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Linda Kay Willis

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The testimony of Linda Kay Willis was taken at 3:15 p.m., on July 22, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Wesley J. Liebeler, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.

Mr. LIEBELER. Would you rise and raise your right hand and I will swear you as a witness. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Miss WILLIS. I do.

Mr. LIEBELER. As I told your father, I am an attorney for the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, and he has told me that you were with him in the vicinity of the School Book Depository Building at the time of the assassination, and I wanted to ask you two or three questions about that.

First of all, would you state your name for the reporter, please?

Miss WILLIS. Linda Kay Willis.

Mr. LIEBELER. How old are you?

Miss WILLIS. I will be 15, July 29.

Mr. LIEBELER. Your father has told us that you were out in front of the School Book Depository Building along with your sister on the day of the assassination, and your mother and father were also there, is that correct?

Miss WILLIS. Yes, sir.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you hear any shots, or what you later learned to be shots, as the motorcade came past you there?

Miss WILLIS. Yes; I heard one. Then there was a little bit of time, and then there were two real fast bullets together. When the first one hit, well, the President turned from waving to the people, and he grabbed his throat, and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn't tell where the second shot went.

Mr. LIEBELER. Now, you were standing right along the curb on Elm Street, is that right, when the motorcade came by across the street from the School Book Depository Building?

Miss WILLIS. Yes, sir.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you follow the motorcade down Elm Street at all, or did you stand on the corner up toward Houston Street and watch from there?

Miss. WILLIS. I was right across from the sign that points to where Stemmons Expressway is. I was directly across when the first shot hit him.

Mr. LIEBELER. Directly across from the sign that says, "Stemmons Freeway"?

Miss WILLIS. I was right in line with the sign and the car, and I wasn't very far away from him, but I couldn't tell from where the shot came.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you just stay right there, or did you go on down Elm Street?

Miss WILLIS. I stayed there. I was on the corner across from the courthouse when the motorcade first came down Main Street, and when it turned the corner on Houston, well, I followed along the street with the car, and then he turned the corner on Elm and I stood there where the Stemmons sign is.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you see the President get hit in the head?

Miss WILLIS. Yes.

Mr. LIEBELER. You actually saw the President get hit that way?

Miss WILLIS. Yes.

Mr. LIEBELER. How far away would you say that you were when you saw that?

Miss WILLIS. Oh, about twice as far as I am from here to this door. Maybe not quite that far.

Mr. LIEBELER. About 25 feet or so?

Miss WILLIS. About that.

Mr. LIEBELER. Now when you saw the President get hit in the head, did you hear any more shots after that?

Miss. WILLIS. Yes; the first one, I heard the first shot come and then he slumped forward, and then I couldn't tell where the second shot went, and then the third one, and that was the last one that hit him in the head.

Mr. LIEBELER. You only heard three shots altogether?



Miss WILLIS. Yes; that was it.

Mr. LIEBELER. So you don't think there were any more shots after he got hit in the head?

Miss WILLIS. No.

Mr. LIEBELER. Did you recognize the noises that you heard as shots right away?

Miss WILLIS. No; when the first shot rang out, I thought, well, it's probably fireworks, because everybody is glad the President is in town. Then I realized it was too loud and too close to be fireworks, and then when I saw, when I realized that the President was falling over, I knew he had been hit. But I didn't know how badly.

Mr. LIEBELER. Okay, I just wanted to ask you about whether you heard any shots after the President got hit in the head, and if you didn't hear any more shots, that is really all I wanted to ask you about. Thank you very much.

Miss WILLIS. All right.

Texas Monthly

Linda: I followed my dad the whole time he photographed the presidential motorcade. The cars came toward the old red courthouse proceeding down Main Street, made a right onto Houston then left on Elm. So my dad began to run along the side of the limousine when the car made the turn onto Houston. As he ran along the side of the car, snapping pictures, I was on his shoulders the whole time. We were running at a pretty good clip to keep up with the motorcade. And so when they turned the corner in front of the School book depository they were moving along slowly so the crowd could wave. And when the shots rang out, my impression was firecrackers at first. But the report was loud and came again and again, I began to realize that trouble was brewing. And I saw the president's hands come up to his throat and then I saw the head shot and I never took my eyes away from the president during those shots, so I didn't look at the buildings up high or anything like that. But my impression after the shots were over, the crowd in the triangle area where the concrete arcade and the reflecting pool is, they all ran across the street toward what everybody calls the grassy knoll. Nobody ran towards the School book depository. Because of the canyon effect and the reverberation of the shots, it would probably be difficult for the average person not expecting it to identify where the shots came from if they were coming from buildings up high. But everybody who made movement after the motorcade took off went toward the grassy knoll.

Marilyn: That's right. The policeman that was on the right-hand motorcycle threw his machine down in the pavement and ran up the grassy knoll. Sure did.

Linda: There was a lot of commotion behind the fence and people went toward that.

Marilyn: We, on our own, went to Eastman Kodak on Main, and at the same time, Zapruder was already in tow with the Secret Service and they stopped everything and developed both [the rolls] at the same time.

Linda: Also, my dad had been in Texas politics. He was in the 1947-49 Texas Legislature. He was personally acquainted with Lyndon Johnson, Ralph Yarborough, Sam Rayburn. He campaigned for Kennedy, he was friends with Connally. All these people were his friends. And that was the main reason my dad took my sister and me out of school that day because of his friend and because of his involvement in politics. He had always made us aware of current events and politics, and so we were probably more interested than just the average children at ten and fourteen years old. And so it was doubly exciting to me, not only to see the president and all those other important people, but in my mind's eye those were my dad's friends. So it was really upsetting to me anyway. It was a glorious day. You know, it'd been raining that morning, cool, then the sun broke and the sky was pretty and blue and, you know...kind of warm, and they decided to take the bubble-top off. It was like a carnival atmosphere. We were just so excited, and then for it to fall apart like that, and everybody just in tears. We were crying.

Marilyn: My husband had a stomach ulcer and it upset him so that he had to absolutely vomit. It made him ill.

TM: What do ya'll think, looking back now, I mean, again, what you saw, as time has passed, what you may have learned, what do you think about this day? What was this event?

Marilyn: It was a coup.

Linda: I agree. I agree. I do. I don't think that one person could have orchestrated all that. It's possible. But there were too many other things that seem to have gone wrong to make that happen.

TM: Has it changed the way you look at the world?

Marilyn: Yes, it has. It's changed.

Linda: I think the innocence of America was taken away that day for sure. It may have started before that, but it really....

Marilyn: It's really on the slide now. (chuckling)

Marilyn: We didn't get home until dark. We stayed at Eastman Kodak, then my husband went to WFAA, well, wherever, and showed his slides to somebody or other. And, we, let's see, that was the 22nd on Friday, so you had the weekend to look at them. The Secret Service interviewed me, at home, and they took Linda and my husband downtown to the old post office building and grilled him and interviewed him. Who was it. Spector? I think it was Spector. He's now a Congressman. My husband disagreed and said (assuming a stern voice), 'You won't let me tell what I saw.' He was just as mad as he could be about it. This was long after, this was the commission, and he was as mad as he could be. They wouldn't let him say what he wanted to. He just wanted to tell how it really happened

Rosemary: The first shot got my attention, like I said, the pigeons immediately ascended, and I was following the sound that I heard. Of course, by the time the third shot ring out, that was the one that I saw the gunfire coming out of the grassy knoll, saw his head fragmenting into the air. By the time the second shot came out, I knew it was gunfire. First shot, I wasn't sure what was going on. All of a sudden it happened. But by the time of the second shot, then the third shot, and then the fourth shot (!), I knew what was going on. If you watch me in the Zapruder film, you see my body react to each of the shots, and that's one reason so many people have been interested in me. It's because of watching my body. Every time a shot rings out, you know, I react. Strongly.

TM: Now, 35 years later, what do you think?

Rosemary: In terms of what? Who did it? Why? I know that Kennedy was assassinated. I heard and saw many shots from many directions, so I know it was a conspiracy. And the Warren Report is totally invalid.

TM: Has it changed the way you look at life and government?

Rosemary: Sure it does. Sure it does. Because our government has been for a long time manipulating various things around the world, and various factions of our government can do that. I do not feel like the United States of America is a genuine democracy.

TM: That's pretty profound, from one event.

Rosemary: That's right, with a lot of fascist overtones.

TM: What happened after the shooting?

Rosemary: After, afterwards, you know, a lot of people, pandemonium, down on the ground. And as people get to... the limousine drives off, lot of people, FBI, CIA, policemen, lot of impostors, lot of people suddenly on the scene, and they roped off the area, they just kind of told everybody to stay put. But they really didn't do anything. It was rather strange. Kept us there for, I don't know, 30 minutes, maybe an hour. The interesting part is after we left the roped-off scene and went to the Eastman-Kodak plant, that's where it becomes real interesting. And we'll continue....

(Rosemary recalls being interrogated later by investigators)

.... .tell you over and over you didn't see what you saw, you didn't hear what you heard. When they asked you what happened, you say, 'I heard a shot from over here, I heard a shot and saw smoke from other here,' and they're going (assumes mean voice), 'No, you didn't. Look at me: you didn't. I'm telling you, you didn't.' Very adamantly and depending who they were talking to, they were very strong about it, they did not want you to tell the truth. It was messing everything up.

TM: Who were these people?

Rosemary: Well, some of them, like I say, were impostors, and that's where you get into that part about Eastman-Kodak.



TMWKK Willis Family interview on youtube


Question: Is this Linda Willis?

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