Oswald charges could have been dismissed, says defense attorney

Bill Simpich

At an event sponsored by JFK Lancer in Dallas next month, veteran San Francisco defense attorney Bill Simpich will cut to the proverbial chase in the JFK assassination story.

“Simpich will address the FBI report issued two weeks following the assassination [of President John F. Kennedy], and the evidence that the Warren Report itself served largely as a cover-up exercise to support the FBI report….”

What does Simpich, an experienced litigator, say about the ancient complexities of this particular criminal case?


“… He will specifically address the fact that the Warren Commission methodically ignored issues and obfuscated information in regard to such items of evidence as the rifle, the shells taken from the sixth floor, the so-called magic bullet, the shooting of DPD officer Tippit, and the shells recovered from the Tippit shooting.”

via JFK Lancer: Meet the Speakers: Bill Simpich.

Last year, Simpich wrote a cool eBook entitled State Secret: Wiretapping in Mexico City, Double Agents, and the Framing of Lee Oswald. In lucid detail Simpich uses newly declassified CIA records to tells an unknown story: how senior CIA counterintelligence officers reacted to the visit that Oswald made to Mexico City in October 1963, just six weeks before he was arrested for killing President Kennedy.

I covered this same ground when describing the events of 1963 as seen by CIA station chief Win Scott. (If you don’t have a copy of Our Man in Mexico, you should buy one right now.) But Simpich had access to documents that were still classified when I wrote. His book adds another layer of detail to our understanding of the CIA spy games going on around Lee Harvey Oswald six weeks before JFK was killed.

You can read about State Secret here.

You can read the first chapter of State Secret by clicking here.

Got a question? I’ve got answers.



60 thoughts on “Oswald charges could have been dismissed, says defense attorney”

  1. Mr. Simpich is not alone on this point of view. In fact, Alfredda Scobey was a Warren Commission staff member who reviewed the evidence amassed by the Commission from the standpoint of the lawyer who might have defendde Lee Harvey Oswald, had he lived to stand trial.

    I encourage everyone to read ‘A Lawyer’s Notes on the Warren Commission Report’, for Ms. Scobey discovers a prima facie case that the alleged assassin could never have been convicted in a court of law.

  2. Mr. Simpich,

    I am curious to hear your legal opinion on a matter in this case.

    James Worrell was a 20-year old who was standing on the corner of Houston and Elm St, six stories directly below the “sniper’s window”. He described the rifle he saw to the Commission:

    Mr. WORRELL. I saw about 6 inches of the gun, the rifle. It had–well it had a regular long barrel but it had a long stock and you could only see maybe 4 inches of the barrel, and I could see–
    Mr. SPECTER. Were you able to observe any of the stock?
    Mr. WORRELL. Oh, yes.
    Mr. SPECTER. How much of the stock were you able to observe?
    Mr. WORRELL. Just very little, just about 2 inches.
    Mr. SPECTER. How many inches of the barrel then could you observe protruding beyond the stock?
    Mr. WORRELL. About 4 inches, I would say, not very much.

    But how did he know it had a long barrel if he only saw 4 inches of it? Because he saw more than 4 inches of it.

    On page 19 of Commission Document 5, we find the statement Worrell gave to the FBI the day after the assassination. In it, he told the FBI that he saw 12 inches of the barrel.

    Worrell’s statement that he had seen “12 inches of barrel sticking out of a window”, was consistent with those of other witnesses who saw the barrel.

    However, by the time he testified before the Commission on March 10, 1964, he had only seen 6 inches of the rifle and 2 inches of that was the wooden stock.

    So what changed his testimony in those 4 months?

    Worrell testified that on the Wednesday before his appearance before the Commission, he got a phone call from Dallas Secret Service Chief Forrest Sorrels.

    Mr. WORRELL. Well, Mr. Sorrels interviewed me when he called me and asked me some questions when he called me up Wednesday night, I guess it was.
    Mr. SPECTER. Was that in relationship to your coming here to this Commission hearing?
    Mr. WORRELL. Yes.
    Mr. SPECTER. What sort of questions did Mr. Sorrels ask you?
    Mr. WORRELL. What I saw. And I told him.

    Unless I am missing something, the head of the Dallas branch of the Secret Service had no business contacting a witness just prior to his appearance before the Commission to ask him what he saw. The Secret Service was not the lead investigative agency in the case. The FBI was. And if Sorrels had any questions he felt needed to be asked of the witness, should he not have forwarded those questions to the Commission?

    If this had been a court case, is it your opinion the case would have been thrown out just on this?

    Would this not be considered witness tampering? And if the defense ever got wind that the prosecution or any law officer had been trying to influence a witness’ testimony, would they not have filed a motion with the court for dismissal of the charges?

    Regardless, none of this seemed to bother the Warren Commission. In fact, they never asked Worrell specifically what questions he was asked. They never deposed his mother, who he claimed answered the phone and talked to Sorrels for 15 minutes before he got on. They never asked Worrell to explain how 12 inches of barrel on November 23, 1963 had shrunk to 4 inches of barrel and 2 inches of stock in March of 1964.

    1. David,

      This is a thoughtful question. Let me try to do it justice.

      It’s legal for anyone to contact a witness and ask him or her questions. A witness is just that – a witness – and doesn’t belong to anyone.

      Having said that, it’s not always a good idea for the reason you said. The question is raised whether the questioner was trying to influence the witness’ testimony.

      I must admit that I am soft on Forrest Sorrels. Take a look at Gayle Nix Jackson’s book. Sorrels believed there was more than one gunman, and confided in Orville Nix throughout his life. There is corroborating evidence on this point. Sorrels was not public with the Warren Commission regarding his belief.

      Given that, I think Sorrels simply wanted to know, and was not trying to influence the witness.

      I am not an expert on Worrell, but I have never been impressed by his testimony. Walt Brown made it clear in his fictional book on Oswald’s trial that he thought Worrell was not a credible witness. Others have other opinions on the man.

  3. I believe the elimination of the patsy was a central part of the “plot”, and really the big screw-up on the day was a failure to kill Oswald either at the TSBD or at the Texas Theater. There never was going to be any kind of trial – as the failure to establish proper medico-legal facts at the autopsy attests.

  4. Regarding the ‘evidence’ of a frontal headshot. May I ask….IF that were to be true….then how could the ‘halo’ effect of all that material being blasted forward (as the bullet/fragments exited out of the top of jfk’s head) be clearly visible? IF the material (skull/tissue/blood) would have exited out of the opposite side if the bullet were not frangible….or IF the bullet was frangible…you’re still left trying to explain the halo that has clearly shot forward and is looming/spreading out above the knee of JFK at 90 degrees…and another plume of ejected material which is seen heading over the top of Mrs. Connally’s head.

    You can’t have it both ways ladies and gentlemen. The exit was out of the top of Jfk’s skull….the flap was blown out and material was blown forward into that headwind. Bullet fragments were found under the seats in front of JFK’s position (under the seat occupied by Mrs. Connally) and on the front seat of the Limo itself not to mention the front window was cracked.

    Around and around this conspiracy merry-go-round we go. An innocent man like Oswald, his gun order, his photographs WITH the gun, his denial of the gun, his wife’s helping him open/sign for PO Boxes, his trying to get the backyard photos destroyed…etc…all point to him.

    He didn’t go home on Thursday night to get ‘curtain’ rods…..he went home to get his gun. Now, whether or not he fired that gun may be an issue for someone to argue.

    If you were ever to wind up in Jail…as he did…and you had an opportunity to clear up the issues involved….I don’t think telling lies would be the way to go. That’s all this man did for a day-and-a-half.

    He was a master at making a detail and using it for his own good. I feel that his confrontation in the 2nd floor lunchroom gave him something that he didn’t count on. A free pass out the front door where he could say he was with ‘anybody’ he saw on his way out.

    My views of course. 😉

    1. if everything points to LHO, as you say, how about your theory as to why Ruby killed him? That kinda messed things up for the FBI. The Katzenbach memo stating “we must convince the public that Oswald was the lone assassin” suggests to me that perhaps Oswald had helpers.

  5. I have to admit that if Oswald (Armstrong’s “Harvey”) didn’t do it, he was certainly set up well. At least in the public mind.

    The problem for those who buy the set-up is the certain knowledge that if Oswald had been prosecuted for JFK’s murder he could have and surely would have challenged each element of the set-up. The set-up has worked to fool people only because Oswald wasn’t given the chance to defend himself.

    He did go down publicly as challenging the backyard photos, as challenging his arrest, as challenging the conduct of the lineups. He said the reason he was arrested was that he had lived in the Soviet Union. He said the backyard photos were not of his body and that he could prove the photos were faked. He complained the lineups were unfair by displaying him in clothing unlike that of other subjects. He said he didn’t shoot anyone.

    Oswald would have been a tough customer for Henry Wade. Especially because his post-arrest behavior shows nothing to suggest he would have opted for a plea bargain. He gave no post-arrest indication of conceding ANYTHING. Without concessions (admissions) on his part, there’s no way Wade could have goten enough clear, unchallenged evidence admitted to overcome reasonable doubt.

  6. Those of you who’ve spent years researching the case and come to the obvious conclusion that there were at least 2 gunmen are wasting your time arguing with those who live to swat down your evidence with their damn lies and statistics. No matter how much Abrahma Zapruder’s film may or may not have been altered it still clearly shows a frontal head shot. The contrarians are basically saying to you: “Are you going to believe ME or your lying eyes? Reliable witnesses and Policemen put Oswald in the 2nd floor lunchroom at the time of the shots. Reliable witnesses and Policemen also put gunmen behind the fence on the knoll at the time of the shots. I’m reminded of the wife who comes home to find her husband and the maid en flagrante and fully engaged on the living room couch. A day later he’s convinced the wife that the maid was simply sewing a button on his trousers. She WANTS to believe it – So she does. The lone gunman theory is even more absurd. Just ask one of these lone nutters what Oswald’s motive was. That’s all it takes. They aren’t going to commit to an answer to that question. They understand the ridicule they’d be forever subject to if they attempted to formulate and attribute a motive to the patsy. You’re being out-manuevered by nay-sayers who are well-practiced at their craft. You are in the right. Stop placing your pearls of wisdom before those with closed minds. They are good at telling you you’re wrong while refusing to reply to the most basic questions regarding their own position. At least, however, the lone nut crowd has the courage of their flawed convictions. The lawyers, authors and pseudo intellectuals who attempt to beguile everyone by playing both sides of this issue are too loathsome to even address in this post.

    1. “Reliable witnesses put Oswald in the 2nd floor lunchroom at the time of the shots”. No….Reliable witnesses put Oswald in he 2nd floor vestibule AFTER the shots. Oswald was seen AFTER the shooting…walking away from the entry door and just about in the doorway of the room which he hustled his butt off to get near when he heard Truly and Baker yelling.

      “Reliable witnesses put Oswald in the 2nd floor lunchroom at the time of the shots” would lead one to think that this is where people ‘saw’ him during the shooting. Time testing has PROVEN that it would be easy for MOST ABLE-BODIED people to get from the window to the 2nd floor Lunchroom in plenty of time.

      I have to wonder: With all of the people who knew who just who they were standing with…why was nobody able to say ‘I was with Ozzie’. B/c he was busy killing the 25th President at that moment.

      Why instruct his wife to get rid of the photos? Because he was asked about the A Hidell I.D. in the wallet.

      Why was that important? Because he ALONE KNEW the gun upstairs..and the pistol in his pocket…were purchased by that name.

      Why is the ID important: B/C the documents that the HSCA gathered, in order to get fingerprints from documents that were able to be traced to Oswald w/o question, for the 7 years before the killing, HAD HIS HANDWRITING…on them.

      Hidell: Also written by his wife…Marina.

      The guy has led all of those CT’ers all over the map just eating up his attempt at being clever.

      Reliable witnesses behind the Fence?? Sure…like the soldier who says he had a discussion about a camera….rifle…the theory of Reletivity…etc, etc, etc, while all kinds of people were running up the stairs…LOL…comical. Oh…how nice he appears in the Badgeman Photo years later. Sure he does.

      Your logic about the naysayers…is just what YOU are doing. When I visit the Dealey Plaza site..I’m saddened by the event that played out so long ago. I’m more sickened by the “hawkers’ that linger alone those sad streets…SELLING nonsense to the uneducated.

      Peace out.

      1. Hello Bill

        In terms of Oswald not having an alibi, Jack Dougherty also had no alibi for the shooting and in fact placed himself up around the 5th floor. Much closer to the action than the Oswald sightings on the 2nd (and possibly 4th floors).

        Oswald’s alibi for the shooting was that he was with Bill Shelley out in front. And we appear to now have confirmation of this on the Wiegman and Darnell films.

        If Oswald wasn’t out in front how did he know that Shelley was? Shelley goes for a walk just after the shooting and does a tour around the side of the building before going back in through the loading dock and does some elevator monitoring for Truly. So even if Oswald saw him at that time how does he know where Shelley was previously at the time of the shooting?

        As to why no-one mentioned seeing Oswald anywhere at the time of the shooting – very good question. The unidentified person in the corner of the TSBD entrance appears to have a poor view of the parade – even worse than Lovelady’s who has to peer around the pillar to see JFK as seen on Altgens. This would indicate that whoever this person is he arrived late on the scene and got the last, least favoured position – in the corner behind the door (if it opened).

        So perhaps this unidentified person arrived late from inside the TSBD and got the worst position just before all heck broke loose on the street and in the ensuing pandemonium no-one noticed him.

      2. Bill, I’ve re-read your post several times in a sincere attempt to understand it and be able to address your concerns. However, I’m afraid your contention that Oswald murdered William McKinley is better suited to an overnight radio call-in show. Rest well sir and be sure to eat a lunch.

  7. I want LRG and others to know why I am attending the Lancer conference and making the argument that the Oswald case should have been dismissed before trial.

    The reason is to build a counter-narrative to the Warren Report that many of us can agree on, rather than trying to solve the case with our favorite suspects. Given all the new evidence released in the nineties and afterwards, what we should do first is re-evaluate the evidence.

    Such a counter-narrative is the way to go. After we have tested the evidence presented by people like LRG and myself (and I encourage others to contribute!), we’ll have a much better idea of what the newly-discovered body of evidence released in the wake of the JFK Act really shows.

    Then we’ll have a body of evidence that has been tested. Such a body of evidence will provide a better base to offer hypotheses
    about who drove the cover-up and the participants in the actual operation to kill JFK and Tippit.

    1. Objection. You write about “a body of evidence” despite the fact that “evidence” is determined by a trial court.

      Use of the word “evidence” on this site and elsewhere in the JFK debate is inappropriate. There is no evidence. Except for that admittted by the judge in the Clay Shaw trial.

      “Evidence” is a word of heft and significance. To say there is “evidence” in a debate involving law and lawyers is to say that which is offered as evidence has gone through screens designed by the law. As a barrister, you know this. Not everyone here does.

      It would \be far better IMO to say, “Then we’ll have a body of facts that hss been tested.”

      1. Jonathan, I would defer to your opinions on many subjects but I don’t agree with you on this one.

        The definition for evidence is “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid”. I think we’re kind of talking about the same thing.

        Although they can sometimes be helpful, we don’t need a judge or lawyers to determine what evidence is. I don’t want to needlessly quarrel with you, but I think that’s where we can agree to disagree.

        I suggest that what we need is to use our common sense and respect for science and the natural laws that we can all observe and understand.

    2. Exactly what ” new evidence” in any way alters the physical and forensic facts in this case? You can postulate CIA involvement, cover ups of non-related events, unsubstantiated claims about Curtis Le May, LBJ, the Secret Service, FBI, etc. but how do you contradict multiple witnesses identifying Oswald shooting Tippit , or fleeing the scene, or seeing him ejecting spent rounds that were recovered and identified as being fired from the gun that he was carrying when arrested? A gun that he attempted to shoot another officer with when he was arrested- again in front of multiple witnesses? A gun whose hammer lacerated the hand of the police officer who was his last target? The multiple witnesses that picked him out of a lineups? The gun that was purchased using the same alias that he carried as identification when arrested?
      It was an open-and-shut case against Oswald for killing Tippit. He would have been convicted of that murder in 1964 Dallas and ultimately executed-even if JFK never existed. That is a metaphysical certainty .

      1. Dear Photon – welcome back. Where have you been?

        How about:

        (1) the new evidence from John Costella of the zfilm being altered (youtube film jfk assassination – a short introduction) and;

        (2) Sean Murphy’s work on Oswald being pictured in the Wiegman/Darnell films on the front steps of the TSBD at the time of the shooting?

        In Costella’s analysis I’m referring specifically to the frames which show the SS Agents and Connolly’s jolting forward and the Kennedy’s not moving at all.

        Re-Murphy’s work it is in a thread on CTKA “Where was Oswald during the Shooting” and the Sean Murphy link.

        I would be very interested to hear what you think about these 2 new pieces of information.

        Now don’t play the credibility card again – you must be bored with it. Please give us your reasoned analysis.

      2. Photon:

        Interesting how in your “metaphysical certainty” about the case you don’t identify one actual fact that relates to Oswald killing Kennedy.

        You can postulate that Oswald killed Kennedy because he killed Tippett (which of course is nowhere as certain as you claim), but it is not OK to postulate about literally thousands of pieces of evidence that point in another direction?

        Nothing about the official story about Oswald stands up to scrutiny. There is no direct evidence he had any role in killing JFK, and meanwhile there were many others who had the means and motive and history of political assassinations that Oswald lacked.

        In the end your position boils down to “nothing to see here, just move along.”

        1. ” Nothing about the official story about Oswald stands up to scrutiny”. There, in a nutshell is the heart of every conspiracy talking point-no evidence that contradicts the conspiracy viewpoint can be believed because it is faked, a lie, covered up, etc.
          In fact, after a 50 year assault the actual forensic evidence in the case against Oswald has become even stronger in proving his guilt.The guns used in two murders were his. The guns were purchased with an alias identical to that of an ID he was carrying. There are pictures of him holding the weapons- pictures his wife admitting taking, pictures that Lee told her to destroy. Why would he ask her to destroy evidence if it wasn’t incriminating? Why has no real photo expert confirmed that the photos were faked? Why was Oswald the only unexcused male to leave the TSBD when nobody inside even knew that anybody had been shot-except the assassin? Did none of that happen?
          I brought up Tippit because his murder was the Rosetta Stone of the assassination. All conspiracy theories have to either ignore the Tippit shooting or claim that literally overwhelming forensic,eyewitness and ballistic evidence was faked in order to deal with the fact that Oswald was a killer. More than that, he was a killer of a policeman in Dallas,Texas in 1963-an action that would likely lead to death while being apprehended or execution if taken alive. Why would he do that if he was innocent? Why would he do that if he was a patsy?
          He wouldn’t. And all of the hopes, wishes and frankly delusions in the conspiracy camp can’t make that go away.

          1. Photon:

            You just assert so many things that have never been remotely established, and ignore all contrary evidence.

            Do you seriously not understand what evidence is takes to prove someone committed a murder? For example, having photos of someone with a weapon is not proof of anything. Even if the authenticity of the photos was ever proved, and it never was, that is not evidence that Oswald used it on a given day in a given place.

            Oswald was the only unexcused male to lease the TBSD? Again, even if that was true, and I doubt it is, it doesn’t prove he shot anybody.

            There was no credible eyewitness or forensic evidence that would otherwise, if there was we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The WC relied on magical bullet activity, magic bullets that appeared out of nowhere.

            Oswald had to be killed in Dallas because otherwise if he was given a chance to defend himself, the weakness of the case would have unraveled. Oswald had no motive, and Ruby’s excuse for killing him is beyond ludicrous. Yet asserting things to the contrary doesn’t make them true.

          2. A cop being shot down in the street in front of witnesses who couldn’t agree on what the shooter was wearing,the type of gun he used, which direction he fled or what he looked like, you don’t have a Rosetta Stone. However, when organized crime is so desperate to shut a guy up that they’re forced to whack him on live TV in a police station, that sir, is your Rosetta Stone.

      3. I agree with Brother Bruce…I’m not arguing with Photon – I’m simply using Photon’s arguments to offer to my colleagues why the Oswald-is-not-guilty argument is much stronger…

        How do you contradict multiple witnesses identifying Oswald shooting Tippit, or fleeing the scene, or the multiple witnesses who picked him out of lineups?

        On the lineups: It should be admitted that Oswald poisoned the lineups by using mouth and trash talking while they were going on. That’s not an admission of guilt, he simply didn’t want to go along with the process, afraid that he’d be set up.

        Also, there was a problem with the suggestive nature of the lineups – Oswald, after all, had a black eye by the time he left the Texas Theatre.

        The one man who claimed he saw Oswald at the sixth floor window – Howard Brennan – was unable to identify him at a lineup later that afternoon.

        At least one major witness who exonerated Oswald – Warren Reynolds – changed his tune after he was shot in the head.

        On the photo IDs: Even the well-intentioned sightings of Oswald are not reliable, for an extraordinary reason. There were a number of well-documented impersonations of Oswald in Dallas in the days before November 22…Shooting at other people’s targets and other memorable interactions at the local rifle ranges, one including not only Oswald but his buddy “Frazier, from Irving, Texas”; a visit to the auto showroom and driving a borrowed car at high speed (Oswald had no license); sightings of “Oswald” at high buildings and talking about shooting the president (see Jim Douglass’ book); the impersonation of Oswald’s entire family at Dial Ryder’s gun shop.

        Witness IDs are considered the most unreliable evidence there is – this is redoubled when someone is repeatedly impersonated.

        Or seeing him ejecting spent rounds that were recovered and identified as being fired from the gun that he was carrying when arrested?

        Chain of custody:

        Four bullets were fired at Tippit. I’ll take them two at a time.

        Officer Poe was handed two hulls in a Winston pack at the Tippit scene by from Domingo Benavides, saying that he saw the suspect unload the shells while running across a lawn.(??) Poe admitted he didn’t mark them.

        Officer Jerry Hill testified that he told Poe to mark them, but it still didn’t happen. Hill also claimed that the Winston pack was his. (Myers, p. 259)

        Jerry Hill was also on channel one of the radio at the Tippit death scene, looking at the shells, and opined they are from a 38 automatic rather than a revolver.

        If they are discarded at the scene, revolver casings [hulls] are readily distinguishable from casings designed for semi and full automatic pistols.

        The difference is in the base. Revolver rounds have a wider base, a lip, extending out beyond the diameter of the body of the shell casing. This lip keeps the rounds from sliding out the front of the cylinder when their chamber is not aligned with the barrel or frame. (Crime Scene, pp. 156-157)

        Poe marks two of the 38 automatic shells at the scene. Poe said Hill marks them as well.

        Deputy sheriff Jim Leavelle said that Poe was afraid he would get in trouble for failing to mark the evidence, so he told the fbi he thought he had marked them. myers, p. 265.

        What about the other two hulls? They were found by sisters Barbara and Virginia Davis. One was allegedly received by Officer Doughty, who initialed it and put it in with the “other two”, the other allegedly received by Officer Dhority. Myers claims these two hulls “were proven to be fired from the revolver Oswald had in his hand at the Texas Theatre. Myers, p. 269.

        However, my understanding is that the Davises would not identify ANY of the hulls shown to them as the same ones they found at the Tippit murder scene. Neither did ANY of the other original finders – Poe, Hill or Benavides.

        Finally…A gun that he attempted to shoot another officer with when he was arrested- again in front of multiple witnesses? The gun that was purchased using the same alias that he carried as identification when arrested?

        I believe that Oswald struck Patrolman McDonald with one hand and pulled out the revolver with the other hand because he thought he was about to die. He was scared and did not want to be shot with his own gun.

        Oswald thought if he waved his revolver around in a clinch with an officer, he might be able to stay alive. And he’d be sure to be in a clinch if he punched him. First he punched him, then he pulled the revolver out of his pants.

        By the way, it’s not impossible that the revolver was actually planted on him. I’ll come back to that.

        Oswald was right to be scared. By the time the clinch was over, Bentley, Lyons, Carroll, and Hill had run down from the balcony to confront Oswald on the floor. See Myers’ book. Bentley tore his tendon and was on crutches for weeks. Lyons sprained his ankle. Carroll admitted that he punched him in the face, that’s how Oswald got his black eye. Hill told every lie imaginable, and told Oswald’s Russian history to the world on TV before the afternoon was over.

        By the way, there is a long-standing claim that Oswald fired his revolver, which misfired – Hill wrote in his report that one of the shells had a hammer mark on the primer – but the FBI expert said it simply didn’t happen. 3 H 463. Cortlandt Cunningham testified to the WC, “We found nothing to indicate that this weapon’s firing pin had struck the primer of any of these cartridges.”

        And, again, the revolver may have been planted on Oswald. This transaction was handled at the delivery end by a private mail delivery company called Railway Express Agency (REA).

        REA had to abide by state laws to ship firearms, including a “certificate of good character” needed to be shown to the employee. There also must have been a proof of ID submitted on a 5024 form filled out for small firearms like revolvers and pistols.

        And this all had to have been done at REA headquarters as the post office would not handle a private mail company’s cargo.

        REA should have sent a postcard to Oswald’s box. He then should have walked over to REA and given his identification and certificate of good character and this should have all been recorded in the REA office books. As John Armstrong notes, there is no evidence at all that REA ever sent a postcard to Oswald’s post office box to pick up the handgun. Armstrong, p. 483.

        There was no 5024 form either or a signature of receipt by Oswald or Hidell for the package. In sum, there was no proof as to either the identity of the individual who picked up the package or the date he picked it up on. WR, p. 173

        There was no proof that the transaction was ever completed and payment forwarded to the originating company Seaport Traders. Further, there was no proof that REA remitted payment to Seaport for the handgun. The Warren Report shows no bank transactions to certify this exchange. WR, p. 173.

        But even beyond that, there is no proof at all that the FBI ever visited REA in Dallas to talk to anyone who gave the revolver to Oswald or Hidell.

        This last item I took verbatim: DiEugenio, James (2013-10-01). Reclaiming Parkland: Tom Hanks, Vincent Bugliosi, and the JFK Assassination in the New Hollywood (Kindle Locations 2579-2591). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.

        1. It is often said that Oswald needed a a “certificate of good character” to pick up the handgun, but according to a Dallas Morning News article on gun laws, “There is also a law — although it is not enforceable because there is no penalty attached — requiring the purchaser of a weapon to obtain a certificate of good character from a justice of peace [sic], county or district judge. Some out-of-state concerns, however, require these certificates before they will ship a pistol.”

          (Dallas Morning News, “Pistol-Packing Precarious” by Wick Fowler, News Staff Writer, Feb. 9, 1964, p. 20, 4th col.)

      4. Well Photon, there is no pleasing some people, is there. You ask for new information and I show you some and you still don’t want to discuss it.

        You Commissionista’s can’t keep doing the ostrich about Oswald in the doorway of the TSBD in the Wiegman and Darnell films forever. Shouldn’t you have a cover story by now? The films and photos and discussions have been floating about on the web for a while now.

        I really do expect better from you fellows.

        1. Speaking of Weigman, James Tague cites in his book LBJ And The Kennedy Killing that in part of what Weigman filmed, you can see the “puff of smoke” from the bushes. Sam Holland and Ed Hoffman saw it, too.

          1. Thanks Paul. I think a poster on here ‘Dusty’ Rohdes posted an excellent film showing a puff a smoke in front of the picket fence. I think it was Moorman rather than Weigman. I think Weigman was a bit too late on the scene to film anything significant but if you have the reference, I’d love to check it out. You can see the puff of smoke near the steps going up the Knoll and next to a person wearing red.

          2. PS I meant Weigman was too late on the scene to film anything significant in the way of puffs of smoke….although he did happen to film Oswald in the doorway of the TSBD. And that sure is significant.

    3. The testimony of 21 police officers that a shot came from the front would be enough alone to acquit for murder of JFK in all likelihood. A charge of attempted murder of JFK would have been easier to make stick (though still quite problematic for a laundry list of reasons).

      The evidence that Oswald killed Tippit is stronger, though certainly this evidence has real problems as well.

  8. I have been a lawyer for 34 years and a judge for the last 16 of those. In my opinion Oswald “could” have been convicted as easily as the charges “could” have been dismissed. Had it gotten to a jury the emotions of the country and the populace, the fact that Oswald was not a very sympathetic figure, and the improbability that any juror would vote not guilty in spite of evidence to the contrary seem to make it unlikely that Oswald would have been found not guilty. I have seen defendants convicted on way less evidence. Juries are funny creatures. Can you imagine a trial similar to the Ruby trial. That was a circus. That trials’s results were overturned and a new trial was granted. No doubt about Ruby’s guilt. But he apparently did not get a fair trial. Do you think Oswald would have gotten a fair trial in Dallas? In Texas? I think he “could” have been found guilty and we would still be having these arguments abouty his quilt and the quality of the evidence that the state relied upon to obtain his conviction. We would be complaining about , among other things, the fact that the state failed to bring forth exculpatory evidence which tended to show Oswald was not involved. It is without question that a grand jury would indict Oswald. So after the state presents its’ case do you really think the judge would dismiss it even with the evidence is insufficient as it might have been. Probably not! It is the murder of the U.S. President! Let the jury do that if they have a reasonable doubt! So are you going to be that lone juror out of twelve that holds out to insure that Oswald goes free of the murder of Predident John F. Kennedy? I don’t know the answer to that. But if you are the only vote to acquit I just wonder where you are going to live.

    1. LRG:

      Anything could have happened, and you are right about the politics of the case, but we still know nothing about what evidence could have been presented. No doubt innocent people get railroaded but it’s hard to speculate without knowing more about the facts. And I still have I idea what admissible evidence could have been used against Oswald, or what he could have said if he testified on his own behalf. The case against him is mostly innuendo.

    2. Please tell everyone here what would have been admissible as evidence against Oswald in his trial for the murder of JFK.

  9. @paulf- the government’s cases rested on the slender reed of Marina’s testimony that the rifle was his, she took the pictures and that he shot at Walker.

    She would not have been allowed to testify in Texas because of the spousal immunity rule at that time. Even if by some miracle the judge allowed her testimony to be heard, she would have completely crumbled on cross-exam. Under the friendliest of conditions (See Shenhon’s book about how Warren treated her in a grandfatherly way), her 4 apperances before the Commission contained inconsistent and changing testimnony. A highly unreliable witness and without her testimony, government could not make its case agst LHO.

  10. The lone nut theorists seem to think that pooh-poohing alternate theories is proof of Oswald’s guilt. Whatever the weakness of those theories, and all have questions, the biggest problem with “Oswald did it” is the total lack of evidence that would normally be required to convict someone of murder.

    I’ve yet to ever read any evidence that would be admissible at a trial that connects him to the weapon, puts him in the window or provides a motive (which isn’t necessary, but no prosecutor wants to go to trial without one).

    1. http://jfkassassination.net/parnell/hscahand.htm

      Paul (and others about the ‘proof’). The above website, from the HSCA Hearings, goes into painstaking detail to solve the question about Oswald, A (J) Hidell, and even Marina’s role in fraud. It even address the idea of Marina Oswald’s role in helping her husband, Lee.

      The Committee went into incredible detail to use documents that were linked directly to Oswald for the last 7 years of his life. From these documents they had his handwriting, his fingerprints, and the makings of his plan. Actually….as much a Marina Oswald tried to separate herself from Lee, including her silly reason for the name Hidell…she is implicated. She WAS the person who was signing for PO Boxes when she needed to…in the same name as the guy who bought the gun. Namely…her husband, Lee H.Oswald.

      To make it more direct: The fingerprints on the documents that were signed by L.H.O., and proven to be him, link him to the gun…and the nonsense he engaged in with his wife, to push his cause. Including trying to get Marina to get rid of the photo of the gun (backyard)..which she had hidden in her shoe. It begs the question: “If Ozzie was so innocent, why was it imperative for him to get rid of the picture?? Oh, I got it, b/c he knew the receipt for the gun was in another name.

      Anyway…if innocent Why lie?. Why get wife to destroy photo?

      Motive? Check out Item number 31: Photo and letter to George De m…”Killer of Fascists…Ha..Ha..Ha” (…translated from Russian).

      Fingerprints, Handwriting, Photos, Guns, Motive(s), Modis Operendi.

      Best to you.

  11. LHO must have retrieved the bag with the rifle for reassembling it and taking position at some window facing Elm St. just in time for boarding the train to history. The underlying presumption is that he determined a time for the presidential limousine passing by TSBD. But even having learned what Secret Service agent Winston Lawson told Chief Curry [Air Force One was to land at 11:30 and the motorcade through Dallas will last 45 minutes] and that invitations for lunch at the Trade Mart read thus: 12 NOON, for LHO the motorcade would have to pass by the TSBD well before 12:30. Although the FBI reported no one had seen LHO between 11:50 and 12:30,some witnesses did see him in this period of time: Eddie Piper saw LHO around noon on the 1st floor with neither a bag nor a rifle; Carolyn Arnold saw LHO on a lower floor around the same time [12:15] Arnold Rowland saw a man with a rifle in the 6th floor window. And Bonnie Ray Williams was having lunch 10 feet from the SE corner of the 6th floor between 12 and 12:15, without hearing even that someone was moving boxes to encircle the “sniper nest.” Thus, the lone gunman who shot a magic bullet seems to be unaware about timing at 12:15, and not involved in preparing anything before 12:00, but he managed to stow a rifle for retrieving it and being ready just when JFK was within range.

  12. as an attorney, I have always maintained the ballistic evidence was insufficient to indict much less convict LHO.

    As I discussed on my “Hard Evidence FB page, there were no fingerprints on the spent 6.5MM shells but and no evidence in the record that he ever purchased much less possessed 6.5MM ammo despite an exhaustive search by FBI of Dallas gun shops in 1964 (see WC exhibit #2694 published at pages 62-64 in vol. 26).

    This goes along with fact there no probative evidence (1) putting Oswald on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting, (2) that the rifle was fired that day, (3) that the rifle was next to his cheek (failed paraffin test), and (4) only a latent(old) partial palmprint on the portion of the rifle that is exposed only when dissassembled.

    1. no evidence in the record that he ever purchased much less possessed 6.5MM ammo

      Aside from the fact that such ammo was fired from his rifle.

      And why would there be evidence he walked into a gun shop months before the assassination and bought a box of ammo?

      (2) that the rifle was fired that day,

      Other than the fact that two fragments and one entire bullet, all fired from that rifle to the exclusion of all other weapons, were recovered.

      (3) that the rifle was next to his cheek (failed paraffin test),

      The test gives a large number of false positives, especially with long guns.


      (4) only a latent(old) partial palmprint on the portion of the rifle that is exposed only when dissassembled.

      Which certainly connects Oswald to the rifle, although not particularly on the day of the assassination.

      1. !. there is NO evidence he bought bullets
        2. there are no fingerprints of his on shells
        3. the tests used to link back to the rifle cannot be linked to that particular rifle because they were too mangled and the way the lead batches were made.
        4. so maybe he handled the rifle when it was dissambled at some time in the past. doesnt mean he fired it at 12:30 from the TSBD on 11/22/63

        The point is this is sufficient holes in the evidentary record to create reasonable doubt that he was not the sniper.

        And this is without the benefit of having defense counsel depose government witness, object to evidence with weak or no chain of evidence much less cross-examine witness at trial. VERY weak case.

        1. 1. there is NO evidence he bought bullets

          Why do you think there should be?

          2. there are no fingerprints of his on shells

          Why do you think there should be?

          3. the tests used to link back to the rifle cannot be linked to that particular rifle because they were too mangled and the way the lead batches were made.

          CE 399 and two fragments found in the front seat of the limo were matched to Oswald’s rifle to the exclusion of all other weapons.

          4. so maybe he handled the rifle when it was dissambled at some time in the past. doesnt mean he fired it at 12:30 from the TSBD on 11/22/63

          Do you really think it was curtain rods in that package?

          1. John McAdams wrote:

            Do you really think it was curtain rods in that package?

            Wesley Buell Frazier:

            “It could not have been the rifle…”

            (2013 interview with NBCDFW.com)

          2. Eric Hollingsworth

            1. Evidence that Oswald bought bullets for a rifle that the FBI orignally deemed too decrepit to test fire would go some way towards establishing Oswald’s guilt.

            2. Fingerprints on the polished, metallic casings of bullets, especially when no one has even hinted that Oswald wore gloves, would go some way towards establishing Oswald’s guilt.

            3. If you are referring to Neutron Activation Analysis, you are woefully behind the times. If you are referring to a ballistic match, pray enlighten us.

            4. Harold Weisberg deconstructed the paper bag argument so early on that it’s remarkable you keep it tucked under your armpit.

            To recap your arguments: Why should you need evidence?

          3. 1. Evidence that Oswald bought bullets for a rifle that the FBI orignally deemed too decrepit to test fire would go some way towards establishing Oswald’s guilt.

            Again, why would you expect such evidence to exist? Do you think clerks in gun stores remember everybody who bought a box of ammo months before.

            And the FBI found the rifle fired just fine. The HSCA Firearms Panel concluded it could do the job just fine.

            2. Fingerprints on the polished, metallic casings of bullets, especially when no one has even hinted that Oswald wore gloves, would go some way towards establishing Oswald’s guilt.

            Post some evidence that prints are often, or even frequently, found on shell casings.

            Conspiracy books just make up ballistic principles. You need to cite some standard forensics text.

            If you are referring to a ballistic match, pray enlighten us.

            Yes, a ballistics match. First read the Warren Commission Report. And then read the report of the HSCA Firearms Panel.

            For you convenience, here it is:


            4. Harold Weisberg deconstructed the paper bag argument so early on that it’s remarkable you keep it tucked under your armpit.

            Why should anybody take Weisberg seriously?

            You need to be citing evidence, not conspiracy books.

          4. Wesley Buell Frazier:

            “It could not have been the rifle…”

            Frazier’s belief was based on the belief that the bag was too short. But the bag recovered in the Depository, with Oswald’s palm and finger prints on it, was plenty long enough.

            Frazier also said that Oswald told him that “curtain rods” were in the bag. But Oswald’s room didn’t need curtain rods.

          5. John, on pt. 4, perhaps he brought the rifle in for someone else to use. OR….he fired a shot, but Mac Wallace and Loy Factor also fired shots, with the Mauser.

          6. John McAdams wrote:

            Frazier’s belief was based on the belief that the bag was too short. But the bag recovered in the Depository, with Oswald’s palm and finger prints on it, was plenty long enough.

            Not the most precise way to put it, John.

            Sebastian Latona told the Warren Commission that he found one partial palm print from Oswald’s right hand and one fingerprint from Oswald’s left index finger on the bag.

            Day and Studebaker were unable to identify any prints on the bag. Studebaker told the WC that he dusted the bag, found “one little ole piece of a print” on the bag and put a piece of tape on it to preserve it.

            Oddly, Latona never mentioned any piece of a print or tape being present when he received the package.

            There is no proof that the bag Frazier saw Oswald carry was “the bag recovered in the Depository.”

            As Frazier said at a recent JFK conference:

            “There was no way the rifle could have been broken down to fit in that package. I am convinced Lee Harvey Oswald did not bring with him a rifle to work that day.”

          7. John, are you saying Oswald brought only 4 bullets with him to the TSBD, feeling confident that would be all he needed to accomplish his mission and secure his place in history? I mean, no other shells were found on his person, on the 6th floor (3 spent shells and one live round in chamber), at his boarding house or Ruth Paine’s garage, to my knowledge.

          8. John, where did this bag come from? http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/images/bag1.jpg

            I mean, where did Oswald supposedly get it?

            Did he bring it with him the night before? In that case, how did Frazier fail to notice it? Are you going to say that Oswald put that bag in Frazier’s car on Thursday afternoon, and Frazier didn’t notice it?

            And if you assume that, then you have to assume that Oswald brought the bag with him to work on Thursday morning. So, how come nobody at the TSBD noticed it? He walked into the building with that big and unusual bag and nobody noticed it?

            Or, do you presume that Oswald found the bag at Mrs. Paine’s house and just helped himself to it? But, that is a big presumption. Wouldn’t Mrs. Paine know if she had a bag like that or not at her house? Did anyone ask her? And since she is still alive, why doesn’t someone ask her today?

            But, how likely is it that she had a bag like that at her house? Do you have a bag like that at your house?

            How come the bag is much longer than the bag that Frazier described? Frazier was, and is, adamant that it wasn’t that big.

            Reportedly, the rifle was wrapped in a blanket at Mrs. Paine’s house. But, nobody ever said it was disassembled. So, when did Oswald disassemble it, and how could no one realize he was doing it? Didn’t they hear him? Wasn’t he strangely missing? Couldn’t they hear him in the garage fiddling with the rifle and looking for a bag? Or, do you think he got up in the middle of the night and did it? But, it was a small house, and he was sleeping with his wife. Wouldn’t they have heard him then?

            Rifles don’t come in bags. They don’t usually come in anything, but if they came in something, it’s a case and not a paper bag. So, that bag definitely wasn’t associated with that rifle. So, where did Oswald get that bag? And since the rifle was just wrapped in a blanket at Mrs. Paine’s house, there’s no reason to think it came with anything. It was just a rifle. It was moved around as an object- a rifle- and that’s it. There is no reason to think there was any bag involved.

            So, if you want to say that it was Oswald’s bag, where did he get it? Or, if you want to say that it was Mrs. Paine’s bag, where did she get it?

            But, before that old woman passes, we better get to her and find out if she is claiming that it was her bag. Does anyone know how we can reach Ruth Paine?

          9. The problem with your questions John is that it wasn’t LHO who had to answer them It was the State of Texas who bares that responsibility.

      2. “(3) that the rifle was next to his cheek (failed paraffin test),”

        JMcAdams: “The test gives a large number of false positives, especially with long guns.”

        Your might have a valid point. if the test gave a large number of false NEGATIVES,..

        1. Actually, I misspoke, and the test does give a large number of false negatives.

          This is true even with modern versions of the test, which give few if any false positives, due to improved chemistry.

          . . . a negative test for GSR [gunshot residue] is meaningless, as (a.) tests are only positive in about half of the cases when an individual is known to have fired a gun, (b.) tests are usually negative in relationship to rifles and shotguns.

          Source: Vincent J. M. Di Maio and Suzanna E. Dana, Handbook of Forensic Pathology, 2nd ed. (2007)

          1. John, in an earlier post in here, you ask why people should take Harold Weisberg seriously. He won his lawsuit against the US Government that allowed him access to FBI files on the assassination. That gives me reason to take him seriously.

    2. Imagine as a prosecutor arguing this to a jury: Oswald had maybe 15 minutes to assemble his disassembled rifle using a dime coin (a feat which was possible but which Oswald never, according to the record, had practiced).

      Imagine further arguing this: Oswald fired three shots and then stashed his rifle (yet on the morning of November 23 FBI expert Robert Frazier found the rifle’s barrel severely corroded, containing rust that would have been cleaned from the barrel by the first of the three shots).

    1. I guess it was not long after that when Bill Moyers(LBJ aide)told Assistant A.G. Katzenbach to write that memo saying the public must be convinced LHO was the lone killer.

    1. Good question. We do know that in the October 1966, a judge granted Jack Ruby a new trial, ruling that the first proceeding should not have been held in Dallas. Then all of a sudden he gets cancer. He died less than 3 months after the new trial was ordered.

      1. Eric Hollingsworth

        Sacco and Vanzetti
        Bruno Richard Hauptmann
        Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
        Sam Sheppard

        Whether or not you believe those people were guilty there is little doubt that their trials were egregious miscarriages of justice.

        Oswald would have been found guilty so fast that there would have been a hole in the air behind the defendant’s bench.

        As far as Ruby goes, what with the television censors asleep at the switch for over nine seconds or whatever the live delay was back then, he couldn’t have gotten a fair trial on Mars, let alone in Texas. He should have gotten a mistrial, as repugnant as that might seem.

  13. In a prosecution of Oswald for JFK’s murder, all that Henry Wade could have proven beyond a reasonable doubt is that [a] Oswald worked at and was present in the TSBD on 11-22-63, [b] Oswald was arrested by the DPD in the Texas Theater, and [c] JFK died as the result of gunshot wounds.

    All other alleged facts necessary to establish guilt (e.g., ownership and use of the alleged murder weapon by Oswald) would be in dispute and raise reasonable doubt. That’s why Oswald had to be killed.

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