Skip to main content

Jack Dougherty

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 1.32.58 PM.png

Young Jack Dougherty just out of highschool

Jack Dougherty: Person Of Interest

The reason Jack Dougherty is a person of interest was due to the fact that he was an employee at the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963. On this date, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed, allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald from a sixth story window of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas. Oswald fired three shots, two of which entered the president’s body causing his death and subsequently stunning the nation.  

Who is he?

Jack Dougherty was born on August 12, 1923, in Dallas, Texas. He spent his entire life in the Dallas area, attending Sunset High School. After graduation Jack spent two years in the military. Jack’s home was in the Dallas area as well, located at 1827 S. Marsalis St, Dallas, Texas. 

Jack and the Texas School Book Depository

At the time of assassination Jack was approximately 40 years old and since 1952 had spent a considerable amount of time working in the shipping department of the Texas School Book Depository. Jack’s position at the Depository was that of order filler. Beyond simply working at the Depository, Jack was one of only six employees at work when the fatal three shots were fired. Jack recalls that Bill Lovelady, William Shelby, Dany Arce, Bonnie Williams, Charles Givens, and Lee Harvey Oswald were all in the building the day of the shooting. Other employees were given the task of relaying the floors on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository while Jack was mobile retrieving stock from the fifth and sixth floors.


Jack Dougherty's Police Testimony

Is Jack Dougherty a liar?

On November 22, 1963 Jack Dougherty signed a document for the Dallas Police Department, notarized by Patsy Collins, stating the following: Jack was an employee of the Texas School Book Depository, working on the sixth floor. He claimed to have gone back to work after lunch at 12:45 but then contradicted himself, stating he had already gone back to work and had gone to the fifth floor to get stock by the time he heard the shot which in reality happened at 12:32. He then stated he went down to the first floor and asked Eddie Piper, another employee, if he heard anything. Eddie responded that he heard three shots. Jack then claimed to have returned to work on the sixth floor, seeing everyone but Oswald. He claimed to have seen Oswald on the sixth floor shortly before noon but not after the shots were fired.


Jack Dougherty's first FBI testimony


Jack Dougherty's second FBI testimony 

What did Jack Dougherty initially tell the FBI?

On the same day, November 22, 1963, Jack also was interviewed by FBI Special Agents Alfred Ellington and James Anderson. Surprisingly Jack’s statements did not match the statements made earlier in the day. Jack stated that he was an employee of the Texas School Book Depository and that he came to work at 7:00 a.m. the morning of the assassination. He recalled seeing Oswald at 8:00 a.m. that morning as he came into work at that time. He then recalled seeing Oswald at about 11:00 a.m. but did not recall seeing him after that. It was clear at this point that Jack either did not know the exact time he last saw Oswald or that he was lying under pressure. Jack then supposidly returns to work on the fifth floor at 12:45 or 1:00. Jack continued to state that he was working on the fifth floor when he heard “a loud explosion which sounded like a rifle shot coming from the next floor above me.”  This event contradicted the notarized statement that he signed earlier that day. There was no mention of going to the first floor nor of speaking to Eddie Piper. More importantly in this testimony Jack claimed to have known the source of the shot. In his prior statement, the source was unknown. 

The second interview was carried out by agent Johnson with the intention of clarifying and confirming Jacks story. The findings were the same as the initial FBI testimony, however, Jack now states it was approximately 12:45 when he returned to work.


Suspicious Memo on Jack Dougherty

Why was Jack considered so suspicious?

After the Warren Commission and the FBI analyzed Mr. Dougherty’s statements, they were very suspicious, so suspicious, in fact, that Melvin A. Eisenberg requested further questioning and a Warren Commission testimony.  The memo pictured was sent to Lee Rankin explaining why Jack was considered suspicious. The arguments were as follows:

  1. He was the only one of the six employees working on the sixth floor-laying project without alibi.
  2. He had a very thin story.
  3. It didn’t make sense that Jack should have returned to work before the rest of his team.
  4. It is questionable that Mr. Dougherty would need to go to the fifth floor to get stock in connection with the floor-laying project.
  5. Employees Jarman, Norman, and Williams did not see Mr. Dougherty anywhere on the fifth floor during the shooting.
  6. It did not seem credible that Mr. Dougherty would have gone to the first floor, found out there were three shots fired, and returned to work as if nothing happened.
  7. No report shows any evidence of Jack or anyone else being on the sixth floor.
  8. Since Dougherty heard shots on the fifth floor, and since the shots were fired at approximately 12:32, Dougherty must have returned to the sixth floor, allegedly to go back to work, around 12:30.
  9. The alleged retardation may have been confused with emotional problems, and if so only furthers suspicion.

Given these highly unusual and suspicious findings, both Rankin and Eisenberg insisted Mr. Dougherty testify to the Warren Commission. Furthermore, given these circumstances and discrepancies, Jack Dougherty was considered a key person of interest.


Jack Dougherty's Warren Commission Testimony

What did Jack Dougherty tell the Warren Commission?

Later, on April 8, 1964, Mr. Joseph A. Ball met with Jack Dougherty for an official testimony. The testimony Jack gave was full of discrepancies and hints at a lack of education or sound thought process. For example, he claimed to have left the country, stating he traveled to Seymour, Indiana, a state within the United States.When asked about his relation to Oswald, he claimed to not know him along with the rest of the employees. This was not out of the ordinary, given most employees described him as distant. Jack continued to claim he showed up to work at 7:00 a.m. every morning in agreement with his prior statements. However, immediately after this statement he contradicted himself, claiming he showed up to work a quarter to 7:00 a.m. and began work at 8:00 a.m.

 When questioned about seeing Oswald the morning of the shooting, Jack claimed to have seen him alone walking in, out of the corner of his eye. According to Mr. Dougherty, Oswald was not carrying anything in his hands that morning, which is surprising given the fact he used a three-foot rifle to take the shots. Jack then claimed to have seen Oswald a second time that same day at 11:00 a.m. on the sixth floor. This statement properly correlated to his original testimonies. However, the chain of events got confusing once more as the time of the shooting approached. 

 Jack’s memory again failed him when he claimed to have heard a shot after retrieving stock, forgetting lunch all together. This first statement completely contradicted all prior statements about where he was during the assassination. Jack was then asked about lunch and remembered that he went to lunch at 12:00 that day on the first floor. He then claimed he finished lunch and returned to work at 12:30, contradicting his earlier statement in this testimony and his original testimonies on the November 22.

 Jack’s recollection of events got very interesting as 12:30 p.m. approached. Jack claimed to have gone back to work at 12:30 but then contradicted himself yet again, stating he went back to work on the sixth floor at 12:40. He then stated he had heard only one shot that sounded like a backfire before returning to work. The forgetful nature of the testimony continued as he is asked what floor he went to after lunch. Jack completely changed his story on the spot at this point. He claimed to have now heard the shots before eating his lunch in the first place. This placed a huge hole in the story as Jack now seemingly had no idea what he was doing during this time, or he is deceiving under pressure.  Jack now claimed to have been on the fifth floor when he heard the shots, conforming with his earlier testimonies. Now that Jack seemed to remember his older testimonies; he began to remember speaking with Eddie Piper on the first floor. He claimed to have asked Eddie if the President was shot. This strikes Mr. Ball as he realized Jack would have no way of knowing that the President was shot given his earlier statements about never seeing the President. Jack was quick to realize this as well and changed his testimony to reflect the fact Eddie was the one to first tell him the President was shot.