By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Groden is still standing--and fuming, especially about the loss of his slides.
The photos in question are "a national treasure that can't be duplicated," says 54-year-old Groden, who for three years in the late 1970s served as a staff photographic consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (More recently, Groden testified at the O.J. Simpson civil trial, claiming that the photo of Simpson in Bruno Magli shoes was a fake.)
But Groden's slides were the real thing. "Priceless," he says. And he says that Dallas police haven't helped get them back.
Naturally, Groden--who turned 18 the day Kennedy was shot and dropped out of high school a week later--smells a conspiracy: Police already hostile to merchants peddling their wares outside the Sixth Floor Museum have, he says, conspired with the 47-year-old Allen in withholding the slides.
"She's being protected," says Groden, who in the past three years has been issued 15 tickets for working outside the plaza. (All but one have been dismissed, he says.) Police have offered him no help other than advising him to file the failed civil suit.
As for Allen, she maintains her innocence, and says this isn't the first time Groden has accused someone of theft. He once alleged that his wife stole an archive of family photos, she claims.
And she dismisses as liars two witnesses who say they saw the purloined slides in her possession.
"If I had those slides, do you think I'd be out here selling other people's stuff?" says Allen, pointing to her pile of JFK magazines and newspapers that she buys at a marked-down price and resells to tourists.
Groden stands by his story, all the while portraying himself as a sincere man who has devoted his life to learning the truth about JFK's death.
"I go home alone," he says as the sun sets, "and I have to reflect that the thanks I've gotten in Dallas is to be screwed again and again. It's depressing.
"It's cost me my wife, my family, my house," he says of his years of research. "That archive represented three decades of my life, my legacy to history. And that monster bitch stole what I got."