Return to the Archives
by Michael T. Griffith
The Warren Commission claimed that a paper bag and a blanket from Ruth Paine's garage also linked Oswald to the alleged muder weapon. According to the Commission, Oswald used the bag to carry the weapon into the TSBD on the day of the murder, and the bag was allegedly found in the sniper's nest. As for the blanket, the Commission said Oswald used the blanket to store the rifle in it during the preceding months. Yet a prosecutor would encounter serious difficulties in trying to use this evidence to tie Oswald to the Carcano. Sylvia Meagher discussed some of the problems with these items:
The Commission...offered no firm physical evidence of a link between the paper bag and the rifle. The [Warren] Report does not mention the negative examination made by FBI expert James Cadigan. Cadigan said explicity that he had been unable to find any marks, scratches, abrasions, or other indications that would tie the bag to the rifle. Those negative findings assume greater significance in the light of an FBI report [CE 2974] which states that the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Book Depository was in a well-oiled condition. It is difficult to understand why a well-oiled rifle carried in separate parts [as the WC claimed] would not have left distinct traces of oil on the paper bag, easily detected in laboratory tests if not with the naked eye. The expert testimony includes no mention of oil traces, a fact which in itself is cogent evidence against the Commission's conclusions.
Equally significant, there were no oil stains or traces on the blanket in which a well-oiled rifle ostensibly had been stored--not for hours but for months. This serves further to weaken, if not destroy, the Commission's arbitrary finding that the Carcano rifle had been wrapped in that blanket until the night before the assassination.
In fact, although the paper bag was allegedly found in the sniper's nest, incredibly, the Dallas police "failed" to take a crime-scene photographe of the bag lying in the nest! The bag does not appear in any of the pictures that were taken of the sniper's nest that afternoon. Some WC apologists have suggested that Lt. Day and Detective Studebaker, the two police officials who took snapshots of the nest, didn't phtograph the bag because they didn't notice it. This is surely a farfetched explanation. The bag, which the Commission said measured 38" x 8" and was allegedly shaped "like a gun case," would have been in plain view and could not possibly have been "missed" or "overlooked." Since Day and Studebaker "noticed" the three spent shells lying on the floor, it strains the imagination to think they would nto have noticed the 38" x 8" bag lying in the same small area. (Rusty Livingston, a former Dallas Police Crime Lab detective, says the bag was about 42 inches long. In a photo of the bag, which was taken long after it was "discovered," the bag is seen to measure 38 inches in length, although there appears to be a four-inch flap folded over on the left edge of the bag.) The bag, say some WC supporters, was folded and thus was not easy to spot. But at least two of the policemen who saw a bag in the nest gave no indication whatsoever that it was folded; they said it was a small bag and that a partially eaten chicken leg was lying beside it. One police officer specifically described the bag he saw as a small manufactured bag, such as the kind found in a grocery store's produce department. [Ed. note: as Mr. Griffith received a posting on the Net, there were two bags. found in the "nest"; one supposedly contained the lunch, the second the Mannlicher.]
The other explanation offered by WC apologists to explain the "failure" to photograph the bag is that the bag was "accidentally" removed from the nest before it could be photographed. However, the police officer who supposedly removed the bag prematurely indicated that no evidence was removed until AFTER Day and Studebaker "took pictures and everything." [7H 97] As one studies the WC testimony about the bag, one is struck by the utter confusion and contradiction in the accounts. The accounts differ markedly about where the bag was located, who found it, what it looked like, whether or not it was folded, whether or not it was even a "bag" at all, when it was removed from the sniper's nest, and who handled it. It should be mentioned that for some reason the bag did not leave the TSBD until three hours after it was supposedly discovered. The small paper bag seen in the sniper's nest probably had nothing to do with the long bag that was later presented as evidence by the Dallas police. Many researchers believe that the police and/or federal agents made the long bag partly with paper that Oswald had previously handled in an effort to strengthen the case against him. This would explain why only two of Oswald's prints were found on the bag (more should have been found...), why the bag was devoid of gun oil even thou the Carcano was well-oiled when discovered, and why the bag did not leave the Depository for three hours.
Used by permission of Michael T. Griffith. All rights reserved.
Top of the Page
Return to the Archives