[Photo: The rooming house of Lee Harvey Oswald at 1026 North Beckley St., Dallas where he arrived about 30 minutes after the JFK Assassination.]
Disclaimer: The following analysis of Warren Commission testimony consists of my independent research and observations regarding the hundreds of testimonies contained in the WC Hearings and Exhibits. My observations form my opinion.
NOVEMBER 22, 1963 – LHO’S ALLEGED JOURNEY TO HIS ROOM
There were three key WC witnesses whose testimony historians traditionally use to claim that Lee Harvey Oswald (hereafter LHO) took a city bus and a taxi back to arrive at his rooming house at 1026 North Beckley about 30 minutes after the JFK Assassination.
The three witnesses were Cecil McWatters (bus driver), Mary Bledsoe (bus passenger), and William Whaley (taxi driver). They all gave contradictory testimony about LHO.
Although LHO did arrive at that address at about 1 p.m., we’ll present three blog posts to argue that LHO wasn’t on that bus or in that taxi. On the contrary, we will at length reveal an orchestrated Washington DC effort starting with J. Edgar Hoover (for national security purposes) to show only such evidence which demonstrated that LHO had no accomplices and was a Lone Shooter because he was a Lone Nut.
Neither the left-wing nor the right-wing would be blamed – that was Hoover’s strategy, and LBJ, Allen Dulles, and Earl Warren obviously approved it, most likely to avoid violence within the US and a possible war with the USSR.
In the next few weeks, we’ll confirm the key theory of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and his protégé, Joan Mellen, namely, that LHO had multiple accomplices.
These accomplices included Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Loran Hall, Larry Howard, Gerry Patrick Hemming and many more in New Orleans. Jeffrey Caufield (2015) dug deeper into Dallas history to find many, many others, including former Marine and Dallas Police officer Roscoe White, as an accomplice who would later betray LHO. Loran Hall and Larry Howard were also seen in Dallas in 1963.
We’ll propose that LHO rode to his room in a car driven by an accomplice. Perhaps Roscoe White, perhaps Loran Hall or Larry Howard (who had also driven LHO to Mexico City). As Loran Hall told the FBI, Larry Howard was in Dallas when JFK was shot – and Loran was irked that Larry had Loran’s rifle. We can demonstrate nearly all of this with government documents.
We declare: any WC witness who claims that LHO took a bus or a taxi to his rooming house has simply made “mistaken identity” claim. We’ll first explore the testimony of Cecil McWatters, a bus driver who remembered an unknown man who boarded the bus in the street – not at a bus stop – when the bus was stopped in the street because of the traffic jam in Dallas following the JFK Assassination.
Cecil told the Dallas Police that this unknown man clearly wasn’t LHO. He repeated this statement to the Warren Commission (hereafter WC). Mary Bledsoe, a passenger on his bus, however, would insist under oath that the unknown man certainly was LHO.
Mary could claim this with some authority, because LHO had rented a room in her house from October 7th to October 14th. So, she could recognize his face and features readily. But she had recently suffered a stroke, and perhaps another one in 1964. This series of three blog posts seek to satisfactorily demonstrate that the testimonies of McWatters and Bledsoe are irreconcilable – although tradition, as well as conspiracy theorists, typically blur to two together.
Because of the length of this exploration, we’ll treat each of these WC witnesses in separate blog posts. We will reserve the testimony of bus passenger Mary Bledsoe, as well as taxi driver William Whaley for later. Let’s focus now on the WC claim that LHO took a bus driven by Cecil McWatters on his way to Oak Cliff.
Cecil McWatters was about 40 and had been a bus driver with the Dallas Transit Company for 19 years. Let me preface by saying that I generally believe McWatters’ testimony despite a few mistakes here and there which I consider to be minor. I regard Cecil McWatters as an honest witness who made a sincere effort to tell what he remembered.
In brief, Mary Bledsoe testified that a passenger on Cecil’s bus was LHO, and Cecil testified the opposite. That passenger wasn’t LHO, he testified, and he wouldn’t change his mind about it – even after Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade told the national press Mary’s side of the story and added some embellishment of his own.
This is a summary of Cecil’s WC testimony.
On November 22, 1963, around noon, Cecil started a fresh two-and-a-half-hour trip in a bus with a capacity of 44-passengers, traveling from northeast Dallas in the Lakewood district, southwest to the Oak Cliff district.
The intersection of Elm and St. Paul was in those days the Transit Company’s official time-point station that recorded the arrival time of all busses. If a bus arrived early, the company would fine the driver, so Cecil had to arrive there as close to 12:36 as possible – and he did. (At this point, Mary Bledsoe testified, she boarded his bus). At this point, Cecil testified, he had heard no sirens. He had seen no traffic commotion.
About four blocks later, however, as Cecil passed Elm and Field streets, he heard many sirens and the traffic began to crawl. After another block, around Griffin Street, Cecil came to a complete stop. That’s when an unknown white male walked up to the bus in the middle of the street – not at a bus stop – and rapped on the bus door. Cecil let him in.
(The WC noted that Griffin Street was about five city blocks from the TSBD building where LHO worked – a 7-minute walk. If LHO successfully escaped the TSBD building at 12:33, and walked east on Elm Street to Griffin Street, the time would have been 12:40 p.m. That was the same time that Cecil McWatters recalled stopping at that location).
Cecil called the man a “gentleman” although he wore work clothes and “a little old jacket.” The unknown man paid his fare, didn’t ask for a transfer, and quietly sat down on the second cross seat on the right – near the front of the bus. There was no radio on the bus, so Cecil grumbled, wondering what had caused this painfully slow traffic.
At Jackson and Lamar streets, the traffic again came to a full stop. A kind motorist hopped out of his car and walked over to Cecil’s bus. Cecil opened the bus door and the kind motorist explained the reason for the traffic jam. “I heard over my radio that the President has been shot.” Then he returned to his car.
Cecil instantly announced this to the passengers. A lady sitting directly behind Cecil stood up, took her suitcase, and declared, “I have to take a 1 p.m. train at Union Station, so please give me a transfer and I’ll walk. If the bus gets moving again, please pick me up on the way!”
Cecil said OK, gave her a transfer, and let her out. The man who had entered the bus at Elm and Griffin (maybe three blocks ago) saw this, and decided to exit the bus, too, Cecil testified. The unknown man also got a transfer from Cecil, left the bus, and stepped out. Cecil testified that he never saw that unknown man after that.
The Dallas Police contacted Cecil that very evening. Cecil had no idea why. He was still on duty at about 6:15 p.m. when the police stopped his bus and took him to the station. At the station they finally told Cecil why. They claimed to have a transfer that came from a suspect that day, and they wanted to know if Cecil knew anything about it.
Most all city officers knew that bus drivers had unique, transfer punch markers registered with the superintendent of the Transit Company. These punch markers identified one driver exclusively in order to help resolve police and civil complaints. Also, bus transfers were pre-punched for a given time period of each day.
The transfer that the Dallas Police showed him had a punch time for 1 p.m. and had the personal punch mark of driver Cecil McWatters.
Cecil recalled – he had issued only two transfers during that time period: one to the lady going to the Union Train Station, and one to the man who got on at Elm and Griffin and traveled only 3 blocks. Cecil estimated that the man had mounted the bus at about 12:40 p.m. and traveled about 3 blocks in pitifully slow traffic.
Then, traffic again came to a full stop. It was about 12:45, Cecil estimated, and that was when he let these two exit the bus – not at a regular bus stop, but in the middle of stopped traffic.
Cecil also told police in the context of the JFK Assassination about a 17-year-old boy named Roy Milton Jones. He was a regular passenger who had entered much earlier and sat to his right on the first cross seat, as they enjoyed some conversation. Around the intersection of Lamar and Houston, Cecil told Milton, “I wonder where JFK was shot.” The boy replied with a joke, “Probably in the head!”
The next lady to get on the bus asked Cecil why the bus was so far behind schedule. Cecil told her that JFK was shot. Flabbergasted, she cried, “You have got to be kidding!” Cecil said, “No, I heard this from reliable sources. You can ask this young man over here.” She looked at young Roy Milton Jones who was grinning ear to ear. The lady said, “Now I know you’re kidding, but this is no laughing matter!” Cecil agreed with her that it was no laughing matter.
This narrative is right there in Cecil McWatters’ WC testimony. It’s interesting that historians continue to accept the official conclusion.
Anyway, the Dallas Police took Cecil to a jail line-up (aka. show-up) with LHO inside it, and asked Cecil if he could identify that man who had boarded his bus from Elm and Griffin streets. Cecil looked hard at each man in the line-up, and finally told the police than none of those men resembled the man who had boarded his bus at Elm and Griffin streets. Let’s look at his WC testimony:
Mr. BALL: You didn’t: as I understand it, when you were at the police lineup, you told us that you didn’t – weren’t able to identify this man in the lineup as the man who got off, that you gave the transfer to.
Mr. McWATTERS: I told them to the best of my knowledge, I said the man that I picked out was the same height, about the same height, weight, and description. But as far as actually saying that is the man I couldn’t –
Mr. BALL: You couldn’t do it?
Mr. McWATTERS: I wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t do it now.
So! In a surprising turn of events, Cecil McWatters stated that the man who had boarded his bus at Elm and Griffin wasn’t in that line-up! Despite Cecil’s statement, however, here’s how this incident was officially twisted by high-ranking Dallas officials to the national news:
Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade reported to national news media about LHO on November 22, 1963: “…The next we hear of him is on a bus where he got on at Lamar Street and told the bus driver the President had been shot. The driver told a lady on the bus that the President had been shot – all this was verified by her statements. She said, ‘How do you know?’ He said a man back there told him. The defendant (LHO) said, ‘Yes, he’s been shot!’ and laughed very loud.”
What? Cecil said that the “grinner” was 17-year-old Roy Milton Jones who had boarded the bus much earlier! Cecil also told the Dallas Police that the unknown man that he picked up at Elm and Griffin wasn’t LHO!
Yet the version told by Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade remains the official US history. Amazing. Further, Mary Bledsoe would swear that that unknown man was LHO!
We encounter another mystery. If we accept bus driver Cecil McWatters’ testimony that LHO wasn’t on his bus, and if the bus transfer allegedly found in LHO’s shirt pocket officially came from Cecil’s official stack, then how did the Dallas Police actually come to obtain it?
Given this, I perceive a glimmer of some powerful force over Dallas, Texas, pushing hard to tell the public that LHO really was on that bus and that LHO was a maniac who publicly laughed at the slaughter of JFK.
This was an orchestrated effort, I say, coordinated from Washington DC, partly to counter the constant propaganda coming out of Dallas that the Communists had killed JFK. J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ, Allen Dulles, Earl Warren, Dean Rusk, Arthur Schlesinger, on and on, knew that wasn’t true.
For national security purposes during the peak of the Cold War, it was arguably necessary to cover up the truth. Yet it was a massive tragedy for US History because the real killers of JFK got away with it. And are still getting away with it.
We’ll continue this saga with the longer WC testimony of Mary Bledsoe, in just a few days.
© Copyright 9/28/2021 by Paul Edward Trejo. All rights reserved.
Testimony of Cecil McWatters to the Warren Commission – Thursday March 12, 1964
Rush to Judgment (1966) by Mark Lane. (I acknowledge that Mark Lane cited Cecil McWatters in 1966, although I still disagree with Lane's conclusion that the CIA was the mastermind of the JFK Assassination).