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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Jim Garrison Discusses The Three Tramps

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

The three tramps have been a favorite topic for conspiracy theorists for decades. Jim Garrison was no exception. And in September 1968 in a discussion with a few of his investigators and some buffs, the topics of the tramps came up. Here is a photo that conspiracy buff Richard E. Sprague found interesting:

The escorting police officer, on the right, is Marvin Wise. Here is a close-up of his face:

What exactly is in his ear?

Marvin Wise was interviewed by the HSCA: (courtesy of Dennis Moricet)

Wise had an ear infection and he had cotton in his ear.

Sprague - Richard E. Sprague, assassination buff and a photography expert

Turner - William Turner, ex-FBI agent, writer for Ramparts Magazine, and Garrison investigator

Boxley - Bill Boxley, Garrison investigator

Fensterwald - Bernard Fensterwald, lawyer who founded the private Committee To Investigate Assassinations

Sprague: You said the guy had a hearing aid or a hearing device in his ear.

Turner: Either one. He has a plug in his ear; just like the police officer in that picture.

Sprague: Did you see my blow-up?

Boxley: I think that the blow-up is terrific. That's something Dallas was not using at that time, man-to-man communications.

Turner: They'll catch on to that about 1990.

Boxley: That's direct control to Dealey Plaza. That's all that could be.

Fensterwald: Does anybody have any idea who the 3 bums were?

Turner: But we don't know who the police officer is, do we?

Sprague: Harkness is the guy in the back.

Turner: Yeah but who is this guy?

Sprague: Boy, if we knew who he was, we'd have it. You can almost see the name on his badge.

Boxley: It would be a phony anyway. Probably some name he's rented.

Garrison: Probably it says "unidentified."

Boxley: He's got on loafers.

Garrison: Loafers? He sure has. How is that possible? Did you see this? I've never seen a police officer with loafers in my life.

Boxley: He ain't no police officer.

Garrison: What is this thing in his ear. I see something but I can't quite make out the form.

Boxley: Here's the shadow that he's casting and it comes out here.

Sprague: Got a wire going down his collar.

Fensterwald: Has anybody been able to identify the 3 bums?

Garrison: No. They only speak of 1 bum and they cloud it by jumping to the group investigator., you see. Every time you encounter 1 bum -- Lony whatever his name is -- if you see it's a way of getting out mentioning these two.

Turner: No. David Belin is talking to a police officer Harkness and Harkness said there were 3 of them.

Garrison: Bums though.

FL: Could one of them be Bradley, or not?

Turner: Yeah. I'd swear that's Bradley.

Turner: This is a beauty.

Boxley: I think two of them anyway are the guns of the operation.

Turner: This guy looks like one of those para-military types -- you know a kid who had been in the special service or something like that.

Sprague is wrong that the officer in the back is Harkness. The other officer was Billy Bass.

They talk of Bradley being one of the tramps. They are referring to Edgar Eugene Bradley, whom Garrison also charged with conspiring to kill JFK. There was no evidence against him, and Ronald Reagan refused his extradition to New Orleans. Years later, Garrison apologized to Bradley and blamed his staff for the conspiracy charges. You can read the whole story in my book, On The Trail of Delusion - Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser.

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I ought to make it clear that Dick's visit to DP HQ came after the publication of the article, which was concerned with the photo evidence in general.



I talked to Dick Sprague in London in the early seventies. To the best of my recollection, he told me that he had visited Dallas Police HQ with a copy of his article, and shown it to an officer who identified the man who Sprague had concluded was a "phoney policeman" as an authentic Dallas cop, whom he named. No explanation was forthcoming for the footwear which had aroused Dick's suspicions or the earpiece, or for why the "tramps" vanished from the radar so soon after the arrest.

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