Wesley Buell Frazier

Wesley Buell Frazier

Wesley Buell Frazier was born in Texas in 1944. He lived in Huntsville before moving to Irving where he stayed with his sister, Linnie Mae Randle.

In September, 1963, Frazier began work at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. The following month, Ruth Paine, a neighbour of Linnie Mae Randle, told her that Lee Harvey Oswald was going to work at the same building. The two men became friends and Frazier agreed to give Oswald a lift to work when he was staying at Paine's house in Irving.

On 22nd November, 1963, Frazier gave Oswald a lift to the Texas Book Depository. He told the Warren Commission that Oswald took a package into work that day that he claimed contained curtain rods. In his book The Kennedy Conspiracy, the author, Anthony Summers, points out: "Ironically, it was Frazier and his sister who created a slight doubt that Oswald had, in fact, been carrying the murder weapon rather than his "curtain rods." Both insisted Oswald's parcel was a good eight inches shorter than the disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano. Frazier demonstrated this by showing that Oswald could not physically have carried a 35-inch rifle tucked into his armpit with the base cupped in his hand, as Frazier remembered."

Only Jack Dougherty saw Oswald enter the Texas Book Depository on 22nd November, 1963. However, he told the Warren Commission that Oswald was not carrying "anything in his hands" when he arrived that morning.

Garland G. Slack, who also testified before the Warren Commission, claimed that he saw Oswald practicing with a rifle at a firing range on 10th November, 1963. He added that Oswald had been driven to the driving range by "a man named Frazier from Irving".

It has also been pointed out that one of Frazier's friends was a man named John M. Crawford. He in turn, was an associate of Jack Ruby.

Primary Sources

(1) Buell Wesley Frazier, interviewed by Joseph Ball before the Warren Commission(24th July, 1964)

Joseph Ball: When did you first hear of Lee Harvey Oswald, first hear the name?

Buell Wesley Frazier: I first heard, I never really did know his name, we just called him Lee around there. But the first time I ever saw him was the first day he come to work.

Joseph Ball: Had you heard he was coming to work before he came to work?

Buell Wesley Frazier: I will say, you know, talking back and forth with the bossman all the time and from being around and getting along real fine and so he told me, I assume the day after he hired him that he was going to have him come in on Monday and he asked me had I ever seen him and I told him then no; I had never seen him.

Joseph Ball: Had your sister told you that this fellow Lee was coming to work?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Yes; she did. She said one afternoon when I went home she told me she found out from one of the neighbors(Ruth Paine) there he came over for that interview with Mr. Truly and Mr. Truly had hired him.

Joseph Ball: You heard that from your sister?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Yes.

Joseph Ball: Before you saw him?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Right, before I saw him.

Joseph Ball: When you first saw him was it a Monday morning?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Yes; it was.

Joseph Ball: Do you have any idea of the date itself, do you have any memory of the date when you first saw him?

Buell Wesley Frazier: No, sir; I don't.

Joseph Ball: Was it sometime around the middle of October, do you think, would that be close to it?

Buell Wesley Frazier: It could have been because it was sometime in October because I remember I went to work there on the 13th and I had been working there, 4 or 5 weeks and then he come there.

(2) Buell Wesley Frazier, interviewed by Joseph Ball before the Warren Commission (24th July, 1964)

Joseph Ball: On the way back and forth did you talk very much to each other?

Buell Wesley Frazier: No. sir: not very much... probably in your line of business you have probably seen a lot of guys who talk a lot and some don't and he was one of these types that just didn't talk. And I have seen, you know, I am not very old but I have seen a lot of guys in my time, just going to school, different boys and girls, some talk a lot and some don't, so I didn't think anything strange about that. About the only time you could get anything out of the talking was about babies, you know, he had one and he was expecting another, that was one way he had him get that job because his wife was pregnant and I would always get something out of it when I asked him about the babies because it seemed he was very fond of children because when I asked him he chuckled and told me about what he was doing about the babies over the weekend and sometimes we would talk about the weather, and sometimes he would go to work and it would be cloudy in the morning and it would come out that afternoon after work, sometimes during the day and it would turn to be just one of the prettiest days you would want anywhere, and he would say some comment about that, but not very much.

(3) Buell Wesley Frazier, interviewed by Joseph Ball before the Warren Commission (24th July, 1964)

Joseph Ball: When you got in the car did you say anything to him or did he say anything to you?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Let's see, when I got in the car I have a kind of habit of glancing over my shoulder and so at that time I noticed there was a package laying on the back seat, I didn't pay too much attention and I said, "What's the package, Lee?" And he said, "Curtain rods," and I said, "Oh, yes, you told me you was going to bring some today." That is the reason, the main reason he was going over there that Thursday afternoon when he was to bring back some curtain rods, so I didn't think any more about it when he told me that.

Joseph Ball: What did the package look like?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Well, I will be frank with you, I would just, it is right as you get out of the grocery store, just more or less out of a package, you have seen some of these brown paper sacks you can obtain from any, most of the stores, some varieties, but it was a package just roughly about two feet long.

Joseph Ball: It was, what part of the back seat was it in?

Buell Wesley Frazier: It was in his side over on his side in the far back.

Joseph Ball: How much of that back seat, how much space did it take up?

Buell Wesley Frazier: I would say roughly around 2 feet of the seat.

Joseph Ball: From the side of the seat over to the center, is that the way you would measure it?

Buell Wesley Frazier: If, if you were going to measure it that way from the end of the seat over toward the center, right. But I say like I said I just roughly estimate and that would be around two feet, give and take a few inches.

Joseph Ball: How wide was the package.

Buell Wesley Frazier: Well, I would say the package was about that wide.

Joseph Ball: How wide would you say that would be?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Oh, say, around 5 inches, something like that. 5, 6 inches or there. I don't.

Joseph Ball: The paper, was the color of the paper, that you would get in a grocery store, is that it, a bag in a grocery store?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Right. You have seen, not a real light color but you know normally, the normal color about the same color, you have seen these kinds of heavy duty bags you know like you obtain from the grocery store, something like that, about the same color of that, paper sack you get there...

Joseph Ball: What did he do about the package in the back seat when he got out of the car?

Buell Wesley Frazier: Like I say, I was watching the gages and watched the car for a few minutes before I cut it off.

Joseph Ball: Yes.

Buell Wesley Frazier: He got out of the car and he was wearing the jacket that has the big sleeves in them and he put the package that he had, you know, that he told me was curtain rods up under his arm, you know, and so he walked down behind the car and standing over there at the end of the cyclone fence waiting for me to get out of the car, and so quick as I cut the engine off and started out of the car, shut the door just as I was starting out just like getting out of the car, he started walking off and so I followed him in.

(4) Harold Weisberg, Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report (1966)

The only suggestion of any connection between Oswald and the bag was through fingerprints. Because Oswald worked where the bag was reported to have been found, the presence of his fingerprints was totally meaningless. Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the FBI's Latent Fingerprint Section, developed a single fingerprint and a single palmprint he identified as Oswald's. More significantly, "No other identifiable prints were found on the bag".

After all the handling of the bag attributed to Oswald, first in making it, then in packing it, then taking it to Frazier's car, putting it down in the car, picking it up and carrying it toward if not into the building for two blocks, and then, at least by inference, through the building, and when removing and assembling a rifle Marina testified he kept oiled and cleaned, how is it to be explained that he left only two prints? The only thing as strange is that the bag was also handled by the police and was the only evidence they did not photograph, according to their testimonies, where found. Yet the freshest prints, those of the police, were not discovered.

(5) Buell Wesley Frazier, was cross-examined by Jim Garrison at the trial of Clay Shaw (13th February, 1969)

Q: What, if anything, did you do when you arrived at the Texas School Book Depository?

A: I parked the car, and as I was sitting there I looked at my watch and I had a few minutes about eight or ten minutes, so I sat there and was looking out over Stemmons Freeway, which you could see from the parking lot, and I said I would charge my battery for a few minutes, because I had been driving in tow and you could look at your gauge and see the battery was not charging. I said to him, " I will race the engine pretty fast and charge it up a little bit."

Q: What did Lee Harvey Oswald do when you were charging your battery?

A: He got out of the car, got the package and walked behind the picket fence there and stayed there like he was waiting on me.

Q: Did you catch up with him?

A: As soon as I cut the engine off and got out and closed the door he started walking off. I followed him but I didn't catch up with him because at that time of the morning --

Q: Tell me, how was Lee Harvey Oswald carrying this package you described as he was walking in front of you?

A: Parallel to his side, up and down. Like you stick it up under your armpit and the other part cupped in his hand.

Q: Did you determine whether it was in his armpit or were you close enough to see that?

A: No, sir, I was not close enough to see. I didn't pay attention to it particularly, but as he was walking along in front of me naturally I looked in his direction and that is what it appeared to be from what I saw.

(6) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century (1982)

Both Frazier and Mrs. Randle swore that the bag found on the sixth floor was much longer than the package Oswald was carrying. Buell Wesley Frazier had previously worked in a department store and had handled curtain rods as part of his duties. When Oswald told him that his package contained curtain rods, Frazier saw nothing unusual about it.

The bag found on the sixth floor was 38 inches long, and the disassembled rifle was 34.8 inches long. Both Frazier and Mrs. Randle swore that the bag Oswald carried was 27 or 28 inches long. Their accuracy in estimating lengths was tested by both the FBI and by the commission. Both times they accurately estimated a measured length of 27 to 27.5 inches. Mrs. Randle testified that when Oswald gripped the package at the top, with his arm extended fully downward, "the bottom (of the package) almost touched the ground." Frazier testified that Oswald held one end of the package cupped in his hand, in the same way a soldier would hold a rifle during military drill. The other end of the package, according to Frazier, was tucked under Oswald's armpit. Clearly, they were not describing a 36-inch-long package. The reader can demonstrate this by taking a yardstick, which is the same length as the package which the Warren Commission claimed Oswald held, and hold one end of the yardstick cupped in the hand. He will see that the other end will project beyond his shoulder. Yet Frazier swore that it came only to Oswald's armpit. The only way that Oswald could have carried the disassembled rifle and bag in the manner described by Frazier and Randle would have been if his arms hung down to his ankles.

When they were shown the bag found on the sixth floor, Frazier and Randle swore that it was "too long" to be the bag Oswald carried. The commission distorted Mrs. Randle's testimony by quoting her as saying that Oswald carried a "heavy brown bag." The complete context of Mrs. Randle's testimony clearly demonstrates that she was referring to the texture of the paper rather than the weight of the package: "He was carrying a package in a sort of heavy brown bag, heavier than a grocery bag it looked like to me." The commission contended that this was the first time Oswald had ever walked ahead of Frazier into the Depository building. This carried the sinister implication that Oswald was trying to sneak into the building so Frazier could not see him hide the rifle. Frazier's actual testimony proved entirely different. He told the commission that he parked the car and then left the engine running in order to charge up his battery. Far from trying to sneak away, Oswald, package in hand, volunteered to wait with him. Frazier, however, told Oswald to go on alone.

(7) Gus Russo, Live by the Sword (1998)

When interviewed by the author in 1987, Frazier was firm in his belief that Oswald did not bring the rifle to work with him on the morning of the assassination. The package he carried was just too small. Frazier suggested, however, "He could have brought the rifle in to work at an earlier date, or in one piece at a time over several days."

(8) Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002)

The Warren Commission would dismiss the curtain rods factor as a fabrication, quoting Oswald's landlady as saying his apartment needed neither curtains nor rods and saying that no rods had been found at the Depository. Yet photographs of curtain rods have turned up in the Dallas police files on the assassination. And a press photographer. Gene Daniels of the Black Star agency, has recalled how Oswald's landlady asked him not to take photos in Oswald's room until she had "the curtains back up." In fact, he took pictures as curtain rods were hammered into position over the uncurtained windows. This was less than twenty-four hours of the assassination.

The curtain rods story, then, may not have been a total fiction. In custody, however, Oswald denied having told Frazier he intended fetching rods for his rented room - and even insisted that he had not carried a long package, or placed it on the back seat of Frazier's car, on the morning of the murder. Both denials are implausible, because there is no reason to doubt the word of either Frazier or that of his sister, who also saw Oswald with the long package. Ironically, it was Frazier and his sister who created a slight doubt that Oswald had, in fact, been carrying the murder weapon rather than his "curtain rods." Both insisted Oswald's parcel was a good eight inches shorter than the disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano. Frazier demonstrated this by showing that Oswald could not physically have carried a 35-inch rifle tucked into his armpit with the base cupped in his hand, as Frazier remembered. He could have done so only if the package was shorter. Yet the Commission felt Frazier and his sister were mistaken, and to bolster their theory that Oswald did carry the rifle to the Depository, they had the 38-inch paper bag which had been found by the window on the sixth floor. The bag was firmly linked to Oswald by a fingerprint and a palm print, although it was free from any scratches or oil from the metal parts of a rifle. This is rather strange, because the Mannlicher-Carcano was oiled when found. The Warren Commission - and the Assassinations Committee in 1979 - concluded that Oswald did carry the rifle to work. Certainly, he carried something to work and was evasive about it when questioned.