Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Joe Molina, Bill Lowery and John Stanford
Joe Molina, Bill Lowery and John Stanford
At about 1:30 a.m. on November 23, 1963, the Dallas Police searched the home of Joe R. Molina, an employee of the Texas School Book Depository. Later that day, Molina was questioned at police headquarters over a period of 6 or 7 hours. (Warren Commission Report, pp 237-238) Molina told the FBI that he had been asked if he was acquainted with a John Stanford. (CE 2036, 24 H 447) Dallas Police Chief Jesse E. Curry later told the FBI that the police had been suspicious of Molina because he had been involved in a veterans group, the American G. I. Forum. Intelligence reports indicated that several members of that group were allegedly Communists. In particular, Molina had been involved with a William J. Lowery. (CE 3132, 26 H 810-811) The Warren Commission found no basis for suspecting Molina.
Curiously, John Stanford and William Lowery had been the subject of wide-spread publicity about two months before the assassination. John Stanford, then a resident of San Antonio, was being investigated by Texas state and Bexar County authorities because of his alleged membership in the Communist party. In July of 1963, U. S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked Texas officials to refrain from taking action against Stanford until after the completion of Federal proceedings. (San Antonio Express, p. 5-A) On September 23, 1963, a hearing on Stanford was held before the Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) in Washington. One of those testifying was William J. Lowery, who revealed that he had been acting as an FBI informant within the Communist Party since 1945. (Dallas Morning News, September 26, 1963, s. 1, p. 1; San Antonio Express, September 24, 1963, p. 1- A) Lowery's testimony that he had infiltrated the American G. I. Forum and other reputable groups created some controversy. An FBI spokesman denied that the FBI had ordered the infiltrations and said Lowery had been following the orders of the Communist Party in joining those groups. (San Antonio Express, September 25, 1963, p. 10-D; September 27, 1963, p. 5-B) In December, state and county officials raided the home of John Stanford and seized many of his papers and belongings. (San Antonio Express, December 28, 1963, p. 1-A)
Thus, the Dallas Police were suspicious of Molina because he was associated with a man who had been identified as an FBI informant on the front page of a Dallas newspaper. During his testimony before the Warren Commission, Molina attempted to talk about Bill Lowery, but was cut short by Commission counsel, Joseph A. Ball. (6 H 373) Another question of interest in this matter is whether Lee Harvey Oswald might have had any contact with Lowery or Stanford. Also, the publicity Lowery received may have had some influence on later rumors that Oswald was himself an FBI informant.
The Board should obtain the transcripts of the SACB proceedings against Stanford, as well as any Justice Department documents related to it. All Dallas Police documents on Molina, Lowery, and the American G.I. Forum should be obtained. All FBI reports on Stanford and Lowery should be obtained, as well as any documents held by the Texas Attorney General, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Bexar County District Attorney's office.
Concerning another matter, on December 19, 1963, Russell Wence McLarry, of Dallas was arrested by the Secret Service on a charge of having threatened President Kennedy the day before the assassination. McLarry worked at a building near the Dallas Trade Mart. McLarry was a student at Arlington State College, where anti-JFK leaflets had been found. McLarry was acquitted by a Federal Grand Jury on January 10, 1964. (New York Times, December 19, 1963, p. 27; December 20, 1963, p. 19; December 21, 1963, p. 12; January 11, 1964, p. 10) The Board should obtain all court records and Grand Jury testimony related to this case, as well as all Secret Service and FBI reports on McLarry.
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