This blog post benefits from a superb article by Attorney Frank Cellura, entitled, For Your Eyes Only – Manipulation of the Evidence by the Dallas Police and Proof of a Second Gunman (2003). This article artfully exposes how specific members of the Dallas Police cooperated to manipulate crucial evidence in the JFK Assassination.
The story begins a half-hour after the JFK shooting, when Dallas Deputy Luke Mooney discovered 2 spent rifle hulls, and 1 live rifle bullet under the southeast window of the TSDB 6th floor. He filed an official Evidence Report saying that he “recovered two 6.5 mm. spent hulls, and one 6.5 mm. live round.” Dallas Crime Lab supervisor, Lieutenant J.C. Day received this evidence, dusted it for fingerprints, and officially marked all three shells with his initials, to establish a chain of evidence.
That same afternoon, J. Edgar Hoover announced that the FBI would take over the JFK case, and he demanded that all the Dallas evidence be sent to Washington DC. So, the Dallas Police bundled it all starting at 10 PM, and sent it to the FBI at 11:45 PM. In that bundle, Lieutenant J.C. Day included his lab’s inventory from the TSBD 6th floor southeast window, namely, “2 spent hulls and 1 live round.”
Early in the morning in Washington DC, the FBI officially filed a receipt for the JFK evidence, including “two 6.5 mm. spent hulls, and one 6.5 mm. live round,” all properly marked by Lieutenant J.C. Day. Everything seemed clear and settled.
Then everything changed. Early in the morning in Dallas, the same Deputy Mooney filed a second version of that Evidence Report. In this version, he claimed that he had recovered “three 6.5 mm. spent hulls, and no live rounds.” He added that the live round sent last night, had been added to the inventory by Detective R.H. Sims, who worked for Captain Fritz.
Unwary FBI agents demanded to know why they had received only two 6.5 mm. spent hulls. Captain Fritz took the blame – he said he held back one spent hull for his personal research. Although these FBI agents howled to see that 3rd hull instantly, Fritz took four more days to send it over.
The FBI also wondered how Detective Sims had obtained that live round. The explanation was that as soon as Deputies found the rifle that matched those hulls, Captain Fritz grabbed the rifle and ejected a live round from it. Fritz kept that round for a few hours before giving it to Lieutenant Day for processing. The FBI accepted that explanation.
The FBI noticed that Lieutenant Day’s mark was missing from the 3rd spent hull. Captain Fritz explained that he had sent it directly to the FBI, bypassing Day. The FBI accepted this. Thus, the second version of Deputy Mooney’s Evidence Report became the FBI’s official version.
This is the starting point for a bizarre but true account of the JFK evidence in the hands of Lieutenant J.C. Day. Attorney Frank Cellura showed that Lieutenant Day presented five different versions of this story over the years. Here’s a brief summary of Cellura’s research:
STORY 1.0. (WCR IV, p. 253, 4/24/1964). Lieutenant Day told the FBI informally, three weeks before his formal FBI affidavit, that at the crime scene he marked all 3 spent hulls recovered near the 6th floor TSBD window.
STORY 2.0. (WCR IV, p. 253, 4/24/1964). Lieutenant Day told the WC that he didn’t mark the 3 hulls at the crime scene. Instead, he placed them in a marked envelope which he gave to Detective Sims.
2.1. He added that “somebody” returned the envelope to him at 10 PM, and only 2 spent hulls (CE 544, CE 545) were in that envelope. He couldn’t remember who returned the envelope while telling Day that Captain Fritz withheld the 3rd hull. So, Day marked these 2 spent hulls and sent them, along with the live round, to the Dallas FBI at 11:45 PM.
2.2. He told the WC that his mark was missing on CE 543, because this was the one that Captain Fritz held back. Fritz had given it to Day’s senior officer, Captain George Doughty, who marked it with his own initials, “GD”, before sending it to the FBI in Washington DC.
STORY 3.0. (WCR VII, p. 401-402 Affidavit 5/7/64). In early May 1964, Lieutenant Day corrected his WC testimony – Detective Dhority had reminded him that Dhority was the one who brought him the envelope at 10 PM – but it really contained 3 spent hulls. Dhority had asked Day to dust all 3 for fingerprints again. Afterwards, under orders, Dhority returned 1 spent hull (CE 543) to Captain Fritz.
STORY 4.0. (WCR VII, p. 402, Affidavit 6/23/64). In late June 1964, Lieutenant Day corrected his testimony again. He now said that Dhority took CE 545 back to Fritz, not CE 543. The reason for the confusion was that Day could not find his initials on CD 543, so he thought that this was the hull that Dhority had taken back to Fritz.
4.1. The change occurred like this. In early June 1964, the FBI in Washington DC sent CE 543, 544 and 545 back to the Dallas FBI office, where Day and Captain Doughty were called in to examine them together. Doughty used “a magnifying glass under a good light” to reveal the name “Day” on CE 543. That 3rd hull didn’t have Doughty’s mark, after all, but Day’s mark. So, now Day could again claim that he had marked all 3 spent hulls, after all.
4.2. Day did not recall when he marked the hulls. It was either: (a) when he saw them at the TSBD window; or (b) when they were returned to him by Dhority that night. Yet, because Detectives Studebaker and Sims later testified that Day marked them at the TSBD window, Day was willing to accept that.
STORY 5.0. (No More Silence, 1998, p. 232). Lieutenant Day told Larry Sneed in the 1990’s that at the 6th floor TSBD window, he gave 1 spent hull to Sims, and he kept the other 2 spent hulls. Then, he marked only the 2 spent hulls that he kept at that time, and that night sent those 2 hulls to the FBI.
When Cellura revealed that a seasoned professional like Lieutenant Day had given five different versions of his behavior in this historic event, this was a wake-up call about the behavior of Dallas law enforcement in the JFK Assassination. This revelation justifies Frank Cellura’s claim that Day had really marked only 2 spent hulls and 1 live round, simply because that was what Deputy Luke Mooney had truly found! The first Evidence Report by Deputy Mooney was the truth, after all.
Let us review. Dallas Police realizeed that they had to answer two urgent questions about the evidence:
1. At 11;45 PM on 11/22/1963, Day had sent the FBI 2 spent hulls and 1 live round. Yet, if no live round was found under the 6th floor window – then where did that live round come from?
So, Day and Fritz crafted a fiction. The source of the live round was Fritz’s theatrical ejection of a live round from the freshly discovered murder weapon at the scene of the crime.
2. Why did Day fail to find his own mark on CE 543 while on the witness stand?
So, Day and Fritz crafted another fiction. After Dhority brought all 3 spent hulls to Day at 10 PM, for a second dusting for fingerprints, Dhority, under orders, returned one spent shell to Captain Fritz, who then stubbornly withheld it from the FBI for four more days.
Those two scenarios – upon review – are obvious fictions:
It is unlikely that Fritz ejected a live round from the murder scene. The live round was more likely found at the sniper’s nest as shown by: (a) Judy Bonner’s version of photograph CE 510; and (b) Deputy Mooney’s original Evidence Report.
It is unlikely that Fritz gave orders that one spent hull had to be returned to him so that he could stubbornly keep it from the FBI for four more days. Captain Fritz more likely produced CE 543, the so-called 3rd spent hull, by ordering his experts to fire the murder rifle again, either soon after the rifle was found, or during that four-day period (as feasible), and then sent a fabricated spent hull to the FBI. That better explains the time delay.
As confirmation of his suspicion, Frank Cellura cited Judy Whitson Bonner’s book, Investigation of a Homicide (1969), which tells the JFK saga from the perspective of Sergeant Gerald Hill, her close friend. Hill reportedly gave Judy Bonner several photos, including a clearer and more original version of CE 510. This clearer photo shows 2 spent hulls and 1 live round.
I emphasize that Lieutenant Day didn’t even bother to dispute the simple fact that that his photographs of the sniper’s nest (CE 715 and 716) showed boxes in a different position than the photos (CE 480, 481, 482) taken by Dallas Morning News chief photographer, Tom Dillard.
Dillard was riding in the JFK motorcade that day. JFK’s limo had turned the corner from Houston to Elm, as Dillard’s car had turned the corner from Main to Houston. Tom Dillard and his partner heard rifle shots – and they looked up at the TSBD and saw a rifle sticking out of the 6th floor southeast window, being pulled back inside. Tom quickly took a photograph of the TSBD upper floors. This was within seconds of the JFK shooting. We know it’s authentic because it shows TSBD employees, Harold Norman and Bonnie-Ray Williams, in the 5th floor window. The WC attorneys regarded this photo as valid evidence. The FBI obtained Dillard’s photo and made enlargements that revealed boxes in the 6th floor TSBD southeast window that were in a different position than the boxes shown in Day’s photos.
The comparison of the Dillard photos with and Day’s sniper’s nest photos is good evidence that Dallas police really did violate the scene of the crime by moving boxes around at will.
If correct, this evidence challenges every Dallas policeman and deputy who testified about a TSBD 3-shot fiction. They are now all under suspicion of deliberate roles in concealing the reality of multiple shooters in Dealey Plaza. These Dallas officers were not mere witnesses at the crime scene, but they also handled and catalogued the evidence, so I suspect them all of varying degrees of complicity. Some might even be complicit in framing LHO in New Orleans and Mexico City, or in obtaining LHO’s rifle under false pretenses, or in framing Ruth and Michael Paine, or some other sinister role.
Therefore, Frank Cellura is justified in his claim that the TSBD 3-shot scenario was an elaborate fabrication involving many Dallas law enforcement officers. This supports my theory – that the Dallas Deputies and Police were up to their necks in the Dallas JFK plot.
THE LIVE ROUND FABRICATION
Neither version of the Dallas Evidence Report said anything about Captain Fritz ejecting that live round from the murder weapon. Yet in 1964 the WC counted four officers (Fritz, Sims, Day and Weitzman) who testified that Captain Fritz did just that, only minutes after the rifle was found by Deputy Boone. So, the WC saw that as a legal fact. (Compare this with the WC count of nine Dallas officers [Fritz, Sims, Day, Studebaker, Boyd, Johnson, Mooney, Craig and Weitzman] who testified to seeing 3 spent hulls under the TSBD 6th floor southeast window.)
We cannot be surprised that Detective Sims added his name to the second version of Mooney’s Evidence Report, which had changed a 2-hull inventory into a 3-hull inventory. Detective Sims was a constant companion of his boss, Captain Fritz, and basically agreed with anything he said.
Captain Fritz was no technician – he performed no technical comparisons. Yet, when Fritz swore that he held back CE 543 for ballistics comparison, many DPD officers of lower rank supported his story in sworn WC testimony. That made it a legal fact.
By the way, CE 716 is another version of CE 510, it is clearer than CE 510, though not as clear as the Bonner photo, which shows seams in the floor, the space between the wall and floor and so on. Actually, CE 510 is the weakest resolution of the three.
Lieutenant Day, the expert, came up with five different stories in his attempts to tell the WC Chairman which shells he’d marked, which he hadn’t marked, and when he marked them. Attorney Frank Cellura makes a convincing argument that no 3rd spent hull was found at the scene, but was invented the morning after the JFK murder, in order to support a 3-shot scenario.
The nonsense that Dallas Captain George Doughty found Day’s mark on CE 543 by using “a magnifying glass and a good light,” insults common sense. If Day could not remember when, where or whether he marked the hull, and then failed read his own signature under oath because the writing was so small – then it is unlikely that he signed it at all. It is more likely that somebody else placed that tiny mark there.
Readers with lots of familiarity with JFK research know that there is widespread debate about spent hull CE 543. Besides Cellura, we can name Gary Murr and many others. There are many ballistic reports that suggest that this spent shell was not fired along with the other two shells.
More to my point – the careful research by Attorney Frank Cellura is that the JFK shooter from the TSBD 6th floor window shot only twice. This, all by itself, is evidence of a conspiracy, because at least one more shooter is required for the third shot at JFK. Even more – this is equally strong evidence that specific members of Dallas law enforcement had conspired to falsify evidence and agree to false stories about it.
P.S. Some readers might ask why I’ve ignored the insights from the first-hand account of news cameraman Tom Alyea, who was on the 6th floor taking 400 feet of film during the enormous search, and the discovery of the assassin’s bullets and rifle. After all, film doesn’t lie. Yet, I say that Tom Alyea was fooled by Dallas law enforcement officers into believing that he was among the first to see the “3 spent hulls.”
The main problem I have with Alyea’s account is his failure to provide a proper timeline. He jumps around and is uncertain about his sequence of events – what to speak of exact times.
For example: Alyea erroneously believed that he was among the first to see the 3 hulls, and he was uncertain when Deputy Luke Mooney arrived at the 6th floor. Alyea surmised that Mooney arrived after he himself had arrived. I say that Alyea was far from the first on the 6th floor, rather, several Dallas Deputies (including Luke Mooney) were there long beforehand, and they really planted the evidence for other Dallas officers, news cameras and reporters to see. This would mark a major error in Alyea’s account.
Otherwise, Alyea’s account merits further attention. For example, Alyea claimed that long before Lieutenant J.C. Day had arrived, Captain Fritz had casually picked up the 3 three spent hulls and put them into his own pocket. In Alyea’s account, Lieutenant Day really photographed the rifle long before he photographed the hulls, contrary to his testimony. Also, while J.C. Day was dusting the rifle, Alyea claimed to see Captain Fritz hand those 3 hulls to Day’s assistant, Bob Studebaker, instructing him to toss them on the floor by the window later, to photograph them. That might have been a misunderstanding, or it might be true, since we know that J.C. Day changed his story so many times.
The WC testimony of Deputy Luke Mooney openly admitted that Day’s photographs looked different compared with his memory of the scene! Mooney admitted that Captain Fritz handled all the evidence! All this tends to confirm the account of Tom Alyea. Yet regarding the spent hulls themselves, Alyea believed that he was one of the first to discover the scene of the 3 spent hulls – and I sincerely doubt it.