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January 11, 2008
JFK-Autopsy Eyewitness Francis X. O'Neill Speaks
on the Assassination and the Events of the Evening of 11/22/63
with Comments from Bill Cheslock
Every effort has been made to provide a faithful and accurate transcription of Mr. O'Neill's words.
Any inaccuracy is an honest error. Where words were unintelligible because of poor sound
quality, estimates of number of missing words are provided thus: "[three]."
Thanks to Bill Cheslock for providing the videotape.
DATE: April 2, 1992
LOCATION: Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, NH
OCCASION: The JFK Assassination: Issues and Evidence, a panel discussion of the assassination of President Kennedy for the benefit of a law-student audience, recorded on videotape*
PANELISTS: Gary R. Hamilton, Chair (student), Francis X. O'Neill (ex-FBI agent), George Michael Evica (professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Hartford; DECEASED 11/10/07), William Cheslock (History and Special Needs teacher, Brewster, MA), and Linda Saunders (professor at the Franklin Pierce Law Center)
Gary Hamilton Frank O'Neill George Michael Evica Bill Cheslock Linda Saunders
[*Copyright ownership is ascribed to Gary Hamilton. Efforts to contact Mr. Hamilton to seek permission to place this trancript on the Internet have been in vain. If it is learnt that this webpage conflicts with copyright protection, it will be withdrawn immediately.]
Mr. Hamilton opens the proceedings by stressing that the discussion will be from a legal perspective, examining issues and evidence, not a free-for-all debate. After outlining the events in Dallas and the reports by the Warren Commission and House Select Committee on Assassinations, he introduces the panelists and invites each to recall where (s)he was and what (s)he was doing on learning that President Kennedy had been assassinated.
Mr. Evica initiates the discussion with a slide presentation of some of the evidence in the Warren Report, with special emphasis on the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository, "sniper's nest" anomalies and the single-bullet theory, highlighting differences between the Warren and FBI reports.
Mr. Cheslock summarizes specific aspects of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald and provides information complementary to Mr. Evica's.
Mr. O'Neill: All I can say to you is what I observed, what I know, and what evidence, credible evidence, shows -- not conjecture, not theory, the facts -- facts that would be admissible in a court of law, facts that any reasonable jury would find that one person, and one person only responsible for the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But I'll get into that in time. For now some comments on things discussed in the slide shows, which I thought, by the way, were excellent-many of which I had not seen before. I think that both of you gentlemen have done an incredible job in gathering the material that you gave to these people today. Excellent.
The rifle. The rifle has been proven beyond all doubts, to have been purchased by Lee Harvey Oswald. And it does have his fingerprints on it. Let me rephrase that: not fingerprints, palm print on it -- palm print taken off the underside by a Dallas police officer. It was not found by the FBI, because there was no palm print there to be found. It had already been taken off. However, the material that the palm print was on -- residue of that was found on the rifle, in the back, and you have to believe that the palm print found on the rifle came from Lee Harvey Oswald and was taken off by the doctor [sic]. You might have a theory, you might have thoughts that it's not true. But prove to me, and prove to a court of law that it's not true.
Bullets from his rifle were matched-. Let me rephrase that. Specks of bullets, fragments of bullets which were taken out of the head in my presence and given to me, were of the same consistency [sic] as the bullets utilized in that particular rifle which has been spoken of today. The Bureau, which has, to my way of thinking, one of the best laboratories in the world, and I think most of you people, your families, have contributed to that laboratory over the years, in moneys and in time and in energy -- and all the police departments in this country utilize that particular laboratory -- has stated that that pristine bullet, which I agree with George Michael did not go through Governor Connally, that pristine bullet did come from the rifle of our good friend Mr. Oswald.
Eyewitnesses can see something totally different from other eyewitnesses. You go downtown here, in Concord, New Hampshire, and stand outside for five minutes and say, "Look up there!" and keep looking and in a matter of minutes you'll have people surrounding you looking up, "What did you see?" "I saw this." And they'll point, and they'll point. And before you know it, you'll have people saying so many different things, when in reality nothing was seen at all. I'm not saying that that happened on the grassy knoll, but I do know that one person ran up the grassy knoll and many others did follow. If that one person happened to be a person in uniform then many others would follow. Try it sometime and see what happens. That's true.
Some people say there was a puff of smoke on the grassy knoll. In November [two] underneath that steam pipe. Something might have happened there -- just thoughts, just conjecture.
Mr. Lee Bowers in the railroad tower looked out and he saw something after seeing some people there originally and he looked out and something -- I don't know what it is, nor does anyone else know what it is [three] at that particular time. Witnesses on the overpass -- Sam Holland -- looks and sees something, or a flash of light, a strike of match, what? -- from the grassy knoll. No evidence that could be admitted in a court of law.
Best evidence is evidence which is taken, not six weeks, not thirteen years, not twenty-seven years, not four days after an assassination or after a murder. I've investigated many murders in my time, many kidnappings. I was even involved in a way in the RFK assassination, providing evidence from an evidentiary point of view, and I know that, most of the time, best evidence is obtained immediately thereafter or within any reasonable time. Within six hours, six hours of the assassination of President Kennedy, I interviewed the two Secret Service agents who were in the car, Roy Kellerman and Bill Greer. Both of these gentlemen had been under fire before. I have been shot at before, and, believe me, if you are shot at, you know where that bullet is come [sic] from. No doubts. You know. Both of these gentlemen -- within six hours after the assassination-told me that the bullets came from above and behind. Both of them. No other person had interviewed them at that time. No chance to get stories together. No collusion. Oh, by the way, if you're shot at and it comes from the back, you know when that bullet goes by you -- zing!-- it comes right by you. It happened to me. And you know where it came from. They'd been shot at. They knew where the three bullets came from.