Sample Criminal Justice Paper on JFK Assasination

John F Kennedy

Introduction

Every year, files of convicted criminals are usually reviewed by the state-governors’ investigators. Where justified, they make recommendations for clemency. This study comprises a report by the investigator reviewing the case of President J. F. Kennedy. Investigator’s objective is to reveal the truth behind the killings. Like most of the crimes, this case is viewed through the lens of its era. Eye witness statements and alibis of suspects are discussed.

Background

In November 22 1963 around mid afternoon, JFK was murdered as he was in his motorcade ([i]136). He was near Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. Earlier in the year, President John F. Kennedy and his political team were looking forward to the next presidential election. He stressed on the significance of getting Florida and Texas on their side. During this session, he shared about his plans of visiting both states within the coming two weeks. Mrs. Kennedy was to accompany him in the two-day tour of the two states. The main objective of the president was to resolve the dispute that had been present among the Democratic Party leaders in Texas. He knew that the unresolved issues would jeopardize his chances of winning the next coming elections. Therefore, he went with an aim of uniting the democrats. He was also aware of the vocal group which had escalated the political tensions within Texas. With the hope that this group would make his presence felt, he moved on with his plans ([ii]164).

That fateful morning he addressed [iii]thousands of people outside Texas Hotel. He went on to Dallas and met with the people in Love Field. As the limousine was passing Texas School Book Depository, there was resounds of gunfire in the plaza. The president was shot at the head and the neck. The governor got hit at the chest. They were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where JFK was declared dead ([iv]1). The governor however managed to recover. An hour later, the police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald as a suspect of the assassination. Mr. Oswald had recently been hired as an employee at the Book Depository in Texas. Oswald died two days later at the Parkland hospital ([v]1). During the live coverage, viewers spotted a man aiming a pistol and firing at point blank range. On 25th November, 1963, the President was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.

President Lyndon Johnson appointed a commission to look into the assassination. The commission was also to find out the subsequent killing of Oswald. This was later referred to as the Warren Commission ([vi]442). The commission concluded that the assassination was done by Lee Harvey Oswald. As a sniper, Oswald acted alone. The commission also found out that Jack Ruby solely killed Oswald. This was before Oswald could be tried. This report was not satisfactory ([vii]2)

In 1976, the investigation was reopened through the House Select Committee to investigate the murder. The Warren Commission had not received complete assistance of the federal agencies. This team made a new discovery from a tape from the Dallas police radio. This transmission showed that four bullets were shot in the Dealey Plaza. The Committee resolved that there were two men who fired at the president. This was a conspiracy. The committee however did not name any suspect apart from Oswald, who took part in the conspiracy. They ruled out participation of the CIA, organized crime and the Soviet Union ([viii]1). They however did not touch on individual members of these groups. After close scrutiny by the acoustic experts, the tape was rendered worthless. This negated the findings of this committee.

Investigation

Investigators have been majorly torn between the theory of conspiracy and that of single bullet. For conspiracy to be true, there is need for any proofs of shots from places apart from where Oswald was. Evidence further proves that the bullets from the lone-man could not cause such harm to the president and the governor and the motorcade. This means that Kennedy and Cannally were shot with separate bullets. This means that more than four bullets were shot and that two gunmen must have been in the vicinity. This further implies that Oswald had a partner in this. There were at least three shots. This negates the single bullet theory which stands for only three bullets. From the medical reports in the House committee, Kennedy was struck with at least two ammunitions. This proves that there was another weapon apart from the one that Oswald used.

According to the Texas law, a body cannot leave the hospital premises without a valid autopsy from the coroner. The secret service agents forcefully commanded the officials to remove the body barely two hours after the assassination ([ix]1). This strongly brings to light the agents’ actions. The actions are proof that they had something to hide which could have been brought to light by the forensic examinations. President Lyndon refused to go to Washington without the body of the slain president ([x]1). This further questions the heinous acts of the service agents, together with the vice president. There was no live recording. Reasons given was that the entire media had gone ahead to wait for the president at his final destination. This is questionable. The government through its media house must formally cover for every work and actions of the president. This further questions the secret service agents. In addition to this, other recordings were disregarded on the basis that they lacked validity. The secret service who was driving the limousine failed to cover the president after the first attack. This was a general weakness on the agents. Some other evidences have been missing. For instance, clothes that the wife to the governor wore on that day were cleaned and pressed, the limousine had been cleaned less than 48 hours later, Jacky Kennedy’s clothes are safety stored in the weather storage room. These clothes could have led to deeper details.

The FBI was the first group of investigators to conclude their coverage. They reported there were three bullets, two of them hit the president and one hit the governor. This has strongly been refuted by both commissions and physical evidence ([xi]8). The House Committee confirmed that the FBI rudely interrupted investigations from taking place. This affected the results of the Warren commission. It further revealed that the FBI was under pressure from unrecognized government officials to quickly conclude the investigation ([xii]2). There was a third bullet which missed the target. This reveals that the FBI had a hand in the killing thereby wanted to hide the real truth. Due to public demand over the assassinations, the (HSCA) came in. This committee of 1976 concluded that a conspiracy planned for the murder. It confirmed that previous investigations were carried out on Oswald but they never covered the probability of a conspiracy. The FBI and the CIA were found to be deficient of information. The secret service was found to be poor in analysis of information the report also found that the secret service were inadequately prepared to cover the president. However the committee failed to name the conspirators ([xiii]1). After critically examining the truth, the investigation confirms that this was a conspiracy that involved various people including the secret agents and the FBI.

The special agents were behind the planning of the route used ([xiv]5). The chosen route to Dallas exposed the president to any attack. It was approximately 16 kilometers. The route from Dallas was approximately 6.4 kilometers. The planned route to trade mark had widely been reported to the public. This made the president an open target to any person. By allowing the public have this information, the special agents ensured that the president was vulnerable to any attack. It also gave the assassinators ample time for perfect planning.

According to eye witnesses, they recognized the first gun shot blast as a weapon blast. According to governor Connally, he identified the sound as coming from a high power rifle ([xv]146). He turned to look at the president but did not see him. When he turned to look forward, he was hit at the upper right back. Both commissions confirm that the first shot went through his back, through the neck, damaging the spinal cord before turning to the right lung. The bullet exited the throat just below the larynx, cutting the tie knot at the left side. The Warren Commission came with the single bullet theory. They emphasized that the bullet hit around Zapruder frames 210-225. The Committee on the other hand believed that the single bullet hit on the Zapruder frames 190. The commission did not conclude whether the second or the third bullet hit the president at Zapruder frame 313.  On the contrary, the Committee concluded that the fourth shot was fired almost at the same time ([xvi]1). The committee conclusion was that the other bullet was from a different sniper. It however missed the target. The House Committee however located the entry wound to be higher than the commission’s location.

Howard Brennan, testifies that while he was sitting across the depository, he heard a shot from up the building. Looking up, he saw a person shooting from the extreme corner of the floor. The man heard earlier looked through the window. He saw the man making two shots at intervals. Brennan described the man who was later identified as Oswald. In summary, at least 51% of the witnesses ascertained that all shots were from the book depository, 4% heard the hits from two different locations and 2% testified that hits were from the same direction of the depository and the knoll. All of the witnesses affirmed that the shots were unevenly spaced.  The second and the third shots were fired at the same time.

The conspiracy theories consider the CIA, the organized crime group, the government of Cuba, Lyndon Johnson and the Cuban exiles. This theory approves of the Oswald’s activities in New Orleans and his life in general ([xvii]1). It connects Oswald to many other people in the secret service and in the FBI. This investigation led to the confirmation that David Ferrie and Guy Banister were partners with Oswald. Oswald’s killer was also his partner. He killed Oswald to prevent more truth from being exposed.  Ferrie and Guy conspired to set up Oswald as a pawn in the killings.

Physical Evidence

A 6.5 x52 mm Italian carcano rifle is said to be used in the assassination. This is similar to the weapon that Oswald bought under a hidden name. This weapon was bought and brought to the rented post box that Oswald had rented. The palm print found on this weapon at the sixth floor, matches with the hand print of Oswald’s. In addition, the fiber and colors at the crevice of the rifle matches the cloth that Oswald had worn when he was arrested. From the body of the governor was a bullet. The president’s limousine had two bullet fragments. These matched the rifle.

On the shirt, tie and coat of the president was a hole. The hole was 5.75 inches beneath the collar top ([xviii]2). These holes are evidence that the back wound was very low for the single theory bullet to be supported ([xix]3). Single bullet theory has to hold if, there is need for the existence of a lone-gunman. However there were two bullets that were shot at the same time. One bullet missed the president while the other killed him ([xx]4). This evidence negates the existence of a lone-man and hence the theory of a single bullet. Furthermore, from the pieces that were retrieved from the limousine, it confirmed that a bullet that hit the brain could not cause such damage. One of the fragments was peeled at 180 degrees backward. Ballistic experts concluded that the bullet that caused such damage was struck the street first. This proves the missing hit of a second assassin. It hit the street instead of hitting the president ([xxi]1).

The Dallas Police had a dicta-belt recording. This recording was done by the House Committee. It recorded the sound impulses that were from the four shots. The recording also proves that another shot was from the grassy knoll. From the acoustical analysts, it was realized that other than the window location, there was another shooter at the grassy knoll. This was confirmed by comparing the echoes as they were recorded. From the single bullet theory, a total of three shots took place. On the contrary, the House committee confirmed that a total of four shots were done. In addition to this, the grassy knoll was confirmed to be another place from where the shooter stood.

There were also bullet cases that were retrieved from the sniper’s window. This supports the single bullet theory. These were supposedly the used bullets fired by Oswald.

Arguments for the Defendant

Oswald loved Cuba and proclaimed to be an advocate for Fidel Castro. He planned various underground groups to fight the president. President Kennedy had an underway plan of killing Castro. This can be evidenced by the 1962 Cuban missile crisis ([xxii]444). President Kennedy and his brother were secretly planning war against Castro. They had succeeded in coming up with a rebellion in the Cuban island. This made people like Oswald want to do away with him for good. Oswald’s love for the Cuban government made him get arrested. The Commission wanted to find out why Oswald murdered the president. However not a single report  confirms that Oswald accepted this.

Against

Just because the Warren Commission was unable to find a motive, it does not mean that Oswald did not have a motive. If he committed the crime, he must have had a motive, however obscure that motive was.

 

Arguments against the Defendant

Oswald went missing after the assassination. Approximately one hour later, he was arrested by an officer on patrol. Oswald was spotted by the officer walking along the neighboring Oak Cliff. Oswald was summoned to the patrol car. As the officer was getting out of the car, Oswald shot him. Later on eye witness Brewer saw him get into the Texas Theater without paying. He then alerted the officers who arrested Oswald.  Oswald was charged with the assassination and officer Tippit. He defended himself stating that he had been framed as he had resided in Soviet Union. Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby two days later. Just because there were no proven motif of the killing does not mean that Oswald did not take part in the murder. The murder was committed. Therefore, the killer had a hidden motive.

Conclusion

Among the controversial cases in the American history, this case on assassination is the most complicated. Questions have been rising whether Lee Harvey Oswald really killed the president. Others have been questioning whether he was the only killer or it was a conspiration. While so many of the information concerning assassination cases have been released by the government, this one in particular is still concealed by the government. This raises the probability that the killings are a conspiracy involving influential people in the government. These concealed documents by the government contain Oswald’s pre-assassination information which the CIA is yet to confirm.

From the findings, there was no open motive for the murder, more than three shots were fired and in different locations. This proves that there was a conspiration and that the conspiration theory holds.

Works Cited

BBC News. CIA Role Claim in Kennedy Killing. 2006, November 21st.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/6169006.stm

Griffith, .T. Michael. The Death of JFK:  Physical Evidence of conspiracy.2002

http:// The_death_of_JFK…blospot.com/

Holland, Max. Just a Shot Away : Reporting the Kennedy Assassination: Journalists Who Were There Recall Their Experiences: Los Angeles Times. 1996, November 24th.

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-11-24/books/bk-2384_1_kennedy-assassination

San Francisco Chronicle. Who really did kill Kennedy? San Francisco Chronicle. 2007, May 13th
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/13/RVG5FPLIMF1.DTL

San Francisco’s Chronicle. 40 years after RFK’s death, Questions linger: San Francisco Chronicle. 2008, June 3rd

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/03/MNN110S5KH.DTL

Sniffen, J. Michael. Ford told FBI about Panel’s Doubts on JFK. Murder: The Associated Press. 2008, August 9th.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2008/08/09/AR2008080900742.html

Summers, Anthony. Not in Your Lifetime. New York: Open Road. 2013. Print

Testimony of Gov. John Bowden Connally, Jr. Warren Commission Hearings. Assassination Archives and Research Center. 1964. Volume 4. pp. 129–146

http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh4/html/WC_Vol4_0069a.htm

The Daily Beast. Roger Stone’s New Book ‘Solves’ JFK Assassination: Johnson Did It!
The Daily Beast/Newsweek. 2013, May 14th http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/14/roger-stone-s-new-book-solve…

Unites States National Archives. Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives. 1979. United States National Archives
http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/summary.html

Washington Post. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he’s convinced his uncle’s assassination wasn’t work of 1 person. 2113, January 12th
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/robert-f-kennedy-says-hes-convinced-hi…

Washington Post. Ford’s records show 2 on Warren panel had doubts in JFK killing: Washington Post. 2008, August 10th .
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2008/08/09/AR20080809007…

Wicker, Tom. Kennedy Killed by Sniper as he rides in car in Dallas; Johnson Sworn in on Plane: New York Times. 2010 September.

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1122.html

 

[i] Warren Commission Hearings IV

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Warren Commission Hearings, Volume IV

[iv] San Francisco Chronicle

[v] Kennedy Killed by Sniper as he rides in car in Dallas; Johnson Sworn in on Plane

[vi] Warren Commission Hearings, Volume IV

[vii] San Francisco Chronicle

[viii] BBC News

[ix] Ford told FBI about Panel’s Doubts on JFK. Murder

[x] Washington Post

[xi] Not in Your Lifetime

[xii] Washington Post

[xiii] The Daily Beast

[xiv] The Dealey Plaza Map

[xv] Warren Commission Hearings

[xvi] Ford told FBI about Panel’s Doubts on JFK. Murder

[xvii] Sniffen

[xviii] Physical Evidence of conspiracy

[xix] The Death of JFK:  Physical Evidence of conspiracy

[xx] The Death of JFK:  Physical Evidence of conspiracy

[xxi] The Death of JFK:  Physical Evidence of conspiracy

[xxii] Warren Commission Hearings, Volume VII