Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

JFK Assassination

Justice Served?

Although most Americans, still numb over the assassination, watched slack-jawed as Oswald was gunned down on TV, some reckoned that Ruby had done the nation a favor by sparing America a circus trial.

In the view of Dallas cops, they had their man in Lee Oswald, after all.

Capt. Fritz, the suspects chief interrogator, told reporters on the day after Kennedys murders that the case against Oswald was cinched. Chief Curry added, We are sure of our case. He went on to offer wildly premature statements about evidence against the accused.

Yet the trial might have been a fiasco.

A month after Oswalds murder, the American Bar Association said, Widespread publicizing of Oswald's alleged guilt, involving statements by officials and public disclosures of the details of 'evidence,' would have made it extremely difficult to impanel an unprejudiced jury and afford the accused a fair trial."

He apparently had requested but was denied legal representation during his long hours of interrogation, and no notes were kept of his statements during the questioning.

Legal technicalities such as fair trial aside, the Warren Commission concluded that Dallas police did, indeed, have their man.

The report said,

On the basis of the evidence...the Commission has found that Lee Harvey Oswald (1) owned and possessed the rifle used to kill President Kennedy and wound Governor Connally, (2) brought this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of the assassination, (3) was present, at the time of the assassination, at the window from which the shots were fired (4) killed Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit in an apparent attempt to escape, (5) resisted arrest by drawing a fully loaded pistol and attempting to shoot another police officer, (6) lied to the police after his arrest concerning important substantive matters(and) possessed the capability with a rifle which would have enabled him to commit the assassination. On the basis of these findings the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy.

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