I am coming to the end of my 4-month analysis of specific Dallas policemen whom I believe were aware of a Dallas plot to kill JFK. Some were perhaps reluctant but conformist accomplices, while some, I maintain, were among the crucial leaders of the plot.
I’ve already covered twelve suspects: (1) Captain Will Fritz; (2) Chief Jesse Curry; (3) Sergeant Gerald Hill; (4) Captain William Westbrook; (5) Inspector Herbert Sawyer; (6) Detective C.W. Brown; (7) Sergeant D.V. Harkness; (8) Officer Edgar Smith; (9) Officer Joe Smith; (10) Officer Welcome Barnett; (11) Detective C.N. Dhority; and (12) Lieutenant J.C. Day.
The final two Dallas policemen that I will review are Detectives Richard Sims and Elmer Boyd. They were alarmingly close to the center of the cyclone, because Sims and Boyd were basically yes-men for Captain Fritz. On the day of the JFK Assassination, they accompanied Fritz all day long – from morning into the night.
It is interesting that their stories don’t always match the story of their boss. For example, Sims and Boyd volunteered a fact that no other WC witness mentioned. At the Trade Mart when they heard about the JFK shooting around 12:40 PM, they sped Captain Fritz to Parkland Hospital. They did not leave their car because Chief Curry met them at the parking lot, in order to forward them directly to Dealey Plaza. The rarely recognized fact is that Sheriff Decker also piled into their car at that time, there at the Parkland Hospital parking lot. All four of them drove to Dealey Plaza together in the same car.
This may seem like a small thing, but the importance of it will become clear as we proceed further in our review. The key for now is that Sheriff Decker and Captain Fritz left that out of their WC testimony. Sims and Boyd, however, volunteered the fact without being asked. Let’s compare their WC testimony on this point, starting with Detective Richard Sims:
Mr. BALL. And what did you do over there when you got to Parkland?
Mr. SIMS. Well, we arrived at Parkland and we saw that Chief Curry was there in front of the hospital, so he directed us back to the Depository Store, down to the Book Store.
Mr. BALL. Tell me this -- what did he say -- what did he tell you to do?
Mr. SIMS. I don’t remember the exact words, but he told us to go back to the store at the triple underpass…
Mr. BALL. Did anybody tell you at that time that there had been anyone in the Texas Depository Book Building that had done the shooting?
Mr. SIMS. No, sir; I think at that time it was strictly speculation from where the shot had been fired…
Mr. BALL. Did you go back there back to Elm and Houston?
Mr. SIMS. Yes, sir; we went directly to the Book Store and Sheriff Bill Decker rode back with us.
The simple fact was tagged onto the end of the account there, and Attorney Ball asked no further questions about it. It evidently seemed like a minor point to him, as it might seem to us today. Let’s proceed to the WC testimony of Detective Elmer Boyd.
Mr. BALL. Where did you hear that the President had been shot? ...
Mr. BOYD. Well, I believe it was around 12:40 when Chief Stevenson called and he talked to Captain Fritz out at the Trade Mart…and…Captain Fritz told me that Chief Stevenson told him that the President had been involved in an accident down at the triple underpass and was on his way to Parkland.
Mr. BALL. Did you go over there?
Mr. BOYD. …Mr. Sims called in on the radio and they told us he had been shot. We went to Parkland Hospital and pulled up to the emergency and saw there were a lot of people out there. But we saw Chief Curry out in front of the emergency there and he advised us to go back down to the scene of where we thought the shooting had occurred, down at the Texas Book Depository, and Mr. Sims and Captain Fritz and Sheriff Decker was also out there, and he rode back down with us.
Again, the simple fact was tagged onto the end of the account there, and Attorney Ball asked no further questions about it. Yet, why would Sheriff Decker and Captain Fritz leave that simple fact out of the history? As for Sheriff Decker, he never mentioned Parkland Hospital at all. Nor did he ever mention Sims or Boyd. So, let’s move to the WC testimony of Captain Fritz:
Mr. BALL. When you heard of this what did you do?
Mr. FRITZ. ...We went to Parkland Hospital as we had been instructed, and as we drove up in front of the hospital, I suppose we intercepted the chief, Chief Curry, between the curb and the hospital, and I told him we had had a call to the hospital but I felt we were going to the wrong place, we should go to the scene of the crime and he said, “Well, go ahead,” so I don’t think our car ever quit rolling but we went right to the scene of the crime.
Mr. BALL. Did you go directly to a building?
Mr. FRITZ. Directly to the Texas School Book Depository Building.
No mention of Sheriff Decker by Fritz there. The point seems to be too minor to mention. Attorney Boyd just passed it by.
In my reading, however, Sims and Boyd did not realize that they were revealing important information. Its importance becomes clear when we consider another important fact that Sims and Boyd let slip -- which Decker and Fritz also overlooked – namely, a mysterious meeting between Decker and Fritz for the better part of a half-hour, sometime between 1:30 and 2 PM.
THE PRIVATE MEETING
According to combined WC accounts, it started something like this. At about 1:25 PM, Captain Fritz was still at the TSBD, on the 6th floor with Sims and Boyd, watching Lieutenant Day dust the murder weapon.
Suddenly, Roy Truly rushed up with the name and address of LHO – the only order-filler that Mr. Truly had failed to locate during a police round-up of order-fillers (the lowest class of worker, and so automatically suspect). Also, around that same time, everybody on the 6th floor heard the fresh news that Officer Tippit had been shot and killed in Oak Cliff.
Captain Fritz testified that Sims and Boyd drove him back to his office at City Hall "almost immediately" after he got LHO’s name and address, “to see if there was any record on him.” The problem with that testimony is that Roy Truly insisted that he gave Captain Fritz the LHO Irving address before 1:30 PM. Yet, Captain Fritz also admitted that he, Sims and Boyd arrived back at City Hall about 2:10 PM – more than a half-hour later. Yet City Hall was only a few blocks away.
Fritz never accounted for that missing half-hour, nor did the WC attorneys press him about it. But Sims and Boyd agreed – after they left the TSBD around 1:30 PM, they were diverted by Sheriff Decker's invitation. They went across the street to Sheriff Decker’s office, where Sims and Boyd sat out in the hallway as Fritz and Decker had a private meeting.
Sims and Boyd did not participate in that meeting, nor did they pry about it. They only told us that that the meeting occurred; roughly between 1:30 and 2 PM. Let’s look at their WC testimony on this point. Let’s start with Detective Boyd:
Mr. BALL. Did you see Captain Fritz handle the rifle after it had been found?
Mr. BOYD. I don't believe so…
Mr. BALL. You left there and went up to the police department, didn't you?
Mr. BOYD. Well, when we left there, we started to go to Irving, but when we got downstairs – someone told Captain Fritz that Sheriff Decker wanted to see him over in his office.
Mr. BALL. You say you started to go where?
Mr. BOYD. Irving, Texas.
Mr. BALL. Where did you get the address…the place to go to in Irving, Texas?
Mr. BOYD. Captain Fritz got it from some man there on the 6th floor. He came up and talked to him a minute and then Captain Fritz told Mr. Sims and I that we should check out this Lee Harvey Oswald. That was the address they gave us – it was in Irving, Texas.
Mr. BALL. And what did you do then?
Mr. BOYD. We started to go over there and when we got downstairs, like I said, someone told Captain Fritz that Sheriff Decker wanted to see him a minute before he left. And we went in there. And while we were in there, we learned that the man that we thought had shot Officer Tippit, was on his way up to our Office. And Captain Fritz wanted to go by there, and we carried him there.
Detective Boyd is a bit vague on some details, but on other points he is clear. Somebody told them that Sheriff Decker wanted to see Captain Fritz “a minute before he left.” Now, the term, “a minute” can be a figure of speech to refer to a wide range of times. Boyd’s main point, however, is the following sequence of events:
(1) The three were on their way to Irving, Texas;
(2) Somebody said Decker wanted a meeting with Fritz;
(3) They drove Fritz one block south on Houston Street, to Decker’s office;
(4) Sims and Boyd remained out in the corridor as Decker and Fritz met;
(5) After the meeting, Fritz decided to go to City Hall, instead of to Irving, Texas.
Now let’s hear from Detective Sims:
Mr. BALL. How long were you on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building?
Mr. SIMS. Well, sir; let's see – at the time the hulls were found, I think the hulls were found about 1:15, so we were down there just a minute or two. Let's see, we got back to City Hall at 2:15 and we went over and talked to Sheriff Decker 10 or 15 minutes.
Sims is vague about the sequence of events, because he is trying to evade an answer to the question: “How long were you on the 6th floor of the TSBD.” He hems and haws and evades a chronological sequence – instead, he tries adding up times of events. The hulls were found; they traveled back to City Hall, and, oh yes, they went over and talked to Sheriff Decker.
However, we are no longer talking about, “a minute,” but rather, “10 or 15 minutes.”
Nevertheless, this timeline from Sims, from 1:15 to 2:15 PM, is a full hour, and he has not accounted for the full hour. Yet he is finished with his answer. Attorney Ball does not pursue it. This sloppy reply is all we’ll get from Sims.
Yet, according to the Dallas Police Radio Log -- and to Lieutenant J.C. Day, and to Deputy Luke Mooney, the 3 spent hulls were found before 1 PM. The Crime Lab took 12 minutes to arrive to take photos of the evidence -- that was 1:12 PM. So, now the time frame is even wider. The hulls were found at 1 PM, and our trio returned to their City Hall offices at 2:15 PM. Could they now account for a full hour and 15 minutes? Sims fails to do so.
However, we at least have a sequence of events. What filled up that time between 1:30 and 2:15 PM? The most likely explanation is that this meeting between Sheriff Decker and Captain Fritz took longer than 15 minutes -- perhaps a full half-hour.
Regardless, we desire to know what this meeting was about. Let’s turn to the WC testimony of Sheriff Decker said about this meeting:
Mr. HUBERT - Now, when did you make any efforts to take custody of Oswald?
Mr. DECKER - I can't tell you that as to when:
* The homicide occurred, and the boy was taken in custody in the afternoon and that was on a Friday.
* I'm not going to tell you for certain because there was so much and on Friday afternoon we were taking statements in my office you know – this thing happened, occurred just across the street from my office.
* And we moved all the witnesses when we were on the ground there at the scene, all the witnesses we could locate I was working there and I had Inspector Sawyer, who is there with me, and also Heitman of the FBI and my assistant chief deputy, and every witness, just as we picked up a witness that had any information at all, we sent him directly across the street to my office and reduced his statement to writing.
* Then, I talked to Fritz after he arrived.
* We had by then located the gun and the ammunition, my officers had located it in the building, and was awaiting the arrival of the scene searchers and also the arrival of my scene searchers.
* And Fritz arrived, and then I talked to Fritz
* And then we went across the street and he phoned and that's when I learned Oswald had been formerly employed there at that building.
* And, Fritz went to the City –
* Now, here's something I'm uncertain about – whether I talked to him that afternoon or the next day about this removal.
I cannot tell you because there was so much happening and so much press in our hair. I couldn't say, but I did discuss with him and advise with that I wished to be notified when he started to move this boy, so that I would have my security in shape to receive him when he arrived there.
There is the long and evasive answer by Sheriff Bill Decker to WC attorney Hubert’s question: “When did you make any efforts to take custody of Oswald?” Instead of answering directly, Sheriff Decker gave us an extended review of events starting from the time that he, Fritz, Sims and Boyd arrived together from Parkland Hospital to Dealey Plaza -- about 1 PM forward. Decker tried to convey the chaos of getting as many eyewitnesses to the JFK shooting as possible to come to his County Jail offices to fill out sworn affidavits.
There were dozens of eyewitnesses who would give an affidavit. It was a chaos. Yet, Sheriff Decker wasn’t doing the street level work – his staff was doing it. Decker was more likely seeking an excuse to evade this question.
Nevertheless – Sheriff Decker did remember meeting with Fritz within all the commotion. He remembered it twice – with the phrase, “After Fritz arrived.” He offers no detail and no clear timeline. We are left to guess what time that was. Was that 12:58 PM, when Captain Fritz said that he arrived at the TSBD with Sims and Boyd? No! Because as Sims and Boyd had testified, Sheriff Decker was inside their car as they all arrived together at 12:58 PM!
Decker didn't say, “After we arrived.” He said, “After Fritz arrived.” So, it was some other time. What time was it?
Again, we can rely on Sims and Boyd. They told the WC that Sheriff Decker had sent an envoy to summon Captain Fritz to the offices of Sheriff Decker for a meeting. At that point, Captain Fritz dropped everything else he was doing, so that Sims and Boyd could immediately drive him to City Hall – one city block away.
This was the “arrival.” In my interpretation, Sheriff Decker meant, “After Fritz arrived at my office.” This makes sense when combined with his next clause: “I talked to Fritz.”
In this way, I interpret Sheriff Decker’s convoluted testimony as an accidental agreement with Sims and Boyd. We can safely conclude – Decker and Fritz certainly had a private meeting in the Dallas offices of Sheriff Decker, within the time frame of 1:30 to 2 PM on the day of the JFK Assassination.
Decker barely alludes to it in passing, while Fritz never mentions it at all. Decker says nothing at all about the content of that meeting. But we desire to know the content. So, let’s work harder.
While it is possible that this approximately 15-minute meeting between Decker and Fritz was a harmless break from the frantic pace of the day, it is more likely that they spoke about the two gigantic problems facing Dallas at that hour, namely, the JFK assassination and the J.D. Tippit murder. Perhaps they spoke about both homicides at the same time.
Yet, a Sheriff does not investigate homicides. His job (as he testified) was to take charge of prisoners at County Jail after the Dallas police had captured them. Nor was there any suspect, yet, in either killing, at 1:30 PM. LHO was wanted for questioning merely because he had been missing for roll-call.
So, why should the Sheriff and the Captain possibly share a half-hour meeting about it? It was almost certainly because the tensions were so high that day about precisely these two Dallas murders which were getting international attention.
Perhaps our best approach is to follow the material evidence, namely, the Dallas Police Radio Log. Let us presume – without much risk – that Decker and Fritz spoke about the Dallas Police Radio Log as it unfolded between 1:30 PM and 2 PM. There was high drama in Oak Cliff. A massive manhunt was underway, seeking the killer of J.D. Tippit. After the first responders arrived, the leader of the manhunt emerged as Captain William Westbrook from personnel.
At 1:30 PM, Decker and Fritz would have heard that Dallas police were interviewing witnesses all around the block where J.D. Tippit was killed. At 1:40 PM they would have heard that Westbrook’s men had found LHO’s jacket under a car at a parking lot. At 1:50 PM they would have heard that LHO was surrounded at the Texas Theater. At 1:55 PM they could have heard that Oswald was arrested and being shoved into a patrol vehicle. Right around 2 PM, according to Officer C.W. Brown, Captain Fritz called his offices, and Brown told Fritz that LHO was safely in custody.
Brown claims that he was the first to tell Fritz, “maybe he is also the killer of the President!” At that point, Brown added, Captain Fritz said, “I’ll be right over!” Brown imagined that Fritz had called him from the TSDB – because Brown never knew that Captain Fritz had spent most of the past half-hour with Sheriff Decker at County Jail.
Yet, why did Fritz fail to tell others about this meeting? If the meeting was merely to monitor Dallas Police Radio for the events at Oak Cliff – then why the hush? Why the secrecy?
Captain Fritz himself gives us the clue. Fritz contradicted Officer Brown by insisting that Fritz himself was the first to arrive at the idea that LHO was the killer of both JFK and J.D. Tippit. Here is Fritz’s testimony:
Mr. BALL. How long did you stay at the Texas School Book Depository after you found the rifle?
Mr. FRITZ. After he [Roy Truly] told me about this man [Oswald] almost, I left immediately after he told me that.
Mr. BALL. You left almost immediately after he told you that?
Mr. FRITZ. Almost after he told me about that man – I felt it important to hold that man.
Mr. BALL. Did you give descriptions to Sims and Boyd?
Mr. FRITZ. Yes, sir; I told them to drive me to City Hall and see if the man had a criminal record. And we picked up two other officers and my intentions were to go to the house at Irving. When I got to City Hall, I asked…when I got to my office, who shot the officer, and they told me his name was Oswald. And I said, “His full name?” And they told me, and I said, “That is the suspect we are looking for in the President's killing!”
So, here, according to Will Fritz – before he ever knew who was being held for the Tippit killing (so he claims) – he was already looking for LHO as the JFK's killer!
Now, I think we are in a better position to guess the content of that meeting between Sheriff Decker and Captain Will Fritz. They knew exactly who they were looking for. LHO had escaped – and they had to find him. They worried about it deeply.
In my next blog post I will expose further contradictions and paradoxes in the WC testimony of Detectives Sims and Boyd, when contrasted with the WC testimony of Captain Will Fritz.