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Billy Nolan Lovelady


A major person of interest is Billy Nolan Lovelady, his ‘claim to fame’ started with the Altgens 6 photo when he peeked out from the front steps of the TSBD.

Altgens 6, click pic to enlarge..

The close-up below shows Lovelady wearing his red checkered shirt. Lovelady, in an article by Dom Bonafede in May 1964, states that he was on the first step

Before the limo he can already be seen in the Robert Hughes film, be it very small where he holds his hand up to shield his eyes from the sun and steps out away from the shadow. Standing behind Carl Edward Jones.

Billy Lovelady in the Hughes film. Click pic to enlarge.

He is spotted leaving the front steps with Bill Shelly in the Malcolm Couch and James Darnell films, almost immediately after the shots had been fired, and therefore contradicting his own WC testimony. Bill Shelley does this as well.

Billy Lovelady and Bill Shelley in the Couch film. Click pic to enlarge.

Terry Martin visits the National Archives in Washington for me and finds a huge Couch film print in Richard E Sprague’s collection.

Lovelady and Shelley moving West about 20 seconds after the final shot. Sharpening by B.K.

Billy Lovelady and Bill Shelly moving westwards in Couch-by Gerda Dunckel, who posted these videos in 2012.


Another close-up and comparison by Ed Ledoux.

In this GIF by Robin Unger of the Wiegman film it shows that Lovelady was already stepping down!

In the Houston Post of Nov 23rd Lovelady professes his dislike for Oswald and mainly to distance himself, but the bit about the police officer running towards the rail road yards is most telling and confirming the position of him in the Couch film. Not a word about Baker as he did not see him running.


In Lovelady’s HSCA interview he stated that it took him 20 to 25 minutes before he returned to the TSBD. He is standing on the steps in the John Martin pic/video below, which was taken between 12:50 and 13:00.

I go deeper into his HSCA testimony here.

Lovelady in Martin

Lovelady in John Martin’s film on the front steps of the TSBD after the DPD has sealed the building. Click pic to watch the John Martin video.

Billy Lovelady was already at the DPD  when Lee Harvey Oswald was brought in from his arrest at the Texas Theater.

There are some documents on David Lifton having a copy of this particular film. Thanks to Malcolm Blunt for the paperwork.

Lovelady’s testimony during the W.C. hearings imply that he stayed on the steps much longer than is being shown. We know from the Couch and Darnell films that they left almost immediately after the final shot.

Mr. BALL – By the time you left the steps had Mr. Truly entered the building?

Mr. LOVELADY – As we left the steps I would say we were at least 15. maybe 25. steps away from the building. I looked back and I saw him and the policeman running into the building.

Mr. BALL – How many steps?

Mr. LOVELADY – Twenty, 25.

Mr. BALL – Steps away and you looked back and saw him enter the building?


At no point in the Couch film is Lovelady seen looking back.


Mr. BALL – You heard the shots. And how long after that was it before Gloria Calvary came up?

Mr. LOVELADY – Oh, approximately 3 minutes, I would say.

Mr. BALL – Three minutes is a long time.

Mr. LOVELADY – Yes, it’s—I say approximately; I can’t say because I don’t have a watch; it could.

Mr. BALL – Had people started to run?

Mr. LOVELADY – Well, I couldn’t say because she came up to us and we was talking to her, wasn’t looking that direction at that time, but when we came off the steps–see, that entrance, you have a blind side when you go down the steps.

Mr. BALL – Right after you talked to Gloria, did you leave the steps and go toward the tracks?


Mr. BALL – Did you run or walk?

Mr. LOVELADY – Medium trotting or fast walk.

Mr. BALL – A fast walk?


Mr. BALL – How did you happen to turn around and see Truly and the policeman go into the building?

Mr. LOVELADY – Somebody hollered and I looked.

Mr. BALL – You turned around and looked? There is no sign of this happening in the Couch film-BK



Mr. BALL – You ate your lunch on the steps?
Mr. LOVELADY – Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL – Who was with you?
Mr. LOVELADY – Bill Shelley and Sarah Stanton, and right behind me
Mr. BALL – What was that last name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Stanton.
Mr. BALL – What is the first name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Bill Shelley.
Mr. BALL – And Stanton’s first name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Miss Sarah Stanton.
Mr. BALL – Did you stay on the steps
Mr. BALL – Were you there when the President’s motorcade went by
Mr. LOVELADY – Right.
Mr. BALL – Did you hear anything?
Mr. LOVELADY – Yes, sir; sure did.
Mr. BALL – What did you hear?
Mr. LOVELADY – I thought it was firecrackers or somebody celebrating the arrival of the President. It didn’t occur to me at first what had happened until this Gloria came running up to us and told us the President had been shot.
He is very keen on the details of Sarah Stanton and Bill Shelly but the right behind me person gets no further mention at all.


Billy Lovelady had a weapons charge hanging over him. In the Washington Post of Sept. 28th 1960 it was reported that 8 airmen at Andrews Air Force base had been arrested by the FBI for theft of government property. Billy Lovelady is one of them who is charged with the possession and resale of several 38-caliber revolvers.

He had to pay a $200.00 fine, besides being discharged, of which he only managed to pay of part of the sum, thereafter he was re-arrested and had Ochus V. Campbell help him pay off the remainder since Billy had a wife and 4 kids to feed and could not afford paying the remainder of. Mary Ferrell has a lot of documentation on this matter.

Pay careful attention to Lovelady’s WC testimony in comparison to his statements to the DPD and the FBI.

Lovelady said he came down in the elevator at ten to 12 to wash up and have lunch, and hears  Oswald allegedly calling down the lift shaft for them to send the elevator back up.

In the Secret Service Report from Dec 8th 1963 it is stated that he went down in the elevator from the 6th floor at noon, and heard Oswald holler for them to send the elevator back up. yet Bill Shelly saw Oswald ten minutes prior near the phone on the 1st floor.

Lovelady also claims that he saw Victoria Adams just after the shooting on the first floor of the TSBD, this story according to Victoria Adams is a complete fabrication and this particular part, according to Adams, has been inserted in her testimony.

Lovelady had to move home a few times as he felt he was being harassed a lot. He died at 41 years of age of a heart attack.


Sean Murphy posts about Billy Lovelady at the Education Forum in 2013 (Prayer Man: Out of the Shadows and Into the Light, Chapter 9):

In the first part of his HSCA interview Billy Lovelady Lovelady is shown an image he has never seen before: a frame from the John Martin film showing him (Lovelady) standing over by the east side of the entrance some 15 minutes post-assassination. Lovelady identifies himself immediately.
HSCA: If a movie camera showed you farther in the center of the doorway than that person there [i.e. Lovelady in Altgens, who appears, due to the deceptive angle, to be well over to the left/west of the entrance] would you still identify that person as being yourself?

LOVELADY: Sure would. I would say the other picture was not taken at the split second as the one to the left is.

HSCA: Okay, alright. If it showed two figures in that doorway at the same time, and you could positively identify one as yourself, would that have any bearing on your identification of that other figure?

LOVELADY: No, that’s still me at the left [of the] doorway.

Whether knowingly (i.e., with knowledge of the Prayer Man figure in Wiegman) or unknowingly (i.e., by pure speculation), the HSCA interviewer has preempted the very discussion we have been having in this thread:

Two Lovelady-resembling men caught on film at the time of the assassination, one over on the west (“left”) side of the entrance and the other more towards the center.


In part 1 of  Lovelady’s HSCA interview we skip to around the 24:50 mark where the talk is about the front steps of the TSBD, its occupants (he names Frazier, Shelley and Stanton and some ladies from the offices inside the building).

His position was the 2nd or 3rd step sitting and eating his lunch and having a coke (which he purchased in the second floor lunchroom).

He is asked whether he saw Oswald on those steps and he answers this with a “No.”.

The follow-up question whether it could have been possible that Oswald could have been on those steps and him not noticing is answered with: “Could have.”

Just after the 29:00 mark he talks about a lady who ran up to them (without any indication as to where “they” were-B.K.) and say that The President had been hit and  he identifies her as Gloria Calvery. He then says after  Gloria Calvery says that The President had been hit they leave for the rail road yard and then make their way back in through one of the side entrances of the TSBD.

Then he describes the situation inside the building after they got back in (31:20) wondering whether they should go back to work. And at 31:40  the  roll call is discussed.



In part 2 (better quality audio) Lovelady describes at first that Truly and the police officer (Baker) had run up the steps, and connects this with shots being fired from the 6th floor and those two on their way investigating this. He does declare that he did nit know the reason for their ascend at that time, only later. Then Secret Service and others come in and want to get up to the top floor so Lovelady takes about ten to fifteen of them up in one of the freight elevators.

After taking them the 7th and the 5th floor he takes them to the 6th floor and while he is standing near the freight elevator he states he was present when they found the shells. He did not see them, he also states that he saw the rifle being found from about a distance of 50 feet. It did have a sling attached to it. He times these finds at about 20-25 minutes after his arrival back inside the TSBD.

Around the 08:20 mark he states that the first time he spoke with a law enforcement official and had his primary statement taken was at 13:30, one hour after the assassination. The second time is in the evening and he confirms it’s him in Altgens 6 when FBI agents show up at his house at 18:00.

After that he is shown a still of him on the front steps of the Martin film, with his 5 o’clock shadow and he confirms it is him. A voice in the background (Robert Groden.) says that this was shot between 8-15 minutes after the assassination and that is wrong as at that time no policemen were guarding the front door at that time. Lovelady sees this image for the first time. Lovelady’s wife is present as well and recognises him in that image.

From thereon the convo steers into the shirt matter, when the FBI ask him to come so he can be photographed as a comparison to Altgens 6. No one tells him to wear the same shirt so he does NOT wear it while his pix are taken.

Lovelady also mentions that Joseph Ball contacted him before he was to testify in front of the Warren Commission (27:10). Ball discusses that he will be interviewing him about the actions around the assassination about him around the building. He is also asked whether he was coached by Ball or if anyone else from any agency tried anything, and to both he replies with “No.”

But the biggest revelation is saved to the very last, at 29:20 when he says that it took 20-25 minutes before he got back in the building, so while captured by Martin and Hughes he still had not regained entry back into the building, which makes you wonder how he got back in through the side of the TSBD along with Shelley?



Here is the May 24th 1964 NYHT article regarding Doorway Man.

BlogFurther reading

Billy Lovelady was not standing on the top of the stairs,

Billy Nolan Lovelady and Bill Shelley did leave the steps almost immediately after the shots were fired.

Billy Lovelady records at Mary Ferrell.