Secrets of a Homicide: Badge Man

The Testimony of Lee Bowers, Jr.

In The Men Who Killed Kennedy, Gary MACK cites the testimony of Lee BOWERS, Jr., a railroad signalman working in a railroad tower several hundred feet behind the stockade fence, to support the idea that the Badge Man figure is a human being and not some other anomaly.

GARY MACK: "...And he testified to the Warren Commission and told them that - when Kennedy appeared in Dealey Plaza there were two men behind the fence that he could see. And these two men were in this one position the whole time before, during, and after the shooting." [109]

Exhibit 20 - A computer rendering of Lee Bowers' view of the stockade fence atop the grassy knoll.

The implication, of course, is that Lee BOWERS saw the same two men (Badge Man and Hard Hat Man) MACK and WHITE see in the MOORMAN photograph. Yet, Lee BOWERS never told the Commission that he saw two men where MACK and WHITE place Badge Man and Hard Hat Man. When asked, "were any people standing on the high side - high ground between your tower and where Elm Street goes down under the underpass toward the mouth of the underpass?" BOWERS replied:

BOWERS: "Directly in line, towards the mouth of the underpass, there were two men. One man, middle-aged, or slightly older, fairly heavy-set, in a white shirt, fairly dark trousers. Another younger man, about mid-twenties, in either a plaid shirt or plaid coat or jacket." [Emphasis added]

BOWERS' seemingly places the two men in an area that was "directly in line" with his view of the "mouth of the underpass," which, of course, is the area on the west end of the stockade fence, opposite the east end where MACK and WHITE place Badge Man and Hard Hat Man. Although he doesn't expressly say so, BOWERS seems to be saying that the men are behind the stockade fence, since BOWERS is looking south from the railroad tower and cannot see the grassy incline that leads down to the mouth of the underpass.

Asked, "Were they standing together or standing separately?" BOWERS answered:

BOWERS: "They were standing within 10 or 15 feet of each other, and gave no appearance of being together, as far as I knew."

A moment later BOWERS was asked, "Did you see any other people up on this high ground?"

BOWERS: "There were one or two people in the area. Not in this same vicinity. One of them was a parking lot attendant that operates a parking lot there. One or two. Each had uniforms similar to those custodians at the courthouse. But they were some distance back, just a slight distance back." [110]

A moment later, BOWERS was asked, "Did you see any activity in this high ground above Elm after the shot?"

BOWERS: "At the time of the shooting there seemed to be some commotion, and immediately following there was a motorcycle policeman who shot nearly all the way to the top of the incline...He came up into this area where there are some trees, and where I had described the two men were in the general vicinity of this." [111]

The motorcycle policeman BOWERS refers to is clearly Officer Clyde HAYGOOD, who dumped his motorcycle at curbside on Elm Street near the base of the stairway (he never actually rode his motorcycle up the incline, as BOWERS and others claimed) and dashed up the grassy knoll to the point where the west end of the stockade fence joins up with with the underpass and climbed over, entering the railroad yards. HAYGOOD's actions are well documented in numerous amateur films and photographs. Once again, BOWERS seems to be indicating that the two men in question were in an area near the west end of the stockade fence.

Asked if the two men were in the area at the time the motorcycle officer came up the incline, BOWERS said:

BOWERS: "I - as far as I know, one of them was. The other I could not say. The darker dressed man was too hard to distinguish from the trees. The one in the white shirt, yes; I think he was." [112]

Throughout his Warren Commission testimony, BOWERS seems to be talking about two men that were standing near the west end of the stockade fence, in direct line with his view of the mouth of the underpass. So where is the BOWERS' statement that MACK refers to in The Men Who Killed Kennedy? The one in which BOWERS supposedly testified to the Warren Commission that he saw "two men" at the east end of the stockade fence (the Badge Man position) "before, during, and after the shooting?"

MACK's source is actually a series of unreleased transcripts of the filmed interviews conducted by Mark LANE and Emile De ANTONIO for the 1966 film Rush to Judgment. MACK learned of the existence of the transcripts during the research phase of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. [113]

While the transcripts make it clear that the two men BOWERS told the Warren Commission about in 1964 were in fact standing at the east end of the stockade fence, just as MACK stated in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, they also make it clear that the two men were not suspicious individuals standing behind the stockade fence in the Badge Man position but were eyewitnesses standing in front of the fence in full view of everyone in Dealey Plaza. More importantly, BOWERS specifically says that no one was standing behind the fence.

Here is what Lee BOWERS told LANE in the filmed interview:

MARK LANE: "Mr. Bowers, did you see any pedestrians at any time between your tower and Elm Street that day?"

LEE BOWERS: "Directly in line - uh - there - of course is - uh - there leading toward the Triple Underpass there is a curved decorative wall - I guess you'd call it - it's not a solid wall but it is part of the - uh - park..." [114]

You can see in this unpublished transcript that BOWERS began his response to LANE's question with the phrase, "directly in line" - the same phrase he used while testifying to the Warren Commission in 1964. During his 1964 testimony, BOWERS added the words, "towards the mouth of the underpass," which led many to conclude that he was referring to the west end of the stockade fence which lay directly in line with his view of the mouth of the underpass.

However, BOWER's 1966 filmed interview with Mark LANE makes it clear that BOWERS was actually talking about the area of the pergola located near the east end of the fence. In fact, you’ll note that in the above portion of the transcript BOWERS describes the backside of the curved pergola structure that lies immediately behind Zapruder's pedestal. BOWERS continues:

LEE BOWERS: "...And to the west of that there were - uh - at the time of the shooting in my vision only two men. Uh - these two men were - uh - standing back from the street somewhat at the top of the incline and were very near - er - two trees which were in the area..." [115]

Here again, BOWERS gives an accurate description of the area near the east end of the stockade fence. Anyone familiar with the layout of Dealey Plaza knows that just west of the north pergola, a sidewalk runs from the top of the incline, past an L-shaped concrete retaining wall, and down to the sidewalk bordering Elm Street. There are two trees at the top of the incline. One tree is just west of the sidewalk (i.e., between the sidewalk and the stockade fence), and the other is in front of the stockade fence, about ten feet from the southeast corner. From BOWERS' perch in the two-story railroad tower, he could see a narrow strip of Elm Street as he looked down the stairway that runs between the pergola to the east and the stockade fence to the west.

Where then are the two men BOWERS is describing? According to BOWERS, the men are standing back from the street somewhat, at the top of the incline, very near the two trees that lie along this stairway - not behind the fence as MACK described. We know for a fact that BOWERS is not talking about two men behind the fence because of what he says next:

LEE BOWERS: "...And one of them, from time to time as he walked back and forth, uh - disappeared behind a wooden fence which is also slightly to the west of that. Uh - these two men to the best of my knowledge were standing there - uh - at the time - of the shooting..." [emphasis added] [116]

BOWERS' statement that one of the men disappeared behind a wooden fence is highly significant when one realizes that Lee BOWERS had a clear view of the north side of the stockade fence - both the east-west and north-south extensions. This fact has been generally known since 1967, when Josiah THOMPSON published a photograph of the stockade fence area, as seen from BOWERS' railroad tower, in his book Six Seconds in Dallas. [117]

Exhibit 21 - Portion of a transcript of Mark Lane's interview with Lee Bowers Jr.

How then, you might ask, could a man disappear behind the fence if BOWERS had a clear, unobstructed view? Answer: The man (and in this case, the men) were on the south side of the stockade fence, between the fence and Elm Street, not crouching on the north side of the fence getting ready to shoot the president. Consequently, the fence was between BOWERS and the two men, thus blocking his view of them as they walked back and forth. This, of course, makes sense when we consider that BOWERS himself said that the men were standing "back from the street somewhat, at the top of the incline." BOWERS' words place the men between the street and the stockade fence at the top of the grassy knoll, not behind the fence at the top of the knoll.

BOWERS went on to describe the two men and their movements immediately before the motorcade arrived:

LEE BOWERS: "...Ah - one of them, as I recall, was a middle-aged man, fairly heavy-set with - what looked like a white shirt. Uh - he remained in sight practically all of the time. The other individual was uh - slighter build and had either a plaid jacket or a plaid shirt on and he - uh -is walking back and forth was in and out of sight, so that I could not state for sure whether he was standing there at the time of the shots or not..." [118]

So again, BOWERS describes one of the men walking back and forth and disappearing "in and out of sight" behind the fence - indicative, as I've shown, of someone standing south of the stockade fence in plain view of everyone in Dealey Plaza. The clothing description - the same given to the Warren Commission in 1964 - assures us that BOWERS is describing the same two men he testified about to the Commission.

Were there any eyewitnesses in the area described by BOWERS? As a matter of fact, films and photographs made at the time of the head shot do show three men standing in the area described by BOWERS. All three appear on a concrete landing located on the Elm Street stairway halfway between the sidewalk and the top of the incline. A color slide made a moment earlier, just as the president's limousine came under gunfire, shows only two men standing in that area (again, just as BOWERS described). A third man (referred to by conspiracy theorists as "Black Dog Man," because the shape of the man's image on film resembles a dog) can be seen in the vicinity of the L-shaped concrete wall. [119] It could be that this third man, who appears to be a black man, came down the stairway during these moments and joined the pair on the landing.

Whether the men BOWERS described in his testimony are the same men seen in films and photographs of the area is a matter of conjecture.

So, while the 1966 interview with Lee BOWERS clears up any confusion about the position of the two men (they were indeed standing near the east end of the stockade fence, as MACK stated), the interview transcripts also make clear that the two men BOWERS described were standing in front of the stockade fence, not behind it.

More importantly, BOWERS' specifically says in the 1966 filmed interview that no one was standing anywhere behind the stockade fence. In an early exchange, BOWERS told LANE and De ANTONIO about three cars that entered the parking area below the railroad tower shortly before the shooting, circled the lot, then left. [120] These three cars were also described in detail for the Warren Commission in 1964. [121] BOWERS told LANE and De ANTONIO that the three cars that entered and the left the parking area were "the only things of significance to occur during this period prior to the time of the shooting," [122] adding:

LEE BOWERS: "Most of the other people who were in the area - ah - I was - I knew, if not by name, then by seeing them day after day so that there was - uh - no one unaccounted for in the immediate area other than this -uh - the three who were in these three cars that have been mentioned." [123]

BOWERS later reiterated that other than the two men he described "standing back from the street somewhat, at the top of the incline," which we now know to be in front of the east end of the stockade fence, there were no strangers in the area :

LEE BOWERS: "Other than these two and the people who were over on the top of the Underpass who - that were, for the most part, were railroad employees or were employees of a Fort Worth welding firm who were working on the railroad, uh - there were no strangers out in this area." [124]

And there is absolutely no question that BOWERS is referring here to the area behind the stockade fence, the very location where MACK and WHITE claim two of the three figures they see in the MOORMAN photograph (i.e., Badge Man and Hard Hat Man) were standing. In a later exchange BOWERS makes this point crystal clear:

LEE BOWERS: "Now I could see back or the South side [BOWERS is actually speaking of the north side of the fence] of the wooden fence in the area, so that obviously that there was no one there who could have - uh - had anything to do with either - as accomplice or anything else because there was no one there - um - at the moment that the shots were fired." [125]

Exhibit 22 - Portion of a transcript of Mark Lane's interview with Lee Bowers Jr. The markings indicate that this portion of the transcript was not to be used in the final film, Rush To Judgment.

Here, we can see that BOWERS spells it right out - there was no one behind the fence at the time the shots were fired. So, contrary to claims made in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, BOWERS never offered anything in either his 1964 testimony or 1966 interview that could be construed as supportive of the claim that two men were standing behind the east end of the stockade fence; the place where Badge Man and Hard Hat Man were allegedly located. In fact, BOWERS specifically says that no one was behind the fence at the time the shots were fired.

The Hard Hat Man Figure

In addition to Badge Man, two other figures were developed by Jack WHITE's photographic enhancement techniques. A second figure appeared to be standing behind and to the left of Badge Man's position. This figure seemed to be wearing a light-colored shirt and a construction hard hat, and thus was dubbed, 'Hard Hat Man.' The only evidence offered in The Men Who Killed Kennedy to support Hard Hat Man's existence was WHITE's observation that the lighting on Hard Hat Man "...is entirely consistent with the lighting on Badge Man..." and that "...he appears to be looking off in the direction of the School Book Depository."

Of course, if the Hard Hat Man figure is legitimately part of the image, the direction of the lighting in the photograph should be consistent throughout the image, as WHITE observed. This consistency, however, neither proves nor disproves that the shapes are the human beings, as WHITE believes. After all, even if the shapes turn out to be nothing more than background foliage, the light source striking them would still be consistent with the rest of the image.

The Gordon Arnold Figure

The third figure developed by MACK and WHITE received the most air play in The Men Who Killed Kennedy. Dubbed the 'Gordon ARNOLD figure,' MACK and WHITE believe this third figure, seen standing just in front of the stockade fence to Badge Man's right, supports the sensational account of Gordon ARNOLD, the 23-year-old soldier who claimed to have been present on the grassy knoll the day of the assassination. The program features an exclusive television interview with ARNOLD who recounts how he was booted from behind the parking lot behind the stockade fence by a plainclothes man who identified himself as "CIA" (ARNOLD's original claim to Dallas Morning News reporter Earl GOLZ in 1978 was that the man had Secret Service credentials), how he made his way in front of the fence, filmed the motorcade, heard a shot fired from behind the stockade fence go passed his left ear, and crouched in horror as a uniformed policeman (wearing no hat, with dirty hands) emerged from behind the fence shaking and crying (in the 1978 GOLZ version, ARNOLD says it was two different policemen), kicked him, and stole the film from his camera. [126]

Contrary to ARNOLD's story, photographs and films taken at the time of the assassination fail to show anyone in the area where ARNOLD claimed to have been. [127] Indeed, there are huge holes in ARNOLD's account of what happened that day. Nevertheless, in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, MACK and WHITE identify a "white blob" in the MOORMAN photo as ARNOLD:

GARY MACK: "...And there was a light blob of something - very close to where Badge Man was and we weren't sure what it was but gradually as details started coming out with Jack's photo work we realized this image was probably Gordon Arnold and here's a guy whose - who had told his story just to an acquaintance and was overheard and that story went off to the news media and Gordon Arnold was interviewed and it appeared in the newspaper - ah - that he had been at the scene and was in that location but no one believed him because there were no photographs or films that showed a man in that position. But all of a sudden, the Moorman picture confirmed his story and again the interesting part is that Gordon Arnold's story came out four years before we noticed the appearance of this figure in the Moorman photograph..." [128]

MACK's observation that ARNOLD's story surfaced before the discovery of the "white blob of something," is hardly confirmation of ARNOLD's story since it was MACK and WHITE themselves who identified the "white blob" as ARNOLD. In fact, the figure in the image barely resembles a human being and certainly cannot be identified as any particular individual.

Later, The Men Who Killed Kennedy presents commentary from Jack WHITE in an attempt to convince viewers that the "white blob" really is Gordon ARNOLD:

JACK WHITE: "...We later learned that Arnold was wearing this Army cap that had a slight point at the top and a medallion on the right hand side that said 'U.S. Army,' and it's exactly what we see in the photograph..." [129]

The photographic enlargement accompanying WHITE's commentary, however, doesn’t support his statement. Not only is no "medallion" readily visible, but certainly nothing can be seen that says, "U.S. Army." WHITE continues:

JACK WHITE: "...We also know that Gordon Arnold was filming this scene with a movie camera and that's exactly what the photograph shows because we see the right arm of the person in this position with his hand up toward his face and what appears to be obstructing his face something perhaps like a movie camera..." [130]

Once again, the fuzzy image accompanying WHITE's commentary is not clear enough to make out much of anything, unless of course, one is influenced by WHITE's suggestion itself.

More importantly, the computer study I performed on the Gordon ARNOLD figure shows that if the figure were in fact a human being of average height and build, he would have to be standing 54 feet behind the fence "along MOORMAN's line of sight", [131] not in front of the fence as ARNOLD claimed and MACK and WHITE believe.

One additional photographic offering not mentioned in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, also purports to support ARNOLD's claim. According to MACK, conspiracy theorist Robert GRODEN discovered a moving "tan spot" in the Orville NIX film that correlates to where ARNOLD allegedly dropped to the ground after the shooting, though MACK admits that ARNOLD is not clearly seen in the film sequence.

MACK later wrote, "GRODEN's work came from a flawed 35mm internegative made in 1973. It is two or three generations - maybe more - away from the original [NIX film, which was lost]. MOORMAN shows a shape that is not visible in other pictures, and NIX shows a tan shape moving. To say Gordon ARNOLD - or someone else in that location - is not visible is just not accurate...One can poke holes in parts of [ARNOLD's] story, but the photographic record shows a person in that location. Whether one chooses to believe Gordon ARNOLD's story or not is a separate issue. If it was not ARNOLD, then who was it and why has he not been identified or seen in any other pictures?" [132]

Despite MACK's claims, the GRODEN-enhanced NIX sequence has not been made available for scientific scrutiny. Nor does MACK's argument counter the fact that the size of the Gordon ARNOLD figure in the MOORMAN photograph, if human, is indicative of someone standing considerably behind the fence, not in front of it as allegedly depicted in the NIX film. [133]




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Footnotes

  1. The Men Who Killed Kennedy, "Part 2: Forces of Darkness," British Central Television broadcast, 10/25/88 [RETURN]
  2. 6H287 WCT Lee E. Bowers, Jr. [NOTE: Bowers said there were two uniformed parking lot attendants back in the parking lot and a group of people standing on the overpass - including two policemen, a railroad employee, a signal man with the Union Terminal Company, two welders that worked for the Fort Worth Welding firm, and a laborer's assistant.] [RETURN]
  3. Ibid [NOTE: Bowers told Mark Lane in 1966 that at the time of the shooting "there was a flash of light or an - as far as I'm concerned something I could not identify. But there was something which occurred which caught my eye in this immediate area on the embankment. Now what this was I could not state at that time, and, at this time, I could not identify it other than there was some unusual occurrence - a flash of light or smoke or - or something which - uh - caused me to feel like something out of the ordinary had occurred there." (Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.122, Roll GH500) Some interpret Bowers' testimony as evidence of a shot being fired from the grassy knoll. However, another possibility that might explain the "flash of light" comment is the realization that at about the time of the head shot the windshield of the presidential limousine would have appeared briefly to Bowers as it passed the area of the stairway between the pergola and the corner of the stockade fence. The sun at that time of day was high in the sky and opposite Bowers, a perfect position to be reflected back to Bowers as a sun glint in the curved edge of the glass and chrome of the windshield. (Similar sun glints can be seen in the Zapruder film.) This "flash of light," combined with the reaction of the three men on the stairway landing to the head shot (as captured in amateur films), may account for Bowers' "unusual occurrence" remark.] [RETURN]
  4. 6H288 WCT Lee E. Bowers, Jr. [RETURN]
  5. "Eyes Closed: The Case Against Gerald Posner," Gary Mack, The Fourth Decade, Vol.1, No.1, November 1993, p.17 [RETURN]
  6. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.120, Roll GH400 [RETURN]
  7. Ibid [RETURN]
  8. Ibid [RETURN]
  9. Thompson, Josiah, Six Seconds in Dallas, Bernard Geis Associates, 1967, p.116 [RETURN]
  10. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.120-21, Roll GH400 [RETURN]
  11. Color slide #5, by Major Phillip Willis [RETURN]
  12. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.117-20, Rolls GH200 & 300 [RETURN]
  13. 6H285-86 WCT Lee E. Bowers, Jr.[RETURN]
  14. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.120, Roll GH300 [RETURN]
  15. Ibid [RETURN]
  16. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.121, Roll GH300 [NOTE: Bowers added that someone unknown to him could have been standing at the base of the two-story railroad tower since that area was not visible to him. The tower, of course, was several hundred feet north of the stockade fence where Badge Man was supposedly located.] [RETURN]
  17. Transcript of filmed interview of Lee Bowers, Jr., p.124, Roll GH600 [RETURN]
  18. The Men Who Killed Kennedy, "Part 2: Forces of Darkness," British Central Television broadcast, 10/25/88; Trask, Richard B., Pictures of the Pain, Yeoman Press, 1994, p.256 [RETURN]
  19. [NOTE: A Dallas Morning News photograph depicting Arnold standing on the grassy knoll "where he saw the assassination" shows Arnold in a position that is not supported by any photograph including Mack and White's own interpretation of the Moorman photograph. (Dallas Morning News, 08-27-78)] [RETURN]
  20. The Men Who Killed Kennedy, "Part 2: Forces of Darkness," British Central Television broadcast, 10/25/88 [RETURN]
  21. Ibid [RETURN]
  22. Ibid [RETURN]
  23. Computer recreation notes, 10-5-00, Dale K. Myers Collection [RETURN]
  24. Internet posting by Gary Mack, 4-5-00, alt.conspiracy.jfk; "Eyes Closed: The Case Against Gerald Posner," Gary Mack, The Fourth Decade, Vol.1, No.1, November 1993, p.18 [RETURN]
  25. [NOTE: In a 2000 Internet posting, MACK offered one non-photographic tidbit of support for ARNOLD's claim, "If you'll watch the Rush to Judgment video, you'll find that the witness on top of the Terminal Annex [i.e., J.C. PRICE] saw a man dressed in khakis run north into the parking lot and around the back of the TSBD, carrying something in his right hand. That happens to be where ARNOLD parked his car, something he told me six years before his Men Who Killed Kennedy appearance. He also happened to be right handed, so perhaps that was the camera?" (Internet posting by Gary Mack, 4-7-00, alt.conspiracy.jfk)] [RETURN]


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