In an earlier article I looked into one the legends of the Kennedy assassination—the grassy knoll. Like many aspects of the crime there lies an apparent contradiction between witness reports and what actually happened. After much examination I concluded in that piece that the shooter’s angle was off and would have passed through Kennedy’s head from ear to ear and not the lateral wound down the right side of the head as seen in the autopsy report, pathologist testimony, and photographs.
I have since changed my view of this. I thought at the time Vince Bugliosi in his book Reclaiming History, had the right analysis. I was always impressed with the witness accounts—it was the study of the topographical map of Dealey Plaza and Bugliosi’s cherry picking of the data that turned me on a new path.
The former prosecutor of Charley Manson is king of the misdirection in his arguments, which must have served him well in court. He is one of the major proponents of the lone gunman and does not believe anybody was shooting other than Oswald from behind, six floors up. He discounts all witnesses of the grassy knoll shots with a flourish and in some instances ignores them altogether.
Bugliosi resorts to inventing evidence to support his argument. In his map he places a black dot to be the position of a sniper from behind the fence, positioned near the corner behind a live oak. Suitably, any shooter there would not have the right angle. The bullet could have passed through Kennedy’s head and possibly struck his wife as well.
However, Bugliosi concocts the position. For example on my map, it’s apparent that a shooter on the grassy knoll, if further west, nearer the railroad overpass would have the right bearing for a frontal shot. Bugliosi has to make it all up. He can’t use witness testimony as he has dismissed them all.
So Bugliosi has the shooter not having the right angle because he has placed his gunman in the wrong place to begin with! And then presents this as further proof that shots from the front could not happen. This Bugliosi character is a slick one. He would make a good illusionist with the clever props he uses. It makes me wonder how much evidence he fabricated in court to win his many convictions.
In my example I am placing my red dot in play. Conversely, I am going on witness testimony. We have the following’:
- Abraham Zapruder said he heard shots from his right as he filmed the assassination. That places a shooter on the knoll.
- The Newman family seen on the grass covering their children because they heard shots coming behind them from the knoll.
- Eight railroad workers on the overpass saw smoke from the knoll area.
- Senator Yarbrough’s comments on smelling gun smoke from the knoll as they passed by.
- Two of Kennedy’s top aides said they heard shots from the front.
- Orville Nix who filmed the assassination from across Elm. Said the shots were from the knoll but in his CBS interview, much to his dismay, the tape was edited to have him saying it was from the School Book Depository Building.
- The Philip Willis family, which includes his wife and two daughters. Daughter Rosemary is the girl in the red dress that can be seen running along Elm at the beginning of the Zapruder film.
This is just a small sampling of the witness accounts of shots being fired from the knoll area. There are many more. The final witness is the Zapruder film itself, documenting Kennedy’s backward head movement from an apparent frontal shot. Of course I am making the assumption that a shooter was there at my red dot, or at last near it. The purpose being, that the right shot can be achieved if there is a sniper present on the knoll and in the right place.
After all, who was standing behind the fence? Witnesses report being shooed away by men claiming to be Secret Service agents. Meanwhile, the Secret Service claims to have no agents in the area of the knoll. Shame, as they should have been there. It would have been quite a scene to have a real SS agent confront the phony one. I might add that following the assassination the Secret Service required all agents to turn in their ID badges. So the reports of counterfeit SS agents must have been taken seriously somewhere up the chain of command. If there is a conspiracy then that area behind the fence must be cleared.
I am convinced a shooter placed behind the fence near where it meets railroad overpass has the right position to produce Kennedy’s fatal head wounds. Bugliosi’s positioning near the corner of the fence is based on his intent to build a case for the lone nut scenario and nothing more.
For those interested in doing their own study of this issue, the overhead drawing of Dealey Plaza prepared for the Warren Commission is available HERE.
Buglosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History; Talbot, Michael, Brothers; Mars, Jim, Crossfire; YouTube.com, Zapruder film; maryferrell.org;