EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Feb. 28, 2001, edition of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
KILGORE — Jerry Grafton and Micah Mitchell said they do not know who killed former President John F. Kennedy.
However, too many unanswered questions surround the 1963 assassination to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter, they said.
Grafton and Ms. Mitchell, two East Texas researchers who said they spent countless hours studying the assassination, led a lecture and discussion about the topic Tuesday at Kilgore College.
Hundreds of attendees, mostly college students, filled the Van Cliburn Auditorium, leaving some standing in the packed building.
Grafton reviewed some odd instances he said occurred on the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas.
A man who had been assigned to stay with Kennedy for security measures was, for some unknown reason, left behind at Love Field, he said.
The motorcade that passed through downtown Dallas had Kennedy at the front, Grafton said. The president was usually located in the middle of motorcades, he said.
The press had been kept 10 cars behind the president, rather than in front and behind as usual, Grafton said.
Charles Bronson, a man filming the event, pointed his camera toward the Texas School Book Depository building before Kennedy passed below, Grafton said.
Bronson viewed the sixth floor, where Oswald was believed to have fired upon Kennedy.
“On the sixth floor were images of two men. Not one, but two. The Warren Commission wanted you to think there was just one man there that day: Lee Harvey Oswald,” Grafton said.
The speaker argued Oswald wasn’t on the sixth floor. About a minute or two after the assassination, some men claimed they saw Oswald in the second floor break room, where he had obtained a Coca-Cola, Grafton said.
One would have to believe that Oswald got rid of his weapon and rushed down four floors in a small amount of time, he said.
The men claimed Oswald appeared “cool as a cucumber,” not sweaty or nervous as one might be after killing a world leader, Grafton said.
“Oswald was exactly what he said he was. A patsy,” he said.
After Kennedy was shot, the vehicle’s driver slowed down and stopped under an overpass, he said. Grafton said the individual did not know how to locate Parkland Hospital in Dallas, and waited for someone to inform him.
“He’s got a man with his head blown off, a governor seriously wounded, and is wondering how to get to a hospital,” Grafton said.
The speaker criticized former Vice President Lyndon Johnson for allegedly ordering the vehicle’s demolition.
“He was throwing away evidence right there,” Grafton said.
Ms. Mitchell and Grafton both found fault with the Warren Commission, which they claimed ignored witnesses and suppressed testimony in its examination of the assassination.
Of 489 witnesses called before the Warren Commission, only 94 were heard by the commission itself, Ms. Mitchell said.
All commission members were not always present to hear the witnesses, she said.
“If we have some kind of murder trial at the Gregg County Courthouse, they must have all jurors present and hear all the evidence or they can’t render a verdict. Yet they didn’t do this for our president,” Ms. Mitchell said.
The government has withheld thousands of documents from the public regarding the assassination, Ms. Mitchell claimed.
“It doesn’t make sense if Oswald was a nobody,” she said. “Why the secrecy? Why not tell us all the facts?”