JFK: Evidence Oswald was on the 1st floor minutes before the shooting

24 May

JFK: Evidence Oswald was on the 1st floor minutes before the shooting

Richard Charnin
May 24, 2015

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This post is largely based on Gil Jesus’ excellent analysis.

Oswald’s whereabouts between 11:45am and 12:25pm is documented by 4 different witnesses who claimed to have seen him on the first floor. According to Dallas Homicide Captain Will Fritz, Oswald told him that he was on the first floor in the “Domino Room” at the time of the assassination having his lunch. Fritz testified: “I asked him what part of the building at the time the President was shot. He said he was having lunch at about this time on the first floor.” But it was not until 1997 that Fritz’s notes of his interview of Oswald were released in which Oswald said that he was “out with Bill Shelley in front”.

 JFK’s motorcade was scheduled to be at Dealey Plaza at 12:25pm but was 5 minutes late. Oswald was seen on the first floor of the TSBD at 12:25pm by Carolyn Arnold  as she was exiting the building. Arnold was not interviewed by the Warren Commission. 

The “Domino Room” was a recreation room on the first floor where the employees would take their breaks. The lunchroom was on the second floor, but many of the warehouse employees used the first floor “Domino Room” to eat lunch and play dominoes. TSBD witness testimony was unanimous: Oswald ALWAYS ate his lunch in the Domino room-which was on the same floor as the entrance to the TSBD.

At least five witnesses claimed they saw Oswald on the first floor.

1. Charles Givens told the FBI that he saw Oswald reading a newspaper in the Domino room at 11:50 am. Givens testified that when he saw Oswald reading, it was usually “right at lunch time” – and Oswald always ate lunch in the Domino Room.

2. William Shelley gave testimony supporting Oswald being in the first floor Domino Room at 11:50.

3. Janitor Eddie Piper also saw Oswald on the first floor at about noon.

These sightings of Oswald on the first floor between 11:45 and 12:00 give credibility to Givens’ original account of seeing Oswald reading the newspaper in the Domino Room at 11:50 am. They also imply that Givens, under tremendous pressure, changed his story to not seeing Oswald at all that day.

4. Carolyn Arnold told the FBI that after she left the TSBD, she caught a glimpse of someone she thought was Oswald on the first floor. FBI notes indicated that she claimed to have seen Oswald “a few minutes before 12:15. But in her original statement she indicated that she left the building at 12:25, a fact that she repeated in a March 1964 affidavit.

If Arnold left the building at 12:25 pm to watch the parade and saw Lee Harvey Oswald on the first floor “standing between the front door and the double doors leading to the warehouse”, he could not have been the killer of President Kennedy. It also means that the FBI lied in its report on the time that she claimed to have seen him. They needed Oswald in the sixth floor window at 12:25, so they changed the time to a few minutes before 12:15, rather than a few minutes after 12:25, in order to give Oswald time to get to the 6th floor.  Arnold was never called as a witness by the Warren Commission.

5. Occhus Campbell, Vice-President of the TSBD, informed the NY Herald Tribune on 11/23/63 that shortly following the assassination, Oswald was seen on the ground (first) floor near the storage room.

The sightings of Oswald on the first floor by these witnesses BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER Arnold Rowland saw a man on the sixth floor with a rifle, make it IMPOSSIBLE for Oswald to have been that man.

The Lunchroom Encounter: fact or fiction?

Roy Truly told Will Fritz on the day of the assassination that he saw Oswald near the storage room on the first floor as he went inside with officer Marrion Baker.

Baker made no mention in his 11/22/63 affidavit of encountering a man in the 2nd floor lunchroom as he made his way up the stairs. Why didn’t the WC question Baker about the affidavit in which he stated that he saw a man who did not match Oswald’s appearance on the third or fourth floor walking away from the stairwell? Roy Truly said the man worked at the TSBD. There was no mention of encountering anyone in the 2nd floor lunchroom.

During questioning by FBI agent James W. Bookhout, Oswald claimed that he saw two “Negro employees” in the Domino Room. One he recognized as “Junior”; the other was a shorter man whose name he did not recall. The “Junior” he referred to was James “Junior” Jarman; the other man was Harold Norman.

In his WC testimony, Jarman admitted being in the Domino Room at the time Oswald said he was, but denied seeing Oswald. He said that after descending from the sixth floor he went to the first floor to wash up. He then picked up his lunch in the Domino Room and went upstairs to the second floor to buy a soda from the machine. He returned to the “Domino Room” where he ate a part of his sandwich while standing, then walked around on the first floor eating his sandwich and drinking his soda.

Harold Norman also ate his lunch in the Domino Room. Although he admitted that there was someone else there with him, he “could not remember who ate in the domino room with me”. Norman’s lack of memory of who had lunch with him on the day the President of the United States was assassinated is strange. He remembered that after eating his lunch, he stood on the sidewalk with Danny Arce. He recalled seeing Roy Truly and TSBD Vice President O.V. Campbell and Billy Lovelady outside as well. He said that he returned to the building with James Jarman. He remembered coming out of the building after the shooting and seeing Howard Brennan. He remembered being interviewed by an FBI agent named Kreutzer on November 26th.

Harold Norman could remember all of these details, but not who he had lunch with in the “Domino Room”. Could the other person in the Domino Room have been someone other than Oswald? The FBI never investigated or determined who that person was.

If Oswald had been on the sixth floor prior to 12:15, as the Commission believed, it was a remarkable coincidence that out of all of the employees of the TSBD, Oswald was able to pick out two who were together as he claimed, on the same floor as he claimed, in the same room as he claimed and at the same time as he claimed.

These co-workers of Oswald all testified that Oswald ate his lunch in the first floor Domino Room. Givens went so far to say that Oswald always ate lunch there. Williams and Jarman gave testimony that proved that Oswald’s leaving the building after lunch was not out of the ordinary.

The Altgens6 photo

JFK:  Oswald in the Doorway - An Opinion Survey

“The first step to creating the false impression that Lee Harvey Oswald was on the 6th floor of the School Book Depository was to distort the photograph. Clearly, it is not possible to remove a face or faces from the area of the doorway of the TSBD unless the Altgens photo was deliberately defaced.  

Three witnesses confirm the fact that Lovelady was with them on the steps of the Depository, William Shelley (6H328), Sarah Stanton (22H647), and Wesley Frazier (22H675). But in the WCH, Shelley testified under oath that Lovelady was SITTING DOWN on the top step directly in front of Shelley, and that is why the man pictured in the Doorway is not Lovelady, and J. Edgar Hoover knew it. Even Lovelady claimed that he was with Shelley, and the man in the Doorway appears to be alone and he is wearing Lee Harvey Oswald’s shirt.

Lovelady did not appear to be asked about the shirt he was wearing on the day of the assassination by the Warren Commission. According to Michael Benson, Lovelady said he was wearing a red and white stripped shirt. However, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) claimed he was wearing a plaid shirt. Unfortunately, Lovelady was not able to confirm this as he died just before the publication of the HSCA report. He died of a heart-attack aged 42 in January, 1979. And that’s pretty solid evidence that somebody did not want to publish the obvious truth”.

The Doors of Perception, by William Kelly, is a comprehensive analysis of the Truly and Baker movements.

Shawn Murphy: Was Marrion Baker the True Source of Inspector Sawyer’s Suspect Description? Prayer Man’s location, at the top of the steps, suggests that he is unlikely to have been a passer–by. He is more likely to have been someone who worked inside the TSBD building, as were the fourteen witnesses known to have been standing in the doorway during the assassination. All of the TSBD white, male, manual workers, except for Oswald, were accounted for. A process of elimination   indicates that Prayer Man may have been Oswald.

Related Posts: 1 JFK: Oswald on the Top Level; Lovelady on the Steps 2 JFK: Judyth Baker’s analysis of the shirt proves Oswald is Doorman 3 JFK: To Believe Oswald was NOT standing in front of the TSBD you must believe  4 JFK: Oswald was “Out with Bill Shelley in Front” 5  JFK: Oswald in the Doorway – an Opinion Survey


Posted by on May 24, 2015 in JFK


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8 responses to “JFK: Evidence Oswald was on the 1st floor minutes before the shooting

  1. TAD

    February 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Oswald appears by all accounts to either have been on the first floor, or possibly had even left the TSBD prior to the presidents arrival to Dealey Plaza; and was already on his way back to Oak Cliff. You can email me at and receive my totally “free” sixteen page report; which clears up all of the so-called mysteries behind JFK’s death in Dallas. Included among which was Kennedy man Oswald’s part in a CIA-Mafia plot which failed horribly and resulting in JFK’s tragic and unexpected death in Dallas. As well as learn inside details of the desperate and panicked Robert Kennedy/Secret Service/Navy Intelligence cover up which began taking place quickly after the fact. And, all carried out in an attempt to hide both this this failed plot, as well as Oswald’s key role in it!!!

  2. Bruce miller

    February 11, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    If Oswald really was prayer man, why is he in a short sleeved shirt when the dark shirt he was arrested in was clearly long sleeved ?

    • Richard Charnin

      February 12, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Prayerman and Altgens6 were taken at different times.

      Quoting Sean Murphy:

      Oswald is reported as having told Fritz that he changed shirts at his N. Beckley apartment, which would make the arrest shirt irrelevant to Prayer Man images.
      The shirt he’s wearing in the Prayer Man frames is either short-sleeved or long-sleeved with sleeves rolled up.
      Bookhout’s contemporaneous interrogation notes (whose contents we know thanks to Fritz’s handwritten copy) make mention of a longsleeve red[dish] shirt.

      It’s hardly a stretch to imagine Oswald rolling up his sleeves while getting stock.
      And the reason we don’t have any images of him with sleeves rolled up is that we don’t have any images of him engaged in manual labour.

  3. HE

    February 14, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    there is a picture of Oswald and Billy passing each other when Oswald was arrested in the dallas police department that was on film and it shows both with the shirts they were wearing. and Oswald shirt does match door man. it comes down to people wanting to believe that our government and police, would not lie to us. lol. they would! also understand that CIA, FBI,Dallas PD. were all pointing their fingers at each other when things went wrong. Again I say to those with open minds to see and learn keep it simple connect the dots we know what happen the information is in front of us.

  4. Jeffrey Liakos

    September 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    If Lee Harvey Oswald was on the 1st floor minutes before the shooting, how could he have fired any shots?

    • Richard Charnin

      September 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      He couldn’t. That’s the point. He was seen by Carolyn Arnold at 12:25pm on the first floor and photographed standing at the doorway entrance at the time of the shots. It was Oswald, NOT Lovelady who was standing on the steps in front.

  5. Jeffrey Liakos

    September 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Then why do some people want to pin the blame solely on Lee Harvey Oswald despite this fact?

  6. jon

    March 24, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Lee harvey Oswald Interrogation:
    Cpt Fritz:I asked Him what part of the Building TsBd
    he was in at the time of JFK was Shot and He said ,That he was having lunch about that time on the 1st floor. Fritz notes & like Bookout Report. Reads striking similar in following order. 2Nd floor Coke when DPD came in.1St floor had lunch,out front with Bill Shelley,Left Work. (all the exact order as cpt fritz notes). Shelley: it was 10-15 min before `12`.Ball:Where?Shelley:on the 1stFloor over near the telephone.Ball:Did you see him again?Shelley:At DPD when they brought him in.(Notice that no question was asked if LHO was Front TSBD watch motorcade?)
    Bugliosi version from cptFritz notes are abrievated?


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