[Please note: The following discussion of the potential arguments against Gerald Hill’s complicity in framing Oswald for the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit was originally intended to be a part of this writer’s essay on Hill’s complicity. The essay can be read here on the CTKA.net website].
Although the evidence discussed in this writer’s essay demonstrates that DPD Sgt. Gerald Hill framed Oswald for the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit, there are a number of question marks concerning his complicity. For example, some might ask why Hill wouldn’t deny having possession of “Oswald’s” revolver? As stated previously in the essay, Hill claimed that he had given the revolver to Lt. T.L. Baker of the homicide and Robbery bureau. Secondly, he was filmed showing the revolver (WCE 143) and the six live rounds inside the cylinder to reporters shortly following Oswald’s arrest. Therefore, Hill probably realised that if he lied about having possession of the revolver, Baker, the reporters, and the news footage could have proven that he was lying, and as a result, he could have come under suspicion of framing Oswald. Hill died on July 29, 2011. According to his obituary, his grade point average at the DPD academy was “…the highest ever till a few years ago” (click here to read his obituary). If this is accurate, then Hill was certainly no idiot.
Others may argue that if Hill was guilty of framing Oswald, he would also have coerced Officer Ray Hawkins (who was his subordinate) into keeping quiet about hearing him (Hill) say that he had “Oswald’s” gun. Although this is certainly a valid argument, the fact nevertheless remains that Hawkins said that Hill shouted out “I’ve got the gun.” When Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he denied seeing Oswald holding onto a gun during the scuffle inside the Theater (WC Volume VII, page 52). Whilst some might believe that if Hill framed Oswald, he undoubtedly would have said that he had seen Oswald with the gun. However, consider Hill may have thought that by denying he had seen Oswald holding the gun; the Warren Commission wouldn’t suspect him of framing Oswald. After all, it would have been in Hill’s best interest to not come under suspicion.
Perhaps one of the biggest arguments against Hill’s complicity is that he reported over the DPD radio that; “The shells at the scene indicate that the suspect is armed with an automatic 0.38, rather than a pistol.” There can be no doubt that Hill made this transmission, as the recordings of the DPD radio communications (which can be heard here on John McAdam’s website) shows that Hill was the Officer who made the aforementioned transmission. As this writer will discuss in another article on this blog, Hill was most certainly lying when he made the aforementioned transmission over the radio. The question is why? Consider that if Hill framed Oswald for Tippit’s murder with the revolver (WC 143), the last thing he would have wanted was for the DPD to suspect he was involved in the murder of one of his fellow officers. Therefore, Hill may have thought that by reporting over the radio that the spent shell casings at the murder scene indicated to him that Tippit was killed by an automatic, his fellow Officers wouldn’t have suspected him of framing Oswald.
Many conspiracy advocates are of the belief that WCE 143 was not the revolver used to kill Tippit. However, if Hill framed Oswald for Tippit’s murder, then it makes absolutely no sense that he would have WCE 143 in his possession as opposed to the actual gun used to kill Tippit. Secondly, it was determined by ballistically comparing the bullets removed from Tippit’s head and body to bullets test fired from WCE 143, that it most likely was the revolver used to kill him. As explained in part two of this writer’s review of With Malice (which can be read here), on the night of the assassination, the DPD released only one of the bullets from Tippit’s body (WCE 602) to FBI agent Vincent E. Drain (see under the subheading VIII: Proof Positive). After the bullet was examined in the FBI lab in Washington D.C. on the day following the assassination, it was determined that WCE 143; “…is among those weapons which produce general rifling impressions of the type found on [the bullet]” (WCE 2003).
As also explained in part two of this Writer’s review of With Malice (under the same subheading), the DPD did not release the four spent shell casing allegedly found in the vicinity of the Tippit murder scene to the FBI until November 28, 1963. They also neglected to release two of the bullets removed from Tippit’s body, and the bullet removed from his head, to the FBI on the night of the assassination (WCE 603-605). Captain Will Fritz told the FBI that the reason the remaining three bullets were not released to the FBI on the night of the assassination is because a record of their location had not been made. However, as explained in part two of this writer’s review of With Malice (again under the subheading VIII: Proof Positive), Fritz is not to be considered credible, and that the remaining three bullets were probably retained because the DPD was concerned that the FBI might have determined that a different gun was used to kill Tippit.
When FBI agent Courtlandt Cunningham testified before the Warren Commission on April 1, 1964, he claimed that through a ballistics examination of the four bullets removed from Tippit’s body and head, he determined that all four were 0.38 special bullets (WC Volume III, page 475). Cunningham also explained that all four of the spent shell casings allegedly found in the vicinity of the Tippit murder scene were 0.38 specials (ibid, page 465). He then went on to explain that the bullets removed from Tippit’s body and head were fired from a gun barrel with five lands and groves with a right twist; just like the barrel of WCE 143, and that the widths of the lands and grooves on the bullet surfaces were identical to the ones produced by the barrel of WCE 143 (ibid, pages 475 and 484). Although Cunningham claimed that in his opinion, all four of the spent shell casings were fired from WCE 143 “to the exclusion of all other weapons”, he nevertheless claimed that he couldn’t determine if any of the four bullets had been fired from WCE 143 (ibid, pages 466 and 475).
According to Cunningham; “[WCE 602] was too mutilated. There were not sufficient microscopic marks remaining on the surface of this bullet, due to the mutilation, to determine whether or not it had been fired from [WCE 143]” and that “[WCE 603- 605] do bear microscopic marks for comparison purposes, but it was not possible from an examination and comparison of these bullets to determine whether or not they had been fired – these bullets themselves – had been fired from one weapon, or whether or not they had been fired from Oswald’s revolver” (ibid, page 475). Cunningham’s findings were shared by FBI agents Robert A. Frazier, and Charles L. Killion (WC Volume VII, pages 590 and 591). Joseph D. Nicol, the superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal identification and investigation for the state of Illinois; who independently examined the bullets removed from Tippit’s body and head, also shared Cunningham’s findings (WC Volume III, page 512). However, there was one exception.
When Nicol testified before the Warren Commission, he claimed that he found “sufficient individual characteristics” on WCE 603, which led him to conclude that it had been fired through the barrel of WCE 143 (ibid). The individual characteristics to which Nicol was referring to were striations on the bullet which he claimed were caused by the barrel of WCE 143 (ibid). But as even Dale Myers admits in his book, Nicol’s finding that the bullet designated as WCE 603 was fired through the barrel of WCE 143 was not shared by any of the other eight ballistics experts who examined the bullets (With Malice, Chapter 8). This writer should also point out that ballistics experts for the HSCA also came to the same conclusion as FBI agent Courtlandt Cunningham (HSCA Report, Volume VII, page 377). However, they also noted that all four of the bullets bore signs of gas erosion; which is caused by the hot gases produced during the burning of the powder used to propel the bullets when the trigger of the gun is pulled (ibid, pages 377 and 412).
According to the report; “The [firearms] panel attributed [the gas erosion] to the firing of either undersized bullets through the [WCE] 143 barrel or the barrel of the revolver having become oversized due to wear and deterioration” (ibid). The reader should keep in mind that the diameter of the barrel of WCE 143 was slightly bigger than the diameter of the 0.38 special bullets, as the barrel was originally designed for firing 0.38 Smith and Wesson bullets which have a bigger diameter (WC Volume III, page 456). Whilst some might argue that the lack of consistency between the microscopic scratches on the surfaces of the bullets and the barrel of WCE 143 means that it was not fired through it, Cunningham told the Warren Commission that; “Each time [WCE 143] was fired, the bullet would seem to pass down the barrel in a different way, which could be due to the slightly undersized bullets in the oversized 0.38 [Smith and Wesson] barrel. It would cause an erratic passage down the barrel, and thereby, cause inconsistent characteristic marks to be impressed or scratched [onto] the surface of the bullets” (ibid, page 475).
Monty Lutz of the HSCA’s firearm panel testified that the aforementioned problem can also be explained by the gas erosion of the bullet surfaces (HSCA Report, Volume I, page 486). The HSCA firearms panel were also unable to positively identify the bullets removed from Tippit’s body and head due to the “…extensive damage to the bullets…The panel attributed this to the effects of impact, penetration and wiping” (ibid, Volume VII, page ). Suffice it to say; the evidence discussed above strongly suggests that WCE 143 was the gun used to kill Tippit. But could the DPD or the FBI have switched the bullets removed from the head and body of Tippit, for ones which they fired from WCE 143, to ensure that Oswald would be found guilty of killing Tippit? As discussed in part two of this writer’s review of With Malice (under the subheading VII: Proof positive), the evidence indicates that the DPD switched the spent shell casings discovered in the vicinity of the Tippit murder scene with ones which they fired through WCE 143, to ensure that the spent shell casings they delivered to the FBI on November 28, 1963, would be identified as having been fired from it.
But if the DPD fired the bullet which they released to the FBI on the night of the assassination (WCE 602) through WCE 143 to incriminate Oswald for Tippit’s murder, then it stands to reason that they would also have substituted the four spent shell casings found in the vicinity of the Tippit murder scene, for ones which they fired from WCE 143. If this was the case, it makes little sense that they wouldn’t have released the substituted spent shell casings to the FBI on the very same night. As for the FBI, even if we are to believe that the reason the DPD delayed the release of the remaining three bullets to the FBI because a record of their location had not been made, it is entirely possible that the FBI may have substituted all four of the bullets for ones which they fired through WCE 143; and then used the excuse that they could not positively identify the bullets as being fired through the gun due to the fact that the 0.38 special bullets were fired through a slightly oversized barrel.
But in spite of this possibility, it is nevertheless a fact that Gerald Hill was filmed showing reporters WCE 143 shortly following Oswald’s arrest; and that it makes very little (if any) sense that he would frame Oswald with that gun if a different gun had been used to kill Tippit. There is very little doubt in this writer’s mind that Tippit’s killer deliberately discarded the spent shell casings, to ensure that when they would be ballistically examined by experts, they would have determined that the spent shell casings had been fired through WCE 143. If Hill had planned in advance that he would report over the DPD radio that the spent shell casings were fired from an automatic in order to divert suspicion away from himself, then perhaps the plan was for Tippit’s killer to discard them all in a small area, so that Hill could then use that as an excuse for why he “believed” the spent shell casings were fired from an automatic, if he were asked about his misidentification.
Perhaps in his haste to leave the Tippit murder scene, Tippit’s killer simply forgot to discard all of the spent shell casings in a small area near the front passenger side of Tippit’s car from where he fired the gun. Most researchers are also aware of the fact that DPD officer Howell W. Summers reported over the DPD radio that he had an “eyeball witness” who thought that Tippit’s killer was armed with a 0.32 caliber dark finish automatic (WCE 705/1974). Although it is commonly believed that the witness in question was Ted Callaway, as explained in part 1 of this writer’s review of With Malice, there is very good reason to doubt that Callaway ever observed Tippit’s killer; and that he was coerced by the DPD into identifying Oswald as the killer (see under the subheading VII: A bird in the hand). This writer also advocated the possibility that the witness in question was B.D. Searcy, who worked for the Harris Bros. auto sales under Callaway (WC Volume III, page 351).
Whilst many conspiracy advocates have used the identification of the gun as an automatic by the witness as evidence that Tippit’s killer was actually armed with an automatic, the witness could easily have been mistaken depending on the distance from which he observed the gun, and because he may have only caught a glimpse of it. This may have been because the witness in question was more concerned about what the man with the gun looked like. Others will undoubtedly argue that if Oswald didn’t carry WCE 143 into the Theater with him, he would have shouted out at the news reporters (when he had the opportunity to do so) that he didn’t have a gun when he was arrested, and that he was being framed. However, the truth is that nobody knows exactly what was going through Oswald’s mind as he was paraded before the media after being accused of killing both Tippit and the President.
In this writer’s opinion, there are several possible explanations for why Oswald didn’t claim that he was being framed and wasn’t carrying a gun on his person when arrested. For one thing, Oswald probably thought that it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to accuse the DPD of framing him whilst he was under their custody and to wait until his forthcoming trial in court to make such an accusation through his defence counsel. After all, Oswald probably would have realised that if he did make such an accusation, it wouldn’t have done him any good, as the DPD would have denied the accusation without even the slightest hesitation. Furthermore, Oswald may have thought that the news reporters would simply have scoffed at him for accusing the DPD of framing him.
It is also not beyond the realm of possibility to believe that due to the shock of being arrested and then accused of killing a Police Officer (and betrayed by those who lured him to the Texas theater), and due to the stress, embarrassment, and humiliation of being paraded before the media, Oswald was not able to think clearly enough to deny carrying a gun and to explain that he was being framed. Although it may be easy for researchers who haven’t been in Oswald’s place to dismiss the aforementioned reasons as being ridiculous, the truth is that these same researchers cannot state as a fact that such is the case. There may also be another explanation for why Oswald didn’t proclaim before the media that he was being framed and didn’t carry a gun into the Theater. As the inimitable Australian researcher Greg Parker has discussed on his research forum, Oswald likely had Asperger’s syndrome (see the thread entitled: Why Oswald was more likely to have suffered Asperger’s than Dyslexia). The reader is strongly encouraged to read through Parker’s discussion.
In his online book The complete guide to Asperger’s syndrome (which can be read here), Dr. Tony Attwood writes that; “Increased stress levels, especially when trying to engage in a conversation in a crowded area, can affect the language comprehension and verbal fluency of the person with Asperger’s syndrome” (page 224). As Attwood also writes; “Verbal fluency is affected by anxiety…being lost for words or even mute may be due to high level of anxiety. Certainly some adults with Asperger’s syndrome are prone to stuttering when anxious. Here the problem is not strictly impairment in language skills, but the effect of emotion on the ability to speak” (pages 223 and 224). There can be little doubt that Oswald would have been feeling a high level of anxiety as he was paraded before the media. Therefore, if Oswald had Asperger’s syndrome (as Parker’s research indicates) then this could also explain why he didn’t proclaim before the news reporters that he was being framed, and that he wasn’t carrying a gun when he was arrested.
The reader should keep in mind that all five of the officers who escorted Oswald to DPD headquarters following his arrest claimed that Oswald admitted to having WCE 143 with him inside the Theater en route to Police headquarters (Dallas Municipal archives, Box 2, Folder 7, Items 12 and 28), (WC Volume VII, pages 40 and 61). In fact, detective Paul Bentley made this claim during his filmed interview with WFAA-TV on the day following the assassination (see here). But as discussed in part 2 of this writer’s review of With Malice, the DPD needed Oswald to be found guilty for Tippit’s murder, to make it appear as though he was a cold blooded murderer who was also capable of assassinating the President. Whilst some might argue that this is a ridiculous notion, consider that with the President of the United States of America arrogantly gunned down in broad daylight and in full public view; and with the entire United States (and the world for that matter) anxiously waiting to learn who was responsible for that heinous act, the DPD needed someone to be found guilty! Otherwise, they would have faced severe shame and humiliation after telling the public that they didn’t know who was responsible.
As many researchers such as Jim DiEugenio have pointed out, during the tenure of Henry Wade as the district attorney of Dallas, the DPD were responsible for helping to convict people for crimes which they didn’t commit (readers are strongly encouraged to read through this article on the corruption of both Wade and the DPD). There can be little doubt that Tippit’s killer would have resembled Oswald somewhat, in the hope that any would be witnesses would be able to tell the DPD that Oswald was Tippit’s killer. Given the information the DPD undoubtedly had from Gerald Hill that Oswald was allegedly carrying WCE 143 when he was arrested inside the Theater; and the fact that he left the TSBD shortly following the assassination, the DPD could then argue that Oswald shot Tippit in cold blood to avoid being arrested for the President’s assassination.
But if the DPD had coerced Bentley and others into claiming that Oswald admitted to carrying the gun into the Theater as they escorted him to DPD headquarters, then why weren’t they also coerced into claiming that Oswald admitted to shooting Tippit? Consider that if Oswald really did admit to killing Tippit, there can be no doubt that the media would have known about his confession on the day of the assassination; and that it would have made the headlines. The DPD (and Hill for that matter) must have realised that they didn’t have a legitimate excuse for why they didn’t inform the media about Oswald’s “confession” to killing Tippit on the day of the assassination, and that this is the reason why Bentley and others weren’t coerced into claiming that Oswald confessed to killing Tippit. But since the DPD needed Oswald to have at least admitted to carrying WCE 143 with him inside the Theater, Bentley and others were coerced into claiming that this was the case.
It is also worthwhile keeping in mind that in his book, Tony Attwood also writes that; “Experience has indicated that people with Asperger’s who have committed a [criminal] offence have often been quick to confess and justify their actions” (page 339). According to Attwood, this is because “They cannot understand what all the fuss is about; their actions were logical, justified and appropriate and described without any associated emotions or remorse” (ibid). In fact, Attwood also writes that; “The overwhelming majority of people with Asperger’s syndrome are law-abiding citizens, often with very clear and conventional opinions as to what is morally and legally right and wrong” (page 335). Therefore, if Oswald had Asperger’s syndrome; and if he really did assassinate President Kennedy and then kill Tippit, he likely would have confessed to committing the crimes.
When Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he claimed that he told the FBI that he knew Jack Ruby prior to the assassination (WC Volume VII, page 63). The majority of conspiracy advocates believe that Ruby was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, and was used to kill Oswald. Commonly cited reasons for Oswald’s murder include the following: Oswald was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President in some capacity, and was killed to prevent him from possibly revealing the names of the conspirators etc. Another belief is that because Oswald was framed for the assassination of the President, he was killed to prevent him from possibly being acquitted in court. Whilst the reader may believe that Hill wouldn’t have told the FBI, and then the Warren Commission, that he knew Ruby if they were both involved in the assassination of the President, consider that Hill may have thought that by making such an admission, the FBI and the Warren Commission wouldn’t have suspected that he was involved with Ruby in the President’s assassination.
Although Hill told the FBI on November 25, 1963, that his “…association with Jack Ruby consisted strictly of contacts with Ruby on business matters,” former DPD Officer Harry Olsen (a man whose own actions on the day of the assassination have come under suspicion) told former FBI agent and investigator for Jim Garrison; William Turner, that Hill was the most frequent visitor to Ruby’s Carousel club (click here to read the interview), (WCD 4, page 309). As this writer has previously pointed out in the essay on Hill, it was Hill who informed the DPD as to the whereabouts of Harry Olsen after he left Dallas. It is therefore possible that after learning that Ruby was suspected of being involved in the assassination, Olsen may have told Turner that Hill was the most frequent visitor to the Carousel club to get back at him by making it appear as though Hill could have been involved in the assassination.
But if this truly was the case, then it stands to reason that Olsen would have told Turner that he suspected Hill of being involved in the assassination. With this in mind, it is this writer’s opinion that Olsen was probably being truthful when he told Turner that Hill was the most frequent visitor to the Carousel club. Some might argue that it is of no real significance that Ruby was acquainted with Hill, since he was acquainted with many DPD Officers. However, it is this writer’s opinion that Olsen’s claim is significant since Hill likely framed Oswald for Tippit’s murder, and since Ruby was the man who ultimately killed him. Most researchers of the assassination are also aware of the allegation that Oswald used a long paper sack to carry the rifle he allegedly used to assassinate the President, which the DPD purportedly discovered on the sixth floor of the TSBD next to the window from where the President was shot. As several researchers such as Ian Griggs and Pat Speer have shown, the DPD lied about discovering the sack next to the aforementioned window (click here to read Speer’s discussion of the alleged discovery on his website).
During his testimony before the Warren Commission, Hill denied seeing the long sack when he was on the sixth floor of the TSBD (WC Volume VII, page 65). Although some might argue that Hill surely would have stated that he had seen the sack if he was guilty of framing Oswald, such a belief assumes that every DPD Officer who was present on the sixth floor of the TSBD following the assassination was coerced into claiming that they had seen it. To give the reader an example of why this isn’t true, let’s consider the testimonies of detective Richard Sims, and his partner Elmer Boyd. Although Sims told the Warren Commission that he had seen the so-called sack, Boyd told the Commission; “I don’t believe I did” (ibid, pages 122 and 162). In fact, not even Captain Fritz claimed during his testimony before the Warren Commission that he had seen the so-called paper gun sack, stating instead that he wasn’t on the sixth floor of the TSBD when it was allegedly discovered there (WC Volume IV, page 220).
When Hill was interviewed by Bob Whitten of KCRA radio on the day of the assassination, he told Whitten that “…a gun was found on the sixth floor [of the TSBD] where it had been hidden; that – I have been told and I can’t verify this either way; it was an officer – it was made in Argentina” (WCD 1210, page 5). Unlike the majority of conspiracy advocates, it this writer’s belief that the Italian made Mannlicher Carcano rifle was the gun used to shoot the President from the sixth floor of the TSBD. Even if Hill was being truthful when he stated that another Officer told him that the rifle was made in Argentina, why would he state this on radio if he was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President, and if the Italian made Mannlicher Carcano rifle was used to shoot him? Again, we should consider the possibility that Hill may have only said this so that he wouldn’t be suspected of being involved in the President’s assassination.
On a final note, there is one other possible argument against Hill’s complicity this writer would like to address. According to Hill’s obituary; “[Hill] was also a Dallas County Constable and [during] the last 8 years of his life [he] worked with the security staff at the Duncanville High School. During all this time he served the community of Duncanville in the Lion's Club, Friends of the Duncanville Public Library and the Duncanville Community Theatre. He was a City Council Member and served on several boards. He was a long time active member at Duncanville's First Baptist Church.” Although some might argue that a man who was involved in the murder of one of his fellow Police Officers and in the framing of an innocent for that murder, couldn’t possibly have been involved in the above, it is entirely possible that Hill may have come to regret (for one reason or another) his involvement in the assassination, Tippit’s murder, and for framing Oswald. He may have thought that by partaking in the above, he would (in a way) make up for his past sins.