One of the most confusing aspects of the events that took place in Dealey Plaza surround the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas School Book Depository. Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry said it best when he admitted to newsmen "We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand."
I'll start with the account given by a fellow depository worker, Bonnie Ray Williams. Williams claimed that he went to the sixth floor of the depository where he thought other workers were going to watch the motorcade. He sat down and began eating his lunch. After nobody else showed, he said he put down his lunch and left at approximately 12:20. He then joined two other workers on the fifth floor, directly below what was later determined to be the "sniper's nest." As the President's limo turned onto Elm, these three men said they heard three shots and that they "came from practically right over our heads." One of the three men even said he heard the sounds of the bolt-action rifle and "shells hitting the floor." Marrs, the author of Crossfire, immediately points out the major concerns regarding their testimony given to the Warren Commission. He notes that if the ceiling was thin enough for them to hear the shells as well as the bolt action of the rifle, how come they had not heard anyone moving around beforehand? Also, if Williams really was on the sixth floor until 12:20, how does one explain the multiple accounts that a man with a rifle was seen on the sixth floor at 12:15?
More after the jump...
If there really was a man with a rifle on the sixth floor at 12:15, how is it that Carolyn Arnold, a secretary, saw a man she clearly recognized as Lee Harvey Oswald sitting in the second floor lunchroom at that very same time? Oswald was last seen on the sixth floor at 11:55 AM by a group of workers who raced both elevators to the first floor. The Warren Commission concluded that he remained there to commit the assassination. How is it then that Williams did not see him on the sixth floor but Arnold did see him on the second floor lunchroom, the very same place he was seen moments after the shooting by Officer Marrion Baker and Superintendent Roy Truly?
Let's suppose for a moment that Oswald left the lunchroom shortly after being seen at 12:15 to go to the sixth floor. Kennedy's motorcade was running approximately five minutes late, which means that an assassin would have to have been prepared to take his shot at 12:25. That would have left Oswald with less than ten minutes to get to the sixth floor, rearrange the boxes into the "sniper's nest," and prepare himself to commit the "crime of the century." Mind you, this was all being done with three people directly below him who heard no sounds that they can recall. (NOTE: It is clear that there was in fact at least one shot taken from the depository, which makes the testimony of Williams and the other two all the more strange.) After taking three shots, Oswald would then have had to rearrange the boxes again (it was proven through photo evidence that the boxes were moved within two minutes of the last shot), run all the way to the west side of the building to stash the rifle, run down five flights of stairs to make it back to the lunchroom on the second floor where he was seen less than two minutes after the final shot was fired. He was described as not being "excited or overly afraid." Officer Baker also recalled seeing a Coke in Oswald's hand. So in addition to everything else, add "fumbling around for change to purchase a coke" to his actions between firing the last shot and being seen next in the lunchroom.
As you can see, the claim that Oswald was in fact the lone gunman on the sixth floor of the depository is anything but airtight. Another example of intriguing testimony casts doubt onto the concluded actions of Oswald in the moments following the shooting. During Oswald's alleged descent down the back stairs, he would have had to have passed two other depository employees, Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles, who "told the FBI they both ran from the building down the back stairway after viewing the assassination from their fourth floor office window."
Some other notes of interest:
- Mrs. Robert Reid also saw Oswald on the second floor, Coke in hand, after she ran back to her office from the front steps immediately following the shots. You can see above the Warren Commission Exhibit No. 1118 which shows the proposed path of Oswald on the second floor.
- Oswald claimed to have seen the two other men who were on the fifth floor, Harold Norman and James Jarman, on the first floor after following down the other who raced in the elevators. Oswald said he didn't remember their names, but thought one of them was nicknamed "Junior," which was in fact Mr. Jarman's nickname.
- Both elevators were on the fifth floor when Officer Baker and Roy Truly ran into the depository. Presumably, one was taken by Jarman and Norman, and the other taken by Williams. This is important because it confirms that if Oswald was the shooter, he had to have taken the stairs both ways, something that no one can say that they saw. It also decreases the amount of time Oswald would have have to set up between being seen in the lunchroom at 12:15 and the scheduled arrival time of Kennedy as 12:25.