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The welter of witnesses
McAdams' assassination google group ground to a halt with his demise, as if the resident shills & drones could not function while Geryon descended with his malevolent soul into Dante's "place in Hell called Malebolge" (Canto XVIII). By now the soul has joined his infernal ilk in the bolgia set up last century to torment for eternity those who participate in the Lee Harvey Oswald frame-up & vilification, but posting activity has not resumed.

Not much at the group was worth reading with the conspicuous exception of Donald Willis' steadfast efforts to carefully scrutinize the assassination events by taking a hard look at the evidence. Most recently he returned to the subject of what happened when Tippit was murdered, an area he examined in depth some decades ago. The item deserved an enlightened consideration which the group could never provide.

Was W.W. Scoggins the only witness at 10th and Patton who actually saw Tippit's killer?

The main point of interest is disposing of the flight path from Patton to the intersection with Jefferson. This is a bold idea but long overdue, tackling head-on the central problem most (if not all) Tippit scenarios usually describe with scant elucidation -- failing to make sense out of the welter of witnesses.

Worth reading, more to follow.
Stalwart DPD Detective Jim Leavelle, paragon of undue process, was given the assignment of framing Oswald, which he as much as admitted to first day witness Callaway:

"We want to be sure, we want to try to wrap him up real tight on killing this officer. We think he is the same one that shot the President. But if we can wrap him up tight on killing this officer, we have got him."

It appears as an epigraph to Gary Murr's seminal "The Murder of Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit."

Markham was the first witness enrolled in the official scenario, cast as the only eyewitness of the murder itself, her interview commencing a couple of hours after it occurred. Her DPD statement is remarkably terse, but FBI SA Odum was also on hand. He garbled the content beyond recognition after conducting his own interview of Markham:

MRS. HELEN MARKHAM, residence 328 E. 9th Street, employed as a waitress at the Eatwell Cafe, Main Street, Dallas, furnished the following information:

On the early afternoon of November 22, 1963, possibly around 1:30 p.m., she observed a marked Dallas Police Department patrol car parked in the 400 block of East 10th Street. She saw a young man walk from the sidewalk to the squad car and put his face up to the front window on the right-hand side of the car which was next to the curb and engage the officer in a brief conversation of about ten seconds. Thereafter, the officer got out the left-hand door, drivers side of the car, walked around behind the squad car and on rounding the corner of the car was shot twice in the head by the young man.

MRS. MARKHAM immediately ran out to car and was afraid that this young man might shoot her, but felt that she must go to the aid of the officer. The young man ran west on 10th Street to the corner, turned south and disappeared.

MRS. MARKHAM stated that she is sure she can identify him and described him as a white male, about 18, black hair, red complexion, wearing black shoes, tan jacket, and dark trousers.
SA Bardwell D. Odum, DL 89-43-1174, 11/22/63

While keeping in mind that FBI reports of witness interviews contain almost nothing in the way of direct quotation, yet one cannot help but think the summary information ought to bear some consistency with what the witness actually said. Instead Odum's report is replete with error and misdirection, starting with the 1:30 time (DPD: "approximately 1:06") and ending with the turn south at the corner (DPD: "the man ran west on E. 10th across Patton Street and went out of sight").

The erratic nature of Markham's statements is well known, but she did not deviate from 1:06, consistent with catching the 1:12 bus a block away. An FBI rewrite man (SA Barrett) filed a lengthy report on 3/17/64, superseding Odum's report prior to the WC hearings, bringing the time closer to reality while mutilating the scheduled stop to 1:15. Other reports had the correct time of 1:12, but the WR authors accepted Barrett's distortion, needing every minute they could get to accommodate their lone nut hypothesis.

When Leavelle commenced the frame-up he was under no such constraint.
Next up were Callaway, Guinyard and Benavides, employees of Dootch Motors where Leavelle stopped after taking Markham home. They reported to DPD HQ where all three gave statements. Guinyard's is brief and of no particular interest while Benavides' vanished, probably discarded because of later developments. Callaway's is hardly expansive but contains the curious detail regarding Tippit's gun and his participation in a chase of the murderer.

Callaway said many things on this subject in the course of his life, both to authorities & private researchers. The latter's cumulative efforts well into this century have produced a sprawling oral tradition regarding the Tippit murder.

Based on a look at the official documents two problems immediately present themselves. 1) Callaway changed the route radically between 11/22 & 12/3; and 2) The cabdriver's identity, unknown on 2/26, was provided to WC on 3/26 without prompting.

DPD Affidavit (11/22/63) -- I got the officer's gun and hollered at a cab driver to come on, We might catch the man. We got into his cab, number 213 and drove up Patton [south] to Jefferson and looked all around, but did not see him.

SS Affidavit (12/3/63) -- We turned west on 10th and south on Crawford to Jefferson and then west on Jefferson to Beckley where we turned north. During the time we were on Jefferson, we did not see the man with the pistol.

FBI DL 100-10461 (2/26/64) -- He said he then got a cab driver who was driving Oak Cliff cab number 213 to drive with him to look for the man he had seen earlier. He said that he never learned the identity of this cab driver, and after they were unable to locate the man he had observed with the pistol, he and the cab driver returned to the scene where Patrolman TIPPIT had been shot and he turned TIPPIT's gun over to Dallas police officers who were at the scene and told them what he knew about the shooting.

WC 3H354 (3/26/64) -- I said, "If he is going up Jefferson, he can't be very far. Let's see if we can find him." So I went with Scoggins in the taxicab, went up to 10th, Crawford, from Crawford up to Jefferson, and down Jefferson to Beckley. And we turned on Beckley. If we had kept going up Jefferson, we probably--there is a good chance we would have seen him, because he was headed right towards the Texas Theatre. But then we circled around several blocks, and ended up coming back to where it happened.

The oral tradition does not clarify any of this. It is vast, created by both WR partisans & opponents (often featuring Callaway), but unreliable and close to useless in terms of arbitrating among the various versions of events. It actually makes things worse. One example: Callaway's eventual claim that he drove the cab and Scoggins handled the gun. Another: the confrontation between Callaway & Holmes, Sr. at the end of the chase which exists in at least two versions that have very little in common.

Trying to sort this is hopeless, but the question of why the detail involving Tippit's service revolver received attention in Callaway's original DPD affidavit is more germane to an analysis of the Tippit case than getting caught up in a mess of decoys.
Relative to his part in the chase Scoggins never identified his passenger, despite being a habitue of the dominoes club across the street from Dootch Motors. Not much of a surprise since he described the vigilante with Tippit's gun as a young man who looked like a cop. He also gave an entirely different account of the route to the Secret Service, while fudging this to everyone else.

DPD (11/23/63) -- This man got into the cab with me and we circled around several blocks but did not see this man who shot the officer.

SS (12/2/63) -- We proceeded north on Patton and possibly turned west on 10th. We cruised an area north of 10th street looking for the man I had seen, but we did not see him. When we left the intersection of 10th and Patton we did not go to Patton and Jefferson, but went in a northerly direction which would be opposite from the intersection of Patton and Jefferson streets.

FBI (3/17/64) -- They drove around the neighborhood for four or five minutes looking for OSWALD.

WC (3/26/64) --
Mr. Belin.
    What did you see him do? This man came up and picked up the policeman's gun. He picked it up and said, "Let's go see if we can find him?"
Mr. Scoggins.
    I thought the man was a kind of police, Secret Service or something, I didn't know, and I take him and we drove around over the neighborhood looking, and I still didn't know what kind--I still thought he was connected with the Police department in some way.
Mr. Belin.
    What route did you take as you drove over the neighborhood?
Mr. Scoggins.
    I couldn't tell you.
Mr. Belin.
    You can't tell us the route you took over the neighborhood?
Mr. Scoggins.
    I was doing the driving and he was doing the directing.
Mr. Belin.
    He directed you where to go?
Mr. Scoggins.
    Actually, I couldn't say where he was going.

The DPD version is typically laconic. The FBI report is an elaboration & reworking of an earlier FBI report that does not mention the chase episode. WC's give & take between Scoggins & Belin is close to hilarious, the former muffing his lines despite the latter's repeated prompting.

The chase, featuring a pair of clowns who did not learn each other's name and went separate ways in the same vehicle, was scripted by someone who had seen It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, released earlier that month.
Leavelle's 11/22 Supplementary Offense Report defined the first day frame-up, based on information from five witnesses: Markham, Benavides, Callaway, Guniyard & Scoggins. All furnished affidavits that day with the exception of Scoggins who spoke with Leavelle by phone and furnished an affidavit the next day.

This limited Leavelle's scenario to two bullets, but he had not kept abreast of the day's events. Tippit's corpse had three serious wounds and a fourth shot hit a button. As the news filtered back to DPD the Davis women were mustered to locate the pair of spent shells planted in their yard. This necessitated redirecting the fugitive diagonally across their front yard and out through the shrubbery.

Both Davis women gave affidavits to this effect 11/22 but the news did not sink in immediately. The Secret Service's curious 12/1 report of the Tippit murder adhered to the two shot scenario despite including the Davis women in the list of "WITNESSES TO THE SHOOTING." Benavides & Guinyard were both deleted from this list, the former presumably because his affidavit had already been discarded and the latter for unknown reasons. In a startling development busdriver McWatters was added to the list despite being stuck in traffic downtown.

Either the authors did not digest the Davis affidavits or failed to reckon with the information provided by Poe & Jez. Simple arithmetic would have produced the obvious conclusion that four shots were fired across the hood, consistent with Dr. Rose's autopsy conducted at 3:15PM 11/22.

The wrapper is already coming off Leavelle's tight frame-up -- a disappearing affidavit, a nutty cab chase, planted shells & two flight paths for one runner.
Unknown what agency intervened but within a week the Secret Service issued a sharply revised report containing this paragraph:

On November 22, 1963, Officer J. D. Tippit was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald at approximately 1:17 P.M. This murder occurred in the 400 block of 10th Street, Dallas, Texas. Preliminary investigation indicates that Officer Tippit was shot three times, one bullet piercing the head and two bullets in the chest. Witnesses at the scene of the shooting state that Oswald, after shooting Officer Tippit, continued in a westerly direction on Jefferson Boulevard.

The first version gave the time as "approximately 1:00 P.M," much more realistic than the revised report's preposterous 1:17 P.M, a minute prior to the arrival of the ambulance. The revision picked up a bullet but is still short one bullet, and the alteration of the flight path from the "alley...between Jefferson and 10th Streets" to Jefferson Boulevard is bogus. Markham was the only witness that saw the shooting and stated in her affidavit that "the man ran west on E. 10th across Patton Street and went out of sight." She also indicated to Cimino that the fugitive shooter ran into the alley and told the same thing to Poe & Jez.

Meanwhile, DPD took an affidavit from Bowley just in time for Leavelle's case report. Oswald's murder obviated compliance with whatever rules of evidence were in effect in Dallas. Nothing was subject to review in a court of law, and DPD slammed the door shut on further investigation into this murder.

Leavelle adhered to the "tight" case imperative, restricting the murder scene witnesses to a core group, consisting of Markham, Callaway, Scoggins, Guinyard, Bowley & the Davises with one conspicuous absence. What happened to Benavides?
Bowley's 12/2 DPD affidavit supplied detailed information relative to Tippit's service revolver absent from the 11/22 affidavits.

When the ambulance left, I took the gun and put it inside the squad car. A man took the pistol out and said, "Let's catch him." He opened the cylinder, and I saw that no rounds in it had been fired. This man then took the pistol with him and got into a cab and drove off.

Callaway's DPD & SS statements say little more than that he took the pistol, but by the time he spoke to FBI's Carter on 2/25 he began to open up.

He said while talking to the dispatcher on the police radio, someone placed TIPPIT's revolver in the police car so he, CALLAWAY took the gun, a .38 special revolver, and put it in his, CALLAWAY's, belt.

A month later before the WC he is positively expansive:

I picked the gun up and laid it on the hood of the squad car, and then someone put it in the front seat of the squad car. Then after I helped load Officer Tippit in the ambulance, I got the gun out of the car and told this cabdriver, I said, "You saw the guy didn't you?" He said, yes.

O, ‘tis most sweet when in one line two crafts directly meet! Someone put in great effort to get Callaway to sync up with Bowley. Problem is the first craft (Bowley's) was scuttled by the FBI, who wrote him out of the official scenario and replaced him with Benavides, even going so far as to attribute the first citizen's call to a voice that manifestly does not belong to Benavides.

There were several reasons to ditch Bowley, most obviously the Ruby connection which was anathema and the problem of his watch. Still, it's a bit of a letdown to see him go, impossible to escape the suspicion that Bowley's role was divvied up between Callaway & Benavides.

The suspicion gains support from a surprising source, Markham, whose statements sometimes lacked coherence. Not so when Barrett interviewed her 3/16 on the eve of her 3/26 WC appearance, when she declared in no uncertain terms what happened with Tippit's gun.

She said after she got to the officer's side he attempted to say something but was unable to get any words out. About five or ten minutes later, some man came to where the officer was lying, turned the officer over, took his gun and left. She stated she had no idea who this man was or where he went.

Ten days later at the hearing Ball wisely refrained from asking questions about Tippit's service revolver but could not resist the temptation to lead Markham into corroborating Benavides' augmented role, and he got burned.

Mr. BALL. Did some man come up immediately thereafter?
Mrs. MARKHAM. Yes.
Mr. BALL. What kind of a car did he have?
Mrs. MARKHAM. Not immediately.
Mr. BALL. Soon?
Mrs. MARKHAM. Soon.
Mr. BALL. In a pickup truck?
Mrs. MARKHAM. Yes. I very frankly remembered this truck, but I remember it the way it took off.
Mr. BALL. He stopped though, didn't he?
Mrs. MARKHAM. Yes.
Mr. BALL. That is the man who called over the police radio, wasn't he?
Mrs. MARKHAM. I don't recall.
Mr. BALL. What did he look like, the man in the pickup truck?
Mrs. MARKHAM. This man had a hat on. I thought he was a policeman.
Mr. BALL. A dark man, looked somewhat Spanish?
Mrs. MARKHAM. I don't recall. I was screaming and crying and trying to get help, begging for somebody to help me.
As if the journey of Tippit's service revolver needed further complication, ambulance driver Butler claimed in an HSCA interview that he handled it upon arrival at the scene:

After parking the ambulance in front of the squad car, I went to the back of the ambulance where I noticed a pistol lying in the street by the left front tire of the squad car. I picked up the pistol and placed it on the hood and/or fender of the squad car.

Keep in mind this is taken from a Moriarty interview, and his work is if anything less reliable than the potpourri of DPD/SS/FBI/WC statements & reports that preceded it by 13 or 14 years.

The interesting question is why did the jump edit indicated by Markham's "about five or ten minutes" culminate in a game of silly buggers involving Tippit's gun?

What is more surprising is how Ball's line of questioning led to Markham's confirmation of Guinyard's eventual testimony that Benavides arrived in his truck after the shooting (7H398). Even sharp legal talent is susceptible to getting lost in a script when the complications mount up and overlay each other.
The FBI must have insisted that suborned witnesses stay in touch, and the record is replete with contacts from them. On 7/9/64 Mary Brock called "seeking advice as to whether or not she should consent to an interview" with George Nash, eventual co-author of The Other Witnesses (10/12/64). The memo states, "she was advised that any interview to which she might consent was strictly a decision she would have to make." This was admirable advice if actually given. The Brocks do not appear in the article, reason unknown.

Sam Guinyard called later the same year (10/29/64) seeking FBI protection from "four armed men," describing himself as "the individual who identified OSWALD as the man that killed Dallas Police Officer TIPPITT [sic]." The FBI declined, referring him to the attention of the DPD, even going so far as to relay the information to the Deputy Chief of Police.

Moving on, Warren Reynolds called on 4/6/66 to report that he had been duped into an interview by Mark Lane, who had misrepresented himself as Robert Blake. Reynolds sought "advice as to what action he should take." supervisor Gemberling, who was something of a subornation handler-in-chief, "advised that no advice could be given." Water under the bridge.

Of greater significance was a call from Benavides on 2/27/67 regarding a meeting he had had with Igor Vaganov, who may have been the man in the red Ford Benavides saw at the Tippit murder scene. The 3/1/67 FBI memo refers to "his statement to the FBI on the date of the assassination" inadvertently exposing Benavides' role as a suborned witness.

No such FBI statement exists. Neither does the DPD affidavit Benavides gave the same day. His WC testimony was cut from whole cloth by Gemberling & company at least up to his return from the strange interlude in the alley [6H449], and a major eyewitness bites the dust.

The 3/1/67 memo refers the matter "to supervisor ROBERT P. GEMBERLING for action deemed appropriate by him." It is unknown what action Gemberling took, if any, but the bureau slipped badly in letting this cat out of the bag.
The Willis article mentioned in the first post illustrates the acute problems that ensue when attempting to make sense out of the welter of witnesses, specifically when devising a well-meaning but futile alternative scenario. Scoggins assumes the role of the person observed by them running in the wake of the killer through the Patton/Jefferson area after grabbing Tippit's gun. It concludes with the observation that "Scoggins chased after the killer three times within the space of a half hour--first by foot, then by cab, then by cop car."

A noble attempt to save suborned faces, but the argument fails on its own terms, mainly because for undisclosed reasons Willis puts the time of Tipping shooting at 1:15. This leaves less than 10 minutes to cover the ground three different ways, first two with Tippit's service revolver, a task for which a half hour would barely suffice.

There is little reason not to accept Markham's 1:06 time. It actually conforms to the objective reality of when a person would be a block away from catching a bus due to arrive at 1:12. Reaching Tenth at 1:15 would probably have been too late to watch it go by on Jefferson.

An effort to retard the time a minute or two is usually based on CE705's DPD radio transcript that shows several unanswered calls attributed to 78 (Tippit) around 1:08. These calls are dubious. They do not appear in either CE1974 or Russ Shearer's transcription at Bill Drenas' website.

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