February 23, 2009

Trial delayed on Kennedy sniper’s ‘perch’

A Texas judge Monday delayed a trial intended to establish who owns the window Lee Harvey Oswald perched on when he killed President John F. Kennedy.

Two men claim legal ownership of the infamous sniper's perch from the Texas School Book Depository building in Dallas, where Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963. The trial was supposed to begin Monday but one of the men, Aubrey Mayhew -- who had been acting as his own lawyer -- showed up with an attorney who asked for more time to prepare for the case, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Mayhew, 81, of Nashville, bought the book depository in 1970 from Col. D. Harold Byrd, with plans to turn it into a museum. However, Mayhew defaulted on his loan and the colonel repossessed the property, the newspaper said.

Caruth Byrd, 67, of Van, Texas, says he inherited the building from his father, the colonel, and has sued Mayhew to settle the matter of the window's ownership.

Mayhew claims he had the window stripped from the building in 1971, but Caruth Byrd wants the judge to declare him the true owner of the window and order Mayhew to return the window if such window exists -- either that or enter a judgment against Mayhew for the item's monetary value.

State District Judge Gena Slaughter granted the request for a delay, but didn't seem happy about it.

You've got three weeks, she told Mayhew's new lawyer, Paul Fourt, but going on to say, That's it. I've had it.