Who Killed Kennedy? Essay, Research Paper
Did the Mafia kill John F. Kennedy?
The sun was shining on Friday, November 22, 1963, when the Dallas crowd heard the shots ring out that killed the president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was wounded while riding in a motorcade through the hostile city of Dallas in an open convertible. (Waggoner, 8) The suspect arrested was Lee Harvey Oswald, but Oswald would be dead by the end of the day due to a gunshot wound, from a man named Jack Ruby. Since Oswald was no longer around to give his statement, many people have to wonder who really killed Kennedy. Was Oswald part of a mafia conspiracy to assassinate president Kennedy, or did he act alone?
Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and President John F. Kennedy put their political power together to crack down on organized crime. John Kennedy served on the McClellan Committee which investigated the relationship between organized crime and American labor unions. The committee s findings were astounding, so when John Kennedy became President of the United States, he vowed to cut down the “mafia s” criminal activity. Robert Kennedy, John s brother, was the chief counsel of the McClellan Committee and when appointed Attorney General he increased staff at the Justice Department and created a special organized crime unit in the department. (Waggnoer 52) In 1960, there were only thirty five convictions, whereas in 1963, the
“Kennedy Era”, the convictions rose to two hundred and eighty eight. (Waggoner 52) Three high ranking mafia leaders, Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and Santos Trafficante, were infuriated with the Kennedys and had great desire to see them eliminated from office.
Jimmy Hoffa was a huge figure in the organized crime world. His name was synonymous with assassinations, drugs, and other major crimes. (Waggoner 53) Hoffa once spoke to a close friend, Edward Partin about the possibility of killing Robert Kennedy while riding in open convertible. He went on to say that it would have to be somewhere in the South where his politcal views were strongly opposed, so it would look like the assassin was someone that just despised him. This theory would shift all of the blame off any conspiracy by the mafia. But Hoffa knew that it was really John F. Kennedy that had all of the power, so if John was taken out, then the “heart” of the Kennedys would be gone and Robert s powers would be limited. (Waggoner 55)
The next mafia leader, Carlos Marcello was one of the main criminals that John and Robert Kennedy focused on. Marcello was a major mafia leader in Cuba. Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba, cracked down on organized crime and deported Marcello out of his country. The United States had the pleasure of being the country that Marcello next set up his crime establishment in. Robert Kennedy found out that Marcello was not a U.S. legal resident, so he deported him back to his home country of Guatemala. Edward Becker, a fomer Marcello associate, testified that Marcello hated Robert, but realized that John was the bigger problem, and he also explained to Becker what plan was necessary to handle him. According to Becker s testimony, Marcello stated “the dog
will keep biting you if you only cut off it tail”, so to solve the problem, the dog s head would have to be cut off so that “the entire dog would die”. (Waggoner 58) Hoffa and Marcello had admitted to being good friends. They were also good friends with the third angry organized crime leader, Santos Trafficante.
Trafficante was a go-to man when assassinations needed to be carried out. The CIA plotted an assassination of Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, and the man they called was Trafficante. He figured that if he helped get rid of Castro, then organized crime would once again be tolerated in Cuba so he would not be bothered by the Kennedys any longer. Trafficante especially hated the Kennedy brothers for putting continuous pressure on two of his good friends, Carlos Marcello and Jimmy Hoffa. He too told a friend of his hatred and plan of how to get rid of the “problem”. When Jose Aleman was quesitoned, he quoted Trafficante and saying “Mark my words, this Kennedy is in trouble, and he will get what is coming to him…. Kennedy s not going to make it to the  election. He is going to be hit.” (Waggoner 60)
All three of these leaders were good friends and all wanted to see President Kennedy dead so they would not be bothered in their criminal activity. They wanted Robert dead, but they knew that they would have to kill his brother the president so that Robert s power would be limited. With Hoffa s idea of assassinating someone in an open convertible and in a place where the Kennedy s were disliked, Marcello and Trafficante s connections, and a printed route of the motorcade twice in the week preceding Kennedy s assassination, they had ample motive and means to conspire to kill president John F. Kennedy.
If the mafia were the ones who plotted the assassination, then why was Oswald s palm print on the gun used and also why was he shot by a man named Jack Ruby? Lee Harvey Oswald was a man whose life was and still is a great mystery. He had distant, but distinct ties with the mafia which may have led to his use in the assassination. (TIME-LIFE Books 12) Using Oswald, the attention would shift away from the organized crime criminals and onto a man who could be made out to handle the task himself. Oswald was in a great deal of debt, so carrying out this plan would make him regain his good financial status. (TIME-LIFE Books 37) The Warren s Commission ruled that Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but their are many facts to dispute that theory. First of all, Oswald would have to be an excellent shot, to be able to complete that task of firing three bullets in a very short time period. His Marine Corps friends said that Oswald was a terrible shot and barely passed his rifle requirements. (Waggoner 29) The Warren s Commission theorized that there was a “magic bullet” that went through both Kennedy and Governor Connally and then entered the seat without any damage done to it. This theory does not match up with having only one gunman. Witness heard gunshots from the “grassy knoll”, but the witnesses were dismissed by the Warren s Commission for apparently being “mistaken.” The second dispute is the whereabouts of Oswald directly after the assassination. Oswald was apparently seen on the second floor completely normal, a minute and a half after the shooting occurred. Would an assassin be walking completely calm after he shot the president of the United States? Researchers say no, so why was he shot by Jack Ruby?
Jack Rubenstein, also known as Jack Ruby, was a gunrunner for Al Capone in
Chicago in his younger years. In his later years, he continued to have very close ties with organized crime and the three main mafia leaders, Hoffa, Marcello, and Trafficante. (Hubbard-Burrell 211) Ruby s phone calls the week prior to Kennedy s assassination reveal that he made several calls to his major mafia buddies. (Hubbard-Burrell 212) People reportedly saw Ruby on the “grassy knoll” in the same time period as when Kennedy was shot. (Hubbard-Burrell 214) It is strongly believed that both Oswald and Ruby were working with the organized crime group in the assassination of Kennedy and both got shots at him. This would disprove the “magic bullet” theory and give the true origin of where the gunshots came from. In his testimony, Ruby told people of the Warren s Commission that “I am used as a scapegoat… But if I am eliminated, there won t be any way of knowing.” Ruby probably shot Oswald because he thought that he would talk, but then Ruby must have realized that he was just being used also. Ruby later died supposedly of lung cancer, but he told his family members that he believed that he was injected with cancer cells. When an autopsy was done, Ruby s cancer cells were actually found in his digestive system. The mafia might have figured that Ruby would talk to police so they also had to eliminate him . (Hubbard-Burrell 218)
In my opinion,the facts clearly state that Oswald could not have assassinated President Kennedy himself, so he had to have help. The mafia had both the motive and means to plan and carry out the shooting of Kennedy. The three main opponents of the Kennedy brothers were Hoffa, Marcello, and Trafficante, but they used Oswald and Ruby as scapegoats to shift the attention away from them. The mafia leaders orginially wanted
Robert Kennedy dead, but they all knew that killing his brother, the President would be
must more beneficial. So the mafia was definately in on the assassination of President Kennedy and they used Oswald as a pawn in their little game. On that clear sunny November day, Oswald and Ruby both carried out the plan that was given to them by their bosses, the infamous mafia.
Hubbard-Burrell, Joan. What really happened to JFK? Ponderosa Press: Texas. 1992.
TIME-LIFE Books. True Crime. TIME-LIFE Books: Virginia. 1994.
Waggoner, Jeffrey. The Assassination of President Kennedy. Greenhaven Press, Inc: San Diego. 1989