Courtesy of AOL
(Nov. 3) — Newly opened documents contradict some commonly accepted accounts of President John F. Kennedy’s death, according to historian Steven M. Gillon.
In his new book “The Kennedy Assassination — 24 Hours After,” Gillon raises questions about the timeline of events that followed the fatal shooting of the president in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Donald Uhrbrock, Time Life Pictures / Getty Images
President Kennedy was declared dead in this room at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
The Warren Commission’s investigation concluded Kennedy was shot at 12:30 pm and declared dead at 1 p.m. But doctors knew he had died at least 10 minutes earlier, Gillon contends. He cites information in notes and memos collected by William Manchester, author of the 1967 bestseller “The Death of a President.”
Although the emergency room doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital were ready to declare Kennedy dead at 12:50 pm, a priest had not yet administered last rites, according to Gillon. He says first lady Jacqueline Kennedy was worried because, according to Catholic doctrine, the sacrament must be delivered before the soul leaves the body.
“The time of death was a fiction created to satisfy Mrs. Kennedy,” Gillon says in an article for The Huffington Post.
Besides pushing back the official time of death, Gillon also challenges the timing of the transfer of power to the new president, Lyndon Johnson. While Attorney General Robert Kennedy was told of his brother’s death shortly after 1 p.m., the historian says documents show Johnson wasn’t informed until 1:13 p.m. at the earliest.
“Technically, the powers of the presidency transferred to Johnson at 12:30 p.m. when the fatal third bullet shattered Kennedy’s brain,” the historian says. But for “a variety of reasons” — including chaos at the hospital and Kennedy aides’ distrust of the new president — “the United States was without a functioning head of state for nearly 40 minutes,” Gillon reveals.