excerpt; "During the assassination, several witnesses saw a gun barrel protruding from the southeast window which we know was occupied five or ten minutes earlier by the elderly negro. James Worrell, for instance, told the FBI on November 23, 1963, that he ‘saw the barrel of a rifle sticking out of a window over my head about 5 or 6 stories up.’ He saw it fire before he ‘got scared and ran from the location.’ (16H959; cf. 2H193-194) Just after the last shot, Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald, who was travelling with the motorcade itself, saw ‘what looked like a rifle … drawn fairly slowly back into the building.’ (2H159)
The problem, though, is that all these persons caught sight of only the rifle, not the person wielding it. When it comes to the all-important task of identifying the shooter himself, we are left with the testimony of only two eyewitnesses, 15-year old African American schoolboy, Amos Lee Euins, and white construction worker Howard Brennan. Unfortunately, while both individuals saw a shooter who resembles one of the two individuals seen by numerous witnesses on the sixth floor, each saw a different man. While Brennan saw the white man shooting, Euins saw Rowland’s elderly negro. Althought the testimony of neither individual can be accorded precedence over the other with any certainty, it is obvious that only one of them could have been right and the other has to have been mistaken. After a brief examination of their testimony, I propose a tentative, but plausible resolution of the problem.
Of the two eyewitnesses to the commission of the most important political assassination since Sarajevo, Brennan is by far the better known. Within seconds of the crime, Howard Brennan was telling people that he had seen the shooter. He soon became the lynchpin of the case against Oswald. He told the Warren Commission that the shooter had been ‘in his early thirties, fair complexion, slender but neat, neat slender, possibly 5-foot 10’ and weighed ‘from 160 to 170 pounds.’ When explicitly asked, Brennan affirmed that the shooter had been white. (3H144) However, we now know that Brennan was never in a position to furnish so full a description of the assassin. Beginning with Sylvia Meagher’s Accessories After The Fact (1967), evidence has steadily mounted that Brennan has to have been lying, at least about some of his claims. According to Duffy and Ricci, ‘Brennan’s testimony is full of discrepancies, including the fact that he said the man in the window was standing, which allowed him to estimate the man's height and weight. Photos taken seconds after the shooting show the window was raised less than halfway, suggesting the shooter would have had to kneel.’ Even Joseph Ball of the Warren Commission was sceptical: ‘In staging a reconstruction on March 20, 1964, Ball found that Brennan had trouble seeing a figure in the window, and thus it seemed doubtful Brennan could have positively identified a man in the partially opened 6th floor window, 120 feet away.’ Furthermore, Brennan’s figure, which can be clearly seen in the Zapruder film, was in a somewhat different position and posture to that which he told the Warren Commission he had been in. He therefore did not have as good a view of the sixth floor window as he would have to have had to furnish as full a description of the shooter as he did.
Because Brennan had clearly ‘sexed up’ his testimony, many researchers have dismissed him as a phoney. Harold Roffman, for examples, states that Brennan’s account ‘warrants not the slightest credence.’ (Presumed Guilty, ch. 7) Yet there is one good reason why it is not possible to dismiss his testimony altogether and that is the curious fact that the description he furnished of the sixth floor shooter resembles the white man seen by many other witnesses rather than Oswald. If Brennan was simply a liar looking for his fifteen minutes of fame, it has to be regarded as an extreme coincidence that his description of the shooter resembled the white man seen by many other witnesses. If Brennan had been pressured by the Warren Commission into providing a description that supported its case against Oswald, he should have at least gratified his interrogators by describing the sniper as aged in his early 20s rather than his early 30s. This, however, he did not do. Furthermore, as all Brennan’s critics are aware, when Brennan saw Oswald in the police lineup on the evening of November 22, his response was merely that Oswald looked more like the shooter than anyone else in the lineup – a statement which obviously falls far short of an identification. Since Brennan’s description of the shooter conforms with the white man seen earlier by Rowland and other eyewitnesses, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that he really had caught a glimpse of one of the two men on the sixth floor.
Unfortunately, however, it remains in doubt when Brennan first began to claim that he had seen the shooter himself rather than only the rifle. In my judgment, the more reliable of the two witnesses is Amos Euins. Unlike Brennan, whose original statements cannot be reconstructed at all, Euins identified the TSBD shooter as a coloured man to a police motorcycle officer, David V. Harkness, within five minutes of the assassination. (6H310) Unfortunately, Harkness neglected to tell the Warren Commission that Euins had identifed the shooter to him as a coloured man. However, we know that Euins had done so because he was overheard speaking to Harkness by newsman, James R. Underwood of KRLD-TV, who had just alighted from the press car in which, sitting next to Bob Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald, he had been travelling in the motorcade. Underwood then questioned Euins further, establishing to his satisfaction that Euins had seen a coloured man shooting. (6H170)Euins’s testimony therefore supports the view that the shooter had been Rowland’s elderly negro.
It is true that in an affidavit taken in the Sheriff’s Department on November 22, 1963, Euins states that the gunman ‘was a white man.’ (16H963) But when he was deposed by the Warren Commission, Euins, while not going so far as to state that he had seen a black man, did insist that his Sheriff’s Department deposition was incorrect and that he had never identified the man as a white man. His explanation was that the person taking down his statement had misinterpreted his reference to a ‘white spot’ on the man’s head for the identification of a white man. (2H208) Taking into account the considerable pressure he seems to have been under to admit that he had originally identified the gunman as a white man, denying that the man had been white seems to have been as far as Euins felt able to go in the intimidating situation in which he had suddenly found himself. (2H204, 205-6, 207) We can be certain that if Euins had been as tenacious a personality as Rowland he would have insisted that the shooter had been a coloured man."
Anoter excerpt; "A voice from Dallas: “It is thought that a Negro was involved in the assassination attempt.” A black courtroom attendant shift from one foot to the other as he tried to look innocent. The others in the room tried not to stare at him." (p. 13)
The Movie 'JFK' from 1991, made by Oliver Stone, also depicts a black man in the "hit-team".
Arnold Rowland talking about the 'eldery negro man';
Excerpt from the Warren Report (Chapter III); "Other witnesses saw a rifle in the window after the shots were fired. Robert H. Jackson, staff photographer, Dallas Times Herald, was in a press car in the Presidential motorcade, eight or nine cars from the front. On Houston Street about halfway between Main and Elm, Jackson heard the first shot. As someone in the car commented that it sounded like a firecracker, Jackson heard two more shots. He testified: Then we realized or we thought that it was gunfire, and then we could not at that point see the President's car. We were still moving slowly, and after the third shot the second two shots seemed much closer together than the first shot, than they were to the first shot. Then after the last shot, I guess all of us were just looking all around and I just looked straight up ahead of me which would have been looking at the School Book Depository and I noticed two Negro men in a window straining to see directly above them, and my eyes followed right on up to the window above them and I saw the rifle or what looked like a rifle approximately half of the weapon, I guess I saw, and just as I looked at it, it was drawn fairly slowly back into the building, and I saw no one in the window with it. I didn't even see a form in the window.
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