Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963by Mark Fuhrman
On November 22, 1963, a murder was committed in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 80 percent of the American people don't believe the victim was killed by a lone gunman. The House Assassinations Committee determined it was the work of "a conspiracy," yet no conspirators were ever identified or brought to justice. For more than forty years the case has remained unsloved-until now.
Mark Fuhrman has cracked some of the best-known, most puzzling crimes in American history. In A Simple Act of Murder, he investigates the tragedy that rocked a nation: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cutting through the myths and misinformation, Fuhrman focuses on the hard evidence, unveiling a major clue that was ignored for more than four decades-a breakthrough that will change the ongoing debate forever. Once you read this book, you'll know definitively who killed JFK.
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A Simple Act of MurderNovember 22, 1963
By Mark Fuhrman
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Mark Fuhrman
All right reserved.
Everyone who is old enough remembers exactly where they were when they learned President Kennedy had been killed.
I was in Los Angeles, visiting Olvera Street on a field trip with my sixth-grade class. We lived in Los Angeles for a brief time. My mother was working as a waitress, but she managed to send me and my brother to military school for a year.
The streets were festive, with bright colors. Small shops selling candles and blankets and trinkets. It seems so fresh now, in my memory. I was standing next to a post from which were hanging brightly painted gourds. My friends crowded next to me; we were all laughing and horseplaying, trying to evade our teacher's watchful eye. We were eleven years old, and the world seemed like this shop, brightly colored and full of adventure.
Then our teacher waved her hand and told us to be quiet. The radio that had been playing music now announced that our president, John F. Kennedy, was dead. A silence came down among us. I felt heavy and sick, angry and confused. The silence was broken by one of my classmates saying: "Good. My dad didn't like him anyway."
The teacher slapped him with the back of her hand. No hesitation, no warning.
"Don'tyou ever say that!" she yelled at the boy. The teacher never apologized for hitting him, and no one felt an apology was needed.
For the next few days, the afternoons I usually spent playing basketball or army were spent sitting on the floor in front of a black-and-white Zenith television. I had no understanding of politics. I had never read PT-109 or Profiles in Courage. I didn't know anything about the Kennedy family and didn't even understand what they meant when they called him "rich." I thought everybody lived pretty much like we did. Even if I didn't know or understand anything about the man, he was my president, and I was pulled into the drama of his violent death.
One afternoon, sitting just a couple of feet from our television, I watched carefully as the assassin walked in front of the cameras. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw my mom ironing our uniforms for school the next day. Turning back toward the television, I saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed by Jack Ruby.
I turned back toward my mom.
"We killed him," I said.
I had forgotten I said that, but talking with my mom just a couple years ago about the JFK assassination, she asked me if I remembered what I said when Ruby shot Oswald. I didn't remember, but when she described the moment in detail, so many memories and emotions came rushing back.
What exactly did I mean when I said, "We killed him"? Was I voicing suspicions that the government had murdered Oswald to shut him up? Did I think there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy? Maybe the seed of doubt was planted those first few days and grew in my mind somewhere.
Now that Oswald was dead, there would be no trial. The FBI was preparing a report on its massive investigation, and the Texas Attorney General's Office planned its own inquiry. Two separate congressional committees were being formed to look into the assassination. Just after Oswald's murder, some were already talking about a possible conspiracy. To quiet these suspicions and keep the separate inquiries from turning into a political nightmare, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed a seven-man panel to investigate the assassination, presided over by Chief Justice Earl Warren and including senators Richard Russell and John Sherman Cooper, representatives Gerald Ford and Hale Boggs, former CIA director Allen Dulles, and John McCloy, former head of the World Bank.
Within days of its investiture, the Warren Commission was being urged by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to issue a statement that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. While they refused to make any public statement about the guilt or innocence of the only suspect, the commissioners apparently saw their task as presenting the evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald killed the President and dispelling rumors that Oswald might have been part of a larger conspiracy. Relying first on the investigative reports of the FBI, the Secret Service, and Texas law enforcement, the Warren Commission went on to conduct its own investigation. The Commissioners analyzed the information gathered by other agencies, called witnesses for hearings and depositions, and performed tests and reenactments to fill what they saw as holes in the evidentiary fabric.
The Warren Commission was a political body, created by politicians, made up of politicians, with the responsibility, in the view of its members, of resolving a political problem: fears that the President of the United States might have been assassinated through some conspiracy or even as part of a coup d'etat.
But the commissioners were all busy men. Most of them attended only a small fraction of the hearings, and their participation in those hearings was minimal. Supporting the commissioners was a staff of fifteen lawyers, led by J. Lee Rankin, the former solicitor general. The legal staff was divided into two groups, senior counsel and assistant counsel. Since the senior lawyers were busy with their own private law practices, almost all of the work was done by the seven assistants, bright young lawyers who had graduated at the tops of their classes at prestigious law schools but had little or no experience in criminal investigations. They worked under intense pressure to gather all the necessary information and write it up into a publishable report before the presidential elections.
On September 24, 1964, the Commissioners presented Lyndon Johnson with the "Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy," or the Warren Report. The first thing the President said was, "It's heavy." Then he gave it to one of his aides to read.
Excerpted from A Simple Act of Murder by Mark Fuhrman Copyright © 2006 by Mark Fuhrman. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Retired LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman is the New York Times bestselling author of Murder in Brentwood, Murder in Greenwich, Murder in Spokane, and Death and Justice. He lives in Idaho.
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