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Warren Commission Report: Page 140« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER IV - The Assassin)

Palmprints and Fingerprints on Cartons and Paper Bag

Below the southeast corner window on the sixth floor was a large carton of books measuring approximately 18 by 12 by 14 inches which had been moved from a stack along the south wall.208 Atop this carton was a small carton marked "Rolling Readers," measuring approximately 13 by 9 by 8 inches.209 In front of this small carton and resting partially on the windowsill was another small "Rolling Readers" carton.210 These two small cartons had been moved from a stack about three aisles away. 211 The boxes in the window appeared to have been arranged as a convenient gun rest.212 (See Commission Exhibit No. 1301, p. 138.) Behind these boxes was another carton placed on the floor on which a man sitting could look southwesterly down Elm Street over the top of the "Rolling Readers" cartons.213 Next to these cartons was the handmade paper bag, previously discussed, on which appeared the print of the left index finger and right palm of Lee Harvey Oswald.214 (See Commission Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.)


The cartons were forwarded to the FBI in Washington. Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the Latent Fingerprint Section, testified that 20 identifiable fingerprints and 8 palmprints were developed on these cartons.205 The carton on the windowsill and the large carton below the window contained no prints which could be identified as being those of Lee Harvey Oswald.216 The other "Rolling Readers" carton, however, contained a palmprint and a fingerprint which were identified by Latona as being the left palmprint and right index fingerprint of Lee Harvey Oswald.217 (See app. X, p. 566.)


The Commission has considered the possibility that the cartons might have been moved in connection with the work that was being performed on the sixth floor on November 22. Depository employees were laying a new floor at the west end and transferring books from the west to the east end of the building.218 The "Rolling Readers" cartons, however, had not been moved by the floor layers and had apparently been taken to the window from their regular position for some particular purpose.219 The "Rolling Readers" boxes contained, instead of books, light blocks used as reading aids.220 They could be easily adjusted and were still solid enough to serve as a gun rest.


The box on the floor, behind the three near the window, had been one of these moved by the floor layers from the west wall to near the east side of the building in preparation for the laying of the floor.221 During the afternoon of November 22, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas police dusted this carton with powder and developed a palmprint on the top edge of the carton on the side nearest the window.222 The position of this palmprint on the carton was parallel with the long axis of the box, and at right angles with the short axis; the bottom of the palm rested on the box.223 Someone sitting on the box facing the window would have his palm in this position if he placed his hand alongside his right hip. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.) This print

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