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Thread: The Tippit Case in the New Millenium

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Lateer View Post
    ...

    I have discovered the excellent series by John Armstrong on the Tippit murder and the surrounding chain of events. The archive which you suggested looks pretty long. I will try and work this into my ambitious reading schedule.
    James Lateer
    Do yourself a favor and cut to the chase. Skip the preceding (represented by the ellipsis above), dig into Armstrong's papers at Baylor (http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu...lection/po-arm), grab Harvey & Lee (on-line somewhere) and start reading.

    Sorry, no link to Harvey & Lee, to be added if I can find it.
    Last edited by Milo Reech; 12-17-2018 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Clarification & link

  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Reech View Post
    Sorry, no link to Harvey & Lee, to be added if I can find it.
    There are several digital copies of JFK assassination books (including Harvey & Lee) here: https://www.krusch.com/books/kennedy/

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George Klees View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Milo Reech View Post
    Sorry, no link to Harvey & Lee, to be added if I can find it.
    There are several digital copies of JFK assassination books (including Harvey & Lee) here: https://www.krusch.com/books/kennedy/
    Thanks!

  4. Default The Eastern Front

    part 1 (property map)

    DPD evidenced about as much interest in the Denver Street observers as it devoted to the odd number 400 block E. 10th St. inhabitants, in short none whatsoever. The FBI was more diligent in this regard and actually pursued a lead furnished by an unknown snitch via a handwritten note postmarked from New Mexico.

    Result was statements from William Arthur Smith (12/12/63), Jimmy Burt (12/15/63) & William Lawrence Smith (1/11/64). W. A. Smith also testified before the Warren Commission but neither of the others was called.

    A fourth observer, Frank Wright, one of the Nashes' other witnesses (10/12/64), was overlooked by DPD, SS, FBI & WC.

    First a look at the geography, using distances obtained from a DCAD (Dallas Central Appraisal District) property map (https://maps.dcad.org/prd/dpm/). The individual parcels have changed over the years but the block sizes remain the same. The 400 block is a square with sides of 400 feet. This makes it easy to determine distances as seen in the attachment. Note: the distance to the corners of the squares is not the same as the distance to the street corners. For example, the distance from point X to the SE corner of Patton & 10th requires an additional 14 feet, consistent with the DPD hand-drawn map that places Tippit 114' from the corner.

    The distance from the location where Tippit was shot & fell to 500 E. 10th next block is 360 feet. Google gives the distance from 404 E. 10th to 500 E. 10th as 358 feet. W. A. Smith at 505 E. 10th was farther away, perhaps 400 feet, with Wright intermediate at 500 E. 10th.

    Jimmy Burt's location has a question mark because he placed himself elsewhere, to be discussed in part 2.

    part 2 (William Arthur Smith & Jimmy Burt)

    In his FBI statement W. A. Smith claimed he was an eyewitness observer of the Tippit shooting, able to discern the shooter's height at a distance of 400 feet from 505 E. 10th, where he had been waiting for Jimmy Burt, but could not identify him. In an extraordinary development he actually identified another witness at the scene, Helen Markham, by name. This was a solo endeavor, as Jimmy Burt neither appeared at 505 E. 10th nor joined him on the way to Patton.

    Smith's WC testimony still has him at 505 E. 10th but now Burt is also present, and he backs out of eyewitness status, only hearing the shots. He also blames Markham for bringing him to the attention of the authorities.

    Mr. BALL. Did you give your name to the police?
    Mr. SMITH. No, sir.
    Mr. BALL. Why?
    Mr. SMITH. Because I was on probation. I thought it might hurt my probation record.
    Mr. BALL. All right; you did tell someone you had seen it, didn't you?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes.
    Mr. BALL. Who?
    Mr. SMITH. This boy I ran around with.
    Mr. BALL. What's his name?
    Mr. SMITH. James Markham.
    Mr. BALL. Is he the son of Helen Markham?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.
    Mr. BALL. Did you talk to her?
    Mr. SMITH. No, sir; she talks to me.
    Mr. BALL. Mrs. Markham talked to you?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes.
    Mr. BALL. And did you tell Mrs. Markham?
    Mr. SMITH. I told her what I saw and that is the reason I am here, I a----
    Mr. BALL. Did the police come out and see you?
    Mr. SMITH. The FBI.
    Mr. BALL. The FBI did? Did you tell them the same story you told me?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

    For her part Markham does not mention this encounter with Smith, and Ball did not want to hear about her, cutting off Smith in mid-sentence.

    Burt's FBI statement is rich in details and differs significantly from Smith's, placing himself with Smith in his brother's house at 9th & Denver "when they heard two gunshots." He "drove his car to the next intersection which is Denver & 10th Streets" with Smith on board. After leaving his car parked facing car #10, "BURT said he ran to the intersection of 10th and Patton and when he was close enough to Patton Street to see to the south he saw the man running into an alley located between 10th and Jefferson Avenue on Patton Street. The man ran in the alley to the right and would be running west at this point.... He noticed only two other persons in the area when he first arrived on the scene. These were two women whom he saw going toward the officer who was lying on the street."

    Who were these women? One might have been Holan, and Smith in his FBI statement said "he immediately went up to talk to Mrs. MARKHAM" after seeing the "white man" turn "left on Patton heading towards Jefferson," without indicating exactly where they met or if anyone else was present. Note that neither Smith nor Burt saw anyone cut across the Davis lawn and jump through the shrubbery, and both likewise failed to discern Benavides' lemon yellow Jimmy parked a few feet from the body. Either Benavides himself was still in crouch mode on the floorboards, or he had not yet arrived. Both also missed Cimino, and he them, separated by their respective isolation chambers. The FBI apparently made no effort to reconcile this, and DPD was not interested to begin with.

    Burt also saw no one on Patton except the man he pursued, which begs several questions, among them where was Scoggins and what did Callaway actually see? When the WR scriptwriters went to work Burt was quickly axed from the cast of star witnesses, and Smith sealed up tight within his isolation chamber, eventually receiving a perfunctory WC interrogation.

    Burt in later years changed his statements to conform more closely with the Smith version, but the revised account is unreliable.

    part 3 (William Lawrence Smith)

    W. L. Smith worked with a crew of brick layers at 500 E. 10th. His FBI statement has two noteworthy items:

    1. While walking east toward lunch (604 E. 10th) he passed an Oswald lookalike walking west.
    2. Another bricklayer (George Chapman) interrupted his lunch to tell him an officer had been shot.

    No need to dwell on the significance of #1, in a single stroke undoing the lone nut thesis, but there's an interesting side issue worth looking at in conjunction with #2. The restaurant at 604 E. 10th was 500 feet or so from 500 E. 10th, at most a two minute walk at an easy pace barring heavy traffic on Marsalis Avenue. None of the bricklayers Smith left behind actually observed the shooting a block away, but after hearing shots and determining what had happened Chapman went to fetch Smith. They "returned immediately to 500 East 10th Street and arrived in time to see a police officer being put into an ambulance."

    How much time elapsed between the shots and the arrival of the ambulance? Five minutes would be a minimum to allow for a bricklayers' confab following the shots, Chapman's decision to walk to the restaurant, his explanation to Smith at the restaurant of what had happened and the walk back together to Denver. But things seldom happen in such a brisk, orderly fashion, and more likely it was a few minutes longer.

    This Smith was not called to testify to WC.

    part 4 (Frank & Mary Wright)

    Apart from the intense drama Frank Wright's rapid-fire narrative is remarkable for the failure to see any of the other well-known observers, not even W. A. Smith standing in the front yard next-door watching the same event. Well, Smith did not see Wright either. They would have been separated by a few feet if both had told the truth, but Wright outdid Smith in terms of isolation. He didn't even see Markham at the scene, or someone who might have been Markham, only a mysterious woman from the south side of 10th who could not have been Holan.

    Wright also claimed he saw an old gray coupe parked behind car #10, entirely missing the two-tone Ford that Burt parked before his eyes in front of #10 if Burt had told the truth.

    At this point there is no way to arbitrate among the three principals, and reconciliation is hopeless. Attempts to amalgamate their observations into a coherent scenario fail ignominiously, relying on piecemeal selection & unsupported modifications to make the statements mesh with each other.

    But the Nashes also interviewed Mary Wright, who delivered a narrative describing her role in the same rapid-fire style as Frank's:

    "I heard three shots. From my window, I got a clear view of a man lying there on the street. He was there in the next block. I could see there was a man lying in the street. I didn't wait a minute. I ran to the telephone. I didn't look in the book or anything. I ran to the telephone, picked it up and dialed 'O.' I said, 'Call the police, a man's been shot!' After that I went outside to join my husband. It wasn't but a minute till the ambulance got there."

    Finally a break! Mary spoke one sentence too many. We know from William Lawrence Smith the ambulance did not arrive in one minute, or even two. Scripting a coherent scenario can get complicated, and someone committed an error in judgment by instructing Mary to over-compress the interval between call & arrival, casting severe doubt on everything the Wrights said. Their statements read like prepared lines because that's exactly what they are, with a single ill-prepared line giving the game away. Unfortunately, it does nothing to resolve the gross discrepancies between the Burt & Smith statements, and nothing they said sticks out in the same way as patently false.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. Default The Eastern Front (cont.)

    On further reflection there is a way to arbitrate among the competing witnesses. It requires a closer look at W. A. Smith's WC testimony.

    Mr. BALL. You live with whom? Whom do you live with?
    Mr. SMITH. My mother.

    Note Ball's canny use of anadiplosis to test the credibility of the witness, which Smith passed with aplomb. Continuing...

    Mr. BALL. Where did you spend the day that day?
    Mr. SMITH. 505 East 10th.
    Mr. BALL. Why were you there?
    Mr. SMITH. Visiting a friend.
    Mr. BALL. What is his name?
    Mr. SMITH. Jimmy Burt.
    Mr. BALL. When did you go over there that day?
    Mr. SMITH. In the morning. In the morning.

    Based on the preceding Smith evidently discerned a need to specify the straightforward "in the morning" twice. Perhaps he wished to spare Ball the necessity of repeating the question. If a single iteration of "in the morning" may be fraught with ambiguity, two should settle the matter without further ado, but Ball was not about to be put off the scent by such a transparent subterfuge. Smith's evasive simplicity aroused him to probe with heightened intensity.

    Mr. BALL. In the morning?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

    Wraps up that thorny issue, or so it would seem, but Ball is on a roll.

    Mr. BALL. What time did you leave there that day?
    Mr. SMITH. In the evening.
    Mr. BALL. So, you spent the whole day there?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes.

    A mind like a circular steel trap! Ball clearly establishes that the whole day that day ran from morning to evening to the exclusion of all other whole days!

    If he would pursue the opening soon provided by Smith relative to the Markhams (mother & son) with the same alacrity he might actually resolve some of the confusion as to the truth about what happened at 10th Street, but he nips that in the bud.

    Mr. BALL. Mrs. Markham talked to you?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes.
    Mr. BALL. And did you tell Mrs. Markham?
    Mr. SMITH. I told her what I saw and that is the reason I am here, I a--
    Mr. BALL. Did the police come out and see you?
    Mr. SMITH. The FBI.

    The blather ends, and Ball proceeds to the gist of the matter:

    Mr. BALL. The FBI did? Did you tell them the same story you told me?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

    A lie. In the FBI statement Smith said "he had arrived at JIMMY'S house prior to the time of JIMMY'S arrival." Compare WC:

    Mr. BALL. Now, at the time the policeman was shot, where were you?
    Mr. SMITH. In the front yard, at 505 East 10th.
    Mr. BALL. Who was with you?
    Mr. SMITH. Jimmy Burt.

    It's all one to Ball, a trivial item, not worth pursuing further, unlike the extraordinary length of that day running from morning to evening.

    Now we cut to the chase:

    Mr. BALL. First time you ever saw this man [Tippit's killer] was after you heard these shots?
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.
    Mr. BALL. Is that right? You had never seen him walking?
    Mr. SMITH. No.
    Mr. BALL. You hadn’t seen him walking in front of the house--
    Mr. SMITH. No, sir.
    Mr. BALL. Where you were standing?
    Mr. SMITH. No, sir.

    Invitation to negation thrice tried, thrice denied, thrice belied -- one for his safety, one for his friend & one for the bricklayer who worked across the street.

    But Smith wasn't done, holding in reserve a rhetorical device of his own.

    Mr. BALL. Now, when the deposition is completed it will be written up and you will have a right to look it over and sign it, or if you want to you can waive your signature. They will accept your waiver and send it on to the Commission without it. Do you have any choice on that?
    Mr. SMITH. I will sign it. It don’t make any difference to me.
    Mr. BALL. Would you just as leave waive your signature?
    Mr. SMITH. Ever what that means.

    Brilliant anastrophe -- the biter bit! -- but Ball was nothing if not obsessive about minutiae. Slow to get the drift he rattled on about the signature waiver before finally giving up.

    As to Burt, his FBI statement was a forgery of sorts, sole purpose was to detach him from 505 E. 10th, where he saw Tippit's killer walking on the other side. Frank Wright's story was a fiction inculcated to ready a disinformation alternative in case one was needed. He may have been miffed when dropped from the active list, and spilled his guts out to the Nashes.

    This is not the conclusion anticipated when the analysis commenced, but it follows from the premise that William Lawrence Smith told the truth.
    Last edited by Milo Reech; 01-05-2019 at 02:28 PM.

  6. Default

    Nicely done Milo....

    Yes, while H was in the theater... H's impersonator was walking from Ruby's down 10th...

    Do you think it a coincidence that Burt knows Tippit for years... and all this converges (Tippit, witnesses, Ozzie player) directly in front of his mistress' house?

    Directly in front of the driveway leading to an alley leading to Patten, parallel to 8th, which can be taken all the way to the theater....

    ....

    Another tidbit... or just coincidence?



    Mr SPECTER. Where did Mr. Ruby live in the fall of 1963, say September of 1963, if you know?
    Mr OLSEN. He lived on Ewing.
    Mr SPECTER. Do you recall----
    Mr OLSEN. Right at Stemmons Freeway.
    Mr SPECTER. How far was that from Kay's house?
    Mr OLSEN. Approximately 4 or 5 blocks.

    Mr. SPECTER. Tell me as precisely as you can recollect what you did on Friday, November 22.
    Mrs. OLSEN. Harry was guarding an estate on 8th Street just a ways from where I lived, and I fixed a lunch for him and stopped off at the 7-11 store to get him some milk, and that's when I heard that there had been some trouble downtown; a colored lady told me that.



    Scoggins drops off a man at the same apartment where Kay (who works for Ruby) and Harry Olsen "visits" often...

    Representative FORD. What does your record show about this last trip?
    Mr. SCOGGINS. Well, I picked him up at Love Field and carried him to 321 North Ewing, as well as I can remember now, that was the address.
    Once in a while you get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right.....
    R. Hunter

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Josephs View Post
    Nicely done Milo....

    Yes, while H was in the theater... H's impersonator was walking from Ruby's down 10th...

    Do you think it a coincidence that Burt knows Tippit for years... and all this converges (Tippit, witnesses, Ozzie player) directly in front of his mistress' house?

    Directly in front of the driveway leading to an alley leading to Patten, parallel to 8th, which can be taken all the way to the theater....

    ....

    Another tidbit... or just coincidence?



    Mr SPECTER. Where did Mr. Ruby live in the fall of 1963, say September of 1963, if you know?
    Mr OLSEN. He lived on Ewing.
    Mr SPECTER. Do you recall----
    Mr OLSEN. Right at Stemmons Freeway.
    Mr SPECTER. How far was that from Kay's house?
    Mr OLSEN. Approximately 4 or 5 blocks.

    Mr. SPECTER. Tell me as precisely as you can recollect what you did on Friday, November 22.
    Mrs. OLSEN. Harry was guarding an estate on 8th Street just a ways from where I lived, and I fixed a lunch for him and stopped off at the 7-11 store to get him some milk, and that's when I heard that there had been some trouble downtown; a colored lady told me that.



    Scoggins drops off a man at the same apartment where Kay (who works for Ruby) and Harry Olsen "visits" often...

    Representative FORD. What does your record show about this last trip?
    Mr. SCOGGINS. Well, I picked him up at Love Field and carried him to 321 North Ewing, as well as I can remember now, that was the address.
    Nothing coincidental about any of this, least of all the Olsens at 521 N. Ewing, curious that the FBI took more interest in Mrs. than Mr. Olsen, but before getting into that there's an even more curious item on the radio tapes. It occurs after the library shakedown fizzled and before the announcement, "We have information that a suspect just went in the Texas Theater on West Jefferson."

    1384 1:44 87 (Ptm. R.C. Nelson) 87. What was the last location anybody had on that suspect out here in Oak Cliff?
    1385 1:44 Dispatcher Running north on Patton.

    The line numbers are from your document (DPD.pdf p21). The exchange appears in both CE705 & CE1974. We know from Armstrong's recent research the transcriptions are fragmentary, but there is no reason to regard this content as inauthentic. So what's going on? I can find no reference to a source of this information anywhere. AFAICT no witness said a fugitive ran north on Patton.

    Armstrong has the ways & means but there are two questionable items at http://harveyandlee.net/Tippit/Tippit.html. Scroll down about halfway (page could use internal section links):

    1. Omission of Sergeant Barnes from "the list of police officers who were either dispatched or arrived at 10th & Patton."
    2. Assignment of 510 E. Jefferson to L. J. Lewis.

    The first is probably insignificant, doubtful Barnes was in uniform, the second inexplicable. Surely Lewis knew he worked at 500 E. Jefferson.
    Last edited by Milo Reech; 01-09-2019 at 11:54 AM.

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