JFK & Jackie — A Dying Wish

By Sadie Bass

Nov 3, 2009 2:56pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: Like the constant drip of a leaky faucet, new facts, old suppositions and endless questions continue to riddle the assassination of JFK.  In the nearly half century since, a crescendo of revelations usually appear as the anniversary approaches.  This November is no different.  In today’s Huffington Post, historian Steven M Gillon offers what may be a tantalizing new insight into the timeline surrounding events at Parkland Hospital that day. Shots rang out in Dealey Plaza at approximately 12:30pm (cst).  The President, mortally wounded, was rushed to Parkland’s Trauma Room #1.  There, frenzied doctors described his condition as “moribund” i.e. DOA.  “We have no hope of saving his life,” said one.  A priest was called to administer last rites. The Reverend Oscar Huber told reporters that when he entered the room President Kennedy was already dead, a sheet covering his body had to be lifted. But the official time of death, as noted by the Warren Commission, 1pm (cst) may be incorrect according to new documents uncovered by Gillon.  Kennedy aide Dave Powers, the schedule keeper on this Presidential trip, took copious notes which ultimately ended up with historian William Manchester.  Gillon, who has seen the notes, says that Powers “stated that he saw the priest coming down the hall at 12:50pm."  If the priest left the room at 12:50pm then doctors “had already determined that Kennedy was dead at least 10 minutes before the official time stated by the Warren Commission.”  Why the subterfuge? Gillon offers a fascinating explanation.  “The time of death was a fiction,” he says, “to satisfy Mrs Kennedy.”  Jacqueline Kennedy was frantic her husband’s last rites be administered before the soul left the body in accordance with Catholic doctrine.  Post death the last rites would have been invalid. “Father do you think the sacrament had effect?” she asked the priest.  “He tried to allay her fears,” writes Gillon.  “I am convinced that his soul had not left his body,” answered Huber.  “This was a valid sacrament.”  Small comfort for a shocked and grieving First Lady.  A scant 10 minutes — a leap of faith?

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