Former Nebraska Congressman Charles “Charlie” Thone says conspiracy theories about the death of John F. Kennedy abounded when the House Select Committee on Assassinations began its work in 1976.
“(Conspiracy theories) included the FBI and the CIA and Russia and Cuba and even Lyndon Baines Johnson; oh, there were all kinds of theories about who had all been behind Lee Harvey Oswald on the assassination.” Thone tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
But Thone, one of four Republicans serving on the committee, says those theories had one problem in common.
“Conspiracy theories are abundant, but most of them do not have the factual, credible evidence to back up their theories,” Thone says.
Thone, also the former governor of Nebraska, says he asked to be on the committee that reviewed the evidence gathered in the shooting death of John F. Kennedy 50 years ago today in Dallas as well as other assassinations, including the shooting death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis in 1968. Thone had served as an assistant federal prosecutor and as a lawyer in the Nebraska Attorney General’s office.
Homework came first, before he served on the committee from 1976 to 1978 and Thone says little he viewed while on the committee surprised him. The committee hired experts in many fields and, according to Thone, followed up every lead it was given.
Thone says the committee poured over mounds of evidence and heard from all the experts during its two years of work; evidence which he says points to only one man.
“Lee Harvey Oswald,” Thone states flatly. “He was the lone assassin of President Kennedy. He fired three shots from the 6th story window of the Texas School Book Depository.”
The committee concluded the first shot at the motorcade missed. The second shot went through Kennedy’s back and struck the wrist of then-Texas Gov. John Connally who was riding in the convertible with Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The third was lethal; a direct shot to the president’s head.
Only one aspect of the investigation still troubles Thone. He still wonders about whispers that the mafia might have played a role, whispers that grew louder after Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald when Dallas police tried to move the suspect. Thone says the committee simply could not pierce that veil of secrecy.
Click here to find the entire interview with Thone.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this article.