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Selected correspondence from you, the reader
 
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Q:  Anthony G. writes, I have seen the reenactment of LHO's exit from the sixth floor. Have you ever done one with all the players to see what it would have/could have looked like? Put all the people in their places (Lee Oswald, Officer Baker, Roy Truly, Sandra Styles, Vicki Adams, Dorothy Garner, Lovelady and Ball [sic]). It seems possible that in the 20 second timing that LHO was on the stairs that Vicki Adams and Sandra Styles may have just missed him and a reenactment could show if this was possible. When you watch the History Channel's reenactment, it could have been more powerful showing all the players.
 
A:  I would have loved to gather all the key individuals together and place them in their respective positions to see where their paths may have crossed.  Most have passed away now and the interior of the Depository is no longer the same as it was back in 1963, hence the reason substitute stairs and substitute "players' must be used in current reenactments.  But be careful of such reenactments; the timing can be easily manipulated and distorted if one is unfamiliar with the evidence.
       Perhaps the new evidence revealed in "The Girl on the Stairs" will prompt some enterprising project to pull together a documented and accurate reenactment in which stand-ins for all of the key individuals duplicate the movements and routes taken that day. That would be interesting and certainly unique!
        I think it possible for Oswald to have run down the stairs and arrive in the second-floor lunchroom in advance of Baker and Truly. The question though is, did he run down the stairs"
        When a careful and thorough reenactment of everyone's movements should have been conducted is during the Warren Commission's investigation in 1964. Everyone was still alive then and their actions would have been fresh in their minds. Unfortunately, this was not done as a whole.
       Numerous reenactments and time tests were performed individually: the motorcade in Dealey Plaza; the race down the stairs with an Oswald stand-in; the race up the stairs with Baker and Truly; the return of Mrs. Robert Reid to her second-floor office, and etc., etc. Vicki Adams was the only person excluded, even though she begged David Belin (who by the way conducted many of those tests) to be allowed to participate, and David Belin was initially the one who recommended that the timing of Vicki's descent was a critical matter that needed to be resolved.
        In my opinion, her absence from those tests was intentional.
 
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Q:  Michael G. asks: What about Sandra Styles? She made statements about how she and Adams may have lingered around the 4th floor window for a bit longer than Adams says, including stopping to try the elevator. Adams doesn’t mention this elevator pit stop in her WC testimony.

 

A: The reason Miss Adams did not mention it in her testimony is because, according to her, the “pit stop” never occurred. Here’s the background:

       When I interviewed Sandra Styles in 2002, she stated rather casually that she and Miss Adams had first attempted to get on a passenger elevator located just outside their office before heading toward the back staircase. That elevator served only the first four floors of the Depository, those being occupied by the various book publishing companies located in the building. I had never heard nor read about this “pit stop” before and when I asked Sandra during my interview if she was sure that’s what she and Vicki had done, her reply was, “That is my recollection.”

       After the self-published version of “The Girl on the Stairs” was released, researcher Sean Murphy brought to my attention an interview he conducted with Sandra in 2008 in which she mentioned to him the same thing, that both women had first gone to the passenger elevator prior to descending the stairs. However, in a follow-up interview Murphy did with Sandra in 2011 based solely on the new evidence made public in my book, Sandra began to think differently.  She now recanted a bit, admitting her calculations may have been off and that she would “yield to wiser heads if the evidence is there.”

       Here is that evidence:

       1) Vicki was consistent in all of her questioning by various agencies, several interviews of which were considerably detailed in descriptions of her actions. Not a word is mentioned in any of them, from her first interview in November 1963 through her Warren Commission testimony in April 1964, about a side trip to the passenger elevator. When I told her about Sandra’s version, Vicki said, “This is really surprising. We did not go out that way. I think she has this really off.”

       2)  The Martha Joe Stroud document, in which office supervisor Dorothy Garner saw Officer Baker and Roy Truly emerge onto the fourth floor after Vicki and Sandra went down, certainly implies no delay on the part of Vicki and Sandra’s descent. This quickness is also evident in light of time tests showing the lunchroom encounter between Oswald, Baker and Truly took place in less than 90 seconds after the final shot.  And don’t forget Mrs. Robert Reid, who testified she saw Oswald within two minutes after the shooting, which would have followed the lunchroom confrontation.

       The most compelling evidence that supports a trip without an elevator stop comes from Dorothy Garner and was not available to readers in the self-published edition of “The Girl on the Stairs.”  

       3)  Mrs. Garner actually followed Vicki and Sandra as they left the fourth-floor window after the shots. She told me in an exclusive interview in 2011 that she was close behind the two women as the pair went through the office, exited out the rear door of that office, and went directly from there to the back staircase. That is why she was in a position to observe Baker and Truly as quickly as she was. Based on her statements, no elevator was involved during the trip.

       Some suggest there is support for Sandra’s version because she brought up the detail that the passenger elevator wasn’t working when the women got there, hence the reason for the stairway exit. Indeed, there was a point where the elevators in the building had stopped working, but the question is, when did that occur?  Vicki does, in fact, admit the passenger elevator and the freight elevators were inoperable.  But she noticed that only when she attempted to use them upon her return from being outside several minutes later.  Sandra had re-entered the building moments ahead of Vicki.  Vicki offered the possible explanation that Sandra may have confused the elevator problems as occurring earlier instead of when she came back into the Depository.

       Some also suggest common sense dictates that Vicki and Sandra, running in high heels, would try to use a convenient elevator to descend to the first floor versus the old wooden stairs at the back of the building. That is a logical thought, but hindsight is always 20/20 and reasonable thinking is not always a factor in human behavior.

       Simply put, the existing evidence just does not corroborate a “pit stop.”

 

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Q: You write that David Belin did timings of how long it took LHO to allegedly go from the TSBD to wherever, etc., but no one did any timings of Vicki Adams' route from the fourth floor window to the exit of the TSBD and then back in again. I wonder if indeed, timings were completed, but because they obviously didn't fit their telling of the story, they were simply not alluded to or confirmed.
 
       John V.
       Chandler, Arizona
 
A: Documents from the National Archives reveal a very concentrated effort was made to determine how Oswald escaped from the sixth floor and ultimately the Depository building.Time tests were done regarding every conceivable way he could have arrived in the second-floor lunchroom and departed from the building within the time constraints established by other evidence. David Belin, in fact, participated in several of these tests, particularly those dealing with the alleged assassin's trip down the stairs.
       Vicki Adams was excluded from all of them.
       She told me she was never included in any of the tests even though she practically begged Belin to be allowed to participate. I suppose it is possible that a stand-in for her was used, as was the case for Oswald. But if this were done, I have found no record if it or any mention of such tests being conducted. 
 
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Q:  How does Victoria Adams' husband feel about the book?
 
         Shannon R.
         Charlotte, NC
 
A: Compiled from several emails, this is what her husband, Skip, had to say:
         "I found it fascinating!  It is well written and well set out. I'm amazed that you stuck with the story as long as it took you to get the book written. 

         "Vicki was a person who always strived to do and be her best at whatever she wanted to do. She was a very giving person, and it was very easy for her to make her aquaintance with other people.  She was a very trustworthy person, she did what she said she would do and acted the way she said she would.  She had very high standards set for herself of honesty, courtesy and friendliness.  She had an inner beauty that most others could see easily.

         "When she became interested in something, she always attempted to learn as much as she could about it and master it.

         "Vicki was as completely honest a person as I have ever known."
 
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Q: What is your response to those who criticize researchers by saying that after all these years, there still is no alternative to Oswald being the lone assassin?
 
        Susan E.
        Denver, Colorado
A: Plenty of alternatives exist, all theoretical at this point.  But remember, the Warren Report is a hypothesis too, the first in a long line of them. Now 50 years after Dallas, there cannot be a definitive and responsible answer to who shot JFK.  The reason for that is because the official investigation was never a good-faith effort to begin with.  Therefore, few leads exist that can be used by legitimate researchers to help solve the puzzle. The best we can do is examine the evidence that continues to trickle out and try to pull the pieces together as honestly and objectively as possible.
 
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Q:  The theory you advocate in “The Girl on the Stairs” says that because Victoria Adams saw and heard no one when she came down the stairway, then Oswald was not on the sixth floor and therefore did not shoot the president. But how do you explain her not seeing the other assassin or assassins, since it is obvious someone was up there?

 

       Kevin H.

       San Diego, Calif.

 

A:  First, I do not advocate any theory in the book. The conclusion I arrived at regarding this point was that Miss Adams told the truth and therefore, that truth now adds a critical element to what we have been told regarding Oswald’s movements in the two minutes following the assassination.

        As background, and in contrast to the implication that the Depository was secure and immune from interlopers, we have manager William Shelley saying in 1964, "Any one of a thousand different people could have entered or left the building and nobody would have known it."

       We have employee James Jarman telling the HSCA that a stranger could "very easily" have entered the rear of the Depository and made his way to the sixth floor because "…that day the dock door was up and the side door was open." This same ease of access or escape was also observed by the Secret Service when an agent arrived there nearly a half hour after the shooting.

        It is clear, then, that an unauthorized individual had the means to enter the building unnoticed and make his way to a higher floor. Let's say someone did. How then could he have escaped?

        Defenders of the Warren Report are quick to point out that if Vicki Adams didn't hear Oswald on the stairs, then why didn't she hear the assassin(s) who replaced him?

        The error in their logic is glaringly obvious, for the question presupposes that any other shooter would have made his escape down the stairs at the exact same time Oswald was to have done so. But this person would not necessarily have had to come down the stairs when Oswald supposedly did.

        The timing of Oswald's escape from the sixth floor was based on a speed that would get him to the second-floor lunchroom in advance of when Marrion Baker and Roy Truly saw him there. That time frame was established at under 90 seconds, a figure resulting from on-site tests duplicating the actions of both Baker and Truly. Oswald had to get to the lunchroom before they did, which therefore put him on the stairs at a specific time.

        The fact Victoria Adams was on those stairs at the same time is what posed the problem.

        But if someone other than Oswald was on the sixth floor, his escape would not have been governed by any such time constraints. He could have come down later, since the sixth floor remained vacant and was not searched for some 35 minutes after the assassination. (This, oddly enough, even though that floor was pointed out almost immediately as the source of the shots.)

        Uniformed cops, plain-clothes cops, the news media, workers and others were swarming throughout the Depository by then. The delay in searching the sixth floor would have provided plenty of opportunity for someone to depart in the confusion. Unlikely as it sounds, this person might even have remained on the sixth floor and then blended in with those who eventually arrived there.

 

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