When They Kill a President, by Roger Craig PART 1
Article: 529 of sgi.talk.ratical
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dave "who can do? ratmandu!" ratcliffe)
Subject: "When They Kill A President," by Roger Craig
Summary: unpublished manuscript written by a man who *didn't* change his story
Organization: Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1992 15:21:34 GMT
Roger Craig was a deputy Sheriff in Dallas at the time of the assassination
of President Kennedy. He was a member of a group of men from Dallas County
Sheriff James Eric "Bill" Decker's office that was directed to stand out in
front of the Sheriff's office on Main Street (at the corner of Houston) and
"take no part whatsoever in the security of that motorcade." Once he heard
the first shot, Roger Craig immediately bolted towards Houston Street. His
participation in the formative hours of the investigation during the rest
of that day and into the evening included observations and experiences that
would have singlehandedly destroyed the Warren Commission fairy tale before
a grand jury or a Congressional investigation.
Roger Craig was named the Dallas Sheriff's Department "Officer of the Year"
in 1960 by the Dallas Traffic Commission. He received four promotions
while he was deputy Sheriff. Among the most important events he witnessed:
* at approximately 12:40 p.m., deputy Craig was standing on the
south side of Elm Street when he heard a shrill whistle coming
from the north side of Elm and turned to see a man--wearing
faded blue trousers and a long sleeved work shirt made of some
type of grainy material--come running down the grassy knoll
from the direction of the TSBD. He saw a light green Rambler
station wagon coming slowly west on Elm Street, pull over to
the north curb and pick up the man coming down the hill. By
this time the traffic was too heavy for him to be able to reach
them before the car drove away going west on Elm.
* after witnessing the above scene, deputy Craig ran to the
command post at Elm and Houston to report the incident to the
authorities. When he got there and asked who was involved in
the investigation, a man turned to him and said "I'm with the
Secret Service." Craig recounted what he had just seen. This
"Secret Service" man showed little interest in Craig's
description of the people leaving, but seemed extremely
interested in the description of the Rambler to the degree
this was the only part of the recounting that he wrote down.
(On 12/22/67, Roger Craig learned from Jim Garrison that this
man's name was Edgar Eugene Bradley, a right wing preacher from
North Hollywood, California and part-time assistant to Carl
McIntire, the fundamentalist minister who had founded the
American Counsel of Christian Churches. Then-governor Ronald
Reagan refused to grant the extradition request from Garrison
for the indictment of Bradley during the New Orleans Probe.)
* immediately after this Craig was told by Sheriff Decker to help
the police search the TSBD. Deputy Craig was one of the two
people to find the three rifle cartridges on the floor beneath
the window on the southeast corner of the sixth floor. All
three were no more than an inch apart and all were lined up in
the same direction. One of the three shells was crimped on the
end which would have held the slug. It had not been stepped on
but merely crimped over on one small portion of the rim. The
rest of that end was perfectly round.
* he was present at when the rifle was found, and, along with
Deputy Eugene Boone who had first spotted the weapon, was
immediately joined by police Lt. Day, Homicide Capt. Fritz, and
deputy constable Seymour Weitzman, an expert on weapons who had
been in the sporting goods business for many years and was
familiar with all domestic and foreign makes. Lt. Day briefly
inspected the rifle and handed it to Capt. Fritz who asked if
anyone knew what kind of rifle it was. After a close
examination, Weitzman declared it to be a 7.65 German Mauser.
Capt. Fritz agreed with him.
* at the moment when Capt. Fritz concurred with Weitzman's
identification of the rifle, an unknown Dallas police officer
came running up the stairs and advised Capt. Fritz that a
Dallas policeman had been shot in the Oak Cliff area. Craig
instinctively looked at his watch. The time was 1:06 p.m.
(The Warren Commission attempted to move this time back beyond
1:15 to plausible claim Oswald had reached the Tippit murder
scene in a more humanly possible time-frame than would be the
case if Tippit had the encounter with his murderer any earlier.)
* Later in the afternoon Craig received word of Oswald's arrest
and that he was suspected of being involved in the Kennedy's
murder. He immediately thought of the man running down the
grassy knoll and made a telephone call to Capt. Will Fritz to
gave him the description of the man he had seen. Fritz said
Craig's description sounded like the man they had and asked
him to come take a look. When he saw Oswald in Fritz's
personal office Deputy Craig confirmed that this was indeed
the man, dressed in the same way, that he had seen running
down the knoll and into the Rambler. They went into the
office together and Fritz told Oswald,
"This man (pointing to me) saw you leave." At which time
the suspect replied, "I told you people I did." Fritz,
apparently trying to console Oswald, said, "Take it easy,
son--we're just trying to find out what happened." Fritz
then said, "What about the car?" Oswald replied, leaning
forward on Fritz' desk, "That station wagon belongs to
Mrs. Paine--don't try to drag her into this." Sitting
back in his chair, Oswald said very disgustedly and very
low, "Everybody will know who I am now."
The fact that Fritz said "car" and this elicited Oswald's
outburst about a "station wagon"--that no one else had
mentioned--confirms the veracity of Roger Craig's story.
* junior counsel for the Warren Commission Dave Belin, was the
man who interview Roger Craig in April of 1964. After the
being questioned in what Craig recounts as a very manipulative
and selective way, Belin asked "Do you want to follow or waive
your signature or sign now?" Craig noted, "Since there was
nothing but a tape recording and a stenographer's note book,
there was obviously nothing to sign. All other testimony which
I have read (a considerable amount) included an explanation
that the person could waive his signature then or his statement
would be typed and he would be notified when it was ready for
signature. Belin did not say this to me." After Craig first
saw the transcript in January of 1968 he discoverd that the
testimony he gave had been changed in fourteen different
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig never changed his account of what he witnessed
and experienced on Friday, November 22, 1963. (The passage where he
describes the methodology employed by David Belin in selectively recording
his testimony is highly illuminating and provides us with a glimpse of how
the "W.C." interviewed witnesses in a very controlled way.) He remained
convinced, for the rest of this life, that the man entering the Rambler
station wagon was Lee Harvey Oswald. He was fired from the Sheriff's
office on July 4, 1967, and from that day forward he never again could
find steady work. Multiple attempts were made on his life, his wife
finally left him, and in the end, he was alleged to have shot himself to
death on May 15, 1975.
the following is an unpublished manuscript written by the late Roger Craig:
WHEN THEY KILL A PRESIDENT
Roger Craig - (c) 1971
This book is dedicated to my wife Molly,
who meant it when she said
"for better or worse."
Our president John Kennedy went down to Dallas town
Where the hired assassins waited and there they shot him down,
Because he dreamed of peace and plenty and he talked it 'round
His dream goes marching on.
The Dallas County Court House at 505 Main Street was indeed a
unique place to come to hear what was WRONG with John F. Kennedy
and his policies as President of these United States.
This building housed the elite troops of the Dallas County
Sheriff's Department (of which I was one), who, with blind
obedience, followed the orders of their Great White Father: BILL
DECKER, Sheriff of Dallas County.
From these elite troops came the most bitter verbal attacks on
President Kennedy. They spoke very strongly against his policies
concerning the Bay of Pigs incident and the Cuban Missile crisis.
They seemed to resent very much the fact that President Kennedy was
a Catholic. I do not know why this was such a critical issue with
many of the deputies but they did seem to hold this against
The concession stand in the lobby of the court house was the
best place to get into a discussion concerning the President. The
old man who ran the stand evidenced a particular hatred for
President Kennedy. He seemed to go out of his way to drag anyone
who came by his stand into a discussion about the President. His
name is J. C. Kiser.
He was a little man with a short mustache and glasses that he
wore right on the end of his nose. He was a particularly good
friend of Sheriff Decker, and he held the concession in the lobby
for many years. Like Decker, he was unopposed when his lease came
up for renewal. It was common knowledge that Bill Decker made it
possible for him to remain there as long as he wished. This sick
little man not only had a deep hatred for John F. Kennedy, he also
hated the black people, even those who spent their money at his
stand. He would often curse them as they walked away after making
a purchase from him. He flatly refused to make telephone change
for them even though he would be simultaneously making change for a
*This little man* was a typical example of the atmosphere that
lingered in this building that housed LAW AND ORDER in Dallas
Many of the deputies had a dislike for the President--some more
so than others. However, there *were* those who would not degrade
themselves by taking verbal punches at our President. One of these
was Hiram Ingram. Although devoted to Bill Decker, he was also a
good friend of mine. We often discussed the political debates that
took place in the lobby. Hiram had a great dislike for this sick
little man who seemed to lead the attack on the President. He also
had little respect for the deputies, attorneys and court house
employees who tolerated or even agreed with this philosophy of
attacking John F. Kennedy.
Hiram Ingram was a small man--in stature. He was always ready
with a friendly smile and greeting. He began his association with
the County during the Bonnie and Clyde era--when he was an
ambulance driver and inside employee at a local funeral home. In
fact, Hiram prepared Bonnie and Clyde for burial after they were
brought back to Dallas from the ambush in Louisiana.
Hiram and I were very close--one of those friendships which
develops when some people first meet. I had known Hiram for about
four years at the time of the assassination. He was working in the
Civil Division and shortly after November 22, 1963 he had a heart
attack. When he returned to work Decker put him on the Bond Desk,
where I would later be and work closely with Hiram. I worked the
day shift one month and the evening shift the following month.
Hiram worked only evenings. So every other month we worked
together. This gave us time to talk and discuss the events in
Dallas and even the Sheriff's Office itself. The Department was
not well organized.
To clear some of the bonds and bondsmen we would have to call
Decker at home--no matter what time of the day or night--for his
approval or ANY decision. This applied only to certain bondsmen.
Decker had his chosen few who were not questioned. Hiram was a
very dependable employee and should not have had to clear the minor
decisions with our Great White Father, Bill Decker.
As the months passed and Hiram and I worked together we built a
mutual respect for each other. When Decker fired me on July 4,
1967 Hiram was infuriated but, like any employee of Decker's, he
couldn't say anything in my defense for fear of having *his*
employment cut short or his reputation ruined. One of Decker's
favorite past times was ruining reputations.
Our friendship did not end with my termination. We continued to
talk from time to time and Hiram was very helpful when Penn Jones
wanted information concerning records at the Sheriff's office.
However, in March of 1968 Hiram explained to me that information
was getting more difficult to get for some reason. Fortunately by
this time I had already supplied Penn Jones and Bill Boxley
(investigator for Jim Garrison) with much information from Hiram.
About two weeks later, near the end of March 1968, I heard that
Hiram had fallen at home and broken his hip and was in the
hospital. I went to see my good buddy to cheer him up and received
the shock of my life. Hiram was under oxygen and could not have
*any* visitors. Three days later he was dead--of cancer. He had
been working just prior to the fall. I think that we owe a debt of
gratitude to this great man who, in his own quiet way, helped us
all so much.
Thus . . . we have the atmosphere that was to greet the
President of the United States upon his arrival in Dallas.
However, things were to get even worse before he arrived.
The battle ground had been picked and the UNwelcome mat was out
for President Kennedy. Unknown to most of us, the rest of the plan
was being completed. The patsy had been chosen and placed in the
building across from the court house--where he could not deny his
presence *after it was all over*. This was done with the apparent
approval and certainly with the knowledge of our co-workers, the
F.B.I., since they later admitted that they knew Lee Harvey Oswald
was employed at the School Book Depository Building located on the
corner of Elm Street and Houston Street across from the Sheriff's
The security had been arranged by the Secret Service and the
Dallas Police--our boys in blue. The final touch was put on by
Sheriff James Eric (Bill) Decker. On the morning of November 22,
1963 the patrolmen in the districts which make up the Dallas County
Sheriff's Patrol Division were left in the field, ignorant of what
was going on in the downtown area, which was just as well. Decker
was not going to LET them do anything anyway.
About 10:30 a.m. November 22, 1963, Bill Decker called into his
office what I will refer to as his street people--plain-clothes
men, detectives and warrant men, myself included--and told us that
President Kennedy was coming to Dallas and that the motorcade would
come down Main Street. He then advised us that we were to stand
out in front of the building, 505 Main Street and represent the
Sheriff's Office. We were to take NO part whatsoever in the
security of that motorcade. (WHY, JAMES ERIC?) So . . . the stage
had been set, all the pawns were in place, the security had been
withdrawn from that one vulnerable location. Come John F. Kennedy,
come to Elm and Houston Streets in Dallas, Texas and take your
place in history!
The time was 12:15 p.m. I was standing in front of the court
house at 505 Main Street. Deputy Sheriff Jim Ramsey was standing
behind me. We were waiting for the President of the United States.
I had a feeling of pride that I was going to be not more than four
feet from the President but deep inside something kept gnawing at
me. I said to Jim Ramsey, "He's late." Jim's reply stunned me.
He said, "Maybe somebody will shoot the son of a bitch." Then I
realized the crowd was hostile. The men about me felt that they
were FORCED to acknowledge his presence. Although he was the
President, they were making statements like, "Why does he have to
come to Dallas?"
Something else was bothering me . . . being a trained officer, I
always looked for anything which might be amiss about any situation
with which I was confronted. Suddenly I knew what was wrong.
There were no officers guarding the intersections or controlling
the crowd. My mind flashed back to the meeting in Decker's office
that morning, then back to the lack of security in this area.
Suddenly the motorcade approached and President Kennedy was
smiling and waving and for a moment I relaxed and fell into the
happy mood the President was displaying. The car turned the corner
onto Houston Street. I was still looking at the rest of the people
in the party. I was soon to be shocked back into reality. The
President had passed and was turning west on Elm Street . . . as if
there were no people, no cars, the only thing in my world at that
moment was a rifle shot! I bolted toward Houston Street. I was
fifteen steps from the corner--before I reached it two more shots
had been fired. Telling myself that it wasn't true and at the same
time knowing that it was, I continued to run. I ran across Houston
Street and beside the pond, which is on the west side of Houston.
I pushed a man out of my way and he fell into the pond. I ran down
the grass between Main and Elm. People were lying all over the
ground. I thought, "My God, they've killed a woman and child," who
were lying beside the gutter on the South side of Elm Street. I
checked them and they were alright. I saw a Dallas Police Officer
run up the grassy knoll and go behind the picket fence near the
railroad yards. I followed and behind the fence was complete
confusion and hysteria.
I began to question people when I noticed a woman in her early
thirties attempting to drive out of the parking lot. She was in a
brown 1962 or 1963 Chevrolet. I stopped her, identified myself and
placed her under arrest. She told me that she HAD to leave and I
said, "Lady, you're not going anywhere." I turned her over to
Deputy Sheriff C. I. (Lummy) Lewis and told him the circumstances
of the arrest. Officer Lewis told me that he would take her to
Sheriff Decker and take care of her car.
The parking lot behind the picket fence was of little importance
to most of the investigators at the scene except that the shots
were thought to have come from there.
Let us examine this parking lot. It was leased by Deputy
Sheriff B. D. Gossett. He in turn rented parking space by the
month to the deputies who worked in the court house, except for
official vehicles. I rented one of these spaces from Gossett when
I was a dispatcher working days or evenings. I paid Gossett $3.00
per month and was given a key to the lot. An 3 interesting point
is that the lot had an iron bar across the only entrance and exit
(which were the same). The bar had a chain and lock on it. The
only people having access to it were deputies with keys. Point:
how did the woman gain access and, what is more important, who was
she and WHY did she HAVE to leave?
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