The Grassy Knoll Report

by Joe Williams

A comprehensive guide to the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy, available as an Amazon e-book and an iPhone app 

Oliver Stone says, "I'm glad Joe Williams is out there fighting."

From the Book: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Who killed Pres. John F. Kennedy? Eyewitness and forensic evidence indicates that Pres. Kennedy was shot by multiple assailants firing from positions to the front and the rear of the limousine, including (but not limited to) the Texas Schoolbook Depository building and the parking lot behind the fence on the Grassy Knoll. The identities of the shooters are unknown, but plausible suspects include Herminio Diaz Garcia, Bernard Barker, Eladio Del Vallee, David Sanchez Morales, Jean Souetre and Johnny Roselli, homicidal veterans of the CIA/Mafia partnership who were spotted in Dallas that weekend.

 Who employed the men who killed Kennedy? The plot to kill the president grew within a network of shared interests. Elements of the conspiracy were voiced by the Mafia, sanctioned by insubordinate generals, subsidized by wealthy elites, planned by rogue agents of the CIA, enacted by Cuban exiles and covered up by the FBI. Without necessarily working together, these groups shared hostility toward JFK, who obstructed their economic interests and the crusade against communism. As political opposition evolved into physical action, duties were distributed to like-minded individuals on a need-to-know basis. Very few of them knew the ultimate objective. If there was a mastermind at the top of the operation, he had the power of government to hide his tracks.

What is the strongest evidence of conspiracy in the murder of Pres. Kennedy? The abundant evidence of conspiracy includes the eyewitness testimony of Carolyn Arnold, Richard Carr, Amos Euins and Arnold Rowland, which indicates that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald was on the sixth floor of the Depository at the time of the shooting; the negative results of the paraffin test to Oswald's cheek, which indicates he did not fire a rifle that day; the nearly pristine condition of the bullet that was found on an unrelated hospital stretcher, with no blood or clothing fibers on it, which indicates the bullet was planted;  the location of Kennedy's back wound, five inches below the shoulders, as evidenced by the holes in his clothing, the autopsy face-sheet  illustration and the observations of his personal physician Dr. George Burkley, which indicates that the Single Bullet Theory of an exit through Kennedy's neck would be impossible; the eyewitness testimony of more than 40 personnel at Parkland and Bethesda hospitals that Kennedy had a fist-sized hole in the back of his head, which indicates an exit wound from a frontal shot; and the extensive underworld connections of Jack Ruby, which indicates he was sent to silence Oswald on behalf of the conspirators.

These first-day witnesses, including Parkland Hospital doctors and nurses, are among the 40 people  who saw a large exit wound in the back of Pres. John F. Kennedy's head, proof of a frontal shot--and thus a conspiracy

Is there evidence of a shooter on the Grassy Knoll? Yes. More than 50 witnesses in Dealey Plaza reported that at least one shot came from the vicinity of the Grassy Knoll. These witnesses included Abraham Zapruder, Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels, sheriff Bill Decker and deputies Edgar Smith, Luke Mooney, Seymour Weitzman, and Joe Smith.

In the motorcade, Sen. Ralph Yarborough and Rep. Ray Baker smelled gunsmoke near the fence. Railroad worker S.M. Holland saw a puff of smoke rising from the knoll and rushed with some colleagues to the adjacent parking lot, where they saw hundreds of footprints next to a car behind the fence. From a tower in the parking lot, rail-yard supervisor Lee Bowers saw two men standing behind the fence and “a flash of light or smoke” there as the motorcade passed.

Zapruder's film and a Polaroid photo by Mary Moorman seem to show a figure behind the foliage at the top of the knoll. Jean Hill and J.C. Price saw a man running from that area; Price said he may have been carrying a rifle.

Most notably, more than two dozen doctors, nurses and support personnel at Parkland Hospital, professionals who dealt with gunshot wounds every day, reported that the back of Kennedy's head was blasted open, indicating a shot from the front.

Is there evidence of a shooter in buildings other than the Depository? Yes. The trajectory from wounded bystander James Tague to the nicked curb on Main Street points back to the Dal-Tex building, not the Depository. A shot from the Dal-Tex building might also explain the dent in the windshield molding of the presidential limousine and other evidence of missed shots for which a Depository sniper would not have had time.

Researchers including Robert Groden have concluded that a photo by James Altgens of the approaching motorcade shows a shooter and a radio operator behind the second-floor fire escape of the building.

Within 15 minutes of the shooting, an elevator operator alerted police to an intruder in the Dal-Tex building. Mafia courier Eugene Hale Brading was arrested at the building but was released after he gave police a fake name.

Around the same time, witnesses including Phil Willis saw police take a man wearing a black leather jacket from the building and put him in a squad car. There is no record of this man's arrest.

Disputed reports say that Harry Weatherford, the best shot in the sheriff's department, had a silencer-equipped rifle on the roof the Dallas County Records Building, where in 1975 a workman found an old shell that had been fitted with a sabot (an adapter for loading a bullet like the Mannlicher-Carcano's into a mismatched gun like a 30.06).

Did Lee Harvey Oswald shoot at John F. Kennedy from the Texas Schoolbook Depository? No. The only witness to describe someone resembling Oswald in a sixth floor window was Howard Brennan,  a middle-aged man with damaged eyesight who was not wearing his glasses. He incorrectly described the shooter as standing, whereas the low, open window would require a shooter to lay or crouch. And Brennan did not identify Oswald in a police lineup.

Witnesses such as Depository co-workers Carolyn Arnold and Eddie Piper confirmed that Oswald was downstairs in the minutes before the shooting, as he told investigators. Even if he sneaked up to the sixth floor as the late-arriving motorcade approached Dealey Plaza, it is unlikely that Oswald could have fired three shots in six seconds with world-class accuracy, squeezed out of the sniper's next, wiped his fingerprints from the rifle, raced across the floor to stash the rifle beneath a stack of books in the opposite corner, hurried down the back staircase without being seen or heard by exiting employees Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles, and bought a soda in the second-floor lunchroom—all within the 75-90 seconds before patrolman Marion Baker confronted him. And Oswald was not out of breath.

In custody, Oswald was given a paraffin test, a legally accepted standard for determining whether a person has fired a gun. There were no traces of gunpowder residue on his cheek, indicating that he had not fired a rifle that day.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald a good shot?  No. Although military personnel are routinely trained in firearms, Oswald was one of the worst shots in the Marines. His first test score was mediocre. His final test score was a single point above failing. And there is no evidence that Oswald ever fired a gun in the four years after he left the Marines, let alone practiced enough to hit a moving target from 265 feet away.

Regardless of Oswald's skills, no one has ever duplicated the feat alleged in the Warren Report with a similar rifle under similar conditions.

Did Lee Harvey Oswald bring a gun into the Depository on Nov. 22? No. Jack Dougherty, the only employee who saw Oswald enter the building that day, testified to the Warren Commission that he was positive that Oswald was not carrying anything. No other employee saw Oswald in the building with a bag or a rifle.

Co-worker Buell Wesley Frazier testified that when Oswald rode to work with him that day, Oswald brought a brown paper bag like the kind from a supermarket. Frazier and a sister who saw Oswald briefly that morning estimated that the bag was 27 inches long—ten inches too short to contain a disassembled rifle. Whether the bag contained curtain rods, as Frazier said Oswald told him, or contained a small lunch, which Oswald claimed he ate that day, it is evident that he was not carrying the bag when he entered the building.

After the assassination, Dallas police produced a 38-inch paper bag that they claimed was found in the sniper's nest. But several officers who searched the sixth floor did not see this bag, which was not photographed at the scene. The surface of the bag contained a fingerprint that was linked to Oswald, but it was ordinary brown paper that was routinely used at the Depository. Unlike the bag that Frazier saw, it appeared to be handmade. It was open at both ends and held together with packing tape. It did not have creases in the shape of a rifle, and it did not have any traces of oil from the well-lubricated gun that was found in the sniper's nest. The Warren Report does not say who found the bag.

Was the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that was found in the sniper's nest one of the murder weapons? No. The cheap Italian rifle was rusty and old, with a defective trigger mechanism, a stubborn bolt and a misaligned scope that was mounted on the side for a left-handed shooter (which Oswald was not). It did not smell of gunpowder. The tests that linked the rifle to the so-called Magic Bullet found on a hospital stretcher, and which linked the bullet to the fragments pulled from Gov. Connally, relied on a broken chain of custody and a technology called neutron activation analysis that is no longer considered reliable by the FBI and the courts.

The Mannlicher-Carcano was a medium-powered rifle, and the stretcher bullet was copper-jacketed, designed to pass through a body without fragmenting; yet the Zapruder film and the autopsy X-rays indicate that Kennedy was killed with a fragmenting bullet from a high-powered rifle.

Is the Single Bullet Theory a plausible explanation for the wounding of Pres. Kennedy and Gov. Connally as depicted in the Zapruder film? The theory would be plausible if all of the following things were true: that an unpracticed shooter scored two hits out of three shots at a moving target on a windy day with an old rifle and a misaligned scope, a feat that has never been duplicated;  that Kennedy's shirt and jacket momentarily rose five inches, thus producing two perfectly matched bullet holes that made a shot in the neck appear to be a shot in the back; that the bullet traveled through Kennedy's neck without getting deformed by spinal bones; that the same bullet caused five wounds in Gov. Connally, including a broken rib and a broken wrist, without him flinching until a full second later; that the bullet was so unusually heavy it left chunks of metal in Connally's wrist and thigh yet still weighed the same as an intact bullet; that the bullet worked its way upward from the prone Connally's thigh and then worked its way under a stretcher mattress; that the bullet which passed through two men was in nearly pristine condition, with no blood or clothing fiber on it; that several emergency room doctors at Parkland misdiagnosed the hole in Kennedy's throat as an entry wound; that the FBI's report that there were two separate shots was less authoritative than Arlen Specter's hypothesis that there was only one; and that all of these extraordinary things just happened to occur during the assassination of an American president. In other words: no.

The “Magic Bullet” is pictured at left, compared to bullets fired through water,  cotton wadding and a goat carcass. No bullet in history has caused seven wounds in two men and emerged in the condition of the one at left. 

Was Lee Harvey Oswald a communist? No. From the time of his Marine deployment to Japan, Oswald was an espionage operative whose activities were supervised by CIA counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. Oswald's cover story required that he play the role of a communist and defect to the Soviet Union; but the ease with which Oswald returned to the United States, with no prosecution or even a documented debriefing by the American government, indicates that the defection was government-authorized. In his entire adult life, Oswald had no known left-wing associates, while his closest friend in Dallas was right-wing Russian exile and CIA intermediary George de Mohrenschildt.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald involved in a conspiracy to kill Pres. John F. Kennedy? Yes. While there is little evidence that Oswald had personal animosity toward the President, let alone fired a rifle at him, there is considerable evidence that he associated with figures who are secondary suspects in the case. Those suspects include David Ferrie, Guy Banister, Clay Shaw and David Atlee Phillips. Employees and customers of the Carousel Club, including comedian Wally Weston and stripper Rose Cheramie, claimed they saw Oswald with Jack Ruby, although it may have been an Oswald lookalike. The evidence is compelling that Oswald was enlisted by the conspirators to masquerade as a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, perhaps to root out Castro sympathizers; then the communist cover story was used to frame Oswald for the murder of JFK.

Was Jack Ruby involved in a conspiracy to kill Pres. John F. Kennedy? Yes. The evidence is overwhelming that Ruby was a mid-level mobster who handled Dallas vice—prostitution, drug dealing, bookmaking and gun smuggling—on behalf of regional Mafia bosses Sam Giancana of Chicago and Carlos Marcello of New Orleans. In the weeks before the assassination, Ruby was in constant contact with mob and union henchmen. Although it is doubtful that Ruby was an active participant in the Kennedy murder plot, it is possible that knew about it in advance and undoubtedly he was ordered to silence the accused killer Oswald after the plot unraveled. Along with the incongruous stretcher bullet, Ruby's execution of Oswald is virtually irrefutable evidence of conspiracy.

Were Dallas police officers involved in a conspiracy to kill Pres. John F. Kennedy? Yes. As with the FBI, the CIA and the Secret Service, there is inconclusive evidence of high-level control but irrefutable evidence that individual agents fabricated or withheld evidence.

In the early '60s, boomtown Dallas was corrupt. The local government was beholden to oil tycoon and suspected conspiracy kingpin H.L. Hunt, while mobster Jack Ruby bestowed favors on the cops, many of whom dated his strippers. Some of those cops were instrumental in the coverup.

Whether through intent or ineptitude, the Dallas police violated basic procedures in establishing a chain of custody for evidence such as the paper bag in which Oswald supposedly carried the rifle; the shells in the sniper's nest; and the shells, wallet and discarded jacket at the scene of the Tippit shooting.

The evidence is persuasive that crime-scene technician J.C. Day planted Oswald's palmprint on an internal surface of the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle after the FBI laboratory failed to find any prints on it.  Likewise, Sgt. Patrick Dean is the missing link in explaining how Jack Ruby entered the basement of police headquarters. (Dean, who freely acknowledged his social connections to Dallas mob boss Joe Civello, failed a lie-detector test about his activities on the morning when Ruby shot Oswald.)

Has anyone credible ever confessed their involvement in the assassination? Yes. Many people have confessed over the years. John Martino, a tech expert who worked for mob casinos and anti-Castro guerillas, warned his wife and son about the pending murder on Nov. 22 and later told a Newsday reporter that he had been part of a conspiracy involving Cuban exiles. CIA propaganda specialist David Atlee Phillips wrote a novel based on his manipulation of Lee Harvey Oswald, and according to researcher Larry Hancock, when Phillips was dying he confided to his brother James that he had been in Dallas during the assassination. Likewise, CIA agent E. Howard Hunt wrote a deathbed confession about the murder plot for his son St.  John Hunt. CIA-trained assassins Col. William Bishop and Gerry Patrick Hemming spoke to researcher Noel Twyman about their foreknowledge of the murder.

In a drunken rant, CIA cut-throat David Sanchez Morales told his best friend and his lawyer that the Kennedy murder had been an Agency operation.

Other conspirators were killed to keep them from talking. After mobster Johnny Roselli testified to Congress about the CIA-Mafia plots to assassinate Castro and told columnist Jack Anderson that Jack Ruby killed Oswald on behalf of the mob, Roselli was dismembered, stuffed into an oil drum and thrown into the waters off Miami. After mafioso Sam Giancana was subpoenaed to testify before Congress, he was fatally shot in his Chicago home by someone he trusted (possibly neighbor and renegade CIA agent William King Harvey). Likewise, Cuban guerrilla Eladio Del Vallee was murdered and his cohort David Ferrie died mysteriously when Jim Garrison sought them for questioning.

Do credible witnesses and experts believe there is evidence of a conspiracy? Yes. The closest witnesses to the assassination—Jackie Kennedy, Gov. John Connally and Nellie Connally—all believed there was  evidence of a conspiracy. Lyndon Johnson privately expressed his belief in a conspiracy. So did Richard Nixon. Robert Kennedy believed JFK was killed on behalf of the mobsters that the administration aggressively prosecuted. Kennedy advisors Dave Powers and Kenny O'Donnell, who rode in the motorcade, believed there was a shot from the Grassy Knoll. Jesse Curry, the Dallas chief of police, said he could not prove that Oswald fired a rifle from the Depository and expressed his belief that the many unexplained coincidences indicated an organized plot. Three members of the Warren Commission expressed doubts about the Single Bullet Theory, and Sen. Richard Russell threatened to withhold his signature from the Report. Dr. Joseph Dolce, the Army's foremost ballistics wound expert, declared that the Single Bullet Theory was impossible, as did coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht, the past president of the American Academy of Forensic Examiners, and Carlos Hathcock, the Marine's most decorated sniper. Some of the world's leading acoustic experts determined that a police recording from Dealey Plaza indicated there was one shot from the Grassy Knoll, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations used the experts' report to conclude that there was “probably” a conspiracy. Others who have expressed their belief in a conspiracy include JFK's personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, and his personal physician, George Burkley, who was the only doctor to see the president's wounds at both the Parkland and Bethesda hospitals.

If you are like the vast majority of people in the U.S. and around the world, you agree with them. For the past fifty years, polls have consistently shown that about 70 percent of respondents believe there was a conspiracy in the murder of Pres. John F. Kennedy. The rest just need to do their homework. We encourage you to use these resources to help them.

These three “backyard photos of Lee Harvey Oswald, all with the same facial expression, are fakes. Find out why in “The Grassy Knoll Report.”

“The Grassy Knoll Report” contains a minute-by-minute timeline, color crime-scene photos, more than 80 capsule biographies, comparisons of the theories and in-depth analysis about the pivotal event in modern American history.

The e-book is by reporter Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who has investigated the JFK assassination for 30 years. The iPhone version was developed by John Hughes, the creator of the best-selling true-crime app Mafia Maps.     

Order the full-length e-book for only $6 at

Get the multimedia app version for only 99 cents at iTunes.