Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy

ByABC News
August 30, 2004, 2:45 PM

Nov. 20 -- There is no other murder in history that has produced as much speculation as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Forty years after Kennedy was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, more than 70 percent of Americans still believe there was a conspiracy to kill him and that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, did not act alone, according to a recent ABCNEWS poll. Even though the government concluded Oswald was the sole gunman, theories still flourish.

See the poll results.

"How could possibly someone as inconsequential as Oswald have killed someone as consequential as Kennedy? [There's] something out of whack about it," said Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy.

At a time of tragedy in the country, conspiracy theories offer "purpose and meaning that make tragedy more than a simple twist of fate in the hands of, in this case, a lone gunman," said Robert Goldberg, author of a book about the Kennedy assassination, Enemies Within.

Using his 8-millimeter movie camera, Abraham Zapruder recorded the moments when President Kennedy was murdered. The Zapruder film is the only film that recorded the shooting from start to finish. The film itself has been cited as evidence of a conspiracy, and some have claimed it shows that Oswald was not the only gunman.

To advance the analysis of the crime Dale Myers, a computer animator who has been studying the assassination for more than 25 years, generated an exact computer simulation of the Zapruder film.

Myers created a three-dimensional computer model of the plaza, reconstructed exactly the way it was on Nov. 22, 1963, then matched the model with the Zapruder film. The result allowed him to piece together various animated viewpoints of the shooting.