TESTIMONY OF ROYCE G. SKELTON
The testimony of Royce G. Skelton was taken at 2:45 p.m., on April 8, 1964, in the office of U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Joseph A. Ball, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. BALL. Will you raise your right hand and be sworn ? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give before the Commission will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Mr. SKELTON. I do.
Mr. BALL. Will you state your name, please, for the record?
Mr. SKELTON. Royce G. Skelton.
Mr. BALL. What is your business?
Mr. SKELTON. I am a mail clerk at the Texas Louisiana Freight Bureau.
Mr. BALL. Where do you work?
Mr. SKELTON. At the Texas Louisiana Freight Bureau.
Mr. BALL. Where were you born and where did you come from ?
Mr. SKELTON. I was born in Henrietta, Tex., May 25, 1940.
Mr. BALL. And where did you go to school?
Mr. SKELTON. I attended all grade schools in Wichita Falls and I graduated from Wichita Falls High School.
Mr. BALL. Tell me where you went to school.
Mr. SKELTON. Wichita Falls through high school and I attended 1 year at Midwestern University.
Mr. BALL. And when did you go to work for the railroad?
Mr. SKELTON. February 1, 1963.
Mr. BALL. What kind of work do you do?
Mr. SKELTON. Mail clerk.
Mr. BALL. On November 22, 1963, did you watch the parade, the motorcade of the President?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir; I went to the triple overpass about 12:20---I think it was 12:15, or something like that.
Mr. BALL.. Whom did you go down there with?
Mr. SKELTON. Austin Miller and myself.
Mr. BALL. Where does he work?
Mr. SKELTON. He is a mail clerk also in the same company.
Mr. BALL. Where did you stand to watch the parade?
Mr. SKELTON. Well, we were directly over Elm Street.
Mr. BALL. Directly over Elm?
Mr. SKELTON. Maybe it would be to the left-hand side, if you were on the street.
Mr. BALL. Anybody else there on the overpass?
Mr. SKELTON. There were quite a few people up there.
Mr. BALL. Did you know any of them?
Mr. SKELTON. Well, I know by sight--I knew the electrician, an old man that's an electrician.
Mr. BALL. Frank Reilly?
Mr. SKELTON. Is that his name?
Mr. BALL. The man that was here a moment ago---his name is Reilly.
Mr. SKELTON. I know him when I see him.
Mr. BALL. Yes--
Mr. SKELTON. And Austin Miller, of course.
Mr. BALL. Did you know Dodd, the employee of the railroad?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir; like I say, I recognized them off and on when I see them around there.
Mr. BALL. Did you see any police officers there?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes; this man right here they say it was him---I don't recall whether it was or not.
Mr. BALL. Who--Mr. Brown?
Mr. SKELTON. The one who was in here just a while ago--they say he was the one up there, but I don't know.
Mr. BALL. You didn't recognize him there?
Mr. SKELTON. No; I didn't recognize him.
Mr. BALL. In other words, you saw some police officers up there?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Where were they standing?
Mr. SKELTON. There was one standing directly behind me, I think, or in the general vicinity, and there was one on the far side of the triple underpass.
Mr. BALL. By "far side," you mean where?
Mr. SKELTON. It would be back on this side.
Mr. BALL. It would be south?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir; that would be the east side isn't it?
Mr. BALL.. Elm runs east and west.
Mr. SKELTON. It would be the west side.
Mr. BALL. It would be west?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir; and then there was one back over here on Stemmons---I noticed one, at least, over there and one on the railroad overpass on Stemmons.
Mr. BALL. How many police officers were on this overpass, the railroad overpass?
Mr. SKELTON. Two, I would say, sir. That's all I saw.
Mr. BALL. And how many men did you see standing right near on the railroad overpass over Elm, just approximately?
Mr. SKELTON. Eight, including the officer--eight or nine.
Mr. BALL. Did you see the President's car turn on Elm Street?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir; I saw the car carrying the Presidential flag turn.
Mr. BALL And did you hear something soon after that?
Mr. SKELTON. Just about the same time the car straightened up--got around the corner--I heard two shots, but I didn't know at that time they were shots.
Mr. BALL. Where did they seem to come from?
Mr. SKELTON. Well, I couldn't tell then, they were still so far from where I was.
Mr. BALL. Did the shots sound like they came from where you were standing?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir; definitely not. It sounded like they were right there more or less like motorcycle backfire, but I thought that they were these dumbballs that they throw at the cement because I could see the smoke coming up off the cement.
Mr. BALL. You saw some smoke come off of the cement?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes.
Mr. BALL. Where did it seem to you that the sound came from, what direction?
Mr. SKELTON. Towards the President's car.
Mr. BALL. From the President's car?
Mr. SKELTON. Right around the motorcycles and all that--I couldn't distinguish because it was too far away.
Mr. BALL. How long did you stand there?
Mr. SKELTON. I stood there from about 12:15 until the time the President was shot.
Mr. BALL. How many shots did you hear?
Mr. SKELTON. I think I heard four---I mean---I couldn't be sure.
Mr. BALL. You think you heard four?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes.
Mr. BALL. How long did you stay there after you heard the fourth shot?
Mr. SKELTON. Not very long--just as soon as the cars sped away and everything was in a big commotion---we ran down to listen to the radio. We couldn't get anything off of that--we heard that the President had been shot and so we went back up there and the police officer asked us if we had seen the assassination and we told him we had. He said he would like to get a statement from us, so he took us over to the sheriff's office.
Mr. BALL. Did you see any pigeons flying or anything like that?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir; I didn't see anything like that--any pigeons at all.
Mr. BALL. I think that's all I have. This will be written up and submitted to you for your signature, if you want to sign it, or you can waive your signature. Which do you want to do?
Mr. SKELTON. I will waive my signature. I am sure it is all right.
Mr. BALL. That is fine. Thank you very much.
Mr. SKELTON. There's one thing I could say---you have that other report?
Mr. BALL. What is that?
Mr. SKELTON. About when I saw one of the bullets where it hit on the pavement and it hit, the smoke did come from the general vicinity of where you say Oswald was.
Mr. BALL. Wait a minute let me ask you some questions about that. Tell me, now, about the smoke did you see some smoke?
Mr. SKELTON. After those two shots, and the car came on down closer to the triple underpass, well, there was another shot--two more shots I heard, but one of them--I saw a bullet, or I guess it was a bullet--I take for granted it was--- hit in the left front of the President's car on the cement, and when it did, the smoke carried with it--away from the building.
Mr. BALL. You mean there was some smoke in the building?
Mr. SKELTON. No.; On the pavement--you know, pavement when it is hit with
a hard object it will scatter---it will spread.
Mr. BALL. Which way did it spread?
Mr. SKELTON. It spread just right in line, like you said.
Mr. BALL. I haven't said anything--tell me what you think it was?
Mr. SKELTON. Like I said---south of us--it would be southwest, you know, in a direct line from the Texas Depository.
Mr. BALL. I see. In other words, the spray seemed to go to the west; is that right?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes.
Mr. BALL. All right. Thanks very much. I'm going to get you to mark one of these maps and show where you were standing. Here is Elm and here is the railroad underpass and pay no attention to the diagrams, but show me about where you were standing.
Mr. SKELTON. I was about right there (marked instrument referred to as requested by Counsel Ball).
Mr. BALL. By that "X" we will put the word "Skelton" and that is where
you were standing with your friend?
Mr. SKELTON. Approximately--yes.
Mr. BALL. Now, did you see any smoke or anything from any place around there?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir; I just stated to your secretary that I heard people say they did, but I didn't.
Mr. BALL. But you did see something light on the street?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL About where?
Mr. SKELTON. A bullet---let's see---this is kind of out of proportion [referring to diagram], and I would say the bullet hit about right here [indicating on diagram].
Mr. BALL. Then, let's mark that as "Skelton (2)" and we will make the first
Skelton number (1) and then Skelton number (2), and this "X" mark here is where you saw the bullet, and which way did the spray go?
Mr. SKELTON. Just like it was going there.
Mr. BALL. Mark an arrow showing the direction that you think the spray was going.
Mr. SKELTON. (Marks the diagram with arrow.)
Mr. BALL. That's fine, and we will make that as an exhibit, Skelton Exhibit A and attach it to your deposition.
(Instrument marked by the reporter as "Skelton Exhibit A," for identification.)
Mr. BALL. Thank you and that is all.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
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