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Why Lee Harvey Oswald had to be JFK's Lone Assassin

Updated on June 19, 2013


Almost fifty years ago today, November 22, 1963, United States President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas while in the backseat of a presidential limousine traveling down Dealey Plaza. A bullet wound to his skull was later determined to have caused his death, although he had also been shot in the upper back that same day. Texas Governor John Connally was in the front seat of the presidential limousine when this shooting occurred. While Governor Connally survived the shooting, he suffered from several gunshot wounds as well. Many onlookers witnessed the assassination, some of whom were able to obtain photos and video footage of the shooting while it was in progress. The most popular footage of the shooting was recorded by a clothing manufacturer named Abraham Zupruder. His close range video recording of the shooting, which he thereafter delivered to the Secret Service as evidence, would later be known as the Zupruder Film.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been working in The Texas School Book Depository less than one hundred yards behind the presidential limousine at the time of this shooting, was arrested later that day pursuant to probable cause that he had murdered a Dallas Police Officer. Soon thereafter, he was charged with murdering President Kennedy as well. Oswald denied this charge, claiming on one occasion that he was merely a patsy. Two days later he too was murdered in the Dallas Police Headquarters basement by a Dallas nightclub operator named Jack Ruby. His murder was broadcast on live television. Conspiracy theories involving a coverup associated with the Kennedy assassination began developing immediately thereafter.

Five days following Oswald's death, President Lyndon B. Johnson assigned a commission of high ranking government officials, including then United States Supreme Court Chief Justice, Earl Warren, to investigate the Kennedy Assassination, and the Oswald murder. After close to a year of extensive research, and investigations, (during which time Jack Ruby was convicted by a court of law for murdering Oswald, and sentenced to death), the commission, named the Warren Commission, reached the conclusion that Oswald had been President Kennedy's sole assassin, and that Ruby had been Oswald's sole murderer. After their initial disclosure these conclusions silenced most of the conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination, but only for a short while. Despite the 888 page report the Warren Commission released supporting these conclusions, conspiracy theories involving a coverup eventually reemerged, and continued.

Recent polls indicate that the majority Americans today still believe there was a coverup associated with Kennedy's assassination. If you're reading this article, chances are you side with this majority view. I once did as well, until I did some thorough research on this topic. By thorough, I don't mean popping a couple of movies about it in the DVD player, I mean by studying relevant documents, and information closely and subjectively. There's no doubt in my mind now that the Warren Commission was correct in concluding that Oswald was President Kennedy's lone assassin. The analysis referenced below is a brief summary why.

Jack Ruby

Let's start with Jack Ruby, the man from who's act of murder the conspiracy theories about the president's death began. First off, the mere act of murdering Oswald alone doesn't prove he was involved in anything. It's his motive for killing Oswald that would really determine whether or not he had knowledge of, or involvement within a conspiracy. Based on the relevant evidence, it seems there's only two possible motives he could've had: (1) he murdered Oswald to assist in a coverup of a conspiracy to assassinate the president; and (2) he murdered Oswald to avenge the death of a president whom he loved, and to ease the suffering of the family thereof. Without saying anything more here, ask yourself which option sounds the most reasonable so far? If an intelligent person came to this country without any knowledge about JFK's assassination, and the first thing this person read about it was this paragraph, which option do you think the person would go with if they had to choose the most likely motive without further research? Now conduct a little research of your own on this topic. If you're unbiased with your research, you're gonna end up finding that Ruby, who no one would deny was always a little bit crazy, and was in fact admittedly taking medications for his nervous system at the time he murdered Oswald, completely flipped out while in prison after rumors that he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy began circulating. Ruby thought he'd be considered a hero for shooting Oswald, and his defense at his subsequent murder trial, needless to say, was insanity. That being said, the last thing he wanted to be remembered as was a conspirator in JFK's assassination. He took a polygraph test at his own adamant request after relevant rumors to this regard starting spreading in an effort to clear his name from such conspiracy theories. And with regards to the questions asked about his potential involvement in a conspiracy, he answered no to every one of them. The test results indicated he was telling the truth. He also denied any such involvement in a conspiracy, or any acquaintance with Oswald to the Warren Commission when questioned about it while he was in prison. Behind bars and awaiting execution, it's difficult to imagine what possible reason he could've had at that point to deny any knowledge of, or involvement in a crime different from the one he'd been convicted for, if such had been the case. if he had fellow conspirators, he would have had no reason to neglect ratting them out at that point. The fact that he didn't, and instead strenously insisted he was not involved in a conspiracy, taking a polygraph test in an effort to prove it, leaves little doubt in my mind that he most certainly was not involved in one.

The Zupruder Film

Moving on to the Zupruder Film, anyone who watched Oliver Stone's movie, JFK, remembers Kevin Costner's quote while playing the Zupruder Film for the jury at Clay Shaw's murder trial, shortly before the jury reached their verdict that Clay Shaw was not guilty, "back, and to the left." Anyone who's watched the Zupruder Film could also easily see that the president's head did in fact move in these directions after clearly being struck by a bullet. It seems very few people, however, have examined the film closely to determine if it was something other than a bullet that caused his head to move in these directions, however. A close view of this film suggests to me that the president's wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, put her hands on her husband's upper torso and nudged him back into his seat while he was being shot. This clearly would've interfered with any movement that would've occurred as a result of being hit by a bullet. Only by reviewing the film in slow motion can one determine which way the bullet actually nudged the president's head before his head had been subjected to any potential alternative momentum(s). Having done so, it's clear to me the president's head began moving forward, rather than backwards, immediately after being clearly struck by a bullet. Moving forward following the first clear observation of blood shed, it thereafter very quickly reversed in direction, which very easily could've been caused by the opposing force of a nudge from his wife. This leaves no doubt in my mind that the bullet that struck his skull came from behind, in the direction of the book depository where Oswald was located. As for the magic bullet theory, which also emerged based on evidence obtained from the Zupruder Film, that can be explained rather easily: there was no magic bullet. Kennedy's seat in the presidential limousine was elevated higher than Governor Connally's, and research has concluded that a bullet coming from the sixth floor of the book depository, where a rifle registered to Oswald, and with Oswald's fingerprints on it was found, would've moved at the right trajectory to strike Governor Connally in all the locations where he was eventually hit, after piercing through the president's upper back.

The Patsy Theory

Finally I'll discuss the patsy theory, as contrary evidence to this theory is what eventually convinced me Oswald had to have been the lone assassin. There's a lot of different conspiracy theories involving the president's assassination: some claim it was the FBI, some claim the CIA, while others claim the Pentagon, still others claim the White House, and finally there are those who claim it was the Cubans. Most conspiracy theories, however, claim it was a combination of several or all of the above-referenced organizations acting in a joint effort. Regardless of who conspiracy theorists think were responsible, there's one fact every conspiracy theory about the president's death has in common: Oswald was the intended patsy. No organization gets away with assassinating a United States president, unless they have someone convincing to pin it on. And what better choice of individual than a man like Lee Harvey Oswald: an eccentric former marine who'd lived in communist Russia and who could shoot a rifle with suburb accuracy. There couldn't have been a better candidate to frame for such a crime. I'm willing to bet that every conspiracy theorist, regardless of who they may think was responsible for the assassination, believes Oswald was the intended patsy for the crime. Oswald even announced on film he was a patsy, and I'm sure every conspiracy theorist out there still buys it. I certainly did at one time, before I became aware of certain facts that would've made framing him by any organization virtually impossible.

Oswald began working at the book depository in Dallas before any plans were made, and furthermore announced, that the president would be appearing on Dealey Plaza there on the day of the assassination. According to under oath testimony from witnesses, he and his wife, Marina, were living with acquaintances in Irving, Texas, a Dallas Suburb, when he began working at the book depository on October 16, 1963. How did he get his job there? According to under oath testimony, he spread the word that he was unemployed and needed work, and the acquaintance he and his wife were staying with at the time, Ruth Paine, thereafter learned that her Irving neighbor, teenager Wesley Buell Frazier, was working at the Texas School Book Depository and was aware of a job opening there. Upon hearing the news, Oswald applied for the position, was interviewed, and later offered the position, which he accepted. It was a convenient position for him, considering he was able to carpool there with his neighbor, Wesley Frazier, (which he in fact did on the day of the assassination, while carrying a long package he claimed contained window curtains, according to Frazier and other witnesses). If conspirators had fixed him up with a job there to frame him as a patsy, it goes without saying, Ruth Paine and Wesley Frazier would've had to have been in on it, and if you research these two individuals, you'll discover that such a notion is absolutely absurd. Meanwhile, President Kennedy's route down Dealey Plaza in Dallas, placing him near the book depository, wasn't finalized until November 18th, almost a month after Oswald began working at the book depository. Thus, no one could've known at the time Oswald began working at the book depository that the president would be within shooting range a month later. Therefore it isn't possible for conspirators to have placed Oswald in the book depository for the purpose of framing him for their intended crime. And no conspiracy theory involving the assassination seems feasible without Oswald as the patsy.


If Oswald could lie about being a patsy, he was certainly capable of lying about shooting the president. His own brother, Robert Oswald, was in complete denial that his brother, Lee, had committed any crime, until he had the opportunity to ask Lee about it while visiting him at the Dallas Police Headquarters. Ever since then, there's been no doubt in his mind that his brother, Lee, had committed the assassination. Oswald's wife also believed her husband, Lee, was President Kennedy's lone assassin. While much of President Kennedy's family's comments regarding the assassination remain sealed, his brother, Robert, stated that the killing was carried out by "a white man" in a speech he delivered in 1968. The Warren Commission, after all their extensive research, believed Oswald was the lone assassin. I for one do as well, and I look forward to the day when these conspiracy theories regarding JFK's death are put to rest.

This article is not intended to criticise anyone for their beliefs, other than to suggest there are many people out there who have not performed enough unbiased research on this topic. If Ruby wasn't tied into a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, as evidence indicates he wasn't, and if Oswald wasn't used as a patsy in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, as evidence indicates he wasn't, to suggest Kennedy's assassination resulted from a conspiracy involves a great deal of reaching. Why choose to believe that when there was more than enough convincing evidence to convict Oswald for this crime, and very little to suggest anyone else was involved? It almost seems to me that people would like an excuse not to trust the United States government, various branches of which most conspiracy theories involve. Perhaps it's to justify lack of fulfillment in their lives. Or maybe it's the only way they're able to accept the Vietnam War, which escalated quickly following the Warren Commission's Report. Or maybe the feeling that the world, and its leaders are corrupt helps people feel better about their own imperfections. If truth were the most fulfilling virtue, however, I think conspiracy theorists would be seeing this in a much different way.


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    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      5 years ago from Missouri

      Kennedy's assassination has always been a point of interest to me, as he died on my fourth birthday. I remember the newscast interrupting my party, and of watching the news without understanding what I was seeing at the time.

      Tha Grassy Knoll theory, which was explored by Oliver Stone (who is known for playing fast and loose with the facts) always intrigued me. Not to say it was real, but for the remote possibility that it might be. There were a lot of Kennedy detractors at the time, beginning with those high in the Government.

      Do I believe Oswald acted alone? I would like to say a definite yes, but I just do not know. He was not the smartest guy, and to think he could stage and pull of such an act alone is almost beyond the realm of reality. I have watched as people try to recreate the shots fired from the School Book Depository, and although it can be done, it is always at static targets and done by highly qualified snipers, which Oswald was not. He was a moderately decent shot, but I am not sure he was that good, to place the shot that killed Kennedy at that range, at that small a target , and while moving.

      Very interesting read, and well thought out. Well done.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 years ago from now on

      Yes, the facts are always what matters, sadly overlooked when people have agendas. Though I didn't know that Oswald was involved with killing LOANs to JFK (I've made similar mistakes, delete this comment when you correct it :-)

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      You pose a very well thought out agrument in this article. I think there is a lot of merit in what you say regarding conspiracy theories, if someone is of the opinion a conspiracy occurred they should look into the cold, hard facts themselves, as you did, and come up with their own conclusion.

      Very interesting article- thanks for sharing!


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