The Lone Assassin: 6 Reasons That Prove Lee Harvey Oswald Killed JFK

Oswald holds a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and newspapers in a backyard. This photograph is one of the controversial backyard photos used in the assassination of John F. Kennedy investigation in 1963. Corbis

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered by an assassin’s bullets as he traveled in a motorcade in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. The event shocked the world and became one of the all time great ‘where were you?’ moments. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with killing the President. Just two days after the assassination, Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, so whatever secrets he knew died with him.

The nature of the assassination, coupled with the quick fire death of the alleged assassin, meant it became a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. A presidential commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded that Oswald was a lone gunman. It is a version of events not believed by the majority of the American public. An ABC News poll from 2003 found that a staggering 70% of Americans believe the Kennedy Assassination was part of a more detailed plot.

There are many reasons why so many people don’t believe the lone gunman theory or even that Oswald pulled the trigger. Some suggest the trajectory of the bullets don’t align with Oswald’s sniper perch which was on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD). Then there is the so-called ‘second gunman’ on the Grassy Knoll. More conspiracy theorists believe the CIA was involved because of anger over the Bay of Pigs failure. Maybe the president died at the hands of mobsters keen to get back at his brother Robert who initiated investigations into organized crime?

In this three-part series, I will look at the evidence that suggests Oswald was the killer, evidence that says he was not the killer and conclude with commonly proposed theories. I would also like to issue a disclaimer: None of the following represents my personal view on the assassination. I am merely looking at the evidence on both sides of the case and exploring some of the alternate theories. You’ll also spot quite a few contradictions in the evidence on both sides which makes the case all the more intriguing.

The Carcano rifle Oswald allegedly used to shoot JFK. Wikimedia

1 – He Was At the Scene

The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald was not only the killer but that he acted alone. This conclusion was based on evidence found at the scene. It recognized that Oswald’s presence as an employee in the Depository was unrelated to the assassination. He was hired by the Depository in October 1963, and it is clear that he was happy to take any job due to his family’s poor financial status. As such, he did not work at the Depository as part of some grand scheme to murder the President despite suggestions that he was a ‘plant.’

According to the Warren Commission, Oswald had the opportunity to work on disassembling the rifle in the garage of the Paine’s on the evening before the assassination. The Paine’s were a couple who had befriended the Oswald’s. The report said he placed the gun in a brown paper bag and brought it to work on November 22. The Commission also claimed that the paper bag was made out of materials Oswald found at the Depository.

Around 30 minutes after the assassination, a 6.5mm Carcano Rifle was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. This weapon apparently fired all known bullets used in the murder with scientific tests suggesting that all of the bullet fragments found from the victims came from bullets fired by that specific rifle. The weapon was purchased via mail order under the name A. Hidell, an alias used by Oswald just a few months previously in New Orleans.

Indeed, there is little doubt that Oswald owned the rifle. His wife, Marina, testified that he owned the rifle. For decades, conspiracy theorists have claimed that the famous photo of Oswald holding the rifle used to kill the president was fake. In the picture, Oswald proudly holds the gun and Marxist newspapers. He is standing at an unusual angle which led to the belief that the image was fake. However, analysis using hi-tech equipment suggests the image is genuine.

Oswald worked at the Texas School Book Depository so he could easily access the sixth floor and a homemade paper bag was found near the window where the shots were fired. Oswald’s palm print was found on the rifle’s barrel, and his fingerprints and palmprints were found on two of the boxes on the sixth floor close to the window. A witness, Howard Brennan, claimed to have seen a man matching Oswald’s description in the south-eastern window of the sixth floor.

  • Duane Savage

    Explain the pristine bullet found on the gurney. Explain that and I’ll buy your theory.

    • Patrick Lynch

      Hi Duane, the second part of what is a trilogy will explore the reasons that suggest Oswald did not kill JFK. Funny that you mention the bullet on the gurney as I mention it in the next piece. I think more people believe in some form of cover up than the Lone Gunman theory so the next piece will probably be better received!

    • Lyle F. Padilla

      The most impressive thing about the people behind the conspiracy is that:

      1. They had a Secret Service agent or member of the Kennedy inner circle on the inside to plant the magic bullet at Parkland while Governor Connally was still in the trauma room getting his wounds assessed.

      2. That person knew IN ADVANCE OF THE SHOOTING that Connally would have one entrance wound without a corresponding exit wound.

      3. That person ALSO knew in advance that the bullet would have expended its energy passing through other parts of Connally’s body, and cause a shallow enough entry wound that it would fall out by itself.

      4. That person was able to plant the “magic” bullet on the floor in the hallway under Connally’s stretcher.

      5. That person knew to then go inside the trauma room, while the Trauma Team was operating to save the life of the Governor of Texas, then get on the floor to find the actual bullet that caused the wound and get rid of it. Or that he managed to get to the operating table and remove the bullet from Connally’s thigh wound. All without all the doctors and nurses operating on his chest not noticing him.

      Amazing foresight.

      I will not be responding to anyone else’s replies to this because I came to the conclusion, back in the 1970s when I read the Warren Report and most of its encyclopedic exhibit volumes, that Franz Werfel said it best in the preface to his THE SONG OF BERNADETTE: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”

      • Duane Savage

        None of that explains the condition of the bullet.. but thanks for replying

        • Eric Oppen

          The “magic bullet” is not all _that_ pristine, at least when seen from the rear. NOVA ran tests on a rifle and ammo very similar to what Oswald used, and they were able to show how the bullet did what it did.

          • Duane Savage

            That bullet shattered bone.. right…

      • Ronnie Bishop

        That’s not what happened at all. That’s ludicrous!

      • ptb5star

        Jack Ruby planted the bullet. He didn’t have to know any of that nonsense. The bullet just had to cloud the issue and point to Oswald.

    • Ronnie Bishop

      The bullet was planted to make sure it was traced to Oswalds gun.

  • Michael Allbright

    he did not kill Kennedy

  • Ronnie Bishop

    This is the most complicated case in history, if it hadn’t been a conspiracy it would have been the easiest. Oswald was and agent with the CIA. The books that will connect the dots are Double Cross, JFK the Unspeakable.

  • ptb5star

    He was in the second floor lunch room at the time of the shooting.

    • Don Moore

      how do you know that?

  • jccargill

    Oliver Stone’s movie extended the conspiracy theories lifespan for decades.