The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Roger Craig
February 14, 1969
ROGER CRAIG, a witness for the State, after first being duly sworn by the Minute Clerk, was examined and testified on his oath as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: For the record would you state your full name, please?
A: Roger Dane Craig.
Q: Mr. Craig, where do you reside?
A: Dallas, Texas.
Q: Were you residing in Dallas, Texas on November 22, '63?
A: Yes, sir, I was.
Q: On that occasion by whom were you employed?
A: Sheriff Bill Decker.
Q: Were you a Sheriff's Deputy on that occasion?
A: Yes, sir, I was.
Q: How long had you been a Sheriff's Deputy on November 22, 1963?
A: Four years.
Q: Referring you again to the date of November 22, 1963 where were you, where were you assigned on that day?
A: I wasn't actually assigned anywhere but I was standing in front of the Record Building which was the Sheriff's Office at that time at 505 Main Street.
Q: Did you have any specific duties relative to the incident now under discussion?
A: No, sir, our assignment was to represent the Sheriff's Department by standing watching the crowd.
Q: Were you in uniform on that day?
A: No, sir, I was not.
Q: Did you have occasion on that day to see the Presidential motorcade?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Where did you first observe the Presidential motorcade?
A: In front of 505 Main Street.
Q: I wonder if you could leave the witness stand and take this microphone and testify from this location here. Now I ask you to observe what has been marked for purposes of identification as State's Exhibit 34 and I ask you if you recognize the area depicted in that photograph, the whole photograph?
A: The entire photograph?
A: Yes, it is Dealey Plaza.
Q: Can you see on that photograph, Mr. Craig, where you were located when you first saw the Presidential motorcade?
A: Yes, sir, I was standing in this area on Main Street facing Main.
Q: Would you please place a "C" where you were located when you first saw the motorcade. Now this is an approximation?
Q: Were you with anyone at this time?
A: Not particularly. There were several people and there was, it was quite crowded.
Q: Did you observe the motorcade proceed up Main to Houston Street?
A: Yes, sir, it went to Houston Street and made a right turn.
Q: Did you observe it after it made that right turn?
A: No, it went out of my sight.
Q: Did you ever again see the motorcade or did the motorcade ever again come into your view?
A: No, it did not.
Q: At about or shortly after the motorcade left your view did you hear anything unusual?
A: A few seconds after it turned, one minute or one minute and a half after I heard a shot. I immediately ran towards Houston and ran down the sidewalk, and I ran across this part here and jumped through one of these openings and to the grass. Before I reached this corner the other two shots, before I reached the corner, in other words the shooting was over.
Q: Approximately how far had you traveled from the time you first heard the first report and the time you heard the last two?
A: I estimated probably 15 steps.
Q: Were you walking or running?
A: I was running.
Q: Did you recognize these sounds as gunshots?
Q: What did you do after you were running in the direction across here?
A: After I went through this opening onto the grass, there were several people right in this area here and I checked with them to see if anybody was injured and they were not. At this time I saw a Dallas police officer running towards the picket fence and I followed him and went behind the fence and at this time there was a brown Chevrolet pulling out of the parking lot and I stopped it and took a woman from the car and turned her over to Detective Lumney Lewis who still works for the Sheriff's Department.
Q: Spell that.
A: L-U-M-N-E-Y Lewis.
Q: Approximately where were you located at the time you turned this person over to the Deputy?
A: At that time I was behind the picket fence.
Q: Do you see that on the diagram?
A: It is in this area right here behind this tree.
Q: How did you get over the picket fence?
A: I climbed it.
Q: At the occasion when you were climbing it did you see anyone else?
A: There were several officers and people were moving towards that direction from this area and after the woman was turned over to the Detectives I moved these people back.
Q: Were they uniformed officers?
A: Some of them were and some officers I knew.
Q: They were out of uniform?
Q: But you recognized them?
Q: What if anything did you do in the area of the picket fence?
A: Nothing. I came from behind the picket fence and began to ask these people in this area if they had seen anything that might help us in the investigation.
Q: And after you did that what if anything did you do?
A: After talking to a couple of people I turned them over to Lumney Lewis and he took them to the Sheriff's Office. Then I crossed Elm Street to look for any marks on the curb on the south side where a bullet or projectile might have hit.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: As I was looking I heard a shrill whistle and I stood up and looked around and saw a man running down this part of the grass coming down here, with a light green Rambler station wagon with a chrome luggage rack on the top was proceeding along here.
Q: What did you see if anything?
A: The driver of the car was looking up at the man running down toward him and then the two became parallel and the car stopped and the man jumped in and then it drove off. I attempted to stop the car but the officer had left his post at Elm and Houston and traffic was flowing and I was in the middle lane and I couldn't get across the street to the station wagon.
Q: Was the traffic flowing on that street at the time?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Can you describe the station wagon in any great detail?
A: It was a light green Rambler station wagon with the luggage rack on the back portion and it had out-of-state plates on it and the reason I know this is they were not the same color as ours and I couldn't read them because of the angle of the car and the traffic movement.
Q: Did you have occasion to observe the individual or individuals in the station wagon?
A: Yes, sir, I did. I saw the upper portion of the body and the entire head.
Q: How many persons were in the station wagon?
Q: Could you give us a description of that individual?
A: Very dark complected, Latin-looking with black hair. He was very muscular, had a bull neck and very strong face.
Q: Can you describe the individual running down the slope and the individual that got in the station wagon?
A: Yes, he looked to me oh, approximately 5 foot 9, 150 pounds, sandy hair, Caucasian.
MR. ALCOCK: You want to take the stand again. Mr. Craig?
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: Did you see in what direction the station wagon went after the individual running down the slope got in?
A: It traveled west on Elm Street.
Q: That would be towards the Triple Underpass?
A: Yes, towards the Triple Underpass.
Q: Did you have occasion Mr. Craig, to see the individual that you saw running down the slope and getting in the station wagon, did you have occasion to see him again on that day?
A: Yes, later that evening.
Q: Where did you see him?
A: At Captain Will Fritz's Office who is Captain of Homicide & Robbery in the Dallas Police Department.
Q: What were you doing up there on that occasion?
A: I was filling out a report after the assassination in my office and of course I had known about the officer being killed and I possibly in my mind possibly tied the two together and I called Captain Fritz and gave him a description of the man I saw running down the grassy knoll and he said "That sounds like --"
MR. DYMOND: I object, Your Honor.
THE COURT: You can't say what he said, Mr. Craig.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: As a result of this telephone conversation did you have occasion to view anyone?
A: Yes, sir, I went to Police Headquarters.
Q: Did you recognize anyone at Police Headquarters?
A: Yes, sir, in Captain Fritz's office the same man that I had seen running down the hill.
Q: Who was in Captain Fritz's Office at the time you saw the individual?
A: There were two men in the office. The one seating to the left as I walked in I didn't know, and he was in a business suit with a white Stetson hat and I assumed he was one of Captain Fritz's men and the other man was Lee Harvey Oswald.
Q: Now I show you what has been marked for purposes of identification as State Exhibit 1 and I ask you if you recognize the person in this picture?
A: Yes, sir, that is the man I saw in Captain Fritz's Office.
Q: Is this the man you saw running down the slope?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: The one that got in the station wagon?
Q: And who is the individual depicted in this picture?
A: Lee Harvey Oswald.
Q: Did you have occasion to go into Captain Fritz's Office at the time Lee Harvey Oswald was in there?
A: Yes, sir, Captain Fritz showed me into his office where the two gentlemen were sitting.
Q: Did you have occasion to confront or speak to Lee Harvey Oswald on this occasion?
A: I did not, Captain Fritz did.
Q: Were you there when he made any responses to anything Captain Fritz asked him?
A: Yes, I was.
Q: What did he say?
A: Captain Fritz, this man was --
MR. DYMOND: I object to what Captain Fritz said.
THE COURT: You can't say what Captain Fritz said but just what Lee Harvey Oswald said.
THE WITNESS: I made an identification of Lee Harvey Oswald as the man I saw running down the grassy knoll.
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: What if anything did he say?
A: He said "I told you people I did."
MR. DYMOND: What?
THE WITNESS: "I told you people I did."
BY MR. ALCOCK:
Q: Did he say anything else?
Q: What was that?
A: I can't testify in answer to Captain Fritz's comments' cause it was in response --
Q: I am afraid you can't give us what Captain Fritz said 'cause that would be hearsay but what if anything did Lee Harvey Oswald respond to the question of of Captain Fritz?
A: He said that the station wagon belonged to Mrs. Paine, but "Don't try to drag her in this."
Q: Did he make any other responses?
A: He leaned back in his chair and said "Everybody will know who I am now."
Q: Did you hear him say anything else on this occasion?
A: No, sir, I did not.
Q: How long did you stay in the office?
A: Approximately ten minutes.
Q: Did you have occasion to see Lee Harvey Oswald at any time subsequent to this?
A: Not in person.
Q: Now Officer Craig, after observing this incident wherein you described Lee Harvey Oswald getting in a station wagon, did you have anything else, or do anything else, at Dealey Plaza before going to the Sheriff's Office?
A: Yes, sir, I went to the School Book Depository went to the Depository and asked for anyone who was connected with the investigation so I could turn my information over to them.
Q: Did you turn your information over to anyone?
A: I did.
Q: And subsequent to that what if anything did you do in connection with the investigation at the Depository?
A: I went from there to the sixth floor to help in the search.
Q: While you were on the sixth floor and in your presence was any rifle found?
Q: And did you personally find the rifle?
A: No, sir, I did not but I was about eight feet from the gentleman that found it.
Q: Did you ever get closer to the gentleman holding the rifle?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Approximately how far?
A: About one foot or one and a half foot. I was standing next to him.
Q: Do you recall the man who was there?
A: No, he was an ID man from the Dallas Police Department, however, he did not find the rifle, Eugene Boone, a Deputy Sheriff, he found the rifle.
Q: What do you mean an ID man?
A: An identification man from the Dallas Police Department.
Q: Approximately how long did you view the rifle at this time?
A: Just two or three minutes. They took it away immediately, they held lit up by the strap and then took it away from there.
Q: Officer Craig, I am going to show you -- I mean Mr. Craig, I'm going to show you what has been marked for purposes of identification as State's Exhibit 18 and ask you if you have seen this rifle or a similar rifle at any time?
A: The rifle found was similar to this one with the exception it had a strap connected to it.
Q: Officer Craig, were you able to observe the location that the rifle was found in?
Q: Where was that?
A: In the northeast corner of the sixth floor there was a stack of boxes approximately five fee high and they were stacked in a square and in the middle of the square was a hole and the rifle was in this hole.
Q: Mr. Craig, were you able to determine from what direction the reports or sounds you heard in Dealey Plaza emanated from on that day?
A: Not exactly. It was to my right and around the corner because I was on Main Street.
Q: Can you indicate Officer Craig, by perhaps slapping here the interval between the shots you heard on that day?
A: Yes, the first shot was (tap) and then they came like this, there was a pause and then (tap, tap).
Q: Now, Mr. Craig, you have indicated that this man was running down the slope, was this the grassy knoll or in some other area?
A: The slope I am talking about is the portion of the grass directly in the front of the vicinity of the School Book Depository.
Q: And you identified this man as Lee Harvey Oswald?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Officer Craig -- strike that -- Mr. Craig, rather, did you have occasion to observe the corner window in the sixth floor of the Book Depository when you were up there with your brother officers looking for possible evidence?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Can you approximate for us at this time how high that window was raised, if it was raised at all?
A: Yes, it was raised and level with the bottom part of the top, if you know what I mean, in other words, the two were level.
Q: Mr. Craig, can you indicate or tell us whether or not the window went to the floor or did it begin at some point above the floor?
A: No, it began I would say probably three feet above the floor, the base of the window.
Q: Did you notice any objects around this window at the time you observed it?
Q: What were these?
A: Three spent cartridges, a sack with some chicken bones in it --
Q: Anything else?
A: No, there were some pasteboard boxes stacked up in front of it.
Q: How do you mean "stacked up in front"?
A: I believe three boxes were stacked on top of each other by the window.
Q: Can you approximate for us the size of these boxes?
A: Probably I would say probably 18 inches square.
Q: Were they stacked one on top of the other?
Q: In this position, that is tacked one on top of the other, would that reach, that is these boxes, would they reach the top of the window?
A: Almost, yes.
Q: Now can you demonstrate perhaps with your hands approximately how high this window was open?
A: How high?
Q: How wide the window was opened when you observed it, can you approximate with your hands?
A: Yes, I would say probably like that (indicating).
Q: Now, Mr. Craig, how far was that from the floor, can you give us an approximation again with your hands as to how far the lower part of the open window was from the floor?
A: You mean the window sill itself?
Q: The window sill.
A: I would probably about like that (indicating).
Q: Mr. Craig, are you presently with the Sheriff's Department in Dallas, Texas?
A: No, I am not.
Q: When did you leave the Sheriff's Office?
A: July 4, 1967.
Q: And what rank had you obtained when you left the Sheriff's Department?
A: It was the equivalent of Desk Sergeant.
Q: And prior to the date of November 22, 1963 had you received any award from the Police Department?
MR. DYMOND: I object to that as being irrelevant.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. ALCOCK: I tender the witness.
MR. DYMOND: May we request a five-minute recess at this time before starting our cross-examination?
THE COURT: Yes.
THE COURT: Is the State and Defense ready to proceed?
MR. DYMOND: Yes.
MR. ALCOCK: Yes.
THE COURT: I believe the witness has been tendered for cross-examination.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Mr. Craig, you have told this same story to the Warren Report, have you not?
A: Not to the Commission itself, to one of their attorneys.
Q: To one of their investigators or attorneys for the Warren Commission, is that right?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now approximately how long had the motorcade been gone from Elm Street when you saw this station wagon pull up and the man get in?
A: From the time of the shooting, 12 to 15 minutes.
Q: Was there a lot of traffic along there at that time?
A: It was at the time the station wagon pulled up, yes, sir.
Q: There were automobiles behind the station wagon?
A: Not in that lane, they were in the middle lane and south lane.
Q: Were you suspicious of these two men when you saw them or not?
A: Yes, sir, I was.
Q: Well, why didn't you commandeer an automobile and go after them?
A: I couldn't get one.
Q: You were a law enforcement officer.
A: I am trying to cross the street and about to get run over and I couldn't and I had to retreat to the south side.
Q: And you didn't follow up when you could get a car?
A: No, sir, it was too late in my mind.
Q: Mr. Craig, when did you come to New Orleans after the assassination, that is to live?
A: I came down here in December, I believe, of '67, no, '68, I'm sorry, no, '67.
Q: Isn't it a fact at that time you went to work for Mr. Willard Robinson who is a member of Truth & Consequence?
A: I don't know who is a member but it is Volkswagen International.
Q: And Willard Robinson is your boss?
Q: Is it not also a fact you were working there under an assumed name?
A: No, that is not a fact.
Q: What name were you working under?
A: Roger Craig.
Q: You never did work or live under an assumed name?
A: No, sir, I never did work under an assumed name.
MR. DYMOND: That's all I have.
THE COURT: Mr. Craig is released from the effects of this subpoena?
MR. ALCOCK: Yes, sir.
You may also wish to see Roger Craig's original report to the Dallas Sheriff's Office
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