Showing posts with label JFK Assassination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JFK Assassination. Show all posts

Sample IBDP IA: Was there a "Magic Bullet"

To what extent is it possible that a magic-bullet was fired during the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, United States?


IBDP History Internal Assessment

Personal Code: ­­­gdd180
Identification and Evaluation of Sources  
This investigation will explore: To what extent is it possible that a magic-bullet was  fired during the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, United States?  
The Warren Commission
Established by presidential orders on November 29th, 1963, Johnson claimed that the stated purpose of this document was “to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin and to report its findings and conclusions to him”.  It is an official document, consisting of reports by the FBI, Secret Service, Department of State, Attorney General of Texas, and additional information from federal agencies, Congressional committees, state and local experts.  The Commission also took the testimony of 552 witnesses and visited Dallas, Texas, to review the assassination scene and have the FBI simulate the gunshots from the Texas School Book Depository.  The report concludes that Oswald was a “lone gunman” and is relevant because it was the first to introduce the magic-bullet theory. Even though the final report was submitted on September 24th 1964 and made public two days later, it is valuable because the investigation started one week after the assassination and is thus composed of primary data. However, to an extent this contextually limits the report because it doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight, such as computer recreations of the bullets trajectory. “This Commission was created in recognition of the right of people everywhere to full and truthful knowledge concerning these events”.  Hence, this source is valuable because it was the first investigation of the assassination, and even though in hindsight one can identify the flaws of its content, it became the primary reference for more updated and accurate sources.   
The Zapruder Film by Abraham Zapruder 
Despite its primary purpose being a home movie capturing J.F.K. in the motorcade through Dealey Plaza, it served a much greater secondary purpose – live footage of the assassination. In fact, it is the only film known to man that films the assassination from beginning to end. Values in regards to its content include the view Zapruder had whilst filming, as he was standing on a hill and was thus elevated. Furthermore, the film is in colour and despite the occasional flicker of the screen and the features of an old grained film, it is of good quality. Despite this, the source has its limitations, such as not having any sound, which is an issue when identifying the number of shots fired. Also, in the instance where Kennedy is initially shot, a street sign blocks the view and thus provides another limitation to the source. Interestingly, Zapruder seems to have no emotional connection to Kennedy being shot as he continues to film steadily – perhaps he realized that his movie would be a crucial piece of evidence. In addition to the sign, the nature of the film provides another barrier when analyzing the motion of Kennedy’s suit popping up when shot, as the film cannot be increased in screen size. However, the greatest limitation of the movie is the 18.3 fps. frame rate of the 8mm Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Model 414 PD. This is because inconsistent movements of the limousine prevent the movie from showing a flowing visual, and have caused some historians including David Lifton to believe that: “the film must have been tampered with”.  Nevertheless, this source is significant to the investigation because it is considered the “best recorded evidence of the assassination”.    

The magic-bullet theory suggesting that “a single bullet could have caused the President’s … and all the Governor’s wounds”  was initiated by the Warren Commission in its investigation on John F. Kennedy’s death. The bullet, a CE-399, got its name from being magically immaculate after it should have caused the seven wounds of both men.  This triggered speculation that more than one shooter was involved, as there was too little time between the apparent shots for them to be fired by one man. Despite the magic-bullet theory being so debatable, it would address both speculations. The Commission concludes that “the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the south east corner of the Texas School Book Depository”.  This is of relevance, as when the FBI recreated the shots from that location, the trajectory was one of the factors that hinted towards a single bullet being fired. This led to the report coining the term magic-bullet, as “there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President’s throat also caused Governor Connally’s wounds”.  The report also states that: “on the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes that Oswald acted alone”.  This is of relevance, as the autopsy triggered disputes amongst doctors, as to whether a bullet entered or exited his throat and thus would hint towards another gunman. Overall, it can be seen that the Warren Commission was the first official document to be published, attempting to resolve the case.

The American attorney, Mark Lane, was the first to critique this in his highly influential book Rush to Judgment.  Lane criticizes materials from the Warren report by looking at the actual testimonies given by witnesses at the scene and comparing these with what has been reported. For instance, he argues that “there were at least four shots, allowing for the intervals of 2-3 seconds between shots” compared to the Warren Commissions claim of there only being three shots.  However, Lane wrote in a limited time frame and includes some inconsistencies that were only revealed with the latest computer enhancements of film and evidence in books such as Case Closed by Gerald Posner. Posner’s purpose was to “present the answers to the troubling issues and questions about the assassination, the issue of who killed JFK and Oswald’s motivation”.  He clearly states that Oswald acted alone (thus agreeing with the Warren Commission) but he believes that the magic-bullet theory is incorrect.  This can also be inferred from Connally’s testimony and the physical analysis of the CE-399 bullet . However, FBI tests of the bullets trajectory and the placement of the men in the car, support the magic-bullet theory. Hence, this investigation will focus on whether a single-bullet struck both men. 
The Zapruder Film, “serves as a time clock for the assassination”.  Frame 160 is approximately the time of the first shot.  Connally’s testimony, where he says: “I heard this sound [coming from the right] that I thought was a rifle shot” , is supported by the Zapruder film where he turns to look over his right shoulder in frame 167. This thus opposes the Warren Commission, which claimed the first shot to be the magic-bullet, as “ear-witness testimony, in combination with the Zapruder film, suggests the first shot actually missed”.  However, the Zapruder film gives rise to the magic-bullet theory when examining the second shot.
 In frame 223, one can observe Connally still turned to his right, and Kennedy’s white jacket emerging from behind the sign, which appears to bulge out in frame 224 – “He appears to be reacting to a bullet, which means he was wounded somewhere behind the sign”.  Likewise, Connally’s suit pops out in frame 224, signifying that he has been shot too.  Even though the view is limited by the street sign, and hence makes it unfathomable to determine whether the same bullet struck both men, one can estimate that the magic-bullet struck “both the President and Governor Connally just as their limousine emerged into Zapruder’s view from behind the freeway sign.” 
In frame 230, Kennedy is holding his arms up to his throat and Connally is in the motion of turning to his left.  When viewing the video, it seems like both men are reacting concurrently.  As this all happened in a matter of seconds, the rapidity of this event provides an inaccuracy in determining how many bullets struck during these frames, but a simultaneous reaction of both men would support the Warren report, which states: “Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower front portion of his neck. The bullet hit Connally at the extreme right side of his back at a point below his right armpit”.  This is further supported by FBI tests, which discovered that Oswald’s rifle could only fire one bullet every 2.25 seconds, which is the equivalent to 40-41 frames in the Zapruder film.  This suggests, that Oswald could not have fired two shots, but that one single-bullet struck both men, implying that there was a magic-bullet. 

Kennedy’s autopsy photographs provide immense controversy as to weather a wound was an entry or exit wound and thus make the analysis of the medical background extremely difficult for doctors such as Dr. Robert Shaw, who inspected Connally after the incident, and Dr. Michael West, who was brought to Parkland hospital after Kennedy was shot. For example, Shaw claims that the neck wound (see Appendix B) is an entry wound, whereas West claims that the wound is an exit wound.  When considering the bullet’s trajectory, it can clearly be identified that the bullet must have entered through Kennedy’s back and exited through his neck (see Appendix C), thus agreeing with Dr. West.

The bullet itself also provides skepticism to the magic-bullet theory, as it was unscathed and found on a stretcher at the hospital.  Even though, the FBI said that the bullet was undoubtedly from Oswald’s rifle, to date, it is not clear whether one of the victims was lying on the stretcher on which it was found.   If Kennedy would have been the victim on the stretcher, this would have suggested that the bullet did not pass through Connally, and thus disprove the magic-bullet theory, but if the bullet was found next to Connally, it would have suggested otherwise.  Dr. Michael West was able to conclude that the bullet did in fact go through Connally by using his neuromuscular expertise whilst viewing the Zapruder film.  He claims that he could see Connally perform a neurological reaction to physics trauma when: “It took only an instant for the bullet to pass through Connally’s chest, then strike his wrist, and finally settle in his leg”.  Dr. Charles Gregory, who performed surgery on Connally, had not seen the Zapruder film before his testimony but relied on his medical expertise to estimate when Connally was shot. He was able to decipher this based on his physical state: open mouth, puffed cheeks, compressed chest wall.  When applied to the Zapruder film, this would mean that Connally was in fact shot at the same time Kennedy was wounded. Despite Connally’s own memory of the situation being extremely lucid, it can be said that the fact that both reacted concurrently, would lead to believe that a bullet was fired that passed through both men.

Even though it seems like the bullet’s trajectory must defy the laws of physics, it does not.  Images like Fig. 6 (created based on the information from the Warren Report) are completely misleading. This image is significant because it shows how Kennedy and Connally were seated in the 1961 Lincoln Continental, a key feature of the assassination that is often neglected, as Kennedy was seated three inches higher than Connally.  When tracing a line from Oswald’s rifle on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository to Kennedy’s back (entry wound), his throat (exit wound), Connally’s right shoulder (entry wound) and his exit wound, the line appears to be straight.  Hence, when understanding the actual placement of the seats, it becomes clear that the trajectory of the bullet is linear and thus claiming it to be a magic-bullet is accurate. 

The Warren Commission consists of “an initial chapter summarizing the Commission’s basic findings and conclusions, followed by a detailed analysis of the facts and the issues raised by the events of November 22, 1963”, and was the first official document concerning the magic bullet theory.  Mark Lane, in his book Rush To Judgement, was the first to criticize the conclusions of the Warren Commission, especially the conclusion of there being three shots.  Lane argues that Oswald’s rifle could have only fired one bullet every 2-3 seconds and thus whilst appealing to the Zapruder film, could not have possibly fired two shots between frames 223 and 224. Hence, a magic-bullet must have been fired.  Posner, in the author’s note of his book Case Closed, concludes that “time and technology have caught up to the conspiracy critics… ballistics and computer studies confirm the so-called magic-bullet theory”. This agrees to what the FBI ballistic report concluded after re-enacting the assassination.  One must also realize that Connally was sitting lower and slightly to the left of Kennedy in his booster seat, so that when tracing a line from the 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, the trajectory of the bullet is in fact linear and could have went through both men.  Hence, it can be argued that a single-bullet struck both men during the Kennedy assassination.

One must understand that even while the ink was still wet on the Warren Commission, new questions were already raised. Posner himself said that he was only able to uncover where the Warren Commission erred through gaining access to “new explosive interviews, secret files and the latest scientific and computer enhancements of film and evidence”.  This investigation thus highlighted the individual methods of historical writing and how access to newer technologies, makes this specific investigation easier for a 21st century historian compared to a 20th century historian.

The significance of selecting appropriate resources was also highlighted in this investigation. The most reliable source was the Zapruder film, as despite accused of being tampered with, it served as a time clock for the assassination. Other highly relevant sources include the Warren Commission, Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgement and Gerald Posner’s Case Closed. Due to the unexpected nature of the event, I realized that many sources were intertwined and that most books published on the assassination are based on Marc Lane’s primary criticism of the Warren Commission. I also recognized elements of personal bias towards Oswald in Lane’s writing and that Warren himself considered him to solely be seeking publicity. As the public was so gullible to believe the first official report published with the intent of answering all questions regarding the assassination, one could question: How far does one’s character influence a historical source? This can be applied to today, a time of ‘fake news’, where trusting the government becomes more and more difficult.
The significance of selecting appropriate resources was also highlighted in this investigation. The most reliable source was the Zapruder film, as despite accused of being tampered with, it served as a time clock for the assassination. Other highly relevant sources include the Warren Commission, Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgement and Gerald Posner’s Case Closed. Due to the unexpected nature of the event, I realized that many sources were intertwined and that most books published on the assassination are based on Marc Lane’s primary criticism of the Warren Commission. I also recognized elements of personal bias towards Oswald in Lane’s writing and that Warren himself considered him to solely be seeking publicity. As the public was so gullible to believe the first official report published with the intent of answering all questions regarding the assassination, one could question: How far does one’s character influence a historical source? This can be applied to today, a time of ‘fake news’, where trusting the government becomes more and more difficult.

 Furthermore, this investigation enlightened me about how important it is to focus on specifics. We live in a world, where we are constantly confronted with new information. There are too many published sources and thus providing a different perspective, and Posner demonstrated how what happened fifty-five years ago is still relevant today, especially through the new perspectives brought to the case through technology advancements. The Zapruder film emphasised that there were only limited video sources from the actual event and that one must thus oversee its flaws of having no sound (thus making it hard to pinpoint the shots) and having an 18.3 fps. frame rate that provided inconsistencies in the movement of the car. Hence, this investigation taught me how crucial it is to distinguish between the excess of information that exists today, as not all is valuable.

Aguilar G. & Thompson J. “The Magic Bullet”. Even More Magical Than We Knew? History Matters, 1999. Accessed, 29. May. 2018.

 Galanor, Stewart. Cover-Up. Kestrel Books, 1998.

 “JFK Assassination Computer Animation”. YouTube, uploaded by Welton Hartford, 11. Jul. 2014.

 “JFK Autopsy Photographs”. Campbell M Gold, 2010,

 “John Connally on JFK Assassination (1991 C-SPAN interview)”. YouTube, uploaded by C-SPAN, 31. Oct. 2013.

 Kaplan, Fred. Killing Conspiracy. SLATE, 2013.

 Lallanilla, Marc. “History”. What Is the Single-Bullet Theory? LiveScience, 20. Nov. 2013. Accessed, 1. Jun. 2018.

 Lane, Mark. Rush to Judgment. The Bodley Head, August 1966.

 Marcus, Raymond. The Bastard Bullet. Rendell Publications, 1966.

 McAdams, John. JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy. Potomac Books, Inc., 2011.

 Posner, Gerald. Case Closed. Doubleday, 1994.

 Salandria, Vincent J. False Mystery: An Anthology of Essays on the Assassination of JFK. Square Deal Press, 2004.

 “The Connallys on “Larry King” 1992- Kennedy Detail- Clint Hill+”. YouTube, uploaded by Vince Palamara, 26. Jun. 2008.

 The Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection. “Abraham Zapruder 8MM JFK Assassination Camera And Film, 1963”. A Sixteen Million Dollar Twenty-Eight Second 8 MM Film. Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc., 2008. Accessed, 02. Jun. 2018.

 Thompson, Josiah. Six Seconds in Dallas. Berkeley Publishing Corporation, 1976.

 United States, Warren Commission. Report of The President’s Commission on The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Government Printing Office, September 24, 1964.

 Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “United States History”. Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 14. Sep. 2018. Accessed, 29. May. 2018.

 “Zapruder Film (Original)”. Zapruder JFK film., 02. Mar. 2016. Accessed 29. May 2018.

 “Zapruder Film Slow Motion (HIGHER QUALITY)”. YouTube, uploaded by ertGaming, 01. Oct. 2011.

The Kennedy Assassination then & now 
Kennedy's motorcade moving through downtown Fort Worth, Texas the day of the assassination, with the Tarrant County Courthouse in the background and today, unchanged. The day before at 23:07, Air Force One landed at Carswell Air Force Base on the outskirts of Fort Worth. When Kennedy and his wife walked down the steps of the aircraft they were met by Raymond Buck, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and his wife. Air Force Two also landed at Carswell with vice president Johnson, Texas governor John Connally and Senator Ralph Yarborough. In fact, Connally and Yarborough hated each other so much that Yarborough was unwilling to travel in the same car with Johnson, who was a politial ally of Connally. The following day, the president instructed him to ride with Johnson. At 23:35 the Kennedys arrived at the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth after being cheered by thousands of well-wishers lined on the route toward the West Freeway. Despite the late time and rainy weather, the president and Mrs. Kennedy took some time to shake hands with admirers gathered outside the hotel before retiring to their assigned suite for the night. The next morning at 8:45 the president spoke before breakfast in a square across Eighth Street, accompanied by Congressman Jim Wright, Yarborough, Connally and Johnson. Kennedy praises Fort Worth's aviation industry. The attendees, members of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, were largely conservative Republicans. Half an hour later Kennedy took his place in the hotel's grand ballroom for the scheduled speech, and the First Lady arrived amid loud applause fifteen minutes later. After the speech, presidential adviser Kenny O'Donnell informed Roy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent in charge of the trip, that the presidential limousine should not be equipped with its bubbletop if the weather is clear in Dallas. Later, press secretary Mac Kilduff showed the Kennedys a negative advertisement published in The Dallas Morning News with the headline "Welcome Mr. Kennedy to Dallas." Kennedy turned to his wife to say: "We're heading into nut country today."
One of the three photos of Oswald holding the rifle that was later determined to be the murder weapon taken by Marina in the backyard and which constitute an important piece of evidence linking Oswald to the crime given that
the Carcano in the images had markings matching those on the rifle found in the Book Depository after the assassination. The photos were uncovered with other possessions belonging to Oswald in the garage of Ruth Paine in Irving, Texas the day fter the assassination. Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission that around March 31, 1963, she had taken pictures of Oswald as he posed with a Carcano rifle, a holstered pistol, and two Marxist newspapers – The Militant and The Worker. Oswald had sent one of the photos to The Militant's New York office with an accompanying letter stating he was "prepared for anything." According to Sylvia Weinstein, who handled the newspaper's subscriptions at the time, Oswald was seen as "kookie" and politically "dumb and totally naive", as he apparently did not know that The Militant, published by the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, and The Worker, published by the pro-Soviet Communist Party USA, were rival publications and ideologically opposed to each other. The pictures were shown to Oswald after his arrest, but he insisted that they were forgeries. 
On the right is Oswald's former boarding house at 214 West Neely Street in the Oak Cliff neighbourhood of Dallas in 1963 and today. It was here that Oswald and his wife, Marina, had lived with their small child after they returned from Russia. It was in the garden behind that Marina Oswald had taken the infamous photograph of the assassin with his new mail-order rifle on his hip. In 1964, Marina testified before the Warren Commission that she had photographed Oswald, at his request and using his camera. Oswald's mother testified that on the day after the assassination she and Marina destroyed another photograph with Oswald holding the rifle with both hands over his head, with "To my daughter June" written on it. When shown one of the photos during his interrogation by Dallas police, Oswald stated that it was a fake. According to Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz, "[h]e said that the picture was not his, that the face was his face, but that this picture had been made by someone superimposing his face, the other part of the picture was not him at all and that he had never seen the picture before. ... He told me that he understood photography real well, and that in time, he would be able to show that it was not his picture, and that it had been made by someone else." The HSCA obtained another first-generation print on April 1, 1977, from the widow of George de Mohrenschildt. The words "Hunter of fascists – ha ha ha!" written in block Russian were on the back. Also in English were added in script: "To my friend George, Lee Oswald, 5/IV/63." Handwriting experts for the HSCA concluded the English inscription and signature were by Oswald. Photographic experts consulted by the HSCA concluded they were genuine, answering twenty-one points raised by critics. Marina Oswald has always maintained she took the photos herself, and the 1963 de Mohrenschildt's print bearing Oswald's signature clearly indicate they existed before the assassination. In 2009, after digitally analysing the photograph of Oswald holding the rifle and paper, computer scientist Hany Farid concluded that the photo "almost certainly was not altered".
Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline greeting supporters at Dallas Love Field on the morning of November 22, 1963. An hour later whilst his motorcade was traveling from Love Field to the Dallas Trade Mart he was assassinated and died at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Texas Governor John Connally was riding in the presidential limousine and was seriously wounded. Ninety minutes later Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One before its departure from Love Field to Washington D.C. Its appearance has changed considerably since. It's been the site of more recent violence as when, on June 10, 2016, a police officer intervening in a domestic altercation shot and wounded a suspect who rushed at him with a large stone in the vehicle loading zone near the baggage claim. This is believed to have been the first shooting ever to take place at the airport. It's since been followed at about 11.00 on July 25, 2022 when a woman drew a gun near the ticket counters outside of the security checkpoint. A nearby Dallas police officer took cover behind a kiosk and ordered her to drop the weapon; she then fired twice into the air, and was shot in the "lower extremities" in a brief exchange of gunfire with the officer, disabling her. She was then apprehended and hospitalised. At the time of this post she faces charges of aggravated assault against a public servant.
  Dealey Plaza from the southwest, with the former Texas School Book Depository building at left, Dal-Tex Building centre, and the Dallas County Records Annex at right on Nov. 22, 1963 and today. The former Texas School Book Depository building is where both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald fired a rifle that killed President Kennedy. Today, the plaza is typically visited daily by tourists. The Sixth Floor Museum now occupies the top two floors of the seven-story former Book Depository. Since 1989, more than six million people have visited the museum. The National Park Service designated Dealey Plaza a National Historic Landmark District on November 22, 1993, the 30th anniversary of JFK assassination, roughly encompassing the area between Pacific Avenue, Market and Jackson Streets and the former railroad tracks. Therefore, nothing of significance has been torn down or rebuilt in the immediate area beyond a small plaque commemorating the assassination. In fact street lights and signs that were in use in 1963 remain although some have been moved to different locations and others removed entirely. Buildings immediately surrounding the plaza have not been changed since 1963, presenting a stark contrast to the ultra-modern Dallas skyline that rises behind it. This can be seen on the right comparing a photograph taken during a reconstruction of the Dealey Plaza crime scene by the United States Secret Service in 1963 along Elm and Commerce Streets. Over more than half-a-century, Elm Street has been resurfaced several times; street lane stripes have been relocated; sidewalk lamp posts have been moved and added; trees, bushes and hedges have grown; and some traffic sign locations have been changed, relocated or removed. On the 40th anniversary of JFK assassination, the city of Dallas approved construction project plans to restore Dealey Plaza to its exact appearance on November 22, 1963. The first phase of the restoration, which spent $700,000 for repair work and plumbing along Houston Streets, was completed on November 22, 2008, the 45th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.
Bill and Gayle Newman covering their children as CBS News photographer Tom Craven (centre) and White House photographer Tom Atkins (right) take pictures just after the final, fatal shot. Speaking fifty years after the event, Gayle Newman described how she had been "terrified because of my children; I had never been around gunfire, so it was quite a shock to see someone shot in the head. … And it was the president of the United States.” The Newmans had actually driven to Love Field that morning to watch the Kennedys disembark from Air Force One. They then rushed to downtown to see the motorcade wind its way past the old Texas School Book Depository. They were on the north side of Dealey Plaza less than five minutes when the gunfire — which both said sounded like “firecrackers” at first — burst through the air as the president’s motorcade drew closer. “When the third shot rang out … I turned to Gayle and said, ‘That’s it. Get down,’” Bill Newman told the audience of about 250 people. They dropped to the ground and shielded their two boys — Clayton, 2, and Bill, 4 — a frightening moment captured in this photograph. “The picture of us covering the kids on the ground — I suspect that’s why there’s so much interest in our story. Some people have embellished their story. We try to keep it straight and pure.” When her husband was asked about how some researchers and authors selectively interpret the Newmans’ descriptions of what they heard. The third shot that the Newmans said came from “behind” them, he pointed out, has been used “as evidence that you heard a shot from the grassy knoll.” And that’s simply not the case as “[i]t was the visual impact [of the fatal shot] that made me think the shot came down over our head. In all honesty, I have no idea where the shot came from.”
The iconic Mary Moorman photo and the site today. Moorman was standing on grass about two feet south of the south curb of Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, directly across from the grassy knoll and the North Pergola concrete structure that Abraham Zapruder and his assistant Marilyn Sitzman were standing on during the assassination. Moorman stated that she stepped off the grass onto the street to take a photo with her Polaroid camera. Zapruder can be seen standing on the pergola in the Moorman photograph, with the presidential limousine already having passed through the line of sight between Zapruder and Moorman. Both Moorman and her friend, Jean Hill, can be clearly seen in the Zapruder film. Between Zapruder frames 315 and 316, Moorman took a Polaroid photograph, her fifth that day, showing the presidential limousine with the grassy knoll area in the background. Moorman's photograph captured the fatal head shot that killed President Kennedy. When she took it – approximately one sixth of a second after President Kennedy was struck in the head at Zapruder frame 313, Moorman was standing behind and to the left of Kennedy, about fifteen feet from the presidential limousine. 
The very moment Moorman takes the photo as seen in Zapruder frame 303 on the top left and the same moment seen from the Marie Muchmore film. 
Moorman said in a TV interview that immediately after the assassination, there were three or four shots close together, that shots were still being fired after the fatal head shot, and that she was in the line of fire. She later claimed in a 2013 PBS documentary Kennedy Half Century that she was close enough to hear Jackie Kennedy exclaim that John had been shot. Moorman attempted to sell the original polaroid throug Sotheby's in New York, but the auction house deemed it to be "too sensitive to auction". Whatever was captured in the background of Moorman's photo has been a matter of contentious debate. On the grassy knoll, some have claimed to identify as many as four different human figures, while others dismiss these indistinct images as either trees or shadows. Most often, one figure has been dubbed the "Badge Man" as it seems to resemble a uniformed police officer wearing a badge. Others claim to see Gordon Arnold, a man who claimed to have filmed the assassination from that area, a man in a construction hard hat, and a hatted man behind the stockade fence. Moorman stated she heard a shot as the limousine passed her, then heard another two shots, "pow pow," when the president's head exploded. She stated that she could not determine where the shots came from, and that she saw no one in the area that appeared to have possibly been the assassin. Moorman was interviewed by the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the FBI. She was called by the Warren Commission to testify, but due to a sprained ankle, she was unable to be questioned. She was never contacted by them again.
Dallas Police Department vehicle parked in the 400 block of 10th Street (10th Street and Patton Avenue) in the Oak Cliff neighbourhood of Dallas at the site where police officer J. D. Tippit was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald after Tippit stopped Oswald for questioning shortly after the shooting of President Kennedy. At approximately 13:11–13:14, Tippit had been driving slowly eastward on East 10th Street — about an hundred feet past the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue — when he pulled alongside a man who resembled the police description. Oswald walked over to Tippit's car and exchanged words with him through an open vent window. Tippit opened his car door and as he walked toward the front of the car, Oswald drew his handgun and fired five shots in rapid succession. Three bullets hit Tippit in the chest, another in his right temple, one bullet missed him altogether. Tippit's body was transported from the scene of the shooting by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 13:25 by Dr. Richard A. Liguori. A short time later, Hardy's shoe store manager Johnny Brewer observed Oswald acting suspiciously as police cars passed nearby with sirens blaring. Oswald then ducked into the Texas Theatre without purchasing a ticket. The police were notified by the theatre's cashier and responded by surrounding the theatre. Oswald was arrested after a brief struggle.
 Secret Service agents and local police examine the presidential limousine as it sits parked at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas under a sign reading "Ambulances Only" as Kennedy is treated inside. Five individuals associated with the assassination either died or were pronounced dead: Kennedy himself, Oswald, Jack Ruby who later killed Oswald, Abraham Zapruder, who had filmed Kennedy's assassination, and Jean Hill, another witness to the assassination (the "Lady in Red" seen in the Zapruder film). The 2013 film Parkland dramatises the deaths of Kennedy and Oswald in the hospital. It was here where Kennedy was pronounced dead at 13:00 in Trauma Room 1, thirty minutes after he was shot at Dealey Plaza. At the same time, Texas governor John Connally, wounded in the same shooting, was treated in Trauma Room 2, and survived. Two days after the assassination, November 24, Oswald was rushed to Parkland after being shot in the abdomen by Ruby and died in operating room #5 after over ninety minutes of surgery. Ruby died on January 3, 1967, in the same emergency department, from a pulmonary embolism associated with lung cancer. Then, on August 30, 1970, Zapruder also died at Parkland. Since Ruby's death in 1967, areas where Kennedy was pronounced dead and Oswald was operated on have been remodeled. A plaque there marks the location where Trauma Room 1 was previously in the prior Parkland.
testxxxxIntroduction At approximately 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963, while President John F. Kennedy, the most powerful man in the free world, rode in his presidential limousine slowly past the Texas School Book Depository Building and down Elm Street in Dallas, Texas, three shots rang out from the southeasternmost window on the sixth floor of the building. One of the bullets struck the president in the upper right part of his back and exited the front of his throat, another entered the right rear of his head, exiting and shattering the right side of his head. While the presidential limousine screeched away to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, John F. Kennedy, his life blood gushing from his body, lay mortally wounded on his wife Jacqueline’s lap. The assassin had succeeded in brutally cutting down, at the age of forty-six, the thirty-fifth president of these United States, a man whose wit, charm, and intelligence had captivated a world audience. The assassin’s bullets had also extinguished a flame of hope for millions of Americans who saw in the youthful president at least the promise of excellence in national life. As the years have shown, Kennedy’s assassination immediately transformed him into a mythical, larger-than-life figure whose hold on the nation’s imagination resonates to this very day. “The image of Kennedy is not based on what he accomplished, but on his promise, the hope he held out,” said historian Stephen Ambrose in 1993.1 Years earlier, New York Times columnist James Reston wrote similarly that “what was killed in Dallas was not only the President but the promise. The heart of the Kennedy legend is what might have been. All this is apparent in the faces of the people who come daily to his grave on the Arlington Hill.”2 In 1993, Ambrose added, “There’s a very strong sense that if he had not died, we would not have suffered the 30 years of nightmare that followed—the race riots, the white backlash, assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra.”3 While this is, of course, speculative, what is not is JFK’s legacy of rekindling the notion that public service is a noble calling. If it is any barometer of the sense of hope and promise that Kennedy inspired in the American people, the ever-decreasing trust by Americans in their government down through the years started with the Kennedy assassination and the subsequent erroneously perceived notion—fostered by conspiracy theorists—that the government concealed the full truth about the assassination from them. Trust in our leaders in Washington to do what is right for the people plummeted from 76 percent around the time of the assassination to a low of 19 percent three decades later.4 “There’s such a gulf in history between the day before and the day after Kennedy’s assassination,” says historian Howard Jones of the University of Alabama. “It’s as if we passed through a hundred years in a day.”5 In 2004, a national poll showed that trust in our government to do what’s right was only at 36 percent.6 Since Kennedy’s death, the nation has not seen, in any of his successors, his cosmopolitan intellectualism or the oratorical eloquence with which he sought to lead the nation by the power of his words. What also is beyond dispute was the way Kennedy, the first president born in the twentieth century, inspired the young of his generation by his youthful vigor and the bold, fresh initiatives of his New Frontier, such as his Peace Corps, civil rights bills, and pledge to put a man on the moon. Idealism was in the air, and the nation’s capital had never seen such an invasion of young people who wanted to change the world for the better. The most accurate indicator of Kennedy’s popularity among the nation’s youth at the time is a 2003 Gallup Poll of people of various age groups as to whom they regarded as our greatest president. In the fifty-to-sixty-four-year age group, those who were young during Kennedy’s presidency, Kennedy ranked number one among all presidents. Among all age groups he ranked number two, behind only Lincoln.7 Undoubtedly, two other factors have burnished and enlarged the Kennedy aura. He was among the most attractive and naturally charismatic public figures the nation has seen. And the Choate-and Harvard-educated son of privilege* and wealth ignored the wishes of his powerful father and a medical condition that could easily have exempted him from combat and became a World War II hero. Kennedy historian Richard Reeves writes that JFK had a “range of illnesses” that commenced as a child. “He could never have passed a real military physical examination, so he used the riches and influence of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, to become a naval officer. The old man persuaded friends in the military to accept a certificate of good health, a false one, from a family doctor…[JFK’s] executive officer, Leonard Thom, wrote home that Kennedy was the only man in the Navy who faked good health.”8 After seeing extensive combat in the Japanese theater, not long after midnight on August 2, 1943, in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the twenty-five-year-old navy lieutenant personally rescued one of the crew members of the patrol torpedo boat (PT 109)† he commanded when it was cut in half and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, by swimming four hours to the nearest island towing the man by attaching a strap from the man’s life jacket to his teeth. In a typical example of Kennedy’s well-known laconic wit, when he was once asked how he became a war hero, he responded with his famous understated smile, “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.” Kennedy’s magic started with the people (particularly, as indicated, the young, to whom the words of his inaugural address seemed to be aimed), as evidenced by the fact that although he had won the presidency with only 49.7 percent of the popular vote, a Harris Poll right after his inaugural showed his approval rating jumping up to an incredible 92 percent. Though his rating would soon return to the atmosphere, the speech, considered by many one of the finest inaugural addresses in the nation’s history, demonstrated that Kennedy was no ordinary politician. It wasn’t just the words of the speech (“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”; “Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace [cold war], proud of our ancient heritage”), but the dramatic way in which he uttered them on this memorably bright day, a day, author Thurston Clarke wrote, where the cold winter air turned his breath into white clouds, the words appearing to be going forth into the exhilarating air. “God, I’d like to be able to do what that boy did there,” his political opponent Barry Goldwater said. The power in Kennedy’s delivery of the words had to be helped by the fact that apart from the “Ask not” clause, the words were written by him and told his own story.9 In writing this book about the assassination, I inevitably got into, though tangentially, the man, John F. Kennedy. Governor John Connally’s wife, who herself was married to a handsome and dynamic man, wrote that “I thought I knew what ‘charisma’ meant before I met Jack Kennedy, but our young President gave the word a new definition.”10 But there was more to the man than mere charisma, an indelible element to his personality that lassoed the attention of the onlooker. When Kennedy died, the worldwide mourning that his death induced was unprecedented. Perhaps the most impressive testament of what Kennedy possessed was the way his death was greeted by the tens of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain during the very height of the cold war. The masses behind the curtain were only fed Soviet propaganda, the level of censorship being virtually complete, isolating the people within from the outside world. Yet when Kennedy died, the evidence is overwhelming that millions of Soviet citizens and those in the Soviet Bloc satellite countries in Eastern Europe took his death almost as hard as we in America did, these adversary countries being immediately swept up in national mourning and tears. Under the prevailing censorship, how much could the people of these nations have possibly been exposed to Kennedy, the tiniest snippet of his person or his words reaching them during his three years in power? In addition to the youthful vigor and indefinable charisma that he projected, my sense is that these masses, who heard so few of his words, and could understand none of them, picked up in the sound of his voice and the inherent decency and sincerity in his always pleasant face and smile, that he was different, and it was these additional critical components that enabled the essence of the man, from just a glance, to pierce the curtain of iron that had descended upon these countries and to touch the hearts of its citizens. How else, for instance, can one explain what Nobel Prize–winning novelist John Steinbeck witnessed in Warsaw when news of Kennedy’s assassination reached the Polish capital? Steinbeck had been on a cultural tour of Iron Curtain countries at the time, and he said that the “great sorrow” he saw among the Polish people over Kennedy’s death “was the most fantastic thing I ever saw. I’ve never seen anything like it. The Poles said they’d never seen its like either, for anyone.”11* Political author Thomas Powers cannot be accused of hyperbole when he observes that Kennedy’s assassination “was probably the greatest single traumatic event in American history.”12 Years later, it remains a festering wound on the nation’s psyche. Though Powers made his remark several years ago, its truth continues to this day. As we will see in the next section of this book, there is little comparison between the nation’s response to Kennedy’s death and its response to the World Trade Center catastrophe on September 11, 2001, even though the response to the latter was enormous. Just two indications among many of the difference. On the day of Kennedy’s assassination and for three consecutive days thereafter, all three national television networks suspended all of their commercial shows and advertising. And while only a relatively small number of books have been written about 9-11, far more books continue to be written to this very day, over forty years later, about Kennedy’s assassination. How could one death cause greater personal anguish to more people than three thousand deaths? The World Trade Center victims were known only to their loved ones, entirely unknown to the rest of the country. But the dazzling First Couple of JFK and Jackie, and their two children, Caroline and John-John, were perceived by many as the closest to royalty this nation had ever seen. Nearly all Americans felt they knew JFK intimately, his charm and wit regularly lighting up the television screen at home. This is why polls showed that millions of Americans took his assassination like a “death in the family.” Some, even more deeply than the death of their parents, because, as Kennedy confidant Ted Sorenson observed, the latter often represented a “loss of the past,” while Kennedy’s death was to them an “incalculable loss of the future.”13 It was written that “never in the land did so many, out of a feeling of personal identification with a dead leader,” mourn his death.14 It is believed that more words have been written about the assassination than any other single, one-day event in world history. Close to one thousand books have been written. So why the need for this book, which can only add to an already overwhelming surfeit of literature on the case? The answer is that over 95 percent of the books on the case happen to be pro-conspiracy and anti–Warren Commission, so certainly there is a need for far more books on the other side to give a much better balance to the debate. But more importantly, although there have been hundreds of books on the assassination, no book has even attempted to be a comprehensive and fair evaluation of the entire case, including all of the major conspiracy theories. On the issue of fairness, the more I studied the assassination and the writings of the conspiracy theorists and Warren Commission critics, the more I became disturbed with them. Though they accused the bipartisan Warren Commission of bias, distorting the evidence, and deliberately suppressing the truth from the American people, I found that for the most part it was they, not the Warren Commission, who were guilty of these very same things. I haven’t read all of the pro-conspiracy books. I don’t know anyone who has. I have, however, read all the major ones, and a goodly number of minor ones. And with a few notable exceptions, when the vast majority of these conspiracy authors are confronted with evidence that is incompatible with their fanciful theories, to one degree or another their modus operandi is to do one of two things—twist, warp, and distort the evidence, or simply ignore it—both of which are designed to deceive their readers. Waiting for the conspiracy theorists to tell the truth is a little like leaving the front-porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa. Ninety-nine percent of the conspiracy community are not, of course, writers and authors. These conspiracy “buffs” (as they are frequently called) are obsessed with the assassination, have formed networks among their peers, and actually attend conspiracy-oriented conventions around the country. Though most of them are as kooky as a three-dollar bill in their beliefs and paranoia about the assassination, it is my sense that their motivations are patriotic and that they are sincere in their misguided and uninformed conclusions. I cannot say that about the conspiracy authors. Unlike the buffs—virtually none of whom have a copy of the forty official volumes on the case—the authors possess and work with these volumes. Yet the majority of them knowingly mislead their readers by lies, omissions, and deliberately distorting the official record. I realize this is an astonishing charge I am making. Unfortunately, it happens to be the truth. In any other field, such as the scientific or literary disciplines, even a fraction of these lies, distortions, and omissions by a member would cause the author to be ostracized professionally by his colleagues and peers. But in the conspiracy community of the Kennedy assassination, where one’s peers have turned their mothers’ pictures against the wall and are telling even bigger lies themselves, and where the American public is unaware of these lies, not only is this type of deception routinely accepted by most members of the community, but the perpetrators are treated as celebrities who lecture for handsome fees and sign autographs at conventions of Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists. When the Warren Commission released its 888-page, 296,000-word report on September 24, 1964, a national poll showed that only a minority of Americans (31.6 percent) rejected the conclusion of the Commission that Oswald had acted alone.15 But through their torrent of books, radio and TV talk shows, movies, college lectures, and so on, over the years the shrill voice of the conspiracy theorists finally penetrated the consciousness of the American people and actually succeeded in discrediting the Warren Commission Report* and convincing the overwhelming majority of Americans that Oswald either was a part of a high-level conspiracy or was just a patsy framed by some exotic and elaborate group of conspirators ranging from anti-Castro Cuban exiles to organized crime working in league with U.S. intelligence. Although I had commenced my work on the case with a completely open mind, I found there was absolutely no substance to their charges and that they have performed a flagrant disservice to the American public. Dissent is what makes this country the great nation that it is, but this was not responsible dissent. This was wanton and reckless disregard for the facts of the case. Throughout the years, national polls have consistently shown that the percentage of Americans who believe that there was a conspiracy in the assassination usually fluctuates from 70 to 80 percent, down to 10 to 20 percent for those who believe only one person was involved, with about 5 to 15 percent having no opinion. The most recent Gallup Poll, conducted on November 10–12, 2003, shows that a remarkable 75 percent of the American public reject the findings of the Warren Commission and believe there was a conspiracy in the assassination. Only 19 percent believe the assassin acted alone, with 6 percent having no opinion.† It is the ambitious objective of this work to turn the percentages around in the debate. If I can even come close to doing so I will feel I have achieved something meaningful. Such an objective, after all, is not misplaced when the Kennedy assassination is perhaps the most important murder case ever, arguably altering the course of American as well as world history. It should be added that the millions of Americans who have been hoodwinked into buying into the conspiracy illusion don’t believe that Oswald conspired with some other lowly malcontent like himself to assassinate the president. Instead, though most don’t clearly articulate the thought in their mind, they believe that Oswald was merely the triggerman for organized crime, a foreign nation, or conspirators who walked the highest corridors of power in our nation’s capital—people or groups who eliminated Kennedy because his policies were antithetical to their interests. Such a belief, gestating for decades in the nation’s marrow, obviously has to have had a deleterious effect on the way Americans view those who lead them and determine their destiny. Indeed, Jefferson Morley, former Washington editor of the Nation, observes that Kennedy’s assassination has been “a kind of national Rorschach test of the American political psyche. What Americans think about the Kennedy assassination reveals what they think about their government.”16 Nineteenth-century French statesman and author Alexis de Tocqueville noted a characteristic of the American body politic that he felt boded well for America: its capacity for self-correction. But in the Kennedy assassination, we’ll soon be approaching the half-century mark, and the substantial majority of Americans still erroneously believe that their thirty-fifth president was murdered as a result of a high-level conspiracy. My professional interest in the Kennedy assassination dates back to March of 1986 when I was approached by a British production company, London Weekend Television (LWT), to “prosecute” Lee Harvey Oswald as the alleged assassin of President Kennedy in a proposed twenty-one-hour television trial to be shown in England and several other countries, including the United States. I immediately had misgivings. Up to then, I had consistently turned down offers to appear on television in artificial courtroom settings. But when I heard more of what LWT was contemplating, my misgivings quickly dissolved. Although this could not be the real trial of Oswald, inasmuch as he was dead, LWT, working with a large budget, had conceived and was putting together the closest thing to a real trial of Oswald that there would likely ever be, the trial in London being the only “prosecution” of Oswald ever conducted with the real witnesses in the Kennedy assassination. Through painstaking and dogged effort, LWT had managed to locate and persuade most of these original key lay witnesses, many of whom had refused to even talk to the media for years, to testify in the television trial of Oswald. There would be absolutely no script whatsoever (Mark Redhead, the LWT producer for the project, said to me, “I assure you, there will be no script. The script will be your yellow pad, which I’ve been told you have a love affair with”), and no actors would be used. Lucius Bunton, a highly respected U.S. district judge for the Western District of Texas, would preside over the trial. And a real jury, selected from the jury rolls of the Dallas federal district court, each having served on a federal jury in Dallas in 1985,17 was to be impaneled to hear the case, completely free to vote whichever way the jurors pleased on the issue of whether Oswald was guilty or not guilty.* Gerry Spence, about whom the great trial lawyer Edward Bennett Williams once said, “If I ever got in trouble, I’d want Gerry Spence to defend me,” and who had emerged as the leading criminal defense lawyer in America, had been selected to oppose me and represent Oswald. Nothing like this had ever been done before on television (re-creations of real trials invariably being with scripts and actors), and LWT had ambitiously started at the top of the hill with the Kennedy assassination. Originally, the trial was to be held in Dallas, but fearful of the media circus it felt sure the trial would inevitably create, LWT quietly jetted everyone to England for a trial in a London courtroom that was an exact replica of a Dallas federal courtroom. The historical importance of the trial was immediately apparent to Spence and me. Unlike their appearances before the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), where they testified in a non-adversarial context and were not cross-examined, the key witnesses in the assassination would now be exposed to cross-examination—the greatest legal engine ever invented, one legal scholar wrote, for the discovery of the truth. And as a London paper later wrote, “Witnesses who had thought they were in for an anxiety free, all-expense paid trip to London reeled out of the witness box after being subjected to sustained barrages of cross-examination.”18 I proceeded to set aside everything I was doing, and seven days a week immersed myself completely in the prosecution of the case, virtually insulating myself from the outside world. For close to five months, I averaged between 100 and 120 hours per week, my only break being when I would visit my elderly parents for two hours each week. The reason for this effort was simply that the task was monumental. The Warren Commission in 1964 and the HSCA, which reinvestigated the assassination for over two years in the late 1970s, had wrestled with the complexities of the case, trying to come to grips with its seemingly endless issues. In preparing for the trial in the average murder case, even a complex one, for the most part all a prosecutor has to look at, in terms of reading, are the police reports, coroner’s report, witness statements, and the transcript of the preliminary hearing. And the only person raising issues against him is the defense attorney. But here, in preparing for trial, I was dealing with the forty massive official volumes of small print on the case (the twenty-six volumes of the Warren Commission plus the one-volume Warren Report, which summarizes the Commission’s findings, and the twelve volumes of the HSCA together with the one-volume HSCA Report, which likewise is a summary of the HSCA findings) and the hundreds of issues raised by countless Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists in their articles and books. Plus, all the new material gathered by the LWT staff, a very competent and dedicated group of people ably led by producer Mark Redhead and executive director Richard Drewett. Redhead actually traveled to several countries working on the case. LWT’s two chief researchers for the docu-trial were Kerry Platman and Richard L. Tomlinson, each of whom did an excellent, highly professional job. With both the Warren Commission and the Select Committee, the areas of inquiry had been compartmentalized, separate groups of lawyers being assigned to work on specific parts of the case only—for example, the identity of President Kennedy’s assassin, the basic facts of the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald’s background, Jack Ruby’s killing of Oswald, possible conspiratorial relationships, and so on. But working alone, I had to know as much of the entire case as possible. And having the burden of proving Oswald’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, I could not afford to say to myself, “Well, this is only a television trial. I’ll just ignore this issue.” If I had been so cavalier, I knew the issue I ignored could be utilized by the defense to raise a reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. After all, the issue was no longer whether or not Oswald murdered Kennedy, one of the two main issues the Warren Commission dealt with. The issue now was different. Even if the jury ultimately came to believe from the evidence that Oswald murdered the president, would they believe it beyond a reasonable doubt? Because if they didn’t, the verdict would still have to be not guilty. As in any criminal case, the defense in London never had any legal burden to prove Oswald’s innocence or even to present a coherent or plausible alternative account of what happened. To prevent a conviction, it was enough for Spence to plant a reasonable doubt in the minds of one or more jurors. Playing on this reality, Spence would later tell the London jury, “There is only one truth in this case, and this is that nobody knows the truth.” During my examination of the evidence in preparation for the trial, I found that virtually every piece of evidence against Oswald maddeningly had some small but explainable problem with it. However, two things became obvious to me: One was that Oswald, an emotionally unhinged political malcontent who hated America, was as guilty as sin. Based on the Himalayan mountain of uncontroverted evidence against Oswald, anyone who could believe he was innocent would probably also believe someone claiming to have heard a cow speaking the Spanish language. Secondly, there was not one speck of credible evidence that Oswald was framed or that he was a hit man for others in a conspiracy to murder the president. I meticulously examined every major conspiracy theory that had thus far been adduced, and although there were a few (a precious few) that at first blush seemed plausible, upon sober scrutiny they did complete violence to all conventional notions of logic and common sense. Though there are some notable exceptions, by and large the persistent ranting of the Warren Commission critics, some of whom were screaming the word conspiracy before the fatal bullet had even come to rest, came to remind me, as H. L. Mencken said in a different context, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. The hard-core conspiracy theorists believe not only that there was a massive conspiracy to kill the president, but that the Warren Commission learned about this conspiracy, and, as pawns of the U.S. government, entered into a new conspiracy to cover it up. “The Warren Commission engaged in a cover-up of the truth and issued a report that misrepresented or distorted almost every relevant fact about the crime,” Howard Roffman writes in his book, Presumed Guilty.19 Gerald D. McKnight, a professor of history, no less, writes that the Warren Commission members were “men intent on deceiving the nation.” Just in the area of the president’s autopsy alone, he says, “the Commission sanctioned perjury, connived at the destruction of the best evidence, boycotted key witnesses, and deliberately and knowingly suppressed material medical records and legal documents.”20 There were “two conspiracies,” conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs confidently asserts. “One was the conspiracy to kill the president. The second conspiracy was the conspiracy to cover up the first conspiracy,” the second conspiracy being committed by “officials high within the U.S. government to hide the truth from the American public.” One of the first purveyors of this silliness was New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison. During his investigation of Clay Shaw for the president’s murder, he said that “the United States government—meaning the present administration, Lyndon Johnson’s administration—is obstructing the investigation…It has concealed the true facts, to be blunt about it, to protect the individuals involved in the assassination of John Kennedy.”21 The promotional literature for conspiracy theorist Carl Oglesby’s 1992 book, Who Killed JFK?, likewise reflects this commonly held belief of the conspiracy community, which it accepts as a mosaic truth: “In this clear, readable book, prominent assassination researcher Carl Oglesby proves that JFK must have been killed by a conspiracy, not a lone gunman. Even scarier, he knows that the U.S. government has been, and still is covering up that conspiracy.” If we’re to believe Oglesby, our current federal government (as well as all previous ones since 1963) is engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the truth in the assassination. Apparently, then, such distinguished Americans as Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senators John Sherman Cooper and Richard B. Russell, Representatives Gerald Ford and Hale Boggs, former CIA director Allen Dulles and former president of the World Bank John J. McCloy (the members of the Warren Commission), as well as the Commission’s general counsel, J. Lee Rankin, a former solicitor general of the United States, and fourteen prominent members of the American Bar (assistant counsels to the Commission), people of impeccable honor and reputation, got together in some smoky backroom and all of them agreed, for some ungodly reason, to do the most dishonorable deed imaginable—give organized crime, the CIA, the military-industrial complex, or whoever was behind the assassination, a free pass in the murder of the president of the United States. And in the process, not only risk destroying everything they had worked for—their reputation and legacy to their families—but expose themselves to prosecution for the crime of accessory after the fact to murder. Ask yourself this: would Earl Warren, for instance, risk being remembered as the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court who was an accessory after the fact to the murder of this nation’s president, one who disgraced himself, his country, and the highest court in the land? The mere asking of the question demonstrates the absurdity of the thought. As political columnist Charles Krauthammer put it, it is preposterous to believe that “Earl Warren, a liberal so principled that he would not countenance the conviction of one Ernesto Miranda [of Miranda v. Arizona fame] on the grounds that police had neglected to read him his rights, was an accessory to a fascist coup d’etat.”22 Indeed, why would any of the members of the Warren Commission and their staff stake their good reputation on a report they prepared which they knew to be fraudulent?* And if the conspiracy to kill Kennedy was as obvious as conspiracy theorists want us to believe, how then could the Warren Commission members have had any confidence that the conspiracy’s existence would not have surfaced in the future? Moreover, if we adopt the cover-up theory, did all seven Commission members, on their own, decide to suppress the truth? Or was there a ringleader or architect of the cover-up, like Warren? If the latter, how was he able to get the other six members (and, necessarily, a significant number of the Commission’s assistant counsels and staff) to go along with his nefarious scheme? Indeed, not knowing what their response might be, wouldn’t he have been deathly afraid to even approach them with such a monumentally base and criminal proposal? The whole notion is too ridiculous to even contemplate. Adding a touch of humor to it all, as Commission member Gerald Ford said, “The thought that Earl Warren and I would conspire on anything is preposterous.”23 A concomitant fact that’s obvious but never mentioned is that if the Warren Commission covered up for those it knew to be responsible for the assassination, it would necessarily also be guilty of falsely accusing Oswald and framing him for Kennedy’s murder. But would any sane individual actually believe this? Don’t these conspiracy theorists know what all sensible adults have learned from their own personal lives? That it’s almost impossible to keep a secret? Even a small one? Yet here, with not one, but two massive conspiracies, not one word, one syllable, has leaked out in over forty years. As I told the jury in London, “I’ll agree that three people can keep a secret. But only if two are dead.” Making the proposition of containing a secret in the Kennedy case even more implausible than it already is, anyone with knowledge of a Kennedy conspiracy who came forward could expect to receive very large sums of money from the media. And if we’re to believe the conspiracy theorists, not only were the multitudinous conspirators so incredibly efficient that they never once did anything wrong that revealed, even remotely, their existence, but not one of them has become disgruntled and wants to strike a bargain with the authorities (most likely immunity from prosecution for his testimony against the others), no ex-wife or mistress has decided to get even by talking, and not one of the members of the conspiracy or the cover-up has wanted to clear his conscience on his deathbed. The point should be made that even if a sense of honor and duty were not the primary motivating factors in the Warren Commission’s work, simple self-interest would naturally have induced its members not to try to cover up the existence of a conspiracy if, in fact, they found one. As Commission assistant counsel David Slawson, whose area of responsibility, along with William T. Coleman Jr., was to determine if there was a conspiracy, told me, “We were all motivated to find something unexpected, such as other gunmen or a hidden conspiracy. It would have made us heroes. But these hopes gradually disappeared as the evidence that it was just Oswald rolled in.”24 (Kenneth Klein, assistant deputy chief counsel for the later HSCA, said essentially the same thing in his article, “Facts Knit the Single Bullet Theory”: “Since the validity of the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin rested firmly on the validity of the single-bullet theory, the staff members of the Select Committee would have been thrilled to have disproved it. To have done so would surely have led to fame and fortune. Only one thing prevented us from doing so, the evidence.—Goodby fame. Goodby fortune.”)25* Slawson, by the way, a Harvard Law School graduate who just recently retired as a professor of law at the University of Southern California, not only was a supporter of Jack Kennedy when he ran for president in 1960, but got to know him and worked on his campaign, his Denver law office actually allowing him to spend a substantial portion of his time working for Kennedy instead of for the firm. That’s one more reason why the position of conspiracy theorists—that someone like Slawson would deliberately turn a blind eye to the existence of a conspiracy—is absurd on its face. As Warren Commission staff member Richard M. Mosk, a lifelong Democrat, said, “I was a young private sector lawyer, just out of the military, and I certainly had no incentive to cover up anything. Indeed, my father, Stanley Mosk, then California attorney general, was instrumental in running President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign in California and was close to the Kennedy family.”26 In his memoirs, Chief Justice Earl Warren, after pointing out that his commission uncovered “no facts upon which to hypothesize a conspiracy,” and that separate investigations by the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, Secret Service, and Departments of State and Defense could not find “any evidence of conspiracy,” wrote, “To say now that these [agencies], as well as the Commission, suppressed, neglected to unearth, or overlooked evidence of a conspiracy would be an indictment of the entire government of the United States. It would mean the whole structure was absolutely corrupt from top to bottom, not one person of high or low rank willing to come forward to expose the villainy, in spite of the fact that the entire country bitterly mourned the death of its young President.”27* The late CBS news commentator Eric Sevareid, commenting on the members of the Warren Commission being men of unblemished reputation and high national standing, observed eloquently, “The deepest allegiance of men like Chief Justice Warren, or John McCloy, does not lie with any president, political party, or current cause—it lies with history, their name and place in history. That is all they live for in their later years. If they knowingly suppressed or distorted decisive evidence about such an event as a presidential murder, their descendants would bear accursed names forever. The notion they would do such a thing is idiotic.”28 Yet the conspiracy theorists are convinced that even before the Warren Commission, the whole purpose of President Lyndon Johnson establishing it was to whitewash what really happened, either because he was complicit himself or because he was fearful that if it came out that Russia or Cuba was behind the assassination, it might precipitate a nuclear war. But this ignores the fact that the Warren Commission (five of whose members were Republican, unlikely candidates to cover up anything, much less a murder, for a Democratic president) wasn’t even LBJ’s idea. As far as is known, Yale Law School’s Walt Rostow first suggested it to LBJ’s press secretary, Bill Moyers, in a telephone conversation on the morning of November 24, 1963, the day after the assassination. (“My suggestion is that a presidential commission be appointed of very distinguished citizens in the very near future. Bipartisan and above politics,” Rostow told Moyers.) Almost concurrently, the Washington Post, lobbied by LBJ’s own Justice Department (particularly Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach), let it be known to the White House that it favored the idea also. LBJ, in fact, was originally strongly opposed to the idea, saying it was “very bad” and the inquiry into the assassination should be a “state matter” handled by the attorney general of the state of Texas with only the assistance of the FBI. “[We can’t] start invading local jurisdictions,” he said before he was eventually persuaded by some members of his staff, cabinet, and Congress that a presidential commission would be the most appropriate and effective way to investigate the assassination. LBJ was so opposed to the idea that he called FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on the morning of November 25, asking Hoover to use “any influence you got with the Post” to discourage it from pushing the appointment of a presidential commission in its editorials. Hoover responded, “I don’t have much influence with the Post because I frankly don’t read it. I view it like the Daily Worker [a Communist publication].”29 Conspiracy theorists can find little comfort in the finding of the HSCA that President Kennedy “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”30 Nowhere did the HSCA conclude that any of the groups frequently mentioned by the theorists, such as the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, organized crime, Cuban government, anti-Castro Cuban exiles, and so on, were involved in any conspiracy to kill the president. To the contrary, the select committee specifically concluded just the opposite, that they were “not involved.”31 For example, the HSCA said, “Based on the Committee’s entire investigation, it concluded that the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA were not involved in the assassination.”32 The sole basis for the HSCA’s conclusion that there was a conspiracy was its contested and far less-than-unanimous belief that in addition to the three shots it determined that Oswald fired from the Book Depository Building (two of which, it concluded, struck the president), there was a “high probability” that a fourth shot, which it said did not hit the president,33 was fired from the grassy knoll. If such were actually the case, a conclusion of conspiracy would be compelled—unless one drew the unrealistic inference that two people, acting totally independently of each other, just happened to try and kill the president at the same place and moment in time. The basis for this fourth-shot conclusion was an acoustical analysis of a police Dictabelt recording from Dallas police headquarters containing sounds, the HSCA believed, from a police motorcycle in Dealey Plaza whose radio transmitting switch was stuck in the “on” position. HSCA acoustic experts thought that the sounds heard on the tape were probably those of four gunshots. However, as is discussed in considerable depth in an endnote, this fourth-shot conclusion has been completely discredited and proved to be in error by subsequent analyses of the Dictabelt. In 1982, twelve of the most prominent experts in ballistic acoustics in the country were commissioned by the National Research Council to reexamine the Dictabelt. The panel found “conclusively” from other concurrent and identifiable background noise on the Dictabelt that the sound which the HSCA experts believed to be a fourth shot actually occurred “about one minute after the assassination,” when the presidential limousine was long gone down Stemmons Freeway on its way to Parkland Memorial Hospital. In fact, knowing I could rebut it, Gerry Spence did not even bother to introduce the fourth-shot Dictabelt evidence at the trial in London. When one removes the Dictabelt “fourth shot” from the HSCA findings, all that is really left is the HSCA’s conclusion that Oswald killed Kennedy, and the fact that the committee found no evidence of any person or group having conspired with Oswald, the identical findings of the Warren Commission. But the conspiracy theorists are in even worse shape with the HSCA findings than with those of the Warren Commission. Their tired allegation that the Warren Commission, because of a bias or under instructions going in, suppressed evidence of a conspiracy, obviously cannot be applied to the HSCA, which concluded (erroneously, we now know) that there was a conspiracy. Indeed, to support its conclusion of a conspiracy and establish its credibility, any bias the HSCA might have had would have been in the opposite direction—to look for and reveal evidence of a conspiracy, not suppress it. What kept me up working until three o’clock every morning in my study preparing for the London trial was the knowledge that this would be the first real opportunity for a national television audience to see why the Warren Commission ultimately concluded that Oswald was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.* Other than the massive media coverage of the assassination back in 1963 and early 1964, previously, in books and on television, all that the public had heard in depth was the persistent and jackhammer message of the conspiracy theorists and Warren Commission critics. By and large, then, all that the vast majority of the public had heard, as of 1986, was the conclusion of the Warren Commission, not the basis for that conclusion. True, the basis for the Commission’s conclusion was available, but how many Americans had purchased the twenty-seven volumes put out by the Warren Commission? This realization impelled me to make sure I was as prepared at the trial as I could possibly be. I organized and prepared the prosecution of Oswald in the same way I had done with the many other murder cases I had prosecuted in my career at the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, among other things interviewing my witnesses to the point where several told me they were more prepared than when they had testified before the Warren Commission. And through my interviews, a few new pieces of damaging circumstantial evidence against Oswald surfaced. The defense was also hard at work. I learned that Spence had two lawyers in his Jackson Hole, Wyoming, law firm working full-time on the case assisting him, and near the end LWT dispatched its chief researcher on the case, who had a doctoral degree in history, to Spence’s home to live and work with him there for three weeks. Spence said, “I worked as hard in preparation for this trial as if I had defended Lee Harvey Oswald in the flesh.”34 Indeed, anyone watching the trial on television could tell from Spence’s and my intensity that we were very serious. It was the same with the jury. Jack S. Morgan, who had just finished sitting on a Dallas federal jury a few weeks before LWT called him to sit on the London jury, became the foreman of the jury in London. As he says, “All of us jurors in London felt a strong responsibility to reach the correct decision as to Oswald’s guilt or innocence. We gave our best in our discussions and balloting, just as we would have had Oswald been tried in Texas before us. The whole concept of this court case was presented to us in such a way that the judge, lawyers and jurors considered it a real trial. It was the only one that Mr. Oswald would get, so we needed to be accurate in sifting through the facts to determine the truth.”35 The trial in London had all the earmarks and reality of an actual trial. The courtroom was packed, the witnesses were sworn to testify to the truth, and there was a real judge and jury listening intently to their testimony and observing their demeanor on the witness stand. Although Oswald, the defendant, was of course not present and could not testify, it has to be noted that he was not present at the Warren Commission hearings either, and at the hearings he had no real lawyer representing his interests or cross-examining witnesses who testified against him, as he did in London with Spence. I might add that even if Oswald had been alive and prosecuted, he, like so many defendants in criminal trials, might very well have elected not to take the stand and subject himself to cross-examination. For example, Jack Ruby never testified at his trial. Although Oswald’s widow, Marina, declined to testify, I can’t think of one absolutely critical witness I would have needed—were Oswald alive and I had prosecuted him—whom I did not have at the London trial. (When you have witnesses like the lady at whose home Oswald spent the night before the assassination with his wife, and who testified to Oswald’s storing the murder weapon on the garage floor of her home; the witness who drove Oswald to work on the morning of the assassination and saw Oswald carry a large bag into the Texas School Book Depository Building, Oswald’s place of employment; the witness who was watching the presidential motorcade from a window right below where Oswald was firing his rifle at Kennedy and actually heard the cartridge casings from Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle falling to the floor directly above him; a witness who saw Oswald shoot and kill Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit just forty-five minutes after the assassination; expert witnesses from the HSCA, as well as one from the Warren Commission, who conclusively tied Oswald to the assassination by fingerprint, handwriting, photographic, neutron activation, and firearm analyses; and so on, you know you’re dealing with the real thing.) I simply would have called, in some areas, more witnesses to establish the same thing—for example, more witnesses than the ones I called to place Oswald at the Tippit murder scene. The trial in London took place on July 23, 24, and 25, 1986. After the jury was out deliberating for six hours, they returned, on July 26, with a verdict of guilty, convicting Oswald of the murder of John F. Kennedy.* Obviously, were it not for my participation in this docu-trial of Oswald, which Time magazine said was “as close to a real trial as the accused killer of John F. Kennedy will probably ever get,”36 this book would never have been written. Before I go on, I’d like to relate an incident I feel may strike home with many readers of this book. Back in early 1992, a few months after the strongly pro-conspiracy movie JFK came out, I was speaking to around six hundred lawyers at a trial lawyers’ convention on the East Coast. My subject was “Tactics and Techniques in the Trial of a Criminal Case,” not the Kennedy assassination, but during the question-and-answer period that followed, the assassination came up, and I could tell from the rhetorical nature of the questions that the questioners believed there was a conspiracy in the assassination. I asked for a show of hands as to how many did not accept the findings of the Warren Commission. A forest of hands went up, easily 85 to 90 percent of the audience. So I said to them, “What if I could prove to you in one minute or less that although you are all intelligent people you are not thinking intelligently about the Kennedy case?” I could sense an immediate stirring in the audience. My challenge sounded ridiculous. How could I prove in one minute or less that close to six hundred lawyers were not thinking intelligently? A voice from my right front shouted out, “We don’t think you can do it.” I responded, “Okay, start looking at your watches.” With the clock ticking, I asked for another show of hands as to those who had seen the recent movie JFK or at any time in the past had ever read any book or magazine article propounding the conspiracy theory or otherwise rejecting the findings of the Warren Commission. Again, a great number of hands went up—about the same, it seemed to me, as the previous hand count. I proceeded to tell the group that I didn’t need a show of hands for my next point. “I’m sure you will all agree,” I said, “that before you form an intelligent opinion on a matter in dispute you should hear both sides of the issue. As the old West Virginia mountaineer said, ‘No matter how thin I make my pancakes they always have two sides.’ With that in mind, how many of you have read the Warren Report?” It was embarrassing. Only a few people raised their hands. In less than a minute (one member of the audience later told me it was forty-seven seconds) I had proved my point. The overwhelming majority in the audience had formed an opinion rejecting the findings of the Warren Commission without bothering to read the Commission’s report. And mind you, I hadn’t even asked them how many had read the twenty-six volumes of the Warren Commission, just the single-volume Warren Report. Well over a hundred million Americans reject the findings of the Warren Commission, whose report at least ninety-nine out of a hundred have never read. If Oswald’s guilt as the lone assassin is as obvious as I suggest, why, one may logically ask, the need for this extraordinarily long book? Make no mistake about it. The Kennedy assassination, per se, is not a complicated case. I’ve personally prosecuted several murder cases where the evidence against the accused was far more circumstantial and less robust than the case against Oswald. Apart from the fact that there is no audio on the famous Zapruder film (the film of the assassination by amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder, which, if reference is made only to it, would prevent one from knowing, with certainty, the number, timing, and sequence of the shots fired), the case against Oswald himself is overwhelming and relatively routine.* Earl Warren himself said, “As district attorney of a large metropolitan county [Oakland, California] for years…I have no hesitation in saying that had it not been for the prominence of the victim, the case against Oswald could have been tried in two or three days with little likelihood of any but one result.”37 The allegation of conspiracy introduces an element of complexity into the case because it is inherently more difficult to prove a negative than a positive, and this complexity is compounded by the fact that Oswald was a deeply troubled person and a restless Marxist who traveled to Russia and Mexico. But the complexity is only superficial. As will be shown in this book, upon scrutiny the various conspiracy theories turn out to be weightless and embarrassingly devoid of substance. Again, then, if the case is not complex, why such a massive tome? The answer is that a tenacious, indefatigable, and, in many cases, fraudulent group of Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists have succeeded in transforming a case very simple and obvious at its core—Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone—into its present form of the most complex murder case, by far, in world history. Refusing to accept the plain truth, and dedicating their existence for over forty years to convincing the American public of the truth of their own charges, the critics have journeyed to the outer margins of their imaginations. Along the way, they have split hairs and then proceeded to split the split hairs, drawn far-fetched and wholly unreasonable inferences from known facts, and literally invented bogus facts from the grist of rumor and speculation. With over eighteen thousand pages of small print in the twenty-seven Warren Commission volumes alone, and many millions of pages of FBI and CIA documents, any researcher worth his salt can find a sentence here or there to support any ludicrous conspiracy theory he might have. And that, of course, is precisely what the conspiracy community has done. To give the critics their day in court (which they never give to the Warren Commission and the HSCA), and thus effectively rebut their allegations, does regrettably and unavoidably take a great many pages. For instance, it takes only one sentence to make the argument that organized crime had Kennedy killed to get his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, off its back, but it takes a great many pages to demonstrate the invalidity of that charge. There are several reasons, over and above Jack Ruby’s supposedly “silencing” Oswald and a general distrust of government and governmental agencies, which was only intensified by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, why the majority of Americans have embraced the conspiracy theory and rejected the findings of the Warren Commission. One is that people inevitably find conspiracies fascinating and intriguing, and hence subconsciously are more receptive to conspiratorial hypotheses. As author John Sparrow points out, “Those who attack the Warren Report enjoy an advantage over its defenders: they have a more exciting story to tell. The man in the street likes to hear that something sinister has been going on, particularly in high places.”38 And, of course, we know that humans, for whatever reason, love mysteries (which, to most, the JFK assassination has become), whether fictional or real, more than they do open-and-shut cases. For example, who killed JR? Who is Deep Throat? (Now answered.) Are there really UFOs? We all know about the considerable popularity of murder mysteries in novels and on the screen. Tom Stone, who teaches a course on the Kennedy assassination at Southern Methodist University, says that “by the late 90’s I had come to believe that Oswald was probably the only shooter. But I found I was taking the fun out of the assassination for my students.”39 Stories of conspiracy, then, are simply more appealing to Americans than that of a gunman acting alone. And when one prefers an idea, one is obviously more apt to accept its legitimacy, even in the face of contrary evidence. Secondly, a wide-ranging conspiracy, in a strange way, gives more meaning not only to the president’s death but to his life. That powerful national interests killed Kennedy because he was taking the nation in a direction they opposed emphasizes the importance of his life and death more than the belief that a lone nut killed him for no reason other than dementia. Abraham Lincoln scholar Reed Turner says, “Somehow it is more satisfying to believe that a president died as the victim of a cause than at the hands of a deranged gunman.”40 Even Jacqueline Kennedy was moved to say that her husband “didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It had to be some silly little communist. It even robs his death of meaning.”41 In the unconscious desire of many to make a secular saint out of the fallen president, the notion of martyrdom was inevitable. But a martyr is not one who dies at the hands of a demented non-entity. Only powerful forces who viewed Kennedy’s reign as antithetical to their goals would do. And thirdly, in a related vein, there’s the instinctive notion that a king cannot be struck down by a peasant. Many Americans found it hard to accept that President Kennedy, the most powerful man in the free world—someone they perceived to occupy a position akin to a king—could be eliminated in a matter of seconds by someone whom they considered a nobody. On a visceral level, they couldn’t grasp the enormous incongruity of it all. To strike down a king, as it were, something more elaborate and powerful just had to be involved—“It’s preposterous on the face of it to believe that a mousy little guy with a $12.95 rifle could bring down the leader of the free world.”42 But of course this type of visceral reasoning has no foundation in logic. The lowliest human can pull a trigger just as effectively as someone of power and importance. And bullets are very democratic. They permit anyone to fire them through the barrel of a gun, and they injure or kill whomever they hit. There have been three assassinations of American presidents other than Kennedy (Lincoln, 1865; Garfield, 1881; McKinley, 1901) and six attempted assassinations (Jackson, 1835; FDR [president-elect], 1933; Truman, 1950; Ford, 1975 [twice]; and Reagan, 1981). With the exception of Lincoln’s murder and the attempt on Truman’s life (both of which, particularly in Truman’s case, were very limited conspiracies in their scope), all were believed to be carried out by lone gunmen—demented assailants, acting alone. But the above reasons are only ancillary to the principal reason why I believe the conspiracy theorists have been successful in persuading the American public that their charges are true. To paraphrase Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitler’s Third Reich, if you push something at people long enough, eventually they’re going to start buying it, particularly when they haven’t been exposed to any contrary view. And for over forty years, almost all that the American people have heard has been the incessant and all-pervasive voice of the conspiracy theorists. (The evidence that supports this view of mine is the previously stated fact that when the Warren Commission first came out with its findings, the majority of Americans did accept its conclusion of Oswald’s guilt and no conspiracy.) Oliver Stone’s widely seen but factually impoverished movie in 1991, JFK, only augmented for millions of Americans all the misconceptions and myths about the case. Then, too, there’s the reality that you only know if someone is lying to you if you know what the truth is. If you don’t know, and you make the assumption that the author of a book, for instance, is honorable and has a duty to the reader and history to be truthful, you accept what he says as being factual, and hence are misled. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Einstein may have had an IQ in the stratosphere, but if he didn’t know anything about chess and a purported expert on chess told him a lie about the game, Einstein would likely accept it. To know whether authors or film producers like Stone are telling the truth, you’d have to have on hand the Warren Commission and HSCA volumes so you could check out the accuracy of everything they say. But the Warren Report and its supporting volumes, for instance, cost around a thousand dollars today (originally, around four dollars for the report and seventy-six dollars for the twenty-six volumes), and very few Americans have them. In fact, even most libraries don’t. Only 2,500 sets of the volumes were printed by the Government Printing Office, 1,340 of which went to selected libraries.43 And the HSCA volumes are almost impossible to find anywhere. So those peddling misinformation about the Kennedy assassination have been able to get by with their blatant lies, omissions, distortions, and simply erroneous statements because their readers aren’t in a position to dispute the veracity of their assertions. A few examples among countless others: When conspiracy theorists and critics of the Warren Commission allege, as we’ve all heard them do a hundred times, that no one, not even a professional shooter, has ever been able to duplicate what Oswald did on the day of the assassination,* that is, get off three rounds at three separate distances with the accuracy the Warren Commission says Oswald had (two out of three hits) in the limited amount of time he had, how would any reader who didn’t have volume 3 of the Warren Commission know that this is a false assertion? On page 446 of volume 3 we learn that way back in 1964, one “Specialist Miller” of the U.S. Army, using Oswald’s own Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, not only duplicated what Oswald did, but improved on Oswald’s time. In fact, many marksmen, including the firearms expert from Wisconsin whom I used at the London trial, have done better than Oswald did. When Jim Garrison says in his book, On the Trail of the Assassins,44 that Lee Harvey Oswald “was a notoriously poor shot” with “an abysmal marksmanship record in the Marines,” unknowledgeable readers would probably accept this if they didn’t have volume 11 of the Warren Commission. U.S. Marine Corps Major Eugene D. Anderson testified that Marine Corps records show that on December 21, 1956, Oswald fired a 212 on the range with his M-1 rifle, making him a sharpshooter.45† When conspiracy theorist Walt Brown tells the readers of his book, Treachery in Dallas,46 what most theorists say, that Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was a “piece of junk” that “lacked accuracy,” how would a reader know that although it wasn’t the best of rifles, Ronald Simmons, the chief of the Infantry Weapons Evaluation Branch of the Department of the Army, said that after test-firing Oswald’s rifle forty-seven times, he found it was “quite accurate”; indeed, he said, as accurate as “the M-14” rifle, the rifle used by the American military at the time?47 The conspiracy theorists are so outrageously brazen that they tell lies not just about verifiable, documentary evidence, but about clear, photographic evidence, knowing that only one out of a thousand of their readers, if that, is in possession of the subject photographs. Robert Groden (the leading photographic expert for the conspiracy proponents who was the photographic adviser for Oliver Stone’s movie JFK) draws a diagram on page 24 of his book High Treason of Governor Connally seated directly in front of President Kennedy in the presidential limousine and postulates the “remarkable path” a bullet coming from behind Kennedy, and traveling from right to left, would have to take to hit Connally—after passing straight through Kennedy’s body, making a right turn and then a left one in midair, which, the buffs chortle, bullets “don’t even do in cartoons.” What average reader would be in a position to dispute this seemingly commonsense, geometric assault on the Warren Commission’s single-bullet theory? (The theory is a sine qua non to the Commission’s conclusion that there was only one gunman, and the same bullet that hit Connally had previously hit Kennedy.) But, of course, if you start out with an erroneous premise, whatever flows from it makes a lot of sense. The only problem is that it’s wrong. The indisputable fact here—which all people who have studied the assassination know—is that Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy, but to his left front. Though President Kennedy was seated on the extreme right in the backseat of the limousine, Connally was in a jump seat situated a half foot from the right door.48 Moreover, at the time Connally was hit, the Zapruder film, unlike Groden’s diagram, shows he was turned to his right.49 Additionally, the jump seat was three inches lower than the backseat.50 Therefore, because of the alignment of Connally’s body vis-à-vis Kennedy’s, it was virtually inevitable that a bullet traveling on a downward trajectory and passing on a straight line through soft tissue in Kennedy’s body (as both the Warren Commission and HSCA concluded) would go on to strike Connally where it did.51 But again, how would average lay readers know that Groden had deliberately altered reality to mislead them? (Groden declined a request by the defense to testify at the trial in London and thus avoided being cross-examined.) I am unaware of any other major event in world history which has been shrouded in so much intentional misinformation as has the assassination of JFK. Nor am I aware of any event that has given rise to such an extraordinarily large number of far-fetched and conflicting theories. For starters, if organized crime was behind the assassination, as many believe, wouldn’t that necessarily mean that all the many books claiming the CIA (or Castro or the KGB, and so on) was responsible were wrong? And vice versa? Unless one wants to believe, as Hollywood producer Oliver Stone apparently does, that they were all involved. I mean, were we to believe Mr. Stone, even bitter enemies like the KGB and the CIA got together on this one. Indeed, at one time or another in Mr. Stone’s cinematic reverie, he had the following groups and individuals acting suspiciously and/or conspiratorially: the Dallas Police Department, FBI, Secret Service, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, CIA, KGB, Fidel Castro, anti-Castro Cuban exiles, organized crime, and the military-industrial complex. Apparently nobody wanted President Kennedy alive. But where did all these people meet to hatch this conspiracy? Madison Square Garden? The Warren Commission has been attacked for decades by the critics for conducting a highly biased investigation of the assassination. Yes, the Commission was biased against Oswald, but only after it became obvious to any sensible, reasonable person that he had murdered Kennedy. Actually, that fact was clearly evident within hours of the assassination. Among other things, law enforcement learned that the apparent murder weapon, a 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building—later confirmed to be the murder weapon by firearm tests—had been traced back to Oswald; that forty-five minutes after the assassination Oswald murdered Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit, and shortly thereafter tried to shoot his arresting officer; and that during his interrogation he told one provable lie after another—such as claiming he never owned a rifle—showing an unmistakable consciousness of guilt. With evidence like this already in existence against Oswald on the very first day that the Warren Commission started its work on the case, how could the Commission possibly not start out with at least the working hypothesis of Oswald’s guilt? And of course, all of the evidence that the Commission gathered thereafter only served to confirm this original hypothesis. One of the most common arguments made by critics of the Warren Commission—even by those few who do not impute dishonorable motives to the Commission members—is that it was acting under intense political and societal pressure to reach a conclusion in the case and that it was very rushed in its investigation. This is one reason why, they say, the Commission reached an erroneous conclusion. But this is invalid criticism. The Commission had nine months, far more than enough time to reach a conclusion that was obvious to nearly everyone involved in the investigation within days—that a nut had killed Kennedy, and he had himself been killed by another nut, with the possibility of a conspiracy being highly implausible. If the president weren’t the victim, a normal investigation of a murder with the same set of facts and circumstances as this one could be wrapped up by any competent major city police department in a few weeks, with the prosecution being a rather short one. The Warren Commission, in addition to having one hundred times the investigative manpower and resources of a local police department, took, as indicated, nine months. As Warren Commission member John McCloy said, “The conclusions [we reached] weren’t rushed at all…[They were] arrived at in our own good time.”52 It should be noted that the completely natural and almost humanly unavoidable bias of the Warren Commission against Oswald, as one piece of evidence after another kept pointing ineluctably to his guilt, did not prevent it from conducting an extremely thorough, almost microscopic investigation of the assassination.* Nor did it militate against its being willing to examine, even seek out, any evidence that would controvert this bias. As David Belin, assistant counsel for the Warren Commission, said about himself and his colleague Joseph Ball (the two Warren Commission lawyers whose job was to answer the sole question of who killed President Kennedy, not other, related areas of inquiry), “Ball and I were always looking for something that might shed new light on the assassination. Could it be that Oswald was not the assassin? Could it be that if Oswald was the assassin, one or more people were involved? Could it be that Oswald merely aided the assassin, or that he unwittingly aided someone else?”53 Though the Warren Commission perhaps should have considered the possibility of a conspiracy more than it did, contrary to popular belief it did conduct a fairly extensive probe into the issue of whether or not any person or group was behind Oswald’s act. Apart from a great number of references to the possibility of a conspiracy in the multiple volumes of the Commission, and many sections in the Warren Report itself that, by definition, inferentially dealt with the issue (e.g., discussion about grassy knoll witnesses), the report contains a 131-page chapter (by far the longest chapter in the report) dealing exclusively with the issue of conspiracy. The Commission asserted that it “has investigated each rumor and allegation linking Oswald to a conspiracy which has come to its attention, regardless of source.”54 Indeed, one very long June 1964 document, titled “Oswald’s Foreign Activities: Summary of Evidence Which Might Be Said to Show That There Was Foreign Involvement in the Assassination of President Kennedy,” wasn’t even included in the Warren Commission volumes. The authors of the document (a memorandum from Assistant Counsels W. David Slawson and William Coleman to the Warren Commission) noted that “one of the basic purposes of the [Warren] Commission’s investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy is to determine whether it was due in whole or in part to a foreign conspiracy,” and concluded that “there was no foreign involvement” in Kennedy’s murder.55 One of the key pieces of documentary evidence that conspiracy theorists cite as proof that the Warren Commission only had an interest in presenting a case against Oswald, and had no interest in ascertaining whether there was a conspiracy, is a January 11, 1964, “Memorandum for Members of the Commission” from Commission chairman Earl Warren in which he sets forth a “tentative outline” that was prepared, he said, by Warren Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin to aid in “organizing the evaluation of the investigative materials received by the Commission.” Since by January 11, a month and a half after the assassination, it was very obvious that Oswald had killed Kennedy, subdivision II of the memorandum was titled “Lee Harvey Oswald as the Assassin of President Kennedy.” Under this subdivision were subheadings like “Brief Identification of Oswald [Dallas resident, employee of Texas School Book Depository, etc.]”; “Movements [of Oswald] on November 22, 1963, Prior to Assassination”; “Entry into Depository”; “Movements after Assassination until Murder of Tippit”; and so on. I respectfully ask, what other way was there for “organizing the evaluation of the investigative materials” when the investigative materials (i.e., evidence) all dealt, of necessity (since the evidence that had already been gathered all pointed to Oswald as the killer of Kennedy), with Oswald? To give Oswald an alias? Or mention some third party who was not identified in the investigative materials as the chief suspect? Moreover, the Warren Commission critics don’t mention that Warren, to allow for the fact that the investigation might take the Commission in different directions, wrote, “As the staff reviews the [investigative] materials, the outline will certainly undergo substantial revision.” Perhaps most importantly, what the critics usually fail to mention is that subdivision II H reads, “Evidence Implicating Others in Assassination or Suggesting Accomplices.” Even if the evidence up to January 11, 1964, the date of the subject memorandum, had not pointed only to Oswald, and even if there was no reference to a possible conspiracy in the tentative outline, the best way to judge the work of the Warren Commission on this point is not by what the Commission wrote or said, but by what it did. (One of my favorite sayings is “Your conduct speaks so loudly I can’t hear a word you are saying.”) And we will see that the Commission’s conduct throughout the investigation clearly shows that its members only had one objective, to discover the truth of what happened. In addition to the aforementioned long chapter on conspiracy, many sections of the Warren Report deal with the conspiracy issue. For instance, in the thirty-one-page appendix XII to the report, the Commission responds to 126 speculations and rumors, some dealing expressly with the allegation of conspiracy, most dealing in one way or the other with the allegation. Appendix XIV deals with Oswald’s finances in great detail, showing he was not in possession of money from an unknown source. And certainly the long biography of Jack Ruby and an analysis of the polygraph test he took,56 in many places expressly, and in virtually all places at least implicitly, address themselves to the conspiracy issue. It has to be noted that after the FBI became the chief investigative agency of the Warren Commission, no fair and sensible person could ever accuse the bureau of conducting a superficial investigation. It was exceedingly thorough. As Tom Bethell, who was in charge of the research for New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw for the assassination of President Kennedy, has written, “Garrison’s investigators were quietly impressed by the speed and thoroughness of the FBI’s inquiry…It turned out that the FBI, far from having done a poor job, had very thoroughly interviewed anyone and everyone with the most tangential relationship to the assassination.”57 Just two examples, among so many, of the FBI investigating the issue of conspiracy, examples that no book pushing the conspiracy theory would ever dream of mentioning. The enigmatic fellow with a checkered history who sat next to Oswald on the bus that transported Oswald to Mexico in September 1963, an extremely peripheral figure, was the subject of an investigation into his identity and background that remarkably generated ninety-nine pages in an FBI report.58 Also, the FBI obtained not only all records of toll calls made by Jack Ruby, but also those of his three brothers and four sisters, and twelve other persons known to have been in close contact with Ruby between September 26 (when it was reported in the newspapers for the first time that Kennedy would be in Dallas on November 22) and November 22, 1963.59 This had nothing directly to do with Oswald killing Kennedy, and everything to do with a possible conspiracy. The Warren Commission critics who do not believe that the Commission covered up the assassination allege instead that the Commission conducted a very superficial, incompetent investigation of the assassination. But in my opinion, the Warren Commission’s investigation has to be considered the most comprehensive investigation of a crime in history. Even leading Warren Commission critic Harold Weisberg acknowledges that the Commission “checked into almost every breath [Oswald] drew.”60 Very few people are more critical than I. And I expect incompetence wherever I turn, always pleasantly surprised to find its absence. Competence, of course, is all relative, and I find the Warren Commission operated at an appreciably higher level of competence than any investigative body I know of. It is my firm belief that anyone who feels the Warren Commission did not do a good job investigating the murder of Kennedy has never been a part of a murder investigation. Of one thing I am certain. The Commission’s conclusions have held up remarkably well against all assaults on their validity. This is true not only of its basic conclusions, but also of its finer points. For example, with all the technological advances in photographic enhancement to which the Zapruder film of the assassination has been exposed, the very latest interpretation by most of the experts on precisely when the first of two shots hit the president (the only one in controversy, the second shot being the visible head shot)—somewhere between frames 210 and 225—just happens to coincide with what the Warren Commission concluded61 way back in 1964. With respect to the depth of the Warren Commission inquiry, there are hundreds of thousands of pages of investigative reports and documents on its investigation that are in addition to the twenty-seven published volumes of the Commission. These volumes consist of the 888-page, single-volume Warren Report; 8,082 pages of testimony in small print in volumes 1 through 15; and 9,833 pages of documents and exhibits in volumes 16 through 26. They all add up to 18,803 pages and close to 10.4 million words, almost all of which consist of substance, not fluff, as Warren Commission critics would want the public to believe.* The commission or its staff took direct testimony, affidavits, or statements from 552 witnesses,† more than ten times, for instance, the number of witnesses called before the Joint Congressional Committee that investigated, in 1945–1946, the attack on Pearl Harbor. The FBI alone (there were also companion investigations of the assassination by other agencies) conducted an unprecedented 25,000 interviews as the investigative arm of the Warren Commission, and submitted 2,300 separate reports. Eighty additional FBI agents were ordered into the Dallas area alone, and a great many more agents around the country worked on various parts of the case. A total of 3,154 items of evidence were introduced before the Commission in its investigation of the assassination. As author Relman Morin observed, “Never in history was a crime probed as intensely, and never in history was the inquiry itself subjected to such intense scrutiny.”62 Speaking later, as the district attorney of Philadelphia, former Warren Commission assistant counsel Arlen Specter said that “I have never seen the resources devoted to the determination of the truth as were the resources of the United States of America devoted in this case…There has been no equal of this kind of inquiry, anywhere.”63‡ A “monumental work” and “an outstanding achievement,” Lord Devlin, former justice of England’s High Court, Kings Bench Division, averred.64 As Newsweek’s White House correspondent Charles Roberts put it back in 1967, the Warren Commission “interrogated strip-teasers and senators, street urchins and psychiatrists…It explored more theories, tracked down more leads, and listened to more rambling witnesses, expert and illiterate, than any body of its kind in history.”65 Paul L. Freese, in the New York University Law Review, wrote, “The Commission is without rival in its display of investigative energy. It gathered a prodigious amount of evidence.”66 And yet, as conspiracy author Walt Brown accurately points out, “The Warren Commission…became the most vilified fact-finding body ever assembled in the United States of America.”67 But very little of the vilification is warranted. Although the Warren Commission appears to have fudged on some small points here and there—unfortunately, not uncommon for law enforcement—overall it did a very thorough and exemplary investigative job. Apart from the commissioners’ natural inclination to conduct themselves honorably, one reason why the Warren Commission (as opposed to the individual authors, investigators, and conspiracy theorists who followed) was fair and objective is that it was essentially forced to be so. The Commission and its lawyers and investigators consisted of a considerable number of people, many of whom were very familiar with the case, and hence, even if a member of this group was duplicitous and dishonorable enough to want to deceive the American public, he would have known he simply couldn’t do this because his colleagues would be in a position to question immediately the fabrication or distortion he wrote, or the important fact he curiously omitted. What follows is a typical example of what I’m referring to, a September 14, 1964 (ten days before the Warren Report was published), memorandum from Warren Commission assistant counsel Wesley Liebeler to fellow assistant counsel Howard Willens regarding, Liebeler writes, the galley proofs of “that portion of chapter VI [of the prospective Warren Report] dealing with conspiracy beginning with ‘Investigation of Other Activities.’” These are but a few excerpts from many more points in the memorandum: “We have not conducted sufficient investigation to state that there is no evidence that FPCC [Fair Play for Cuba Committee] and ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] were aware that they were authorized to receive mail at P. O. Box 6225, or that mail was ever addressed to them there.” “We cannot say that all of Oswald’s transactions in connection with firearms were undertaken under an assumed name, only his known transactions.” “The last sentence in that paragraph [first full paragraph on page 259] is not supported by the TV films we got from CBS. It should be deleted.” “Whiteworth and Hunter do not now say Oswald drove down the street, and only Mrs. Whiteworth said so before.” “I know of no evidence that Ryder and Greener talked on the 24th.” “The paragraph about the psychiatrist is quite unfair. It states that Odio ‘came forward’ with her story, whereas she did not come forward at all and was quite reluctant to get involved at all.” “Why do we fail to mention the Cuban or Mexican that one of the Western Union employees said was with the man Hambian thought was Oswald?”68 And so on. Liebeler wrote a similar memorandum on September 6, 1964, with respect to perceived inaccuracies and overstatements in chapter IV (“The Assassin”) of the pending report.69 Such was the methodology used by the members of the Warren Commission and its staff in their effort to arrive at the truth in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Yes, as in virtually all involved criminal cases (and here there were three separate and distinct murders to deal with—the murders of JFK, Officer J. D. Tippit, and Lee Harvey Oswald), there were unresolved questions and areas of speculation, but as Liebeler testified before the HSCA on November 8, 1977, As to the basic facts of the assassination relating to questions of the President’s wounds, source of the shots and identity of the assassin, the physical evidence alone shows without doubt that Oswald was the assassin and that he fired from the sixth floor of the school book depository. The Commission pursued to the extent that it could all plausible leads suggesting the involvement of persons other than Oswald and it could not establish any facts that would seriously suggest the existence of a conspiracy to assassinate the President. The staff was highly motivated and competent with no inclination or motive not to pursue the issues to the truth. The work of the staff of the Commission was not perfect. [But] when compared to the criticisms that have been made of our work or compared to the product of other human institutions, and not to some ideal of perfection, we might ask ourselves, or you might ask yourselves whether you would have been likely to have done better at the time, and when thought of in that way and when compared to those standards I think the Commission’s work will pass muster very well. As I have said, I have never doubted the nature of the conclusions of the report and I do not doubt them now. In spite of what has happened since the publication of the report I think that eventually it will stand the test of time.70 It is quite interesting to note that if, as the conspiracy theorists maintain, the Warren Commission only presented evidence in its volumes that supported its conclusions, and deliberately suppressed information that did not, why is it that the source the conspiracy theorists cite for upwards of 95 percent of their arguments is some document, affidavit, or testimony contained—for all the world to see—within the Warren Commission volumes? Some suppression. One example among a great many others. The Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists allege, of course, that the fatal shots came from the grassy knoll, not the Book Depository Building where Oswald was, and they claim further that the Warren Commission knows this but suppressed evidence pointing to this fact. Yet the Commission called and took testimony from many witnesses who said it was their belief (proved to be incorrect by the weight of all the other evidence) that the shots came from the grassy knoll. Again, some suppression. Warren Commission critic David Lifton, a committed grassy-knoll-theory devotee, speaks enthusiastically in his book, Best Evidence, of reading an article in the March 1965 issue of Minority of One in which the testimony of many of these witnesses is set forth. He refers to the article—which he says supported his position that the shots came from the knoll, not the Book Depository Building as the Warren Commission claimed—as being “something of a classic.” He then adds, perhaps unaware of the irony, that the article was “based entirely on information from the twenty-six volumes” of the Warren Commission.71 Conspiracy author Michael E. Eddowes writes, “When the Warren Report and its 26 supporting volumes of testimony and exhibits became available, my several assistants and I began to study them…The basis of my study has always been the contents of the volumes of testimony and exhibits, from which my assistants and I were able finally to assemble evidence disclosing the truth.”72 The critics of the Warren Commission should ask themselves whether publishing evidence damaging to one’s own position is the mark of an honest and honorable person or group, or the opposite. “It is the very thoroughness of the Warren Commission that has caused its problems,” the late Pierre Salinger noted. “It listened patiently to everyone, no matter how credible or incredible the testimony. It then appended all this testimony to its report, providing an opportunity to anyone with a typewriter and a lot of time on his hands to write a book on the subject.”73 A tactic used by authors of virtually every single book I’ve ever read that propounds a conspiracy theory is to attack an agency as being part of a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, but when this same agency comes up with something favorable to the author’s position, the author will cite that same agency as credible support for his argument. This tactic is neither subtle nor logical, yet that is precisely what almost all the conspiracy theorists do, seeking to pick and choose and have it both ways. Just one example among hundreds: Referring to a threatening note that Oswald delivered to the FBI office in Dallas less than two weeks before the assassination, which was subsequently destroyed, Mark Lane, the granddaddy of all conspiracy theorists, writes in the introduction to his book Rush to Judgment, “An obvious and reasonable explanation as to why [the note] was destroyed is that it contained material prejudicial to the FBI…[It] was but one of the illegal police actions to silence [Oswald]. The ultimate action was to murder him.”74 Pretty serious allegations against the FBI, right? But then Lane, without even blushing, turns to the FBI for support whenever an FBI finding is helpful to his position. In other words, the FBI, though per Lane apparently complicit in the assassination as well as the murder of Oswald, is suddenly imbued with honor and integrity and is out there working diligently to discover the truth in the assassination. He writes later in his book, “If it is accurate, the December 9 FBI report provides proof that the [Warren] Commission explanation of the throat wound is inaccurate…Hoover would not presume to summarize the ‘medical examination of the President’s body’…unless the autopsy report had been studied carefully.” And later, to support his position that Oswald was not Kennedy’s assassin, he writes, “After the FBI had examined the rifle, a letter from Hoover reported: ‘It is noted that at the time of firing these tests, the telescopic sight [on Oswald’s rifle] could not be properly aligned with the target since the sight reached the limit of its adjustment before reaching accurate alignment.’”75 Finally, there is another need for this book. Amid the blizzard of defective and misleading anti–Warren Commission and pro-conspiracy books, there have only been two books of prominence on the other side in the last twenty years: first, Conspiracy of One by Jim Moore in 1991, and the much more well-known Case Closed by Gerald Posner in 1993. Both books (particularly Case Closed, which was well received by the mainstream press) have been valuable contributions to JFK assassination literature, and I agree with their two principal conclusions, namely, that Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone. (I disagree 100 percent with Posner’s conclusion that organized crime may have intended to kill Kennedy, but Oswald “beat the Mafia to it.”) But what a disappointment it was to me when, after years and years of pro-conspiracy books, these two books finally came out on the other side and I saw the authors engaging in many of the same unfortunate tactics as the Warren Commission critics. Just a very few examples among many to illustrate the often misleading writing of Moore and Posner. Earlene Roberts was the manager of the rooming house Oswald lived in at the time of the assassination. In his book, Moore refers to her testimony that Oswald arrived back at the rooming house shortly after the assassination, was in a big hurry, and left minutes thereafter. But Moore, who reasons well in his book, completely ignores the most potentially important part of her testimony, that she heard the honk of a car, glanced out the window, and saw, she claims, a Dallas police car in front of the rooming house just before Oswald left—information which, if true, clearly goes in the direction of a conspiracy. If you’re being fair and objective, and the issue is whether Oswald was involved with anyone in the assassination, how is it possible to omit information like this? Let’s take Sylvia Odio. Odio is the seemingly credible witness who testified before the Warren Commission that one evening in late September 1963 (less than two months before the assassination), Lee Harvey Oswald, in the company of two anti-Castro Cuban men, appeared at her door in Dallas seeking funds for the anti-Castro cause. The next day, one of the three called her and told her that Oswald said Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs, and that killing Kennedy would be “easy to do.” Anti-conspiracy theorists, of course, don’t want there to be any evidence that Oswald was seen in the company of unknown men before the assassination, particularly with men who may have had a motive to kill Kennedy (such as anti-Castro Cubans angry at JFK over his lack of support at the Bay of Pigs), and Moore, remarkably, writes off Odio, a very important witness, with just one sentence.76 Posner is even worse, writing what can only be characterized as a distortion and misrepresentation of Odio’s testimony. In his book he dismisses the accuracy of her identification of Oswald as being the man at her door by quoting highly selective testimony of Odio’s, including this testimony of Odio’s when shown a photo of Oswald by Warren Commission counsel: “I think this man was the one in my apartment. I am not too sure of that picture. He didn’t look like this.”77 Sounds like the man at the door might not have been Oswald, right? That’s because Posner omits what Odio said immediately thereafter (on the same line of the transcript) to explain why Oswald did not look like he did in the photo: “He was smiling that day. He was more smiling than in this picture.” But much more importantly by far, Posner doesn’t tell his readers about other photos (even television footage) of Oswald that Odio was shown where she positively identified him as the man at the door. Although Posner expressly tells his readers that “Odio could not positively identify [Oswald] when shown photos during her Warren Commission testimony,” this is simply and categorically not true. When Odio was asked whether one photograph of Oswald depicted “the man who was in your apartment,” she jocularly stated, “If it is not, it is his twin.” When asked, “When did you first become aware of the fact that this man who had been at your apartment was the man who had been arrested in connection with the assassination?” she replied, “It was immediately.” Question: “As soon as you saw his picture?” “Immediately, I was so sure.” Summing up her testimony after Warren Commission counsel asked her, “Do you have any doubts in your mind after looking at these pictures that the man who was in your apartment was Lee Harvey Oswald?” she replied, “I don’t have any doubts.”78 Because this testimony of Odio’s goes in the direction of contradicting Posner’s position that the visitor at the door “was not Oswald” and his larger position of no conspiracy, none of it can be found in Case Closed, and hence, the unsuspecting reader can merrily proceed to the next page, not troubled at all by a very, very troubling witness (Odio). One of the favorites of the conspiracy theorists is Rose Cherami. In fact, Oliver Stone started his movie JFK with her story. Cherami (true name, Melba Christine Marcades) was a prostitute and heroin addict who was found lying on the road near Eunice, Louisiana, on the evening of November 20, 1963, two days before the assassination. She said she had been pushed out of a moving car. Bruised and disoriented, she was taken to the nearby Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana, where she reportedly told the attending physician that President Kennedy was going to be killed during his forthcoming trip to Dallas. Now let’s go to Posner. Dismissing Cherami, he writes, “Doctor Victor Weiss, a treating physician, told investigators that he did not hear her say anything about the assassination until November 25th [three days after the assassination].” Posner is clearly implying here that Weiss was in Cherami’s presence before the assassination and she never said a word about the president going to be killed. It was only after the assassination that she said anything to him. In fact, Posner later says that Cherami “made up her story” not just after the assassination, but “after Ruby had shot Oswald.”79 But when we look at Posner’s own citation for this (HSCA volume 10, page 200), we find something quite different: “Doctor Victor Weiss verified that he was employed as a resident physician at the hospital in 1963. He recalled that on Monday, November 25, 1963, he was asked by another physician, Dr. Bowers, to see a patient who had been committed November 20 or 21. Dr. Bowers allegedly told Weiss that the patient, Rose Cherami, had stated before the assassination that President Kennedy was going to be killed.” So, directly contrary to what Posner suggested to his readers, not only hadn’t Weiss seen Cherami before the assassination, but at least reportedly, Cherami had indeed said before the assassination that Kennedy was going to be killed. Cherami can be responsibly dealt with, but certainly not in the way it is done in Case Closed. If these examples were isolated, they perhaps would not be worth mentioning, although each one clearly reflects the state of mind and proclivity of the author. But Posner does this type of thing too much to be ignored. The problem with the writings of Posner and the conspiracy theorists is that, as I indicated earlier, unless the reader has all the volumes of the Warren Commission and those of the HSCA to refer to, which perhaps only one out of ten thousand readers would have, how can one possibly know whether what they are reading is true, half-true, or false? In former Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny’s long review of Posner’s book, Case Closed, for the Los Angeles Times on November 7, 1993, he writes that Posner “does not sink as low as his slimiest predecessors on the case (Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone and Mark Lane); he doesn’t knowingly present concoctions as fact. But he does lie down with such predecessor assassination-book writers as Anthony Summers, Jim Marrs and Edward J. Epstein, in that he presents only the evidence that supports the case he’s trying to build, framing this evidence in a way that misleads readers who aren’t aware that there’s more to the story.”* Kwitny’s review would have been more accurate if he had said that Posner “frequently” presents only the evidence that…But it’s a shame that Posner, in his book (which was written in only two years, a remarkably short period for such an immense undertaking), engaged too often in the tactics of the conspiracy theorists, because despite his omissions and distortions he managed to write an impressive work. If his book had been more comprehensive, particularly in the vast area of conspiracy, and, more importantly, had more credibility, the enormous conspiracy community would not have had the ammunition that they have used against him. I can assure the conspiracy theorists who have very effectively savaged Posner in their books that they’re going to have a much, much more difficult time with me. As a trial lawyer in front of a jury and an author of true-crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. My only master and my only mistress are the facts and objectivity. I have no others. The theorists may not agree with my conclusions, but in this work on the assassination I intend to set forth all of their main arguments, and the way they, not I, want them to be set forth, before I seek to demonstrate their invalidity. I will not knowingly omit or distort anything. However, with literally millions of pages of documents on this case, there are undoubtedly references in some of them that conspiracy theorists feel are supportive of a particular point of theirs, but that I simply never came across. Some may say it is petty, perhaps even improper, to criticize others in writing a book about the case. I don’t agree. The Kennedy assassination is a historical event. And when anyone purporting to write the history of the event fabricates, distorts, or misleads about the facts of the case, it is not only advisable but incumbent upon those who subsequently write about the event to point out these lies and distortions. If they do not, the lies themselves will harden in the future into “facts” and millions will be misled. This is precisely what has already happened in this case. After all, if future writers don’t correct the errors and distortions of their predecessors, then who will? If they don’t have the responsibility to do this, then who does? Therefore, if those who follow me find that in writing this book I myself have taken liberties with the truth, I would expect them to bring this to the attention of their readers. Another defect I shall studiously avoid in this book—one that characterizes so many authors of books on the assassination—is to falsely suggest to the reader that what he or she is reading is new information that the author has mined from his research. For instance, the reader of Case Closed can only come, from the context, to one conclusion about the section on Failure Analysis Associates’ computer reconstruction of the shooting in Dealey Plaza, and the section debunking all the supposedly mysterious deaths of people associated with the assassination: that the author, Posner, worked with Failure Analysis on its reconstruction and/or commissioned Failure Analysis’s work, and that the author, in his research, had discovered that there were no mysterious deaths associated with the assassination. But Failure Analysis, a leading engineering and scientific consulting firm with offices worldwide, was commissioned to do its work not by Posner, but by the American Bar Association for a mock trial on the assassination the association conducted in San Francisco at its annual convention in 1992.* Roger McCarthy, president and CEO of Failure Analysis Associates who testified as an expert witness at the trial in San Francisco, told me that Posner “didn’t have anything to do” with their project, and they weren’t even aware he was in the process of writing a book at the time. What particularly troubled McCarthy was that “Posner only presented in his book the prosecution side of our presentation in San Francisco, completely omitting what we presented for the defense, which was important enough to help bring about a hung jury.”80 Similarly, way back in 1977, sixteen years before the publication of Case Closed, the HSCA thoroughly investigated the entire “mysterious deaths” allegation and wrote of its extensive research and findings discrediting the allegation in volume 4, pages 454–467, of the HSCA’s report to Congress. Yet Posner does not tell his readers this in his book. Show me one reader out of a hundred who read Case Closed who didn’t think that the author was sowing new ground in his section on mysterious deaths.81 These tactics of authors of books on the assassination remind one of Oscar Levant’s observation about Leonard Bernstein: “Leonard Bernstein has been disclosing musical secrets that have been well known for over 400 years.” Many competent and hard-working people have labored diligently in the investigative vineyards of the Kennedy assassination case throughout the years, and this book will pay homage to their work and findings. Another, though more benign, feature of the constantly evolving literature on the assassination is the erroneous assertion or implication in book after book that they contain accounts of the assassination from new and previously unknown witnesses, or new revelations from known witnesses. Even the very prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) descended to this type of tabloid rhetoric by announcing in a press release that JFK’s autopsy doctors “broke their 29 year silence” on the case in JAMA’s May 27, 1992, published interview with two of the doctors. JAMA’s obvious intent was for the mass media to headline their stories with the “silence” hook, which they in fact did. To the public, the phrase “breaking one’s silence” can only mean that the person has never written or spoken about the subject before. But testifying for the public record before the Warren Commission, as the autopsy doctors did, and signing their name to an autopsy report that is published for the world to see, would hardly qualify as “silence.” And they were certainly under no obligation to reiterate their position. JAMA’s press release also neglected to mention the fact that two of the three autopsy doctors (James J. Humes and Pierre A. Finck), in 1978, testified before the HSCA—again for public consumption—and the third (J. Thornton Boswell) was interviewed by the House Select Committee staff. And Humes, the main autopsy surgeon, gave an interview on his findings to Dan Rather on national television in June of 1967. I only mention the JAMA deception to point out that if there is misleading sensationalism about this case from the likes of JAMA, one can imagine why it’s only downhill from there. Because this is the most investigated case in world history, any witness (unless someone credible eventually gives testimony of the alleged conspiracy) who has not come forward by now is immediately suspect. Likewise with a known witness who suddenly comes forward with new and vital information. The incontrovertible fact is that the FBI, Secret Service, Warren Commission, and HSCA, as well as police, authors, journalists, historians, private investigators, and an army of ferocious amateur sleuths, have worn the evidentiary terrain in this case all the way through to China. Virtually every important witness has testified under oath, some several times. All important witnesses and almost all of the very peripheral, unimportant ones have already been interviewed. Therefore, as indicated, absent a member of one of the innumerable alleged conspiracies coming forward, the only likely remaining revelations about the case are in the area of new interpretations and analyses of existing evidence. This is not to suggest that these necessarily reduced possibilities render additional inquiry insignificant. Further analytical examination of the case can serve to either strengthen or weaken the official position on the issues of Oswald’s guilt and conspiracy, which is of no small moment. As suggested earlier, we are, after all, dealing with the most consequential murder in American, perhaps world, history. To the argument that unless one can reveal some new, critical evidence about the assassination, there’s no need to write another book about it, I would respond with the question, why write a book analyzing the New Testament, inasmuch as two thousand years later no one is about to come up with any new evidence on the life of Jesus? Indeed, no one has come up with anything new for two thousand years. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in Jordan in 1947 by Bedouin shepherds, are mostly pre-Christian in origin. Yet scholarly books interpreting the New Testament are written every year.* And in terms of volume, there’s infinitely less to interpret in the four short Gospels, for example, than in all the vast literature and evidence surrounding the assassination. Reinterpretation of the evidence in the Kennedy assassination will be a never-ending process, and interpretation and analysis are the very heart of this book. The supreme irony about the Kennedy assassination is that although belief in a conspiracy knows no ideological or political boundaries, most conspiracy theorists I have met look up to Kennedy and his legacy, and many revere him. How very odd, then, that so many of them have virtually dedicated their lives to exonerating the man who killed their hero. To counter the incontrovertible evidence pointing to the guilt of the person who cold-bloodedly murdered Kennedy, they come up with extraordinary and often ludicrous arguments. They defend Oswald with a protective passion normally reserved only for one’s immediate family. Indeed, in their mind, everyone (any person or group will do, for them) other than Oswald is responsible for Kennedy’s death. Obviously, the primary motivation of the conspiracy theorists is not to defend Oswald but to attack the Warren Commission, but in the process they go completely overboard in defending Lee Harvey Oswald the person. But the very best testament to the validity of the Warren Commission’s findings is that after an unrelenting, close to forty-five-year effort, the Commission’s fiercest critics have not been able to produce any new credible evidence that would in any way justify a different conclusion. No Warren Commission critic is more venerated by the conspiracy community than the late, legendary Harold Weisberg. Nor has any been remotely as prolific; Weisberg wrote an astonishing eight books on the case. By common consensus, Weisberg did more research on the assassination and accumulated more documents pertaining to the assassination (sixty file cabinets containing a quarter of a million pages as a result of a great many Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requests and thirteen separate FOIA lawsuits)82 than any other human. His farm home in Frederick, Maryland, was a mecca to which nearly all serious conspiracy theorists eventually visited to pay homage and browse through his voluminous Kennedy-assassination basement library. As his friend and fellow researcher James Tague said, “Harold spent over 35 years, often seven days a week, in his quest for the truth in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”83 Always believing there was a massive federal effort to “whitewash” (the title of his first book on the assassination in 1965) the facts of Kennedy’s murder for the American public, and to prevent researchers like himself from finding out what really happened, Weisberg writes on the last page of his third book on the assassination (Oswald in New Orleans) that for the first time he saw “the shadow of a happy ending.” Till the end, he still believed that there was a conspiracy in the assassination, but candidly acknowledged to me in 1999, after devoting much of his life to the case, that “much as it looks like Oswald was some kind of agent for somebody, I have not found a shred of evidence to support it, and he never had an extra penny, so he had no loot from being an agent.”84 The vast conspiracy community, which disbelieves everything in the Warren Report except the page numbers, should (but won’t) be influenced in their thinking by such a dramatic admission from their most esteemed titan,* one who relentlessly, obsessively and, as opposed to most of his peers, honestly put every aspect of the case under a microscope for almost four decades. Instead of spending literally thousands of their hours “seeing” traces, hints, and ephemeral shadows of a conspiracy from plain and unambiguous conduct and events, they should realize, as painful as it may be to them, that sometimes things are exactly as they appear to be, and nothing more. Even Sigmund Freud—celebrated for his ability to find the hidden meaning of dreams—noted that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Not the smallest speck of evidence has ever surfaced that any of the conspiracy community’s favorite groups (CIA, mob, etc.) was involved, in any way, in the assassination. Not only the Warren Commission, but the HSCA came to the same conclusion. Moreover, the idea itself overtaxes credulity. The very thought of CIA officials sitting around a conference table at their Langley, Virginia, headquarters, or the heads of the Mafia families gathering at a summit meeting in the Adirondacks, or the captains of industry, like the presidents of General Motors, IBM, Lockheed, and so on, meeting clandestinely with America’s top military leaders (Oliver Stone’s “military-industrial complex”) to actually plot the murder of the president of the United States, is much too far-fetched and preposterous on its face for even a Robert Ludlum novel. But conspiracy theorists, as suspicious as a cat in a new home, find occurrences and events everywhere that feed their suspicions and their already strong predilection to believe that the official version is wrong. However, as Newsweek magazine pointed out, “If any moment in history were to be scrutinized with the obsessiveness focused on 12:30 p.m., November 22, 1963, you could come up with weird coincidences, hidden connections, terrifying portents.”85 To create something out of nothing requires considerable powers of imagination, and the conspiracy theorists have indeed soared on the wings of their dreams, wishes, and fantasies. As writer Joe Patoski says, “They have accepted all supposed evidence that supports their thesis, no matter how shaky, and ignored all evidence that undermines it, no matter how certain.” Any district attorney or police detective in the country will tell you that contrary to literature and the big screen—where murder cases are eventually all wrapped up neatly—in virtually every criminal case with any complexity to it at all, there are unexplained discrepancies, unanswered questions, things that don’t quite fit. And if these cases were put under the high-powered microscope the Kennedy assassination was, there would be even more. That’s true because of the nature of life. Things don’t happen in life with mathematical precision and in apple-pie order. As Walter Cronkite put it in a June 27, 1967, CBS special on the assassination, “Only in fiction do we find all the loose ends neatly tied. Real life is not all that tidy.”86 Law enforcement veterans will also tell you that because of the fallibility of human beings, it is routine, for instance, for five witnesses to observe the same robbery yet give five different physical descriptions of the robber, and for even their own experts to make errors (in forensic analysis of blood, hair, fingerprints, etc.) that are caught and proved to be errors by other experts. Ignoring these realities, the almost unwavering modus operandi of the conspiracy theorists in this case has been to focus only on the inevitable discrepancies and inconsistencies arising out of the statements and work of hundreds upon hundreds of people, as if the discrepancies themselves prove a conspiracy, never bothering to tell their readers, number one, what they believe precisely did happen, and number two, what solid and irrefutable evidence they have to prove it. I mean, do discrepancies and inconsistencies add up to life as we know it, or to conspiracy, as the theorists would want us to believe? The conspiracy community regularly seizes on one slip of the tongue, misunderstanding, or slight discrepancy to defeat twenty pieces of solid evidence; accepts one witness of theirs, even if he or she is a provable nut, as being far more credible than ten normal witnesses on the other side; treats rumors, even questions, as the equivalent of proof; leaps from the most minuscule of discoveries to the grandest of conclusions; and insists, as the late lawyer Louis Nizer once observed, that the failure to explain everything perfectly negates all that is explained. All humans make mistakes. But there is no room or allowance in the fevered world of conspiracy theorists for mistakes, human errors, anomalies, or plain incompetence, though the latter, from the highest levels on down, is endemic in our society. Every single piece of evidence that isn’t 100 percent consistent with all the other evidence pointing toward Oswald’s guilt and the absence of a conspiracy is by itself proof of Oswald’s innocence and the existence of a conspiracy. There is also no such thing for these people as a coincidence. With both feet planted firmly in the air, the conspiracy theorists have created a cottage industry that thrives to this very day, and whose hallmark, with noted exceptions, has been absurdity and silliness. Believe it or not, a conspiracy theory that was floating around in the conspiracy community for a time was that the assassin of JFK was really the Secret Service agent driving the presidential limousine, who turned around in his seat (while his fellow agent in the passenger seat leaned over and steered the car for him) and shot Kennedy at point-blank range. Despite the absurdity of their allegations and the total lack of evidence to support their charges, the conspiracy theorists have not only convinced the vast majority of Americans that the Warren Commission was wrong, but have succeeded in convincing virtually all Americans that there will never be a satisfactory resolution of this case. Indeed, this is even the belief of those who agree that Oswald killed Kennedy and he acted alone. One example of this latter group is Dan Rather, who says that people will be talking about the assassination “a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, in somewhat the same way people discuss ‘The Iliad.’ Different people read Homer’s description of the wars and come to different conclusions, and so shall it be with much about Kennedy’s death.”87 Author Bob Katz seconds Rather when he states what has become the conventional wisdom: “The truth in this case lies buried forever. The unsolved murder of the twentieth century has entered the realm of myth.”88 But I don’t believe for one moment that the truth in this case has been buried forever or that there has to be substantial questions about this case for thousands of years to come. If I did, I would never have started working on this book, which has consumed so many years of my life. I firmly believe that the evidence in this case enables all sensible people who look at it to be completely satisfied as to exactly what happened. I want to assure the readers of this book that I commenced my investigation of this case with an open mind. But after being exposed to the evidence, I have become satisfied beyond all doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy, and beyond all reasonable doubt that he acted alone. I am very confident that the overwhelming majority of objective readers of this book will end up feeling the same way. As one gets further into this book and starts to learn more about Oswald, it will become increasingly obvious that if any group such as the CIA or organized crime had wanted to kill the president, the unreliable and unpredictable loner and loser Lee Harvey Oswald would have been the last man on earth whom it would have entrusted with such a monumental undertaking. Any reader of this book has to be struck by three things, one of which is its abnormal length.* In defense of its length, in addition to the point I made previously that conspiracy theorists have transformed Kennedy’s murder into the most complex murder case ever, I would remind the reader that more words have been written about Kennedy’s assassination than any other single, one-day event in history. Obviously, more words have been written about Christ, but not about his life and death, since so very little is known. Instead, they have been written mostly about the ramifications of his life and death and their profound influence on history. The scope and breadth of issues flowing from the Kennedy assassination are so enormous that typically authors write entire books on just one aspect of the case alone, such as organized crime, or the CIA, or Castro, or Jack Ruby, or Oswald’s guilt or innocence in Kennedy’s murder, or the murder of Officer Tippit, or the prosecution of Clay Shaw in New Orleans for Kennedy’s murder, or the mind of Lee Harvey Oswald, or the Warren Commission, et cetera, et cetera. When looked upon in the above light, and with my objective being to compress the essence of the vast and limitless words and literature on the assassination into one single volume, one could possibly say about the seemingly inordinate length of this book, “Is that all you have to say, Mr. Bugliosi?” On the other hand, I suspect that at some point in their reading of this book, many other readers will say to themselves, “Why does he [yours truly] keep piling one argument upon another to prove his point? He’s already made it twelve ways from Sunday, so why go on?” To those readers I say that the Warren Commission also made its point, and well, over forty years ago, yet today the overwhelming majority of Americans do not accept its conclusion that Oswald acted alone, a great number not even believing he killed Kennedy. Hence, the overkill in this book is historically necessary. What about the companion CD-ROM of endnotes numbering 954 pages? With forty official volumes, 933 books, and literally hundreds of millions of other words written in newspapers and magazines about the most important murder case in our history, one of my very biggest tasks for you, the reader, was to separate the wheat from the chaff out of the virtually endless allegations, controversies, and issues surrounding the case. I believe I have done this, and it is this wheat, as it were, that constitutes this very long book.* The endnotes are for the following people: those lay readers who want to know more about a matter in the main text; conspiracy theorists and serious, longtime students of the assassination; and scholars and future historians. To put the material presently in the endnotes into the main body of the text would have substantially slowed down and interrupted the flow of the narrative and interfered with the average reader’s enjoyment of the book. And if the truth be told, and the reader promises not to tell, I had a big inducement to put whatever I could in an endnote. Since the book is already uncommonly long, and therefore heavy, whatever I could put in an endnote helped enable me to put out a book that wasn’t prohibitively long and unmanageable. Readers might be interested to know that I commenced my work on this book following the London trial in 1986. So I have been working on this book for twenty-one years. Most of the early years were devoted to research, reading, and writing, not interviewing witnesses to fill in the holes, which I did do much of to supplement my continuing reading, writing, and research in later years. Finally, I believe readers will also be struck by the incredibly rich cast of diverse characters who people the Kennedy assassination saga, characters who would rival those in the most inspired of fiction, including that of Shakespeare. I don’t read fiction but I’ve been told that most prominent novelists really only have four or five characters who keep reemerging, in different clothing, in their various stories, whereas Shakespeare allegedly had more than twenty disparate characters. I can assure the readers of this book that within its pages they will meet many extremely fascinating people in addition to President Kennedy himself and his wife, Jackie, not the least of which, you will find, are Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. J. Edgar Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara are among the many others.† Conspiracy author Paris Flammonde said it well when he observed that the dramatic personalities in the Kennedy case were among “the most extraordinary ever to stride, slink, and flee across the stage of greater human events…, and like the pageant of characters” in “Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, almost all enter as enigmas and most are hardly more understandable when they depart.”89 Longtime JFK assassination researcher Bill Drenas connects these characters with the unbelievable twists and turns in this story when he says, “If you sat down and tried to write something that was this interesting about a presidential assassination, you couldn’t do it. It’s the most fascinating story ever told. That’s why people will never stop talking about this case.”90 Though the president’s murder happened in Dallas, Texas, the long journey you the reader are about to embark on will take you to many other places—New Orleans’s colorful and steamy French Quarter, a hotel room in Moscow, the beaches of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, and the roiling waters of the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam; from a mob hangout in Chicago to the little town of Stanley, North Dakota; a park bench in Central Park and bullring in Mexico City to the anti-Castro–laden streets of Miami’s Little Havana; and so on. Though a good portion of the subject matter will be complex, sometimes even arcane, I hope I will have infused even these areas with enough interesting and understandable narrative to keep your interest throughout this very long and circuitous journey. Vincent Bugliosi January 200712:39 p.m. Dallas police are quickly mobilizing in Dealey Plaza. More reports are coming in, each focusing on the building commanding the northwest corner of Elm and Houston. “Get some men up here to cover this building, this Texas School Book Depository.” Officer Clyde A. Haygood radioes in. “It is believed these shots came from [there].”313 Officer E. D. Brewer cuts in with another report: “We have a man here that saw [a gunman] pull a weapon back through the window off the second floor† on the southeast corner of that Depository building.”314 Cecil McWatters, an eighteen-year veteran bus driver for the Dallas Transit Company, has been driving the Marsalis-Munger route for about two years now, zigzagging diagonally across the city from the Lakewood Addition out in the northeast to Oak Cliff in the southwest, and back again. There’s only a handful of people in the forty-four-passenger bus as he heads west on Elm in downtown Dallas, but McWatters more or less expects that, since so many folks went into town earlier for the presidential motorcade.315 While at a complete stop in traffic on Elm at Murphy (just before Griffin), which is seven blocks east of the Depository, a man bangs on the door and McWatters lets him board, collecting the twenty-three-cent fare, even though, as indicated, he is not at a bus stop. The man takes the second seat back, on the right. From that seat he will be passing right by the scene of the assassination.316 Mary E. Bledsoe is sitting right next to the front door of the bus. She turns her face away as the man gets on, hoping he doesn’t recognize her. It’s Lee Oswald and there is just something about him that she has never liked. Mary’s been divorced for a good many years, but she’s managed to scrape by and raise her two boys on a little money her doctor father had left her and by renting out two or three of the four bedrooms in her house on North Marsalis. Back in October she had rented a room to Oswald for seven dollars a week, then five days later asked him to leave the premises. He was always fussing with someone over the phone looking for a job. And she didn’t like his big-shot attitude or the fact that while using the telephone once she heard him talking in a foreign language. She told a lady friend of hers, “I don’t like anybody talking in a foreign language.”317 His appearance now—a hole in the right elbow of his brown shirt, which is “undone,” his trousers “all ragged” in the waist area, and a “bad” look on his “distorted” face—reaffirms her opinion of him. He passes right in front of her and sits somewhere behind her.318 12:40 p.m. Harry McCormick, a veteran police reporter at the Dallas Morning News, pulls into Dealey Plaza and jumps from his car, which is filled with fellow newsmen. They were scheduled to cover the president’s luncheon at the Trade Mart, but after hearing of the shooting they immediately raced to the scene of the crime. One of the first people McCormick encounters is Abraham Zapruder, who is highly agitated, almost weeping. “I saw it all through my camera,” Zapruder half sobs to himself. “What happened?” McCormick asks. “I got it all on film,” Zapruder replies. “There were three shots. Two hit the president and the other Governor Connally. I know the president is dead. His head seemed to fly to pieces when he was hit the second time.” McCormick knows that if Zapruder really did capture the assassination on film, it could be the most important film in history. “The Secret Service will want to see those films,” McCormick says. “Where are you going?” Zapruder tells him that he’s going back to his office, across the street from the Book Depository. Thinking fast, McCormick assumes the authority of an officer. “Go ahead,” he tells Zapruder. “I’ll find Forrest Sorrels, head of the Secret Service here, and we’ll be back to talk with you.” McCormick didn’t have a clue where he was going to find Sorrels, whom he had known personally for many years, but he knew he’d have to find him fast, before his competition found out about Zapruder’s film.319 Zapruder stumbles back to his office in a state of shock, muttering, “They killed him, they killed him.” At his office, Zapruder calls his twenty-six-year-old son, Henry, a government lawyer. “The president is dead,” he says. Henry suggests his father is wrong, that he had just heard over the radio the president was wounded and on his way to the hospital. “No,” the elder Zapruder says, “he’s dead,” explaining he had seen the president’s head exploding through the lens of his camera.320 James Tague, who had witnessed the shooting from the mouth of the Triple Underpass, walks up to plainclothes deputy sheriff Buddy Walthers, combing the grass near the south curb of Elm Street. “Are you looking to see where some bullets may have struck?” Tague asks. “Yes,” Walthers replies, barely paying attention. “I was standing right there where my car is parked,” Tague says, pointing to where Commerce meets the underpass, “when those shots happened. Well, you know, now I recall something stung me on the face while I was standing down there.”321 Walthers looks up. “Yes, you have blood there on your cheek,” he says, rising to his feet. Tague reaches up and wipes his fingers through a few drops of blood. “Where were you standing?” Walthers asks. “Right down here,” Tague says, leading him toward a concrete strip that runs between Commerce and Main Street just east of the Triple Underpass.322 Twenty-three feet from the east face of the underpass,323 along the south curb of Main Street, Walthers spots a mark on the top of the curb. It is quite obvious to both of them that the fresh gash was made by a bullet, and from the angle of the mark, it came from the direction of the Texas School Book Depository.324 Across America, housewives are following the fortunes of the characters of As the World Turns, the CBS network’s popular soap opera. Actress Helen Wagner turns to fellow actor Santos Ortega and says, “And I gave it a great deal of thought, Grandpa.” Suddenly, the program is cut off, replaced by a blank screen with the words “CBS NEWS” and in larger, white type, the single word “BULLETIN.” Over it comes the sound of the network’s leading newscaster, Walter Cronkite, his voice charged with emotion.* “Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade, in downtown Dallas. The first reports say President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.” Cronkite fumbles momentarily with a fresh sheet of wire copy handed to him. “More details just arrived,” he says, scanning it quickly. “These details about the same as previously. President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She called, ‘Oh no!’ The motorcade sped on. United Press International reports that the wounds perhaps could be fatal.” The network suddenly returns to As the World Turns, the actors, working live in their New York studio, unaware of the interruption. Shocked viewers who switch to ABC or NBC are treated to similar bulletins, equally terse, equally alarming. All three networks will soon cancel all programming and commercials for coverage of the event in Dallas.325 At Parkland Hospital, thirty-four-year-old Dr. Malcolm O. Perry is enjoying a quiet lunch with Dr. Ronald C. Jones in the main dining room. They hear Dr. George Shires being paged. Perry knows that Shires, chief of the emergency surgical service at the hospital, was actually delivering a paper to a medical conference in Galveston that morning and may not be back yet. When Shires is paged a second time, Perry asks Jones to pick up the page to see if it’s a matter on which they might be of some assistance. Jones rushes back to their table to report that the president has been shot and is being brought to emergency, not knowing the president had already arrived by the time he received the message from the hospital operator. The two surgeons bolt from the dining room and, too rushed to wait for the elevator, gallop down the flight of stairs to the emergency room.326 12:41 p.m. Out in Irving, Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine, who has returned from her errands, are taking care of some household chores. When Ruth goes into the kitchen to fix lunch for them, Marina retires to her bedroom to get dressed. She hears a sudden, loud, puzzling commotion from the television set in the living room, but makes no sense of it—until Ruth appears in the doorway, ashen. Someone shot at the president. They run to the living room and stare at the television, waiting for it to tell them something, anything. There are no images of the event, nothing but a news announcer who seems to be at a loss too, obviously marking time until some real information comes in, and it’s clear that he knows little more than they do. Ruth is crying as she translates the essential information—President Kennedy’s been taken to Parkland Hospital. Marina knows Parkland—she had baby Rachel there just a month ago. Lunch is forgotten. No one feels like it now. Ruth lights some candles, and lets her little girl light one. Marina, who knows that her friend takes her Quaker religion very seriously, asks, “Is that a way of praying?” “Yes, it is,” Ruth says, “just my own way.” Marina goes to her room and cries.327 Dr. Charles Carrico is standing in Trauma Room One, a narrow room with gray-tiled walls and a cream-colored ceiling, when the president is wheeled in on an emergency cart. Carrico is only twenty-eight and still doing his residency in surgery, but he has already seen nearly two hundred gunshot wounds at Parkland Hospital.328 He rapidly assesses the president’s condition—his color is “blue white, ashen,” an indication of failing blood circulation; his respiration is slow, agonal (death throes), and spasmodic, with no coordination; there are no voluntary movements at all; his eyes are open and staring, with no reaction to light, his pupils dilated; and there is no palpable pulse. With the assistance of Drs. Don T. Curtis and Martin G. White and Nurse Diana Bowron, Dr. Carrico opens the president’s suit coat and shirt and puts his ear to the president’s chest. He listens for a few seconds and detects a faint heartbeat. Other nurses arrive and continue to remove Kennedy’s clothing. Carrico slips his hands under the president’s midsection and runs them up his back past his back brace.* He can feel blood and debris, but no wounds. He looks briefly at the president’s head wound—a gaping hole, oozing with blood and shredded scalp and brain tissue—then turns his attention to restoring the president’s breathing and circulation.329 Carrico orders Drs. Curtis and White to do a cutdown on the president’s right ankle—a small incision to lay bare a large vein into which they can insert polyethylene catheters through which fluid, medicine, and blood can be administered to maintain the body’s circulatory system.330 The president is losing so much blood that the trauma room is already awash with it. Meanwhile, Carrico inserts a plastic endotracheal tube down the president’s throat into the trachea (windpipe) in order to create an adequate air passage. He notices a small ragged tear to the right of the larynx (voice box) and ragged tissue below, indicating tracheal injury. Carrico steers the plastic tube deep into the throat and begins connecting the cuff inflator (a latex cuff designed to prevent air leakage) to a respiratory machine.331 Just then, Drs. Perry and Jones arrive. Perry sheds his dark blue glen-plaid jacket and wristwatch in the corner, and takes charge.332 Dr. Charles Baxter, another thirty-four-year-old assistant professor of surgery at the school, and director of the emergency room at Parkland, arrives around the same time, having made a dead run from the school as fast as he could when he heard the news.333* The trauma room is now filled with law enforcement officers and several members of the president’s party. Supervising nurse Doris Nelson has already arrived and is struggling to clear them from the room.334 Dr. Perry steps over toward the ambulance gurney where the president is lying under the hot glare of an overhead lamp, a sheet over his lower extremities and trunk. He is surprised to find the president a bigger man than he thought, and is momentarily awed by the thought, “Here is the most important man in the world.” Perry quickly notes the deep blue color of his face and the short, jerky contractions of his chest and diaphragm as he struggles to draw a breath.335 12:43 p.m. (1:43 p.m. EST) Robert Kennedy, the nation’s attorney general, had been in a good, even bouncy mood this morning. He called a meeting in his office with U.S. attorneys from around the country to report to him on his war against organized crime in their respective districts. As was his style, he loosened his tie, and with his suit coat hanging over a nearby chair, rolled up his shirt sleeves and got down to work with his associates. The news he received was encouraging. The mob was on the run. Breaking for lunch he got into his car with the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Robert Morgenthau, and Morgenthau’s chief deputy, Silvio Mollo, and drove to his Hickory Hill home in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. It was an unseasonably warm day for November 22, and the men and RFK’s wife, Ethel, took their lunch of clam chowder and tuna-fish sandwiches at an outdoor patio. When a pool-side extension phone rings nearby, Ethel leaves the table to answer it. “It’s J. Edgar Hoover,” she says, holding the phone out toward her husband. He knows something extraordinary has happened; Hoover never calls him, and certainly not at home. It is an open secret that there is no love lost between Hoover and RFK. Hoover had never been in a position before of having an attorney general who was closer to the president than he was, and he resented this. Also, RFK’s strong offensive against organized crime was, in effect, a slap in the face to Hoover in that it implied that the FBI had not been the gangbusters everyone had been brought up to think they were. RFK rises and crosses over to take the phone, “Hello?” Morgenthau sees one of the workmen painting the new wing of the house spin and race toward them, clutching a transistor radio. He’s shouting something unintelligible. “I have news for you,” Hoover says formally. “The president’s been shot. It’s believed to be fatal. I’ll call you back when I find out more.” Bobby Kennedy turns away, his hand to his mouth. There is a look of shock and horror on his face. Ethel rushes to his side. For a few seconds he can’t speak. Then, he forces the words out: “Jack’s been shot. It may be fatal.”336 On the other side of Washington, the U.S. Senate press liaison officer, Richard Riedel, darts onto the Senate floor and gives the message of the president’s shooting to the first senator he encounters, S. L. Holland of Florida. He repeats the message to Senator Wayne Morse and then spots Senator Edward Kennedy on the dais, presiding over the chamber in a desultory debate over a bill on federal library services. He immediately rushes to the young senator. “The most terrible thing has happened!” Riedel exclaims. The senator, who is signing correspondence, looks up. “What is it?” “Your brother, the president,” Riedel says. “He’s been shot.” Ted Kennedy gasps. “No!” he says. “How do you know?” “It’s on the ticker. Just came in on the ticker.” Senator Kennedy quickly gathers up his papers and runs from the chamber. He knows he must get his sister Eunice and fly immediately to Hyannis Port to be with his mother and father. When Majority Leader Mike Mansfield learns the news, he is too overcome with grief to make a motion for adjournment.337 With the Senate in recess, senators and reporters rush to the “marble room,” the lobby behind the Senate chamber where UPI and AP printers (“tickers”) are slowly delivering the tragic and unfolding story on paper. A young CBS reporter, Roger Mudd, sees Richard B. Russell, the conservative, states-rights senator from Georgia who opposed civil rights legislation, bent over the cabinet enclosing the UPI ticker, reading the Teletype out loud to the crowd around him as tears are streaming down his face.338 At Parkland Hospital in Trauma Room Two, across the hall from the president, Dr. Robert R. Shaw attends to Governor Connally. Shaw, chief of thoracic surgery at Parkland, saw the motorcade fly past the intersection of Harry Hines and Industrial boulevards as he drove back to Parkland from Children’s Hospital. Continuing on to the medical school,* where he expected to have lunch, he heard the news of the shooting on his car radio. At the medical school, he overheard a student telling three others that the president was dead on arrival at Parkland. “You’re kidding, aren’t you?” one of the three asked. “No, I’m not. I saw him. And Governor Connally has been shot through the chest.” Shaw sprinted over to the hospital’s emergency room, where he found the governor being attended by three doctors. Now, Connally complains of difficulty breathing due to a deep pain in the right side of his chest. He has apparently been conscious, except for brief moments, since the shooting. Shaw notes that the team has already put a tight occlusive dressing over the large sucking wound in the chest, and a rubber tube, connected to a water seal bottle, between the second and third ribs—an attempt to expand the collapsed right lung. Shaw steps outside for a moment to relay to Nellie Connally that a sample of the governor’s blood has been sent for cross-matching, and that a regular operating room two floors above has been alerted. A few minutes later, the team transports the governor upstairs by elevator.339 Across the hall, in Trauma Room One, Dr. Perry orchestrates the treatment of the president. Dr. Carrico finishes hooking up the respirator and flips the switch, pumping air into the president’s lungs. Carrico listens briefly to the president’s chest. His breathing is better, but still inadequate. Air is leaking from the small hole in the throat.340 Dr. Perry examines the chest briefly but can see no wound. He pushes up the body brace on the president’s left side to feel for his femoral pulse.* There is none. Perry can see that the president is still struggling to breathe, despite the endotracheal tube Dr. Carrico inserted in his throat. Perry knows that a more effective air passage must be made immediately. He asks someone to bring him a tracheotomy tray as he snaps on a pair of surgical gloves, but finds there is already one there. Perry gestures toward a small hole in the throat. “Did you start a tracheotomy?” he asks Carrico. “No,” Carrico replies, shaking his head. “That’s a wound.” Carrico had previously observed foamy blood oozing, with each attempt at respiration, from a small, fairly round wound in the front of the president’s throat just below and to the right of the Adam’s apple.341 Commencing a tracheotomy (incision into the windpipe), Dr. Perry grabs a scalpel and makes a quick, large incision directly through the hole in the throat.342† Other doctors are now arriving en masse. Dr. William Kemp Clark, the hospital’s senior neurosurgeon, pushes his way in and helps to withdraw Dr. Carrico’s endotracheal tube as Dr. Perry is about to insert a plastic tracheotomy tube directly into the windpipe.343 Drs. Charles R. Baxter and Robert N. McClelland, both general surgeons, along with urologist Dr. Paul C. Peters, assist Perry in inserting the tracheotomy tube, while Dr. Marion T. Jenkins, professor and chairman of Parkland’s Department of Anesthesiology, and his assistant, Dr. Adolph H. Giesecke Jr., hook up the tube to an anesthesia machine, which they had brought down from the Anesthesia Department on the second floor in order to better control the president’s circulation.344 Perry asks Dr. Peters to make an incision in the chest and insert a tube to drain any blood or air that might be accumulating in the right side of the chest cavity.345 Meanwhile, Dr. Ronald C. Jones inserts a chest tube into the left side of the chest, then, along with several other doctors (including surgery interns and residents Drs. Don T. Curtis, Kenneth E. Salyer, Martin C. White, and Charles A. Crenshaw),346 makes additional cutdowns on the president’s right and left arms and legs in order to quickly infuse blood and fluids into the circulatory system.347 The pace is very quick and intense. Dr. Clark works his way around closer to the president’s massive head wound. He exchanges a desperate glance with Perry. Both know there is no chance of saving the president. They are only going through the motions.348 Admiral George Burkley, the president’s personal physician, rushes into the room and immediately sees that the president’s condition is hopeless and death is certain. Whatever life might still exist in the motionless body on the gurney will be impossible to sustain no matter what the Parkland doctors do. He sees that the surgical team is working to supply type O RH-negative blood. He informs them that Kennedy’s type is O RH-positive349* and asks Dr. Peters to administer steroids to the president, essential because of the president’s adrenal deficiency, which leaves his body unable to cope with stress and trauma. He hands over three 100-milligram vials of Solu-Cortef, muttering, “Either intravenously or intramuscularly.”350 Burkley knows there is really no need for it, but knows also that they have to do everything they can.351 The president’s personal physician steps out into the corridor, where Mrs. Kennedy is sitting on a folding chair, dazed. Afraid that her husband’s death is imminent, she wants to go into the operating room. “I’m going in there,” she murmurs. Doris Nelson, the strong-muscled supervising nurse with plenty of starch in her collar, hears her and bars the door, the policy of the hospital, as with most hospitals, being not to allow relatives into an operating room. “You can’t come in here,” she says sharply, setting her rubber-soled shoes against the frame of the door. “I’m coming in, and I’m staying,” Mrs. Kennedy says and pushes. The nurse, considerably stronger, pushes back. Jackie Kennedy always used to bow to medical advice. She was young, and the doctors, she thought, always knew best. When she heard her husband calling her after his back operation in 1954, she tried to go to him, but no one would admit her and she backed off. Then, after the operation, when a specialist’s treatments began to fail, they talked her out of bringing in a consultant. The president subsequently suffered through four months of intense pain. She vowed then and there not to allow doctors and nurses to intimidate her. “I’m going to get in that room,” she whispers fiercely to the nurse blocking the door. The commotion attracts Admiral Burkley, who suggests that Mrs. Kennedy take a sedative. “I want to be in there when he dies,” she tells him, and she refuses the sedation,352 wanting, it seems, to soak up as much pain as she can. To cheat pain at a moment like this, when her husband has suffered the most horrible wounds and was near death, would have diminished her and what they had meant to each other. The admiral nods understandingly. “It’s her right, it’s her prerogative,” he says as he leads her past the nurse, who mistakenly believes he is a Secret Service agent. Looking shell-shocked, Mrs. Kennedy aimlessly circles the hospital gurney where technicians work feverishly on her husband’s body. Her hands are cupped in front of her, as if cradling something. As she passes Dr. Jenkins, she nudges him with her elbow and hands him what she has been nursing—a large chunk of brain tissue. Jenkins quickly gives it to a nearby nurse.353 The president’s physician ushers Mrs. Kennedy into a corner of the trauma room, now overflowing with people. She rests her cheek on Admiral Burkley’s shoulder, then drops briefly to the floor, closes her eyes and prays.354 The McWatters bus carrying Lee Oswald rumbles west on Elm Street, the smell of diesel exhaust permeating the floorboards. Between Poydras and Lamar, the driver pumps the air brakes as the bus rolls up behind traffic that is stalled for four blocks from the assassination scene. From the looks of it, they won’t be going anywhere soon. A man climbs out of a car stopped in front of the bus, and walks back. McWatters pulls the lever next to him and the front doors hiss open. “I heard over my car radio that the president has been shot,” the man says. The passengers are astonished. Some don’t believe it. The woman across from Mrs. Bledsoe realizes in panic that the bus may not move for a very long time, and she has to catch a train at Union Station, four blocks away. She decides to walk, even if it means lugging her suitcase all that way. She asks McWatters if she can have a transfer so she can get back on the bus if it breaks free from traffic, and McWatters is happy to oblige. Oswald gets up and asks McWatters for a transfer too, following the woman off the bus. He walks right past his former landlady again, and this time Mary Bledsoe thinks he might have recognized her. In any event, she is happy enough to see the last of him.355 The area around the entrance to the Depository is quickly growing chaotic. Dealey Plaza witnesses are offering various bits of information. Inspector Sawyer knows he will need help to handle the situation, and reaches for his car radio. “We need more manpower down here at this Texas School Book Depository,” he says and instructs the dispatcher to have some squad cars pick up the officers stationed along the motorcade route and bring them down to the Depository.356 Officer E. W. Barnett, with Howard Brennan in tow, tells Sawyer that he has an eyewitness who saw the gunman. “What did you see?” Sawyer asks Brennan. The steelworker gives him a description of the man in the window and the inspector mashes the button on his car radio again: “The wanted person in this is a slender white male about thirty. Five foot ten. A hundred and sixty-five. And carrying a—what looked like—a 30-30 or some type of Winchester.” “It was a rifle?” the dispatcher asks. “A rifle, yes,” Sawyer replies. “Any clothing description?” “The current witness can’t remember that,” Sawyer says.357 The dispatcher immediately throws a switch in the radio room that allows him to broadcast simultaneously on both channels of the Dallas police radio, effectively reaching every officer in the city. “Attention all squads. Attention all squads. The suspect in the shooting at Elm and Houston is reported to be an unknown white male, approximately thirty. Slender build, height five feet, ten inches. Weight one hundred sixty-five pounds. Reported to be armed with what is thought to be a thirty caliber rifle.” The dispatcher repeats the message, adding, “No further description or information at this time. 12:45 [p.m.] KKB-364, Dallas.”358* 12:45 p.m. In Irving, Marina is hanging up clothes in the backyard when Ruth comes out and joins her with the latest news: “They’re reporting that the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository.” Marina’s heart drops. She thinks about the rifle she knows that Lee has stored in Ruth Paine’s garage, about the last time he used it—a few months earlier in trying to murder Dallas John Birch Society figure Major General Edwin Walker—and whether that might have been the real reason he came out to the house last night. She hopes that Ruth can’t see the fear in her face. As soon as she can do it inconspicuously, Marina slips into the garage. She knows exactly where the rifle is, wrapped in a green and brown wool blanket, near the garage door, by some suitcases. She saw the blanket there in early October and unwrapped it then and found the rifle inside. Is it still there? When she gets inside the garage, she sees the familiar bundle laying in the same place it had been before, and feels a great weight lift from her shoulders. “Thank God,” she thinks.359 William Whaley, a squat, burr-haired former navy gunner who won a Navy Cross during the battle of Iwo Jima, pulls his cab up to the cabstand at the Greyhound bus station on the northwest corner of Jackson and Lamar, four blocks south of Elm Street, and realizes that he’s out of cigarettes. He’s about to go inside the terminal to get a pack when he sees a fare walking toward him down Lamar Street.360 “May I have the cab?” the man asks. “You sure can,” Whaley says. “Get in.” To Whaley, Lee Oswald looks like a wino who has been off his bottle for about two days, like he’s been sleeping in his clothes, although he isn’t actually dirty or nervous or anything.361 Oswald gets in the front, which is allowed in Dallas, and Whaley’s got nothing against it. A second later an elderly woman pokes her head in the passenger’s window and asks if she can get in his cab. “There’ll be a cab behind me in a few moments that you can take,” Whaley tells her, and he vaguely recalls that Oswald may have told the woman something similar.362 As he pulls the 1961 Checker sedan out into Lamar and turns west into Jackson, he asks his fare where he wants to go. “Five hundred North Beckley.” Police cars, their sirens wailing, are crisscrossing everywhere. “I wonder what the hell is the uproar,” Whaley muses, but Oswald doesn’t answer and Whaley figures he’s one of those people who doesn’t like to talk, which is fine with him.363 Whaley, who has been driving cabs for thirty-seven years, notices Oswald’s silver ID bracelet. He always takes note of watchbands and identification bracelets because he makes them himself, and this one is unusual. Most of them are made with chain links, not stretch bands, like this one.364 They drive in silence, turning left at the first corner, Austin, and then onto Wood. They catch the light at Lamar and Jackson and several others as they move smartly through traffic down to Houston, the street they call the “old viaduct,” which is the fastest way to Oak Cliff.365 Dallas police radio dispatcher Murray J. Jackson can see from the callboard in front of him that many of the patrolmen assigned to the Oak Cliff area (south of the Trinity River, which separates it from downtown Dallas, and before the emergence of North Dallas in later years, perhaps the biggest area of Dallas) have gone downtown to help in the assassination investigation.366 He knows that if an emergency such as an armed robbery or a major accident occurs in that area, there might not be anyone to respond quickly to the call. He decides to pull two of the outermost patrol units in Oak Cliff closer to central Oak Cliff just in case something comes up. Units 78 and 87 (radio call numbers for Dallas Police Districts 78 and 87)* get the call—J. D. Tippit and Ronald C. Nelson.367 “[Units] 87 and 78, move into central Oak Cliff area,” Jackson orders, basically giving Tippit and Nelson a blank check to move at will within the roughly five or six police districts that could be considered as Oak Cliff. Tippit, cruising his beat alone in south Oak Cliff on the 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. day shift, lifts the radio microphone first. “I’m at Kiest and Bonnieview,” Tippit replies. But Nelson shoots back, “[Unit] 87’s going north on Marsalis, [at] R. L. Thornton.”368 Dispatcher Jackson knows from Nelson’s location that he is already on his way downtown to join other units. He decides to let him go. Tippit can handle anything that might come up, he figures. Jackson has known “J. D.”† for eleven years and in that time they’ve become close friends. In fact, it was Tippit who originally got Jackson interested in police work. In 1952, Murray was a high school graduate working at a Mobil filling station where Tippit and his partner used to stop occasionally. Tippit was his image of a hero, and through J. D.’s encouragement, Jackson was successful at joining the force. After a promotion to patrolman, Jackson and Tippit were partnered for eight months and the bond between the two men strengthened. One night in the early 1960s, Jackson was working temporarily with new partner Bill Johnson when they arrested seven teenagers for being drunk and disorderly. En route to the Oak Cliff substation, the teenagers decided they didn’t want to go to jail and a fight broke out in the squad car. Jackson put out a call for assistance and J. D. was the first to arrive. “Thanks, partner,” Jackson told him, “you saved my life.” The humor of the situation wasn’t lost on Tippit, who joked and chided Jackson, “I turn you loose one time and I got to come down here and save your life.” Of course, Jackson’s life wasn’t really in any danger. It was just Tippit’s way of kidding his former police apprentice. It was with this incident in mind that Jackson called on Tippit to help him out again, this time by covering an area outside his own assigned district.369 But it obviously wasn’t necessary for Jackson to have this prior relationship with Tippit to get him to go into central Oak Cliff. Tippit was on duty and had to go wherever assigned. Moreover, Tippit was not the type of officer to complain about much, being easy to get along with. Not overly ambitious, and with only a tenth-grade education, he wasn’t “sharp enough,” as one Dallas detective who knew Tippit said, to pass department promotional exams. However, the shy officer loved his job and seemed more than satisfied to remain a patrolman, resigned to his inability to advance because of his limited education. Well liked by his fellow officers, his immediate supervisor on the force, Sergeant Calvin B. Owens, described Tippit as a “good officer” who used “good common sense.” A Dallas police officer, Donald Flusche, said that Tippit and he “worked together in West Dallas. He was really a good and decent man…He was pretty much a country boy…He was kind of bashful, thought a little slow, moved a little slow, but there was nothing dishonest about him.”370 Seldom talking about politics, Tippit, age thirty-nine, had voted for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. On this day, Tippit had come home to have lunch with his wife, Marie, around 11:30 a.m., hurried through his food, and reported back for duty by 11:50 with a “78 clear” transmission from his car radio to the police dispatcher.371 12:50 p.m. Forrest Sorrels, the agent in charge of the Dallas Secret Service office, arrives at the side of the Texas School Book Depository and walks to the same backdoor used by Frazier and Oswald that morning.372 There is a black employee on the loading dock who doesn’t seem to realize what’s happened. “Did you see anyone run out the back?” Sorrels asks him, as he approaches. “No, sir,” the man replies. “Did you see anyone leave the back way?” Sorrels probes. “No, sir,” the man says again.373 The agent proceeds to the first floor by the rear loading-dock door, and to his surprise there’s nobody in law enforcement there to challenge him. “Where is the manager here?” he asks upon entering the building. Someone directs him to Roy Truly. Sorrels pulls out his Secret Service credentials. “I want to get a stenographer,” he tells him, “and we would like to have you put down the names and addresses of every employee in the building.”374 Sorrels has not yet learned that shots have been fired from the building. He simply wants to establish the identity of everyone present at the time of the shooting so that they can be interviewed later.375 Sorrels heads for the front of the building, pushes open the glass front doors, and steps out onto the concrete landing, “Is there anyone here that saw anything?” “That man over there,” a voice calls out, pointing to Howard Brennan standing nearby. Sorrels bounds down the steps and identifies himself to the construction worker. “What did you see?” he asks. Brennan tells him what happened and how he glanced up at the building and saw the man take deliberate aim and fire the third shot. “He just pulled the rifle back in and moved away from the window, just as unconcerned as could be,” Brennan says. After Brennan gives him a description of the gunman, Sorrels asks him if he thought he could identify him and Brennan says, “Yes, I think I can.” “Did anyone else see it?” Sorrels asks Brennan, who points out Amos Euins. Sorrels questions the boy and learns that Euins also saw the gunman for a few brief seconds, but now Euins isn’t sure if the man he saw was white or black. Asked if he, too, thought he could identify the man if he saw him again, Euins says, “No, I couldn’t.”376 Eventually, Sorrels escorts the two eyewitnesses over to the sheriff’s office across the street to give a statement.377 12:52 p.m. “This will do fine,” Oswald tells the cabdriver. William Whaley pulls over to the curb at the northwest corner of Neely and North Beckley, which is the 700, not the 500 block Oswald had first requested, but it’s all the same to Whaley.378 The meter on the six-minute trip has just clicked over to ninety-five cents, about two and a half miles. Oswald gives Whaley a buck, gets out, and crosses the street in front of the cab, and that’s the last Whaley sees of him. A big tipper.379 When he finally gets around to entering the trip in the passenger manifest required by the Dallas authorities, he writes it up as 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Nobody at the cab company really cares about exact time, so when he gets a chance Whaley just marks it to the nearest quarter-hour or so.380 12:53 p.m. (1:53 p.m. EST) All three networks headquartered in New York are gearing up for exclusive coverage of the shooting in Dallas for what will turn out to be over three consecutive days. A representative network is NBC, which, at 1:53 p.m. EST, cancels all regular programs to devote all of its time and resources to the unfolding events in Dallas. This will continue until 1:17 a.m. Tuesday morning, November 26.381 12:54 p.m. Police dispatcher Murray Jackson checks in with patrol Unit 78—Officer J. D. Tippit. “You are in the Oak Cliff area, are you not?” Jackson asks. “Lancaster and Eighth,” Tippit responds affirmatively. “You will be at large for any emergency that comes in,” Murray says. “Ten-four,” J. D. replies.382 The patrolman cruises north on Lancaster. He’s a long way from his roots in Red River County. Born and raised south of Clarksville, Texas, J. D. Tippit grew up during the Great Depression on the family farm, where electricity and running water were only dreams. The Tippits were sharecroppers, renting farmland to raise cotton. The work was hard and the tools of the day primitive. J. D., the oldest of five brothers and two sisters, spent many days behind a mule team and plow. He grew to become a crack horseman and although outsiders found him quiet and reserved, his family knew him as fun-loving. As World War II entered its last bloody year in Europe, J. D. joined the U.S. Army, volunteering to become a member of the elite paratroopers. In 1945, he landed in France as an ammo bearer with the Seventeenth Airborne Division as it fought its way through the Rhine Valley. Like many men, the war made deep impressions on him and he returned with a renewed sense of duty and honor. Tippit’s background was similar to that of many other officers on the force who came from small Texas towns with names like Athens, Palestine, and Ferris. Not a lot of academics, many not quite making it through high school. A lot of military service, which is good—guys who knew something about discipline and teamwork and were comfortable with firearms and uniforms. In December 1946, at the age of twenty-two, J. D. married his high school sweetheart, Marie Frances Gasaway, age eighteen. They briefly moved to Dallas to find work after the war, but soon returned to Red River County, where they hoped to farm and raise a family. Nature’s wrath took its toll on J. D.’s dreams of farming, and in July 1952 he joined the Dallas Police Department to feed his growing family. At $250 a month, Tippit soon found himself moonlighting to make ends meet. In early 1961, J. D. took a part-time job as a security guard from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night at Austin’s Barbeque in Oak Cliff, a popular teen hangout, and every Sunday afternoon at the Stevens Theater located in a shopping center. Tippit enjoys the free time he spends with his family—enjoying his three young children, taking dance lessons with his wife, listening to the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, or horsing around with his boyhood pal and brother-in-law, Jack Christopher. In fact, J. D. has plans to see Jack and his family tonight. Earlier this morning, J. D. stopped at his sister’s house on the way to work and got a ticket to the South Oak Cliff High School football game, where his niece, Linda, will be performing with the Golden Debs cheerleading squad. As he’s done on Friday nights past, he’ll have to beat it over to Austin’s Barbeque before the game gets out and a good part of the grandstand shows up. It’ll be another busy Friday night keeping the high school rowdies in line at Austin’s.383 12:57 p.m. In a second-floor operating room at Parkland, an anesthesiologist rapidly evaluates Connally’s condition and starts to put the governor under for an operation that will last well over three hours.384 Dr. Robert Shaw and Dr. Charles F. Gregory, chief of orthopedic surgery, enter the operating room, where Connally lies ready for surgery. Dr. Shaw removes the temporary dressing and inspects Connally’s chest wounds. After three years with the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the European Theater of Operations, Shaw is no stranger to bullet wounds.385 The surgeons place an endotracheal tube into the pharynx and trachea to control the governor’s breathing, then roll him over to inspect the entrance wound just behind his right armpit, a roughly elliptical puncture with relatively clean-cut edges. Turning to the large and ragged exit wound below the right nipple, Shaw excises its edges, and then carries the incision back along the right side of the governor’s chest and finds that about four inches of the fifth rib have been shattered and carried away from what appears to have been a glancing strike by the bullet. Several small fragments of the rib are still hanging to bits of partly detached tissue from the rib’s lining. An X-ray reveals no metallic fragments left behind by the bullet in the area of the ribs. There’s a lot of damage to the right lung, which is engorged with blood and rib fragments. It will have to be closed and sutured, along with the muscles surrounding the rib cage, but the diaphragm is uninjured, and the wounds are far from fatal. The governor has also sustained wounds on both sides of his right wrist and a superficial wound in his left thigh. X-rays reveal a shattering of the radius bone just above the right wrist and the presence of a number of small metallic fragments. There’s several hours of work to do, but it’s clear to the surgeons that Governor Connally will survive his injuries.386 12:58 p.m. An unmarked squad car pulls up to the front of the Book Depository, and Police Captain Will Fritz, Detectives Sims and Boyd, and Sheriff Bill Decker climb out. An officer in front of the building tells them that the man who did the shooting is believed to be still in the building. Several officers take out their shotguns and follow Fritz and his men as they enter the Depository. They quickly locate an elevator and go up to the second floor, where they see several officers already there. They continue up, finding officers already stationed on the third and fourth floors. This particular elevator only goes to the fourth floor, so Fritz and his men exit the elevator and cross over to the freight elevators near the northwest corner of the building, and take one up to the fifth floor. They make a hurried search along the front and west side windows, then, joined by some other officers, go up to the sixth floor. A few officers get off on the sixth, and Fritz, Sims, and Boyd continue up to the seventh floor and start to search along the front windows.387 Father James Thompson drives into Parkland in the black Ford Galaxie belonging to Holy Trinity Church. Parkland is only three miles from the church, but the traffic is brutal. Even though he took a “secret route” taking advantage of back streets, he and Father Oscar Huber found themselves held up by what seemed like endless traffic delays. Both of them are worried because they know that the last rites of the Catholic Church, to be valid, must be administered to the dying before the soul has left the body. Father Huber, like many parish priests, takes a liberal view of that—to his way of thinking, there can be quite a long time between what the doctors call clinical death and the eventual flight of the soul, but that’s no reason to dally. As they pull up, Father Thompson tells Father Huber to jump out of the car and hurry into the hospital while he finds a place to park.388 Father Huber saw Jack Kennedy, it seems to him, only minutes ago. He knew that the president’s motorcade would pass within three blocks of Holy Trinity, and when he rose at five this morning in his room at the rectory, he resolved to go down to see it. He was disappointed that he couldn’t interest any of the other priests in the project. “Well, I’m going,” he told them. “I’m seventy years old and I’ve never seen a president. I’ll be danged if I’m going to miss this chance.” Huber, a short, stocky man, had to leap up and down to see over the heads of the dense crowd, but managed to get a glimpse of Kennedy, who turned and seemed to look right at him. Now he hurries to the emergency entrance to give the last rites to this once-vibrant man. The significance of his arrival is not lost on anyone. “This is it,” Congressman Henry Gonzalez thinks as he sees Huber arrive at the hospital. Malcolm Kilduff, the president’s acting press secretary, whispers to Congressman Albert Thomas, “It looks like he’s gone.”389 In Oak Cliff, at 1026 North Beckley, Earlene Roberts tugs at the “rabbit ear” antennas trying to get a clear picture on the television set when the young man she knows as “O. H. Lee” enters, walking unusually fast, in shirt sleeves. “You sure are in a hurry,” the housekeeper says, but he goes straight to his room without saying a word.390 That isn’t so strange. Since renting the room in mid-October, “O. H. Lee” has hardly said two words to anyone. Once, Mrs. Roberts said “good afternoon” to him and he just gave her a dirty look and walked right past her. At night, if one of the other boarders had the television on in the living room, he might stand behind the couch for a couple of minutes, but then he’d go to his room and shut the door without a word. For the most part, “O. H. Lee” has kept to himself, which is why Mrs. Roberts doesn’t really know anything about him, least of all the fact that his real name is Lee Harvey Oswald.391 Oswald is in his room just long enough to get his revolver and his jacket. He comes out of his room, zipping up his jacket, and rushes out.392 Mrs. Roberts glances out the window a moment later and notices Lee standing at the curbside near a bus stop in front of the rooming house. That’s the last she sees of him.393 He apparently doesn’t wait to board any bus since there is no record of anyone seeing him on a bus after one o’clock, and if he had boarded a bus in front of his home, it would take him in a direction away from where we know he was next seen. 1:00 p.m. At Parkland Hospital, Dr. Kemp Clark feels the carotid artery in the president’s neck for a pulse. There is none. Clark asks that a cardiotachyscope (a cardiac monitor that measures heartbeat) be connected to the president’s body, and starts external heart massage,394 an unsophisticated physical procedure practiced by physicians from the sixteenth century, even before they understood anything about the circulation of blood in the body. The anesthesiologists, Drs. Jenkins and Giesecke, now report a carotid pulse in the neck, and Dr. Jones reports a pulse in the femoral artery in the leg. After a few moments, Dr. Perry takes over for Dr. Clark, who is in an awkward physical position to continue the rigorous cardiac massage.395 “Somebody get me a stool,” Dr. Perry commands. A stool is slid near the table and Perry stands on it to get better leverage as he works the livid white flesh beneath his palms. Drs. Jenkins and Clark watch the cardiotachyscope. The green dot suddenly darts across the screen trailing a perfectly smooth line of fluorescence, without the tiniest squiggle of cardiac activity.396 Dr. Clark shakes his head sadly, “It’s too late, Mac.” Perry slowly raises himself up from the body, steps down off the stool, and walks numbly away. Dr. Jenkins reaches down from the head of the cart and pulls a white sheet up over the president’s face as Dr. Clark turns to Mrs. Kennedy. “Your husband has sustained a fatal wound,” he says solemnly. Her lips move silently, forming the words, “I know.” It is one o’clock and it’s all over. The thirty-fifth president of the United States is dead.397* As the senior neurosurgeon, Dr. Clark will sign the death certificate, and the cause is so obviously the massive damage to the right side of the brain.398 It is what they call a four-plus injury,† which no one survives, even with the five-star effort they made. Clark knows what Carrico and the others knew from the outset—medically, the president was alive when he entered Parkland Hospital, but from a practical standpoint he was DOA, dead on arrival.399 As New York Times White House correspondent Tom Wicker, who was in Dealey Plaza at the time of the shooting, put it, Kennedy probably died way back on Elm Street a half hour earlier. He “probably was killed instantly. His body, as a physical mechanism, however, continued to flicker an occasional pulse and heartbeat.”400 Dr. Jenkins starts disconnecting the multitude of monitoring leads running to the lifeless body and removing the intravenous lines. Admiral Burkley begins to weep openly. Mrs. Kennedy moves toward the hospital cart where her husband lies, and Jenkins retreats quietly to a corner of the room. Looking pale and remote, she leans down and kisses the president through the sheet on the foot, leg, thigh, abdomen, chest, and finally on the partly covered face.401 Father Oscar Huber enters the room out of breath and walks directly to Jackie Kennedy. He whispers his sympathies, draws back a sheet that is covering the president’s face, pulls the purple and white stoll over his shoulders, wets his right thumb with holy oil and administers in Latin the last rites of the Catholic Church, the sacrament of extreme unction, including the anointing of a cross with his thumb over the president’s forehead. Because the president was dead, a “short form” of absolution was given, and in a few minutes he finishes and steps back. “Is that all?” Admiral Burkley blurts out, offended at the brevity of the ceremony. The death of a president deserves more, he thought. “Can’t you say some prayers for the dead?” Father Huber quickly obliges with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary, joined by the widow and Admiral Burkley, while the nurses who are cleaning up the appalling mess in the room remain still, their heads bowed. Father Thompson, having parked the car outside, steps in just as they are finishing. Mrs. Kennedy turns and walks back out into the corridor, slumping into the folding chair just outside the door. The two priests follow. “I am shocked,” Father Huber says to her, his body beginning to tremble. “I want to extend my sympathy and that of my parishioners.” “Thank you for taking care of the president,” she whispers. “Please pray for him.” “I am convinced that his soul had not left his body,” he assures her. “This was a valid last sacrament.” Mrs. Kennedy’s head drops down as she struggles to keep from fainting. Father Thompson signals a passing nurse. “Do you want a doctor?” Father Huber asks Mrs. Kennedy. “Oh, no,” she mumbles. The nurse brings her a cold towel anyway. The First Lady presses it to her forehead and leans over until the spell passes.402 Across the hall from Trauma Room One, the two priests confer briefly. What will they say to the horde of reporters outside as they leave? It’s clearly not their role to make any statement at all. In fact, as they head for the exit a Secret Service agent warns Huber, “Father, you don’t know anything about this.” Just as they feared, they are besieged in the parking lot by the news media. Father Thompson refuses to give his name, but Father Huber is unable to remain silent. “Is he dead?” Hugh Sidey of Time magazine asks. “He’s dead all right,” Huber answers.403 1:05 p.m. (2:05 p.m. EST) At his Virginia home, Robert Kennedy is in an upstairs bedroom with his wife, Ethel, preparing to leave for Dallas. The White House extension phone rings and he practically dives for it. It’s Captain Taz Shepard, the president’s naval aide, with news from Parkland. “Oh, he’s dead!” Bobby cries out in anguish. “Those poor children,” Ethel says in tears. The attorney general stares out the window. “He had the most wonderful life,” he finally manages to say. Bobby Kennedy descends the stairs and pokes his head into the living room where Robert Morgenthau and several others are watching television coverage. “He died,” Kennedy says in a low voice and walks toward the pool, where the extension phone has rung. It’s J. Edgar Hoover again. He informs the attorney general, in a cold and unsympathetic manner characteristic of the FBI director, that the president is in “very, very critical condition.” Bobby Kennedy listens politely, then says, “It may interest you to know that my brother is dead.”404 RFK is plunged into a staggering gloom and depression by his brother’s murder, one from which his intimates said he never recovered. For months thereafter, a biographer wrote, he “seemed devoured by grief. He literally shrank, until he appeared wasted and gaunt. His clothes no longer fit, especially his brother’s old clothes—an old blue topcoat, a tuxedo, and a leather bomber jacket with the presidential seal—which he insisted on wearing and which hung on his narrowing frame. To close friend John Seigenthaler, he appeared to be in physical pain, like a man with a toothache or on a rack. Even walking seemed too difficult for him, though he walked for hours, brooding and alone…On many winter nights he arose before dawn and drove, too fast, in his Ford Galaxie convertible with the top down, sometimes to see his brother’s grave.” That is why it is all the more remarkable that within an hour of his brother’s death, and in the trancelike midst of his dark abyss, the protective concern over his dead brother’s well-manicured image enables him to extricate himself enough to call JFK’s national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, over at the White House. He instructs Bundy to immediately change the locks on his brother’s personal files in the event that Lyndon Johnson decides to comb through them, and transport them to the offices of the national security staff located in the Old Executive Office Building, with a round-the-clock guard. And though he has no jurisdiction over the Secret Service, he has them dismantle and remove the secret taping system his brother had installed in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room.405 1:06 p.m. It doesn’t take long for Captain Fritz, Detectives Sims and Boyd, and other police officers to assure themselves that there’s no one hiding on the seventh floor of the Book Depository and no sign that anyone fired at the president from there. The whole floor is one big open space with a few stacks of books here and there, some shelves, and not much else. A storage room in the southeast corner yields nothing but a collection of forgotten desks, chairs, and other office space odds and ends. The windows facing Elm Street are still closed, as they were at the time of the shooting.406 On the sixth floor below, Dallas police officers and deputy sheriffs are systematically searching the entire floor—from the cleared space on the west side, where the new flooring is going down, toward the stacks of boxes that have been piled into rows on the east side. Deputy Luke Mooney is near the southeastern corner of the floor when he whistles loudly and hollers to his fellow officers.407 He’s inside the sniper’s nest, a roughly rectangular screen of boxes stacked around the southeasternmost window. Anybody sitting or crouching behind them would be completely hidden from anyone else on the floor. Two more cartons on top of each other are right in front of the window. A third box lies closer to the window, resting in a canted position on the windowsill. In the corner, a long, handmade, brown paper bag is bunched up. On the floor, at the baseboard beneath the window, are three spent cartridge casings—“hulls,” as they call them in Texas. Dallas police sergeant Gerald L. Hill walks over to an adjacent window, sticks his head out and yells down to the street for the crime lab, but fears that no one can hear him over the sirens and crackling police radios. He starts down himself to report the find and meets Captain Fritz and Detectives Sims and Boyd at the freight elevator on the sixth floor. They had heard Mooney’s and Hill’s shouts through the cracks in the floorboards and came down to investigate. Hill tells them he’s going down to the street to make sure the officers know where to send the crime-lab boys.408 Fritz, Sims, and Boyd work their way across the sixth floor over to the southeast corner window, where Deputy Mooney stands and other officers begin to congregate. Mooney tells Captain Fritz that everything is just as he found it. Fritz orders Detectives Sims and Boyd to stand guard and don’t let anyone touch anything until the crime lab can get there, then Fritz turns to the officers present and instructs them to turn the sixth floor upside down. If there’s a weapon here somewhere, he means to find it.409 1:07 p.m. At the New York Stock Exchange, news of the president’s shooting has brought about a wave of selling that reaches panic proportions, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets 21.16 points.410 1:08 p.m. Officer J. D. Tippit, probably traveling south on Beckley or southeast on Crawford in the general direction of Jefferson Boulevard in central Oak Cliff, spots Oswald walking on the right side of the street in front of him and sees that he vaguely fits the physical description of the suspect in the Kennedy assassination that he heard over the police radio in his squad car, it having been broadcast over channel 1 at 12:45 p.m., 12:48 p.m., and again at 12:55 p.m.411 Slowly tailing Oswald from behind, he tried to call the radio dispatcher for a further description of the suspect. “Seventy-eight” (Tippit’s call number, the police district he is assigned to), he says into his radio microphone, but he is not acknowledged by the dispatcher. Seconds later, he calls in “seventy-eight” again, but once again is not acknowledged by the dispatcher, he assumes because of the heavy radio traffic due to the assassination, and he continues to slow-tail Oswald.412* 1:10 p.m. At Parkland Hospital, Ken O’Donnell, acting as a stoic messenger between Trauma Room One and Lyndon Johnson, enters the vice president’s cubicle in Minor Medicine. “He’s gone,” O’Donnell says. The vice president finds the whole thing hard to believe. A few hours ago he was having breakfast with John Kennedy; he was alive, strong, and vigorous. Now, he is dead.413 Mrs. Johnson turns to her husband, her eyes filled with anger and sorrow, her voice choked with emotion. “I must go see Mrs. Kennedy and Nellie,” she says. Johnson nods and wishes to go with her. Agent Youngblood, however, refuses to let him leave the ward.414 Agent Emory Roberts and Congressman Jack Brooks escort Lady Bird Johnson to the hall outside Trauma Room One, where Mrs. Kennedy stands, “quiet as a shadow,” as Lady Bird later remembered. Mrs. Johnson always thought of the president’s wife as a woman insulated, protected, and is now struck by the realization that in this moment she is terribly alone. “I don’t think I ever saw anyone so much alone in my life,” she would later recall. She goes to Jackie, puts her arm around her, and says, crying, “Jackie, I wish to God there was something I could do.” But there is nothing she can do and eventually she slips away. On the second floor of the hospital, Lady Bird greets her close friend of a quarter century, Nellie Connally. They hug each other tightly, both giving in to tears. “Nellie, he’s going to be all right.” “He is, Bird,” Nellie says. “He’s going to be all right.” Mrs. Connally’s eyes well up and Jack Brooks, sensing they’re about to spill over, hands her his handkerchief. “Oh, he’ll be out there deer hunting at ninety,” he quips. She dabs her eyes and smiles.415 In the corridors below, the Kennedy staff stands numb and stricken. No one seems to be in charge or knows what to do. Mac Kilduff seeks out Ken O’Donnell. “This is a terrible time to have to approach you on this,” Kilduff says, “but the world has got to know that President Kennedy is dead.” O’Donnell looks at him, incredulous. “Don’t they know it already?” It seems like Kilduff’s been carrying the burden of the death for a hundred years. “No, I haven’t told them,” Kilduff says. “Well, you’re going to have to make the announcement,” O’Donnell replies. He thought about the new order of things a moment, then added, “Go ahead, but you’d better check it with Johnson.” An agent leads Kilduff through the maze of cubicles in Minor Medicine until they round a corner and Mac spots Lyndon Johnson sitting on an ambulance cart, head down, legs dangling. Kilduff swallows hard, “Mr. President…” Johnson’s head snaps up sharply. It’s the first time Lyndon Johnson has been addressed that way; the first time he knows he is the thirty-sixth president of the United States. Kilduff proceeds to ask Johnson if he can announce President’s Kennedy’s death. Johnson nods yes, then says, “No. Wait. We don’t know whether it’s a Communist conspiracy or not. I’d better get out of here and back to the plane.” Kilduff and Johnson agree that he will not announce Kennedy’s death until after Johnson leaves the hospital.416 Ken O’Donnell enters the ward and finds Johnson, frightened and nervous, conferring with the Secret Service agents. Emory Roberts, the ranking agent in the room, jumps up when O’Donnell comes in: “What’ll we do, Kenny, what’ll we do?” “You’d better get the hell out of here,” O’Donnell replies, “and get back to Washington right away. Take Air Force One.”* “Don’t you think it might be safer if we moved the plane to Carswell Air Force Base and took off from there?” Johnson asks. O’Donnell doesn’t like it. It would take time to get one of the jets from nearby Love Field to the air force base, and the thirty-five-mile drive from Dallas to Carswell would be risky. He suggests that Johnson should head to Love Field and take off for Washington as soon as he gets there. “How about Mrs. Kennedy?” Johnson asks. “She will not leave the hospital without the president,” O’Donnell says. There is no doubt about which president he is referring to. Afraid that the public might view his departure as deserting the Kennedys, Johnson digs his heels in. “I don’t want to leave Mrs. Kennedy like this,” he says. O’Donnell tells Johnson that he will stay behind with Mrs. Kennedy until the president’s body is ready to be moved to the airport. “You take good care of that fine lady,” Johnson says.417* Secret Service agents are already arranging for a couple of unmarked police cars to spirit Johnson and his party away to Love Field. The agents at the airfield have taken extraordinary measures to secure the area around the two presidential planes, directing local police and airport people to clear all the buildings, hangars, and warehouses of both employees and civilians. It seems bizarre to prepare such a departure for the president of the United States, in his own country, but the fact is, none of them know where the assassin or assassins are, or what they plan to do next.418† William W. Scoggins, a forty-nine-year-old cabdriver, eats a sandwich in his taxi and ponders the shooting of the president. He’s just dropped a fare from the airport, and after a brief stop at the Gentleman’s Club, a domino parlor and lunch spot on Patton (on the other side of the street from where Scoggins parked his car, about a half a block south in the direction of Jefferson Boulevard), to watch coverage of the assassination on TV, he returns to his parking spot at the corner of Tenth and Patton. The area is a “scruffy, working-class residential neighborhood of aging frame houses” about four miles from Dealey Plaza. He’s only been there a few seconds when he notices Dallas police car number 10—J. D. Tippit’s squad car—crossing left to right a few yards in front of him as it prowls very slowly eastbound on Tenth Street. Scoggins takes another bite of his sandwich and swigs a Coke.419 A woman stands on the corner diagonally across from Scoggins, waiting for traffic to clear so she can cross the street. A pair of work shoes in her hand, Helen Markham, forty-seven, is on her way to catch the 1:15 p.m. bus at the next corner (the corner of Patton and Jefferson), the same one she takes every day to the Eatwell Restaurant on Main Street downtown, where she works as a waitress.420 She sees “this police car slowly cross [the intersection] and sorta ease up alongside the man.”421 1:11 p.m. Scoggins watches the police car stop around 120 feet down Tenth Street to his right, and it is then that he also notices a man in a light-colored jacket standing on the sidewalk. The man walks over toward the police car, passing out of Scoggins’s sight behind some shrubs.422 Markham has an unobstructed view and sees the man go over to the squad car, lean over, and place his arms on the ledge of the open front window on the passenger side. She observes him “talking to the officer through the open window” and assumes it is a friendly conversation.423 Jack Ray Tatum, a twenty-five-year-old medical photographer for Baylor University Medical Center, turns onto Tenth Street from Denver and heads west in his red Ford Galaxie. Tatum’s boss has given him an afternoon off and he’s been spending it running errands and buying a watch and ring for his wife, on a lay-a-way, at Gordon’s Jewelers on Jefferson. Approaching Patton, he sees a squad car driving east on Tenth Street and a young white male “was also walking east, the same direction the squad car was going.” When the squad car pulls over to the curb, he sees the man approaching the squad car on the passenger side. As Tatum drives past, he can see the police officer in the front seat leaning over toward the man, whose hands are crammed into the pockets of his light-gray zipper jacket. He gets the impression they are talking. Tatum wonders why the cop has stopped him.424* Domingo Benavides is in his pickup truck a half-dozen car lengths behind Tatum. The mechanic from Dootch Motors is pretty annoyed with himself. He was on his way to the auto parts store at Marsalis and Tenth to get a carburetor and was damned near there when it dawned on him that he’d forgotten the part number. He’s heading back west on Tenth Street when he sees the police car ahead on the left.425 (See photo section for diagram of Tippit murder scene with location of Tippit’s car, Oswald, and witnesses.) 1:12 p.m. Just after Tatum passes the squad car, Helen Markham watches the driver’s door open and the police officer climb out. He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, and has not drawn his weapon.† The officer starts walking toward the front of the car, not keeping his eyes on Oswald but looking down at the ground,‡ his right hand, like a western sheriff, on his gun butt as the young man on the passenger side puts his hands in his pockets and takes two steps back. Suddenly, the young man pulls a gun out from under his jacket. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Bullets fly across the hood of the car.426 Scoggins looks up from his sandwich and sees the policeman grab his stomach, then fall.427 Benavides is almost abreast of the squad car when the shooting erupts. He jerks the wheel hard right, bumps his ’58 Chevy pickup into the curb, and throws himself down on the front seat.428 Tatum is passing through the intersection of Tenth and Patton when he hears the crack of several pistol shots behind him. He jams on the brakes and turns to look back. The police officer is lying on the ground beside the left front tire of the squad car. Tatum sees a man in a light tan-gray jacket start off in Tatum’s direction, hesitate at the rear of the police car, then step back into the street and fire one more shot, right into the head of the officer on the ground.429* Mrs. Markham is screaming. The man walks calmly away, back toward Patton Street, fooling with his gun.430 Tatum, realizing the gunman is coming his way, drives off, with an eye on his rearview mirror.431 The gunman spots Mrs. Markham across the street and looks straight at her. She thinks he’s fixing to kill her too. She falls to her knees and covers her face with her hands, but when she pulls them down enough to see, she realizes that he is veering off, cutting across the yard of the corner house.432 Barbara and Virginia Davis are babysitting when they hear the shots. The young women (nineteen and sixteen, respectively) have been sisters-in-law for a couple of months, ever since they married brothers. Their husbands are in the home-repair business, and the two couples each live in an apartment in the corner house at Tenth and Patton. Barbara slips on her shoes and rushes to the screen door, Virginia on her heels. She sees Mrs. Markham across the street on the corner, screaming and pointing toward the man coming across her yard, “He killed him! He killed him!” Barbara glances to her right and sees a Dallas police car parked in front of the house next door. The gunman is now less than twenty-five feet away as he cuts across her front walk. He looks at her coolly as he shakes spent cartridges from an open revolver into his hand. She dashes to the phone and calls the police.433 Scoggins has been driving a cab for less than two years, but if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s to get as far away from the cab as possible when trouble starts. He doesn’t fancy being commandeered by some nut with a gun. Scoggins is already getting out when he sees the gunman cutting across the yard of the house on the corner, and realizes he’d better get out of sight, fast. He starts to cross the street, but there’s no time to run and hide. He quickly crouches down behind the cab, then steals a look as the man runs through the bushes of the corner house. Scoggins can see the side of the man’s face as the killer looks back over his shoulder and mutters, “Poor damn cop,” twice. Or maybe it was “poor dumb cop.” Scoggins isn’t sure.434 1:13 p.m. Ted Callaway is in his office, a small clapboard building at the back of Dootch Motors, the used-car lot on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Patton, when he hears five shots. The office boys with him laugh about the “firecrackers,” but the forty-seven-year-old Callaway, knowing instantly what it is, says, “Firecrackers, hell! That’s pistol shots!”435 The used-car manager is a Marine Corps veteran who fought on the Marshall Islands during World War II, and later trained recruits during the Korean War. He’s on his feet in a flash, running out to Patton Street. He looks to his right, up toward Tenth and the sound of the shots. He can see the cabdriver Scoggins crouched down next to his taxi as a man leaps through the bushes and cuts across Patton, running toward him. The fleeing man has both of his hands on a pistol he holds straight up, elbow high—what the Marines call a “raised pistol position.” As the gunman gets kitty-corner across the street—less than sixty feet away—Callaway hollers to him, “Hey, man, what the hell is going on?” The killer slows, almost stops, says something unintelligible, shrugs his shoulders, and walks briskly on toward Jefferson Boulevard, then turns right and proceeds in a westerly direction down Jefferson.436 Callaway turns to B. D. Searcy, a car-lot porter, and tells him, “Keep an eye on that guy, follow him. I’m going to go down there and see what’s going on!” He takes off on the double, a good hard run. “Follow him, hell,” Searcy calls after him. “That man will kill you. He has a gun.” Searcy proceeds to find refuge behind the office building.437 Warren Reynolds is standing on the balcony of the two-story office building at his brother’s used-car lot—Reynolds Motor Company—across Jefferson Boulevard from Dootch Motors. Three men are on the lot below him—Harold Russell, L. J. Lewis, and B. M. “Pat” Patterson. They all heard the shots and now see a man running down Patton toward them. As he nears the corner, they can see he is reloading a pistol, which he promptly tucks into his belt. As he heads west on Jefferson, Reynolds descends the stairs and tells the others that he’s going to trail the guy. Patterson goes with him, Lewis runs back to the office to phone police, and Russell trots down toward the scene of the shooting.438 On Tenth Street, when the killer is about half a block away, Mrs. Markham runs over to the policeman’s body to see if she can help. The gurgling sounds coming from Tippit’s body lead Markham to think he may be trying to say something. But it’s only death gasps. Markham screams in despair, “Somebody help me!” but she is all by herself, and no one responds to her pleas for what seems to her like several “minutes.”439 Frank Cimino, who lives at 405 East Tenth Street, directly across the street from the shooting, had been listening to his radio at the time he heard “four loud noises that sounded like shots,” after which he heard a woman scream. He puts on his shoes, runs outside, and sees a woman dressed like a waitress (Markham) shouting, “Call the police.” She tells him the man who shot the police officer had run west on Tenth Street and pointed in the direction of an alley between Tenth and Jefferson off Patton, but he sees no one when he looks in that direction. Cimino approaches the officer, who is lying on his side with his head in front of the left front headlight of the police car. Cimino can see that Tippit has been shot in the head. Tippit’s gun is out of his holster, lying by his side. Tippit moves slightly and groans but never says anything that Cimino can understand. Soon people start coming from all directions toward the police car.444 1:15 p.m. Benavides has been sitting in his truck for two or three minutes, very afraid that the gunman lives in the corner house and might come back shooting. He finally gets out, walks across the street, and cautiously approaches the fallen officer. A big clot of blood bulges at the officer’s right temple, his eyes sunken into his skull. It makes Benavides feel sick, and “really” scared.441 1:16 p.m. The mechanic gets into the squad car, grabs the microphone, and tries to call the police dispatcher. Unfortunately, Benavides has no idea how the radio works. He fumbles with the controls and keeps clicking the button on the mike, but from the chatter on the police radio he can tell they can’t hear him.442 A small crowd has gathered at the squad car by the time Ted Callaway gets there, closely followed by Sam Guinyard, a porter at Dootch Motors, who had been waxing and polishing a station wagon at the back of the lot when he saw the gunman run by. More people from the neighborhood are arriving every minute.443 Callaway kneels down next to the body. He doesn’t have to look very hard to see the officer has been hit at least three times, once in the right temple. Callaway had seen a lot of dead men during the Korean War. This officer looks just like them.444 In New York, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite tells the nation for the first time that the president has reportedly died. Calling it “only a rumor,” he leads to Eddie Barker, the news director of CBS’s Dallas affiliate KRLD, who is on the scene at Parkland Hospital. Barker says, “The word we have is that President Kennedy is dead. This we do not know for a fact…The word we have is from a doctor on the staff of Parkland Hospital who says that it is true. He was in tears when he told me just a moment ago. This is still not officially confirmed, but…the source would normally be a good one.”445 1:17 p.m. T. F. Bowley, who just picked up his twelve-year-old daughter at the R.L. Thornton school in Singing Hills and was on his way to pick up his wife from work at the telephone company at Ninth and Zangs, drives up on the scene at Tenth and Patton. Bowley tells his young daughter to wait in the car as he walks over to see what’s happened. He takes one look at the officer and knows there is nothing anyone can do for him. He walks over to the open driver’s door of the squad car. Benavides looks up and says, “I don’t know how it works.”446 Benavides gets out of the car and hands the mike over to Bowley, who calls in the shooting, “Hello, police operator?” “Go ahead,” dispatcher Murray Jackson answers. “Go ahead, citizen using the police—” “We’ve had a shooting out here,” Bowley blurts out. “Where’s it at?” Jackson asks. Bowley hesitates. He isn’t sure. “The citizen using police radio—” Jackson continues. “On Tenth Street,” Bowley cuts in. “What location on Tenth Street?” “Between Marsalis and Beckley,” Bowley answers. “It’s a police officer. Somebody shot him—what—what’s this?” Someone at the scene tells Bowley the address and he repeats it to the dispatcher, “404 Tenth Street.”* Jackson knows his friend, Officer J. D. Tippit, is in that general area and immediately calls over the police radio, “[Unit] 78?” Bowley says, “You got that? It’s in a police car.” Someone at the scene tells him the number of the police car. Bowley repeats it: “Number ten.” Now Jackson knows. That’s Tippit’s squad car number. In fact, he and J. D. had once partnered in that same car. He can’t believe what appears to have happened. He doesn’t want to believe it. Both he and the other dispatcher working channel 1, C. E. Hulse, shout into their mikes, “Seventy-eight.” Seconds tick by. No response. It can’t be true, Jackson thinks. But it is. “You got this?” Bowley asks the stunned dispatcher. Hulse takes command, “Attention all units—” “Hello, police operator? Did you get that?” Bowley asks, talking over the dispatcher. “—Signal 19 [police call number for a shooting] involving a police officer, 510 East Jefferson.”* “The citizen using the police radio, remain off the air now,” Jackson orders, as he recovers from the shocking news. “[Unit] 91?” Hulse calls, trying to contact Patrolman W. D. Mentzell, who checked out a few minutes earlier at a traffic accident near the Tippit shooting scene. No response. “[Unit] 69’s going out there,” Patrolman A. R. Brock calls in to Jackson. “Ten-Four, 69,” Jackson replies, relieved to know that help is on the way.447 It isn’t long before law officers throughout the city learn that one of their own has been shot. First, it was the president. Now, for the Dallas police, it’s personal. On the street in front of the Texas School Book Depository Building, Sergeant Gerald Hill had run into Lieutenant J. C. “Carl” Day of the crime lab, just as he arrived at the scene. Hill told him about finding spent cartridges up on the sixth floor, and Day had gone on up. Now, Hill is giving Inspector Sawyer the same information, as Dallas Morning News reporters James Ewell and Hugh Aynesworth stand nearby, listening intently to the conversation. Hill, a former newsman, knows how tough it is to gather facts without good police sources. He speaks clearly so the newsmen get it right. Sergeant C. B. “Bud” Owens and Assistant District Attorney Bill Alexander join the group. In a moment, Sheriff Bill Decker walks up. He’s grimfaced. Decker was in the lead car of the motorcade and had seen the carnage at Parkland Hospital. But all he says is, “It looks bad.”448 They are all standing there but a moment when they hear T. F. Bowley’s voice break in on a nearby police radio with the news that a Dallas police officer has been shot. Sergeant Owens, acting lieutenant in charge of the Oak Cliff area, listens with growing horror to the dispatcher calling in vain for Unit 78. He knows immediately that it’s one of his men, J. D. Tippit—a longtime friend.449 Owens jumps into his car as Hill and Alexander pile in behind him. Owens puts the pedal to the floor and the car squeals away toward Oak Cliff.450 Hill grabs the radio in the front seat: “Give me the correct address on the shooting.” “501 East Tenth,” dispatcher Jackson replies, giving an address from another call sheet just handed to him from an officer who had received this address from a telephone operator who in turn had been given the address by a resident calling in from East Tenth Street. The police are being flooded with call sheets—notations that record telephone calls from citizens. Patrolmen Joe Poe and Leonard Jez, also racing to the scene, are equally confused by the multiple addresses. “Was 519 East Jefferson correct?” Poe asks. “We have two locations, 501 East Jefferson and 501 East Tenth,” Jackson says, not mentioning the correct address of 404 East Tenth Street (Tenth and Patton) that he had also been given. “[Unit] Nineteen [Owens], are you en route?” “Ten-four,” an unknown officer says, “nineteen is en route.”451 At 1:18 p.m., the channel 2 dispatcher, Gerald D. Henslee, informs “all squads” of the correct address of the shooting.452 Back in front of the Depository, reporters Ewell and Aynesworth confer briefly. The shooting in Oak Cliff has to be connected to the president’s death, they think. They decide to split up—one will stay at the Depository and the other will go out to Oak Cliff. Aynesworth draws the Oak Cliff assignment. After he runs off, Ewell has second thoughts about staying behind. He spots Captain W. R. Westbrook, in charge of the Dallas Police Department’s Personnel Bureau, running for his car. He’s headed for Oak Cliff too. Ewell asks permission and joins him.453 At Tenth and Patton streets, ambulance attendants J. C. Butler and William “Eddie” Kinsley swing their 1962 Ford ambulance around in front of the squad car and jump out. (Though they had received the incorrect address of 501 East Tenth Street from the police, they had no trouble spotting the squad car, and people around it, less than a block to the east.) They’ve been dispatched from the Dudley Hughes Funeral Home, less than three blocks away, but there’s nothing they can do for Tippit. Ambulance attendants at that time are basically just drivers whose job is to get victims to a nearby hospital as quickly as possible. Their ambulance is equipped with little more than a stretcher. Butler kneels next to Tippit’s body and rolls him on his back as Kinsley pulls the stretcher cot from the back of the station wagon. Tippit’s pistol is out of its holster, lying on the pavement near his right palm. Ted Callaway moves the gun to the hood of the squad car, then, with Scoggins and Guinyard, helps the attendants lift the body onto the stretcher. As they do so, the first Dallas police officer to arrive at the murder scene, reserve sergeant Kenneth Croy, pulls up. Butler and Kinsley push the cot into the back, slam the door, and are off in a flash to Methodist Hospital about a mile away.454 1:20 p.m. Out at Parkland, the hospital’s senior engineer, Darrell Tomlinson, has been manually operating the elevator, shuttling it between the emergency room on the ground floor and the operating rooms on the second floor. Coming down from the second floor, Tomlinson notices that on the ground floor a gurney, which was left in the hallway, has been pushed out into the narrow corridor by someone who may have used the men’s room. There is barely enough room in front of the elevator doors as it is, so Tomlinson pushes the gurney back. As it bumps the wall, Tomlinson hears a “clink” of metal on metal. He walks over and sees a bullet lying between the pad and the rim of the gurney.455 O. P. Wright, personnel officer of Parkland Hospital, has just entered the emergency unit when he hears Tomlinson call to him. Wright walks over and Tomlinson points out the bullet lying on the edge of the stretcher.456 Wright, a former deputy chief of police for the city of Dallas, immediately looks for a federal officer to take charge of the evidence. At first, Wright contacts an FBI agent, who refuses to take a look at the bullet, saying it wasn’t the FBI’s responsibility to make the investigation, in apparent deference to the Dallas Police Department. Next, Wright locates a Secret Service agent, but he too doesn’t seem interested in coming to look at the bullet on the stretcher. Frustrated, Wright returns to the stretcher, reluctantly picks up the bullet, and puts it into his pocket. There it remains for the next half hour or so, until Wright runs into Secret Service agent Richard E. Johnsen, who agrees to take possession of the bullet, which will later become a key piece of evidence in the assassination.457 In Oak Cliff, Ted Callaway can hear the confusion and desperation of the police over Tippit’s car radio as they struggle to locate the scene of the officer’s shooting. He lowers his big frame into the patrol car and grabs the mike, “Hello, hello, hello!” “From out here on Tenth Street,” he continues, “five-hundred block. This police officer’s just shot, I think he’s dead.” “Ten-four, we [already] have the information,” dispatcher Jackson replies, exasperated. “The citizen using the radio will remain off the radio now.” The last thing he needs is some gung-ho citizen tying up the airwaves.458 Ted Callaway climbs out of the squad car and spots his mechanic, Domingo Benavides. “Did you see what happened?” “Yes,” Benavides says. Callaway picks up Tippit’s service revolver. “Let’s chase him,” he says. Benavides wants no part of it. Callaway snaps the revolver open—and Benavides can see that no rounds have been fired. Callaway tucks the gun in his belt and turns to the cabdriver, Scoggins. “You saw the guy, didn’t you?” the former marine asks. Scoggins admits he had. “If he’s going up Jefferson, he can’t be too far. Let’s go get the son of a bitch who’s responsible for this.” In his blue suit and white shirt, Callaway looks like some kind of policeman, or Secret Service agent. Scoggins doesn’t find out until later that he’s simply a used-car manager. They go back to Scoggins’s cab and set off to cruise along Jefferson, the last place Callaway saw the gunman.459 Two blocks away, Warren Reynolds and Pat Patterson wonder whether the gunman went into the rear of one of the buildings near Crawford and Jefferson. They’ve been tailing him since he headed west, walking briskly along Jefferson Boulevard. They saw the killer turn north and scoot between a secondhand furniture store and the Texaco service station on the corner. Eventually, they approach Robert and Mary Brock, the husband and wife employees of the service station, and ask if they’ve seen a man come by. Both say, “Yes.” They last saw him in the parking lot behind the station. Reynolds and Patterson run back and check the parking lot, then the alley behind it. Nothing. He’s escaped. Reynolds tells them to call the police, then heads toward Tenth and Patton to tell the others.460 1:21 p.m. (2:21 p.m. EST) In Washington, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover calls James J. Rowley, chief of the Secret Service, to offer any assistance. He tells Rowley it has been reported that a Secret Service agent has been killed, but he had not been able to get his name. Rowley states he did not know one of his agents had been killed. Hoover says the information he has is that the shots came from the “fourth floor of a building” and that “apparently a Winchester rifle was used.” The two speculate about who was behind the shooting, Rowley mentioning subversive elements in Mexico and Cuba, Hoover mentioning the Ku Klux Klan.461 At the Dallas FBI office, Special Agent-in-Charge Gordon Shanklin, a chain-smoker who buys cartons of cigarettes by the grocery bag, is on the telephone with the third in command at FBI headquarters in Washington, Alan Belmont. With his thin hair, glasses, and comfortable attire, Shanklin looks like a rumpled professor, but all the agents understand his nervousness. It isn’t easy to work for J. Edgar Hoover, with his whims and moods. Shanklin tells Belmont that from the information available, it appears the president has died of his wounds and that Governor Connally is in fair condition. He adds that, contrary to prior reports, a Secret Service agent has not been killed in Dallas. “The director’s specific instructions on this,” Belmont says, “are that we should offer all possible assistance to the Secret Service and local police, and that means exactly that—give all possible assistance.” “Do we have jurisdiction?” Shanklin questions. “The question of jurisdiction is not pertinent at the moment,” Belmont replies. “The Secret Service will no doubt regard this as primarily their matter, but the essential thing is that we offer and give all possible assistance. In fact, see if the Secret Service wants us to send some laboratory men down to assist in identifying the spent shells found in the Depository.” “I’ve already made the offer,” Shanklin tells him. “I’ve got our men with the Secret Service, the Dallas police, and the sheriff’s office. I’ve even got a man at the hospital where Mrs. Kennedy is.” Shanklin fills Belmont in on the latest developments—shots appear to have been fired from the fifth floor of a five-story building at the corner of Elm and Commerce, where a Winchester rifle was reportedly used.* Shanklin tells him that the building has been roped off and the Secret Service and police are going through it. “Has anyone been identified?” Belmont asks. “No, not yet,” Shanklin answers. “We’ll send out a Teletype to all offices to check and account for the whereabouts of all hate-group members in their areas,” Belmont tells him. “If you need more manpower down there, let us know and we’ll send it.” “Okay,” Shanklin says, and hangs up. Belmont promptly starts working on a Teletype to alert all FBI offices to immediately contact all informants and sources regarding the assassination and to immediately establish the whereabouts of bombing suspects, Klan and hate-group members, racial extremists, and any other individuals who on the basis of information in bureau files might have been involved.462 1:22 p.m. The cavernous sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository is crawling with officers looking for evidence. Since the discovery of the sniper’s nest, the search has been concentrated there.463 They have all heard about the shooting out in Oak Cliff and are tense, jumpy. Dallas Morning News reporter Kent Biffle, caught up with the officers involved in the search, wonders whether he risks getting shot by a nervous officer.464 A flashbulb pops in the southeast corner window as crime-lab investigators Lieutenant Carl Day and Detective Robert Studebaker photograph the three spent cartridges lying on the floor of the sniper’s nest. Nearby, Captain Will Fritz of homicide converses with Detectives L. D. Montgomery and Marvin Johnson, who’ve just arrived.465 Across the floor, in the northwest corner, near the top of the back stairwell, two sheriff deputies comb through a stack of boxes for the umpteenth time. Deputy Eugene Boone shines his high-powered flashlight into every gloomy crack, crevice, and cranny, looking in, under, and around the dusty boxes and pallets. Alongside him is Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman, who has been over this area of the sixth floor twice already, though without the aid of a flashlight. Now the bright beam of light picks up something on the floor stuffed down between two rows of boxes, another box slid on an angle over the top of it. Weitzman crawls down on the floor, as Boone shines the light down into the crevice from the top. They spot a rifle at the same moment. “There it is!” Weitzman shouts. “We got it!” Boone hollers to other officers across the sixth floor. It was pretty well concealed from view—eight or nine searchers must have stumbled over it before they found it. Boone checks his watch—1:22 p.m.466 Captain Fritz tells Detectives Montgomery and Johnson to stay with the hulls, while he and Detectives Sims and Boyd walk over to where the rifle has been found. They can see it down among the boxes. Detective Sims goes back to the area of the sniper’s nest and tells Lieutenant Day that they need him, the camera, and the fingerprint dust kit over where the rifle has been found. Detective Studebaker takes another picture of the position of the three empty cartridges lying below the half-open window as Day tells him they’ve got the pictures they need. Detective Sims reaches down and picks up the empty hulls and drops them into an evidence envelope that Lieutenant Day is holding open. With the empty hulls secured, Day packs up the camera and dust kit and immediately goes to the officers gathering around the rifle near the stairwell in the northwest corner of the sixth floor. As Day leaves, Detectives Montgomery and Johnson start to collect other evidence in the area of the sniper’s nest, including the long, brown paper bag. The bag has been folded twice and is lying to the left of the sniper’s nest window. As Montgomery unfolds it, he and Johnson speculate that it may have been used to bring the rifle into the building.467 Within minutes, Lieutenant Day and Detective Studebaker are photographing the rifle from several points of view. When they’re satisfied they have enough, Fritz carefully lifts the weapon out by its homemade sling. A local TV cameraman records the scene for posterity.468 None of the officers crowding around, many of them gun enthusiasts, are able to identify the rifle positively, although it’s clearly an infantry weapon with a Mauser action. It is stamped “Made Italy,” with a date of 1940 and serial number C2766. Along with some other more arcane markings, it bears the legend “Caliber 6.5” across the top of the rear iron sight. It has the distinctive magazine—designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher, who worked on the Mauser bolt action—built on the leading edge of the trigger guard, and capable of holding up to five rounds, or six of a smaller caliber. Day notices that the detachable cartridge clip in the magazine is empty. The rifle has been fitted with a cheap Japanese telescopic sight and an improvised, homemade sling. Whatever the sling came from, it didn’t start out as a rifle sling. Before the rifle is touched or moved, Captain Fritz has Day photograph the rifle and surrounding boxes. Fritz then gingerly opens the bolt and finds one live cartridge in the chamber, which he ejects.469 The cartridge is printed with the caliber, 6.5 millimeter, and the make, “WW”—symbol of the Western Cartridge Company of Alton, Illinois.470 Sergeant Bud Owens races his car south on Beckley with passengers Gerald Hill and and Bill Alexander. In Dallas law enforcement at the time of the assassination, two names stood out: Captain Will Fritz, who headed up the Homicide and Robbery Bureau of the Dallas Police Department, and Bill Alexander, the chief felony prosecutor for the Dallas district attorney’s office. Alexander had been with the office for eleven years, had had ten murderers he convicted or helped convict executed at the state prison in Huntsville, and had a 93 percent conviction rate in felony jury trials, above average in his office of twenty-five assistant district attorneys. Both men, though not social friends, liked and respected each other and worked closely on the major homicide cases in Dallas. Both liked their respective bosses, Police Chief Jesse Curry and District Attorney Henry Wade, but viewed them charitably as administrators (though both, particularly Wade, had distinguished careers in their respective departments before leading them) who really didn’t know what the hell was going down in the cases handled by their offices. Alexander, an infantry captain during the Second World War who saw combat in Italy, to this day wears a “John B. Stetson” hat—“with embroidered lining,” he hastens to add—and carries a .380 automatic underneath his belt on his left side. Perhaps no other incident illustrates the lore of Bill Alexander more than one involving a Dallas con-artist named “Smokey Joe” Smith. It seems that Smith had the practice of reading obituaries and then preying on and swindling the decedents’ vulnerable widows. Alexander did not take kindly to this and started to investigate Smith. One day, word got back to Alexander that Smith was in the Courthouse Café (a popular hangout for court regulars across the street from the courthouse) flashing his .45 and saying he was going to put a few holes in Alexander. There’s always been an element of Texas justice that pronounces the word justice as “just us,” and Alexander walked into the busy coffee shop, jerked Smith’s “overfed” body off the counter stool, and with Smith on his knees, put his automatic to Smith’s head and said, “Beg me for your life you no good son of a bitch or I’ll kill you right here.” After first pleading with Alexander, “Don’t kill me. Please put the gun away,” Smith, becoming more brazen when no projectile was on its way, told Alexander, “I’m going to tell the sheriff.” “Well, go ahead and tell that one-eyed, old son of a bitch [Dallas sheriff Bill Decker]. That won’t help you if you’re gut-shot.” Alexander left Smith with this cheerful admonition: “If you ever walk up behind me, I’ll kill you dry.” Smith, in fact, did call Decker, who called Alexander with this friendly advice: “You really shouldn’t talk like that, Bill. Don’t kill him.” But anyone led into thinking that because of Alexander’s tough talk he was just a rawboned hick who happened to have a law degree would be wrong. One can’t spend more than a few minutes with Alexander without sensing that he is very intelligent and has a dry and pungent wit that he enjoys just as much as the person he’s sharing it with. On the day of the assassination, Alexander was returning to his office from a lunch-hour trip to a hardware store in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas to get supplies for the deer-hunting season coming up, when he heard sirens and saw traffic gridlock near his office in the old Records Building off Dealey Plaza. Learning the president had been shot, he went to his office on the sixth floor. It was virtually empty, since Wade, in view of the president’s visit and motorcade, had told his office to take the afternoon off. Knowing there would be a flood of calls coming in, Alexander asked the switchboard operator to stay on the job, and immediately went to the sheriff’s office in the Jail Building, which was joined to the Records Building, to “see what was going on.” Within minutes he walked to the assassination scene, where his friend, Dallas deputy chief Herbert Sawyer, was coordinating things from a makeshift command post he had set up on Elm in front of the Book Depository Building. When a call came in that a Dallas officer had been shot in the Oak Cliff area, as indicated, he got in the squad car with Bud Owens and Gerald Hill and went to the scene. Alexander knew what all good prosecutors know. If at all possible, you join in the police investigation. It’s much easier to present a case in court that you helped put together than to rely solely on the police. If you do the latter and they do a good job, fine. But if they don’t, it’s legal suicide. Alexander was at ground zero and starting to put his case together against the killer of Officer Tippit.471 As Owens, Hill, and Alexander proceed to the Tippit murder scene, they see an ambulance, sirens wailing, cross in front of them, a police car close behind. The officers know it’s heading for the emergency unit at Methodist Hospital.472 The ambulance bearing Tippit’s body had picked up a patrol car, driven by Officer Robert Davenport and partner W. R. Bardin, a block earlier. In a moment the two are wheeling into the emergency entrance. When Butler and Kinsley open the back of the ambulance, Officer Davenport is shocked to see J. D. Tippit, whom he knew well and had worked with for three years. Davenport and Bardin help get Tippit into the emergency room. Though he appears to be dead, the officers observe “the doctors and nurses trying to bring [Tippit] back to life.” Up in the call-room of the hospital, Dr. Paul C. Moellenhoff, a twenty-nine-year-old surgery resident, is watching TV coverage of the presidential shooting. Someone from the emergency room calls and asks for the doctor on duty. He’s out, so Dr. Moellenhoff runs down to cover for him.473 At Tenth and Patton, Officer Roy W. Walker pulls to the curb and recognizes an old school friend, Warren Reynolds, who gives him a description of the suspect.474 Officer Walker grabs his radio mike as more police cars approach. “We have a description on this suspect,” Walker broadcasts, “last seen about 300 block of East Jefferson. He’s a white male, about thirty, five-eight, black hair, slender, wearing a white jacket, white shirt, and dark slacks.” “Armed with what?” dispatcher Jackson asks. “Unknown,” Walker replies.475 Patrol partners Joe Poe and Leonard Jez pull up just as Walker finishes the broadcast. Owens, Hill, and Alexander are right behind them. Police cars are now arriving at Tenth and Patton en masse.476 Sergeant Owens takes command of the area, instructing Officers Poe and Jez to talk to as many witnesses as possible and guard the crime scene. Someone at the scene informs them that the gunman had cut through a parking lot on Jefferson and dumped his jacket. Sergeant Owens and Assistant District Attorney Alexander and a posse of officers leave in search of the gunman.477 Sergeant Hill tells eyewitness Harold Russell to come with him. Hill takes Poe’s squad car and drives off with Russell in the hopes of spotting the gunman in flight. Eyewitness Jack Tatum walks up to Officers Poe and Jez with Mrs. Markham in tow. Hysterical, incoherent, and on the verge of fainting, Mrs. Markham recounts the brutal murder for police. It’s tough to understand Markham’s story through her tears. She keeps telling them that she’ll be late for work, and they reassure her that everything will be okay.478 Ted Callaway and cabdriver William Scoggins return to the scene after failing to find the gunman. Callaway swears he would have shot him if he had found him. Police are just glad to get Tippit’s service revolver back from this gung-ho Dallas citizen.479 1:23 p.m. At Methodist Hospital, Dr. Moellenhoff is joined in the emergency room by Dr. Richard A. Liquori. The physicians make no further effort to resuscitate J. D. Tippit. Dr. Liquori thinks the bullet wound in the temple could have caused instant death. He turns to Officer Davenport and tells him he’s declaring Tippit dead on arrival. Davenport shakes his head in despair and leaves the room to notify police headquarters. Tippit’s body will be transported to Parkland Hospital for an autopsy. Before it is, Captain Cecil Talbert asks Dr. Moellenhoff to remove a bullet from Tippit’s body, one that had not penetrated deeply, so the police can determine what caliber weapon was used in the shooting. “One 38 [caliber] slug and a button from Tippit’s shirt” are removed from the wound.480 1:25 p.m. FBI agent James P. Hosty Jr. hurries into the FBI squad room on the eleventh floor of the Santa Fe Building in downtown Dallas. He scans the room for Kenneth C. Howe, his immediate supervisor. Hosty was eating a cheese sandwich in a café when he heard that Kennedy had been shot. He’s already been out to the Trade Mart, Parkland Hospital, and now, under orders from Howe, back at the bureau offices. Hosty sees that Howe, in his fifties, is visibly close to the edge. Because of Kennedy’s progressive civil rights stance, Howe, like so many, suspects that the right wing may be behind the assassination, and Hosty is the only Dallas agent that monitors the right-wing groups. He knows he’s in the hot seat now. Just then, Agent Vince Drain calls from Parkland Hospital to report that the president is dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Silence falls over the FBI office. A few secretaries start to sob quietly. Hosty jumps on the telephone and calls Sergeant H. M. Hart, his counterpart in the Dallas police intelligence unit. In a matter of minutes, they agree to coordinate their investigation of right-wing extremists. As he hangs up the telephone, Hosty, like most of the law enforcement officers involved, can’t help but think that the shootings of Officer Tippit and President Kennedy are somehow connected. But how?481 In the 400 block of east Jefferson, Sergeant Owens climbs from the squad car and directs a flock of arriving officers into the parking lot behind the Texaco service station. Another group of lawmen, including Assistant District Attorney Alexander, storm into two large vacant houses on Jefferson used for the storage of secondhand furniture. Warren Reynolds had told the police he saw the gunman running toward the houses. Dallas Morning News reporter Hugh Aynesworth is with the police searchers. A handful of cops run up a flight of rickety stairs, while another posse paws through the clutter of furniture, weapons cocked. “Come out of there you son of a bitch, we’ve got you now!” one of them hollers. Suddenly an officer falls through a weak section of the second-story flooring with a thunderous sound, his descent stopping at his waist. Before witnessing the humorous sight of the officer being half in and half out of the ceiling, all of them had instantly drawn their guns. Aynesworth, realizing he’s the only one in there without a gun, runs for the exit, leaving police to do their duty. It doesn’t take long for police to determine that there’s nothing but junk in either building.482 Captain Westbrook and several officers proceed to the adjacent parking lot behind the Texaco service station, where the suspect lost his civilian pursuers, to conduct a further search. Quickly, an officer points out to Captain Westbrook a light-colored jacket tossed under the rear bumper of an old Pontiac parked in the middle of the parking lot. Westbrook walks over and inspects the clothing. Looks like their suspect has decided to change his appearance.483 Motorcycle officer J. T. Griffin reaches for his police radio to notify the dispatcher, and fellow officers, of the discovery.484 “We believe we’ve got [the suspect’s] white jacket. Believe he dumped it on this parking lot behind this service station at 400 block east Jefferson.”485 A moment later, dispatch supervisor Sergeant Gerald Henslee contacts Captain Westbrook on police radio channel 2. “Go ahead,” Westbrook says as he reaches a nearby radio. “D.O.A. [dead on arrival], Methodist [Hospital].” “Name?” Westbrook asks. “J. D. Tippit.”486 1:26 p.m. At the makeshift headquarters in Parkland Hospital’s emergency section, Secret Service agent Lem Johns reports to Agent Youngblood that he has lined up two unmarked police cars, along with Dallas Police Chief Curry and Inspector Putnam, who’ll act as drivers, to get Johnson back to Love Field. “Let’s go,” Johnson says. They rush out in a football formation, Johnson the quarterback surrounded by a wedge of agents, those at the rear walking backward, hands on their guns. A second formation comprising Mrs. Johnson and two congressmen, Jack Brooks and Homer Thornberry, are close behind. The bewildered crowd at the emergency entrance scarcely has time to react before Johnson dives into the rear seat of Chief Curry’s car. Youngblood crowds in behind him, as Thornberry slides in front. Mrs. Johnson and Congressman Brooks and a bevy of agents jump into the second car. As the cars begin to pull away, Congressman Albert Thomas runs up, calling out, “Wait for me!” Youngblood, not eager to present a sitting target right in front of the hospital, tells Curry to drive on, but Johnson overrules him. “Stop and let him get in.” The cars are stopped momentarily by a delivery truck on the access road to the hospital, but the police motorcycle escort gets them through, and they are off again, sirens wailing. Both Youngblood and Johnson ask Curry to turn off the sirens. They don’t want to attract any more attention than absolutely necessary. Youngblood radios ahead to have Air Force One ready to receive them. They will be coming on board immediately.487 Malcolm Kilduff stands outside Parkland Hospital watching as the new president heads for Love Field. He turns and heads back into the hospital, where he knows he’ll have to make the hardest announcement of his life. A crowd of journalists crazy for something official, anything at all, flock around him. All of them know, from Father Huber’s indiscretion, that President Kennedy is dead. Someone has already lowered the flag out in front of the hospital to half-mast. Kilduff refuses to oblige them, repeating mechanically that he will make no further statement until the press conference begins.488 1:29 p.m. For the first time, Dallas police headquarters learns that there may be a connection between the Kennedy and Tippit shootings. When Deputy Chief of Police N. T. Fisher calls into channel 2 police radio dispatcher Gerald Henslee and asks if there is “any indication” of a connection between the two shootings, Henslee radios back, “Well, the descriptions on the suspect are similar and it is possible.”489 1:30 p.m. Vernon B. O’Neal, proprietor of O’Neal’s Funeral Home, and his bookkeeper, Ray Gleason, arrive at Parkland’s emergency entrance and open the back of the Cadillac ambulance. Secret Service agents and White House correspondents spring forward to help lug the four-hundred-pound casket requested by the Secret Service out onto the undertaker’s lightweight, portable cart assembled there.* Ken O’Donnell gets the signal that the casket has arrived. He returns to the corridor outside Trauma Room One and finds Jackie Kennedy still sitting on the folding chair surrounded by Clint Hill and members of President Kennedy’s staff. “I want to speak to you,” he says to Mrs. Kennedy, motioning for her to follow him. They move a short distance down the passageway, away from the casket being wheeled in. The First Lady guesses that he doesn’t want her to see it. Dr. Kemp Clark appears beside O’Donnell, and Jackie pleads with him, “Please—can I go in? Please let me go back.” “No, no,” he said softly. Finally, she leans toward him. “Do you think seeing the coffin can upset me, Doctor? I’ve seen my husband die, shot in my arms. His blood is all over me. How can I see anything worse than what I’ve seen?” There is nothing left for Clark to do but accede to her wishes. Mrs. Kennedy is right behind Vernon O’Neal as they push the casket into Trauma Room One. She wants to see her husband one more time before they close the coffin, to touch him and give him something. She moves to the president’s side, takes off her wedding ring, which he had bought her in Newport, Rhode Island, just before their grand wedding there, lifts her husband’s hand, and slips it on his finger. She wants desperately to be alone with him, but she knows it cannot be. She steps into the passageway outside. “Did I do the right thing?” she asks Ken O’Donnell. “I wanted to give him something.” “You leave it right where it is,” he says. “Now I have nothing left,” she says.*490 After seeing the condition of the president’s body, Vernon O’Neal knows that it’s going to take some time to make sure that the casket’s expensive pale satin lining isn’t irretrievably stained. Nurses Margaret Henchliffe and Diana Bowron, along with orderly David Sanders, line the coffin with a sheet of plastic, then wrap the body in a white sheet before placing it in the casket. Additional sheets are wrapped around the head to keep it from oozing more blood. The whole process takes twenty minutes.491 Meanwhile, Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas County medical examiner, with an office at Parkland Hospital, rushes into the emergency area and grabs a phone off the wall of the nurses station. “This is Earl Rose,” he says into the mouthpiece, presumably to a Parkland Hospital official. “There has been a homicide here. They won’t be able to leave until there has been an autopsy.” He hangs up and turns to leave when Roy Kellerman, who overheard Rose’s directive, blocks the door. “My friend, I’m the special agent in charge of the White House detail of the Secret Service,” he says. “This is the body of the president of the United States and we are going to take it back to Washington.” “No, that’s not the way things are,” Rose snaps, waving his finger. “The president is going with us,” Kellerman argues. “You’re not taking the body anywhere,” Rose lashes back. “There’s a law here. We’re going to enforce it!” “This part of the law can be waived,” Kellerman insists, every muscle tightening. Rose shakes his head, no. “You’ll have to show me a lot more authority than you have now,” Kellerman says. “I will!” Rose shoots back, reaching for the phone. The law, of course, is on the medical examiner’s side. The president was murdered on a Dallas street, and unbelievably, killing a president was not a federal crime at the time unless it was committed on federal property, which wasn’t the case here.† Also, since Texas law required an inquest by a justice of the peace for all homicides, and then, if ordered—as it automatically would have been done in this case—an autopsy,492 Rose has a legal obligation to Dallas County to make sure an autopsy is conducted. Telephone calls to the sheriff’s office and police department assure him that he is right, that an inquest and autopsy are mandatory. Ken O’Donnell and others in the presidential party, imagining the ordeal for the widow if she has to remain in Dallas for another day or two, take turns arguing with the medical examiner. This is not an ordinary homicide, but an assassinated president. He has been examined by doctors and will certainly undergo a federal-level autopsy on his return to Washington, D.C. Further delay will serve no purpose and could cause undue misery for his widow. And so on. Dr. Rose concedes that he could legally release the body to a Texas justice of the peace functioning as a coroner, but without that, there’s no way he will permit them to remove the body from his jurisdiction. The president’s men start making phone calls to find an authority who can overrule him.493 At the Texas School Book Depository, police officers are conducting a roll call outside of Supervisor Bill Shelley’s office, and collecting the names and addresses of the building’s employees. Superintendent Roy Truly notices that Oswald isn’t among the dozen or so stockroom boys talking to the police. In fact, Truly hasn’t seen Oswald since he and Officer Baker ran into him in the second-floor lunchroom right after the shots. That encounter may be the only reason Truly is thinking of him now. “Have you seen Lee Oswald around lately?” Truly asks Shelley. “No,” Shelley replies.494 Truly approaches O. V. Campbell, the Book Depository vice president. “I have a boy over here missing,” Truly says. “I don’t know whether to report it or not.” Truly thinks that another one or two boys are also missing,* but the only one who sticks in his mind is Oswald, if for no other reason than that he had seen Oswald on the second floor of the building (when almost all of his other employees were out on the street) just an hour or so earlier. Truly calls down to the warehouse personnel office to get Oswald’s telephone number, home address, and description from his employment application. He jots it all down, and hangs up. Deputy Chief Lumpkin is a few feet away. “I’ve got a boy missing over here,” Truly tells him, instinctively focusing in, again, only on Oswald. “I don’t know whether it amounts to anything or not.” “Let’s go up and tell Captain Fritz,” Lumpkin says as the two head upstairs.495 They find Captain Fritz on the sixth floor at the top of the stairs, standing with a group of officers and reporters. Lumpkin pulls Fritz aside to listen to Truly, who repeats his story and gives him Oswald’s address and general description: age twenty-three (he was now twenty-four), five foot nine, about a hundred fifty pounds, light brown hair.496 1:33 p.m. The large double classroom in the medical school, room 101–102, is jammed with noisy, excited reporters who have difficulty calming down when Malcolm Kilduff takes his place at the teacher’s lectern. He starts to speak, then stops. “Excuse me, let me catch my breath.” Kennedy has been dead for half an hour and everyone in the room knows it, but Kilduff still can’t think of what to say or how to say it. He wonders whether he will be able to control his quivering voice. Finally, he begins, “President John F. Kennedy…” “Hold it,” someone calls, as cameras click. Kilduff starts over. “President John F. Kennedy died at approximately one o’clock Central Standard Time today here in Dallas.” “Oh God!” a reporter blurts out. Kilduff welcomes a moment of respite as the wire reporters rush out to find a telephone. “He died of a gunshot wound in the brain,” Kilduff continues. “I have no other details regarding the assassination of the president. Mrs. Kennedy was not hit. Governor Connally was not hit. The vice president was not hit.” Reporters will discover Kilduff’s error about the governor soon enough. Tom Wicker, the New York Times White House reporter, starts to ask whether Johnson has been sworn in as president, but breaks down. Kilduff’s voice also breaks as he tries to answer. Another correspondent asks, “Has the vice president taken the oath of office?” “No,” Kilduff says. “He has left.” The reporters demand a briefing by the attending doctors, and Kilduff, who hadn’t thought of it, promises to see what he can do.497 1:34 p.m. In the parking lot in back of the Texaco station, Captain Westbrook turns around and starts toward the Abundant Life Temple, a four-story brick church at the corner of Tenth and Crawford, located right behind the Texaco parking lot. But he sees it’s already covered. Officer M. N. “Nick” McDonald was standing at the rear of the Temple and McDonald calls in to the radio dispatcher, “Send me a squad over here at Tenth and Crawford. Check out this church basement.”498 1:35 p.m. Dallas police officer Charles T. Walker drops a couple of newsmen off at the Tippit killing scene and drives off to comb the neighborhood. Turning onto southbound Denver, he spots a man, fitting the description of the suspect, running into the library a block ahead, at Jefferson and Marsalis. Walker punches the gas and grabs his radio mike, “He’s in the library, Jefferson—East 500 block!” The radio suddenly comes alive with excited chatter. “What’s the location, 223?” the dispatcher asks. “Marsalis and Jefferson, in the library, I’m going around the back, get somebody around the front…Get ’em here fast!” Walker shouts as he wheels to the curb, tires screeching. Police and sheriff deputies, including the officers about to search the church, scramble for their cars. Within a minute, the library is ground zero, surrounded by nearly every squad car in the area. Police feel certain they have the cop killer cornered.499 1:36 p.m. Six blocks west of the library on Jefferson Boulevard, twenty-two-year-old Johnny C. Brewer, manager of Hardy’s Shoe Store, listened to the president’s arrival at Love Field and the motorcade on a little transistor radio, and has been riveted since the first vague reports of the shooting of the president were heard. From what he can gather, a policeman has also been shot, less than three-quarters of a mile away.500 He’s been hearing the periodic wail of sirens for nearly twenty minutes. Now, Brewer can hear police sirens coming west on Jefferson, their wail growing so strong it sounds like it might land on his doorstep at any moment. Suddenly, a young man walking west on Jefferson steps into the lobby—a large recess, fifteen feet deep, between the sidewalk and the door of the shop, with display windows on either side. The fellow, wearing a brown sports shirt over a white T-shirt, his shirttail out, is behaving very strangely. Brewer is only about ten feet away, just beyond the display window, and is looking directly at his face. Brewer finds it quite unusual that with all the commotion going on outside, the man keeps his back to the street. His hair is messed up, he’s breathing heavily and looks like he’s been running, and he also looks scared. Brewer thinks he recognizes him as a particular persnickety customer who once took an agonizingly long time to make up his mind to purchase a cheap pair of black crepe-soled shoes.501 (Police did recover a pair of “black low quarter shoes, John Hardy Brand,” from Oswald’s Beckley room on November 23, 1963.)502* Just as the man stepped into the foyer, Brewer can see the approaching police cars make a U-turn at Jefferson and Zangs, a few stores away, and head back east on Jefferson toward the library, sirens screaming. The man in the foyer turns and looks over his right shoulder toward the receding police cars, then, seemingly after making sure they have gone by, steps out of the foyer and continues west on Jefferson. The more Brewer thinks about it, the more suspicious he becomes. About a half minute later, curiosity gets the better of him, and Brewer steps out onto the sidewalk to see where this character is going. The suspect is already fifty yards away, walking at a good clip, nearing the marquee of the Texas Theater, which is showing a double-feature, Cry of Battle and War Is Hell.503 Julia E. Postal, the forty-seven-year-old ticket-taker, has been listening to the radio too. Just before the Texas Theater opened for business at 12:45 p.m., her daughter called to tell her that someone had shot the president, and she has been listening right there in the box office ever since. Though most of the police cars had turned around, one continued on, its siren blasting as it shot past the theater box office. John Callahan, the theater manager, who is standing next to Mrs. Postal, says, “Something’s about to pop.” They both scramble out onto the sidewalk. The squad car looks like it’s stopping up the street. Callahan gets into his car at the curb to go see what’s happening.504 Shoe store manager Johnny Brewer, on the sidewalk east of the theater, sees the suspicious man, “walking a little faster than usual,” slip into the Texas Theater behind Postal’s back.505 For Brewer, it’s all adding up. Postal watches her boss drive off, then turns to go back to the box office. Brewer is standing there, having walked up from the shoe store. He asks her if the man that just ducked into the theater had bought a ticket. “No, by golly, he didn’t,” she says looking around, half expecting to see him. She saw the man out of the corner of her eye when she walked out with Mr. Callahan.506 Brewer tells her the man’s been acting suspiciously. He goes inside and checks with concessionaire Warren “Butch” Burroughs, but he was busy stocking candy and didn’t see anyone come in. Brewer returns to the box office.507 “He has to be in there,” Postal says. She tells him to go get Butch and have him help check the exits, but don’t tell him why because he’s “kind of excitable.” Brewer goes back in and asks Burroughs to show him where the exits are. The concessionaire wants to know why? Against Postal’s advice, Brewer tells him he thought “the guy looked suspicious.”508 The Texas Theater, an architecturally decorative structure built in 1932, was the very first in a chain of theaters built by inventor Howard Hughes. Upon entering the theater lobby from Jefferson Boulevard, patrons find themselves to the rear of the theater, where a concession stand is set up. A staircase near the stand leads up to a spacious balcony above the main seating area. Another staircase at the far end of the lobby leads to the theater office. Being an L-shaped theater, from the concession stand a theater-goer can only enter the main seating area by walking farther into the lobby and turning right down one of four aisles. The main seating area in the middle of the theater has an aisle on each side of it, and smaller seating areas to the left and right have an aisle adjacent to the left and right walls. The seats descend downward in typical theater style toward a large movie screen rising above a narrow area (“stage”) not large enough for live performances, though the theater was built during the vaudeville era. There are five (today, six) fire exits, one to the left of the stage, one at the far end of the lobby, two on the balcony level, and a fifth on the small floor above the balcony, where the projection room is. Four of the fire exits lead directly into an alley running parallel with Jefferson Boulevard.509 The flickering images of War Is Hell dance across the screen as Brewer and Burroughs check the lock bars on the two ground-floor exits. They are still down, meaning whoever ducked into the theater is still there.510 There are twenty-four patrons in the theater who have purchased their ninety-cent tickets for the double-feature.511 1:38 p.m. (2:38 p.m. EST) On CBS television, Walter Cronkite again repeats details of the shooting as he awaits official word on the president’s death. Viewers can see two newsmen ripping fresh wire-copy from the Teletype machine in the background, then race over to the anchorman, and hand him the sheet. Cronkite slips on his heavy, dark-frame glasses and glances at the copy. Now, for the first time, without equivocation, Cronkite tells a waiting nation, “From Dallas, the flash apparently official, President Kennedy died at one o’clock Central Standard Time—two o’clock Eastern Standard Time—some thirty-eight minutes ago.” The words catch in his throat, and for a moment, the most respected news anchor in the business is about to lose his composure. Choking back tears, Cronkite clears his throat and continues, “Vice President Lyndon Johnson has left the hospital. We don’t know to where he has proceeded. Presumably, he will be taking the oath of office and become the thirty-sixth president of the United States.”512 During a later break, Cronkite answered a network telephone and heard a snobbish-sounding woman caller say, “I just want to say that this is the worst possible taste to have that Walter Cronkite on the air with his crocodile tears when everybody knows that he spent all his time trying to get the president.” The newsman shot back, “Madam, this is Walter Cronkite and you’re a goddamned idiot!” and slammed the phone down so hard he thought for a moment he had damaged it.513 With the news of the president’s death, men and women across the country “sobbed in the streets of the cities and did not have to explain why,” historian Theodore White wrote. “Not until he was dead and all men knew he would never again point his forefinger down from the platform in speaking to them, never pause before lancing with his wit the balloon of an untidy question, did Americans know how much light the young president had given their own lives—and how he had touched them.”514 Comedian Bob Hope wasn’t trying to be funny when he said, “The lights had blown out in Camelot and the whole nation was stumbling around in the dark.”515 The New York Times’ Tom Wicker wrote, “People were unbelieving, afraid…desperately unsure of what would happen next. The world, it seemed, was a dark and malignant place; the chill of the unknown shivered across the nation.”516 Many in America, a nation of 190 million people, “simply stood, stupefied, no longer listening to the staccato voices that sounded unceasingly on the radios. Church bells tolled and the churches began to fill…Strangers spoke to each other, seeking surcease,” wrote Relman Morin, a Pulitzer Prize–winning correspondent who covered the assassination for Associated Press and was a personal friend of the president’s. In Boston, he continued, “the Boston Symphony broke off a Handel concert to play a funeral march by Beethoven. The gong sounded in the New York Stock Exchange, suspending trading. Hundreds of football games to have been played Saturday were postponed. Race tracks closed…Sessions in the United Nations came to a halt…Television and radio networks announced that they were withdrawing all entertainment programs and commercials from their schedules to devote full time to…the assassination; normal programming would not be resumed until after the funeral.”517 What happened in New York City is a microcosm of the country as a whole. The New York Times reported, The cry rang across the city, echoing again and again: “Is it true?” Another cry quickly took its place as the news of the death of President Kennedy swept with sudden impact: “My God!”…In all parts of the five boroughs, motorists pulled up their cars and sat hunched over their dashboard radios…Hundreds of thousands reached for so many telephones that the system blacked out and operators had to refuse calls…Uptown, midtown, downtown, work in offices came to an abrupt halt…The biggest city in the nation turned into something of a ghost town. All Broadway theaters and all musical events…were cancelled…One common scene was the tight grasp of one’s hand on another’s arm as they discussed the assassination…Those who had no one familiar at hand walked up to strangers…The grief and the acts of mourning knew no special group, no particular section of the city…The sorrow and shock were unfolded in the human vignette, the collection of individuals who stared as though in a trance from their subway seats, their stools at luncheon counters, their chairs near television sets…A postman…encountered many housewives who wept as they told him the news. They talked about it just as if they had lost their son or daughter…. A dentist, weeping, said: “I can’t work. I’ve sent two patients home and I’ve closed my office.”…A bartender said: “Everybody feels dead, real dead.”…A department store saleswoman declared: “I would do anything to bring him back.”…As dusk came, automatic devices turned on the huge, gaudy signs that normally blot out the night in Times Square. Then, one by one, the lights blinked out, turning the great carnival strip into what was almost a mourning band on the city’s sleeve.518* It was not too different in most foreign countries, people weeping in the streets of the world’s great capitals—Berlin, London, Paris, Rome. Even peoples who did not understand a word of English that Kennedy spoke had sensed that he was special, and he somehow touched the heart of these millions. “To them, Kennedy symbolized youth, new ideas, a fresh approach, the New Generation. Indeed, he had sounded that chord himself in his Inaugural Address. ‘Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.’” Kennedy had come to power after the greatest and most destructive war ever, “only to be followed by the specter of an even greater war in which new weapons could decimate the human race.” Because of his leadership, soaring oratory, and innate charisma, millions throughout the planet felt that a peaceful resolution to the world’s problems was more likely with him leading the way. People somehow believed in the possibilities of his vision of “a new world…where the strong are just, and the weak secure and the peace preserved…Let us begin.” “That young man,” Kennedy’s cold-war counterpart, Soviet premier Nikita S. Khrushchev, reminisced in sorrow, without the need to say another word. West Berlin mayor Willy Brandt said, “A flame went out for all those who had hoped for a just peace and a better life.”* Eighty-nine-year-old Winston Churchill, hearing the news in London while peering at his TV set with his Clementine, said, “The loss to the United States and to the world is incalculable.” Around the world, “groups divided by deep ideological chasms found common cause in mourning John F. Kennedy…For an hour, at least, he drew men together in universal mourning.”519 In Latin America, grief was pervasive. Brazilian president João Goulart declared three days of official mourning and canceled all of his official engagements. Chilean president Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez declared national mourning, and radio stations replaced all programs with funeral music. Rómulo Betancourt, president of Venezuela, attempting to read to newsmen the message of condolences he had sent to Washington, broke into tears and was unable to go on.520 But if one were to think that grief over Kennedy’s death was universal, they would be wrong. “An Oklahoma City physician,” author William Manchester writes, “beamed at a grief-stricken visitor and said, ‘God, I hope they got Jackie [too].’ In a small Connecticut city a doctor called ecstatically across Main Street—to an internist who worshiped Kennedy—‘The joy ride’s over. This is one deal Papa Joe can’t fix.’ A woman visiting Amarillo, the second most radical city in Texas [after Dallas], was lunching in the restaurant adjacent to her motel when a score of rejoicing students burst in from a high school directly across the street. ‘Hey, great, JFK’s croaked!’ one shouted with flagrant delight, and the woman, leaving as rapidly as she could, noticed that several diners were smiling back at the boy. In Dallas itself a man whooped and tossed his expensive Stetson in the air, and it was in a wealthy Dallas suburb that the pupils of a fourth-grade class, told that the President of the United States had been murdered in their city, burst into spontaneous applause.”521 Similarly, in the fifth grade of a private school in New Orleans, the teacher was called out of the room by another fifth-grade teacher to listen to a transistor radio bearing the news. When he returned to his class to announce that Kennedy had been shot and killed, spontaneously the pupils cheered and applauded—one girl, the exception, cried.522 Because of JFK’s open support for civil rights for the nation’s blacks, as indicated, many in the South had detested him. And when news of the shooting and later the death of the president became known, although most in the South—including those like the former Birmingham police commissioner T. Eugene “Bull” Connor, and John Birch Society founder Robert W. Welch Jr., who opposed Kennedy’s civil rights policies—expressed their profound grief over the assassination, some southern newspapers received anonymous, jeering telephone calls: “So they shot the nigger lover. Good for whoever did it.” “He asked for it and I’m damned glad he got it…trying to ram the damn niggers down our throats.”523 Radio also heard from the racial bigots. Before the announcer cut him off, a man who had called a station in Atlanta got in his belief that “any white man who did what [Kennedy] did for niggers should be shot.”524 And it wasn’t just in the South. A young man wearing a swastika on his left arm walked around the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, proclaiming that Kennedy’s death was “a miracle for the white race” and telling bystanders he was “celebrating.”525* Ralph Emerson McGill, publisher of the Atlanta, Georgia, Constitution, wrote of the antipathy for Kennedy before his death that spilled over, among some, to his demise: “There were businessmen who, in a time when profits were at an all-time high and the domestic economy booming, nonetheless could speak only in hatred of ‘the Kennedys.’ There were evangelists who declared the President to be an anti-Christ, an enemy of God and religion. This hatred could focus on almost anything the President proposed. When he asked for legislation for medical aid for the aged, for example, there were doctors who succumbed to the fever of national unreason and began abusing the President. In locker rooms and at cocktail parties, luncheons and dinners, it became a sort of game to tell vulgar and shabby jokes about the President, his wife and his family. Most of these were repeats of stories in vogue at the time Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt were in the White House.”526† In Irving, Texas, Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine are sitting side by side on the sofa watching the television coverage when they hear the news. “What a terrible thing for Mrs. Kennedy,” Marina sighs, “and for the children to be left without a father.” Ruth walks about the room crying, while Marina is too stunned to cry, although she feels as though her blood has “stopped running.”527 In Oak Cliff, police order everyone out of the library at Marsalis and Jefferson, hands high. Officer Walker points out the man he saw run in—Adrian Hamby, a nineteen-year-old Arlington State University student who had dashed into the library, where he worked part-time as a page, to tell friends that the president had been shot. Hamby is terrified as the cops realize the truth. A disappointed Sergeant Owens informs the dispatcher, “It was the wrong man.”528 1:39 p.m. (2:39 p.m. EST) The FBI dispatches its first Teletype, from Director Hoover, to all fifty-five of its field offices. Stamped “Urgent” it reads: All offices immediately contact all informants, security, racial and criminal, as well as other sources, for information bearing on assassination of President Kennedy. All offices immediately establish whereabouts of bombing suspects, all known Klan and hate group members, known racial extremists, and any other individuals who on the basis of information available in your files may possibly have been involved.529 Meanwhile, at Love Field, because he had been alerted to prepare Air Force One for immediate takeoff if necessary, the pilot, Colonel James Swindal, had had the ground air-conditioner disconnected, and the interior of Air Force One is hot and stuffy.530 Since the plane’s own air-conditioning works only when the engines are running, the interior temperature continues to rise slowly but steadily. The shades have been drawn (Agent Youngblood fears a sniper on the roof of the terminal building), the doors locked, and a Secret Service sentinel posted at each one. More agents ring the aircraft on the ground. The Dallas police are patrolling both inside and outside the terminal. Some of them are checking the departure gates for every youngish man who comes close to meeting the broadcast descriptions of the assassin.531 Johnson could have left Dallas three-quarters of an hour ago, but feeling, he said, a “sharp, painful, and bitter concern and solicitude for Mrs. Kennedy,” he resolves not to leave without the president’s widow, knowing that she would not leave without her husband’s body.532 He is also anxious to take the oath of office as soon as possible. Johnson’s aides and the congressmen present aren’t quite sure of the procedure. Two of the congressmen, Jack Brooks and Albert Thomas, are in favor of doing it immediately. The third, Thornberry, advises waiting until they get to Washington. No one is clear on the law as mandated by the Constitution, and no one can think where the actual text of the oath might be found. The steadily rising heat in the stateroom* makes clear thought increasingly difficult. The men loosen their ties, open their shirt collars, and fan themselves with papers. The question of how to dramatize the presidential succession is more than symbolic—there is already news of a panic on Wall Street that has wiped out eleven billion dollars of stock values in the little more than an hour since the shooting. Johnson goes into the bedroom of the presidential cabin to make private phone calls. He calls Robert Kennedy at his home in Virginia. Relations between the two men have always been frosty. Johnson offers Kennedy words of condolence, and they briefly discuss what is known and what remains unknown about the assassination. The murder, he says, “might be part of a worldwide plot.” Kennedy is unresponsive. He doesn’t understand what Johnson is talking about. “A lot of people down here think I should be sworn in right away,” Johnson says, moving closer to the point of the call. “Do you have any objection to that?” Kennedy is stunned by the question. It has only been an hour since his brother was shot and he doesn’t see what the rush is. Johnson forges ahead. “Who could swear me in?” he asks. Bobby is in a daze. The events are swirling too fast. He’d like his brother’s body to be returned to Washington before Johnson becomes the new president, but he decides that his feelings are all personal. “I’ll be glad to find out,” he tells Johnson. “I’ll call you back.”533 Johnson then calls a number of political friends in Dallas, finding few of them in their offices. He is particularly anxious to reach federal district judge Sarah Hughes, an old friend and political protégée, on the assumption that she might be able to administer the oath. Judge Hughes is contacted by phone and she agrees to do so.534 Los Angeles, California