Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Defendant in dispute over JFK window has died


One of the two men involved in a dispute over who owns the "sniper's perch" from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired on President John F. Kennedy has died.

An attorney for 81-year-old Aubrey Mayhew said Tuesday his client died over the weekend at a hospice care facility in Nashville, Tenn.

Caruth Byrd sued Mayhew, arguing that he inherited the window from his father, who owned the Texas School Book Depository building and removed the window shortly after Kennedy's 1963 assassination. Mayhew, who owned the building from 1970-73, said he had the true window because the elder Byrd removed the wrong one.

Paul Fourth, Mayhew's attorney, said his client did not leave behind a will. The trial in Dallas was recently delayed until April.

An attorney for Byrd did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Unending 'Pane' of JFK Slaying: 3 Snipe Over Who Owns Oswald Window

by HUGH AYNESWORTH / New York Post

Yesterday, like every day, dozens of tourists aimed their cameras at the spot on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald infamously crouched on Nov. 22, 1963.

But they're looking at the wrong window.

The sixth-floor, southeast-corner window where Oswald shouldered his mail-order rifle at President John F. Kennedy's motorcade disappeared decades ago.

It was moved, according to local lore, because souvenir hunters kept chipping off pieces of the historic frame.

The real window, however, has moldered away in obscurity - and nobody knows for sure who has it.

Three different people - all with different connections to the Dallas building - claim to have removed the window.

Next month, a Dallas judge will determine which of the windows - scattered around the country at undisclosed locations - is the original.

Caruth Byrd, 67, a rancher from Van, Texas, says he's holding the real deal. The rancher is the son of a famous Dallas oilman, D. Harold Byrd, who owned the book depository in 1963.

Byrd maintains his father removed the original Oswald window six weeks after JFK's assassination - but an article in the Dallas Morning News in the late 1960s suggests otherwise.

The elder Byrd said then he "planned" to remove the original window because "people are sneaking in there at night and chipping away at it."

But it's unclear when - or if - Harold ever removed the window and installed another. His son claims that he inherited the original Oswald window when his father died in 1986.

Aubrey Mayhew, 81, of Nashville, Tenn., says he's in possession of what he calls "the assassin's perch."

Mayhew, a Kennedy memorabilia collector, purchased the book-depository building from the Byrd family in 1970, intending to turn it into a Kennedy museum.

After about three years - and a mysterious fire that gutted part of the building - the bank foreclosed on Mayhew. The Tennessee entrepreneur headed back to Nashville - with the window, he says - and Byrd regained ownership of the building.

In several interviews over the years, Mayhew claimed he removed the original corner window in 1971 to preserve history. He would never reveal where it was stored.
"It's close by," he told The Post.

Now a third Kennedy-era collector has come forward to claim possession.

Ferris Rookstool, a former FBI employee who lives in Dallas, says he hired a crew to salvage all the windows a few years ago, after he learned that Dallas County was planning to replace the panes.

He said he has the 40 to 50 windows stored in a warehouse but doesn't know which one is the window.

Source: New York Post