'Second JFK gunman' theory revived

The Scotsman
May. 28, 2007

TESTS on the type of ammunition used in the 1963 assassination of US president John F Kennedy raise questions about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, according to a new scientific study.

The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that Oswald fired three shots from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas at Kennedy's motorcade.

A further government inquiry agreed in 1979, finding that the two bullets which hit Kennedy came from Oswald's rifle.

The committee's findings were based in part on the testimony of the late forensic chemist Vincent Guinn, who said the recovered fragments came from only two bullets.

Mr Guinn testified that the bullets Oswald used were individually unique and that it would be possible to distinguish one from another even if they both came from the same box.

But in the new study researchers found that fragments were not nearly so unique and that bullets within the same box could match one another. One of the test bullets also matched one or more of the assassination fragments.

"This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets," the researchers wrote in a paper detailing their study, which is to be published later this year by the journal Annals of Applied Statistics.

"If the assassination fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely, as the additional bullet would not be attributable to the main suspect, Mr Oswald," the report adds.

However lead researcher Cliff Spiegelman, of Texas A&M University, stressed: "We're not saying there was a conspiracy. All we're saying is the evidence that was presented as a slam-dunk for a single shooter is not a slam- dunk."

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, which is dedicated to Kennedy's life and assassination, insisted: "Their study can't answer anything about the assassination because they didn't test the actual fragments."

Jim Marrs, author of Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, said: "Is this going to solve the case or change anybody's mind? Probably not, but it supports the contentions of conspiracy researchers all through the years."

A HOST of conspiracy theories have developed around the assassination of John F Kennedy, most of them stemming from the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have been a lone gunman.

Some 35 witnesses thought that shots were fired from the now-famous "Grassy Knoll". More than 50 said they came from the Book Depository, while five thought shots came from two directions.

According to various conspiracy theories, the CIA, the Mafia, the Soviet Union, Israel, anti-Castro Cubans and/or Cuba were to blame.

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