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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XV - Page 136« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of M. W. Stevenson)

Mr. Hubert.
Chief STEVENSON. I would say that was made, the first of my knowledge, Mr. Hubert, at approximately 11:10. I went up into the homicide bureau on the third floor. Chief Curry and Lieutenant Pierce were in the homicide bureau. Oswald was there in Captain Fritz' office. They had been interrogating him. I went into the office. Chief Curry advised me they had decided to use an automobile for the transfer and use the truck as a decoy. The automobile was more maneuverable.
I said, "O.K., sir." I turned around and went back to the basement.
Mr. Hubert.
Did he tell you any reason other than the maneuverability? That was the whole reason?
Chief STEVENSON. That's right. In view of the threats that we had had, they were going to use the truck as a decoy, and that if they did encounter a group of people on the streets, they could maneuver the car more easily and get around them. I left and went to the basement to notify the men in the basement; Captain Jones, who was my captain.
I met Chief Lumpkin in the hall, and as we went down on the elevator I advised him of the change. Reached the basement. I advised Captain Jones and Chief Batchelor. Now, I didn't advise Captain Talbert because I don't believe I saw Captain Talbert there immediately upon my arrival in the basement.
Mr. Hubert.
So that as far as you know, then the only people who knew of the change of plans was yourself, Chief Curry, Chief Lumpkin, and then you told Batchelor?
Chief STEVENSON. I told Captain Jones and Chief Batchelor and Chief Lumpkin on the way to the basement.
Mr. Hubert.
Now the two detectives, Dougherty and Brown, who were to drive the two cars, were they told what their role was to be?
Chief STEVENSON. Yes; not of my own knowledge, but I understand they had gotten their instructions before they left the homicide office that Dougherty would drive the car containing Oswald and that Brown would be in the car immediately preceding him.
Mr. Hubert.
Now Rio Pierce was told too, I suppose?
Chief STEVENSON. He was instructed to get his car and park it in front of the armored truck as if he was leading the armored truck with the prisoner.
Mr. Hubert.
Was he aware that the armored truck would not contain Oswald?
Chief STEVENSON. Yes, sir; he was in Captain Fritz' office at the time I was instructed that the change had been decided on to take him in a car and use the truck as a decoy. He was to lead the truck down Elm Street as had been planned. The car bearing Oswald would cut down west on Main.
Mr. Hubert.
Brown and Dougherty got their instructions on the third floor in Fritz' office?
Chief STEVENSON. In the homicide office; yes.
Mr. Hubert.
They went down before you did then?
Chief STEVENSON. Oh, yes.
Mr. Hubert.
And their instructions were to get the two cars facing Commerce on the ramp and behind the armored car?
Mr. Hubert.
Do you recall what, if anything, Captain Fritz said when he came out of the jail office immediately prior to the movement of Oswald out of the jail office?
Chief STEVENSON. No, sir; I do not. I was not, oh, I would say I was within 25 feet or that far away from Captain Fritz when they emerged from the jail office door.
Mr. Hubert.
You don't remember whether he asked if things were clear or made any comment?
Chief STEVENSON. To my own knowledge, I don't. I was told that he did make that inquiry of possibly Lieutenant Wiggins, I believe it was.
Mr. Hubert.
What is your thought, Chief, as to what extent the failure of security which occurred was caused by the decision to allow news media into the basement?
Chief STEVENSON. That would be a little difficult question to answer. Of course looking back at it, Mr. Hubert, we can see. But we had, we felt, sufficient officers in there to secure it. And of course looking back on it now, we
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