I noted the reference to James Turner. I think that it's worth emphasizing again that Turner, in his Warren Commission testimony, focused heavily on the shooter's hat as a point of recognition and also said that the guy looked heavier than when he "saw him at the Ruby trial". Turner claimed to have seen the shooter walking down the ramp (but not the moment he appeared at the top of the ramp) and taking up position at the bottom. Note Turner's comment: "I don’t know whether it is an illusion, being in a dark place…" (No kidding?)
This is reminiscent of John Allison Smith, another TV technician, who gave the Commission a more "reserved" sighting of "Ruby" than that in his December FBI report. He and three colleagues, including Ira Walker, allegedly "recognized" Ruby when the police named the suspect and his mug shot was shown on TV. Smith said that the hat made a totally positive identification more difficult. Smith refers to the mug shot as the focus of recognition and says, to Hubert, of the films: "The pictures that I saw in film are not as familiar to me, you know. That is hard to explain. I don’t guess it makes sense, does it?"
Extracts from Turner and Smith WC testimonies below:
Mr. HUBERT. Did you have a fair look at his face?
Mr. TURNER. At an angle that I do not recognize him now. He seemed to be much heavier then than when I saw him in the Ruby trial.
Mr. TURNER. He was moving at that time but this man looks like Ruby, but he seemed to be heavier than I see him now. I don’t know whether it is an illusion, being in a dark place…
and the man-the hat was the most obvious facial-I mean just
glancing at a man you take something that you can pick a man out by and remember his name by it. That is the way I remember people is something they ordinarily wear, and he had the hat on, but I thought he was a-much larger than-by just glancing at him.
Mr. SMITH. I had noticed a distinct similarity. Now there is a difference in that, when I saw him, he had on a hat, and that was the only reason that I would not say positively that that is the same man. But there is the only reservation that I have. But I had noticed on my own that there was a tremendous similarity right through here [indicating].
Mr. HUBERT. When the witness said “through here,” he was placing one hand at the level of his forehead and the other hand under his chin.
Mr. HUBERT. At least as much as you feel that the man on the street was the Jack Ruby you saw in the mug shot?
Mr. SMITH. Right. Now I am drawing a comparison between the man in the window and the mug shot. Those two struck me as being the same. The pictures that I saw in film are not as familiar to me, you know. That is hard to explain. I don’t guess it makes sense, does it?
Mr. HUBERT. Would you venture to say that the man on the street whose face came within 3 feet of yours and the man in the mug shot were, beyond any reasonable doubt, the same person?
Mr. SMITH. The only reason that I would have any doubt was this thing of the hat. Now I couldn’t see his hairline and I couldn’t see the complete face. With that thing in mind, I would not say that positively is the same man; I can’t say that.
Mr. HUBERT. But you did see the complete face when you were within 3 feet of him?
Mr. SMITH. Yes. He had the hat on.
Mr. HUBERT. And the mug shot did not, I take it?
Mr. SMITH. That is true.
Mr. HUBERT. With that reservation, you would have no doubt it is the same person?
Mr. SMITH. That is true.
Ralph Cinque: Hmm. It seems like that was like pulling teeth to get that final concession out of Smith. Did he just give up and say what he knew the man wanted to hear? It's obvious that he wasn't comfortable. Reluctance. It reminds me of the testimony of the fabric expert who just didn't want to say that the fibers on the rifle butt had to come from Oswald's shirt. They were coaxing him and leading him, but he was just not a happy camper, and the same is true here. To me, this exposes somebody's neurosis. Again: since nobody was disputing that it was Jack Ruby- not even Jack Ruby (who was bamboozled into thinking that he did it)- why would they bother with this? In light of what we now know, I think it was a mistake.