Here is my opinion -- my interpretation of the WC (Warren Commission) testimony of Dallas Homicide Bureau Captain Will Fritz in April 1964. I orient my interpretation in three parts:
PART A. Harry Dean, who is my friend, told the world during January 1965 (on the Joe Pyne Show in Los Angeles) that in September, 1963 he was a member of the John Birch Society and the Minutemen in Southern California, working closely with Loran Hall, Larry Howard and Gabby Gabaldon. He attended a private meeting with these elements, led by Ex-General Edwin Walker. Walker told the group that he and his confederates had planned to assassinate JFK, and that they would use a Communist from New Orleans, Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO), as the Patsy. LHO was an officer of the FPCC (Fair Play for Cuba Committee), he said. Harry Dean chimed in, “I was also an officer of the FPCC, and I can vouch for the fact that they are Communists and many of them are armed." Harry didn’t really believe at that time that Walker really had a plot to assassinate JFK, since Minutemen continually threatened to kill JFK, and it was always just letting off steam. After JFK really was killed in Dallas, however, and then LHO was arrested and killed in Dallas police custody, Harry Dean finally believed that General Walker was a very serious man.
PART B. Jeffrey Caufield’s book, General Walker and the Murder of President Kennedy: The Extensive New Evidence of a Radical Right Conspiracy (2015), parallels the work of FBI agent Don Adams. Adams had tracked the Radical Right figure, Joseph Milteer, through his informant, Willie Somersett for much of 1963. Caufield carefully showed how Milteer was connected with Guy Banister and David Ferrie in New Orleans, through people like Gerry Patrick Hemming and George Lincoln Rockwell. Caufield then showed how Milteer and Banister were connected with General Walker and Robert Alan Surrey in Dallas. Finally, Caufield showed how this coven of the Radical Right had used half of 1963 to frame Lee Harvey Oswald to appear to be a Communist. In Dallas, that was enough to convict him of any crime.
PART C. I’ll now restate the WC testimony of Will Fritz with regard to the dates from Friday, November 22 1963, through Sunday, November 24, 1963, in the light of the above. This should show why Captain Will Fritz is so near the top of my suspect list for a JFK conspiracy.
DPD Captain Will Fritz was at the Trade Mart with his two aides, Officers Boyd and Sims, waiting for news of JFK’s assassination. (I will reconstruct the original plan as follows. LHO was told in New Orleans that he was part of a secret plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. If he played well, he could get a full-time job with the CIA – so he was told. LHO still believed he was part of that plot, while waiting in Dallas for further orders. The plotters then offered LHO double the price of his Manlicher-Carcano rifle if he brought it to the TSBD on Friday, and give it to a confederate. LHO obediently did that. Unknown to LHO, that confederate gave his rifle to a Dallas Deputy. Will Fritz knew this. Since LHO had been fully framed as a Communist in New Orleans and Mexico City from May to September 1963 by using police records, newspaper, radio, TV and CIA records in Mexico City – he was the perfect patsy. If LHO was shot dead anywhere in the streets of Dallas after JFK was assassinated, Decker could produce his rifle, his bullets, and a TSBD sniper’s nest, and then blame the Communists for the JFK assassination. Dallas officer JD Tippit had the assignment to shoot LHO in the streets. All of America would blame LHO, blame the Communists, and quickly invade Cuba and depose Fidel Castro. That was the plan.) At about 12:35 PM they received word that JFK was being sped to Parkland Hospital, so they sped there to meet Chief Jesse Curry and Sheriff Bill Decker for further instructions. They arrived around 12:45, but Decker had already returned to Dealey Plaza. Chief Curry said there was nothing for them to do at Parkland Hospital. Curry told them to go to Dealey Plaza to help there.
Police radio said that Dallas police were gathering at the TSBD, so they sped there. Fritz, Boyd and Sims arrived at 12:58, got their shotguns and headed up the stairs. Fritz said somebody asked him if he wanted the building sealed, and he yelled, “Hell, yes!” In this way, Fritz accidentally admitted that the TSBD was not yet sealed at 12:58 PM, and he took the credit for giving orders to seal it.
Fritz, Boyd and Sims went up the TSBD stairs, floor by floor, in their manhunt. Fritz implies that they saw nothing on the 6th floor so they went up to the 7th floor. Then, officers called them back to the 6th floor because Deputy Mooney had found spent shells there. It was slightly after 1 PM. Fritz took charge, ordering the men to wait for the Crime Lab to take fingerprints. (Fritz contradicts the sworn testimony of Deputy Mooney, who claims that about 1 PM he found the spent shells, leaned out the 6th floor window to see Captain Fritz and Sheriff Decker together on the sidewalk below, and shouted out to them to send up the Crime Lab, because he had “spotted the location.”) At 1:12 PM, Lieutenant Day and the Crime Lab arrived to take photographs and dust for fingerprints.
At 1:22 PM Deputy Boone found the rifle. Lieutenant Day took pictures and dusted it for fingerprints, then he held it out to Fritz who dramatically ejected a single shell. He knew very well it belonged to LHO, and all the details.
At about 1:30, news came to Captain Fritz that Tippit had been murdered in Oak Cliff. This was a shock to Fritz. Tippit was supposed to shoot LHO, not the other way around. For the first time, Fritz began to worry that the JFK plot might unravel.
Suddenly, Roy Truly brought Fritz the name and address of LHO and said he wasn’t in the line-up with his team. Fritz said he would return to headquarters to look up LHO in the Dallas police records (but he already knew those records very well). Fritz admitted that he had to speak with Sheriff Decker at the Sheriff’s office immediately – but he did not say why. I say it is easy to guess – their JFK plot had hit its first snag because LHO had killed Tippit, and not the other way around.
Fritz skips over that 45 minute visit, and restarts his testimony with the moment that he arrived back at police headquarters. I think those missing 45 minutes went something like this: Fritz visited Bill Decker and asked: “What should we do now?” Decker replied: “What do you mean, we? My Deputies did a great job at the TSBD with the rifle and bullets! Your men messed up! Don’t even think about bringing him to County Jail! You have to fix this alone! ” So, Fritz brooded back to Dallas police headquarters around 2:15 PM, wondering whether to visit Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine in Irving, Texas. But when Fritz arrived, police told him that LHO was already in custody for the Tippit murder, with several eye-witnesses! “Immediately,” admits Fritz, he realized that LHO was now guilty of two murders. His new plan was to find a new patsy to rub out this cop-killer before the standard transfer to County Jail. Fritz needed another patsy. His men rushed to promise the town pimp, Jack Ruby, that he could be a local hero, and would get off with a slap on the wrist, if he killed LHO right away. Fritz worked on this new plan as he sent others to meet Marina and Ruth.
Fritz got LHO in the interrogation room instantly. It was 2:20 PM. There was no stenographer, no tape recorder, and Fritz kept no notes at the time. From this point forward, Fritz presents a mostly fictional portrait of LHO in custody. LHO was allegedly sarcastic to everybody, but allegedly cooperative with Captain Fritz. For example, somebody told Fritz that LHO lived in a rooming house, without an exact address, so, Fritz asked LHO, and LHO promptly gave Fritz the exact address – 4096 North Beckley. Was LHO so friendly with Fritz? We must try to guess what Fritz and LHO really talked about for all those hours they spent together from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. Perhaps Fritz pretended to be a member of Guy Banister’s organization in New Orleans. But LHO was confused – why was he in jail, and why did Tippit try to kill him? Why did reporters in the hall ask if he had killed JFK? Very likely, Fritz kept assuring LHO that all would be well if he only kept the faith. LHO was unsure. Then the Dallas FBI phoned Fritz to insist that FBI agent James Hosty attend all LHO interrogations. Fritz agreed, because James Hosty was part of the plot to assassinate JFK and blame LHO. In fact, James Hosty had been working with Robert Alan Surrey and General Walker to spy on LHO for most of 1963.
To prevent unauthorized visitors, Fritz assigned two men at the elevator and the stairs, checking ID’s so that only DPD officers could enter. It was crucial that nobody speak with LHO for any length of time.
Fritz claims LHO was angry with James Hosty for talking to Marina in early November without LHO being present and that LHO refused to answer Hosty’s questions about Mexico City. That all sounds likely.
Fritz claims that LHO freely admitted to him that LHO had lived in Russia for three years, that his wife and babies were living in Irving with Mrs. Paine, that he was living in a room but trying to save enough to support his family, and that he visited the Irving address on weekends – a lot of personal information. In fact, Fritz already knew all this, as all the JFK plotters knew all about LHO.
Fritz claims that LHO said he wanted a specific lawyer – John Abt from New York. This is very specific, and I suppose this was not LHO’s idea, but General Walker’s idea as conveyed to Captain Fritz. The Radical Right had called John Abt the “Communist Lawyer.” This was another way to link LHO with the Communists. Fritz continually assured LHO that he would soon be released, and LHO gradually began to believe him. LHO called from the City phone – he called Ruth Paine, and ordered her to get John Abt for him as a lawyer. She was surprised at LHO’s bold attitude – for somebody who was in danger of the electric chair. Fritz claims that LHO kindly thanked Fritz for these telephone courtesies; I find that unlikely.
The line-up at 4:45 PM with Helen Markham as an eye witness to the Tippit killing has been well-covered by various historians. Her hysterics are a matter of record. The biased nature of the LHO line-ups is well documented.
Fritz claims that LHO kindly admitted that Mrs. Paine helped get him the TSBD job by recommending him. When JFK was killed, LHO was eating his cheese sandwich and Coke with Junior and another employee. LHO kindly admitted that Officer Marrion Baker met him in the TSBD lunchroom, and he held his gun on him, and then let him go. These were unlikely casual conversations in Fritz’s office.
Fritz claims that LHO behaved innocently in leaving the TSBD after JFK was killed. The obvious implication of guilt was ignored by Fritz.
Officers returning from the North Beckley room told Fritz that LHO registered there as “O.H. Lee.” LHO kindly explained that the landlady was hard of hearing and wrote his name that way. The obvious fact of secrecy in LHO using an alias was ignored by Fritz's WC testimony.
Fritz claims that LHO kindly admitted that he was a Secretary of the FPCC in New Orleans, and a member of the ACLU. Actually, this information was already available to all the JFK plotters.
Fritz noted that the Paines arrived with Marina Oswald at City Hall about this time. They were placed in a separate interrogation room. Fritz claimed that Marina tentatively admitted the rifle belonged to LHO, while LHO denied ever owning a rifle. The red herring of a rifle being shown off to Roy Truly and others at the TSBD, was fully investigated by the WC.
Fritz asked LHO what he did after he left the TSBD, and LHO told Fritz that he caught a bus and rode it to North Beckley near his room. He changed clothes, got his pistol and went to a movie. Fritz asked LHO why he took his pistol. LHO said, “No reason.” Fritz asked LHO if he killed officer Tippit, and LHO replied, “No, the only law that I violated was that I hit an officer at the show; then he hit me in the eye; so I guess I deserved it.” Here again is this portrait of LHO who was always outgoing and courteous to Fritz.
At about 6:30 PM there was a line-up for witnesses Ted Callaway (used car dealer), Sam Guinyard (car dealer employee) and Cecil McWatters (bus driver) had this result: Callaway and Guinyard identified LHO, but McWatters wasn’t certain.
At 7 PM Fritz went to the first arraignment of LHO to explain his case, along with Dallas Assistant District Attorney Bill Alexander. At 7:10 PM, LHO arrived, guarded by Boyd, Sims and Hall. Judge Johnston arraigned LHO for the murder of JD Tippit. LHO was sarcastic to the Judge. After the arraignment, Fritz let FBI agent Manning Clements take a personal history of LHO in his office, with Boyd and Sims guarding. (We have film of LHO being led into the interview with Clements. LHO is angry, and shouts out to the press, “I’m just a patsy!”)
At 7:50 PM where was a third line-up, where Barbara Jean Davis and Virginia Davis positively identified LHO as the man who reloaded his gun as he ran across their lawn.
Around 8:30 PM, Fritz asked LHO again if he kept a rifle in the garage at Irving. LHO said no. Fritz asked if he had one in New Orleans. LHO said no. Fritz said people at the Paine residence said he kept a rifle there, wrapped in a blanket. LHO denied it.
Around 8:55 PM, police fingerprinted LHO in Fritz’s office, including a paraffin test of his hands and face.
Late Friday night, Fritz talked with teenage Irving resident, Wesley Buell Frazier, who had regularly driven LHO back and forth from work to Irving on weekends. Wesley told Fritz about a package that LHO had carried to the TSBD that morning. LHO had told Frazier it was curtain rods. Fritz gave Frazier a polygraph test and he passed it. Actually, Fritz and his JFK plotters knew all about the package, since they had sent LHO home to fetch his rifle, by offering him double its value (according to Gerry Patrick Hemming as told to AJ Weberman). Of course, Mrs. Paine knew nothing about any curtain rods. LHO denied it all. I find all of this to be plausible. LHO had no idea that he had been fooled by the Dallas Police to hand over his rifle.
At about 1 AM, Chief Curry allegedly wanted the news-media to see that LHO was being treated fairly. The police brought LHO into the line-up room for a 60-second interview. LHO was now calmer now, and had no idea that Jack Ruby was in that room with his gun. Ruby didn’t see a clear shot at the time.
At 1:35 AM on Saturday morning, Captain Fritz took LHO to another arraignment with Judge Johnston, to charge him with the JFK murder. Chief Jesse Curry, Bill Alexander and Henry Wade were there. We can imagine LHO’s shock at this point.
At 8 AM on Saturday morning, Fritz allegedly asked LHO about his alias, Alek Hidell, and LHO kindly told Fritz that Alek Hidell was an alias that he picked up in New Orleans.
Fritz asked LHO about an affidavit from cab driver William Whaley, claiming that he had given LHO a short ride to his Oak Cliff street on Friday afternoon. Fritz claims that LHO admitted all of it, adding to his previous story. Actually, he rode the bus only part way, but the traffic was too heavy, so he got out and took a cab. LHO added that a lady also wanted that cab, but the cab-driver told LHO to tell the lady to catch the cab behind him. LHO told Fritz that he rode that cab slightly past his room, and paid 85 cents. This new story just happened to match the cab driver’s affidavit exactly.
Fritz asked LHO why he changed visiting the Irving address from Friday night to Thursday night. LHO calmly told Fritz, because someone else was going to be there that weekend.
Fritz asked LHO where he got his pistol, and LHO told him that he got it in Fort Worth, several months previously. LHO allegedly refused to say more. Actually, Fritz didn’t want to say any more, because he might let slip that he really got that information from the FBI.
On Saturday, 10:25am, in Captain Fritz’s office, Dallas FBI agents interrogated LHO, but LHO was sarcastic to them. Simple enough.
Fritz asked LHO what he thought of JFK, and LHO said that JFK had a nice family. Fritz shouted, “You know you killed JFK!” LHO calmly denied it and said that people will forget in a few days and think about the new President. Fritz shouted, “You know you shot Governor Connally!” LHO calmly denied it, without showing any sympathy. There Fritz attempts to portray LHO as a calm lake with a raging monster underneath the surface.
James Hosty cited the letters that LHO had written to Governor Connally in 1962, but LHO wouldn’t listen. (It would be interesting to see the actual dates when LHO’s letter to John Connally was officially obtained. If it was 24 hours after the JFK assassination, as Fritz claims, then it is likely that it was in possession of the Dallas FBI the month before.)
At 11:33am, LHO returned to jail. By this time, however, LHO should have been sent to County Jail, according to Texas standards. Yet Curry and Fritz were not yet done with LHO.
At 12:35 PM LHO returned to Fritz’s office for another interview with Mr. Kelley of the Dallas Secret Service. LHO was sarcastic to him. Simple enough.
At 2:15 there was another line-up for two cabdrivers, William Whaley and William Scoggins. Whaley claimed he gave LHO a cab ride to North Beckley. Scoggins claimed he saw the Tippit shooting up close. Both positively identified LHO. In my reading, Whaley was a glory hound who did not give LHO any such ride (just as LHO never rode a bus to his rooming house). Scoggins was an ambiguous witness, otherwise he would have been called to a lineup on Friday afternoon. Fritz was only stalling for time.
After 5 PM, Dallas officers brought Fritz the famous Backyard Photographs (BYP) of LHO holding a rifle and his pistol. They had recently returned from Mrs. Paine’s garage, and these were the most interesting artifacts. Fritz had them enlarged – stalling for time.
Around 6 PM, with Dallas FBI agent James Bookhout and Dallas SS agent Thomas Kelley, Fritz showed LHO the BYP photos. LHO accused Fritz and the news crew in the hall of trick photography. In my theory, LHO created the BYP with trick photography in March, 1963, at his job in Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall, in order to accuse others of trick photography in case police ever confronted him with them.
At 7:15 PM, LHO returned to jail. That was the end of his Saturday interrogations. At this late hour, LHO could have and should have been sent to County Jail. Yet, Curry and Fritz were not yet finished with him.
At 9:30 AM on Sunday, Fritz interrogated LHO one last time, with Postal Inspector Harry Holmes, SS agents Forrest Sorrels and Thomas Kelley, and FBI agent James Bookhout. They had explored the Neely Street apartment where the BYP was made, and LHO denied that he ever lived there. Fritz said they had people who testified that they visited him there. LHO said those people were simply mistaken. This was simply stalling for time.
Fritz asked LHO about the paper sack that he put into Frazier’s car on Friday. LHO said it was his lunch, and he had it in the front seat by him. Fritz said two people saw him put it in the back seat. LHO said they must be thinking of some other time. Asked and answered.
Fritz showed LHO the city map they found at North Beckley with marks on it around Dealey Plaza. LHO said that those marks represented places where he went looking for work. Stalling.
Fritz asked LHO about his political beliefs and LHO said that he didn’t belong to any political party; he was a Marxist but not a Marxist-Leninist. Stalling for time.
Postal Inspector Holmes asked LHO about his two post office boxes. LHO admitted he had one box, not two, and that he used it to receive mail from Russia. Stalling.
Fritz asked LHO if he ordered a rifle using one of those box numbers, and he said no. Fritz asked LHO if he ever bought a rifle from Klein’s store in Chicago. LHO said no. These questions could have been asked at any time. But the killing floor in the garage had to be prepared exactly right – with Jack Ruby in the right place at the right time.
At 11:15 AM on Sunday, all interviews were over. They took LHO to the garage to transfer him to County Jail. Fritz asked his officers if everything was secure, and two of them said everything was all right. So they came out. Fritz led the way to the car, which was farther away than Fritz had expected. Fritz heard the shot, and Fritz turned just in time to see his officers push Ruby to the pavement, probably eight feet away. LHO was now dead. Curry and Fritz were finally finished with LHO.
One final note -- Fritz ended his testimony by denying that Deputy Roger Craig was ever in his office on Friday, or ever asked LHO about any station wagon.