Monday, 30 June 2014

Gerald Hill and the Tippit murder scene - Part 1


Continued from the essay entitled Gerald Hill and 1026 North Beckley on this blog:

A photograph taken by Dallas Morning News photographer Jack Beers, shows a man identified as assistant Dallas district attorney William Alexander, as he is about to enter a DPD squad car (see here). There can be little doubt that this was Sgt. Calvin “Bud” Owens unmarked squad car, as Owens told the Warren Commission that Alexander went with him to the Tippit murder scene. As this writer has stated previously, Hill told the Warren Commission that he went to the Tippit murder scene with Owens and Alexander, and that this was confirmed by Alexander. In the aforementioned photograph, a uniformed Officer is blocking the view of the front half of Owens’ car, and therefore, we are unable to see whether Hill was sitting in the front passenger seat. The photograph also fails to show any officer who bears a resemblance to Hill approaching the car. Although Hill could have been seated in the car by the time the photograph was taken, there are numerous problems with the notion that Hill went with Owens and Alexander to the Tippit murder scene.
When Hill was interviewed by Bob Whitten of KCRA radio shortly following Oswald’s arrest, he told Whitten that “That call came out [on Tippit’s shooting] – the acting Lieutenant in Oak Cliff and I were together standing [outside the TSBD] talking to [inspector J. Herbert Sawyer] and he ordered us – being that we had all the Police in town pulled down there on Elm Street – he ordered us to leave this investigation of the President’s shooting and go to Oak Cliff” (WCD 1210, page 3). When Owens testified before the Warren Commission, he claimed that he was indeed the acting Lieutenant of the DPD Oak Cliff substation on the day of the assassination (WC Volume VII, page 78). The important thing to keep in mind is that Hill made no mention of Alexander going to Oak Cliff with him. We should also keep in mind that during a press conference on the day of the assassination, Hill told reporters that he went to the Tippit murder scene with Owens, but neglected to mention that Alexander went with them (this can be heard here at about the 1 hour, 54 minute, 20 second mark).  

Hill also told reporters that he and Owens were instructed by inspector Sawyer to “…report to Oak Cliff and begin the investigation out there.” Finally, the reader should consider that in the report which Hill wrote out (on the day of the assassination) concerning Oswald’s arrest, he once again failed to mention that Alexander went to the Tippit murder scene with him and Owens (WCD 87, page 196), (WC Volume VII, pages 59 and 60). If Hill really did travel to the Tippit murder scene with Owens and Alexander, it seems incredibly odd to this writer that he wouldn’t have at least mentioned in his report that Alexander went with them. Let’s now look at what Hill told the Warren Commission. According to Hill; “I was talking to Inspector Sawyer, telling him what we found [on the sixth floor of the TSBD], when Sgt. C.B. Owens of Oak Cliff – he was senior sergeant out there that day, and actually acting Lieutenant – came up and wanted to know what we wanted him to do, being that he had been dispatched to the scene” (WC Volume VII, page 47).
As far as this writer is aware, there is no report by Owens amongst the files in the Dallas Municipal archives. Furthermore, there doesn’t appear to be any interview of Owens by the FBI or the USSS in which he explained who went with him to the Tippit murder scene. The reader should consider that Owens told the Warren Commission (when he testified on April, 9, 1964) “Before I arrived [at Elm and Houston], the squad was dispatched to pick up a man – an officer on Stemmons, who had a colored man, who had information regarding the shooting. Since I was close, I stopped and picked up a colored man, a lady and two children, and [took] them to Elm and Houston, and notified Inspector Sawyer of what I had. He informed me to send them to the sheriff's office where they had set up this interrogation room. I turned them over to a patrolman there with the instructions to take them over to the sheriff's office. I stayed with Inspector Sawyer until I was informed that there was a shooting in Oak Cliff involving a police officer (ibid, page 79).

According to the transcripts of the DPD radio communications, Owens reported that he had the man in his car sometime between 12:55 pm and 1:04 pm (WC Volume XXI, Sawyer Exhibit No. A), (WCE 705/1974). As we can see, Owens told the Warren Commission that he informed Sawyer about the man who had information concerning the shooting, and that he was told to take them to the Sheriff’s Office. However, Hill made no mention of this during his testimony. As a matter of fact, Hill’s testimony strongly implies that Owens had just arrived at Elm and Houston; and didn’t have any information for Sawyer. As discussed previously in this writer’s essay on Hill, Sawyer reported the discovery of the spent shell casings over the DPD radio at approximately 1:11 pm. Consider that if Hill was the source of information for sawyer’s transmission, it makes little sense that Sawyer would wait for over a minute before reporting this important information. So unless it somehow took Owens over seven minutes to report to Sawyer (who was standing near the entrance to the TSBD) in person after he reported over the radio “I have the [man] that saw the President get hit in my car. I’m on the Elm Street side of the Triple underpass just before you go up on Stemmons [Freeway],” Hill was lying.

Owens went on to explain “I told Inspector Sawyer that I was assigned to Oak Cliff and an officer was involved in the shooting, and I was taking off, so I proceeded – I got in my car, and Captain Westbrook and Bill Alexander, an assistant district attorney, also was in the car with me and we started out to – I think the call came out at 400 East 10th or 400 East Jefferson” (WC Volume VII, page 79). It seems to this writer that Owens was saying that Captain Westbrook went with him and Alexander to the Tippit murder scene. However, Captain Westbrook told the Warren Commission that he went to the Tippit murder scene with Sergeant R.D. (Henry) Stringer and “some patrolman” whose name he could not recall (ibid, page 111). Could Owens have mistaken Hill for Captain Westbrook? In this writer’s opinion, it is highly doubtful. For one thing, photographs and film footage of Hill show that he was a stocky and overweight man, whereas photographs and film footage of Westbrook show that the was a slim man.

According to Dale Myers, Westbrook is the man seen to the right of Tippit murder witness Warren Reynolds, holding his right arm and looking around, in the famous Ron Reiland film (this can be seen here at about the 55 second mark). As the reader can see, Westbrook’s face looked dissimilar to Hill’s. Furthermore, Westbrook had a pinkish complexion, which earned him the nickname “pinky” (With Malice, Chapter 5). Could Owens have simply misspoken, or was he misquoted by the court reporter? Although this is certainly possible, given the fact that the names Westbrook and Hill sound nothing alike, in this writer’s opinion, it is highly doubtful. Suffice it to say, Owens never mentioned during his testimony that Hill went with him to the Tippit murder scene. The reader should bear in mind that unlike Hill’s claim that Sawyer ordered/instructed him and Owens to proceed to the Tippit murder scene, Owens’ claimed that “I told Inspector Sawyer that I was assigned to Oak Cliff and an officer was involved in the shooting, and I was taking off.”

As for inspector Sawyer, he told the Warren Commission that “…when the shooting on Officer Tippit came in, I released half a dozen men to go to Oak Cliff to help with that” (WC Volume VI, page 325). Although the meaning of the word “released” is open to interpretation, the important point to keep in mind is that Sawyer failed to corroborate Hill’s claim that he (Sawyer) ordered/instructed him and Owens to proceed to the Tippit murder scene. Hill also told the Warren Commission that; “We [Owens and Hill] were standing there with Inspector Sawyer and Assistant District Attorney Bill Alexander came up to us, and we had been standing there for a minute when we heard the strange voice on the police radio that said something to the effect that, if I remember right, either the first call that came out said that they were in the 400 block of East Jefferson, and that an officer had been shot, and the voice on the radio, whoever it was, said he thought he was dead”  (WC Volume VII, page 47).

Hill went on to explain that; “At this point Sergeant Owens said something to the effect that this would have been one of his men… [Inspector] Sawyer said, "Well, as much help as we have here, why don't you go with Sergeant Owens to Oak Cliff on that detail." And Bill Alexander said, "Well, if it is all right, I will go with you." And the reporter, Jim Ewell, came up, and I said an officer had been shot in Oak Cliff, and he wanted to go with us also” (ibid). As we can see, Hill’s testimony that Sawyer told him "Well, as much help as we have here, why don't you go with Sergeant Owens to Oak Cliff on that detail" is not consistent with his claim on the day of the assassination that Sawyer had ordered him to proceed to the Tippit murder scene. We should also keep in mind that during his interview with Eddie Barker of CBS in 1967, Hill told Barker that Sawyer said to him “…well, you know what our suspect looks [like]… you go to Oak Cliff” (click here to read the transcript of Hill’s interview with Barker).

During his telephone interview with researcher Jeff Meek in the year 1976, Hill explained that “…being that [the DPD] had enough help [at the] downtown location at that time, and being that there had been a description broadcast of the suspect in the shooting of the President… inspector [Sawyer] said, ‘you know what the guy we’re looking, you know, we’re looking for looks like, but go out and work on the shooting in Oak Cliff’” (this can be listened to here at about the 6 minute mark). Finally, the reader should consider that Hill told author Larry Sneed that Sawyer remarked to him “Well, I have enough help here. You know what our suspect looks like…You go to Oak Cliff and assist in the investigation over there” (Sneed, No More Silence, page 295). Despite the fact that what Hill told Barker, Meek, and Sneed is consistent with his initial claim that Sawyer had ordered him to proceed to Oak Cliff, as pointed out previously, Owens failed to corroborate Hill’s claim when he testified before the Warren Commission.

Let’s now take into account the statements William Alexander made with regards to Hill travelling with him and Sgt. Owens to the Tippit murder scene. During his interview with Ronnie Dugger (the former editor of the Texas Observer and the special correspondent for the Washington Post at the time of the assassination), Alexander explained that after they heard over the DPD radio that an Officer had been shot “[Sawyer] said there was no available car as Tippit was the only policeman situated in Oakcliff at the time. Owens told [Sawyer] that he would take [the] call” and that “…he knew the DA’s phone was covered so he jumped into the back seat with Owens and Jerry Hill” (this can be read here on pages 12 and 13). Let’s also take into account that when Alexander was interviewed by Larry Sneed, he told Sneed that “…a call came in that an officer had been shot over in Oak Cliff. There were no squads in Oak Cliff to cover that, so Sawyer looked around to see who was available. Sergeant Bud Owens had his car packed right there at the intersection and said, ‘I’ll take the call!’” (Sneed, No More Silence, page 531).

According to Alexander, Sawyer then remarked “Well, you better take somebody with you,” and that after Owens allegedly told Sawyer that there wasn’t anybody else available, Hill remarked “I can go if you can spare me!” (ibid, page 532). Alexander also claimed that after Sawyer allegedly consented to Hill going with Owens, he (Alexander) told Sawyer “Well, I’ll go, so let’s go!” (ibid). As we can see, not only did Alexander contradict Hill’s claim that Sawyer ordered/instructed him go to the Tippit murder scene with Owens, but Alexander’s claim that he said “Well, I’ll go, so let’s go!,” contradicts Hill’s claim that Alexander said "Well, if it is all right, I will go with you.” In order to believe that the discrepancies between the statements of Hill and Alexander was simply due to Alexander misremembering what was said, we must ignore all of the evidence discussed in this essay that Hill did not travel to the Tippit murder scene in Sgt. Owens’ car.

We should also keep in mind that Owens’ testimony that “I stayed with Inspector Sawyer until I was informed that there was a shooting in Oak Cliff involving a police officer,” and that I told Inspector Sawyer that I was assigned to Oak Cliff and an officer was involved in the shooting, and I was taking off, implies that unlike what Hill claimed, neither he nor Sawyer were standing near a DPD radio when T.F. Bowley reported that an Officer had been shot, but that Owens learned about the shooting from another officer at the TSBD. Although Sawyer never claimed that he heard about Tippit’s shooting over the DPD radio when he testified before the Warren Commission,  during his aforementioned interview with Ronnie Dugger, Alexander implied that both Owens and Sawyer heard Bowley’s transmission that an Officer had been shot. However, due to the passage of time, Alexander may have misremembered that they all heard about the shooting over the radio.

What gives credence to this belief is that Alexander (apparently) told Dugger that prior to hearing over the radio that an Officer had been shot, a message was broadcast over the radio “calling for assistance to a police officer.” Contrary to this claim, no such message appears in any of the transcripts of the DPD radio recordings. As pointed out previously, Hill told the Warren Commission that “…the reporter, Jim Ewell, came up, and I said an officer had been shot in Oak Cliff, and he wanted to go with us also,” thus implying that Ewell went with him to the Tippit murder scene. During his interview with Jeff Meek, Hill remarked that he believed Ewell did go with him. However, when Ewell was interviewed by author Larry Sneed, he told Sneed that he went to the murder scene with Captain W.R. Westbrook and Sgt. Henry H. Stringer (Sneed, No More Silence, page 7). Furthermore, according to the article by Kent Biffle (staff writer for the Dallas Morning news) entitled Eyewitnesses To Tragedy, Ewell claimed that he went with Westbrook to the Tippit murder scene (click here to read the article).

The reader should keep in mind that neither Owens nor Alexander claimed that Ewell was in the car with them. Hill was therefore mistaken or lying when he claimed Ewell went to the murder scene with him. Although Westbrook never told the Warren Commission or Larry Sneed that Ewell went with him to the Tippit murder scene, Ewell nevertheless claimed that he went with Westbrook. The evidence discussed thus far indicates that Hill did not travel to the Tippit murder scene in Sgt. Owens car. This writer should point out that according to Dale Myers, there was an unidentified fourth man in the car with Owens, Alexander, and Hill (With Malice, Chapter 5). During his interview with Larry Sneed, Hill told Sneed that he rode in the front seat of Owens’ car with Alexander riding in the back (Sneed, No More Silence, page 295). As pointed out previously, Alexander was photographed getting into the back seat of Owens’ car. Although Hill’s claim suggests that he did ride in Owens car, he could easily have learned that Alexander was riding in the back of the car after conversing with Owens and/or Alexander.

The fact that Alexander was riding in the back of Owens’ certainly does suggest that somebody was riding in the front seat next to Owens. Given all of the evidence that Hill didn’t travel to the Tippit murder scene in Owens’ car, this was probably the unidentified “fourth man.” Let’s also take into account that Hill told the Warren Commission “As we [Owens, Alexander, and Hill] passed, just before we got to Colorado [Blvd.] on Beckley [Avenue], an ambulance with a Police car behind it passed us en route to Methodist hospital” (WC Volume VII, page 47). Hill maintained this claim during his subsequent interview with Larry Sneed (Sneed, No More Silence, page 295).  In fact, Hill told Sneed that the ambulance passed “in front of” them (ibid). According to Google Maps, Methodist hospital (now referred to as the Methodist Dallas Medical Center) is located on the Northwest corner of the intersection of Colorado Blvd. and North Beckley Avenue.

In his supplementary offense report on Tippit’s murder, DPD Officer Robert A. Davenport wrote that he “…met the ambulance carrying [Tippit] to Methodist hospital” (Dallas Municipal archives, Box 1, Folder 4, Item 6). During an interview with Dale Myers in 1983, Davenport explained that he met the ambulance near the intersection of Zangs and Colorado Blvd. (With Malice, Chapter 5). Myers then writes that; “[Owens’] squad car was approaching the corner of Beckley and Colorado. The officers saw the Dudley Hughes ambulance pass in front of them, headed West on Colorado [Blvd.] toward Methodist Hospital…” (ibid). Although Davenport’s report (and subsequent interview with Myers) provides indirect corroboration for Hill’s claim that the ambulance with the Police car behind it passed by Owens’ car en route to Methodist Hospital, there are several problems with Hill’s claim.

First of all, according to the recordings of channel 1 of the DPD radio transmissions, Hill informed the dispatchers that “Dudley Hughes [ambulance] passed in front of me going to Beckley – he looked like he might have had [Tippit],” after he was asked “what ambulance took [Tippit]” (this can be heard here on John McAdam’s website). There can be no doubt that Hill made the transmission, as it was his voice (listen here for a comparison). Hill’s claim that he saw the ambulance pass in front of him “going to Beckley” implies that he had actually seen the ambulance go by him somewhere to the east of North Beckley Avenue, and not as he was approaching the Beckley/Colorado intersection going south on North Beckley. If he really had seen the ambulance pass by going West on Colorado as Owens’ car was approaching the intersection travelling south on North Beckley Avenue, then he probably would have told the dispatchers, words to the effect; “Dudley Hughes passed in front of us going West on Colorado towards Methodist hospital…”

Secondly, Owens made no mention of seeing the ambulance with a squad car behind it pass in front of him; as he was driving to the Tippit murder scene, when he testified before the Warren Commission. In fact, the recordings of channel 1 of the DPD radio communications reveal that after the dispatchers asked Owens “19, where did the officer go?” Owens responded “I saw some squads going towards Methodist real fast – I imagine that’s where [Tippit] is” (this can be heard here on John McAdams’ website). Although WCE 705 shows that the officer who responded to the dispatchers question was “unknown”, there can be no doubt that the aforementioned transmission was made by Owens, as not only do the transcripts of the DPD radio communications show that the number 19 was assigned to Owens, but a comparison of the voice which made the transmission reveals that Owens was indeed the Officer who made the transmission.

The significance of Owens’ transmission is that he never mentioned anything about seeing the ambulance with a DPD squad car behind it pass in front of his car heading towards Methodist hospital; even though his transmission reveals that he knew where the hospital was located. In Myers book, there is a photograph showing the ambulance (a four door station wagon) which was used to transport Tippit’s body from the murder scene to Methodist hospital (With Malice, chapter 5). Given that the ambulance would have passed in front of his squad car at a high rate of speed, could Owens have mistook it for a squad car? Although this is certainly possible, we should nevertheless bear in mind that Hill’s aforementioned transmission that “Dudley Hughes [ambulance] passed in front of me going to Beckley…” implies that he observed the ambulance somewhere to the east of Beckley Avenue. So even if Owens observed the ambulance (with the squad car behind it) pass in front of him, and mistook it for “some squads,” this doesn’t mean that Hill was in the car with him.

Finally, during his interview with Ronnie Dugger, William Alexander evidently claimed that “The Police car arrived at 10th and Crawford, a couple of miles away, and the ambulance pulled out, witnessed were gathered around as the Police car arrived a few minutes later.” Although this writer isn’t certain, it appears as though Alexander was saying that Owens’ car had arrived after the ambulance left with Tippit’s body. When Alexander was interviewed by Larry Sneed, he told Sneed that “We arrived at Tenth and Patton and found the officer’s squad car, J.D. Tippit’s, just as the ambulance was pulling away with Tippit’s body,” and that “Apparently we were the first Police to get to Tippit’s squad car” (Sneed, No More Silence, page 533). But contrary to Alexander’s claim, the first officer to (allegedly) arrive at the murder scene was Kenneth Hudson Croy; who at the time of the assassination was a Sergeant in the DPD reserves (readers are encouraged to read through the thread entitled Kenneth Hudson Croy on Greg Parker’s research forum).

When Croy testified before the Warren Commission, he stated that after he arrived at the murder scene “I watched them load [Tippit] in the ambulance,” and when asked if other officers were at the murder scene when he arrived, he claimed “None that I saw” (WC Volume XII, pages 200 and 201). Furthermore, Alexander told Sneed that while en route to the murder scene in Owens’ car “We hadn’t gone far till a description of the person that shot the officer started coming over the radio…” (Sneed, No More Silence, page 532). According to the transcripts of channel 1 of the DPD radio communications, Officer Roy W. Walker put out a broadcast of the killer’s description shortly before Owens (or someone else in Owens’ car) reported over the radio that “19’s code 6” (WCE 705/1974). The transcripts reveal that a “code 6” meant that an officer was reporting that he was at his destination (WCE 705).

During an interview with Dale Myers in 1983, Walker claimed that he obtained the description of the killer from eyewitness Warren Reynolds at the scene of the murder (With Malice, Chapter 5). The transcripts of channel 1  of the DPD radio recordings also reveal that immediately before Owens (or somebody else in Owens’ car) reported that “19’s code 6,” officers Joe M. Poe and Leonard E. Jez reported “We’re at the location [where Tippit was shot] now” (WCE 705/1974). Whilst it is apparent that Alexander mistaken about being “…the first Police to get to Tippit’s squad car,” and that Owens’ car arrived “…just as the ambulance was pulling away with Tippit’s body,” he nevertheless failed to corroborate Hill’s claim that the ambulance with a DPD squad car passed in front of Owens’ car as they were en route to the murder scene. However, we should keep in mind that if the ambulance and squad car passed in front of Owens’ car as Hill claimed, Alexander may have missed seeing it because his view may have been blocked by Owens’ seat; as he was sitting in the back of the car.

During his explanation of what occurred following his arrival at the Tippit murder scene in Owens’ car, Hill told the Warren Commission “The first man that came up to me, he said, ‘The man that shot [Tippit] was a white male about 5’10”, weighing 160 to 170 pounds, had on a jacket and a pair of dark trousers, and brown bushy hair’” (WC Volume VII, page 47). Hill went on to explain that after he allegedly obtained the description of Tippit’s killer from the so-called witness “At this point the first squad rolled up, and that would have been squad 105, which had been dispatched from downtown. An officer named Joe Poe, and I believe his partner was a boy named Jez” (ibid). As stated previously, the transcripts of the DPD radio recordings show that Poe and Jez reported “We’re at the location [where Tippit was shot] now” immediately before the transmission from someone in Owens’ car that “19’s code 6”.

The transcripts reveal that the dispatchers were concerned about whether Owens’ was en route to the murder scene, as he was asked “19, are you en route” (WCE 705/1974). With this in mind, it makes little sense that Owens would wait to notify the dispatchers that he had arrived at the murder scene, until after Hill allegedly obtained the description of the killer from the so-called witness. Hill’s remark also implies that Owens car was the first to arrive at the murder scene, with the squad car driven by Poe and Jez being the second to arrive. Although reserve Sgt. Kenneth Croy was (allegedly) the first officer in uniform to arrive at the murder scene, he told the Warren Commission that he was driving his own car (WC Volume XII, page 200). Furthermore, as stated previously, Officer Roy W. Walker (who was assigned squad car 127 on the day of the assassination) told Dale Myers that he had obtained the description of Tippit’s killer from eyewitness Warren Reynolds at the murder scene; which he had broadcasted over the DPD radio prior to the arrival of Poe, Jez, and Owens (With Malice, Chapter 5), (WCE 2645).

Now unless Owens; or the person in Owens’ car who reported to the dispatchers that “19’s code 6,” waited until after Walker broadcasted the description of Tippit’s killer over the DPD radio, and after Poe and Jez reported that they had arrived at the murder scene, Owens’ car was not the first to arrive at the murder scene as Hill’s aforementioned remark implies. Hill also told the Warren Commission that another witness informed him that Tippit’s killer had run into the Dudley Hughes parking lot, and then took off his jacket (WC Volume VII, page 48). Myers writes in his book that the identity of this man is unknown, but speculates that it may have been eyewitness B.M. (Pat) Patterson; who observed Tippit’s killer come down Patton Street and then turn west onto Jefferson Blvd. (With Malice, Chapter 5). During an interview with reporters on the day of the assassination, Hill explained that “…we had a witness that said he saw the suspect stop long enough to reload his pistol after shooting the officer” (WCE 2160).

Although Patterson would eventually tell the FBI that he had seen Tippit’s killer stop still, remove spent shell casings from the revolver, then reload the gun, Patterson made absolutely no mention of this during his initial interview with the FBI on January 22, 1964 (WC Volume XXI, Patterson (B.M.) Exhibit A). Furthermore, as explained in part 2 of this writer’s review of With Malice (which can be read here), neither Warren Reynolds, L.J. Lewis, Harold Russell, Ted Callaway, and Sam Guinyard, ever claimed that Tippit’s killer had stopped still then removed spent shell casings from the revolver (see under the subheading entitled VIII: Proof positive). Although Hill could have obtained the aforementioned information about the killer stopping still then removing spent shell casings from the gun from an unidentified witness, as far as this writer is concerned, no credible witness is on record claiming that he had seen Tippit’s killer stop still, then discard the spent shell casings. Let’s also keep in mind that Tippit’s killer had discarded his jacket in the parking lot behind Roger Ballew’s Texaco service station, and not in the parking lot of Dudley Hughes’ funeral home as Hill told the Warren Commission.

This writer should also point out that in her book Investigation of a homicide, Judy Bonner writes that "A dark-haired man dressed in a grimy mechanic's uniform stepped out from the group on the corner and addressed [Sgt.] Hill” (Bonner, Investigation of a homicide, pages 91 and 92). According to Bonner, the so-called witness told Hill that "I seen him [do] it. I was driving the other way on Tenth [Street]. He fired three shots. The policeman didn't even get to draw" (ibid). Bonner then writes that after Hill asked the so-called witness "Can you give us a description?" the “witness” told him; "Yeah, he was thin, not to tall-I'd say about five feet ten-with dark hair. He was wearing one of those Eisenhower-type windbreaker jackets… "Light coloured. Grey or tan, I think. Or it might have been white” (ibid). Although the so-called witness sounds like Domingo Benavides; who worked for the Harris bros. auto sales as a mechanic, the problem is that Benavides told the Warren Commission that after Tippit was shot “[Tippit’s] gun was in his hand and he was partially lying on his gun in his right hand. He was partially lying on his gun and his hand, too” (WC Volume VI, page 449).

Readers should also bear in mind that Benavides told the Warren Commission that Tippit’s killer was wearing a “light-beige” jacket, and never claimed that it was an Eisenhower-type windbreaker jacket (ibid, page 450). Although Benavides identified WCE 163 (the dark greyish blue jacket Oswald allegedly left at the TSBD on the day of the assassination) as the one the killer was wearing, instead of the light gray jacket (WCE 162), it’s entirely possible that counsel David Belin misspoke, or that he was misquoted by the court reporter who transcribed Benavides testimony. But most significantly of all, when Counsel David Belin asked Benavides “When the officers came out [to the murder scene], did you tell them what you had seen?” Benavides claimed that he didn’t! (ibid, page 451). It is also important to keep in mind that Bonner’s book contains absolutely no references, and doesn’t have an index. This writer is also unaware of any other witness who was allegedly dressed in a mechanics uniform, and who was “…driving the other way on Tenth [Street].” Suffice it to say, there is no good reason to believe that Hill ever spoke to such a witness.

On a final note, Hill claimed during his interview with Larry Sneed that Tippit’s revolver was laying on the ground after he arrived at the murder scene (Sneed, No More Silence, page 295). However, during his testimony before the Warren Commission, Ted Callaway, who allegedly witnessed Tippit’s killer heading down Patton Street, claimed that he; “…picked [Tippit’s] gun up and laid it on the hood of [Tippit’s] squad car, and then someone put it in the front seat of [his] squad car. Then after I helped load Officer Tippit in the ambulance, I got the gun out of the car…” (WC Volume III, page 354). The man who placed Tippit’s revolver in the front seat of the squad car was T.F. Bowley. In his affidavit to the DPD on December 2, 1963, Bowley claimed; “Someone picked [Tippit’s] pistol up and laid it on the hood of the squad car. When the ambulance left, I took the gun and put it inside [Tippit’s] squad car…The Police arrived and I talked to a Police sergeant at the scene” (Dallas Municipal archives, Box 2, Folder 3, Item 14).

The Police Sergeant to whom Bowley spoke to was probably reserve Sgt. Kenneth Croy. Although Bowley’s statement implies that Croy arrived at the murder scene after the ambulance left, as stated previously, Croy told the Warren Commission that he observed Tippit being placed into the ambulance. Also, given the fact that Hill claimed the ambulance carrying Tippit’s body passed in front of him as he was en route to the murder scene, and that (as far as this writer is aware) there is no corroboration from either Sgt. Owens or William Alexander that Tippit’s gun was laying on the ground as they arrived at the murder scene, it is apparent that Hill was mistaken or lying. Given all of the evidence discussed previously, it is highly doubtful that Hill ever travelled to the Tippit murder scene with Sgt. Owens and William Alexander, but instead was one of the two officers inside squad car 207; which Earlene Roberts observed in front of the rooming house on 1026 North Beckley Avenue.

As discussed in part 1 of this writer’s review of With Malice, there is good reason to believe that Tippit was shot at approximately 1:06 pm (see under the subheading IV: Murder on Tenth Street). William Lawrence Smith, who was working as a brick layer near the intersection of Tenth and Denver streets in Oak Cliff, told the FBI on January 11, 1964, that as he was walking east to a cafĂ© on Tenth and Marsalis streets, he passed by a man walking west, whom he believed was Oswald (WCD 329, page 83). Therefore, if Hill picked up Tippit’s killer in squad car 207, he would have dropped him off somewhere between Denver and Marsalis Streets. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Tippit’s killer was dropped off near the intersection of Tenth and Marsalis streets. According to Google maps, the distance from 1026 North Beckley to the intersection of Tenth and Marsalis Streets via North Crawford, then East Davis, then eighth, then North Marsalis Streets is about 1.2 miles.

At an average speed of about 45 miles per hour, squad car 207 could have arrived near the intersection of Tenth and Marsalis Streets in about 1 minute and 40 seconds. Furthermore, according to Google maps, the distance from the intersection of Tenth and North Marsalis streets to the intersection of Tenth and Patton Streets is about 0.2 miles (322 m). At an average walking speed of 5 km/h, Tippit’s killer could have met up with Tippit in about 4 minutes. Therefore, if Tippit’s killer got into squad car 207 at about 1:02 pm, he could have shot Tippit between 1:07 and 1:08 pm. Despite what the reader may believe, there is nevertheless good reason to believe that it was Hill who was in front of the rooming house at 1026 North Beckley inside squad car 207. As for the identity of the Officer with Hill (per the statements by Earlene Roberts), although this writer thought that it might have been Jim Valentine, a photograph taken by Dallas Times Herald staff photographer, William Allen, shows Valentine pointing to the location where the rifle was discovered on the sixth floor of the TSBD (see here). The name “J.M. Valentine” can be faintly read on his name tag. According to Dallas deputy Sheriff, Eugene Boone, and deputy constable, Seymour Weitzman, the rifle was found at 1:22 pm (WC Volume XIX, Decker exhibit 5323).

Although some might argue that it would have been extremely foolish for Hill to have commandeered the squad car which took him to Dealey Plaza; as he probably would have realised that someone inside the rooming house would have been able to recall the number of the car, and that the car would have been traced back to him, it is this writer’s belief that Hill probably realised that it wouldn’t have made a difference. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that after Hill arrived at Dealey Plaza in Officer Valentine’s car, he took the keys to squad car 150 from the officer(s) who was assigned to that car instead of the keys to Valentine’s car. Consider that Hill may have thought that after the DPD started an investigation to determine the identities of the officers who were outside the rooming house inside car 150, the officer(s) who had given the keys to that car to Hill could have identified him (Hill) as the officer to whom the keys were given.

Furthermore, we should bear in mind that Hill may have thought that since the DPD most likely would have covered up the presence of the squad car outside the rooming house; in order to dispel any rumours that the DPD were involved in Tippit’s murder with Oswald, that it wouldn’t matter which squad car he commandeered. To put it another way, if Hill was arrogant and brazen enough to frame an innocent man for the murder of one of his fellow officers in the presence of other officers inside the Texas Theater, then it only stands to reason that Hill was also arrogant and brazen enough to risk being identified as one of the two officers in front of the rooming house inside squad car 207. Whilst some might argue that Hill would not have reported over the DPD radio (per WCE 705/1974) that he was en route with officer Valentine to Elm and Houston Streets if he was going to commandeer Valentine’s squad car and then drive it to the rooming house, such a belief assumes that Hill had already determined prior to his arrival at Dealey Plaza that he would be commandeering Valentine’s car.

But why would Hill then tell the Warren Commission (and then maintain during his interviews with Jeff Meek and Larry Sneed) that he had travelled to Dealey Plaza in Valentine’s squad car if he had actually commandeered that car. Consider that Hill may have thought that by admitting he went to Dealey Plaza in Valentine’s car, nobody would believe that he commandeered it, and then drove it to the rooming house. After all, it would only have been in Hill’s best interest that the Warren Commission and the authorities didn’t think that he was one of the officers outside the rooming house in squad car 207, and had possibly picked up “Oswald” and driven him towards the Tippit murder scene. Although the reader may not agree with all (or any) of this writer’s opinions, the fact remains that Earlene Roberts initially claimed that the number of the DPD squad car she observed outside the rooming house was 207; and that by all likelihood, Gerald Hill had commandeered that car from officer Jim Valentine after they arrived at Dealey Plaza.

What’s particularly telling to this writer is that during his testimony, Hill volunteered that he didn’t remember what the number of Valentine’s car was (WC Volume VII, page 45). One can only wonder why Hill felt the need to state this, as he was never asked about it. In this writer’s opinion, it suggests that Hill was guilty of commandeering Valentine’s squad car and driving it to the rooming house, and had possible made this remark out of nervousness whilst testifying under oath. As stated in this writer’s essay on Hill at the CTKA.net website, the recordings of the DPD radio communications (available on John McAdams’ website here) show that Hill was using Owens’ radio identification number (19) when speaking over the radio, and that this was a fabrication by the DPD to cover-up for Hill’s presence outside the rooming house. As this writer also discussed in the essay, for the same reason, DPD detective V.J. Brain was by all likelihood coerced into claiming that he was on the sixth floor of the TSBD with Hill when the spent shell casings were discovered.

But if this was the case, then why wasn’t Sgt. Owens coerced into claiming that Hill went with him to the Tippit murder scene? Let’s take the following into consideration. Owens testified before the Warren Commission on April 9, 1964 (WC Volume VII, page 78). Detective Brian testified on May 13, 1964 (WC Volume V, page 33). On July 21, 1964, the DPD provided the FBI with “…the original recordings reflecting the radio transmissions of channel 1 and channel 2 of [DPD] radio station KKB 364…” (WCE 1974). If the transmissions made from Owens’ car provided in the previous transcript (WCE 705) were replaced with Hill’s voice by July 21, 1964, then the decision by the DPD to cover-up for Hill’s presence outside the rooming house at approximately 1:00 pm, was probably made sometime between April 9 and May 13, 1964. As the DPD would surely not have wanted the FBI to suspect that Hill was outside the rooming house in squad car 207; since this may have led them to believe that Hill and other DPD officers were involved with Oswald in Tippit’s murder, it only stands to reason that they would have faked the tape recordings to make it appear as though Hill went to the Tippit murder scene with Sgt. Owens.

In conclusion, there is one final issue which this writer would like to discuss. As most researchers of the assassination are probably aware, Captain Will Fritz told the Warren Commission on April 22, 1964 “When I started to talk to [Oswald] or maybe just before I started to talk to him, some officer told me outside of my office that he had a room on Beckley, I don’t know who the Officer was, [but] I think we can find out…” (WC Volume IV, page 207). Fritz claimed that this was following his arrival at DPD headquarters after learning that Oswald was missing from the TSBD, and after he had sent detectives Guy “Gus” Rose, Richard Stovall, and John Adamcik to the home of Ruth Paine in Irving (ibid). Before reading what follows, readers are strongly encouraged to first read through this thread on John Simkin’s’ education forum. According to disinformation extraordinaire Dale Myers, the officer who provided Fritz with this information was detective Jim Leavelle (With Malice, chapter 7). Leavelle told Myers during an interview in 1985 that Oswald told him (Leavelle) that he lived in the rooming house at 1026 North Beckley, as Leavelle was questioning him (ibid).

But as discussed in part 1 of this writer’s review of With Malice, when Leavelle testified before the Warren Commission, he denied interrogating or questioning Oswald prior to the morning of November 24, 1963 (see under the subheading VII: A bird in the hand). So who was the officer that told Fritz about the rooming house? It will probably come as no surprise to the reader to learn that this writer believes it was Gerald Hill. When Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he claimed that after Oswald brought to DPD headquarters following his arrest at the Texas Theater “We were trying to get together to decide who was going to make the offense report and get all the little technicalities out of the way when a detective named Richard Stovall and another one, G. F. Rose, came up, and the four of us were standing when Captain Fritz walked in” (WC Volume VII, page 59).

Hill went on to explain that “[Fritz] walked up to Rose and Stovall and made the statement to them, ‘Go get a search warrant and go out to some address on Fifth Street,’ and I don't recall the actual street number, in Irving, and ‘pick up a man named Lee Oswald.’ And I asked the captain why he wanted him, and he said, ‘Well, he was employed down at the Book Depository and he had not been present for a roll call of the employees.’ And we said, "Captain, we will save you a trip," or words to that effect, "Because there he sits." And with that, we relinquished our prisoner to the homicide and robbery bureau, to Captain Fritz” (ibid). Therefore, by Hill’s own admission, he was with Fritz after he (Fritz) sent Rose, Stovall, and Adamcik to Ruth Paine’s home. When we take into account the likelihood that Hill was one of the two officers in front of the rooming house in squad car 207, it is only logical to believe that Hill was indeed the officer who told Fritz about the rooming house. Of course, this writer has no way of proving that this was the case.

As this writer has stated previously in the essay entitled Gerald Hill and 1026 North Beckley, researcher Lee Farley has made the case that Oswald did not live at the rooming house, and that it was in fact Larry Crafard who was living there at the time of the assassination (See the thread entitled: A House of Cards? on Greg Parker’s research forum). It is this writer’s belief that Crafard was Tippit’s killer, and that Hill picked him up from the rooming house and dropped him off near the intersection of Tenth and North Marsalis streets. But if this truly was the case, then why would Hill tell Fritz about the rooming house? As most researchers are aware, the DPD claimed that they found several of Oswald’s belongings there. As researcher Lee Farley has pointed out, Oswald’s belongings may have been moved into the rooming house following the assassination by certain DPD officers such as Harry Olsen, whilst all of Crafard’s belongings were moved out (see the thread entitled Randle & Frazier contradictions on Greg Parker’s research forum). If this was the case (as this writer believes it was), then this would certainly explain why Hill would tell Fritz about the rooming house.

Click here to go to part 2. My appreciation goes out to researcher Greg Parker for generously taking the time to proof read the essay prior to it being published on this blog.

No comments:

Post a comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.