[This post originally appeared at my previous blog at astancakblog.blogspot.co.uk on July 21, 20015].
Many conspiracy researchers believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was not present on the sixth floor of Texas School Book Depository Building during the shooting on President Kennedy and therefore, he is innocent. Oswald may have been in the second or first floor lunchroom, or even outside of the building during the shooting. Oswald’s presence in the doorway during the time of President Kennedy’s assassination is evidenced by the figure of “Doorman”, a person bearing similarity to both Oswald and Billy Lovelady. More recently, another human form visible in the doorway, the Prayer Man, has been proposed to be Lee Harvey Oswald. Prayer Man can be seen standing on the stairs or top landing in Darnell’s and Wiegman’s film. Prayer Man shows a characteristic arm gesture resembling praying as both his arms are flexed in elbow joints and pulled to the chest. Prayer Man most likely drinks or eats because especially his right arm moves towards or away from the head.
If Oswald was the Prayer Man and was having lunch in the doorway, did he tell about it to his interrogators during about twelve hours of questioning? Unfortunately, interrogations were neither taped, nor recorded stenographically. Therefore, even if Oswald told interrogators about his presence in the doorway during the shooting, the information could have been lost, overheard, or suppressed.
Yet, Captain Fritz’s notes which were made several days after Oswald died from the hands of Jack Ruby, and his testimony for the Warren Commission strongly point to the possibility that Captain Fritz and the Warren Commission knew about Oswald having a lunch in the doorway. Captain Fritz’s notes emerged in 1997 after they were made public owing to the initiative of Assassination Records Review Board . The discovery of Captain Fritz’s notes revived interest in photographic evidence of the assassination as his notes contain words “out with Bill Shelley in front”.
The text transcript of the relevant part of handwritten notes is as follows:
claim 2nd floor Coke when
off came in
to 2nd floor had lunch
out with Bill Shelley in
The lack of full stops is a a remarkable feature in this section of Captain Fritz’s notes. However, the lines themselves do not define complete sentences either, which is evidenced in splitting “when off” into two lines (lines 1 and 2). Similarly, “in” at end of line 4 and “front” in line 5 should read together in spite of being split.
This author assumes that Captain Fritz notes actually read “had lunch out” and “with Bill Shelley in front”. This interpretation of captain Fritz’s notes not only pins Oswald to the doorway but also suggests that Oswald was eating his lunch in the doorway. There was a person standing in the doorway and showing gestures resembling drinking or eating, and that person was the Prayer Man.
Captain Fritz kept to his notes in his testimony for the Warren Commission :
Mr. BALL. Did you ask him what happened that day; where he had been?
Mr. FRITZ. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. What did he say?
Mr. FRITZ. Well he told me that he was eating lunch with some of the employees when this happened, and that he saw all the excitement and he didn’t think–I also asked him why he left the building. He said there was so much excitement there then that “I didn’t think there would be any work done that afternoon and we don’t punch a clock and they don’t keep very close time on our work and I just left.”
Mr. BALL. At that time didn’t you know that one of your officers, Baker, had seen Oswald on the second floor?
Captain Fritz said that 1) Lee Harvey Oswald was eating lunch during the assassination, 2) Oswald was at a place where other employees were also present, and 3) He saw all the excitement. These three statements could only be true simultaneously if Oswald was eating his lunch outside of the building, e.g. in the doorway, while the shots rang out. The person fulfilling all three conditions was the Prayer Man. It would not be possible for Oswald to see all the excitement while staying in the 2nd floor lunchroom which was in the far, north side of the building. Importantly, Joseph Ball immediately navigated the interview to the 2nd floor lunchroom encounter with officer Marrion Baker instead of asking how it is possible to witness any excitement while being shut in the 2nd room lunch room. This diversion strategy was frequently employed by the Commissioners if they wished to stop discussing certain line of evidence.
To conclude, this author assumes that Lee Harvey Oswald told Captain Fritz about his whereabouts during the moments of shooting (please see Revision note 2). Captain Fritz put Oswald’s statements into his notes, and informed the Warren Commission accordingly. As almost all information related to President Kennedy’s assassination, Captain Fritz’s notes also allow multiple interpretations. This article points to one likely interpretation of Captain Fritz’s notes and his testimony, namely, Lee Harvey Oswald told his interrogators that he had his lunch outside of the building during the assassination of President Kennedy, in the doorway, in the company of Bill Shelley. To reiterate, the only person matching this description is the Prayer Man.
 Warren Commission Report, 1964, vol. IV., http://jfkassassination.net/russ/testimony/fritz1.htm.
Revision note 1: Sean Murphy assumes that Captain Fritz’s notes were actually drafted by Captain Fritz based on the interrogation notes of Special Agent James Bookhout. I am grateful to Beuwolf and Greg Parker from Reopen Kennedy Case for pointing me to Sean Murphy’s post at Spartacus Education Forum, dated September 3, 2013. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=20354&page=40#entry277501
[revision added July 29, 2015].
Revision note 2: Sean Murphy needs to be credited for being the first to highlight that Captain Fritz in his notes actually pointed to Oswald having his lunch in the doorway. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=20354&page=46
[revision added July 29, 2015].