HELEN LOUISE MARKHAM was born in Dallas on July 7, 1922. Her father was a farmer. Helen was 6 years old when her mother died. (1) 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. (2)
Status as at November 22, 1963
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. In her first day statement, MARKHAM said that the incident occurred at about 1:06. (5) In her testimony, she basically said the same, putting it at 1:06 or 1:07.
November 22, 1963
MRS MARKHAM had walked a block when she noticed a young man walking in the opposite direction 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, leaned over and apparently began 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 JD 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 Warren Commission Report simply states as regard to the time of the murder:
If Oswald left his rooming house shortly after 1 p.m. and walked at a brisk pace, he would have reached 10th and Patton shortly after 1:15 p.m. Tippit's murder was recorded on the police radio tape at about 1:16 p.m.
However, Helen's bus time-line is at odds with that. If she was following her normal routine that day, the official time of death must be incorrect. What is known is that authorities were unable to place Oswald at the scene of the murder any earlier than the official time of death because of other time markers.
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.(5)
During her Warren Commission testimony, MARKHAM 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. 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