The QUESTIONS SUGGESTED
BY JFK LANCER'S DEBRA CONWAY
DC: What made you decide to focus on the witnesses to the events
surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy?
CC: I would have to say that Josiah Thompson’s eyewitness compilation (Six
Seconds in Dallas) in 1967 was a significant influence on my initial
interest in eyewitness study. From that came the gradual realization that
witnesses in this case played a unique evidentiary role, not simply based
on what they reported, but also based on what they actually did and what happened
to them. Consider the profound and riveting immediate accounts of Abraham
Zapruder and Bill Newman, both of whom broke down on air while being interviewed
live on WFAA-TV shortly after the assassination.
Because it would be another decade before the nation saw the Zapruder film,
eyewitness accounts provided details we wouldn’t have otherwise known; details
that led directly to unshakeable suspicions of the “official” version of the
assassination, such as the statements of Dallas Police motorcycle escort Bobby
Hargis, flanking the left inboard of the Secret Service follow-up limousine,
who was doused with President Kennedy’s blood, and Deputy Sheriff Seymour
Weitzman, who had the unenviable fortune of recovering a piece of President
Witnesses also recorded the full specter of events through the lenses of
their still and movie cameras. Even though there were three cars filled with
professional photographers and cameramen riding only six vehicles behind President
Kennedy, they had stopped filming before reaching Dealey Plaza and didn’t
resume shooting until after the assassination. So, again, witnesses provided
photographic evidence that wouldn’t have otherwise existed.
Finally, it was the questioning of witnesses by the legion of Warren Commission
assistant counsel that compelled me to take a closer look. Not only was the
official investigative body highly selective in the number of material eyewitnesses
heard from, but it also employed questioning techniques that most likely wouldn’t
have been tolerated by a judge had it been attempted at an actual trial.