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William Newman on the source of the shots


Pat Speer
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Since Dr. Fetzer took exception to my assertion that the insertion of a shot of the picket fence in a televised interview with William Newman (when he said he felt the last shot came from behind) was "incredibly deceptive," the thought occurred that many not be aware of Newman's actual statements.

So here they are...

From patspeer.com, chapter 7:

William Newman was standing on the north side of Elm Street with his wife and two kids and can be seen in the Muchmore film. (11-22-63 interview on WFAA, prior to the announcement of the President's death, at approximately 12:45) “We were, we just come from Love Field after seeing the President and First Lady, and we were just in front of the triple underpass on Elm Street at the edge of the curb, getting ready to wave at the President. (After being asked to clarify his position) We were halfway in between the triple underpass. We were at the curb when this incident happened. But the President’s car was some fifty feet in front of us still yet in front of us coming toward us when we heard the first shot and the President. I don't know who was hit first but the President jumped up in his seat, and I thought it scared him, I thought it was a firecracker, cause he looked, you know, fear. And then as the car got directly in front of us well a gunshot apparently from behind us hit the President in the side of the temple.” (When asked if he thought the first shot came form the same location) "I think it came from the same location apparently back up on the mall, whatchacallit." (When asked if he thought the shot came from the viaduct) "Yes, sir, no, no, not on the viaduct itself but up on top of the hill, on the mound, of ground, in the garden." (When asked from how far away the shots were fired) "I have no idea. I didn't see where the gunshots come from. I believe we was looking directly at the President when he was hit. He was more or less directly in front of us. We didn't realize what happened until we seen the side of his head, when the bullet hit him. (When asked if he saw blood) "Yes sir, we seen it. I seen it" (11-22-63 second interview on WFAA, prior to the announcement of Kennedy's death, at approximately 1:00 PM) (When asked if he felt the shots came from different directions) "No sir, actually I feel that they both come from directly behind where we were standing. The President, it looked like he was looking in that direction. I don't know whether he was hit first. Apparently he wasn't. It looked like he jumped up in his seat, and when he jumped up he was shot directly in his head. I don't know whatchacallit--the mall behind us--but apparently (interviewer Bill Lord finishing his thought) "that's where he was." (11-22-63 third interview on WFAA, at approximately 1:10 PM) “My wife and my two sons were standing at the curb, looking at the President approaching us, when we heard a blast. And the President looked like that he right jumped up in his seat, and by that time he was directly in front of us. And then he......we seen him get shot in the side of the head. He fell back in the seat and Governor Connally was holding his stomach." (When asked if the shots were almost simultaneous) "Yes sir, they were probably 10 seconds apart." (When asked if he heard a third shot) "I didn't hear a third...I don't recall a third shot. There may have been. We hit...my family hit the ground. I don't recall a third shot. I just couldn't...I'm not certain of that. I do know I heard two shots." (11-22-63 statement to Dallas Sheriff’s Department, 24H219) “We were standing at the edge of the curb looking at the car as it was coming toward us and all of a sudden there was a noise, apparently gunshot. The President jumped up in his seat, and it looked like what I thought was firecracker had went off and I thought he had realized it. It was just like an explosion and he was standing up. By this time he was directly in front of us and I was looking directly at him when he was hit in the side of the head.” (11-24-63 FBI report, 22H842) “when the President’s car was approximately 50 feet from him proceeding in a westerly direction on Elm Street, he heard the first shots fired...the shots were fired in rapid succession which he thought at the time was a firecracker. The car was proceeding toward him and it seemed that the President’s arms went up and that he raised up in his seat and started to look around. The car proceeded to a point about even with him and he could see Governor John Connally was holding his stomach. About that time another shot was fired which he estimated was ten seconds after the first shot was fired. At that time he heard the bullet strike the president and saw flesh fly from the President’s head… Newman first thought the President and Governor were playing some kind of a game.” (11-29-66 interview with Josiah Thompson) “In my opinion the ear went…My thoughts were that the shot entered there and apparently the thoughts of the Warren Commission were that the shot came out that side.” (2-17-69 testimony in the trial of Clay Shaw) “as the car was approaching I heard two shots -- BOOM, BOOM -- and when the first shot was fired the President throwed his hands up like this (demonstrating), and at the time what we thought had happened, somebody throwed firecrackers or something under the automobile and he was protecting his face. At the time of the first shot Governor Connally turned in his seat in this manner (demonstrating), to look back at the President I suppose, and then the second shot was fired, and then as the car approached us to where we were standing, I could see Governor Connally leaning back in his seat holding his hands down like this (demonstrating), and at that time I could see blood on his shirt, and that is when I actually realized that it appeared, you know, he had been shot. The President all the time was staying in an upright position in his seat and it looked like he was looking into the crowd of people as if he was trying to see someone. I caught a glimpse of his eyes, just looked like a cold stare, he just looked through me, and then when the car was directly in front of me, well, that is when the third shot was fired and it hit him in the side of the head right above the ear and his ear come off…I observed his ear flying off, and he turned just real white and then blood red, and the President, when the third shot hit him he just went stiff like a board and fell over to his left in his wife's lap, and I told my wife, "That is it, hit the ground," and that is when we hit the ground because I thought the shots were coming over our heads. And then I looked back and I saw Mrs. Kennedy jumping up on the back end of the car…”

(The Kennedy Assassination Tapes, 1979) Civilian L “When the President’s car came around the corner, I had a good view from about 150 feet. About that time I heard two loud sounds about three seconds apart. I didn’t associate them with gunshots… They seemed more like firecrackers. However, I did notice a change in President Kennedy, his arm went up and he seemed to stiffen. Just after the two sounds…the limousine stopped for an instant, a large man in the right front seat picked up what looked to be a telephone, and then the car shot forward again. Some of the agents on the following car got off…From a distance of 12-to 15 feet…we saw the bullet hit the President from the right rear and literally tear away the side of his scalp and right ear…Thinking about it afterwards, I had the impression that they had been fired from behind us. I noticed Mr. Zapruder with his camera and thought it was a gun. My impression was only “behind us,” not from the stockade fence. I am certain no shot was fired from there.” (7-23-86 testimony in televised mock trial, On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald) "As the President's car come towards us, probably 200 feet or so from us, we heard a Boom (one second pause) Boom, like that. The President sorta throwed his arms up, and we thought at that time maybe someone had throwed firecrackers or something beside the President's car. As the President's car came closer to us, we could see that something was wrong. Governor Connally, I could see the blood on his shirt, and Governor Connally's eyes protruding. And the President was looking into the crowd of people. He was moving his head about and looking into the crowd of the people. And just as the President's car got directly in front of me, the President was probably fifteen feet away, Boom, and the side of his ear flew off, and justa, bits and pieces flew off. I can remember seeing just a white flash, and then the red, and the President fell across the car, as if you'd hit him with a bat. He fell across the car, and back, into Mrs. Kennedy's lap. I remember her saying 'Oh my God! They've shot Jack!'...Mrs. Kennedy...At that time I turned to Gayle and I said 'That's it! Hit the ground! We hit the ground because we thought we were in direct line of fire. (When asked where he thought the shots were coming from) Sir, I thought the shots were coming from directly behind. (When asked to mark on the map where he thought the shots came from) It would be somewhere back in this general area. (He then makes a large mark across the southern side of the Elm Street extension back behind the eastern half of the arcade, to the West of the School Book Depository). (When asked by Bugliosi if he thought the shot that hit Kennedy in the head was the last shot) "Yes sir, I do." (Interview in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, broadcast 1988) “I can remember seeing the side of the President’s ear and head come off. I remember a flash of white and red and just bits and pieces of flesh exploding from the President’s head. At that time, I turned to Gayle and said “That’s it, hit the ground.” And we turned and hit the ground and covered our children. When the third shot was fired I thought it came from directly behind, towards the grassy knoll behind me. I base that primarily on the third shot, from what I saw, the sight of the President’s head coming off, and from the sound of the rifle, the report of the rifle” (Interview with Jim Marrs published in Crossfire, 1989) "As he was coming straight toward us there was a boom, boom, real close together. I thought someone was throwing firecrackers. He got this bewildered look on his face and was sort of slowing moving back and forth. The he got nearer to us, and, bam, a shot took the right side of his head off. His ear flew off. I heard Mrs. Kennedy say 'Oh, my God, no, they shot Jack!' He was knocked violently back against the seat, almost as if he had been hit by a baseball bat. At that time, I was looking right at the President and I thought the shots were coming from directly behind us. I said, "That's it! Get on the ground!" (Excerpt from 1991 interview with Mark Oakes, found online) "As the car got directly in front of us, the President was not much further than I am to you--probably ten to twelve feet, he was directly in front of me--the third shot rang out and I remember seeing the side of his head come off...I was looking straight at him and I remember seeing him go across the car and into Mrs. Kennedy's lap." (When asked if it hit him in the temple) "It appeared right in this area here (as he motions to his temple)" (11-20-97 interview published in No Case To Answer, 2005) "the President's car was out the distance of one lane from the curb line and some one hundred and fifty feet from us, some short distance, when the first two shots rang out. And it was a boom-boom. They were very close together and I could remember thinking "Boy, that's a poor thing to do." I thought someone had thrown a couple of firecrackers at the side of the President's car. At that moment, I didn't realize that it was gunfire and the President had been shot. I can remember his arms go up...he just kinda came forward and made a motion and apparently he was hit by one of the first two shots. As the car got closer to us I could see that something was wrong. I could see Governor Connally and I could see his eyes protruding and I could see him holding himself and I could see blood on his shirt. I can remember that the President looked to me like he was sorta looking into the crowd with a bewildered look on his face. As the car got directly in front of us--and we were on the curb's edge--and the President was probably not much further than I am from you (about ten feet) the third shot rang out and I can remember seeing the side of President Kennedy's head blow off. There was black matter and then grayish and he fell across Mrs. Kennedy, into her lap, and she jumped up and hollered "Oh my God no. They've shot Jack." And I turned to Gayle and I said: "That's it--hit the ground." And we turned and pushed our kids down on the ground behind us." (When describing his impression of the direction from which the shots were fired) "From my view it was just "behind" and it was a visual impact it had on me of seeing the head wound and seeing President Kennedy go across the seat. That gave me the impression of the shot being fired from behind..."

(No More Silence p. 94-101, published 1998) “As the President’s car started down Elm, the first two shots were fired. It was BOOM!…BOOM! like that. The first two were much closer together in my opinion. It's hard for me to tell the time frame because my concentration was on the President's car. I'm sure the Zapruder film can tell exactly the time frame. But the first two shots were much closer than the third shot. At that time I thought someone had thrown a couple of firecrackers or something beside the President's car. I didn't even realize at that time it was gunfire. The President’s car was probably 150 feet or so from us at the time. As the car came closer to us, it was obvious something was wrong. I could see Governor Connally; I could see his protruding eyes, and I could see him more or less frozen in the seat holding himself. You could see the blood on Governor Connally and President Kennedy. When the first two shots were fired, he threw his arms up. I believe I said at the time that he raised up in his seat, which I think, in reality, all he did was throw his arms up. I can remember him turning, looking into the crowd, and just as the car passed in front of us at a distance of ten to fifteen feet, the third shot rang out, and it hit the President. It appeared to me that it hit him on the side of the head, as the side of his head came off. I can remember seeing a white mass, and then just a mass of red. The President fell across the car away from me over into Mrs. Kennedy's lap. It was as if someone had given him a hard shove. It wasn't like slow motion. He went across the seat pretty quick. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and said, "Oh my God, no, they've shot Jack!" Then I recall her on the back of the car when the Secret Service agent ran toward the car and pushed her back in. When the third shot rang out, I turned to Gayle and said, "That's it! Hit the ground!" because at that time I thought the shot came from directly behind us in the grassy knoll area. The only basis I had for that was what I visually saw: the President going across the car and seeing the side of his head come off. The sound played little factor. I believe it was a visual thing at that time. We turned and hit the ground and threw our children down and covered them." (November 1998 interview with Texas Monthly) “When his car was probably a hundred fifty feet or so from us, the first two shots rang out and it was boom!(smacks his hand) boom! (smacks his hand again) like that.”

(Oral History for the Sixth Floor Museum, 7-10-03) "When he was probably a hundred feet or so from us, the first two shots rang out, and I can remember hearing a boom (slaps hands) boom (slaps hands) about like that. I thought somebody had thrown a couple of firecrackers or something beside the President's car. I did not recognize it even to be gunfire. And I can remember I thought now that's a pretty poor joke--somebody doing something like that. And the President's hands came up. I actually testified that day that the President came up out of his seat, which in reality he didn't stand up, but he just throwed his arms up, kinda raised up in his seat. As the car got closer to us I could see Governor Connally and I could see his protruding eyes, and I could see the blood on his shirt. He was outstretched in the car. And just as the President got straight in front of us, which is the width of that one lane. We were right on the curb, and just as he got straight out from the curb from us, the third shot rang out. And I can remember seeing the side of President Kennedy's head come off, and I thought his ear came off. And I testified to that effect but years later I saw a picture that showed otherwise. But I can remember seeing a flash of white and the red blood. He went across the car seat over into Mrs. Kennedy's lap. And I can remember her hollering out 'Oh my God, no, they've shot Jack.'" And I turned to Gayle and said 'Gayle, that's it. Hit the ground' because at that time I thought the shots had come from straight over the top of our heads from behind." (When discussing a report received at WFAA saying the President was still alive) "I was kinda dumbfounded to hear these people saying that, when just minutes earlier I'd seen the side of his head come off." (When asked if he knew the President was dead when first interviewed on WFAA) "When you see something the size of a grapefruit or orange or something blow out into the air, and then you hear the statement that he was in the emergency and was shot in the back whatever, it dumbfounded me momentarily.." (When later asked about his impression the shots came from behind) "It was the visual impact that it had on me more so than the noise--seeing the side of the President's head blow off, seeing the President go across the car seat into Mrs. Kennedy's lap, in her direction. It gave me the impression that the shots were coming from directly behind where I was standing." (When stressing just how much his impressions of the shot location were based on what he saw as opposed to what he heard) "It might be difficult for me to testify that I heard a noise." (History Channel program "Our Generation", broadcast 2007) "The President's car came toward us, probably some hundred feet or so from us, when the first shots rang out...I seen a bewildered look on President Kennedy's face...And when his limousine was straight out in front of us the third shot rang out...She (Jackie) hollered out "Oh my God no they've shot Jack" and I turned to Gayle and I said "That's it! Hit the ground!" (Pierce Allman, "Our Generation", broadcast 2007) "A cop he got off his motorcycle and he said "everybody get down" and I bounced right back up and ran across the street and picked up Bill and Gayle Newman--I didn't know their names of the couple at the time--they had two little kids--and I said "Are you okay?" And he said "Yeah, but they got the President. They blew the side of his head in." (11-19-08 AP article by Dylan Lovan) "As the president's black convertible came into sight, Bill Newman said, he heard what he thought were fireworks. 'I didn't recognize it as a gunshot,' he said, clapping his hands twice with a pause to simulate the sounds. But as the limousine drew closer, Newman said he could see blood on Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally, who was in the car with the president. 'Ten, 12 feet in front of us, the third shot rang out, and that's when the side of his head flew off and I could remember seeing' the blood, Bill Newman said. 'I turned to Gayle and I said, that's it, hit the ground.' (When asked if he felt there was second gunman on the grassy knoll) 'I do tend to want to lean in the direction that it was a conspiracy, meaning more than one person was involved. But so far, no one's ever come forward with concrete evidence." (11-22-08 article by David Flick in the Dallas Morning News) "With 45 years of practice, Bill Newman repeats what he saw on Nov. 22, 1963, dispassionately and in quick order. After witnessing President John F. Kennedy’s arrival at Dallas Love Field, he pressed the speed limit along Cedar Springs Road to get to his family to the parade route along Dealey Plaza. They arrived about five minutes ahead of the motorcade. As the presidential limousine approached, he heard a sound that he assumed was a firecracker, and then another. The president briefly raised his arms and then gazed out at the crowd with a bewildered look. A third shot. The president slumped into his wife’s lap." (Tru TV program Conspiracy Theory, first broadcast 11-19-10) "As the President's car turned onto Elm Street, probably some one hundred feet or less from us, the first two shots rang out, and it was BOOM (hits palm) BOOM (hits palm about a second later). Like that. Just as the car got right in front of us, the third shot rang out, and the side of President Kennedy's head blew off (as he says this he reaches for his temple). We seen the brain matter and the blood fly off. Mrs. Kennedy, she screamed out "Oh my God, they shot Jack." I turned to Gayle and said 'That's it, hit the ground.' We threw our children down and covered them on the ground. I thought the shot had come from directly behind (as he says this he points to the arcade at the top of the knoll). (At this point interviewer Jesse Ventura interjects "Directly behind?" Newman then confirms) "Directly behind." (A quick shot of the picket fence--which is 30 feet or more to the west of where Newman was pointing--is then shown.)

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