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My Final Word on Wynne Johnson


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On 4/22/2021 at 8:45 AM, W. Tracy Parnell said:

there will never, EVER be a "Final Word" concerning anything JFK... Neither side of the brouhaha would stand for that... Too many attention seekers (not to mention amateur sleuth's and writers who have all the answers) out there... Who are you trying to kid?

My FINAL....

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46 minutes ago, Jonathan Cohen said:

Tracy, and others:

I'm curious if there are any late-to-the-party witnesses such as Wynne Johnson who really pass muster once their stories are subjected to scrutiny? 

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any Jonathan.

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What do you think of late-to-the-party witness John Curington? This is a serious question, not rhetorical. Curington is the aide to H.L. Hunt who says he was sent by HL Hunt to check on jail security for Oswald the night before Oswald was shot by Ruby, and that he, Curington, reported back to HL Hunt at Hunt's estate late Saturday night, followed by Curington at Hunt's instruction setting up a meeting between Hunt and Dallas mob boss Joseph Civello that occurred ca. 7 am or so Sunday morning--Curington says he was not present at that meeting but got a couple of hours sleep and then went to church--Ruby killed Oswald later that morning and Curington heard the announcement when he was in church.

Curington first told of checking the jail security for HL Hunt in 1977, with no mention of the Civello connection at that time. In his 2018 book, Motive and Opportunity, and in taped interview with me in 2018, Curington told the Civello connection. As he told it to me (and writes of it in his book), I originally had the impression he was saying he had phoned Civello in the middle of the night at Hunt's request to set up the Hunt/Civello meeting. However subsequently Curington told me he had gone over in person to Civello's house that night (ca. 2 am), rather than the communication being by a phone call. 

Then, in a phone call last December, 2020 (I have written notes of the conversation at the time but no recording), Curington explicitly told me that when he got a phone call from HL Hunt to go check jail security re Oswald late Saturday afternoon Nov 23, he knew Oswald was going to be dead, which is what happened the next morning. In other words, although Curington did not do the hit, Curington told me it was clear to him that a hit was coming down.

Curington is now 93 years old (sound mind). I have talked to him many times since 2018 and a long-time friend of mine has known him closely going back to the 1980s. He is who he says he is with respect to his position and many years with HL Hunt. But what to make of his story? Apart from Curington's book which has not received much publicity or notice; Dr. Cyril Wecht who has to a certain extent taken Curington under his wing; and my 2018 interview with him which has not been greatly publicized (https://independent.academia.edu/GregoryDoudna, scroll down to next to last listing), Curington's story of the Civello middle-of-the-night meetings which Curington said looked like it was setting up the hit on Oswald which happened the next morning has basically gone "nowhere". I see now there is also an oral history interview of Curington recorded 2018 on the Sixth Floor Museum website although I have not heard it. 

It was an eery feeling to have a living person at this late date, not otherwise obviously fraudulent as so many other late-to-the-party witnesses have been shown to be, tell me matter-of-factly, in so many words that he was knowledgeable of and party to circumstances of Oswald's murder being planned starting about eighteen hours before it happened. Curington says he had no meeting or contact with Ruby at that time nor did he see Ruby at the police station (I asked), and that he did not hear either Hunt or Civello speak of killing Oswald. Only (in his call to me last December) that he knew, when HL Hunt asked him late Saturday afternoon to go check out security at the DPD police station where Oswald was held, that a hit was coming down.

What is to be made of a witness who comes out this late in the day with something like this? 

I did not know this at the time I wrote up my interview with him, but late last year (in fact, my email inquiry to Curington about this was what prompted Curington to call me by phone in response, the phone call in which he told me directly that he knew it was a hit coming down) I learned about and tracked down two items which call Curington's story into question. Namely, two major national-circulation magazine interviews of HL Hunt, August 1966 Playboy, and January 1967 Esquire (the Esquire story can be read here: http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/H Disk/Hunt H L/Item 15.pdf). In these interviews HL Hunt specifically says, firsthand, that he was advised by FBI agents the afternoon of the assassination to leave Dallas for his safety, and that he did leave Dallas with his wife, Friday Nov 22, and was not in Dallas that night or the rest of that weekend. There is no wiggle room in this: that is what HL Hunt says happened. If that is correct then he cannot have been at his home Saturday night Nov 23 to receive John Curington's midnight visit reporting on jail security for Oswald, nor can Hunt have received Civello at his estate for a meeting early Sunday morning Nov 24.

I wrote Curington and asked him about this, and he called me back by phone. His response was he insisted that was wrong. He gave me an almost hour-by-hour rundown of what happened in the hours after the assassination ("business continued as normal that afternoon"), that he drove Hunt home that evening at the end of the workday as usual, that he took care of Hunt's mail the next morning, that he was phoned by Hunt the next afternoon (Saturday) with the request to check out the jail security, etc. He said absolutely that Hunt had not left Dallas that weekend, that it simply was not true. As for why these two national magazines would report Hunt saying otherwise, Curington said they must have made it up, and said that is what both he and Hunt experienced all the time from journalists, just making things up. I asked: two national magazines would make up the identical story independently? He said maybe one got it from the other, he did not know, but he insisted it was not true that Hunt left Dallas any time that weekend.

So there it stands. What do I think? Obviously I do not think two national magazines would make up quoted words from HL Hunt out of whole cloth. The only two options are that HL Hunt was telling the truth (and Curington has not been truthful at some point), or HL Hunt was lying. Of course, if Curington's story is true, HL Hunt might have a motive to do so. However, Hunt's story appeared twice in national-circulation print four years after the fact, whereas Curington's first appeared 14 years (without Civello) and 55 years (with Civello) after the fact.

I have thought much about this and do not know for sure, but the weight seems to go against Curington in this "he says vs. he says" case of conflicting witness claims. I will probably be taking down my Curington interview in its present form soon, whether forever or to be put back up with this information as disclaimer I have not yet decided. Curington has come across in person to me as a straight shooter, but I know six decades of time can do strange things to people's memories too.  

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