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Jim Gatewood and the JFK Assassination

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Dallas author shares theory on JFK death

Liz Crawford, Staff Writer


Dallas historian unveils truth in Kennedy conspiracy

When the Warren Commission’s report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy was made public in September 1964, Jim Gatewood was one of many people who were skeptical of the findings. Gatewood, a Dallas historian and author, spoke to Kiwanis Club members about the report at the group’s meeting Thursday.

“I was alarmed when the Warren Commission came out,” Gatewood said. “It’s what they left out that made it a joke.”

An FBI investigation under Director J. Edgar Hoover was also criticized as not being thoroughly conducted. Both the CIA and FBI had ties to the Mafia, Gatewood said. Hoover worked with the mob, and was instructed not to use the words “Mafia” or “conspiracy” in his report.

“J. Edgar Hoover was in the Mafia’s pocket,” Gatewood said. “He was on their payroll.”

Since the assassination, a lot of information has surfaced in Dallas about the circumstances surrounding the assassination. In November 2003, 40 years after the Kennedy assassination, the Dallas County Assassination Review Board was formed to organize the information and make it public.



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Guest Tom Scully


I recalled reading about Jim Gatewood and his Rotary Club speaking engagements, a few months ago, on another

JFK assassination forum.... I found this ten years old critique of Gatewood, and the opinion on the other forum is that

Gatewood is a unique type of historian....he used "faction"....it amounts to taking seriously, and repeating, anything others tell him....but the truth is probably somewhere in between....he is a popular local speaker.....


February 1, 2009

Historian to Rotary: JKF killed by the Mafia

By GREG COLLINS For the News Herald

David Castles with the Kilgore Rotary club presents a book to Jim Gatewood, a noted Dallas historian who spoke to the Kilgore Rotary Club about his theory that the Mafia was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas.....

......Ruby remained quiet, pleaded guilty to murder of Oswald and died of cancer in prison.

Gatewood offered to discuss his theory with anyone who wanted, and he said he has all of the documentation anyone would want to back up his theory.

The Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at noon in the ballroom of the Meadowbrook Country Club.



Kent Biffle: Lawman was destined to be the top gun

By Kent Biffle / The Dallas Morning News


...Son of a Dallas saloonkeeper, he was married and reared an adopted son, but he devoted his life to his work. Often he would work all day, go home, take a nap, then return to his post until the wee hours.

To be sure, his methods wouldn't work today. The county and the department have outgrown his highly individualized one-man rule. No lawman today possesses the power that he routinely exercised.

Now Jim Gatewood has written a biography of the man, who by all accounts was worthy of all his laurels. The book - Decker (distributed by Sunbelt Media, Austin) - will be in stores Sept. 15.

The 410-page book is crammed with pictures and original maps. The hefty volume carries a hefty price of $41.50. I predict that every old-timer hereabouts will want to own or borrow a copy.

An insurance exec, Mr. Gatewood became a Decker fan as a kid. Smoot Schmid's chief investigator visited Gatewood acres on Duck Creek to check out a well-dressed corpse in the cotton rows - just one more casualty of the underworld war for control of Dallas gambling.

Oddly, Mr. Gatewood's hero never tried to look like a Texas sheriff. No boots or big hats. Always dressed like a city slicker, he wore highly polished shoes and that trademark snap-brim hat. Colorful he wasn't.

"The amount of energy expended on the story of Bill Decker was tremendous, but I loved it," said the author, who spent $16,000 printing the book and thousands more on research and artwork.

More than two dozen old Decker deputies regularly breakfast in the back room of a Dallas restaurant, retelling adventures and misadventures. The author is an honorary deputy dawg. He rode with them on bomb calls, drug busts and the like.

An unabashed fuzz fan, he told me: "If the book makes money, fine. If not, well, it was something I had to do.

"It started in 1994 when The Dallas Morning News ran an article about their new computer system that allowed them to go back and pull up any subject with a hit word. The next day, I asked them to give me all they had on Decker."

Having known Sheriff Decker, I got a kick from the insider tales. The author captivates when he sticks to Sheriff Decker. But he strays.

If a lack of professional polish gives the book a certain charm, it pays for the loose style with digressions and errata.

For example, the name of Texas Ranger Frank Hamer (1884-1955) is consistently spelled "Hammer." And gangland's Albert "Lord High Executioner" Anastasia (1902-1957) is described as having been tortured to death. He was shot to death in a barber's chair.

A publisher's fact checker would have fixed such pesky annoyances.

Mr. Gatewood sins when he carelessly wanders into a tar pit - the investigation of the 1963 John F. Kennedy assassination.

Mr. Gatewood said: "I felt that when I got to the assassination, I would acknowledge Lee Harvey Oswald as a nut and give it a few pages. It turned out to be a book within a book - 107 pages."

He should have given it a few pages. He made much of Sheriff Decker's doubts:

Less than a week after the assassination, "Charles Tessmer, now recognized as the foremost criminal attorney in the southwest, entered the Seven Seas Restaurant in Lakewood.

"Sheriff Decker . . . [and wife] were there having supper. Seeing Charlie, Decker motioned for him to join them. During the meal, Tessmer revealed to Decker that he had been approached to defend Jack Ruby in the shooting of Oswald.

"Decker's response was short and to the point, 'Charlie, don't get involved in that. There is grave danger of a conspiracy. You don't want to put yourself in the position of representing those people.' "

Mr. Gatewood ends his "book within a book" with a federal document recounting a phone call to the Houston office of the Secret Service from Alonso H. Hudkins, a Houston Post reporter.

On Dec. 17, 1963, after a weekend in Dallas, Lonnie Hudkins told the Secret Service that he had reason to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was a $200 monthly FBI informer, secretly classified as number "8172."

Mr. Gatewood offers this document as a sort of conspiracy clincher.

He should know better. Serious researchers long ago parted company with Mr. Hudkins.

In Larry Sneed's oral history, No More Silence, published last year by Three Forks Press in Dallas, William F. Alexander, who was assistant DA at the time of the JFK assassination, explains the meaningless number. Reporter Hudkins simply made it up, said Mr. Alexander, "The FBI wasn't telling anybody anything, the purpose was to smoke them out and see if they would respond."

More or less repeating his 1964 answers to FBI queries, Mr. Alexander told the oral historian:

"We had a reporter here at the time, Lonnie Hudkins, from Houston, who was trying to find out if Oswald was an FBI informant. Lonnie made up some numbers that were supposed to be confidential informant numbers where they paid him. [He] passed those around to the reporters and got them to call up the FBI and ask, 'Isn't it true that this number was Lee Harvey Oswald's informant number?'

"It was a pure fairy tale."

Kent Biffle is a regular contributor to Texas & Southwest. He gets e-mail at

Edited by Tom Scully
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