Arguments Against Points 11–15

Mark Lane:
Oswald Innocent? A Lawyer’s Brief

11 : A taxi driver Darryl Click, took Oswald home, where he changed his clothes

Wade said, “He then — the bus, he asked the bus driver to stop, got off at a stop, caught a taxicab driver, Darryl Click — I don’t have his exact place — and went to his home in Oak Cliff, changed his clothes hurriedly, and left.”

On Nov. 27, it was conceded that “Darryl Click” did not drive a taxicab in which Oswald was a passenger. When “Darryl Click” disappeared from the case, “William Whaley” appeared as the man who drove Oswald, not home, but at least in that general direction.

Oswald, it is alleged, fired the shots that killed Kennedy from the sixth floor of the building. Oswald, it is alleged, then walked down four flights of stairs, purchased a soft drink and was sipping it while a police officer approached him on the second floor.

Oswald, it is alleged, left the building, slipping though the police cordon and proceeded through the panicked street crowds until he found a bus. Oswald, it is alleged, the boarded the bus, paid his fare, got a transfer (that he never used) and spoke to the driver about the assassination.

The driver referred a woman to Oswald, it is alleged, and Oswald spoke with her about the shooting. Oswald, it is alleged, eventually left the bus after riding about six blocks and was walking “from Commerce Street” when the taxicab driver, now named “William Whaley” saw him. Oswald, it is alleged, hailed the taxi, and entered it. “William Whaley’s” log shows that Oswald entered the taxi, after having completed this entire trip, at exactly 12:30 p.m. The shots that killed Kennedy were fired at 12:31 p.m.

12 : Oswald shot and killed a police officer

Wade said, “He walked up to the car. Officer Tippit stepped out of the car and started around it. He shot him three times and killed him.”

This allegation isn’t directly related to the murder of the President but it raised interesting points.

The Dallas authorities first said Tippit was shot in a movie theater. Later, it was reported that he was shot on one street and, still later, on another street. The first charge against Oswald was not for the murder of the President but for the murder of Tippit. That charge was made while the investigation of the Kennedy shooting was still going on, Wade announced that the Tippit case was absolutely set and that all the evidence proved Oswald shot the officer.

In view of the certainty of the prosecutor as to a case that had been entirely locked up two days before, the following dialogue (at the press conference) is rather curious.

Reporter :
Was this [where Oswald shot Tippit] in front of the boarding house?
Wade :
No, it’s not in front of the boarding house.
Reporter :
Where was it?
Wade :
I don’t have it exact.

13 : A witness saw Oswald enter the Texas Theater

Wade said, “Someone saw him go in the Texas Theater.”

There has been little conflict about that assertion. The first statement by Dallas authorities indicated that the theater cashier was so suspicious when she saw Oswald change from seat to seat nervously that the telephoned the police.

It soon became obvious that a cashier at a post outside of the theater might have difficulty watching the customers once they entered. So the authorities then indicated that an usher saw Oswald changing seats. The last version has a person outside the theater noticing Oswald’s suspicious action, following him into the theater, sealing off the doors with the assistance of the usher, and then notifying the police through a telephone call made by the cashier.

Some questions peripheral to the arrest in the theater persist. What did Oswald do before entering the theater to attract attention? In what manner were his action “suspicious”? We have been told by the newly emerging firearm–psychologist experts that although Oswald was not particularly talented with a rifle, his “psychotic condition” may have given him “nerveless coordination” so that he might fire accurately.

Evidently that “nerveless coordination” was not present outside the theater, although it could have appeared to Oswald that he had committed the perfect crime, had escaped the police at the Texas Book Depository and was now far removed from the scene. Frantic actions by Oswald, so obvious as to attract the attention of a passerby, in these circumstances, also seem inconsistent with Oswald’s reported demeanor moments after the President had been shot. At this time a policeman charged up the stairs of the book depository, pointed a gun at him and sought to arrest him for shooting the President.

Oswald’s employer described Oswald’s condition at that time as “cool as a cucumber — although he seemed a little bothered by the gun.” (Washington Post, Dec. 1).

14: Oswald drew a pistol and attempted to kill the arresting officer. The firing pin stuck and marked the bullet but it did not explode

Wade said, “He [Oswald] struck at the officer, put the gun against his head and snapped it, but did not — the bullet did not — go off. We have the snapped bullet there. Officers apprehended him at that time … It misfired being on the — the shell didn’t explode. We have where it hit it, but it didn’t explode.”

Wade was attempting to indicate that when Oswald was arrested in the theater he tried to shoot the arresting officer and did in fact pull the trigger of the pistol. There can be no question that the trigger was pulled since Wade assured us, in his fashion, that the firing pin struck the bullet and marked the bullet. He further assured us his office has the “snapped bullet” in its possession. The arresting officer, however, policeman MacDonald, told the story differently: “I got my hand on the butt of his gun,” said MacDonald. “I could feel Oswald’s hand on the trigger. I jerked my hand and was able to slow down the trigger movement. He didn’t have enough force to fire it.“(Washington Post, Dec. 1.)

Confronted with a resumé of that report, Wade quickly adjusted to it:

Reporter :
There was one officer who said that he pulled the trigger, but he managed to put his thumb in the part before the firing pin. It didn’t strike the — the bullet didn’t explode. Is that…?
Wade :
I don’t know whether it’s that or not. I know he didn’t snap the gun is all I know about it.

(New York Times, Nov. 26.)

We leave this incident bearing in mind one remarkable fact. Physical evidence, introduced by Wade — a bullet marked by a firing pin in an attempt to kill a police officer — now was repudiated by the officer who was an eyewitness and by Wade himself.

15 : A map was found in Oswald’s possession showing the scene of the assassination and the bullet’s trajectory

The day after Wade’s historic press conference, and three days after the Oswald arrest, a new discovery was made.

Today Mr. Wade announced that authorities had also found a marked map, showing the course of the President’s motorcade, in Oswald’s rented room. ‘It was a map tracing the location of the parade route,’ the district attorney said, ‘and this place [the Texas School Book Depository, a warehouse from which the fatal shots were fired] was marked with a straight line.’ Mr. Wade said Oswald had marked the map at two other places, ‘apparently places which he considered a possibility for an assassination.’

(New York Times, Nov. 25.)

A document written by the defendant showing his intention to commit a crime is important evidence. It seems incredible, were such a map in the hands of the Dallas authorities on the previous day when Wade presented the evidence, “piece by piece,” that he would have neglected to mention it.

Oswald was arrested three days prior to the map announcement. On the day of his arrest police removed all of his belongings from his room, telling the landlady that Oswald “would not return.” One wonders where the map came from three days later. The same newspapers that hailed the discovery of the map Nov. 25, without a single question as to its legitimacy, origin, or previous whereabouts, totally ignored or buried the last comment regarding this important document. “Dallas officials yesterday denied that such a map exists.” (Washington Post, Nov. 27.)

A Lawyer’s Brief

Four weeks after the murders of President Kennedy and Lee Oswald, the National Guardian published an extended essay by Mark Lane, who pointed out that the existing evidence was not sufficient to have convicted Oswald at trial. Soon afterwards, the essay was expanded and published by the magazine as a pamphlet.

This Version

The National Guardian no longer exists, and copies of Lane’s pamphlet are now collectors’ items. The text has been available online for many years at http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/. It is available here for the first time in correct HTML, and has been split into sections for ease of reading online.

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22 November 1963

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