TESTIMONY OF PHILIP EUGENE VINSON beginning at 8H75...
The testimony of Philip Eugene Vinson was taken at 2 p.m., on April 1, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Wesley J. Liebeler, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. LIEBELER. Would you rise and I will administer the oath. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. VINSON. I do.
Mr. LIEBELER. My name is Wesley J. Liebeler. I am a member of the legal staff of the President's Commission To Investigate the Assassination of President Kennedy. I have been authorized to take the testimony of witnesses by the Commission pursuant to authority granted to it by Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, and Joint Resolution of Congress No. 137.
The Commission's rules require that a witness be given 3 days' notice prior to the time that he can be required to testify. I don't think you have been given 3 days' notice, but you are entitled to waive that notice if you want to.
I assume that as long as you are here, you are perfectly willing to waive it and go ahead.
Mr. VINSON. That's right.
Mr. LIEBELER. I want to give you now a copy of the Executive order that I just mentioned, plus the Resolution of Congress No. 137, ght be that the kind of person he was when he was in the second grade or younger than that, throughout his youth, may have some relevance.
Mr. LIEBELER. Before we get into the details of that, however, I would like you to state your full name.
Mr. VINSON. Philip Eugene Vinson.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where do you live, Mr. Vinson?
Mr. VINSON. 4325 Baell Street, Fort Worth, Tex.
Mr. LIEBELER. You are presently employed as a reporter for a Fort Worth newspaper, is that correct?
Mr. VINSON. That's right.
Mr. LIEBELER. Which newspaper?
Mr. VINSON. The Fort Worth Star Telegram.
Mr. LIEBELER. How long have you been employed by them?
Mr. VINSON. Since July 15, 1963.
Mr. LIEBELER. What kind of work have you been doing for them?
Mr. VINSON. Reporter.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any particular specialty, or just a general reporter; what kind of work are you actually doing?
Mr. VINSON. We have a bureau in Arlington, Tex., which specializes in covering suburban news in the community between Dallas and Fort Worth, and we have two reporters assigned to this bureau, and I am one of the two reporters in this bureau at this time.
Mr. LIEBELER. So you are actually presently located or based in Arlington; is that correct?
Mr. VINSON. That's right. We have an office in Arlington.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you been doing this same work ever since you went to work for the newspaper?
Mr. VINSON. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. What other jobs have you had?
Mr. VINSON. When I started, I was given the routine work that most beginner reporters assume. You start out writing obituaries and just general assignments on the city side or working through the city editor, and I did that for about 6 weeks.
During this time I was doing this 4 days a week, while on Saturday they were training me to take over the police reporters job. And I worked 4 days out of the main office and 1 day from the police station for about 6 weeks.
And then around the first of September I became a full-time police reporter for the Evening Star Telegram, and I worked as a police reporter until about October the 1---excuse me, until about, I would say, around October 20, the latter part of October. I don't know the dates exactly, but I stayed as a police reporter for a little less than 2 months. Then the management decided that they were going to establish this bureau in Arlington, and I was chosen along with another reporter to come out to work in Arlington.
Mr. LIEBELER. How old are you, Mr. Vinson?
Mr. VINSON. Twenty-three.
Mr. LIEBELER. When were you born?
Mr. VINSON. July 6, 1940.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where?
Mr. VINSON. Childress, Tex.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where is that?
Mr. VINSON. It is just at the beginning of the Panhandle. It is about 120 miles west of Wichita Falls and about 150 miles southeast of Amarillo, just at the base of the Panhandle.
Mr. LIEBELER. How long did you live there?
Mr. VINSON. I lived there until the summer of 1947, with one exception. We moved to Fort Worth in 1945, 1946, for a short time, about 3 months, and my father was working in Fort Worth, but my mother and I, there was this big housing shortage after the war and we couldn't find a place to live, so we moved back to Childress until my father was able to find us a place to live. That was in the summer of 1946, as I recall now, because I started to school in the first grade in Childress that fall.
Mr. LIEBELER. Then you and your-mother-finally moved to Fort Worth?
Mr. VINSON. Yes; in the summer of 1947, we moved to Fort Worth, and that fall I started to school in Fort Worth, and that would have been the second grade.
Mr. LIEBELER. You went to the first grade in Childress?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you went to the second grade in what school?
Mr. VINSON. Lily B. Clayton Elementary School.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where did you live in Fort Worth at that time?
Mr. VINSON. 661 Seventh Avenue.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Mr. VINSON. I have one brother.
Mr. LIEBELER. Older or younger?
Mr. VINSON. Younger.
Mr. LIEBELER. How old is he?
Mr. VINSON. Three.
Mr. LIEBELER. While you were in attendance at the Lily B. Clayton School, did you know another student by the name of Lee Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. I did.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you remember when you first met him?
Mr. VINSON. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Why don't you tell us everything that you can in your own words about what you remember about Lee Oswald as you knew him in the second grade?
Mr. VINSON. Well, I have no idea when I first saw him or actually became acquainted with him. The best I remember, he was there when I got there, and it was my understanding that he had already been there before I got there. In other words, all the other kids knew him from the previous year.
The thing that stands out most in my mind about him is that when we would go outside for unsupervised play, when we weren't engaged in games supervised by the teacher, where we were just turned loose and allowed to do what we wanted to, we would break down into little groups, and I remember the boys called them gangs.
We used to say, "Are you in so-and-so's gang", and there were several key people, all boys in the class, who seemed to, I don't know if they were organizers, or just somehow assumed the responsibility of being the leaders.
But there were, I couldn't say how many, maybe three or four boys who, you know, acted as leaders of these gangs, as we called them, and I recall fairly vividly that Lee Oswald was one of the leaders of one of these gangs. And we would do, one gang would start chasing the other gang. It was just a bunch of horseplay, horsing around.
Mr. LIEBELER. How many kids were involved in this altogether?
Mr. VINSON. Well, the boys in our class.
Mr. LIEBELER. The boys in your second grade?
Mr. VINSON. In our second grade class, and I venture to say there may be 15 or so.
Mr. LIEBELER. Fifteen?
Mr. VINSON. Well, now, you mean in the class?
Mr. LIEBELER. Yes.
Mr. VINSON. I imagine from the way classes generally run, they were there were probably about 30 students in our room, in our class, and I can't remember whether the boys outnumbered the girls or not, but I would say maybe 15 or 16, or maybe a little less boys.
And maybe these so-called gangs would just include two or three people in addition to the leader. This has been so long ago that it is very vague, but I do remember this.
And I remember that Oswald was pretty stocky and well built, and it seemed that the other boys used to look up to his--let me start over. They seemed to look up to him because he was so well built and husky and everything and it seemed like all the rest of us were a bunch of little guys, but I remember we would make reference to Lee being big and strong and this sort of thing. And this could be because, from what I judge, he was a little bit older than most of the boys, almost a year. The age makes a little more difference at that period than later on.
And it seemed that this so-called gang that he was head of seemed to be the top one, and all the boys would look up to anybody that was a member of his little group.
And they seemed to look up to him and he was considered sort of a tough-guy type, although not as a bully.
Mr. LIEBELER. He wasn't a bully?
Mr. VINSON. Not that I remember. I don't think he was at all because I remember several other boys who were, and I just don't recall that he had any tendencies like that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember him getting into any fights with anybody?
Mr. VINSON. No; none other than just playful fights, just wrestling out on the schoolground. Really not out of anger.
Mr. LIEBELER. He never had any occasion to fight with these other boys who you have described as bullies?
Mr. VINSON. Not that I recall.
Mr. LIEBELER. Were you a member of Oswald's gang?
Mr. VINSON. No; I wasn't.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember the names of any of the fellows who were?
Mr. VINSON. No; I don't. Like I say, this was just a playlike sort of thing, you know, and I don't know that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you remember anything else about Oswald and these out-of-school activities?
Mr. VINSON. I don't remember anything about him out of school.
Mr. LIEBELER. I mean out of the classroom?
Mr. VINSON. Out of the classroom, no; I don't know. In the class e seemed very---my recollection of him, he seemed fairly quiet. Just he didn't make a lot of noise. He didn't brag or shoot off his mouth a lot. He just seemed to be a quiet type of kid.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you think that his position as gangleader or one of the gangleaders was the result of just his physical size?
Mr. VINSON. Yes; I think that had a great deal to do with it. I think he was not tall. I was looking at our class picture, and there were several others that were taller and actually all around bigger than he was, but he was just sort of solidly built, just sort of stocky. And this is something that I don't really remember. I was talking to our teacher later on who, incidentally, said she did not remember him at all.
Mr. LIEBELER. What is her name?
Mr. VINSON. Mrs. Florine Murphy, and she still teaches the second grade at that school, and she said she had talked to another boy in the class who had remembered him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did she tell you what his name was?
Mr. VINSON. Bill Barnes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know Barnes?
Mr. VINSON. I know who he is. I remember that he was in my room that year. We moved from that area uptown, and I only went to that school 1 year, and I remember his name, and I remember who he was, and I had occasion to see him several other times in Fort Worth.
He went to TCU over there, and I think he was a cheerleader or something, and I saw him at the TCU football games, and I just had run across him several times, but recently not to speak to him. I just saw him and remembered that he was in my room at grade school.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you discussed with him his recollection of Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. No; I didn't. I couldn't get hold of him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you try?
Mr. VINSON. Yes; I think I didn't try hard enough. I think I just didn't get an answer at the house or something.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Mrs. Murphy tell you what conversation she had with Barnes about Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. Let me back up a minute. I believe she told me that she talked to Barnes' mother rather than Barnes himself, and Barnes' mother repeated something that Barnes had told her about remembering Oswald.
Mr. LIEBELER. Well, for whatever it is worth, what did Mrs. Murphy tell you that Mrs. Barnes had told her, that Bill Barnes had told his mother about Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. Well, this really apparently has no bearing on the thing, but it just goes along with the whole business. Barnes said that he remembered Oswald, and he remembered that the boy used to always ask him why he was so big and strong and he replied in the manner of Popeye, "I eat me spinach".
That I do remember, although as far as Oswald speaking is concerned I recall that I thought his dialect was a little unusual, and he would say things like "Give me dat," or "dis," for this, and I took somehow I took, or associated this with New England or New York or Brooklyn or something, and I think this sort of substantiated my opinion of him as a tough guy, because at that time all the gangster movies, all the gangsters were always from Brooklyn and talked with a Brooklyn or sort of dialect and somehow I thought this made him tough.
But I later found out, of course, that he had lived in New Orleans and possibly this had something to do with it, or possibly there was a speech impediment. I don't know, but I do remember that was what--was one thing that I do recall about him was the way he spoke.
Mr. LIEBELER. Apparently from what you have told us, he didn't have any particular difficulty getting along with the other boys?
Mr. VINSON. Not that I recall at all. Now, I don't know what he did after--outside of school. Like I say, to my knowledge, I knew a good many of the boys in the class, and to my knowledge, none of them ever played with him or went to his house for anything after school. They could have, but I don't know.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did that seem strange to you at all, in view of the fact that Oswald was referred to as a leader on the school ground?
Mr. VINSON. It didn't at the time. However, it did later, it seemed strange now. I don't recall that I thought anything at all about it at the time.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you knew of none of the boys who ever went to Oswald's house or associated with him outside of the classroom or outside of the playground, at that time?
Mr. VINSON. I knew of none, that is right.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know where Oswald lived?
Mr. VINSON. I didn't, but I somehow had the notion perhaps I had seen him walking home, but I had an idea about where he lived, about where I thought he live, however, I don't know. I never went to his house or I never knew anyone who did, or anything like that.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you know whether Oswald had any brothers or sisters?
Mr. VINSON. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever see Oswald after you left the second grade at Lily B. Clayton School and moved away to another section at Fort Worth?
Mr. VINSON. If I did, I don't recall. It is possible, because I do recall that I ran across several of the kids that I had gone to school with over there after I moved away, but I don't know whether he was one of them. I just don't remember.
Mr. LIEBELER. What school did you go to? What school after you left Lily B. Clayton?
Mr. VINSON. G. E. Talldy Elementary School.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you go to high school from elementary school?
Mr. VINSON. No. I went to that school from the third grade to the sixth grade, and then to junior high for 3 years.
Mr. LIEBELER. What junior high?
Mr. VINSON. Meadowbrook Junior High.
Mr. LIEBELER. Is that in Fort Worth, also?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. And from there you went to high school?
Mr. VINSON. Polytechnic High School.
Mr. LIEBELER. Also in Fort Worth?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you gone to college?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where?
Mr. VINSON. I went to two colleges. I went to Arlington State College.
Mr. LIEBELER. For how long?
Mr. VINSON. Well, it is broken up into a couple of segments. I went there in the fall of 1958, and the spring of 1959. The fall of 1959 and the spring of 1960. Part of the summer of 1960. Half of the summer, one semester. I did not go to college at all in the fall of 1960.
Then in the spring of 1961 I went back to Arlington State College, and in the fall of 1961, I went to Arlington State College, and the spring of 1962 I transferred to North Texas University in Denton. I went there that semester, both semesters, all of 1962, and the spring of 1962. The spring of 1963---excuse me, and half of the summer of 1963.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you graduate from that school
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. What did you major in?
Mr. VINSON. Journalism.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you ever met anybody since you moved away from Lily B. Clayton that knew Oswald either at Lily B. Clayton or anywhere else?
Mr. VINSON. I talked on the telephone to Richard Garrett. I wrote an article in the Star Telegram dealing with the fact that I had gone to school with Oswald in the second grade, and I couldn't pin it down and we really went off half-cocked without being certain when I wrote the story, when the story was published, although I did remember the name, and I had the class picture, and we compared it with some later class pictures, and we were all convinced it was the same person, although I could never find the teacher that--the day I was trying to do this and I couldn't get access to any records showing that he had gone there in the second grade.
But nevertheless, I went ahead and did the article, but I was trying to contact everyone I could who had known him, to see if they could help me, and I talked to Richard Garrett who is mentioned in the Life Magazine story. He had known of Oswald in the sixth grade, and he had seen Oswald again when Oswald came to Arlington Heights High School for a short time, and he told me just a few things.
I didn't talk to him long. I asked him, of course, if he recalled what elementary schools he had gone to, and he said that he didn't, although he knew that he had gone to some others in Fort Worth.
Mr. LIEBELER. He, being Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where did Garrett know of Oswald in the sixth grade? Was that Lilly B. Clayton?
Mr. VINSON. No. Oswald left Lily B. Clayton, according to Don Jackson who wrote this Life article. He did some real extensive research on it. I see you have a copy there.
M trying to refer to this to see if this is accurate, and I feel sure, I believe it was Ridglea West.
Mr. LIEBELER. Would it be the George Clark Elementary School?
Mr. VINSON. No. That was another year.
Mr. LIEBELER. I believe Oswald did originally go to that school?
Mr. VINSON. Yes. Ridglea West Elementary was Mrs. Clyde Livingston. And then it mentioned his fourth grade marks revealed a downward trend.
Mr. LIEBELER. What else did you talk to Garrett about?
Mr. VINSON. Well, as far as the school is concerned, I don't remember offhand. I think it was Ridglea West. Garrett told me that he had known Oswald
in the fifth and sixth grades, or I believe that is what he says in here. I believe he told me specifically the sixth, and then he said that he saw him again in high school when Oswald came to high school at Arlington Heights High School. And he said he approached him, that Oswald approached Garret something to the effect that, asked him if he remembered him from grade school, find I believe Garrett said that he didn't at first, but after awhile, he finally thought back and remembered who he was. And he told me that Oswald mentioned something about communism to him somehow. He was trying to sell Garrett on the idea of communism.
Mr. LIEBELER. That was while Oswald was in the Arlington High School?
Mr. VINSON. That was what Garrett said, and Garrett said he went to the principal about this, and he said that a few days Inter he did not see Oswald any more, and he didn't know if he had been withdrawn or expelled or what the situation was.
Mr. LIEBELER. He never associated with Oswald to any particular degree at this point?
Mr. VINSON. Not at this point. He said he "shied away from him after he gave me this communism pitch.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Garrett tell you when this was? What grade in high school he was in?
Mr. VINSON. If he did, I don't recall. I think it was the sophomore year in high school, the 10th grade. It says in this article, but if this has got to come from my recollection, I would think it was the 10th grade.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Garrett tell you anything else?
Mr. VINSON. That is all. I just let him go because he couldn't help me much. Somebody else was already doing the story on him and what he remembered about him, and I was just trying to pin down what school Oswald went to in the second grade, at that time.
Mr. LIEBELER. You said that you yourself wrote an article in the Fort Worth newspaper about your own acquaintanceship with Oswald in the second grade?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have a copy of that with you?
Mr. VINSON. No; I don't. I thought about bringing one, but I don't know if that would be needed or not, since what I am telling you is in effect what I said in there. I don't think there is anything I haven't told you that is in there, with the exception, I think I mentioned something in there that it seemed to me that he didn't make very good grades.
Now this was just something I am not sure of, but that is just the way it seemed. And I mentioned something else that to the best of my memory he read fairly well when the students were called on to read aloud. I don't recall that he had any difficulty, because I remember several who did, and he was not among those that I recall as having trouble along those lines.
Mr. LIEBELER. Other than Garrett, had you ever met anybody or talked to anybody who knew Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. No; I hadn't. Well, excuse me, yes, I have, too, on the telephone. I talked to Mrs. Livingston who is mentioned in this story. Some people from Life contacted me that saw the story I had in the Star Telegram, and asked me to help try to locate some of the people in Fort Worth for their story, and I made a few phone calls for them, and I did talk to Mrs. Livingston. But what I talked to her about was not about Oswald himself, but rather we were trying to locate a class picture, and we didn't talk about his
personality or anything. It was just who had a picture that Life could borrow.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you find one?
Mr. VINSON. Yes. Don Jackson, the author of the story came down, and at that time she said she didn't know of any. However, Jackson came down and went and talked to her and he turned up with these two down at the bottom of the page. One which shows him on the playground, and the other which shows Mrs. Livingston with a dog that Oswald had given her.
Mr. LIEBELER. You are referring to pages 68-B and 69, of the Life Magazine which we mentioned above?
Mr. VINSON. Right.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you recognize the scene in this picture on page 68-B?
Mr. VINSON. No; because that was not when I was in the second grade, or in the same school with him. I believe that was in the fourth grade. Maybe the third.
Mr. LIEBELER. The scene is not familiar to you and does not appear to be near the Lily B. Clayton School?
Mr. VINSON. No; it doesn't.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you talk to Jackson personally in connection with this article?
Mr. VINSON. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. You told him essentially what you have told us and what he has reported to you as having said on page 68-B? In the article, is that correct?
Mr. VINSON. Yes. Excuse me, could you ask me that again I am not sure I understand.
Mr. LIEBELER. You told him essentially what you have told us and what he has reported you as having said on page 68-B, in the article, is that correct?
Mr. VINSON. What he reported to me as having said is taken from the story that I wrote in the Star Telegram.
Mr. LIEBELER. You did not tell him this personally?
Mr. VINSON. I did tell him in effect in my own words, but rather than use what I told him, I don't know why, for some reason he just quoted from my story. He didn't attribute that statement to the story. However, I noticed-----
Mr. LIEBELER. But it is a direct quote of what you had said in your story in the Fort Worth Star?
Mr. VINSON. I believe the story is slightly changed toward the end of the paragraph. Let me look at it. Where it says according to our code, I believe the wording was, "According to the code of us 7- and 8-year olds being in Lee's gang was a high honor." I believe that is about the only big change.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have any other conversations with Jackson about Oswald other than what we have discussed here about Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. Well, about what I knew of Oswald?
Mr. LIEBELER. Yes.
Mr. VINSON. Well, one day he came by the office in Arlington and talked to me for about an hour, and I told him what I have told you about what I remembered about Oswald, and then I gave him the information that I had gathered about some other people who possibly had pictures. And this was something else I was getting around to. I did talk to some of the people named in this story, in Fort Worth, in an attempt to get some pictures, and he went to---went ahead and contacted them anyway after I had already talked to them. He was a little more persistent than I was, and it is his story and his job, and I was just doing it in my spare time, but I didn't get too far in locating any pictures, and he decided to go ahead and try a little harder with some of the people that I had already talked to. One of whom was Nick Ruggieri, who at that time, or at the time Oswald came to high school, was B-team football coach at Arlington Heights High School, and Oswald had come out for football. Now this is not what Ruggieri told me. This is what Jackson told me and what I have read in the story.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you talk to Ruggieri?
Mr. VINSON. Yes; I did.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you discuss this with him?
Mr. VINSON. Yes. And he told me he barely remembered the kid, something to that effect. He said he had come out for a few days and just didn't show up after awhile. There is something in the story I think, that gives that and I think it quotes another coach who said he quoted Oswald as saying it was a free country, or something, that he didn't have to run sprints, if he didn't want to, or something to that effect.
Mr. LIEBELER. When you talked to Ruggieri, he didn't mention anything about that, did he?
Mr. VINSON. No; he didn't. He just brushed it aside very hurriedly. He didn't remember much about it except he had come out for the B-team and he had disappeared after a few days.
Mr. LIEBELER. On page 72, of the article, Ruggieri is quoted as saying, "I
told the boy myself that if he wan nt to answer me, or what. But like I say, I didn't press him for any direct information about Oswald, but I just casually asked if he knew him. I believe I didn't even ask him anything specifically about Oswald.
I called him and told him who I was and that Life Magazine asked me to try to .locate some pictures for them of Oswald, and I asked him did he know of any existing that I might be able to make arrangements for Life to get ahold of, and I think he just volunteered that he didn't remember much about Oswald, and I didn't press it.
But apparently Jackson talked to him and he was a little more free to speak with Jackson than he was with me.
Mr. LIEBELER. Has the FBI ever talked to you?
Mr. VINSON. No.
Mr. LIEBELER. Secret Service?
Mr. VINSON. The only time the Secret Service talked to me was last night when he called and asked me to come over here.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you think of anything else that we haven't covered that you think would be helpful to the Commission's work as far as your knowledge of Oswald is concerned, or your discussions with others about Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. The only thing that I can think of offhand, this has probably been brought to your attention, I don't know--I feel sure it has--of the allegation by another magazine that this picture on the cover of Life is a composite picture and is not really the actual thing, that they somehow acquired the picture of somebody else holding the rifle and somehow got ahold of the picture of his head and glued it on. I didn't read this. This was in Newsweek. I didn't read it. I was told about it.
Mr. LIEBELER. Yes; that matter has already come to the attention of the Commission.
Mr. VINSON. There was one other thing that I noticed also. Maybe I am wrong and I should possibly go back and reread this before I make any statements but I notice in the picture there is a scope on the rifle, and it was my understanding that the rifle came to him without a scope, and he didn't buy a scope until the fall of 1963, and it says in the magazine this picture was made in the spring of 1963, apparently shortly after he bought the rifle. I think it says he bought it in March.
Mr. LIEBELER. Where did you learn that the rifle did not have a scope on it when he bought it?
Mr. VINSON. I think this just was something that came out in my discussion with some other reporters, or just in casual conversation just---somebody just made the observation.
Mr. LIEBELER. Have you seen a newspaper report to the effect that a telescopic sight was mounted on the rifle for somebody by the name of Oswald by the Irving Sports Shop?
Mr. VINSON. No. The only one I know about was the place in Grand Prairie, unless I got my facts all crossed up. I was thinking the only scope I knew about was mounted, I thought was mounted at the range out in Grand Prairie. Is that correct? Was there one mounted there?
Mr. LIEBELER. Not as far as anybody else knows.
Mr. VINSON. Maybe I am confused. I guess I am confused about it, but I think there was something in this article that mentioned him having the scope mounted on his rifle at a specific time, which I thought was in the fall of '63.
Mr. LIEBELER. There may well be something to that effect, but that doesn't necessarily make it so.
Mr. VINSON. I know.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you have no direct knowledge, you haven't talked to
anybody that ever mounted a scope or claimed to have mounted a scope for Oswald?
Mr. VINSON. No. My connection with the whole thing has not amounted to anything. I came to Dallas the day of the assassination because my newspaper sent practically everybody over here. I was at the police station. I am not a photographer. However, I carry a camera, and I was sent to the Dallas Police Station to take pictures, because I was the only one in the vicinity with a camera at that time. And I stayed there until the photographer arrived, with my camera, and just sort of generally ran errands. I didn't do any actual reporting, but that was when it first came to my attention.
Well, let me rephrase that. When I heard the name Lee Oswald, when the reporter said that the best suspect they had in custody was Lee Oswald, immediately it rang a bell, and almost immediately I remembered when I had heard it, and I associated it with my second grade class, and I even mentioned it to some of the reporters over there that day, over here that day.
Mr. LIEBELER. Unless there is anything else that you can remember about-your contacts with Oswald or your conversations with others about him that you think would be helpful, I have no other questions at this point, I would like to thank you for coming over from Fort Worth on such short notice.
Mr. VINSON. I am happy to do it.
Mr. LIEBELER. The Commission appreciates your cooperation.