The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Billy Joe Martin
February 14, 1969



Q: Sir, would you speak loud so we can all hear you and direct your voice into the microphone so we can hear your story.

A: Billy Joe Martin.

Q: Mr. Martin, by whom are you employed?

A: Employed by the City of Dallas Police Department.

Q: How long have you been a Dallas policeman?

A: Sixteen years this June.

Q: On November 22, 1963, were you a member of the Dallas Police Department?

A: Yes, sir, I was.

Q: To what division or bureau of the Dallas Police Department were you assigned on that day?

A: Assigned to the Traffic Division, motorcycles.

Q: Officer Martin, did you have occasion on November 22, 1963 to escort a motorcade?

A: Yes, sir, I did.

Q: What motorcade was this?

A: President Kennedy's motorcade from Love Field.

Q: When did you pick up this motorcade?

A: At Love Field at the ramp.

Q: What was your destination?

A: Going to Market Hall and they had a parade route down Lemon and down through town.

Q: This parade route included going through Dealey Plaza?

A: Yes, sir, it did.

Q: What was the route through Dealey Plaza?

A: We were traveling, we was traveling what would be East on Houston and made a left turn to, to, it would be the South -- those streets don't run exactly north and south, but we made a left turn on Elm and Houston and we run right in front of Dealey Plaza and along the side of it.

Q: Now what was your particular assignment relative to this motorcade?

A: Me and my partner was assigned to ride to the left and to the rear of the President's car and in case the car had to stop not to let the onlookers on up next to the car.

Q: Who was your partner on that day?

A: Bobby Hargis.

Q: Do you know of your own knowledge where he is today?

A: Yes, sir, in the hospital.

Q: In Dallas?

A: Yes, sir, Methodist Hospital.

Q: Which of you were riding closest to the President's limousine?

A: Officer Hargis would be. He was riding closest.

Q: Approximately how far were you behind the Presidential limousine?

A: I would estimate 10 to 12 feet.

Q: And this distance I don't guess remained constant throughout?

A: No, sir, it did not.

Q: At the time that you were proceeding on Elm Street you -- do you recall approximately how far behind the Presidential limousine you were?

A: No, sir, but it would be my best estimate about 10 foot at that time.

Q: Officer Hargis, I now show you what for purposes --

THE COURT: This is Officer Billy Joe Martin.

Q: Officer Martin, I now show you what for purposes of identification has been marked S-33 and ask you whether or not you can recognize yourself in this photograph?

A: Yes, sir, this is me to the left of the picture.

Q: Officer Martin, I would request you to place an "X" mark on the photograph above your head.

A: (The witness complies.)

Q: Now, Officer Martin, as the motorcade was proceeding on Elm Street did you have occasion to see or hear anything unusual?

A: Yes, sir, after we turned onto Elm Street I heard what I thought was a shot and then I heard, I looked back to my right and two more shots or what I thought to be two more shots I heard.

Q: Officer, do you know where these shots were coming from?

A: No, sir, I do not.

Q: Were you able to hear the third shot distinctly?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Were you able to see the effects of the third shot?

A: No, sir, I did not.

Q: What were you doing at the time of the third shot, if you recall?

A: All during the shots I was looking to my left and right trying to find out where the shots were coming from.

Q: Now, Officer Martin, shortly after hearing the third shot did you notice the Presidential limousine's speed?

A: Yes, sir, it was after the third shot it had almost came to a stop, it was going very slow.

Q: Did you at any time see the limousine speed up?

A: Yes, sir, there was a, an FBI agent, a man who came from my right and attempted to get up on the back of the limousine and it started off as if they had hit the gas and threw the brake which caused it to throw him off balance and he stepped back off the bumper and then he regained his balance and got back up on the limousine, and after he got on the back they accelerated and left the scene.

Q: What was the first reaction of the limousine after you heard the third shot?

A: The only reaction right after it was going very slow.

Q: Officer Martin, what did you do after hearing the third shot in relation to the Presidential limousine?

A: We had instructions before going on the escort not to leave the limousine and to stay with it regardless of what happened. When they left I kept up my position as best I could and we proceeded on down Elm Street and out Stemmons Expressway there to Parkland Hospital on Harry Hines.

Q: What did you do when you arrived at the Parkland Hospital?

A: When we -- There was quite a lot of traffic trying to follow. After we entered the emergency ramp there is a curb where you can go back down the emergency ramp and I stopped my motorcycle there and cut the traffic off to try to keep from blocking the entrance.

Q: Officer Martin, while you were stopped at this location at Parkland Hospital did you have occasion to examine your motorcycle?

A: Yes, sir, I did. I was working traffic there and they cut, after a shot time they had cut the traffic off at Harry Hines and I really didn't have too much to do. I did notice there were red splotches on the windshield of the motorcycle and also on the front fender.

Q: As a police officer were you able to determine what these red splotches were?

MR. DYMOND: I object to this as this is not a medical expert.

MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor, he can testify on human experience.

MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, that is a medical field.

MR. ALCOCK: "What it appears to be" to him, not expertly analyzed and giving us an expert opinion but what it appeared to him to be and certainly he can testify to that.

THE COURT: In other words, he has not been certified as an expert medical officer but just to in his experience determine what it was.

MR. ALCOCK: That is right.

THE COURT: You are asking him to describe in general terms what it appeared to be?

MR. ALFORD: Was it colored matter or white matter without saying what it is.

THE COURT: He said it was red splotches.

MR. ALFORD: What did you say, Officer?

THE WITNESS: Red splotches.

THE COURT: Did you have it analyzed by any medical team in Dallas?

THE WITNESS: No, sir, I did not.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor, can he testify as to whether or not he had seen similar splotches on any other occasion during his police duties?

THE COURT: If you ask him that.

Q: Officer, during the course of your police duties have you ever had occasion to come in contact and observe human blood?

A: Yes, sir, I have.

Q: On approximately how many occasions?

A: Numerous occasions.

Q: And did you also have an opportunity to observe what appeared to be on the front of your motorcycle?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did this appear to be consistent with human blood?

MR. DYMOND: Object as that is asking for an opinion.

THE COURT: That is what I ruled on a moment ago.

Q: Did you have occasion to examine your uniform?

A: Yes, sir, I did.

Q: Did you have occasion to examine your police helmet?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did you notice anything unusual about either of these?

A: Yes, sir, there was on my helmet, there was red splotches on it and to the left side of my uniform there was other matter, grey matter and I don't know what the matter was but as an officer I would say it was --

THE COURT: If you didn't get it examined, Officer, that is as far as you can go.

Q: During your experience as a police officer have you had occasion to see similar splotches?

A: Yes, sir, I have.

Q: Now, Officer, at the time you were at Love Field did you have occasion to examine your motorcycle?

A: Yes, sir, that morning that the President was coming in it had been raining earlier and City Hall is some 10 to 12 miles from Love Field and we had ridden our motorcycles and it had rained on them. When we arrived at Love Field and had lined up for the motorcade, the motorcade that I referred to before, it appeared that it wasn't going to rain any more so we folded our rain gear and placed it in our motor and we have shop rags we clean the equipment with and so I wiped my boots and the front of my motorcycle.

Q: Were these splotches on your motorcycle or headgear at Love Field?

A: No, sir, they was not.

MR. ALFORD: Your Honor, at this time the State requests permission to show to this witness the Zapruder film for the purpose of this witness identifying himself in this film.

THE COURT: Any objection?

MR. DYMOND: Yes, Your Honor. The witness previously said where he was in relation to the Presidential limousine. He has identified himself on a picture that is a blowup of one of the frames of the Zapruder film and I think it is completely superfluous to reshow the Zapruder film.

MR. ALFORD: I think because of the objection the State has a right to corroborate the witness on the matter we are seeking to elicit from him.

THE COURT: I overrule your objection at this point.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor --

THE COURT: I will overrule your objection, Mr. Dymond.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling Counsel reserves a bill of exception making the request by the State to reshow the Zapruder film; the Defense's objection to the Zapruder film itself, which is Exhibit S-37, the ruling of the Court on the testimony and the entire record up until this point together with the Court's ruling on voir dire that is that the Defense could not examine prospective jurors in connection with events in Dealey Plaza as parts of the bill.

MR. WILLIAM WEGMANN: Isn't this also an attempt to rehabilitate their own witness again?

MR. OSER: Rehabilitate?

MR. WILLIAM WEGMANN: What other purpose would it have because he has told us where he was, that he was riding to the left of the limousine.

THE COURT: I can't state it, but Mr. Wegmann I think you know why but I just can't state it in front of the Jury.


MR. OSER: I know why too.

THE COURT: Tell me when you are ready and I will tell them to douse the lights. If people want to get over to that side of the courtroom that is all right, but I don't want to make it a circus.

MR. ALFORD: Officer Martin, would you please step down here so you will be able to see.

THE COURT: I might suggest that you play it in slow motion if you have such a device.

MR. ALFORD: May I question the witness?

THE COURT: Yes, sir, you certainly may.

Q: Mr. Martin, I give you this marker and will you please approach the screen and point out your location in this picture if you can?

A: I was operating right here and I was the Officer on the left.

Q: A little louder.

A: I was the Officer closest to the curb. This close I can't see it.

Q: If you want to step back and see if you can locate it again.

A: Here I am.

MR. DYMOND: We object to this, Your Honor, of stopping on this film where there is no policeman at all in the picture and it's just for prejudicial purposes that Mr. Oser is doing that.

MR. OSER: I may -- I can make my or show my evidence anywhere I care to.

MR. DYMOND: You can see where the picture is stopped that there is no Officer at all and it's just for prejudicial purposes.

THE COURT: Wait a minute, gentlemen, or you'll be screaming at each other like you are and you just don't make sense. Mr. Wegmann, this is an exhibit and it is accepted in evidence and if they wish to stop on a particular frame they certainly have a legal right.

MR. WEGMANN: I object to it being done strictly for prejudicial purposes.

THE COURT: The objection is overruled.

MR. WEGMANN: You overrule my objection?

THE COURT: Please take the Jury out, Mr. Sheriff.


THE COURT: The first thing I want to say is that gentlemen, you all have been practicing law long enough to know that the person who screams the loudest doesn't make them right. I would appreciate when you have a legal objection raised to raise it properly and let's take it up in a judicious manner. The Jury is not here and the Defense Counsel has objected to the State showing, they obviously wish to show this was tissue or brain matter from President Kennedy's skull and the witness isn't allowed to say it was blood but in my opinion the picture was to show that the, whatever it was that fell on the police officer's motorcycle and his uniform came from the head of President Kennedy because he can't say whether it's blood or matter you see. It is done not for the prejudicial purposes but to show by Officer Martin's testimony that this matter was from President Kennedy's head. Is that the reason?

MR. OSER: Yes, sir. The Court knows good and well that it was not done for prejudicial purposes. I have practiced too long in this Court to do something like that.

THE COURT: As I understand, the Officer wants to show where he was following the car and this picture corroborates his testimony and it was done for the Jury what came on his helmet or on the motorcycle came from President Kennedy's head.

MR. ALFORD: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: It may be prejudicial but certainly it corroborates Officer Martin's testimony. Let me caution you gentlemen that when one main is making an objection let him finish before you make your objection, otherwise the Reporter can't take two people at one time. Bring the Jury back in.


THE COURT: You want Mr. Martin to resume the stand?

MR. DYMOND: We want to reserve our bill.

THE COURT: You may reserve your bill.

MR. DYMOND: At this time we want to object and reserve a bill of except to the action of the State and the Court in permitting the rerunning of the Zapruder film and the stopping of that film at precisely on Frame 313 when the avowed purposes for which the State again offered this film was to show the position of Officer Billy Joe Martin in his station on his motorcycle behind the Presidential limousine and to its left. And further, in view of the fact that in Frame 313, which the film was stopped, Officer Martin is not even present in the picture nor visible. I'd like to make parts of the bill the Defense's objection to this having been done, the overruling of the Court, the reasons stated for the objection for the Exhibit S-37, and the entire record and testimony up until this point in the case.

MR. OSER: Can we put off the lights and I will ask Officer Martin to step back.

MR. DYMOND: We are going to rerun the film again?

THE COURT: You want to rerun it?

MR. DYMOND: We just finished.

THE COURT: You wish to rerun it?

MR. OSER: Yes.

THE COURT: You may do so because you broke up the other exhibition of the film.

MR. DYMOND: We object now to another rerunning of the film which I think is the sixth time.

THE COURT: They can run it a hundred times if they want.

MR. DYMOND: May I reserve a bill of exception, 'cause you asked us not to interrupt each other -- making part of the bill the objection to the State Exhibit 37, the request by the State to again rerun the film for the sixth time, Defense's objection to it together with the reasons therefor and the ruling of the Court and the entire record and testimony to this point.

THE COURT: Let's get something straight. Do I understand, Mr. Alcock and Oser that you intend to stop on a particular frame?

MR. OSER: No, no.

THE COURT: Yes or no.

MR. OSER: Just a moment please. Your Honor, it is the State's intention to stop the picture on the last frame where Officer Martin was in the photograph.

THE COURT: If you want to make an objection you can make it after the thing is over.

MR. OSER: May I have the lights turned on so I can see where I am in the film, Your Honor?

THE COURT: Very well, turn the lights on.


Q: Officer Martin, by viewing this portion of the film are you able to determine where you were located at this time?

A: No, sir, I can't say 'cause I can't see my motor but what appears to be a red light but I can't identify that as my motor.

Q: Can you now identify yourself?

A: Yes, sir?

Q: Would you please point to yourself?

A: (The witness complies.)

Q: Thank you, Officer. You may now return to the witness stand.

MR. OSER: May I rewind the film, Your Honor.


MR. OSER: Let the record reflect that we have returned the film back over to the Court.

MR. OSER: The State will now tender the witness, Your Honor.

Q: Mr. Martin, did you testify before the Warren Commission?

A: Yes, sir, I did.

Q: And I assume your testimony is the same there as it is here, is it not?

A: Yes, sir, most of the testimony but they asked me a few more questions.

Q: Mr. Martin, when did you first learn that the President was going to visit Dallas?

A: I don't recall, sir.

Q: About how long before?

A: I really don't know. It is almost so long. The first time I actually had knowledge of it would have been about 7:00 o'clock that morning when we made detail and they got up in front of the detail and said we will be at Love Field and we will meet there.

Q: When were you informed of what the parade route would be?

A: They informed us in detail of what the parade route would be.

Q: That would be on the morning of the parade, is that right?

A: Yes, sir.

MR. DYMOND: That's all I have.

THE COURT: Is Officer Martin released from his subpoena?

MR. OSER: As far as the State, yes.



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