How I investigated President John F. Kennedy's assassination

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I remember clearly what I was doing the moment President Kennedy was assassinated. I was a 17-year-old college freshman, throwing a football with a friend outside my dorm.

Someone came out on the second floor landing and said the president had been shot. We ran up the steps and into his room and watched Walter Cronkite on the small black-and-white TV as the tragic events unfolded.

Two days later, on Sunday morning, I was watching live television coverage of Lee Harvey Oswald being brought out into the basement garage of the Dallas police building and stared at the screen in disbelief as Jack Ruby pointed a pistol at Oswald's chest and murdered him. Those moments that weekend are forever burned in my memory.


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    The August 30, 1993, issue of U.S. News & World Report carried a cover story on "Case Closed," a new book by Gerald Posner. The book, like the Warren Commission report, concluded that Oswald assassinated the president acting alone.

    Based on the casual research I had done to that point, I believed that there had to have been at least two shooters firing into the limousine.

    It was disturbing that a respected news magazine was proclaiming "Case Closed" to be the ultimate truth about the assassination and trying very hard to close the book on the subject once and for all.

    After reading the article, and the book itself, I set out on a personal odyssey that consumed me for over 18 months.

    On my own time, completely separate from my Justice Department job, and using my own money, I began a research project with the goal of uncovering every speck of original, raw evidence that existed of the gunshots in Dealey Plaza.

    If I did not accomplish that goal, I came very close.

    I went to Dallas and walked around Dealey Plaza, inspecting it from every angle, including from Oswald's sixth floor window, from the roof of a nearby building, and from the grassy knoll.

    I made numerous trips to the National Archives and read every document and studied every photo they had related to the events in Dealey Plaza.

    Based on a preliminary report of my analysis of the gunshot trajectories, I became one of the few private citizens ever allowed by the Archives to examine in person original pieces of evidence in the case--the president's bloody shirt, coat, and tie, the magic bullet, the bullet fragments from the limousine, and the section of curb that a bullet struck.

    I also read thousands and thousands of pages of private books, magazines, and reports on the assassination.

    On April 17, 1995, I mailed a 72-page report on the final results of my research project to Attorney General Janet Reno.

    It presented what was then, and I believe still is, the only complete visual reconstruction of the gunshots together with all of the evidence supporting it.

    The report proves beyond a reasonable doubt that four shots were fired during the assassination.

    Oswald fired three shots--the first wounding the President in the back and neck, the second missing the President completely and hitting Governor Connally in the back, chest, and thigh, and the third missing the 25-foot-long limousine entirely.

    While Oswald was spraying bullets wildly, another shooter, an expert marksman on the top of another building, fired a fourth shot, a near-perfect fatal hit at the center of the back of the president's head that exited the right side of the head and struck the governor's right wrist.

    In the report, I recommended a number of things the Justice Department could do to further confirm my analysis.

    The Department directed the FBI to do only one of those things -- examine important forensic evidence I had pointed out on one of the bullet fragments found in the limousine. It took about five years to complete that examination and report the results.

    In the end, the FBI did only a portion of the fragment examination I had requested, and the results were incomplete and inconclusive. The Department permanently shut down any further investigation of my analysis.