Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with Joel Elliott, the Canton-based attorney for Caruth Byrd, who, for the last two years, has been embroiled in a contentious legal battle with Aubrey Mayhew over which man owns the actual sniper's perch lifted long ago from the Texas School Book Depository. Alas, as we noted yesterday, Mayhew died over the weekend -- and left behind no will. Which means a messy fight over the window through which Lee Harvey Oswald shot John Kennedy on November 22, 1963, is about to get significantly murkier in coming days.
Right now, Elliott's sure of only one thing: "Really, I don't know what's going to happen."
The case was scheduled for trial April 15 in State District Judge Gena Slaughter's court. But it will likely be delayed, Elliott says, as Mayhew's four children bury their father and, eventually, decide who will replace their father in the suit, should it come to that.
"This was one of our fears we've had for the last two years," Elliott tells Unfair Park. "Mayhew's been in bad health. We even went to Tennessee to take his deposition so he wouldn't have to travel." Elliott says he's waiting for Paul Fourt, Mayhew's last-minute attorney, to speak with the family about how to proceed.
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(Update: There's still a jump, but KDFW-Channel 4's Richard Ray e-mails with the note that the Fox affiliate is airing tonight a story in which former FBI analyst Farris Rookstool compares "the crime scene photographs with Byrd's window and Mayhew's window" and "concludes Mayhew definitely has the window.")
"No one has changed their opinion, but while we're waiting for them to grieve for their dad, we'll sit in a holding pattern," he says. "It's been a long two years trying to get to the end, and now that we're less than a month from the end, it's getting more and more complicated. This much is certain, though: Mr. Byrd believes he's got the right window."
Tomorrow, for those still interested in this story, Unfair Park expects to excerpt Mayhew's deposition -- the final statement he will ever offer on the subject of the sniper's perch, about which we've been writing since 1997. It will have to do, as the April 15 trial is likely to get pushed back at least several weeks, if not further.
"Caruth wants to get to the end of it, but at the same time we're not sure what's going to happen," Elliott says. "If there is another window, we're not sure it'll ever show up at this point. It may be destroyed. We've never seen it."