Did Woodrow Hardy see Shaw, Ferrie, and Oswald together?
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
Jim Garrison received this anonymous letter in May 1968:
Concerning: Woodrow Hardy
910 S. Oregon Avenue
I'm sending you this information in case it may be of help to you on the Clay Shaw trial.
I met Mr. Hardy at a New Year's Eve party. During our conversation he told me was a private contractor and remodeled homes. He moved here from New Orleans, and told me he remodeled Clay Shaw's home there. He said at the time he saw many Cuban type men visit there and that one man in particular (the name I have forgotten), who denied to you that he knew Shaw, but stood outside the Shaw residence handing out papers and could not but help know Shaw.
It may help your case if you contacted Mr. Hardy.
It sounds like he is referring to Oswald - perhaps handing out flyers outside the Trade Mart? But, is he saying that he saw Oswald at Shaw's home. It's a very tenuous lead.
But, Garrison noted that Hardy should be interviewed. And he added Thornley to the top of the memo - perhaps Hardy saw the second Oswald.
The lead was never followed-up, and when Garrison sent the HSCA a list of his leads he included Hardy:
The last two lines read: "By that time, Kerry Thornley had become a resident of Tampa). Another lead long over-due for a follow through." Propinquity is always on Garrison's mind.
However, the conspiracy books think that Hardy is evidence that Shaw knew Ferrie, Oswald, and perhaps even Emilio Santana.
James DiEugenio writes in Destiny Betrayed that: (page 216)
"Garrison did get an anonymous letter about Hardy, It said that Hardy had seen many Cubans visiting Shaw. Including Emilio Santana, the man with Sergio Arcacha Smith and Rose Cheramie on the way to Dallas four days before the assassination. But Garrison could not follow up on the letter."
DiEugenio doesn't even source this to the anonymous letter which is in the Garrison papers at the National Archives. Instead he sources it to Joan Mellen.
Mellen does say that Garrison could not follow up on the lead (page 95), but does not say why. But, she adds to the story from an interview she did with Sam Exnicios, who was supposedly Hardy's lawyer. Exnicios told Mellen in 2002 that Hardy told him he found Shaw, Ferrie, and Oswald deep in conversation in the summer of 1963 (page 94). Mellen says that Hardy feared for his life.
But is there confirmation for the above allegation? Mellen writes that "The investigation drew closer to Woodrow Hardy: Garrison interviewed Mrs. Esther Stein, who had worked at Shaw's house when Oswald visited, and chatted with a carpenter." (page 320)
Here is the memo about the carpenter:
I find the specificity hard to swallow. He supposedly saw Oswald 13 years earlier when he was just 16 years old? And, Clark never came forward - he only said something after Mrs. Esther Stein said something. But Mellen thinks this corroborates the Woodrow Hardy story.