THE BAKER-OSWALD ENCOUNTER:

PROOF THAT OSWALD DID NOT SHOOT JFK?

Michael T. Griffith

2012

@All Rights Reserved

Fifth Edition

The fact that Officer Marrion Baker saw Lee Harvey Oswald on the second floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) building less than 90 seconds after President Kennedy was shot indicates that Oswald could not have been the assassin. Officer Baker claimed he spotted Oswald just inside the foyer door leading to the second-floor lunchroom. Baker said he saw Oswald through the foyer door's window. If so, then it's extremely difficult to see how Oswald could have been on the sixth floor during the shooting. If Oswald was not on the sixth floor during the shooting, then of course he could not have shot President Kennedy from the window identified by the Warren Commission (WC) as the point from which all the shots were allegedly fired.

Let us begin by analyzing Officer Baker's actions after he heard the shots. Here is how the WC described what Baker did after he heard gunfire:

When the shots were fired, a Dallas motorcycle patrolman, Marrion L. Baker, was riding in the motorcade at a point several cars behind the President. He had turned right from Main Street onto Houston Street and was about 200 feet south of Elm Street when he heard a shot. Baker, having recently returned from a week of deer hunting, was certain the shot came from a high-powered rifle. He looked up and saw pigeons scattering in the air from their perches on the Texas School Book Depository Building. He raced his motorcycle to the building, dismounted, scanned the area to the west and pushed his way through the spectators toward the entrance. There he encountered Roy Truly, the building superintendent, who offered Baker his help. They entered the building, and ran toward the two elevators in the rear. Finding that both elevators were on an upper floor, they dashed up the stairs. (WCR 5, emphasis added)

The evidence is clear that on the day of the shooting Patrolman Baker encountered Oswald less than 90 seconds after the shots were fired. During the WC's reenactments, Baker's fastest time was 75 seconds; this was the time for his second, and final, simulation. Although Baker claimed to the Commission that his 75-second reenactment time was the "minimum" time in which he could have reached the second-floor landing, the evidence strongly indicates otherwise. For example, Baker admitted to the WC that in that test he merely "kind of ran" outside the Book Depository and that he moved only at "kind of a trot" inside the building. And these were not the only aspects of the WC's simulations that were unrealistic.

Roy Truly, the building manager who ran ahead of Baker through the building, likewise said his simulation time was the minimum time. But Truly did not seem certain about this. When asked if his simulation pace had even been "about" the same as his pace on the day of the shooting, Truly replied, "I think so" (3 H 228, emphasis added). If he wasn't positive that the simulation pace had even been "about" the same as his 11/22/63 pace, one wonders how he could have been certain that his simulation time was the "minimum" possible time. At one point he described his simulation pace as a walk, but then said it was a "trot." Whenever Truly referred to his 11/22/63 pace through the building, he consistently used the word "ran" (e.g., 3 H 221, 222, 223, 224, 227). As with Baker's simulation speeds, the evidence indicates that Truly's reenactment pace was slower than his pace on the day of the assassination.

Pauline Sanders' testimony and Baker's own filmed statements in 1988 indicate Baker ran quite fast after he dismounted from his motorcycle. In the frames from the Couch film in which Baker is visible, he is seen to be running rapidly. During the WC's reenactments, Baker, moving slower, and quite possibly starting slightly earlier than he did on the day of the shooting, made it to the TSBD's entrance in just 15 seconds.

WC supporters note that the simulations did not attempt to duplicate Baker's pushing people aside en route to the entrance, and that therefore in the reenactment Baker made it to the entrance as fast or faster than he did on the day of the shooting. But it stands to reason that this action took no more than 5-6 seconds, and possibly as little as 2-4 seconds. Whatever small difference in time this action would have made in the simulation was substantially, if not completely, offset by the fact that in the simulation Baker moved more slowly than he did after the shooting.

WC defenders also note that the Commission's simulations did not take into account the fact that Baker and Truly had to push their way through a few people as they approached the front of the TSBD. Truly, however, indicated it took he and Baker very little time to do this, and that therefore omitting this action from the simulation didn't really matter:

I said when the officer and I ran in, we were shouldering people aside in front of the building, so—we possibly were slowed a little bit more coming in than we were when he and I came in March 20th [during the simulation]. I don't believe so. But it wouldn't be enough to matter there. (3 H 228, emphasis added)

WC supporters point out that the simulations did not take into account the fact that Baker looked down Elm Street for a moment before he ran toward the TSBD's entrance. But this action surely took no more than a second or two. Moreover, Baker said he did this while he was dismounting (3 H 248). The omission of this momentary action, like the omission of the action of pushing people aside, was at least somewhat offset by the fact that Baker moved considerably slower in the simulations than he did on the day of the shooting. Baker's fastest pace outside the building during the simulations was only "kind of a run." Yet, in the Couch film Baker is seen to be running at a rapid pace.

During the abovementioned 1988 filmed interview, Baker said it took him only "a very few seconds" to reach the TSBD's entrance. If Baker was referring to the time it took him after he dismounted his motorcycle, this would still indicate that he was running at a rapid pace and that it didn't take him very long at all to reach the entrance, since it would have taken him no more than 10 or 15 seconds, and perhaps less, to "race" his bike 200 feet, dismount, and briefly look down the street. Similarly, Truly indicated that it didn't take Baker very long at all to reach the entrance. Truly told the Commission that as soon as the third shot rang out the crowd around him began to scream and surge backward, pushing him back to the first step of the stairs leading to the building's front entrance; then, he heard a policeman holler. As Truly was pushed back to the first step, "just moments later--I saw a young motorcycle policeman run up to the building, up the steps to the entrance of our building" (3 H 221, emphasis added). (Notice Truly said Baker was "running"--not "trotting" or "kind of trotting," but running, which is what we see Baker doing in the Couch film.)

Now let us examine Baker's movements from the time he went through the entrance until the time he headed up the stairs. On November 22, Baker said the following in a sworn statement:

As I entered the door I saw several people standing around. I asked these people where the stairs were. A man stepped forward and stated he was the building manager and that he would show me where the stairs were. I followed the man to the rear of the building and he said, "Let's take the elevator." The elevator was hung several floors up so we used the stairs instead.

As mentioned, in the WC's reenactments Baker's fastest time was 75 seconds, and that was when he "kind of ran" outside the building and moved at "kind of a trot" inside the building. Yet, both Baker and Roy Truly described exactly what one would expect under the circumstances--a mad dash. In fact, they were running so fast that when they encountered a swinging office door on the first floor that jammed momentarily because the door's bolt had slid out, Baker ran into Truly's back (3 H 222, 249). So a more reasonable estimate for Baker's trip to the point where he said he saw Oswald would be 60-65 seconds. One could make a strong case that Baker reached the second-floor landing in 50-60 seconds. But, for the sake of argument, let's assume a time closer to 60 seconds. Therefore, a fair estimate for the time it took Baker to go from the front door to the first-floor stairs would be around 30-40 seconds. As will be discussed below, it could have taken him LESS than 30 seconds.

It should be kept in mind that lone-gunman theorists have argued that the alleged lone assassin could have made it from the sniper's nest to the sixth-floor stairs in well under 30 seconds. (One WC supporter suggested to me that the gunman could have reached the sixth-floor stairs in 16 seconds.) As we'll see below, this idea is problematic, given all the things the gunman allegedly did or would have had to do. However, if we were to assume that the gunman merely bolted from the window, stopped for only a few seconds to hide the rifle, and then continued his dash, he could have reached the sixth-floor stairs in less than 30 seconds. So, if at least 150 feet could have been covered in well under 30 seconds on the sixth floor, there is certainly no reason that Baker and Truly could not have made it to the first-floor stairs in the same amount of time. (From the front door to the elevator shaft would have been a distance of around 90-100 feet. Moving at just a moderate running pace, the average man can easily cover this distance in around 15 seconds or less. From the elevators to the stairs leading up to the second floor would have been about 18 feet.)

Baker's trip breaks down as follows (bearing in mind that, on balance, this timing breakdown is generous to the lone-gunman theory): 15-25 seconds to go from his bike to the entrance, 25-40 seconds to reach the first-floor stairs, and 5-10 seconds to go up one flight of stairs. (However, I would guess that it took the running Baker closer to 5 seconds to reach the second-floor landing area.) More specific times are provided in the time lines presented below.

Baker said he spotted Oswald from the second-floor landing just after he (Baker) reached the landing, when he looked through the small window of the foyer door. Recounted Baker,

. . . I was coming out this one on the second floor, and I don't know, I was kind of sweeping [visually] this area as I come up, I was looking from right to left and as I got to this door here I caught a glimpse of this man, just, you know, a sudden glimpse. . . . (WCR 151)

Baker said Oswald was about 20 feet away when he caught a glimpse of him, which would have put Oswald right next to the foyer door. Baker, according to the Warren Commission, then walked through the foyer door and saw Oswald in the lunchroom (WCR 151). Oswald had continued walking and thus was still about 20 feet from Baker. [1] Is this how it happened? There are problems with Baker's account.

With the foyer door shut, the window would have been at a 45-degree angle to Baker. In all probability, that door, which was an automatic door, was already closed when Baker looked through its small window. However, in his WC testimony, Baker suggested that the door "might" have been moving. There is reason to question his word on this point. Among other things, this was the first and only time that Baker suggested the door might have been in motion. Truly said nothing about the door having been in motion, and his testimony indicates that he looked at the door when he reached the landing (the door would have been right in the middle of his field of view; more will be said on this point further below).

If the door was still moving, it must have been nearly shut, or else Baker would have had an even harder time seeing anything through the window. Baker himself said that the door "might have been . . . closing and almost shut at that time." In other words, even Baker indicated that if the door was in fact moving it was "almost shut at that time." Additionally, if Oswald was 20 feet from Baker when Baker spotted him, then Oswald would have been no more than a foot past the foyer door, in which case the door--with its slow automatic closing mechanism--would not have had enough time to close or nearly close if Oswald had just gone through it.

Another problem with Baker's account is that Baker said he wasn't even sure if Oswald had gone through the foyer door (3 H 255). Now this is very odd indeed. If Baker spotted Oswald through the foyer door a second or two after reaching the top of the stairs, and if the door was "almost shut" when Baker looked at it, and if Oswald was no more than a foot beyond the door at the time (as he would have had to be for Baker to see him), how, then, could Baker have had any doubt about whether Oswald had walked through that door? (If someone wants to propose that Baker was referring to the lunchroom door, though he clearly wasn't, then his uncertainty becomes even more astounding. How in the world could Baker have had any doubt that Oswald had just gone through the lunchroom door to reach the lunchroom?)

Perhaps the most serious problem with Baker's account is that if Oswald was only a foot past the foyer door when he spotted him, then Roy Truly, who was running ahead of Baker, surely would have seen Oswald either coming off the stairs, or walking across the landing toward the door, or opening the door. The Commission itself admitted that Oswald must have gone through the foyer door only "a second or two" before being spotted by Baker:

Since the vestibule [foyer] door is only a few feet from the lunchroom door, the man [Oswald] must have entered the vestibule door only a second or two before Baker arrived at the top of the stairwell. Yet he must have entered the vestibule door before Truly reached the top of the stairwell [leading to the second-floor landing], since Truly did not see him. (WCR 151)

But the Commission never explained how Oswald could have done this. If Oswald had gone through the foyer door before Truly reached the top of the stairs, he would have been several feet beyond the door by the time Baker reached the landing, and thus would not have been visible to Baker through the window. And, if Oswald had entered the door "only a second or two" before Baker reached the top of the stairwell, then Truly could not have missed seeing him. Nor did the Commission explain how Baker could have been the least bit unsure about whether or not Oswald had gone through the foyer door if Baker spotted Oswald right next to the door and if the door was in any kind of motion at the time.

Truly told the WC that he had already started up the stairs to the third floor when he noticed that Baker was no longer running behind him. Truly also said there was slightly more distance between him and Baker on the second floor than there was on the first floor. So, it is reasonable to assume that Truly gained a view of the second-floor landing a minimum of 2 seconds before Baker did. Truly's account suggests that Baker was beginning to tire on his way up the stairs. (This is understandable, given the fact that Baker had been running very fast virtually every second after he got off his bike.) Baker himself said that when he arrived to the landing and began to scan it, Truly "had already started around the bend to come to the next elevation going up" (3 H 255). Thus, if Oswald had gone through the foyer door "a second or two" before Baker spotted him, Truly could not possibly have missed seeing Oswald coming off the stairs, or approaching the door, or starting to open the door.

Truly told the Commission that he was already in the process of "going around" to the third-floor stairs at the time Baker would have seen the alleged movement in the foyer door's window (3 H 226; cf. 3 H 223-224). Interestingly, Truly testified that he knew nothing about Baker's having supposedly spotted movement through the door's window until a few days before he testified (3 H 226). Said Truly, "I never knew until a day or two ago that he said he saw a movement, saw a man going away from him" (3 H 226). Does it not seem odd that Baker would not have mentioned this to Truly when he asked Truly if he knew Oswald when they were standing there in the lunchroom? Does it not seem somewhat curious that Baker didn't say anything about this to Truly as the two of them continued up the stairs and to other parts of the building? One can't be faulted for wondering why Baker, if he had just seen Oswald right next to and walking away from the foyer door, didn't ask Truly, when Truly arrived to the lunchroom, something along the lines of "Hey, I just saw this guy walking away from that door over there, so are you sure he's OK?" Nor can one be faulted for wondering why Baker, as he and Truly continued their search of the building, didn't say to Truly, "About that guy we just saw downstairs in that lunchroom, you know I saw him right next to that foyer door, and he was walking away from it. So are you sure he's legit? You're sure he's OK?"

At this point it should be noted out that in two of his statements Baker said Oswald was walking away from him when he spotted him. But, in another statement, Baker said Oswald was standing in the lunchroom when he saw him there. Moreover, on November 22, Truly said Baker didn't see Oswald until Baker "stuck his head into the lunchroom area." After studying a photograph of the view Baker would have had of the foyer door just after he reached the second-floor landing, I do not believe Baker spotted Oswald in the manner he described to the WC. This photo can be seen on page 286 of Gary Savage's book JFK: First Day Evidence (photo number 140). It is clear from this picture that in order for Baker to have "spotted" any kind of "movement" by Oswald near that door, Oswald would have had to be no more than a foot beyond the door. But, again, the door would not have had time to close or nearly close by that time, and Truly could not have missed seeing Oswald coming off the stairs or crossing the landing as he approached the door. Another telling photograph is CE 741, which is a picture taken of the foyer door from inside the lunchroom. This photo likewise makes it clear that Oswald would have had to be no more than a foot past the foyer door in order for Baker to have seen any "movement" on his part through the door's window (see Savage 289, photo number 143). I believe Baker ran over to the door in order to glance through the window and then saw Oswald in the lunchroom. Nevertheless, I have assumed for the sake of argument that Baker spotted Oswald just after he reached the second-floor landing.

In the Commission's reenactments of Oswald's alleged movements from the sixth floor to the second floor, the fastest time of the Oswald stand-in, SSA John Howlett, was 74 seconds. In this test, Howlett moved at "a fast walk" so that he would not be out of breath when he reached the lunchroom. This was necessary because Baker said that Oswald did not appear to be out of breath but looked "calm and collected." However, Howlett skipped or fudged on several actions that Oswald allegedly performed on the sixth floor. For example, instead of carefully hiding the rifle, as the evidence clearly shows Oswald would have had to do, Howlett simply "leaned over as if he were putting a rifle there" (3 H 239, 253; although another account of the simulation claimed that Howlett did carry a rifle and just leaned over and dropped it). In addition, Howlett did not chamber a round in a rifle, as Oswald allegedly did after supposedly firing the fatal head shot. Nor did Howlett slowly withdraw a rifle from the window and casually step away from it, as Oswald allegedly did. Nor did Howlett remain at the window for a few seconds to gloat over his feat, as Oswald allegedly did. Nor did Howlett have to squeeze through the tight entrance to the sniper's nest, as Oswald would have had to do. Nor did Howlett attempt to simulate even a cursory effort to wipe off the rifle.

Many WC supporters claim that the rifle was not wiped off at all after it was fired. To be specific, WC apologists opine that "Oswald" made no effort whatsoever to wipe off the weapon after he fired it. This is an unlikely scenario. It is hard to believe that any gunman in that situation would have failed to at least hurriedly wipe off those parts of the rifle that he had just handled during the act of shooting. When the alleged murder weapon was found, the trigger, the rear part of the trigger guard, the clip, and the bolt were completely devoid of even partial prints or smudges. Yet, the forward end of the trigger guard, i.e., the clip/magazine housing, had some partial prints on it. However, the gunman would not have made those prints during the act of shooting since they were located in an area that he would not have touched while operating the weapon. It is true that the rifle's metal was not an ideal surface to retain prints, but prints were found on the magazine housing, yet not even a smudge was found on the bolt, on the trigger, on the rear part of the trigger guard, or on the clip. Before Lt. J. C. Day of the Crime Lab would allow Captain Fritz to operate the bolt, he examined it with a magnifying glass and did not report seeing even a tiny smudge thereon (4 H 258-259). WC supporters do not believe the alleged lone gunman used gloves. So, why were prints found on the magazine housing, while not even a smudge was found on those parts of the rifle that the assassin would have handled--and handled strongly--during the shooting? It will be assumed in the time lines that the gunman hurriedly tried to wipe off those parts of the weapon that he would have handled while firing it.

How could Oswald have come down the stairs without being seen by Roy Truly? WC supporters have never been able to provide a plausible answer to this crucial question. If, as the WC claimed, Oswald went through the foyer door a second or two before Baker reached the landing, then (1) Truly should and would have seen him, and (2) the door would not have had time to shut or nearly shut behind Oswald by the time Baker looked at it. The simple fact of the matter is that Oswald could not possibly have come down the stairs without being seen by Truly. This fact alone proves that Oswald did not shoot JFK. Moreover, Oswald could not have done all the things the WC said he did on the sixth floor and still have made it to the second-floor lunchroom in time to be seen by Baker just after Baker reached the landing.

It should be noted that Truly and Baker were looking for someone, a gunman. One can perhaps debate the exact degree to which Truly was "searching," but there is no doubt that he looked at the second-floor landing as he was moving and that he would have seen anyone who might have been near or at the foyer door. Truly was asked by WC counsel if he was looking straight ahead to see anyone on his way up the stairs, or if he was just intent on ascending the stairs (3 H 223). Truly replied,

If there had been anybody in that area, I would have seen him on the outside. But I as content--I was trying to show the officer the pathway up, where the elevators--I mean where the stairways continued. (3 H 223)

So although Truly didn't go over and look through the door, since he was trying to get Baker up the stairs, he did see the landing area and would have seen anyone in that area, i.e., on the landing, had someone been there. Coming up the stairs and onto the landing, the foyer door would have been virtually in the middle of Truly's view of the landing area. If Oswald had been in Baker’s view in the door's window, and if the door had been nearly shut when Baker spotted him, then, at the very least, the door would have been halfway open when Truly saw it, and at least half of Oswald's body in profile would have been in plain view of Truly.

When Truly said he would have seen anyone in the landing area "on the outside," he probably meant he would have spotted anyone on the outside of the door. One leading WC supporter acknowledged this point to me in e-mail. This is important because it suggests the door was closed when Truly saw it. If the door was closed when Truly saw it, and if Oswald had gone through it after allegedly coming down the stairs, then Oswald would have been well out of Baker's view by the time Baker reached the second-floor landing. If the door had been even partially open when Truly saw it, one would expect that he would have mentioned this in his testimony. But he never once suggested that the door was anything but closed when he saw it, and his testimony suggests that the door was in fact shut when he reached the landing.

New Lone-Gunman Theories About the Baker-Oswald Encounter

A few WC supporters have suggested that Oswald got inside the foyer door even before Truly reached the landing. Among other things, this theory would require us to believe that our alleged fleeing assassin, who was supposedly desperate to provide an alibi for himself, inexplicably just stood right next to the door while Truly came up the stairs, while Truly reached the landing, while Truly looked at the landing area (including the door), while Truly started up the third-floor stairs (or at least arrived to within a few feet of the foot of those stairs), and while Baker came up the stairs at least a couple seconds behind him. What's more, this theory would appear to refute Baker's tentative claim that the foyer door was in motion when he looked at it, since the door was apparently closed when Truly saw it. If so, this would mean that Oswald unbelievably just stood there and waited for the door to close, and that this suicidal 3-6-second wait occurred even before Truly had a view of the landing. Why would Oswald have waited by the foyer door when he was supposedly trying to give himself an alibi by getting as far away from the stairs as possible? Why wouldn't Oswald have moved away from the door upon hearing Baker and Truly running up the stairs? If one assumes Oswald didn't hear them running up the stairs, then surely he would have started to move away from the foyer door when Truly came through the stairway door to the landing, in which case Oswald would not have been visible to Baker when Baker looked through the foyer door's window a few seconds later. The very idea that any fleeing gunman would have stood by the foyer door seems wholly implausible. His most important mission in life at that time would have been to get as far away from the stairs as possible, and, correspondingly, to get out of the line of sight of anyone who might look through the foyer door's window.

An even more implausible scenario, offered by a few WC supporters, goes something like this:

Oswald was coming down the stairs when Truly called for the elevator. Upon hearing Truly holler, or perhaps after hearing Baker and Truly running up the stairs, Oswald ducked into the lunchroom and then moments later went back to the foyer door to see if the way was clear to continue on down the stairs (in the hope of exiting the building from the rear door). When Oswald went back to the foyer door, he might have even begun to open it, but then, after seeing Truly, turned around and was just in the process of starting to walk back toward the lunchroom when Baker spotted him, which would explain why Baker said he might have seen the door in motion.

For starters, why would Oswald have returned so quickly to the foyer door? Why wouldn't he have stood away from the door so as to be out of sight but close enough to hear Baker and Truly run up the stairs? Then, once they had passed, he could have gone down the stairs in the hope of leaving the building from the rear exit. Why would Oswald have started to open the door before he was sure the way was clear? If it is suggested that he started to open the door just before Truly reached the landing but then pulled back when he saw and/or heard Truly, then Oswald would have had ample time to duck away from the door, and thus get out of sight, by the time Baker reached the landing.

If it is theorized that Oswald didn't start to open the door but that he merely began to turn around when he saw Truly, he still would have had time to duck out of view by the time Baker reached the landing. And wouldn't Oswald have heard Baker and Truly running up the stairs as they neared the landing? If so, why would he have even gotten close to the foyer door? Wouldn't he have stayed away from the door, out of view, until he heard Baker and Truly continue up the stairs?

What's more, in his WC testimony Baker indicated that Oswald had his back to the door when he spotted him. This claim causes several problems for the traditional lone-gunman version of the Baker-Oswald encounter. It also creates difficulties for any theory that puts Oswald on the second floor before Truly reached the landing. For example, if Oswald had returned to the foyer door and started to push it open but then pulled back when he saw or heard Truly, why on earth would he have bothered to turn around before heading back to the lunchroom? Why wouldn't he have simply stepped backwards as soon as he saw or heard Truly? For that matter, why wouldn't he have just ducked below the window as soon as he saw or heard Truly? Then, he could have easily rushed back into the lunchroom and been out of sight when Baker reached the landing.

And, again, wouldn't Oswald have heard Baker and Truly running up the stairs as he began to return to the foyer door? And wouldn't he have therefore stayed away from the door, and out of sight, until he heard Baker and Truly continue up the stairs? Also, how could Oswald have reached the second floor so quickly in the first place? How could Baker and Truly have reached the elevator shaft or the stairs before Oswald reached the second-floor landing if Oswald arrived there as early as some WC supporters have suggested he did? According to some WC defenders, Oswald only had to chamber a bullet, bolt out of the sniper's nest, sprint across the sixth floor, stop momentarily and literally "throw" the rifle into its hiding place, and then dash down the stairs. Such a scenario would require the following time line:

Action Time

Fires last shot.…...........……...........00:00-00:00

Chambers one round...............….....00:00-00:01

Exits sniper's nest..............………...00:01-00:04

Sprints 150 feet across sixth floor

to rifle's hiding place.......……...…...00:04-00:18

Stops, turns to face rifle's

hiding place, and throws rifle

down......................…..…………...00:18-00:21

Turns around and runs to sixth-floor

stairway....................……………...00:21-00:23

Dashes down four flights of stairs

and reaches second-floor landing....00:23-00:36

Obviously, this scenario is markedly unrealistic. However, if we assume it is correct, how can we accept the theory that Oswald was on the stairs when Truly yelled for the elevator or when Baker and Truly were running up the stairs to the second floor? Baker and Truly could not have reached the elevator shaft so soon after the shots were fired. These are just some of the problems associated with any theory that assumes Oswald somehow made it to the second floor before Truly reached the landing.

If Oswald had reached the second floor in less than 40 seconds, why wouldn't he have just continued going down the stairs and exited the building's rear door? Baker and Truly could not have even been at the elevator shaft by that time. So why would Oswald have bothered to go to the second-floor lunchroom?

A third scenario proposed by some WC supporters involves the idea that Oswald walked from the window to the rifle's hiding place. According to this theory, Oswald "walked briskly" after he allegedly fired the shots.

Wouldn't Harold Norman and the two other men who were with him just below the sniper's nest have heard a grown man "walking briskly" above them? Walking quickly creates almost as much noise as running makes. Yet, the three men didn't hear a sound come from the sniper's nest after the shooting.

And wouldn't Oswald have run for dear life? One would think he would have wanted to get as far away from the sniper's nest as quickly possible. Why, then, wouldn't he have run from the sniper's nest and then dashed down the stairs? Again, though, walking briskly makes almost as much noise as running makes. How could Norman, with his supposedly superhuman hearing, not have heard a grown man speed-walking across the floor?

Anyway, if Oswald had walked briskly, and if we accept for the sake of argument the other assumptions about his movements made by the WC supporters who advance this theory, he would have been behind the foyer door around 50 seconds after the shooting. If we assume that Oswald exited the foyer door 10-15 seconds later but then turned around when he heard Truly yell or heard Baker and Truly running up the stairs, a number of problems come to mind: For starters, if he heard Truly yell, he would have had plenty of time to get back in the lunchroom and well out of Baker's sight.

The only other option is to assume that Oswald heard Baker and Truly coming up the stairs and had just barely gone back through the foyer door when Baker looked at it. But, and this is an important point, then we're right back to square one with having to explain how Truly could have missed seeing Oswald and how Oswald would or could have been visible to Baker by the time Baker looked at the door.

Only if Oswald had been standing right next to the door would Baker have had any chance of "spotting" him through the door's window. This scenario becomes even more problematic with Baker's claim that Oswald was walking away from the door, in which case the door would not have had time to close or nearly close behind him by the time Baker allegedly spotted him. This, in turn, brings us right back to the issue of how Truly possibly could have missed seeing Oswald since Oswald would, at the very least, have been in the middle of the doorway, with the door plainly open, when Truly saw the door. Truly said if there had been anyone in the landing area, he would have seen him; and to judge from Truly's testimony, the door was shut when he looked at it. And if the door was shut when Truly looked at it, and/or if Oswald had ducked back through the door when he heard Baker and Truly running up the stairs, he would not have been visible through the foyer door's window by the time Baker looked toward the door.

One could, out of desperation, assume that Oswald just stood there inside the door and didn't start to move away until a second before Baker looked at the door, but this idea is impossible from the outset unless we also assume that Oswald was back inside the door before Truly reached the landing area. But surely Oswald would have stepped away from the door (if not ducked down) when he saw Truly arrive to the landing, and thus he would not have been visible through the window when Baker reached the landing. And, if Oswald, incredibly, just stood by the door until a second before Baker looked at it, how could Oswald have been facing away from the door, i.e., with his back to the door, when Baker supposedly spotted him through the window?

Victoria Adams: An Important Witness

Another problem confronting WC supporters is the fact that Victoria Adams went down the stairs shortly after the last shot was fired, and neither saw nor heard anyone else on those stairs. Miss Adams was with Sandra Styles on the fourth floor during the shooting. After the shots were fired, she said that she and Miss Styles waited 15-30 seconds by the window and then "ran" down the stairs to the first floor. Miss Adams testified that as she entered the first floor from the stairway she saw Bill Lovelady and William Shelley standing near the elevator. Realizing the implications of Miss Adams' account, the WC suggested that Miss Adams' recollection of her movements was in error—and not by just a little bit, but by "several minutes." This is highly unlikely. Moreover, Lovelady and Shelley gave sworn statements on the day of the shooting that tend to support her account.

Miss Adams said that from her position on the fourth floor she "ran" down the back stairs to the first floor very soon after the last shot. She told the Commission that "at the most" it took her no longer than a minute to reach the bottom of the stairs on the first floor after she waited at the window. She further informed the Commission that she ran down the stairs.

If Miss Adams remained at the window for 15-30 seconds before taking "no more than a minute" to reach the first floor, she could have arrived there before Baker and Truly did, as these time lines show:

Action Time

Last shot is fired...........................00:00-00:00

Waits at window..........................00:00-00:15

Reaches fourth-floor landing....….00:15-00:30

Reaches bottom of first-floor

stairs............................................00:30-00:42

Moves several feet away from

first-floor stairs.......................…..00:42-00:44

From her position on the fourth floor, Miss Adams would have had to run about 60 feet, which a normal female of her age could have done in 15 seconds or less. After that, she only had to go down three flights of stairs. Since she was going down, and since it is always easier to go down stairs than to go up them, it is entirely possible that she "ran" down the stairs in 12 seconds. Even we want to stretch her stair-running time to 15 seconds, that could still get her away from the first-floor stairs before Baker and Truly neared the stairs. Surely no one will dispute the fact that a healthy young female adult could have "run" and gotten several feet away from the first-floor stairs in 3 seconds. In any event, let's add a second here and there and see what we get:

Action Time

Last shot is fired...........................00:00-00:00

Waits at window..........................00:00-00:15

Reaches fourth-floor landing.........00:15-00:30

Reaches bottom of first-floor

stairs...........................................00:30-00:45

Moves several feet away from

first-floor stairs............................00:45-00:47

As we can see, I've added 3 seconds to the time it took her to go down the stairs, and 2 seconds to the time it took her to move several feet away from the first-floor stairs. Even with the extra time, she still could have reached the first floor before Baker and Truly entered the landing area. Now, let's bend a little more and see what we get:

Action Time

Last shot is fired..........................00:00-00:00

Waits at window.........................00:00-00:17

Reaches fourth-floor landing....…00:17-00:32

Reaches bottom of first-floor

stairs...........................................00:32-00:47

Moves several feet away from

first-floor stairs...........................00:47-00:49

Even in this time line, we see that Miss Adams still could have reached the first floor 3 seconds before Baker and Truly reached the first-floor landing area.

What if Miss Adams literally raced from the window after pausing at it for 15 seconds? The following would be the fastest scenario:

Action Time

Last shot is fired........................00:00-00:00

Waits at window.......................00:00-00:15

Reaches fourth-floor landing.....00:15-00:30

Reaches bottom of first-floor

stairs.........................................00:30-00:39

Moves several feet away from

first-floor stairs........................00:39-00:40

What about Lovelady and Shelley? Judging from their November 22 statements, they made it to the first floor in well under a minute. Lovelady, who was standing on the steps of the Depository, said that after the shots were fired he went back into the building. Shelley said that after he heard shots, he ran across the street, encountered a girl who said JFK had been shot, and then went back to the TSBD to call his wife. One would imagine that Shelley was anxious to phone his wife with this shocking news and that therefore he moved at a fairly quick pace. So both Lovelady and Shelley, according to their November 22 statements, could have been on the first floor in time to be seen by Miss Adams 40-50 seconds after the shooting.

WC defenders argue that since Miss Adams did not report hearing Truly yell for the elevator and did not see Baker and Truly, she must have been on the stairs much later than she thought she was. However, this is not necessarily correct. There were other people in that area of the first floor (the vicinity of the stairs) at the time, and if Miss Adams reached the foot of the first-floor stairs at the early times that I've suggested, then Baker and Truly would have been a good 20 feet away from her when she arrived. With the other people that were there, and given the excitement at the time, it is understandable that Miss Adams didn't notice Baker and Truly, just as she undoubtedly didn't notice certain other people who were there. Under such circumstances, nobody takes note of every single person around them. Similarly, Shelley was very unsure that he had seen Miss Adams on the first floor, and Lovelady said he "couldn't swear" that he had seen her, yet she noticed both of them.

As for Miss Adams not hearing Truly yell, this is entirely understandable. The elevator shaft was some 15-20 feet from the stairs, and the shaft and the stairs were separated by a wall. Miss Adams' running down the stairs would have created noise by itself, which might have further obscured the sound of Truly's voice. And, if she was near or at the foot of the stairs when Truly yelled, noise from the other people who were on the floor could have also partially obscured the sound of Truly's voice. There is also the distinct possibility that Miss Adams reached the first floor before Truly yelled for the elevator, as the above time lines show.

As mentioned, Sandra Styles was with Miss Adams on the fourth floor and accompanied her down the stairs. Yet, incredibly, the Commission not only failed to call her as a witness, but it didn't even have the FBI obtain a statement from her concerning her movements after the shooting. Sylvia Meagher rightly asks, "Why was . . . Sandra Styles--who was in a position to confirm or contradict . . . [Miss Adams'] testimony--not called before the Commission and questioned?" (Meagher 73). Surely it must have occurred to the WC that Miss Styles was a crucial witness. One can't help but suspect that the Commission ignored her because it feared she would confirm that Miss Adams went down the stairs less than a minute after the shots rang out.

It should be noted that it is possible that Oswald could have come down the stairs without being seen or heard by Miss Adams. This seems unlikely, but it is possible. The value of Miss Adams' testimony is that if she made it to the first floor around 40-50 seconds after the shots were fired, this would appear to refute, or at least cast strong doubt on, any attempt to put Oswald in or near the lunchroom before Truly had a view of the second-floor landing. If nothing else, her testimony indicates that she was on the fourth-floor stairs no later than 50 seconds after the shooting but neither saw nor heard anyone else on the stairs.

Now let us consider three timing scenarios to reinforce the fact that Oswald could not have made it from the sixth floor to the second-floor lunchroom without being seen by Truly or in time to be seen by Baker within inches of the foyer door just after Baker reached the second-floor landing.

Before we do so, a word needs to be said about Oswald's supposed route and the distance he would have had to cover in going from the sniper's nest to the rifle's hiding place. In previous versions of this article, it was assumed for the sake of argument that Oswald would have had a straight path from the sniper's nest to the rifle's hiding place (as is claimed by Gerald Posner in his book Case Closed). This would have required him to walk or run around 75 feet to arrive at the spot where the rifle was hidden. However, photos taken of the sixth floor shortly after the shooting prove that this would have been impossible (see, for example, Savage 165-172; Groden 65). The photos show that the sixth floor was crowded with rows of stacks of book boxes, and that Oswald would have had to run down the east wall and then along the north wall in order to reach the rifle's hiding place. This was the only clear path to the rifle's hiding place (cf. Savage 294; Savage posits the same route). Using this route, Oswald would have had to cover at least 150 feet to go from the sniper's nest to the stack of boxes where the rifle was later found. Yet, although I assumed a distance of only 75 feet for this journey in earlier versions of this article, I have not lengthened the times for it. I have done so in order to give the lone-gunman theory the benefit of the doubt.

Scenario #1: Times Favorable to the Lone-Gunman Theory

Notice that in this scenario it is assumed that Oswald ran across the sixth floor and down the stairs, and that he only took 8 seconds to hide the rifle. These times, along with two or three others, are more than generous in order to give the lone-gunman theory the benefit of the doubt, and all of the listed times are reasonable and consistent with the evidence.

"OSWALD" TIME LINE #1:

Alleged Action Time

Fires last shot.................................................................00:00

Chambers another round................................................00:00-00:01

Stays at window to gloat over feat..................................00:01-00:05

Slowly withdraws rifle, casually moves away from

window, walks around boxes stacked next

to window, and reaches entrance to sniper's

nest...............................................................................00:05-00:11

Squeezes out of sniper's nest.........................................00:11-00:13

Runs approximately 150 feet across the sixth

floor and reaches spot where rifle was

found...........................................................................00:13-00:29

Wipes off the rifle........................................................00:29-00:33

Hides the rifle..............................................................00:33-00:41

Turns from rifle's hiding place and then runs

approximately 7 feet to the top of the

sixth-floor stairs..........................................................00:41-00:43

Runs down four flights of stairs and reaches

the bottom stair on the second-floor stairs...................00:43-00:59

Opens door to second-floor landing and goes

through it...................................................................00:59-01:00

Runs approximately 20 feet across the

second-floor landing to the foyer door.......................01:00-01:02

Opens foyer door and goes through it.......................01:02-01:03

TRULY TIME LINE #1:

Action Time

Last shot is fired.....................................................00:00

Baker races motorcycle, dismounts, runs to

TSBD, and comes through building's

entrance................................................................00:00-00:25

Leads Baker across the first floor and arrives

to entrance to first-floor stairs................................00:15-00:55

Opens and goes through door to first-floor

stairs....................................................................00:55-00:56

Runs up stairs and gets far enough

to see second-floor landing..................................00:56-01:02

Thus, even after making generous allowances in favor of the lone-gunman theory, we see that Truly would have had a view of the second-floor landing before Oswald would gone through the the foyer door. Not only would Truly have seen Oswald going through the door, but he would have also seen the slow automatic door closing behind Oswald.

Of course, if Oswald had run 150 feet from the sniper's nest to the rifle's hiding place, raced down four flights of stairs, and then bolted across the second-floor landing to dash through the foyer door, he surely would have been at least somewhat out of breath, and not "calm and collected," when Baker encountered him.

Furthermore, as indicated above, it is possible that Baker and Truly took less than 40 seconds to get to the foot of the first-floor stairs. We have assumed that it took "Oswald" only 16 seconds to run the roughly 150 feet from the sniper's nest to the spot where the rifle was hidden. Why, then, would it have taken Baker and Truly, who were running at a fast pace, 40 seconds to reach the entrance to the first-floor stairs? I think one could plausibly argue that it took them as little as 25 seconds to do so, bearing in mind that they probably spent 5-10 seconds calling for and trying to use the elevator before they decided to go up the stairs. Or, one could bend a little more and assume it took them 35 seconds to reach the first-floor stairs. This is a plausible estimate.

Now let us see why Baker's story about seeing Oswald 20 feet away just after Baker reached the second-floor landing would, if true, prove that Oswald did not shoot Kennedy. Keep in mind that Oswald would have been opening and then walking through the foyer door 62-63 seconds after the shots were fired.

BAKER TIME LINE #1:

Action Time

Last shot is fired......................................................00:00

Races motorcycle, dismounts, runs to

TSBD, and comes through building's

entrance..................................................................00:00-00:15

Goes with Truly across the first floor and

arrives to entrance to first-floor stairs.........….........00:15-00:55

Truly opens door to first-floor stairs and

Baker follows...............................................…......00:55-00:57

Runs up stairs and reaches second-floor

landing about 2-3 seconds after Truly

does.....................................................................00:57-01:04

It is apparent that Oswald would have just finished walking through the foyer door when Baker reached the second-floor landing and began to scan the area, and that therefore the foyer door would have just barely started to close behind Oswald when Baker looked at it. Also, Truly was running well ahead of Baker by that time and would have easily spotted Oswald crossing the landing, or reaching for the door, or going through the door.

What follows is a time line that is extremely favorable to the lone-gunman theory, which we will call Oswald Time Line #2. In it we have eliminated some of Oswald's alleged actions and have shortened the times given for a number of the remaining activities. However, we have also taken the reasonable step of allowing a few seconds--actually only 2 seconds--for the slow automatic door to close or "nearly close" behind Oswald. We have further assumed that it took Baker and Truly somewhat less than 40 seconds to reach the first-floor stairway. Then, let us compare this second Oswald time line with more plausible time lines for Baker and Truly. Although these Baker and Truly time lines are more plausible, and hence less favorable to the lone-gunman hypothesis, they will include the assumptions that (1) it took Baker 15 seconds to reach the TSBD's entrance, and (2) that Truly didn't have a view of the second-floor landing until 7 seconds after he started running up the stairs. I would like to emphasize that the following time line is not realistic, since, as stated above, it omits some of Oswald's alleged actions and contains shortened times for a number of his remaining supposed activities.

"OSWALD" TIME LINE #2:

Alleged Action Time

Fires last shot.....................................................................00:00

Chambers another round....................................................00:00-00:01

Slowly withdraws rifle, casually moves away from

window, and walks around boxes stacked next

to window.........................................................................00:01-00:06

Reaches outer/outside edge of sniper's nest

and exits nest....................................................................00:06-00:09

Runs approximately 150 feet across the sixth

floor and reaches spot where rifle was

found...............................................................................00:09-00:23

Hurriedly wipes off those parts of the rifle

that he handled during the shooting...................…............00:23-00:28

Hides the rifle....................................................…...........00:28-00:34

Turns from rifle's hiding place and then runs

approximately 7 feet to the top of the

sixth-floor stairs...................................................…........00:34-00:36

Runs down four flights of stairs and reaches

the bottom stair on the second-floor stairs..............….....00:36-00:49

Opens door to second-floor landing and

goes through it...............................................................00:49-00:50

Runs approximately 20 feet across the

second-floor landing to the foyer door......................…..00:50-00:52

Opens foyer door and goes through it........................….00:52-00:53

Automatic-closing foyer door closes nearly

all the way behind him...............................................….00:53-00:55

If the foyer door was like most automatic doors, it could have taken as much as 5 seconds, or more, to close or nearly close. But, for the sake of argument, we have assumed it only took 2 seconds to do so.

TRULY TIME LINE #2:

Action Time

Last shot is fired.............................................................00:00

Baker races motorcycle, dismounts, and comes

through TSBD entrance.................................................00:00-00:15

Leads Baker across the first floor and arrives

to entrance to first-floor stairs.......................................00:10-00:40

Opens and goes through door to first-floor

stairs............................................................................00:40-00:41

Runs up stairs and gets far enough on stairs

to see second-floor landing..........................................00:41-00:48

BAKER TIME LINE #2:

Action Time

Last shot is fired..........................................................00:00

Races motorcycle, dismounts, runs to TSBD,

and comes through building's

entrance.....................................................................00:00-00:15

Goes with Truly across the first floor and

arrives to entrance to first-floor stairs...................…..00:10-00:40

Truly opens door to first-floor stairs and

Baker follows...........................................................00:40-00:42

Runs up stairs and reaches second-floor

landing about 2-3 seconds after Truly

does........................................................................00:42-00:51

Even these Baker and Truly time lines are not as fast as they could be (and probably should be), yet we still see that Oswald could not have made it from the sixth floor without being seen by Truly and in time to be spotted by Baker.

Scenario #2: More Plausible Times for Oswald's Alleged Actions

In this scenario, "Oswald" does not run across the sixth floor and down the stairs; he walks at a fast pace, as did SSA Howlett for his fastest time in the WC's reenactments. Also, notice that it is assumed that the hiding of the rifle took 10 seconds. This is a very reasonable time, since the evidence clearly shows that the weapon was very carefully concealed. The weapon was surrounded by boxes on all sides and was held upright by at least one box. This time line also assumes that the door to the second-floor landing was open.

"OSWALD" TIME LINE #3:

Alleged Action Time

Fires last shot.....................................................................00:00

Chambers another round....................................................00:00-00:01

Stays at window to gloat over feat.....................................00:01-00:05

Slowly withdraws rifle, casually moves away

from window, walks around boxes stacked next

to window, and reaches entrance to sniper's

nest..................................................................................00:05-00:10

Squeezes out of sniper's nest.............................................00:10-00:11

Runs approximately 150 feet across the sixth

floor and reaches spot where rifle was

found...............................................................................00:11-00:30

Wipes off the rifle............................................................00:30-00:36

Hides the rifle..................................................................00:36-00:46

Turns from rifle's hiding place and then runs

approximately 7 feet to the top of the

sixth-floor stairs..............................................................00:46-00:49

Runs down four flights of stairs and reaches

the bottom stair on the second-floor stairs......................00:49-01:06

Steps off bottom stair and walks approximately

20 feet across second-floor landing to

foyer door....................................................................01:06-01:10

Opens foyer door and goes through it...........................01:10-01:12

This time line is a telling blow against the lone-gunman theory when it is kept in mind that Truly surely was on the second-floor landing 60 seconds after the shots were fired, as shown in Truly Time Line #1. It should also be remembered that in the WC's simulations, the Oswald stand-in, skipping some actions and fudging on others, made it from the sniper's nest to the lunchroom in 1 minute and 14 seconds.

WC supporters make the point that Oswald could have wiped off the rifle while he was moving across the floor. This would have reduced his time by 4-6 seconds. The problem with this idea is that it would put Oswald behind the foyer door too early. The WC's Baker-Oswald-encounter scenario requires one to believe Oswald went through the foyer door just a second or two before Baker looked at it. Given all that Baker did, and all that Oswald allegedly did, the timing, or coincidence, required by the Commission's scenario is rather remarkable (leaving aside the problem of how Truly could have missed seeing Oswald if Oswald had gone through the foyer door a second or two before Baker looked at it). As Harold Weisberg has said, "The Baker-Oswald timing was too close" (Weisberg, Selections, 55). A variance of only 2-3 seconds in Baker's actions, or in Oswald's alleged actions, or both, invalidates the WC's scenario. One must then resort to the implausible theory that Oswald had already gone through the foyer door and had returned to it when Baker allegedly spotted "movement" through the window.

Similarly, any theory that assumes Baker entered the building several seconds later than my time lines posit puts Baker on the second-floor landing too late to have seen Oswald just after the latter allegedly went through the foyer door. Moreover, many of the same WC supporters who argue that Baker took at least 75-90 seconds to reach the landing also suggest that Oswald made no effort to wipe off the rifle and took no more than five seconds to hide it. If so, then not only would Baker have arrived to the landing too late, but Oswald would have gone through the foyer door well before Baker made it to the top of the second-floor stairs.

Scenario #3: Considering the Couch Film

Officer Baker appears in the Couch film. He is seen running toward the TSBD. In the segment of the film in which he appears, he is within a few seconds of the building's entrance. According to W. Anthony Marsh, the Couch film shows that it might have taken Baker as long as 30 seconds to reach the front door. Howard Roffman, on the other hand, suggests the film shows that it took Baker 10-15 seconds to do so. I propose a compromise figure of 25 seconds, although I believe the film could indicate Baker reached the door a little sooner than this.

When Baker parked his motorcycle, he was only 45 feet from the TSBD's front entrance (WCR 149, 152). By the time he appears in the Couch film he has clearly long since dismounted (he parked his motorcycle about 10 feet from the traffic signal, at the northwest corner of Elm and Houston, which would have put him only seconds away from the entrance to begin with). He's seen running toward the TSBD and appears to be very close to the entrance, since, among other things, he's near a car that is parked on the north side of Elm Street, i.e., the side closest to the building, and he's clearly beyond and well to the right of the traffic light (Trask 424; compare with Trask 500, 548, 551, and 587, and with WCR 62).

Even allowing for Baker's having to push his way through a few people at the foot of the entrance, I don't see how it could have taken him longer than 5 or 6 seconds to reach the front door from the point at which he appears in the Couch film. If you correlate the Couch frame on page 424 of Trask's Pictures of the Pain with the photo on page 62 of the WCR, it's clear that Baker was very close to the entrance in this frame when Couch captured him on film.

The exact time that Couch filmed Baker running toward the TSBD cannot be established. Couch said he started filming immediately after he saw a rifle barrel being slowly withdrawn from the sixth-floor window. Baker appears in the segment that Couch filmed while Couch was still in the car. The in-car segment is only 22.5 seconds long, and the frames with Baker in them are not the last ones that Couch took from the car. Since Baker was only a few seconds away from the Depository's entrance when Couch filmed him, and given the fact that the Baker segment was not the last in-car footage, a time of 25 seconds seems reasonable.

Moreover, what if the fatal head shot came after the rifle was withdrawn from the window? Since there is considerable evidence that the fatal head shot was fired from the front, it is possible that the gunman in the sixth-floor window withdrew his rifle after he hit the President in the back or after firing all the shots he was supposed to fire. In other words, the sixth-floor shooter could have been withdrawing his rifle by around frame 225 of the Zapruder film, i.e., nearly five seconds before Kennedy was shot in the head.

In any event, in the time lines below we will use the figure of 25 seconds for Baker's dash to the front door. At the same time, however, we will also use more realistic times for Baker and Truly's sprint from the front door to the first-floor stairs, and for their dash up the stairs.

TRULY TIME LINE #3:

Action Time

Last shot is fired..................................................................00:00

Baker races motorcycle, dismounts, runs to TSBD,

and comes through building's

entrance.............................................................................00:00-00:25

Leads Baker across the first floor and arrives

to entrance to first-floor stairs.............................................00:25-00:50

Opens and goes through door to first-floor

stairs.................................................................................00:50-00:51

Runs up stairs and gets far enough

to see second-floor landing...............................................00:51-00:56

If the landing door was closed, it would have taken Truly an extra second or two to gain a view of the landing area.

BAKER TIME LINE #3:

Action Time

Last shot is fired..................................................................00:00

Baker races motorcycle, dismounts, runs to TSBD,

and comes through building's

entrance.............................................................................00:00-00:25

Runs with Truly across the first floor and

arrives to entrance to first-floor stairs.......................….......00:25-00:50

Truly opens door to first-floor stairs and

Baker follows....................................................................00:50-00:52

Runs up stairs and reaches second-floor

landing about 2-3 seconds after Truly

does..................................................................................00:52-00:59

When we compare these times lines with the first and third Oswald time lines, we once again see that Oswald could not have gone through the foyer door without being seen by Truly and in time to be spotted by Baker.

If we consider the second Oswald time line, which is much too favorable to the lone-gunman theory (so much so that it is unrealistic), we see that Truly would have arrived far too late for the WC's version of the event to be possible, since the Commission admitted that if Oswald had come down the stairs and had gone through the foyer door, then he would have had to walk through the door just "a second or two" before Baker reached the second-floor landing. This problem becomes even more pronounced if we assume that it took Baker 5 more seconds, i.e., 30 seconds, to reach the front door.

On the other hand, if we add 5 seconds to the time for Baker's run to the entrance, which would give us 30 seconds for that action, and then compare that figure with the first and third Oswald time lines, we see that Oswald still would have been unable to reach the foyer door without being seen by Truly and without, at the very least, having the door clearly and visibly open when Baker looked at it.

And I would ask the reader to remember that the times given for Oswald's alleged run from the sniper's nest to the rifle's hiding place were originally proposed for a journey of only around 75 feet. So it cannot be said that I haven't made every effort to be fair to the lone-gunman scenario. The problem is that the WC's theory about how Oswald came to be in the second- floor lunchroom is impossible. He could not have made it there in time to be "spotted" by Baker and without being seen by Truly.

Oswald wasn't seen or heard by Victoria Adams or Roy Truly on the stairs because he never came down those stairs. He was at the soda machine buying a Coke, just as he told the authorities during his interrogations, which was one reason that early news reports put the Coke in his hand when Baker saw him, as did Chief Curry on November 23, and as Baker himself initially did during his last sworn statement to the FBI.

The simple, irrefutable fact of the matter is that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have shot President Kennedy because he could not have been at the alleged sniper's nest at the time of the shooting. He was in the second-floor lunchroom buying a Coke.

Was Someone in the Sixth-Floor Window at the Same Time Oswald was Spotted Downstairs in the Lunchroom?

Harold Norman was watching the motorcade from the window directly beneath the sniper's window. With him were Bonnie Ray Williams and James Jarman. Norman told the WC that he could hear shells hitting the floor above him during the shooting (WCR, p. 70). This was quite an accomplishment given the fact that the TSBD's floors were built to support tons of book boxes, and given the noise being emitted at the time from the motorcycles and the crowd less than 180 feet from the window. (Incredibly, Norman also said he could hear the rifle's bolt being operated!) Nevertheless, the Commission said it confirmed in a simulation that Norman could have heard shells hitting the floor, although the simulation was not done over the noise of a cheering crowd and of 18 motorcycles idling along less than 150 feet away. However, if we assume that Norman really did hear shells hitting the floor above him during the shooting, then it is surely significant that neither Norman nor Williams nor Jarman mentioned hearing any movement above them after the shots were fired. Jarman, in fact, was asked if he heard "any steps" or "any noise at all" above him after the shots were fired. "No, sir," he replied, "none."

In light of the testimony of Mrs. Lillian Mooneyham, this is not surprising. Mrs. Mooneyham was a law clerk who worked in the Criminal Courts Building. She told the FBI soon after the assassination that she saw a man standing in the sixth-floor window 4-5 minutes after the shots had been fired (see, for example, Marrs 52-53). From her position at the window on the west side of the County Courts Building, Mrs. Mooneyham had an excellent view of the TSBD. She was a highly credible witness who reported what she had seen in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner. The Commission made no effort to refute her account. It could not attack her credibility, nor could it claim that she could not have seen what she said she had seen. So, what did the Commission do with this credible and important account? Nothing. The Commission simply ignored it, and did not even call Mrs. Mooneyham as a witness.

In 1968 researcher David Lifton obtained an FBI report from the National Archives which said that a witness at a window on an upper floor of a nearby building had told a Dallas lawyer that she saw "some boxes moving" in the sixth-floor window, presumably within minutes of the shooting (Lifton 367).

In 1979 photogrammetric experts hired by the House Select Committee on Assassinations studied photographs of the sixth-floor window taken within moments of the shooting and concluded the pictures showed "an apparent rearranging of boxes within 2 minutes after the last shot was fired at President Kennedy" (6 HSCA 109). Obviously, Oswald could not have been moving boxes around in the window less than 2 minutes after the shooting, nor could he have been the man who was seen by Mrs. Mooneyham.

So not only could Oswald not have made it to the lunchroom in the required amount of time, but we also have credible testimony and evidence that someone other than Oswald was in the sixth-floor window moments after the shots were fired.

Could Oswald Still Have Been on the Sixth Floor During the Shooting?

Is there some way Oswald could have fired shots during the assassination and still have reached the second floor in time to encounter Baker and Truly? In theory, yes. If Oswald had a confederate with him in the window, and if this confederate wiped off the rifle and hid the rifle for Oswald, then Oswald conceivably could have left the sniper's nest immediately after firing his last shot, darted across the sixth floor, run down the stairs, and made it to the lunchroom in time to encounter Baker and Truly.

There are problems with this scenario, however. For one thing, all five of the witnesses who reported seeing a gunman fire from the sixth-floor sniper's nest said the man was wearing a light-colored shirt, but Oswald wore a rust-brown shirt to work that day and was wearing that shirt when he was seen by Officer Baker. It's conceivable that Oswald took off the brown shirt before the shooting, that he was thus wearing his white T-shirt when he fired shots, and that he then hurriedly put it back on as he darted across the sixth floor. However, four of the five above-mentioned witnesses said the gunman's light shirt had a collar, and the fifth said it might have had a collar. Perhaps they were mistaken, though it seems unlikely that four different people would make this same mistake.

Another problem with this scenario is that one of the three men who were standing beneath the sniper's nest during the shooting said he heard no movement above him after the shots were fired. The two other men did not contradict this report. It seems improbable that Oswald and a confederate could have moved around as described above and not have made some noise. It should be kept in mind, too, that the floor in the sniper's nest was thin because new flooring was being installed. This would seem to make it even less likely that Oswald and a confederate could have moved around as required without being heard by any of the three men who were standing beneath the sniper's nest. On the other hand, perhaps the noise from the plaza below would have masked the noise that Oswald and his confederate would have made.

I do not rule out the above scenario. I don't accept it, but I'm not prepared to say it's positively false, either. Defenders of the lone-assassin theory, however, probably won't consider this scenario because it would mean admitting Oswald didn't act alone.

Personally, at this point I don't believe Oswald fired any shots during the assassination. I think the Baker-Oswald encounter is strong evidence that Oswald was downstairs eating lunch during the assassination, just as he told the police.

In closing, I quote from historian Dr. Michael Kurtz's analysis of Oswald's whereabouts shortly before and during the assassination in relation to the WC's claims on the matter:

The print evidence was obviously far too flimsy to place Oswald at the window at the time of the assassination. The commission therefore attempted to bolster its case by emphasizing the testimony of Charles Givens. One of Oswald's coworkers at the Depository, Givens told the commission that he saw Oswald on the sixth floor at 11:55 A.M., thirty-five minutes before the assassination. Obviously, this hardly places Oswald at the window at 12:30, when the shooting occurred. In thirty-five minutes Oswald had sufficient time to vacate not only the entire building, but the city of Dallas. Yet to the commission, the fact that he was seen on the sixth floor at 11:55 is strong evidence that he was there at 12:30.

In the section treating Givens' testimony, the Warren Report asserts that "none of the Depository employees is known to have seen Oswald again [after 11:55 A.M.] until after the shooting." This statement is blatantly false. Depository janitor Eddie Piper swore in an affidavit that he saw and spoke with Oswald on the first floor at noon. Attempting to discredit Piper, the commission called him a "confused witness." The commission failed to mention that on 22 November 1963, Givens told the FBI that he saw Oswald on the fifth floor at 11:45. Four months later, he changed his mind and told the Warren Commission a different story. Piper told a consistent story both times he was questioned.

The Warren Report also omits mention of the deposition of another Depository employee, Carolyn Arnold. She told the FBI that "as she was standing in front of the building, she stated that she thought she caught a fleeting glimpse of Lee Harvey Oswald standing on the first floor. She could not be sure this was Oswald, but said she felt it was and believed the time to be a few minutes before 12:15 P.M." In addition to Arnold and Piper, three other Depository employees saw Oswald on the fifth floor at 11:45, and assistant building superintendent William Shelly saw Oswald on the first floor at noon.

Another vital aspect of this part of the case was ignored by the Warren Commission in its section on Oswald's presence on the sixth floor at the time of the assassination. Bonnie Ray Williams, a Depository employee, ate his lunch on the sixth floor between 12:00 and 12:18 P.M. The precise location where Williams ate his lunch is not known. But it was near the sixth-floor southeast corner [i.e., near the sniper's nest] because plastic food wrap, an empty soda pop bottle, and bones from Williams' fried chicken lunch were found lying on the floor and on the cartons adjacent to the sixth-floor window. Williams testified that while he ate his lunch, he saw and heard "no one around." Williams's testimony, which the commission accepted as accurate and reliable, proves that Oswald could not have been in the vicinity of the "assassin's nest" between noon and 12:18. Thus, Oswald had less than twelve minutes to assemble his rifle, load it with ammunition, arrange the boxes as a "gun rest," and prepare himself for the shooting before the motorcade turned onto Elm Street. If the motorcade had been just five minutes early, Oswald would not have had time to assemble and load his weapon, since that operation takes at least ten minutes. (Kurtz 118-119, original emphasis)

It should be pointed out that the motorcade was in fact five minutes late. It was scheduled to go through Dealey Plaza at 12:25, but it didn't get there until 12:30. It's very unlikely Oswald had any idea the motorcade was running five minutes late. So as far as Oswald would have known, the motorcade was going to pass through the plaza at 12:25.

Recommend Reading for Important Facts Mentioned Herein

1. The alleged murder weapon was very carefully hidden and could not have been simply "thrown" to its hiding place as some WC defenders have suggested: Weisberg, Case Open, pp. 110-117.

2. Victoria Adams' account of her movements after the shots were fired is accurate and is not refuted by the WC testimony of Lovelady and Shelley: Meager, Accessories After the Fact, pp. 72- 74.

3. The WC's reenactments of the Baker-Oswald encounter were flawed and unrealistic, and actually proved that Baker reached the second-floor landing much earlier than he did in the reenactments: Weisberg, Selections from “Whitewash,” pp. 53-57; Weisberg, Case Open, pp. 117-124.

4. Oswald would have had to literally "squeeze" out of the alleged sniper's nest: Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, p. 42; Trask, Pictures of the Pain, p. 525. Some have disputed this fact because, Luke Mooney, the police officer who said he had to "squeeze" through the entrance to the nest, was somewhat heavy- set. However, the boxes that formed the entrance were at leg level, and Mooney's legs, to judge from his appearance, were probably right about the same size as Oswald's legs (see Trask, Pictures of the Pain, p. 521). If nothing else, Oswald would have had to slow down and negotiate his way through the narrow entrance to the nest.

5. Oswald did not appear to be out of breath but was "calm and collected" when Baker saw him: Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, p. 71.

6. The sixth-floor shooter remained at the window for a few seconds and then slowly withdrew the rifle as he casually moved away from the window: Posner, Case Closed, p. 248; Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 89; Brown, The People V. Lee Harvey Oswald, pp. 113-117.

7. The foyer door (and therefore its window) would have been at a 45-degree angle to Officer Baker from his position on the second-floor landing: Groden, The Killing of a President, p. 121; Weisberg, Selections from "Whitewash," p. 56; Savage, First Day Evidence, pp. 286, 289.

8. In two statements, Baker said Oswald was walking away from him when he saw him in the lunchroom, but in another statement, his final one, Baker said he saw Oswald standing in the lunchroom, and on the day of the shooting, Roy Truly said that Baker didn't see Oswald until Baker "stuck his head into the lunchroom area": Weisberg, Selections from "Whitewash," p. 54; Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, pp. 72, 74 n.

Notes

1. The Warren Commission seemingly contradicted itself on exactly where Baker was when he observed Oswald in the lunchroom. On page 151 of the WCR, we read that Baker saw Oswald in the lunchroom AFTER Baker went through the foyer/vestibule door. However, on page 3 of the report, we read that Baker saw him in the lunchroom when Baker "rushed" to the foyer door, and the Commission's own diagram of Baker's movements likewise puts Baker just in front of the door when he observed Oswald.

Bibliography

Brown, Walt, The People V. Lee Harvey Oswald, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1992.

Groden, Robert J., The Killing Of A President: The Complete Photographic Record Of The JFK Assassination, The Conspiracy, And The Cover-Up, New York: Viking Studio Books, 1993.

Hurt, Henry, Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation Into The Assassination Of John F. Kennedy, New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985.

Kurtz, Michael, Crime Of The Century: The Kennedy Assassination From A Historian's Perspective, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1982.

Lifton, David, Best Evidence, New York: Carroll & Graf, 1988

Marrs, Jim, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1989.

Meagher, Sylvia, Accessories After the Fact, New York: Vintage Books edition, 1992.

Posner, Gerald, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald And The Assassination Of JFK, New York: Random House, 1993.

Savage, Gary, First Day Evidence, Monroe, Louisiana: The Shoppe Press, 1993.

The Warren Commission Report, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1964. I am using the Barnes & Noble printing of the report.

Trask, Richard, Pictures Of The Pain: Photography And The Assassination Of President Kennedy, Danvers, Massachusetts: Yeoman Press, 1994.

Weisberg, Harold, Never Again, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1995.

-----, Selections from "Whitewash," New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1994.

-----, Whitewash, Hyattstown, Maryland, 1966.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Michael T. Griffith holds a Master’s degree in Theology from The Catholic Distance University, a Graduate Certificate in Ancient and Classical History from American Military University, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, and two Associate in Applied Science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force.  He also holds an Advanced Certificate of Civil War Studies and a Certificate of Civil War Studies from Carroll College.  He is a graduate in Arabic and Hebrew of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and of the U.S. Air Force Technical Training School in San Angelo, Texas.  In addition, he has completed Advanced Hebrew programs at Haifa University in Israel and at the Spiro Institute in London, England.  He is the author of five books on Mormonism and ancient texts, including How Firm A Foundation, A Ready Reply, and One Lord, One Faith.  He is also the author of a book on the JFK assassination titled Compelling Evidence (JFK Lancer, 1996).