TESTIMONY OF ROBERT S. HUFFAKER, JR. beginning at 13H116...

The testimony of Robert S. Huffaker, Jr., was taken at 4:25 p.m., on April 16, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. HUBERT. Mr. Huffaker, my name is Leon Hubert. I'm a member of the advisory staff of the general counsel of the President's Commission. Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, and the Joint Resolution of Congress No. 137 and rules of procedure adopted by the Commission in conformance with that Executive order and joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn statement from you.
I state to you now that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate and report upon facts relating to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In particular as to you, Mr. Huffaker, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry, and about the activities of one Jack Ruby. Mr. Huffaker, I think you have appeared here today as a result of a written request addressed to you by Mr. J. Lee Rankin, general counsel of the President's Commission; is that a fact?
Mr. HUBERT. Did you receive that written notice more than 3 days from today?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes; I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, will you rise and be sworn?


Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. HUBERT. Will you state your name, please?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Robert S. Huffaker, Jr.
Mr. HUBERT. How old are you, sir?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I am 27.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your residence?
Mr. HUFFAKER. My residence is 4700 Eastside Avenue.
Mr. HUBERT. Dallas?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Apartment 121, Dallas, and it has changed since these statements were made.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your occupation, sir?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Radio television newsman.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been so occupied?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, I have been in radio and television for, excluding a 6 months' term in the Army, for 7 years.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been with KRLD?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I have been with KRLD since May 1963.
Mr. HUBERT. Were you with another television or radio station prior to that time?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes; I was with KBTX-TV in Bryan.
Mr. HUBERT. Bryan, Tex.?
Mr. HUBERT. And how long were you with them?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I was with them for about 2 1/2 years.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, on November 24, 1963, were you on duty with your employer?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir; I was.
Mr. HUBERT. Were you in the Dallas police basement?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes; I was.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, Mr. Huffaker, I have shown you two documents, the first being a report of an interview with you on November 28, 1963, by FBI Agents Hardin and Rawlings [spelling] R-a-w-l-i-n-g-s, which I have marked for identification as "Dallas, Tex., April 16, 1964, Exhibit 5331, Deposition of R. S. Huffaker," and I have signed my name on it.
Mr. HUFFAKER. Be sure that that's "Jr." because I've got a father with the same name.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, I shall add that, and I have signed my name, and since the document contains two pages, I have placed my initials on the right-hand bottom of the second page.
The other document is also a report of an interview of you by FBI Agents Pinkston [spelling] P-i-n-k-s-t-o-n, and Brown, on November 30, 1963, upon which I have endorsed the following, "Dallas, Tex, April 16, 1964, Exhibit 5332, deposition of R. S. Huffaker, Jr."
I have signed my name below that and on the second page I have placed my initials in the lower right-hand corner.
I now ask you if you have had an opportunity to read both of those exhibits, numbers 5331 and 5332?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir; I have.
Mr. HUBERT. Can you tell us whether those two exhibits are correct reports of the interviews had with you by the FBI agents mentioned?
Mr. HUFFAKER. With a few very, very minor exceptions.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, will you take first the exhibit which has been identified as No. 5331 and state what corrections you wish to be made to that statement?
Mr. HUFFAKER. First of all, in the second line as it first appears and in its subsequent appearances the call letters of my station are incorrect. It should be--rather than KLRD--it should be KRLD.
Mr. HUBERT. And that's true throughout the document, if it appears as KLRD it should be KRLD?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Right--that's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you any other changes or corrections to make?


Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, just to be exactly specific, the last sentence in the second paragraph.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, that sentence reads as follows: "He even noted they were checking police automobiles parked in the area." Now, addressing yourself to that sentence, what comment do you wish to make?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, it should be--it should have referred to the fact that I did note Sergeant Putnam check a police van which was driven down into the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. And that's the only vehicle that you saw them check?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's the only one that I saw them check.
Mr. HUBERT. So, that you think that the quoted sentence is too broad in that it intimates you saw them checking several automobiles, whereas, in fact, you had reference there to only one, as you have identified it a moment ago?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's correct, and to expand a little bit further toward this---
I did note that they were checking all over the basement, and I'm sure that they were checking the vehicles down there, but I did not specifically note them doing so.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, perhaps it would be helpful to you if you would explain what you saw which prompts you now to say that they were checking all over the basement, what then were they doing, in fact?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, I saw Sergeant Putnam and Sergeant Dean and--oh, a fairly good sized number of uniformed officers who were walking around the basement area from one end to another and they were searching the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. How were they searching, what were they actually doing?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, they were just looking--I cannot say definitely that they were looking in cars, because I really didn't pay that close attention, but they were looking in various portions of the basement and I was well aware that they were searching the basement.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, the impression of their activities you gained was that it was a search party?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Right.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, have you any other comments to make about Exhibit No. 5331?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Let me say just off the record--this sentence here is incorrect [indicating].
Mr. HUBERT. Well, let's stay on the record and let me read the sentence.
"His eyes were focused on Oswald as he approached the automobile which was to transport him to the county jail and when the shot rang out, he looked toward Oswald as the latter fell to the floor."
What comment have you to make as to that quoted sentence?
Mr. HUFFAKER. My eyes were focused on the automobile which was to transport Oswald to the county jail as it was being backed into position. I had looked at Oswald when he first emerged from the door, but when the car began to back up, then I looked at it.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, when the car began to back up and you looked at it, in what direction did it cause you to look, to your left or to your right?
Mr. HUFFAKER. When I looked at the car?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUFFAKER. To my left.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, any other comments?
Mr. HUFFAKER. The remainder of the sentence is correct, because when the shot rang out, then I did look towards Oswald.
Mr. HUBERT. Are there any other corrections to be made as to Exhibit No. 5331?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, sir; to the best of my knowledge the remainder of it is correct.
Mr. HUBERT. All right. Now, I ask you to look at the document which has been previously identified as Exhibit 5332, and state whether it is a true and correct copy--report on the interview had of you by Special Agents Pinkston and Brown on November 30, 1963?
Mr. HUBERT. The first sentence of the second paragraph could be slightly misleading.


Mr. HUBERT. Now, let's identify that sentence--it reads as follows----
Mr. HUFFAKER. I beg your pardon, it's the third paragraph.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, the quote is as follows:
"On the morning of November 24, 1963, he was assigned to get the story of the transfer of Lee Harvey Oswald from the Dallas City Jail to the Dallas County Jail, and went to the Dallas Police and Courts Building for this purpose." Do you wish to comment upon that sentence?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes; this was not the sole purpose of my being there. I was working at the time for KRLD, my regular employer, and also for CBS News and I was there to report, and the city hall was my assignment from the beginning of the morning of November 23.
Mr. HUBERT. By city hall, do you mean the building in which the Dallas police is housed?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. You are aware that there is another building called the Municipal Building which is a separate building?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. So, that when you say "city hall" you don't mean the Municipal Building, you mean the Dallas Police Department Building?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's right, and from the morning of November 23, the assignment had been given to me to cover for KRLD and to help CBS cover anything that might happen there, and our interest on this particular day was not necessarily focused on the transfer of Lee Oswald.
Mr. HUBERT. All right.
Mr. HUFFAKER. Let's see--yes; this spelling of the name here of Bob--his last name is not correct.
Mr. HUBERT. That's in the fourth paragraph, the fourth line, and it is shown is Bob Hinkle [spelling] H-i-n-k-l-e. You say that that spelling is wrong?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That the spelling is incorrect.
Mr. HUBERT. What is the correct spelling?
Mr. HUFFAKER It should be--this was the spelling I gave them, however, on that interview. I have since discovered that it is H-a-n-k-l-e or "e-l"--I'm still not certain.
Mr. HUBERT. I think that the man's name is actually [spelling] H-a-n-k-a-1.
Mr. HUFFAKER. You are right. [Spelling] H-a-n-a-k-a-l is right.
Now, I believe I did notice something in that other statement--I thought perhaps it was in this one.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you want to finish with this one first?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I guess I had better.
Mr. HUBERT. And by this one, we mean No. 5332?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, again, it says I "saw them searching the cars"--I saw them searching among the cars.
Mr. HUBERT. Then, I think we can say that Exhibit 5332, with the corrections that have been made is a fair and correct report of the interview of you on November 30, right?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Right, sir; with that change that I saw them searching among the cars, rather than searching the cars themselves.
Mr. HUBERT. All right; that has gone into the record. Now, you want to go back, I think, to Exhibit 5331?
Mr. HUBERT. There is something more you wish to say about that one?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you tell us what it is?
Mr. HUFFAKER. All right; it refers to this sentence----
Mr. HUBERT. All right; the sentence that the witness is referring to is in the third paragraph--it is the third sentence and it reads as follows:
"He had assumed a station directly in front of the doors leading from the elevator onto the ramp in the basement and had been trying to keep persons out of the line of the KLRD cameras in order that Oswald could be photographed as he left the doors leading from the elevators."
Now, do you wish to comment about that sentence?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir; there are two discrepancies in that one. I had


assumed a station directly in front of the doors leading from the interior basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters into the basement parking area, rather than leading from the elevator onto the ramp. And, I had been attempting to keep persons out of the line of the KRLD camera, but this was not in order that Oswald could be photographed, but it was in order that the live camera--the--because this was not a film camera such as that that George Phenix was using, but a live camera--so that it would enable our live cameras to pick him up as he left he door leading from the jail office into the basement, rather than leading from the elevator.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir; other than the wording of that, and other than the corrections you have previously made as to Exhibit 5331, do you think it is a fair statement of the interview of you on November 28?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I have marked for the purpose of identification a chart of the basement which, as you can see on this FBI mockup before you is a chart of the same object except that the map covers some area not covered by the mockup, and for the purpose of identification, I have marked it as "Dallas, Tex., April 16, 1964, Exhibit No. 5333, Deposition of R. S. Huffaker, Jr."
And I have signed my name below it. Now, I ,think your statements previously given and identified as Nos. 5331 and 5332 indicate that you had taken up a position approximately one-half an hour before the shooting actually occurred; is that correct?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Approximately; yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I would like you to fix that position by pointing to it on the mockup, and then I will mark it on the chart, and if you agree that it is correctly marked, you may say so, and thus we will have a permanent record of exactly what position you were in?
Mr. HUFFAKER. All right, sir; approximately this position [indicating on the mockup].
Mr. HUBERT. Now, you are fixing a position almost in the middle of the middle segment of the railing, which is divided into three segments, by two horizontal poles, which railing runs from one post on the Commerce Street side of the basement to another post on the Main Street side of the basement; is that correct, sir?
Mr. HUBERT. Now, you will note that the chart does not show the vertical poles, but will you agree with me that the black part that I am marking (1) and the black part that I am marking (2), represent on the mockup itself the two main poles?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you agree with me, too, that looking at the mockup, there is a railing which runs between those two posts marked (1) and (2) and that that railing is divided by horizontal poles, approximately equidistant from one another and from the two main posts?
Mr. HUBERT. So that I'm going to mark, at a point which may not be mathematically correct, but is intended to be as a number (3), the position of one of the vertical rails of the railing and the other number (4) as the other vertical rail. Now, as you pointed out the matter to me on the mockup, am I correct in saying that you were at this point?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Let me see yes, sir; that's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. I am marking the point with a number (5) in a circle, and I ask you if that is not approximately where you were standing at the time of the shooting and for a period of perhaps 15 to 20 minutes prior thereto?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, now, you have the (5) in contact with the railing almost, and I was farther away from the railing, however, its position relation to its distance between point (1) and (2) and point (3) and (4) is correct. However, it was a little farther from the railing.
Mr. HUBERT. How many inches or feet from the railing toward the jail office or jail corridor were you standing, in fact?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, to the best of my knowledge, I was probably about--approximately 4 feet from the rail.


Mr. HUBERT. Now, I have written in my own hand and connected it with a line to point (5) the following, "position of R. S. Huffaker, Jr., at the time of shooting, but he was 4 feet from railing."
Mr. HUFFAKER. Approximately.
Mr. HUBERT. I will add the word "about"--is that correct?
Mr. HUBERT. "About 4 feet from railing."
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes; that's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, were you there for about 15 or 20 minutes prior to the shooting?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Oh, I was there for at least a half an hour prior to the shooting. You mean in that stable position?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes.
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, sir; not in that very spot.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, how long were you in that very spot?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Let's see, I could not say for certain, but our video tape which is preserved and in existence will show me taking this position and will be the best evidence of exactly how long I was there.
Mr. HUBERT. Can you give us some idea of the number of people, either police or news media, standing to your right as you stood there?
Mr. HUFFAKER. To my right?
Mr. HUBERT. You were facing the corridor with your back to the parking area and your back to the railing, isn't that correct?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, actually, my back was more facing the Main Street ramp than it was to the parking area. My left side was facing the railing.
Mr. HUBERT. You were almost looking up the ramp that goes to Commerce Street?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Could you tell us who was on your right or what was the condition of the crowd of people there, how many there were?
Mr. HUFFAKER. There was a large number of people and there were, I would say, at least 12 to 15 people lined up across the ramp and at the wall, which is just outside the jail office there.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, would you take my pen and draw the front line of those people, marking the beginning point as number (6) and the end of that line as (7)?
Mr. HUFFAKER [marking the document as requested]. Now, this line went--sometimes it went up into here [indicating] and I could not say for certain whether it was existent at that time, but there were people all the way up into here, but I would make a rough guess it would be this.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you indicate (6) and (7)--in other words, there were people lined up along the line that you have drawn as (6) and (7) at a single point on one end of that line, too, from what I gather from that?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Not exactly--that is, I'm not certain--there could have been some more between me and the rail.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, in the area back of that line and in the direction of Main Street, you say there were approximately 12 to 15 to 18 people?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, not behind the line, but actually lined up somewhat in a line like that [indicating].
Mr. HUBERT. What about the number of people on the Main Street side of the line which you have designated as (6) to (7)?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I just don't know how many people were back there, but I know there was a line of people from this point to this point [indicating].
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see any officers on the opposite side from where you were standing?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Will you mark another line, curving it if need be, and starting with (8) and going to (9) and showing us roughly the line of people who were standing where you indicated?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Now, this will be to the best of my recollection [drew the line as requested].
Mr. HUBERT. You have drawn a line, one end of which is (8) in a circle and


the other end of which is (9) in a circle there were people standing along there, you say?
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know who they were?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Most of them were police officers. I don't know any of them by name, but I was aware that they were police officers. That is, I do not believe that I knew any of them by name.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see Ruby come out of the crowd?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, sir; I didn't.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you hear him?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. When did you first observe that something had happened?
Mr. HUFFAKER. When I heard the shot, I recognized it as the sound of a .38, and just as soon as reflexes would do it, I turned and saw Oswald as he fell. I really could not distinguish Ruby from the mass of humanity that was there, but the thing that I saw when I turned around was Oswald falling.
Mr. HUBERT. What distance do you suppose there was between your body and Oswald's body at the time you saw this? You may look, for example, in this room and see. Stay where you are and let me stand away from you--was it this far or farther or closer or what? [Hubert walked distances as indicated by the question.]
Mr. HUFFAKER. Let me see--let me stand up--it was about this far.
Mr. HUBERT. What do you judge "this distance" to be?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, I would say it is about 11 feet.
Mr. HUBERT. All right. Did you hear Ruby say anything?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No, sir; I did not.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you hear anyone else say anything which was distinguishable?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Not distinguishable that is, not at the moment of the shot. Immediately before or after----
Mr. HUBERT. Did you hear anything at any time after?
Mr. HUFFAKER Yes, sir; I did, which I could not quote it exactly, but the first thing that I distinguished, the first utterance that I could distinguish, and as I say, I do not recall the exact words, but I heard Police Officer Richard Swain who was--I don't know where he was before the shot was fired, but immediately afterward, he was standing a very short distance from me blocking access of anyone else, and he made--he shouted out for no one to come any further.
Mr. HUBERT. You don't remember the words?
Mr. HUFFAKER. The words, frankly, I think he said, "I'll knock you on your ass," but I'm not certain exactly what the words were.
Mr. HUBERT. But in any case, in the sense you understood the officer, he was trying to keep anybody from converging there?
Mr. HUFFAKER. And how. Yes; he was.
Mr. HUBERT. There's one other thing I wanted to do by way of position. I'm going to roughly draw a rectangle which will not be in scale but I hope that it will fix the position of the television camera unit of KRLD which you were attached to.
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. In the first place, I understand it was on the other side of the rail from you?
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. I understand further that some of its mechanisms, its camera mechanisms were actually sticking out over the rail?
Mr. HUFFAKER. I think actually it protruded through the rail, rather than over the rail, but I really can't say for certain--I think it was through the rail.
Mr. HUFFAKER. That's correct.
Mr. HUBERT. So that although it is not intended to be accurate, but just to give a general idea of the position of the KRLD camera, I am marking a rectangle


in which I am placing a capital A and would you agree that that figure shows, generally speaking, the position of the camera of KRLD?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. In order to make the map self explanatory to some extent, I am writing on it as follows: "Approximate position of KRLD camera."
Mr. HUFFAKER. Well, it might be well to distinguish this camera as the live television camera from the film camera.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, I will put in parentheses "live," is that correct?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you think that it is correct to state that anyone who would read your two statements, Exhibits 5331 and 5332 and who would also read the transcript of the deposition and have available at the time they are reading that, this chart, would have as accurate a story of the facts as you know them as is possible?
Mr. HUFFAKER. Yes, sir; and of course my story could be--sometimes could be fixed by looking at our video tape, and by the way, I am sorry--I was going to look at it before today.
Mr. HUBERT. We have done that.
Mr. HUBERT. I'm sure you have, but anyway I was going to look at it to refresh my memory. I didn't ever get a chance to.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you been interviewed by any member of the Commission's staff prior to today?
Mr. HUFFAKER. No; by no member of the Commission's staff.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, you and I spoke a little bit prior to the commencement of this deposition, but do you perceive that we spoke about anything which has not been subsequently brought up and discussed in this deposition?
Mr. HUBERT. No; that's correct. We did not discuss anything that has not been brought up in it.
Mr. HUBERT. Thank you very much.
Mr. HUFFAKER. Thank you,