Earlene Roberts and the Misnumbered Squad Car

lhorubybeckleyEarlene Roberts was the manager/housekeeper for the rooming house on 1026 N. Beckley where Lee Harvey Oswald lived on 11/22/63.  Her story is one of the big areas of debate for researchers into the JFK Assassination.

Here is Ms. Roberts discussing her encounter with H.O. Lee that day (the name he used while at the Rooming House) from the JFK Assassination Forum

Here is her testimony to the Warren Commission:

Mr. BALL. “Had that police car ever stopped there before ?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. ” I don’t know–I don’t remember ever seeing it.”
Mr. BALL. “Have you ever seen it since?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “No–I didn’t pay that much attention–I just saw it wasn’t the police car that I knew and had worked for so, I forgot about it. I seen it at the time, but I don’t remember now what it was.”
Mr. BALL. “Did you report the number of the car to anyone?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “I think I did—I’m not sure, because I–at that particular time I remembered it.”
Mr. BALL. “You remembered the number of the car ?”
Mrs. ROBERTS.” I think it was–106, it seems to me like it was 106, but I do know what theirs was–it was 170 and it wasn’t their car.”
Mr. BALL. “It was not 170?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “The people I worked for was 170.”
Mr. BALL. “Did you report that number to anyone, did you report this incident to anyone?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “Yes, I told the FBI and the Secret Service both when they was out there.”
Mr. BALL. “And did you tell them the number of the car?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “I’m not sure–I believe I did–I’m not sure. I think I did because there was so much happened then until my brains was in a whirl.”
Mr. BALL. “On the 29th of November, Special Agents Will Griffin and James Kennedy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed you and you told them that “after Oswald had entered his room about 1 p.m. on November 22, 1963, you looked out the front window and saw police car No. 207?”
Mrs. ROBERTS.” No. 107.
Mr. BALL. “Is that the number?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “Yes–I remembered it. I don’t know where I got that 106—207. Anyway, I knew it wasn’t 170.”
Mr. BALL. “And you say that there were two uniformed policemen in the car?”
Mrs. ROBERTS. “Yes, and it was in a black car. It wasn’t an accident squad car at all.”

Note that she says that the Dallas Police Squad car she saw honk twice was numbered, “107”.   So why does squad car 107 matter?  The problem is, the DPD didn’t own a squad car with that number in November of 1963.  They DID own one in April of 1963 but subsequently sold it on April 17, 1963  to used-car dealer Elvis Blount, who lived in Sulphur Springs.  This is the same number on the squad car Ms. Roberts swears to seeing and hearing honk that day.  Since it had been sold, could it have reappeared by rogue elements playing “cops and robbers” on November 22, 1963?

Or was the car actually numbered “207”?  This is the numbered DPD car seen on TV news footage that day and driven by Officer  James Valentine along with Dallas Morning News Reporter  Ewell at 12:55 on November 22, 1963?   Why is there such confusion?

Maybe because of this….

Five months later, Earlene Roberts changed her mind about the number on the car.  In April of 1964, she told the Warren Commission that it was car number 106.  When she was reminded that her earlier claim was that the number was 207, Roberts added a third number, claiming that the number on the car was 107.  Car 106 was occupied by Patrolmen Jones and Hall.

No information is available about a car number 107 other than the trivia given above.

Also, Roberts originally claimed that the reason she even looked at the number on the car is because she wanted to determine if it was a car driven by either a “Burnley” or an “Alexander”, two policemen who, according to her, would often stop and beep in the same manner as this car out front.  The problem is that there was no “Alexander” on the entire roster of the Dallas Police Department, in 1963.  There was an “Officer Alexander” who worked for the police department in the 50’s.  This Alexander hired Earlene Roberts in the mid-fifties to work for him as a housekeeper.  By 1963, Alexander was no longer employed by the police department, having resigned from the police department in 1957.  Perhaps someone should have told Earlene Roberts that, or perhaps, people lose their memory as days go by.

Was she lying?  Was she mistaken? Or was she, like so many other witnesses, including Orville Nix, scared of the repercussions that could befall her should she continue to tell the truth of what she saw?


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