JFK/50 - Suspicions of JFK conspiracy persist

The latest research released concludes President John F. Kennedy was not the victim of a conspiracy. Yet periodic surveys in the past 50 years show most Americans — including many East Texans — believe there was an assassination conspiracy. (Wikimedia Commons/Courtesy)

 A university professor's research released in October concluded President John F. Kennedy was not the victim of a conspiracy. Yet periodic surveys in the 50 years since Kennedy was killed show most Americans — including many East Texans — believe there was an assassination conspiracy.

Official investigations reached varied conclusions.

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, created by President Lyndon B. Johnson, issued what is known as the Warren Report in 1964 that found no evidence anyone assisted Lee Harvey Oswald in planning or carrying out the killing of Kennedy and the shooting of then-Texas Gov. John Connally.

Contrarily, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy."

Its report cited an audio recording the committee reportedly believed captured the sound of four gunshots being fired, with one gunshot apparently coming from a second location called the Grassy Knoll, a site ahead of the president's limousine.

But almost 50 years after the assassination of Kennedy, political scientist Larry Sabato had the tapes of the Dallas Police Department's scanner traffic audio re-analyzed using state-of-the-art technology.

According to CBS News, Sabato's analysis found that the sounds were not gunshots but sounds of an idling motorcycle and the rattling of a microphone.

Sabato, a professor and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, further maintained the recorded sounds of police radio transmissions were not from Dealey Plaza but from a location more than two miles away.

Sabato told CBS News that a book he published of his findings disproved the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations report.

His findings are detailed in his book, titled "The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy."

In an interview with CBS News, Sabato said he believes Oswald was the gunman who shot both Kennedy and Connally.

Sabato's recent conclusion is similar to an analysis by Dale Myers, a computer animator who has been studying the assassination for more than 25 years.

Myers generated an exact computer simulation of an 8-millimeter movie camera recording by Abraham Zapruder of the assassination, the only film that recorded the shooting from start to finish.

Myers' simulation reportedly proves the same bullet hit from behind Kennedy and Connally. Many Americans believe different bullets struck them, according to surveys.

Robert Dallek, a historian who wrote "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963," agreed in his 2003 biography with the Warren Commission's finding that Oswald was the lone gunman.

Sabato said a new poll conducted as part of his recently released book found 75 percent of Americans still reject the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald acted alone.

A survey conducted in mid-April by The Associated Press and GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications of 1,004 adults nationwide found that 59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy to kill the president.

It also found that 24 percent think Oswald acted alone and 16 percent are unsure.

Thirty-five years after the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination, a telephone poll of 1,007 adults by the History Channel and Roper Starch, a New York-based market research and consulting firm, found in 1998 that 73 percent — nearly three in four Americans — believed that conspirators killed Kennedy.

Forty years after Kennedy was fatally shot, a poll conducted in 2003 by ABC News showed 70 percent of Americans believe Kennedy's death was the result of a broader plot.

A 2003 Gallup poll found that 75 percent of Americans felt there was a conspiracy.

Most East Texans randomly interviewed recently by the Tyler Morning Telegraph said they believe there was a conspiracy.

Sheila Rash, of Lindale, said based on the way the bullets projected and the distance, she does not believe Oswald acted alone.

"I don't think he was the kind of person to come up with this and do it alone," Ms. Rash said.

Ruth Milford, of Tyler, said, "I believe there was a conspiracy. I just can't believe that one man could have done all that damage. I think there was somebody else around. That is my way of looking at it from the things I've seen on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, CBS and all that."

Hollie Neighbors, of Mineola, said, "I think it was a conspiracy; I think the head of the FBI was behind it from movies I've seen."

Ted Schal, of Alba, also said, "I think it was a conspiracy. I don't think he (Oswald) could have gotten three rounds off in that amount of time with that weapon he was using. From the Zapruder film that I saw, he (Kennedy) took a shot from the front instead of the back and you could see him lurch back when it hit him. I don't think it was done solely by Oswald. I think it was either the government or the Mafia probably. We'll never know."

But Bobby Coe, of Tyler, said he thought Oswald probably acted alone.

George Winn, also of Tyler, agreed, saying, "I haven't seen anything to convince me that there was anybody else involved.

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