…the whole thing smells a bit fishy. It’s a mite too simple that a chap kills the President of the United States, escapes from that bother, kills a policeman, eventually is apprehended in a movie theater under circumstances that defy every law of police procedure, and subsequently is murdered under extraordinary circumstances. – Dorothy Kilgallen
The Dallas police cared little about JFK’s murder. Many members of the force at that time were Birchers and Klansmen. Racism was part of their southern upbringing and Kennedy’s death was little more than what they would call a “nigger killing.” However, if a fellow police officer were to be killed, there would be no stone left unturned to achieve revenge. Could it be that Tippit’s death was meant to serve that purpose? Perhaps he was lured to his death not only to prove Oswald’s capacity for violence, thus linking him to the killing of JFK, but also to ensure Oswald’s quick demise by Tippit’s fraternal legions. Who Tippit’s killer was will probably never be known for sure. Oswald couldn’t have traversed the mile between his rooming house and the site of Tippit’s slaying in the allowed time frame. He may have had a ride, but there is no evidence that he did. The shell game of dropped hulls was certainly designed to frame Oswald for Tippit’s death. What other reason would the shooter have to discard the shells where they would certainly be found and used as evidence against him, unless it was done to fabricate evidence framing Oswald.
Deputy Sheriff, Roger Craig, told his sister-in-law, Dennie Darnell Wood, that when he walked into a room at the police station he overheard them saying, “Blame it on Oswald. That's the only way we can tie him to being the one who shot Kennedy.”
Let's Tryst Again, Like We Did Last Summer
While employed as a part time security guard at Austin's Barbecue, Tippit began an affair with a recently divorced waitress by the name of Johnnie Maxie Witherspoon. In an interview with the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977 she verified the affair and said it had ended in the summer of 1963.
In 1968, during the Garrison investigation, the New Orleans D.A. received an anonymous letter from an Oak Cliff resident informing Garrison that Tippit had impregnated a waitress that worked at Austin's. Tippit researcher, Larry Harris, later confirmed that the woman had a child in mid 1964. If it were, in fact, Tippit's child, she would have been about two months pregnant in November 63. If true, that could well have been the time she discovered it and told Tippit. Could this explain his odd behavior the day he was killed? Was he in Oak Cliff to address a crisis in his personal life?
Author Henry Hurt tracked the woman down in 1983. She admitted the affair to him. She said it happened while she and her husband were separated in the summer of 1963. She also said that her husband followed them around Oak Cliff during their tryst. This is an obvious indication of jealousy to the point of stalking. She reunited with her husband in September and they were living in Oak Cliff at the time of the assassination. Witherspoon told Hurt she now believed the baby to be her husbands but that her husband still believed it was Tippit's. They have since divorced and gone their separate ways once again.
Hurt also interviewed a retired Dallas policeman who told him unequivocally that he believed Tippit was killed as a result of his explosive involvement with his lover and her estranged husband. Hurt relates that the officer said;
“It would look like hell for Tippit to have been murdered and have it look like he was screwing around with this woman...Somebody had to change the tape (police tape transcript proving Tippit was ordered to Oak Cliff). Somebody had to change the cartridge hulls. Somebody had to go to the property room and change those hulls and put some of Oswald's hulls in there—hulls that fit Oswald's gun.”
Tippit's murder played another role. It effectively ended the search for whoever the real killers of JFK were. Once Oswald was captured in the Texas Theater and blamed for killing a policemen, any interest in other suspects ended. It was much easier for DPD to kill two birds with one stone and blame the assassination on him as well. It also made Dallas' answer to the Keystone Cops look like an effective crime fighting unit. After all, they had captured the perpetrator of the Crime of the Century in a little over an hour!
In an October 25th, 1967 interview, Roger Craig told Jim Garrison, Bill Boxley and Mark Lane;
“The effect of the announcement that Tippit had been killed was to immediately switch the entire investigation from one which sought the President's assailant to a search for Tippit's murderer. If the assassins were aware that a police officer's death might bring about such a responses—if the Dallas Police Department's response was predictable—the role played by the murder of Tippet as part of an escape scheme by the assassins must be evaluated.”
Could this have been part of the conspirators plan? A sideshow diversion to aid the real shooters in their escape? To gift wrap a patsy and hand him to police on a silver platter? It was an anonymous person who handed Oswald’s wallet to police officer Kenneth H. Croy at the scene of Tippit’s shooting and simply disappeared. The wallet had Oswald’s ID as well as Hidell’s in it. “Here's all the evidence you need, boys! See ya later.” This was very damaging evidence designed to frame Oswald. If the anonymous person was a witness why wasn’t he questioned? However, to make the diversion work effectively, there can be little doubt that the conspirators needed “inside” help from the men in blue. Members of the Dallas police had to be complicit. Letting Oswald escape from the TSBD, planting evidence, fixing the lineups, even allowing his murder in the basement of the Dallas Jail surrounded by guards. This is where Jack Ruby came in.
Somehow Jack Ruby is the key to the Tippit murder case. He is deeply involved with the Dallas Police. Reportedly, he was a conduit between the mob and the DPD. Likely used by the Marcello crime organization as a payoff man for bribes and favors. He knew a large number of officers on a first name basis. He provided them drinks and women. During Chief Curry's deposition before the Warren Commission, Allen Dulles asked him if Tippit had been involved in narcotics. Rose Cheramie said that she not only worked for Jack Ruby as a stripper but delivered “dope” for him. Ruby's connections go further than the Marcello mob and the DPD. He is connected to the anti-Castro Cubans and CIA through his gun running activities. He had been an informant for the FBI. He had ties to the organizations of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. He was running dope for Trafficante's Cuban drug cartel and had visited the Florida mob boss in his Cuban prison cell on the Isle of Pines.
In addition, Ruby and his strippers had connections to nearly all the witnesses to the Tippit slaying. T.F. Bowley had been a bouncer at the Carousel and once sold Ruby a night club called Hernando's Hideway. The Davis sisters had made phone calls to the Carousel the weekend of the assassination. The call was taken by Ruby employee Larry Crafard, an Oswald lookalike. Crafard left town soon after the events of November 22nd. Ruby and George Senator frequented The Eatwell Restaurant where Helen Markham worked and he even went there the day of the assassination and asked for her. In addition, one of his strippers, Joyce McDonald had lived in Markham's apartment at one time. McDonald also lived just a few doors from Bill Scoggins, the cab driver who witnessed the shooter leaving the scene of Tippit's shooting. Witness Jack Tatum, it seems, was a frequent visitor to the Carousel Club. He told researcher, William Weston that he had seen Tippit there. Tatum, an amateur photographer, offered his services to Ruby to shoot pictures of his girls to put up on the Carousel marquees. A suspect in the shooting of witness Warren Reynolds, was a man named Wayne “Dago” Garner. Garner dated Ruby stripper Nancy Jane Mooney, aka Betty McDonald. Mooney had also met the Oswald's at the home of Everett Glover. At that time she worked as a librarian at Magnolia Research Labs and was dating another Magnolia employee, Richard Pierce. Glover worked at Magnolia as a research chemist and was a member of the Dallas white Russian community. Strangely, Mooney hung herself in the Dallas city jail after being arrested for a domestic disturbance. DPD officer Harry Olson was supposedly guarding an “estate” in Oak Cliff just blocks from 10th and Patton on the day of the shooting. Olson was a close friend of Ruby and was dating one of his strippers, Kay Coleman. Olson, Coleman and Ruby spent a couple hours talking in the early morning hours of November 23 in a downtown parking garage. Olson quit the force and left town within days of the assassination.
In retrospect, Tippit's murder served three purposes. First, it effectively ended the search for Kennedy's real killers. Second, It was used to link Oswald to the assassination, and it made him a “cop killer” and therefore a target of police vengeance. And finally, it made the good old boys of the DPD appear on par with the greatest sleuths of Scotland Yard.
So who killed JR....err...JD? Harry Olsen or Roscoe White may have killed Tippit at Ruby’s behest, but it doesn’t seem likely. Maxie Weatherspoon’s husband is a possibility, but there is no evidence he did it. It may have been a professional hit. Ruby through Marcello’s associates could easily have provided the hit man. The shells were linked to Oswald’s gun but the bullets weren’t. There is a good possibility the original hulls were replaced by those from Oswald’s gun while in possession of the police. It appears the radio transcripts were manipulated as well. Some witnesses said the man was stocky and had bushy hair. Maybe he was the bushy haired, one armed man that the fugitive, Sam Sheppard, aka Richard Kimbell chased for years. I doubt we will ever know for sure.