William Seymour

William Seymour

William Seymour was born in Fort Benton, Montana. Seymour spent three and a half years in the United States Navy in the Asiatic Pacific region.

Seymour was a member of Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force) that was established in 1961 by Gerry P. Hemming. Other members included Loran Hall, Roy Hargraves, Lawrence Howard, Steve Wilson, Howard K. Davis, Edwin Collins, Dick Whatley, James Arthur Lewis, Dennis Harber, Ramigo Arce, Ronald Augustinovich, Joe Garman, Edmund Kolby, Ralph Schlafter, Bill Dempsey, Manuel Aguilar and Oscar Del Pinto.

This group of experienced soldiers were involved in training members of the anti-Castro groups funded by the Central Intelligence Agency in Florida in the early 1960s. When the government began to crack down on raids from Florida in 1962, Interpen set up a new training camp in New Orleans. The group carried out a series of raids on Cuba in an attempt to undermine the government of Fidel Castro. This involved a plan to create a war by simulating an attack on Guantanamo Naval Base.

During this period Seymour travelled around America with Loran Hall and Lawrence Howard. Michael Rohde, a lawyer who met them during this period, described Hall and Seymour as "two extremely dangerous, committed individuals."

On 25th September, 1963, a Cuban exile, Silvia Odio had a visit from three men who claimed they were from New Orleans. Two of the men, Leopoldo and Angelo, said they were members of the Junta Revolucionaria. The third man, Leon, was introduced as an American sympathizer who was willing to take part in the assassination of Fidel Castro. After she told them that she was unwilling to get involved in any criminal activity, the three men left.

Silvia Odio discovered after the assassination of John F. Kennedy that Leon was Lee Harvey Oswald. Odio gave evidence to the Warren Commission and one of its lawyers commented: "Silvia Odio was checked out thoroughly... The evidence is unanimously favorable... Odio is the most significant witness linking Oswald to the anti-Castro Cubans."

On 16th September, 1964, FBI agent Leon Brown interviewed Loran Hall on behalf of the Warren Commission. Brown claims that Hall admitted that he, Lawrence Howard and William Seymour made a visit to a woman who could have been Silvia Odio. However, when Hall was re-interviewed on 20th September and was shown a photograph of Odio, he claimed she was not the woman he met in New Orleans.

The FBI interviewed Silvia Odio again on 1st October, 1964. They showed her photographs of William Seymour, Loran Hall,Lawrence Howard and Celio Castro Alga. She claimed that "none of these individuals were identical with the three persons... who had come to her apartment in Dallas in the last week of September, 1963." Her sister, Annie Odio, who was also in the apartment at the time, also stated that "none of the photographs appeared similar to the three individuals in her recollection."

Seymour was also interviewed by the FBI and they established that he had been working for Beach Welding and Supplies Company, Miami Beach, Florida at the time when it was suggested that he visited Silvia Odio.

The author, Anthony Summers, suggests that the visit had "been a deliberate ploy to link Junta Revolucionaria, a left-wing exile group, with the assassination". However, G. Robert Blakey interviewed Seymour, Loran Hall and Lawrence Howard and claims that they did not visit Silvia Odio. Seymour told researcher, Paris Flammonde, that he had been in Miami when John F. Kennedy was killed.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) G. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, The Plot to Kill the President (1981)

Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, and William Seymour, the three anti-Castro activists who, according to Hall in an FBI interview, were the ones who paid the visit to Odio, though all three of them subsequently denied it. Hall, Howard, and Seymour belonged to INTERPEN, the soldier-of-fortune group that the Miami FBI office used for information on Sierra. The INTERPEN connection to Sierra, at least one of them, was a Cuban, Manuel Aguilar, in whose garage Sierra stored the two-man submarine he ordered from California. In September 1963 Hall and Howard drove from Los Angeles, heading for Miami with a trailer-load of arms, but they were forced to leave the trailer in Dallas for lack of a hiding place in Florida. In October Hall and Seymour, back in Dallas to retrieve the trailer, were arrested for possession of drugs; but with the help of an influential financial supporter, they were released. They took the arms back to Miami, but the mission for which they were intended, Hall told us, was aborted in late October when he, Howard, Seymour, and some Cubans were arrested by customs officials as they were driving to their embarkation point south of Miami. No charges were filed, but their arms and equipment were confiscated, so they returned to Miami, frustrated, and in early November, headed west. All three swore they were at their respective homes - Hall and Howard in California, Seymour in Arizona - on November 22, 1963.

(2) Report by Leon Brown concerning his interview with Loran Hall on 16th September, 1964.

HALL stated that during the latter part of September, 1963, he was in Dallas, Texas in company with LAWRENCE HOWARD and WILLIAM SEYMOUR. HALL had gone to Dallas to solicit aid in the anti-CASTRO movement HALL said they contacted three professors at the university of Dallas who are Cuban refugees. One of these professor's name HALL recalled, was ODIO. These professors furnished HALL with a list of Cubans living in the Dallas area who could be contacted to solicit assistance in this movement.

HALL said that he recalled that while in Dallas on this particular occasion, the three of them, HALL, HOWARD, and SEYMOUR, had gone to the apartment of a Cuban woman who lived in a garden style apartment located on Magellan Circle in Dallas. HALL said that he could not picture this woman in his mind now. He said that her name was possibly ODIO. He said that he seemed to recognize this woman's name as ODIO because of the association with the name of the Cuban professor who had the same name.

(3) FBI letter on interview with Silvia Odio (9th November 1964)

Review of record of Beach Welding and Supplies Company, Miami Beach, Florida, on September 22, 1964, confirmed WILLIAM SEYMOUR's employment with that company throughout the period September 5 to October 10, 1963.

On September 24, 1964, CELIO CASTRO ALGA, employed at the South Florida Sugar Company, Belle Glade, Florida, stated he had traveled with LORAN HALL and LAWRENCE HOWARD from California to Dallas, Texas, to Miami, Florida in September, 1963, but he had not met any person at Dallas named ODIO, nor had he heard the name ODIO mentioned by HALL or HOWARD in Dallas.

On October 1, 1964, SYLYIA ODIO, presently residing at 1711 S.W. 83rd Avenue, Miami, Florida, stated she had moved to Miami from Dallas, Texas, with her four small children, about a week ago.

Mrs. ODIO was shown photographs of LORAN EUGENE HALL, taken at Wichita, Kansas on December 16, 1961; LAWRENCE HOWARD taken at Key West, Florida on December 4, 1962; WILLIAM HOUSTON SEYMOUR taken in March, 1959 at San Diego, California; and CELIO CASTRO ALGA taken in November, 1961 at Miami, Florida.

Upon viewing the photographs of HALL, HOWARD, SEYMOUR and CASTRO, Mrs. ODIO stated that none of these individuals were identical with the three persons, including the individual she believed to be OSWALD, who had come to her apartment in Dallas in the last week of September, 1963. She said she is not certain that the could identify photographs of the two individuals accompanying the one she believed to be OSWALD because of the passage of time since the incident and because photographs sometimes differ from the real appearance of an individual.

(4) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1976)

The conspiracy to assassinate John Kennedy began in a series of discussions held in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. The men in the discussions were extremely angry that Kennedy had stopped plans and preparations for another invasion of Cuba (scheduled for the latter part of 1963.) One of the instigators was David Ferrie, a CIA contract agent who had been training pilots in Guatemala for the invasion. Meetings held in Ferrie's apartment in New Orleans were attended by Clay Shaw, William Seymour and several Cubans. Plans for assassinating President Kennedy developed out of those early meetings. Others whose support was sought by the group included Guy Banister, Major L. M. Bloomfield, Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, Sergio Arcacha Smith and Carlos Prio Socarras.

During this period in the summer of 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald was working for Guy Banister on some anti-Castro projects and used the Communist cover of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Oswald attended some of the meetings where JFK's assassination was discussed.

Oswald either approached the FBI or they approached him in the later summer of 1963, and he began to tell the FBI about the plans of the group to assassinate JFK. Oswald had been a secret informant for the FBI since mid-1962.

In September, the group moved the scene of their planning to Mexico City. There they solicited the assistance of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA agent. Meetings were held in the apartment of Gabaldin, attended by Shaw, Ferrie, Seymour, Gabaldin and Oswald on at least three occasions. Others were brought into the conspiracy at this point. These included John Howard Bowen (alias Albert Osborne), Ronald Augustinovich, Mary Hope, Emilio Santana, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, and "Frenchy" (an adventurer who had been working with Seymour, Santana, Ferrie, Howard and others on the Cuban invasion projects in the Florida Keys). Fred Lee Crisman, Jim Hicks and Jim Braden (alias Eugene Hale Brading) were also recruited at this point.

Oswald continued to inform on the group to the FBI in Dallas. In mid- to late September the assassination group decided to make Oswald the patsy in the murder. They had discussed the need for a patsy in the earliest meetings in New Orleans. Billy Seymour, who resembled Oswald, was selected to use Oswald's name and to plant evidence in New Orleans, Dallas and Mexico, which could later be used to frame him. In addition, another man under CIA surveillance in Mexico City also used Oswald's name in a probable attempt to make it appear that Oswald was headed for Cuba. His name may have been Johnny Mitchell Deveraux. His picture appears in the Warren Commission Volumes as CE 237.

The team needed financial support for the assassination. They received it from Carlos Prio Socarras in Miami, who brought more than 50 million dollars out of Cuba. They also received money from Banister, and from three Texas millionaires who hated Kennedy: Sid Richardson, Clint Murchison, and Jean DeMenil (of the Schlumberger Co.). The Murchison-Richardson contribution also included soliciting the assistance of high-level men in the Dallas police force. They were powerful members of the Dallas Citizens Council that controlled the city at that time.

The group in Mexico City planned to assassinate JFK in Miami, Chicago or Dallas, using different gunmen in each case. The Miami plan failed because the Secret Service found out about it in advance and kept JFK out of the open. The Chicago plan backfired when JFK cancelled his plans to attend the Army-Navy game at Soldiers Field in early November. The group set up two assassination teams for Dallas. One was in Dealey Plaza; the second was near the International Trade Mart where JFK's luncheon speech was to be delivered.

The best evidence of CIA (Deputy-Director of Plans) involvement is the fact that the majority of the known participants were contract agents or direct agents of the CIA. In Mexico City, the meetings were held in the apartment of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA (DDP) agent, working for the Mexico City station chief. Others attending the meetings who were CIA (DDP) contract or direct agents included Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Albert Osborne, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, Ronald Augustinovich, William Seymour, Emilio Santana and Fred Lee Crisman. It is likely (but not yet provable by direct evidence) that the group sought and obtained from the acting or permanent CIA station chief in Mexico, assistance or approval to go ahead with assassination plans. Tad Szulc claims that a CIA source can prove that E. Howard Hunt was acting station chief in Mexico City at the time of the Gabaldin apartment meetings (August and September 1963). Hunt has denied under oath before the Rockefeller Commission that he was in Mexico.

In 1967 Richard Helms told a group of CIA officials, including Victor Marchetti, that both Clay Shaw and David Ferrie were CIA (DDP) contract agents and that Shaw had to be given CIA protection and assistance in his New Orleans trial. This is a strong indication that Hunt and Helms gave "turn of the head" approval to the Shaw-Ferrie assassination plan as a minimum form of support.

The assassination group, having failed in Miami and Chicago, moved an operational team into Dallas during the second week in November of 1963. Shaw, Ferrie, Gabaldin and other high-level plotters travelled in other directions, establishing alibis as planned. On November 22, Gabaldin was in Mexico City, Shaw was in San Francisco, and Ferrie was in New Orleans. The team moving into Dallas included Albert Osborne, William Seymour, Emilio Santana, Frenchy, Fred Crisman, Jim Hicks, Jim Braden, and a new recruit from Los Angeles, Jack Lawrence. There was also a back-up rifle team of Cubans to be used at a location near the International Trade Mart in the event something went wrong at Dealey Plaza.

The teams stayed at two locations in Dallas for two weeks. One was a rooming house run by a woman named Tammie True. During this period final preparations for the assassination in Dealey Plaza were made. These included the collecting of and planting of evidence used to frame Oswald, the recruiting of the Dallas police participants, and the plans for the escape of the team members by car and by train. The riflemen selected were William Seymour in the Depository Building, Jack Lawrence and Frenchy on the grassy knoll, and Emilio Santana in the Dal Tex building. Jim Hicks was set up as radio coordinator and a man with each of the riflemen had a two-way radio...

Upon a visual and oral signal from the man at the wall and upon a radio command from Hicks, the team fired its first round of shots. Crisman received the command from Hicks and caused Frenchy to fire a shot from a position behind the fence on the knoll, about twenty feet west of the corner of the fence. This shot missed. The umbrella man fired a shot using his small-bore umbrella gun. When this shot struck JFK in the throat, the dart paralyzed JFK and later presented by Commander Humes to the FBI.[2] The shot was fired at Zapruder frame 189: JFK was behind a large oak tree, hidden from the sixth floor window of the TSBD Building. On command from Braden, Emilio Santana fired his first shot two seconds later from the second floor window of the Dal Tex building at Z 225 after JFK came out from behind the sign in Zapruder's film. The shot struck JFK in the back about 5 3/4" down from the collar line, penetrated to a depth of about two inches and stopped. The bullet fell out of JFK's back somewhere in or at the Parkland Hospital, or perhaps travelled down inside the body of the President, and was never recovered.

William Seymour fired his shot from the west end of the TSBD Building upon command from his radio man between Z 230 and Z 237, after Santana's shot. He used a Mauser rifle with no telescopic sight. While he was aiming at JFK, he fired high and to the right, hitting John Connally in the back. The bullet travelled through Connally's chest and then entered his left thigh. The bullet fell out of his thigh in or near Parkland Hospital and was never recovered. Governor Connally's wrist was not hit at that time.

Jack Lawrence did not fire a shot in the first round because from his cupola position he did not have a clear shot.

Hicks gave a second radio command for another round of shots as JFK passed the Stemmons Freeway sign. Emilio Santana fired his second shot between Z 265 and Z 275. The bullet narrowly missed JFK, passed over the top of his head and over the top of the limousine's windshield. It travelled on to strike the south curb of Main Street, breaking off a piece of concrete which flew up and hit James Tague. The bullet either disintegrated or flew into the area beyond the overpass. It was not found.

William Seymour may have fired a second shot which may have struck JFK in the upper right part of his head at Z 312. That bullet disintegrated.

Upon command from his radio man, Jack Lawrence fired his first shot from a pedestal on the west side of the south entrance to the western cupola on the grassy knoll. The shot may have hit Connally's wrist.

Frenchy fired the fatal shot through the trees from his position behind the fence.

The Lawrence shot or possibly the second Seymour shot produced a bullet fragment that passed through Connally's right wrist at Z 313. At that time his wrist was elevated and nearly directly in front of JFK's head, in such a position that Connally's right palm was facing JFK as the governor fell into his wife's arms. The fragment entered the front of his wrist and exited from the back.

(5) Warren Hinckle & William Turner, Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of JFK (1992)

By August the Warren Commission, under pressure from LBJ to get its report out in time for the November 1964 election, had concluded its deliberations and was in the process of preparing its final report. Major questions remained unanswered. One concerned the report of Sylvia Odio that in September three men claiming association with JURE had solicited her help, and that one had called back touting Oswald as a potential assassin of Castro or, in the alternative, Kennedy. Odio remained firm in her account, and she had checked out as a solid witness.

On August 23 Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin wrote to J. Edgar Hoover requesting that an attempt he made to identify the three men. "It is a matter of some importance to the Commission," Rankin said, "that Mrs. Odio's allegation either be proved or disproved." Rankin, a man not partial to hyperbole, was not understating the problem. Unless something popped up to explain Mrs. Odio's story, her strange visit was prima facie evidence of a conspiracy to set up Oswald.

The answer came out of the blue, as if in answer to a prayer. In vetting its files, the Dallas FBI reported that the previous October an agent had questioned Loran Hall and a William Seymour after the pair was stopped by police hauling a load of supplies and medicine to the Interpen encampment in the Florida Keys. At the time a notation was made: "Active in the anti-Castro movement.. Committee to Free Cuba." (Although the bureau may not have made the correlation, the Committee to Free Cuba was headed by Eladio del Valle, the onetime smuggling partner of Santos Trafficante and the man who hired David Ferrie to drop fire bombs over Cuba. Loran Hall has said that he was present when Sam Giancana offered Eddie Bayo $30,000 to kill Castro in February 1963 and that Trafficante staked Bayo the expense money.)

When finally located in California on September 16, Hall volunteered that the previous September "he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio." Hall named Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American Interpen instructor, and Bill Seymour, who "generally resembled" Oswald, as his companions.

The Warren Commission, confronted with a press deadline, took refuge in geography. Comforted by the convenient Hall explanation, it wrote off the Odio incident by noting that Oswald had begun his journey to Mexico and probably did not have time to detour to Dallas.

Howard and Seymour subsequently denied to the FBI that they had been at Odio's, whereupon Hall recanted his story on the basis that he had confused dates and places.

The Odio file remained closed. Still open was the question of who had impersonated Oswald, setting him up as a potential assassin of Castro and Kennedy.

(6) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1976)

David Belin of the Warren and Rockefeller Commission is fond of saying, "Lee Harvey Oswald killed policeman Tippit. Since the case against Oswald for the Tippit slaying is so strong, it follows that Oswald also shot the President." The case against Oswald in the Tippit murder is as weak as the case against him in the JFK assassination. The most important evidence showing that Seymour and another one of the assassination team shot Tippit is the fact that six witnesses, ignored by the Warren Commission, saw two men shoot Tippit. One of them resembled Oswald. They ran away from the scene in opposite directions. Seymour ran toward the Texas Theater, throwing the planted shells up in the air so that witnesses would see and recover them. (This act would convince most people that Oswald did not shoot Tippit.) The other assassin ran in the opposite direction. There is some indication that Seymour entered the theater in a manner to draw attention and then left before the Oswald arrest. While the shells recovered were found to match Oswald's pistol, none of the bullets recovered from Tippit's body matched.

(7) Report by Leon Brown concerning his interview with Loran Hall on 16th September, 1964.

HALL stated that during the latter part of September, 1963, he was in Dallas, Texas in company with LAWRENCE HOWARD and WILLIAM SEYMOUR. HALL had gone to Dallas to solicit aid in the anti-CASTRO movement HALL said they contacted three professors at the university of Dallas who are Cuban refugees. One of these professor's name HALL recalled, was ODIO. These professors furnished HALL with a list of Cubans living in the Dallas area who could be contacted to solicit assistance in this movement.

HALL said that he recalled that while in Dallas on this particular occasion, the three of them, HALL, HOWARD, and SEYMOUR, had gone to the apartment of a Cuban woman who lived in a garden style apartment located on Magellan Circle in Dallas. HALL said that he could not picture this woman in his mind now. He said that her name was possibly ODIO. He said that he seemed to recognize this woman's name as ODIO because of the association with the name of the Cuban professor who had the same name.

(8) Warren Commission (27th September, 1964)

On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in Johnsondale, Calif. Hall has been identified as a participant in numerous anti-Castro activities. He told the FBI that in September of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio. He was accompanied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that Seymour is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks only a few words of Spanish, as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the men who visited her did. While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press, the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. Odio's apartment in September of 1963.