3 – Unconvincing Witnesses
If you closely analyze the evidence, witness testimony appears more and more unreliable every time you look at it in this case. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald smuggled the gun into work in a brown paper bag. However, there are only three people who saw him before and during his arrival at work on November 22.
Buell Wesley Frazier drove Oswald to work and his sister, Linnie Mae Randle, met Oswald beforehand, and both said that while Oswald was carrying a brown paper bag, it was far shorter than the bag found on the sixth floor of the Depository. One of his colleagues, Jack Dougherty, saw Oswald as he entered the building and claimed the alleged shooter did not have anything in his hands. Suggestions that he could have created the bag while in the building are wide of the mark. He would have needed to use the Depository’s wrapping table and did not have access.
The Commission heavily relied on the testimony of Howard Brennan who said he saw Oswald at the window on the sixth floor. As it transpired, Brennan was an extremely unreliable and unhelpful witness yet his testimony was accepted as fact. First of all, his description of the shooter wasn’t particularly detailed. In fact, he could not pick Oswald out in an identification parade even though he had already seen him on television.
Brennan made a number of claims that were almost certainly false. For example, he said the gunman was standing up when in reality; the window was only half-open so the shooter would need to crouch or kneel. He said he saw the gunman’s trousers, an impossibility from his location at the time. Brennan said he looked up at the building immediately after hearing the shot. The Zapruder film shows that Brennan watched the President’s car after the shooting before turning his head sharply to the right and away from the Depository. Finally, he admitted that he did not see the gunman fire the rifle.
Arnold Rowland was another important witness and testified in great detail regarding what he saw on the fateful day. He claimed to have seen a man holding a rifle standing back from the sixth floor’s southwest corner window. According to Rowland, the man was slender in proportion to his size. When he spoke to the Commission in March 1964, he claimed to have seen a frail African-American man between the ages of 50 and 60. Although two employees of the Depository fitted the description to some degree, Rowland was known to exaggerate; a fact emphasized by his wife who was with him but saw nothing as she had her back turned.
The Commission has been accused of ignoring testimony that hindered their mission to prove that Oswald did it. For instance, Carolyn Arnold, a secretary working for the Depository, told the FBI that Oswald was on the first floor at the time of the shooting. Two other employees indirectly attest to the fact that Oswald was on the first floor between 12:20 and 12:25. The Commission asserted that the gunman was on the sixth floor before 12.15. Certainly, his presence on the first floor at the time of the assassination fits in line with the sighting of him on the second floor at around 12:31.
It seems incredibly unlikely that he could have made it to the second floor in the allotted time. When the theory was tested out, it showed that Oswald could not have made it down from the sixth floor so quickly. Arnold later claimed that the FBI made several errors in her statement. The Commission discounted her evidence and that of Eddie Piper and other witnesses who made statements that effectively proved Oswald’s innocence. The Warren Commission showed time and again that it was only interested in witnesses that corroborated with its pre-conceived notion that Oswald was the lone gunman. With this in mind, how can we trust such an unreliable and biased source?