59 Witnesses: Delay on Elm Street

Part Two

(Revised update-1998)

by Vince Palamara

37) Ochus V. Campbell---after hearing shots, "he then observed the car bearing President Kennedy to slow down, a near stop, and a motorcycle policeman rushed up. Immediately following this, he observed the car rush away from the scene." [22 H 845];

38) Peggy Joyce Hawkins---she was on the front steps of the TSBD and " estimated that the President's car was less than 50 feet away from her when he was shot, that the car slowed down almost coming to a full stop." ["Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

39) Billy Lovelady---"I recall that following the shooting, I ran toward the spot where President Kennedy's car had stopped." [22 H 662];

40) An unnamed witness---from his vantage point in the courthouse building, stated that "The cavalcade stopped there and there was bedlam." ["Dallas Times Herald", 11/24/63; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97];

41) Postal Inspector Harry Holmes (from the Post Office Annex, while viewing through binoculars)---"The car almost came to a stop, and Mrs. Kennedy pulled loose of him and crawled out over the turtleback of this Presidential car." [7 H 291]. He noticed the car pull to a halt, and Holmes thought: "They are dodging something being thrown." ["The Day Kennedy Was Shot" by Jim Bishop (1967), p. 176];

42) Peggy Burney---she stated that JFK's car had come to a stop. ["Dallas Times Herald", 11/24/63; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 97; interestingly, during the 11/20/93 C-SPAN "Journalists Remember" conference, Vivian Castleberry of the Dallas Times Herald made the claim that her first cousin, Peggy Burney, was Abraham Zapruder's assistant "and was next to him when he shot his famous film. She called and said, 'Vivian, today I saw the President die.'"!---See Sheldon Inkol's article on this conference in the January 1994 "Fourth Decade"];

43) David Broeder--"The President's car paused momentarily, then on orders from a Secret Service agent, spurted ahead." ["Washington Evening Star", 11/23/63, p. 8];

44) Sam Holland---stated that the Presidential limousine slowed down on Elm Street. [taped interview with Holland conducted in April, 1965];

45) Maurice Orr---noted that the motorcade stopped. [Arch Kimbrough, Mary Ferrell, and Sue Fitch, "Chronology", unpublished manuscript; see also "Conspiracy" by Anthony Summers, pages 20 & 23];

46) Mrs. Herman (Billy P.) Clay---"When I heard the second and third shots I knew someone was shooting at the President. I did not know if the President had been hit, but I knew something was wrong. At this point the car President Kennedy was in slowed and I, along with others, moved toward the President's car. As we neared the car it sped off." [22 H 641];

47) Mrs. Rose Clark---"She noted that the President's automobile came almost to a halt following the three shots, before it picked up speed and drove away." [24 H 533];

48) Hugh Betzner---"I looked down the street and I could see the President's car and another one and they looked like the cars were stopped then the President's car sped on under the underpass." [19 H 467];

49) John Chism---after the shots he saw "the motorcade beginning to speed up." ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 29];

50) Bill Newman---after the fatal head shot "the car momentarily stopped and the driver seemed to have a radio or phone up to his ear and he seemed to be waiting on some word. Some Secret Service men reached into their car and came out with some sort of machine gun. Then the cars roared off "; "I've maintained that they stopped. I still say they did. It was only a momentary stop, but" ["Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 70; "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb & Perry Adams (1974), p. 96] "I believe Kennedy's car came to a full stop after the final shot." ["JFK: Breaking The Silence" by Bill Sloan (1993), p. 169] "I believe it was the passenger in the front seat [Roy Kellerman]---there were two men in the front seat---had a telephone or something to his ear and the car momentarily stopped. Now everywhere that you read about it, you don't read anything about the car stopping. And when I say "stopped" I mean very momentarily, like they hit the brakes and just a few seconds passed and then they floorboarded [sic] and accelerated on." [11/20/97 videotaped interview with Bill Law, Mark Row, & Ian Griggs, as transcribed in "November Patriots" by Connie Kritzberg & Larry Hancock (1998), p. 362] "One of the two men in the front seat of the car had a telephone in his hand, and as I was looking back at the car covering my son, I can remember seeing the tail lights of the car, and just for a moment they hesitated and stopped, and then they floorboarded [sic] the car and shot off." ["No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 96];

51) Charles Brehm---"Brehm expressed his opinion that between the first and third shots, the President's car only seemed to move some 10 or 12 feet. It seemed to him that the automobile almost came to a halt after the first shot. After the third shot, the car in which the President was riding increased its speed and went under the freeway overpass and out of sight." [22 H 837-838];

52) Mary Moorman---"She recalls that the President's automobile was moving at the time she took the second picture, and when she heard the shots, and has the impression that the car either stopped momentarily or hesitated and then drove off in a hurry." [22 H 838-839];

53) Jean Hill---"The motorcade came to almost a halt at the time the shots rang out and I would say it [JFK's limo] was just approximately, if not---it couldn't have been in the same position, I'm sure it wasn't, but just a very, very short distance from where it had been. It [JFK's limo] was just almost stunned." [6 H 208-209; Hill's testimony on this matter was dramatized in the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" (1991): "The driver had stopped-I don't know what was wrong with that driver." See also "JFK: The Book of the Film" (1992), p. 122. Therein is referenced a March 1991 conversation with Jean Hill.];

54) James Leon Simmons---"The car stopped or almost stopped." [2/15/69 Clay Shaw trial testimony; "Forgive My Grief Vol. III" by Penn Jones, p. 53; "High Treason" by Groden & Livingstone (1990 Berkley Edition), p. 22];

55) Norman Similas---"The Presidential limousine had passed me and slowed down slightly." ["Liberty" Magazine, 7/15/64, p. 13; "Photographic Whitewash" by Harold Weisberg (1967), p. 233];

56) Presidential Aide Ken O'Donnell (rode in the follow-up car)---" If the Secret Service men in the front had reacted quicker to the first two shots at the President's car, if the driver had stepped on the gas before instead of after the fatal third shot was fired, would President Kennedy be alive today? [as quoted in Marrs' "Crossfire", p. 248, based off a passage from O'Donnell & Powers' book "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye"] On page 40 of O'Donnell's book "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye", the aide reports that "Greer had been remorseful all day, feeling that he could have saved President Kennedy's life by swerving the car or speeding suddenly after the first shots." Indeed, William E. Sale, an airman first class aircraft mechanic assigned to Carswell AFB and who was stationed at Love Field before, during, and after the assassination, stated that "when the agent who was driving JFK's car came back to Air Force One he was as white as a ghost and had to be helped back to the plane *[undated Sale letter, provided to the author by Martin Shackelford];

57) Presidential aide Dave Powers (rode in the follow-up car)---" At that time we were traveling very slowly At about the time of the third shot, the President's car accelerated sharply." [7 H 473-475]. On 11/22/88, Powers was interviewed by CBS' Charles Kuralt. Powers remarked about the remorse Greer felt about not speeding up in time to save JFK"s life and agreed with Kuralt that, if Greer had sped up BEFORE the fatal head shot instead of afterwards, JFK might still be alive today [CBS, 11/22/88---this is a very dramatic and compelling short interview]. If that weren't enough, the ARRB's Tom Samoluk told me that, during the course of an interview he conducted in 1996 in which the Board was in the process of obtaining Powers' film, Powers said that he agreed with my take on the Secret Service!;

58) Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough (rode in LBJ's car)---" When the noise of the shot was heard, the motorcade slowed to what seemed to me a complete stop (though it could have been a near stop) After the third shot was fired, but only after the third shot was fired, the cavalcade speeded up, gained speed rapidly, and roared away to the Parkland Hospital."; " The cars all stopped. I put in there [his affidavit], 'I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but for the protection of future Presidents, they [the Secret Service] should be trained to take off when a shot is fired." [7 H 439-440; "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs (1989), p. 482; see also "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" 1988: "The Secret Service in the car in front of us kind of casually looked around and were rather slow to react."];

59) First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (rode in the Presidential limousine)---"We could see a tunnel in front of us. Everything was really slow then [immediately after shooting] And just being down in the car with his head in my lap. And it just seemed an eternity And finally I remember a voice behind me, or something, and then I remember the people in the front seat, or somebody, finally knew something was wrong, and a voice yelling, which must have been Mr. Hill, "Get to the hospital," or maybe it was Mr. Kellerman, in the front seat.We were really slowing turning the corner [Houston&Elm] I remember a sensation of enormous speed, which must have been when we took off those poor men in the front" [5 H 179-181] Mary Gallagher reported in her book: "She mentioned one Secret Service man who had not acted during the crucial moment, and said bitterly to me, 'He might just as well have been Miss Shaw!'" ["My Life With Jacqueline Kennedy" by Mary Barelli Gallagher (1969), p. 342---Secret Service Agent Marty Venker and Jackie biographer C. David Heymann confirm that this unnamed agent was indeed Greer ("Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent", p. 25; "A Woman Called Jackie", p. 401)] Jackie also told Gallagher that "You should get yourself a good driver so that nothing ever happens to you" [Ibid., p. 351] * William Manchester, who interviewed Greer, tells us what the driver told Jackie on 11/22/63 at Parkland Hospital: "Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, oh my God, oh my God. I didn't mean to do it[?!?!], I didn't hear[who, Kellerman?], I should have swerved the car[how about hitting the gas!], I couldn't help it[!]. Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, as soon as I saw it[?] I swerved. If only I'd seen it in time! Oh!" (Manchester, p.290). 59 witnesses (10 police officers, 7 Secret Service agents, 37 spectators, 2 Presidential aides, 1 Senator, Governor Connally, and Jackie Kennedy) and the Zapruder film document Secret Service agent William R. Greer's deceleration of the presidential limousine, as well as his two separate looks back at JFK during the assassination (Greer denied all of this to the Warren Commission-2HGREER[see his entire testimony]). By decelerating from an already slow 11.2 mph, Greer greatly endangered the President's life, and, as even Gerald Posner admitted, Greer contributed greatly to the success of the assassination. When we consider that Greer disobeyed a direct order from his superior, Roy Kellerman, to get out of line BEFORE the fatal shot struck the President's head, it is hard to give Agent Greer the benefit of the doubt. As ASAIC Roy H. Kellerman said: "Greer then looked in the back of the car. Maybe he didn't believe me"("The Death of a President" by William Manchester, p.160). Clearly, Greer was responsible, at fault, and felt remorse. In short, Greer had survivor's guilt.

But, then, stories and feelings changed.

Agent Greer to the FBI 11/22/63: "Greer stated that he first heard what he thought was possibly a motorcycle backfire and glanced around and noticed that the President had evidently been hit [notice that, early on, Greer admits seeing JFK, which the Zapruder proves he did two times before the fatal head shot occurred]. He thereafter got on the radio and communicated with the other vehicles, stating that they desired to get the President to the hospital immediately [in reality, Greer did not talk on the radio, and Greer went on to deny ever saying this during his WC testimony] Greer stated that they (the Secret Service) have always been instructed to keep the motorcade moving at a considerable speed inasmuch as a moving car offers a much more difficult target than a vehicle traveling at a very slow speed. He pointed out that on numerous occasions he has attempted to keep the car moving at a rather fast rate, but in view of the President's popularity and desire to maintain close liaison with the people, he has, on occasion, been instructed by the President to "slow down". Greer stated that he has been asking himself if there was any thing he could have done to have avoided this incident, but stated that things happened so fast that he could not account for full developments in this matter(!) [the "JFK-as-scapegoat" theme and so much for Greer's remorse from earlier the same day!]."(Siebert & O'Neill Report, 11/22/63)

Agent Greer to the FBI 11/27/63: "She heard a noise which sounded like a motorcycle backfire. On hearing this noise he glanced to his right toward Kellerman and out of the corner of his eye noticed that the Governor appeared to be falling toward his wife [notice that Greer now mentions nothing about seeing JFK hit---he does the same thing in his undated report in the WC volumes (18 H 723)] He thereafter recalls hearing some type of outcry after which Kellerman said, "Let's get out of here." He further related that at the time of hearing the sound he was starting down an incline which passes beneath a railroad crossing and after passing under this viaduct, he closed in on the lead car and yelled to the occupants and a nearby police motorcyclist, "Hospital, Hospital! [nothing about using the radio this time out]" Thereafter follows a complete physical description of Greer, as if the FBI agents considered him a suspect, inc. age, height, and color of eyes! (Siebert & O'Neill Report, 11/29/63)

Critical excerpts from Greer's 3/9/64 Warren Commission testimony before Arlen Specter: Mr. Specter. Were you able to see anything of President Kennedy as you glanced to the rear? Mr. Greer. No, sir; I didn't see anything of the President, I didn't look, I wasn't far enough around to see the President. Mr. Specter. When you started that glance, are you able to recollect whether you started to glance before, exactly simultaneously with or after that second shot? Mr. Greer. It was almost simultaneously that he had--something had hit, you know, when I had seen him. It seemed like in the same second almost that something had hit, you know, whenever I turned around. I saw him start to fall. Mr. Specter. Did you step on the accelerator before, simultaneously or after Mr. Kellerman instructed you to accelerate? Mr. Greer. It was about simultaneously. Mr. Specter. So that it was your reaction to accelerate prior to the time-- Mr. Greer. Yes, sir. Mr. Specter. You had gotten that instruction? Mr. Greer. Yes, sir; it was my reaction that caused me to accelerate. Mr. Specter. Do you recollect whether you accelerated before or at the same time or after the third shot? Mr. Greer. I couldn't really say. Just as soon as I turned my head back from the second shot, right away I accelerated right then. It was a matter of my reflexes to the accelerator. Mr. Specter. Was it at about that time that you heard the third shot? Mr. Greer. Yes, sir; just as soon as I turned my head [ ] Mr. Specter. To the best of your current recollection, did you notice that the President had been hit? Mr. Greer. No, sir; I didn't know how badly he was injured or anything other than that. I didn't know. Mr. Specter. Did you know at all, from the glance which you have described that he had been hit or injured in any way? Mr. Greer. I knew he was injured in some way, but I didn't know how bad or what. Mr. Specter. How did you know that? Mr. Greer. If I remember now, I just don't remember how I knew, but I knew we were in trouble. I knew that he was injured, but I can't remember, recollect, just how I knew there were injuries in there. I didn't know who all was hurt, even. Mr. Specter. Are you able to recollect whether you saw the President after the shots as you were proceeding toward Parkland Hospital? Mr. Greer. No; I don't remember ever seeing him any more until I got to the hospital, and he was lying across the seat, you know, and that is the first I had seen of him. Mr. Specter. Your best recollection is, then, that you had the impression he was injured but you couldn't ascertain the source of that information? Mr. Greer. Right. I couldn't ascertain the source.

Warren Commission finding: "The driver, Special Agent William R. Greer, has testified that he accelerated the car after what was probably the second shot...The Presidential car did not stop or almost come to a complete halt after the firing of the first shot or any other shots."(WC Report, page 641)

11/19/64 interview with "Death of a President" author William Manchester [RIF#180-10116-10119]---"After the second shot I glanced back. I saw blood on the Governor's white shirt, and I knew we were in trouble. The blood was coming out of his right breast. When I heard the first shot, I had thought it was a backfire. I was tramping on the accelerator and at the same time Roy was saying, let's get out of here fast."

But remember what Roy Kellerman said: "Greer then looked in the back of the car. Maybe he didn't believe me"("The Death of a President" by William Manchester, p.160).

2/28/78 HSCA interview [RIF#180-10099-10491]---"The first shot sounded to him like a backfire. He did not react to it. After the second shot he turned to his right and saw blood on Governor Connally's shirt. At the same moment he heard Kellerman say "We're hit. Let's get out of here," or words to that effect. He said he immediately accelerated and followed the pilot car to Parkland Hospital [However, DNC Advance man Jack Puterbaugh, who rode in the pilot car, said they "pulled over and let the motorcade pass" (HSCA interview 4/14/78). The Washington Post from 2/28/85 reported Greer as saying that "I just looked straight ahead at the car in which the police chief was leading our way to the hospital"---this is the lead car. Nevertheless, the Daniel film and still photos depict the limousine AHEAD of the lead car, as it appear it was the lead motorcyclists who actually guided Greer to Parkland! (see pp. 21-22 and 59 of "The Third Alternative" by the author)]

Bill Greer passed away from cancer on 2/23/85.

The End?---

>The following is from a 9/17/91 interview with Bill Greer's son Richard:

When asked, "What did your father think of JFK," Richard did not respond the first time. When this author asked him a second time, he responded: "Well, we're Methodists..and JFK was Catholic..." (Bill Greer was born and raised in County Tyrone, Ireland; 2 H 112 - 113)

"My father certainly didn't blame himself; it's not one of those things - if only I was driving one mile per hour faster

"My father had absolutely no survivor's guilt...he figured that events were kind out of their control...it was pretty common knowledge that a person riding in an open car was subject to a bullet at any time..."


(based on the original 1991 article "47 Witnesses" that appeared in "The Third Decade", Jan/March 1992, and which has since been cited in "The Third Decade"[11/92], "The Fourth Decade[11/93 and 9/97], "Proceedings of the Second Research Conference of the Third Decade, 6/18-6/20/93", pages 128 & 162, "The Proceedings of the Research Conference of the Fourth Decade, 7/19-7/21/96", p. 277, [1997], pages 20& 53, the website "The Puzzle Palace", "Assassination Science" [1998], p. 274, "Bloody Treason" [1997], Z-frame 313 photo section, "November Patriots" [1998], p. 465, and the 1998 revised version of "High Treason", p. 551)


This article Copyright © Vincent M. Palamara 1992, 1998. All rights reserved.


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