JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

JFK 50: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

Questions Still Haunt Co-Worker Who Drove Oswald to Work

"There wasn't anything different about him that day"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wesley Buell Frazier was a teenager in 1963 and recalls driving his co-worker Lee Harvey Oswald to work on November 22 and he curious-looking package wrapped in paper Oswald carried that day. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    The 19-year-old who drove Lee Harvey Oswald to work the day he allegedly assassinated President John F. Kennedy still has questions about the tragedy in Dealey Plaza.

    Wesley Buell Frazier worked with Oswald at the Texas School Book Depository. Oswald usually caught a ride with Frazier to Irving on Fridays after work to spend the weekend with his estranged wife, Marina, and their two daughters.

    As the couple's marriage disintegrated, she stayed with friends at a house just down the street from Frazier. For more than a month, Oswald spent the work week at a Dallas boarding house and then drove back to Irving with Frazier on Fridays.

    "He was always really quiet," Frazier said. "He wasn't one to initiate any conversation, but he'd always answer you if you asked a question. But the topic I could get the most response out of him was about his children, how they played."

    But the day before the shooting, Oswald asked for a ride home. It was a Thursday.

    "He says, 'Marina has made me some curtains, and I'm going out to get some curtain rods so I can put curtains up in my room at the boarding house,'" Frazier said.

    The next day -- Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, the day the president was killed -- Oswald walked a few blocks to Frazier's house, where the teen lived with his sister and her husband. He was carrying a homemade package wrapped in brown paper tucked under his arm.

    Frazier's car was unlocked, and Oswald placed the package in the backseat.

    "As I was getting in, as I was sitting down, I glanced back over my shoulder and saw a package laying on the back seat. And I said, 'What's in the package?' Frazier said.

    "And he said, 'Don't you remember? It's curtain rods. I told you yesterday I was going to be getting curtain rods that I could take out to my room and put up curtains," Frazier said.

    "And I said, 'That's right, you did tell me that.' And I didn't think anything more of it," he said.

    They didn't speak much during the drive that morning.

    "As far as Lee -- he was the same riding to work that morning as he always was," Frazier said. "There wasn't anything different about him that day."

    Federal investigators concluded that the homemade paper package hid the rifle Oswald used to kill the president.

    But Frazier doesn't believe it.

    "It could not have been the rifle, I know," he said.

    Before he was hired at the School Book Depository, Frazier worked at a local department store, where one of his job duties was to unpack and install curtains. He said he was very familiar with the size and length of curtain rods and said Oswald's package was too small to have carried a disassembled rifle.

    "He told me they were curtain rods, and I didn't have any reason to not believe him," he said.

    But Frazier said he can't answer the next logical question: If Oswald was taking curtain rods to work, why were no curtain rods found in the building?

    He said he thinks about it all the time.

    "The thing that gets me is, what would Lee get out of it? Assassinating the president -- it's not something you can brag about with your friends over drinks or at the bowling alley," he said. "What does he gain?"

    Frazier said he believes the whole truth has not been told.

    "To me, I believe it was a conspiracy," he said. "I think Lee Oswald, if he did this -- and I'm not saying he did it, but I'm saying if he did it -- he definitely had help."

    After Oswald's arrest, investigators quickly learned a 19-year-old co-worker drove him to work. Detectives smelled a conspiracy and arrested Frazier.

    He was interrogated for hours at police headquarters, and detectives pressured him to sign a confession.

    "He come in the door very abruptly, and he put this down in front of me. He says, 'Here, sign this.' I started reading it, and it was saying I was a part of the assassination of John F. Kennedy," Frazier said. "I looked at him and said, 'That's totally absurd. I'm not signing that.'"

    "He got very angry and raised his hands," Frazier said. "I thought he was going to hit me."

    Frazier said the fact that he had been arrested and was linked to the assassination haunted him for a long time. Several years later, his boss at a clothing store called Frazier into his office. Frazier walked in with a smile, thinking he was about to be promoted to manager. Instead, he was fired.

    He also believes the stigma kept other employers from returning his phone calls or hiring him over the years.

    More than anything, Frazier wishes he could go back in time and ask his friend if he wouldn't mind opening up that brown paper package.

    "I hope that society will remember me as just a hardworking kid that didn't have a clue about what was going to happen that day, on November 22nd, 1963," he said.