Jerry Hill’s lies: the heart of the J.D. Tippit shooting

Jerry Hill lied over and over again. That, I think, is the heart of the story of the killing of Dallas Police Department officer J.D. Tippit on November 22, 1963, shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy and right before the arrest of Lee Oswald.

Hill died in 2011 but there’s not a cop alive or dead who can contradict this story.

I would appreciate thoughtful comments, I spent a lot of time writing this piece as a rebuttal of David Belin, Warren Commission advocate, who argues that Tippit was killed by Lee Oswald. I disagree.

I believe you will find the evidence is reliable– you can review all of it at the end of this article.

The problem of the hulls

Officer Jerry Hill took custody of a revolver at the Texas Theatre where Oswald was arrested. Supposedly, it was handed to him by officer Bob Carroll. The Warren Commission admitted that it is impossible to match the bullets fired at Tippit with the revolver. The only case for matching the gun to the crime scene  left rests on the hulls.

Did the hulls match the weapon? Officer Tippit was struck by four bullets.

The two hulls found by Domingo Benavides at the Tippit crime scene would never be admitted as evidence. Officer J.M. Poe told the FBI that he marked these hulls with his initials “JMP”. When he testified before the Commission, Poe stated under oath that he could not swear that he initialed these hulls. Hence, there was no chain of custody.

Detective Jim Leavelle, a veteran of the force, told author Joe McBride, author of Into the Nightmare, that the hulls were useless as evidence.

The question should be asked, however – did Poe initially lie, or were the hulls switched?

Officer Jerry Hill complicated matters still further by claiming that Poe showed him three hulls. But that’s not the worst of it.

The problem of the radio call

What really threw a spanner into the works was when Jerry Hill made a radio call at 1:40 pm on November 22, 1963 and reported that the hulls came from a 38 automatic, rather than a 38 special. The 38 special bullets were used by the Dallas police and were extremely well-known. Both 38 special and 38 automatic hulls are clearly identified at their base –- Hill’s misidentification cannot be passed off as a simple mistake.

When Hill testified before the Warren Commission, he threw gasoline on the fire. In the face of a very carefully phrased question by David Belin, Hill denied under oath that he made the radio call about the finding of 38 automatic hulls at 1:40 pm. Hill claimed that he wasn’t using his call number “550-2” as much as another officer, and that it was wrong to think that he made the call.

Twenty-two years later, in 1986, Hill admitted to researcher Dale Myers that he made the call. When he was asked how he determined that the hulls were 38 caliber, Hill said, “Thirty-eight’s stamped on the bottom of it. I looked on the bottom.”

Hill’s problem is that the bottom of the hull will spell out for you what type of 38 it is!  (See Dale Myers, With Malice, p. 261).

The problem at the crime scene

It could be argued that the two hulls found by two sisters, Barbara and Virginia Davis should be admitted because of the clear stories about two different officers that received them from the Davis sisters.

However, there are several problems. The hulls provided to the police were not found at the crime scene, but down the street and later in the day -– a good case that they were planted. Furthermore, the Davis sisters said that the marked hulls were not the hulls that they originally provided to the police.

Hill told Dale Myers that all of the shells found within a foot and a half of each other.  The problem with Hill’s story is that the police reports and testimony state that the four shells were found many yards apart.

Oswald and the gun

Finally, did Oswald fire the revolver in the Texas Theatre?

Dallas officer Jerry Hill and other policemen always insisted that Oswald fired his revolver in the theater in an effort to kill, but that the revolver misfired.

Hill wrote in his report that one of the shells had a hammer mark on the primer.

Firearms and toolmark expert Cortlandt Cunningham testified to the Warren Commission, “We found nothing to indicate that this weapon’s firing pin had struck the primer of any of these cartridges.” In other words, Cunningham called Hill a liar.

The Warren Commission agreed with Cunningham’s finding.

The biggest problem is the way that Jerry Hill poisoned the well with his lies and his widely varying stories. The history of alteration would probably result in none of the hulls being admitted into evidence. Hill’s evidence is wholly unreliable, which impeaches the case against Oswald.

Note: To review the documents this analysis is based on, see my piece in Op-Ed News.

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