3 – Witness Testimony
The testimony of witnesses plays a major role in any investigation, and the Kennedy Assassination is no different. Both sides of the fence point to witnesses to prove their case. Conspiracy believers suggest the witnesses used by the Warren Commission were unreliable whereas the lone gunman theorists say the witnesses prove their point so let’s tackle the side of the lone gunman first.
Between 11:45 a.m. and the time of the assassination (a total of 45 minutes), two Depository employees were on the sixth floor for a brief period. Charles Givens was one of them, and he claimed to have seen Oswald walking away from the southeast corner, and there was no one else there. Givens took an elevator to the first floor at around 11:55 a.m.
Bonnie Ray Williams was the second person to visit the sixth floor before the shooting. He was at the location around noon to eat lunch and watch the motorcade. Williams said he was there for around 5, 10 or 12 minutes and while he did not see anyone else on the sixth floor, a stack of books obscured the east side of the building from view. Williams decided to leave because no one had joined him to watch the motorcade and he went to the fifth floor where he was joined by two colleagues.
A number of witnesses claimed to have seen someone in the southeast corner of the building on the sixth floor. Howard Brennan made a positive identification of Oswald at the window, and the Warren Commission relied on his testimony to prove their case.
There is evidence that at least some, if not all, of the shooting, came from the Texas School Book Depository. Dozens of witnesses claim to have heard shots emanating from the building, and of course, there are several people who say they saw a gunman standing at the window on the sixth floor. Almost everyone at the scene said they heard exactly three gunshots.
The Warren Commission suggested there was little doubt that all three shots came from the sixth-floor window and tried to prove it by analyzing the trajectory of the bullets. In December 1963, the FBI proposed the single-bullet theory to dismiss the notion that there were more than three shots fired. One bullet was responsible for all of Governor Connally’s injuries, one bullet was responsible for the President’s fatal head wound, and one bullet caused his back wound but not the throat wound.
In March 1964, the Warren Commission modified the explanation by saying one bullet caused all of Kennedy’s non-fatal wounds. In June 1964, it was revealed that a man named James Tague was injured by one of the bullets, so the Commission determined that one bullet caused all of the non-fatal wounds suffered by both Kennedy and Connally. There is a substantial amount of debate over the single bullet theory with proponents suggesting it is possible while naysayers dismiss it as fanciful nonsense. When investigators analyzed the car, they saw that Kennedy’s seat was three inches higher than originally assumed. Add in the fact that both men were moving and waving to the crowd, and the Magic Bullet theory makes some kind of sense.
Regardless, the single-bullet theory became part of the official story and is used as evidence to suggest that Oswald was the sole shooter and he fired his rifle from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.