TESTIMONY OF EMMET J. HUDSON

The Testimony of Emmet J. Hudson was taken at 10:40 a.m., on July 22, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Eray Streets, Dalla, Tex, by Mr. Wesley J. Liebeler, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.

Mr. LIEBELER - Would you raise your right hand and take the oath? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. HUDSON - I Do.
Mr. LIEBELER - My name is Wesley J. Liebeler. I am attorney on the staff of the President's Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - I have been authorized to take your testimony by the Commission pursuant to authority granted to it by Executive Order 11130, dated November 29, 1963, and the joint resolution of Congress No. 137.
Pursuant to the rules of the Commission you are entitled to have an attorney present if you wish, and you are entitled to 3 days' notice of the hearing. I don't think you did get 3 days' notice of it, but since you are here I assume you are willing to go ahead?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you want to have an attorney present?
Mr. HUDSON - I don't know that it is necessary - no, is it?
Mr. LIEBELER - No; I don't think it is at all necessary. Most of the witnesses don't have one present. We just have a few questions. Will you state your full name, please?
Mr. HUDSON - Emmett J. Hudson.
Mr. LIEBELER - What is your address?
Mr. HUDSON - 107 South Bishop.
Mr. LIEBELER - It is my understanding that you are employed by the Dallas Park Department and you are the grounds keeper of Dealey Plaza; is that correct?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, Sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Were you the grounds keeper of Dealey Plaza on or about November 22, 1963?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I have been there about 6 years.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us where you were on November 22, 1963, at around noon, around the time the Presidential motorcade came by?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I was over there next to that T. & P. Railroad yard where the little toolshed was.
Mr. LIEBELER - What was the nearest intersection to where you were?
Mr. HUDSON - Elm.
Mr. LIEBELER - Elm and What?
Mr. HUDSON - Houston.
Mr. LIEBELER - Elm and Houston?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - How far away from the corner of Elm and Houston were you at the time the motorcade came by?
Mr. HUDSON - Oh, I suppose that it's about - the best I can estimate is somewhere about 200 yards, I guess, down Elm and Houston when the motorcade came along - that's about where I was.
Mr. LIEBELER - You were right by where the motorcade came by; is that right?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us to the best of your recollection what you saw and tell us just what happened when the motorcade came along?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, I was standing on those steps that came straight down to Elm there, just above that triple underpass, I was about halfway between the tripple underpass and Houston, where the steps are - somewhere near about halfway.
Mr. LIEBELER - I show you a photograph which is No. 18 of Commission Exhibit No. 875. It depicts the street and the triple underpass. Can you show us on that picture, if that picture shows it the place where you were standing?
Mr. HUDSON - Let me see - That's the triple underpass down there - I don't believe this picture gets those steps - yes; it does, too - here they are - I recognize it now - here it is right here.
Mr. LIEBELER - Where are the steps?
Mr. HUDSON - Here they are - right there.
Mr. LIEBELER - It is the series of steps that runs right down the street there?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Can you show me just where you were standing?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, I was right along - you see, the steps come down the steps for a way and then there is a broad place, oh, I'll say a little wider than this table here on the steps and then some steps and I was standing on this - that would be somewhere around along about there.
Mr. LIEBELER - Let me just mark on that picture the place where you were standing so that we can have that.
Mr. HUDSON - Right along about there.
Mr. LIEBELER - It was right here where I have placed this "X", is that correct?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; right along in there.
Mr. LIEBELER - So, you were standing about where I placed the "X" on photograph No. 18 of Commission Exhibit No. 875. Tell me what you saw - tell me what happened to the best of your recollection.
Mr. HUDSON - Well there was a young fellow, oh, I would judge his age about in his late twenties. He said he had been looking for a place to park and he walked up there and he said he finally just taken a place over there in one of them parking lots, and he come on down there and said he worked over there on Industrial and me and him both just sat there first on those steps. When the motorcade turned off of Houston onto Elm, we got up and stood up, me and him both. He was on the left side and I was on the right and so the first shot rung out and, of course, I didn't realize it was a shot, what was taking place right at that present time, and when the second one rung out, the motorcade had done got further on down Elm, and you see, I was trying to get a good look at President Kennedy. I happened to be looking right at him when that bullet hit him - the second shot.
Mr. LIEBELER - That was when the bullet hit him in the head; is that correct?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; it looked like it ht him somewhere along about a little bit behind the ear and a little bit above the ear.
Mr. LIEBELER - On the right-hand side or the left-hand side?
Mr. HUDSON - Right hand.
Mr. LIEBELER - Can you tell me approximately where the President's car was when you heard what you later figured was the first shot?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, the best I could get right off - I remember it was right about this lightpost right here.
Mr. LIEBELER - You are indicating the first lightpost on the right-hand side of Elm Street?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; coming off Houston, you see, there's a lightpost right there close to Houston Street, right there, just above this little crook right here.
Mr. LIEBELER - That lightpost doesn't show in the picture you have here?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; it doesn't show in the picture - it was about, I believe, where the first shot was fired.
Mr. LIEBELER - You think he was by the lightpost in this picture when the first shot was fired?
Mr. HUDSON - Right along there is about where President Kennedy's car was when he was hit - at the time I was looking right at him when the shot struck him, when the bullet struck him.
Mr. LIEBELER - How many shots did you here altogether?
Mr. HUDSON - Three.
Mr. LIEBELER - Three shots?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Are you sure about that?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - You say that it was the second shot that hit him in the head; is that right?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I do believe that - I know it was.
Mr. LIEBELER - You saw him hit in the head, there wasn't any question in your mind about that, was there?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - And after you saw him hit in the head, did you here another shot?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see that shot hit anything - the third shot?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir. I'll tell you - this young fellow that was sitting there with me - standing there with me at the present time, he says, "lay down, Mister, somebody is shooting the President." He says, "Lay down, lay down." and he kept repeating, "Lay down." so he was already laying down one way on the sidewalk, so I just laid down over on the ground and resting my arm on the ground and when that third shot rung out and when I was close to the ground - you could tell the shot was coming from above and kind of behind.
Mr. LIEBELER - How could you tell that?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, just the sound of it.
Mr. LIEBELER - You heard it come from sort of behind the motorcade and then above?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I don't know if you have ever laid down close to the ground, you know, when you heard the reports coming, but it's a whole lot plainer than it is when you are standing up in the air.
Mr. LIEBELER - You were standing down here where we put the "X"?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - You say when the President was hit in the head he was up here by the first lamppost on the right-hand side of the post that shows in the picture?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; right along in here.
Mr. LIEBELER - That's when he got hit in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I think so.
Mr. LIEBELER - Are you sure about that?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir; I am.
Mr. LIEBELER - So you had to look up Elm Street?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I was looking up this way, you see. You see [indicating on photograph], that's the motorcade car right there isn't it?
Mr. LIEBELER - Yes; the picture that we are looking at here is a picture of a renactment of the scene.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; so right along about even with these steps, pretty close to even with this here, the last shot was fired - somewhere right along in there.
Mr. LIEBELER - You think the last shot was fired and the car was about where it actually is in that picture when the third shot was fired?
Mr. HUDSON - Pretty close to it; yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - But you think the President had already been hit in the head by the time the third shot was fired?
Mr. HUDSON - He had been hit twice, so Parkland Hospital said. He was hit in the neck one time and in the head one time.
Mr. LIEBELER - When the first shot was fired, were you looking at the presidential car then; could you see it then?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; it was coming around - it had just got around the corner,you see, from off of Houston Street, making that corner there, come off of Houston onto Elm.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did it look to you like the President was hit by the first shot?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; I don't think so - I sure don't.
Mr. LIEBELER - You don't think he got hit by the first shot?
Mr. HUDSON - No.
Mr. LIEBELER - You say it was the second shot that hit him in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - What happened after the President got hit in the head, did you see what he did, what happened in the car?
Mr. HUDSON - He slumped over and Mrs. Kennedy, she climbs over in the seat with him and pulls him over.
Mr. LIEBELER - Pulled him down in the seat?
Mr. HUDSON - Pulled him over in her lap like.
Mr. LIEBELER - If you don't think the Presidentgot hit by the first shot and yoy say he got hit in the head with the second shot -
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - And if we assume that he was shot twice, you would have to say that he was hit by the third shot; isn't that right?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - He was hit again after he got hit in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you think that could have been possible when Mrs. Kennedy pulled him over, do you think he could have got hit in the neck after he had been hit in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes sir; I do
Mr. LIEBELER - He was still sitting far enough up in the car he could have been hit?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you watch the President after he got hit in the head like that?
Mr. HUDSON - Well as soon as everybody realized what had happened, you know, everybody went to going up the hill so we did too.
Mr. LIEBELER - So you only saw the President hit once; is that right, sir?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir; I just saw him hit once.
Mr. LIEBELER - That was in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - And you aren't able to say from your own observation when he was hit in the neck?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - If he was hit in the neck.
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Could the car have actually been down here where it is in the photograph No. 18, could it have been that far down Elm Street - this is Elm Street that runs down here - right here - could the car have been that far down Elm Street when the President got hit in the head?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; no, sir, it wasn't that far down.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you see this little pedestal back up here?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Just above the "X" where you were standing?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see anybody standing up there that you can remember, durring the time the president went by?
Mr. HUDSON - Oh, there was a bunch of people in there, you know, a whole bunch of them - a lot of people in there - a lot of people in here.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you se anybody standing up there taking motion pictures with a movie camera?
Mr. HUDSON - Oh, yes; I seen people up there trying to get - taking pictures.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see a man with a movie picture camera?
Mr. HUDSON - Not in particular, I didn't. It was such an exciting time - now - I did notice a man back over here on this triangle.
Mr. LIEBELER - Standing across Elm Street?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - With a motion picture camera?
Mr. HUDSON - Well he had a camera - I don't know whether it was a motion picture camera or not, but he had a camera.
Mr. LIEBELER - I show you another picture which we will mark as Hudson Exhibit No. 1. I have put my initials on the back of the picture. Would you do that too so we can identify the picture before we start to talk about it, so we don't get confused?
Mr. HUDSON - You mean - put my name?
Mr. LIEBELER - Just your initials.
Mr. HUDSON - [Marked picture as requested.] Is that all right?
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, let's take a look at that picture, Mr. Hudson, and let me ask you if you can see in that picture, where you were standing?
Mr. HUDSON -(no response.)
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, this picture, Hudson Exhibit No. 1, has a sign in it that says "Stemmons Freeway, keep right." doesn't it?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Can you find that sign on the photograph No. 18 of the Commission Exhibit No. 875? The one that we were talking about before.
Mr. HUDSON - That's right here, I believe - right here.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, that sign says, "R. L. Thornton Freeway, keep right." Where is the Stemmons Freeway sign in this picture? Can you see it in that picture at all - I can't.
Mr. HUDSON - I can't either - that isn't it - it's farther up this way.
Mr. LIEBELER - That's further back up and it's out of the picture?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - There are two signs in picture No. 18, one says, "R.L. Thornton Freeway, keep right." and the other one says, "Fort worth Turnpike, keep right."
Mr. HUDSON - There were two of them that wasn't too far apart right throught here - them signs was - one was right along in here and the other one was either further up, I guess. It's not in that picture - I don't believe. Now, they have moved some of those signs. They have moved the R.L. Thornton Freeway sign and put up a Stemmons sign.
Mr. LIEBELER - They have? They have moved it?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - That might explain it, because this picture here, No. 18, was taken after the assassination and this one was taken at the time - No. 1.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; it had to be right along in there - those steps have got to come down right along in here, if I see the picture right. Npw, this is Elm right here coming around like this - it comes over here and the steps begin right along up in there somewhere and come on down right here to the sidewalk, right along in there somewhere to where those steps is.
Mr. LIEBELER - So, that you think you were standing somewhere in the back left-hand part
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; this was taken at the present time - it happened - this picture was?
Mr. LIEBELER - Yes; this is an actual picture of the motorcade itself; yes sir. Let me suggest that the pictures are taken from different angles, referring to photograph No. 18 of Commission Exhibit No. 875 - there is a little concrete stand here in the very right-hand side of the picture.
Mr. HUDSON - That's just right along in here.
Mr. LIEBELER - That's right, and that appers in Hudson Exhibit No. 1 immediately to the left of the sign that says, "Stemmons Freeway, keep right." does it not?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; those steps are right along there between that concrete - the end of that concrete wall right there and that elm tree come between them - no, not an elm but that's a live oak tree - that's a live oak tree right there.
Mr. LIEBELER - And that's right off of the end of this concrete embankment there, there's a live oak tree there.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Can you see yourself in that picture anywhere, can you mak yourself out?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; I can't , unless it is one of these two men right here - I can't tell - if I had that picture that was taken in the Times Herald paper - I can show you myself in it.
Mr. LIEBELER - Which one is that?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, it was in the Times Herald paper the next morning after, I believe, after the assassination, maybe the evening after the assassination.
Mr. LIEBELER - Look at this picture.
Mr. HUDSON - [Examining picture referred to.] I don't know - if that's one of them men myself or not up there.
Mr. LIEBELER - I have shown you Commission Exhibit No. 203 and you are not able to point to yourself in that picture at any place. Actually, Commission Exhibit No, 203 shows a different area.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir
Mr. LIEBELER - That's a picture from the front of the Texas School Book Depository Building and you wouldn't be in that picture, according to where you placed yourself by looking at Hudson Exhibit No. 1.
Mr. HUDSON - No; I wouldn't be in that at all - I know. If they had that picture that was taken - a fellow was shooting from across Elm up toward those steps here, that showed my picture in it, I believe. Now, I could be one of those men standing right there - I'm not for sure - I wouldn't say for sure that I was one of them or not, but I can't see it well enough to tell.
Mr. LIEBELER - In this picture here you see the car is going down Elm Street, isn't that right, referring to Hudson Exhibit No. 1?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - And it is just about to pass a sign that says, "Stemmons Freeway, keep right." Do you think that the President could have been hit when he was that far back up Elm Street?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - You do think that?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - And you heard another shot after that time?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you think, looking at Hudson Exhibit No. 1, do you think that is about the place where the president got hit in the head, or was it further back up on Elm or was it further down - if so - about where was it?
Mr. HUDSON - That's somewher pretty close.
Mr. LIEBELER - That's pretty close right there?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; it's somewhere pretty close.
Mr. LIEBELER - After you heard these three shots and saw the president get hit in the head, you turned around and you ran up on the little knoll there and you got away.
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - While you were standing there, did you ever look toward the railroad tracks there where they went across the triple underpass?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; while I was laying there I didn't - I was looking down towards Elm Street.
Mr. LIEBELER - So, you never looked up towards the railroad tracks that went across the underpass?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - But you are quite sure in your own mind that the shots came from the rear of the President's car and above it; is that correct?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you have any idea that they might have come from the Texas School Book Depository Building?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, it sounded like it was high, you know, from above and kind of behind like - in other words, to the left.
Mr. LIEBELER - And that would have fit in with the Texas School Book Depository, wouldn't it?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you look up there and see if you could see anybody?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; I didn't. I never thought about looking up that way, to tell you the truth about it.
Mr. LIEBELER - You were thinking about getting out of the way after things started?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; it was just such an exciting time, you know, a fellow thinks about a million things in one second there at that time.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see anybody standing around there any place with a rifle - on the grassy spot up there near where you were standing or on the overpass or anyplace else?
Mr. HUDSON - I never seen anyone with a gun up there except the patrols.
Mr. LIEBELER - The policemen?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Now, did you see anything else down there when this all happened that you think we ought to know about that I haven't asked you about?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir; I don't know of anything.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you see Govenor Connally - did you think Governor Connally had been hit?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, sir; I never noticed Governor Connally in the car. The first shot must have struck him and he had done fell over in the car when that happened.
Mr. LIEBELER - So that you didn't even see Governor Connally in the car at all?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - You didn't see him get hit by any of the shots?
Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - You are assuming that maybe he got hit by the first shot and fell down in the car.
Mr. HUDSON - That's right.
Mr. LIEBELER - And you saw the President get hit by what you heard as the second shot?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - How far apart were the shots spaced; do you have any recollection about that, how long did it take for all the shots to be fired and how far apart was one shot from the other?
Mr. HUDSON - Well they was pretty fast and not fast either. It seemed like he had plenty of time to operate his gun plenty well - when the shots were all fired.
Mr. LIEBELER - How much time do you think passed from the time the first shot was fired untill the second shot was fired, can you make any estimate about that?
Mr. HUDSON - Oh, probably 2 minutes.
Mr. LIEBELER - As much as 2 minutes?
Mr. HUDSON - It might not have been that long.
Mr. LIEBELER - But you thought he had plenty of time to get all of the shots off anyway?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did you ever do any shooting?
Mr. HUDSON - Well, not no big rifle - I haven't ever done no shooting with no big rifle. I have shot shotguns - .22's and things like that.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did the shots seem evenly spaced or were some of them closer together?
Mr. HUDSON - They seemed pretty well evenly spaced.
Mr. LIEBELER - Evenly spaced; is that it?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did anybody talk toy uou at all about security arrangements prior to the time the motorcade came by, or was that all handled by the police?
Mr. HUDSON - That was all handled by the police.
Mr. LIEBELER - You didn't have anything to do with anything like that?
Mr. HUDSON - That's right - the fact of the business is, I didn't know they had been routed that way.
Mr. LIEBELER - You didn't even know it was going to go buy until they came?
Mr. HUDSON - That's right.
Mr. LIEBELER - Have you been interviewed by the FBI?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you remember who talked to you?
Mr. HUDSON - Not by name, I don't; no, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER - And did you tell them approximately the same thing you have told me?
Mr. HUDSON - Yes; approximately the same thing.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did the Secret Service talk to you, or the Dallas Police Department or the FBI?
Mr. HUDSON - The FBI and I made a deposition over at the courthouse - the same day that the assassination was.
Mr. LIEBELER - That was the Dallas Police Department or the sheriff's office?
Mr. HUDSON - The sheriff's office
Mr. LIEBELER - Okay Mr. Hudson, I want to thank you very much for coming in. I don't have any more questions.
Mr. HUDSON - Well, if it has been any help, I am glad it did.
Mr. LIEBELER - Pardon?
Mr. HUDSON - If it has been any help, I am glad to have come down.
Mr. LIEBELER - I think you have been and we are glad to have you cooperate with us in the way you have. I want to thank you very much on behalf of the Commission.
Mr. HUDSON - All right, good day.