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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XV - Page 137« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of M. W. Stevenson)

Mr. Hubert.
can say yes. It would have been better for us if we had not had the press down there. What percent it figured, what percent of the blame you could lay to the fact that the press was down there would be very difficult.
Mr. Hubert.
Do you know of any consideration, if any consideration was given, to establishing some security measures with reference to single-man action against the prisoner rather than mob action against the prisoner?
Chief STEVENSON. Nothing more than that all the officers are instructed that in handling any prisoner charged with a serious crime they should watch for anyone and everyone, any act that might look or seem to be of a suspicious nature.
Mr. Hubert.
Well, I was thinking particularly with reference to the security of Oswald on the 24th. I mean was any consideration given, to your knowledge, of establishing some security measure against a single-man action?
Chief STEVENSON. None in particular. Nothing more than is general procedure on transfer of a prisoner of that nature, or one who has committed a crime in which some relative or friend might want to take vengeance. Mr. HUBERT. What is that?
Chief STEVENSON. That would be that everyone be kept away from the prisoner, not be permitted to get to the prisoner.
Mr. Hubert.
Were any security measures to that end taken, do you know?
Chief STEVENSON. Nothing more than that ,the press, and I didn't hear this, was informed in the basement that none of them would attempt to move close to the prisoner for the purpose of talking to him or taking photographs.
Mr. Hubert.
Do you know if any consideration was given to using an entirely different route of transfer than through the basement for the purpose of avoiding the crowded condition in the basement?
Chief STEVENSON. If there was, I have no knowledge of it, Mr. Hubert.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you hear any discussion among anybody that the crowded condition in the basement might pose a greater threat by a single man than if the basement were cleared of everybody whatsoever?
Chief STEVENSON. I didn't hear that subject discussed, I don't believe; no, sir.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you ever hear of any suggestion made that the press be bypassed, as it were, and the prisoner removed in some other fashion?
Chief STEVENSON. Not to my knowledge; no, sir.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you see any officers immediately prior to the time Oswald appeared who had drawn their side arms?
Chief STEVENSON. No, sir.
Mr. Hubert.
Now I understand that the first homicide cars may have had shotguns or riot guns in them but were not visible.
Chief STEVENSON. No, sir; none were visible, not to my knowledge. I could not see any of them. All of the homicide cars are equipped with rifles and shotguns.
Mr. Hubert.
Did you have anything to do at all with the arrangements for the obtaining of the armored cars?
Chief STEVENSON. No, sir; Chief Batchelor handled that by telephone. He consulted with me on it, but he handled it by telephone.
Mr. Hubert.
Were you present in the basement when the armored car arrived?
Chief STEVENSON. No, sir.
Mr. Hubert.
How long before the actual shooting did you go down to the basement?
Chief STEVENSON. The last time, I would say some 5, between 5 and 10 minutes, not over that.
Mr. Hubert.
In the plan to transfer Oswald down the elevator to the jail office and in the jail corridor into the automobile waiting on the ramp, was there any arrangement made so that Captain Fritz or others would give a signal or would be given a signal as to when to come through?
Chief STEVENSON. I understand--I didn't hear this--but they called down from upstairs, notified the jail sergeant that they were leaving the third floor, and that the jail elevator sergeant observed the elevator on its downward journey when he was there in the jail office. When the jail elevator door opened, Captain Fritz stepped out, followed by the men with the prisoner.
Mr. Hubert.
When you say the man in the jail office followed the elevator down, you mean he followed the lights to show the progress?
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