New book tamps down JFK assassination conspiracy theory

Oct. 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM
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DALLAS, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A Virginia political science professor's new book refutes a House select committee's finding of a conspiracy in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In the nearly 50 years since the Nov. 22, 1963, afternoon when Kennedy was shot as his motorcade wound through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, conspiracy theories have flourished about whether Lee Harvey Oswald, the only man the government ever said was responsible for killing Kennedy, acted alone. Most have centered around a possible second shooter on the "grassy knoll" in front of Kennedy's limousine.

In "The Kennedy Half-Century," author and University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato said a state-of-the-art review of evidence in the case shows little reason to think Oswald was anything other than the lone shooter, CBS News said.

Though the government's official investigation, which produced the widely ridiculed 888-page Warren Report, said Kennedy was killed by three shots that also wounded Texas Gov. John Connolly, the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979 cited an audio recording members said contained evidence of a fourth shot from the grassy knoll. Given the time frame of the three shots Oswald got off, the select committee found Kennedy was "probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy."

Sabato said a new analysis of the audio recording in question found it doesn't capture the sound of a gunshot but a police radio transmission from an open microphone that happened to capture a motorcycle idling.

Sabato said the select committee's finding was flawed based on the evidence it cited, though he was also critical of the Warren Report, which he said wasn't thorough enough to rule out the possibility of a conspiracy.

"[The select committee's] evidence simply does not hold," Sabato said. "And they concluded there was a conspiracy.

"Does it mean that no one encouraged Oswald or that Oswald had no compatriots working with him? I can't say that for sure because the Warren Commission was also deeply flawed. They made so many mistakes in their process, they didn't interview key witnesses that I interviewed 50 years after the assassination and I was stunned to find out they weren't part of that study."

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