Stacy Smith Looks Back At Kennedy Assassination Report 30 Years Ago
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Thirty years ago, I reported on the 20th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination.
That assignment took me to both Dallas and to Washington.
In Dallas, it was eerie to be on Elm Street for the first time. To see the grassy knoll and remember the drama as it played out.
It was at Parkland Hospital where I interviewed surgical nurse Audrey Bell. She was assigned to President Kennedy.
“When I first saw him, I could not see the wound, I didn’t know until a few minutes the severity of the wound … it looked hopeless,” Bell said.
Whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is a controversy that has sparked an entire industry of conspiracy theorists and single bullet defenders. Dallas Police Detective Gus Rose, who questioned Oswald, told me there was no doubt in his mind.
“I’m convinced he acted alone, that there was no conspiracy, that he was a typical assassin,” Rose said.
Capt. Rose agreed with the Warren Commission. And for that part of the story, I went to Washington and the National Archives.
“Nobody disagrees with the commission and the use of this rifle, it was fired on Nov. 22 in Dallas. But there is a lot of disagreement about this, the single bullet that supposedly hit Kennedy and then hit Connelly,” I said in my report.
One of the most vocal critics of the single bullet theory then, and now, is famed Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht.
“The single bullet theory is absurd,” he said.
Wecht went head to head with Sen. Arlen Specter, who as a young attorney for the Warren Commission, developed the theory. I talked with him in his Washington office.
“As of today, I believe there is still no evidence to suggest a conspiracy,” he said.
To his death, Specter defended his theory, which had its supporters.
Remember Nurse Audrey Bell? After there was no hope for Kennedy, she was moved to Gov. Connelly’s room. He was wounded by the same bullet that passed through Kennedy’s throat.
This is what Bell told me 30 years ago: “I question it, very much, I think I had too many fragments.”
Sitting in that window, the same window where Oswald fired the shots that changed history, and before the sixth floor was turned into a museum, gave me a better sense of how easy it would have been to kill the president.