Updated: Sep 2, 2022
"Mr. Ernest responds to my article "JFK Revisited: Tripping on the Stairs"
Some months ago, author Barry Ernest responded to my article critical of the "Girl on the Stairs" conclusions set forth in the film, "JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass".
What struck me first about Mr. Ernest's rebuttal, was there was no link to my article included. Instead, he takes portions out of the article to make his case. The quoted citations are correct, but of course the context is not available to the reader in its entirety.
Of course, of major importance, Mr. Ernest didn't want to show his readers the embarrassing claim he made about Victoria Adams' Warren Commission testimony stamped with "Top Secret".
Here's the article about "Top Secret" that Mr. Ernest got wrong. https://thegirlonthestairs.wordpress.com/2021/07/06/top-secret-seriously/
You can read my article here, in entirety. https://steveroeconsulting.wixsite.com/website/post/jfk-revisited-tripping-on-the-stairs
So as a professional courtesy, that Mr. Ernest will not do, I will link his rebuttal article here: https://thegirlonthestairs.wordpress.com/2021/12/05/stumbling-on-the-analysis/
Rebuttal excerpts from Ernest
In 1964, the Warren Commission admitted a truthful Victoria Adams likely would have seen or heard the fleeing assassin. Because she hadn’t, the Commission decreed she came down later, much later – in fact, several minutes later – than she thought. It reached that conclusion after excluding her from time tests, after ignoring at least two corroborating witnesses, and after suppressing the one document that showed she was right after all.
Mr. Ernest is now blaming the Warren Commission for excluding Vickie Adams from the time tests (reenactment of Oswald shooting the President and descending downstairs). Then he says they ignored two witnesses and suppressing the document she was right after all. Ernest is vague in this passage, so we all have to be clairvoyant and assume it was Sandra Styles, Elsie Dorman and the Stroud Document that he is addressing here.
Let's start from the beginning here. Vickie Adams was deposed by the Warren Commission and gave her deposition to David Belin on April 7, 1964, starting at 2:15 pm at the U.S. Post Office Building on Ervay/Bryan streets in Dallas. This was the beginning of many Dallas witness depositions that were taken. Central to this matter, Billy Lovelady also gave his deposition on the same day at 3:50 pm to Samuel Stern and Joseph Ball. Following the Lovelady deposition, William Shelley gave his deposition to Stern and Ball at 4:10 pm. Lovelady and Shelley were important names given by Vickie Adams in her previous testimony albeit from different assistant Warren Commission counsel members.
Previous to the Warren Commission staff taking depositions, the FBI located the Texas Book Depository and Publishing employees and took affidavits in March 1964. Based on the affidavits, the Warren Commission staff chose certain employees to depose who may provide crucial information to their investigation. One of the key items the Warren Commission wanted to know is how Oswald made his escape from the 6th floor. There were two ways: the North-West corner stairs or the Freight Elevator. Belin queried Adams about the freight elevator.
Mr. Belin. Let me ask you this. As you got to the stairs on the fourth floor, did you notice whether or not the elevator was running?
Miss ADAMS. The elevator was not moving
Mr. Belin. How do you know it was not moving on some other floor?
Miss ADAMS. Because the cables move when the elevator is moved, and this is evidenced because of a wooden grate.
Mr. Belin. By that you mean a wooden door with slats in it that you have to lift up to get on the elevator?
Miss ADAMS. Yes.
Mr. Belin. Did you look to see if the elevator was moving?
Miss ADAMS. It was not; no, sir.
Mr. Belin It was not moving?
Miss ADAMS. No.
Clearly that was true in light of the evidence, because the rifle was found on the 6th floor near the northwest stairs stashed between a row of boxes. That suggests the assassin did make his way down via the stairs.
Mr. Ernest then attempts to berate me with this choice comment from his rebuttal:
Now comes a reprised solution to the Miss Adams mystery, one that pretty much parrots the above in both result and method. It’s introduced this time by Steve Roe, an under-the-radar blogger whose name is not always synonymous with balanced and accurate analysis. If past is precedent, he continues his legacy here.
There you go. Mr. Ernest now is telling his readers that I'm not to be trusted. I guess if I don't run in conspiracy circles, I'm a disinformation agent? He continued with more smears.
Sounds simple enough. But does he reach this verdict honestly? No, he doesn’t. There is a fine line in this game between the impartial researcher and someone who wears the clever disguise of being such.
This non-impartial researcher claim on this author has been the latest garbage I've heard from the conspiracy theorists. That charge was made again when the Elmer Todd initials were discovered. Apparently if you challenge a conspiracy belief, you get branded as "Biased" in some lame attempt to discredit.
As you will see Mr. Ernest even contradicts himself as a non-biased researcher.
I have never been a fan of “approximate estimates.” First, because it smacks of redundancy. Nor do I put much weight in post-event recreations. They seem to open the door for subjective input and are often suggestive of molding pieces to fit a preconceived notion. One has only to read the Warren Report’s description of Oswald’s journey from the sixth floor to the Texas Theatre to recognize the Commission was no stranger to the concept of time-space compression.
Among other inaccuracies, Roe seems to think I definitely believe Oswald was absent from the “sniper’s nest” and that my book “exonerates or proof positive [sic] that Oswald was not on the 6th floor.”
I often have difficulty recognizing my conclusions when they are stated by others.
Had Roe read my book, or even more attentively perused my website, he would have known the outcome of my work was (1) Vicki told the truth, (2) the Warren Commission knew she told the truth, and (3) that truth opens up critical questions as to whether or not Oswald was on the sixth floor at the given time.
My italicized words above clearly do not represent certitude.
Yes, Ernest claims he is not certain whether or not Oswald was on the 6th floor. Who is he trying to fool here? Let me explain.
I mentioned in my previous article about the 800 lb Gorilla, meaning where did this "shooter on the 6th floor go". Ernest replied directing me to his article addressing that issue. You can read it here: The Sixth Floor Escape | The Girl on the Stairs (wordpress.com)
Defenders of the Warren Report are quick to point out that if Vicki Adams didn’t hear Oswald on the stairs, then why didn’t she hear the assassin(s) who replaced him?
The error in their logic is glaringly obvious, for the question presupposes that any other shooter would have made his escape down the stairs at the exact same time Oswald was to have done so. But this person would not necessarily have had to come down the stairs when Oswald supposedly did.
The timing of Oswald’s escape from the sixth floor was based on a speed that would get him to the second-floor lunchroom in advance of when Marrion Baker and Roy Truly saw him there. That time frame was established at under 90 seconds, a figure resulting from on-site tests duplicating the actions of both Baker and Truly. Oswald had to get to the lunchroom before they did, which therefore put him on the stairs at a specific time.
The fact Victoria Adams would have been on those stairs at the same moment is what posed the problem.
But if someone other than Oswald was on the sixth floor, his escape would not have been governed by any such time constraints. He could have come down later, since the sixth floor remained vacant and was not discovered as the sniper’s “man cave” for some 35 minutes after the assassination. (This, oddly enough, even though that floor was pointed out almost immediately as the source of the shots.)
By then, uniformed cops, plain-clothes cops, the news media, workers and others were swarming throughout the Depository. The delay in searching the sixth floor would have provided plenty of opportunity for someone to depart in the confusion. This person might even have remained on the sixth floor and then blended in with those who eventually arrived there.
In other words, alternatives exist.
What are your thoughts?
Mr. Ernest of course is believing Vicki Adams' story that she immediately went down the stairs, therefore no way any shooter could have exited at the same time, particularly Oswald.
For the record, I'm not accusing Vicki Adams of being a liar. I believe she was just mistaken or confused on the timing when she and Sandra Styles made their way down the stairs. It's as simple as that, and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary of the timing issue.
First of all, Ernest totally ignores the evidence of the rifle found near the 6th floor stair well.
Wouldn't it be extremely important to know whose rifle that was? Of course, but Ernest never reconciles that rifle, with the palm print and direct evidence that links to Oswald. That's strong evidence that Ernest should have taken in account as a "non-biased" researcher.
Sadly, Ernest proposes other alternatives of an escaped assassin, including the laughable "blending with the law enforcement and press (only Kent Biffle and Tom Alyea". Anybody buy that? The building was sealed and there was a floor-by-floor search with guns drawn looking for the assassin. Other than TSBD employees, where is this phantom assassin? Oswald of course was IDed by Truly as an employee, and for some strange reason he was in a hurry to go see a movie in Oak Cliff. All of this is ignored by Ernest.
Does Ernest believe there was somebody else up there firing Oswald's rifle? Only he can answer that.
Sean Murphy's questions to Sandra Styles (Butler)
Conspiracy Researcher Sean Murphy had an email exchange with Sandra Styles. You can read it here: https://groups.google.com/g/alt.assassination.jfk/c/3Dsk9bpdySI
Of particular note is this from the email:
(Sean Murphy) In my reply, I put two points to Sandra:
1) The authorities' claim that it took 15-20 minutes for police to get to the Depository was way off. 2) Barry had come across the so-called Stroud document, in which Dorothy Ann Garner is reported to have told authorities she saw Baker and Truly come up onto the fourth floor AFTER Adams and Styles had left it.
'Hmmmmmmm, points to ponder. At this point, I'm wondering whether I was even there! hahaha
1. My initial sense was that we went down soon after, and the 15-20 minute delay given by the investigator DID seem a bit long, but I took his word for it. We did linger at the window a bit trying to sort it out, and I'm sure it was Vicki's idea to go find out what was going on; therefore we wouldn't have waited a long time to make the decision to go downstairs. I am certain that we went to the public elevator first, but may not have waited long there either. My hesitancy on the timing in all the interviews probably accounts for why they did not pursue further information from me. As I told everyone who ever asked, I had no real sense of that aspect of the investigation. Still, logic tells me it had to take a couple of minutes at least for things to sink in and to make the decision to go. Therefore, *I'll give up a few of those minutes but still don't remember it's being a matter of a few seconds. However, I yield to wiser heads if the evidence is there.*
2. I know nothing of Dorothy Garner's part. I don't know where she was at the time. Her office was near the front elevator, but she could have been in the lunch area on the other side near the back stairs. It seems odd to me that if the two men ran up the back stairs a minute or so after the shooting, we did not encounter them on our way down even if we had left immediately and even more strange that Mrs. Garner would have been in a position to see them coming up. It all goes back to the fact that I could be totally off on my calculations, and anything is possible. I cannot swear in any venue that what I thought was actually true. I still see it all in my mind's eye and have not changed my opinion about what we did and when, but I could be mistaken about the number of minutes. I suppose I could blame the fact that I am 71 and let it go at that!! No, that would be too easy.'
There are two sides of this story of the trip downstairs. Evidently Ernest believes Vicki Adams version as the most accurate truth.
Offered up is Sandra Styles version on the Travel Channel video on her recollections.
In that video she makes a comment that Oswald could have been behind or ahead of them on the stairs. Also, she believed Oswald was the shooter, but holds reservations about others involved.
This whole argument boils down to who do you believe. Clearly there are two sides of the story with the Adams version and the Styles version. Vicki Adams also believed she saw Jack Ruby, so factor that in as well. Mr. Ernest will continue to stand fast to his belief.
I have read his book and it was interesting to read about Vicki Adams' life, but when it gets down to facts about the evidence on Oswald, Mr. Ernest comes up short, way short. I believe that Adams and Styles did linger at that 4th floor window for some sort of time. I cannot see how anyone would believe they just bolted downstairs "IMMEDIATELY". I refer the reader back to Jerry Dealey's time estimation chart, all it took was 1-2 minutes lingering at the 4th floor window to completely miss Oswald coming down those stairs. https://steveroeconsulting.wixsite.com/website/post/jfk-revisited-tripping-on-the-stairs
A reader named jfk-evidence poses the following questions:
What is not addressed is the following
1. Mr. Truly was ahead of Officer Baker and already going up to the third floor when Baker confronted Oswald. Truly then saw Baker was not with him so went back down the stairs and vouched for Oswald making it unlikely Miss Adams and Styles would have missed seeing Baker and Truly.
Yes, Truly was headed up to the 3rd floor, he wasn't on it yet. He reversed back down and went into the 2nd floor lunchroom to find Baker questioning Oswald. As I did propose, Adams and Styles could have come down those stairs while Truly, Baker and Oswald were in the lunchroom, therefore missing each other.
2. Mrs. Garner who remained on the 4th Floor says in an interview with Barry Ernest she heard Miss Adams and Styles going down the stairs in the 3-inch heels Miss Adams says she was wearing.
It is improbable that Baker and Truly would not have heard the women if Mrs. Garner could hear them on the 4th Floor, and so would have tried to stop the 2 noisy women.
Not if they (Baker, Truly and Oswald) were in the 2nd floor lunchroom at the time. They were in an area that the stair noise might not have been heard.
3. Baker, Adams and Styles all confirmed to Barry Ernest seeing a big black man on the first floor. Miss Adams says she spoke to him briefly, but he made no reply, Miss Styles also confirms seeing him.
I would have to review that incident again; I assume in his book. There were several black employees of the TSBD. Eddie Piper was on the first floor, but I wouldn't call him big. Perhaps Troy West, but I need to revisit the record to make a judgement.
Officer Baker says he nearly questioned him before going on to confront Oswald but Mr. Truly said the black man was an employee. For them all to pass him in such a way as they did means he must have been near the stairs making it improbable that they passed by or spoke to him without seeing each other if they had been near the stairs at the same time.
That was most likely Eddie Piper. He saw Truly and Baker on the first floor. https://www.jfk-assassination.eu/warren/wch/vol6/page385.php
4. An FBI Report was written by Agents Hardin and Scott dated Sunday 24th Nov 1963 about Miss Adams recollections of being on the stairs
Yes, I have read that. Adams says she left immediately.
This was almost certainly based on a statement taken from Miss Adams on the 22nd Nov. before she left at around 2.30pm so would have been a very fresh recollection.
Yes, I agree it would have been a fresh recollection. However, the question remains, immediately in seconds or 1-2 minutes after the shooting? I tend to believe they did linger at the 4th floor window trying to make out what happened down on Elm Street.
Mrs Garner in her 1964 FBI statement says she did not return to work until Tuesday 26th Nov. 1963.
Yes, that is true.
The Hardin and Scott FBI Report says Miss Adams and Miss Styles went down the stairs immediately after the 3rd shot and saw no one on the stairs.
See my above comments.
There is a second FBI document that looks like FBI notes not included in the report that says Miss Adams returned to the office about 5 minutes after leaving the building.
Yes, both Styles and Adams did return to the building. See the Styles video.
The full FBI report also states and that Miss Adams thought the shots had come from the right of the building not above. Mrs. Garner in her 1964 FBI statement said she thought the shots came from the west of the building.
Yes, nothing unusual. There are all kinds of different directions given by witnesses. That's why the physical evidence is most crucial. The rifle found on the 6th floor was linked to CE399 and some bullet fragments found in the limo. Witnesses on the street saw the rifle in the 6th floor window.
5. The only day on which the original next to impossible to change warren commission testimony stenograph tapes were destroyed was for the 7th April 1964.
As I stated earlier, the typed testimony was transcribed and signed by Vicki Adams. That was directly off the Steno tape. This all took place at the Federal building in Dallas. I'm aware of Mr. Ernest's claim about the missing Steno tape. He thinks its sinister, I don't share that belief.
This was the day Miss Adams and Mr. Shelley and Mr. Lovelady all gave testimony which the warren commission tried to use to undermine Miss Adams and the FBI report timings.
No, they were in town to interview many Dallas witnesses. There was no pre-planned undermining going on. They took their depositions and later reviewed it.
No mention was made of the FBI Report in the Warren Commission findings and Miss Styles, Mrs. Garner and Mrs. Dorman who were all on the 4th Floor together were not called to give evidence despite Miss Adams saying she asked for Miss Styles to be called.
Well maybe it would have been better if Styles was called to testify. Perhaps that might have been better in the long run. The Warren Commission left many holes open, and Conspiracy Theorists jumped all over them. Hindsight can be useful, if applied properly.
Miss Adams also made clear to Barry Ernest that the warren commission had added into her testimony that she spoke to Mr. Shelley. This was not in the FBI Report about Adams and Styles or later FBI witness statements of Styles or Adams.
That's baloney. Adams reviewed her WC testimony, made some corrections as noted by Martha Stroud's memo. She signed it. You have the stenographer recording it, and then later transcribing it into type, which Vicki Adams signed. There was no hanky-panky doctoring in the documentation. Harold Weisberg even debunked that crazy notion when Roger Craig accused the Warren Commission of altering his testimony.
Mr. Shelley only recalled seeing Miss Adams on the 4th Floor later in the day and Mr. Loveday twice said he could not swear a girl he saw was Miss Adams.
Yes, that's true.
So all in all the probability is that Miss Adams and Miss Styles were on the stairs before Truly and Baker were there and therefore at the same time as Oswald was supposed to have been but they did not see him
Since none of us were there, you have to examine all the factors including the ownership of that rifle on the 6th floor. Sadly Mr. Ernest bypasses that important evidence. The probability is high that Adams and Styles lingered at that window for some time, directly in conflict with Mr. Ernest's thesis and belief.
Thanks, those were good questions.