Former Los Angeles detective of O.J. Simpson trial fame, Mark Fuhrman has written several books, including "Silent Witness" about Terri Schiavo and "Murder in Brentwood," about the case that thrust him into the national spotlight. In "A Simple Act of Murder," Fuhrman examines the death of President John F. Kennedy, and why so many theories about the shooting still abound.
CHAPTER 1: A National Tragedy
The teacher slapped him with the back of her hand. No hesitation, no warning."Don't you ever say that!" she yelled at the boy. The teacher never apologized for hitting him, and no one felt an apology was needed. For the next few days, the afternoons I usually spent playing basketball or army were spent sitting on the floor in front of a black-and-white Zenith television. I had no understanding of politics. I had never read PT-109 or Profiles in Courage. I didn't know anything about the Kennedy family and didn't even understand what they meant when they called him "rich." I thought everybody lived pretty much like we did. Even if I didn't know or understand anything about the man, he was my president, and I was pulled into the drama of his violent death. One afternoon, sitting just a couple of feet from our television, I watched carefully as the assassin walked in front of the cameras. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw my mom ironing our uniforms for school the next day. Turning back toward the television, I saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed by Jack Ruby.
I turned back toward my mom.
"We killed him," I said.
I had forgotten I said that, but talking with my mom just a couple years ago about the JFK assassination, she asked me if I remembered what I said when Ruby shot Oswald. I didn't remember, but when she described the moment in detail, so many memories and emotions came rushing back. What exactly did I mean when I said, "We killed him"? Was I voicing suspicions that the government had murdered Oswald to shut him up? Did I think there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy? Maybe the seed of doubt was planted those first few days and grew in my mind somewhere.
Now that Oswald was dead, there would be no trial. The FBI was preparing a report on its massive investigation, and the Texas Attorney General's Office planned its own inquiry. Two separate congressional committees were being formed to look into the assassination. Just after Oswald's murder, some were already talking about a possible conspiracy. To quiet these suspicions and keep the separate inquiries from turning into a political nightmare, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed a seven-man panel to investigate the assassination, presided over by Chief Justice Earl Warren and including senators Richard Russell and John Sherman Cooper, representatives Gerald Ford and Hale Boggs, former CIA director Allen Dulles, and John McCloy, former head of the World Bank.