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No Case To Answer: A retired English detective's essays
and articles on the JFK Assassination, 1993-2011 UPDATED

by Ian Griggs

  • As a retired police officer in the UK (uniform and CID, 1971-1994) it is only natural that one of my specialist areas of research into the JFK assassination should centre upon the Dallas Police Department. I have studied the DPD for several years, concentrating particularly on that brief period from 22nd to 24th November 1963. Inevitably, I have made occasional comparisons between the DPD of 1963 and its modern counterpart. Similarly, I have sometimes compared the differences in general policing methods, particularly in the investigative field, as carried out on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • One of the highlights of the 1997 JFK-Lancer Conference in Dallas, Texas was the opportunity for William Law, Mark Rowe and myself to conduct a video-recorded interview of assassination eyewitness William "Bill" Eugene Newman, Jr. At the time of the assassination, Mr Newman was standing on the north side of Elm Street and can be seen plainly on many films and photographs as he and his wife Gayle threw themselves to the ground to protect their two young children as the shots rang out. Both Bill and Gayle Newman were aged 22 at the time of the assassination.

  • One of the most frequently asked questions in connection with the Kennedy assassination concerns the identity of a mysterious young lady who became known as the Babushka Lady. She can be seen clearly on the Zapruder film and also on various other movie films and still photographs taken in Dealey Plaza on 22nd November 1963. The Babushka Lady is one of the few eyewitnesses who were not immediately identified. She acquired her rather odd nickname because of the babushka or triangular headscarf tied under the chin which she was wearing that day.

  • Virgil Edward Hoffman was employed by Texas Instruments in north Dallas and was a deaf mute. On the day of the assassination, he was at work as usual but during his morning refreshment break he broke a tooth and was given permission to visit his dentist for urgent attention. This drive took him close to Dealey Plaza and recalling that the President was due to pass through, he stopped his car to watch the motorcade. From his elevated vantage point on Stemmons Freeway he had an unrestricted view over not only Dealey Plaza but also the railroad yards behind the picket fence. From this position, Ed saw two men behind the picket fence, one of whom fired a rifle at the motorcade.

  • Samuel Burton Paternostro seems to have become one of the forgotten witnesses to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. His is not a name that springs readily to mind like those of Howard Brennan, Jean Hill or Abraham Zapruder, when the events of Friday 22nd November 1963 are discussed. I find this strange since Paternostro viewed the event from a perfect and unobstructed elevated vantage point and he appears to have been a totally honest and credible witness. There is even a somewhat vague and uncorroborated report that he saw a rifle pointing out of one of the windows of the Texas School Book Depository at the time of the assassination. You will search in vain for this gentleman's name in the Warren Commission Report and it appears only twice in the 26 Volumes of Hearings and Exhibits. These appearances, however, seem to be significant and they constitute the basis of this short analysis.
  • As a result of the televised coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial (1994/95), many of us became familiar with the appearance and testimony of a rather strange character called Brian 'Kato' Kaelin. This aspiring actor ('aspiring' for several years) had been a close friend of both victim Nicole Brown Simpson and accused Oranthal James Simpson. It was debatable which side, the prosecution or the defence, would call Kaelin to appear for them during the criminal trial. In the event, he was called by the prosecution. His evidence, however, seemed to be of equal value to the defence.

    I feel that Ronald B. Fischer and Robert Edwin Edwards would have proved similarly valuable to both prosecution and defence if Lee Harvey Oswald had lived long enough to be allowed his day in court. Fischer and Edwards were eyewitnesses to the assassination of President John Kennedy in Dealey Plaza, Dallas on 22nd November 1963 and were thus of considerable importance. However we need to examine exactly what they saw, or what they said they saw, in order to judge what their individual value may have been in a court trial, for whichever side they may have appeared.

  • On Monday 25th November 1996, as a result of my friend the late Mike Blackwell acting as the middleman, I had the opportunity to meet and interview Johnny Calvin Brewer. Like most researchers, I knew Brewer as the shoe store manager who had seen Lee Harvey Oswald acting suspiciously on West Jefferson Boulevard, Oak Cliff, and then ducking into the Texas Theatre a matter of minutes after the shooting of Patrolman J. D. Tippit.

  • Whilst the assassination of President Kennedy was apparently a purely American affair, it obviously had a profound and lasting effect on the rest of the world. There was not a country on the planet that was not affected in some way. This applied equally to the countries of the 'free' world and to those under Communist or totalitarian influence. As one of the United States' foremost allies, the United Kingdom shared the shock and revulsion of the event more keenly than most. It is not widely known, however, that various British citizens played important parts in several aspects of the assassination, its aftermath and subsequent investigation. Purely by coincidence, the majority of these people were female.

  • As I think all serious researchers are aware, Lee Harvey Oswald seemed to be officially declared 'guilty' within a very short time of his arrest. Indeed, some may say that this situation existed before his arrest. When I say 'officially' I mean in the eyes of the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, the Dallas District Attorney's Office and the FBI. Since it was so obviously an 'open-and-shut' case and the murderer of Kennedy and Tippit was safely in custody, there was nothing more to do but complete a few reports, wrap up the files and all go out for a celebratory drink to mark a job well done. Maybe this was also the reason that the separate identity parades which Oswald attended had been conducted in such a haphazard, unfair and downright sloppy manner. They could have been filmed and shown to future police recruit classes as how not to do it.

  • Dallas Postal Inspector Harry D. Holmes was, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating characters connected with the investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Most people in the case fall into one of the accepted categories: assassination eyewitness, expert witness or police witness. Mr Holmes, however, could be said to drop into all three of those categories-plus another one.

  • At the end of a 1994 presentation on the subject of the rifle allegedly used in the assassination of President Kennedy I was pleased to answer questions from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience. One question concerned a screwdriver or breakdown tool for the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, the alleged assassination weapon. I confirmed that there was no evidence to suggest that either of those implements had been found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository or in Lee Harvey Oswald's possession. I was then asked whether it could have been possible for the Mannlicher to have been disassembled and later reassembled using a small coin. It is known that Oswald had cash amounting to $13.87 on him when he was arrested. This sum included three dime coins. Much of my presentation was centred on the fact that I distrust the Warren Commission's account of the finding and subsequent handling of the Mannlicher-Carcano. Furthermore, I seriously question the very existence of the paper sack in which the weapon is alleged to have been carried by Oswald from Irving to the TSBD on the morning of the assassination. The official version would have us believe that Oswald carried the disassembled rifle to work in a "heavy brown bag"-the paper sack CE 142 and/or 626-on the back seat of Buell Wesley Frazier's car that morning. The word 'disassembled' is one which very few, if any, researchers have taken the trouble to examine in depth. What exactly does the word mean in the present context.

  • One of the most questionable of all Warren Commission exhibits has to be CE 1302. This is a photograph which, according to its caption, purports to show "Approximate location of wrapping-paper bag ... near window in southeast corner." The Contents page to Volume 22 of the Warren Commission's 26 Volumes of Hearings and Exhibits, in which this appears on page 479, describes this exhibit as "Photograph of southeast corner of sixth floor of Texas School Book Depository Building showing approximate location of wrapping-paper bag and location of palmprint on carton." From those positive and uncomplicated descriptions, we would expect to see a photograph showing a bag made out of wrapping-paper. In reality, the photograph shows no paper bag-just a dotted line rectangle which has been printed on to the photograph and which bears the legend: "Approximate location of wrapping-paper bag." In accordance with normal police practice, other items of potential evidential value at the sixth floor crime scene were photographed where they lay-for example, the rifle, the spent cartridges and the book carton with the palm print on it. Why then, was the paper bag not afforded this attention? May I be as bold as to suggest that this most vital item of 'evidence' did not actually exist at the time? It is my earnest belief that the paper bag was made up (in both senses) some time later.

 


NCTA back cover

It is Ian Griggs, the man: his intelligence, experience, humanity and humor; Ian Griggs, his person, his presence, but especially his voice that we hear in this irreplaceable collection of presentations and essays on the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Professor Emeritus George Michael Evica, author of And We Are All Mortal

Ian's interest in the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy began on 22nd November 1963 and he has been studying it seriously for the past 35 years. He has become a frequent visitor to Dallas where he has built up a wide range of friends and contacts.

He has written and published many articles on the subject, 27 of which are featured in the book before you. He has also presented research papers and acted as a panel moderator at ASK, COPA, Fourth Decade and JFK Lancer conferences in Dallas, Fredonia (New York) and Washington, D.C. He is a founder member of the British research group Dealey Plaza UK, was the group's first Secretary, from 1995 to 2005 and edited its research journal, The Dealey Plaza Echo, from 1996 to 2005. Ian is the proud recipient of a JFK Lancer Editor's Award (1995) and in 1998 he received a JFK Lancer New Frontier Award.



"Like all Holmes's reasoning the thing seemed like simplicity
itself when it was once explained."

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle "The Stockbroker's Clerk" (published 1893)

AVAILABLE 11-15-2011

Copyright 2005 JFK Lancer