Well, the “Vindication for Kerry Thornley” post was my most read blog ever! Yet the response to my not-so-simple question remains unanswered: If Kerry Thornley was in California and Mexico from May 2, 1963 until September 4, 1963, how can he have possibly been seen by Judyth Vary Baker on May 8 and May 28, as well as picking up FPCC leaflets from the Jones Printing Company on June 4, 1963 as she alleges? Famed researcher Mary Ferrell, Districy Attorney Jim Garrison, and HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi all concluded that he was in California during this time frame. It was my hope that there would be some primary evidence to disprove what I have learned in my research.
FIRST BAKER’S ENCOUNTER WITH THORNLEY: MAY 8, 1963.
Ms Baker claims she first met Thornley on May 8, 1963 in New Orleans. (1) Baker indicates in her book that Oswald was surprised to see Thornley there. Nowhere in Ms. Baker’s account does Thornley mention the book he had written about Oswald. This is strange considering Thornley had modeled the character in his book “Idle Warriors” after Oswald whom he had not seen since serving with him in 1959. The encounter includes Oswald taking out his minox spy camera, teaching Thornley to use it, and having him take a picture of the couple. Lee gets Thornley’s address and moves on. (2)
SECOND BAKER’S ENCOUNTER WITH THORNLEY: MAY 28, 1963. THORNLEY AND MARINA HAD AN AFFAIR?
On May 28, 1963, Baker and Oswald witness Thornley going up the steps of the porch to his apartment at 4905 Magazine St. Lee becomes enraged because he suspects Thornley of having an affair with Marina. (3) There is no explaining how in twenty days, Thornley goes from not knowing Lee was back from the Soviet Union, to having an affair with an already pregnant Marina who had a small child at home.
Upon reading the endnotes for these claims in Baker’s book, Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, we come across the following statement:
We believed Marina and Kerry Thornley were having an affair, though Thornley always denied it. (4)
Ms. Baker now says that she never claimed that Thornley and Marina were having an affair! This is a complete contradiction to what she stated in the endnotes of her book. Her response below is true, that in the body of the book where she writes about the encounter she does not state that. However, her own endnotes very clearly state it.
JFK Evidence Detection, January 21, 2015: 1:28 AM EST. (5)
Upon reading this, it becomes obvious that her response to my blog Ms. Baker honed in on my statements about the affair. She claims in this response that she did “NOT” claim that Thornley had an affair with Marina. This is absolutely false as I demonstrated above! Her book’s footnote clearly states “We believed Marina and Kerry Thornley were having an affair, though Thornley always denied it.” There is no explanation for her response to my blog, other than a response on January 23, 2015 that states, “Lee and I believed Thornley was messing with Marina, though he denied it.” (6) Remarkably, Ms. Baker in the span of 48 hours, went from stating she did not make the claim, to changing her story to they were messing around.
GARRISON ADMITS THAT THORNLEY WAS NOT IN NEW ORLEANS DESPITE OF HAROLD WEISBERG’S EFFORTS
Ms. Baker is correct, my article does not give credibility to Harold Weisberg. As addressed in “Vindication for Kerry Thornley“, Weisberg wanted to prove Thornley was involved to the point that he had doctored photographs of Thornley produced to make him look like Oswald. Jim Garrison, who had used Weisberg to investigate did not find Weisberg credible because he did not prosecute Thornley for perjury for any reason other than Thornley met with Oswald in September, not in May or June as Ms. Baker would have her readers believe.
Weisberg had this to say in 1994 about his chase to prove Thornley was in New Orleans, “In my New Orleans investigations, I got a very, very good reason for looking into Kerry Thornley. He exaggerated his associations with Oswald.” (7) So in 1994, it appears that even Weisberg admits Thornley spun stories. The spreading of these stories by Thornley served a purpose, to stir interest in his book about Oswald. Unfortunately for Thornley, this led him to perjury charges.
THORNLEY DID NOT PICK UP THE FAIR PLAY FOR CUBA COMMITTEE PAMPHLETS AT JONES PUBLISHING COMPANY AS BAKER CLAIMS
It is absolutely true that Douglas Jones (8) and Myra Silvers (9) employees of the Jones Publishing Company, never identified Oswald as the person who picked up the Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlets. Myra Silver first saw the man who called himself “Osborne” on May 29 when he placed the order. She saw him again on May 31 when he paid for the order. Ms. Silver saw “Osborne” once more on June 4 when he picked up the order.
Ms. Baker was asked a very poignant question in her response to the “Vindication for Kerry Thornley” blog. “Did Lee Harvey Oswald order the pamphlets or did Kerry Thornley?”
Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 23, 2015 3:49 AM (10)
This cannot be since Myra Silver has been absolutely clear in all of her statements. A man calling himself Osborne, ordered, paid for, and picked up the pamphlets. The man who ordered the pamphlets is the same who picked them up.
When Garrison was following up on the Jones Printing Company leads in 1967, he sent investigator Frank Meloche, Meloche who reports the same story that Silver stated to the FBI on December 4, 1963. It was the same man all along, but his report contains a new detail that was not in the FBI report. Baker’s claim that it was Thornley completely falls apart because Silver told Meloche that the person named Osborne, worked at the Riley Coffee Company. (11) Kerry Thornley did not work at the Riley Coffee Company, but Lee Harvey Oswald certainly DID!
APPEARANCES OF OSWALD IN THREE OTHER PRINTING COMPANIES
What the casual reader of Ms. Baker’s book may not know is that there were other printing companies that Oswald/Osborne used. John I. Anderson of the Mailer’s Service Company identified Oswald as the person who came in and placed an order to print an application form for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Anderson identified Oswald as the person who placed the order and picked it up. Anderson stated that Oswald used the name “OSBORNE”. This was at the same time the name was used at the Jones Printing Company. “Osborne” ordered on June 3, 1963, and picked up the order of applications on June 5th. He returned and placed another order later in the summer. (12) Mr. Joseph Johnson, employee of the James W. Trout Printing, reported that Oswald had attempted to order 300 pamphlets from his company. The man had not given a name, but he was able to identify Oswald from his photographs in the paper. (13)
So we have three printing companies, at one where Silver identifies the man as working at the Riley Coffee Company using the name Osborne. At the second one, Anderson identifies the man as Oswald and using the name Osborne. Finally at the third one, Johnson identifies the man as being Oswald. Three printing shops, all with similar stories. Baker is wrong, Thornley was not there based on any of these witness statements. Looking at the statements of these witnesses there is more than enough evidence that it was Oswald.
CLAIMS WITHOUT CITATIONS: NEIGHBORS SAW THORNLEY AND MARINA TOGETHER ACCORDING TO THE WARREN COMMISSION AND THE GARRISON INVESTIGATION
In our discussion, it was requested of Ms. Baker to please provide a link to the neighbors’ testimonies that support the endnote below. To date, Baker has not provided any references to her citations of having witnesses to Thornley being seen around town with Oswald. Her final sentence that the Garrison investigation confirmed the same point is inaccurate as well. Garrison came to the conclusion that Thornley left town at the end of April 1963(14),and had contact with Oswald only in September 1963 when he returned.(15)
In our dialogue, I asked Ms. Baker for her sources to the following statement in her book:
We believed that Marina and Kerry Thornley were having an affair, though Thornley always denied it. His denials were so eloquent that Lee gave him a second chance and arranged for Thornley to pick up the pro-Castro flyers Lee had printed. All was well for another week, until the manager said she saw Thornley with Marina. Lee then told Thornley to leave town, or make an appointment with a plastic surgeon. Neighbors testified to the Warren Commission that Thornley was there so often they were unsure as to which one (Lee or Thornley) was really Marina’s husband. Jim Garrison’s investigation confirmed the same point. (16)
As of today, Ms. Baker has not produced any evidence that the manager saw anyone with Marina Oswald. There has been no evidence linked to the Warren Commission investigation indicating that any neighbor saw Thornley enter the Oswald residence. In addition, Jim Garrison never came to the conclusion that Ms. Baker states above. Quite the contrary, he investigated leads, and found that the only credible lead was in September of 1963.
What Ms. Baker does in her response is to quote Joan Mellen’s book, A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History, pages 275-276, to make her case. This is a red flag, since Ms. Baker makes her own claims in her own book and instead of providing primary sources she uses another author’s work to respond to my questions.
Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 22, 2015; 10:21 PM.(17)
Above, Ms Baker is totally wrong by stating that there is a memo reporting that Mr. Schwegman had seen Thornley at Oswald’s residence. The Schwegmann Memorandum, which is stored on microfilm at the New Orleans Public Library, does not say this. That’s the danger of using another author’s work to make your case without looking at the source. This memo is a letter from John Schwegmann Jr., owner of the Win-Dixie grocery store. His wrote Jim Garrison to inform him that one of his employees, Myrtle LaSavia, claimed to have seen Thornley with Mrs. Oswald at the Oswald residence. (18) It was NOT a statement by Mr. Schwegman claiming to have seen anything or anyone at the Oswald’s residence, as Ms. Baker would have us believe. It was just him reporting what LaSavia had told him.
The next piece of Mellen’s research that Baker uses to support her claims is Mr. Sciambra’s memorandum to Mr. Garrison regarding his interviews with Mr. Tony LaSavia and Myrtle LaSavia. Those two memos are not available online. I have placed a FOIA request from the National Archives, and I will update my blog when they arrive. At this time, I suspect that these two documents give nothing more than neighborhood gossip on the part of the LaSavias, as Garrison did not use them as potential witnesses against Thornley.
Garrison’s own investigators did not list the LaSavia’s as living anywhere near the Oswald’s residence. They listed the residents and the visitors to 4905 Magazine Street, but were unable to prove that, contrarily to Ms. Baker’s book, Thornley was seen at the Oswald’s house or with Marina Oswald. (19) (20) (21) In looking through these documents from March 4, 1968, it does not appear that Garrison found what the LaSavia’s reported to be credible, since they are not on the March 4 list as important by his investigator.
DORIS DOWELL TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT
Baker makes the following statement directed at me implying that witnesses are being rejected by me.
Judy Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 25, 2015; 7:38 AM EST (22)
Ms. Baker once again is quoting a document that she has taken out of context. Doris Dowell was Kerry Thorley’s boss when he moved to Arlington, VA in December of 1963. Thornley did not know Mrs. Dowell prior to December 1963. Ms. Baker is misrepresenting the memorandum that was written by Scambria. The memo, when properly quoted, states the following:
MRS. DOWELL said that about one month before THORNLEY left for California he told her that he had been in the Marine Corps with LEE HARVEY OSWALD, and also that they were buddies in New Orleans. He said that he had met OSWALD again in New Orleans, and that they had met at a place in the French Quarter that she would probably not like. She later on said that THORNLEY told her about a place in the French Quarter that he used to constantly go to named the Bourbon House and he described the Bourbon House as a place that she would not like because of the type of people who went there. When she told THORNLEY that she would not brag about knowing LEE HARVEY OSWALD, THORNLEY became very angry and told her that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was misunderstood by everyone, and that nobody really knew him. She said that he insisted that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was not a Communist. (23)
Thornley left Virginia to go to California, which gives the reader the time frame that he made the statement to Ms. Dowell. The memo, when read in its proper context, makes total sense. It does not imply that he was making a statement about knowing Oswald in May of 1963, as Ms. Baker would like us to believe. So in answer to Ms. Baker’s question, I do value Mrs. Dowell as a witness when she is not taken out of context. Garrison read the memo correctly as well, as he realized that her complete statement supported his other witness statements about the Bourbon House and an alleged September meeting. (24)
Ms. Baker’s book was published in 2010, and it is amazing to me that despite my repeated requests for primary source documentation to her claims in her book, she turns to Mellen. Mellen’s book was not published until 2014, and at no time does the author use Judyth Vary Baker as a witness to Thornley being in New Orleans with Oswald in her book. (25)
To date, there is still no documentation by Ms. Baker to substantiate her claims that in the Warren Commission Report the neighbors stated that they saw Thornley at the Oswald’s apartment. She has provided no evidence that Garrison supported this, when indeed it has been proven that he did not find any credible evidence other than September 1963. We are left wondering why it is so difficult for Ms. Baker to actually produce the evidence to support her endnote…
Matt “The Hitman” Scheufele
(1) Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, Trine Day, 2010
(5) Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 21, 2015: 1:28 AM EST.
(6) Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 23, 2015: 3:49 AM EST.
(7) Harold Weisberg letter to David Saulsbury, August 31, 1994,The Harold Wesiberg Collection
(8) FBI Report, Douglas Jones, December 3, 1963
(9) FBI Report, Myra Silver, December 4, 1963
(10) Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 23, 2015 3:49 AM
(11) Memorandum Frank Roche to Jim Garrison, January 17, 1967 Collection JFKCO:John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, 12/28/1992 – 09/30/1998 Series:Papers of Jim Garrison, 1965 – 1992 File Unit:Oswald-Lakefront
(12)Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XXII Current Section: CE 1411 – FBI report dated December 3, 1963, of interview of John I. Anderson at New Orleans, La.
(13) Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XXV Current Section: CE 2546 – FBI report dated November 25, 1963, of interview of Charles Hall Steele, Jr., at New Orleans, La. (CD 75, p. 267).
(14) Garrison Manuscript 1984, Source: Collection JFKCO:John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, 12/28/1992 – 09/30/1998 Series:Papers of Jim Garrison, 1965 – 1992 File Unit:[Garrison-Miscellaneous Reports and Memoranda re: Assassination Investigation]
(15) Press Release New Orleans District Attorney, Perjury Thornley, The Harold Weisberg Collection
(16) Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, Trine Day, 2010
(17) Judyth Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 22, 2015; 10:21 PM.
(18) Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Oswald and the Garrison Investigation, Kindle Edition, Adam Gorightly, Feral House 2014, 1530 of 4180
(19) Collection JFKCO: John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, 12/28/1992-09/30/1998 Series: Papers of Jim Garrison, 1965-1992 File Unit: Misfiled-original location unknown by researcher
(20) Collection JFKCO: John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, 12/28/1992-09/30/1998 Series: Papers of Jim Garrison, 1965-1992 File Unit: Misfiled-original location unknown by researcher
(21) Collection JFKCO: John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, 12/28/1992-09/30/1998 Series: Papers of Jim Garrison, 1965-1992 File Unit: Misfiled-original location unknown by researcher
(22) Judy Baker, Facebook, JFK Evidence Detection, January 25, 2015; 7:38 AM EST
(23) Memorandum, Scambria to Garrison, April 2, 1968, The Wesiberg Collection
(24) Memorandum, Scambria to Garrison, April 2, 1968, The Wesiberg Collection
(25) A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History, Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (September 1, 2013)