THE COWTOWN CONNECTION
M. Duke Lane
(CIS ID: 76004,2356)
Harold Weisberg once said about his Whitewash works that "there are no
theories in my books... they're factual." The sentiment about factuality
has been echoed by many respectable researchers, who insist that "the Kennedy
case ought to be treated as a homicide, which is what it is." Aren't we
pressing for a final, legal investigation of the JFK murder to view all of
the evidence, new and old, holding it to the constraints of our legal system?
A common refrain, after all, is that the Warren Commission's investigation
and "conviction" of Lee Oswald would never have held up in a true adversarial
Interestingly, we don't seem to hold ourselves to the same constraints. If
one researcher discovers something, even in error, we are apparently
permitted to cite that person's work, without certification, as established
fact. Many people complain when their own theories are held up to the same
critical light as we hold the official investigations, as if we aren't
beholden to the same burden of proof we assign them.
There has even been recent argument on both sides of this issue regarding
whether researchers' conclusions ought to be held up to critical peer review
or whether we should be allowed to follow our intuition and reach reasonable
conclusions... which can't be anything more than speculation, by
definition. That we accept such speculation and/or incomplete
investigation as "fact" is exemplified by Robert Morrow's recently published
First Hand Knowledge (FHK), in which he suggests that an apparent CIA
operative was detained in Fort Worth only a couple of hours after Kennedy's
FHK is, by most people's estimation, a reprint of Morrow's earlier Betrayal,
this time, however, naming names and adding new information. One piece of
this "new information" is that an "unidentified suspect" taken into custody
in Fort Worth, 30 miles west of Dallas, was, in fact, David Atlee Phillips, a
former CIA operative who was based in Mexico City while Lee Harvey Oswald was
purportedly visiting Soviet and Cuban embassies in that city, and/or the
"Maurice Bishop" character said to be Cubans refugees' CIA contact for the
Bay of Pigs operation. What, the reader must wonder, was this man--of all
people--doing in that place at that time? This is information with curious
As evidence of Phillips' apparent complicity in the murder, Morrow includes a
photo of Phillips beside the House Assassinations Committee's sketch of
"Bishop," which many researchers agree look strikingly similar. The photo is
included with the Phillips and "Bishop" pictures. The man, Morrow asserts,
bears an "uncanny resemblance" to Phillips/Bishop. Even while the angles of
the men's faces are different, making a direct comparison difficult if not
impossible, there does indeed appear to be a resemblance between them.
What was Phillips/Bishop doing in Fort Worth? The reader is left to wonder,
for Morrow cites Gary Shaw and Larry Ray Harris' Cover-Up to state that no
record of this man's arrest exists and, in fact, the negatives of the
pictures taken of the arrest have disappeared from the files of The Fort
Worth Star-Telegram. Who but the government could manage such an obvious
cover-up, one must wonder. Who indeed?
Since I live near Fort Worth, I decided to look into this. This article will
take the reader roughly through the steps of my investigation into this
question. In the end, we will find that not only was Morrow "reaching," but
also that previous information was incomplete at best. While I cannot
possibly clear Phillips from any sort of involvement in the Bay of Pigs
episode or the Kennedy hit, it is quite clear that he was NOT the man in the
photo Morrow uses to implicate him. This is perhaps an abject lesson for the
reader not to take everything he reads at face value, no matter what the
credentials of an author may seem to be....
Let us pause for a moment to consider Morrow's works. Morrow, as we know,
claims to be a former CIA contract agent who supposedly delivered four
Mannlicher- Carcano 7.65mm rifles to David Ferrie for what he later
determined to be the JFK assassination, one of which he says he kept. In both
FHK and Betrayal, he discusses the purchase and delivery of these rifles to
Ferrie, who of course, cannot confirm or deny Morrow's allegation since he is
dead. Nor can Morrow's CIA connection be affirmed or refuted; we have no
choice but to either take the man at his word or not, since it is impossible
to prove one way or the other. That is simply the nature of the beast.
Likewise, we can either believe or disbelieve his accounts of the various
newly-named people's involvement in the planning, execution and/or cover-up
of the assassination. Certainly, the dust jacket overview and the author's
own preface to his new book paint a reasonably credible picture of the man
who claims to have "first hand knowledge" of the assassination. Knowing,
however, that there is no statute of limitations against prosecution in a
murder, how is it that Morrow can publicly come forward with an admission of
having participated in the most notorious murder of our time? Even aside from
prosecution, surely one must wonder at what repercussions he might suffer at
the hands of those whom he names as his accomplices, including the CIA.
These questions are handled adroitly enough even before the reader reaches
the book's introduction. "Mr Morrow," the dust jacket states, "has now come
forward with the truth because he believes the danger to his family is
reduced due to the impending release of the Congressional files on the
assassination," thereby assuring us that Morrow doesn't expect to become
another "mysterious death."
But what of the others he names? His own preface makes this clear: "More than
half the characters about to come to life on these pages have already been
put to death, tortured, exiled or silenced in strange and horrible ways."
They are either dead or otherwise will not rise to their own defense against
Morrow's accusations. It is worthwhile to note that David Atlee Phillips is
among the former, having died of cancer at his Arlington, VA, home on July 7,
1988. He will not be stepping forward to clear his name, nor will Tracy
Barnes, another of the people Morrow names in FHK and who is also dead. The
rest of the "more than half" of Morrow's characters will likewise not be
coming forward to correct the record and provide true facts since they've
either been "put to death, tortured, exiled or silenced in strange and
horrible ways." The other half, we may reasonably conclude, have but bit
parts in Morrow's narrative, and aren't connected with the assassination, and
so have nothing to "fear."
Returning to the question of Phillips (or Bishop) having been arrested in
Fort Worth, we must bear these factors in mind. Gary Shaw and Larry Harris
have already told us that no record of the arrest exists and that negatives
of the photographs taken of this man have "disappeared" from the
Star-Telegram's files. Morrow has only added to the mystery by connecting the
CIA to this man, a factor which can apparently not be proven nor disproven.
Or can it?
Tom Tilson Tells Tall Tales
One of the first things I was curious about was whether this arrest had any
connection to the black sedan chase so often related to the events in Dealey
Plaza. This connection was bolstered by an article which appeared the day
after the assassination in The Dallas Morning News which told of a man having
been arrested in Fort Worth because he was said to be driving a car "linked
to the slayer." Fort Worth was the apparent destination of the driver of
the black sedan headed westbound on the DFW Turnpike and chased by an
off-duty Dallas policeman.
This incident was first reported by Earl Golz in The Dallas Morning News
nearly twenty years after the fact, and repeated by Jim Marrs in
Crossfire, to which the reader is referred for additional information. In
addition, rumblings of a car having been found abandoned in Fort Worth later
in the day_naturally tied to the "black car chase"_raised even more
interesting possibilities. Was the man in the FHK photo the same one who
off-duty officer Tom Tilson chased from Dealey Plaza, and who may
subsequently have abandoned the car before having been arrested?
Unequivocally not. To begin with, it is apparent that there never was a car,
black or otherwise, where Tilson claimed he initially saw it. His interview
with Golz clearly states that he was driving along Commerce Street just
beyond the Stemmons Freeway bridge but not yet as far as the Triple Underpass
(the railroad bridge) when he saw a man run down the bridge abutment, toss a
long object (a rifle?) into the back seat, run around to jump into the
driver's seat and take off.
According to his daughter who was riding with him, "seconds before she saw
the fleeing man, the presidential limousine had just sped past his parked car
on the grass... and the limousine was turning onto Stemmons Freeway." This
time roughly corresponds to the time that Mel McIntire took two photographs
of the limo emerging from under the railroad bridge and, shortly thereafter,
the Secret Service follow-up car turning onto Stemmons. In neither photo
is there a "parked car on the grass." With the rest of the motorcade still in
Dealey Plaza, it is impossible that a car could have gotten to that spot in
time for Tilson to have seen it before passing under the Triple Underpass. It
simply wasn't there.
Moreover, photographic evidence belies Tilson's claim that "everyone was
jumping out of their cars pulling up on the median strip" in the plaza as he
saw the man running down the abutment and jumping into his car. Of the
many photographs taken in DP, none show "everyone... jumping out of their
cars [and] pulling up on the median strip," and none show cars parked on the
median even long after the motorcade had left the plaza, much less when
Tilson claims they were (before the press bus had even reached the
Underpass). Obviously, Tilson has never looked at any pictures of the
assassination and aftermath before.
If that doesn't prove the lie, then consider that the Dallas Police
Department (DPD) recorded and investigated, however cursorily, quite a number
of reports about suspicious cars in the Dallas area that afternoon. Yet,
according to Tilson, his own compatriots decided to ignore his report because
"if you didn't have a big white hat on, they didn't even want you in the
office." Does it make sense that detectives will credit and investigate
reports from ordinary citizens, yet ignore one from "one of their own?"
Also, is it credible that a fleeing assassin would drive a dozen or so blocks
through city streets to get on a highway when there was and is an entrance
ramp onto the same highway, going in the same direction, within 100 yards of
where his car was supposedly parked and immediately to the left of the
Stemmons Freeway entrance taken by the motorcade? I think not.
If Tilson's story is a fabrication, however, that doesn't preclude that a car
was found abandoned in Fort Worth, and in fact, one was. Almost by accident,
I met a retired Fort Worth police officer, WD Roberts, who had called in a
report of an abandoned and presumably stolen car only a few minutes after the
time that Kennedy was being shot thirty miles away.
Officer Roberts, who is now retired from the force, was on patrol in the
Riverside section of east Fort Worth and had come across the vehicle. He
called it in to the dispatcher at about 12:45 to 1:00. (It was later
determined to have been stolen in Houston the previous week.) Roberts is
certain that the car was not black (ergo not related to Tilson's "black
sedan"), but only recalls it as being "a light color, perhaps even
two-toned." Since it had been parked there for a number of days, we can
reasonably conclude that it was not related to the JFK murder, thereby
removing it from consideration in relation to the arrest in question.
If At First You Don't Succeed...
Between the apparent fact that Tom Tilson's black sedan never existed and
that the car found abandoned in Fort Worth wasn't connected to this
pseudo-event, it was quite certain that this avenue of inquiry would not lead
to a conclusion about the photo in FHK. Who, then, was the man in the photo,
and what could be learned about him? After all, he could be just about
anyone: how can an unidentified man be found thirty years later from his
image that is bound to have changed in the interim? There are more than two
million people in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex; where and how do you begin?
As anyone can see, there are in fact two men in the photograph: the
"unidentified suspect" and a police officer. Since nobody'd had any luck
finding out about the arrest from official files, I reasoned, the next-best
way would seem to be to find out what the arresting officer could remember.
And if you're trying to find out who a cop is, who're the best people to ask?
Naturally, other cops who may have worked with him. I decided to check with
Fort Worth police.
Identifying the officer in the photo proved not as easy as I'd thought, since
in the course of less than two hours, I'd gotten no less than four "positive
identifications" of the man from nearly a dozen of his fellow officers,
including the Assistant Chief of Police. Only one of them, as it turned out,
was correct. This should be instructive to anyone who attempts to identify a
person based upon the recollection of only one or two of his
contemporaries... even if they're trained observers, as police are frequently
The officer who found the abandoned car mentioned earlier, WD Roberts, also
turned out to be the arresting officer in the case of Donald Wayne House,
which many readers are familiar with. For the sake of those who aren't and
for putting Roberts' observations and impressions on the record (since
nobody's ever asked him about this before), we'll once again depart our main
focus on the FHK photo to recap the story of this arrest; interestingly, it
will lead us directly back to the photo.
In addition to the brief mention of the "2-city manhunt" in The Dallas
Morning News on the morning after the assassination, there was one (and only
one) other account of someone being arrested in Fort Worth. It appeared in
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram the day after the assassination, and related
that a 22-year-old man had been picked up as a possible suspect in the
assassination of President Kennedy. While it didn't identify the man by
name, it did indicate that he was from Ranger, a small town southwest of Fort
Worth. It also identified the arresting officers (WD Roberts and BG Whistler)
and noted that the man had been arrested in the 3400 block of East Belknap
Street in the city.
Reconstructing this arrest from a variety of sources, it happened something
On the morning of November 22, Donald Wayne House left his home in Ranger, TX
bound for Mesquite (a Dallas suburb) to visit an old Army buddy, Randall
Hunsaker. He had parked his car in a lot on Commerce Street at about
10:30 and called Hunsaker, who was apparently not home. Hearing that JFK
was due to ride through downtown, he decided to get a glimpse of Kennedy,
whom he says he had long admired. After the motorcade had passed, he
headed toward Fort Worth on the DFW Turnpike to visit a cousin.
Along the way, House says he stopped for gas at a station in Grand Prairie,
where two women who had heard about the assassination asked him if he knew
anything more about it. House told them that he'd heard the alleged
assassin's description, which he then related to the women. The description
he gave them of Oswald describes House as well, a resemblance that can be
clearly seen in photos taken of him that day except that House is much
shorter than Oswald. It is also possible that the women had heard the
description themselves and felt that House matched it closely enough to
arouse their suspicions.
One of the two women he spoke with was apparently the "Mrs Cunningham"
identified in Dallas County Deputy Sheriff JC Watson's report who called the
Grand Prairie PD after House had left the filling station. The Grand Prairie
PD then notified the Dallas County sheriffs, who in turn made a general
broadcast including his description and that of his car and its license plate
number at 1:35 pm. A "short while" later Tarrant County officials notified
sheriffs that the car and driver had been taken into custody.
The green and white Ford was heading westbound on the DFW Turnpike toward
Fort Worth. At about the same time or just shortly after the Sheriff's
broadcast had gone out, FWPD officer WD Roberts had pulled into the Shady
Oaks Drive-in on Riverside Drive just after having called in his report of
the abandoned car. While waiting for a cup of coffee, he happened to glance
in his mirror and noticed the car going by. He took off after it, leaving the
carhop standing there with his order in hand.
Roberts called into FWPD dispatch to verify House's license plate number, and
because he was driving an underpowered cruiser, he also requested assistance
in case the driver attempted to evade him. Officer BG Whistler, who was
patrolling an adjoining sector, sped to his assistance and met up with him a
short distance away at the "Five Points" intersection of East Belknap and
Bonnie Brae; officer BL Harbour also fell in behind Whistler. Upon
seeing he had assistance, Roberts notified dispatch that he was going to
"curb" the car.
Roberts pulled around House and forced him to pull over in the 3400 block of
East Belknap Street near Sylvania Park; Whistler came up behind House, got
out of his squad car, and trained his shotgun on House, telling him to get
out of the car and keep his hands where they could be seen. Roberts frisked
him and put him in handcuffs before putting him in the back of Whistler's
car. By this time (shortly before 1:57 pm CST, the time on House's arrest
report), a number of other officers had also arrived, including Lt
Lawrence Wood who immediately took charge as the ranking officer. Harbour
joined Whistler in the latter's car and the two transported the prisoner to
city hall where they were photographed by newsmen. Wood accompanied these
officers to city hall on his motorcycle while Roberts remained behind to
secure the scene and inventory the vehicle.
All of the officers involved described the arrest as "odd" because, during
all of this time, House never said a word. Roberts in particular thought so,
and "couldn't imagine how you could pull a man out of his car, frisk him,
handcuff him and put him in the back of a patrol car in a matter of just
seconds, all the time with a shotgun aimed at him and he never even asked why
he was being arrested!"
Roberts' account was confirmed by Whistler, who added that Lt Wood had
instructed them not to ask House any questions or make any statements to him,
but to "leave that to the Feds," who had apparently been notified to meet the
officers at city hall. House's arrest report also indicated that "the
subject never once appeared nervous and in fact he was unusually calm," and
that he had never asked the officers why he was being arrested or taken into
Among the police, only Wood's account differed. He told a reporter that House
was "hysterical" and that "the guy stuttered, he was so scared he couldn't
get a single word out, no matter how long he tried," descriptions the
arresting officers adamantly denied. In Wood's defense, however, that
recollection was nearly twenty years old by the time it was made.
(House's own account of it, published ten months after his arrest, says that
he'd asked why he was being arrested and was told by officers "You're being
arrested for the assassination of President Kennedy," which also
contradicts the officers' statements. I consider this to be a relatively
minor point since House was "in the spotlight" during the interview and may
have tended to meld details. He was undoubtedly told at some time why he'd
been brought in; whether it was before or after he arrived at city hall seems
more a matter of how he told the story than how it actually happened.)
Another oddity, Roberts recalled, was that House's car was "absolutely
spotless, there wasn't even a slip of paper in the glove box," although he
found an empty dynamite box in the trunk, which House claimed to have been
using as a tool chest (Wood, in his account, said that "we found several
boxes of dynamite in the back seat," which the arresting officers also
disputed). Roberts was surprised to learn that House supposedly junked the
car a short while later, saying that he couldn't imagine why he did since
the car was "immaculate."
House was transported to city hall (which also housed police headquarters at
the time) by Officers Whistler and Harbour, and photographs show the two
taking him inside. House was then put in the "shakedown" room and searched,
where the only belongings that were recorded having been taken from him was a
wallet containing $23 in cash and a knife. According to House, he was
interrogated by federal officers for three hours and remained alone in his
cell for another hour before being cleared and released, although the jail
report indicates the time was slightly shorter.
Another apparent "oddity" came up when Roberts also recalled that, when he
arrived at city hall later in the day, he had gone to the chief's secretary
to dictate his report. About midway into his report, he says, the chief came
in and told him "not to bother" completing his report, that the man had
already been cleared by the Feds. Whistler also did not recall writing a
report, corroborating Roberts' memory.
Again, there is nothing "sinister" about this. The official record of federal
agents interviewing him exists, and was published by the Warren
Commission. I was also able to find an arrest report for House on file
that was compiled from "information from" the two arresting officers and BL
Harbour (who is now deceased). It was typed by a clerk and filed; it was not,
however, signed by the officers which is why I believe they don't remember
having filed it since, in reality, it was typed and filed after they'd
recounted the details of the arrest to the clerk. Considering the commotion
of the afternoon, it is hardly surprising that this occurred.
A Second Arrest in Fort Worth
While there is a relative wealth of information about Donald Wayne House
available, as we've already learned, nothing was known about the second man
who is pictured in FHK. As I've already noted, in Cover-Up, Shaw and Harris
relate that "a second Fort Worth arrest was made at the same time House was
taken into custody, but other than photographs from The Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, there is no record of the arrest." They continue that
"negatives of these photos [which include the one that appears in FHK and
also in Cover-Up] are now missing from the newspaper's files." Morrow
added his opinion that the man looked like someone associated with the CIA
and/or the Bay of Pigs operation. It all sounds very mysterious, almost
None of the newspaper articles around that period provide any indication of
who this man was, and no account of this second arrest appeared in any of the
local papers. None of the photos were published by local newspapers, although
there were at least four other photos taken of him in addition to the one in
FHK. A second picture, which appears in Cover-Up, shows the man being
taken from the FWPD patrol car by Lt Wood, and a third on file at the
Star-Telegram offices depicts him being led by Wood and another officer (the
same one in the FHK photo) into city hall; two others show the back of the
man and the arresting officers as they entered the building.
Neither of the two photos in Cover-Up (one of which is the one in FHK) were
taken by Star-Telegram photographers, which explains why the negatives are
not on file there. Most likely, they were taken by its rival newspaper, The
Fort Worth Press, which ceased printing in May 1976 (although a new weekly
paper has been recently started under the same banner). The Star-Telegram, as
Shaw noted, no longer has all of the negatives of the photos they had taken,
but I was able to find photos on contact sheets (positives made directly from
the film strips) there, and most did indeed have negatives available. The
photo archives of the Press are said to be in private hands, so I have as yet
been unable to view whatever remains of them.
Some people have suggested that the Star-Telegram's negatives may have been
removed by the FBI as part of its official investigation, but there is no
evidence that this is the case. Some Star-Telegram staffers thought this
might be so, but the director of the photo archives told me that it is much
more likely that the photographers did not turn them all in, or removed them
after realizing that they may have some historical value. "We don't polygraph
them to make sure they do," he said. In any case, they were not removed by
any official body as part of either an investigation or a cover-up, nor most
certainly, to protect David Phillips.
While negatives are not available for a number of photos, there is nothing
particularly noteworthy about the ones that are missing versus those that are
not. In my estimation, it doesn't appear there is any cause to claim a
cleanup of "incriminating" photos, and certainly not with regard to this
particular arrest, since, as we shall soon see, the man had nothing to do
with either the assassination or the government. The photos on the contact
sheets can generally be viewed by the public on request, although it isn't
always easy to get copies of them.
The contact sheets turned out to be the solution to the question of who the
officer in the FHK photo actually was since, in one of the photos, I was able
to read the name plate on one of the men in one of the contact sheet photos:
it read "HW Sinclair," one of the four officers named by his associates.
After making a number of phone calls, I was able to locate Sinclair, and
phoned him an arranged to visit with him at his home in rural East Texas. Now
retired and raising cattle, he doesn't seem to have aged much in the past 29
years and looks very much the same as he did the day the photo was taken.
Both he and his wife positively identified him in the FHK photo, and also
identified Lt Lawrence Wood as the man with him in a photocopy I'd been able
to make of a Star-Telegram photo showing both officers.
(Two of the other officers who had been identified later called me and
identified Sinclair as well. It is also worth noting that, in head-on photos
of the man in custody, the similarity between him and "Maurice Bishop" and/or
David Atlee Phillips is no longer evident. One such photo can be seen in Shaw
and Harris' Cover-Up, and another is on file at The Fort Worth
Sinclair is a private man and wouldn't allow our interview to be taped. He
was, however, very forthcoming in his recollections of that period. In
addition to arresting the man in the picture, Sinclair had also performed
security at Miller's Funeral Home while Lee Oswald was being prepared for
burial, and also at Rose Hill Cemetery when Oswald was buried. He also
pointed out that FWPD kept a guard at the gravesite for many months following
Oswald's burial, citing various threats of people digging up the body and
dragging it through the streets of the city.
It was a quirk of fate that got Sinclair involved in these events. Since he
had joined the force in 1956, he had been assigned as a patrolman in the
detective division, investigating fraud in plain clothes. Sometime in
mid-1963, however, someone decided that all patrolmen were to be assigned to
the Patrol Division, so Sinclair donned his uniform and patrolled the
streets. In January 1964, Sinclair was named the Patrol Division Officer of
the Year for 1963, and promoted to detective. He returned to plain clothes
and was assigned to the Homicide Division for the remainder of his years with
Sinclair remembered the arrest having taken place in the Riverside area on
the east side of Fort Worth, although he couldn't recall the exact location.
He had assisted two officers who he thought were on motorcycles to transport
the prisoner to city hall. "There were a lot of cops there," he said, adding
that he had arrived after the other officers. Lt Wood, whom Sinclair
diplomatically said was "not shy of the media," appeared "out of nowhere"
when he arrived at city hall with the prisoner. (In fact, Wood was already at
city hall, having escorted officers Whistler and Harbour with Donald House
from the arrest scene. In the NBC film footage, Wood can be seen alighting
from his motorcycle in front of the police cruiser) Wood then helped Sinclair
take the man out of the patrol car and escorted him into city hall. Wood is
also pictured taking the man out of the cruiser's front seat in one of the
photos in Cover-Up, and it is his fingers that can be seen at the
prisoner's right elbow in the FHK photo.
Because he had merely assisted in the arrest, Sinclair did not believe that
he had filed an arrest report, that duty falling to the actual arresting
officers, whom Sinclair recalled having stayed behind to secure the arrest
scene and inventory the vehicle the man had apparently been stopped in. He
says he may have filled in a "call sheet," but later investigation found that
these are only kept for six months before being destroyed, so if he had, it
is no longer available. Beyond these facts and his recollection that it was
the only time in his career that he had loosed the shotgun officers carried
in their cruisers, he couldn't remember anything particularly striking about
the arrest and he was unable to remember what the man's name might have been.
He noted that Wood is now deceased, and that he didn't know who the arresting
officers might have been.
The Unidentified Man
While I had successfully identified the officer in the picture, I was still
no closer to learning who the man in custody was or why he been detained.
During my many meetings with current and retired FWPD officers, however, I
had been referred to a number of others who may have had some information
regarding the case. One of these men was assigned as an officer to the
Identification Division in 1963, where he continues to work today as a
civilian employee (his associates consider him to be "the best fingerprint
guy you can find anywhere"). Sinclair thought that this individual may have
been working the afternoon of the arrests, and could provide some useful
As it turned out, he had worked the evening shift on November 22, and thus
had no details of the arrest. However, he thought there might still be a
record of it on file, but shortly found that the department's worksheets of
that period were no longer on file. He felt that I wouldn't be able to find
any information without knowing the man's name, but nevertheless transferred
me to the supervisor of the Records Division. The supervisor suggested that I
come into the police station and look through some of their old microfilm
records. I went to Fort Worth later the same afternoon.
I didn't really know what I was looking for, whether it would be a jail
roster or what, but I thought I might have been able to find a name that was
out of place or couldn't be verified against other records. I was given two
rolls of microfilm covering the period, one of arrest records, and another of
the Disposition Report and Property Records of prisoners. Since I had already
read elsewhere and been told by the officers that no arrest record was made,
I didn't know how much luck I'd have, but I figured it was worth a try.
I began reading the arrest reports. It appeared that November 22, 1963
started out like any other day for FWPD (aside from the President's visit
that morning). Of the thirty or so arrests officers made that day, many were
listed as "juvenile fugitives," and a roughly equal number were for
"investigation of theft under $50 (shoplifting)." There was also a report of
a man who'd been taken into custody because the police had learned he had VD,
and one of a man who had been arrested in the men's room of the local bus
station while injecting nitroglycerine into his arm. Maybe the day wasn't so
"typical" after all....
Midway through the day's reports was the arrest report for Donald Wayne
House, which I decided to make a copy of since, after all, I'd been told it
hadn't been filed. The very next arrest report was for another man named
Kenneth Glenn Wilson, then of 6121 Broadway in Haltom City to the east of
Fort Worth. Interestingly, he had also been arrested at the 3400 block of
East Belknap Street, 23 minutes after House had been. The arresting officers
were listed as Lt LE Wood and HW Sinclair.
This was an odd coincidence: nobody had mentioned two men having been
arrested in that place at that time. Who was this man, and what had he been
arrested for? That the arresting officers were the same two men who had been
photographed bringing the "unidentified suspect" into city hall made this
record all the more intriguing. (It is worth noting that Wood couldn't have
actually been an arresting officer since he'd already left the scene before
the man was taken into custody. He was, however, one of the two officers who
escorted him into city hall and booked him, and so was included in the
Wilson, an auto parts salesman, was charged as an "investigation witness." If
he was the same man in the photos, this helped to explain why he is shown
unmanacled in the photos taken at city hall: the man wasn't a suspect, but a
witness! A witness of what? The details of the arrest provided that
"The above subject was arrested and charged as above [Inv. Witness] after he
came to the scene of where House was arrested. When he arrived at the scene,
he stated that he recognized the car which House was driving and stated that
he thought that it belonged to his wife's cousin. On the way to the [city]
hall, the subject stated that House was recently been discharged from the
service. He stated that he had not seen House lately and that his home is in
Ranger, Texas" [emphasis added].
As noted earlier, the interview House had with the Fort Worth Press said that
he was traveling to Fort Worth to visit his cousin, in addition to mentioning
his intent to visit his Army buddy in Dallas. This man Wilson--or rather,
his wife--must be who House was going to see.
When I was talking with WD Roberts earlier, neither of us could figure out
why he had gotten off of the highway and driven up Riverside Drive since his
home was a number of miles farther out the same road. I drove to 6121
Broadway, the address given on Wilson's arrest record. While the house no
longer exists, the route that House took would have led him to his cousin's
house about a mile from where he was arrested. This particular segment of the
story no longer held any mystery. The question that nagged at me, though, was
how Wilson knew House had been arrested in the first place, an answer I knew
only Wilson could provide.
I was finally able to locate and contact Wilson (he no longer lives in Fort
Worth), who verified that he was the same Kenneth Glenn Wilson who had lived
at the 6121 Broadway address nearly 30 years ago. I explained the reason I
was calling, to identify a man in a photo which I believed to be him, and
wondered if he would be willing to help me. We discussed the circumstances
which led up to the photo being taken, and as he provided me with various
details without prompting_House's name, the make and color of car he was
driving, that he was from Ranger and that House was, in fact, his wife's
cousin_it quickly became apparent that I had found the man whose arrest
report I held, but was he the same man in the photo?
In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he had a book about the
assassination with his picture in it; did I perhaps have the same one? It
turned out to be Cover-Up, which of course, I had. I asked him to turn to
page 89 where the photos of House and the "unidentified suspect" were, and
asked him if he recognized any of them. "Sure," he said. "The three across
the top are Don, and the two below that are of me." One of these two
photos is the same as that which appears in FHK, as we've already discussed.
Satisfied that Wilson and the "unidentified suspect" were one and the same, I
arranged to meet with him the following weekend when I could make the time to
travel to where he now lives. We met one Saturday afternoon at a roadside
restaurant near the interstate; he was accompanied by his wife and young
grandson, who was visiting for the weekend. We talked for nearly three hours.
Wilson now wears glasses and is, in his words, "a little fatter and deeper in
debt," but the similarity with the man in the FHK photo was unmistakable. He
parts his hair differently, but facial characteristics like the nose, chin
and forehead don't change, and_despite his denial_he still has the same slim
build he had back then. When he later posed in the same semi-profile as in
the picture, there was no doubt I was looking at the same man. Furthermore,
both he and Mrs Wilson recognized the pencil he'd always hung over his ear,
and the pocket protector he wore in those days.
How did Wilson come to be at that place and time where his cousin-in-law had
been arrested only moments before? Mrs Wilson provided most of the
At some point after the shooting, while House had been enroute to Fort Worth,
Dallas police had contacted his mother_with whom he was living at the time_to
determine his whereabouts. After two or three such calls, Mrs House became
concerned, and called her niece, Mrs Wilson. (Mrs House is now deceased, so I
was unable to determine what DPD had talked with her about during those
calls.) Mrs House called the Wilsons' because, whenever Don came to Fort
Worth, he would spend the night with the Wilsons and she expected he would do
so this night too. After the calls from DPD, she became worried.
Shortly after the call from her aunt, Mrs Wilson heard a radio broadcast of a
suspect, identified as "22-year-old Donald House of Ranger, Texas" having
been arrested at 3408 East Belknap in Fort Worth. At first, she said, she
didn't recognize the name since "nobody called him Donald," but realized
after a moment that it had been her cousin who'd been taken into custody in
connection with the slaying.
She noted that the address was only a couple of blocks from where her husband
worked selling auto parts, and called to ask him to check on Don since it
appeared he was in some sort of trouble. He excused himself from work and
walked the short distance to where House had been arrested. There, he told
officers that he thought the car belonged to his wife's cousin, and was taken
into custody at 2:20 pm. "I was looking out for Don," Ken Wilson told me,
"and they ended up taking me to jail!"
He was not charged with a crime, and as the record of his arrest shows, he
was brought in solely as a witness. He was questioned about his relationship
with Don House and released 90 minutes later, at 3:50. He returned home
with his wife, where House joined them a couple of hours later (House wasn't
released until 5:15).
(Mrs Wilson recalled an amusing anecdote from that day: when Don had finally
come to their house, everyone wanted to know if he'd been nervous. "Nervous?
Of course not, I didn't do anything," he said, sitting down... missing the
chair completely and sprawling on the floor. Nervous? Who me? I guess not.)
Wilson's account also clears up questions about HW Sinclair's recollection of
the event and in reconstructing the "arrest:" House had been curbed by
Roberts and hurried into Whistler's cruiser with Harbour in the back with
House. They in turn sped off to city hall with their prisoner with Lt Wood in
the lead, who may well have given orders to secure the scene before
departing. Other officers began arriving during and after this period, one of
whom was Sinclair. Whether he arrived before or after Wilson is difficult to
determine and not really important. He was nevertheless selected to transport
Wilson to headquarters, which he did. Obviously, Sinclair did not feel
threatened by the mild-mannered Wilson, who rode beside him unmanacled and
volunteering information about his wife's cousin, Don House, during the five-
or ten-minute ride downtown. From all accounts, it was a relatively pleasant
trip, if being under arrest or dealing with suspected Presidential assassins
can ever be called "pleasant!"
On arriving at city hall, the two men were met by Lt Wood, who had escorted
Whistler, Roberts and House to city hall less than a half-hour before.
Undoubtedly, Wood felt a need for additional police presence ushering Wilson
into city hall because a crowd of people had gathered, and under the
circumstances, it wouldn't have been unreasonable to suspect they might have
become unruly at the sight of a "suspect" in the assassination being led
before them. In fact, Ken Wilson recalled the scene as "a little frightening
with all those people standing around yelling."
Photos of both House and Wilson were taken by photographers from both the
Star-Telegram and the Press, although neither paper ever published them. TV
camera crews also captured footage of House being led into city hall and
through the corridors of the police department, but if similar footage of
Wilson exists, I haven't seen it.
Beginning with a photograph of an "unidentified man" said to have been
arrested in Fort Worth and connected with both the Kennedy murder and the
CIA, along with a vague rumor or two of how the "black sedan" described by
Tom Tilson may have been found in Fort Worth, we've come to find that not
only is there no evidence to support such a connection, but also that it is
quite apparent that the black sedan never actually existed and is either a
figment of Tilson's imagination, a mis-recollection, or an attempt to portray
himself as having a role in the events of November 22, 1963_however
peripheral_which he in fact did not have.
While it is a fact that two men were taken into custody in Fort Worth "in
connection with the shooting," there is nothing other than speculation that
can link either of them with the murder. House had been to Dallas to visit a
friend who wasn't home when he got there. Unable to leave town because of the
heavy traffic due to the parade, he waited for the motorcade to pass before
he was able to leave to visit his cousin. A couple of women at a gas station
thought he matched the broadcast description of a suspect, and he was taken
into custody, cleared and released.
The second man, Ken Wilson, was only trying to help House, his wife's cousin.
He was taken into city hall as a witness, and not as a suspect. He wasn't
charged with any crime, and wasn't even handcuffed as he rode to city hall in
the front seat with HW Sinclair. He was questioned about his relationship to
House, released and went home. He's hardly given a second thought to these
events afterward until I spoke with him about them.
That Ken Wilson remained "unidentified" for nearly 30 years is surprising
when you consider that I was able to locate and identify him within two weeks
of the time his photo in FHK was brought to my attention, using records which
"don't exist" long after others had apparently attempted the same. None of
the police officers involved in these arrests_save Lawrence Wood, who was
interviewed by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram 20 years later_had ever been
contacted by anyone, and it's apparent that the search for the men's arrest
records was neither thorough nor tenacious since they were, in fact, quite
I must admit I had been somewhat surprised that Ken Wilson had never
attempted to identify himself, especially having seen his photo in Cover-Up
along with what could be considered "mysterious" if not "sinister"
insinuations made about his being taken into custody. Then again, maybe I
shouldn't have been so surprised, since there are many people who are
apprehensive or skeptical, even cautious and suspicious of anything to do
with the JFK murder, and don't want their names associated with it.
On the other hand, we've also got to ask ourselves who would Wilson have gone
to even had he wished to identify himself? It's not an easy task to reach an
author through his publisher after all, and even so, once a book is published
and widely circulated, it is not an easy matter to change bits of material,
especially when it doesn't add to the story. It is unlikely that Cover-Up
will be amended, but will First Hand Knowledge be corrected because we now
know for certain that the "unidentified suspect" is no longer unidentified,
was never in fact a suspect, and was absolutely not either David Phillips or
"Maurice Bishop?" We'll have to wait for the second printing to find out.
While the underlying concern of whether it is "better" from a publishing
standpoint to maintain the intrigue and aura of mystery, or to ascertain that
mundane details_as this has turned out to be_are accurately portrayed remains
an important one, it is in truth of little consequence whether Wilson's
"story" is corrected since, to all those thousands of people who've bought
Cover-Up and FHK and not read this article, Ken Wilson will always be a
"mysterious CIA agent" involved in the assassination whose "arrest" was
"covered up" by sinister forces. Certainly, I'd like to see the record
amended, but I don't expect it will be. I just hope the same mistake won't be
made by future authors.
It is perhaps unfortunate in some respects that I have brought these men and
women to the fore, even despite the fact that it has "cleared" an innocent
man from any involvement with the crime, and set the record straight about
his detention. Wilson, for example, told me how his wife's cousin, Don House,
had been "harassed" over the peripheral role he had played in the events of
November 22, 1963, and no longer wishes to talk to anyone about it; indeed,
Cover-Up states that when the authors attempted to interview House during the
course of their research, they met with "extreme hostility." Others declined
to have their recollections recorded, voicing similar concerns.
For these reasons, I have refrained from noting too many personal details to
preserve their privacy and hopefully to prevent them from becoming part of
"the continuing inquiry," ruing the day they first heard my name: their roles
are long since finished. I enjoyed meeting each of them, and appreciate the
time they took to speak with me, the hospitality they showed me, and the
assistance they provided to close this chapter of history quickly. I hope
they never have cause to regret it.
I hope too that this experience can temper the enthusiasm, even zeal, of many
researchers who feel that the "truth" can be found by citing every lead and
"reasonable conclusion" as absolute fact. If we are ever to be successful in
our efforts to re-open an official investigation of some sort, we must come
armed with evidence, not mere theories and speculations. After all, we're
supposed to be investigating a murder, not writing novels or creating myths,
Copyright c 1993, M. Duke Lane
The author gratefully acknowledges the advice, assistance and encouragement
of Gary Mack, Mary Ferrell, Dave Perry, and other Dallas area researchers in
1. Interview with Gary Null, WBAI-FM New York, 99.5 FM, October 1992
2. See Letters to the Editor of The Third Decade, Volume 9, Number 1,
November 1992, pp 36-40; Number 2, January 1993, pp 9-11; and Number 3, March
1993, pp 27-28 (all related).
3. Robert Morrow, First Hand Knowledge, 1992, S.P.I Books/Shapolsky
Publishers, Inc, New York
4. Gary Shaw and Larry Ray Harris, Cover-Up, self-published, Cleburne TX,
1976, page 89
5. Obituary, The Washington Post, July 9, 1988, pG5
6. "Police Launch 2-city Manhunt," The Dallas Morning News, November 23, 1963,
page 2. The full account reads: "During the frantic period at the hospital,
police, Secret Service men and FBI agents had started a 2-city manhunt. They
arrested several persons, among them a Fort Worth man who was said to be
driving a car linked to the slayer." There was no additional coverage of this
event in the paper.
7. Earl Golz, "Ex-officer suspect he chased `2nd gun'," The Dallas Morning
News, August 20, 1978, p 42A.
8. Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, 1989, Carroll & Graf
Publishers, New York, pp 325-327. This is a nearly verbatim recounting of the
aforementioned Golz article.
9. Golz, "`2nd gun'"
10. "Scenes From an Assassination" (photographic essay), The Dallas
Times-Herald, November 20, 1983
11. Golz, "`2nd gun'"
12. See Decker Exhibit 5323 (affidavits to Dallas County Sheriffs): 19H500,
Malcolm Summers, November 23, 1963; 19H497-98, Jesse James Williams, November
22, 1963; 19H501, William Clifford Anderson, November 25, 1963; 19H522-23,
November 22, 1963; and Cover-Up, p 88 (reference to DPD radio logs for
11/22/63, time not indicated)
13. Golz, "`2nd gun'"
14. Interview with WD Roberts by author, December 22, 1992
15. "Man Arrested Here Released," The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 23,
16. Warren Commission Document #301 (CD 301), pp 111-112. See also John
Moulder, "'Suspect' Seized Here Made History," The Fort Worth Press,
September 28, 1964, page 1 and Cover-Up, p 88.
17. Ibid CD 301, and CD 897, p 331
18. "'Suspect' Seized Here Made History"
20. Cover-Up, p 89
21. 19H522-23, November 22, 1963.
22. Ibid, and arrest report #19560, FWPD, Donald Wayne House. November 22, 1963
23. Roberts interview
24. A six cylinder Plymouth: Roberts interview and House arrest report
25. Interview with BG Whistler, January 5, 1993
26. House arrest report
27. Roberts interview; Whistler interview
28. House arrest report. Note that this may be "official" as opposed to
actual time since an NBC newscast transcript notes the first broadcast that
"a car has been stopped at Fort Worth that may have some connection with the
shooting" at 1:49 pm CST, eight minutes earlier. WBAP radio had also
broadcast a similar statement three minutes earlier at 1:46, indicating that
House had already been pulled over and perhaps already taken to city hall.
29. Cover-up, p 89, upper row of photos
30. Wood is now deceased and surviving officers do not recall who the
motorcycle officers were, but news footage taken by KXAS-TV (then WBAP-TV)
made available to me by Fort Worth researcher Gary Mack shows Wood getting
off of his motorcycle as House is being driven up in the squad car
31. House arrest report; Roberts and Whistler interviews
32. Roberts interview
33. Whistler interview
34. Elston Brooks, "An Arrest He'll Never Forget," The Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, November 20, 1983, p 20F (Sunday special section: "Turning
Point: The Assassination of JFK")
35. "'Suspect' Seized Here Made History"
37. "An Arrest He'll Never Forget"
38. Cover-Up, p 88
39. Photos can be seen in Cover-Up, top of p 89
40. House Property Record #19560, FWPD
41. "'Suspect' Seized Here Made History"
42. House disposition report #19560, FWPD. The report indicates that charges
were dropped after House was questioned, and he was released at 5:15 pm, 3
hours and 18 minutes after he'd been arrested
43. Roberts interview
44. CD 301
45. Cover-Up, page 89
49. Interview with Mr and Mrs HW Sinclair, December 20, 1992
50. Wilson arrest record #19561, FWPD (shown on back cover), and accompanying
disposition report and property record #19561
52. "'Suspect' Arrested Here Makes History."
53. Telephone interview with Kenneth Glenn Wilson, January 9, 1993
54. Interview with Mr and Mrs Kenneth Glenn Wilson, January 23, 1993
55. Live WBAP radio broadcast, November 22, 1963 at the time House was
brought into the jail. In addition to the newspaper reporters and
photographers who were at city hall, there were a number of television and
radio personnel. Footage from KXAS-TV and KTVT-TV (op cit) of House being
brought into police headquarters and being marched through the hallways and
offices clearly indicates that coverage of the arrest was immediate.
56. Wilson and House arrest records. Again, this is an official rather than
57. At 3:50 pm; Wilson disposition report #19561
58. House disposition report #19560
59. WBAP-TV (NBC) news footage
60. Wilson interview