So, how then could Detective Combest claim that Oswald was responding to questions by shaking his head in the jail office?
Mr. HUBERT. Did you hear Oswald say anything?
Mr. COMBEST. No, sir. He--I didn't hear him say a word hardly, after he had been shot. He was moaning at the time Jimmy Leavelle, Graves, and I laid him down on the floor and removed the handcuffs that he had on him.
Mr. HUBERT. That was in the jail office?
Mr. COMBEST. Yes, sir. At the time I asked him and talked to him trying to get him to make a statement to me at the time. Especially, after I realized how serious the wound was. When we first asked him he appeared to comprehend what I was saying.
Mr. COMBEST. Well, I told him was there anything that he wanted me to tell anybody or was there anything he wanted to say right now before it was too late, and I don't remember my--exactly the words that I did say to him, but after I realized the seriousness of the wound, of course, trying to let him know if he was ever going to say anything he was going to have to say it then.
Mr. HUBERT. You thought he was dying?
Mr. COMBEST. Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. HUBERT. And do you think you used language to him to convey to him your idea that he was dying?
Mr. COMBEST. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you get any indication that he actually understood what you were trying to convey to him?
Mr. COMBEST. When I first started asking him he did. He looked up at me, seemed to recognize that I--who was talking to him.
Mr. HUBERT. You don't mean that he recognized you as a person?
Mr. COMBEST. He recognized that I was the person talking to him.
Mr. HUBERT. But he didn't say anything?
Mr. COMBEST. No, sir; just shook his head and I said, "Do you have anything you want to tell us now," and he shook his head.
Now obviously, that was a bold-faced lie on the part of Combest. If that had happened, others would have seen it. And remember what Dr. Bieberdorf said, that he believed Oswald was dead in the jail office. He said he took the man's vital signs and could detect no heartbeat and no respiration. How can a guy with no vital signs shake his head in response to a question or look at someone?
Combest lied. HE LIED! Do you understand what that means? It means that the whole story was a lie. It means that he was embellishing on a lie. This was Combest's tall tale, his fish story. He thought it sounded good. He thought he'd give it a flourish. And what's amazing is that this was March 1964, and you'd think they'd all have had their stories straight and synchronized.
And what about Mr. Hubert, his interrogator? Here, Combest was telling him that Oswald was aware and responsive in the jail office. So, shouldn't his first thought have been to compare Combest's testimony with others who saw Oswald in the jail office to see if they corroborated it? And if he had done that, he would have found that they didn't corroborate it, that no one did, that everyone else claimed that Oswald was completely and totally unconscious and unresponsive in the jail office. So then, what do you do? You call Combest back in and put him on the spot about it. Then you arrest him for lying to federal investigators?.But, did Hubert even think about the uniqueness, the singularity of Combest's claim, and the fact that it was in stark contradiction to every other witness? I doubt it, and even if he was aware of it, he wouldn't have done anything about it anyway. Hubert just milked what Combest said, as best he could, and then moved on.
But, what an actor. What a liar. B.H. Combest. He tried a little bit too hard to support the ruse. You might say he got carried away. And in the process, he laid it all bare, that it was all a colossal and unmitigated lie, that what happened to Lee Harvey Oswald was nothing like the story being told. It was all a lie. It was all a lie. It was all a lie.