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Attorney dies who took part in JFK investigation

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Lancaster attorney, who died Monday,

took part in JFK investigation


Lancaster, Pa.

Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 2:00 pm | Updated: 2:15 pm, Wed Mar 18, 2015.

Lancaster attorney, who died Monday, took part in JFK investigation STAFF LancasterOnline

Lancaster attorney Alvin B. Lewis Jr., who died Monday, took part nearly 40 years ago in an investigation of the death of President John F. Kennedy.

And Lewis was among those who came away convinced that the president’s 1963 assassination was the result of a conspiracy. He blamed the mafia.

Lewis served a seven-month stint, from late 1976 until mid 1977, as the chief counsel to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations. The panel concluded in late 1978 that Kennedy had been the victim of a conspiracy.

Lewis contended that the president was probably the victim of a Mafia assassination plot and, that while Lee Harvey Oswald was a gunman, there were probably two or three others shooting at Kennedy in Dallas.

“The audio scientific evidence was difficult (to understand), but there was so much circumstantial evidence from the audio, grassy knoll and witnesses that there is a likelihood there were another two or three shooters in Dealey Plaza,” Lewis wrote in a letter to the Intelligencer Journal in 1992.

Lewis said that he believed the New Orleans Mafia headed by Carlos Marcello was probably behind the plot to kill Kennedy.

“Their motivation was twofold,” Lewis wrote. “First, they harbored a hatred of the Kennedy brothers, who had been hounding Marcello and had physically deported him to Central America. Secondly, the Florida crime family hoped to have Castro removed — something that Kennedy seemed unwilling to do — so that the Mafia could re-establish its operation of Cuban gambling.”

The Warren Commission concluded that a single bullet from Oswald’s rifle wounded both Kennedy and then-Texas Gov. John Connally. The author of the single bullet theory was the late Arlen Specter, a Warren Commission investigator in 1964 who would later serve as a senator from Pennsylvania.

Lewis said he doubted the theory.

“Forensically and circumstantially it is the least supported scientific conclusion. ... I was really not comfortable with it. It was really very troubling,” he wrote.

But the investigation by the House committee also was flawed.

The House investigators were attempting “to organize the best homicide investigative unit in the country’s history,” until “members of the House seemed to become nervous that we might find the evidence of an actual conspiracy involving the government.”

The eventual result was that the committee found evidence of a conspiracy but failed to develop it and stopped short of any investigation into who were the actual conspirators.

Lewis concluded his 1992 letter by writing that the aborted investigation, coupled with the refusal of every president since 1963 to direct the Justice Department to conduct its own investigation, has left the nation with “a gnawing sensation that we have been lied to or ignored.”

Lewis had a long career in law, politics and public service in Lancaster County. He died Monday at Garden Spot Village in New Holland

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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