Each year within the research community there is great interest in who will appear at the ASK symposium in Dallas. While reading the September 5, 1993 Cleburne, Texas Times-Review I concluded ASK representative J. Gary Shaw had discovered a blockbuster guest. The newspaper article revealed, in October of 1992 while Shaw was at the JFK Assassination Information Center in Dallas, he had been contacted by Karen Carlin, a.k.a. Little Lynn. Carlin, one of Jack Ruby's strippers, was not only employed by Ruby the week of the assassination but was the recipient of Ruby's infamous Western Union money order. Ruby transmitted the money to Carlin shortly before he shot and killed Oswald. This event has been used by anti-conspiracy theorists as proof Ruby's act was not premeditated.
There was a problem, however. Many years ago, 1966 to be exact, Shaw's close personal friend and fellow assassination researcher Penn Jones Jr. declared Ms. Carlin dead. On page 174 of his self published Forgive My Grief I - Jones maintained Carlin was killed by "gunshot wounds in the head in Houston." I wondered how Mr. Shaw was going to resolve this inconsistency.
During my research into the Kennedy assassination I have been baffled by some of the stories put forward by Penn Jones Jr. A man the Cleburne Times-Review proclaims "the guiding light of assassination researchers." In tracing his narratives concerning Lee Bowers' mysterious death, Buell Frazier's relationship with John Crawford and the revelations of Roger Craig there were, in my view, many dilemmas. Additionally, as the Ricky White episode unfolded I developed doubts about the abilities of his chief protege and ASK emissary, J. Gary Shaw. In the case at hand was Carlin alive and Jones wrong or was Shaw contacted by an imposter?
To me, a weak and disturbing attempt to resolve these issues appeared in the Cleburne Times-Review of September 30, 1993. That publication contained an article by staff reporter Pete Kendall. The title of the piece was "Solved Mystery - Death notice of stripper concocted by Penn Jones." It seems Mr. Jones revealed to his wife that he invented the Karen Carlin death notice in Forgive My Grief I. Jones' wife claimed "Whoever it was told Penn that for her (Carlin's) sake he was to say she was dead. She was going into the government protection plan."
Even the editor of the Times-Review found this new revelation hard to swallow. The paper immediately points out the government had no witness protection plan in place at the time Jones faked Carlin's death. I also found it curious Jones exhibited a touching concern for Carlin's safety when without proof, he labeled her a "Ruby prostitute" on page 102 of Forgive My Grief III.
Kendall professes Jones "was recently hospitalized and suffers from memory lapses." This is not a contemporary event. In earlier years, a healthy Mr. Jones was unable to remember the name of the ambulance driver (Noel Coward) who removed the severely injured Lee Bowers from the scene of his accident. Jones was incapable of recalling the name of the doctor (R.H. Bohl) who treated Bowers at Waxahachie Hospital. He failed to reveal how preposterous his story of a one year old Buell Frazier meeting with his twenty two year old '"lifelong friend" John Crawford was.
The Times-Review article does not give the date Jones confessed this current distortion of the facts to his wife. However, even then he was silent as to the name of the government "whoever" that requested the death notice be published. His continual forgetfulness makes it difficult to verify the accuracy of his anecdotes.
Additionally Mr. and Mrs. Jones expose the researchers Mr. Jones has deceived. Included in the list are Sylvia Meagher, Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone. I believe it is time for researchers attending the ASK symposium to interrogate Mr. Shaw carefully. If Ms. Carlin appears Shaw should be required to provide proof positive his witness is just who he claims she is. Why? This is not the first time Jones or Shaw have created problems for serious investigators of the assassination.
In 1992 when I was working on my Third Decade article on the Lee Bowers' story, I interviewed Noel Coward's wife as well as Doctor Ray Bohl. Both indicated Jones had misrepresented Coward's and Bohl's roles in the Bowers' case. Sadly but somewhat fortuitously, Jones has admitted he is not above fabrication. As for J. Gary Shaw, in the Times-Review article of September 5, 1993 he distances himself from the JFK Assassination Information Center.
"I was not the director of the JFK Assassination Information Center at that time. I had resigned from that position in February,1991."
Many of you will remember he WAS director when the Roscoe White story broke through the Center's August 6, 1990 press conference. In Oliver Stone's book JFK The Documented Screenplay on page 19, Stone declares:
"In what appears to be nothing more than a publicity seeking hoax, a Texas group that included White's son and widow presented 'evidence' in 1990 that White was the real assassin behind the picket fence."
The JFK Assassination Information Center tuned much of that "evidence" over to the Texas attorney general's office. On February 2,1991 through the Austin American-Statesman the attorney general officially closed the Roscoe White case and issued the following statement::
"So far everything we have looked at has not given any credibility to anything these people have been trying to say about the documents and that whole affair."It is ironic that the JFK Assassination Information Center is a sponsor of Mr. Shaw's ASK symposium. The research community makes some strange bedfellows indeed.
David B. Perry
4601 Ainsworth Circle
Grapevine, Texas 76051
I contacted Pete by telephone on October 15,1993. Pete is an affable, forty seven year old sports writer for the paper. I quickly formed the opinion he wished he never became involved in the Kennedy assassination. Our conversation was most revealing but I still have to admit there are more questions than answers.
At the time of my call, Pete had received two letters concerning his narratives. One from me, actually a copy of my report on the subject. The other letter was from Penn Jones' wife. It appeared she had problems with her statement that "Whoever it was told Penn that for her Karen Carlin's sake he was to say she was dead. She was going into the government protection plan." Evidently Elaine Jones felt Kendall misquoted her. To settle this I asked Pete how he conducted the interview.
The discussion took place at Jones' home. Present were Pete Kendall, Penn Jones Jr., Elaine Jones and J. Gary Shaw. Elaine was the primary subject as Penn is elderly and does suffer from memory lapses. I assumed Gary Shaw was there as a friend of the Jones'. However Shaw handled that portion of the interview in which Elaine Jones revealed the "concocted" death notice!
Pete Kendall sees nothing inaccurate with what he wrote. As it is with most good reporters he records his interviews. He has the forty minute meeting on tape. Additionally, if Elaine's comments were inaccurate why did Gary Shaw continue his questioning without requesting a clarification? Incidentally, Kendall did respond to Elaine's letter with an apology of sorts but remains steadfast that he did nothing improper.
I can understand why Mrs. Jones, upon reflection, would be upset with her quotation but Gary Shaw's inaction while Elaine communicated the story mystifies me. The whole scenario they created is not logical.
[1 ) First, let's look at Penn Jones' stance with respect to the government at the time the Carlin incident unfolded.
In his Forgive My Grief I summation Penn states "It would be presumptuous for a weekly newspaper (He was owner-editor of the Midlothian Mirror) to think it could solve such a heinous crime. So heinous, in fact, that every branch of the government involved assisted in covering and obfuscating the evidence left after that terrible day in Dallas." Forgive My Grief I also contains the Carlin "death notice."
[2) Mrs. Jones claims someone from the government met with her husband and Karen Carlin a.k.a. "Little Lynn" in Houston sometime in 1965 or 1965. An agent of the government requested Penn publish Carlin's death notice. This was to assist her entry "into the government protection plan."
Let's take a minute and look at the witness protection program.
The "Witness Protection and Management Program" was part of The Crime Control Act of 1970 under Title 91-452. The purpose was to protect individuals who observed criminal activity. Before testifying these people were placed in protective custody. Only after they testified did they enter the program. These witnesses ended up safeguarded, given new identities and relocated by the United States' government in exchange for their damaging revelations.
Elaine admitted to Kendall and Shaw that Penn went to Houston and met . . . some man he talked to. I don't know the man's name but he was a government official."
Now we have Jones helping the very government t he tells us "assisted in covering and obfuscating the evidence. " He is supporting the government in protecting a person who may testify against the government. Furthermore, Mrs. Jones has Penn helping Carlin enter a protection program at least four years before the procedure was implemented.
But wait - Carlin did give an affidavit to law enforcement shortly after the assassination and the Warren Commission deposed her. If "Little Lynn" had or has anything of value to add to her story, wouldn't she be a candidate for Penn's mysterious death list? After all the government knew where she was for they had her in the program.
[3) Next - why would the government want to reveal Carlin's death through Jones' publication?
As of September,1966, the self published Forgive My Grief I had a total print run of 22,500 copies. To protect Carlin I think any governmental body would find a major newspaper with an extensive circulation a better outlet for their purpose.
[4) Can we deduce Penn Jones Jr. was working with or for the government?
The article concludes "Everybody and his dogs have printed it (Carlin's death notice) including yours truly." said Shaw, who said he hopes Little Lynn will soon step forward to fill in all the remaining blanks.
Remaining blanks? The only blanks are in the story. Shaw has missed the point completely. Never mind Jones' concocted death story. If this story is not a fabrication then Jones WAS helping the government to the extent of having clandestine meetings with an agent!
Look, I admit I have never been keen on Penn's research abilities. Even so, I can't believe he ever worked in concert with the government with respect to any facet of the assassination. I would like to chalk this up to a misunderstanding of his wife. But remember some of this stuff came out during Gary Shaw's questioning of Elaine Jones.
I think, a major shortcoming of Gary Shaw and his assassination research associates are the trail of unresolved issues they leave in their wake. We can add "Little Lynn" to a list that includes Roscoe White, "Bill X" potentially the "Mexico City Man," The "Black Ace," Chauncey Holt and the assassination "scenario writer." They have listened to, believed, exaggerated and retold so many coincidence and conspiracy stories they can't distinguish fact from fancy.
Unfortunately, for Penn Jones Jr., this one is very different. With an absurd anecdote the image of a '"first generation" assassination investigator has been tarnished. I never thought I would be placed in the position of rushing to Penn Jones' defense, but Penn is old and his memory is failing. He couldn't be aware of what was transpiring around him during that interview. No one should be placed in that position. No one deserves that.
4601 Ainsworth Circle
Grapevine, TX 76051 October 20,1993