Roger Craig was a deputy Sheriff in Dallas at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy. He was a member of a group of men from Dallas County Sheriff James Eric “Bill” Decker’s office that was directed to stand out in front of the Sheriff’s office on Main Street (at the corner of Houston) and “take no part whatsoever in the security of that motorcade.” Once he heard the first shot, Roger Craig immediately bolted towards Houston Street. His participation in the formative hours of the investigation during the rest of that day and into the evening included observations and experiences that would have single-handedly destroyed the Warren Commission fairy tale before a grand jury or a Congressional investigation.
Roger Craig was named the Dallas Sheriff’s Department “Officer of the Year” in 1960 by the Dallas Traffic Commission. He received four promotions while he was deputy Sheriff. Among the most important events he witnessed:
* at approximately 12:40 p.m., deputy Craig was standing on the south side of Elm Street when he heard a shrill whistle coming from the north side of Elm and turned to see a man–wearing faded blue trousers and a long sleeved work shirt made of some type of grainy material–come running down the grassy knoll from the direction of the TSBD. He saw a light green Rambler station wagon coming slowly west on Elm Street, pull over to the north curb and pick up the man coming down the hill. By this time the traffic was too heavy for him to be able to reach them before the car drove away going west on Elm.
* after witnessing the above scene, deputy Craig ran to the command post at Elm and Houston to report the incident to the
authorities. When he got there and asked who was involved in
the investigation, a man turned to him and said “I’m with the
Secret Service.” Craig recounted what he had just seen. This
“Secret Service” man showed little interest in Craig’s
description of the people leaving, but seemed extremely
interested in the description of the Rambler to the degree
this was the only part of the recounting that he wrote down.
(On 12/22/67, Roger Craig learned from Jim Garrison that this
man’s name was Edgar Eugene Bradley, a right wing preacher from
North Hollywood, California and part-time assistant to Carl McIntire, the fundamentalist minister who had founded the American Counsel of Christian Churches. Then-governor Ronald Reagan refused to grant the extradition request from Garrison for the indictment of Bradley during the New Orleans Probe.)
* immediately after this Craig was told by Sheriff Decker to help the police search the TSBD. Deputy Craig was one of the two people to find the three rifle cartridges on the floor beneath the window on the southeast corner of the sixth floor. All three were no more than an inch apart and all were lined up in the same direction. One of the three shells was crimped on the end which would have held the slug. It had not been stepped on but merely crimped over on one small portion of the rim. The rest of that end was perfectly round.
* he was present at when the rifle was found, and, along with Deputy Eugene Boone who had first spotted the weapon, was immediately joined by police Lt. Day, Homicide Capt. Fritz, and deputy constable Seymour Weitzman, an expert on weapons who had been in the sporting goods business for many years and was familiar with all domestic and foreign makes. Lt. Day briefly inspected the rifle and handed it to Capt. Fritz who asked if anyone knew what kind of rifle it was. After a close examination, Weitzman declared it to be a 7.65 German Mauser. Capt. Fritz agreed with him.
* at the moment when Capt. Fritz concurred with Weitzman’s identification of the rifle, an unknown Dallas police officer came running up the stairs and advised Capt. Fritz that a
Dallas policeman had been shot in the Oak Cliff area. Craig
instinctively looked at his watch. The time was 1:06 p.m.
(The Warren Commission attempted to move this time back beyond
1:15 to plausible claim Oswald had reached the Tippit murder
scene in a more humanly possible time-frame than would be the
case if Tippit had the encounter with his murderer any earlier.)
* Later in the afternoon Craig received word of Oswald’s arrest and that he was suspected of being involved in the Kennedy’s murder. He immediately thought of the man running down the
grassy knoll and made a telephone call to Capt. Will Fritz to
gave him the description of the man he had seen. Fritz said
Craig’s description sounded like the man they had and asked
him to come take a look. When he saw Oswald in Fritz’s
personal office Deputy Craig confirmed that this was indeed
the man, dressed in the same way, that he had seen running
down the knoll and into the Rambler. They went into the
office together and Fritz told Oswald,
“This man (pointing to me) saw you leave.” At which time the suspect replied, “I told you people I did.” Fritz, apparently trying to console Oswald, said, “Take it easy,
son–we’re just trying to find out what happened.” Fritz
then said, “What about the car?” Oswald replied, leaning
forward on Fritz’ desk, “That station wagon belongs to
Mrs. Paine–don’t try to drag her into this.” Sitting
back in his chair, Oswald said very disgustedly and very
low, “Everybody will know who I am now.”
The fact that Fritz said “car” and this elicited Oswald’s outburst about a “station wagon”–that no one else had mentioned–confirms the veracity of Roger Craig’s story.
* junior counsel for the Warren Commission Dave Belin, was the man who interview Roger Craig in April of 1964. After the being questioned in what Craig recounts as a very manipulative
and selective way, Belin asked “Do you want to follow or waive
your signature or sign now?” Craig noted, “Since there was
nothing but a tape recording and a stenographer’s note book,
there was obviously nothing to sign. All other testimony which
I have read (a considerable amount) included an explanation
that the person could waive his signature then or his statement
would be typed and he would be notified when it was ready for
signature. Belin did not say this to me.” After Craig first
saw the transcript in January of 1968 he discovered that the
testimony he gave had been changed in fourteen different
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig never changed his account of what he witnessed
and experienced on Friday, November 22, 1963. (The passage where he
describes the methodology employed by David Belin in selectively recording
his testimony is highly illuminating and provides us with a glimpse of how
the “W.C.” interviewed witnesses in a very controlled way.) He remained
convinced, for the rest of this life, that the man entering the Rambler
station wagon was Lee Harvey Oswald. He was fired from the Sheriff’s
office on July 4, 1967, and from that day forward he never again could
find steady work. Multiple attempts were made on his life, his wife
finally left him, and in the end, he was alleged to have shot himself to
death on May 15, 1975.
the following is an unpublished manuscript written by the late Roger Craig:
Roger Craig – (c) 1971
This book is dedicated to my wife Molly, who meant it when she said “for better or worse.”
Our president John Kennedy went down to Dallas town Where the hired assassins waited and there they shot him down, Because he dreamed of peace and plenty and he talked it ’round His dream goes marching on.
The Dallas County Court House at 505 Main Street was indeed a
unique place to come to hear what was WRONG with John F. Kennedy
and his policies as President of these United States.
This building housed the elite troops of the Dallas County
Sheriff’s Department (of which I was one), who, with blind
obedience, followed the orders of their Great White Father: BILL
DECKER, Sheriff of Dallas County.
From these elite troops came the most bitter verbal attacks on
President Kennedy. They spoke very strongly against his policies
concerning the Bay of Pigs incident and the Cuban Missile crisis.
They seemed to resent very much the fact that President Kennedy was
a Catholic. I do not know why this was such a critical issue with
many of the deputies but they did seem to hold this against
President Kennedy.
The concession stand in the lobby of the court house was the
best place to get into a discussion concerning the President. The
old man who ran the stand evidenced a particular hatred for
President Kennedy. He seemed to go out of his way to drag anyone
who came by his stand into a discussion about the President. His
name is J. C. Kiser.
He was a little man with a short mustache and glasses that he
wore right on the end of his nose. He was a particularly good
friend of Sheriff Decker, and he held the concession in the lobby
for many years. Like Decker, he was unopposed when his lease came
up for renewal. It was common knowledge that Bill Decker made it
possible for him to remain there as long as he wished. This sick
little man not only had a deep hatred for John F. Kennedy, he also
hated the black people, even those who spent their money at his
stand. He would often curse them as they walked away after making
a purchase from him. He flatly refused to make telephone change
for them even though he would be simultaneously making change for a
white person.
*This little man* was a typical example of the atmosphere that
lingered in this building that housed LAW AND ORDER in Dallas
Many of the deputies had a dislike for the President–some more
so than others. However, there *were* those who would not degrade
themselves by taking verbal punches at our President. One of these
was Hiram Ingram. Although devoted to Bill Decker, he was also a
good friend of mine. We often discussed the political debates that
took place in the lobby. Hiram had a great dislike for this sick
little man who seemed to lead the attack on the President. He also
had little respect for the deputies, attorneys and court house
employees who tolerated or even agreed with this philosophy of
attacking John F. Kennedy.
Hiram Ingram was a small man–in stature. He was always ready
with a friendly smile and greeting. He began his association with
the County during the Bonnie and Clyde era–when he was an
ambulance driver and inside employee at a local funeral home. In
fact, Hiram prepared Bonnie and Clyde for burial after they were
brought back to Dallas from the ambush in Louisiana.
Hiram and I were very close–one of those friendships which
develops when some people first meet. I had known Hiram for about
four years at the time of the assassination. He was working in the
Civil Division and shortly after November 22, 1963 he had a heart
attack. When he returned to work Decker put him on the Bond Desk,
where I would later be and work closely with Hiram. I worked the
day shift one month and the evening shift the following month.
Hiram worked only evenings. So every other month we worked
together. This gave us time to talk and discuss the events in
Dallas and even the Sheriff’s Office itself. The Department was
not well organized.
To clear some of the bonds and bondsmen we would have to call
Decker at home–no matter what time of the day or night–for his
approval or ANY decision. This applied only to certain bondsmen.
Decker had his chosen few who were not questioned. Hiram was a
very dependable employee and should not have had to clear the minor
decisions with our Great White Father, Bill Decker.
As the months passed and Hiram and I worked together we built a
mutual respect for each other. When Decker fired me on July 4,
1967 Hiram was infuriated but, like any employee of Decker’s, he
couldn’t say anything in my defense for fear of having *his*
employment cut short or his reputation ruined. One of Decker’s
favorite past times was ruining reputations.
Our friendship did not end with my termination. We continued to
talk from time to time and Hiram was very helpful when Penn Jones
wanted information concerning records at the Sheriff’s office.
However, in March of 1968 Hiram explained to me that information
was getting more difficult to get for some reason. Fortunately by
this time I had already supplied Penn Jones and Bill Boxley
(investigator for Jim Garrison) with much information from Hiram.
About two weeks later, near the end of March 1968, I heard that
Hiram had fallen at home and broken his hip and was in the
hospital. I went to see my good buddy to cheer him up and received
the shock of my life. Hiram was under oxygen and could not have
*any* visitors. Three days later he was dead–of cancer. He had
been working just prior to the fall. I think that we owe a debt of
gratitude to this great man who, in his own quiet way, helped us
all so much.
Thus . . . we have the atmosphere that was to greet the
President of the United States upon his arrival in Dallas.
However, things were to get even worse before he arrived.
The battle ground had been picked and the Unwelcome mat was out
for President Kennedy. Unknown to most of us, the rest of the plan
was being completed. The patsy had been chosen and placed in the
building across from the court house–where he could not deny his
presence *after it was all over*. This was done with the apparent
approval and certainly with the knowledge of our co-workers, the
F.B.I., since they later admitted that they knew Lee Harvey Oswald
was employed at the School Book Depository Building located on the
corner of Elm Street and Houston Street across from the Sheriff’s
The security had been arranged by the Secret Service and the
Dallas Police–our boys in blue. The final touch was put on by
Sheriff James Eric (Bill) Decker. On the morning of November 22,
1963 the patrolmen in the districts which make up the Dallas County
Sheriff’s Patrol Division were left in the field, ignorant of what
was going on in the downtown area, which was just as well. Decker
was not going to LET them do anything anyway.
About 10:30 a.m. November 22, 1963, Bill Decker called into his
office what I will refer to as his street people–plain-clothes
men, detectives and warrant men, myself included–and told us that
President Kennedy was coming to Dallas and that the motorcade would
come down Main Street. He then advised us that we were to stand
out in front of the building, 505 Main Street and represent the
Sheriff’s Office. We were to take NO part whatsoever in the
security of that motorcade. (WHY, JAMES ERIC?) So . . . the stage
had been set, all the pawns were in place, the security had been
withdrawn from that one vulnerable location. Come John F. Kennedy,
come to Elm and Houston Streets in Dallas, Texas and take your
place in history!
The time was 12:15 p.m. I was standing in front of the court
house at 505 Main Street. Deputy Sheriff Jim Ramsey was standing
behind me. We were waiting for the President of the United States.
I had a feeling of pride that I was going to be not more than four
feet from the President but deep inside something kept gnawing at
me. I said to Jim Ramsey, “He’s late.” Jim’s reply stunned me.
He said, “Maybe somebody will shoot the son of a bitch.” Then I
realized the crowd was hostile. The men about me felt that they
were FORCED to acknowledge his presence. Although he was the
President, they were making statements like, “Why does he have to
come to Dallas?”
Something else was bothering me . . . being a trained officer, I
always looked for anything which might be amiss about any situation
with which I was confronted. Suddenly I knew what was wrong.
There were no officers guarding the intersections or controlling
the crowd. My mind flashed back to the meeting in Decker’s office
that morning, then back to the lack of security in this area.
Suddenly the motorcade approached and President Kennedy was
smiling and waving and for a moment I relaxed and fell into the
happy mood the President was displaying. The car turned the corner
onto Houston Street. I was still looking at the rest of the people
in the party. I was soon to be shocked back into reality. The
President had passed and was turning west on Elm Street . . . as if
there were no people, no cars, the only thing in my world at that
moment was a rifle shot! I bolted toward Houston Street. I was
fifteen steps from the corner–before I reached it two more shots
had been fired. Telling myself that it wasn’t true and at the same
time knowing that it was, I continued to run. I ran across Houston
Street and beside the pond, which is on the west side of Houston.
I pushed a man out of my way and he fell into the pond. I ran down
the grass between Main and Elm. People were lying all over the
ground. I thought, “My God, they’ve killed a woman and child,” who
were lying beside the gutter on the South side of Elm Street. I
checked them and they were alright. I saw a Dallas Police Officer
run up the grassy knoll and go behind the picket fence near the
railroad yards. I followed and behind the fence was complete
confusion and hysteria.
I began to question people when I noticed a woman in her early
thirties attempting to drive out of the parking lot. She was in a
brown 1962 or 1963 Chevrolet. I stopped her, identified myself and
placed her under arrest. She told me that she HAD to leave and I
said, “Lady, you’re not going anywhere.” I turned her over to
Deputy Sheriff C. I. (Lummy) Lewis and told him the circumstances
of the arrest. Officer Lewis told me that he would take her to
Sheriff Decker and take care of her car.
The parking lot behind the picket fence was of little importance
to most of the investigators at the scene except that the shots
were thought to have come from there.
Let us examine this parking lot. It was leased by Deputy
Sheriff B. D. Gossett. He in turn rented parking space by the
month to the deputies who worked in the court house, except for
official vehicles. I rented one of these spaces from Gossett when
I was a dispatcher working days or evenings. I paid Gossett $3.00
per month and was given a key to the lot. An 3 interesting point
is that the lot had an iron bar across the only entrance and exit
(which were the same). The bar had a chain and lock on it. The
only people having access to it were deputies with keys. Point:
how did the woman gain access and, what is more important, who was
she and WHY did she HAVE to leave?
This was to be the beginning of the never-ending cover up. Had
I known then what I know now, *I* would have personally questioned
the woman and impounded and searched her car. I had no way of
knowing that an officer, with whom I had worked for four years, was
capable of losing a thirty year old woman and a three thousand
pound automobile. To this day Officer Lewis does not know who she
was, where she came from or what happened to her. STRANGE!
Meanwhile, back at the parking lot, I continued to help the
Dallas Officers restore order. When things were somewhat calmer I
began to question the people who were standing at the top of the
grassy knoll, asking if anyone had seen anything strange or unusual
before or during the President’s fatal turn onto Elm Street.
Several people indicated to me that they thought the shots came
from the area of the grassy knoll or behind the picket fence. My
next reliable witness came forward in the form of Mr. Arnold
Rowland. Mr. Rowland and his wife were standing at the top of the
grassy knoll on the north side of Elm Street. Arnold Rowland began
telling me his account of what he saw before the assassination. He
said approximately fifteen minutes before President Kennedy arrived
he was looking around and something caught his eye. It was a white
man standing by the 6th floor window of the Texas School Book
Depository Building in the southeast corner, holding a rifle
equipped with a telescopic sight and in the southwest corner of the
sixth floor was a colored male pacing back and forth. Needless to
say, I was astounded by his statement. I asked Mr. Rowland why he
had not reported this incident before and he told me that he
thought they were secret service agents–an obvious conclusion for
a layman. Rowland continued. He told me that he looked back at
the sixth floor a few minutes later and the man with the rifle was
gone so he dismissed it from his mind.
I was writing all this down in my notebook and when I finished I
advised Mr. and Mrs. Rowland that I would have to detain them for a
statement. I had started toward the Sheriff’s Office with them
when lo and behold I was approached by Officer C. L. (Lummy) Lewis,
who asked me “What ya got”–a favorite expression of most
investigators with Bill Decker. I explained the situation to him
and told him of Rowland’s account. Being the Good Samaritan he
was, Officer Lewis offered to take the Rowlands off my hands and
get their statements. This worked out a little better than my
first arrest. The Warren Commission decided not to accept Arnold
Rowland’s story but at least they did not lose them. Hang in
there, Lummy!
The time was approximately 12:40 p.m. I had just turned the
Rowlands over to Lummy Lewis when I met E. R. (Buddy) Walthers,
a small man with a very arrogant manner. He was, without a doubt,
Decker’s favorite pupil. He wore dark-rimmed glasses and a small-
brimmed hat because effecting them meant that he would resemble
Bill Decker. Walthers had worked for the Yellow Cab Company of
Dallas before coming to the Sheriff’s Office, about a year before I
began working there. His termination from the cab company was the
result of several shortages of money. He came to the Sheriff’s
Department as a patrolman but because of his close connection with
Justice of the Peace Bill Richburg–one of Decker’s closest allies
–Buddy soon was promoted to detective. He had absolutely no
ability as a law enforcement officer. However, he was fast
climbing the ladder of success by lying to Decker and squealing on
his fellow officers.
Walthers’ ambition was to become Sheriff of Dallas County and he
would do anything or anybody to reach that goal. It was very clear
Buddy enjoyed more job security with Decker than anyone else did.
Decker carried him for years by breaking a case for him or taking a
case which had been broken by another officer and putting Walthers’
name on the arrest sheet. Soon after he was promoted to detective
he became intimate with such people as W. 0. Bankston, the
flamboyant Oldsmobile dealer in Dallas who furnished Decker with a
new Fire Engine Red Olds every year and who was arrested several
times for Driving while Intoxicated but never served any jail time.
Buddy’s acquaintances also included several independent oil
operators throughout Texas, several anti-Castro Cubans and many
underworld characters–especially women! He was frequently
crashing parties which were given by wealthy friends of Decker’s–
of course while he was *on* duty. He often became drunk and
belligerent at these parties and at one point, when asked to leave,
he threatened to pull his gun on the host. This information can be
verified by Billy Courson, who was Buddy’s partner at that time.
Walthers hit the big time when, in 1961, two Federal Narcotics
Agents came to Decker’s office with charges that Buddy was growing
marijuana in the back yard of his home at 2527 Boyd Street in the
Oak Cliff section of Dallas. This could be considered conduct
unbecoming to a police officer–but not for Buddy! After a secret
meeting between the Federal Agents, Decker and Buddy, the matter
was dropped and–needless to say–covered up, thus enabling Buddy
to continue his career as Decker’s Representative of Law and Order
in Dallas County.
However, the Dallas Police began receiving complaints that Buddy
was shaking down underworld characters for loot taken in several
burglaries and selling the stuff himself. After several reports
the Dallas Police began to investigate and, finally, obtained a
search warrant for Buddy’s home. Their BIG mistake was securing
the warrant from Judge Richburg–which was bad enough–but Buddy’s
wife also worked for Richburg and this made matters worse.
Strangely enough, they did not find anything. However, a few weeks
later they were a little more careful and made a surprise visit to
Buddy’s home, where they indeed recovered such things as toasters,
clothing and various items–just as their informers had said. It
would seem they had him *this time*, wouldn’t it? But not so.
Buddy explained that he had recovered the merchandise from where it
had been hidden and had not had time to make a report on them and
turn them in to the Property Room! The Dallas Police didn’t buy
this story but the pressure was again brought to bear by our
Protector, Bill Decker, and the Dallas Police were left out in the
cold–no charges filed! They were certainly furious but what could
they do? If WE as citizens cannot fight the Establishment, how can
the Establishment fight the Establishment?
It was clear in my mind–and if the people with whom I worked
COULD talk, I am sure they would agree–that Buddy had a powerful
hold on Decker. I base this on the fact that Buddy’s popularity
with Decker greatly increased after the assassination. Buddy was a
chronic liar–he was always telling Decker things he thought were
happening in the County which he was checking on. Things which he
was *not* doing. He also told Decker that he was in the theater
when Oswald was captured and that he, in fact, helped the Dallas
Police. This was completely untrue. Buddy never entered the Texas
Theater–his partner, Bill Courson, did.
Buddy also told Decker about a family of anti-Castro Cubans
living in the Oak Cliff area and said that he was watching them.
This part may have been true because we received the same
information from the Dallas Police Intelligence Division. But one
day Buddy made a visit to the house in Oak Cliff and when the
Police and Sheriff’s Deputies went to question them a few days
later, they were gone. Did Buddy warn them? After all, he was
very, very close to Jack Ruby. In fact, every time Buddy was in
trouble with one of Jack Ruby’s employees–especially Nancy
Perrin Rich–Decker would send Buddy to straighten things out and
put Nancy in her place–with the help of Judge Richburg. Touching
Jack Ruby was a no-no!
There were many other things which made Buddy suspect as a not-
so-law abiding lawman, such as the swimming pool he built in his
back yard (on *his* salary?). The concrete was furnished by a
local contractor free of charge. Buddy used many pills he carried
in the trunk of his unmarked squad car for trading with certain
underworld characters–pills for information. I learned from what
I consider a reliable source that these pills had been confiscated
(although no reports were made nor the pills turned in). Most of
those involved in this exchange were women. It would seem that
Buddy Walthers could not be terminated from the Sheriff’s
Department, no matter what.
One incident in 1966 which would have resulted in the firing of
any other deputy occurred when Buddy was sent to Nevada to transfer
a suspect wanted in Dallas. It seemed Buddy was given a certain
amount of travel money which he lost at the gambling table in Las
Vegas. Broke and in trouble, Buddy called none other than W. O.
Bankston, who wired him enough money to bring his prisoner back to
Dallas. Many times I wondered who was REALLY Sheriff but Buddy was
about to reach the end of his rope.
In late 1968, when the Clay Shaw trial was being prepared, there
was talk of bringing Buddy to New Orleans to testify. Well, that
was a blow to the power which ruled Dallas. They could not have
this half-wit on the witness stand. When the word reached Dallas,
Decker was working on a double-murder which occurred in *his*
county and had a lead on the suspect in January of 1969. The Shaw
trial was scheduled for February and Decker sent Buddy and his
partner, Alvin Maddox (who was about as efficient as a nutty
professor), to a motel on Samuell Boulevard in Dallas to question
a Walter Cherry about the killings. Cherry was an escaped convict
and a suspect in the double-murder. Decker sent them to talk to
Cherry without a warrant. When they entered the room at the motel
Buddy was shot dead and Maddox wounded in the FOOT. Coincidence?
Maybe! At any rate Buddy had been silenced. One more point for
Back to November 22, 1963. As I have earlier stated, the time
was approximately 12:40 p.m. when I ran into Buddy Walthers. The
traffic was very heavy as Patrolman Baker (assigned to Elm and
Houston Streets) had left his post, allowing the traffic to travel
west on Elm Street. As we were scanning the curb I heard a shrill
whistle coming from the north side of Elm Street. I turned and saw
a white male in his twenties running down the grassy knoll from the
direction of the Texas School Book Depository Building. A light
green Rambler station wagon was coming slowly west on Elm Street.
The driver of the station wagon was a husky looking Latin, with
dark wavy hair, wearing a tan wind-breaker type jacket. He was
looking up at the man running toward him. He pulled over to the
north curb and picked up the man coming down the hill. I tried to
cross Elm Street to stop them and find out who they were. The
traffic was too heavy and I was unable to reach them. They drove
away going west on Elm Street.
In addition to noting that these two men were in an obvious
hurry, I realized they were the only ones not running TO the scene.
Everyone else was running to see whatever might be seen. The
suspect, as I will refer to him, who ran down the grassy knoll was
wearing faded blue trousers and a long sleeved work shirt made of
some type of grainy material. This will become very important to
me later on and very embarrassing to the authorities (F.B.I.,
Dallas Police and Warren Commission). I thought the incident
concerning the two men and the Rambler Station Wagon important
enough to bring it to the attention of the authorities at the
command post at Elm and Houston.
I ran to the front of the Texas School Book Depository where I
asked for anyone involved in the investigation. There was a man
standing on the steps of the Book Depository Building and he turned
to me and said, “I’m with the Secret Service.” This man was about
40 years old, sandy-haired with a distinct cleft in his chin. He
was well-dressed in a gray business suit. I was naive enough at
the time to believe that the only people there were actually
officers–after all, this was the command post. I gave him the
information. He showed little interest in the persons leaving.
However, he seemed extremely interested in the description of the
Rambler. This was the only part of my statement which he wrote
down in his little pad he was holding. Point: Mrs. Ruth Paine,
the woman Marina Oswald lived with in Irving, Texas, owned a
Rambler station wagon, at that time, of this same color.
* * * * * *
From the book depository and of course that grassy knoll
And the Dal Tex building’s shooter fulfilled his deadly role
The noon day sun was witness as they took their awful toll
His dream goes marching on.
I learned nothing of this “Secret Service Agent’s” identity
until December 22, 1967 while we were living in New Orleans. The
television was on as I came home from work one night and there on
the screen was a picture of this man. I did not know what it was
all about until my wife told me that Jim Garrison had charged him
with being a part of the assassination plot. I called Jim Garrison
then and told him that this was the man I had seen in Dallas on
November 22, 1963. Jim then sent one of his investigators to see
me with a better picture which I identified. I then learned that
this man’s name was EDGAR EUGENE BRADLEY. It was a relief to me to
know his name for I had been bothered by the fact that I had failed
to get his name when he had told me he was a Secret Service Agent
and I had given him my information. On the night of the
assassination when I had come home and discussed the day with my
wife I had, of course, told her of this encounter and my failure to
get his name.
As I finished talking with the Agent I was confronted by the
High Priest of Dallas County Politics, Field Marshal Bill Decker.
Decker had, apparently, been standing directly behind me and had
overheard what I was saying. He called me aside and informed me
that the suspect had already left the scene. (How did you know,
James Eric? You had just arrived.) Decker then told me to help
them (the police) search the Book Depository Building. Decker
turned toward his office across the street, then suddenly stopped,
looked at me and said “Somebody better take charge of this
investigation.” Then he continued walking slowly toward his
office, indicating that it was *not* going to be him.
When I entered the Book Depository Building I was joined by
Deputy Sheriffs Eugene Boone and Luke Mooney. We went up the
stairs directly to the sixth floor. The room was very dark and a
thick layer of dust seemed to cover everything. We went to the
south side of the building, since this was the street side and
seemed the most logical place to start.
Luke Mooney and I reached the southeast corner at the same time.
We immediately found three rifle cartridges laying in such a way
that they looked as though they had been carefully and deliberately
placed there–in plain sight on the floor to the right of the
southeast corner window. Mooney and I examined the cartridges very
carefully and remarked how close together they were. The three of
them were no more than one inch apart and all were facing in the
same direction, a feat very difficult to achieve with a bolt action
rifle–or any rifle for that matter. One cartridge drew our
particular attention. It was crimped on the end which would have
held the slug. It had not been stepped on but merely crimped over
on one small portion of the rim. The rest of that end was
perfectly round.
Laying on the floor to the left of the same window was a small
brown paper lunch bag containing some well cleaned chicken bones.
I called across the room and summoned the Dallas Police I.D. man,
Lt. Day. When he arrived with his camera Mooney and I left the
window and started our search of the rest of the sixth floor.
We were told by Dallas Police to look for a rifle–something I
had already concluded might be there since the cartridges found
were, apparently, from a rifle. I was nearing the northwest corner
of the sixth floor when Deputy Eugene Boone called out, “here it
is.” I was about eight feet from Boone, who was standing next to a
stack of cardboard boxes. The boxes were stacked so that there was
no opening between them except at the top. Looking over the top
and down the opening I saw a rifle with a telescopic sight laying
on the floor with the bolt facing upward. At this time Boone and I
were joined by Lt. Day of the Dallas Police Department and Dallas
Homicide Captain, Will Fritz. The rifle was retrieved by Lt. Day,
who activated the bolt, ejecting one live round of ammunition which
fell to the floor.
Lt. Day inspected the rifle briefly, then handed it to Capt.
Fritz who had a puzzled look on his face. Seymour Weitzman, a
deputy constable, was standing beside me at the time. Weitzman was
an expert on weapons. He had been in the sporting goods business
for many years and was familiar with all domestic and foreign
weapons. Capt. Fritz asked if anyone knew what kind of rifle it
was. Weitzman asked to see it. After a *close* examination (much
longer than Fritz or Day’s examination) Weitzman declared that it
was a 7.65 German Mauser. Fritz agreed with him. Apparently,
someone at the Dallas Police Department also loses things but, at
least, they are more conscientious. They did replace it–even if
the replacement was made in a different country. (See Warren
Report for Italian Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 Caliber).
At that exact moment an unknown Dallas police officer came
running up the stairs and advised Capt. Fritz that a Dallas
policeman had been shot in the Oak Cliff area. I instinctively
looked at my watch. The time was 1:06 p.m. A token force of
uniformed officers was left to keep the sixth floor secure and
Fritz, Day, Boone, Mooney, Weitzman and I left the building.
On my way back to the Sheriff’s Office I was nearly run down
several times by Dallas Police cars racing to the scene of the
shooting of a fellow officer. There were more police units at the
J. D. Tippit shooting than there were at President John F.
Kennedy’s assassination.
Tippit had been instructed to patrol the Oak Cliff area along
with Dallas Police Unit #87 at 12:45 p.m. by the dispatcher. Unit
#87 immediately left Oak Cliff and went to the triple underpass,
leaving Tippit alone. Why? At 12:54 p.m., J. D. Tippit, Dallas
Police Unit #78, gave his location as Lancaster Blvd., and Eighth
St., some ten blocks from the place where he was to be killed. The
Dallas dispatcher called Tippit at 1:04 p.m. and received no
answer. He continued to call three times and there was still no
reply. Comparing this time with the time I received news of the
shooting of the police officer at 1:06 p.m., it is fair to assume
Tippit was dead or being killed between 1:04 and 1:06 p.m. This is
also corroborated by the eye witnesses at the Tippit killing, who
said he was shot between 1:05 and 1:08 p.m.
According to Officer Baker, Dallas Police, he talked to Oswald
at 12:35 p.m. in the lunch room of the Texas School Book
Depository. This would give Oswald 30 minutes or less to finish
his coke, leave the building, walk four blocks east on Elm Street,
catch a bus and ride it back west in heavy traffic for two blocks,
get off the bus and walk two more blocks west and turn south on
Lamar Street, walk four blocks and have a conversation with a cab
driver and a woman over the use of Whaley’s (the cab driver) cab,
get into the cab and ride to 500 North Beckley Street, get out and
walk to 1026 North Beckley where his (Oswald’s) room was located,
pick up something (?); and if that is not enough, Earlene Roberts,
the housekeeper where Oswald lived, testified that at 1:05 p.m.
Oswald was waiting for a bus in front of his rooming house and
FINALLY, to make him the fastest man on Earth, he walked to East
Tenth Street and Patton Street, several blocks away and killed J.
D. Tippit between 1:05 and 1:08 p.m. If he had not been arrested
when he was, it is my belief that Earl Warren and his Commission
would have had Lee Harvey Oswald eating dinner in Havana!
I was convinced on November 22, 1963, and I am still sure, that
the man entering the Rambler station wagon was Lee Harvey Oswald.
After entering the Rambler, Oswald and his companion would only
have had to drive six blocks west on Elm Street and they would have
been on Beckley Avenue and a straight shot to Oswald’s rooming
house. The Warren Commission could not accept this even though it
*might* have given Oswald time to kill Tippit for having two men
involved would have made it a conspiracy!
As to Lee Harvey Oswald shooting J. D. Tippit, let us examine
the evidence: Dallas Police Unit #221 (Summers-refer-police radio
log) stated on the police radio that he had an “eye ball” witness
to the shooting. The suspect was a white male about twenty-seven,
five feet, eleven inches, black wavy hair, fair complexioned, (not
Oswald) wearing an Eisenhower-type jacket of light color, dark
trousers, and a white shirt, apparently armed with a .32 caliber,
dark-finish automatic pistol which he had in his right hand. (The
jacket strongly resembles that worn by the driver of the station
Dallas Police Unit #550 Car 2 was driven to the scene of the
Tippit murder by Sgt. Gerald Hill. He was accompanied by Bud
Owens, Dallas Police Department, and William F. Alexander,
Assistant D.A. for Dallas. Unit #550 Car 2 reported over the
police radio that the shells at the scene indicated that the
suspect was armed with a .38 caliber automatic. 38 automatic
shells and 38 revolver shells are distinctly different. (Oswald
allegedly had a 38 revolver in his possession when arrested?)
After much confusion in the Oak Cliff area the Dallas Police
were finally directed to the Texas Theater where the suspect was
reported to be. Several squads arrived at the theater and quickly
surrounded it. At the back door was none other than William F.
Alexander, Assistant D.A., and several Dallas Police officers with
guns drawn. While Dallas Police Officer McDonald and others
entered the theater and turned on the lights and the suspect was
pointed out to them, they started searching people SEVERAL rows in
front of Oswald, giving him a chance to run if he wanted to–right
into the blazing guns of waiting officers!
This man had to be stopped. He was the most dangerous criminal
in the history of the world. Here was a man who was able to go
from one location to another with the swiftness of Superman, to
change his physical characteristics at will and who pumped four
automatic slugs into a police officer with a *revolver*–indeed a
master criminal!
Well, back to the facts? Oswald was captured by Officer
McDonald, who was out cold from one blow from the suspect and woke
up to find he had arrested the suspect! (Nice going, Mac).
Later that afternoon I received word of the suspect’s arrest and
the fact that he was suspected of being involved in the President’s
death. I immediately thought of the man running down the grassy
knoll. I made a telephone call to Capt. Will Fritz and gave him
the description of the man I had seen and Fritz said, “that sounds
like the suspect we have. Can you come up and take a look at him?”
I arrived at Capt. Fritz office shortly after 4:30 p.m. I was
met by Agent Bookhout from the F.B.I., who took my name and place
of employment. The door to Capt. Fritz’ personal office was open
and the blinds on the windows were closed, so that one had to look
through the doorway in order to see into the room. I looked
through the open door at the request of Capt. Fritz and identified
the man who I saw running down the grassy knoll and enter the
Rambler station wagon–and it WAS Lee Harvey Oswald.
Fritz and I entered his private office together. He told
Oswald, “This man (pointing to me) saw you leave.” At which time
the suspect replied, “I told you people I did.” Fritz, apparently
trying to console Oswald, said, “Take it easy, son–we’re just
trying to find out what happened.” Fritz then said, “What about
the car?” Oswald replied, leaning forward on Fritz’ desk, “That
station wagon belongs to Mrs. Paine–don’t try to drag her into
this.” Sitting back in his chair, Oswald said very disgustedly and
very low, “Everybody will know who I am now.”
At this time Capt. Fritz ushered me from his office, thanking
me. I walked away saddened but relieved that it was the end of the
day and I could go home, where I could try–at least for a little
while–to put the tragedy and the day’s events out of my mind. I
was soon to find out that *my* troubles had only begun–for I had
seen and heard too much that fateful day.
Saturday, November 23, 1963, I spent the day at home talking to
my wife, Molly, about Friday’s events and playing with Deanna and
Terry, not knowing that the very next day would bring another
tragic event which would affect not only my job but my entire
Like many other Americans, I was watching television on Sunday
morning, November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.
I would like to clear up one thing at this point concerning Ruby’s
access to the basement of the city jail. The Warren Commission
concluded that Dallas Police Officer R. E. Vaughn, through
negligence, let Jack Ruby into the basement. What they did not say
is that Officer Vaughn was questioned extensively after the
shooting and even submitted to a polygraph test, which he passed,
showing that he *did not* let Jack Ruby go down the Main Street
Ramp of the city jail. I have known Officer Vaughn for many years
and feel that he is honest, conscientious and one of the finest
people I have ever known. I feel that he was unjustly accused.
However, bombing Vaughn was the easiest way out for Earl Warren’s
* * * * * *
The industrial and military complex can’t survive
Without their little horror wars they artfully contrive.
If they push us to the big one then we won’t come out alive
His dream goes marching on.
Things were fairly normal for me for the next few months, with
the exception of curious persons who popped into the Sheriff’s
Office from time to time to ask me questions about the
On the first anniversary of the assassination a team of newsmen
from NBC New York came to Dallas. They wanted to do a documentary
on the assassination and they contacted Jim Kerr of the “Dallas
Times Herald,” who told them of me.
Jim approached me and said that the NBC people were interested
in what I had to say and would I talk to them? Jim Kerr indicated
to me that he had it all set up. However, because I knew how Bill
Decker felt about anyone in his Department talking about this
particular event, I told him I would have to get Decker’s
permission. NBC had been calling me since October 1964 asking to
talk to me but I would not commit myself.
When they arrived during the week of November 22, I went to
Decker to ask permission to do the story. Decker promptly sat me
down in the private office, closed the door and sat there looking
at me for several minutes. It was difficult to tell if Decker was
looking at you–with that glass eye of his–but at the same time
you had the uneasy feeling that he was looking straight through
you. Decker began to talk with that even, never-rising voice which
commanded attention and gave you the feeling that it was dangerous
to interrupt or even question him.
Decker told me to tell these people (Jim Kerr and NBC) that I
was a Deputy Sheriff–not an actor–and for me to keep my mouth
shut. He then went on to say, “Tell them you didn’t see or hear
anything.” He then went back to the papers on his desk and I knew
he was through–and so was I. I relayed the message to Jim Kerr,
who was very disappointed–and even mad, but he, like me, knew that
he must not challenge Decker’s law.
From that day forward Bill Decker began to watch my every move.
People in the office who, before this, very seldom spoke to me,
began to hang around watching my every move and listening to
everything I said. Among these were Rosemary Allen, E. R. (Buddy)
Walthers, Allen Sweatt and Bob Morgan–Decker’s four top stoolies.
Combine the foregoing with the run-in I had with Dave Belin,
junior counsel for the Warren Commission, who questioned me in
April of 1964, and who changed my testimony fourteen times when he
sent it to Washington, and you will have some idea of the pressures
brought to bear.
David Belin told me who he was as I entered the interrogation
room (April 1964). He had me sit at the head of a long table. To
my left was a female with a pencil and pen. Belin sat to my right.
Between the girl and Belin was a tape recorder, which was turned
off. Belin instructed the girl not to take notes until he (Belin)
said to do so. He then told me that the investigation was being
conducted to determine the truth as the evidence indicates. Well,
I could take that several ways but I said nothing. Then Belin
said, “For instance, I will ask you where you were at a certain
time. This will establish your physical location.” It was at this
point that I began to feel that I was being led into something but
still I said nothing. Then Belin said, “I will ask you about what
you *thought* you heard or saw in regard.” Well, this was too
much. I interrupted him and said, “Counselor, just ask me the
questions and if I can answer them, I will.” This seemed to
irritate Belin and he told the girl to start taking notes with the
next question.
At this point Belin turned the recorder on. The first questions
were typical. Where were you born? Where did you go to school?
When Belin would get to certain questions he would turn off the
recorder and stop the girl from writing. The he would ask me, for
example, “Did you see anything unusual when you were behind the
picket fence?” I said, “Yes” and he said, “Fine, just a minute.”
He would then tell the girl to start writing with the next question
and would again start the recorder. What was the next question?
“Mr. Craig, did you go into the Texas School Book Depository?” It
was clear to me that he wanted only to record part of the
interrogation, as this happened many times.
I finally managed to get in at least most of what I had seen and
heard by ignoring his advanced questions and giving a step-by-step
picture, which further seemed to irritate him.
At the end of our session Belin dismissed me but when I started
to leave the room, he called me back. At this time I identified
the clothing wore by the suspect (the 26 volumes refer to a *box*
of clothing–not *boxes*. There were two boxes.)
After I identified the clothing Belin went over the complete
testimony again. He then asked, “Do you want to follow or waive
your signature or sign now?” Since there was nothing but a tape
recording and a stenographer’s note book, there was obviously
nothing to sign. All other testimony which I have read (a
considerable amount) included an explanation that the person could
waive his signature then or his statement would be typed and he
would be notified when it was ready for signature. Belin did not
say this to me.
He said an odd thing when I left. It is the only time that he
said it, and I have never read anything similar in any testimony.
“Be SURE, when you get back to the office, to thank Sheriff Decker
for *his* cooperation.” I know of no one else he questioned who he
asked to *thank* a supervisor, chief, etc.
I first saw my testimony in January of 1968 when I looked at the
26 volumes which belonged to Penn Jones. My alleged statement was
included. The following are some of the changes in my testimony:
* Arnold Rowland told me that he saw two men on the
sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository 15
minutes before the President arrived: one was a Negro,
who was pacing back and forth by the *southwest* window.
The other was a white man in the *southeast* corner,
with a rifle equipped with a scope, and that a few
minutes later he looked back and only the white man was
there. In the Warren Commission: *Both* were *white*,
both were *pacing* in front of the *southwest* corner
and when Rowland looked back, *both* were gone;
* I said the Rambler station wagon was *light green*.
The Warren Commission: Changed to a *white* station
* I said the driver of the Station Wagon had on a *tan*
jacket. The Warren Commission: A *white* jacket;
* I said the license plates on the Rambler were *not*
the same color as Texas plates. The Warren Commission:
Omitted the *not*–omitted but one word, an important
one, so that it appeared that the license plates *were*
the same color as Texas plates;
* I said that I *got* a *good look* at the driver of the
Rambler. The Warren Commission: I did *not* get a good
look at the Rambler. (In Captain Fritz’s office) I had
said that Fritz had said to Oswald, “This man saw you
leave” (indicating me). Oswald said, “I told you people
I did.” Fritz then said, “Now take it easy, son, we’re
just trying to find out what happened”, and then (to
Oswald), “What about the car?” to which Oswald replied,
“That station wagon belongs to Mrs. Paine. Don’t try to
drag her into this.” Fritz said *car*–station wagon
was not mentioned by anyone but Oswald. (I had told
Fritz over the telephone that I saw a man get into a
station wagon, before I went to the Dallas Police
Department and I had also described the man. This is
when Fritz asked me to come there). Oswald then said,
“Everybody will know who I am now;” the Warren
Commission: Stated that the last statement by Oswald
was made in a dramatic tone. This was not so. The
Warren Commission also printed, “NOW everybody will know
who I am”, transposing the *now*. Oswald’s tone and
attitude was one of disappointment. If someone were
attempting to conceal his identity as Deputy and he was
found out, exposed–his cover blown, his reaction
would be dismay and disappointment. This was Oswald’s
tone and attitude–disappointment at being exposed!
Shortly after the Kerr and Belin incidents, the Sheriff took me
out of the field and assigned me to the Bond Desk. This meant that
I was sitting directly in line with Decker’s office door, where he
could watch me. It made me feel a little like a goldfish in a
While I was on the Bond Desk I noticed Eva Grant (Jack Ruby’s
sister) was making daily visits to Decker’s office. During this
time Eva and I came to be on good terms. It was convenient for her
to speak to me when she came in because of the position of my
desk–close to the door leading into the Sheriff’s Department. As
time went on Eva Grant would stop me in the hall every time I went
for a cup of coffee or took a break. Decker became very concerned
over this and it was not long before I realized that ever time Eva
and I talked we were joined by someone. In addition to this, Buddy
Walthers would be standing close by and listening. (This is
another example of his talents as a peace officer–that he would
make himself so conspicuous.) First he would stand and listen, and
then head into Decker’s office.
After a few days of this and armed with information from this
so-called detective–who couldn’t track an elephant through the
snow with a nose bleed–Decker called me into his office and
pointed to a chair without saying a word. Well, knowing he wasn’t
giving me the chair or asking me to look it over, I sat down.
After a long silence he finally said, “What about it?” This was
Decker’s way of telling you he knew it (whatever it was) and he
wanted you to “confess”. I felt sure Eva Grant was going to be the
subject of conversation but I was determined to make him start the
interrogation–after all he wanted the answers and, apparently,
Buddy had not heard as much as he thought he had.
Finally he gave in and said, “You’ve been talking to Eva Grant.”
I said, “Yes sir.” Decker then said, “What about?” I replied,
“She is concerned about Jack’s depressed state of mind and worried
about the fact that he looks ill.” Decker said, “That’s none of
your business.” I replied with the only thing that Decker would
accept–I said, “No sir.” Apparently sure that he had convinced me
once again that there was no law except Decker’s law, he pointed to
the door and I left. He was a man of few words!
The next day Eva and I had another talk. She was getting more
and more concerned about Jack’s health. She had been to see Decker
several times trying to secure medical help for her brother. By
this time the rumor was all through the Sheriff’s office that Jack
was, indeed, ill. Most of this information came from the deputies
assigned to guard him. The deputies were Walter Neighbors, James
R. Keene, Jess Stevenson, Jr., and others. Finally Decker
permitted a doctor to see Jack, a psychiatrist, who said Jack Ruby
had a cold!
A few weeks passed, during which time I received same telephone
calls concerning the assassination and my testimony. These calls
came from various people from different parts of the country who
were, apparently, just interested. These calls somehow were
reported to Bill Decker. Not having a reason to fire me, he did
the next best thing, he had a monitoring unit connected to the
telephone system so that he could periodically check any telephone
I will not go into the events leading to Jack Ruby’s death.
Much has already been written about this but I would like to say
that Jack Ruby made several statements to guards, jail supervisors
and assistant D.A.’s in which he said “they are going to kill me.”
These statements became a private joke among these people and they
discussed them freely in the hall of the court house. When the
Sheriff from Wichita Falls, Texas came to observe the prisoner he
was about to take charge of, due to Ruby’s change of venue, he
refused to accept the prisoner on the grounds that Ruby was very
ill. Then, and only then, did Decker send Ruby to Parkland
Hospital where he died a few short days later (some cold!).
I was not too concerned about the minor attention I was
receiving from Decker regarding the assassination and its aftermath
until August 7, 1966. At 2:03 a.m, I was approached by Hardy M.
Parkerson, an attorney from New Orleans, La. Mr. Parkerson was
interested in the assassination and the Jack Ruby trial. I was
working late nights on the Bond Desk when he came to the Sheriff’s
office. He asked me several questions relating to these tragic
events and I answered him as honestly as I could and he thanked me
and left.
However, on October 1, 1966 Mr. Parkerson wrote to me advising
me that I was receiving more publicity than I might be aware of.
He mentioned in his letter that he had picked up a book on a New
Orleans newsstand. The book was entitled, “The Second Oswald” by
Richard H. Popkin and my report had been mentioned in the book.
This disturbed me as I knew my popularity with Decker was fading
On October 18 I received another letter from Mr. Parkerson. It
seemed that he had come across another book on a New Orleans
newsstand which mentioned my name. This one was “Inquest” by
Edward J. Epstein. Then I began to worry a bit. Of course other
names were mentioned also in these books but I was concerned
because of my employer’s attitude and the fact that I was in
definite conflict with the Warren Commission in my testimony.
In February of 1967 the lid blew off. District Attorney Jim
Garrison announced publicly his probe into the John F. Kennedy
Assassination. It wasn’t long–in fact, a matter of hours–until
Decker walked up to me and asked, “Have you been talking to Jim
Garrison?” I told him that I had not, which was the truth. Decker
then said, “Somebody sure as hell has.” That was the beginning of
the end of my career as a law officer and my future in Dallas
As more and more books critical of the Warren Commission began
to hit the newsstands throughout the country and I received calls
and visitors asking questions my future with the Sheriff’s Office
became VERY SHAKY. Finally, on July 4, 1967 Bill Decker called me
into his office and told me to check out. Knowing there was no
grievance board and that Decker was the supreme ruler of his
domain, I left the Sheriff’s Office for good.
I was saddened by the loss of eight years in a job that I had
given my ALL to. But I was soon to find out that this was only the
down payment on the price that I was to pay for the truth! I
immediately began looking for work and found that the Commerce Bail
Bond Company was just opening an office and needed someone to help
in the office as Les Hancock, the owner, was just starting out.
Mr. Hancock and I had a long talk and he agreed that I would be
an asset to the business because he knew nothing about it and I was
familiar with bonds and most of the people at the Sheriff’s Office
as well as those wishing to make bond. Les and I seemed to get
along very well. I posted most of the bonds and kept track of our
clients. Posting the first few bonds with the county went slowly
–although the money was in escrow, Decker wanted to personally
approve *all* bonds posted by me. I did not mind this delaying
tactic because all it involved was a little extra time for me. The
bonding business was going very well–within two months we were
making money.
I kept up as much as possible on Jim Garrison’s probe and
decided to write him and tell him what I knew–if it would help
him. Jim Garrison answered my letter and asked me to call him, at
which time he made arrangements for my trip to New Orleans.
Les Hancock tried to persuade me not to go, saying I shouldn’t
get involved (a little late). I arrived in New Orleans in late
October and was picked up at the airport by Bill Boxley, one of
Jim’s investigators, and four men who *didn’t* work for Jim.
Boxley took me to a motel where I was to meet Jim and the other
four men followed–apparently, they were not invited. Most of my
talks with Jim were at his office while my “tails” (apparently
government agents) searched my room. I must apologize to them for
not bringing what they could “use.”
I had several meetings with Jim Garrison. He showed me numerous
pictures taken in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Among them
was a picture of a Latin male. I recognized him as being the same
man I had seen driving the Rambler station wagon in which I had
seen Oswald leave the Book Depository area. I was surprised and I
asked Jim who the man was. Jim did not know but he did say this
man was arrested in Dealey Plaza immediately after the
assassination but was released by Dallas Police because he could
not speak English! This was, to me, highly unusual. In my
experience as a police officer I had never known of a person (or
prisoner) being released because of a language barrier.
Interpreters were, of course, always available.
We also discussed the 45 caliber slug found on the south side of
Elm Street, in the grass, by E. R. (Buddy) Walthers. Buddy had
indeed found such a slug. He and I discussed it the evening of
November 22, 1963. Buddy also gave a statement to the Dallas Press
confirming this find (found among bits of brain matter). However,
he later denied finding it–after Decker had a long talk with him
and subsequent to newsmen questioning the Sheriff about the
Jim Garrison also had a picture of an unidentified man picking
up this 45 slug and Buddy is also in that photograph. I asked
Buddy about this many times–after his denial–but he never made
any comment.
Jim also asked me about the arrests made in Dealey Plaza that
day. I told him I knew of twelve arrests, one in particular made
by R. E. Vaughn of the Dallas Police Department. The man Vaughn
arrested was coming from the Dal-Tex Building across from the Texas
School Book Depository. The only thing which Vaughn knew about him
was that he was an independent oil operator from Houston, Texas.
The prisoner was taken from Vaughn by Dallas Police detectives and
that was the last that he saw or heard of the suspect.
Incidentally, there are no records of any arrests, either by the
Dallas Police Department or the Sheriff’s Office, made in Dealey
Plaza on November 22, 1963. Very strange! *Any* and *all* arrests
made during my eight years as an officer were recorded. It may not
have been entered as a record with the Identification Bureau but a
report was always typed and a permanent record kept–if only in our
case files. A report on any questioning shows a reason for your
action and protects you against false arrest. I am saying that
there is *absolutely* no record in the case files or any place
Upon returning to Dallas from my first contact with Jim
Garrison, I was picked up by another “tail”. I was followed
constantly after that. My wife could not even go to the grocery
store without being followed. Sometimes they would go so far as to
pull up next to her and make sure she saw them talking on their
two-way radios. They would also park across from my house and sit
for hours making sure I knew they were there.
On the morning of November 1, 1967 I received a call from a
friend of mine. He owned a night club at Carroll and Columbia
Streets in Dallas. Bill said that he wanted to see me and would I
meet him in front of the club. Bill had called me many times when
I was a deputy as he was frequently in financial trouble and I
would have the citation issued for him held up until he was in a
position to accept them. Some people in Dallas did receive Special
Treatment in the matter of citations. Bill was not one of these
but I did this for him because I knew that by holding it up a day
or so I could save his credit rating–and the creditor would be
paid without having a Judgment entered. We were friends and it was
a natural–and practical thing to do.
When Bill called me on November 1 he said he wanted to talk to
me about money he owed the Bonding Company where I worked–for
getting one of his employees out of jail on traffic tickets. He
had asked that I meet him at 9:00 a.m. At about 8:30 a.m. “me and
my shadows” started for the club, arriving at approximately 9:00
When I parked in front of Bill’s club “my shadows” began one of
the sweetest set-ups I had ever seen. One car, a tan Pontiac,
parked one block in front of my car, racing me, and the other, a
white Chevrolet with a small antenna protruding from the roof, kept
circling the block again and again, never stopping. There were two
men in the Chevrolet. I couldn’t get a good look at the driver but
the other man was in his early thirties. He had dark hair, was
nice looking and wore a black-and-white checked sport coat.
Bill had never been late before for an appointment with me but
he was this time. When it was nearing 10:15 I began to worry that
those poor bastards would get dizzy from driving around and around
–and might hit someone.
Finally, at 10:15 a.m. Bill arrived and we went to the Waffle
House across the street for coffee. There, as big as life, sitting
on a stool was the man in the sport jacket–from the white
Chevrolet. Well . . . we sat down and had coffee. We talked
about how each of us was doing–just shot the bull–and Bill never
did bring up the subject which he had said he wanted to discuss
with me!
When we finished we started to leave and the man in the sport coat
jumped up and beat us out of the door. We paid our checks and
walked out the door and my shadow was nowhere in sight–believe
me, I looked. We crossed the parking lot and stopped at the
traffic light, as it was red against us. For some reason I stepped
down off the curb before the light changed. As I did, Bill fell
flat on the sidewalk. I was about to find out why. At that very
instant a shot rang out behind me and the hair just above my left
ear parted. I felt a pressure and sharp pain on the left side of
my head. I bolted for my car leaving Bill lying on the ground. I
heard him say, “You son of a bitch” and I jumped into my car and
drove home as fast as possible. When I arrived home I told my wife
what this good friend had done for me. I pondered the idea of
moving my family to some safe place.
A curious note: my friend (?) Bill was deeply in debt and about
to lose his business at the time of the shooting. However, about a
month later he was completely out of debt, his business was doing
great and he had invested in two other businesses which were doing
very well. (Payment was, apparently, not withheld just because the
trigger man missed.) I decided to get in touch with Jim Garrison.
I tried all day and finally reached him around ten that evening.
After I told him what had happened he said someone would be at my
home within the hour.
At approximately 11 p.m. someone knocked on the door and I
opened it with my left hand, holding my 45 automatic in my right
hand. Standing there was a small but well-built man in his late
forties or early fifties. He said, “My name is Penn Jones. Jim
Garrison called me.” My hand tightened on the 45 when my wife,
Molly, took hold of me and said, “I’ve seen him on T.V. *He is*
Penn Jones.” With that I relaxed and he remained Penn Jones!
Penn Jones listened to my story and then began making telephone
calls to newsmen and wire services that he had contact with,
explaining to me that the best protection for me was open coverage
on the incident. After a long talk with Penn Jones I found that I
had a great deal of respect and admiration for this man. Although
small in stature, I felt he would fight the devil himself to find
the truth about the assassination.
The next day, November 2, 1967, when I went to work at Commerce
Bail Bonds I was approached by two reporters and a photographer
from Channel 8 in Dallas. They had picked the story up on the news
wire and wanted a personal interview. After the interview my boss,
Les Hancock, called me into his office and told me he didn’t think
that I should have done the interview (giving no specific reason).
The next few days Les’ attitude was very cold and he would barely
speak to me. Then, on the 7th of November he called me into his
office once again. This time he told me the business wasn’t doing
well and he would have to let me go because he was closing the
office. Of course, I knew better than this–after all I had access
to all the records and I knew the business was making money. A few
days later I found out Les merely moved to another location and
his business continued as usual.
However, this knowledge did not help me for I was back pounding
the pavement looking for work. In the meantime I had been in
contact with Jim Garrison. He informed me that there was an
opening at Volkswagon International in New Orleans and that I might
try there. By this time my health had begun to be affected. I had
undergone a serious stomach operation in August of 1963 and I
suffer from chronic bronchitis and emphysema (not to mention Dallas
County Battle Fatigue).
My family and I made the trip to New Orleans, where I was
interviewed by Willard Robertson, the owner of the company. Mr.
Robertson told me he was looking for a Personnel Manager and
because of my background of dealing with the public he hired me.
After a long trip back to Dallas where we gathered up our meager
belongings we moved to New Orleans and I felt good–I was working
We had been there but a few days when all of our neighbors and
half the people where I was working knew who I was. This was due
to the newspaper and television coverage of Jim Garrison’s probe
into the assassination. Again came the never-ending questions,
which I did not mind because outside of Dallas people were
sincerely interested and I certainly did not mind doing what I
could to clear up any doubts they had. The people at the office
treated me very well.
Unfortunately, after about a month I realized that I was not
doing anything but going in to the office and coming home–nothing
in between. Although I appreciated Jim Garrison recommending me
for the job, I knew by this time that he had done this because he
was concerned about my safety and wanted me out of Dallas. Because
this company did not really need a Personnel Manager and I couldn’t
take the money for a job I was not doing, I submitted my
resignation to Mr. Robertson and my family and I returned to Dallas.
We arrived back in Dallas on a cold and snowy seventh of
January, 1968, and moved in with Molly’s parents as we had very
little money and nowhere to stay. The next few days I spent
looking for work. I tried every ad and every lead I could find.
The people who interviewed me always seemed interested but like all
companies, they wanted to check out my references. When I failed
to receive any results from my efforts, I called some of the places
where I had placed applications to see what was wrong. I always
received the same answer, “the position had been filled.” Finally,
I decided something was WRONG and I suspected one employment
reference, Bill Decker. I had a friend write Decker asking for an
employment reference–he never received an answer!
My next move was to have someone call Decker and ask for a
reference and this took some doing. Writing him was one thing but
talking to him on the telephone was another. He would bait you on
the telephone and, before you knew it, he knew who you were and
whether you were legitimate or not.
Many people in Dallas liked Decker for the favors he could do
for them but those who did not like him were afraid of the
tremendous power he possessed in Dallas County. They were afraid
to oppose him in any issue for fear that this man could, indeed,
affect their professional careers. A good example is the charge,
“Hold for Decker.” This meant that when Decker wanted to talk to
you or some friend of his disagreed with an arrest (without
warrant), you were detained in the county jail until Decker wished
to talk or release you. NO attorney in Dallas County would dare
apply for a writ of habeas corpus to secure your release.
Well, to get back to my “minor” problem, I finally found
someone to call Decker for a reference and when he did Decker
informed him that, “Mr. Craig had worked for me and I would not
re-hire him and that is all I’ve got to say about Mr. Craig.” So .
. . I had worked for the Sheriff for eight years and yet, without a
reference, it was as though those years had never existed. How do
you explain this kind of situation to a prospective employer?
After many more exhaustive interviews, I found a company, on
February 1, 1968, which had just opened a branch office in Dallas
and was in BAD need of security guards to work in department stores
where they had new contracts. When I applied for the job I told
them of my background in law enforcement, leaving out the details
of my separation with the Sheriff’s Office. I only showed them the
watch I was wearing, which is inscribed: Roger D. Craig, First
Place, Sheriff’s Department 1960. (The award was for Officer of
the Year). They were impressed and with a sigh of relief I was
hired without the customary background check.
My first assignment was a department store in East Dallas, where
I held the very important position of keeping the shopping baskets
out of the aisles. (Don’t knock it–I was working 12 hours a day
and making a whopping $1.60 per hour).
By this time my creditors were knocking on my door day and
night. All of the furniture we had, which was not much, we lost
and then “along came Jones.”
I had contacted Penn when I arrived back in Dallas and after I
lost the car he let me use his 1955 Ford, which he wasn’t driving,
and I was back in business!
Because of the crowded quarters at Molly’s parents, we began to
search for an apartment. We found many and were turned down every
time. Some people said they did not want to rent to families with
children. Others would accept us and then when we were ready to
move in, they would say it was already rented and they had
“forgotten.” Finally, in mid-February we found a couple on Tremont
Street, who were not afraid to rent to us. Oh, they knew who I was
but they said it did not matter–they had kept up on the
Our only outlet for our tensions were the Sunday trips we made
to the Penn Jones home in Midlothian, Texas. During these visits I
would try to bring Penn up to date on the latest from the Dallas
Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. I was able to give him
some help from time to time because I could keep in touch with
these offices through officers there who were still friendly toward
me. It was fun and relaxing to get together with Penn and his wife
L.A., who is a delightful person with a great sense of humor. The
two of them made you feel as though the whole world was right
On one of these visits Penn told me he was going to appear on
the Joe Pyne show in Los Angeles and asked if I would go with him.
Needless to say, I owed Penn Jones much over the previous months
and if I would be an asset, I was certainly prepared to go, I told
him. I got a leave of absence from my employer, Penn made the
arrangements and we were off to Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles trip was a success as far as I was concerned,
especially when we spoke to the young people at U.C.L.A. They were
very concerned about the assassination and were kind to Penn and
me. The only disappointment came in the form of Otto Preminger,
who was sitting in for Joe Pyne that night. I think his statement
to the audience speaks for itself. He said that he believed
whole-heartedly in the Warren Report and when I asked him if he had
read the Warren Report, he said “no”! After a week of appearances
on television and radio my lungs were beginning to give me trouble
and I returned to Dallas with Mrs. Jones, while Penn went on to San
After a few weeks back on my important job of keeping the
shopping carts in line I found that at a dollar and sixty cents an
hour I had too much month left at the end of the money. We were
behind on our rent and, oh well, back to the want ads.
We found a couple who were looking for someone to live in and
care for their elderly mother, rent free. After all this time
there was something free? Getting settled did not take very long-
-with just a few clothes. This worked out fairly well. I worked
twelve hours a day and Molly did all of the washing, ironing,
cooking and cleaning–in addition to caring for Terry, Deanna and
Roger Jr. (who had been staying previously with his grandmother).
Did I say free?
In the meantime Penn had returned from San Francisco and during
a visit to our house he told me he could get me a job in Midlothian
working at an oil refinery and that the pay was $500.00 per month.
I hated to give up the prestige of my present position but money
was money. I gave my employer notice and on April 15, 1968 I
started work at the refinery. This was not crude oil but used
motor oil–we re-re-processed it. The work was new to me and I had
never re-refined used motor oil before. I found that I was a
little soft. I had to dump three thousand pounds (50 fifty-pound
bags) of clay into hot oil every morning and pump it back into the
still which cooked it. This whipped me into shape quite
rapidly. I was not concerned with the physical work involved for I
knew that I had a chance to support my family and that was what
The work went smoothly until the second Thursday of May, 1968
when, while trying to start an engine at the plant, I slipped and
broke my arm–“good ole lady luck.” I had my arm set and missed
one day of work. On Monday morning I returned to work, knowing I
could not live on workmen’s compensation, which was about $40.00
per week. I painfully continued to work with the arm in a cast for
the next six weeks.
During this six week period my boss had offered to let me move
into a house he owned in Midlothian so that I would be closer to
work. I took him up on the offer because I was driving sixty miles
each day to work and back and Molly was worried about me driving
and working with the broken arm and–again I was being followed.
During this time a Dallas Sheriff’s car stopped me and asked
where I was going. I had known this deputy for several years and
there was no reason for his behavior. Molly’s health was getting
worse. She had serious stomach disorders and the strain of past
events had not helped–so we moved. Now we were in Midlothian and
I was driving four miles to work and back.
During the time I was still driving back and forth from Dallas
to Midlothian–or the job–I noticed that I was being followed by a
blue and white pick-up, occupied by a white male. One day, after
being followed by this truck for several days, as the truck was
approaching the driver stuck a revolver out the window and was
about to fire, when another car pulled up behind me and he withdrew
the pistol.
My hours were never the same two days in a row but this man
seemed to know the precise hour I would leave work. Penn Jones and
I tried to set a trap for this man but, apparently, he knew it and
got away. I never saw him after that.
It was six weeks since I had broken my arm and this was the day
I was to have the cast taken off. I felt good as it had been quite
a burden. On that morning I reported for work and started
preparing the pumps and tanks for cooking the oil when lady luck
smiled down on me once again. I started to light the furnace and
it blew up, burning my face and a good deal of hair and my arms.
This was around the first of July, 1968. After the doctor treated
me, he advised me that I would have to wear the cast another two
weeks because he was afraid that I would get an infection in the
burned area if the cast were removed. I do not want to leave the
impression that my conflict with the Dallas establishment was the
direct cause of these accidents. However, had the door not been
closed to me in Dallas, I would not have had to turn to work with
which I was not familiar.
In August of 1968 (while living in Midlothian) I received a
visit in the middle of the night from a man in his fifties who said
he was out of gas. I was already in bed and Molly was catching up
on some of my court records when this man came to the door. Molly
told him I was in bed with a sprained ankle and would not be able
to help him. She directed him to the neighbors down the road. He
went straight to his car, which was parked beside our house, got
in, started it right up and drove off! Apparently, he was not out
of gas but wanted us to know we could be found. This was about the
time Penn was printing some pretty hot editorials in his paper with
information I had supplied. I guess someone didn’t like it.
I made some friends in Midlothian and was getting along fairly
well. I had a job, a place to live and was able to purchase a used
The City Council was taking applications for a city judge.
After talking it over with Penn Jones and some of my other friends,
I went before the council for an interview, and, I must say, it was
somewhat of a surprise when they appointed me. The future was
beginning to show some promise. I continued the work at the
refinery and pursued my new duties at city hall.
On August 5, 1968, Bill Seward, the only other employee at the
refinery, was discussing a better way to process the oil with Dale
Foshee, the owner. They were going to try something new in an
attempt to obtain a better quality of oil. Dale purchased a new
type of clay which would absorb more waste from the used oil as it
cooked. Neither of these men told me that this new clay contained
a substantial amount of some sort of acid. This meant that when I
dumped it (the clay) into the hot oil tank, as I did every morning,
and did not wear any sort of breathing devise, I inhaled a great
deal of the dust from this new product.
Shortly after I started cooking the oil I noticed I was having
trouble breathing. I did not pay much attention to it and
finished the day’s work. That night the acid really got to me and
I found myself passing out. I tried lying my head right in the
window to get enough air–but still could not. Penn Jones came to
the house and he and Molly rushed me to the hospital in Mansfield,
Texas, about ten miles from Midlothian. I stayed under an oxygen
tent for two days. On the fourth day I felt much better and was
released from the hospital.
I had learned, about a week before going to the hospital, that
the Justice of the Peace in Midlothian was resigning and I was
persuaded by friends to seek that position. I had talked with the
county commissioners before I went to the hospital and they made
their final decision on the day I came home from the hospital. I
was sworn in as Justice of the Peace on August 8, 1968. I would be
an appointee until the November election. Now I was working at
the refinery, holding the position of City Judge and also Justice
of the Peace. The city paid me $50.00 a month and the Justice of
the Peace position brought in about $50.00 a month. I was not
getting rich but look at it this way, I was the entire
establishment in Midlothian!
The business for the city was very routine and went rather
smoothly. However, the Justice Court was another matter. I was
having to correspond with the surrounding counties and they were
all cooperative, with one exception (you guessed it), Dallas
County. Some warrants, citations and subpoenas were sent to the
Dallas County Sheriff for service. Needless to say, they were
returned “unable to locate”!
So the door was still closed to me in Dallas–even in matters of
the law which these officials were sworn to uphold. Now, also
Decker knew where I was and it was not long before my creditors,
with whom I had been trying to make arrangements to pay a little to
each month, had obtained judgments against me in the Dallas courts
and I had been served with the papers. Now there was no hope of
clearing my credit without paying everyone in full, which was
impossible (I’ll bet his glass was really shining). The next few
weeks I managed to avoid my contact with the Good People of Dallas,
hoping that they would forget about me–a fat chance!
In October 1968, my oldest son (Roger, Jr.) wasn’t doing well in
school and he decided to run away from home. I was, of course,
very concerned about him–he was only fourteen years old. I
contacted the “Dallas Morning News” to see if they would print his
picture. I might have just as well invaded Russia. My name was
immediately connected with Jim Garrison and before I
[ unfortunately, there is a gap here in the manuscript
between the bottom of page 52 and the top of page 53.]
coming up. This would not have been important except for the fact
that being Justice of the Peace served as a deterrent from
harassment by certain people, whose names I need not mention.
It was November and I still had been unable to find a house to
rent. Midlothian was a very small town and there were just no
houses to rent. Anyway, the election was over and I had won by
twenty votes. No doubt, twenty people who did not read the paper
or watch television. I continued working at the gas station and
living in my former employer’s house. The election had done at
least one thing for me. Dale still wanted me to move but was not
pressing as hard. The days which followed were hard–we had rain
and some sleet and working in this was beginning to affect my
health. Molly was ill and Deanna, who had suffered from chronic
bronchitis since birth, was not doing any better than we were.
December was on us before I knew it and Mr. Roberts, the owner,
decided to retire from the gas station. This meant, of course,
that I was back on the street.
* * * * * *
Our President is lying up there cold beneath his flame
He is calling out for vengeance and to do so in his name.
To keep the peace forever and erase our nation’s shame
His dream goes marching on.
This time there were no jobs to be found. However, business in
the Justice Court was somewhat improved due to the opening of a sub
station in Midlothian by the Highway Patrol. I could not pay the
rent or meet the bills but the increase was enough to buy
groceries. I had resigned as City Judge so that there would be no
conflict of interest between the two positions (City and County
It was at this time that I was notified by District Attorney,
Jim Garrison, that he would need me in the upcoming Clay Shaw trial
–another wrench in the machinery. The night after I was notified
of this I received a telephone call and the voice asked if I was
going to go to New Orleans. When I answered, “yes”, he just said,
“get a one-way ticket” and then hung up. I brushed this off as
just another crank. I’d had those calls before. However, the next
day I received another call. This time it was a different voice.
This one asked if I were going to New Orleans and when I said,
“yes”, all he said was, “Remember you have a family” and hung up.
I must admit this worried me. After that I would get up during the
night and check the family and house–not a very pleasant way to
During this turmoil I at last had a prospect of getting back
into that illusive pastime called “employment”–it was again Penn
Jones to the rescue–and I say this with the greatest respect and
admiration! Penn had been corresponding with a friend of his in
Boulder, Colorado, regarding helping me find employment out of
Texas, which seemed the only thing left. The friend suggested to
Penn that I make a trip to Boulder to check into some leads so the
Jones family made the arrangements and I was off to Boulder. This
was in January 1969.
I arrived in Boulder and was met by members of the Students for
a Democratic Society, whose names I will not mention. (J. Edgar
Hoover should not have his work made so easy.) They took me from
the airport and arranged for my lodging. The next three days I
filled out applications at various places, including the Boulder
Police Department and Sheriff’s Office because those were the
positions I was most qualified for and I believed I could be a cop
and still have compassion for my fellow men. If they would not
accept me that way, I could always quit–after all, I was an expert
at being out of work.
After I had exhausted all possibilities, I thanked the people
who had been so kind to me and returned to Midlothian, Texas to
wait. I had been home about one week when I received word from the
Boulder Sheriff’s Department that there would be an opening soon
and if I wanted the job, it was mine. Satisfied that the out of
Texas bit was going to pay off, the Penn Jones, bless them,
financed the trip back to Boulder. This time the family went with
me. We drove straight through from Midlothian to Boulder. The
second day in Boulder we found an apartment or two we might be
able to afford until I started getting regular pay checks. I felt
good about having a chance at a new start as I went to see Under
Sheriff Cunningham.
When I arrived at the Sheriff’s Department, Cunningham took me
to his office, asked me to sit down and closed the door. It was
then that I began to get that feeling I’d had so many times before
when I was about to get the purple shaft. Sure enough, I had
managed to lose a job before I even started. Mr. Cunningham began
to ask me about my background with the Dallas Sheriff’s Department
(which he already knew from my previous visit) and the reason for
my termination. Then he brought out his big gun, “What about Jim
Garrison?” Well, knowing I’d been had, I told him I was going to
have to testify in the Shaw trial (which I’m sure he already knew).
I’d heard about every excuse there was for not hiring me but he
should have handed me this one in a gift-wrapped “surprise”
package. “Mr. Craig,” he said, (I had been Roger until then)
“we’ve had a little situation here” and he went on–it seemed that
one of their jailers had seduced a sixteen-year old girl while she
was in their custody–WOW–and with *that* and my connection with
the Garrison probe, the heat would be more than they wanted to
handle. He was sorry. So was I–all the way back to Texas.
When we arrived back in Midlothian we were all exhausted and
very *disappointed*. Molly had the flu, Deanna a bad cold and the
strain of the past few weeks had taken its toll on me. I was
having trouble with my stomach and lungs and was down to 138
pounds. It was February 1, 1969. We had just enough money left
from the trip to perhaps rent a house and buy a few groceries.
Dale Foshee was pressing me again to move and I had nowhere to go
and no prospects of a job. Like a wounded animal, I could only
think of returning to familiar surroundings–the place that I had
spent most of my adult life.
We drove to Dallas and by some streak of luck sneaked by a
property owner and managed to rent a house. Before this poor,
misguided soul could change his mind, we gathered up our belongings
in Midlothian and moved back to Dallas, where I again applied my
trade of LOOKING for work.
I spent the following days filling out many applications and
some of the interviews were even promising. I was very careful not
to mention any part of my involvement in the assassination.
However, on February 13, 1969 I was summoned to New Orleans to
testify in the Clay Shaw trial. On the 14th when I finally took
the stand the defense tried very hard to discredit me by saying
that I worked in New Orleans and was, in fact, *still* working in
that city under an assumed name. Failing to discredit me, they
accomplished the next best thing, the distorted version appeared in
newspapers and wire services throughout the country.
When I returned to Dallas on February 16, 1969 I was to realize
the full impact of this distorted news story for when I contacted
the job possibilities I had before I testified I found all doors
closed. On March 4–after several days of no openings, or being
told that I was not qualified, or that they would call me, which
they never did–I found a job with Industrial Towel and Uniform
Company of Dallas. This was a rental company and they needed men
so that all I had to do was pass a polygraph test to prove I was
not a thief, which I passed!
NOW I was a Route Salesman. Ponder that awhile–a Judge reduced
to picking up dirty laundry. Oh, well, work is work! Still weak
and underweight from being sick during January and February, I was
determined to make it on my new job.
I left home at 5:45 a.m. and arrived at the plant a little after
6:00 a.m., put my route slips in order, loaded my truck and started
my deliveries. I got back to the plant about 4:30 p.m., unloaded
the dirty linens, turned in my money and charge slips and got back
home around 6:30 p.m. This was the season for cold, rainy
weather–wouldn’t you know? I had been to a doctor who gave me
some medication for the chest infection I had developed and the
medicine kept me going until March 14–when I, literally, ran out
of gas.
On March 18, Molly called Penn and told him that I was not
any better. Penn began to make arrangements for me to be admitted
to the Veterans Hospital, where he was to meet me. By this time I
was out of it and Molly called an ambulance. I had completely
passed out by the time it had arrived. I knew that I was going to
the VIA. Hospital but when I woke up a short time later I knew I
was not at the VIA. Hospital. Those dirty bastards had taken me to
Parkland Hospital, which has a reputation for saving people
comparable to my employment record for the past two years. I
gathered what strength I had, got off the stretcher and staggered
down the hall.
Molly had reached Penn, who was waiting at the VIA. Hospital, and
he was madder than hell as he hated Parkland Hospital even more
than I did. So, I finally wound up at the VIA. Hospital via Penn’s
car, where I spent the next ten days. I was released from the
hospital on March 28, 1969 with instructions not to work out in the
weather until my lungs had improved. This, of course, eliminated
my job as a route salesman.
I knew an inside job was going to be hard to find from my
experience during the past two years. First of all, I knew that
when my references were checked Decker would not give me a
favorable recommendation–if he even gave one at all. Second, my
unstable employment record during the past two years had resulted
in a disastrous credit rating. Eight years of experience in
various responsible duties at the Sheriff’s Office were gone. They
had, indeed, done their work well!
After many weeks of search I still had no job and was again
behind on the rent. At this point we took two cameras, one 8
millimeter movie and one Minor still, our projector and screen and
sold them for enough to rent a cheaper house. We moved into a
three room house on Gurley Street which wasn’t much but it kept out
the rain!
One day I got a wild idea. I would go down to the Federal
Building and apply for a government job–those people will hire
anybody–well, almost anybody. I passed the civil service test and
was told they had a job coming up in the office and I was qualified
for it. I was to go back in two days to begin work. Things were
certainly looking up. I went over to my father-in-law’s and drank
all of his beer to celebrate.
The two days passed and I headed for my government job, which
was to be handling correspondence from other government agencies–
they do a lot of writing to each other. Well, when I arrived I was
ushered into one of those cubby hole offices AGAIN, where I was
told that they had received a memo telling them the budget was
being cut and my job was being eliminated (I hadn’t even started).
Oh, well, at least I was losing “more important” jobs now.
On June 1 I answered an ad for an Assistant Manager’s job at a
liquor store, where the only qualification was that I pass another
polygraph test, which I did, proving that I had not yet turned to
stealing. The next day I reported for work to find that I was a
delivery boy again. My job was restocking private clubs throughout
Dallas who bought merchandise from the store. I soon made friends
with all the club owners and every time I would make a delivery,
they would insist on buying me a drink. I was making $1.87 an
hour. I wasn’t the highest paid delivery boy in town but after a
few stops I was probably the happiest!
In the meantime being out of work from March until June 1, I was
again behind on the rent as well as the car payment on my used 1965
Buick. The landlord had asked us to move. I tried to explain my
situation and the fact that I was *now* working and would try to
catch up on the rent but he didn’t care–I had to go. It was two
weeks before I received a pay check. I don’t know how we made it
but we did. Molly then found a house for us to rent and I paid the
first month’s rent. I didn’t worry about the car payment any
longer for two days after I started to work the bank repossessed
the car. We then again went back to driving one of Penn’s cars.
During the slow periods of the weeks which followed I was always
searching the paper and talking to people–trying to find a better
paying job with a little security. I was working eleven hours a
day, six days a week so it took me some time to locate one and I
also had to be careful not to let people know too much about me
because the general attitude in Dallas was not to get involved in
the assassination. (A little late for Dallas).
On September 18, 1969 I applied at Peakload, Inc., a temporary
employment service, who was looking for a dispatcher. The job
consisted of taking orders from companies which needed temporary
help for a few days, selecting the men from the hall who were best
suited to the customer’s needs, then seeing that they were
delivered by our driver and picked up promptly after work. Al
Nagel, the office manager, was from Minnesota and knew little of
the events in Dallas and nothing of the people involved in the
assassination so I slipped by and was hired. Now I was doing
something which I enjoyed and the pay was $500.00 a month with
time and one-half for over 48 hours. The next few weeks went by
swiftly. I was working six days a week and making enough money to
pay the rent, buy groceries and clothes for the kids.
On November 10, 1969 I was taken to the VIA. Hospital again.
This time with neuritis, which the doctors said was caused by a
vitamin deficiency over a long period of time, and bronchial
pneumonia. This time I was not too concerned because Al Nagel
liked my work and I was sure that I had a future with Peakload
regardless of this temporary set back.
Well, after twenty-four days of what seemed like endless
injections of vitamins, penicillin and streptomycin (one hundred
and twenty-eight in all) I was sent home on December 4, 1969. The
next day I called Al Nagel to tell him that I would return to work
in a couple of days–when I got my strength back. Al informed me
that I no longer had the job–that I had been replaced.
My final check from Peakload paid the rent for a month and
bought a few groceries but Christmas was coming and I had managed
somehow not to let the kids down–up until now. While I was in the
hospital Penn Jones brought a letter he had received from Madeline
Goddard. She had, apparently, read much on the assassination and
sent her best wishes and support to us. Also in the letter was the
answer to this Christmas. Madeline had enclosed a check for
She did not realize it, I’m sure, but that kept us from throwing
my hands up in the air and giving up. The next few weeks were a
repetition of earlier days–no jobs, no money, no prospects (there
must be a song in there somewhere). Our only means of eating those
days was Madeline Goddard’s generosity; God bless Madeline and her
generous heart.
Penn Jones had a few acres of land in Boyce, Texas, a short
distance from Midlothian and he had persuaded us to move into the
smaller of two houses on this land. We decided to go so that I
could recuperate and regroup my thoughts. By this time, January
24, 1970, I was very depressed and ready to throw in the towel.
Penn and his son, Penn III, moved our belongings into the small
three-room house and I must say that the fresh air and freedom from
Dallas and its citizens was a welcome change. After a few days I
felt better and began exploring our new surroundings. Penn had
seventy-eight head of cattle on the place and I was feeding twenty
bales of hay to them every morning. As my strength came back I
also tackled various small, clean up jobs around the farm. It was
the least I could do–the rent was free and Penn paid the light and
water bills. We bought what butane we had to buy for heat and
cooking. How about this–in 1948 I ran away from home at age 12
and spent the next four years working on farms and ranches in the
west and northwest–now twenty-two years later I was back on the
farm! There were days, however, when the rain and sleet would keep
me inside, only venturing out when I had to (mostly to feed the
The highlight of each day was when the mail man came as we were
now corresponding with Madeline Goddard regularly and always looked
forward to her letters. I do not know what we would have done if
it hadn’t been for this wonderful person. If I live to be a
hundred, I couldn’t repay her!
Roger, Jr., was sixteen now and living with his grandparents in
Dallas. Terry and Deanna were going to school in Waxahachie, seven
miles away. They had to walk about three quarters of a mile to the
school bus stop so in bad weather we would drive them to school.
This was no easy job in the 1955 Ford of Penn’s, which had seen
better days. I certainly do not mean to sound ungrateful–Penn
Jones and his wife were wonderful to us–we will always hold them
It was April when the larger house on the land in Boyce became
vacant and Penn said that we could move into it. We needed the
room and I would be closer to the stock and the feed for them was
also in the barn near that house. Living in the bigger house was
much easier and it was about this time that Penn decided to try to
raise Holstein calves. There were no jobs in this small county and
maybe we could make some money on this venture.
Molly, Terry, Deanna and I drove Penn’s Travelall truck to
Cleburne, where we picked up the calf Penn had bought on a pilot
project. At three days old, the calf was a big baby at 80 pounds
or more. Every morning at 7:00 a.m. Molly fixed the calf’s bottle
and we took turns feeding him until he decided that Molly was his
mother. Cute–but something she wasn’t ready for!
We continued taking care of the cattle for several weeks and
during this time two calves were born. We named one, a little bull
calf, “Jones” and the other a heifer calf, Deanna named “Susie.”
They became her only playmates. However, I wasn’t making one red
cent and the only help we received was from Madeline who, God
knows, was carrying the burden of feeding my family.
On May 15 a decision had to be made. It was apparent that the
calf project wasn’t going to materialize and Penn was talking of
selling some of the land and cattle. It looked as though Penn was
having financial problems and I did not want to add to them. So,
Molly and I talked and decided the best thing for us was to drive
to Dallas and make arrangements to stay with someone and for me to
try *one more time* (there’s that song title). We talked to my
mother, who said we could move in with her until I found a job and
a place to live.
As we drove back to Boyce we spoke of our apprehension about
moving but when we drove into the yard we knew it was the thing to
do. The front door of the house was standing wide open. I knew
what was gone even before I got out of the car. I was right. The
30-40 Krag rifle (the only one I had managed to hang onto), Terry’s
30.30 Winchester, which he had received as a gift, his 410 shotgun,
and the 12 gauge automatic shotgun Penn had loaned me were all
missing. These were our only means of protection in this place so
far in the country with no telephone or close neighbors. Now we
had been stripped of that. Coincidence? Maybe. I was very uneasy
and the sooner we got out of there, I felt, the better.
It took two days and two sleepless nights to arrange the move
but we did it and were back in Dallas and staying with my mother.
By this time my physical health was somewhat improved and my mental
attitude was back to normal. This was due to the words of
encouragement I had received from Madeline and others who had
written to us over the past months to let me know that there were
people in this country who cared. I was ready for any opposition
from the Political Monster which ruled Dallas and even the very
lives of those so-called Business and Civic leaders who did not
have the guts to stand on their own two feet! As I thought over
the past years, I was even amused that *I*, a man of limited
education and no social position in this City of Purity, had struck
fear into the hearts of its *great* leaders by just speaking to
them on the street!
Although I had not worked steadily since my termination from the
Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, I did not forget my obligation
as an American. Thus, when asked by certain critics of the Warren
Report to help, I did what I could. Imagine the turmoil it will
cause when and if the Dallas Police read this and find out I have
copied and turned over to a certain editor several names, addresses
and telephone numbers of people connected with the assassination of
John F. Kennedy which were LOCKED in the files of the Dallas Police
Intelligence Division. Not to mention the files which were
Photostatted and smuggled out of the Dallas County Mail under Bill
Decker’s nose (all after I left the Sheriff’s Department). Even
though I have not made any money in the past few years, I hope I
was able to help those who have spent so much time investigating
the assassination, who certainly haven’t made any money either!
The last week of May, 1970 I got lucky. The ad in the newspaper
read, “Wanted Dispatcher for temporary labor company”. The Company
was Peakload. I quickly made a call to the chief dispatcher, with
whom I had worked previously, and found he was working sixteen
hours every day. He was so happy to hear from me, because of his
workload, that he offered to come and get me so that I could go to
work that day. The company had a new office manager, Jim Morris.
I went in immediately to apply–at the urging of the chief
dispatcher, Bill Funderburke–and for an interview with Jim Morris,
the manager. He was from Ft. Worth and knew more about the
assassination and me than I would have preferred (from the
questions he asked me concerning Bill Decker, Jim Garrison and
others who had made the news). However, the office was in trouble
as they had not been able to keep an evening dispatcher for more
than three or four weeks at a time since I worked there in 1969.
With a word of caution as to my activities, Jim put me to work.
This made Bill very happy as the pressure was now off him. I knew
the work, the customers and most of the men I would be dealing with
so Peakload did not have to worry about breaking in a new man. The
rest of May and early June passed uneventfully but around the
middle of June Molly went into Baylor Hospital, through the clinic
as we could not afford a private doctor or the high rate of regular
hospital services (I had only worked a short time and we still had
a balance owing on Molly’s surgery in August 1969). On June 26
Molly underwent major surgery. She had been under a tremendous
strain the past years and was physically and mentally exhausted.
During this period I had managed to gather enough money to buy a
1962 Ford from a friend. It was not the best car in the world but
it was only a hundred and fifty dollars and it did run. I paid
$50.00 down and was to pay him the rest in a month or so. I also
rented a small apartment and it seemed good to once again be by
ourselves in our own home. But our new found *Wealth* was short
Shortly after this, a self-professed private detective in
Dallas, by the name of Al Chapman, had written a story about new
evidence in the assassination which he had sold to the “National
Enquirer.” In this article he quoted me as saying that I had given
certain information to him and had personally identified a picture
of a man and car saying it was Lee Harvey Oswald and his
The entire story, with reference to me, was completely false. I
had never been interviewed by this man and had at no time seen the
picture to which he referred. Al Chapman, prior to the
assassination, was a custodian for a church in Oak Cliff. There is
a good deal of mystery about him for he will not reveal his
business or residential address. Nor is the name of the church
available. Although he is a part-time private investigator, he has
no license.
The story was all over the office and Jim was concerned as he
had been keeping up on anything written involving these events.
Before long the F.B.I. and the Dallas Police were making regular
visits to the office on the pretext of looking for “Jim Jones” or
“Tom Smith” or any excuse they could use to let me know they could
also read! The heat was on. Jim was constantly there–every time I
looked up–which was unusual. This leech, this skid row bum, and I
*am* referring to Al Chapman, in his lust for money, not caring
whom he hurt, had not only sold his story but my future with
Peakload as well.
On July 17, 1970, I reported for work to find another man doing
my job. I was told by this “replacement” that Jim wanted to see
me. As I sat in Jim’s office I knew what was coming. Jim said,
“Roger, you’ve done a good job but it is time for a change.” I
asked him for an explanation but all he would say was that it was
time for a change and he was sorry!
Bill Decker died in August. The County Commissioners appointed
his executive assistant, Clarence Jones, to fill the job until
November, when he had to run for election (with the backing of the
Democratic Party). For the first time since Decker’s reign, the
Republicans nominated someone to oppose a Democrat for the office.
The man was Jack Revel, former Chief of the Dallas Police
Intelligence Division. This meant that the voters had the choice
between two evils. Well, Clarence Jones was elected–his campaign
signs and posters read, “Elect Clarence Jones – In the Tradition of
Bill Decker”! It would be nice if Jack Revel would be upset enough
over his loss of the election to make public some information–but
this is very wishful thinking indeed.
Meanwhile, I am still out of a job (but still looking). I would
like to think that the people of Dallas will change and rise up
against the dishonest and irresponsible tyrants who govern in their
name–but I do not see it happening in the near future. Dallas is
my home but I will always feel like an outsider because I simply
will not adjust to the idea that for Dallas, for Texas, for America
this must serve as DEMOCRACY.
A Few Odd and Interesting Facts
Allen Sweatt, Decker’s Chief criminal investigator, let me know
that he was aware of my friendship with Hiram Ingram and that he
did not like it one bit.
Before I departed the Sheriff’s Office for good Allen Sweatt and
I talked a couple of times and he revealed to me that he knew Lee
Harvey Oswald. He also told me that Oswald worked for the F.B.I.
as an informer, that he was paid $200.00 a month and his code
number was S 172.
When Penn Jones wanted the records of Robert Perrin, the ex-
husband of Nancy Perrin Rich, I had to find a new source of
information. (I won’t release this name for obvious reasons.) It
seems that Nancy Perrin was connected with Jack Ruby, Clay Shaw and
Lee Oswald at about the time of President Kennedy’s death.
Robert Perrin was reported to have committed suicide in New
Orleans, La. The autopsy showed no visible scars, marks or tattoos
and Penn knew that Perrin had been arrested in Dallas and wanted me
to get the records of the arrest along with his description. After
some doing I finally obtained the record. It showed that Perrin
had several tattoos and part of his right index finger was missing.
None of this information showed up on the autopsy report. It would
be interesting to know who WAS buried in Robert Perrin’s place and
where Robert Perrin is now, wouldn’t it?
The favorite pastime in Dallas
Is a game they call murder with malice.
They don’t ask your leave.
But not to deceive. . . .
To tell you would be – well, too callous.
On Wednesday, October 27, 1970 I went to downtown Dallas to Jack
Revel’s campaign headquarters to pick up some campaign signs. The
headquarters were not open and I decided to visit a friend who
works at a restaurant across the street. While talking with my
friend the conversation turned, as it so often does, to the
assassination. He and I had discussed this in the past.
During the course of our conversation a man who I had not met
before entered into the conversation. He, of course, did not know
me (not to my knowledge). I told him that I was from out of town
and that I was interested in facts that hadn’t been printed and in
persons that had known Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald. This man said, “I
knew Oswald and Ruby. I can tell you anything you want to know
about them.”
At this point I became very interested and I told him again that
I’d sure like to know first hand what they were like. He said, “I
knew Ruby well–I had seen Oswald a couple of times in Ruby’s
place.” I then said, “Well, in Ruby’s business–the night club–I
imagine a lot of people were seen there.” He sort of chuckled and
said “Huh–Jack Ruby’s business was spelled Mafia.” He then said,
“I can show you a used car lot where Ruby collected a lot of
gambling money over on Ross Avenue” (it was the 4600 block of Ross
Avenue). So I offered to drive him over there and he said, “No–do
you have your car here?” I did. He said I should follow him,
which I did. I parked my car on the same side of the street as the
car lot, a short distance down and walked back to his car. I
opened the door of his car on the passenger side and he pointed to
the car lot and said, “That’s where a lot of the money comes in
from the gambling operation and Jack picked it up here.”
He said, “If you really want to know what’s going on in Dallas
you have to talk to someone who’s been around–and I’ve been around
in those circles.” Then he said, “Just leave your car parked there
and come with me–I’ll show you something that’s REALLY
interesting.” He drove me to 300 1/2 South Ewing in the Oak Cliff
area to an apartment that had been a family dwelling and was
converted into apartment units. I should mention here that Jack
Ruby’s address at the time of the assassination was 323 South
The apartment at 300 1/2 South Ewing is upstairs and when we
walked into the apartment there was a distinct feeling of an
unlived-in atmosphere. The furnishings were bare. There was a
couch, chair and coffee table–no lamps, no ash trays, nothing on
the walls. The man had been smoking so it was odd that there were
no ash trays. He said, “How about a cup of coffee?” We went into
the kitchen, he opened the cabinet and said, “Oh well, I guess I’m
out of coffee.” He was also out of everything else as there was
nothing in the cabinet.
The arrangement of the apartment was unusual as you had to go
through the bedroom to the kitchen, which was very small. The
closet door was open in the bedroom. However, there were no
clothes in it. At that time I became slightly nervous about the
We went back into the bedroom from the kitchen. While in the
bedroom he said, “I want to show you something.” He opened the top
drawer of the dresser and pulled out a shoulder holster–there was
a 32 revolver with a three inch barrel in the shoulder holster. He
pulled the 32 out of the holster and said, “what do you think about
that?” I remarked that you don’t see many 32’s with a barrel like
that. He put the 32 back in the drawer and went around to the side
of the closet which was not visible when you went into the kitchen.
At that time he produced two rifles–one was a bolt action which
looked like a 30.06, the other was a high power automatic which
appeared to be a 257 caliber.
I remarked that they were nice rifles and I would like to have a
good deer hunting rifle. He then laid those two on the bed and he
said, “You haven’t seen anything yet.” He then got down on the
floor and he pulled 5 more rifles from under the bed. Each of
these were equipped with scopes. He then pulled a cardboard box
about 13 inches long and 10 inches deep also from under the bed.
The box was closed and on the side was printed “Ammunition – Handle
With Care.” He then slid the rifles and ammunition back under the
bed. I said jokingly, “What are you gonna do–start a war?” He
said, “Could be.”
At that time he looked at his watch and said “excuse me just a
minute, I have to go down to the landlady’s apartment and make a
phone call–I promised some people I would call them” (there was no
telephone in the apartment). He was gone for about ten minutes.
During this time I made a mental inventory of the apartment. After
he returned he asked me if I was ready to go back to my car. There
was a pay phone on the corner from the apartment and I asked him to
pull over so that I could call the people who owned the car (I had
told him that it was borrowed while I was in Dallas), that I wanted
to let them know that the car was okay. From the pay phone I
called my wife and gave her the man’s name and address and told her
of the situation. His name–as he gave me is A.E. Allen, 300 1/2
South Ewing, Dallas, Texas.
Before we went to his apartment, or the apartment, I told him
being from out of town that I didn’t know much, but that I had
heard that Ruby was in the gun running business. He said that Ruby
wasn’t actually buying and selling weapons. That people in higher
positions made the arrangements for the buying and selling of
weapons. That Ruby was mainly the go-between for delivering the
money and making arrangements for the storage of the weapons until
they were shipped out.
During the course of the evening he made the statement several
times that, “if you want to stay healthy, don’t say anything to
anybody in Dallas about the assassination unless you’re damn sure
you know who you’re talking to.”
He then said that there were a lot of people in Dallas who were
out to “get” him because he knows too much. ?
One of the strangest things that he did was to drive on East
Jefferson to a used car lot and stop. There were two men inside
the office and he went in and talked to them. I stayed in the car
and could see them through a window of the office. He was in there
only a few minutes. His car was a light blue Oldsmobile 66 model.
When he came out of the office he got into a gray Olds sitting on
the lot and he drove it onto the drive stopping just before he
entered the street–he motioned to me–I was watching him. I got
out of the blue Olds and he took me back to my car in the gray
Olds. ?
On the way to my car across town, he kept repeating there’s a
lot more to this (the assassination) than they’ll ever know. In
taking me to my car he cut across to Ft. Worth Avenue. While
driving slowly along he pointed out certain private clubs–saying
that he wasn’t allowed in one or the other. My first thought was
that he was trying to give me the impression that he was
knowledgeable about the workings of the Dallas underworld.
However, it really seems that he was using a delaying measure–
since it took from 10:00 p.m. until 11:15 p.m. to drive me to my
car–an ordinary 15 minute drive at that time.
When I got out of his car at mine he said, “I’ll call you
tomorrow.” Earlier in the evening he had implied he was going to
give me more information. I had given him a number to reach me by.
Needless to say I did not hear from him after the incident that
I had locked my car when I parked it. When I got into it I turned the key over to start the engine. At this point there was a muffled type explosion and then smoke came out the sides of the hood. The hood had a double latch and didn’t blow. Fire was coming through the air vents under the dash and a pillow was burning inside the car.
I jumped out of the car and raised the hood. The engine, hoses, firewall and even under the bell housing was all ablaze. Several persons came up and someone called the fire department. A man named Bill Booken was walking by at about the time it happened.
The fire department used 2 cans of chemical to extinguish the fire.
This was one of the hottest fires I had ever seen. There was no smell of gasoline before or after, there was no back fire as the car had not started and afterwards the gas lines were checked and there were no leaks. There was an air breather on the car and in fact, there was no mechanical reason for the explosion.
This happened at 4625 Ross Avenue. Mr. Booken took me to Anderson’s Restaurant at 4909 Ross Avenue where I called my wife and she arranged for my brother Duane to come after me. I didn’t know that I had been injured until I felt the warm blood running down my shirt after my brother picked me up. I had lost quite a lot of blood by the time I went to the emergency room. I was there for three hours. A police report was made. I had received 5 puncture type wounds in the chest area. One vein had been severed and had to be tied and stitches taken in the wounds. X-rays were also made. I went to our family physician the following day and had the stitches removed the following Monday. It was never completely determined what hit me. Another close call! The doctor at the emergency room said I was lucky the wounds had not been lower and our family physician said I was lucky the wounds were not in the neck. So . . . I suppose I’m just lucky all the way round!

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