Friday, 1 August 2014

Gerald Hill's arrival at the Texas Theater


Continued from the essay entitled Gerald Hill and the Tippit murder scene – Part 2 posted on this blog:

Hill told the Warren Commission that after he had spoken to the two women who allegedly worked at the Abundant Life Temple, he went to the Texas Theater with a DPD accident investigator named Bob Apple. According to Hill; “An accident investigator named Bob Apple was at the [Abundant Life Temple] at the time, and we were standing there together near his car when the call came out that the suspect had been seen entering the Texas Theatre” (WC Volume VII, page 49). He went on to explain that he “…got in Apple’s car…and pulled up as close to the front of the theatre as we could. There were already two or three officers at the location. I asked if it was covered off at the back” and that “…from the time we heard the first call to the time we got to the theater, the call came on over the radio that the suspect was believed to be in the balcony” (ibid). According to the personnel assignments booklet of the DPD, Bob Apple was indeed working as an accident investigator for the DPD in November, 1963 (WC Volume XIX, Batchelor Exhibit No. 5002).
Although Hill also told Larry Sneed that he went to the Theater with Bob Apple, there are also many problems with this claim (Sneed, No More Silence, page 296). First of all, consider that according to tape recordings of the DPD radio communications (available here on John McAdams’ website), Hill asked the dispatchers on channel one the following question after they had put out the broadcast that Tippit’s killer was inside the Texas Theater, and believed to be hiding in the balcony; “Do you have any additional information on this Oak Cliff suspect?” To which one of the dispatchers responded “at the Texas Theater 550/2.” Hill acknowledged this by merely saying “10-4.” But if Hill already knew that the suspect was reported to be in the Theater, then what other information could he have been seeking from the dispatchers? More to the point, if Hill already knew that the suspect was reported to be in the Theater; and was truly seeking additional information on the suspect, then surely he would have asked the dispatchers a question such as “Yes, I already have that information, but what other information do you have concerning the suspect?,” instead of merely acknowledging the dispatcher’s transmission to him with “10-4.”

With that in mind, it is apparent that Hill was lying when he told the Warren Commission that he was standing near Bob Apple’s car when it was reported over the DPD radio that the suspect was in the Texas Theater. Readers should also keep in mind that there is absolutely no confirmation from Bob Apple that he was at the Texas Theater; let alone at the Tippit murder scene. The transcripts of the DPD radio communications show that on the day of the assassination, Apple was assigned radio number 243 (WCE 705/1974). Although the dispatchers on channel one of the DPD radio asked for Apple’s location, there was no response from Apple. In his book, Dale Myers writes that former Dallas Morning News reporter Jim Ewell went to the Texas Theater with Hill and Apple (With Malice, Chapter 6). In his endnotes, Myers sources this claim to the article entitled Eye witnesses to Tragedy: The inside stories of how a band of reporters covered Kennedy’s assassination, which was edited by Dallas Morning News staff writer, Kent Biffle (this article can be read here).

According to the aforementioned article, Ewell claimed that; “The radio reported that the suspect had been seen entering the Texas Theater. I saw Sgt. Hill running toward a squad car and I ran after it, too. The driver didn’t notice me hanging onto the rear door handle as he sped off.” The first problem with Ewell’s claim is that as pointed out above, Hill told the Warren Commission that he was standing near Bob Apple’s car when he allegedly received the information over the DPD radio that the suspect was inside the Texas Theater. Secondly, Ewell told Larry Sneed that he went to the theater with Captain W.R. Westbrook and Sgt. R.D. (Henry) Stringer; and made no mention of going there with Hill (Sneed, No More Silence, page 8). Furthermore, former Dallas Morning News reporter Hugh Aynesworth; a man who by no means should be considered a reliable source of information (see here for why), told Larry Sneed in so many words that Ewell rode to the Texas Theater inside the unmarked DPD car which took Oswald to Police headquarters following his arrest (ibid, page 26).

In an online article entitled Hugh Aynesworth: ‘I felt meek and almost humble’, Aynesworth writes that after the unmarked DPD car in which Oswald was placed “…sped out toward the police station, Jim Ewell scratched his head and said, ‘Why that's the car I came over here in --- with Jerry Hill --- I don't know why I didn't ride back with them. I just didn't think’” (see here). Although Ewell told Sneed that Oswald was placed into the same car which took him to the Theater, both of these claims are falsehoods (ibid, page 10). The unmarked DPD squad car which took Oswald to DPD headquarters was occupied by detectives Bob Carroll and Kenneth Lyon, both of whom were assigned to the special services bureau of the DPD (WC Volume VII, pages 19, 21 and 50). We should also bear in mind that Hill never mentioned during his testimony before the Warren Commission (or during his interview with Larry Sneed) that Ewell was in the car with him when he went to the Theater; despite the fact that he had no problem remembering that Ewell went with him to Dealey Plaza from Police headquarters, and that Ewell allegedly wanted to go to the Tippit murder scene with him in Sgt. Owens car (ibid, page 47).

It is apparent that Ewell and perhaps Aynesworth were lying when they stated that Ewell went to the Theater with Hill. The question, of course, is why? As many researchers such as Jim DiEugenio have noted, Aynesworth is a dyed-in-the-wool defender of the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald (acting alone) assassinated President Kennedy and then shot Tippit. He is also well known for ridiculing conspiracy theories pertaining to the assassination. Also, consider that Aynesworth had placed informants inside the offices of New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison; during Garrison’s investigation into the assassination (Dallas Municipal archives Box 18, Folder 3, Item 6). In the aforementioned article entitled Hugh Aynesworth: ‘I felt meek and almost humble,’ Aynesworth explains that he was at the Texas Theater during Oswald’s arrest, and that after Officer McDonald approached Oswald, Oswald allegedly said words to the effect “Well, this is it.”

Aynesworth also claimed that he interviewed McDonald following Oswald’s arrest, and that after he asked McDonald “What did [Oswald] say to you as you grabbed him,” McDonald allegedly told him that Oswald said “This is it”. But as explained in this writer’s two part review of With Malice, and in this essay on Gerald Hill, McDonald was most certainly lying about this; and that by implication, so was Aynesworth. Ironically, Aynesworth told Larry Sneed that “Had it not been for the other cops coming from behind and grabbing Oswald [during the scuffle inside the Theater], I think that he would have probably pulled a gun and shot and killed [McDonald]” (Sneed, No More Silence, page 26). This despite the fact that, as discussed in this writer’s two part review of With Malice, Oswald allegedly did pull out a gun and tried to shoot McDonald!

Like Aynesworth, Jim Ewell believes that Oswald shot and killed Officer Tippit. In a blurb for the 1998 edition of Myers’ book, Ewell wrote; “I still wonder what would have been the consequences for Dallas had Oswald escaped? Until author Dale Myers so painstakingly retraced [Tippit’s murder], the person I considered a national hero, Officer Tippit, had remained largely a faceless player in the JFK assassination cast. Yet Tippit’s showdown with Oswald had a momentous impact on the outcome. Thanks to Myers, maybe history will remember the price Tippit paid in the performance of [his] duty in 1963” (this can be read here). As pointed out previously in the essay entitled Gerald Hill and 1026 North Beckley, Hugh Aynesworth claimed that he interviewed Earlene Roberts on the day of the assassination, and that she never told him that she had seen a DPD squad car outside the rooming house at 1026 North Beckley, after “Oswald” returned there.

As also pointed out previously, the squad car which Roberts’ initially identified as being outside the rooming house was the car which escorted Gerald Hill to Dealey Plaza. With all of the above in mind, if Aynesworth had information that Hill was probably one of the Officers inside the squad car which Roberts observed outside the rooming house and that Hill was lying when he claimed that he went to the Texas Theater inside Bob Apple’s car, then perhaps it is no coincidence that he lied about Roberts not telling him about seeing the squad car (provided of course he actually interviewed her). Even if the reader doubts that such was the case, the fact remains that as far as the notion that Ewell went to the Theater with Hill is concerned, neither Aynesworth nor Ewell are to be trusted.

But despite the many problems with the notion that Ewell went to the Theater with Hill, Dale Myers assures his readers that this was the case. According to Myers, Bob Apple, Hill, and Ewell went to the Theater inside DPD squad car 151; which was photographed outside the front of the Theater (With Malice, Chapter 7), (WC Volume XX, Hill (Gerald) Exhibit C). Aside from not providing a source for this claim, Myers never informs his readers that according to DPD Captain Cecil E. Talbert, on the day of the assassination, squad car 151 was assigned to an Officer named E.G. Sebastian (WCE 2645). Sebastian was one of several Officers who were on a special assignment to the traffic division to aid in protecting the President (ibid). The transcripts of the DPD radio communications show that between 2:04 and 2:08 pm, Sebastian informed the dispatchers that he is “…still in front of the [Texas] theatre if anybody wants anybody over here” (WCE 1974).

Given Myers familiarity with the many documents pertaining to Tippit’s murder, it is inconceivable to this writer that he wouldn’t have checked to see which Officer was assigned to squad car 151 on the day of the assassination. With that in mind, there can be very little doubt that Myers deceived his readers into believing that Bob Apple was assigned squad car 151, and that Hill went with him. It is also worth keeping in mind that when Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he was shown the photograph taken of the front of the Theater which shows squad car 151, but didn’t identify it as the car which took him to the Theater (WC Volume VII, page 53). It is this writer’s opinion that Myers deceived his readers into believing that Bob Apple was driving squad car 151 (with Hill inside of it) to make it appear as though Apple was in fact at the Theater, and that Hill wasn’t lying when he claimed that he went to the Theater with Apple. Suffice it to say, given Myers deception concerning Hill and squad car 151; his claim (amongst others) that Hill arrived at the TSBD inside Officer Jim Valentine’s squad car at approximately 12:55 pm is not to be trusted.

According to the transcripts of the DPD radio communications, Hill told the dispatchers to; “Advise someone to get in the alley and behind that building at the fire escape” (WCE 705/1974). Presumably, Hill was referring to the Texas Theater, and his transmission suggests that he was concerned that Tippit’s killer might escape the Theater via the fire escape located at the rear. As stated in this essay on Hill, if Oswald was framed for Tippit’s murder, then there can be no doubt that he was lured to the Texas Theater; and as discussed in part 1 of this writer’s review of With Malice, by all likelihood, Oswald thought that he was to make contact with someone inside the Theater (see under the subheading VI: Closing in). Furthermore, if Hill was given the revolver used to kill Tippit, and then went to the Theater in order to frame Oswald for the murder, then he surely would have known that Oswald would have been calmly sitting down inside the Theater, under the false belief that he was to make contact with someone.

Whilst some might argue that the aforementioned transmission by Hill proves that he wasn’t involved in framing Oswald for Tippit’s murder, as this writer has pointed out in previous essays on Hill, the last thing he would have wanted was for the DPD to suspect that he was involved in the murder of one of his fellow officers.  Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that Hill made the aforementioned transmission so that the DPD would think that he didn’t know in advance that Oswald would be at the Theater, and that he was genuinely concerned that Tippit’s killer would try and get away by the fire escape. As a matter of fact, a similar argument could be made for why Hill asked the dispatchers if they had “…any additional information on this Oak Cliff suspect?” What’s intriguing is that the transcript of channel two of the DPD radio communications available on John McAdam’s website shows that Hill told the dispatchers to advise “someone” to cover the fire escape before the dispatchers announced over the radio that the suspect was at the Theater!

If this truly was the case, then Hill knew in advance that Oswald would be at the Theater. But as much as this writer believes that Hill framed Oswald for Tippit’s murder, it seems highly unlikely that Hill would be foolish enough to tell the dispatchers to have the fire escape of the Theater covered off prior to the announcement by the dispatchers that the suspect was inside, and that Hill actually made the aforementioned transmission after the dispatchers announced that the suspect was inside the Theater (please see under the subheading VI: Closing in, in part 1 of this writer’s review of With Malice for how the conspirators may have managed to lure the DPD to the Theater after Oswald got inside). In an upcoming essay, this writer will be discussing the possibility that Larry Crafard was the man who shot Officer Tippit.

My appreciation goes out to researcher Jim DiEugenio for generously taking the time to proof read this essay prior to it being published on this blog.




Addendum:

Researcher Steven Duffy has informed this writer that according to Judy Bonner’s book, Hill ordered Bob Apple to take Officer Charles Walker and then go to the back alley of the Texas Theater (Bonner, Investigation of a homicide, pages 103 to 104). However, this claim is demonstrably false, as not only did Hill (as far as this writer is aware) never mention in/during any report or interview that he told Apple to take Walker and go to the back alley, but likewise (as far as this writer is aware) Walker never mentioned in/during any report or interview that he went to the back alley with Apple. Furthermore, as stated above; “…there is absolutely no confirmation from Bob Apple that he was at the Texas Theater; let alone at the Tippit murder scene.” Readers should also bear in mind that Bonner’s book contains no references or footnotes, and should therefore be considered an unreliable source of information. This writer’s appreciation goes out to Steven for providing this information.
 

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