Battle for Oswald’s sniper window
Tuesday 24 February 2009
A legal battle over the ownership of the “sniper’s perch” – the window where Lee Harvey Oswald propped his mail-order telescopic rifle, before firing on President John F Kennedy – end up in a Dallas courtroom yesterday.
The history of the window is as tortured as the competing conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination. Thankfully, District Judge Gena Slaughter takes it as given that Oswald fired the three shots that rang out at 12.30pm on 22 November 1963 and killed the president. What she must decide is which of two windows – removed at separate times from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository – is the sniper’s perch. Once ownership is established, the window is expected to be worth more than $3m (£2m).
Caruth Byrd, 67, says he inherited the window in 1986 from his father, Colonel D Harold Byrd, who once owned the Dallas building. Fearing that the window would be stolen by souvenir hunters, the colonel had his handyman remove the eight-pane window six weeks after the assassination. It was then framed and hung on the wall of his Dallas mansion.
But Aubrey Mayhew, 81, a Kennedy memorabilia collector, says Mr Byrd took the wrong window – the one from the south-west corner and not the south-east corner where Oswald fired the fatal shots. Mr Mayhew says he has the correct window removed in the early 1970s.
Mr Byrd, who put his window up for auction on eBay two years ago was unable to get a fair market value because of the conflicting claims.
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