Craig Ciccone


Frequently Asked Questions - 1



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 Kennedy’s skull.

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.

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