JFK Assassination Executive Summary -– Synopsis
This essay is intended as an executive summary of the basic facts, testimony and evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy as we are aware of them today. Our purpose is to persuade congressional and legal officials to perform their mandatory duties involving disclosure of records, enforcing the JFK Act, and to uphold the laws of our land.
PART I - Basic Facts of the Case
On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. (CST), President John F. Kennedy was murdered by a rifle shot to the head while riding in an open car through Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Governor John Connally also sustained non-fatal wounds.
Aside from these basic undisputed facts, many essential elements of the shooting have been open to debate. Lee Harvey Oswald was soon focused upon as the accused assassin. Although a rifle was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) where he worked, his presence on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting and even the provenance of the rifle itself have been questioned. Even Dallas Chief of Police Jessie Curry admitted that he “couldn’t put Oswald in that window with a rifle.”
Conclusions of the Presidential Commission
Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's successor, hand-picked a commission to investigate the murder. The president's commission concluded that Oswald took three shots at Kennedy’s limousine. One shot missed; another shot entered JFK’s lower neck, exited his throat and passed through Governor Connally, inflicting at least five separate wounds. A third shot shattered Kennedy's skull.
According to the commission, Oswald then hid the rifle behind a stack of boxes and quickly ran down four flights of steps in approximately ninety seconds.
Dallas police motorcycle officer Marrion Baker, his pistol assending the steps encountered Oswald in the second floor lunchroom. As Baker held his gun close to Oswald's midsection, TSBD superintendent Roy Truly advised Baker that Oswald was an employee. Officer Baker and Mr. Truly later testified that Oswald "appeared normal," was not out of breath, and looked calm and collected.
Oswald then purchased a coke and passed a secretary while walking through the second floor office, descended the steps to the first floor and exited the building.
Walking eight blocks east on Elm Street, Oswald boarded a bus heading in the opposite direction, back to the scene of the crime. But when the bus got stalled in traffic Oswald got off and entered a cab at the nearby bus station, after offering the cab to a lady. Taking the cab across the Trinity River to the Oak Cliff neighborhood where he lived, Oswald exited the cab five blocks past his rooming house and walked back.
Oswald retrieved a jacket and pistol from his room and was last seen by his landlady standing by the bus stop. The commission concluded that Oswald then walked almost a mile to the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, where he was stopped by Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit in his patrol car.
According to the official version of events, after a brief conversation with Tippit through the open passenger-side window of the patrol car, Oswald shot and killed Tippit as he got out of his car.
Running towards Jefferson Boulevard, Tippit's murderer emptied the shells from the pistol, stashed a jacket under a car in a gas station lot, and stopped to look into the widow of a shoe store on Jefferson Boulevard, avoiding the police cars as they sped by with their sirens and flashing lights.
Walking a half block, Oswald entered the Texas Theater without buying a ticket and sat in a number of seats before settling on one. After a salesman from the shoe store and the ticket girl for the movie theater discussed Oswald entering the theater without buying a ticket, the police were called and a dozen officers swarmed the area, blocking off the back entrance.
When the shoe store salesman identified Oswald, Oswald took a swing at one of the policeman, and as he was accosted, Oswald's pistol misfired as he was taken into custody. Oswald complained that he was not resisting arrest. He was taken to the Dallas police headquarters where he was interrogated a number of times by Dallas homicide detective Will Fritz. The interrogations were also attended by representatives of the FBI and the Secret Service.
Oswald requested legal assistance, and claimed to reporters in the hallway that he was being framed as a "patsy." Oswald was presented before a number of lineups, was allowed phone calls. He was unable to secure independent legal counsel.
Oswald initially was charged only with the murder of patrolman Tippit. Further charges against him for the murder of President Kennedy were being prepared. It was publicly announced that Oswald would be moved from Dallas headquarters to the County Jail, which was also located at Dealey Plaza. But as he was being moved through the Dallas police basement, he was shot and killed by local nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
Although this is the basic case made by the presidential commission in their final report, the subsequent release of twenty-six volumes of supporting documents raised further questions and the conclusions have been severely criticized in the ensuing decades.
PART II -
PROBLEMS WITH THE OFFICIAL SCENARIO
Periodic polls have consistently indicated that a majority of American citizens do not believe that one man alone was responsible for the murder of the president, and there are many good reasons for them to hold this belief.
The first generation of independent researchers – such as Harold Weisberg, Sylvia Meagher, Josiah Thompson, Penn Jones, Mae Brussell and Mark Lane – combed through the twenty-six volumes of supporting records and found evidence that clearly indicated to them that the official scenario was seriously flawed.
Subsequent investigations by such official organizations as the U.S. Marine Corps, the New Orleans District Attorney's office, the Senate Select ("Church") Intelligence Committee, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), as well as independent researchers, have cast further doubt on the determination that one man could have been responsible for the murder of the President.
While many disputable aspects of the assassination have been debated at length elsewhere, they beyond the scope of this summary. Areas of controversy that offer support for the proposition that more than one person was responsible for the assassination would include the acoustic evidence, the ballistic evidence, the timing and the number of shots (the Single Bullet Theory), medical forensic issues relating to the autopsy, the Zapruder film, the circumstances surrounding Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union and his return to the states, Oswald's motives and the Walker Shooting. All of these issues have been studied in detail and are still open to argument.
There are many problems with the rifle, which is claimed to connect Oswald to the assassination. For example, Buell Wesley Frazer, who gave Oswald a ride to work that morning, testified that the package Oswald carried to work that morning was too short to contain the disassembled rifle. Frazer's sister, who saw Oswald place the package in the car, agreed with her brother.
There are also significant discrepancies involving the purchase, shipping, and receipt of the weapon in question. In addition, Oswald was never known to have actually fired that rifle at any time. When examined by the FBI, the telescopic sight of the weapon was out of alignment.
One of the three shell casings found on the sixth floor of the TSBD had a dented lip. In the condition in which it was found, the shell casing could not have been used in the assassination. The authorities were unable to determine the cause of the dent.
In addition, Oswald is not known to have purchased any bullets for the rifle. The bullet shells found on the sixth floor were traced to a batch of bullets sold to the US Marine Corps in 1948, even though the Marines did not use weapons that could fire those rounds.
If Oswald had purchased the rifle at a local gun shop, sporting goods store, pawn shop or nearby department store with cash, no permanent documentary record of the purchase would have been generated. Instead he purchased it through the mail using an alias and a post office box that could be directly traced to him.
Although he ordered the rifle and pistol a month apart, according to the official scenario, they arrived at the Dallas Post Office on the same day. Oswald’s time sheet at Jaggers-Chiles-Stoval accounts for his activities from early in the morning until after the Post Office closed.
So when did he pick up the rifle and pistol?
And why is there no record of Oswald's receipt of these guns at his post office box? The pistol was sent COD – Collect On Delivery – yet there is no record of him paying for or picking up either weapon. No Post Office employee recalled handing him the weapons over the counter or taking money from him for the pistol.
With regard to the president's wounds, Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, the closest person to the limo when the shots were fired, said that he saw a large gaping hole to the back of the President’s head, indicating an exit wound and a shot that could not have been taken from the TSBD. Hill says he saw the back of the head wound three times – as he approached the car running as the last shot was fired, as he lifted the dead JFK from the limo and after the autopsy when it was requested that he inspect the body. Hill’s recollection is supported by the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, especially the late Dr. McClendon, who stood above the president’s head at the end of the gurney for some time and clearly saw this wound to the back of the head- an exit wound.
At a reunion of still living Parkland doctors at the CAPA program at the Old Red Courthouse in November 2018, a Bethesda autopsy attendant (Jenkins) supported the recollections of the funeral house mortician who saw a small entrance wound to the right temple just at the hairline. This wound would have been obvious if the victim’s hair had been shaved, a standard operating procedure for gunshot wounds to the head that was not practiced at the president’s autopsy.
Further, in the mid-1990s, former Federal Prosecutor John Orr convinced then Attorney General Janet Reno to have the FBI and National Archives conduct DNA testing on bullet fragments found in the back of the limo. Orr later wrote a convincing report that the head shot was not fired from the same position as the proposed sniper's on the sixth floor off the TSBD, and also was a different type of bullet fired from a different rifle, an opinion shared by other ballistic and forensic experts.
According to First Class military snipers, who are the best trained and use the best available weapon, the Sixth Floor sniper was a third class sniper using a third class weapon, and while he may have taken the shot that wounded the President in the back and inflicted the wounds on Governor Connally, the shot to the head was taken by a First Class sniper who was firing from directly in front of or behind the target moving toward or away from him, and not moving from left to right, a very difficult. The First Class sniper always shoots for the head, and their motto is “One shot one kill.”
According to multiple TSBD witnesses, Oswald was seen at noon standing by the telephone on the first floor, then sitting in the first floor lunchroom reading a newspaper where his jacket was later found on the window sill next to where he was sitting. When he was interrogated, Oswald said that two African American employees he worked with walked through the lunchroom while he was there. These employees later acknowledge walking through that lunchroom. If Oswald was not there, how did he know they were there?
At 12:15 Oswald was seen on the first floor standing by the front door by Carolyn Arnold at the same time a witnesses on the street Arnold Rowland, saw two men on the sixth floor, (One of the men was described as holding a rifle, standing at “port arms,” a military standby posture suggesting that the man was awaiting instruction.
If Oswald was on the first floor, who were those men?
All of the witnesses on the street who saw a gunman on the sixth floor describe him as wearing a white shirt, while Oswald wore a brown shirt. One witness on the street said the gunman had a very distinctive bald spot on the top of his head, a trait not shared with Oswald.
TSBD official Ochis Campbell told a New York newspaper reporter on the day of the assassination that while reentering the building immediately after the shooting he saw Oswald standing next to the storage room below the steps to the second floor.
Moments later, according to the presidential commission's report, Oswald was seen in the second floor lunchroom by Dallas policeman Marion Baker, who was following TSBD superintendent Roy Truly up the rear steps in search of the assassin. Truly, who was ahead of Baker, would have seen Oswald before Baker if Oswald had descended the steps as they were ascending and went through the door through which Baker saw Oswald. But Truly did not see Oswald enter that door. Truly vouched for Oswald as an employee; neither Baker nor Truly observed Oswald as appearing suspicious, since he appeared calm and was not out of breath. He certainly didn’t appear to have just killed the president and rundown four flights of steps.
Oswald apparently entered the second floor lunchroom from the secretary’s office, the same way he left with a coke.
Shortly thereafter, Roy Truly met with Dallas Police Captain George Lumpkin, a US Army Reserve Intelligence officer who drove the pilot car in the motorcade. Truly told Lumpkin that Oswald was missing and was the first on a list of employees and gave Lumpkin Oswald’s Irving address. Lumpkin then gave Oswald’s name and address to Homicide Captain Fritz, as he was examining the recently discovered rifle on the sixth floor of the TSBD.
Oswald’s name appears at the top of a list of TSBD employees but the address is not Irving or his rooming house in Oak Cliff but an old address – not one that the TSBD should have, and must have been obtained from an unknown, outdated source.
Captain Fritz then walked across the street to meet with Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker, though there is no record of this meeting or what they discussed.
When Homicide Captain Fritz got back to his office at City Hall, he ordered a policeman to go out to the Irving address that Roy Truly had supplied and pick up Oswald, and the policeman responded there was no need to as “there he sits” – a suspect in the murder of Tippit.
The Cover-Up – Conclusions – Recommendations
Of the official investigations, all of them were compromised. The Warren Commission was not appraised of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, Jim Garrison’s New Orleans Grand Jury and his investigation team included federal government informants. The Church Committee and the Schweiker-Hart Subcommittee conducted many interviews, many of which are now missing. The first chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was dismissed for attempting to conduct a real homicide investigation, and failed to recognize their contact with the CIA – George Joannides, should have been a subject of their investigation as the case officer of the DRE Cubans who engaged with Oswald in New Orleans.
The JFK Act remains unenforced, the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) failed to locate and collect many key records including ONI investigation reports on Oswald, the Oval Office records collected by JFK’s secretary Mrs. Lincoln, the files of Richard Sprague, the first chief counsel to the HSCA, and the original Air Force One radio transmission tapes.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is not following up on the ARRB tasks as it was required to do, and the recommendations of the Archivist of the United States to the President even remains sealed today, while President Trump extended the deadline for release of all of the records for years, possibly forever.
From the evidence, facts and testimony available, it is apparent that the assassination of President Kennedy was not the work of one lone assassin, and regardless of the role of Lee Harvey Oswald or the Sixth Floor Sniper, what occurred at Dealey Plaza that day was not only a conspiracy but a more very distinct covert intelligence operation, and the murders of President Kennedy, Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald must be considered unsolved cold cases that can and should be resolved to a legal and moral certainty in our lifetime.
Recommendations – Actionable Legal Avenues - What needs to be done.
There are many legal options, but they must take place in a very specific order to succeed.43)
And they are:
1) A Congressional Briefing held in a briefing room in Congress. Any Congressman can request a briefing room reservation at any time, but we need a friendly Congressman to reserve such a room. I arranged for my Congressman William Hughes (D. 2 NJ) to arrange for such a room for a Press Conference announcing the formation of COPA –the Coalition on Political Assassination, and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D. Ga.) arranged for a large hearing room to be utilized for a Congressional Briefing on 9/11, so we have done this before. This Congressional Briefing in Congress must feature the top JFK assassination lawyers, researchers and investigators who could call attention to the most serious issues and convince Congress to hold public JFK Act oversight hearings. We must get the STAFF of the Congressional Oversight Committee to want to do this, as well as the chairman – Rep. Elijah Cummings (D. Md.) who should meet with a small select group of our key people. The Congressional Briefing is a preliminary step for a full House Oversight Committee hearing, in which each Congressman on the Committee gets a set time to question special expert witnesses and those responsible for the destroyed, missing and still withheld records. This Congressional Briefing must be held before Congress recesses for the summer.
2) The Congress of the United States must, by law, eventually conduct meaningful oversight of the JFK Act of 1992 by holding public hearings that would be televised live on CSPAN focusing on illegally destroyed, missing and wrongfully withheld records on the assassination of President Kennedy. This hearing should be held in early September after Congress resumes.
3) All of the remaining withheld records must be released in full as the law requires, but only Congress can make that happen.
4) Congress should appoint a new – permanent Review Board that will oversee the JFK Act but also the recently enacted Cold Case Civil Rights Records Act, that requires a new Review Board.
5) All of the living witnesses should be questioned and properly interviewed on the record, officially subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee or its sub-committee on NARA if necessary, and the witnesses should be required to testify under oath.
6) The Mainstream Media must be convinced to cover these briefings and hearings and detail how JFK assassination records were illegally destroyed, illegally went missing, and are still being wrongfully withheld, which should spark the justice department to take action.
7) The Justice Department should appoint a special prosecutor and convene a DC Federal Grand Jury to investigate the crimes related to the assassination – including the destruction of records, the illegal theft of and the wrongfully withholding of specific records that we identify.
8) CAPA attorney Bill Simpich has proposed convincing a Texas Municipal Judge convene a Court of Inquiry, a legal venue unique to Texas that could legally exonerate Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President and require a new official inquiry. Any Municipal Judge in Texas could order such an Inquiry and the positive aspect of this is he is not required to conduct the inquiry, which another judge would be appointed to do. The Innocence Project, which has exonerated hundreds of falsely convicted victims, could cooperate in this endeavor.
9) The newly elected Democratic District Attorney of Dallas County John Creazot should be briefed privately on the cold case homicides in his jurisdiction that requires further investigation – including the assassination of President Kennedy and the murders of J.D. Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald. He should respond by convening a local Special Dallas Grand Jury to conduct an investigation into these crimes to see if any new evidence and records and compel witnesses to testify. While this local Dallas Grand Jury would only require one assistant – District Attorney to conduct such a Grand Jury, most of the leg work, research, investigative leads and targeted records and witnesses could be provided by independent researchers who have been working on this case for decades. In addition, those responsible for the investigation of related unsolved homicides - Sam Giancana, John Rosselli, et. al., should form a Task Force to work together to resolve these crimes.
10) Both the DC based Federal Grand Jury and the Dallas based local County Grand Jury have the power to order an exhumation of the remains of the victims (JFK, John Connally, J.D. Tippit, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby) for proper forensic autopsies using the most up to date scientific equipment (X-Ray, MRI, photo, etc.) that will provide an enormous amount of new evidence that would be admissible in a court of law. A regular autopsy only determines the cause of death while a forensic autopsy creates evidence that can be introduced in a court of law.
For any of these legal proceedings to take place – they must begin with a Congressional Briefing and a Congressional Oversight Hearing on the JFK Act. All of the others then follow.
I am pursing each of these legal proceedings.
To Support these efforts: