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Helen Markham

greg parker | Published tue 10 Jul 2018, 8:56 pm | 1057 Views

Early life

Helen Markham was born in Dallas on July 7, 1922. Her father was a farmer. Helen was 6 years old when her mother died. As a result, she was sent to live with an aunt in Grand Prairie alongside her cousins, RAY and FLOYD HAMILTON, who would both become members of the Barrow Gang.                                                                                                           

Status as at 1963

By 1963, Helen was a divorcee with five children and working at the Eat Well Café frequented by JACK RUBY.

On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, Helen was on her way to catch a bus to start her shift. She testified to the Warren Commission that she let home that day at 1:00 pm, or a little bit after. The bus stop was near the corner of Patton and Jefferson and was due at 1:15.

NOVEMBER 22, 1963                                                                      

Mrs. Markham had walked a block when she noticed a young man walking in the opposition to her, and then noticed a police patrol car drive slowly toward him.

When the patrol car did catch up to the young man, she watched as the man walked up to the driver's window which, lean over and apparently begin a conversation with the driver.

Markham watched the scene unfold further as she waited for traffic to allow her to cross the road. The man stepped back to allow Tippit to get out. At that point, the man drew a weapon and shot Tippit three times. She then saw the man walk "calmly" away. 

Helen Markham was the sole eyewitness to the actual shooting.

The official time of death for Tippit was 1:15 pm. However, Helen's bus time-line places some doubt on it. What is known is that authorities were unable to place Oswald at the scene of the murder any earlier than that because of various other time markers relied upon.

The witness was hysterical virtually for the rest of the day and needed smelling salts to be calmed down enough to view a line up after the capture of Oswald.

During her Warren Commission testimony, Helen was repeatedly asked if she recognized anyone in the line-up. She repeatedly responded that she did not.

Finally, Joseph Ball resorted to a leading question:

Mr. BALL. Was there a number two man in there?

This prompted Helen to give the required answer:                                                                   

Mrs. MARKHAM. Number two is the one I picked.

"Number two" was LEE OSWALD.                                                                         

Treatment by the Warren Commission

Due to her hysterical nature and confused testimony, Mrs. and Markham was not taken seriously as a witness by the Warren Commission lawyers who described her as an "utter screwball".  The Warren Commission itself had no option but to rely upon her as a witness, while simultaneously attempting to suggest she was not needed.

From page 168 of the Warren Commission Report


Helen Markham warren Commission testimony                                                              Helen Markham - findagrave memorial                  
Page 168 of the Warren Commission Report

Further reading

The Unsinkable Marguerite Oswald                                                                                        Texas Theatre Bust


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