyard
I guess he was about 10 feet from me---maybe.

To describe this as being truly bizarre would be an understatement. How in God’s name could two witnesses - who allegedly witnessed the killer going down the street at the same time, contradict each other on which side of the street the killer was on? In fact, Guinyard claimed he was a mere 10 feet (3m) from the killer when he saw him! Also, be sure to check out this video clip where Callaway explains seeing the man across the street (the west side) during an interview with CBS. 

Secondly, consider the fact that Callaway claimed in his affidavit to the DPD (here) and during his testimony that he had called out to the man after he saw him. The following is from Callaway’s testimony.  

Mr. Ball
And did you say anything to him?

Mr. Callaway
Yes.

Mr. Ball
What did you say?

Mr. Callaway
I hollered "Hey, man, what the hell is going on?" When he was right along here.

Further on during his testimony:

Mr. Ball
What did he do when you hollered at him?

Mr. Callaway
He slowed his pace, almost halted for a minute. And he said something to me, which I could not understand. And then kind of shrugged his shoulders, and kept on going.

Now, as far as Callaway’s claim is concerned, Guinyard made absolutely no mention of Callaway calling out to the killer, let alone seeing the killer turn towards them and speak, in either his affidavit to the DPD (here), or during his testimony! In fact, Guinyard made the following claim concerning Callaway.

Mr. Guinyard
Mr. Callaway followed him, you see, we was together--he was my boss at that time and he followed him.

Mr. Ball
Callaway?

Mr. Guinyard
Yes; trying to see which way was he going.

Mr. Ball
And then, which way did he go after he got to Jefferson?

Mr. Guinyard
He went west on Jefferson--on the right-hand side---going west.

Mr. Ball
And what did Callaway do?

Mr. Guinyard
He turned around and run back to the street and we helped load the policeman in the ambulance.

Although Guinyard’s explanation is somewhat ambiguous, he seems to be implying that Callaway followed the killer on foot after he passed their location. The problem is that Callaway made absolutely no mention of following him on foot – despite having claimed he hollered at him, and saw him look towards him and speak to him. As a matter of fact, Callaway went searching for the killer with cab driver William Scoggins, in Scoggins’ cab.

Furthermore, Callaway actually claimed he told a man named B.D Searcy (who also worked at Harris bros auto sales) to follow the killer, but Searcy refused. It’s also important to keep in mind that when Joseph Ball asked Guinyard if all the men in the line-up with Oswald were the same colour (complexion) – incredibly, Guinyard replied that they weren’t! Of course, this is completely ridiculous, as all four of the men in the line-up were white.

The following is from Guinyard’s testimony:

Mr. Ball
Were they all about the same color?

Mr. Guinyard
No, sir; they wasn't all about the same color.

Mr. Ball
All about the same color?

Mr. Guinyard
No, sir; they wasn't all about the same color.

To summarise, what we have with Sam Guinyard as a witness, is a man who claimed the killer was on the same side of the street with him when he saw him – even though Callaway said he was on the opposite side of the street. A man who made no mention of Callaway hollering to the killer, and seeing him look towards them and speak – even though Callaway said the killer did. Guinyard also claimed that the line-up participants weren’t “all about the same colour” – despite the fact that they were all white men.

Now, although Guinyard did identify the light gray jacket (Ce162) as the one the killer was wearing when he passed by him, he also claimed he saw the killer wearing the dark brown shirt which Oswald was wearing when arrested – even though Callaway claimed he couldn’t see the brown shirt!

From the testimony of Sam Guinyard:

Mr. Ball
Sam, I'll show you an exhibit here, which is a piece of clothing and which is marked Commission Exhibit No. 150. Have you ever seen this before?

Mr. Guinyard
Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball
When and where?

Mr. Guinyard
In Oak Cliff.

Mr. Ball
Did you ever see anybody wearing it?

Mr. Guinyard
Yes, sir.

Mr. Ball.
Who?
Mr. Guinyard
Oswald.

Mr. Ball
Where?

Mr. Guinyard
Oak Cliff.

From the testimony of Ted Callaway:

Mr. Ball
I show you a shirt, 150. Does it look anything like the shirt he had on under the jacket?

Mr. Callaway
Sir, when I saw him he didn't have--I couldn't see this shirt. I saw--he had it open. That shirt was open, and I could see his white T-shirt underneath.

Given all the problems with Sam Guinyard, he should not be considered a reliable witness. In fact, I don’t believe Guinyard actually saw Tippit’s killer. However, I do believe he followed Callaway to 10th and Patton. In my opinion, Guinyard was coaxed into identifying Oswald as the killer by the DPD - to help them bolster their case against Oswald. If you want evidence that this was the case, then just consider the following from Callaway’s testimony concerning the line-up he had attended with Guinyard.

Mr. Ball
Tell us what happened.

Mr. Callaway
We first went into the room. There was Jim Leavelle, the detective, Sam Guinyard, and then this bus driver and myself. We waited down there for probably 20 or 30 minutes. And Jim told us, "When I show you these guys, be sure, take your time, see if you can make a positive identification."

Mr. Ball
Had you known him before?

Mr. Callaway
No. And he said, "We want to be sure, we want to try to wrap him up real tight on killing this officer. We think he is the same one that shot the President. But if we can wrap him up tight on killing this officer, we have got him." So they brought four men in. I stepped to the back of the room, so I could kind of see him from the same distance which I had seen him before. And when he came out, I knew him.

Honestly, what more evidence could one require? As for how they coaxed Guinyard into identifying Oswald, consider the fact that Guinyard was an African American. Many of the innocent people who the DPD had incarcerated were African American, such as James Lee Woodward – who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit (see here). Hence, the DPD could have threatened to put Guinyard in jail if he didn’t co-operate.

Let’s now return to Ted Callaway. Following the shooting of Officer Tippit, Callaway allegedly provided DPD Officer H.W Summers a description of the suspect. At approximately 1:34 pm, Summers’ broadcast the description on channel 1 of the DPD radio. See below.

“Might can give you some additional information. I got an eye-ball witness to the get-away man. That suspect in this shooting is a white male, twenty-seven, five feet eleven, a hundred sixty-five, black wavy hair, fair complected, wearing a light grey Eisenhower-type jacket, dark trousers and a white shirt, and (. . . ?). Last seen running on the north side of the street from Patton, on Jefferson, on East Jefferson. And he was apparently armed with a 32 dark-finish automatic pistol which he had in his right hand.”

As we can see, Callaway’s description of the killer is similar to Oswald’s. However, Callaway claimed the killer had black wavy hair – whereas Oswald did not have black wavy hair. It’s also interesting to note that Callaway allegedly informed summers that the killer was armed with what appeared to be a 32 calibre dark finish automatic pistol. Yet, Oswald was allegedly arrested at the Theatre with a 38 calibre revolver.

Furthermore, Callaway described the jacket the killer was wearing as being a “light grey Eisenhower type jacket” – which does match the description of the jacket the killer discarded at the parking lot behind the Texaco Service station. It should also be noted that when shown the jacket during his testimony, Callaway made the following claim during his testimony.

Mr. Ball
I have a jacket here Commission's Exhibit No. 162. Does this look anything like the jacket that the man had on that you saw across the street with a gun?

Mr. Callaway
Yes; it sure does. Yes, that is the same type jacket. Actually, I thought it had a little more tan to it.

Mr. Ball
Same type?

Mr. Callaway
Yes

Although Callaway claimed during his testimony that he thought “it had a little more tan to it”, he nevertheless accurately described it to DPD Officer H.W Summers on the day of the assassination. However, what makes me seriously question Callaway’s veracity as a witness is the following statement from the testimony of Domingo Benavides.

Mr. Benavides
And so Ted then got in the taxicab and the taxicab came to a halt and he asked me which way he went. I told him he went down Patton Street toward the office, and come to find out later Ted had already seen him go by there.

Mr. Belin
Did Ted tell you later he had seen him go by?

Mr. Benavides
Yes; then we had a colored porter [Sam Guinyard] that said he-had seen him go by.

This is truly bizarre. If Callaway had actually seen the killer go down Patton Street, as he claimed, then why on Earth would he need to ask Benavides which way the killer went? Well, maybe because he didn’t actually see the killer! Now, Benavides did claim that Callaway told him later on that he had seen the killer. However, if he actually had, then he wouldn’t need to ask Benavides which way the killer went.

Although there are some who will argue that Benavides was either mistaken or lying, I honestly don’t see how he could have been mistaken, or why he would have lied. Also, consider that in his affidavit to the DPD, Callaway claimed that he heard “some shots”, but then during his interview with Secret Service agent John J. Giuffre (see here, page 4), claimed that he heard five shots. Now, although by “some shots” Callaway could have meant five shots, his latter claim should nevertheless be treated with caution.  

Considering all of the above problems with Callaway, his identification of Oswald should also be considered suspect. Furthermore, as researcher Gil Jesus has explained here, both Callaway and Guinyard apparently gave their sworn affidavits to the DPD before they viewed the line-up!

On a final note, the distinct possibility exists that the description of the killer was actually given to Officer H.W Summers by B.D Searcy. Although there is no proof for this, given the likelihood that Callaway and Guinyard never saw the killer- and were coaxed into identifying the killer as Oswald by the DPD, we should keep this possibility in mind. The question also remains as to why Searcy never attended a line-up, and was never called to testify before the Warren Commission.

William Scoggins

William Scoggins was the cab driver who witnessed the Tippit murder inside his cab, parked on the south east corner of the 10th and Patton Street intersection. As is the case with every other witness who identified Oswald as Tippit’s murderer, his identification is also riddled with problems.

Scoggins attended the fourth and final line-up of Oswald, which was on the day following the assassination at 2:15 pm. At the line-up with Scoggins, was William Whaley - the cab driver who allegedly drove Oswald to his rooming house following the assassination (see here for my discussion of this issue). Scoggins allegedly identified Oswald as the killer from the line-up. Oswald was in the number three position of the four man line-up.

Following the shooting, Scoggins exited his cab and ducked down as the killer went by him on the sidewalk. As the killer passed him, Scoggins heard him mumble words to the effect “Poor dumb/damn cop”. Scoggins informed the Warren Commission during his testimony that he had seen the killer’s face as he went passed his cab. See below.

Mr. Belin
When you first saw him, I believe you said you saw the man's face, or did you not say that?

Mr. Scoggins
I couldn't see the man's face from there. I saw the face when he passed the cab.

Now, although Scoggins stated during his Warren Commission testimony that he identified Oswald as the killer, during an interview with FBI agent Richard T. Rabideau on 25/11/63 (See here, page 8), he claimed that he did not believe the killer was identical with Oswald! What makes this claim bizarre, is that in his affidavit to the DPD (here), he claimed that he would be able to recognise the killer if he ever saw him again.

Also, consider the fact that Scoggins claimed the killer was holding the gun in his left hand when he saw him, yet other witnesses such as the Davis sister-in-laws, Ted Callaway, and even Helen Markham claimed the killer was holding it in his right hand.

Mr. Belin
Did he have anything in his hand?

Mr. Scoggins
He had a pistol in his left hand.

As was the case with every other witness I have discussed previously, Scoggins was shown the light gray jacket which the killer had allegedly discarded. The following is what Scoggins told Counsel David Belin concerning the jacket.

Mr. Belin
Mr. Scoggins, handing you Exhibit 162, have you ever seen any jacket on any person in that area of East 10th and Patton that looks familiar to, or looks anything similar to this exhibit, or does this appear to be lighter or darker than the jacket?

Mr. Scoggins
It appears to be a little lighter, but the sleeves look familiar all right, the type of sleeve. He had on a jacket, the type of sleeve of that, but I thought it was a little darker.

As we can see, Scoggins claimed Ce162 “appeared to be a little lighter” than the jacket the killer was wearing. The closet Scoggins could come to identifying the jacket, was claiming that “the sleeves look familiar all right”. Yet, this is hardly a positive identification. Also, are we honestly to believe that Scoggins could recognise Oswald’s face when he couldn’t even identify the jacket the killer was wearing? Quite frankly, I don’t think so.

As far as the line-up was concerned, Oswald was put into the line-up with two teenagers and a Mexican. Not only was this the most unfair line-up against Oswald, but any positive identification of Oswald as the killer was compromised. Just consider the following excerpt from William Whaley’s testimony.

“….Then they took me down in their room where they have their show-ups, and all, and me and this other taxi driver who was with me, sir, we sat in the room awhile and directly they brought in six men, young teenagers, and they all were handcuffed together. Well, they wanted me to pick out my passenger. At that time he had on a pair of black pants and white T-shirt, that is all he had on. But you could have picked him out without identifying him by just listening to him because he was bawling out the policeman, telling them it wasn't right to put him in line with these teenagers and all of that and they asked me which one and I told them. It was him all right, the same man.”

The fact that Oswald was arguing with the Police for putting him into the line-up with the teenagers etc., and was overhead by Whaley (and by all likelihood, Scoggins as well), meant that any identification of him as the Tippit murderer was compromised.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Scoggins had heard the killer mumble words to the effect “Poor dumb/damn cop”. Undoubtedly, Scoggins would have heard Oswald’s voice on TV following the assassination. Yet, he never mentioned during his testimony that the killer’s voice sounded like Oswald’s. In fact, he was never even asked during his testimony if the killer’s voice sounded like Oswald’s! See below.

Mr. Belin
Did you hear the man say anything?

Mr. Scoggins
I heard him mutter something like, "poor damn cop," or "poor dumb cop." He said that over twice, and the last, I don't know whether the middle word was "damn" or "dumb," but anyway, he muttered that twice.

Now, Scoggins might not have been able to identify the voice due to the fact the killer had only mumbled the words. Still, if Scoggins was able to hear the killer’s voice, then he most likely would have been able to recognise it.

To summarise, what we have with William Scoggins is a witness who claimed in his affidavit to the DPD that he would be able to recognise the killer if he saw him again, but informed the FBI that he didn’t recognise Oswald as the killer – only to claim several months later during his testimony that he did. He also claimed the killer had the gun in his left hand, whereas other witness who saw the gun said it was in the killer’s right hand.

Scoggins also failed to positively identify the light gray jacket as the one the killer was wearing, and failed to recognise Oswald’s voice as being identical with the killer’s. Let’ also not forget that the identification of Oswald from the line-up was compromised. Considering all of the above, Scoggins identification of Oswald as Tippit’s murderer should also be considered suspect.  

Let me just add that Scoggins also stated during his testimony that he had allegedly overheard a conversation that William Whaley had with other cab drivers concerning Oswald. See below.

Mr. Dulles
Would you recall what he said as to where he picked up the man and where he took him?

Mr. Scoggins
He said he picked him up at the Greyhound bus and carried him to a neighbourhood, no particular address, on North Beckley, the 500 block.

Despite Scoggins' claim, researchers such as Lee Farley have demonstrated that William Whaley never took Oswald towards his rooming house inside his cab (see here for my own discussion of this issue). It is therefore quite likely that Scoggins was lying about over hearing the conversation Whaley allegedly had with other cab drivers.

Other witnesses

Before concluding this article, I will discuss the remaining witnesses who identified Oswald as Tippit’s killer. These witnesses include Mary Brock, William Arthur Smith, Harold Russell, and Warren Reynolds. Other witnesses who saw the killer, such as B.M Patterson, L.J Lewis and Robert Brock, were unable to identify Oswald as the killer.

Robert Brock was employed as a mechanic at Ballew’s Texaco service station – operated by Roger Ballew. Both Brock and his wife, Mary Brock, observed Tippit’s killer enter the Service station, and go into the parking lot located behind it. The FBI interviewed Mary brock and Robert Brock on 21/1/64 (see here and here). Mary Brock identified Oswald as the man she saw enter the Service station. However, Robert Brock didn’t identify Oswald.

I should note that although Roger Ballew was at the Service station when the Tippit killer entered it, he did not see him. Now although Mary Brock did identify Oswald as the man she had seen, bear in mind that she was interviewed a full two months following the incident. Therefore, her recollection of the man’s appearance should not be considered totally reliable.

As Tippit’s killer arrived at the Patton/Jefferson Street intersection, he was seen by Warren Reynolds, B.M Patterson, L.J Lewis, and Harold Russell. At the time of the shooting, all four men were standing at the parking lot of Johnny Reynolds’ used car lot, located on the south east corner of the Patton/Jefferson Street intersection. Like the Brocks and Roger Ballew, these witnesses weren’t interviewed by the FBI until late January 1964. Reynolds and Patterson followed the killer into Ballew’s Texaco Service station, after which they lost sight of him.

Warren Reynolds’ was interviewed by the FBI on 21/1/64, and advised them that although the man he followed did resemble Oswald, he hesitated to positively identify him as the man he saw. As I mentioned previously, on 23/1/64 (a mere two days after his interview with the FBI) Reynolds was shot in the head at point blank range by a rifle, but had miraculously survived. During his testimony to the Warren Commission (on 22/7/64), Reynolds’s was now positive the man he had followed was Oswald.

Now is it really just a coincidence that just two days after informing the FBI that he could not positively identify Oswald as the killer, Reynolds’s was shot in the head and almost killed? To be honest, I’m not sure what to believe. However, despite what one might believe, Reynolds’s latter claim to the Warren Commission should be ignored, as no one can know for certain whether the attempt on his life was related to his failure to positively identify Oswald or not.

The man the DPD believed was responsible for shooting Reynolds’s, was Darrell Wayne garner. Incidentally, Reynolds’s informed Counsel Wesley Liebeler during his testimony, that he believed there was a connection between his shooting and the fact that he had witnessed Tippit’s killer. See below.

Mr. Liebeler
For the purpose of our investigation, I mean if there were any connection between your shooting on January 23 and Oswald's arrest for the assassination, we want to know about it. That is perfectly clear, is it not?

Mr. Reynolds
Yes.

Mr. Liebeler
I am asking you if you have any facts that would tie it up.

Mr. Reynolds
I have no facts. I just have my own beliefs.

Mr. Liebeler
And you do believe that there is some relation, do you?

Mr. Reynolds
Yes

As far as B.M Patterson is concerned, the following is what Patterson allegedly informed the FBI when they interviewed him.

“Patterson was shown a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald at which time he identified said photograph as being identical with the individual he had observed on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, running south on Patton Avenue with a weapon in his hand.”

However, in a sworn affidavit by Patterson provided to the Warren Commission following his FBI interview, he claimed that he could not recall being shown a photograph of Oswald by the FBI! See below.

“In regard to the last paragraph of this [FBI] report, I do not at this late date specifically recall having been exhibited a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, at the time of the interview of January 22, 1964, and desire that this paragraph be deleted as an official reporting of that interview.”

It appears that the FBI agents who interviewed Patterson were “mistaken” about showing Patterson a photograph of Oswald. As for L.J Lewis, he had failed to identify Oswald as the man he saw. The following is from the FBI interview with Lewis:

“Lewis was shown a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, New Orleans PD No. 112723, dated August 9, 1963, at which time Mr. Lewis advised due to the distance from which he observed the individual he would hesitate to state whether the individual was identical with Oswald.”

Lewis confirmed the above claim in his sworn affidavit to the Warren Commission. As for Harold Russell, he informed the FBI that he had identified Oswald as the man he saw. However, keep in mind that Russell’s identification (like Mary Brock’s) was made two months after he saw the Tippit killer, and should therefore not be considered totally reliable.

Finally, there was also William Arthur Smith. Smith was visiting his friend Jimmy Burt, when he heard the shots and observed the killer run away from the murder scene. Smith claimed during his Warren Commission testimony that the man he saw run away from the Tippit murder scene was Oswald. However, during his interview with the FBI, he did not identify Oswald as the murderer. The following is from Smith’s interview with the FBI.

Smith advised that he did not believe it was Oswald when he first saw Oswald on TV because it looked like Oswald had light colored hair. He was exhibited a photograph of Oswald and stated that the individual he observed had dark hair like the New Orleans Police Department photograph of Oswald”

As I hope you have come to realise, the witnesses who identified Oswald as Tippit’s killer should not be considered reliable (not that lone gunman zealots would ever admit to it). It is my firm opinion that once Oswald was killed, the aforementioned witnesses were coaxed into identifying Oswald as Tippit’s murderer by both the DPD and the FBI.

If Oswald wasn’t found guilty of murdering Tippit, then the case against him for murdering the President would have been substantially weaker. Now let’s get real, if Oswald was not found guilty for assassinating the President, the DPD and FBI would have been left with the near impossible task of finding the true assassin(s) of President Kennedy. Keep in mind that by the time Oswald was arrested inside the Texas Theatre at approximately 1:50 pm, the true assassins were long gone from Dealey Plaza.

Now, is there any rational person who actually believes the DPD and the FBI would inform the U.S people (and the entire world for that matter) that they were unable to find the assassin(s) of the President? If you ask me, there’s no chance in hell they would!

Let me conclude by stating that the FBI deliberately ignored interviewing witnesses such as Aquila Clemmons, and Frank Wright – both of whom claimed they saw two men murder Tippit. The fact that the FBI ignored interviewing them is proof that they were only concerned with convicting Oswald for the murder.

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