Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Cross-examination of Buell Frazier by Mark Lane at the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald

Mark Lane: Mr. Frazier, the prosecution maintains that Mr. Oswald had a self-made paper bag with him on the evening of Thursday, November 21, which was when you drove him to Irving. Now, do you recall seeing that bag on Thursday evening?  

Buell Frazier: No, I don't. 

Mark Lane: So, as far as you know, he did not have such a bag with him?

Buell Frazier: Not that I know of. 

Mark Lane: Well, did he seem uncomfortable, like he might have stuffed the bag into his clothing to hide it from you? For instance, within his jacket or stuffed down his pants? 

Buell Frazier: No, he seemed normal. He seemed comfortable. 

Mark Lane: And, you didn't see anything bulging on him? 

Buell Frazier: No, I didn't. He looked normal. 

Mark Lane: Now, you say that there was a 2 feet long bag filled with something in the back seat of your car when you came out on Friday morning. What did you notice about the bag? Did it look homemade, like it was just brown paper taped together?

Buell Frazier: I don't recall noticing that; only that it was a bag. 

Mark Lane: So, you thought it was a real bag, right? A real manufactured bag? Because several times you compared it to a grocery bag. So, if it looked like a grocery bag, then it looked like it was manufactured, right? 

Buell Frazier: I didn't think otherwise, so I suppose the answer is yes. 

Mark Lane: And what about the shape of the object or objects in the bag? Did you get a sense about what was filling the bag? 

Buell Frazier: I didn't think about that either, to be honest. I didn't study it; I just glanced at it. 

Mark Lane: Well, you must have done more than glance at it because in your affidavit, you said that "the top of the bag was folded up, and the rest of the bag was folded under." What exactly does that mean, Mr. Frazier?

Buell Frazier: Well, I saw a fold at the top, but I saw no fold at the bottom, so I figured it must have been folded under.

Mark Lane: But, why would a manufactured bag, which you thought it was, need to be folded at the bottom when it had a closed bottom? 

Buell Frazier: I don't know. 

Mark Lane: I see. But, is it fair to say that, from looking at it, you did not get the impression that it was a disassembled rifle?

Buell Frazier: That is correct. It never crossed my mind that it was a disassembled rifle.

Mark Lane: Now, when you arrived at the parking lot, you remained in the driver's seat to run the engine to recharge the battery, right? 

Buell Frazier: Yes.

Mark Lane: And you say that Oswald got out, and he opened the back door, and he removed the package, right?

Buell Frazier: That's correct.

Mark Lane: So, when he did that, you were still in the driver's seat, not far away. Could you hear loose parts jostling in the bag? Did it sound like there were loose metal parts in the bag?

Buell Frazier: I don't recall hearing anything.

Mark Lane: This is Defense exhibit 1. It consists of a disassembled Carcano rifle in a bag that was made out of brown paper and wettable tape. Notice the asymmetry and irregularity of it. Notice that the end of the bag with the rifle stock is wide and bulky and stands out, and the other end is tapered and more narrow. Do you recall the bag you saw looking like this?

Buell Frazier: No. I can't say I do. I don't recall it looking like that.

Mark Lane: Now, I am going to stand in front of you, with my back to you, and I am going to hold the package in the manner that you say Oswald did, first with the stock down in my hand. Does this fit your memory of how it looked from behind? (standing in front of Frazier, holding the rifle accordingly)

Buell Frazier: No, I don't recall that it looked like that.

Mark Lane: You notice that it's too long to fit in my armpit, that it extends above my shoulder. So, do you think there is any chance that you are mistaken about that? That it looked like this, sticking up in the air, not tucked under his armpit?

Buell Frazier: No. It was definitely under his armpit, just like I said.    

Mark Lane: I see. Now, I am going to reverse it, putting the stock under my arm. Do you recall it looking like this? 

Buell Frazier: No, I don't specifically remember that either.

Mark Lane: Now, you claim that Mr. Oswald said on Thursday evening that he was going to get curtain rods. So why, upon seeing the package on the back seat on Friday morning, didn't you ask him if it was the curtain rods?   

Buell Frazier: I don't know.

Mark Lane: Did you forget that he told you he was getting curtain rods? 

Buell Frazier: No. 

Mark Lane: Then, why didn't you refer to what he said? If you already had the knowledge and the expectation that he was bringing curtain rods, why didn't you mention it? 

Buell Frazier: I just didn't. 

Mark Lane: And, you have said that Mr. Oswald responded by saying "curtain rods" but other times, you have had him adding, "that I told you about yesterday." So, my question is this: You, upon seeing the package, did NOT acknowledge the prior conversation. Is that true? 

Buell Frazier: Yes. 

Mark Lane: Now, tell us, once and for all, whether Mr. Oswald acknowledged the prior conversation in his response to you. Because, in your official statements, made under oath, you did NOT have him acknowledging the prior conversation. You just had him saying "curtain rods." So, did he, or did he not, qualify his answer with an acknowledgment of the prior conversation?

Buell Frazier: (silent for several seconds, thinking) I think he did.

Mark Lane: You're not sure? So, you think it's possible that you made up the line "that I told you about yesterday?" You've told it both ways, Mr. Frazier. So, which is it? 

Buell Frazier: I believe he said it.  

Mark Lane: Now, you have said that Oswald said that his wife had bought some curtain rods for him. Do you recall saying that? I'm asking because it's not in your affidavit, and you don't always include it. So, did he say that the curtain rods were purchased for him by his wife? 

Buell Frazier: I think so, yes. 

Mark Lane: Now, you have stated in a discussion with Tom Meros that Oswald said that his wife Marina was also making the curtains for him. Do you recall saying that?

Buell Frazier: Yes. 

Mark Lane: But, Oswald did NOT say that they were ready; that they were finished; that he was coming back with the curtains as well as the rods.  

Buell Frazier: No, he didn't. 

Mark Lane: So, according to you, Oswald said he was making a special trip to Irving to get the curtain rods, even though he would have to go there again to get the curtains. Is that right?

Buell Frazier: I suppose so.

Mark Lane: Did he explain to you why he needed the curtain rods in advance of the curtains?

Buell Frazier: No, he didn't. 

Mark Lane: Did you give it any thought?

Buell Frazier: No, I didn't. 

Mark Lane: So, it didn't seem odd to you that he would make a special trip just for the curtain rods when he had to go back again to get the curtains that his wife was making for him, and that's because you didn't think about it. But, what about now? You're thinking about it now. So, does it seem odd to you that he would do that, make two trips? 

Buell Frazier: I suppose it does. 

Mark Lane: Are you aware that Mr. Oswald denies ever saying anything to you about curtain rods?

Buell Frazier: Yes, I am. 

Mark Lane: Are you aware that he claims to have brought a lunch, consisting of a cheese sandwich and an apple in a brown paper bag?

Buell Frazier: Yes, I am. 

Mark Lane: But, you claim that he brought no lunch, and that you discussed it with him, and he told you he was going to buy his lunch. Isn't that true?

Buell Frazier, Yes, it's true.

Mark Lane: Tell us how that came up. Who began the conversation about lunch? Was it him or was it you? He didn't just volunteer that he brought no lunch and would be buying it, did he?

Buell Frazier: No, I must have asked him, where's your lunch, Lee?

Mark Lane: But, what made you ask him? Why was his lunch on your mind?

Buell Frazier: I suppose because I didn't see it. 

Mark Lane: So, you're saying that your not seeing his lunch triggered in your mind the need to question him about it? 

Buell Frazier: That's right. 

Mark Lane: I see. Now, let's talk about your lunch. You claimed to eat lunch in the basement after the assassination. Why didn't you eat before the motorcade arrived, like the others? 

Buell Frazier: I don't know. I just didn't feel like it, I guess.

Mark Lane: But, didn't you assume that after the motorcade passed, that you would be going back to work? Why did you expect to have time to eat after the motorcade?

Buell Frazier: I didn't think about it.

Mark Lane: And why did you eat in the basement? It was not an eating area. What was available down there? Was there a chair? Was there a table? Here is a picture of the basement? Where did you eat?


Buell Frazier: I think I sat on one of the boxes.

Mark Lane: Why did you do that, Mr. Frazier, when there was a lunch room with tables and chairs on the first floor?

Buell Frazier: There was a lot of commotion on the first floor which I wanted to avoid.

Mark Lane: You thought there was going to be commotion in the lunch room?

Buell Frazier: Maybe.

Mark Lane: You have variously said that you were standing on the second step close to the handrail, and then you said you were back in the black in the shadows. Which was it?

Buell Frazier: I was back in the black.

Mark Lane: Then, why did you say that you were on the second step? 

Buell Frazier: I don't recall saying that.

Mark Lane: Do you recall seeing Oswald in the doorway.

Buell Frazier: no. 

Mark Lane: Now, you have claimed that the man in the doorway of the Altgens photo is Billy Lovelady, right?

Buell Frazier: Yes.

Mark Lane: Look at this comparison. Do you see a likeness of the man and the clothing?

Buell Frazier: Yes.

Mark Lane: Do you recall that Lee Oswald and Billy Lovelady were dressed the same that day? 

Buell Frazier: No.

Mark Lane: Now, you have said that you don't consider the two of them to look alike because Billy is stocky and Lee is slender. But, when you look at the collage, do you get the sense that one of them is stocky and the other slender?

Buell Frazier: No. 

Mark Lane: Are you aware that Lee Oswald claims that the man in the doorway is himself?

Buell Frazier: Yes, I am.

Mark Lane: No further questions.  


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