Sherlock’s Team Visits Dallas
Linkedin Long-Form Post Submission #5
of the Sherlock / JFK Series
James Francis Smith
Paddy Kelly was delighted to have something worthwhile to do, particularly one that involved travel. He hadn’t been anywhere since his army discharge. His wife Kate wasn’t too pleased, but neither did she want to part with the monthly paycheck. So Paddy, talked Larry Cowley into allowing Pat’s buddy, John McDevitt to accompany him, for the two could get the job done in half the time. After collecting traveling money and convincing John’s wife Betty that it’d be a great opportunity, the two “scouts’’ took a redeye to America’s Murder Capital.
Before they departed, Rose provided them with business cards, one for each. “Sherlock suggested that you’ll need a cover when you begin poking around. You are now reporters for a startup local paper, Washington DC’s, Irish Edition.”
Cunningham shared some of his precious hoard of Kennedy documentation, consisting of names and addresses of witnesses to the events.
On the flight south, they studied the reports that Rose provided, and used Cunningham’s information to choose where to start. They decided to investigate the brother and sister who first brought up what the newspapers nicknamed the “gunsack.”
McDevitt suggested that they begin with a tour of the area then tackle Buell Wesley Frazier and his sister Linnie Mae Randle. But first, they rented a car before checking into the Comfort Inn near the airport, a motel that wouldn’t deplete their daily living allowance, leaving sufficient funds to enjoy good dinning. Next they tried out their newly acquired telephone credit cards. Both checked in with their wives. Then Paddy chatted with Rose, before heading off for their first scouting venture.
Using the street map provided by the rental agency, the two made for the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Kelly the driver asked, “Since Kennedy was killed at 12:30PM, on November 22, and the sack was taken out of the Book Depository at 2:30PM, two hours later on that same day, isn’t that awful quick? When did the cops determine that Oswald had carried the rifle in a brown sack?”
McDevitt, the trip navigator replied, “That’s something we’ll have to look into. I thought that information came from the brother and sister.”
After parking, the two began their timed stroll across the street from Oswald’s rooming house at 1026 North Beckley, trying to set a pace that’d bring them to Neely Street in close to six minutes. From there, they continued south on Beckley, made a short jog on Davis turned right on Crawford then left on 10th until they reached the 404 address. It took them a bit over 15 minutes, which put their time in the middle between the 12-minutes it took the FBI and Secret Service and the 17 ½ minutes it took the Commission and witnesses. Recalling that some witnesses thought the killer may have come from the other direction on 10th, they concluded If they had come east instead of coming from the west, it would have taken even longer.
Since they were in the local, they made Aquilla Clemmons, their first interviewee. Aquilla a middle aged black woman, the only witness to have seen two killers, was delighted to have the attention of two good-looking reporters, and made the most of it. She kept them there as long as she could. “I heard the shots and immediately went out into the street. The policeman was already lying down in front of his police car. There were two of them. One was heavyset with short hair, he took off that way.” Pointing east. The otter was taller and skinner, he went the other way.” Pointing west.
McDevitt asked, “Have you told this to anybody else?”
“I sure did. They didn’t like what I had to say. Threatened me, they did. Told me, I’d get hurt if I didn’t keep my mouth shut. But I ain’t one to keep my mouth shut. There were two of them, of that I’m positive.”
As long as they were in the neighborhood, Paddy and John decided to see what another local witness Helen Markham had to say.
Since Helen had time before getting the bus to take her to work, she invited them in for coffee.
“I was hurrying down Patton toward my bus stop, didn’t wanna’ miss it.”
“What time was that?” Paddy asked.
“It was about five after one, maybe a little later, but not much. My bus comes at one-sixteen, I was walking toward Tenth when the patrol car passed heading toward Denver. It pulled over in front of the third house. The officer got out and started talking to someone. I began to cross Tenth when two or three shots broke out, the cop went down. Then the shooter ran around the cop car and fired once again. I stayed where I was, afraid to move, and watched the shooter run in the direction I was going, down Patton.
“That’s when the two women, who lived in the corner house, came out, and I noticed for the first time there was a cab parked near the corner. I began to shout, ‘He shot him. He killed him’, all the while pointing at the man who was walking across the women’s lawn.”
McDevitt shook his head, as though agreeing with Helen Markham. “That would be Barbara and Virginia Davis, sisters-in-law, who lived in the corner house and Scoggins, the cab driver.”
Paddy thanked Helen for the coffee and said to McDevitt, “As long as we’re here, let’s meet the Davises.”