Did Howard Leslie Brennan Really Attend
an Identification Lineup?

by Ian Griggs

As I think we are all aware, Lee Harvey Oswald seemed to be officially declared "guilty" within a very short time of his arrest. When I say "officially" I mean in the eyes of the Dallas Police Department, the FBI and the Dallas District Attorney's office. 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 cross the T's and dot the I's 1. I think the expression "Case Closed" saw the light of day in Dallas 30 years before Gerald Posner used it as the title of his nasty little book.

Maybe this was also the reason that the separate identity parades which Oswald attended were conducted in such a haphazard, unfair and downright sloppy manner. They could almost have been filmed and shown to future police recruit classes as how not to do it!

The Reliability of Eyewitness Testimony
Illogical as it may seem, the least reliable form of identification is that of the eyewitness. This is an obvious anomaly since it is natural to assume that this would be the most accurate and straightforward means of verifying a person's presence at a certain place at a certain time.How often do we use the phrase "I saw it with my own eyes" as a means of stressing that something is true? The human perception and memory are, however, nowhere near as accurate as we mistakenly believe.

I know that this is not a view shared by all researchers. Indeed, in the 1997 book Assassination Science, Dr David Mantik goes to great lengths to claim the opposite. I can only speak from my own professional experience over many years in dealing with eyewitnesses giving descriptions of people they have seen. I even recall an occurrence in 1974 when my witness got the person's colour wrong!

Was There Really a Howard Brennan Lineup?
It should have been a relatively simple task to track down the records of the Oswald lineups. That, however, was not the case. Apart from discrepancies in some of the official records and documentation, I encountered some confusing claims in assassination literature. For example, I read in Ray and Mary La Fontaine's Oswald Talked that "(John) Elrod says today that he was put on a chain with Oswald, (and) appeared in lineups ..." That is patently untrue, but then as far as I am concerned, so is the title of that book 2.

One "official" account (published in the Warren Commission Report) indicates that between his arrest at 1.50pm on Friday 22nd and his death less than 46 hours later, Lee Harvey Oswald was put up on five separate lineups before no less than nine witnesses 3. Four of these lineups are scrupulously described 4 and it is a simple matter to trace who appeared on them, either as witnesses or as Oswald's companions in the line, and which police officers organised them. During the preparation of this paper, I began to form a suspicion that the other lineup, the one involving Howard Leslie Brennan, never actually took place.

This suspicion grew rapidly when I found another "official" version (again, published in the Warren Commission Report), which indicated that the only lineups attended by Oswald on Friday 22nd were those "at about 4:20" (obviously Helen Markham), "two hours later, at 6:20pm" (this would be Callaway, Guinyard and McWatters) and "a third lineup at about 7.40pm" (obviously the Davis sisters-in-law). The fourth and final lineup described is one at 2:15pm the following day 5.

Howard Brennan

Only 32 pages separate these two conflicting "official" accounts but in that brief space, Howard Leslie Brennan's possible attendance at an Oswald lineup has been completely erased from the record. The Warren Commission appears to be backing both horses in a two-horse race - and hoping that nobody notices. Well I have noticed, and as far as I am concerned, there can only be one of two possible explanations here:

  1. Howard Leslie Brennan never attended a lineup at which Lee Harvey Oswald appeared;

  2. Howard Leslie Brennan did attend an Oswald lineup but when he either failed or refused to identify him as the man he claimed to have seen in the sixth floor window, it was decided by the authorities to expunge all reference to Brennan being at the lineup.

I will deal with the four definite lineups first before returning to the vexed question of Mr Brennan later.

How the Oswald Lineups Were Organised
Under English Law, with which I am obviously far more conversant, the rules and procedures for the conduct of identity parades (lineups) have always been very strictly laid down and adhered to. In England, in 1963 as now, it was required for the parade to consist of at least eight persons plus the suspect. They were to be "of similar age, height, general appearance and position in life" as the suspect.

Unfortunately for Oswald, the situation in Dallas, Texas in November 1963 was somewhat different.

The Oswald lineups were conducted in what was known colloquially as the showup room (sometimes also called the assembly room or the lineup room) in the basement of DPD Headquarters. I believe I am one of very few researchers who has had the opportunity to visit this part of the old City Hall 6. It is no longer used for that purpose and now serves as a combined office and refreshment room. The raised wooden platform on which the members of the lineups were paraded is still in its original position on the left as you enter but the set of horizontal lines on the wall behind it, indicating the lineup members' height, together with the numbers 1 to 6, has long been painted out 7.

This showup room was "perhaps 50 feet long and 20 feet wide" 8 and was the scene of the well-known press conference held at 12.30am on the morning of 23rd November. This was the occasion when Oswald was paraded before the press and Jack Ruby gained admittance and corrected DA Henry Wade when he misquoted the name of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee as Free Cuba Movement 9.

Standing there, on that platform, as I did in November 1996, it is easy to drift back in time and imagine the scene back in November 1963. It's a pretty scary experience.

The procedure for each of the Oswald lineups was that he was included with just three other individuals 10. Those three would line up first and Oswald was then invited to take whatever position he chose. All four men were then handcuffed together and they stood under strong lighting facing a one-way nylon screen. They could not see through it but the eyewitness, who stood on the other side of it, could see them. The members of the parade were allocated the numbers 1 to 4, these numbers being displayed over their heads.

When the eyewitness was in position, each man was asked to step forward in turn and state his name and place of work. The eyewitness then studied the four men full-face and then in profile. The witness was instructed that if he recognized the suspect, he should indicate that person's number to one of the officers conducting the lineup.

I have never heard it asked where the other people on these lineups came from? I think it important that this is addressed and to answer it, we can do no better than go to the Warren Commission testimony of DPD Detective Elmer L. Boyd 11. He is being questioned by Assistant Counsel Ball, who puts just that same point to him:

BALL: "What is the usual thing - when you are going to have a showup and you are in charge of investigation, who picks the people who appear in the showup?"

BOYD: "Well, most of the time we call down to the jail office and have them send us down - if he's already in jail, we just have them send up there and get him and just how many we want in the showup and we tell them to give us this particular one - or three or four men - whatever the case may be."

BALL: "Who picks them?"

BOYD: "The jailers upstairs."

BALL: "Do you tell them to get all the same color?"

BOYD: "Yes sir; we always tell them to get them all the same color. I never have had much trouble getting them all the same color."

BALL: "What about the size and weight?"

BOYD: "Now, we always tell them to get them as near the same size and age and weight as they can. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't."

I don't think I need to labour this point. It seems that there were no set rules and regulations laid down for the procedure when assembling a lineup. It appears almost to have been made up as it went along. Even the number of people on it seemed to be up to the individual whim of the officer in charge 12. It did not seem particularly important that the size, age and weight of the lineup members were similar to that of the suspect. As Detective Boyd said: "Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't." Let us give credit where credit is due however. At least they tried to get people the same colour as the suspect - and as far as I can find, there were no females on any of the Oswald lineups!

In each of the four lineups I am discussing here, Oswald was accompanied by three other people - but not always the same three. Some of them appeared on more than one lineup. The total number involved in those four lineups with Oswald was eight 13.

The following are brief descriptions of Oswald and the eight people who appeared with him on those four lineups 14.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Patrolman J D Tippit. Age 24, 5'9" tall, weight 131 pounds, brown hair, grey eyes, wearing a brown shirt and dark trousers. (He changed to a white tee-shirt for the final parade.) He had a black eye and cuts to his forehead and lip. According to Detective Boyd, Oswald's clothes were "a little rougher in character" than the others and the others were "better dressed than Oswald". It is on record (an FBI report reproduced on page 625 of the Warren Report) that during an FBI interview on 23rd, "Oswald complained of a lineup wherein he had not been granted a request to put on a jacket similar to those worn by some of the other individuals in the lineup."

William E Perry, an Acting Detective with the DPD Vice Squad. Late 20s, 5'11", 150 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes, medium fair complexion. Wearing brown sports coat, no tie. Commission Exhibit 1054 shows two photographs of Perry with the next two gentlemen I describe.

Richard L Clark, a DPD Vice Squad Detective. Late 20s, 5'11", weighed about 177 pounds, blond hair, blue eyes, fair complexion. Wearing red vest (for the benefit of my fellow Brits, that means waistcoat), white short-sleeved shirt, brown trousers with belt. This man was very blond, two inches taller than Oswald and 46 pounds heavier!

Don R. Ables, a civilian Jail Clerk employed by the DPD at City Hall. Ables was in his mid 20s, 5'9" tall, weighed around 165 pounds, and had dark hair, brown eyes and a ruddy complexion. On each of the three lineups he attended, he wore a white shirt, a grey-knit sweater and dark trousers. (7H 239-242). There is an individual photograph of Ables at Commission Exhibit 745.

Richard Walter Borchgardt, a remand prisoner being held on suspicion of firearms, burglary and theft offences. He was 23 years old, 5'9", 161 pounds and had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Ellis Carl Brazel, another prisoner, on remand for motoring offences. He was 21 years old, 5'10", 169 pounds and had blond hair, green eyes and a ruddy complexion.

John Thurman Horne, also on remand for motoring offences. He was 18 years old. Other details not known.

David Edmond Knapp, another prisoner, on remand on suspicion of burglary and theft. He was also 18 years old. No other details.

Daniel Gutierrez Lujan, another prisoner, arrested on 21st November on suspicion of narcotics offences. He was 26 years old., 5'8", 170 pounds and had black hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. He confirmed that he was of Mexican descent. This man was an inch shorter than Oswald but nearly 40 pounds heavier!

I will now take you through those four lineups and as I do so, I am sure that you will agree with me that the deck was very much stacked against the suspect. With respect to our friend John Kelin, "Fair Play" - certainly towards the suspect - had been tossed out of the window! I will spend some time setting the scene for the first lineup but the subsequent ones were conducted in an identical manner.

The First Lineup - Mrs Helen Louise Markham - the Utter Screwball
The first lineup was convened less than three and a half hours after the murder of Patrolman J D Tippit. Its purpose was to give 47-year old Dallas waitress Mrs Helen Louise Markham the opportunity to pick out the man she claimed to have seen shoot the officer. I will point out here that there are problems establishing the exact times of all these lineups. In each case, I will use the time given in the official DPD investigation file 15. According to that document, this lineup was held at 4.35pm.

As on all three lineups on Friday 22nd, Oswald selected the no. 2 position in the four-man lineup and was handcuffed to the man on either side of him. His companions were Acting Detective Perry (no.1), Detective Clark (no. 3) and Jail Clerk Don Ables (no.4).

When Mrs Markham had been brought in and was in position on the other side of the one-way nylon screen, each man was asked to step forward and state his name and place of employment. Perhaps significantly, only Oswald was truthful here. The three DPD employees (by their own admission in their later sworn testimony), each gave fictitious answers. Oswald was the only one of the four with facial injuries; he had been named and shown on TV that afternoon and it had also been broadcast that his place of employment was believed to be the source of the attack on Kennedy. In view of those facts, it cannot be claimed that everything was being arranged with scrupulous fairness to the suspect!

As for the witness, she was hardly in a fit state to undertake the responsible task of identifying (or not identifying, as the case may be) the killer of Patrolman Tippit. Homicide Detective L. C. Graves, one of those organising the lineup, said that she was "quite hysterical" and "crying and upset" 16 and there was even talk of her being sent to hospital. In his testimony, Captain Fritz stated: "We were trying to get that showup as soon as we could because she was beginning to faint and getting sick. In fact I had to leave the office and carry some ammonia across the hall, they were about to send her to the hospital or something and we needed that identification real quickly, and she got to feeling all right after using this ammonia." 17.

According to the Warren Report, Mrs Markham "identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man who shot the policeman" 18. The Report also stated that "in testimony before the Commission, Mrs Markham confirmed her positive identification of Lee Harvey Oswald as the man she saw kill Officer Tippit" 19.

Sylvia Meagher, in Accessories After the Fact, argued that the testimony of this alleged eyewitness to the shooting of Tippit by Oswald, lacks any semblance of credibility 20. Several members of the Warren Commission staff have subsequently voiced their opinions of Mrs Markham's value as a witness. Assistant Counsel Liebeler has described her testimony as "contradictory and worthless" 21, whilst Assistant Counsel Ball described her as "an utter screwball" 22.

Norman Redlich, another Warren Commission staff member, is quoted as saying "The Commission wants to believe Mrs Markham and that's all there is to it." 23. I think this remark is very important since Mrs Markham was the only witness who ever claimed to have actually seen Tippit being shot. Like it or not, the investigators were stuck with her! If she had announced that the Earth was flat, they would have been hard-pressed not to believe her!

What the Warren Report does not divulge about the testimony of its star Tippit witness is the fact that she required considerable prompting concerning her identification of Oswald. In her testimony, she initially stated six times that she recognised nobody in the lineup. Tiring of this, Assistant Counsel Ball unashamedly produced one of the most amazing leading questions ever asked: "Was there a number two man in there?" After a few similar questions, he managed to get her to say "I asked... I looked at him. When I saw this man I wasn't sure but I had cold chills run all over me ... when I saw the man. But I wasn't sure." 24.

As already stated, I do not intend to deal with the other lineups in as much detail as this one. I will, however, reveal a few discrepancies and some glaring examples of unfairness, inconsideration and downright bias shown against the suspect.

The Second Lineup - a Trio of Confused People
Oswald attended a second lineup at 6.30 that same evening 25. It was held in the same showup room and featured exactly the same four people as for Mrs Markham. They took up the same positions, with Oswald again choosing to stand between Perry and Clark in the number 2 position.

On this occasion, the lineup was viewed simultaneously by three witnesses. These were Ted Callaway, Sam Guinyard and Cecil McWatters. Not only does it strike me as strange that three witnesses should attend the same parade - but here, they were not even witnesses to the same crime!

The Warren Report tells us that Callaway and Guinyard "picked Oswald as the man who had run south on Patton with a gun in his hand" immediately following the Tippit murder 26.

McWatters was the driver of the bus in which Oswald was alleged to have attempted to make his getaway after killing the President and according to the Warren Report, McWatters identified Oswald as the man who had boarded his bus shortly after the assasssination 27.

Whilst the Warren Report states that each of these three witnesses identified Oswald, there are serious doubts in each instance. Callaway had been so observant at the scene that he had asked another witness which way the gunman had fled 28. Guinyard's overall powers of observation were so acute that twice in his testimony he told Assistant Counsel Ball that the four men in the lineup "wasn't all about the same colour." They were, in fact, four white men 29. As for McWatters, it appears from his testimony that he was totally confused about exactly who he was trying to identify. As Joe Backes has stressed in a recent Fair Play article30, it now appears that McWatters was under the impression that he was identifying Roy Milton Jones, a teenager who was another passenger on his bus and was totally unconnected to Oswald.

I think it accurate to say that the so-called "identifications" of Oswald by each of these three witnesses, Callaway, Guinyard and McWatters, were decidedly unsafe.

The Third Lineup - The Sisters-In-Law
Barbara Jeanette Davis and her 16-year old sister-in-law, Virginia Ruth Davis, lived in separate apartments at 400 East 10th Street on the 22nd November 1963. That is the house right on the corner of 10th and Patton. Neither of them claimed to have seen the actual shooting of Tippit. They did, however, see a man running from the approximate area of the crime and they later retrieved four spent cartridge cases which he had emptied from a revolver.

Together, they attended an identity lineup at City Hall at 7.55pm on the 22nd 31. The lineup again had Oswald in the no. 2 position but this time his companions were two of the remand prisoners, Richard Borchgardt and Ellis Brazel (at positions 1 and 3 respectively), with Jail Clerk Don Ables again at no. 4. The procedure was identical to the two previous lineups.

The Warren Report deals with the result of this lineup in a very cold and matter-of-fact way. It states that the ladies "viewed a group of four men in a lineup and each one picked Oswald as the man who crossed their lawn while emptying his pistol." 32. A few lines later, we read that the two women "were sitting alongside one another when they made their positive identification of Oswald. Each woman whispered Oswald's number to the detective. Each testified that she was the first to make the identification." I find it difficult to imagine two witnesses sitting next to one another at an identity parade and casually indicating their opinions by whispering to a detective. To me that almost defies belief.

It seems there were two lineups in operation here. We had the Oswald lineup behind the screen whilst in front of it we had a row of three chairs on which, from left to right, sat Virginia Davis, Barbara Davis and an unnamed DPD detective 33. As the Warren Report said, each of the witnesses whispered Oswald's number to the detective. When they were later asked if they had watched any televison that afternoon, both ladies claimed that they had not. Virginia Davis, however, also stated "Our television was blurred anyway, so we couldn't hardly tell." 34. Now don't you agree with me that such a remark is significant!

At one stage, I thought it odd that these two near-eyewitnesses to a murder would not have subsequently switched on their television, but that remark convinces me that they did! Well, wouldn't you?

The Final Lineup - The Two Taxi Drivers
This lineup was assembled in the same City Hall showup room at 2.15pm the following day, Saturday 23rd November 1963 35. Again, it was an example of two witnesses attending together. This one, however, is even stranger than the one involving the Davis sisters-in-law. At least those two ladies claimed to have seen and experienced roughly the same thing.

The two men on this fourth lineup were William Wayne Whaley and William W Scoggins. Whaley was alleged to have carried Oswald from downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff in his cab. Scoggins claimed to have seen both Tippit and his killer on Tenth Street a few minutes before the shooting. These two men were not even witnesses in the same case! The only thing that had in common, apart from their first name, was the fact that they were both cab drivers. In the absence of any other explanation, I can only assume that to be the reason they attended the same lineup.

The lineup consisted of Oswald with three different remand prisoners, the teenagers John Horne and David Knapp and the Hispanic, Daniel Lujan. This time, Oswald forsook his previous number two position and occupied the number three position, with Knapp on his right and Lujan on his left.

It was now over 24 hours since the deaths of Kennedy and Tippit. The world's media - radio, TV and the press - had covered very little else in that period. Oswald's name, his photograph, his description, his place of work, his undoubted guilt, his defection to the Soviet Union and his personal history had been thrust unceasingly at the public through every branch of the media. Lee Harvey Oswald was now probably as famous as the late President himself! As if that were not enough to indicate him as the suspect, his actions and attitude on this fourth lineup certainly gave away a few clues.

Consider the following from Whaley's testimony: "But you could have picked him out without identifying him by just listening to him because he was bawling out the policemen, telling them it wasn't right to put him in line with these teenagers and all of that ... he showed no respect for the policemen, he told them what he thought of them. They knew what they were doing and they were trying to railroad him and he wanted his lawyer ... I said anyone who wasn't sure could have picked out the right one just for that." Whaley thought that Oswald was in a line "with five others ... just young kids they might have got them in jail" 36.

In view of that, is it any surprise that both Scoggins and Whaley picked out Oswald? He might just as well have had the word KILLER tattooed across his forehead!

The "Other" Lineup - Howard Leslie Brennan
As I said in my opening remarks, I originally believed that the four lineups I have described were the only ones which took place. However, the Warren Report states that Howard Leslie Brennan also attended a lineup at City Hall at which he "identified Oswald as the man who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said he was unable to make a positive identification." This is reported to have occurred at an unstated time "during the evening of November 22" 37.

As far as I can find, the only corroboration of this claim that Brennan attended a lineup are in his own Warren Commission testimony, in his posthumously-published 1987 book Eyewitness to History 38 and in the confusing testimony of Secret Service Agent Forrest V. Sorrels 39. Shortly after the completion of this paper, however, I learnt of another source which claimed that Brennan had attended the same lineup as the Davis sisters-in-law 40. This is discussed at the end of this section.

In Brennan's testimony, he said that he was picked up by Secret Service Agent Patterson "at 6 o'clock, at my home, and taken to the Dallas Police Station" 41. Somewhat confusingly, he went on to say that there were "a possibility seven more or less one" in the lineup. Since the lineup positions were permanently numbered from 1 to 6, it was not possible for there to be more than six people on the same lineup 42. When asked by Mr Belin: "Were they all white, or were there some Negroes in there?" Brennan produced the incredible reply: "I do not remember" 43. He was never asked and did not volunteer the time of the lineup.

In his book 44, Brennan quoted a different time for his journey to City Hall and described how he received a telephone call at home "about 7:15pm." He said that he was asked by FBI Agent Robert C. Lish to "come down to make an identification." He was then driven to City Hall by "one of the FBI (sic) agents who had been watching the house." This man has been identified as Dallas-based Secret Service Agent William H. Patterson 45 It is unfortunate that there is no further explanation of this odd occurrence and why the Secret Service had apparently mounted a surveillance operation on Brennan's home.

In both his book and in his testimony, Brennan described his experience at the lineup. He said that he had entered the room and immediately recognised Oswald as the number two man in "perhaps as many as seven" 46. However, he steadfastly refused to identify him. He explained that he felt personally threatened by the whole situation and as it was obvious that the police had got their man, his identification of Oswald would not make any difference. According to the account in his book, he was driven back to his home, arriving at "about 9:00 in the evening" 47. Brennan lived at 6814 Woodard Street, Urbandale, a section of East Dallas, about six miles by road from City Hall.

Forrest Verne Sorrels' Warren Commission testimony describes that it was his idea to get Brennan to a lineup that evening and he had arranged for SA Patterson to bring Brennan to City Hall. He said that Brennan was reluctant to identify Oswald and had said: "I am sorry, but I can't do it ... I just can't be positive. I'm sorry." 48. Like Brennan, Sorrels seemed uncertain of the number of men on the lineup, eventually settling for five, together with Oswald 49.

A Strange Claim
As mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, shortly after completing this paper, I was informed by a fellow researcher of a claim that Howard Brennan had been present at the same lineup as the Davis women. The origin of this was the Judy Bonner book The Investigation of Homicide 50.

On page 13, she writes: "7:40pm - Third 'show-up'. Howard Brennan identifies Oswald as man he saw in sixth floor window of Texas School Book Depository when shots were fired at motorcade. Jeanette and Virginia Davis identify him as man they saw fleeing from scene of Tippit's shooting."

On page 156, she says: "At the third show-up, Howard Brennan picked Oswald..."

Unfortunately, Ms. Bonner fails to offer anything remotely resembling a source note for this unique piece of information. Brennan attended the same lineup as the Davis women? Who says so? I can find nothing to substantiate her claim. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is nothing in the accounts or testimony of the Davis women that they shared that lineup with Brennan or with anyone else. Ms. Bonner states that Brennan identified Oswald, but we know that he never did that. Ms. Bonner's book is very DPD-orientated. She was a local newspaper crime reporter with contacts in the police department. She later moved to London and worked on the Daily Mirror.

I think Judy Bonner's unique, interesting but uncorroborated remarks here can safely be accepted as untrue - and that is precisely how I intend to regard them.

No Mention of a Brennan Lineup
I think it significant that Brennan's attendance at an Oswald identity lineup is not mentioned in any of the following places where one would expect to find it described in detail: *** Commission Exhibit 2003 (page 293 of the exhibit), which is the Warren Commission's official and comprehensive listing of all the identity parades involving Lee Harvey Oswald. It is called SHOWUPS OF OSWALD. It details the four lineups I have described and includes the names of all persons present, together with their function. The 12 members of the Dallas Police Department personnel supervising these parades are all named, as are Oswald's lineup companions. There is no mention of Brennan.

(Reproduced on pp. 458-459 of Dale Myers' With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit, are two pages of handwritten notes relating to the Oswald lineups. Myers gives their source as Box 1, Folder 10, Item 3, pages 1 and 2 at the Dallas Municipal Archives and Records Center. These notes are identical in every respect to those described as SHOWUPS OF OSWALD and were obviously the source of the information contained therein. I cannot overstress the fact that only four lineups are covered. There is no mention whatsoever of a separate Howard Brennan lineup or of Brennan being present on any of the four documented lineups.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony or affidavits of any of the DPD Officers who supervised the lineups 51. Captain Fritz described the other lineups in detail in his testimony 52 but he volunteered nothing whatsoever about one involving Brennan. When specifically asked by John J. McCloy if he was present "at the showup at which Brennan was the witness" Fritz produced one of the most confusing answers even the Warren Commission ever heard.: "I don't think I was present but I will tell you what, I helped Mr. Sorrels find the time that that man - we didn't show that he was shown at all on our records, but Mr. Sorrels called me and said he did show him and he wanted me to give him the time of the showup. I asked him to find out from his officers who were with Mr. Brennan the names of the people that we had there, and he gave me those two Davis sisters, and he said, when he told me that, of course, I could tell what showup it was and then I gave him the time." Mr McCloy, doubtless as confused by this as you and I are now, sought basic clarification and asked: "But you were not present to the best of your recollection when Brennan was in the showup?" Fritz replied: "I don't believe I was there, I doubt it." Mr McCloy obviously felt it prudent not to pursue the matter and immediately went on to ask Fritz questions about a totally unrelated subject (the Neely Street house) 53.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony of any of Oswald's lineup companions 54.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony of any of the other eyewitnesses who attended the lineups. (See my remarks concerning the Davis sisters-in-law above.)

*** The name Brennan does, however, appear in the Warren Report where it is stated that he "identified Oswald as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said that he was unable to make a positive identification." 55.

Is there any logical reason that a lineup which took place with Brennan as the witness would not be mentioned by any of the participants? The obvious conclusion is that it never took place.

There is, however, the other more sinister possibility which I touched upon earlier. Supposing that Brennan lineup did take place but Brennan completely failed to pick out Oswald, perhaps by choice. This is exactly what he claimed in his testimony 56. If the powers that be were unable to get Brennan to identify Oswald at all, would it not be in their interests to expunge all reference to that lineup? Yes, I agree that this smacks of a combination of Orwell's 1984 and Kafka's The Trial - but it would not be unique in this case. Howard Leslie Brennan had very quickly been elevated almost to celebrity status but if, when it mattered most, he failed to deliver the goods, what else could the authorities have done except adopt a head-in-the-sand attitude, deny that he even attended a lineup, and hope that the problem would go away? Perhaps it did go away - until now.

Brennan's co-authored book, Eyewitness to History, over which the investigators and report writers had no direct influence, did not appear until 24 years later, four years after his death. What about the Warren Report, you may ask? Why does that document state that Brennan attended an Oswald identity parade if the plan was to delete all reference to it? Well, as I detailed earlier, 32 pages after stating that Brennan did attend a lineup, the Report stated that he did not. This is an outstanding example of the Commission confusing even itself as it seeks to confuse the future readers of its Report.

I leave you to ponder the answer here. Whatever that may be, I contend that it was yet another ingredient in the deliberate and well-organised plan to railroad Lee Harvey Oswald, a plan that continued even after his untimely death.

* * *

It is impossible for me to acknowledge all the encouragement and assistance I have received from fellow researchers. There are just too many of them.

There are, however, some who have proved of outstanding value and have travelled much of this path with me, offering belief in what was initially a completely new approach to Howard Leslie Brennan's part in all this. Foremost among these people has been Mary Ferrell, one of the first I approached, and who wholeheartedly supported me. Martin Shackelford, as always, was a tower of strength and a fount of knowledge. Several members of the Texas Connections group deserve individual mention. Thank you Barb Junkkarinen, Michael Parks, Ed Dorsch, Connie Kritzberg, Larry Hancock, Russ Shearer, Milicent Cranor, Glenn Cressy, Cheryl Overfield, Bill Hamley, Bill MacDowall and particularly Martha Moyer. I also offer thanks to Rikky Rooksby, who helped far more than he could ever realize.

I must also acknowledge my debt to Jerry Rose and to JFK-Lancer. See below.


(Author's note: This is an amended and extended version of my paper, under the title "The Railroading of Lee Harvey Oswald", presented at the JFK-Lancer Annual Conference in Dallas in November 1998. That in turn was a development of an article published in The Fourth Decade, Vol. 1, No. 2 in January 1994 under the title "Eyewitnesses to the Kennedy and Tippit Murders.")

Ian Griggs,
24 Walton Gardens,
Waltham Abbey,
Essex EN9 1BL,

email: bjorkian@yahoo.com

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1. Just two days after the assassination, the American press was quoting Homicide Chief, Captain Will Fritz as saying: "We're convinced beyond any doubt that he killed the President. I think the case is cinched" beneath headlines proclaiming "Police say prisoner is the assassin" (New York Times, 24th November).

2. Ray and Mary La Fontaine: Oswald Talked: the New Evidence in the JFK Assassination, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., Gretna, Louisiana; 1996; p. 41.

3. Warren Commission Report (WCR) pp. 145 and 166; Commission Exhibit 2003 (p. 293 of exhibit) at 24H 347.

4. CR 2003 (p. 293 of exhibit) at 24H 347.

5. WCR p. 198.

6. 22nd November 1996.

7. The horizontal "height" lines, plus one of the six numbers below which the lineup members stood, are clearly visible in photographs in Jesse Curry's Personal JFK Assassination File, self-published, 1969; pp. 76-77. (The position of the number 6 in the centre-right photograph on p. 77 shows that there could be a maximum of only six people in a lineup.) There is an even better photograph, taken at the 12.30am press conference, on the first page of photographs in Larry Sneed's 1998 book No More Silence, published by Three Forks Press, Dallas. This shows much of the wall with the horizontal "height" lines and the position numbers 4, 5 and 6. (See also note 9 below.)

8. 4H 166 (Testimony of Chief Jesse Curry).

9. Brief footage of this press conference is included around 46 minutes into the 105 minutes-long, 1992 G.G. Communications (US) version of Nigel Turner's The Men Who Killed Kennedy. Part of the stage and the horizontal "height" lines on the wall are clearly visible. (Full transcript of this press conference appears as CE 2169.)

10. Details of the organization and set-up of the lineups involving Oswald can be found in the Warren Commission testimony of Detectives Elmer L. Boyd (7H 119-137), Charles N. Dhority (7H 149-158), Richard M. Sims (7H 158-186), Walter E. Potts (7H 195-202), Acting Detective Charles W. Brown (7H 246-251) and Detectives L. C. Graves (7H 251-260) and James R. Leavelle (7H 260-270).

11. 7H 131 (Testimony of Detective Elmer L. Boyd).

12. Detective L. C. Graves virtually reiterated what Boyd had said: "When we want to show a person up, we call the jail supervisor and tell him what we want and who we want in the showup, and to put two or three or four other people with him, the approximate age, size and so forth" (7H 253).

13. As note 4 above.

14. Compiled from the testimony of the detectives named in note 10 above.

15. As note 4 above.

16. 7H 252 (Testimony of Detective L. C. Graves).

17. 4H 212 (Testimony of Captain J. W. Fritz).

18. WCR p. 167.

19. ibid.

20. Sylvia Meagher: Accessories After The Fact, Vintage Books, New York, 1976; p. 256.

21. Edward Jay Epstein's interviews of Assistant Counsel Wesley J. Liebeler at Newfane, Vermont, 20th June - 1st July 1965.

22. Assistant Counsel Joseph A. Ball, speaking at a public debate at Beverly Hills, California, 4th December 1964

23. Assistant Counsel Norman Redlich, during Epstein's Vermont interviews at note 21 above.

24. 3H 311 (Testimony of Helen Louise Markham).

26. As with the Markham lineup, I rely on note 4 above to establish the time of this lineup.

26. WCR p. 169.

27. WCR p. 159. However, on the same page, the Report states that McWatters later "said he had been in error and that a teenager named Milton Jones was the passenger he had in mind"

28. 6H 452 (Testimony of Domingo Benavides): "And so Ted (Callaway) then got in the taxicab and the taxicab came to a halt and he asked me which way he (the supposed Tippit killer) went."

29. 7H 399 (Testimony of Sam Guinyard).

30. Fair Play web site: URL - http://rmii.com/~jkelin/fp.html (no. 24, Sept./Oct 1998)

31. As note 25 above.

32. WCR p. 168.

33. 3H 350 (Testimony of Mrs Barbara Jeanette Davis); 6H 462 (Testimony of Mrs Charlie Virginia Davis).

34. 6H 462 (Testimony of Mrs Charlie Virginia Davis).

35. As note 25 above.

36. 2H 261 (Testimony of William Wayne Whaley).

37. WCR p. 145.

38. Howard L. Brennan with J. Edward Cherryholmes: Eyewitness to History, Texian Press, Waco, Texas, 1987.

39. 7H 332-360 (Testimony of SA Forrest V. Sorrels).

40. Judy Whitson Bonner: Investigation of a Homicide: The Murder of John F. Kennedy, Droke House Publishers, Anderson, South Carolina, USA, 1969.

41. 3H 145 (Testimony of Howard Leslie Brennan).

42. See note 7 above.

43. 3H 147 (Testimony of Howard Leslie Brennan).

44. Brennan with Cherryholmes, p. 24.

45. Kathlee Fitzgerald: "Who's Who in the Secret Service," privately published, 1996; p. 168.

46. Brennan with Cherryholmes, p. 25.

47. ibid, p. 27.

48. 7H 355 (Testimony of SA Forrest V. Sorrels).

49. 7H 354 (Testimony of SA Forrest V. Sorrels).

50. See note 40 above, pp. 13 and 156.

51. Chief Jesse Curry and Homicide Detectives Sims, Boyd, Graves, Leavelle, Brown, Dhority, Moore and Potts. Detectives Hall and Senkel did not testify before the Warren Commission.

52. 4H 202-249, 15H 145-153 (Testimony of Captain J. Will Fritz).

53. 4H 237 (Testimony of Captain J. Will Fritz). At one point in his testimony, Captain Fritz describes the lineup of 2:15pm, Saturday 23rd specifically as "Showup No. 4" (4H 227). This effectively excludes the alleged Brennan lineup altogether.

54. Detectives Clark and Perry, Jail Clerk Ables and remand prisoner Lujan (7H 243-246). None of the other remand prisoners involved were called to testify.

55. WCR p. 145.

56. 3H 148 (Testimony of Howard Leslie Brennan).