"LEE HARVEY OSWALD
(Beginning at lunchtime on November 22, 1963;
all times approximate)
11:45-11:50 AM (Friday, Nov. 22, 1963) -- Bill Shelley sees Lee Harvey Oswald downstairs on the first floor. ....
MR. BALL -- "On November 22, 1963, the day the President was shot, when is the last time you saw Oswald?"
MR. SHELLEY -- "It was 10 or 15 minutes before 12."
MR. BALL -- "Where?"
MR. SHELLEY -- "On the first floor over near the telephone."
11:45-11:54 AM -- Oswald goes from the first floor to the sixth floor. Just a few minutes after getting to the sixth floor, the four other men who are on the 6th Floor break for lunch and race the two freight elevators downstairs. Oswald remains on the sixth floor.
11:55 AM -- Charles Givens comes back up to the sixth floor to retrieve his jacket and cigarettes. He sees Oswald, with clipboard in hand, on the east end of the floor. Per Givens' testimony, it's during this "cigarette trip" back up to the sixth floor when Oswald asks Givens to close the elevator gate and to send the elevator back up to him. This differs in chronology from the other witnesses who said they heard Oswald requesting the elevator during the "racing" of the elevators downstairs...i.e., BEFORE Givens went back up by himself.
In any event, it's fairly certain that (at some point just prior to 12:00) Oswald did ask for an elevator to be returned back up to him on the sixth floor.
It's very likely that no one inside the Book Depository Building saw Lee Oswald after approx. 11:55 AM on November 22nd, until LHO was next seen by Marrion Baker at approx. 12:31-12:32 PM on the second floor.*
* Related links on this particular topic can be found HERE and HERE.
Carolyn Arnold has stated her belief that she saw Oswald in the lunchroom, eating his lunch, at either 12:15 PM or about 12:25 PM (over the years, she apparently has used both of those time estimates).
Now, such an "Oswald sighting" by Arnold at either of those times still would not give Oswald an alibi for the exact time of the assassination (12:30). But, it would be hard to believe that LHO would have been downstairs, casually eating his lunch, just a few minutes before dashing upstairs to murder the President.
But other witness testimony tends to debunk Carolyn Arnold's "I Saw LHO In The Lunchroom" account. And, in my view, there's just too much evidence (overall) that concretely puts Oswald on the 6th Floor during the approximate timeframe when Arnold claimed he was in the lunchroom.
11:55 AM-12:05 PM (estimated) -- Oswald has the whole sixth floor to himself. This is just prior to Bonnie Ray Williams coming back up to the 6th Floor to eat his lunch. It's my belief that Lee Oswald, during this (approx.) 10-minute time period around noon or shortly after, probably went to the west end of the sixth floor (where he had his rifle hidden in the brown bag).
Oswald unwraps the rifle at the west end of the sixth floor and assembles the rifle at the west end (hence, Arnold Rowland sees a white man with a rifle at the west end of the building at approx. this time, maybe a little later, 12:15 or so, but keep in mind the approximation of all times).
It's quite possible, IMO, that Oswald initially was considering using the WEST-end window as his shooting window. But, for one reason or another, he decided that a window on the EAST end of the sixth floor would better serve his purposes.
Perhaps he was mentally factoring in the angles and trajectories in his head, and possibly realized that an east-end perch would be a better one, especially since the Secret Service agents would all have their backs to him when he began firing, if he decided to wait until after the cars had turned the Elm/Houston corner....which, IMO, Oswald definitely had in his mind to do, due to the pre-arranged way the rifle-rest boxes were constructed (i.e., in a "Rifle Always Pointing West/Southwest" manner).
It's also possible that, as Oswald mulled over potential shooting locations, he realized that a goodly number of boxes were already down on the east end of the 6th Floor, which would make constructing a makeshift "Nest" all the easier for him.
Now, I cannot fully explain why Oswald wanted to take the empty paper bag WITH HIM to the east end from the west end via this scenario I'm laying out here....but I've got to assume (naturally) that he DID do just that after assembling the rifle on the west end.
Perhaps--just perhaps--Oswald had it in his mind that he would be able to re-insert the weapon back into that bag and, just maybe, get the incriminating rifle out of the building the same way he smuggled it in--in the brown paper package that supposedly contained those never-found "curtain rods".
Yes, that last part is fairly weak...I'll admit that. I don't much like that idea either. For, Oswald would surely have known that he wouldn't have the time (or want to take time) to dismantle the rifle AFTER shooting at the President.
But, then too, who can know what crazy thoughts might be swimming through the head of a person who is contemplating murdering a U.S. President from his very own place of employment? That's a difficult type of mind to thoroughly probe and to figure out....indeed. Wouldn't you all agree?
12:00-12:05 PM -- Oswald (with his rifle and the paper bag) moves to the east end of the sixth floor, where Oswald works on constructing his Sniper's Nest. Now, some of these boxes might have been pretty close to the SN window already...which, as I mentioned, could have been a partial factor in Oswald choosing that southeast corner window to begin with. So, perhaps the building of the "Nest" wasn't as difficult or as time-consuming as some people seem to think it had to be. [RELATED POST]
I really have no idea how long it would have taken Oswald to create his makeshift Sniper's Nest of book cartons. And nobody else knows for sure either. This is one of the several "unknowables" surrounding this case.
But the sum total of "Oswald Was There" evidence tells me that Lee Oswald (alone) DID construct that Sniper's Nest at some point prior to Bonnie Ray Williams arriving back up on that sixth floor (or, at least Oswald had ENOUGH of the Nest constructed so that he was able to hide behind a wall of partially-constructed boxes during Williams' brief 5-to-12-minute stay up on that floor).
12:05-12:15 PM (estimated) -- Oswald can hear Bonnie Ray Williams in the middle portion of the sixth floor, near the south windows, as Williams eats his lunch. I think, therefore, it's logical to assume that Oswald would have been trying to remain extra quiet as he hides within his "Nest" of boxes (whether the Nest is totally complete or not, we cannot know; but we do know that some boxes in that southeast corner are prohibiting Williams from seeing deep into that corner). ....
"Well, at the time I couldn't see too much of the sixth floor, because the books at the time were stacked so high. I could see only in the path that I was standing--as I remember, I could not possibly see anything to the east side of the building." -- Bonnie Ray Williams
But Oswald's rifle was probably already completely assembled when Williams was on the sixth floor....so there's no need for any noise to be coming from the metal parts in this "rifle" regard.
And I think it's logical to assume that Oswald was probably getting a tad anxious, waiting for his prey to turn from Main to Houston...and, at the same time, wondering if he'll have to abandon his murder attempt due to Williams' pesky presence on the very same 6th Floor. So Oswald quietly moves to the window and looks out a couple of times (per Brennan), but without his rifle in his hands....the rifle is no doubt resting at Oswald's feet in the Sniper's Nest.
Re: Howard Brennan -- I'm going to have to take issue with Mr. Brennan's account of seeing Oswald sitting "sideways on the window sill", however. I'm just doubting that was even physically possible, given the arrangement of book cartons IN the window itself. And it doesn't seem likely that Oswald would want to sit up on the sill anyhow, thereby making himself even MORE visible to anyone outside.
However, as a footnote to my last comments, it's possible (but not provable by any means) that Oswald had not yet placed the rifle-rest boxes in the window at the time Brennan said he saw the man (later identified by Brennan as Lee Oswald) sitting "sideways on the window sill".
Perhaps Oswald, as alluded to previously, was interrupted (by Williams' presence) during the construction of his Sniper's Nest (the timeline was, indeed, a fairly-tight one, granted, between Givens seeing Oswald at approx. 11:55 and Williams arriving back on the 6th Floor a very few minutes later...with Williams seeing nobody at all on the entire sixth floor).
So, Brennan could very well be correct when it comes to the "sideways on the sill" observation. But I'm going to exercise my proverbial "grain of salt" option when considering the accuracy of such a "sideways on the sill" observation.
12:10-12:15 PM (estimated) -- Bonnie Ray Williams finishes his "chicken-on-the-bone" sandwich [3 H 169] (~LOL~) and his Dr. Pepper soft drink and vacates the sixth floor (after Williams heard some activity on the 5th Floor below him). Williams takes an elevator down one flight to join two other employees on the fifth floor to watch the motorcade.
Lee Oswald now is alone, once again, on the Texas School Book Depository's sixth floor. He has approximately 15 minutes to wait until the President will come into his view on the street below him.
During these last few minutes prior to 12:30 PM, it's possible that Oswald puts some finishing touches on his Sniper's Nest....and/or his rifle-rest cartons.
Regarding the 5th-Floor witnesses (Harold Norman, James Jarman, and Bonnie Ray Williams), and what they heard.....
Norman stated positively that he heard three rifle shots being fired from directly above him. And he told Vincent Bugliosi in 1986 that he heard precisely three "hulls" (shells) hitting the floor as the shooting was taking place above him....
BUGLIOSI -- "And by 'hulls', you mean cartridge casings?"
NORMAN -- "Cartridges."
BUGLIOSI -- "How many did you hear falling to the floor?"
NORMAN -- "Three."
Now, as far as the 5th-Floor witnesses not specifically hearing any footsteps from the assassin upstairs just before and just after the assassination -- I'd ask: What difference does that really make?
Obviously, SOMEBODY was up on that 6th Floor, in that Sniper's Nest, firing a gun (be it Lee Harvey Oswald or somebody else....SOME HUMAN BEING WITH TWO FEET was up there with a gun).
So the conspiracy theorists who think it's odd to have Norman, Jarman, and Williams not hearing the footsteps of Oswald just prior to and just after 12:30 on November 22nd are not thinking the situation through logically.
Because somebody was located in that southeast corner of the 6th Floor at 12:30 (and, naturally, just a little bit PRIOR to 12:30 too)....so if it wasn't Lee Oswald doing the shooting, then the CTers have to wonder why the "real killer's" footsteps were not heard by Norman, Jarman, and Williams either. It turns out to be a moot argument from anyone's particular point-of-view.
Lee Oswald is able to perform his deadly deed at 12:30, as he fires three of his four bullets from his 6th-Floor SN window, killing JFK with shot #3. I'm guessing that Oswald, too, like the rest of the world, was very surprised indeed that he had actually been able to pull off this task in total secrecy from his workplace (not counting Mr. Brennan outside the building). I'm doubting LHO thought he'd REALLY get a golden chance to do it.
But, unfortunately, he was given that chance when Williams vacated the sixth floor....and Oswald was aided further, as it turns out, when no other employees decided they would use the SIXTH floor as a parade-watching perch that Friday.
12:30:30 PM -- Lee Harvey Oswald's task is completed. He pauses at the window for just a moment (per Brennan's account), and then disappears from Brennan's view.
Oswald, in his haste, leaves the three traceable rifle shells and the brown paper sack in the Sniper's Nest. He hustles (with rifle in hand, and with one remaining bullet chambered in his Carcano, if needed) to the northwest corner of the sixth floor.
It's my personal belief that Oswald (during this trip to the northwest corner) was wiping as many fingerprints off of his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle as he could in the time allowed. He was very likely (IMO) using the brown shirt in which he was arrested to perform this print-wiping task.
Oswald gets to the northwest corner of the building without being seen by anyone. He notices that neither of the two freight elevators is on his floor. So he's forced to take the nearby stairs in that NW corner of the building.
He stashes his rifle between some boxes very close to the stairway. It's possible that Oswald had PRE-ARRANGED this rifle stowing location prior to the assassination. We can never know this for sure, of course. But I think it's possible.**
** However, I'll add here my own confusion regarding Oswald's seemingly willy-nilly attitude toward the evidence he was leaving behind....because, as you'll recall a little bit ago, I postulated that Oswald might have been of the initial opinion that he'd be able to slip the rifle (somehow, some way) back into the paper bag and perhaps get it out of the building in such a manner.
But if he had PRE-arranged a rifle-stashing location near the stairs, that would mean he probably wasn't thinking of removing the rifle from the 6th Floor at all. Who can know for sure? No one can. Perhaps Oswald was thinking along BOTH of those lines.
Here's a possibility to consider as well (re: the rifle) -- If Oswald had never been given the chance to shoot at the President (and IMO it's VERY likely that Oswald was thinking that he might very well NOT have this perfect opportunity to carry out the shooting), it's quite possible, indeed, that Oswald would have made BOTH of the previously mentioned rifle-hiding provisions -- e.g., pre-arranging a place on the northwest side to hide the rifle from view AND having a potential need for that brown paper bag once again (even after 12:30, given the possibility he might never fire the weapon at all).
Via the last option, it's likely Oswald would probably still not want to waltz out the front door of the Depository carrying a fully-assembled Carcano rifle in full view of many people. (It could look kinda bad, in a "Maybe That Guy Is Up To No Good With That Rifle The Same Day The President Has Passed By This Building" sort of fashion.)
So, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that Oswald could have planned out BOTH of those rifle-stashing options on November 22.
Granted, in the option where Oswald doesn't fire the gun at all, he COULD have simply left the bag on the WEST side of the building....and then casually retrieved it after 12:30. (In such a situation, of course, no shots would have been fired, and nobody would be rushing into the building searching desperately for a gunman; hence, Oswald would not need to be in a really big hurry to gather up the bag.)
Continuing on with Oswald's post-shooting movements:
12:31-12:32 PM -- Oswald travels quickly down to the second floor of the TSBD via the back stairway. (It's possible that the reason he ducked off at Floor #2 is because he heard the footsteps of the approaching Roy Truly and Marrion Baker.)
Oswald is then stopped at gunpoint in the 2nd-Floor lunchroom by Officer M.L. Baker. LHO is then immediately cleared as an employee and is let go by Baker.
Oswald is calm, silent, and unflustered during his encounter with Baker (per Baker's testimony). This reaction, in my opinion, is much more indicative of GUILT than with INNOCENCE.
If innocent, isn't it quite likely that Oswald would have been a bit scared, rattled, and probably would have at least said to Baker, "What the hell is this?! What's going on?! I didn't do anything! Why are you stopping me?!"
Oswald, instead, is dead-quiet. Never changing his expression one bit (per Baker).
12:32 PM -- Oswald then buys a soft drink from the soda machine in the lunchroom, and then strolls casually and unhurriedly toward the stairs near the 2nd-Floor offices (after having just been cleared as a worker in the building, thereby probably allowing Oswald to relax a little bit more at that point in time).
Mrs. Robert A. Reid sees Oswald with a full beverage bottle. She says to him "The President's been shot". Oswald mumbles something incoherent and continues toward the front stairs, which lead to the first-floor TSBD entrance.
12:40 PM -- Oswald boards a bus on Elm Street, east of the TSBD. He stays on the bus about 4 minutes, gets a transfer from driver Cecil McWatters, and then exits the bus. Mary Bledsoe positively identifies Oswald as having been on board McWatters' bus on 11/22/63.
Oswald, in an out-of-character move (given his usual tightfisted habits), spends 95 cents ($1.00 with the whopping tip given to driver William Whaley) on a cab ride from the Greyhound bus station to the general area of his Oak Cliff roominghouse.
Oswald has Whaley take him PAST the roominghouse at 1026 North Beckley Avenue (probably so that Lee can check to see if any cops are near his home at the time), with Oswald getting out of Whaley's cab at the intersection of Neely and Beckley, three blocks beyond his rented room.
Oswald then backtracks the three blocks and rushes into his roominghouse at approx. 12:59-1:00 PM.
The housekeeper at the Beckley roominghouse, Earlene Roberts, said the following in a televised interview/statement made shortly after the assassination:
"I got word about the President being killed...and he [LHO] come in, in a hurry. I said 'Ooh, you're in a hurry'. He never parted his lips....he went to his room, got a short coat to put on, and then he walked on out to the bus stop....and that's the last I saw of him."
1:14-1:15 PM -- Oswald shoots and kills Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit on Tenth Street (0.85 of a mile from the roominghouse Oswald just left a short time earlier).
Multiple witnesses verify it was Lee Harvey Oswald who killed Officer Tippit. Bullet shells from Oswald's revolver ("to the exclusion") were recovered by THREE different witnesses at the Tippit murder scene.
THE TIPPIT MURDER AND THE HILARIOUS ATTEMPTS TO DEFEND MR. OSWALD:
Oswald is next seen by Johnny Brewer at approx. 1:35 to 1:40 PM. Brewer notices Oswald's "funny" and "scared" look as LHO lurks in the entrance of Brewer's shoe store.
Brewer follows Oswald a short distance up Jefferson Boulevard and watches as Oswald slips into the Texas Theater (without paying). Brewer confers with Texas Theater employee Julia Postal about the man who just entered the theater. Postal calls the police.
The following passage can be found in Julia Postal's Warren Commission testimony transcript....
"So, well, I called the police, and he wanted to know why I thought it was their man, and I said, "Well, I didn't know," and he said, "Well, it fits the description," and I have not---I said I hadn't heard the description. All I know is, "This man is running from them for some reason"."
1:50 PM -- Lee Harvey Oswald is apprehended in the Texas Theater. Oswald pulls his revolver on Police Officer M.N. McDonald and a wild fight ensues. While inside the theater, Oswald is heard to say, "It's all over now" and/or "This is it".
After his arrest, Oswald repeatedly lies to the authorities about important issues connected to the investigation of the murders of President Kennedy and Officer Tippit:
The above "Oswald timeline" is not perfect. It has some weaknesses, yes. The "Rowland" timeline isn't a perfect dead-on match. And the "Bonnie Ray Williams" timeframe isn't rock-solid either.
But those witnesses were not staring at their watches when they observed the things they observed and did the things they did on 11/22/63. And I'd say, generally-speaking (give or take a very few minutes in "real time"), that those witness accounts of the events of that November day work out pretty close to corroborating the general "Oswald timeline" I've laid out in this post.
The long and the short of the matter is this --- Just about every last thing Lee Harvey Oswald did following the assassination of John F. Kennedy indicates a GUILTY LEE HARVEY OSWALD.
David Von Pein