(d) Comparison of photographs of Joseph Milteer with that of an unidentified Dallas motorcade spectator


  1. An unidentified motocade spectator who bears a strong resemblance to Joseph Adams Milteer, a militant right-wing organizer who is alleged to have been a. possible conspirator in the assassination, appears in the background of a photograph that was taken by Associated Press photographer James W. Altgens less than a minute before the assassination occurred. (202) The presidential limousine can be seen passing the Dal-Tex building on Houston Street just before the vehicle turned south onto Elm Street in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building. The spectator in question is seen standing on the east side of Houston Street, just beyond the limousine. He is a white male appearing to be about 60 +- 10 years of age. Immediately to his right is a taller man wearing a dark hat, coat and necktie. (See figure IV-4O, JFK Exhibit F-124).

    FIGURE IV-40.--Altgens 1-5 photograph taken on Houston Street.

  2. Milteer's possible involvement in the assassination was first brought to public attention by Harold Weisberg, the author, who described a taped conversation that allegedly took place in Miami, Fla. 13 days before the assassination between Milteer and a Miami police informant, Willie A. Somersett (both now deceased).(203) During the taped discussion, a voice identified as that of Joseph Milreer says that a plan to kill the President is "in the working" and describes how the President could be shot from an office building with a highpowered rifle."(204) FBI documents describe subsequent interviews, both with a "reliabe informant" (205) relating further incrimininating comments by Milteer regarding the events of the assassination, (206) and with Milteer, who denied any involvement.(207) These FBI documents were retained in the Warren Commission files, but the Commission is said not to have investigated this matter further.(208)

  3. Assassination critics raise the possibility that Milteer was an active participant in a conspiracy and present in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination as evidenced by the Altgens photograph.(209) The man the critics claim is Milteer also appears in a few frames of the Bell, Nix and Muchmore motion picture films.

    2. ISSUE

  4. By comparing known photographs of Milteer with photographs of the motorcade spectator in Dealey Plaza, is it possible to determine whether the spectator, in fact, is Milteer?


  5. (a) The photographs of Joseph Milreer consist of the following items:

    FIGURE IV--41.--Undated studio photographs of Joseph Milteer.
    Figure IV-41.-Two undated 5 x 7-inch black-and-white studio poraits stamped "Modern Studio, '219 W. Adams Street,, Jacksonville, Florida." In these, the subject appears to be about 40 -+ 5 years old. As Milteer was born in 1909, these photographs probably date from the 1940's or early 1950's.
    Figure IV-42.--A 3 x 3-inch snapshot of Milteer seated in chair. A 1957 calendar appears in the background.
    Figure IV-43,-A 3 x 4-inch black-and-white photograph. This photograph is undated, but judging from the subject's apparent age is obviously later than Figure IV; 41 photographs and probably also later than figure IV.
    Figure IV 44.--A 3.5 x 5.5-inch black-and-white photograph of Milteer standing beside an unidentified elderly woman. It is undated, but is said to have been taken in the early 1970's when Milteer was about 70 years old.
    FIGURE IV-42.--Color snapshot of Joseph Milteer. Note 1957 calendar in background.
    FIGURE IV-43.--Undated photograph of Joseph Milteer.
    FIGURE IV-44.--Photograph of Joseph Milteer taken in early 1970's.

  6. (b) Prints of the spectators were made from the original Altgens negative. (See fig. IV-45, JFK Exhibit F-563). In addition both the Altgens negative and relevant frames of the Bell film were subjected to digital image processing. (210)* (See fig. IV--16).


  7. Milteer resembles the Kennedy motorcade spectator in age and general facial configuration. The spectator appears to have worn eyeglasses similar in general style to those favored by Milteer. The spectator, however, does not resemble Milteer in upper lip thickness; he is also partially bald, whereas Milteer apparently had a full head of hair in the photograph that was taken several years after the assassination. (See fig. IV-44). Most significantly, Milteer's reported stature of inches places him about 6 inches under the spectator's estimated stature.*
    * computer enhancement of the spectator as seen in the Bell film did not produce usable results.

  8. In the absence of evidence that (1) Milteer had become extensively bald by 1963 or was wearing a hairpiece in the postassassination photograph, or that (2) Milteer's statural estimate of 64 inches is incorrect, the motorcade spectator could not have been Joseph Milteer.

    First. Metric analyisis

  9. Although several enlargements and an enhanced photograph of the spectator have been furnished for examination, they are not sufficiently sharp to permit any meaningful comparison based on facial measurements and indices. (See Fig. IV-46).

    Second. Age

  10. The age of the motorcade spectator is estimated at 60 plus or minus 10 years. Milteer was approximately 61 years old in 1963.(211)

    Third. Eyeglasses

  11. In all three photographs of Milteer taken during his later years he is wearing eyeglasses with composite frames (plastic upper rims, wire lower) and a broad metal nosepiece. (See figs. IV-42 and IV-44). The spectator is also wearing spectacles which appear to be of the same general style favored by Milteer. (See fig. IV-46.)

    Fourth. Lip Thickness

  12. All of the available Milteer photographs show that the membranous position of Milteer's upper lip was very thin. The enhanced photographs of the spectator suggest a rather full and thick upper lip. (See fig. IV-46). This is not a trait apt to be influenced by normal variation in facial expression.

    Fifth. Hair

  13. In the earliest photographs Milteer has a full, regular hairline with no central or lateral retreat suggestive of incipient baldness. (See figure IV-41). In the photograph that was apparently taken when Milteer was shout 55 years old, his hairline is virtually identical to that of the earlier photographs. (See figure IV-42). The latest photograph, taken about 5 decade after the assassination, shows Milteer with a full head of hair. (See figure IV-44). The spectator, however, appears to have little, if any, hair. The extent of his balding, though, could not be ascertained; no hairline is visible, and in fact, the entire frontal crown of his head appears bare. (See figure IV-16).


  14. The only available height record on Milteer gives his stature of 64 inches. (21.2) This corresponds to about the seventh statural percentile of American males. That is, about 93 out of 100 adult American men would be taller than Milteer. Also, about 35 percent of adult American females would exceed Milteer's reported height.(213) In contrast, the spectator alleged to be Milteer is taller than 4 of the 7 other males and all of the 16 females in the line of spectators shown in the motorcade photograph. Based upon Milteer's reported height, the probability of randomly selecting a group of Americans where so many are shorter than Milteer's reported height is .0000007. Moreover, an analysis based upon actual measurements of certain physical features shown in the photograph yields a height estimate for the spectator of about 70 inches--6 inches taller than Milteer's reported stature.*
    *See infra, pars. 625-659.



  15. According to the only known physical description of Milteer, he was 64 inches (162.6 cm) in height.(214) As errors of as much as 2 inches are not uncommon in police and medical records,(215) we will assume that his true stature was somewhere between 62 and 66 inches (157.5-167.6 cm). The key question, then, is whether or not the stature of the motorcade spectator falls within the estimated stature range of Milteer. If so, the finding would not, of course, prove that the spectator was indeed Milteer but would at least be consistent with this theory. If, however, the spectator's stature falls outside the rangs, it would substantially decrease the likelihood that he is Milteer.

    Materials and methods

  16. The photograph on which the following analysis was based was taken from the intersection of Main and Houston shortly after the presidential limousine had turned right onto Houston Street from Main. (See figure IV-4O). The view takes in the entire front of the Dallas County Records Building and a portion of the Dal-Tex Building. Direction of view is toward the northeast.

  17. In this photograph, the spectator in question is a balding white male in a light-colored short-sleeve shirt who appears to be about 60 210 years of age. He is standing in the line of spectators arrayed along the sidewalk in front of the records building. Immediately to his right is a tall white male in a dark suit and hat.

  18. For the analysis, the committee furnished the original 35 millimeter black-and-white negative taken by James Altgens. Our photographic measurements were made from an 8 x 10 inch enlargement of the negative. See figure IV-45. Angular measurements were recorded to the nearest 0.10 and taken with a Lutz-10 inch protractor. Linear measurements were taken with a needlepoint Helios dial caliper to the nearest 0.1 millimeter. Each angular and linear measurement reported here represents the mean of three trials.

    The site

  19. A map of the site (Warren Commission exhibit 882, 17:901) shows the sidewalk fronting the records building to be of uniform width (10 feet) from the Houston-Elm corner southward to where it curves into the driveway between the records building and the Criminal Courts Building. From measurements by the committee (211) the elevation of the sidewalk in relation to the records building was found to be uniform. The street, however, slopes slightly upward so that the curb is higher near the driveway entrance than at the Houston-Elm corner.
    *A detailed analysis of the available statural data is given infra, pars. 625-659.


  20. Physical features of particular importance in the following analysis are the two tall street signposts located a short distance north of the spectator alleged to be Milteer. (See fig. IV-45). Each post holds three vertically arranged signs, the lowest of which bears the notice "no parking except police officers." According to information supplied by the, committee, the, standard dimensions for such signs in Dallas are 12 x 18 inches and, in 1963, city regulations specified that the bottom edge, of the lowest sign be set 80 inches above the sidewalk.

    Vertical and horizontal reference lines* of motorcade photograph

  21. The vertical reference line (VRL) of the motorcade photograph is taken as coincident. with the northwest corner of the Dallas County Records Building. The horizontal reference line (HRL) which represents the elevation of the center of the camera lens, can be calculated from the perspective angles of two transverse masonry seams that run across the west face the records building. (See fig. IV-45). The upper of these seams passes along the bottom edge of a large window. The lower line is partially obscured by the heads of the spectators. The upper line slopes upward, and the lower line slopes slightly downward from. left to right; therefore, the HRL must pass between them and also perpendicular to the VRL.

  22. The law of perspective dictates that the two masonry lines, if extended indefinitely: would meet at the vanishing point of the photograph.** Consequently, their extensions may be visualized as forming the sides of a triangle, ABC, the apex of which is the vanishing point and the base of which is that segment of the VRL subtended by the angle of convergence of the masonry lines. Since, as noted above, the HRL must pass between the masonry lines and is also perpendicular to VRL, it can be visualized as subdividing the triangle ABC into two smaller right triangles AHC and HBC (See figure IV-47).

  23. The angles a and a measured from the photograph arc 89.0(deg) and 87.5% respectively, and and since the distance of HRL above the intersection of the lowest masonry line with VRL is about 28.6% (= .286 x 100) of the total distance between masonry lines. When projected onto the photograph, the HRL is seen to pass slightly above the head of the alleged Milteer. (See Figure IV-47).
    *Measurements are made above and below a hypothetical plane known as the datum plane or horizontal reference line, analogus to measurements that a geographer reports relative to sea level. Vertical distances are measured along or parallel to a vertical reference line that runs perpendicular to the horizontal reference line.
    **For a discussion of the "vanishing point" concept see pars. 414~17 supra.

    FIGURE IV-45.--Enlargement of original Altgens photograph used in stature analysis of spectator alleged to be Joseph Milteer. Enhancement by digital image processing
    FIGURE IV-46.--Enlarged enhancements of spectator from Altgens photograph.
    FIGURE IV-47.--Derivation of the vanishing point (C) and the horizontal reference line (HRL) from the Altgens photograph, using masonry lines and the northwest corner of the Dallas County Records Building as the vertical reference line (VRL).

    The spectators

  24. Approximately 60 spectators are shown in the motorcade photograph. (See figure IV-40). They are standing in an irregular line stretching from the south end of the Records Building northwards to the vicinity of the southwest corner of the Dal-Tex Building. At the south end of this line a, re five males, four of whom are standing in the street in front of an automobile parked near the driveway entrance. The fifth man of is group is sitting on the fender of the, automobile. At the north end of the line, extending from the southeast corner of the sidewalk of the Houston-Elm intersection, most of the spectators are also standing in the street.

  25. Between these two groups, is an intermediate segment of the spectator line consisting of 28 individuals, including the alleged Milteer. (See figure IV-45). In the motorcade photograph, the lower bodies of these spectators are obscured by the presidential limousine so that it is impossible to determine whether they are standing in the street or on the curb. Nevertheless, other motorcade films show that the individuals in the north portion of this line, including the spectator under investigation, are standing along the edge of the, sidewalk. (218) Judging from their relative height and position, it seems reasonable to assume that the persons in the south end of this line are also on the sidewalk. At the south end of this line is a white female shading her eyes with a parcel held in her left hand; the line ends with a Black man wearing a dark hat who is standing just to the left of the utility pole at the northwest corner of the Records Building.

  26. Besides the alleged Milteer, this group of sidewalk spectators consists of 27 individuals. The sex of two cannot be determined as they are nearly totally obscured by other spectators. Among the remaining 25 are 17 women and 8 men. Two of these spectators, a male in a nonmilitary uniform, and a, very short. female standing immediately on the left, of the man alleged to be Milreer, appear to be rather young individuals who may not have attained adult stature. The remaining 7 males and 16 females are adults ranging from about. 20 to 60 years of age. Two of the males and six of the females are Black. Judging from their short stature and rather dark complexions, it is possible that as many as 4 of the 10 Caucasoid females may be of Mexican American ethnic extraction.

  27. Thus, in terms of age and ethnic composition, the group seems fairly representative of the urban population of Dallas during the 1960's. (219) The preponderance of females might be accounted for by the relatively large number of women employees in the many retail stores, business offices and local government agencies in this area of downtown Dallas. Barring undue sampling errors, the average stature of both sexes in the group might be expected to approximate the mean stature of the general U.S. adult population.

    Methods of analysis

  28. The hypothesis that the spectator's stature falls within Milteer's stature range of 64 -2 inches can be tested by two methods:

  29. 1. Estimation of the spectator's height in relation to the street signs; and

  30. 2. Relating his height to the heights of the other sidewalk spectators.

  31. Although possibly redundant, using both methods is advantageous as they are independent; that is, neither relies on information used in the other. More specifically, the first method could be used even if the alleged Milteer were standing alone on the sidewalk and, conversely, the second method does not depend on the presence of the street signs in the photograph. As each method is based upon different assumptions and subject to different errors, they provide a valuable check upon one another.

  32. Both methods share the assumption that the elevation of the sidewalk, from north to south, is uniform. Beyond this, each method has a unique assumption:

  33. Method 1.---The signpost dimensions provided the Committee by Dallas Street Department officials are correct. This must be assumed because the actual signs seen in the 1963 photograph have been removed and, thus, can no longer be measured directly.

  34. Method 2.--In using this method it is assumed that, as a group, the stature of the adult men and women standing along the sidewalk approximate the statural norms of the general U.S. population of the 1960's.

    Test I: Estimation of height from street signs

  35. If the spectator happened to have been standing against one of the signposts, it could be used as a simple measuring rod to obtain a measurement of his stature. Unfortunately, this is not so; therefore this would violate the geometric rules of perspective by simply passing a horizontal line across the top of the spectator's head and using its intersection with one of the signposts as the measuring point.

  36. Imagine, however, that there was a third sign, identical to the other two, positioned immediately behind the spectator. Such a sign would provide an ideal measuring rod as the spectator is standing by the edge of the sidewalk.

    FIGURE IV-48.--Estimation of spectator's height from street signs.

  37. Taking the laws of perspective into account, this imaginary sign can be constructed by passing two lines connecting the tops and bottoms of the real signs to a point immediately above the top of the spectator's head. A vertical line, perpendicular to HRL, passing upward from the top of the spectator's head represents the post of the imaginary sign. (See figure IV-48, JFK exhibit F--562.) This sign will have the same actual dimensions of the other two: its length is 18 inches and its lower border is 80 inches above the sidewalk. From these relationships the spectator's stature can be calculated from the

    formula: Stature, inches = H - (s x d)/s' where
    H=height of lower border of sign above sidewalk in inches
    s =actual length of sign in inches
    s'=length of sign measured on photograph in millimeters
    d=distance from top of spectators head to lower border of sign measuredon photograph in millimeters

  38. In the present case, H=80 inches, s=18 inches, s'=16.1 mm and d=9.1 mm, so
    spectator's stature = 80 - (18 x 9.1)/16.1 inches = 80 - 10.2 inches = 69.8 inches

  39. In round figures, the stature of the alleged Milteer would have been about 70 inches (177.8 cm) or 5 foot, 10 inches. Tires, he would have been about 2.5 inches taller than the average 55--64 year old U.S. male of the early 1960s. (220) More importantly, he exceeds Joseph Milteer's reported stature of 64 inches by 6 inches.

    Test 2 Stature relative to other spectators

  40. Just as an imaginary sign has been created, it may be imagined that the two real signs have vanished. Now there is no convenient measuring rod against which the spectator's stature may be measured. Nevertheless, inspection of the photograph shows that, among the adult spectators lining the sidewalk, only one, the man in the Black hat standing next to him, is clearly taller than the alleged Milteer. (See figure IV-49, JFK exhibit F-563). Allowing for perspective, it is possible that the two Black males toward the end of the line arc also assumed they are, then four of the seven males can be counted as shorter than the spectator. He is also definitely taller than all of the 16 adult females among the sidewalk spectators.

    FIGURE IV 49.--Spectator's stature relative to other bystanders.

  41. Consider then the null hypothesis that the spectator is actually only 64 inches in height. If so, he has managed to insert himself among an apparently random group of 23 adults of whom 7 men and 16 women are shorter than he. Such an elfin array would be unlikely to congregate through chance alone in downtown Dallas, Tex.

  42. According to a nationwide anthropometric survey of adult Americans conducted in 1960-62, the median height of males was 68.3 inches (173.5 cm) and, of females 62.9 inches (159.8 cm). Furthermore, only about 7 percent of men were under 64 inches in height. Approximately 65 percent of adult females were shorter than 64 inches. (221) Stated differently, if the spectator's stature was only 64 inches, he would be shorter than about 93 percent of adult men and 35 percent adult women.

  43. As adult stature is normally distributed, the probability of randomly selecting a group of 16 adult women shorter than 64 inches from the general population is as follows:

  44. The probability of randomly selecting a group of seven American men, four of whom are less than 64 inches in height is as follows:

  45. Since. P$ and P? are independent the probability of randomly selecting a group of sixteen females and seven males with the above-defined statural characteristics is even smaller: In other words, the odds are less than a million to one that the spectator is as short as 64 inches--Joseph Milteer's reported stature.

  46. For the sake of argument, it may be assumned that the 64-inch stature record of Milteer understates his true height by two inches, making him 66 inches tall. According to the survey cited above, about 85 percent of women and 20 percent of men are less than 66 inches in stature. Using the same approach detailed above, the probability is as follows: Stated as odds, the chances are about, 25 out of 100,000 that, the spectator was as short as 66 inches.

  47. By the same method it can be shown that the probability the spectator was at least 70 inches in height is 0.87. That is, the odds are about 9 to 1 that he was as tall as estimated from the street signs.


  48. By two independent tests, it can be shown that the spectator alledged to be Milteer was substantially taller than the Milteer's reported hieght of 64+-2 inches. The first method provides a hieght estimate about 70 inches through comparison with the reported dimensions of two street signs shown in the motorcade. The, second demonstrates that the, probability of the spectator's height falling within the range given for Milteer is statistically remote.

  49. The findings of both tests support the conclusion that the spectator was not Joseph Milteer.

e. The three tramps