Witnesses Who Did Not Testify at the Trial of Clay Shaw



Niles "Lefty" Peterson. According to Perry Russo, he was accompanied to the party where the alleged conspiratorial meeting took place by Niles "Lefty" Peterson and Sandra Moffett, though both left early. Moffett first said she would testify, then fled extradition and said that she did not go to the party and that she did not meet David Ferrie until 1965. Peterson, on the other hand, did remember attending the party with Russo and remembered a Leon Oswald present there (no Clem Bertrand, however). [William Davy interview with Niles Peterson. Also, DiEugenio 144, citing Popkin, Richard. "Garrison's Case." New York Review of Books, September 14, 1967.]

Clyde Johnson. According to Florida attorney and JFK researcher Carol Hewett, Clyde Johnson was to be Garrison's primary evidence of an overt act on the part of Clay Shaw to the conspiracy allegedly witnessed by Perry Russo. Bill Davy writes:

In addition to many of the witnesses who did testify at the Shaw trial, this trial brief [Bethell's] contained several who did not. The most notable exclusion was that of Clyde Johnson. In 1963, Johnson was a candidate for governor of Louisiana and was campaigning in New Orleans. Sometime in July or August of that year, Johnson was paged in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel, where he was staying. The party who paged him introduced himself as Alton Bernard and the two sat down and conferred for about a half-hour. Bernard told Johnson he had seen him on television and encouraged Johnson to keep up with his current anti-Kennedy harangues. Bernard was particularly angry at Kennedy's Cuban policies, expressing rage over the Bay of Pigs affair. To assist Johnson, Bernard "contributed" $2,000 to Johnson. After this, Johnson received several telephone calls from Bernard, always supportive of Johnson's anti-JFK rhetoric. In early September, Bernard asked Johnson to meet him at the Capitol House Hotel in Baton Rouge. When Bernard arrived, he was accompanied by a man introduced as "Leon." Johnson's description of Leon was identical to Perry Russo's identification of the grubby, erstwhile Ferrie roommate, Leon Oswald. Bernard, Johnson, and Leon were subsequently joined by an unidentified, mustachioed Cuban and a man known as Jack. Johnson recalled, "I left the room to go to the bathroom and while in there I overheard a conversation among the three men. One of them said, to the effect that he would get him. I heard Alton Bernard say there was some others working on this. I thought they were talking about me so I went and got my pistol out of my briefcase and a thought flashed through my mind to either go out the door and get to a telephone when I heard one say, 'Well, he's got to come down from Washington the pressure is on. He's got to come back.' So I knew that they weren't talking about me then and I came back into the room and Jack said, 'What about him?' and pointed toward me. Alton Bernard said, 'That's alright. He's one of my boys.'" Later Johnson would identify Jack as Jack Ruby, Leon as Lee Harvey Oswald and Alton Bernard as Clay Shaw. ... Whether Johnson was a kook or the genuine article we'll never know. The jury never got the opportunity to decide on his credibility. In February of 1969, he was severely beaten and never testified. Five months later he was killed in a shotgun attack near Greensburg, Louisiana. [Davy, Bill. Let Justice Be Done (Reston, Virginia: Jordan Publishing, 1999) p. 310n.8]

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune, courtesy John McAdams:

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ATTACHMENT 10-A -- NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE - JULY 24,1969, SEC. 2, P.3

"CLYDE JOHNSON KILLED, REPORT"Felled by Shotgun Blast, Sheriff Says

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GREENSBURG, La. (AP) - Clyde Johnson, 37, a lay preacher and onetime merchant who announced but never qualified as gubernatorial and congressional candidate, was fatally shot Wednesday, Sheriff R.G. Bridges said. Johnson was felled by a 12-gauge shotgun blast and lived about 30 minutes, the sheriff said.

The shooting happened at the home of Ralph McMillan, 10 miles north of Greensburg. Johnson was on the doorstep of the McMillan residence when he was shot, the sheriff said.

Bridges said McMillan was arrested and taken to the St. Helena Parish jail.

McMillan was booked for homicide investigation, the sheriff said, and will be given a hearing here Thursday.

Johnson's wife is McMillan's second cousin and also a first cousin of McMillan's wife. McMillan is a brother of Fernie E. McMillan, who was Johnson's announced candidate for lieutenant governor in the 1963 campaign.

Johnson, the sheriff said, had been living for the past several weeks in a trailer home several hundred yards away from the McMillan place. Johnson, at various times, announced he would be a candidate for governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator. He never filed former candidacy papers and his name never appeared on a ballot.

In 1963 he said he was running for governor. Several hours after the filing deadline that year, Johnson, from a hospital bed at West Monroe, claimed his papers had disappeared from his auto after he head been involved in a wreck the previous day.

He said he had instructed his attorney to bring him a new set of papers from Alexandria but the lawyer did not show up.

A year later he said he would run the 6th Congressional District House seat. Prior to the deadline he said he was withdrawing because a fire had destroyed his Greensburg store and he financially unable to make the race. Johnson announced in 1966 he would oppose the re-election bid of Sen. Allen J. Ellender, D-La.

He first attracted attention early in 1963 when he was thrown out of the State AFL-CIO convention at Baton Rouge after attempting to make an impromptu speech.

A native of Hinds County, Miss., Johnson claimed to be a key witness in New Orleans Dist. Atty. Jim Garrison's Kennedy assassination probe. He was subpoenaed by Garrison in 1967 and testified before the Orleans Parish Grand Jury.

A few days before Clay L. Shaw went on trial last January in New Orleans, Johnson held a news conference and said, "I'm the ace- in-the-hole in Garrison's case."

A day later , New Orleans police said Johnson had been arrested and booked on a charge of refusing to pay a $162.49 bill at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Johnson did not appear as a witness on the trial of Shaw, who was acquitted of conspiring to kill President John F. Kennedy.

In March 1965, sheriff's deputies at Baton Rouge said they arrested Johnson after he lined up several persons at a truck stop and tried to search them for a weapon. Booked on charges of disturbing the peace and impersonating an officer, Johnson was quoted as saying he was looking for a gun used in a Baton Rouge murder.

Police at Franklinton said they arrested Johnson in March 1967 on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery.

In recent years, Johnson listed Kentwood as his home.

Edward McMillan. Provided corroboration for Johnson. Davy writes:

"Partial corroboration of Johnson's story came from his running mate, Edward McMillan. He recalled a post-election celebration in January of 1964 at the Monteleone Hotel where Johnson was staying. Among the crowd of revelers in Johnson's room, was a man McMillan would identify as Clay Shaw." (Davy 310n.8, citing NODA's office statement of Edward McMillan, April 11, 1967).

Peter Vea writes:

APRIL 11, 1967 - To Garrison from Ivon concerning statement of Ed McMillan of Kentwood, LA, who was Clyde Johnson's Lt. Governor running partner, about 1/11/64 encounter in Monteleone Hotel in N.O. with Clay Shaw and Clyde Johnson. Actually it just proves they (Johnson & Shaw) knew each other. [Peter Vea's notes on 4/11/67 memo, printed in Vea, Peter. The Peter Vea Index: Chronology and Summaries of Files from the Garrison Investigation (Sylmar, California: CTKA, 1995) p. 15]

Richard Case Nagell. Conspiracy witness against Clay Shaw. Garrison writes:

"I asked him whether these other men and Oswald all were working together on the project or whether the others were manipulating Oswald. He thought this question through at some length. Then he said that he did not pretend to have been close enough to know for sure, but his intuition was that the others had manipulated Oswald from the outset.

"I asked him the names of the other men. He hesitated, but when the answer came, it was specific: Guy Banister, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie." [Garrison, Jim. On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Warner Books, 1991) p. 216]

J. Monroe Sullivan. Witnessed mysterious behavior on the part of Clay Shaw. William Turner writes:

"I spoke with J. Monroe Sullivan, director of the San Francisco World Trade Center, which in 1963 was the only sister organization to the New Orleans Trade Mart. Sullivan recalled that some three weeks before the assassination, Clay Shaw, whom he had never met, phoned to ask him to put on a luncheon for that date because he had a program to obtain tenants for the International House in New Orleans, an affiliate of the Trade Mart. Shaw would send out the invitations and pay for everything. According to Sullivan, Shaw arrived at the San Francisco World Trade Center around mid-morning on November 22. As they were conversing, there was a bulletin that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. Sullivan was stunned, but Shaw exhibited no reaction. A few minutes later, when the news arrived that the president was dead, Sullivan asked Shaw if he wanted to continue wtih the luncheon. He did. Sullivan called for a moment of silence, then introduced Shaw, who made his pitch for the International House. Sullivan was struck by Shaw's seeming indifference to the president's death." [Turner, William. Rearview Mirror (Granite Bay, California: Penmarin Books, 2001) p. 178-179]

William Morris. Witness to Shaw's use of Bertrand alias. Vea writes:

JULY 14, 1967 - William Martin & Boxley interview of William Morris in a Texas prison. He says when he was 18 he met a Clay Bertrand at a gay bar, the Masquerade Bar in June 1958, with Eugene Davis introducing him (Davis seems to be Shaw's pimp). The meeting was for sexual purposes. His roommate, Art, worked for Davis at Court of Two Sisters. He saw Shaw on T.V. and recognized him as this Clay Bertrand. Shaw told him he worked for G.E. They went to Gene Davis' apartment for the sexual encounter. He saw him 2 other times at Davis' place. Shaw paid $20 for the sex. He mentions a yacht owner, Bill Boone, who also knew Shaw by the name of Clay Bertrand. He says someone looking like Jack Ruby came to his apartment with Shaw for 3 minutes or so (by mistake). (Vea 24)

Mr. L.P. Davies, Jr. Witness to Shaw association with David Ferrie. Vea writes:

MARCH 27, 1967 - From Charles Ward to James Alcock. A Mr. L.P. Davies, Jr. informs that Ferrie was a free lance pilot for Trans Gulf Airways in 1965. On July 11, 1963 Ferrie made a reservation and flew or made arrangements for Shaw to be flown there for Shaw to go fishing on a Louisiana island. (Vea 13)

Charles Krop. Witness to Shaw's association with David Ferrie and his involvement in Anti-Castro activity. Vea writes:

MARCH 29, 1967 - To Garrison from Sgt. Duffy concerning telephone interview with Charles Krop of Chicago who got a phone call from Cubans after Nov. 22, 1963 about killing Castro. They mentioned Shaw and Ferrie as the 2 men handling finances for this in New Orleans. He had a tape but was afraid of Cubans so wouldn't send it. He also had contacted the FBI who listened to tape.

MARCH 29, 1967 - To J.G. from Sgt. Duffy. RE:Charles Krop. He lives in Chicago. He says shortly after J.F.K.'s death some Cubans contacted him for anti-Castro activities and funds. The FBI was interested so Krop taped 2 Cubans who told him Ferrie and Shaw in N.O. were responsible for the organization. Krop later reneged on his promise to send the tape to J.G. because he was afraid (He also had revisited the FBI.) He said Carlos Rodriguez & Daniel Milian were the 2 Cubans. They said Rusk & CIA knew about their work. (Vea 13)

Thomas Breitner. Witness to Shaw's use of Bertrand alias. Vea writes:

SEPTEMBER 23, 1967 - To J.G. from Bill Turner. Informant Thomas Breitner says when Shaw stopped 11/22/63 at U. of Cal. S.F. lab, he introduced himself as Clay Bertram [sic] and once said Clem but corrected himself. (Vea 30)

Joe Newbrough. Witness to Shaw's association with Banister and Ferrie. William Davy writes:

"Banister operative Joe Newbrough recounted to the author an incident that took place in the early 1960's. Banister and Ferrie were meeting in Banister's office, when Banister asked Newbrough to get Clay Shaw on the phone. Newbrough called the ITM [International Trade Mart] and reached Shaw. Banister told Newbrough to hand the phone to Ferrie, whereby Ferrie and Shaw proceeded to confer with each other." (Davy 93-94)

Betty Rubio. Witness to Shaw's association with David Ferrie. William Davy writes:

"Betty Rubio worked at Lakefront Airport and knew Ferrie. Shortly before April of 1964, while standing in the ramp office, she noticed a plane taxi up to the office. Ferrie got out, talked to her for a bit, and then went back to his plane, where Clay Shaw met him. Shaw and Ferrie talked for a while and then Ferrie got in his plane as Shaw walked past her towrad the terminal building." (Davy 185-186)